Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Her Deadly Little Secrets

Hello. Today I have with me a very talented writer, Marcia Buompensiero.  You may remember I interviewed her some time ago after publication of her book, Dirty Little Murders.  Marcia has a new book out now, keeping with the theme, called Deadly Little Secrets. Marcia writes under the pen name of Loren Zahn. 
I have read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since Marcia is a resident of San Diego, California, her books are set in that locale and I can relate to such things as the I-5 and 805 merging traffic. She writes like she knows what she's talking about, which she does. 
Marcia, please tell us how long you've been writing?
Seems like all my life! I wasn’t able to devote the time needed until I retired about nine years ago. Since then I’ve published two books.

What type of writing do you normally do?
Since I first read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in high school, I’ve been drawn to the “coming of age” stories, particularly those with a central mystery to solve with a touch of the supernatural element thrown in for fun. My Theo Hunter Mystery series introduces a heroine who is continually growing and learning. Whether she faces a moral dilemma or a ruthless killer, she must always decide just how far she will go to find the truth. Just as many young people today (and throughout the ages) have had to hone their moral compass, Theo is continually polishing her own compass and forever evolving.

Give us a brief synopsis of your book.
All HELL just broke loose in San Diego— and investigative reporter Theo Hunter is caught in the middle of it. The slaying of a retired priest is shrouded in secrets, lies and cover-up. Was the old man the innocent victim of a deranged killer—or a pervert who deserved what he got? Theo is hell-bent to find out. But when her prime suspects are murdered, only one fact is clear … the killer will strike again. Armed with nothing but a madman’s cryptic notes, Theo scrambles to decipher the clues while the killer lurks in the shadows, poised to silence her for good.

What prompted you to write it?
 It’s that “coming of age” issue that resonates with me. Whether it is the result of forces of nature, technology, world events, or personal triumphs or tragedies, we are constantly evolving. Henry James once said about a character of limited sensitivities and insight: “He simply doesn’t have a window that looks out on that side of life.” Creating a character whose life is continually opening new “windows” by which she may view a different side of the life experience resonates with me. That’s the fun of it!

How long did it take to write it?
The concept for Deadly Little Secrets developed over a five-year period. Once I honed the plot in my mind, it really only took a few months to flesh it out.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?
Theo explains a valuable lesson she learned about a failed romance:  “Life went on and, amazingly, so did I. No one’s obliged to give us what we expect. At some point I figured that out. I got better.”

 Is it published and, if so, when and by whom?
I published the novel through CreateSpace, the publishing subsidiary of Amazon.com in August. It was a finalist in the 2015 Annual San Diego Book Awards Competition and called a “Highly recommended good read” by the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild.

How can my readers get a copy?
Deadly Little Secrets is available at www.amazon.com under my pen name, Loren Zahn. I would appreciate any reviews placed on Amazon about the book.  It is also available in the Kindle version.

What do you do besides write?
I'm a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild and am the lead editor on their anthology publication, The Guilded Pen. The anthology was created as a fundraiser for the guild and it has been a success since day one. All funds raised go to sustain the Guild’s mission which is to support the writing arts in our community. I also co-chair a fundraiser for San Diego's Little Italy.

What is your advice to would-be writers?
Keep writing—relentlessly! As frustrating as writing can be at times, there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than to see your words in print. Don’t give up.  That said, finding the right/write support group is a valuable component of helping you to understand the business of writing. I have discovered that nearly every community has at least one writing support group. Try them out. It may take a few tries to find the right fit, but when you do you might think it was a match made in heaven!

What do you wish you knew when you started your writing career?
That I would be my own publicist. Publishers expect that of you. Whether you Indie publish (self-publish) or go the traditional route, you will need to learn how to sell yourself and your work. The San Diego Writers/Editors Guild has started a marketing program where members can learn from the pros what works and what might be a waste of time and resources. I recommend visiting the website: www.sdwritersguild.org and viewing the page on marketing for helpful suggestions

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a family history couched in a ghost story which I hope to complete and publish in 2016. I am also working on the next novel in the Theo Hunter Series. In Fatal Little Lies, Theo will solve the decades-old murder of a prominent social reformer, learn the reason for her mother’s desertion, and face the killer who must protect the secret, even it means silencing Theo for good. Fatal Little Lies will be out in the spring of 2016.

Thank you, Marcia. It's been a pleasure!

Folks, get this book and read it. You won't be sorry.

Quote of the Day: A secret's safe 'twixt you, me, and the gatepost! Robert Browning

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Here’s the Scoop – Chocolate Ice Cream but no Mints

I’m back from a two-week vacation and almost ready to be part of the world again. Not quite, but almost. I’m finding it difficult to make my own bed, cook my own meals, and, worst of all, not be entertained hourly.  A cruise can do that to you. I must say though, not once did I find mints on my pillow for the entire seven days. I guess cruises just aren’t what they used to be.  J

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

Prior to the cruise, I drove to Florida and spent two days with my girlfriend Sue.  She took me to St. Augustine and we took a trolley tour of the city. I saw the entrance to Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. I didn’t go in, I don’t want to be young again and live life all over again! But I surely did enjoy my visit with Sue. 

The Fountain of Youth
Then I drove to Ft. Lauderdale and, with my son Mike and his family, boarded the Royal Caribbean for a cruise to the West Indies, aka, Eastern Caribbean. We just missed Tropical Storm Erika and had smooth sailing for a week. Our first port was San Juan, Puerto Rico where I took a trolley tour of that city.  I learned there are six bioluminescent pools in the world and three of them are in San Juan.  How about that? At a stand near the dock I purchased the first of jewelry I’d be buying, a beautiful locally-made necklace.

The next day we arrived in St. Maarten. My sixteen-year-old grandson, Monterey, and I took a water taxi to the shopping area and had a good time walking from stall to stall looking for jewelry. He wanted to get a ring at every port stop and I wanted whatever I could find that caught my eye. As soon as we got off the water taxi, people loaded us down with flyers telling us to stop in and get free jewelry at the various shops. So we did. I got a free ring, pendant, cubic zirconium gem; then I bought a bracelet for a whopping $10 and got two more free rings. It was fun.
Monterey and Me


The next day we arrived in St. Kitts and Mike, Monterey, and I walked around town, picking up more free jewelry. Jewelry definitely appears to be the biggest business in the West Indies, by far. Before we got far off the ship, men were waiting for us with little monkeys wearing diapers wanting to know if we’d like to hold them. We certainly did and our cameras got a workout. We paid the men a tip for giving us the pleasure of these little guys for a few minutes.
Monkeying around at St.Kitts


Carved Fruit
The next two days were at sea days where I played Bingo and lost, watched napkin folding and fruit carving demonstrations, and finished the Lee Child book I’d borrowed from the ship’s library. I also participated in a Wii tennis tournament. I won the first round but lost the second round by a mile. For my efforts I won a key chain and a pen. I did relax at the spa for an hour’s massage, facial, and back exfoliation. Ooh, what a life!

Getting ready to splash!
There were a lot of activities on board during the week. Mike was in the belly flop contest and fared no better than I did at Wii. Mike and I played their nine-hole miniature golf course and he ended up beating me two games out of three. The shows at night were good and made me forget I was incommunicado for a week—no cell phone service and no internet. Good gracious! Mike beat me at Skee Ball, but I beat Monterey. Things do even out.

Baked Alaska and chocolate ice cream
Towel Elephant
And, of course the food was excellent, as were our servers. A double scoop of chocolate ice cream was waiting for me every night once I asked for ice cream the first night out.
Me and Lollie


After saying adios to the cruise and to my son and his family, I spent a wonderful two days visiting another girlfriend and her husband. I hadn’t seen them for thirty-three years; when we last saw each other, we were parents, now we’re great grandparents. Where has the time gone!?

I drove back to North Carolina with a smile on my face for all the good memories of the last two weeks.

Quote of the Day:  Precious memories, how they linger. Old Hymn.