Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just a New Year's Wish

I hope that everyone has a happy, safe, and healthy New Year.

I hope all your wishes come true.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mr. Kris, My Dad, and First Editions--A True Story

My short story, Henry and Greta, is a modern take on Hansel and Gretel, with a Christmas twist thrown in for Kim Koning's Holiday Hop contest. 

I wanted to write a modern fairy tale...I wanted it to be magic. 

In the story the mysterious Mr. Kris with his eight barking dogs has a book store in the Waldorf Astoria.  He has a journal from DaVinci, and the first editions of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Animal Farm by George Orwell. have such a bookstore...

And back to real life...

The day after Christmas my doorbell rang.  I told my smiling dad to come in.  He handed me a bag.  I removed two carefully wrapped books--Dracula by Bram Stoker and Animal Farm by George Orwell.  Touched that he read my story, I thanked him.  Then he told me they were both first editions...

Really?!  Come on...
I asked him where he got them, and when.  He told me he has had them for a while, and thought I would like them...
I LOVE them.

I think the story DOES have a little magic...

Please read my story, Henry and Greta at Kim Koning's blog.

Thanks Dad  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Thank you for all the funny, amazing, creative, and just great entries to the contest here at As the Crowe Flies for the Holiday Hop! 

First--Santa's Backup reindeer. 

The winning name was given by Barbara Battaglia.  She chose  BRUCE. Why?  She said, "I just picture this massive, muscular, bad ass..."Hey, someone call for a backup..." and then Bruce walks out through a haze of smoke to save the...night."  Too fun!  That changes things up a bit!

The new Christmas classic will be written by Shannon J. for her story titled:

COOKIES FOR KRIS KRINGLE and would feature "a spunky baker who's lucky in business but not so lucky in love. Until she becomes infatuated with a young, hunky shopping center Santa and starts baking cookies for him, delivered anonymously by a mall runner. Can she find love during the hectic holiday season?  And then there is a zombie outbreak and baker chick being holed up in the mall fighting the undead with bags of flour and metal spatulas."

Congratulations!  Hope you enjoy your $25 gift cards!

I also want to send copies of the book Vampires! to the runners-up:

Jessica McHugh for her story idea:  "North Pole Soul", and it would be about a band of Elves who play the blues and long to be world famous musicians.

Meghan Page for naming Santa's backup reindeer Control S.  (Get it?)

And because I love all things dark, even during Christmas, I have some dark honorable mentions:

jersey girl for her story  "Slashing through the Snow" - about a family that is hijacked by an evil serial killer while en route to visit grandma for the holidays.

Anthony J Rapino for his "dark Christmas classic entitled, *Night of the Pine* wherein all evergreens pull themselves free of their root systems and lead an attack on the North Pole. That jolly tyrant Santa Claus must be punished for heading the largest conifer genocide in the history of the world!"

Julie Jansen would write  "Frosty Frankenstein" about a snow-monster constructed by an evil child scientist.

And last but not least in the dark catagory, Craig Smith would write "Toe Smashers, about renegade elves that go around smashing people's toes with little hammers if they are naughty."  Weird I know!  It was great to know there are others around who share my penchant for all things dark.  :)

J. Chase would write about a sassy elf who would make fashionable eyewear so Crasher the reindeer would not have to be called Crasher!

Thank you, thank you for your entries!  Congratulations to all the winners!  :)  I wish you all the best during this holiday season and the New Year!  XO

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After


Christmas is one day behind us, and the fun of family, food and presents a joyful memory.

BUT!  Today I will choose the winners of the As the Crowe Flies contests--and it will not be easy.  The entires were amazing, and I wish I could put them in to figure the winner, or ask someone else to choose for me--but alas, the task is mine.  I wish I had more prizes to give. 

I will the announce the two winners this afternoon and enter the names to the grand prize drawing for the Kindle Fire.  :)  Thanks again everyone--reading all the entries made my holiday even more special, they were wonderful.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Hop Fun!

Happy Holidays everyone, and welcome to the Holiday Hop!

 During this magical time of year it is lovely to visit with dear ones, and make some new friends along the way.  :)  After your visit here, make sure you click the HOP BUTTON---------------------------------> and stop by and see other author's blogs for wonderful holiday prizes, fun contests, and of course some good reading.

I have two simple contests.  Please answer questions in comments below:
1.  If Santa had a back-up reindeer in case one needed a break, what would he or she be named, and-

2.  If you could write the next Christmas or holiday classic, what would be the title, and briefly, what would it be about?

One winner will get a $25 Amazon card and the other a $25 Barnes and Nobel card. You can enter either contest or both!   These two winners will then be put in a grand prize drawing for a KINDLE FIRE! 

If you would like a copy of one of my books, 100 Unfortunate Days, the very dark memoir,  The Moon is No Place for a Ghost, fun kid's book or short bloody story Absorbed, please tell me what title you prefer in the comments, and leave me your email address. 

Have a delightful holiday and Happy Hopping!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome Ashley Fontainne!

Please welcome Ashley Fontainne to As the Crowe Flies!

Please tell me about your book.
Accountable to None is a classic tale of revenge with a modern twist.  Full of suspense and intrigue, you journey with the heroine, Audra Tanner, as she seeks out and finds personal justice against everyone that has hurt her.
When and why did you start writing?
Every since I was young, I found solace in writing, mostly through poems and short stories.  These, of course, were only shared with friends and family members.  However, after taking a Creative Writing course in college, I found my passion!
What inspires you?
Human behavior, good and bad, when faced with monumental decisions.
Are you working on anything now?
Yes, I am currently working on the sequel to Accountable to None, entitled “Zero Balance.”  It begins nine months later where Accountable to None left off.
Is there anything you do NOT like about being a writer?
The only wish I have right now is that it could be my fulltime career!
What do you think of the ebook revolution?
It has been a wonderful journey for me!  Initially, I went the traditional route and sent out dozens of query letters to literary agents and publishing houses and grew tired of the cookie-cutter rejections, so I did a bit of research into Amazon’s Kindle publishing program and decided to try that route.  That was in April of 2011 and since then, I signed with World Castle Publishing.  Accountable to None will be re-released in paperback in 2012 worldwide through them.
How do you see your writing career in five years?
In five years, I hope to be a household name!
Is there anything you will NOT write about?
I enjoy reading suspense/thriller novels, which is probably why I tend to write that way.  The only genre I don’t see myself ever penning a novel in is SciFi.

Please tell us about any ups and downs in your writing career so far.
Writing the novel was the easy part.  Marketing it, not so much.  That has proven to be my biggest challenge as I still hold a fulltime job and attend college fulltime.  My poor husband (bless his soul, he is a Godsend!) must watch me Tweet, Blog and Facebook at night!
Do you have any suggestions to people who might be considering writing as a career?
If writing is your passion, then DO IT!  Don’t let the big publishing houses drag you down.  In today’s world through the ebook revolution, you can do it on your own! 

Facebook personal page:

Facebook fan page - ATN:

Twitter: @AshleyFontainne



Book trailer:



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome to the Holiday Hop!

Happy Holidays everyone, and welcome to the Holiday Hop!

 During this magical time of year it is lovely to visit with dear ones, and make some new friends along the way.  :)  After your visit here, make sure you click the HOP BUTTON---------------------------------> and stop by and see other author's blogs for wonderful holiday prizes, fun contests, and of course some good reading.

I have two simple contests.  Please answer questions in comments below:
1.  If Santa had a back-up reindeer in case one needed a break, what would he or she be named, and-

2.  If you could write the next Christmas or holiday classic, what would be the title, and briefly, what would it be about?

One winner will get a $25 Amazon card and the other a $25 Barnes and Nobel card. You can enter either contest or both!   These two winners will then be put in a grand prize drawing for a KINDLE FIRE! 

If you would like a copy of one of my books, 100 Unfortunate Days, the very dark memoir,  The Moon is No Place for a Ghost, fun kid's book or short bloody story Absorbed, please tell me what title you prefer in the comments, and leave me your email address. 

Have a delightful holiday and Happy Hopping!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Welcome Yvonne Hertzberger!

Please welcome Yvonne Hertberger to As the Crowe Flies!

Please tell me about your book.
“Through Kestrel’s Eyes” is the second installment in my Fantasy trilogy “Earth’s Pendulum”. The underlying theme for the series deals with the interdependence of ourselves with our environment. But this ‘old world’ tale has lots of action, with traitors, battles and romance and characters you will love.

“Through Kestrel’s Eyes” is written from the point of view of Liannis, a young seer just coming into her full abilities as the servant of the goddess Earth. She must battle self-doubt, great loss and the lure of forbidden love as faces test after test in her quest to help bring back the Balance. Failure means that Earth cannot provide good harvests, health and prosperity. The people will starve if the Balance is not restored and Earth’s wounds healed. Time is short.

When and why did you start writing?
I began writing in earnest five years ago when, after a couple of short stories. I had retired from ‘paid’ employment and now had the time to devote to writing. When I wrote the first pages of “Back From Chaos” I found I had a longer tale demanding to be told and have not looked back since.

What inspires you?
I have always been a people watcher, or rather a ‘student of human behaviour’. J Figuring out what motivates people in relationships and what makes societies work has always fascinated me. The result is that my writing is strongly character based and I use my characters to explore the issues that interest me, such as gender, power and spirituality.

Are you working on anything now?
The first few chapters of “The Dreamt Child”, the final book in the trilogy are written. I hope to have it available this time next year. But that means I better get my butt in gear. J

Is there anything you do NOT like about being a writer?
I find marketing and promotion very challenging. I came into the internet age late and am still learning all the time. It is definitely not my forte and stresses me out.

What do you think of the ebook revolution?
I still love the feel of a ‘real’ book but I also see the value of e-readers. As we become more mobile, as homes become smaller without the space for many books, as paper books become too expensive for many, Ebooks provide a viable alternative for those who still like to read. Given the choice between not reading or reading ebooks there is no contest.

How do you see your writing career in five years?
I truly hope that in five years time my writing will gain enough exposure that I will gain respectability as an author, that my name will no longer be obscure and unknown. I do not expect to be famous, or even to make a living from writing, only to have a small following who like what I write.

Is there anything you will NOT write about?
I will not write pornography, anything that abases a specific group or even individual without also including healing, or anything that will incite hatred or prejudice. My aim is to challenge thinking for the good, never to leave the reader in a dark place without hope.

In what genre do you prefer to write?  To read?
The answer to both would be Epic Fantasy. I have no desire to write non-fiction though I might write fiction other than Fantasy some day. My favourite author is Robin Hobb. I do occasionally read mystery or thrillers or sometimes an acclaimed best seller.

Please tell us about any ups and downs in your writing career so far.
The hardest part, at first, was deciding to self-publish. iUniverse (called assisted self-publishing) published the first version of “Back From Chaos”, a good learning experience but very costly. I will never get that investment back. But the process prepared me for putting the revised version and “Through Kestrel’s Eyes” up myself on both Kindle and Createspace so I do not begrudge it, now. The lows for me are the times I stress about the things I needed to learn to get to that place.

The highs come when the writing takes on a life of its own and flows well. Then I feel great and believe that I am, indeed, a writer.

Do you have any suggestions to people who might be considering writing as a career?
Read, read, read. Write, write write. Listen to feedback but stay true to your own voice. Know the rules and break them only when you know you can do so effectively. Don’t expect to get rich.

Anything else you want to add?
I have made many friends and received a great deal of support from other writers since joining on-line groups. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have offered support and information, and to Orangeberry for the opportunity to share with you all.

Twitter: @YHERTZBE
Books available in paper and on kindle at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ho, ho ho!!!! It's Amost Time for the Holiday Hop!

Happy Holdiays everyone, and welcome to the most wonderful time of the year!

On December 15th the Holiday Hop begins :)  There will be lovely things to read, authors to meet, and prizes to win, including the grand prize, a Kindle Fire.

The directions are simple.  Starting in two days, you will be able to connect to the Holiday Hop from the activated Holiday Hop button--------------------------->
There you will meet other authors, enter contests, and try to win fun holiday prizes.

I will be offering a $25 gift certificate from Amazon, a $25 gift certificate from Barnes and Nobel, copies of my books, and a few fun surprises. 

So put on your warmest scarf and hop on over for some holiday fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Welcome Mary Pat Hyland!

I am very pleased to welcome Mary Pat Hyland to As the Crowe Flies.  Mary is the author of the very popular book The Terminal Diner.  Read all about it!

 "Men like pie." Who would know the truth behind those words better than
Elaina Brady's mother Maria? Months after she showed her teenage daughter
how to bake perfect pie and hours after offering that culinary wisdom,
Maria abandons Elaina, her sister Dee Dee and their father Walt. All it
took was a lingering, lusty look from a Missoula trucker who stopped by
their family's diner and ordered a slice of lemon meringue. Maria hitches
a ride west with him, and with that impulsive decision, sixteen-year-old
Elaina loses her mother and gains a job baking pies at the diner.
A decade after Maria's departure, Elaina is still working at The Terminal
Diner, just around the bend from an upstate New York airport. Her humdrum
life is defined by pie-baking routine. Elaina realizes painfully that all
she still knows about the opposite sex is summed up in the three last
words her mother spoke to her. Then one deceivingly beautiful morning in
September 2001, horrifying acts committed by terrorists a hundred miles
away upset her world, bringing new influences into her life and inspiring
her to be like her mother-impulsive. Will Elaina survive the consequences
of her actions?
This suspenseful story is the fourth novel by Amazon Top 100 bestselling
author Mary Pat Hyland.
You can find Mary Pat's blog here:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My short story, The Key to Happiness, has been accepted in the special edition anthology VAMPIRES! for Dark Moon Press.

Although I don't consider myself a horror writer--maybe there is something new in my future! 

The cover looks like a mix of modern horror and old-school Tales From the Crypt comics.  I love it.  ------------------>

Off to press on Dec. 12th, and on the shelves as a paperback soon.  :)

Check out Dark Moon Press here.

Some good old-fashioned horror fun from Tales from the Crypt...get ready!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Orangeberry Book Tour for 100 Unfortunate Days

Starting December 8th my book 100 Unfortunate Days will be on tour with Orangeberry Book Tours, and I will be in great company.  Fellow Indie Writers Unite authors Terry Simpson and Mary Pat Hyland will be touring their books Etchings of Power and Terminal Diner, along with many other great authors.

I am lucky enough to be hosting Ashley Fontainne, Yvonne Hertzberger and Mary Pat Hyland on my blog this month, and hopefully several others.

We will be featured on blogs and hopefully generate interest about our books.

Please visit the Orangeberry site and check out 100 Unfortunate Days, along with all the other great authors on the tour.  See you there!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Botox Anyone?

I was having a conversation with some women not too long ago about Botox and cosmetic surgery.  Being almost 50, we all have things that we wish were more like they were when we were 20.

But I stated that I would never had plastic surgery, and doubted that I would ever use Botox.  First of all, I'm not the healthiest person on earth so I would avoid any kind of unecessary medical procedure, and second, needles just make me more than a little queasy.  I don't even want to go to the dentist.

I also think I've seen enough plastic surgery mistakes that I would be too afraid.  And many people end up getting the same type of look.  I don't know if it's that very big puffy lip thing that makes many look alike--but I'm not sure I like it.  Most of the time people still look the age they actually are, just smoother and tighter.  And I don't want to look like everyone.  I have also seen people look less wrinkled, have wider-looking eyes, and less of a double chin after plastic surgery.

Yes I have wrinkles and crows feet, and my neck isn't perfectly tight anymore, but this is the way I look, and there is something graceful and wonderful about how we age.  We have earned every one of our lines, and I think there is something sad about taking that away.

There is also some part of me that wonders at what age can we stop worrying about gaining five pounds, and just RELAX.  I don't think people look at us and think--yikes--she needs Botox!  And if they do I don't want to hang around with them anyway...

Like I said, I've seem good and bad plastic surgeries, and everyone will make their own choices.  But for me...I choose no.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Alter Ego

I was tweeting with a fellow author today and I remarked that I loved her avatar.  She told me it was her alter ego.  I responded by saying I thought everyone needed an alter ego.  And I meant it.

I don't mean alter ego in terms of dissociative identity disorder, or even leading a completely double life.  I was referring to a second-self, another side of us that we use in certain situations. 

Although I don't have an alter ego like Superman, writing under a different name allows me the freedom to be as dark and twisted as I want.  I don't have to worry about my name being attached to horror, and then try to sell a children's book under my real name.

And I like having an alter ego.  It kinda makes me feel cool--which is not what I am.

Please read about me, my books, and my alter ego in Laura Yirak's blog Dreams of Diamonds.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December and Ugly Christmas Sweaters

It's December!  The most wonderful time of the year!

Kids are being extra good, town centers are pretty from holiday lights and decorations, and everyone is getting excited to be with loved ones.

It is also the time of year of TERRIBLE SWEATERS.  People will wear just about anything as long as it is green or red, or has something Christmas-ee on it. 

This puts us all on the same playing field as far as fashion goes.  Sure you can still wear $200 jeans, but if your sweater has floating Santa heads on it, you are just like the rest of us who are sucked into the bad holiday sweater vortex. 

After a suggestion that our Christmas party this year should have an ugly Christmas sweater dress code, I looked on eBay and was floored at the amount of heinous sweaters available.  I saw ice skating cats, light up moose-heads with tinsel, and a strategically placed angel so YOUR head would be the angel's head.

I have chosen my Ugly Chistmas Sweater for my party this year, and put a few samples over there. ------>  Click on any one--they are all for sale on eBay...really.

Please send me any pix of really good ugly sweaters you find and I'll post the extra-terrible ones at the end of every day!

Happy Holdiays everyone!!  :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kids and Reading--Part 1

It's an epidemic!

Well, maybe not an epidemic, but I see it happening quite a bit--kids who do not like to read.  Several of my son's friends flat-out tell me they don't like it.  In fact they would rather do almost anything else.  Several of my mom-friends say the same thing--they cannot get their kids to read.  They've tried the library, Barnes and Noble, kid's magazines, but the kids have a definite aversion, and they cannot get passed it.

I am not anti-school at all, but I think maybe school may have something to do with this.  Our kids are told to read about endless battles in history (and remember the dates), the number of protons, electrons and neutrons in an atom, how our government functions, and endless other important facts and situations. They are then told to write about what they read so they will never forget what they learned.  This is followed by reading books like Great Expectations, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Red Badge of Courage.  Wonderful books, but heavy stuff.

Are there any books out there that are fascinating to children, yet worthy to be on a school's reading list?  Is it worth it to have them exclusively exposed to only masterpieces at the expense of their love of reading?  I would love to see some books added to the reading list that all the kids can the thrilled about, that they cannot wait to read and talk about in school.  Harry Potter has been bashed by everyone from the Catholic church to local school systems, but kids were reading.  

I hope we can be more open-minded and add a larger variety of books to our kid's reading lists.  Because if we want our kids to like to read, we need to give them something they might enjoy.

Here are a few books I think are terrific and should be read for school:

*  Anything by Roald Dahl
*  The Harry Potter Series by J.K.Rowling
*  Stephen King's books for the upper grades in high school
*  Thomas the Tank Engine books for little ones
*  Shel Silverstein books

Please tell me if there are any books you think would be great for kids to read, I would love to do a series of posts featuring the books you suggest.  Thanks!!

I am in no way comparing myself to any of the above-mentioned authors, just adding a shamless plug for my own kid's book ----------------->

Heather Adkins added a great comment below that does not show so I am adding it here because they are such great suggestions--thanks Heather!! 

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume(Actually, ANYthing by Judy Blume)

The Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech

The Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin

That's all I can think of off the top of my head :) All favorites from my childhood,   Heather.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fairy Tale

This is Day 23 from my novella 100 Unfortunate Days. ----->

Day 23

Once there was a little girl. She went into her grandmother’s special cabinet and took out all the scarves. Some were bright pink with gold coins sewn to them, some were square and some were rectangular, one had the bright eyes of many foxes, but all were silk. She knew the scarves were magic, and she brought them outside with a basket of clothes pins. She hung the scarves on the weeping willow tree in the back yard…all around the low-hanging outside branches, and formed a beautiful house with windows and a big door that opened and closed. As she clipped the last pin to the last scarf the house filled with gold furniture, and the fox jumped off the scarf and became her pet. She could hear music in her head and could light fire with her fingertips. She looked up into the night sky and she knew how old the stars were. Her eyes were the clear green of the ocean and she did not have to blink. She knew all the languages of the world and as she lay on the ground the earth swallowed her. It held her as she slept and in the morning she left her scarf house with the fox and went in to the woods. She took her pocket knife and carved her name in a tree that grew the wood that would someday form her coffin. She cut her hand on the knife and her blood dropped on the ground. A crow flew down from the sky and landed at her feet near the blood. “Go home.” it said and flew away. She followed a trail of poisonous mushrooms deeper into the woods and fell to her knees at the sight of the moon in the distance. She closed her eyes and went home to her silk house. Her parents missed her very much and her grandmother was not even mad anymore that she played with her scarves without asking. But she did not know this, and she did not miss them. She cut the lemon tart that was her breakfast and picked raspberries from the bush next to the weeping willow tree. One day she missed her parents and she went home, but they did not know her…she was not a little girl any more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perfect Timing and a Surprise Review

As I was looking through older listings of 100 Unfortunate Days on Google to find if I had written an interesting blurb about the book somewhere, I noticed that it had been reviewed in Pandora's Pen as Pandora's Pick of the Week. 

I was looking for a blurb because 100 Unfortunate Days will be available in paperback in a few weeks on Amazon, and it will be a tangible book with a back cover.  And back covers need blurbs.

I was a having a devil of a time trying to write a blurb--and the paperback version is on hold until I can come up with something interesting and back-cover worthy.

I was thrilled to see my book chosen for Pandora's Pick--she really liked the book!  She said it was different and dark and scary.  She said "it grips you through the sheer mania of the writing,' but she was not thrilled with the last 'day'.  But maybe everything really does happen for a reason.  Because of the surprise review, I can make the last page of my premier book more vibrant before it is published, and now, for whatever reason, more easily write a proper blurb for the back cover.  (Thanks for the review!)

Please see the review of 100 Unfortunate Days at Pandora's Pen below and tell me if you think the last page needs a bit more oomph if you have read it.  Thanks!  :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bloody Good Writer

I am happy to welcome Arshad Ahsanuddin to As the Crowe Flies.  Please read about his books, his background, and his affinity for blood.

Link to his book Sunset----------------->

When did you start writing?
October 2009 was the first time I started to write as a serious project.  Out of that came the manuscript that I later adapted into my first two novels, Sunset and Sunrise.

How has your background affected your writing?
I like both fantasy and science fiction, so I have introduced elements of both in my work, creating a futuristic society of new age vampires.

What are you working on now?
I’m trying to get the fourth novel in the series edited for a March release date, but in the meantime, I’ve been working on another novella that is set within story continuity.

Where do you get your ideas?
They explode out of my fevered brain, and I am just trying to write them down before they fade.
You write about vampires and you are a doctor—of blood?
I honestly didn’t make the connection when I first started writing.  One of my readers pointed it out, and the irony appealed to me.

Has anyone influenced you?
I like Neil Gaiman’s work most of all in the mystical fiction genre, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s in high fantasy.  For inspirational fantasy, I turn to Paulo Coelho.

What are some books you recommend and why.
Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, a sardonic and erudite romp through the Apocalypse, blending Pratchett’s deft satire with Gaiman’s world-building and grasp of mythology.
The Fionavar Tapestry, by Guy Gavriel Kay, the finest high fantasy trilogy I have ever read, and my favorite in the genre.  Everything had meaning and contributed to the plot and characters, it was so well-crafted.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, and inspirational fable about following your dreams, even when they seem insane in the light of day.

What do you like to read, and what would you never read?
I like science fiction and fantasy when I’m in the mood for a serious read, and romance novels for light entertainment.  I don’t often read mysteries or non-fiction, because they just don’t excite me.

Do you feel an affinity to any of the characters in your books?
Nick, the main character of the first book, is my favorite character, and the one I most identify with, for his hero’s journey and character development over the course of the series.  He starts out as a rather shallow person, with great power but avoiding commitment and responsibility, and learns to face his challenges head-on as he gains experience.

Can you talk about vampires?
They’re an old archetype, which has evolved into many different interpretations, from evil villain to tortured hero, from sexual predator seeking the destruction of innocence and virtue to reluctant lover searching for redemption.  I wrote a little bit on this subject in a guest blog post earlier in the year.  The full text can be found here:

Thanks for hosting me.  I appreciate the opportunity.
Arshad Ahsanuddin
Author bio below:

Author Bio:
Arshad Ahsanuddin is a practicing hematopathologist, a physician who specializes in using biopsies and laboratory data to diagnose diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Yes, a blood doctor writing about vampires. The irony is not lost on him.  It certainly amuses his colleagues.
For more information about Arshad, or for more information about the series, check out his website at and leave him some feedback.

Social Media:
Facebook Page:
Goodreads Profile:
Twitter Handle:  @pactarcanum

Book links:    
Smashwords edition (multiple formats):

Book Blurb:
Los Angeles, 2040. The terrorist Medusa and her followers threaten to destroy the metropolis with a nuclear bomb. One individual, the vampire Nicholas Jameson, comes forward to oppose them. As Nick takes on the terrorists, the fragile peace between the races hangs perilously in the balance as the supernatural peoples are exposed.  Can Nick lead the four races into peaceful coexistence, or will the final war destroy them all?
With millennia-old magic, emerging romance, and ever-shifting allegiances, this inventive new series unveils a scintillating, homoerotic world of Nightwalkers, Daywalkers, Sentinels, and Humans, who battle for world dominance in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Interview with David Rowinski

I am thrilled to present an interview with author David Rowinski, a talented writer I have known since high school.  I am happy to say I am currently working on the illustrations for a children's book he penned many years ago called The Open Pillow.  (two of the pictures from the book----->

Please read about David.

When did you start writing?
 I think it was 3rd grade. I had a relative who was a few years older who wrote
 science-fiction stories. I began by ripping off Planet of the Apes and wrote Planet of the Dog-men. Thank god that has been lost.

Has your background affected your writing at all?
My wife mentioned that I should write about the things I have done, places I have been, but I am not particularly interested in memoir. I did compose an essay about growing up in Clark, N.J. and the events that brought me to East Africa but I did so to explore issues of race and identity. Elements of experiences have, of course, found their way into the fiction I write but interpreted and reinvented to advance a story.

What are you working on now?
 I was working on a novel that collapsed under the weight of over-writing so I removed what was to have been the third chapter and am turning it into a short story. It is about an individual receiving a call to become a shaman. 

Where do you get your ideas?
 There is no one place. I recall someone comparing American to British comedy. The former begins with the notion “Isn’t it funny that?” The latter starts “Wouldn’t it be funny if?” If combined, however, the latter idea creates a premise but the former allows it to be told in an acceptable manner. It took weeks of failed story attempts before I realized this. This insight meant scrapping something I was well into but allowed for the writing of Music Box. Yet the elements of the failure may find their way into something completely different. Even Music Box began with the notion of how one gets their things back from an ex’s home after you have been thrown out. The original idea was to come upon an ex’s radio that received broadcasts  normal radios do not which would cause the protagonist to re-examine the person with whom he was involved. Fortunately, that idea failed. When the radio became a music box, it was the relationship that became the story’s core.

I know you have an artistic past also, what happened to drawing?
 I always preferred writing.  

Has anyone influenced you?
 The most important influence has been my wife Sali. I watched and listened as she took a guitar riff and turned it into a song. She gave me the most important piece of advice-Finish Something. For years I would work on an idea then, second guessing its merit, I would begin something new with the same results meaning off to a third or fourth piece. Then, having distanced myself from the first and thinking better of it, I would take it up again, only to abandon it once more in favor of one of the other storylines. Nothing was ever brought to fruition. Seeing Sali complete one work by focusing upon it allowed me to do the same.

What are some books you recommend and why. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez is so essential that I do not mind stating the obvious. I just finished a bio of Che Guevara because I realized I knew the icon and not the history. The one thing that stayed with me from the book was a friend of Che’s describing the difference between them. Che looked down the scope of a rifle and saw 30.000 children with better lives if a soldier were killed where he saw the soldier with a wife and children of his own.  The 14th century historical novel
 Romance of Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzong was a tome but told like the serial films of the 1930’s. Chapters ended with questions to be answered followed by the simple phrase “Read on” that caused a number of sleepless nights. Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners introduced me to what has been labeled speculative fiction. She and her husband began Small Beer Press whose office is located a few towns away from where I live. I wrote my story Music Box for their magazine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and dropped it off personally. It was my first professional sale.

What do you like to read, and what would you never read?
 To answer the second part of your question, I was working from until at the desk of an Athens youth hostel twenty years ago. To pass the time I read anything I could find. One night, the only thing available was a Jackie Collins novel. I think I made it to the second page before deciding that staring at the walls was preferable. That said, it was Jackie Collin’s works that one of my college professors railed against but pointed out that those novels were not necessarily easy to write.  As for preference, I move back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. My friend Gabrielle owns an independent bookstore and he has given me stacks of galleys. For a time I decided to read every one. Though there were some unexpected gems most of the books were awful. But having gotten through them I realized that the experience of reading them was invaluable. If you read good fiction you run the risk of emulating it. After reading junk you can write against it. It also allows me to realize when something is not working in my own writing.
The main character in your upcoming story has a ‘gift’—do you know anyone like this?
No. I began this as a reaction against some things I read. I am hesitant to use the word gift. He is receiving a calling but lives in a culture where it is not understood and cannot be answered.

Can you talk about your upcoming children’s book, The Open Pillow?
 The Open Pillow was made up on the spur of the moment to put a child to sleep. It was after that I sat down and put the work on paper. There were elements that fell into place without my consciously planning them like the size of the pillow actually corresponding to the animals rejecting it. I realized that because I was playing around with a piece of graph paper. The original draft had the animals speaking.  In rewriting, I realized that I could set Adam apart by having only him speak. It was also important for me make the point that growth alone is not sufficient. One needs to be in the right place at the right time which allows for a person to see your inherent value. The story sat in a drawer for years because several people expressed interest in doing the illustrations but none did the work. Though I was pleased that you also offered, it meant little until you began producing completed illustrations that corresponded beautifully to the text.
I am over the moon about being part of this book, I love it. 
Thanks again David!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is Nano a Useless Process? Maybe Not...The Psychology of Writing

Nano can be a grueling, exhausting, and exhiliarating experience--and I hate it.  Sometimes.

I signed up last minute and regretted it almost immediately.  I do not like to NOT finish something.  But, I don't think I will finish Nano.

I had a million internal reasons to not finish:  it is a terrible month to start Nano--why not summer?  Who chose November?  It is a waste of time--the writing is forced.  To busy, too tired, too whatever.

So I looked up authors who write everyday.  Seems Roald Dahl did it, Stephen King does it, and many others feel it is the thing to do. 

Why does it suddenly feel very hard to write for two hours?

I see people who have already written 30, 35, 40,000 words--and I am happy for them, but uninspired.  And aggravated. 

But I am still in it and my competative nature is rearing its ugly head so I had better get writing.  Wish me luck...

Read an article on the psychology of writing from Psychology Today below.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 93 from 100 Unfortunate Days for Sample Sunday

Day 93
I was born in Venice on the 4th of July—which means nothing to anyone in Venice.  I was born with jet-black hair and very light blue eyes.  Then all my hair fell out and grew in very light blonde.  My eyes have remained light blue.  I was left on a ferry boat when I was 3 months old—I don’t know if it was on purpose or not—but I was raised covertly by the Queen of England until I was 5, then she could not keep me under wraps anymore because I moved around too much and she felt I should be going to school.  I was sent to stay with the Queen’s illegitimate sister who lived in France.  She taught me how to play the guitar and wear makeup.  I stayed there until I was 8 and then I worked in a coffee shop and slept there at night next to the picture window that had a toile cushion beneath it because no one minded.  I ate small sugary biscuits with tea or coffee every day for breakfast and wrote sad love songs until I kissed a boy.   I got a tattoo of his initial on the underside of my middle finger and never told him.  I left the lyrics to a song on a table outside the coffee shop one afternoon and could not find them later that afternoon.  I heard a song on the radio a year later that used my lyrics.  I never told anyone.  I took a train to Germany and died my hair jet-black again.  I had 5 children in 5 years and gave them all away to charity.  I worked in a guitar shop and met Jimmy Page and we spent the night together.  I got a tattoo of his initials on the underside of my middle finger of my other hand and swore my love to him eternally.  He said he would love me forever too.  I stayed awake once for 3 days because I was sad.  I moved to Spain because I needed to be warm and painted my front door a different color every day.  My skin loved the sun and the black faded from my hair.   I wore jewelry with diamonds and flowers in my hair.  When I looked at the sky at night I could see the face of my true love who I knew I would never meet.  Sometimes I see children with light blue eyes and jet-black or light blonde hair and I know they are mine.  I never say anything.
100 Unfortunate Days-------------> 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are We What We Write?

I have written several books in the last year, a few of them very dark.  One of the books, 100 Unfortunate Days, was called by a dear friend "a sure sign that you are a lunatic". 

I laughed this off at first because the book is certainly not about me, but the voice kept returning, and I wondered if my writing did indeed prove that I was at least partly nuts. 

After looking up articles from authors including J.K.Rowling, I not only felt better about my mental health, but about my writing in general.  It made me think we all have a story to tell, and we writers choose to tell ours in words.  There are endless ways to be ourselves, and if we have a dark side that needs to be talked about, incorporating it in a story can be a wonderful thing. 

I suddenly have more respect for people who have different passions:  mountain climbing, sky-diving, singing, cooking, or any one of the millions of ways we experience our own lives.  We're going through our #%@ in our own ways.  Good for us.  Find your thing and do soon as you can.  :)

Article on J.K.Rowling and how she began writing.

100 Unfortunate Days  -------------->

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Absorbed and Anne Boleyn

My short story Absorbed is a dark tale featuring an overbearing and abusive boyfriend and his girlfriend Violet, who finds a beautiful but mysterious gift on her doorstep.

After reading Absorbed, my friend sent an email with a link to this painting by Tansy Myer.  It was recently featured at the Compound Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and was inspired by Vercor's novel, Anne Boleyn.

Myer painted Boleyn because "she was a strong woman, a rebel with convictions--and history, (written and manipulated by men) rarely looks kindly on that combination."

The painted stunned me because of remarkable congruences with my story Absorbed.

Lovely and terrible--hopefully just like my story.

Click pic and see Tansy's site------------->

Link to Absorbed below pic of Anne Boleyn---------->

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Name the Evil

I am the happy winner of Kim Koning's Coffin Blog quest to name her psychopathic killer in her upcoming story.  I will receive several books, and the thrill of having the name I chose for her character used in her book.  The name for this maniac will be Michael Dali, after the Archangel Michael and the twisted and surreal mind of Salvatore Dali.   Please take a look at her blog below, and get a great intro to her new story.

My cousin Michelle says 'to name it is to tame it', but I don't know if that bit of wisdom is true in this evil and twisted tale...

A bit of short story ABSORBED is nearing the 10,000 mark on Amazon!  I'm thrilled--please take a look--dark and bloody--a serial killer is born.-------------->

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Everyone I Write About is at Least Partially Me

I published my first book, 100 Unfortunate Days, one month ago. 

The book was written from a dark place, the darkest corner we all find ourselves in sometimes and feel we can't get out of.  It is about a bad marriage, the sometimes awful experience of having children, and other areas that women sometimes don't discuss or admit.   It was written at a feverish pace, and though not about me exactly, much of the book contains my own experiences and feelings. Stephen King said that all of the characters he writes about are at least partially him.  We can't help it--everything we do and think and feel is from our personal perspective. 

Although the narrator of my book is unstable and more than a little crazy, I found writing in her voice to be better than years of therapy.  It made me think of the advice we so often hear in magazines or from friends when something or someone bothers us--write a letter you never plan to send.

Maybe we should write letters we DO plan on sending--not only to the person who has upset us--but to everyone else, too.  Write in your blog, or in a magazine.  We can get validation, or support, or maybe even a scolding if we deserve it--but at least the problem will no longer be only our own.  Write anonymously, or under a pen name.

Maybe if we stop trying to change ourselves we will be able to write more of the truth.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coffin Hop NOOK Winner!

Congratulations to Robert T. Smales of Salem, MA, who won the NOOK Simple Touch in today's Coffin Hop Nook and Book Giveaway!  How fitting that someone from Salem won a contest in the Coffin Hop for Halloween!

Hope you enjoy the NOOK Robert!  Thanks for hopping by!  Thanks to everyone for visiting As the Crowe Flies.  It was so nice to read all of your comments and meet you, hope you enjoy the books.  And a big, warm WELCOME to all my new blog followers.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Short Fiction, Big Thrills

Novels are wonderful.  They absorb us completely and take us to places we have never been, and sometimes never want to leave.  When we watch full feature movies we are allowed to watch someone else's life for two hours and be free from our own worries and cares.

Sometimes we don't have time for this love affair, but we still want it. 

The short story is the quickie of the literary world.  It gives us that same backseat thrill without the time investment or need for full-out love commitment.  Short and sweet, and we are left smiling.

Sometimes short is more.

#ShortIsMore: Short Fiction Week

Psychologically dark and thrilling short story, Absorbed. --------------------> 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just in Time for Halloween

Ghosts, witches and a few nasty goblins are just what we expect during this chilly and creepy time of year.  The kid's can have some fun too when they read The Moon is No Place for a Ghost, released on Amazon today!

The ghosts need a place to live after their home gets infested with PEOPLE!  And Officer Splot and Goblin Grime want to put them Otherworld Jail for unofficial scaring.  Can their friend Penelope the Witch save the day, or will they end up in Otherworld Jail forever!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Recipe for Love

I don't believe there is a tried-and-true path to true love, I do not believe all loves last, but I do believe we can have more than one true love in our lives.  Although I am not a magician or witch, I wish there were some type of magic we could do to make that special someone love us forever.  And there have been times when I wished a love would just end. 
Here is a Recipe for Love taken from 100 Unfortunate Days, and don't careful what you wish for...

Recipe for Love.
3 ounce of rum (can be spiced, coconut—anything—) that has been left in the moonlight for 3 nights.  If you leave it in the waxing moon, the person will notice you, if you leave it in the waning moon, the person will leave, if you leave it in a full moon the connection will last forever—whether you like it or not.
3 leaves of fresh mint
3 grains of salt
3 grains of sugar
3 ounces of club soda or seltzer
3 ice cubes
3 tiny pieces of a fresh basil leaf
Put all ingredients in a metal or glass shaker (no plastic because it will steal the energy) and shake very quickly to a slow count of 3 with your eyes closed.  Serve immediately.  Do not serve this drink to more than one person—you would pay for that mistake for the rest of your life.

I think we all believe in some form of magic...

A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way. Caroline Gordon

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Something to Crow About

I am lucky to be hosting illustrator Dan Nokes next week!  Take a look at a sample of his work.  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just in Time for Halloween

I made a new indie friend this weekend, Sandy Wolters.  After she helped me with several tech-related snafus, we talked about her new book, Justice for Emily, a steamy romance/suspense/thriller with a paranormal twist.

Here's a blurb about the book:

Rachael Merchant, a Phoenix Homicide Detective, is running from the images of her last case that are embedded
deep in her soul.  Before her journey is over, she will find herself embroiled in a twisted murder
investigation that involves the Chief of Police of Brownwood, Texas, as the main suspect.  Officer Patrick Sheehan will do whatever it takes to keep Rachael near him to get Justice For Emily.

Find Justice for Emily here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Want It Yesterday

I have pondered being a published author since I was 7 years old, when I wrote my first book, The Littlest Grape.  It was written on the paper from a 3 x 5 pad, and the cover was the cardboard from the back of the pad.  The illustration were done in colored pencil, and after I stapled the cover to the pages, I brought it everywhere and showed it to everyone I knew.  I thought it was the best book in existence, and could not even begin to fathom the leap from cardboard and staples to the seemingly magical and unattainable place on the bookstore shelves. 

The Littlest Grape was followed by endless writing. I loved the hit-and-run quality of poems, and one very popular (in my mind) poem I wrote was Waterbed, warning of a baby/waterbed combination.  I also wrote songs. Young Dr. Kildare, a soon-to-be chart topper, was as good as any Partridge Family tune.  I thought the flip side of that particular 45 would be another big hit, Veins in My Thumbs.  And I continued writing books. The Haunted House came with a warning on every page cautioning the reader of the terror he would soon experience.

I kept a diary/account of everything that happened in school and what I thought of everyone in my class in my desk in a maroon pad with a smiley face on the cover. It was discovered and passed around one day when I was absent, and some of the kids were not too pleased about what I had written. Though some of the attention was negative, I loved that people noticed and talked about the diary.

Life takes us many places.  We experience many things.  Some fall away, and some things stick with us.  Writing stuck.

I finally decided I would write as a vocation, and the process suddenly could not happen fast enough.  It was thrilling to publish my first book--but I compared myself to others I knew.  They had several books, and many reviews, and more titles in the works. They had 75 million Twitter followers and just as many reading their blog. I felt I was behind!  I had to catch up!  I had to write more and friend more people and Tweet everyone about everything and...

...then I realized something.  I can't catch up to everyone who has been doing this for a while.  It will take a long time to get followers and friends in this business and I will have to earn them. But the urgency came from a good place...I am finally doing the thing I should have been doing all along.  So--I took a deep breath, calmed down a bit, and let myself feel happy about everything that was going on.  I'll listen to the words of a great writer, Stephen King: 

"You have to read a lot, and you have to write a lot.  There are no shortcuts."

I'm still thrilled about my books and writing, but I'm not going to rush or compare myself to anyone.  I will take my competitive nature and use it to improve my writing.  I still can't wait to finish my next book...

Also want to mention two books I am reading and enjoying.  Cloud Nice is by Melissa Smith.  It is about a self-sufficient teen-aged girl who gets a very special guardian angel, and Underneath, by Heather Adkins, which is about an empathic woman whose new job takes her to deep, dark, terrible places.  I will be reviewing these books as soon as I am done reading them.  So far so great.         

Friday, October 7, 2011


Five-star customer review on Amazon for Absorbed.

"Absorbed" is a Poe-esque tale that will get under your skin... Short in length, but not in content, this tale will make your skin crawl, as well as have you rooting for a character you're not so sure you should support. Crowe has crafted another fantastic piece of psychological thrill.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Today is the release of my short story, Absorbed.  Although it is not a Halloween story, it is creepy, dark and shivery.  You can find it on Amazon and Nook.  Have fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome David Cleinman!

It is my pleasure to introduce David Cleinman, author of Toys in the Attic.

Q.  When did you start writing?
I began writing as a young teenager, but didn’t really get serious until a few years ago.  It was one of those things… get a job, work a job, put dreams on hold.  I decided enough is enough and got into a groove. 
Q.  I read the description of Toys in the Attic, and was struck by the fact that the lead character is a woman.  How did you find a voice for her?
As with all my characters, kind of like any artist, they speak to me.  Their voice follows who they are.  I’m not sure I can do the process justice by trying to explain it.  A character must be who they are.  In TITA our character is a severely abused teenager who wants to live a normal life, and makes every possible effort to do so, in spite of the horrible odds against her.  I will also add here that some of her trials and triumphs are largely based on girls I have known and worked with as a counselor and teacher. 
Q.  What inspired you to write this book?
A need to get lingering and horrible emotions out and make some peace with myself and my world.  Knowing teenagers who were raped, and watching them struggle, is tragic and deeply troubling.  I wanted to bring hope and inspiration into a dark and painful topic, while also showing that personal redemption is possible, no matter what the odds to the contrary might be.
Q.  Did the book evolve from your original story idea, and if so, how?
Yes and no.  The idea of the setting and the community were mine.  The events, however, were ALL based on true events, pieced together from different girls and young women I have known.  Some I observed personally.  Some came from reference, some via police reports and personal witnesses.
Q.  Can you tell us a bit about the book?
The book chronicles the life a teenage girl whose mother dies when she is just fourteen, leaving her alone with an alcoholic and severely emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive father.  Shortly after her seventeenth birthday her beats and rapes her, and she is forced to kill him in self-defense.  She ends up giving birth to his child, an immediate and ever present reminder of intense evil.  Her life, from that point on, is a daily exercise in duality.  The desire to be a top-notch business woman, and the inability to be a parent to a completely innocent child.  As the novel progresses, her personal growth requires her to confront her demons, of which there are so many. 
Q.  How long did the book take to write?
About a year to write, and quite a bit longer to frame in my mind.  Wrapping my head around the emotions and getting out of my own way slowed some of the process, and the end product is better for it.
Q.  Were you inspired by any authors?  Who?
For this novel, no.  Although there are some Stephen King-like concepts, that is fairly situational.  In some ways the must-bes of a given situation.
Q.  Are any of the characters based on real people?
Indeed.  But not so much the characters themselves, moreso the things they have endured and overcome.  The son, Conner, is largely based on a schoolmate of mine in grade school, who also demonstrated uncanny athletic prowess at a young age.
Q.  Was this book easy to write, or a struggle?
Difficult.  Both from an emotional standpoint, and also because I needed to get very delicate and disturbing situations just right.  Because the novel is filled with horrors and triumphs, melding the two together became an ongoing exercise in balance and control.
Q.  Tell me how you picked the title.
The title is a dual reference.  In one way it deals with actual lives built in real attics.  It also refers to the mental struggles we all face, big and small.
Q.  What is your favorite genre of book to read?
I’m pretty open in that regard.  At one time I loved fantasy above all else, followed by science fiction.  As I have matured, while I still enjoy fantasy and sci fi, I am enjoying historical fiction more, and religious irony (I would call it satire if satire did not imply funny). 
Q.  Are you working on any projects right now?
Always.  I am rebuilding my published novel, Principle Destiny.  Pulling it from print and going Indie with it with a new cover and title.  I am rewriting my original fantasy series, begun when I was thirteen, and rewriting another that I began in the early 1990s.  I have recently published an article marketing guide called. Wait for it, The Article Marketer’s Guide, and I am doing a vampire short series that changes the concept from blood to something more scary and less directly edible.
Q.  Do you have any writing goals for the future?
My main goal is to explore myself and create something unique and cutting edge.  I know myself well enough to state that it will be based on emotions and interpersonal struggle, regardless of the final form.
Q.  There are many steps in publishing an ebook, do you like any parts more than others?  What are they?
Really all I would say is that an ebook is just a print book formatted for an eReader.  The writing process is identical.  As always I prefer the story development and the characterization the most.  The formatting part is easier, but a lot less fun.
Q.  From your website it looks like you are very busy, you run a company and a foundation, what made you decide to write and how do you have the time?
I find that I am most productive when I am busy.  If I have too little to do I get bored and lackadaisical.  I need a full plate to keep me going.  In addition, having multiple projects going is more fun than being underworked!