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Honoring the woman behind the bestselling memoir-WEEDMONKEY on her St. Patrick’s Day birthday

Today, March 17, was my beloved mom Victoria‘s birthday.

Here are some things I want you to know about my Mom:

She was a strong and loving woman who grew up in the coal mining camps of Kentucky and West Virginia and suffered through a very difficult childhood during the Depression. She could have grown up angry and bitter however she chose to spend her life looking out for children and making their lives better than the one she had.

She loved antiques, pink roses, purple irises, wisteria, and poppies.

She loved Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, Wesley Snipes, Snoop Dog, and James Garner. She esp loved Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury.

She thought Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow should be together and it would have broken her heart if Tim and Faith ever broke up.

She loved Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, and it would have broken my heart to tell her he had died. I was grateful she had passed before he did.

She thought a woman should be President saying that a woman would not be so quick to send our boys and men into war.

She would cry and get angry when another soldier fell on the battlefield during the Gulf War.

She loved history and doing research on our area.

MA, GERALD, JESSE AND MAUD

My grandfather Jesse, grandmother Maude, my uncle Gerald, and my mom.

She loved to cook and bake, and our kitchen was always full of cakes, cookies and cupcakes, and she would always put cake mix in a coffee cup and hand me and Gary a spoon.

She was a writer who wrote short stories and published a small book called, “Almanac for a Bored Housewife” and asked me and Daddy to draw and design the cover. I was 15.

She loved ghost stories.

When I was a little girl, she, Gary and I went to a gas station one night in Frederick. The girl came out to pump our gas and it was freezing. My mother asked her where her gloves where and the girl said she had forgotten them. My mother took off her gloves and gave them to her. I remember sitting in the back seat thinking, I want to be like that one day.

Her favorite television show was “The Twilight Zone” and her favorite movie was “Random Harvest.”

She loved the Springtime and all the flowers and lush greenery that it would bring.

MA AND UNCLE GERALD PHOTO

The original photo I used as the cover of Weedmonkey. My uncle Gerald and my mom Victoria.

She loved watching country music videos.

She was terrified of the movie, “The Shining.”

She was scared to death of snakes.

She loved anything Victorian.

She thought commercials were ridiculous.

Her favorite color was Blue.

Her favorite trees were Mimosa, Holly, Magnolia, and Willow.

She loved Butterfingers and Werthers Caramels.

She got me hooked on “Sex and the City.”

I got her hooked on “Days Of Our Lives”.

She taught herself how to use Web-TV in her 60’s so she could check out the internet.

She was a big seller on eBay and had the ID name Vic10 because none of the other Vics were available.

She was born dead in 1929 and her Cherokee grandmother saved her life by removing the “veil” she had been born with saying, “The white doctors don’t know anything about birthin’ a Cherokee baby!”

DICIE, PETER AND FAMILY

My Cherokee great grandmother Dicie, who brought my mother back to life as a baby.

As a child, she fell into the hole in an outhouse, landing in the “basement” and her father and some men had to tip it over in order to save her as she was drowning in the debris.

She and my Dad were the 4-H leaders for Pleasant Valley and she was the PTA President for Pleasant Valley Elementary School and made many changes to the area.

She volunteered countless hours at the school helping children learn how to read and write. Every life she ever touched can remember “Miss Proulx.”

She is responsible for the flashing light at the end of Valley Road.

She idolized her grandchildren Shelley and Mandy and said both of them would do great things one day. She was so proud of them.

When spelling our last name, she would always say, “P as in Paul, R-O-U-L-X.”

She could not tell a joke to save her soul, yet she was hilarious, would come out with the craziest things, and when we laughed at her she always said, “I’m glad I am a source of amusement!”

When I would climb too high in a tree and couldn’t get down, she would climb up there and get me.

She couldn’t stand anything around her neck and would never wear turtlenecks.

She loved my cooking and always told me I should cook for a restaurant.

After she passed, I baked some homemade yeast rolls and left her one on the counter with a note.

At her memorial service, I played all of her favorite songs including, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Memories” from the musical Cats.

When we were little, she would sing, “Summertime” to me and Gary as we went to sleep.

She let us roller skate in the house.

She loved Butter Pecan ice cream.

She was a 3rd generation psychic/medium who grew up in an era where people didn’t talk about such things.

MALLIE VICTORIA AND TWO CHILDREN

Her other grandmother Mallie Victoria whom I am named after.

A chicken once attacked her when she was trying to save a baby chick, the hen jumped on her head, and my dad shot it off at about 50 feet away.

She had the patience of a saint.

She owned her own antique shop on our farm back in the 1970’s called “Vicki’s Antiques” and she was the first person on Valley Road to have a yard sale. She went on to co-own “Boonsboro Antiques and Flea Market” and ran it for 12 years. Then she owned “Victoria’s” in Hagerstown for several more.

She had a life worth remembering and today is not a sad day. It is a day we remember a beautiful woman who was a wonderful mother, wife and friend. A quiet, graceful Cherokee who could see beyond people’s faults and mistakes, someone who saw the good in everyone and made each of them her friend.

I was proud to call her Ma.

She had a good life … and she had a good death … surrounded by love. She is loved and fondly remembered today and every day.

Happy Birthday Ma! I love you and miss you so much! ♥♥♥

WEEDMONKEY available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook:

http://ow.ly/Av4Oe

 

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Meet British Author MATTHEW ROWE~Author of BETTER OFF DEAD

Happy Sunday everyone!

Well, if you’ve been wondering where I have been, let me tell you. It’s all good but I had some computer issues and have been off line for the last week. That really sucked! I am so used to just hopping on the computer, typing away and BAM! I got shut down for a few days but I am here now, back and stronger than ever.

I had to miss the FREAKY FRIDAY topic last week but will write about it next time. The topic then will be LET’S TALK ABOUT DEMONS!

March is almost here and you know what that means! Starting next month, I will be hosting ROCKSTAR WEDNESDAY and offering you a backstage pass so to speak into some of the coolest bands I know.

If you are a band or a solo performer (any genre) and you would like some FREE publicity, drop me a line and let me know. I am scheduling now for March!

Today is AUTHOR OF THE WEEK and this segment will be moving to Monday’s next month so I can concentrate on my SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY.

I will also be letting you in on a new book that I am writing and it SO totally different than what you are used to from me. It’s not HORROR, not INSPIRATIONAL, but…well, you’ll just have to come back and see.

Since I have been off line for a week, I will be getting back on tomorrow (Monday) and filling you in on everything that is new.

For now…welcome to AUTHOR OF THE WEEK and my guest, British author MATTHEW ROWE!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by to say hello! 🙂

~AUTHOR OF THE WEEK~

Meet author MATTHEW ROWE

Matthew is the British author of the urban fantasy

BETTER OFF DEAD

“A world where sorcerers are saucy, vampires are a pain in the neck and everyone is clawing to be on top.

The city of Londinium is in a period of civil unrest, but it’s not because the tube is always late, or because people are tired of zombies shedding limbs in public, nor is it because the humans are tired of trying to eke out a living only to meet a messy end in a dark alley.

An unknown vampire has proclaimed himself ruler, and if there is one thing the people, both living and dead, hate more than a tyrannical ruler, it’s a secretive one. One young vampire is charged with discovering the prince’s identity. The only problem: he doesn’t want to.

Ramses, the world’s first genuine cat burglar, is far more concerned with eliminating the threat posed by the feline race rather than that of some pesky vampire lord, a dragon and civil war.

Can this undead slacker learn to grow up at last, foil this mysterious plot and halt the biggest supernatural conflict in history or will he need help from his mummy?”

Matthew, who was born in Boston,Lincs Sheffield, UK and now lives in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan describes himself as: “A recently radioactive, paranoid earthquake survivor who is pretty sure he has found his place in the world, even if it’s a bit shaky.

BETTER OFF DEAD is his first novel, but far from being his last. He hopes it goes some way to showing his determination to be a writer, since the bigwigs are a little unsure about his mutterings, strange smells and capability. Not just as a writer, but also as a human being.

He’s only just hit his thirties though, so he has plenty of time to learn how to dance.

He would also like you to know that he has a shiny website that showcases his range of creative efforts at an address not entirely dissimilar to this one, www.mattcannotwrite.co.uk “

I had the pleasure of talking to Matthew recently and getting to know him a bit better. He is an awesome guy with a quirky sense of humor which I love and I enjoyed his anwers and his advice!

ENJOY!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I always knew. Is that destiny?  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t. However, the first time I significantly thought about it was at Junior school. I was probably about 7 years old. We all took a fun personality-career on a clunky old BBC computer and the top suggested career for me was ‘author’. The only activities I really liked in Junior school was when we got to write something creative. I always wrote little bits in my free time. I even started my first novel when I was 16 years old, but the story ran out after 7 chapters.

It wasn’t until I was in my final year of university, studying a subject that I had lost interest in and couldn’t get anywhere with that I decided writing was the only thing that would make me happy and so I had to pursue it doggedly. I needed something to pursue doggedly because such a method wasn’t working with girls either.

What type of genre do you write in?

My only consistent genre is supernatural. I’d like to say that I write modern fairy tales but that isn’t always true. All of my stories have some kind of dark, other worldly element. Sometimes I use it for humour, sometimes I don’t. My anthology is a mixture of horror, comedy, science-fiction and straight sword and sorcery.

 

My novel is an urban fantasy comedy that spoofs horror stereotypes. I like to experiment and I like to play with peoples expectations, so my stories are usually a mix of genres that serve that purpose. I’d rather try and make someone laugh with a tap dancing werewolf than try and push things to make a normal werewolf more scary…. or would I? Y’know what I mean, Harry?
What inspires you to write outside of one genre?

I like to be original. I hate cliches. If I use them, it is to poke fun at them or set up a bigger premise. If I wrote for one genre, I’d probably write a story that’s been done before. If I mix it up, no one knows what to expect. Even me! I just let the story go where it wants to and then I reign it in to make a tight plot at the end of the process. Also, monkeys; they are my inspiration in anything. If you think about monkeys they can’t be serious, even when they try. They are funny and cute in everything they do. That’s me, but without the cuteness and maybe more of the bad smell.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing?

Other peoples’ ideas. I don’t steal them, but I ask myself “what if (such and such) happened here?” or “What if he did that instead?”. I read books and I watch movies and ideas come to me from those stories. Usually its a character trait, journey or a situation. I expand on it from there, searching out a purpose for the story and what genre I think would suit it best. Usually it is clear immediately if it’s going to be a comedy story or serious. In my anthology ‘Not All Of Them About Zombies’ I have an introduction for each story and I talk about what inspired me to write each of them. Dreams are another good source. It can be hard to find a coherent plot in dreams but some of my best stories come from them.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. They ARE my childhood. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy was certainly one of the first ‘grown up’ books I ever read. I remember the second time I ever read it was when I was 8 or 9. It was just so bizarre. The comedy was most important and it was so strong that it didn’t matter that there wasn’t really a plot. That was part of its charm; the characters bounced around from one mad event to the next and it was oh so witty. Since then I have read most of his books several times.

 I then got into Terry Pratchett and devoured most of his books right through my teenage years. His humour was more subtle but I loved how he did something different with the fantasy genre and poked fun at both real and fictional worlds as he went, and still does!

Then in my late teens and onward I discovered Neil Gaiman, and I can honestly say that he writes the stories I want to write. Most of them are gritty but magical, realistic and fantastic, real modern fairy tales. He still is my favourite author. I even love the films of his books. His traits are so strong that they shine through even a secondhand production and sing. I could watch a movie I had no idea he had written and know it was him before the credits rolled. Mainly because it probably says in the opening titles but you know what I mean.

In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great?

Characters. If you don’t have interesting characters then your reader isn’t going to stick around for a whole novel to see what happens to them. I think dramas, realistic tales, are far more difficult to write for because you have to make a believably flawed character that isn’t boring or annoying. I’m not sure I can do that. So I write comedy a lot of the time and to do that I merely need characters who are bizarre and over-the-top enough to amuse the reader and keep them going to see what madness they get into next. That’s easier for me, but the characters are still flawed. They just have hugely exaggerated flaws.

Take Ramses from my first novel ‘Better Off Dead’. He’s a vampire who really loves his unlife, and he has a problem with cats. He has a problem with cats in the same way that Hitler had a problem with Jews. He truly believes they are a malignant race hell bent on world domination. He’s constructed an intricate and bizarre fantasy world that comes into question during his adventures. A lot of the comedy comes from his reactions to that as he learns to grow up.

My next novel has a much deeper character arc, but it’s still a comedy. That’s going to be a SF comedy called No Technobabble Please, We’re Earthlings! and it’ll be released in e-book form, rather appropriately, this year. There’s some details on my site, but I don’t want to give away too much yet.

By the way, I love cats. Please don’t think that an author shares the views of his characters. That’s a pet peeve of mine and if you think so, I will come and eat your babies. Only joking…. Maybe.

What activities do you do for inspiration?

I live my life. I’m never short of inspiration; I love movies. I read whenever I can – though I find I have to make time for it nowadays; I play games. Anything that gets me involved in another world or gives me time to think about this one will give me inspiration. I often go on and on in my blog about the weirdest ideas that were triggered by a single mundane event in my day or a conversation I had. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. So I recommend you read it, and comment! Every time my blog gets a comment an otherwise disabled baby gets to be born with all it’s limbs. I have a special understanding with God. True story.

Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups?

I used to. I don’t right now. I’m between writing groups, you might say. When I first started writing seriously I joined a little e-mail group and that was nice for a start. It was very private and we could all build each other’s confidence and protect our egos. Then I stepped out into the big wide world and I joined a site called Fanstory.com– I don’t know if it’s still going… *checks* … yes it is, but everyone I know there left long ago. It sounds like it’s for fan fiction only, but it’s not.

For a tiny yearly fee you can post work and you are encouraged to read others by a cool coins system. You can then use the coins to buy adverts and promote your work on the site. I made some really good friends there (Marzipan!) and learned a lot from them. That’s where I picked 82.334% of my writing skills, I think. It’s hard to tell without a calculator handy.  People I know started leaving and I left too because I couldn’t get critiques anymore. After that I started trying to sell my work.

 

I also do a writers circle by mail when I am in the UK. There’s a small group of us and we post a chapter at a time. The method is very personal and the work is very good. It’s so nice to sit down with the submissions and have a read through. I got wrapped up in the stories… I miss them. I’m still in touch with most of it’s members so I hope they can be successful too!

Has your work won any awards?
I haven’t won anything outstanding. I’ve won the Dark Fiction UK Story of the Month award for my short story called Don’t Fear the Reaper. That’s a story that has different meaning depending on who reads it. I like to make the reader think and I don’t give any solid answers for the events that transpire in that tale. It’s part of my anthology so anyone can easily read it.
 
I coud probably win more awards if I entered competitions but I’ve never been organised enough or had enough free time to seek them out. I’m terrible at the research and marketing side of the writing career.
Do you have a day job?
I certainly do, and I moved to Japan to get it. I’m from England but it was impossible for me to get a job there. I had been in university too long and I had no experience at anything. So I couldn’t get a menial job to pay the bills and I wasn’t good enough for anything I was really interested in.
 
Now, though, I’m happily working in Japanese High Schools teaching English to the cutest, most well-bahaved and respectful students in the world. Seriously, it’s mad how different they are to children back home. It’s a great job though. I’m practically a celebrity for just existing and any actual work I do is pretty rewarding. It can be shallow at times but I enjoy it. It pays well enough to keep me alive while I’m writing. That’s all that matters to me.
What advice would you give to others who are interested in pursuing a career in writing?
If you are anything like me, before you even try to publish or get noticed, you have to open yourself up to criticism. It’s seems to be a writer’s nature to be overly defensive of work and arrogant of ability, but you have to listen to people who read your work. The more you do it, the more you will be able to see what is good advice and what is just negative opinion. After a few months of it, on Fanstory, I could even tell what was jealous opinion from someone of a lower ability. Then you can really focus on improving your writing and make leaps and bounds in your skill.
 
Second, write what you love and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
 
Third, build a network and stay in touch. I wasted far too much time trying to get published the traditional way and missed the start of this e-book revolution. This was because i was slogging along on my own and had no one to inform me of other ways of publishing. You also need to build a name for yourself to get your work read and you’ll need a network for that. Unless you are already famous for something else…. just don’t go driving around town putting small animals on spikes or anything.

What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it?

My recent and first novel is ‘Better Off Dead’ a Young Adult Urban Fantasy set in a world where sorcerers are saucy, vampires are a pain in the neck and everyone is clawing to be on top.

 It’s available from Lulu.com now (http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/better-off-dead/18790219) and is set to appear on Amazon by the time you read this! Check my web site for links or search for Better Off Dead by Matthew Rowe on Amazon! Of course, readers can always contact me for a signed copy. I accept paypal.

What is the best way for your fans to contact you?

My website (http://www.MattCannotWrite.co.uk) has direct e-mail links and I watch comments on my blog like I’m a hawk and they are juicy little rabbits. My blog is pretty new so I’m at that impatient and boring time of building an audience. I literally can’t wait for regular readers and when they come I shall shower them with love, sweets, monkeys and disease free prostitutes…. prostitutes aren’t available to minors. Sorry. But serious, I love interacting with people and I intend to entertain. I also do regular writing activities so it’s a good place for writers too.

What is your ultimate goal/dream concerning your writing?

The usual; movies, fame, gold statues, being more read than the bible. Can you imagine a world where the major belief system is based upon my work? With all the vampires, demons, murderers, apocalypses, monkeys, zombies, school bullies and deadly diseases there will be marginally less violence than under Christianity, or Islam.

Any final thoughts?

I probably should have a bath….

What a hoot it was talking to Matthew! I grew up watching the BBC and I LOVE British humor.
Thank you so much Matt for stopping by and taking the time from your busy day to spend time with us.
I wish you much success and happy days in your writing and I look forward to hearing back from you about your career! 🙂

BETTER OFF DEAD can be found on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Better-Off-Dead-Matthew-Rowe/dp/1447873270/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330275233&sr=1-9

LuLu.com http://www.lulu.com/

Other works by MATTHEW ROWE

“NOT ALL OF THEM ABOUT ZOMBIES”

How to contact Matthew:

His site: http://www.mattcannotwrite.co.uk/

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/aliasbillpardy

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13365849-better-off-dead

 

~CONTACT ME~

I love to hear from my readers, whether good, bad or anything in between!

If you are interested in reviewing my books, interviewing me or being a guest on my blog, please contact me at Magicforest@peoplepc.com

Let me know if you want to be added to my distro list for upcoming book info!
I’ll also let you know about new releases, contests and other fun stuff and you’ll find out all the juicy stuff before anyone else does!

Twitter: @LisaVProulx

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=books&field-author=Lisa%20V.%20Proulx

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My blog, The Main Artery:  https://lisavproulx.wordpress.com/

FaceBook Author Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-V-Proulx-Author-Fan-Page/223212131077410

And as always, thank you for your continued love and support! 🙂

 (¸.·’*Lisa¸.·*´¨) (¸.·’*

 “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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