Guest Author: George Polley


Authors That Have Inspired Me


            The authors that have inspired me stimulated my imagination by telling stories that lifted me from the world I lived in and introduced me to people and places that I knew nothing about. Most of all, they knew how to tell stories that pulled me in, engaged me, brought me back, and have remained with me. Each of them told stories about people — all kinds of people — in fascinating and unimaginable places. If I told you about all the writers who have inspired — and continue to inspire me — this would be a book, and not a blog post, so I’ll stick with a few of the ones who have had the most influence on me and on my writing

            The first there was Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame, who also wrote adventure novels about Mars and a man named John Carter of Virginia, who was magically transported there when he stood in his front yard with his arms raised toward the planet Mars. The first Mars book I read, I was hooked, and read all eleven of them. Soon our neighbors saw me standing in our front yard at night, looking up into the sky to find Mars, then, just like John Carter, standing with my arms raised toward Mars hoping that I would soon be transported there. (I quit doing that when the thought hit me: “What if I couldn’t get back?”)

            The second was Luise Mühlbach (the pen name of Clara Mundt, 1814 Neubrandenburg – 1873, a German writer wrote popular romantic fiction about the crowned heads of Europe and other famous people in the 19th Century. My mother inherited all twenty-two of her books, and I read each one at least twice. What a world that was!

            Then there was John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” , which arrived via the Book of the Month Club. I read it in one sitting, and have never been able to forget any of the images he describes in it, and I discovered the power of words to paint verbal pictures of reality in a way I had never seen it done. The late great Stieg Larsson writes with that kind of descriptive power and clarity in his “Millennium Trilogy”.

            Later, along came the Cretan Nikos Kazantzakis, author of “Zorba the Greek” and other novels, with his powerful language, characters and dynamism. Then a writer friend gave me a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and I discovered the world of magic realism, in which ordinary events and characters are mixed with elements of myth and fantasy, and I was hooked.

            Today my favorite writers include J. K. Rowling and Haruki Murakami, both of whom include magic and myth in their writing. Murakami’s “1Q84”, “Kafka on The Shore” and “Hard Boiled Underworld and The End of The World”  are so filled with fantasy and mythic elements that it is hard to know what is real, what seems real, and what is not.

            The key to all these authors and, I hope my own writing, is that their work is anchored in first class story telling and strong, believable characters. They also have a deep sense of compassion for the people they write about. All of their characters are believable and real, and I like that.


            In most of what I write today, myth and magic play a part. That is true of my novella The Old Man and The Monkey (who is the old monkey?), more so in “Bear”, my children’s series about a boy named Andy and his big, bearlike dog, and even more so in “The City Has Many Faces”, a novel about Mexico City that I am now writing, because it fits with the city’s ancient history and culture. But in the novel after that one, about a fictional Tokyo artist who, as an eight-year-old boy survived the Tokyo firebombings of March, 1945 and became a well-known artist, it will not be present, as the story calls for compassionate realism.

The Old Man and The Monkey
George Polley
Genre: Adventure, Inspirational, Legend
Publisher:  Taylor Street Publishing
ISBN: 9781451543773
Number of pages:  60
Word Count: 7,267
The Old Man and The Monkey is about a village elder in Japan and the large monkey who became his friend over the last five years of his life. Since the villagers don’t like monkeys, none of them approve of the friendship between the old man Genjiro Yamada and Yukitaro (“snow monkey” in Japanese).
But Genjiro refuses to give up the friendship, even when his wife objects to it. After all, monkeys are nuisances and thieves. But over time, both Genjiro’s wife and the villagers come to grudgingly accept him, especially when, on several occasions, they receive a special blessing from him.

‘The Old Man & The Monkey’ is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley’s moving allegory of dignity in the face of prejudice and racism.  Kindle

About the Author:

George Polley was born in Santa Barbara, California and raised in Seattle, Washington. He has lived in California (Berkeley and Stockton), Illinois (Cooks Mills  and Villa Grove), Minnesota (Luverne, Marshal and Minneapolis), and from 1984 until early in 2008, in Seattle, when he and his wife moved to Sapporo, Japan so that she could fulfill her dream of returning to the land of her birth.

His work has appeared in the South Dakota Review, Crow’s Nest, Expanding Horizons, The Enchanted Self, Community Mental Health Journal, Maturing, The Lyon County (Minnesota) Review  Wine Rings, North Country Anvil, North American Mentor Magazine, the McLean County (Illinois) Poetry Review, River Bottom, Tower Talks and Foundations.

He has also authored several booklets in the mental health field, two of them co-authored with Ana Dvoredsky, M.D. in 2007.

George’s e-book ‘The Old Man & The Monkey’ poses one of the most elegant and powerful arguments against racism of all time, and his ‘Grandfather & The Raven’ argues equally compellingly against violence in all its forms. 


Guest Author: Kathleen S. Allen



I get this question from readers. I usually say something like “from the aether” or “they just come to me” but I was thinking about it and I wondered, where does creativity come from? Oh, sure I could get all right brain/left brain on you but I won’t. I know children in particular young children have  vivid imaginations. Do we lose the ability to think in a creative way as we age? Anyone who doesn’t think they are creative probably had someone in their past whether it was a teacher or a parent/guardian say to them, “Stop daydreaming so much. It’s a waste of time.” But, is it? How many writers stopped daydreaming or thinking about stories?  At one point do you stop daydreaming and start writing? I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. I only know that as a young child I found solace in my writing, first in poetry then short stories and finally, novels. I wrote down ideas for stories/poems in a red notebook I kept with me at all times. Snatches of conversations, bits from the news, articles about something interesting, pictures I liked (now I do this on Pinterest), whatever it was that sparked an interest, I wrote it down. In my early days as a writer I used this notebook to help me figure out what to write. But as I got more proficient at writing, I didn’t use it anymore. I wanted to go back and look at it to see what was in it and much to my dismay I couldn’t find it again. I’ve moved many times so it probably got lost in the shuffle. How do I get ideas now? They come to me from the aether. Seriously, I can be reading something or watching something and I ask, WHAT IF. What if he hadn’t opened that door? What if she didn’t send that letter? What if she went left instead of right? What if the alarm clock didn’t go off and you were late for work, got into a minor crash and met the love of your life and then found out he or she only had a few months left to live? What if you didn’t show up at your best friend’s wedding and then found out the guy/girl you’ve had a crush on forever met someone else at the wedding reception and is now getting married? What if faeries are real? What if vampires are? What if you didn’t…whatever….what if you did…whatever? That’s how I get my ideas. I ask the WHAT IF question and then I answer it in my stories. For example, in my latest murder mystery, IF IT’S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE TROUBLE I asked, what if Mel (the main character) couldn’t ever work as a cop again because of her disability? What would she do instead? What if her cop boyfriend moved back in? What if the back surgery she had didn’t work? What if she gets a job in a famous fashion house and actually likes it? What if the killer she seeks focuses on her instead?

                So, the next time you are searching for a story idea, look around you and ask WHAT IF, or what would happen if…or what would happen if something else didn’t happen? You will begin to see endless story ideas pop up out of nowhere just like mine do. So when someone asks you, “Where do you get your ideas from?” You can answer, “From the aether.”

Take Care, Until Next Time,

Kathleen S. Allen

IF IT’S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE TROUBLE, the second Mel Thompson mystery , November, 2012


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Mel Thompson Series Book Two
By Kathleen Allen

Mel Thompson, P.I., former cop returns in her second murder case. It’s the first case she’s taken since she almost died at the hands of the murderer from her last case, three months ago.

Things are looking up a bit though, her cop boyfriend moved back in, the back surgery she had seems to have dulled the pain in her leg and she’s working as an intern in a fashion house in order to catch a murderer.

The fashion world is an alien one to Mel but she’s eager to learn in order to figure out who killed an up and coming designer who just happened to be the sister of the senior buyer.  Mel plans on being an intern for a few weeks, getting the information she needs and getting out.

She didn’t plan on actually liking the people in the fashion house. And she didn’t plan on being in harm’s way, again. 

About the Author:
I am an urban faerie born without wings but I fly on the wings of imagination tethered to this mortal coil. Moonlight sustains me and sunlight devours me. Stars swim in my eyes and my soul bleeds on a daily basis. I am a writer.


Guest Author BA Tortuga

Hey there!


I’m a huge music fan and I can’t write without the right music playing; it’s a vastly important part of my process. Let me tell you, when you’re writing musicians? It’s more than important. It almost is the process of learning the characters.


When Sebastian and Markus took over my head, I admit, the playlist took over the entire house. Every song resonated with this song and, unlike many playlists, I didn’t delete it when the story was over.


I guess Sebastian and Markus aren’t done singing to me yet.



BA Tortuga


Fighting Addiction Playlist


Play Me That Song — Brantley Gilbert

Alone with You — Jake Owen

Another Morning After — Bleu Edmondson

Back Where I Come From — Kenny Chesney

Been There, Done That — Luke Bryan

Better Than I Used to Be — Tim McGraw

Come Over — Kenny Chesney

Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You — Trent Willmon

Don’t — Jewel

Even If It Breaks Your Heart — The Eli Young Band

Feel Like a Rock Star — Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw

Hard to Love — Lee Brice

Hotel California — The Eagles

How Bad Do You Want It — Tim McGraw

I Can’t Love You Back — Easton Corbin

I Loved You When — Roger Creager

Kristofferson — Tim McGraw

Me and You — Kenny Chesney

Put Your Lovin’ On Me — Tim McGraw

Right Back Atcha Babe — Tim McGraw

She Don’t Get High — Alan Jackson

Somewhere with You — Kenny Chesney

Truck Yeah — Tim McGraw

The Truth — Trent Willmon

Welcome to the Fishbowl — Kenny Chesney

What I’d Give — Sugarland

Whiskey and You — Tim McGraw

Wishing — Sugarland

You and Tequila Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter


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Fighting Addiction
BA Tortuga
Genre: contemporary, m/m
Publisher: Torquere Press
ISBN: 978-1-61040-377-1
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 64000
Cover Artist: BSClay
Torquere Books   Amazon   ARe
Book Description:
Country hat act Markus Kane is pretty skeptical when one of his oldest industry friends calls and asks him to do a joint tour. He and Seb haven’t seen each other in years, not since Markus quit drinking. Maybe not since he and Sebastian Longchamps almost lost their careers to the fact that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
Sebastian is a country-fried Cajun rocker, and he’s been missing Markus ever since they broke up all those years ago. His label thinks he and Markus are a match made in ticket-sales heaven, but Seb knows better. He knows that it won’t take even the tiniest effort for Markus to break his heart all over again, and this time around he has way more to lose.
Time has changed both men, though, and while Markus and Seb try to fight their addictions, the big music industry machine has plans for them that don’t include the quiet life. Can Markus convince Sebastian that there are things more important in life than adrenaline and control? And can Sebastian make Markus understand that all he really wants is his music and his man?
About the Author:
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her partner, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but is feeling the Colorado mountains calling. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
Twitter: @batortuga