TLC Book Tour: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon



Diana Gabaldon

Back Cover:  "The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles.  Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"-- in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord..1743.     Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart.  For here James Fraser, a gallant young scots warrior, shows her a love so absoloute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives."

Have you ever read a story that so captures your attention, when you are done, want to turn right back around and read it again slowly and savor it, bit by bit.   I'd been hearing about Outlander for quite a while now and just never got around to reading it.  I think I found the 850 pages daunting.  When I heard about the TLC book tour for Diana Gabaldon's latest book in the Outlander series - Echo in the Bone, I just had to jump aboard.  It would make me clear the decks and take the time to read the story. For some reason deadlines work well with me.  Surprisingly, once I sat down and started reading the book, the 850 pages no longer seemed so daunting.   I had a hard time putting the book down.   I'm a fast reader generally and finished the book sooner than I was ready to "finish" the story if you know what I mean.  Outlander is a wonderful historical romance with beautifully written characters.  I fell in love with Claire and Jamie and now look forward to reading the rest of the series.   

The books in the series are:

1) Outlander
2) Dragonfly in Amber
3) Voyager 
4) Drums of Autumn
5) The Fiery Cross
6) A Breath of Snow and Ashes
7) An Echo in the Bone

To celebrate the release of An Echo in the Bone in paperback, Diana Gabaldon's publisher is offering one free copy of the book for me to giveaway.  The giveaway will be open until 11:59 PM September 7th to US/Canada residents only.   Please leave your name along with your email address in the comments.  The winner will be picked via  

Thank you to Lisa of TLC Book tours, Random House Publishing for providing me with a courtesy copy and Diana Gabaldon for writing such wonderful characters.  Check out the rest of the Tour here

Faith, hope, charity and God - Telling it like it is

Faith + Hope + Charity + God = Love

Look at these pictures. Isn't that the most amazing sight!

Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Washington DC to join in the 8/28 Honor rally put on by conservative news talk show host, Glenn Beck.   I watched part of the rally live on Facebook, then watched the whole thing on Cspan.   It was interesting to read the newspaper reports the next day.   The New York Time treated the rally fairly and other newspapers not so fairly.  People either love him or totally hate him.  
However, all of them missed the  the true scope of the rally. The pundits talked about who was there but they didn't report on the purpose or what really happened. It wasn't all about Glenn Beck, he simply made it happen.  

One of the main reasons for the rally was to raise funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.   Do you remember Desert One, when our special forces attempted a Iranian hostage rescue. Many of the men were injured or killed.  The fund was created to take care of their children, to provide them with an education.   
The Warrior Foundation is currently committed to providing scholarship grants, not loans, to more than 800 children. These children survive more than 700 Special Operations personnel who gave their lives in patriotic service to their country, including those who died fighting our nation's war against terrorism as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan and the Philippines as well as "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

The goal of the Honor rally was to raise enough money to help provide grants to all our special forces children.  More than $5 Million was raised.   I did not see this mentioned in any paper or on any newscast.   

Sarah Palin spoke at the Rally. She wasn't there in a political capacity, she was there as the mom of a soldier.  She was there to tell the stories of three American soldiers:  Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of a mission in Afghanistan:  Eddie Wright, who despite having his hands blown off when his company was ambushed in Fallujah, lead his company to safety; and Tom Kirk, a combat pilot who spent 5 years as a POW in what was known as the Hanoi Hilton.  Did you hear about any of this in the papers?  

Three medals, designed by Glenn Beck, representing Faith, Hope, and Charity  were handed out to three outstanding citizens.  The medal for Faith was given to Reverend C.L. Jackson who told the story of when he was a boy and standing on the mall, watching and listening to Martin Luther King give his "I had a dream" speech.  The hope medal was given to baseball star Albert Pujols and the Charity medal to billionaire philanthropist John Huntsman. 

Dr. Alveda King, the niece of the late Martin Luther King and daughter of A.D. King, also spoke and honored her uncle Martin Luther King.  

Over 200 clergymen/women from every religion joined Beck on stage in a show of christian solidarity.  Beck said "although we don't agree on the fundamentals, we all believe in God."   

The Rally was partially an old fashioned religious revival and partially to honor our military and military veterans.  There were no politics involved.  It is interesting to note that for a crowd that size, it was peaceful and not one arrest had to be made.  It is also interesting that for a crowd that the size, the national park service is reporting that they all cleaned up after themselves and no trash was left on the mall.   May seemed insignificant to most, but remember with woodstock or any other concert that has even been held - the mess that had to be cleaned up.  

Anyway, whether you agree with Glenn Beck or not, he has polarized many people. I don't always agree with him myself, but he makes you think and ask questions and not accept blindly what the news says.  

As my husband always jokingly says:  "Don't confuse the issue with facts"

If you missed seeing the Rally, you can see the full video here

The end - how sweet it is!

I just finished writing the first draft of my 3rd WIP Eyes in the Ashes.  I still need to type up the pages from my last few writing sessions, but in essence, the first draft is done.  The story took a different direction and my main character turned out to have less of a role than I planned, while my minor character stepped up to the front.  For a while there I was stumped. Things just weren't flowing and I felt like I was pulling teeth, plus wasn't sure where the story was going.  That's what happens when I try to control the process, instead of letting it flow naturally.   The ending turned out different as well. I thought I needed a couple more chapters to wrap things up but it just kind of flowed and came to a natural end.  It was a "wow, yeah, that makes sense, that's the end." moment.  Glad I recognized it.  However, it does leaves me with a opening for a possible sequel.  Hmmm!  We'll see what happens with the edits but I am going to let it rest for a bit.   

I picked up a great book the other day at Borders - Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer.

In it he talks about your public booklife and your private booklife.  While reading the private booklife portion, several things struck me, but the biggest thought -  Just Write!   Instead of worrying about word counts or how long to write, watching the clock and worrying about what I wanted to do next, just sit down and write.  Relax and write.  It worked.  Yeah!

Sarah from Confessions of the Unpublished asked this week in Wannabe Writers:
Does your writing ever surprise you?  I realized something about one of my characters that shocked even me.  I never knew or intended this certain character to end up like they are.  It's almost as if they've developed a mind of their own.  Has anyone else ever had this happen?

Yes, my writing does surprise me.  You get those aha, where did that come from moments, what moments and you think - "I thought of that, I wrote that?"  It's amazing what happens when I open my mind and let the words flow.  And yes I do think characters develop minds of their own and rebel or push you to tell their story, their way.   It may not be the story you originally set out to tell.  I used to think writers were a bit odd when I heard them talk about their characters taking over the story.  Now I understand.

Where do I go from here?  There are several ideas ruminating around in my brain, too many to form a coherent outline at the moment.  Plus I have two other WIP's that need to be edited.  Both stories are calling me, characters who have been waiting patiently, yelling equally loud. Time for me to start reading a few more books on editing and figure out the best plan.

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary!

Saturday, we went to a family party for John's side of the family. Most of his aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and their kids were there.  Including his cousin, Monsignor Jimmy Kidder who performed our marriage ceremony 13 years ago.   Every time we get together with his family, various member always talk about our wedding.   It seems to stand out in their minds as being a truly beautiful, warm, loving ceremony.   We were reminded of the ring blessing ceremony.  When Monsignor asked for the ring, my sister only handed him mine.  After finding out he had not been handed John's ring, he waved his hand, smiled and said "Oh it'll take."  Well it certainly did take. 

One of our favorite Jazz Singers, Ella Fitzgerald singing our song, The Man I love.

No Technology Week - Posts to Ponder while I unplug

Three weeks into our summer vacation and it is time for an attitude adjustment so we are taking a  break from technology and unplugging for a week or so.  I'll leave you with a few posts to ponder while we are off writing, reading and playing.

James Scott Bell asks - Is there a writer inside of you?

Robert Gregory Browne's - Blank.  The importance of backing your stuff up.

Lady Glamis aka Michelle Davidson Argyle's book Cinders is now available at smashwords. 

I recently became a member of International Thriller Writers, Inc.  Check out the newest thrillers released in August.

There are many new reviews  posted on the SFF Masterworks Reading Project blog.  Check out Larry's latest on Fantasy Masterworks # 2 Lord Dunsany's Time and the Gods or  Harry's SF Masterworks # 2 Richard Matheson, I am Legend. 

I have yet to read Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, but I'd be remiss in not mentioning Trish of Hey Lady! Watcha Readin's Official Mockingjay 13 District Blog Tour.   Are you team Gale or Team Peeta? 

…books are piled on our tables, spill in heaps from stuffed shelves, and lie about the floor and on chairs like spoiled pets. I have a miser's greed for books, and I pick them up at random to read a passage or follow an argument or inhabit a poem. I carry them from room to room, portable transitions of thought, of the past into the present, only to put them down in a maddening disorder. Guests sometime ask, "Have you read all these books?" My answer must be no. But they are there for me to read, or reread someday. If I am to have welath it is in my books, and when I regard their spines presed together on the bookshelves, observe the casual sculptures they make on a table, my spirit becomes cozily furnished.–Hillary Masters, In Rooms of Memory: Essays

Lumby on the Air by Gail Fraser

Lumby on the Air


Gail Fraser

Back Cover:  "Pam and Mark Walker are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a week-long family reunion and a ceremony renewing their vows. Mark breezily dismisses Pam’s misgiving about temporarily closing Montis Inn and heads off to the county fair, to try his hand at both chainsaw sculpting and sheep shearing, with chaotic--and hilarious--results. Meanwhile, Pam juggles her thrill-seeking mother, who has a new “friend with benefits,” and her non-conformist niece, who posts family secrets in her online blog . Then Mark’s brother-in-law starts broadcasting his radio talk show live from Montis Inn. His remarks disparaging small-town life cause immediate rifts, especially when he sides with a real estate developer who wants to turn Lumby into a Las Vegas version of Aspen. As the controversy pits family against family, and neighbor against neighbor, will the spirit that defines Lumby triumph once again?"

Lumby on the Air is the 5th book in the Lumby series by Gail Fraser.  Great as a stand alone and read in order of the series, Lumby on the Air continues with Pam and Mark Walker and their exploits running the Montis Inn.   Unbeknown to Mark, Pam has invited his sister Lynn to the reunion.  His sister's ex-husband had embezzled money from Mark and his business and he hasn't see Lynn since the trial.  Pam's mother surprises her when she arrives with her boyfriend whom she's been living with for the past year.    Mark's other sister arrives with her husband, Carter, a radio shock jock who proceeds to turn the living room into his own personal recording studio.  And his older brother's daughter arrives bringing her two laptops, various recording devices and an attitude.  If you think your family is dysfunctional, you'll really appreciate them after reading this story.    

You'll laugh at the exploits of Mark when he enters several competitions for the county fair:  bull obstacle, sheep shearing, buzz saw sculpture and making a duct tape models, despite the fact he doesn't have any experience doing any of them.   Plus you have Hank, the pink flamingo in all his glory showing up everywhere. 

Lumby on the Air is a very endearing story about families and learning to get along, life lessons, character, forgiveness and love.  Escape into the town and with the characters of Lumby and you'll be glad you did. 

Lumby Series

1.  The Lumby Lines
2.  Stealing Lumby
3.  Lumby's Bounty
4.  The Promise of Lumby
5.  Lumby on the Air

Thank you to Caitlin of FSB Associates for providing me with a courtesy copy of the book. 

Pages:  496
Publisher:  New American Library
Released:  July 6, 2010

In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I do not receive any compensation in exchange for  this review. The review is based solely on my opinion of the story and extremely subjective.  I do not sell the books or receive any compensation from any of the links to online book sellers, authors or publishers. The links are for informational purposes only. 

Libri Multus - new to me author edition

M.J. Rose's The Reincarnationist:  Interesting thriller mixing modern day with ancient times.  Photographer Josh Ryder catches a terrorist bombing in progress and is injured in the blast.  He starts suffering flashbacks and experiencing the memories of characters from ancient Rome.  Somehow, it all ties in with his life in the present.  He uses the memories to dig deeper into the past and solve the mysteries in the present.  Full of twists and turns and surprises.  The book started a little slow and I shelved it a couple times before going back to it a third time.   The third time was the charm.  Not a book that can be read in small chunks.  To really get into the story, needed to sit down and dive into it.  Book 1 in The Reincarnationist series followed by The Memorist and The Hypnotist.  

Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife:  When I first started this time traveling love story, wasn't sure was going to like it, but it sucked me in.  Henry is a librarian and has chronic displacement order which simply means he can't stay in one time or place.  He randomly jumps time and where ever he travels to must quickly find clothing and a safe place until he figures out where he is.  He falls in love with Claire.  Over a period of time he meets her starting when she is 6 years old and eventually they meet in real time.  He meets himself periodically and his older self even  stands in for himself at his own wedding when nervousness causes him to leap.   Very interesting story and now I want to see the movie.

Robin Parrish's Offworld:  A christian paranormal story about a group of 4 astronauts returning home after 2 years to find that everyone, including all the animals has disappeared.  They try to figure out what happened.  When they discover a huge bright light shining up and over the city of Houston, they decide to go see what is causing it.  Along the way, they run into a young homeless girl name Mae.  They can't understand why she is the only one around and what her presence means.  They discover they just might not be as alone as they thought, when something or someone keeps trying to stop them from reaching Houston.  Excellent story and once you start reading it, won't want to put it down.

Toni McGee Causey's Charmed and Dangerous:  Toni's first book in the Bobby Faye series. Bobby Faye is bad luck.  Everything she touches breaks and something is always going wrong.  Poor girl is having a hard day. She wakes up to water overflowing from her washing machine, flooding her trailer to discover her brother has been kidnapped by a drug overlord. He wants something she has and she better get it to him soon.  She inadvertently or so she thinks,  gets involved in a bank heist and is soon running from the law, with a handsome stranger, trying to get to her brother.  The colorful dialogue will make you laugh and the non stop action leave you breathless.  Excellent story and definitely worth reading.  Looking forward to reading more Bobby Faye Adventures. 

Notes from Underground

Well, I  did it.  I took the plunge and entered Literary Lab's  Notes from Underground contest. 

The title comes from a novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that is part rambling narrative and part story. It's a piece of writing that is both highly experimental and deeply personal. For the contest, we want you writers to feel that same freedom of expression, taking out the judging process to the best of our ability.

Taking a tip from Dostoyesky and the myriad number of stream of consciousness stories I've read over the past year, I got creative. The first part of the contest is the application - a free form, no rules, no holds barred 5 page montage convincing the judges (Davin, Scott and Michelle) why your writing should be included in the anthology.   The first couple pages were a meandering walk through my past and all the jobs I had which over a 30 year period were remarkably eclectic and exposed to me to a myriad number of characters.  People who loved to tell their life stories to complete strangers - they do, they really do.  And how these experiences taught me to write and lead to this point. The 2nd part a short story which just flowered into something interesting.  

For the 2nd stage of the process, they'll choose 25 folks who will each get to submit a 10 page story of their choice to be put into the anthology.  The book will be published and available on smashwords and amazon and all proceeds will go to charity.  

I just realized why I was nervous about the whole thing. Because it is my first time to enter any type of writing contest.  I'm proud of myself for taking the leap.  Taking that first step and getting over the first hurdle is always the hardest thing to do. Now that I've done it, hopefully it is going to spur me on to finishing my current WIP.  Once I'm done with that and start working on editing my other WIPS, I may just try my hand at other literary contests.  

Wish me luck!

Happy 11th Birthday James

Why God Made Little Boys
(author unknown)

God made little boys in a wondrous dream of man.

Gave them strength, courage, dignity and will.

And the curiousity to seek new horizons, to sail, fly

Reach for the stars.

God loves His boys for their spirit and pride.

He watches over them as they grow

For it is through the miracle of little boys 

That mature man is realized

And in their hands He has placed 

The future of all living things. 

I have this poem hanging on my wall to remind me everyday about the blessing of boys. James is my miracle child, a beautiful blessing whom we will treasure always.   You see, I never really thought we would have children.  When Father was 17, he was electrocuted while working on a Marshall amplifier and thrown across the room.    I always had it in the back of my mind that there was the possibility we would never have children.  I was proved wrong, fortunately. God blessed us with one.   James - our one and only beautiful, inquisitive, smart, precocious, spirited, loving boy. 

Happy Birthday James!!!!

Sunday Salon - Bright and Shiny or dark and mirky?

I just love this picture, it speaks to me for some reason.  Just look at it!   It speaks to me of how we experience books and reading.  Really!   How stories consume you -  burst over you with a dramatic splash or ebb and flow slowly with the tides.   Some books you devour quickly and others you savor slowly, thoughtfully.  Stories full of light, bright and shining; others full of shadows, hiding what's just beneath, making you stop and look, search for what is under the surface.   I have a wide variety of books on my nightstand, the majority -  mysteries, thrillers or science fiction with a few romantic and romantic suspense novels thrown in.    I seemed to have been in a romantic mood for the month of July.  I guess after all the reading for my Nobel Literature class (I got an A by the way!) I needed to relax and escape. 

  1. A Summer in Sonoma - Robyn Carr
  2. Ice - Linda Howard 
  3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
  4. Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
  5. Causing Havoc - Lori Foster 
  6. 206 Bones - Kathy Reichs
  7. Lumby on the Air - Gail Fraser (review book)
  8. Shiver - Lisa Jackson
  9. The House on Olive Street - Robyn Carr
  10. The Lace Makers of Glenmara - Heather Barbieri (review book)
  11. The Search - Nora Roberts
  12. Dangerous Games - Keri Arthur
  13. Comes a Horseman - Robert Liparulo 
  14. Simon Says - Lori Foster
  15. Embraced by Darkness - Keri Arthur 
  16. The Rembrandt Affair - Daniel Silva (review book)
  17. The Perfect Couple - Brenda Novak
  18. The Bodyguard - Adair, Showalter and O'Claire 
  19. Nauti Trilogy - Lora Leigh
For the month of August, I'm going to try and slow down a bit and savor a few books, rather than consume many.  August is going to be my writing month - no book commitments, no book blog tours.  I'm going to concentrate on finishing "Eyes in the Ashes."  I had the thought a couple days ago.  What would happen if I gave up reading and blogging for a week and spent that time writing.  Can I do it?  How much would I get done?  I have a to do list and honey do list longer than my right arm at the moment.  I imagine much would get accomplished, but I do tend to get grumpy when I don't read.  Reading is as necessary as breathing to me.  I was really tempted to join in on Literary Escapisms August New Author Mini Challenge, then I stopped myself. She had 40 authors sign a poster board while she was at RT Booklovers convention and all their books sound so good.  I even downloaded a few on my nook.  Alas!  

I am currently working on my application for the Notes from Underground Contest which is due August 15th.  The first step:

By August 15, we want to see a 5-page free-form application that convinces us that your writing should be included in the anthology. This will be the "contest" part of the contest. You can use words, images...whatever you want (that can be e-mailed). It doesn't have to be the story that you want to publish, even though that would be all right. It doesn't have to be a story at all. It could be a proposal, a resume, a story idea, poetry, flattery...anything. Got it? Anything.
Sounds intimidating to say the least, but going to give it a try.  Father even has gotten the writing bug.  He started reading my writer's digest magazine the other day and the short story writer's prompt in it sparked a few creative cells.  He's decided to write a short story and enter the competition.  He's been telling me all about his story and I can't wait to read it when he's done. 

I'm off to contemplate, read and write. 

The Sunday