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Showing posts from July, 2011

ROW80 Check in: What's your hurry?

So...What's your hurry?   I had the 'oh my god, nothing is getting accomplished, I should be doing something right now' feeling at the beginning of the week.  Then I realized.  What's your hurry? It's summer. Relax a bit.  After months of pushing through 5th grade lessons with James and all my class stuff, now that we're done, I still feel like I should be doing something.  Like planning 6th grade, researching writing classes, setting up a schedule, writing more.....  This past week I let the air out of the balloon.  I deflated and flopped. Stopped, relaxed and read, read, read.   I was *gasp*  lazy.  I flaked on the morning pages and wrote only a couple days this week on the WIP (but I was thinking about it alot).  I was good though and did the treadmill 4 days this week.   I also did my cheer-leading duties and visited lots of ROW80 folks.  I did my darnedest to visit as many folks as I could, leave encouraging comments.  And got a case of the nasty …

TLC Book Tour: Tobacco Wars

Tobacco Wars 

Paul Seesequasis

Synopsis:   "Set in the early 17th century, Tobacco Wars follows the mythical and rollicking adventures of Pocahontas and playwright Ben Jonson, from the inns, alleyways and royal courts of London to pirates, perilous crossings and hostile warriors in the New World. And as worlds are turned upside down and irrevocably altered, a new commodity, tobacco, intoxicates the Old World just as an “Indian princess” undertakes her own age of exploration."
The synopsis makes it sound interesting does it not?  The back of the book gives a slightly difference synopsis of the story which explains the book a bit better and if it had been available, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read the story.
"Laced with humor, eroticism, theatre and the 'wild' of the Americas, Tobacco Wars turns history as taught upside down, while it celebrates the perseverance of 'tricksterism' in contemporary Native American literature.  A consummate st…

Two Tuesday Teasers

"He flashed a one-sided smile, baring a long eye-tooth and dug a fingernail into the cork, then flipped it out of the bottleneck as if tossing a coin.  Champagne gushed and Godalming filled the glasses Florence held beneath the bottle.  His Lordship accepted mild applause with a handsome grin.  For a dead man, Godalming practically burst with life.  Every woman in the room was fixated upon the vampire.  Not entirely excluding Penelope, he could not help but notice."

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman - page 31

"Still staring at her, the jaguar lowered the boy to the planks, but kept one paw on his chest, pinning Tyler down.  "Lorna..."   She kept her gaze fixed forward, recognizing the preternatural intelligence in those eyes.  "I know what I'm doing," she whispered back to Jack.  At least, she hoped she did."

Altar of Eden by James Rollins (pg 122 of ebook)

Wanna play?  For more teasers, head on over to Miz B's

Sunday Salon: Ooh la la! murder, mayhem, deceit, romance - what a combination!

I'll admit it.    I read a lot of books and generally enjoy most of the books because I have a system.  I'll read the synopsis, then check out the first page.  If the first page captures my attention, will pick random pages here and there.  It's generally harder when buying online unless familiar with the author.  I love Amazon and Barnes and Noble because you can peek inside the book.  I always try to find an excerpt that will give me some idea of the author's writing style and if the story engages me.   There have been times have thrown caution to the wind and either been pleasantly surprised or really really hated the book. I usually don't do negative reviews but going to make an exception for a book I read for TLC Book Tour - The Tobacco Wars. Trish talked me into - saying folks will appreciate a honest review rather than not saying anything at all.  Besides its the first book I've read as a TLC Book tour host that I actually didn't like.    My review w…

K is for Kiss the Moon

Kiss the Moon
Carla Neggers

Book synopsis:  Lost in the frozen woods of New Hampshire, Penelope Chestnut discovers the wreckage of a small plane. An aviator herself, she sees clues to a conspiracy in the rusted-out remains.  Rumors of her discovery bring Wyatt Sinclair to Cold Spring, determined to put to rest a family scandal and learn what really happened to his legendary uncle, who had disappeared with his adventuress lover years earlier.   As Wyatt and Penelope investigate, old motives are uncovered and new ones created, including a growing attraction between the pair. But when an unknown enemy emerges with a violence rooted in desperation, uncovering the truth will be far less problematic than surviving it. 
Mystery, intrigue, tension, secrets, surprising plots twists - Carla Neggers sure knows how to write them.  I discovered Carla a year or so ago, when I came across The Black Falls Series and read the first two books:  Cold Moon and Cold Pursuit.  About to start readin…

Note from the Universe:

It's kind of strange,  but first you have to know what you want, defined in terms of the end result. And then you have to physically move towards it, without defining the hows.

At which point, the thing you want actually starts coming to you, on its own terms, from a direction completely unexpected.

Not unlike a cat, 

                  The Universe

ROW80 Midweek check in

We have had absolutely beautiful summer weather and enjoying sitting out on the patio, hanging out with the cats and the birds and nature.  Probably should take a picture one of these days, surrounded by sleeping or lazy cats.  The only problem is when I get up, one of them takes my chair.  :)   Sneaky buggers.  I'm writing away on my WIP Red Thief slowly but surely.   How long does it take you to finish a first draft?  It seems NaNoWriMo helps me get a major chunk done, then it takes a few months for me to finish.  I'm sort of a pantster, but have a vague outline. I know where I want to go with the story.  However, we seem to be avoiding that big scene.  Not sure if it's me or my main character dithering about escaping or she's just trying to get all her ducks in a row.   Been discussing it with myself in morning pages. Hopefully me, myself and I will come to a conclusion pretty soon.    I pretty much come to the conclusion, the morning pages do have some value, but …

Changeling Moon and Changeling Dream by Dani Harper

Changeling Moon:  "He roams the moonlit wilderness, his every sense and instinct on high alert.  Changeling wolf Connor Macleod and his Pack have never feared anything -- until the night human Zoey Tyler barely escapes a rogue werewolf's vicious attack.  As the full moon approaches, Zoey has no idea of the changes that are coming, and only Connor can show her what she is, and help her master the wildness inside.  With her initiation into the Pack just days away and a terrifying predator on the loose, the tentative bonds of trust and tenderness are their only weapons against a force red in tooth, claw...and ultimate evil."

Changeling Dream:In times of stress Jillian Descharme has always found calm in her dream of a great white wolf with haunting blue eyes. But she is startled when the visions return and this time seem so real. Late at night he comes to her, speaks to her, touches her.

Thirty years ago James Macleod lost his wife and unborn child to a killer bent on destroy…

Teaser Tuesday: Murder in the Marais

"As the pilot announced descent into Charles de Gaulee Airport, Hartmuth Griffe,  the German trade advisor, felt the acid taste, drier than the cabin atmosphere, fill his mouth.  Fifty years and now he was back.  His heart raced.  Despite the surgery, he feared recognition even after all these years.  And the past.  What if somehow she'd survived?"

Page 18 of Murder in the Marias (An Aimee Leduc Investigation) by Cara Black

Play along at Should Be Reading

We have winners!

The winner of Ben Kane's The Silver Eagle is  
Rebecca of Sticky Note Stories

The winner of S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep is
Herding Cats

Congratulations, Ladies.

ROW80: Are we there yet?

"Creativity is oxygen for the Soul" - Julia Cameron

I finally finished The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.   It took me longer than 12 weeks because...well, just because.   It was fascinating and interesting and taught me much about myself.  There are many things she said that resonated with me.   One thing that really stuck out was:
"Creativity is a spiritual practice.  It is not something that can be perfected, finished and set aside.  It is my experience that we reach plateaus of creative attainment only to have a certain restlessness set in.  Yes, we are successful. yes, we have made it, but.....

In other words, just when we get there, there disappears."That is such a profound statement. Just when we get there, there disappears.  It resonated with me because I just finished working on my Bachelor's Degree.  I'm there. I did it. I'm done.  But am I really?  The question is what now.  I've been experiencing that bit of restlessness she mentioned…

TLC Book Tour: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson + giveaway.

Before I Go To Sleep 


S. J.Watson

Synopsis: " A terrible accident has robbed Christine of her memories. She cannot remember the past--or even yesterday.  Determined to discover who she is, she has begun keeping a journal before she goes to sleep. Before she can forget again.  But the truth may be more terrifying--and deadlier--than she bargained for..."
Imagine waking up in the morning and not recognizing the place or the man next to you in bed  The panic, the oh my god, where am I, what have I done.  Sneaking into the bathroom and being unable to recognize the face looking back at you from the mirror.  Face wrinkled, hair short and my hands. Old, wrinkled, veiny. The panic.  Then you see, pictures taped around the edges of the mirror.  One that says your name, Christine.  Another pointing at the the picture of the man you woke up with -  his name, Ben. The words your husband with an arrow pointing at him.  Going back out into the bedroom to face the stranger in the bed. 

Tuesday Teaser: Before I Go To Sleep

This morning I went into the kitchen.  My life, I thought, is built on quicksand.  It shifts from one day to the next.  Things I think I know are wrong, things I am certain of, facts about my life, myself, belong to years ago.  All the history I have reads like fiction.  Dr. Nash, Ben, Adam, and now Claire.  They exist, but as shadows in the dark. As Strangers, they criss cross my life, connecting, disconnecting.  Elusive, ethereal. Like Ghosts.
And not just them. Everything.  It is all invented.  Conjured from nothing.  I am desperate for solid ground, for something real, something that will not vanish as I sleep.  I need to anchor myself. 

Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson

Sunday Salon: Reading, Writing and the internet.

This week I delved into Nora Roberts MacKade Brothers series on my Nook.    She always put me in the mood for writing.  I love her writing.  She has a way about it and does it so smoothly.    I discovered her books back in 2007 during National Novel Writing Month and have been hooked ever since.  Her characters and stories draw me back time and again and every time I reread one of her series, I discover something new. And you are left with that feeling of warmth, strength, being a part of something.  Don't know how to explain it.   She's the master and in striving to write on that par, if I end up writing half as well as she does, well then I'll have something to be proud of.  If that makes any sense.
This week I also read Changeling Moon (released June 1st)  and Changeling Dream (released June 28th)  by Dani Harper.  Her debut paranormal series about werewolves.  Both well done and will be reviewing soon. The third book in the series, Changeling Dawn won't be coming…

Review: The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

The Preacher's Bride 

By Jody Hedlund

Back cover:   No matter the sacrifice, Elizabeth Whitbread would serve a wounded family.   No matter the danger, John Costin was determined to speak God's word.  Neither expected to fall in love.  As enemies threaten to silence Costin--and those close to him--will following their hearts cost John and Elizabeth everything?"
I've been following Jody Hedlund for quite a while now and was thrilled when her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride came out.  It is a historical fiction novel based on the life of John Bunyan (writer of Pilgrim's Progress) and his wife, Elizabeth.  Hedlund took creative license and wrote an story that is so touching and emotional, it catches and pulls you in and won't let you go until the very end. 
The setting, 17th century England during the time of the puritans.  John Costin's wife dies during childbirth, leaving him with 4 children to care for.  Elizabeth volunteers to care for the children and c…

ROW80 round 3 / 1st check in

To see how or what everyone else is doing, go here.

Yes, it's only been a couple days since the round started.  I've been good.  As soon as breakfast is over, I'm retreating to the patio to write first my morning pages, then work on WIP.   I'm currently putting my main character in jeopardy.  Nothing like a bit in intensity to get the story moving.   The things we put our characters through.   I also discovered a quick way to get unstuck.   I found some great character interview questions on querytracker quite a while ago.   I just go back and ask one of my main characters a question or two.    It's amusing the responses I get depending on the mood of the story.   Raised eyebrows, scoffs, pointed looks.  What questions have you asked your characters lately?

Review plus giveaway - The Silver Eagle by Ben Kane

The Silver Eagle


Ben Kane 

Book Synopsis:  They fought against almighty odds at the very edge of the known world--and lost.  Ten Thousand legionaries are all that are left of a once powerful Roman Army.    In the first century B.C., trapped in Parthia by Crassus's failed invasion, the legionaires that survived are captured and marched to the edge of the known world.  Among them are three friends, Brennus the Gaul, Tarquinius the Etruscan soothsayer, and Romulus, a runaway slave and the bastard son of a Roman nobleman.  All men with troubled pasts and united in their hatred of Rome, they never stop dreaming of freedom.  Together they must face the savage tribes that surround them, as well as the more treacherous enemies within the ranks of the legion itself.  Their character will be tested to the utter limit as they struggle to find a way back to Rome.
Meanwhile, Fabiola, Romulus's twin sister, tries to maintain hope of her brother's survival with fighting for her own.  Fre…

Stories for Sendai

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded hit the city of Sendai in the Tohoku region of Japan on Friday March 11. The magnitude 9.0 quake unleashed a deadly tsunami that slammed into Japan's east coast, leaving a swathe of devastation in its wake. Thousands of people lost their lives, and many are still missing or injured. Thousands more have been left homeless and destitute.

As a testament to the generosity of the world's citizens, emergency appeals have been swiftly set up in the aftermath of the quake, but I'm sure many of you, as we did, had the same thought: our donations seem so puny. There must be some other way we could make a difference!

With that in mind, Stories for Sendai was born!

The Stories for Sendai Anthology is a collection of 19 short stories and one poem. Some are inspired by the events of the earthquake in Sendai; others are simply stories of hope and inspiration. All are uplifting and worth reading. Please consider buying a copy of th…

Meme: Writing is like

There's a new writing meme floating around out there that I discovered at Susan's of West of Mars, she of the  viva la Trevolution fame.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go check her out.  She was tagged by Darie Helle who discovered it from and so on and so on. The meme Writing is Not like a bunch of Chocolates originated with Michelle of Greenwoman:  
Forrest Gump’s momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I suppose the same could be said of writing, but . . . since we’re writers, we feel compelled to come up with our own silly comparisons.

Hence the creation of the Box of Chocolates Writing Meme–in which you may compare writing to anything but a box of chocolates.

How does it work? Take the phrase “Writing is like . . .” and finish it. Post it on your blog. Tag three others to do the same. That is all. See how easy that is?
Writing is like?   Writing has never been as necessary as breathing for me. Read…

Sunday Salon: Goals, goals, goals

Summer is truly here in the valley as the thermometer creeps toward 100 degrees.  However, I am enjoying being able to sit out on the patio once again  in the early morning and write.   My creativity and productivity seems to have increased as well. Something soothing about the sounds and look of nature.  Our laurel bushes and other bushes have grown tall enough to block out views of the neighbors roofs so all I see is colorful greenery and sky.  *Sigh*

The third Round of Words in 80 days starts tomorrow, July 4th.  For those who aren't familiar with ROW80, it is a writing challenge which allows you to see your own goals and if need be, due to life and other circumstances, change them as needed.  There is a dedicated blog where everyone checks in Wednesday and Sunday.  The beauty about is everyone supports each other and encourages those who need it and cheer on successes.  I'm a sponsor this time as well so it will be fun.   I've meet some fantastic writers and discovered …

J is for Janeology



Karen Harrington

Book synopsis:  "When mothers kill their children, people want to know why.  People want to know how it happens under the watchful eyes of the loved ones who lived by their sides. So, when Jane, loving mother of two, one day does the unthinkable and drowns their toddler son, her husband Tom is devastated.
When a prosecutor decides Tom is partially to blame for her son's death and charges him with "failure to protect," his attorney proposes a radical defense:  he will create reasonable double about Tom's alleged guilt by showing that Jane's genealogy is the cause of her violence, that Jane inherited her latent violence the way one inherits a talent for music or predisposition to disease.  Thus, he will argue, no one could predict or prevent the tragedy, as it was merely waiting to emerge. 
Aided by a woman with the power of retrocognition--the ability to see past events through objects once owned by the deceased--the dark-biology th…