Sunday Salon: life

Josephine Walls

Thank you to every one for your good thoughts, vibes and prayers for my mom and dad.  As soon as she had the kyphoplasty, the majority of her pain went away and every thing was up hill from there.   She was pretty weak after the procedure but started gaining strength after a couple days of rest.  Once the major pain issue was taken care, then she started noticing the aches and pains of having been bed ridden for so long.     I don't see how anyone gets rest in a hospital when they wake you up several times a night to take blood, check blood pressure, take xrays or do breathing therapy.  She hadn't been eating much because the hospital food was just horrible. 

However, we managed to get her taste buds going with some chicken noodle soup, creamy peanut butter and bagels. My dad hadn't been sleeping too well, so when I arrived, took the night shift and sent him home to sleep in the evenings. After a couple days he was back to his talkative self.  *grin*  And my niece was an absolute angel splitting shifts with me at the hospital and keeping track of all mom's medications and pushing her to do her exercises so she could be released to rehab. She's since been moved over to a care and rehab facility for physical therapy and aftercare for a couple weeks before she can come home.  Hopefully my dad will take advantage of the opportunity to get some rest and recoup his strength.  I gave her some incentive and told her she had to be up and dancing by the next time I see her.  She asked when that would be and I told her three weeks.  What a happy smile I got, though she said no dancing, but she be there to greet me at the door on her feet.  

With the removal of the parental stress, I spent the rest of the week researching 7th grade curriculum which I had been putting off for a while.  Happy to say decided upon most everything except what we'll be doing for p.e.   James isn't into sports so going to have to get creative.  

I've been totally blocked in regards to editing and rewriting my current WIP and  think after a week of getting all the other things on my to do list out of the way, I'm ready to get back into it.  However, we have a busy week coming up with family coming into town for my niece's wedding on Wednesday and ready for this

----- James 13th birthday on the 5th -------

Ack - he's going to be a teenager!

It's going to be a fun week. I'll catch up with you on the other side.

TLC Book Tour: 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross
Synopsis:   15 seconds can tear your life apart . . .

Henry Steadman didn’t know what was about to hit him when he pulled up to a red light. A successful Florida plastic surgeon, he is in town to deliver a keynote address at a conference when suddenly his life becomes an unrelenting chase to stay alive.

Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but just as Henry is released and about to move on, a blue sedan pulls up and the officer is suddenly killed. As the car speeds away, there is only one suspect left behind–Henry. In that moment, his idyllic life becomes a free fall into hell as he becomes the target of a police manhunt, as well as being pursued by a cunning, unnamed perpetrator bent on some kind of vengeance.

When Henry turns to a close friend for help, and he, too, ends up dead, Henry realizes he’s being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name, without bringing on dire and deadly consequences.

With breakneck pacing and nonstop action, 15 Seconds shows what can happen when even the best life is turned upside down in an instant. It is also the story of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, all while being drawn closer and closer to an inevitable face-to-face standoff with a man determined to destroy his life.

My thoughts: 

15 Seconds has all the makings for a good thriller and is a quick read about a prominent surgeon on the run after he's been framed for murder.  Unfortunately I kept getting thrown out of the story by the lead character's 1st person narration, while the rest of the story and other characters thoughts and actions were in third person.  The story follows three characters: Henry, Carrie and Vance.  For Henry, the 1st person point of view didn't reflect the maturity of an middle age prominent surgeon so had a hard time getting into this character.   He was too dumbed down to be believable.

Yet, the 3rd person point of view pulled me in and really helped me get to know Carrie, a police community liaison who was trying to help Henry and the villainous Vance as he took matters into his own hands trying to find the people responsible for getting his daughter hooked on drugs.   There also wasn't any differentiation when the story went back into the past so a couple times I was thrown for a loop with a  'huh, wait a minute, where'd he come from' scratch your head thing.   Despite the story's idiosyncrasies, it was relatively good.

Gross learned at the feet of James Patterson and even co-wrote 5 stories with him, so if you like James Patterson then you'll enjoy 15 Seconds

Thank you to TLC Book tours for asking me to be part of the tour, William Morrow for providing me a copy of the book and Andrew Gross for creating an interesting story. 

For more thoughts about the book, go here and  for more information about Andrew Gross, check out his website here.  A reading group guide is also available here.

Prayers Please!

Fragile Leaf - National Geographic

I'm unplugging for a few days and heading out to Arizona.  My mom fractured the L1 vertebrae in her spine and will be having surgery today.   She's been going through some really difficult times and  the issue is complicated by high blood pressure and pneumonia.  So prayers, good thoughts and good vibes would be appreciated for her and the whole family, particularly my dad who is having a hard time with all this as well.

TLC Book tour: House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier

Back cover:  "Orphaned, two sister are left to find their own way.  Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life...if she agrees to play their game.  Nemienne, neither sweet nor proper, has fewer choices. Left with no alternative, she accepts a mysterious mage's offer of an apprenticeship.  Agreeing means a home and survival, but can Nemienne trust the mage?  With the arrival of a foreign bard in the city, dangerous secrets are unearthed, and both sisters find themselves at the center of a plot that threatens not only to upset their newly found lives, but also to destroy their kingdom." 

House of Shadows is an intriguing fantasy novel set in the fictional city of Lonne, where the men rule and women are treasured.  The story is very much character driven and follows 4 characters:  Karah, Nemienne, traveling bardic mage Taudde and Leilis, a highly regarded servant at the Flower House.   When a stone merchant dies, leaving his 8 daughters ages 8 to 19 alone, they soon discover their father's friends have turned into business rivals and need to figure out a way to keep the business running.  They have to resort to selling off two of the sisters for money to survive until the oldest daughter could marry.  Karah is the most beautiful and goes to the Flower House where young woman are groomed to be flower wives.   She soon catches the eye of the Prince.  Nemienne is sold into an apprenticeship with Mage Ankennes, moves into his mysterious ever changing house and learns the way of magic and soon discovers a dark secret.  The story is full of magic, political maneuvering, love, deceit and intrigue.  The characters are warm and complex.  I was fully drawn into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Thank you to TLC Book tours for asking me to be a part of the tour, the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book and Rachel Neumeier for creating such an interesting world.  I look forward to reading more of her stories.   Check out the rest of the tour here and find out more about Ms. Neumeier here

Think about it: Secret to success

From Inkybites Recharge Your Creative Batteries in 31 Days 

If you want to be a successful writer too, you need to do these 3 things at the very least:
  • Give Up Any and All Excuses—hard to do, yes, but worth it. Excuses hold you back from achieving things in your life. They keep you from fulfilling all the dreams you have for your writing. You only have so much time on this Earth, why waste it making excuses? I know you’re scared, we all are. But successful writers push through the fear because that’s what it takes. Nothing worthwhile is ever going to be easy.
  • Get Into A Writing Routine and Never Stop—Stephen King writes every single day of his life (don’t believe me? Read On Writing). He shows up to the page. He does the work. Everything he writes may not be best-seller quality at first, but he knows that’s what revisions are for. He doesn’t let the possibility of writing something awful stop him from writing. First drafts are shit, that’s just how it is. But you can’t get to the good stuff without writing some shitty stuff first. Routine will help you get to the good stuff, dabble-writing here or there won’t.
  • Push Through—stuff is gonna come up. Life will get in the way. You will feel the fear. The fear will almost paralyze you at times. But you gotta push through. You gotta keep working toward what you want. Feel the fear and do it anyways, that’s the mantra of successful writers. Adopt it for yourself.
Being a successful writer isn’t for everyone. It isn’t even for most of the writers out there who call themselves writers.
Yes, if you write anything at all you’re a writer, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be a successful writer. Success takes work. It takes perseverance. It takes believing in yourself and believing that every small step you take is moving you closer to your goal.

Sunday Salon: Thought and Independence


This has been a fun week with having a holiday in the middle.   Hubby picked up a big pack of safe and sane fireworks for us to put off on Wednesday.  Unfortunately our new neighbors had the insane kind which they had been putting off all week and culminated in a noisy show on Wednesday.  It unfortunately was too loud for James and frankly for me too because we ended up going back inside without setting off any of our fireworks.   We told James we could do ours over the weekend.

James and I went to the nursery on Friday and picked up a few things, including some marigold and salvia for hubby which he gets to plant.  Saturday evening we had our own little fireworks show and it was nice, relaxing and unstressful. All except for the cleaning up part. James decided as soon as the fireworks were over that he had to go to bed.  Due to the resulting argument he got in big trouble and lost his technology privileges.  Unless.....   Father came up with the idea James would have to copy the Declaration of Independence and read it to us, while we videotaped it.  The child loves his technology because he diligently copied the majority of the declaration this morning and read it out loud for us and I captured it all on video.  And yes he had his technology privileges restored.

Visit my fellow rowers here

While he worked on writing out the declaration I worked on my wip, typed up edits for one chapter and searched for pictures of my settings. Found a few I liked which will help me visualize my scenes a bit better.  I changed my mind about Veins of Gold after perusing through the book.  Decided that I had analyzed myself enough doing The Artist's Way and just didn't have it in me for now. Would prefer to concentrate on learning more about my characters and finishing the story.  I've managed to get up an hour earlier for most of the week which is helping me with creativity and getting more done. 

Have I said how much I lurv James Scott Bell.  Here's his latest on 7 things writers need to know.   Also following Jennifer at Inkybites Recharge Your Creative Batteries in 31 days challenge.  So far so good and have gotten a few folks from my online home school group joining in.

Speaking of which this is week 27 in our read 52 books in 52 weeks quest and highlighting Carlos Ruiz Zafon. His latest book in the Cemetery of Forbidden books series is coming out on June 10th - The Prisoner of Heaven.  There was a delay with the publisher getting out the books for the TLC Book tours so my date has been rescheduled to August.  Meanwhile since it's been a couple years, think I'll take the time to reread The Angel's Game and The Shadow of the Wind and reacquaint myself with the characters and setting. 

The Sunday

Also spent part of Sunday afternoon planting blue and purple lobelia in our front patio planters (pictures above)  and de-stressing.  Forgotten how much I enjoy getting my hands dirty!

Please keep my mother and father in your prayers. She has copd and osteoporosis and broke a disc in her spine again and will be having surgery on the 30th. Meanwhile she is having difficulties and is in major pain.

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all life really means.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Libri Multus: New to me author edition

Libri Multus - New to me author edition

Sena Jeter Naslund's Ahab's Wife  is an epic historical fiction novel inspired by a brief mention in Moby Dick about a young woman named Una Spenser and follows her from childhood, through her adventures masquerading as a young cabin boy, to her marriage to Captain Ahab. It was a bit difficult to get into at first, but given a chance, the story and the characters bloom detailing life in the 19th century and showcasing the independent spirit of Una. 700 pages long, it is complex and full of references to characters from Moby Dick and real life writers and scientists.

Dean Koontz's By the Light of the Moon is more psychological thriller than horror. Three disparate characters, after being injected with an unknown substance, by a mad doctor, that gives them remarkable powers, are forced to rely on one another as they race to find answers before they are killed.   Dylan O'Connor and his autistic brother Shep just happen to stay at the same hotel as Jillian Jackson, a stand up comic who travels around with Fred the plant.  The doctor breaks into their rooms, tells them each a bizarre story and they must flee or else they will be killed by the people who have been following him and trying to stop his life's work.

 Alafair Burke's Close Case finds district attorney Samantha Kincaid investigating the murder of a high profile investigative journalist who had recently been looking into a police shooting with racial overtones.  Politics, police cover ups, bigotry, and drugs play a big role and suddenly Samantha isn't sure she can even trust her detective boyfriend.  

Lisa Scottoline's Dead Ringer starts with attorney Bennie Rosato losing her wallet and suddenly someone is trying to destroy her law practice and her reputation.  That someone is her bad twin sister whom she disowned years ago. When one of her clients turns up dead, Bennie has to fight to find the killer as well as convince everyone of her innocence. 

Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair is the first book in his series about literary detective Thursday Next. Time travel, meeting herself in past and future, leaving clues for herself, her dad stopping and changing time, literary characters stepping in and out of books or being killed, changing the story as you read it, all make for a wacky fun read.  You never quite know what's going to happen next.

Think about it!

There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away.  No one has stepped twice into the same river.  But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?  ~Marina Tsvetaeva

The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass

The Inquisitor's Key

Synopsis:  Miranda Lovelady, Dr. Bill Brockton's protege, is spending the summer helping excavate a newly discovered chamber beneath the spectacular Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. There she discovers a stone chest inscribed with a stunning claim: inside lie the bones of none other than Jesus of Nazareth. Faced with a case of unimaginable proportions, Miranda summons Brockton for help proving or refuting the claim. Both scientists are skeptical—after all, fake relics abounded during the Middle Ages—but evidence for authenticity looks strong initially, and soon grows stronger.
Brockton and Miranda link the bones to the haunting image on the Shroud of Turin, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Christ, and then a laboratory test finds the bones to be two thousand years old. The finding triggers a deadly tug-of-war between the anthropologists, the Vatican, and a deadly zealot who hopes to use the bones to bring about the Second Coming—and trigger the end of time.

Set against an international landscape, and weaving a rich tapestry of religion, history, art, and science, The Inquisitor's Key takes Jefferson Bass to an exciting new level of suspense.

The Inquisitor's Key is my first body farm novel written by new to me author Jefferson Bass.  It is an excellent thriller that mixes the historical with the present, the religious with the scientific.   I found myself thinking two different people wrote this story because the characters and voices in the past  were so much more distinctive than the characters and voices in the present.  It all blended together towards the end with a thrilling conclusion and left me wanting to read more Body Farm novels.  Sure enough, once I finished the story, discovered Jefferson Bass is a writing team of forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass and journalist author Jon Jefferson.  Sometimes it pays to read the back flap author information when you aren't  familiar with an author.  *grin*   Prior to reading the story, I never knew body farms existed.  Gross but intriguing all the same.  Looking forward to reading more body farm novels by the writing team of Jefferson Bass.


Pages: 368
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre:  Forensic thriller 
Released: May 8, 2012

Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a courtesy copy of the book. 

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Bibliophile by the Sea
Every Tuesday, Diane of Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometimes two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph. Feel free to grab the banner and play along!

This week's pick is

Comedy in a minor key

"There they are again." the doctor said suddenly, and he stood up.  Unexpectedly, like his words, the noise of the approaching airplane motors slipped into the silence of the death chamber. He tilted his head to one side, squinted his eyes half shut, and listened.  As if a small generator hidden somewhere in the house has started and quickly revved up to full speed, the droning sound of the night squadron flying in grew stronger.  It might also--or so it seemed at first--be coming from the basement, or from the house next door"

What do you think?  Would you want to read more?

Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days

ROW 80
Today is the beginning of another Round of Words in 80 days hosted by the wonderful Kait Nolan.  The last round - let's just forget about it.  I had thought of dropping out completely, but I need you guys to keep me on my toes, so here goes.   Starting fresh and going to be a bit more organized and specific. And as Kait said Be an Action Verb!  My goal this round will be to complete the 2nd edit of Eyes in the Ashes, because next round I'll be working on a brand new story for Nanowrimo.

For Eyes -  I have organized my story bible and printed off pictures off all my characters.  I'm currently working on

1)  finding pictures for my settings which while help me better envision my scenes and
2) establishing character back stories and completing interviews in order to really know them better.
3) editing the remaining scenes.

I'll try to be a bit more specific with my weekly goals, get those to do lists going and start checking things off.  Organization, baby. That's the key. 

Writing and blogging wise, my creativity needs a boost so as mentioned before joined in Recharge Your Creative batteries.  Will be reading Julia Cameron's Vein of Gold and doing morning pages daily.   Plan to blog a bit more consistently and get caught up on book reviews. Have been reading lots of interesting books to share.   Which means I really should try to get up an hour early every day instead of sleeping in. Wish me luck on that, because hubby is a night owl.  Along with blogging  is the social media aspect that go along with it.  I'm more spontaneous when it comes to visiting other blogs, twitter, facebook, etc and can't really plan that so the goal is just to be more consistent. 

Exercise: Goal is to do the treadmill 4 times a week.

Lots of folks joining in this round. Off to say hi to a few.

Sunday Salon: June Wrap up

Josephine Wall's Flights of Wonder

Goodbye June, you were very good to me. Hello July, I'm expected excellent things to happen.  I spent part of the morning planting two beautiful blue salvia plants and doing a bit of weeding.   Then enjoyed watching the hummingbirds and butterflies flitting around the butterfly bush sitting on the patio yet to be planted.  I'm thinking of buying a large pot and leaving it on the patio instead of planting it in the front garden.  Kind of neat to commune with the butterflies but I know right behind them will be the bees so...  Our weather compared to the rest of the country was a beautiful balmy 81 so going to enjoy it while we can.

The Sunday
My reading this month was full with mysteries and  urban fantasy with a cozy romance thrown in.  Most of the ebooks are 200-300 pages so easy to read in a day especially when prefer to read rather than watch tv. 

  1. The Inquisitor's Key - Jefferson Bass (william morrow)
  2. The Bishop - Steven James 
  3. A Killing Tide - P. J. Alderman (ebook)
  4. Barefoot in the Sand - Roxanne St. Claire  (ebook)
  5. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate) - Gail Carriger (ebook)
  6. Face of a Killer - Robin Burcell (ebook) 
  7. Night Shift - reread (#1 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow (ebook)
  8. Hunter's Prayer (#2 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow (ebook)
  9. Redemption Alley (#3 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow (ebook)
  10. Flesh Circus (#4 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow (ebook)
  11. Heaven's Spite #5 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow (ebook)
  12. Angel Town  (#6 Jill Kismet) - Lilith Saintcrow  (ebook)
  13. Never Tell #4 Ellie Hatcher)- Alafair Burke  (TLC Book Tour)
  14. Angel's Tip (# 2 Ellie Hatcher) - Alafair Burke (TLC Book Tour
  15. Dead Connections (#1 Ellie Hatcher) - Alafair Burke  (ebook)
  16. Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse) - Charlaine Harris (ebook)
  17. Hunting Fear (#7 Bishop special crimes) - Kay Hooper (ebook)
  18. Judas Kiss (#3 Taylor Jackson)  - K.T. Ellison  (ebook) 
Reviews will be forthcoming for several of the books.  I just have to quit reading that's all in order to get caught up.  *gasp*  Not!  I do believe it's time to do some mini reviews!

Writing wise, today is Day 1 of Inkybites Recharge your Creative Batteries and the task is the Zen of daily mind clearing exercises which includes morning pages, morning meditation and/or journaling.   I read  Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way a couple years back and used to do morning pages and that kind of fell by the wayside.  Even picked up Vein of Gold last year but didn't get around to it.  So going to tackle the book and will commit to morning pages every day for July and hopefully by the end of the month will be a habit again that will continue for the rest of the year.  One day at a time!