Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Watch

I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man, who stood in front of the five and dime with a box full of junk. Trinkets maybe, from his better days.

I tried to walk by and pretend I didn’t notice him, but something made me look up. Our eyes met, a shiver coursed down my spine. His eyes held the cold weight of some kind of dark knowledge. I didn’t want to know what he knew, yet I couldn’t turn away. I felt fate’s hand push me toward him.

“Is there something you like, miss?” His voice was older than his grizzled face. The old man tipped the box so I could see the contents closer.

I tried to look away, my eyes turned themselves to the box. I shook my head gently. “No, thank you. I don’t have time, I’m late.”

He reached out and grabbed my hand. “I have just the thing for seeing time.” He pulled a pocket watch from the box. Its age showed on the engraved metal. Rubbed smooth where it had been held and touched most often.

“That’s a lovely watch but….” The moment he placed it into my hand I felt a tingle of energy flow though my hand and up my arm. Suddenly the air around her felt charged, like before lightning strikes.

When I tried to pull my hand from his my fingers brushed the release. The case opened and my eyes fell to the face of the watch. The hands ticked on minutes and hours as the air thickened around me. It seemed like an ordinary thing, just a cheap watch on the outside but there was something else.

I could feel it becoming part of me. I tried to let go of it but my fingers curled tighter around the thing instead. I pulled five dollars from my pocket and placed it in his old withered hand. When I looked into his eyes this time, I saw relief.

I would soon find out what curse he had passed on to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winner of A Grand Murder Giveaway!

We have a winner! Congratulations to City Girl who commented on A Grand Murder Giveaway and Author Chat with Stacy Verdick Case. She will receive a signed print copy of A Grand Murder by Stacy.

City Girl can contact me at for more info:)

Be on the look out for more contests and giveaways here on Gladiator's Pen :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Grand Murder Giveaway and Author Chat with Stacy Verdick Case

The Ludis welcomes author, Stacy Verdick Case to the arena for a chat about her latest release A Grand Murder, and to give away a signed print copy to one lucky reader! To enter just comment below for your name to be placed into the hat. The winner will be chosen  and announced on Saturday, January 21st.
Now it's time to lean back in your chair with a nice hot cuppa and enjoy our chat with Stacy.

Tell us a bit about your book A Grand Murder.

A Grand Murder is the first book to follow Catherine O’Brien a St. Paul, Minnesota homicide detective with a monstrous coffee habit, frequent bad hair days, and in irreverent outlook on life. It’s a fun, fast paced mystery, so if want to read something hardboiled you’ll have to keep looking. 

Did you learn something new about yourself or the writing process while working on A Grand Murder?

Yes, I learned I was homicidal.  Prior to this, I was writing romance. I thought I was a lover not a fighter.

You have both fiction and non-fiction works published. How is writing one different than the other?

Non-fiction is about writing with clarity, and a singular topic in mind. For instance when I write articles on creating a hook at the end of your chapter or scene to keep readers turning pages I don’t go off on a self-editing tangent.

With fiction you get to be a little bit looser with focus. You have your main plot of course which carries through the whole thing but you can also throw in several subplots or vignettes throughout.

The language is different too. Writing non-fiction for me takes on a more formal tone, unless it’s a blog post, where with fiction I get to have a little fun with my word choices.

Non-fiction is faster for me to write, because I don’t have to invent the wheel. It’s all facts. In fiction you have to create time and place, which is a much slower process.

Where did you get the inspiration for A Grand Murder?

I wanted to kill my former boss.  See, I told you that I learned I was homicidal! He absconded with a large sum of my money, and it was the first time I believed that I was actually capable of killing another human being, so I did, on paper. I think that’s healthier than actually killing someone.

I felt a lot better about that instinct after a former detective told me that, for women, the number one reason they commit murder is money. I would have thought love but no. Apparently, steal my man and I’ll bounce back, but steal my money and may God have mercy on your soul.

The whole process was very cathartic for me. I no longer wish to harm that person.

Do you have a daily writing routine or process?

Yes, I write for a half an hour every morning before I leave for work. I also carry my notebook with me everywhere so I can sneak in writing time whenever I have a chance. Doctors who are running late, oil changes, long bank lines, are all a blessing to me. I got a whole chapter written during a really boring meeting once. I probably shouldn’t have said that.

Tell us three little known things about Stacy Verdick Case

1)      I don’t think anyone outside my family knows that I’m extremely sentimental. I have every card my husband’s ever given me.
2)      I cry at the drop of the hat. My family’s nickname for me is the weeping willow.
3)      I’m afraid to fly but I once flew a plane for the experience of it.

If you could spend the day in your book would you? And what would you do?

Yes, I would love to be an observer in my book. Maybe an office worker at the precinct, so I could watch the interactions of Catherine and Louise the two main characters. I think that would be fun.

Do you have a favorite part of A Grand Murder? If so please share it with us and why it’s your favorite.

I love all the interactions between Catherine and her husband Gavin. I think it gives a different perspective on the character and shows her softer side. Of course, there’s also a scene where Louise accidently knocks a man unconscious that I think is funny, and Catherine get’s a lot of mileage out of it in the book.

Most writers are also avid readers, what are you reading now?

I always have one print and one audio going at the same time (my commute would be miserable without audio books). The print book is Web Thinking: Connecting, Not Competing, For Success by Dr. Linda Seger. All of Linda’s books are like gold to me, and I’ve read this one before but it’s worth reading over again. The audio of the moment is The Taker by Alma Katsu.

The age old question…… Coke or Pepsi?


Any news to share for upcoming events, new projects, or releases?

Yes, A Grand Murder has an audio book release, which I’m really excited about. My Mom has macular degeneration, so I lobbied hard for an audio book.

What would you like to say to your readers and fellow writers?

To my readers, THANK YOU for choosing A Grand Murder, I feel so blessed that you would take time to read my book. An extra special thank you to those who have reviewed it, clicked a like button, or clicked on a star rating on various sites, doing so has given my little book legs. I am so thankful and humbled.

To my fellow writers I wish I could hug all of you. I know how hard it is to juggle everything in your life. If you are compelled to do this then you must keep writing.

Thank you Stacy for joining us in the Ludis and sharing a bit of your book and life. 

You can find Stacey Verdick Case at and Before the Fall Publishing 
A Grand Murder is available in paperback, audio, and for the Nook at Barnes&Noble 

Don't forget to leave a comment for Stacy or Gladiator's Pen to be entered in the drawing for a chance to win a signed print copy of A Grand Murder.  The winner will be drawn and announced on Saturday January 21st. Good luck and thanks for stopping by. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

OneWord/60 Seconds: Sparkling is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires. This was my entry today.

He held the crystal up in the sunlight. The sparkling facets danced with a rainbow of color. The colors reflected on the window and his skin giving him a child like delight. With a soft grin he marveled at the simple wonder.

For more of my OneWord entries:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

OneWord/60 Seconds: Bland is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires. This was my entry today.

She looked out the window and felt nothing. The food in this place was tasteless, even the world outside the metal grate looked bland. The doctors said it would pass but when? When would she touch something and feel it, Be able to breathe the scent of a rose or a handsome man’s aftershave and be stirred by it, instead of this emotionless existence.

For more of my OneWord entries:

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 The Epic Year

photo: Sellers Sunset by Elise VanCise 

The last year in the Mayan calendar, 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, election year in the U.S. and the year for epic goals to be reached.

For get that “one day I’m gonna…..” list and take charge. This year we are going to achieve epic goals. How you say?

Find a quiet place to sit with a pen and notebook. Not your laptop or just some paper. A notebook sized where you can pop it into purse or pocket and carry it with you.  A pen because ink is unchanging, it can’t be erased once on paper. Making what you write down all the more important.

Now on the cover on inside the cover write 2012: My Epic Year. Claim it, be firm that this is going to be the year for epicness.

On the first page write Epic Goals for the title and list at least five goals you want to achieve this year. Not all of them have to be about writing, but make sure they are important to you. Things that will change your life for the better as you accomplish them.

All done? Good me too. Now we are ready to begin our epic journey. Turn the page and write the date and a goal for the day. Daily goals should relate to one of your five epic goals. You can write more than one daily goal if you like.

Examples would be write 2,000 words on novel, write synopsis or outline, clean out desk drawers… etc. Something that could be achieved in one day.

At the end of the day pull your notebook out and write your actual progress under your entry. Even if you didn’t quite make the mark, write down how much you did or how close you came to it. 

The ideal is to take those BIG EPIC GOALS and make them happen, a day at a time. By the end of the first month or so you can look back and see your progress. You are moving forward, you are making your epic dream reality.

So write that novel, publish that book, get your closet cleaned out (hey for some that’s major epic… not my closet of course *cough, cough…) Make 2012 THE EPIC YEAR.