Five Books and a Funeral

by Rosa Lee Jude, Co-author of the Legends of Graham Mansion series

The five books of the Legends of Graham Mansion Series

The five books of the Legends of Graham Mansion Series

Squire finally stopped talking.

That may seem like a strange opening line for a blog post. It’s only strange if you don’t know who Squire is.

Revelation Book Cover

Book Five – Revelation

The final book, REVELATION, in the Legends of Graham Mansion series has just been released. This five-volume journey began when co-author and historian Mary Lin Brewer contacted me in March 2012. “I have this idea for a series,” she said. “I’ve got tons of research, legends, and stories. But, I’m not really a fiction writer. I understand that you are.” As they say, the rest is history, quite literally now. Two and half years and five books later, the series is complete. I finally shut up Squire.

For those of you who have not read the series, “Squire” is Squire David Graham. This mysterious, but brilliant, man was a powerful entrepreneur of the 1800s in Southwest Virginia. He amassed a substantial number of businesses and land holdings in a relatively short amount of time and was known for his ruthless business dealings and not-so-pleasant personality. The beacon of his success still stands today in the form of a historic mansion in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Many say that he has never left his stately home. I say he has spent the last two and a half years living rent free inside my head.

While our central character and heroine was a lovely young lady and time traveler named Grae White, Squire seemed to be the one who truly haunted me. Through the many long months of writing the series, he visited me in my dreams. Sometimes so forcefully that I would have to get up in the middle of the night and pay homage to him on my keyboard. The grave scene in AMBITION was the result of three such nights in a row.

As I tied up the loose ends of the series in the finale, I reread the previous volumes. Even an author has to remind herself, at times, about what she has written. I couldn’t leave any key elements unresolved. The more I read the previous books (REDEMPTION, AMBITION, DECEPTION, and SALVATION), the louder Squire’s voice seemed to get. He was determined that I finish his story. But, one late July evening, as the final words were typed, he grew silent. I felt like I had been to a funeral, my emotions were spent. I had laughed and cried a lot through the final story. I had said goodbye. I had finished Squire’s story. He has been silent ever since.

Writing a series is a serious undertaking. It’s not just the beginning and end that are important, it’s all those words in between that link together to convey the world you have created for your readers. It’s a commitment. The characters become family. The readers become friends. You don’t want to let anyone down. Many readers have asked how I managed to write so many words (about 450,000) in two and a half years. The answer is simply dedication. Just about every night and every weekend, words were typed. While I was at work during the day, the story passed to Mary Lin who would fill in the historical matter, legends, and some of her own twists. Weeks turned into months and like the little engine who could, we built a series—one page, one chapter, one book, at a time.

And now, it’s over. All has been revealed. REVELATION is in the hands of those who will cherish it the most, the readers. Now in its entirety, we hope that it is embraced by legions of future readers for many years to come.

The journey is over. Or maybe, it’s only just begun.

Introduction of Rosa Lee Jude

Rosa Lee Jude began creating her own imaginary worlds at an early age. While her career path has included stints in journalism, marketing, tourism, and local government, she is most at home at a keyboard spinning yarns of fiction and creative non-fiction. She lives in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia with her patient husband and very spoiled rescue dog.

To learn more about the series, visit

If you would like to follow Rosa Lee’s writing adventures, like her Author Page on Facebook at

You can also like her Author Page on Amazon at

Thanks Rosa for another very informative post! We hope you will leave a comment or two and will follow Rosa as she begins a new journey in writing. Word is she is working on a new book. You should post questions to her and get her to share what she’s planning for her writing adventure!


Demons of Laziness


Just a quick post to let you know that more guest blogger posts are in the works.

I’ve been writing and revising my next book, “The Fire Within.”

The Fire Within - Book Cover

Coming Summer 2014

The heat of the summer has taken its toll on my poor vegetable garden and me. These cool mornings lull my body into thinking it can’t move. My mind listens. I don’t want to change out of my PJs. I want to lounge around, read, and write.

Never fear! I will rise up and conquer those demons of laziness.

In the coming weeks, guest bloggers Jean Desmarais and Geanna Sowers will share their stories with you. And, with a little prodding, so will other members of the Writing Writers Group!

Until then, read and enjoy, leave a comment, sign-up for a subscription, but most importantly, come back and visit us again!



Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories


Happy April – Spring Time! This week’s guest blogger, Paul Dellinger, shares some exciting news! Read on for more…



Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories

by Paul Dellinger

I started out drawing stick figures, trying to do my own comic books when I was in grade school. Finally, I graduated to pen-and-ink and crayon-colored drawings of my versions of some of the comics I enjoyed.

The same newsstand-soda shop I frequented that carried the rows of comics also had a spinner-rack of paperbacks, and eventually I moved to those. I’m still buying those, but they aren’t 25 cents anymore.

During all that time, from grade school through high school, and beyond, I always had a yen to tell stories of my own. Not comic book stories – I was never a good enough artist for that – but written-down stories like those I craved to read.

Book Cover "Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories

“Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories,” published February 24, 2014

It wasn’t until I was in the service while taking a news-writing course when the instructor at the Army training school, a Specialist-5 Corum, told some of us about something called The Writer’s Handbook. This handbook, which carried the addresses for magazines that might actually publish and pay for such work, helped me to realize that I might be able to make a dream come true.

I soon found a bookshop (remember bookshops?) that had a copy of The Writer’s Handbook. I bought it, picked out a magazine, and sent in a 3,000-word short story. I received a note back from Cele Goldsmith, editor at Fantastic Magazine (published from 1952 to 1980) and a contract to buy my story for a penny a word. It made my day, despite being on K.P. duty, and it helped me buy my first portable typewriter (remember typewriters?) from the base’s Post Exchange store.

Two years later, I met Ms. Goldsmith when I treated myself, as a getting-out-of-the-Army gift, to attend the World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C. To my astonishment, she remembered my story. Then, she turned to the next person standing in the hotel’s lobby and introduced me to one of my long-time literary idols, Isaac Asimov.

Book cover of "Don't Look Up!"Another ten years passed before I would sell another story. Since then, at different times, I have managed to sell a short story occasionally. During the UFO flap that Wytheville experienced shortly before 1990, radio newscaster Danny Gordon and I co-authored the book, Don’t Look Up!, about the anatomy of the phenomena. The book is now all but out of print.

Now, finally, I have another book, Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories that recently was published. It is composed of many of those short stories I’ve managed to place in various venues over the years. This collection is made up of the science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal genres. It is available locally, for the first time on Monday, April 14, on the second day of the Authors on Monroe Street event at the Wythe County Public Library. For a schedule of the complete four-day program of guest authors, visit Pam’s blog I’m late, I’m late for a very important event or visit the library website at URL:

The library also is the host for the meetings of the Writing Writers Group (WWG), which is held on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The WWG is open to anyone interested in writing and in any of its forms. The WWG has been invaluable to me in my ambition to continue placing stories here and there.

Thanks again to Pam Newberry for sharing her writing and publication experiences during our writing group meetings, and for offering its participants a chance to blog here on the J. K. Brooks Publishing website.

The following are links for further reading:

  • The first review of Mr. Lazarus an Other Stories at URL:
  • The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) is a community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. This link is a list of many of the stories included in my recent book with a listing of their original publication sources. Within the list on this site are a few additional stories that are not in the collection at URL:
  • Barnes and Noble link to several books that I’ve written or co-authored at URL:
  • And finally, a link to where you may acquire a copy of Mr. Lazarus and Other Stories on Amazon:


Thanks Paul for a delightful new post, but more importantly, CONGRATULATIONS on the publication of your new book!

If you would like to communicate with Paul, you may contact him at pmd7 [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Keep those pencils moving and keyboards humming!

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Living On The Edge

This week’s guest blogger for Pam’s writing blog is my good friend and colleague, Rosa Lee Jude. If I try to write an introduction on everything there is to say about Rosa, you’ll never have a chance to read her post. So, without further ado, I give you …

Introduction of Rosa Lee Jude

Living On The Edge

By Rosa Lee Jude

True writers have a consuming desire to tell a story. They want to give voice to the rumbling characters who converse with them in their heads. They want someone else to love the worlds they have so carefully created. They want readers who will hunger for their next story.

I didn’t fully realize this until after I wrote my first novel, REDEMPTION. It was the first of a five-part series entitled the Legends of Graham Mansion that Mary Lin Brewer and I Cover of Redemption, first book in Legends of Graham Mansion Mary Lin is the historian and researcher for our project. I am the spinner of the yarn, the wordsmith. Up until this point, most of my stories could be classified as singular, one story. I never seriously considered writing a series. Now, I’m not sure that I would consider writing anything else but a series. It’s an addiction—fed by the readers, the fans.

It’s all about leaving a trail of delicious morsels of information and a cliff-hanger at the end. Like building a house, you have to start with a firm foundation. Believable, likable characters are essential in a premise that intrigues readers. You must construct many layers on this foundation in the form of setting, minor characters, conflicts and resolutions, and in my case, many twists and turns to keep the readers guessing…AND, most importantly, wanting more!

I am a firm believer in cliff-hangers. While, these edge-of-your-seat morsels normally come at the end of a book, it isn’t a bad idea to have them appear within a story. For example, one of the main characters in my series is a talking feline by the name of The General. This character has a huge presence throughout the series. He is a walking, talking, tail-swishing cliff-hanger in each book. His true identity will be revealed in the last book of the series.

But, there is an interesting thing about cliff-hangers. People love to hate them. After each book is released, some fans grumble that they have been left hanging. Yet, when asked what they like the best about the story, many say it is the suspense.

Woman climbing a rock on the side of a cliff.

Will she make it?

Writers beware! Don’t push your story off a cliff with a cliff-hanger! You must be careful not to write yourself so close to the edge of the cliff that your story falls off on its own. Like a great movie scene, you want your readers to go right to the edge so that you can pull them back in for more.

And, that is truly the purpose of a series. You want these loyal readers to follow your adventure from beginning to end. You want them to love the world you have created as much as you do. You want them to buy the next book…and the next…all the way up to the final installment. Then, you want them to take a trip with you again with your next series. At least, that’s what I hope. When the Legends of Graham Mansion series draws to a close this fall, I hope that thousands of readers will join me as I explore a brave new terrain on another twisted adventure. I will lay the foundation for each book that will give them just enough to feel at home in my new world, but not confident enough that readers will feel like they know the rest of the story.

If you haven’t taken this time travel journey with me, please consider giving it a try—it’s a little history, a little mystery, and a little twist in time. I challenge those writers reading this to consider the use of cliff-hangers in their next adventure. Then “The End” really will not be so…final.

Girl reading a book.The following are links for further reading:

  • What I consider THE BEST book on writing EVER…. Stephen King’s On Writing found at URL:
  • One of my favorite authors…she spins a yarn that makes you want to meet her characters…and by the end of her story, you feel like you have…Cathy Lamb. Her website is found at URL:
  • Reading Joe Konrath’s blog on Indie Publishing is what convinced me to have full confidence in the indie publishing route. Read about his thoughts at URL:

Thanks for reading,

Pinstrip flourish

Rosa Lee Jude began creating her own imaginary worlds at an early age. While her career path includes stints in journalism, marketing, tourism and local government, she is most at home at a keyboard spinning yarns of fiction and creative non-fiction. She lives in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia with her patient husband and very spoiled rescue dog.

Thank you so much Rosa for sharing with us how you do it! We look forward to reading your next installment, SALVATION, which is book four of the Legends of Graham Mansion series due out this spring!

If you would like to connect with Rosa, you may write her through rljude [at] embarqmail [dot] com or you may follow her through her blog, Twist of a Tale (

And, for those of you following this blog, THANK YOU for providing comments, clicking the “LIKE” button, and letting the authors of the Writing Writer’s Group know you enjoyed them sharing their experiences as they learn about blogging, writing, and creating a good story! Come back and let me know you’ve stopped by, leave a comment!

Always in writing,


Note: Image of Woman climbing a rock by Olovedog from


On Completing the Skeleton of My Novel

Please welcome Renate Braddy! Our third guest blogger and member of the Writing Writer’s Group. She’s here to share with you part of her journey to completing her novel. Renate lives in the lovely town of Wytheville, Virginia with her husband, Eddie, two beautiful children, Grant and Austen, and their spoiled Chihuahua, Carolina. Since she dictated her first poem to her mother at the age of five, Renate has been writing. She currently has a greeting card titled My Son, manufactured through Blue Mountain Arts and recently published an essay in Christian Woman (January/February 2014). Her debut novel, Scars, is expected to be available by the fall of 2014. Let me introduce to you…

Introduction of Renate Braddy


On Completing the Skeleton of My Novel

By Renate Braddy

Writer at Work

Like a pregnant woman with a spoon in front of a decadent gallon of chocolate ice cream, I ate. Bite by bite the story that haunted me for months slowly was fleshed out in an attempt to leave my soul with a hollow carton.

Hours passed by of conducting research in the library, on the computer finding relevant historical data, and speaking with the family of the person that I wanted to include in my book. I can honestly say that my story consumed me.

By committing it to writing, I was attempting to exorcise it.

For those of you who have written tales, you know what I mean when I say that the voices of my characters spoke to me all the time. Whether I took the dog for a walk, did the dishes, or, heaven forbid, tried to sleep, there were voices speaking to me, begging me, to hear their stories. Sometimes, wildly screaming voices that told me I must write them down.

When I gave in to the whims of these voices stealing my serenity, I found a different kind of peace.

The basics of the story, Scars is down. It was read by countless people. The scary part begins for me.

The voices seem to only speak to me now when I read them from the papers of which I committed them. My impetus to complete my book must be driven by a most unreliable source, me.

If life were ideal, I would retreat for three days into a cabin with no electronic devices, or responsibilities, and I honestly feel that within that span of time, I could complete my work.

In reality, this cannot and will not happen until a pig with a saddle on it flies by my window beckoning me to ride it into the cotton candy sky. Electronic devices/leashes are everywhere and alas, I have no funds to escape at the moment, so I have to find the oasis within myself. I do this by using my headset and clicking onto Pandora Radio. Here, with the volume up pretty significantly, my story is hammered out to the tune of Jim Brickman.

So, here I am pushing to stay motivated to write. In case you were wondering if it was just you that was struggling, I assure you that you are in good company. As I attempt to motivate you, this motivates me…and so on. Lastly, I have discovered that the more I commit my story to print, the less demanding it becomes and the more I enjoy writing.

Lastly, here are three websites that support a writer that is trying to get his or her book past the “neutral” gear into “drive”:

Regards and rejoicing,

Getting ideas down image

Getting ideas down illustration created by Kromekrathog from

Pinstrip flourish

Thank you, Renate, for a very important post. The biggest hurdle we all face is setting our stories to paper. It is sometimes the largest roadblock we encounter.

If you would like to communicate with Renate, contact her at renatebraddy [at] yahoo [dot] com or visit her blog Searching for the Soul at URL:

And, if you feel so inclined, please sign up to follow this blog by subscribing below in the subscription window or up in the right hand corner. As always, we will not ever sell or distribute your e-mail address.

We hope you liked this post enough that you will leave a comment and click the “LIKE” button.

Thanks for stopping by and come back next week when we’ll have another guest blogger!

Side note: Latest update on my book, The Letter: A Page of My Life, is that it was featured February 25-28 by Bookpinning as the book of the day and I was featured as the Author of the Day on February 25.

And, I’ve learned how to use Pinterest. Visit my pin boards and let me know what you think by clicking  on the Pinterest icon in the upper right corner of this page.

Keep those papers warm and screens buzzing!


Source of Writer’s at work image: by Siobhán