Wednesday’s Writing & Words

Having recently relocated to the beautiful state of Kentucky I have come across some words and phrases that I’ve never heard before. Today’s word of the week is one that I find fun and interesting.

My daughter first told me this word and I thought she was making it up. I mean who has ever heard of catawampus? Doesn’t that sound like a totally made up word? Even as my daughter argued that it was a real word I thought she was just being creative.

Then one day as my husband was watching tractor pulling on TV the announcer said “things are just going all catawampus today.” My head snapped up at the same time my daughter said, “see I told you it was a real word.”

So I’ve picked it as my word of the week. Hope you enjoy it.

Word of the Week


 [kat-uhwom-puh s] Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.

askew; awry.

positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.

diagonally; obliquely:

We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field.
Origin of catawampus

1830-40 for earlier sense “utterly”; cata- diagonally (see cater-cornered ) + -wampus, perhaps akin to wampish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.

Examples from the Web for catawampus
Historical Examples
Word Origin and History for catawampus

also catawampous, cattywampus, catiwampus, etc. (see “Dictionary ofAmerican Slang” for more), American colloquial. First element perhaps from obsolete cater “to set or move diagonally” (see catty-cornered ); second element perhaps related to Scottish wampish “to wriggle, twist, or swerveabout.” Or perhaps simply the sort of jocular pseudo-classical formationpopular in the slang of those times, with the first element suggesting Greekkata-.

Earliest use seems to be in adverbial form, catawampusly (1834),expressing no certain meaning but adding intensity to the action: “utterly,completely; with avidity, fiercely, eagerly.” It appears as a noun from 1843,as a name for an imaginary hobgoblin or fright, perhaps from influence ofcatamount. The adjective is attested from the 1840s as an intensive, butthis is only in British lampoons of American speech and might not beauthentic. It was used in the U.S. by 1864 in a sense of “askew, awry,wrong” and by 1873 (noted as a peculiarity of North Carolina speech) as “ina diagonal position, on a bias, crooked.”

Today on Wednesday’s, Writing & Words we are interviewing author S.I. Hayes

Today on Wednesday’s Writing & Words, I’m excited to introduce S.I. Hayes, author of  Epic Fantasy Trilogy, The In Dreams Series & Centuries of Blood. 

Thank you so much for stopping by today and letting us delve into your creative mind!!


Three men, a single heart. What’s a girl to do? Especially when one of them has fangs…
16th Century England. A land at war. It’s people fighting, dying for a king who chases skirts and takes heads on a whim. It is a time of reformation, of love, lust, betrayal and secrets. Catharine Morrigan Cecil is but sixteen years old as the tale unfolds, but her soul screams to be free of Glastonbury. Named for a child lost, she is chained to a life she doesn’t want. Promised to a man whose ways foretell an unhappy life while still in love with another who will not fight for her.
Left rejected, in a reach for freedom she runs. Finding a mysterious town with an even more mysterious stranger. Alexandarious (Darious) is young, strong, and Immortal. A Blood Devourer. Knowing his nature, Catharine Morrigan dares to give him her heart. She has pierced him through and through, but his people are warring and her safety is in peril. He wants and needs the beautiful woman “Morrigan” is becoming. But his heart knows better. She deserves a full life, one he cannot give her.
The marriage bed awaits her as the Ottoman War zone calls him. The pair must separate to save the people to whom they are bound. While Darious fights for his Lord and Lady, Morrigan must fight for her survival at the hands of the man she calls husband.
Can they beat the odds, find each other once more and prove that love truly is Eternal?


  1. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Are you married? Any kids? Where do you live?

My name is Shannon Hayes, I write as S.I.Hayes. I’m not married, no kids, and I’m a recent transplant to Richwood Ohio. I grew up in Milford, Connecticut and until the move out west I was an Ansonia, Connecticut resident. I’ve been writing forever and publishing as an Indy since 2012.

  1. What genre do you write? Why do you like that particular type of story?

I prefer to toe the line on several genres quietly calling myself a Jack–of-all-trade-paperbacks. *Smiles* I tend to stay in the Paranormal and Epic Fantasy niches. But they run amok and bounce into Erotic Elements and I have a penchant for Dramatic Flair. I don’t know if it’s for a like of a particular genre or sub-genre that I write. I don’t usually know what area a work lies in until it’s done. I plan my work but only the beginning and the end. The middles sort of take me on a little adventures making me ask questions like, “Hmm, do they really want to do that? Perhaps I should roll for initiative? And Screaming I need action Points!! <- Those are D&D references for those who are not gamers.

  1. What are your fondest memories of writing or reading?

Fond reading memories? What an odd question. I suppose I have them, what they are however may take time to unveil. Although I have a bit of an Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles addiction. I can remember taking out the first four from the library when I was 13 and binge reading them over the course of 36 hours running on coffee and no sleep, so I could move on to the 5th book as it was just hitting shelves. Fun times indeed.

My best writing memory? Writing Awakenings: The Wrath Saga with Will Van Stone Jr, we started it in middle school and it took us forever to finish it!! I actually lost the manuscript a few times! And we kept having to start over from scratch! See we worked longhand writing the whole thing out then typing it up. We used to actually just sit there and run our moths about the scenes, and write down the good stuff. Dialogue, scenic descriptions, etc. That was good. If you have the opportunity to work with a likeminded partner I do recommend it.

  1. What are some of your favorite authors and books?

Hmm, let’s see… I mentioned The Vampire Chronicles, from Anne Rice. The Frankenstein Series from Dean Koontz.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Diaries of the Family Dracul from Jeanne Kalogridis.  There’s a bit of a pattern here… Gone with the Wind from Margaret Mitchell, The Inheritance Series from Christopher Paolini. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from Douglas Adams… The list goes on and on. I also love Mark Twain and Charlotte Bronte. Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.

  1. If you could describe what writing means to you, how would you do so?

If you want to be a writer you have in my opinion two options.

1: Go to school, where you will learn structure, and tactics designed and aligned by dead famous people, and probably lose you taste for writing altogether.

​          2: Pick up a pen and a notebook and just write! Write until your hand cramps up and the doctor tells you that you have Carpal Tunnel. But say nay to the surgery because it will be of no use unless you plan to stop writing. If you are compelled to tell a story simply tell it for the sake of the tale.

The second option is my way. I write because I am compelled to do it. I have always had stories swirling around in my head, if I don’t get them out of me I can’t sleep. When my Bi-Polar rears its head in the Manic phase I’m a writing demon. It’s all I do. All I want to do. In the depressive phase I can barely talk let alone write. This sucks to all hell. But I eventually pull out of it. IT’s these times that the writing saves me. It’s brought me out of some very dark places and I’m thankful for the talent no matter how it comes.

  1. What is your favorite snack & drink while reading/writing?

Coffee and Chocolate, like everyone else. *Grins*

  1. Which book do you think was best adapted into a movie? Why?

Clive Barker’s Cabal. It was made into a film called Night Breed in 1990. I always loved the film. The way it took the creatures of the night and gave them a voice, a story and made them horrifying while sympathetic. Showing the outcasts and what that meant for them when faced with the human threat. I got around to reading the book this past year. As I always found the books to be better… Well now I can say that in this case, the Directors cut of Night Breed is far superior to the film. The Novella was missing something. I mean the story was for the most part the same, it was well adapted from the work. But the film was the better showcase by far.

  1. Which book was the least successful adaptation into a movie? Why?

Queen of the Damned. An Anne Rice novel turned book in 2002, while it was a decent film alone, it was NOT a vampire chronical. I’m sorry but they gutted the original work and slapped in bits and pieces of The Vampire Lestat, making for a lukewarm and tedious film. Just terrible…

  1. Write your favorite quote and explain why you picked it?

“Humans like stories. Humans need stories. Stories are good. Stories work.

Story clarifies and captures the essence of the human spirit.

Story, in all its forms—of life, of love, of knowledge— has traced the upward surge of mankind.

And story, you mark my words, will be with the last human to draw breath.”

(Jasper Fforde)​

I don’t remember when I came across this quote, I’ve had it on my pages for as long as I can remember. There’s just something so raw about what he says here. So utterly truthful. So on point for us writers…

  1. Any other things you’d like to share?

A few more thoughts to my process…

Never rush it; I learned this lesson the hard way.

With Traditional publishing there are deadlines, and pressures to produce on a schedule, but I turned that route down because I would not cut my work more. My pride and my compulsion has driven me to write, and not wish to write for anyone but me. I tell the stories as I want to read them. Full of scenic flourishing, exposition, and dialogues. I try to paint fantastic worlds within worlds that may already exist. I try to create worlds that we as readers can hold on to.  I write for me, and choose to share it with all of you because I think that it’s the sharing that brings the work to life. To know that it is in the hands of a reader enriching them in some way is the most thrilling thing in the world for me. I do hope you take a chance and come walk the worlds I have created.

Candy, thanks for letting me run off at the mouth!!

LOL!! At least it’s entertaining mouth running. 😉


Shannon (S. I.) Hayes has been telling tales for so long as she has been able to talk, and began writing them down shortly thereafter. She is the singular author of the In Dreams… Series, and a Paranormal Historical Romance called Centuries of Blood: Becoming. Shannon is the Co-Author to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal Drama likened to Big Brother meets The Real World of the Preternatural, as well as several blogs and host to her own website.  In her own words… I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep and f***. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters be they human or something altogether else are no exception.

I don’t adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn’t presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.

I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda can’t help m’self. It’s my best and worst personality trait, well mostly, being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worse. But I believe that the disorder has made me, well… Me.

I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped and molded it in to the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference.


A Writer’s Mind, More or Less

The 131 Preview Review





Call to Arms – Book Marketing Results

Thought I’d share this as it has some wonderful info for marketing. Enjoy!!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Following my Call to Arms, a number of you responded by sharing with me your book marketing experience. I now have about a hundred responses by some fifty authors. Although some of the responses were expected, there were quite a few surprises in there for me.


For anyone wishing to take a look at the raw data, you can download this Excel spreadsheet. I grouped the results according to whether the book was offered full-price, discounted or free. I also have a fourth category titled Other, that includes any entries where this was not specified.

To compare the various ad media, I came up with a number that represents the ratio between number of sales and cost of advertising. In other word, if you spent $1 and had one sale, then this number would be one. If you spent $1 and had two sales, the number would be two, etc.

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Wednesday’s Writing & Words


Today on Wednesday’s, Writing & Words I don’t have anything to post so I’m going to do a plug for the foreign exchange program I work for. Not only do I love hosting the students, I’m excited to be looking for good families to connect these awesome kids with. If you can’t host yourself, please pass along my contact info to family & friends and help me find homes for every student.



Would you like to learn a new culture without leaving the comfort of your own home? Do you like teenagers? Want to make a student’s dream come true? All this is possible when you open your home and heart to a foreign exchange student. International Experience is looking for host families for the coming school year. We have semester (5 month) and full year (9 month) placements.  The students are between the ages of 15 – 18. They have their own insurance and spending money. We ask that you provide a bedroom and area for homework, two meals a day (students pay for their own school lunch) and lots of love. For more information go to the IE website: or contact Candy Little @ (517) 231-1872, or email


Word of the week: Foreign 


of, relating to, or derived from another country or nation; not native:

foreign cars.

of or relating to contact or dealings with other countries; connectedwith foreign affairs.

external to one’s own country or nation:

a foreign country.

carried on abroad, or with other countries:

foreign trade.

belonging to or coming from another district, province, etc.

located outside a specific district, province, etc.


  1. of or relating to law outside of local jurisdiction.
  2. of or relating to another jurisdiction, as of another nation or state.

Word Origin and History for foreign


mid-13c., ferren, foreyne “out of doors,” from Old French forain “strange,foreign; outer, external, outdoor; remote, out-of-the-way” (12c.), fromMedieval Latin foranus “on the outside, exterior,” from Latin foris “outside,”literally “out of doors,” related to for1s “door,” from PIE *dhwor-ans-, fromroot *dhwer- “door, doorway” (see door ). Spelling altered 17c. perhaps byinfluence of reign, sovereign. Replaced native fremd. Sense of “not in one’sown land” is first attested late 14c.

Wednesday’s Writings & Words welcomes author MaryAnn Kemper

I’m so happy to interview MaryAnn Kemper and help launch her new romantic mystery in her Under the Moonlight collection. Her 4th book is coming out on June.  

If you like laughing while trying to solve the crime, you’ll love this series!!


 11146292_10155374394785462_131670532538708832_n   Author Bio:

MaryAnn Kempher’s books will test your crime solving skills and tickle your funny bone; with quirky characters and witty dialogue, her books will keep you guessing, and smiling until the very end.

Her books can be read out of order, but she recommends you start with her first, Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder which is a romantic mystery set in Reno NV, then Forever Doomed, which is a murder mystery set on a cruise ship.

Sweet Mystery is her most recent release and another “I did not see that coming.” murder mystery.

  1. What genre do you write in and why? I write mystery with a touch of humor. I enjoy creating a puzzle for people to solve, and at the same time making them giggle.
  2. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Are you married? Any kids? Where do you live?

I’m married with two teenage children. We live in Florida. I retired from the US Air Force in 2007 and started my first book in late 2008.

  1. What are some of your favorite authors and books?

So many authors I love. My favorite author is Agatha Christie; she inspired me to write mysteries. I admire and enjoy reading J.K. Rowling very much. I also love Jane Austen; I’ve read Pride and Prejudice at least 15 times, maybe more. Lastly, I enjoy Janet Evanovich’s books.

  1. If you could describe what writing means to you, how would you do so?

Writing is an odd beast. Frustrating and hard work. However, there are those times when the words seem to effortlessly flow. Those times make writing very enjoyable and rewarding.

  1. What is your favorite snack & drink while writing?

I drink coffee while I write, all day long. I don’t snack, but I do take breaks often and eat whatever is in the refrigerator.

  1. Which book do you think was best adapted into a movie? Why?

I think the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, was done very well. I own a copy and watch it at least once a year.

7.  Which book was the least successful adaptation into a movie? Why?

The Hobbit. That wasn’t a huge book but Hollywood managed to stretch it into three movies. Also, it was much more whimsical, or funny, than the movie version. Sure, it had some scary scenes, but Hollywood made it seem like a much darker book than it was. Lastly, they created a love affair that didn’t happen in the book. Just made that up.

  1. Write your favorite quote and explain why you picked it?

Off the top of my head—is a line of dialogue from a Harry Potter book. Dumbledore is speaking with Snape. Dumbledore realizes the Snape is still in love with Lilly Potter. He says, “Lilly? After all this time?” and Severus replies, “Always.” Such a simple exchange, but I love it. Packs so much emotion into such few words; J.K. Rowling is a genius.

  1. Any other things you’d like to share? This would be a good place to mention other works and share your buy links.

My fourth book in the Under the Moonlight collection, and another Jack Harney murder mystery, will be released in June. A link to my Amazon page is below:

Author FB page:


It was a pleasure learning more about you and your work. Thanks once again for joining us!!


Thank you for hosting me.



Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder

A midnight food run nearly gets Katherine O’Brian killed. She’s the only person to see the man who brutally murdered a local woman and the killer is hell-bent on making sure she doesn’t talk.

When Katherine meets Scott Mitchell; literally, tall, dark, and handsome, sparks fly, but despite their chemistry, both have their own reasons for wanting to stay “just friends”. When it becomes clear that Katherine’s life is in danger, they’ll work together to try to figure out what the police haven’t been able to—the identity of the killer, before Katherine becomes his next victim.

Scott and Katherine will face jealousy, misunderstandings, lust, and rivals, not to
mention attempted murder—and all before their first real date.


Contact info:





Author Website:


Wednesday, Writings & Words is featuring Thriller novelist, Kim Cresswell

Sorry I’m so late posting this week. My husband and I took a trip to Tennesse for our 25th anniversary. We didn’t get back until last night anad I was tired so I slept in.

This week I’m promoting Kim Cresswell, the author of the thriller, Retribution.






Once the top leader of the Sur del Calle cartel, Colombia’s largest drug trafficking organization, Pablo Sanchez has declared revenge against Blake Barnett, the FBI agent who’d killed his twin brother over a decade ago.
After one failed attempt forced him to flee the United States, Pablo has a bold new plan and he’s even more determined to kill Blake and  his fiancée, Whitney Steel.
From Las Vegas to the militant infected jungles of Bogota, Blake has no choice but to risk his life and infiltrate the cartel’s inner world and eliminate the ruthless drug lord.

Purchase Link



Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada. Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including; working in legal and adult education before returning to her first love, writing.

Her debut romantic thriller, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards: RomCon’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalists (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine’s Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner (2004), and an Honourable Mention in Calgary’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) The Writer’s Voice Contest (2006).

Kim’s short novel thriller, LETHAL JOURNEY, was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003) and more recently won RomCon’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (thriller/suspense).

Her action-packed thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, “Buckle up, Hang on tight!”

Kim recently entered the true crime writing arena. Real Life Evil – A True Crime Quickie (two short stories) was published in January 2014. You can read her latest true crime stories in Serial Killer Quarterly, a new quarterly e-magazine published by Grinning Man Press. You can read her latest true crime stories in Serial Killer Quarterly, a new e-magazine published by Grinning Man Press. She is also a member of The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC), a non-profit, volunteer based organization of professional investigators who assist in solving cold cases.


Web Site:



Foodish Friday – Feeling Greek?

Since my daughter became a pescaearian (vegetarian that also eats seafood) a few years ago, we’ve been creating new seafood recipes. When you limit yourself to only eating a few sources of protein, dinners can get quite monotonous. Therefore, I try to come up with new inventive dishes.

This Greek inspired shrimp and pasts dish is one of our favorites. It combines the salty flovers of olives & capers with a little bit of spice. The salty/spicey combo mingles in your mouth like two Salsa dancers. I made this for our goodbye party when we moved from Michigan to Kentucky and several people wanted the recipe. That was 8 months ago. Sorry it’s late but I finally have time to post the recipe. 🙂

Besides tasting fantastic it is also a very simple recipe and only takes about 30 minutes to make. I love fast dishes that have big flavors.

I don’t have a name for this dish. I just call it Greek Shrimp & Pasta.









1 lb. short pasta (any kind will work, but I usually like the twisty pasta)

Shrimp (I use a whole bag of frozen, raw shrimp)

Half a jar to a whole jar of green olives roughly chopped

Whole jar of capers (Do not drain)

1c. shredded parmesan cheese (real not the stuff in the can)

1/4 – 1/2 C. Olive Oil

1/2 – 1 tsp red peper flakes

1/4 – 1/2 tsp cajun spice

1-2 tsp. lemon pepper

1 Tbls. old bay seasoning

salt & pepper


Cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking get the shrimp ready. Run cold water over the shrimp for about 5 minutes. Make sure the shrimp is peeled and deveined. You can buy it already deveined but the shell is still on it.

Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat for a few minutes. When oil is hot, add the shrimp and all the spices. Adjust the amount of pepper flakes, cajun & old bay seasoning to your taste. I tend to like the heat range around medium, but my daughter loves it super hot. I suggest adding just a little and tasting. You can add more later if you want more heat.

Cook the shrimp a few minutes on each side. Shrimp is done when it’s pink and curls up.

Next, drain the pasta, add the shrimp, geen olives, capers and cheese.

Since you aren’t draining the liquid from the capers, you can also add a little bit of the olive liquid too. This just helps give it a little more of a salty taste. If pasta seems a too dry you can add more olive oil.

That’s it!! Your done. Hope you enjoy this recipe.