Every family is dysfunctional.

Every family is dysfunctional. That’s my opinion after becoming a die-hard people watcher. How do you measure the odd behavior of people, especially behind closed doors.

I recently remarked on my feelings and got an argument from a close friend who declares her family is normal. There is nothing remarkable about anyone in her large family. Of course, you have to eliminate the aunts who didn’t talk for years but have since made-up. The drug-addict cousins don’t  count either since they went on the wagon with the alcoholic uncle who beat his first and second wife until they divorced him. No-one is in jail right now either.

Are you laughing? I did bite back a smile and nod in agreement since I like her.

My own family is a prime example of ‘normal’. No-one aired dirty linen in public when I was growing up. The heavily drinking uncles who had a mean streak after too many, the aunt who divorced four husbands, the cousin who stole a car or the pregnant fifteen year old all were kept in the family closet.

Now people publish all this stuff on FaceBook or MySpace without a qualm and others read it and accept the dysfunction as regular business.

Why do I care? I guess I want to understand. Why does an abused wife stay with that creep? Why does a person choose to get lost in drugs? Or the opposite: why does an addict decide a sober life is worth fighting for?

Every action needs to make sense to me. That comes from plotting and writing stories about people.  My hero has a reason for loving to run. My heroine has a reason to be afraid of being followed. So I study those around me. I take that tiny scrap of over-heard conversation and build a whole background for the speaker.

Do I use what I learn? Gosh, I wish I could but so much is a tiny fragment of the puzzle. Do you see the hidden parts of those around you?

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In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Book One: Rhodes End Series
Ancient Awakening

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.

In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.

Excerpt:

“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.

Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.

His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.

He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood.

Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.

He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.

Barbara Edwards

The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose

www.barbaraedwards.net

Available on Kindle

Building readership following

Annie’s Heart

When I wrote my first book I didn’t even know about readers. I wasn’t worried about those vague future participants in my success. I wasn’t thinking in terms of number of books sold, but in getting the darn thing written and published. I spent months writing my manuscript.

Then I put my hours into finding a publisher. When I say hours I mean hundreds of hours before the call came.

Whoopee! Someone out there thought my book worth putting on the market.

Then came the edits. Oh boy, who knew that that wonderful person who loved my story was so picky? My editor wanted the grammar correct, the plot to flow smoothly, the characters to be consistent, the dialogue to make sense. More months spent on rewrites and edits.

All of this is to please the reader. And I thought my book was perfect when the editor offered a contract.

To get to the point: readers.

Another Love

Readers buy books. Since my book is so good, I knew it will fly out the door. Hah. A few friends bought it. A few more read the great reviews and bought it. Then nada. I did book signings and sold more. Sold a bunch at the Romantic Times convention.

I needed a way to reach readers. The next move was a website, only someone had my name on hers. Turns out she was an exotic dancer. Sigh. Didn’t exactly drive readers to my site. I added free reads and buy links. I persisted since all my friends and family owned a copy and I really needed to find more.

For a time I became lost in the world of cyber promotion. Do you realize how much time you can waste on the web? That writing time is lost forever when it could be used on the next book instead.

Book One: Rhodes End Series
Ancient Awakening

I went on FaceBook, Yahoo groups, Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, posting my profile and book information everywhere I could find. Sales hiccup with each action.

Then I had the AHAH moment. Another author said, you need to write more books. Each book adds more readers. It’s called a geometric progression in fancy language.

This was what I really wanted to hear. Write, write, write. So I wrote and published several more books. The giant leap didn’t happen. A steady climb, but not huge.

The point is still readers. My publishers are great, supportive and helpful, but they can’t add readers. I get my name out there.

Rhodes End Series: Book Two
Ancient Blood,

A part of me is still the hermit writer huddled over my laptop, but another part is the media mogul spending part of each day inviting readers to learn more about me, like what they learn and be interested enough to buy my books.

 

Visit me at: http://www.barbaraedwards.net

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Ancient Blood http://on.fb.me/naHRY5

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/barbaraedward

Funerals and Superstition by Barbara Edwards

The older I get the more I think about death. I read the obituaries with interest. Not to find names for my characters, but to see if anyone I know is listed. Did you ever hear the joke about knowing you’re not dead if you don’t see your name?

I’m not babbling. Making a joke is one way to deal with grief and stress. I don’t like funerals.

Old cemetery

They remind me too vividly of the loved ones I’ve lost. They happen all too frequently when you have a large family.

Funerals rites are based on superstitions. You wouldn’t know it to attend one of the hush-voiced solemn visiting hours the modern American thinks is normal. Sitting around the casket comes from the practice of attending the dead until they could be interred. The body was never left alone. What if the dead person wasn’t dead? Someone prayed and watched since being buried alive was a real fear in the days before adequate medical aid.

Did you ever notice the big double doors on many old houses? That was to carry out the coffin, throwing wide both doors. At no other time were they both opened because the departed spirit could return only through the way it left.

How about the mourners eating together after the burial? That was based on the belief every morsel eaten was taking away the departed’s sins. Some cultures paid poor people to come and eat at a banquet since the sin was absorbed by the consumer.

Book Cover
Paranormal romance by Barbara Edwards

Wailing and weeping loudly is to frighten away evil spirits that might trap the departed soul. The more primitive the culture, the louder the cries. In many Middle Eastern countries, they hire professional mourners to cry and weep.

How about that beautifully carved tombstone? It was heavy enough to hold a restless spirit in its grave.

I wonder how many superstitions I’ve forgotten? Do you know any?

Visit my website at http://www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts from my books, buy links and free reads.