Our 14th Anniversary!

"Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots." ~Hoosier Farmer

Are we not like two volumes of one book?  ~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik

Happy 14th Anniversary to my wonderful husband, friend and soul mate. 
I love you to infinity and beyond

Sunday Salon: ideas, ideas, ideas

Happy Sunday!  We are in the midst of getting ready to go on vacation to Washington.  During Brenda Novak's Diabetes Auction, I won a week long stay at an author's guest house on Lake Morton. None of us has ever been to Washington so are quite excited about the whole trip.  All kinds of interesting things to do in the area like the Experience Music Project,tour of the Boeing Plant, the Seattle Aquarium. Plus just hanging out and relaxing.   We will be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary and hubby's 52nd birthday also. 

I was trying to figure out which books to take with me to read on the plane.  I have my nook but you have to power down during take off and landings, which really is a pain in the butt I discovered the last time we flew.  Decided to let my A to Z challenge be my guide and picked Out of Time by Alton Gansky.  His writing reminds me of Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.   I'm so psyched to discover Peretti has another book coming out in March 2012.   I think The Present Darkness was the first christian paranormal suspense book I read and have been hooked ever since.  Scary, spooky, spine tingling, nail biting, don't read alone books. He really knows how to hook you into a story.

Speaking of being hooked, I've fallen in lurve with Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Series.  I'm currently on the sixth book "The Killing Dance."   There are 20 books in the series so looks like she'll be keeping me busy for quite a while.    I just finished Ann Patchett's State of Wonder.  First time author read.  At first, I wasn't sure about the story and had a hard time getting into it. But then it sucked me in and had me teary eyed by the ending.   Will be reviewing it soon and even have an extra copy to giveaway, thanks to the publisher.  

I'm up to the Q's in my A to Z by author and title challenge.  Have no earthly idea what going to read next and will have to do a bit of research.  If you have any ideas of stories by authors whose name start with Q please share. 

Making a lot of progress on my current WIP Red Thief.  Have been writing every single day this week.  Yeah me!   I also had an epiphany, the beginnings of a new story idea.   I love my 2nd main male lead Jake, about just as much as Richard.  I kept thinking he should be the one to get Sabrina, but I had planned on it being Richard all along.   So, today while writing, introduce Ginger and Jake plants a huge kiss on her.  Didn't see that one coming but bingo - the makings of another story, possibly the makings of a series.   I swore I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo again this year in order to concentrate on finishing and polishing up my other stories.  Who knows, we'll see.  Check out how everyone else is doing here.

Today will be doing lots of laundry, cleaning house, a bit of shopping, packing and tomorrow we are off for a glorious week.  I probably  (can't say absolutely, because you never know what may come up and I may be just to excited to wait   *grin*) won't be doing any posts but will be tripping about the blogosphere from time to time. 

T-T-F-N  Ta Ta for Now ---- tigger

The Sunday Salon.com

Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series by Lori Foster

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all… 

Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he'll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man's dirty smuggling operation. It's a perfect scheme—until Coburn's long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn't who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn's downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent….

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened—he knows he's been drugged… even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani swore she'd never trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts downs a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again? 

*sigh*  Lori Foster had done it again with the Men Who Walk The Edge of Honer Series.  Three handsome, tough men and three feminine yet strong women who don't let the men walk all over them.  

In When You Dare, Dare has gone on a covert mission to rescue Trace's sister from sex slave traders.  He also rescues another young woman, Molly, whose being held captive and badly beaten.  He decides to help her and find out who was behind the kidnapping and why.  He breaks his own rules and takes her into his home to care for her.  Repeated attempts are made on her life and until Dare discovers whose behind it, he doesn't plan on letting her leave. 

In Trace of Fever, Trace continues the search to bring down the people who kidnapped his sister.  He's infiltrated a sex slave trader's business and worked himself up to personal bodyguard for Murray Coburn.  Then Priscilla appears, claiming to be the daughter of Murray.  Murray is a slime ball and has an even slimier girlfriend whose quite sadistic.  Trace does his best to protect Priscilla, when she doesn't want to be protected because she has ulterior motives when it comes to Murray.  

In Savor the Danger, Savor has been attracted to Trace's sister for quite a long time.  When he walks up one morning to find her in his bed, but can't remember a thing, she is hurt and insulted. He goes after her and when she realizes he was drugged, protects him from her angry brother Trace, plus wants to help figure out what happened.  His being drugged leads back to the sex slave trade ring.  Amidst it all, savor's dead set on finding out the details of what they did the night before, what he finally said that convinced her,  since he's been fantasizing about her forever.  

All three books are built to stand alone, but all the characters are involved in the storyline.  The stories are full of action, twists and turns, humor and steamy romance. The books are available in paperback and ebook format.  Which made it nice since I loved reading the stories so much I purchased the ebooks so I could continue reading the story on my nook while doing the treadmill.  

Thank you to Lori's publicist for providing me with review copies of the books and to Lori for creating interesting and delightful characters.   For more information about Lori and her books check out her website.  

Find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Also check out her paranormal Servant series written under the name L.L. Foster

Life's a peach and Row80 Midweek check in - Groovin

Happy to say have gotten back into the writing groove.  Feeling much better and have been making progress the last three days.  Writing a couple pages a day and the story is moving forward.  That in itself makes me happy. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  My goals also include planning for home school which is actually going quite well. 

I'm making headway with 6th grade lesson plans.   Took me a few days but finally found the perfect curriculum for science.  I was looking for something completely secular without any christian bias to it, meets state standards and in textbook/workbook format.  Which surprisingly was hard to find.  All the publishers seemed to be changing to online textbooks.  Plus hubby handles the science lessons so it had to be something easily planned and implemented. And most importantly, hold James interest.  Holt, Houghton Mifflin, and McDougal Littell publishers developed a homeschool package -  Holt Science and Technology Earth Science package for 6-8 grades.   Big weight off my shoulders.  A bit pricey but well worth it since I now don't have to spend hours trying to develop a plan of my own. 

So have figured out the curriculum and  know just need to outline everything so can set up our schedule.  My plan was to get it done by the end of the month and by jove think will be able to do that. This morning I  outlined spelling, math, cursive and part of his writing program. I gave up, a few couple years ago,  trying to actually pre schedule everything out on the calendar because you miss a couple days and the whole plan goes kaput.  Easier to just go to the next thing on the list. 

And in case you missed it, but I don't know how you would, our fearless ROW80 leader newest book "Red" is available.  I downloaded it already and can't wait to read it.  Check out the excerpt.  If it doesn't catch you and hold on tight making you want to find out what happens next, well then I'll eat my hat. 

Check in on everyone else and see how they are doing.

Happy Writing!

Sunday Salon: The blahs and row 80 check in

Josephine Wall's Star Ship
Hubby passed on his cold to James and I so we both have the blahs and have been doing a lot of resting and reading.  James cold settled in his throat but fortunately he hasn't been throwing up.  Usually when he gets sick we end up spending a good amount of time in the bathroom with him hugging the porcelain goddess and of course he needs his mom during that time.   My cold settled in my sinuses and took away most of my energy.  I'm glad this all hit us the past week or two, because we are going on vacation a week from now to Seattle.  Everyone will be on the mend by then and ready to have fun. 

The Sunday Salon.com

I read Lori Foster's Men who Walked the Edge of Honor series which included "When Your Dare", "Trace of Fever" and "Savor the Danger."   Good good books with the more than handsome alpha males and strong female leads.  Also Kristin Hannah's "Night Road" which was quite the emotional read about love, loss and forgiveness.  I also discovered Lauren Dane and her Chase Brothers series.  Love discovering new authors.  I'm currently reading independent author Claire Farrell's YA paranormal story Verity on my nook.  Love that ROW80 has introduced me to so many new and different authors and I've been slowly reading their stories. Now just need to start reviewing them so you guys can read them too.


I completely failed this week with working on my wip - hard to concentrate with pounding sinuses. (Which is also why there was a lack of commenting on my part)  Though I did think about the story a lot, working it out in my mind and since starting to feel better going to put some concentrated effort into this next week.  To find out how everyone else is fairing, go here.

Book Blogger Appreciation week, hosted by the lovely Amy of My Friend Amy and a bevy of volunteers is coming up September 12 - 16.  They still need volunteers to help out with judging and other things so head on over and don't forget to register and submit your nominations. 

Over at 52 books in 52 weeks it is week # 33 and I'm  highlighting the latest NPR reader poll of their top 100 picks for Science Fiction and Fantasy books. Surprisingly I've read almost half of them.  Click on over and see how many you've read. 

Have a wonderful week!

TLC Book Tour: Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy

Everything Beautiful Began After 


Simon Van Booy

 ***  Spoiler alert  ***

Synopsis: Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor. Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about.  …And then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.

Everything Beautiful Began Again is the saga of boy meets girl, looses the girl, girl meets another guy, they all become friends, but unfortunately do not live happily ever after.  George meets Rebecca, he drinks too much, Rebecca meets Henry, they fall in love.  George drunkenly stumbles out in the street in front of Henry's car, who then takes him home to take care of him, starts friendship, then discovers Rebecca and George know each other.  They all hang out together, work together.   Then a massive earthquake kills Rebecca and Henry spends 6 months depressed and in hospital. Then leaves the hospital, cashes out his life savings, and travels for two years from airport to airport, getting on whatever airplane is available until at the end of two years.   At the point of the earthquake, the point of view changes to second person point of view in which the narrator is now telling the story with Henry now being addressed as "You."  Which totally threw me out of the story.   So now Henry is flying here, there and everywhere, writing letters to George about his travels.   Eventually Henry travels full circle and ends up back in Athens, where he retraces his life with Rebecca.  There's more but I'll leave it up to your imagination and he eventually finds happiness.  

I wanted to like this story and read the whole thing, simply because wanted to find out what happened in the end.  Pros - it's beautifully written, very poetical. I supposed there is some symbolism to the story with Henry's Greek odyssey.   Cons - the characters are flawed and I couldn't find anything good about any of them to like.  It helps if you like at least one character, know who to root for.   The 2nd pov ruined the 2nd half of the story for me. It simply wasn't my cup of tea.  However, many others loved the story so please check out their reviews:

"It is a book of aching beauty and compassion, that circles around the essence of what it is to be alive..Beautifully written, touchingly told, Van Booy radiates pain, fears, love and freedom on every page of this book.  Believe me when I tell you that this book is absolutely unforgettable."

"This is a gorgeous meditation on love and human connection, a poetic piece of work which completely captured me. Readers who are drawn to literary fiction and who seek out novels that transport them, will not want to miss Everything Beautiful Began After."

"Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy is a remarkable story about love, sympathy, and the search for truth."

"I am at a loss for words when it comes to Everything Beautiful Began After. I feel like I must say something profound. I’ve written draft after draft of less than profound drivel. Posting any of that would be like throwing pearls before swine. I simply cannot do that to this gorgeous book."

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be part of the tour, Harper Collins for providing me with a courtesy copy of the book and Simon Van Booy for his poetical writing.  I'm sorry it was just lost on me. 

Check out the previous stops of the tour here.

Visit Simon at his website. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Row80 Midweek check in - plodding

July 4 to September 22

Slow and steady seems to be my mantra lately.   Writing is a lot like doing the treadmill..slow and steady will get you there.   I also discovered that doing the treadmill for an hour at zero grade versus 30 minutes at 6.5 grade equals out in calories and it is less painful on my ankles.  Thank goodness for my nook.   According to our fearless leader Kait we are about halfway there.  I'm hoping, fingers crossed (virtually) will be done with the first draft of Red Thief by the end of this round come September 22nd.   Pretty much have decided won't be doing NaNoWriMo this year.  Really need to concentrate on editing the next round.  Watch me eat my words later when a really neat story idea comes up. 

Click here to see how everyone else is doing. 

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue


Keith Donohue

Synopsis: "Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects—eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.   Centuries of June is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving."

I'll admit when I first heard about Centuries of June and read the first few pages on Amazon, I was intrigued.  However, as I got more into the story, began to wonder what is the point.  Something I rarely do...usually can determine quite quickly the point of most stories.  I almost skipped to the end but decided to stick it out.  The ending was a bit of a let down.   At the beginning of the story, Jack is hit on the head as he enters the bathroom.  He comes to finding someone that resembles his father and a bit of Samuel Beckett as well sitting on the side of the tub.   The man demands some whiskey for his dry throat and in the process of going downstairs, Jack sees 7 naked women lying in his bed.   It gives him food for thought as he goes downstairs to get the drink.   The time stays eternally 4'ish in the morning and the majority of the action takes place in the bathroom.   His father saves him from being beaned in the head by the first woman who appears and then tells her story.   Progressively each woman appears in an attempt to kill him, but then calms down and tells their story.  

Their stories are a mixture of history delving into different time periods and fiction beginning with Dolly who tells the story about a native American woman who married a bear. There is Jane who disguised herself as a cabin boy on a ship of colonists during the 1400's and ends up marooned on a island.  Alice, accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch trials.  Marie whose entire body is covered in written tattoos which the father must read off her body to share her story about slavery and eventual freedom.   Flo during the gold rush era and Bunny, a femme fetale who cheat on her husband and tried to get her lover to kill him.  So what does this all have to do with Jack and ultimately the 7th woman still lying in the bed asleep.  It turns out he was the leading man in all their stories and by telling him, hope he will get it right in the next life. Because yes he is dead once again and will be moving on in an attempt to maybe get it right in the next life and have learned how to treat women with a bit more respect. 

Pros - the story is well written and the mythology and history recognizable. Con's - it got a bit tedious with each woman trying to kill him and the gab fest taking place in the bathroom between each of the stories until they were done.  The ending as I said was a bit of a disappointment.   If you like odd, existential ghost type like stories, then you'll probably enjoy it. 

Pages:  352
Publisher: Crown
Released:  May 31, 2011
Other thoughts:

In the Next Room:
"In the end, there are two sides to Centuries of June by Keith Donohue- the surreal and the human, and although I far preferred the historical stories to narrators' mystery, the entire novel offers quirky and intelligent writing that definitely has me intrigued to see what other oddities are in Donohue's repertoire."

FyreFly's Book Blog:
"I think Centuries of June would be worth reading for anyone who enjoys the story-within-a-story format, especially if they like their fiction literary, abstract, and a touch bizarre."

Sunday Salon: Education, reading mojo and Row80

Quick Row 80 Update:  Plugging away on WIP Red Thief.  Totally failed with morning pages - haven't been doing them at all.  *sigh*  Want to see how others are doing click here.

Life has gotten in the way this week with birthdays, father getting a cold, plus one of my technician's (who always manages to get whatever illness ten times worse) catching it, resulting in me having to work part of Friday and cover Saturday.  Thank goodness for my other technician who was able to cover and handle things at the shop on Friday afternoon.  I'm also in the midst of planning 6th grade and have been researching curriculum.  

Thought I'd see what the school system is using for science and interestingly enough, they have online textbooks and lessons.  Though James is computer savvy, the one thing he doesn't want to do is lessons online.  He's a have it in front of him, hands on, give me a workbook, type of learner.  Although he loves computer and video games and researches the heck out of them online, the same doesn't go for formal education.  He doesn't equate one with the other and believe me, I've tried.  Telling him, even showing him how to apply how he learns about his games to educational things and suddenly I'm getting the "duh" looks.  The computer is purely pleasure for him and he doesn't want to mix business with pleasure. 

He has to be able to touch it, see it, and feel it.  I'm almost at the point with all the stuff I've collected over the past couple years, that we're going to have an eclectic year, especially with science.  Makes it a bit harder and time consuming to put together, but the ends justify the means. Once I get it all figured out, will post what we will be doing for 6th grade.  

Speaking of James, check out his latest blog story - Yoshi Adventure.  He has quite an imagination. 

The Sunday Salon.com

Reading wise, I think my decision making mojo has up and gone.  The last few reviews books I've chosen and read, haven't liked.  Centuries of June by Keith Donohue found myself asking what is the point and wanting to skip to the end.  Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy ended up skimming half the book.  The point of view switched midpoint to second person point of view - the narrator talking to "you" as the character and totally threw me out of the story. My reviews will up later this week with a bit more detail.   At least my saving grace is Lori Foster - one of my favorite steamy romantic suspense authors.  I received her latest series - The Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor and going to start reading the first book "When You Dare."     Next up in my A to Z challenge by Author is - Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - and by Title - Night Road by Kristin Hannah

In the quest to read 52 Books in 52 weeks it is book week 32 and highlighting Ralph Waldo Emerson on the 52 Books blog.

Something neat I discovered this week online over at Rachelle Gardner's blog - WordServe Water Cooler.
A new group author blog from Rachelle's Wordserve Literary agency with Jody Hedlund, Karen Witemeyer, Rachelle Gardner, Katie Ganshert.  Be sure to check it out. 

Have a great week and happy reading and writing!

Happy 80th Birthday MOM!

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

-- Washington Irving

Love you to infinity and beyond - Happy Birthday!

ROW80 midweek check in -- escape!

Hide and Seek courtesy of  Faithful Chant

I've been going back and forth on how going to get to the great escape scene and finally hit the set up point today. The lead up to it didn't turn out like expected and actually surprised me.  I sat there a moment thinking - well, that was interesting.  Guess you just gotta have faith in your characters and let them lead.  That's it darlings.  Check out how everyone is doing here.

Teaser Tuesdays: Centuries of June

"Motionless on the edge of the tub, the figure of my father sat in the exact spot.  A tiny pinfeather stuck out like a flag from the prodigious wrinkle of his brow.  He did not drain his glass in a single gulp as might be expected of the parched.  Rather, he held the tumbler to the light, judged the liquid's clarity, sniffed its bouquet, rinsed his palate with a mouthful and only then swallowed.  The whiskey warmed him, brightened his eye, and raised the flow of blood to his pale skin.  He sipped another mouthful and the dryness vanished from his breathing, and he looked almost alive.  When he cleared his throat again, no feathers flew out of his mouth."    pg 10

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along.