Posts to Ponder while I'm at Left Coast Crime

I'll be attending Left Coast Crime mystery conference the rest of the week and will have lots of new and interesting books, pictures and stories to share next week.  I'll be working the registration desk Wednesday night, Friday and Saturday for a couple hours, then attending panels the rest of the time. I'm sure to find a few new books which I'll  be giving away for my 5th blogoversary celebration.  Thursday is a 2 part writer's workshop with Alexandra Sokoloff and Jennifer Sawyer Fisher each leading a session. 

Frank Peretti's newest book Illusion was released March 6th.  Check out the Frank Peretti ASK FRANK blog tour running from March 26th through April 4th.  He will be making a guest appearance here on My Two Blessings and 52 Books in 52 Weeks on April 4th.  All participants are doing a giveaway.

International Thriller Writers has a new anthology coming out on May 29th edited by Sandra Brown "Love is Murder" with  many of my favorite writers including Lori Armstrong, Allison Brennan, Toni McGee Causey, JT Ellison, Cindy Gerard, Heather Graham, Laura Griffin, Vicki Hinze, Carla Neggers, Brenda Novak, Alexandra Sokoloff, Roxanne St. Claire, Mariah Stewart, and Debra Webb.  It's available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

April is National Poetry month and Gerald So has announced on Criminal Element the 30 Days of The 5-2: The Crime Poetry Blog Tour.

I've declared April to be Read A Russian Author Month over on 52 Books and will be diving into The Brother's Karamozov by Dostoyevsky.  These lists will give you some ideas if you want to join in:

Amazon Listmania - incredible Russian Authors
Zeroland's Famous Russian Writer's and Poets
Talk Literature book Club chronological list of Russian writers 
Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days will be starting April 2nd and Mr Linky is up for those who are ready to commit to another round.

And Lisa of Laughing Lioness has a great review of the Movie The Hunger Games.  Yes, I've finally given in and downloaded the book to read. 

Speaking of which, all the Harry Potter books are now available in ebook.  Woot! Woot!

Sunday Salon: Happy 5th Blogoversary to me!!!

Going on a Journey by Jonathan Wolstenholme

Happy Spring my lovely peeps!  The beginning of Spring almost marks a milestone in my life 

 My Two Blessings 5th Blogoversary

My blog and life has evolved over the past 5 years.  We are in our 6th year of homeschooling,  I completed my Bachelor's degree, became a writer (albeit unpublished but working on it), discovered an wide variety of genres I enjoy reading, which led to being an online book reviewer, started the 52 Books in 52 Weeks reading challenge and made many new friends.  My life has been blessed in more ways than one through blogging and I appreciate every single person who takes the time to read and share their life with me. 

It kind of crept up on me this year so I'm still thinking of what we are going to do to celebrate. Stay tuned!!!!

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer. 

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The Sunday

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy

Synopsis: "When other little girls were dreaming about becoming doctors or lawyers, Alex Garrett set her sights on conquering the high-powered world of Wall Street. And though she's prepared to fight her way into an elitist boys' club, or duck the occasional errant football, she quickly realizes she's in over her head when she's relegated to a kiddie-size folding chair with her new moniker—Girlie—inscribed in Wite-Out across the back.

No matter. She's determined to make it in bond sales at Cromwell Pierce, one of the Street's most esteemed brokerage firms. Keeping her eyes on the prize, the low Girlie on the totem pole will endure whatever comes her way—whether trekking to the Bronx for a $1,000 wheel of Parmesan cheese; discovering a secretary's secret Friday night slumber/dance party in the conference room; fielding a constant barrage of "friendly" practical jokes; learning the ropes from Chick, her unpredictable, slightly scary, loyalty-demanding boss; babysitting a colleague while he consumes the contents of a vending machine on a $28,000 bet; or eluding the advances of a corporate stalker who's also one of the firm's biggest clients.

Ignoring her friends' pleas to quit, Alex excels (while learning how to roll with the punches and laugh at herself) and soon advances from lowly analyst to slightly-less-lowly associate. Suddenly, she's addressed by her real name, and the impenetrable boys' club has transformed into forty older brothers and one possible boyfriend. Then the apocalypse hits, and Alex is forced to choose between sticking with Cromwell Pierce as it teeters on the brink of disaster or kicking off her Jimmy Choos and running for higher ground.
Fast-paced, funny, and thoroughly addictive, Bond Girl will leave you cheering for Alex: a feisty, ambitious woman with the spirit to stand up to the best (and worst) of the boys on the Street—and ultimately rise above them all."

The things we'll do when we land what we think is the job of our dreams. Alex Garrett always dreamed of working on Wall Street and when she lands the job of her dreams, she thinks she is going to be living the glamorous high life.  Instead she starts at the bottom and instead of fast trades and lots of money, she's running errands and spending long hours filling in spreadsheets.  She's willing to work her way up however and plays the game. When the financial crisis hits, she discovers just how much she's willing to put up with to live her dream.  Bond Girl is interesting as well as educational, since the author spent 10 years working on Wall Street herself and give readers the inside look into the world of finances, stock and bond trading.   You laugh, groan, cry and cheer out loud for Alex as she fights for respect, earns it and show them all how to be smart and classy.

Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a copy of Bond Girl and Erin Duffy for making an unusually staid subject amusing and interesting.

Visit Erin on Facebook

Sunday Salon: Headline News - Dieting cat discombobulates household

Poor Herbie Bear is having issues again and has to go on a diet. As you can imagine in a household with 4 cats who are all on different feeding schedules and like to munch throughout the day, this has thrown them for a loop. But...But...But... Why is he getting something different. I want what she's eating. I'll just wait til she leaves the room and dip into the bag when she isn't looking. Quick he's outside, give me food...Now!  

They are learning to eat when the dishes appears because they could disappear at any moment. And hubby is learning not to give when sweet faces peer up at him, meow longingly and wind their way around him.

Writing wise, I haven't accomplished much this week. I'm just not happy with the opening of Blue Steel. Since I didn't take much of a break from it when originally finished the first draft and seem to be stuck, going to set it aside and give it a rest while I work on  Eyes in the Ashes.  My goals for this week will be simple - figure out my plan of action.

1)  finish typing up remaining pages - discovered didn't type up the last 3 or 4 chapters.
2)  reread in entirety and make notes of what needs to be done. 

I'm still reading "Revision and Self Editing" by James Scott Bell and gleaning a lot of useful information.  Speaking of Bell (synchronicity again), he wrote a great post over on The Kill Zone "Listen to the Book".  He talks about the actor Eli Wallach (you remember him don't you?)  who used to say "The secret to acting is listening" and applies it to writing.  Makes a lot of sense.

The Sunday

And another writer who makes a lot of sense is Jody Hedlund.  She has a new book coming out in September and I highlighted her over on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks this week.   I'm also thrilled to announce 52 Books will be one of 12 bloggers taking part in the book blog tour for Frank Peretti and his newest book "Illusions" which will run from March 26 through April 9.  

 I'll be hosting on April 4th and will be reviewing Illusions here on My Two Blessings as well.  I first discovered Frank's books back in the 80's with This Present Darkness  about a town caught up in a spiritual warfare battle between angels and demons. His books are spine tingling, chilling, nail biting, good so looking forward to reading his latest. 

I've been doing great with my exercise goals and did the treadmill 5 days this week for one hour a day and upped the grade to 1 which may not seem like much but made a difference in calories burned.  Not doing too great on the cookie front since Girl Scout are still selling their cookies. Honestly, who can pass up Thin Mints? 

Be sure to check out my fellow ROWers. Round two ends on the 22nd and another round will begin April 2nd. I'll be a sponsor for the next round.  If you've been wanting to jump in, now is the time. 

 The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor.  ~Author Unknown

The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson

The Priest and The Peaches by Larry Peterson
Synopsis: Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.

They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The Priest and the Peaches is a sweet wonderful story about faith, trust, family and friendship.   When the Peach kids dad passes away unexpectedly, the five kids -Teddy (18), Jeanne (17), Dancer (14  - also known as James), Beeker (10 - also known as Robert) and Joey (6) are left orphaned and stunned.  Teddy is suddenly thrust into the world of being the responsible adult and not only has to deal with the death of his father and his guilt over not saying goodbye, but how he'll take care of his siblings, deal with everyday teenage issues and put food on the table. Their father left them with a mess of unpaid, past due bills and hardly any money.   The kids soon come to find out what their grandfather meant to the community and what L Y N - loving your neighbor really means.  

The Priest and the Peaches is a christian historical novel set in the 60's and is available only in ebook format. The story is well written with 3 dimensional characters and the Peach kids will steal your heart as you experience all the ups and downs with them.  Highly recommend it.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  Smashwords. Go to Larry Peterson's website for links to other ebook sellers.

Blog Tour
Blog tour runs through the end of March. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour and participants thoughts.

 Thank you to Tribute Books for asking me to be part of the tour and Larry Peterson for writing such a emotionally touching story.

TLC Book Tour: Prime Suspect 3: Silent Victims by Lynda La Plante

Silent Victims by Lynda La Plante
Synopsis: "Chief Detective Inspector Jane Tennison has moved up the ranks, fighting every step of the way to break through the station house’s glass ceiling. Now, on her first day as the head of the Vice Squad, a case comes in that threatens to destroy everything she has worked for.

As Vera Reynolds, drag queen and night club star, swayed onstage singing “Falling in Love Again,” a sixteen-year-old rent boy lay in the older man’s apartment, engulfed in flames. When Tennison’s investigation reveals an influential public figure as her prime suspect, a man with connections to politicians, judges, and Scotland Yard, she’s given a very clear message about the direction some very important people would like her investigation to take. Suddenly, in a case defined by murky details, one fact becomes indisputably clear—that for Tennison, going after the truth will mean risking her happiness, her career, and even her life."

Silent Victims is the 3rd in the Prime Suspect series by Lynda La Plante featuring Detective Jane Tennison. This particular story is much more intense and darker than the other two as it drops the reader into the world of teenage boys, abuse, and prostitution.  Tennison is again caught in the middle, working hard to solve a young man's murder, while battling office politics, corrupt cops and secrets.She doesn't know who on her team she can trust. She starts to get too close and  the bodies start piling up as lies are uncovered.  Tennison  comes into her own in the book and her tough attitude really plays well rather than turns the reader off.  Or maybe she's just finally grown on me.  :)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be part of the Prime Suspect tour, Harper Perennial for providing me with courtesy copies of the books and Lynda La Plante for creating Jane Tennison. She's quite a character.  For more thoughts about the series go here.

Sunday Salon: Whale of a tale!

I finished that whale of a tale, Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  It was long and yes ended up skimming some parts. It was educational, poetical, dramatic, and for the most part interesting. Now know more than I even wanted too about whales.  I honestly couldn't have read this book in high school and done it justice.  I would have been bored to tears and given up on it.


Speaking of giving up - I picked up Story Engineering by Larry Brooks based on some great reviews.   Started reading it and could not separate the wheat from the chaff. It seemed to be one long infomercial with very little substance.  One book that is short on chaff and full of wheat is James Scott Bell's Revision and Self Editing.  I'm learning much from it.  And talk about synchronicity.  Yesterday I was pretty disgusted with my opening chapter of Blue Steel. The beginning is just not popping and rethinking the whole thing.  What do I come across in Bell's book....

A quote from Randy Wayne White on page 78:  " The most debilitating thing about writing is that the voice inside us, the voice we trust more than others, says, "You're not good enough, you're not smart enough, what you wrote yesterday really stinks."  What aspiring writers should keep in mind is that we all hear that voice, and sometimes that voice lies to us.  In fact, when it comes to writing, that voice almost always lies to us.  Midway through a book you are going to read back and think, "this is awful."  Now it may be awful, but it also may be wonderful and you've simply read it so many times your ear has gone deaf.  Don't listen to that voice."

Thank you. Just the kick in the butt I needed.  Two steps forward, one step back. Time to quit rowing upstream for a while.  Goals for this week are to do a reread for content and write down thoughts on what needs to be improved, eliminated, or added.  I outlined the chapters, but didn't do a thorough read through. A must do.

Check out my fellow ROWERs here.  We are coming to the end of round one on March 22nd.  I've volunteered to be a sponsor for round 2 which starts April 2nd.  Time to start getting more specific with my goals. Plus it will give me a kick in the pants which will help me meet my goal of visiting at least 5 rowers a day. 

The Sunday

It's week 11 in our quest to read 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  Highlighted G.K. Chesterton and his novel The Man Who Was Thursday. Coincidentally just finished reading about a character named Thursday in The Eyre Affair by Jaspar Fforde.  She's a great character and the story line was quite interesting. Looking forward to reading One of our Thursdays is Missing soon.  On the nightstand to read this week:  Bond Girl - Erin Duffy (courtesy of William Morrow) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Did you remember to set your clocks forward last night!

Sunday Salon: making lots of progress

Happy Sunday!   Our weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  I think spring has sprung early here.  And with Spring comes creativity because we all seem to making a lot of progress with our various projects.  James lessons are going well and he's showing some incentive in doing things independently and Father's making progress with his latest electronics project.  I'm feeling a bit more creative myself and getting more writing done.

Left Coast Crime is having their convention in Sacramento this year from March 29 - April 1st (yeah!) and I signed up for the writing workshop.   I'm psyched because Jennifer Sawyer Fisher, a former editor for Kensington, Penguin, Morrow/Avon and HarperCollins, will teach a session on self-editing. Participants were asked to submit pages for Fisher's session.  Since I wasn't done rewriting Blue Steel's first chapter, I spiffed up Eyes in the Ashes first chapter and submitted it.  It's the one story hubby actually read while I was in the middle of writing it and really really liked from the get go, and has been wanting me to edit so he can find out what happens.   Look like he is getting his wish.  Once I submitted the pages, it made me realize that I probably should be working on Eyes for the workshop, so....  Plus it's will be the first time anyone other than hubby has seen my writing.   I have three weeks to get all my ducks in a row and review the story to see what needs to be done. 

Plus Alexandra Sokoloff will be teaching a session on using screenwriting techniques to enhance your novel. I've been following her for a long time so looking forward to it. 

ROW80 Check in's Here

So in addition to editing the first chapter of Eyes, I totally rewrote chapter one of  Blue Steel.  It still needs a bit more tweaking but it's coming all together.  So I feel like I've actually accomplished something this week.    I'm reading "Revision and Self Editing" by James Scott Bell and in the middle of chapter 2 about characters. One thing he suggests is doing a character voice journal. Just write free form stream of consciousness in your character's voice and see what happens. According to Bell "You're trying to let the voice of the character develop organically." and he suggests several questions including "What do you care most about in the world" and "what ticks you off."   This ought to be interesting.  We'll see this week if I can channel Elizabeth from Blue and see what she has to say.

I signed up for a couple more courses through Savvy Authors. For the month of March I'll be taking "The Business of Creative Writing" and in April I'll be learning how to critique through the Four Point Critique class. So happy I discovered this site. You know they've only been around 2 years now? They are doing a really awesome job.  

The Sunday

I'm halfway through Moby Dick and will be glad when get done with the story. Will be able to say I read it.   I read two new to me authors this week:  Lisa Scottoline's  Dead Ringer  which is one in a series of books about Bennie Rosato a lady lawyer. Pretty good, story with a humorous heroine.  Plus  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. First book in new fantasy series about 3 orphaned children. Not sure when the next book coming out, but very well done. 

For the month of February I completed 13 books of which all were new to me authors except for one by J.D. Robb. 
  1. The Passage - Justin Cronin
  2. Close Case - Alafair Burke
  3. Why Read Moby Dick - Nathaniel Philbrick.
  4. Trouble in Mudbug (#1 Ghost in law series) - Jana Deleon   (ebook)
  5. Prime Suspect #1 - Lynda La Plante (TLC Tour)
  6. Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance # 1) - Larissa Ione (ebook) 
  7. Fade to Black - Leslie Parrish (ebook)
  8. Goblin King - Shona Husk (ebook)
  9. Hard to Hold (hold trilogy #1) - Stephanie Tyler (ebook) 
  10. Celebrity in Death - J.D. Robb 
  11. Prime Suspect #2: A Face in the Crowd - Lynda La Plante
  12. Prime Suspect #3: Silent Witness - Lynda La Plante
  13. Dead Ringer - Lisa Scottoline
Pretty good reading month.  This week on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks I highlighted Gabriel Garcia Marquez since his birthday is March 6th.  My plan is to read One Hundred Years of Solitude as my G book for a to z by author challenge. 

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.  ~Henry Ward Beecher