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Friday, October 6, 2017

What Did I Do This Summer?

It's hard to believe it is October and I haven't posted here all summer. It has been a busy summer and I frankly had too much to do. So when someone on my publisher's thread said she had a new blog I realized I hadn't said anything about my summer here.

So for all those who have been waiting to hear and have not found out through Facebook or Twitter, my summer was fabulous! It started with my winning the award in the photo above at IndieGathering a film festival in Hudson, Ohio. I didn't go, but my dear friend and mentor, Amy Leigh McCorkle, picked it up for me there. She had her own awards to gather too. She is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. Her films have also won awards. So here is the story of how I, a young adult author, decided to write my first screenplay.

For anyone who has read my poetry book, You'll Probably Forget Me: Living With and Without Hal, you have read my story of how I met my husband. I told this story to Amy and she said that it would make a great screenplay. I should write it. She urged me to write it and then enter it into a couple of film festivals. I did write it and Amy was kind enough to help me learn how to format a screenplay. With her help I found the entrance to all the film festivals and I entered my short screenplay, "The Kiss" into two of them: IndieGathering and Action on Film. I also tried entering it into a film festival close to me. So with my screenplay in three film festivals, I was sure it wouldn't be accepted into any of them. Imagine my surprise when both IndieGathering and Action on Film selected my screenplay. That would have been enough for me, but my film was nominated by both film festivals. IndieGathering nominated it as a short Romantic Comedy and Action on Film for Best Dialogue in a short screenplay. Ecstatic over these nominations I wanted to go to both film festivals, but finances were a problem. I felt sure I wouldn't get an award, but Amy kept assuring me I would place. So I was thrilled when I got FIRST PRIZE!!! at IndieGathering!!!

Not believing that Action on Film would even give me an award, I decided to prepare to go to Las Vegas where the festival was being held at the Palms Hotel. What clinched my decision to go was the film in which I was in was also nominated. Not sure if I talked about this film when it was done, but it is called "Remembering Hal". It is based on my book: You'll Probably Forget Me: Living With and Without Hal. Again, Amy loved my poetry and wanted to do something to help me remember my husband. So she picked out five poems and I read them interspersed with answering her questions. My daughter interviewed me and filmed it on the IPad and I sent it all to Amy. She put it together and this film was nominated for Best Short Documentary at Action on Film. It was supposed to screen there, but unfortunately, there was a problem with the DVD and it never screened. You can see it here on YouTube:

This movie was done last year and I had thought it was just a fun experience. But when I heard it might be screened in a Brennan Theater, which has reclining soft chairs and a large screen, I wanted to go. The experience in Las Vegas was fabulous and I met some amazing people including celebrities. But the best part is my short screenplay, "The Kiss" won RunnerUp for Best Dialogue in a short screenplay. I went to two awards dinners, met a few actors and an actress, and had a meaningful conversation with a director about his new film just screened.

The Palms was an awesome experience and it's sad to think that on that Las Vegas strip just outside our hotel the vicious actions of a deranged gunman caused so much pain and sorrow. Having been there so close to the time of the shooting, I felt it very strongly. My time in Las Vegas consisted of partying and dancing and having a good time. That is what people go to Las Vegas for and I hope that with this terrible tragedy, it won't affect the spirit of that place. You can see it even in the cab drivers, who were very courteous and informative. My heart goes out to this city that has suffered so much strife and my hope is that somehow we can stop these awful things from happening again. My deepest sympathy to anyone who lost a loved one or friend there and for all the hundreds of people who have been injured by the diabolical plan of that shooter.

There you have it, why I didn't blog all summer and I promise you I will try very hard to bring you special guests and authors.

Until the next time, enjoy the Fall weather and try to listen to my radio show this month. It will be on the 4th Thursday of October - October 26, 2017 at 4pm EDT on Blog Talk Radio. It is called: Red River Radio Tales from the Pages. I will have Amy Leigh McCorkle on the show talking about her long-planned project, "Letters to Daniel" the movie. She and her co-writer, Melissa Goodman have written the screenplay and it has also won awards. The next step is to film it and she is in the process of gathering her team together for this venture. Please join us as we talk with Amy and her team to find out more about this exciting project!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Welcome Back Author Dellani Oakes!!

The month of April flew by and suddenly it became May and that was even busier for me. So I am finally getting back here and I think you will be very happy that I did!

My guest author today is a longtime friend and multi-published author, Dellani Oakes. Let's learn all about her. Then we will be treated to a preview of her new book: The Maker, the third book in her Lone Wolf series.

Welcome back to my blog, Dellani!! I know you are on your blog blitz and I am so happy you stopped in here. I have a few questions that my readers might want to know about you.

Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee but have moved around a lot. My husband and I moved to Florida, just south of Daytona Beach in 1989.

Who or what influenced you to begin writing?

My parents are the major influence in my writing life. They both encouraged reading, storytelling and writing when I was younger. My father was an English professor and my mother a school teacher, who was also a storyteller and poet. Neither of them wrote fiction, I went my own way on that.

Besides writing do you have any hobbies?

I used to, but now don't really have any hobbies. Wow, that sounds terrible, doesn't it? Unless you can count a serious Netflix Binge Addiction a hobby. When I'm not writing or tending to my family, I am glued to Netflix. I tend to favor cop shows or those with a medical bent.

Tell our readers what a typical day of writing would look like for you.

My days follow a loose schedule. In the morning and early afternoon, I check and share blog posts for myself and my friends. If there are any chores associated with the blogs, I tend to them. Short break for a late lunch, then I decide what I'm going to work on. If I'm editing, I'll work on that during the day and into the evening. Most of my writing is done late evening or at night. My creative mind seems to work best then.

If I've just finished a book, like now, I will take a break from it and do some casual editing of something I've already finished. I am constantly perfecting, finding errors and rewriting things so it's not as big a job when I decide to get something reader ready.

How did you get the idea for The Lone Wolf series?

I originally set out to write the adventures two friends of mine, and I had in a Traveler game back in the early 80s. Traveler is like D&D, only set in outer space. Matilda, Marc and Wil were born in those long ago games. Once I started writing, the characters took over, and what happens in the books is nothing like what happened in the games. That's okay, though, because the book adventures are better.

How did reading science fiction and watching science fiction influence your choices for The Lone Wolf series?

Reading science fiction gave me a feel for the unique and off the wall, no holds barred mindset of sci-fi. You can go anywhere, do anything, and it doesn't matter. As long as you set your parameters and don't violate them (too much) you can travel the stars.

I try not to be influenced by series like Star Wars or Star Trek, because people have expectations for those worlds. I want my universe to be unique and not a carbon copy of something else. I've tried very hard to stay away from those worlds.

The Maker - Book 3 tells the story of Wil and his wife Matilda, who are battling evil on the planet Shazakan. For readers who haven’t read the other two books, can you tell us how he got there?

Wil VanLipsig is a former Galactic Marine Colonel. He's been genetically enhanced by the Marines and at the age of 86, he doesn't look over 30. Unbeknownst to him, he fathered a son with his first love and now that indiscretion has caught up to him. His son has set him up for a fall, then takes off for parts unknown. Wil and Matilda must follow him in order to save the universe, quite literally, from a legendary evil race known as the Kahlea.

By a few twists of fate, and lots of crazy adventures, they end up on the planet, Shakazhan, a virtually dead planet in deep, uncharted space. It is on this planet that an ancient warrior race, the Timokuan, made their last stand and drove the Kahlea away. Because of Wil's son, though, the Kahlea are coming back and they and their companions must stand against them.

In the excerpt you provided for us here, something happens to Matilda. Will she be okay in the rest of the book?

That's something readers will need to find out by reading the book. I won't give spoilers, but I rarely kill off main characters in my stories.

How did you get the idea for Wil and Matilda? Are they based on any real life people you know?

Wil, Matilda and Marc, are based on characters two friends and I created for a Traveler game back in 1982. My character was Matilda Dulac, also known as Romance. One friend created Marc and the other Wil. I changed their characters' last names, though, because I couldn't remember them. Except for having been loosely based on their characters and mine, they are completely my own creation.

Are you planning any in-person or online events to talk about this new book?

No. Maybe later when Book 4, The Kahlea, comes out – which will be late summer or early fall of this year – I hope.

If you could meet any writer living or dead, who would it be and why?

Oh, there are so many! I think I'd have to pick Andre Norton, because her book, Star Man's Son, was the one that woke a love of science fiction in me. I went through a time when I was in the third grade, where I didn't want to read. I'd been told by a clueless school librarian that I couldn't read above my grade level. In third grade, I was reading at least a sixth-grade level. She banned me from the older books.

My mother, wise woman that she is, took me to the city library instead. One of her dear friends was the head librarian. She took me to the young adult section of the library, told me to pick whatever I wanted, and I could check it out. If I didn't like it, I could always get another. I remembered that my mother had taken my cousin to meet Andre Norton when he was a boy, so the name struck a chord. I fell in love with her books and that stuck with me my entire life.

Thank you for providing us with such complete answers and I know my readers now want to see an excerpt. So I just happen to have one from The Maker:

The Maker – Book 3 in the Lone Wolf Series by Dellani Oakes

If anyone had asked Wil VanLipsig where he'd be in five years, he surely wouldn't have said he'd be fighting the ultimate evil on an unknown planet in a lost galaxy. Fighting a war, probably. Killing off insurgents, righting political wrongs, following another man's agenda, decidedly. Funny how life throws things in our paths that we must overcome. Wil is no different. With the help of his wife, Matilda, their good friends and benevolent aliens, they battle the Kahlea's slaves, wondering when the Grand Master himself will arrive. What's next for this tiny, insignificant oddment of miners and marines? Travel to the forgotten world of Shakazan and find out!
The Maker is Book Three in the Lone Wolf Series, with more to come. The story is far from being told.


Wil dragged Matilda back down the tunnel. Roaring, Surau rushed them from the rear. Ben and Marc took shots at him, but they didn't have time to aim carefully. The shots went wild, zinging around the tunnel dangerously. They holstered their weapons and provided a meat shield for Matilda. Wil ran, dragging her down the tunnel.
They encountered nothing until they got to the first junction, where the metal passage intersected with the stone tunnels. Instead of being empty as it had been, they found themselves facing tall, dark humanoids. These carried lethal looking spears and didn't appear angry, just startled. Raising their spears threateningly, the dark men charged the group.
Finding the way blocked, the unlucky humans veered off down the metal passage, footsteps echoing hollowly as they ran. Matilda tripped over her skirt, as it wrapped around her legs. Taking one set of claws, she slashed a portion of it away, freeing her feet to run more efficiently. Wil's grip on her arm was painful, bruising her skin, leaving her muscles feeling numb. She did her best to keep up, but his legs were far longer than hers, his stamina greater. The passage grew increasingly dim as they went further in. They had never been so far from Sentience and her repaired networks before. They initiated their Kindred suits as the air around them thinned and grew stale.
The dark men surged down the tunnel after them, their numbers overwhelming. Ben and Marc formed a wall, with Wil directly behind them. He tried to contact the ship to teleport them out, but there was too much interference. Backing slowly as the men advanced, Marc picked off two with carefully aimed shots. Ben joined him, taking out a couple more. Their weapons were set to stun, but to the dark men, their comrades appeared to be dead.
Instead of stopping, the men grew more determined, advancing rapidly. As one, they suddenly lunged forward, making a grab for the small, retreating party of humans. One grabbed Marc, who crushed the dark man's skull with a blow from his gun butt.
Another held Ben, who summarily broke his arm, yanking it from the socket. The dark man screamed in pain as Ben's blow to his head killed him. Wil kicked a third in the teeth, before aiming down the tunnel, targeting the leader. His kill shot was true.
The dark men stopped advancing as their leader's head exploded. With a mighty roar, they made a last, monumental attempt to grapple with the humans. Wil pressed his wife behind him, trying again to contact the ship. There was a crackle of static and a faint acknowledgment from Hammer.
"Smith, get us the hell out of here!" Wil roared into his com.
The dark men gathered their dwindling numbers, preparing for a final assault. Growling angrily, they reformed their ranks around the fallen, glaring at the humans with hatred.
Wil shouted to his wife, "Run, Matilda! We'll catch up to you! Run! Run!"
Matilda hesitated a moment. The passageway was dark, she could feel it surround her. Even the Kindred suit couldn't compensate for the complete lack of light. Her nightmares came back, freezing her in place.
"Wil, I can't! I can't see a thing! Oh, God, Wil, I'm so scared!"
"Babe, it's okay. Hammer has us. He'll get us out of here. Please, keep going a little longer."
Hesitantly, she picked her way along, the floor sagging beneath her feet. The ceiling was partially collapsed, filled with so much rubble, she had to stoop to move. The others were engaged in combat, she could hear it. All her instincts screamed at her to go back, to fight beside her mate.
Wil's voice echoed down the passage, "Run!"
One of the dark men broke through their line, scrabbling over the stones, nearly on top of her. Matilda knew Wil was aiming at him. Flattening herself against the wall, she pressed back as far as she could.
"Now!" she screamed. "You have a clear shot!"
The weapon fired as she ducked, turning further away, sensing the electromagnetic pulse from Wil's gun, hit the dark man in the back, hurling him toward her. She tried to dodge him, but a hand shot out from his dying body, clutching at her flowing dress, dragging her with him. The floor collapsed beneath their combined weight. The man fell like an anchor into the nothingness below her. Kicking wildly, Matilda struggled for a hand hold, screaming hysterically.
Wil heard her scream, felt the give in the floor and ran full speed down the passage. The ceiling collided with this forehead, the sides of the passage snagged his clothing. "I'm coming! I'm coming! Hang on!"
"Wil! Oh, Wil! I'm falling! Wil!" A scream ripped from her throat, fading away as she fell.
Wil reached for her a second too late. He saw her dropping into the bottomless pit. His cry of despair turned into a howl of grief. A moment later, the men found themselves on the bridge of Hammer. Matilda wasn't with them. Wil lay on the floor, still as death.
"Oh, God," he whispered. "Oh, God! No!"

I know that I definitely want to read more about these characters. Where can we find this book?

The Maker – Book Three is ready for pre-order and will be available May 15, 2017


It has been delightful to talk with you today and I also want to tell my readers that you can hear Dellani on her two radio shows in her bio.


Dellani Oakes is a Tennessean by birth, a Floridian by a quirk of fate. She resides in a town south of Daytona Beach where her constantly changing household usually has at least one grown child in it. Dellani loves science fiction and grew up reading the greats. She always felt something was missing from their story lines—a little romance. Taking that idea to heart, she began her Lone Wolf Series, incorporating all she loved about sci-fi, but adding a strong romantic bond between Wil and Matilda.
Dellani is an avid writer, but when she's not writing, she's reading anything she can get her hands on. She leads a small writers group through the Council on Aging, enjoying her time away from home. She also hosts two blog talk radio shows a month, Dellani's Tea Time – Every 2nd Monday of the month, and What's Write for Me – every 4th Wednesday. She and her co-host, Christina Giguere, interview other authors.
You can find more about Dellani Oakes here:

As always all of your comments are welcomed!

Until the next time, I hope you will be able to tune into my radio show on Thursday, May 25, 2017, to hear author and poet, Cynthia Sharp and award-winning author Eleanor Kuhns. If you miss the time you can hear it anytime by clicking on the link.
If you are a Facebook friend then you already know this, but to any who have not seen this news, my short screenplay, "The Kiss" and my poem, "My Thoughts Turn To You" -- a Scriggler poem of the day, are official selections for Action on Film festival. I was so surprised because this is the first screenplay I have ever written!!
Many people have said that my poems affect them. If you are looking for a gift for someone who has lost a loved one, you might want to think of my poetry book, a memorial to my late husband. You'll Probably Forget Me: Living With and Without Hal.
 If you buy the book and would like it signed just either leave a comment here or contact me on Facebook. I will send you a personalized bookplate.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Can You Find When You Google Yourself?

Ordinarily, I don’t Google myself. After learning about an awareness initiative run by Reputaion I decided to write a post about this very subject. So I did Google myself and I found 10,200 results. After I went through 13 pages I found 150 hits and most of them were about me. I am an author with three published books, so they were for various websites including Amazon and also there were entries for places where I had been a guest blogger or a guest or where you could find reviews of my books. This was all fine and I was very pleased to see that I had to go through 13 pages before I came to anything that wasn’t specifically about me. In addition to places where I posted there were those where I had left a comment and even a few where I had signed my name to a petition. 

This was all okay, but when I came to the 14th page I found that there were references to another Ehrentreu. My husband’s family has a very famous rabbi and I found many references to this person whom I have never met. Also, there were references to other Ehrentreu’s that I didn’t know. 

When I checked the photos I found a lot of me, my book covers, and photos of me holding my books taken at various places where I had been selling them. But there were also photos of book covers from authors that I had hosted on my blog and other photos that were related to a poetry site to which I had belonged. In addition, there were photos of other Ehrentreu’s. There were also photos of people I had never met. There was even a photo of an actress who I had never written about or had any contact with. 

The interesting thing about signing out of Google is that there were only eight pages shown and all of them were about me or related to me. I went to the photos and videos and I found a video of myself being interviewed that I hadn’t remembered. It was fun to see it and it brought back memories for me. Also included were videos not about me, but they were the same program on which I had been. So I wondered why these were included.

When I went to the News about me I saw the article from The Huffington Post that I had written and there were a couple of other items that had nothing to do with me except for having either written a comment or signed something.

I was happy not to find anything that I needed to delete since that has happened to me before with Google. At that time there was a pornographic site in my results. I wrote to Google and they deleted it immediately. 

In conclusion, I think it is very important to Google yourself every once in awhile to see what is showing up under your name. I was pleased for the most part, because as I said, at least 8 pages without being logged into Google were about me. I think it’s interesting that when I was logged in it brought up more hits about me and added other people named Ehrentreu, who I know are related to me somehow. Now I’m wondering if you Google yourself while being logged into Google are they bringing up other people who have your name due to the relationship? Anyway, I learned something new about Google.  I have a bigger profile than I thought I had. For an author, this is a good thing!

I am including a graphic that was given to me by in case you decide to Google yourself.

Until the next time, I apologize for not writing since my last post. I have been extremely busy and writing poetry. My next Blog Talk Radio show, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages will be on Thursday, April 27, 2017, with Eleanor Kuhns and Betty Jean Craige, two amazing authors.

Happy Passover to those who are now celebrating as I am and Happy Easter to those who are celebrating this weekend.  It’s finally Spring so I am going out to feel the sunshine!

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