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Writer Wednesdays

I’ve started a new feature on my blog. Every Wednesday, I plan to showcase one indie author. I’ve sent invites to my writer friends, and thus far, I’ve had a great response.

Of course, this is, I suppose, mostly self-gratuitous as I’m trying to promote my book, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK. But in the process, the authors who participate will be promoting their works, as well. And every little bit of advertising helps, right?

I’m doing this on a first-come, first-served basis. Wednesdays are booked for the next several weeks, but I don’t want “empty” Wednesdays while I wait for people to return the questions/answers, so I’m offering this to subscribers of my blog, too.

If you’d like to participate in “Writer Wednesdays,” send me an email (writingwicket at gmail.com) that you are interested. I will then forward you a list of questions to answer. Return them, along with a photo of yourself and a short bio, and voila! you’ll rate a spot on a future Wednesday. The only “catch” is that you must be a subscriber to my blog, which is a small price to “pay,” right?

I won’t have time to personally let everyone know the date of their interview, but since you, as a subscriber, receive an email every time I post to my site, you’ll see your interview when it appears. Thursdays are designated for The Spot Writers (an online, flash fiction group I belong to–free fiction!!!), and I might post one other day a week. With Writer Wednesdays, that makes, maybe, three posts a week. But the “delete” button is handy if you wish to ignore an email.

If you are reading this post and aren’t a subscriber, please subscribe. And if you want to be featured on a future Wednesday, email me at “writingwicket (at) gmail.com”.  I will  reply with the questions to be answered.

Happy Writer Wednesdays!


C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other retailers.



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The Spot Writers – “Salt” by Val Muller

This month’s challenge is to write a story beginning with “My favorite color tastes like…” Today’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series and the supernatural chiller Faulkner’s Apprentice. The story below is written in the voice of a rebellious protagonist riling up the crowd in one of her works-in-progress, The Salt Rebellion.

* * *


By Val Muller

My favorite color tastes like salt. White is the color of salt, after all. But my favorite color, the white I’m thinking of, isn’t the color of innocence or purity, if that’s what you’re thinking. Brides and baptized babies and all that. No. That is not my favorite color. Brides and babies are white by default. White by inaction.

Inaction can never be my favorite color.

My favorite color is the color of salt. Salt as in sweat and tears.


Think of what power salt has. It renders the ocean habitable to countless creatures. It balances our metabolisms, aiding water in its vital purpose. Salt aids our palate, taking the plain and ordinary and bringing out flavors inertly buried.

We all contain flavors inertly buried. Dreams, goals, desires, thoughts. We all have a purpose, something we were made for, and yet in a place as bland as this, we wander about unsalted. We grow complacent and look beyond ourselves for the spice that makes life worth living. But true joy cannot come from without. That is not the place for greatness.

True joy—the ingredient of greatness—must come from within, and we must be allowed to draw it out. May salt leave its streaky white trails on our cheeks, but we must be allowed to draw ourselves out from within our shells.

Perhaps this is why salt is not allowed here.

Perhaps there are those who do not want us to find happiness from within. Perhaps there are those who already live without and wish for us to seek joy in the externalities they can deliver. Perhaps there are those who have only power to gain from our unhappiness, from our weakness.

From our inaction.

Salt is the color of action. Its whiteness is the color of diligence, of work. A white piece of cloth will only remain so through diligence and care. So, too, our freedoms. Ignored and neglected, our freedoms will turn a dirty white, then a dingy dung, a soiled soot until no trace of its whiteness is left as a testament to its former glory.

So I say hold out for salt. Hold out for joy. Hold out for greatness. Don’t let our whiteness be sullied by the gentle agony of inaction. Fight back and persevere until you taste the salt of tears and sweat and action.

* * *

The Spot Writers- our members: 

RC Bonitz

Val Muller

Catherine A. MacKenzie

Melinda Elmore

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Today, I received the most wonderful written review by Josh Hicks of my book, “Between These Pages.”  This review is Part 1. Part 2 is coming. It is a compilation of 18 of my short stories, approximately 60,000 words in total. I just have to post it here. Sorry for tooting my own horn. But I’m just TOO excited!


Indie Book Review: Between These Pages, by Catherine MacKenzie, Part 1 of 2

My apologies to Catherine MacKenzie for the late review.  I thought I would have it done before now, but I fell behind on my schedule.  The biggest event that slowed me down was the FBI Green Dot Moneypak Virus (mentioned in my last blog).
Between These Pages has been one of the best books that I’ve read by an independent artist, and I want to give it a proper review.  To do the book justice, I plan to give it a two-part review.  I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but I’m going to give my synopses of the individual stories within the book.
1.      Collecting Knocks:  The story is somewhat vague, but sometimes that’s a good thing.  Some of my favorite stories are the ones that leave a little to the imagination.
2.      Doorbells and December:  The story is told at a slow pace, meant to bring the reader into the world of a woman who must take care of her grandson, after the disappearance of her daughter.
3.      Away with the Fairies:  A boy is coping with the divorce of his parents, and has a new life that includes three new sisters.  The boy doesn’t quite fit in, but with some help he learns how to cope with his new situation.
4.      Night Candy:  This story is full of innocence lost.  A little girl sees many things that she doesn’t quite understand.  I read the story thinking, how far is Cathy willing to go?  I wasn’t disappointed.
5.      Island Lovers:  This one stood out the most to me.  The story involves the strange rituals of an island tribe, and how those rituals affect two people who are in love.  I won’t give away the ending.
6.      The Party:  Burn scars result in a woman’s negative self-image.  Despite her feelings about her appearance, a masquerade party allows her to enjoy herself, and gives her a new sense of confidence.
7.      Balloons, Chocolate and Flowers:  This is a story that takes readers on an emotional journey that many people have been on before.  A young woman thinks about giving her boyfriend another chance after he has cheated on her.
8.      Rear View Mirror:  Very cool flash fiction story about a woman who has just committed murder.  The body is stashed away in the car, but… you’ll have to read it for yourself.
9.      Hourglass:  A story about twin brothers that ends with a twist.  One brother is constantly cleaning up after the other, and he’s had enough.
I’m straying a bit from my normal format, but I would like to say… Who would like this book?  I think the majority of the stories in this book were written with women in mind.  The first half (this half), is especially geared toward women.  However, there were a lot of thrills and horror in this half of Between These Pages, making it enjoyable to a wide variety of tastes.
Personally, I think the book is well rounded, but the second half actually contains the majority of my favorite stories.  I think this book is worth buying, and hope that the readers of my blog will support this author.  Cathy MacKenzie is one of my favorite personalities when it comes to writers.  I’ve always thought she had a crazy side, but she’s managed to put her insanity into a bottle, and pour it into a book for us to read.
Which story is my favorite in this half of the book?  “Rear View Mirror.”  Although it’s probably the shortest story in the book, it’s full of cool imagery.  It comes in fast and hard, and delivers everything a good short story should.
Keep watching for the second half of my review for Between These Pages.  Until then, check it out for yourself…


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Silly Tree? What’s a silly tree??

Silly Tree Anthologies is a new venture by Angel Sharum and Cathy MacKenzie. We just put out our second “call for submissions.” We had several great stories sent in for our first call, but not enough for the book we had hoped for, so we trashed that topic and started another.

Ok. The truth. We’re not offering prize money, nor are we offering compensation for publication. I get that. But, we also aren’t charging for submissions, and most publications charge at least $10.00 for a submission, if not upwards of $25.00 or $35.00.

So. We’re free. FREE. It won’t cost you a penny to submit a story to us. This isn’t a contest. We just want to have a total of 50,000 words in order to publish a wonderful anthology. Yes, of course, they need to be decent stories—no, more than that, they need to be GREAT stories; we’re not publishing crap. In return, however, you will have a professionally edited story (yes, we have a professional editor on hand who will be paid for services rendered) at the end of six months of the publication date. You can do whatever you like with this story. Granted, the odds are against another publication picking up your story, since publications like to have work that is “previously unpublished,” but you can publish it in your own collection and be assured that it is worthy of being in the public’s eye.

Along with a professionally edited version of your story, you will also receive a complementary e-book of the final product. I can guarantee you there will be lots of good reading there. And you—yes, YOU—will be published in an anthology! And who knows what that exposure will bring to you!

What are you waiting for? Submit your scary, terrifying story to us before June 1, 2013. This anthology will be in honor of Halloween.

Check out the submissions guidelines:http://sillytreeanthologies.blogspot.com/

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Silly Tree Anthologies has put out a call for submissions for scary stories.

Check out the guidelines at:http://sillytreeanthologies.blogspot.ca/p/submission-guidelines.html

And get your scary stories in to us for a chance to be published.

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April 29, 2013 · 5:22 pm

I’m Not Tooting. Really, I’m Not.

I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, nor promote myself. I kind of cower in the shadows, whether day or night. I’m afraid of insulting anyone, afraid of playing the fool. Heaven knows, I have enough hassle in my life with my children at the moment (you know what I mean if you’ve read one of my earlier posts), who have called me a traitor and a carrier, and worse. So, the past couple of days I’ve just wanted to dig myself a hole and cover myself up, praying it’s a deep enough hole I can never dig my way out of. And a hole so bottomless that no one, should they reconsider their words, can dig me out from. I want that soil to stay there forever, harden over me like cement, keep me warm and cocoon me in peace.

I digress. And, maybe I’ll feel better in the morning.

I’ve got some books out “there.” And, I know, this is going to sound like I’m tooting, but honestly, I am not. Like I said, I’ve never really promoted my writings, and my sales have been dismal. Okay, so now I’m putting myself “out there” admitting I’m a failure. So, no, I’m definitely not tooting.

But, today, there’s been great news. I’ve got several new followers on my blog (perhaps it’s due to the fact I’ve begun to add tags to my postings and the public at long last can find me or maybe it’s just because I’m finally working on my blog again). One new follower even wants to buy one of my e-books. Yay!

Even greater, a fellow writer who recently bought my print book of short stories (aghast! before I had a chance to fix a few minor issues), appears to like my book. He sent me an email today:

Cathy, though I’m not finished reading all your stories in your book “Loves & Liars,” I have to tell you I found most of what I have read pretty darn good, and the first short story “Angels and Beethoven/My Baby Sister” made the short hairs on my neck really stiffen and sent a cold chill up my spine: something rare to my experience…..

Wow! I was truly flabbergasted. Truly I was. So much so I began to cry. Maybe it was more a release of emotions from the fiasco with my two kids, but it felt damn good to hear something nice about me for a change.

I thanked the individual for his kind words. He replied with another email, stating he wished I were a part of his writing group which publishes anthologies. “What a catch that would be,” he wrote. Wow! I was truly gobsmacked. (Yes, I love Piers Morgan, who, I think, coined that phrase; at least that’s where I first heard it.)

But, the jury’s not back yet. I asked the guy to give me his honest opinion after he finished the book. He wrote back: “I intend to when I have read all the stories. I will tell you what stories I really liked and what I didn’t and why. But you can take it from me, you know how to develop a unique story and you are very talented.”

So, stay tuned…

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