Please join me and welcome Marsha A. Moore to Highlighted Author.
Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself.
I live near Tampa, having moved here from Toledo, Ohio, officially during the summer of 2009. I stayed the previous winter helping my mother get settled into her house in a neighboring community. Who wouldn’t want to escape winter in the Midwest? I’m still feeling like a little kid, learning and loving all the wonders of life in a sub-tropical place. I LOVE the beach and can’t possibly be there too often.
Otherwise, I’m a yoga enthusiast and do routines in classes or at home five days a week. The other days I’m out bicycling or kayaking. I recently purchased a used kayak…my favorite new toy! We live on a large saltwater lagoon and taking it out for an hour or more is a real treat. It’s just the coolest thing to be able to kayak during winter. I always exercise as part of my daily routine and have for at least a decade.
When did you discover you wanted to be an author?
One thing seemed to flow to the next and I ended up as an author. It wasn’t a direct goal at all. I always loved reading and followed from that to be an English minor in college, actually just for fun along with a Biology major. Taking lit courses and writing essays for fun–strange, but true! Years later, I worked as a rock music reviewer for several years and from some of those experiences I tinkered with fiction. Initially, I wrote fiction based on the world of rock music. That’s very sexual, so the erotic elements came naturally. Through a lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my first attempts at fiction, posted on a music forum. He repeatedly encouraged me to submit my creative writing. Over time, I came to believe him and did. After that, it’s been a waterfall of new and fun experiences.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you dedicate a certain amount of time to each task?
I’m a night owl, so my concentrated writing time is after dinner until about 2 AM. Mornings are usually for networking and promotional work. During afternoons I often edit.
But, as often as possible, I pack up my writing notebook and head to a nearby beach, trying to get there once every ten days. My most creative ideas come while there and the writing comes fast. Even if I can’t get away to the beach, I create new drafts outside in the backyard on our dock or patio. The local brown pelicans have a lot of personality and make great writing companions!
What do you find the most difficult in crafting a novel?
Generally staying indoors on the computer is the most difficult, because being still new to Tampa from the Midwest, I want to be outside. But, otherwise, the fantasy romance series I’ve started, The Enchanted Bookstore, is tricky because it involves many clues and red herrings woven in that lead to ideas in following books, even to the end of the series. That takes a lot of careful planning and can be confusing.
Your book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake, releases in a little over a week. What’s going through your mind right now?
Getting all the promotion work done well and ahead of the last minute, so I can be somewhat calm and enjoy discussing the book with readers. That’s really important to me, because interacting with readers is really the best.
Will you tell us a little about how this story came to be?
During the winter of 2008-9, I moved my mother from NW Ohio to Tampa. My first Florida winter inspired me to write my book Tears on a Tranquil Lake. I enjoy folklore and legend, and sought interesting local tales. When I learned about the annual Tampa Gasparilla Festival I was enthralled and a pirate captain, a mermaid, and a merman became the characters of my book.
What other projects can we look forward to from you?
I just received cover art for my next MuseItHot release, Sea Glass and Sand Memories. That short story will be availavle June 1st, 2011.
This year I plan to finish the sequel to Tears on a Tranquil Lake and then write a third with those same characters. I have a time travel fantasy romance, Illusions of Intimacy, half done that I intend to finish. Also, part two in my series, The Enchanted Bookstore, will definitely be written and part three begun. Those are my 2011 writing goals and will keep me busy at a dedicated pace.
Will you share an excerpt of Tears on a Tranquil Lake with us?
Warning: This book contains Haitian vodou, sultry wenches, foul-mouthed scalliwag pirates, overindulgence of fine Caribbean rum, and amorous encounters on deserted beaches.
Tears On A Tranquil Lake
excerpt, chapter ten
The Black Hawk made port and its crew secured her to a dock. In every direction I looked were pirate ships.
Sam sidled up to me. “Feast yer eyes, lass. There be every type of privateer vessel here today.” He pointed them out, one by one. “Next to us be a square-rigger, massive enough to store plenty of booty . . . over there be a nimble sloop fitted with its dress canvases . . . and there, a two-masted brigantine workhorse . . . and farther back, a fleet of schooners with shallow drafts to make swift course in shoal waters.”
“Amazing! And all fly the skull and crossbones flag,” I said.
“That be the Jolly Roger, the buccaneer mark displayed aside their own war pennants, like ours be a black hawk set on a red field.”
What a sight, seeing dozens of fine sailing vessels docked or anchored in the tropical cove.
With the gangplank finally lowered and secured all hands anxiously waited for the captain to come on deck to dismiss them. Although only a few moments passed, the men grumbled.
Black Sam shot them a long, fierce glare before Raphael appeared.
The captain grinned from ear-to-ear, his booming voice full of excitement, “Aye, ye scallywags, the Hawk sets sail again midday tomorrow. Be here or be left behind. Now get yourselves ashore.”
They all scampered onto the dock like mice, yelling and laughing in anticipation of merriment and adventure.
Raphael proudly extended me his arm. “Ciel, you look lovely. Let me now show you the wonders of Tortuga.”
Along the promenade that followed the shore I struggled to match his gait. I was impeded by my less than agile tail flipper, and glad for his arm.
He sensed my dependence upon him and beamed, in high spirits. Smiling to familiar faces, he tipped his three-cornered black hat, its billowing white plume waving in the breeze. He looked dashing, outfitted in a purple waistcoat and gold brocade jacket. Slim black trousers and knee-high dress boots with shiny silver buckles accentuated his trim physique.
I smiled at him, pleased to be on his arm for reasons more than for physical support.
Everywhere I looked strode the most bizarre beings and unusually dressed people imaginable. At the sides of the promenade, men swallowed blades of any cutlass, dagger, or sword passing buccaneers might volunteer. In amazement I paused to try and discover their secrets, while Raphael pulled me along by the arm with my head turning back over my shoulder, mystified.
Scantily clad women preformed miraculous contortions, happily accepting gifts of doubloons tucked into any edges of their skimpy clothing or body orifices the seafarers wished to leave tips within. Their spines seemed boneless and I wondered if they were truly human.
Many merfolk, both male and female, accompanied pirates, while others sauntered alone or mingled in groups of their own kind. The mermaids all looked so beautiful, wearing lavish golden jewelry and their hair gleamed in the sunlight. I felt rather plain in comparison with only sea baubles for adornments.
The pirate captains and their staff all dressed in an eccentric array of finery. They lent a festive atmosphere, in their bright colors, fancy hats, and tall boots. Garb from around the world proudly boasted, of their travels in the Caribbean, as well as remote destinations of the Far East and Africa.
Amongst the mariners I caught a glimpse of one extremely odd creature strolling past who made me gasp. I could not help but stare. I knew not whether the being was male or female. I could see human legs, covered with pants and shoes, but also the upper body of a seal. I whispered to Black Sam beside me, “What is that sea creature?”
Noticing my bewilderment, he chuckled. “One of the bizarre wonders of the abyss. Pure magic. That be a common sight only on the land of this isle. He’s a selkie who’s not donned all his sealskin.” He pointed to draw my attention, which was unnecessary, since my eyes were already fixed to the sealman. “See that brown mass danglin’ down behind him? That be the rest of it. Left out his legs, likely, so he can walk.”
“I envy him. I wish I could pull my scaly skin back to find some feet to walk upon.”
Raphael was smiling and listening to our conversation. “Don’t forget I can solve that problem for you, Ciel,” he whispered in my ear.
I sensed pressure to make my decision conveyed in his tone, and a wave of panic swept over me, taking my attention from the selkie.
The captain tightened his grasp upon my arm and looked imploringly into my eyes for that answer.
My pulse raced, unable to grant him the choice I knew he expected, yet also unable to leave his world behind for the sea.
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