Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mississippi's Literary Lawn Party

cj Sez: A friend and I joined thousands of bibliophiles who spent last weekend at the fourth annual Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson. If you missed it, you missed a wonderful free event. Yep, it was free.

The Festival, a nonprofit founded by literacy advocates, was launched in August 2015 on the State Capitol grounds. 

The weather prognosticator promised rainstorms for the one-day event. Dark clouds passed overhead during Saturday’s activities and even spit for a few seconds, but not enough to even put up an umbrella.
The 90-plus book sellers, signers, and food vendors under tents on the streets would have suffered had the rain materialized, but all the author panels were conducted indoors.

The panels I attended were held in the Capitol Building, a marvelous structure with gorgeous wood paneling and lots of white marble. I’m no expert, but it looked like carrera marble to me. If I counted correctly,  there were 134 panelists. What follows is a sampling:

T. K. Thorne
** T. K. Thorne, author of the historical novels, Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate, filling in the untold backstories of extraordinary, yet unnamed women—the wives of Noah and Lot.
** Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 National Book Award.
** Rick Bragg, author of All Over but the Shoutin’
** Jim Dees, the author of The Statue and the Fury, which won the 2017 Independent Publishers Association’s Bronze award for best non-fiction in the South.
** M.O. Walsh, who wrote the novel My Sunshine Away, which was a New York Times Bestseller and won the Pat Conroy Book Award for Fiction.
John Floyd
** John Floyd, whose work has appeared in more than 250 different publications. His seventh book, The Barrens, is scheduled for release in late 2018.
** W. Ralph Eubanks, author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past. His essay “The Past Is Just Another Name for Today” appears in the Southern Writers on Writing anthology.
** Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historical author, had a conversation with Karl Rove, which had the standing-room-only audience laughing.
And finally, but certainly not least…
** Salman Rushdie (who gave The Welty Lecture). Salman Rushdie is the author of thirteen novels which have been translated into more than forty languages (his newest is The Golden House). He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities.

Mississippi’s literary lawn party number 5 is already in the works, so Save the Date: August 17, 2019.
Have you noticed that the stores are already decorating for Christmas? Amazing, it’s not yet Labor Day. As a retiree I get paid once a month, so when I did the calculations yesterday, I discovered I have only four more paydays until Christmas. That prompted me to buy, wrap, and tag my first gift. Oh, I also started a Christmas list so I could remember what I bought and for whom, else I'll have to again unwrap gifts to remind myself. Have you started your holiday shopping? Books make great gifts, you know...for any occasion. They just keep on giving and giving. 

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER, (to keep me in good standing with Simon&Schuster), and I shall be forever grateful.
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

About that getting older thing...

cj:  I’m at the Mississippi Book Festival today (Salman Rushdie is one of the presenters) so I’m cheating on the blog content and just posting some thoughts on getting older. 

My brother sent me the original of what follows. It seemed apropos that I turn it into a commentary for what goes on in my mind and life. Maybe you can find a nugget in here that gives you writing inspiration.

When I got out of bed this morning, the muscles weren’t all that happy about it. Caused me to think about old age, and I realized there’s a lovely sense of perspective that comes with it.  For example:

When people see a cat's litter box they always say, “Oh, have you got a cat?”  Just once I want to say, "No, it's for company!"

Employment application blanks always ask who is to be called in case of an emergency?  I think you should write, “An ambulance.”
Some people try to turn back their “odometers.” Not me. I want people to know “why” I look this way. I've traveled a long way and a lot of the roads were not paved.

The older you get the tougher it is to lose weight because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are XL.

The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so s/he can tell when s/he's really in trouble.

Did you ever notice: When you put the two words “The”' and “IRS” together, it spells “Theirs.”

Especially lovely when thinking about aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

And each day that I am lucky enough to grow older, I believe the following prayer will help keep the peace: 

Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.  Amen

That’s it for this post. Maybe you can turn one of those prompts into a piece of dialogue in a story. I’m sure one will turn up in something of mine.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER, and I shall be forever grateful.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018


cj Sez: Today’s post is about paying it forward.

   Marketing is one of the hardest things for authors to do. That necessary chore not only takes most of them out of their comfort zones, but also takes them away for their first love...creating stories for their loyal readers. I thought I'd help out a little with the marketing by sharing Amazon reviews of great stories by some author friends of mine. 

FATAL RHYTHM by Dr. Ron B. O'Gorman

   Dr. Ron O’Gorman studied cardiovascular surgery under world-renowned heart surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. Dr. O’Gorman’s debut novel, FATAL RHYTHM, is a medical suspense/mystery.

5-Star Review:
Joe Morales, a second generation Mexican American is resident surgeon in a prominent Texas hospital. Wanting to attain the so called "American Dream", being a successful doctor living lavishly and being accepted, he grapples with how to accomplish this apart from his ethnic identity. To add to that dilemma, there are heart patients who are dying mysteriously in addition to a personal crisis, his young son with a heart defect. Trying to maneuver through a landmine of back stabbing, rivalries among his colleagues as well as a test of his faith, Joe comes to realize what is most important in his life, both personally as well as career wise. Well written mystery.

Free on Kindle Unlimited at the time of this post.


A Box Full of Trouble: 5 Black Cat Detective Novels from the Familiar Legacy series Kindle Edition… five times the Trouble from five different authors.

The only regret you will have after reading these five fantastic feline adventures is that there aren't more. You get to follow one Cumberbatch Sherlock inspired kitty as he helps his owner and various pet sitters solve crimes from a serial killer in Alabama,
an art thief in Savannah, an arsonist in Tallahassee, then back again to Alabama for some crime solving on a ranch for wounded veterans before finishing with a flourish with a kidnapping and murder in Kentucky. I loved this kitty's attitude and the serious doses of romance that accompany his biped owners along the way. Five authors give you their take on Trouble and each one offers you a humorous and clever interpretation of the four legged gumshoe. There is nothing better to me than a summer bargain of books and this one should not be missed. You don't' need to like cats to love Trouble.


And now for some blatant self-promotion, here’s a 5-star review for Deadly Star.

Scientist Dr. Mirabel Campbell finds her life in danger as well as several friends when her hobby of star gazing has her stumbling across something no one was supposed to see. A top-secret nanosatellite. When her ex-husband Sully shows up at the most opportune time to save her life she also has to deal with long-buried emotions. And it turns out Sully isn't who she thought he was. But Mirabel is extremely intelligent and it doesn't take long for her to see that 1+1=her! And her discovery along with her scientific specialty makes her the target of a mysterious psychopath who sends an assassin to silence her. Sully & Mirabel obviously have unfinished business but secrets drove them apart once, will they again? When I first read the premise of this book I almost didn't read it but the review ratings changed my mind and I'm so glad they did. Kept me on the edge of my seat. This action packed drama filled book has a high rating for a reason. IT WAS GREAT!


You can help by clicking on the book covers...they'll take you directly to Amazon where you can buy copies of these books. Be sure to look for books by your other favorite authors as well. 

That’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

PS:  Choosing Carter is also available on Amazon. 
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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Re-introducing cj

cj Sez:  I’ve been re-reading some of the old Lyrical Pens blogs and am surprised at how writerly I was when I started  in 2009.

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced myself, and since August is rather an august month for me, I think today is good day to do a re-introduction.

My pen name is “cj petterson.”  I currently live in Mobile, AL, raised two sons, am enjoying three grandchildren, been single for more years than I was married, and on Aug 25, am ten years post-heart surgery . . . which was a real surprise for me at the time because I didn't know I had a problem heart. I worked out, ate "moderately well," and worked in my two-acre yard. Stay alert out there, ladies.

After I moved to Mobile from Detroit, my desire to write creatively bubbled to the surface. Retirement, it seemed, was not simply going to be the start of a new chapter in my life, it is where a yet unwritten book would begin. A class in creative writing at the University of South Alabama in 2002, an honorable mention in a state-wide contest, and first-place awards (money involved!) for the first pages of two works-in-progress sent me on my way.

Three of my short/short personal essays were published in three different anthologies in 2008: Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, Christmas Through a Child's Eyes, and Christmas is a Season, 2008. By the way, the stories in these anthologies are timeless.

As odd as it sounds, at first I didn’t write to get published. I wrote for the accomplishment of starting a story, finishing it, and hopefully having someone think I’d done a good job.

I write because I like the rhythm, the music of the words. I write because I like my characters—they are not complete fabrications. I know them personally, or at least some part of them. I see them in my mind's eye. I watch them walk. I see their gestures as they speak, hear the tone and timbre of their voices, understand their meaning. All of this visualization came about as a result of a screenwriting course. Though I admit there are scenes that tell my own story . . . I'm the one who’s been there, done that, said that, or wished I had.

Sometimes the words flow across the page like the broad strokes of a house painter's brush. Sometimes each page comes to life slowly, as if it were a rendering of a copse of Alabama's longleaf pine trees being completed by the single strokes of a pen and ink artist.

When I write, I turn on the television to the Weather Channel. I need a voice other than the one in my head to keep me tethered to the real world that I abandon to create my own version of some protagonist's reality. Why weather reports?  I can tune out the drone of a talking head, but I can’t
tune out music.

My drive to write abated somewhat after I had those first pieces published. I’d achieved my goal of having my work recognized, but I continued to submit to anthologies. I was also determined to finish the two novels I’d started.  

I finished the stories, edited them after each critique by several writers, including members of an international mystery writers’ organization, and started querying. Some queries were ignored completely; others received real rejections, usually a postcard, but one actually had a comment on it. 
Finally, my first novel, DEADLY STAR, was accepted by the fledgling Crimson Romance imprint of F&W Media. I submitted it in October 2012, and it was in eBook form in early 2013.

I continued working on the second novel and was also was fortunate to have other short stories published in anthologies.
I submitted my second novel, CHOOSING CARTER, to Crimson Romance in May of 2015. It was in eBook form in August that year and available as print on demand two months later.

I was, and still am, amazed with the successes.

As of right now, I’ve been fortunate to have other short stories published in anthologies but was on the verge of submitting my third novel to Crimson, when the imprint was closed by Simon&Schuster, who had purchased it about two years ago. I’m currently toying with the idea that I will submit to a couple small houses, and if I have no takers, will consider self-publishing.

We’ll see how much ambition I have.

It’s been my pleasure to meet you-all guys here at Lyrical Pens. I’d love to learn about your writer’s story and have left the comment box open for you.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

And there’s still a few days left for some fun and fast vacation reading…stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER, and I shall be forever grateful. The eBook versions are free at the time of this post.

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