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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Review: The Help

To be fair, I didn't read the book. The library has 8 regular copies, 2 large print copies, and 1 audio. All of them have multiple, multiple holds and I'm currently 6 of 9 on the waiting list. So this is my review of the movie with as few spoilers as possible.
  • Exceptional casting all round. Definitely Oscar-worthy.
  • Well done with both sides of the story-meaning I didn't think all whites were cast as racist bitches (though there were plenty! And I hope they all got their just rewards afterwards) and all African-Americans as sympathetic characters. There was (what I hope was) a truthful mix of good and bad, just as there is in real life.
  • The main characters were definitely sympathetic and I loved their stories very much. So much so that I wanted more! Almost like a based on a true story film where they tell you what happened afterwards. Truly, I wanted to know if Aibileen reached her dream. Or how Minny fared after she found a family she could love and who loved and respected her in return. And Skeeter, I hope she realized the full extent of her dream.
  • I admit it, I cried. Was the movie sappy? I didn't think so, emotional yes, but sappy usually has me rolling my eyes and I was riveted throughout.
  • I'd definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the dark parts of the American Civil Rights past with the feel good light of hope at the end.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More from the Grammar Divas

Have you subscribed to their newsletter yet? You really should. I'm only posting my favorite of the 5 they lisited on the 5 More Kudzu Words That Creep Into Your Writing

Kudzu Word #4: Strange
The word strange is not instantly wrong. But all too often, people abuse the word in order to hedge or avoid coming to the point. You already know that’s not good!
Kudzu: Looking into Josh’s baby blues gave her a strange, but pleasant, feeling. (Oh, come on. This is silly purple prose. Unless his eyes are emanating radiation in concentric circles at her, she’s not feeling strange.)
Much Better: Looking into Josh’s baby blues warmed her inside and out. Her soldier was home. Emily tossed him the smile she saved only for him. She laughed when Josh lifted her off her feet in the embrace she’d had to imagine for a year.
Kudzu: What’s that strange smell? (Really? You’re a writer and can’t come closer to describing the smell than that?)
Better: Do you smell that metallic, earthy odor?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Purple Prose: Love it or Hate it?

At Dictionary.com Purple Prose is defined as:purple prosenoun writing that calls attention to itself because of its obvious use of certain effects, as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, especially in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies.

My reaction to that dictionary entry is: Aww shut up.
Particularly in romance writing are purple prose effective but the writer has to know how to use it sparingly but effectively. I once wrote this line:
She loved him with every beat of her heart. (As purple as purple gets)
If I started a story that way I’d be shot at by frequent readers or they’d hurl stones. Either way it would not be pleasant. But if I stuck that line in after the black moment and when it looked like all was lost for the hero and heroine I’d get a pass because at that point the reader would know that the heroine wasn’t exaggerating but that she indeed felt that way.
Yes, the writer is playing with the reader’s emotions and sympathies but that is the whole point. Writers want to take you on a journey with the characters and sometimes the correct use of purple prose only adds to the experience.
Song writers do it all the time but most people miss it in the catchy music. For instance:
“When you kissed me heaven sighed.” A line from Edith Pilaf’s La Vie en Rose.
“The scars of your love remind you of us.” Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
I could go on…
So what do you all think of the use of purple prose?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reviews and thoughts

Last week I read a NYT article on review factories: In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5. (It might not open, sometimes the NYT makes you subscribe to their site.)

But the theory is still there and is sound: “For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site Fiverr, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.”

The big question is--how much attention do you pay to reviews? Personally, if a book has 5 bad reviews and no good ones, I'll probably skip it. But if you've looked on Amazon and one of two things
1. All or most of the 1 and 2 star reviews are either as a shipment, price, or Amazon problem (The Fifth Witness), or even after reading the blurb the reader thought the book was about something else entirely (Please Look After Mom).
2. The polarizing effect--100 5 star and 100 1 star with very little in the middle (Heaven is for Real before the explosion of 5 star reviews), you have to make your own choice.

Which is what it all boils down to for me. Making my own choice based on good & bad reviews and what they actually say. One liners mean nothing to me, and I ignore them.

What about you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Shockingly, I enjoyed this flick. I was a teenager when I saw the original Planet of the Apes movies with my uncle who loved them and a bit of his geeky, sci-fi loving ways rubbed off on me. When Tim Burton did that remake like ten years ago I was excited to see it and horrified when I left the theatre. It was so bad I wanted to find an experimental mind erasing machine and wipe it from all memory! Not to mention the time waste!
But this new movie is not a remake or awful at all. It is actually a prequel to the Heston version. And it has a lot of references to the 1968 version that fans of the original will enjoy. However, the plot implies something different happened to cause the rise of the intelligent ape population on Earth than the original implied but it was still plausible.
More of today's fears, our fears, than the fears of the 1960s. Therefore, I’d give this move 4 out of 5 stars. The action was a lot of fun and the acting was definitely not Saturday sci-fi B movie but much better!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Comings and Goings

Today I'm over at Unusual Historicals talking about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's sdaughter, Frances Scott during the month of Children Of...

There's also a survey to complete about the future of the site, including what you'd like to see more of. It takes about 4 minutes to complete, so please do so!
http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-type-of-future-content-would-you.html

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

British Humor

Because apparently it's a bit different.

These are classified ads, which were actually placed in U.K. newspapers:
 
FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER.
8 years old.
Hateful little bastard.
Bites!

FREE PUPPIES
.
1/2
Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbour's dog.

FREE PUPPIES.

Mother is a Kennel Club registered
German Shepherd.
Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.


COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED.

Also 1 gay bull for sale.


JOINING NUDIST COLONY
!
Must sell washer and dryer �100.


WEDDING DRESS
FOR SALE .
Worn once by mistake.
Call Stephanie.

**** And the WINNER is... ****


FOR SALE BY OWNER.

Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes.
Excellent condition, �200 or best offer.
No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.

Statement of the Century

Thought from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker--Billy Connolly.
"If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, how come they can't
have a headache and sex at the same time?"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Review: Nothing Daunted

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. I'm not big on biographies, I don't really care about the intimate details of other people's lives. But this is more of a history I guess. About real people. From the perspective of Dorothy's descendants.

Which probably makes it a biography.

In the summer of 1916, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, close friends from childhood and graduates of Smith College, left home in Auburn, New York, for the wilds of northwestern Colorado. Bored by their society luncheons, charity work, and the effete young men who courted them, they learned that two teaching jobs were available in a remote mountaintop schoolhouse and applied—shocking their families and friends. “No young lady in our town,” Dorothy later commented, “had ever been hired by anybody.”

I wanted to read this book because of the romantic heroine nature of the story. Just goes to show we writers don't make this stuff up! There really were women like this, and only through stories such as this one can we know not everyone followed the rules.

Granted I admit to skimming some of it, but over all it was engaging enough to finish and recommend for historical (and western) lovers who enjoy a well-written narrative non-fiction read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Humor

Or at least words to make you smile. This is from a forward from my mom. I'm only posting the good ones, there were quite a few. I'll start with my 2  favorites...the rest are in no particular order.

TOMORROWOne of the greatest labor saving devices of today. 
YAWNAn honest opinion openly expressed. 
COMMITTEEA body that keeps minutes and wastes hours. 
INFLATION Cutting money in half without damaging the paper. MOSQUITOAn insect that makes you like flies better. 
RAISINA grape with a sunburn. SECRET
Something you tell to one person at a time. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Excerpt Monday: Shadow State

Excerpt from Chapter 2:
Shadow State, now available from All Romance eBooks and Smashwords for only 99¢. Should be up on Amazon and B&N this week. And with a nifty new cover, too. How do you like it?


Christoph is due this afternoon,” Gerard said while they walked along the corridor towards the hospital’s main exit. “If you wish to still consult him.”

“If an opportunity arises,” she whispered back, “you need to take it. I’d prefer to discuss this directly with him, as well, but we may not have such luxury.”

Since Scientific Inquiries brought Erik in, she’d considered various avenues of escape for the wounded wölfe. After two days of torture at the hands of so-called scientists interested merely in discovering his secrets, she understood how much of a blessing it might be to end his life.

Images that would never leave her mind now overwhelmed it. Electricity, starvation, beatings with rods and fists, they tried it all. They took so much blood it was a miracle he remained conscious. They bound him to a metal chair and didn’t let him sleep. Bright lights blazed day and night, and the same song played incessantly, meant to drive him insane.

Elsa smashed all her Chopin recordings.

No longer recognizable as a human, the poor man hadn’t allowed the change to his wölfe, either.
She was partly the reason for that, she and Gerard. Erik wasn’t stupid; even through his delirium he knew what his change would cost the Clan. Seeing them with the other scientists confirmed his worse fears.

The Nazis knew of their species.

This morning, when she took another vial of blood, he’d begged her to kill him. With four other scientists and two SS interrogators watching, all she could do was murmur that they would get him out.

Erik had laughed, a harsh, broken sound that made her skin crawl and the hair on the back of her neck stand straight.

“I’ve lost my mate,” he’d said low enough for only her, with her enhanced wölfe senses, to hear. “I’ve endangered us all by changing before witnesses. I’m bound like a rabid beast. Tested like the anomaly they think I am. Kill me.”

Now, Karl Strasser, Head of the Department of Scientific Inquiries—Special Interests Division, wanted the results of Erik’s blood work. Gerard was on his way to meet with Strasser. Initially, Elsa wanted to see Erik again, but didn’t wish to draw the suspicion of her colleagues. Instead, she decided to go home to await Christoph’s arrival. She didn’t envy her father.

Christoph.

Their relationship confused her. Well, no, she knew what she felt for him. A new tone snaked through his letters, one she knew wasn’t present when her father handled the Pack’s correspondence.
Elsa stopped midstride and shuddered at the very thought.

Finally meeting Christoph had her stomach aflutter, and she wiped damp hands on her skirt. No, she knew how she felt for the Alpha. Whether the feelings in his letters would transfer when they met face-to-face, she didn’t know. Instinct permeated her being, a powerful thing.

But is it enough?

“Insufferable man,” Gerard continued. “Pompous ass who thinks he’s a scientist. At least he’s more interested in Erik than those children you helped.”

“Greta told me this morning he’s brought in more SS,” Elsa whispered. “Now that they’re the de facto army, you must be careful.”

“I won’t tell him what I really think,” her father promised. “But I reserve the right to do so.”
Elsa chuckled, and squeezed his hand. “Don’t be long.”

He looked down at her for several moments, eyes glinting. “I shall be the very soul of scientific savvy.”
“It’s not your scientific savvy I’m worried about,” she kissed his cheek in farewell. “It’s your temper.”

With another light chuckle, she proceeded down the hallway, tracking Gerard’s scent until he moved deep into the office wing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Guest: Caroline Clemmons

Today I'm guest blogging on Caroline Clemmons' blog A Writer's Life while she's over here on mine. Be sure to check out my post on why I love historical research and leave a comment for a free download of my novella, Shadow State.

Do you remember your first trip to the library? After years of living in tiny towns where the bi-monthly bookmobile was a big deal, my family moved to Lubbock, Texas just before I was eleven. My first visit to the public library is burned into my memory.

Do you remember the smell of old public buildings, old books? You might think it unpleasant, but in my imagination that scent conjured up freedom. If I close my eyes, I can recall the library’s aroma, sense the dark interior. I see the librarians, who seemed so ancient to me, and the kind manner in which they helped me learn new authors. What a wonderful place for a girl starved for books! Those novels fueled my imagination and joy in reading. Is it any wonder that now I love writing books?

See how cleverly I segued into telling you about one of my current releases, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME? This novella is a historical romance set in a central Texas town, the fictional Winton’s Crossing. Here’s the blurb:

After fleeing an abusive husband six years ago, Beth Jeffers wants nothing more than to protect her son Davey and to help her mother operate a boarding house. The women in her family have had no luck with men, and she has no intention of letting any man influence her son. Not even Matt Petrov, no matter how much her lonely heart urges otherwise.

Federal Marshall Matt Petrov, also known as Lone Wolf Peters, fell in love with Beth the first time he saw her. Then she was another man’s wife, so he kept his longing a secret. He’s saved his love for her for six horrific years. Now, the lovely widow and he have crossed paths again. This time, he intends to risk all for a chance at happiness. First he must rescue his distant kinsman from an assassin’s clutches. Will Matt succeed before his kin is killed? And will his secrets shatter the love he and Beth share?

Yeah, yeah, it’s a romance and you can guess the answers, right? But you have to read the book to see how Matt and Beth arrive at the answers.

Another tidbit is that the heroine’s mom is named after my mom. I wanted to name the heroine after Mom, but I just couldn’t write a love scene for someone with my mom’s name. Euuw! The heroine is named after my Aunt Elizabeth, but called Beth. No one ever called my aunt anything but her full name, so that didn’t evoke weird images.

I often name secondary characters after family members. Makes things less weird! Plus they love it and always get a kick out of knowing they're in a story even if it's just a name.

Here’s an excerpt to intrigue you (I hope!).

The set up: Our hero Matt has been wounded arresting criminals. After being treated by the doctor, he’s back at the boarding house where Beth is tending his wounds. Well, a little more than tending them. He’s talked her in to stretching out beside him.

Sweet heaven, he’d never known a more satisfying kiss. He tugged her until she stretched along his body.

When she broke the kiss, she moved her legs back to the mattress but laid her head on his chest. “Why’d you do that?”

“Needed to. For six years. Can’t say I’m proud of wanting you when you belonged to another man, but I won’t deny I thought about you.”

He felt her shudder with sobs, her tears ran wet on his chest. Caressing her back, he cursed himself for as big a fool as Jeffers. “Beth? Aw, honey, I didn’t aim to make you cry. Forgive me. I’d never willingly do anything to hurt you.”

“You didn’t. Matt, I’m ashamed. I hated the person I was when I knew you before. You saw me weak and abused. Heard Lionel yell awful things at me. When you came here, I was mean to you because you’d known me then. I didn’t want to be reminded of those times.”

She sobbed again. “As if I could ever forget them. Then, when you told me about him being dead, I—I felt relief. I’m sorry, but only what you’d be if you read there’d been a train wreck and people you never knew died. I must be a terrible person not to mourn him.”

“No, you’re a wonderful person and it’s not like you lived with him long or had seen him recently.” What a hell of a position to be in. How could he tell her how Jeffers died? He stroked her silky hair. “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I’m glad I found you. You’re a different person in a way but you were a sweet woman then and you are now. And a good mother and daughter.”

He thanked God he’d given Jeffers the money for her ticket home, but he’d never let her know about that. She’d hate him for sure if she learned her no-good former husband had borrowed the money from Matt to send her away in disgrace. It’d done her a world of good, though, and had probably saved her life.

She sniffed and rubbed her sleeve at her face. “I’m glad you came, too. I-I’d wondered what happened to you and where you were and if-if you’d met someone.”

He couldn’t tell her where he’d been, at least, not right now. “I didn’t meet anyone.”

“I’m glad. I, um, I mean, I’m sorry you’ve been alone all this time, but I’m glad you don’t have a woman waiting for you to come home.”

“Don’t have a home.” He didn’t add that he didn’t deserve one, that he’d had one once and lost it.

“Where will you go when you leave here?” She trailed her hand across his skin to rest it at the base of his ribs. He wondered if she knew how that touch affected him and if his erection showed in the moonlight. He bent a knee to conceal it.

“Don’t know yet. Guess it depends on how this thing with Ivan plays out.” He hoped Ivan was alive and pain free. Dang, maybe it was the sweetened tea, or maybe it was her being next to him. His own pain receded a little and life surged in him.

“I hope he’s all right. He’s a nice man.”

“Beth, I’m not a nice man.” No point in her thinking different or him trying to pretend. “I might have been once, long ago, but no longer.”

“You’re kind to Davey, and Mama, and all the other people here. You’re trying to help Ivan. Sounds pretty nice to me.” She sniffled again, and he wanted to comfort her, but she had to understand.

He pulled her up, so he could see her face in the light from the window. “No. I’m here because I have a job to do, not because of any higher intentions. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

“A job? You mean helping Ivan is like a job?”

She didn’t get it. “No. Beth, listen to me. I’ve been assigned to help Ivan. Paid. It’s not something I chose to do because I have a kind or generous nature.”

“Assigned?” She pulled away and sat up. “You mean it really is your job? Who are you working for?”

“Never mind. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Instead of any reaction he could have imagined, she laughed. “Whatever it is, at least you have a job.” She settled back beside him, her body touching his from her head at his shoulder to her toes at his ankle. “I thought you were up to no good.”

Dang, she made him feel like a man-and-a-half. He laughed in spite of himself. “Guess I am up to no good, but I’m being paid for it. Not much, but enough to get by.” He turned to face her. “You know that kiss?”

“What about it?”

He raised himself on his right elbow and leaned over her. “Let’s try that again.”

SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is from The Wild Rose Press. It’s also available from Amazon and other online booksellers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Progress

This month I've devoted to reading over 2 stories I have completed but not published. Everyone knows the game: Write the book, send it out...and wait. Then revise and do it all again.

I'm in the revision stage. Not because I think plot elements need fixing, but because, as with all my stories, I think the opening can be tighter. I also wrote one of them with very stick guidelines and want to relax those to see if I can find a wider audience.

And the beat goes on...

What's your latest project? Writing, gardening, home repairs, or otherwise!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I read this book because it's going to be a movie. Or is a movie. Is it out yet? Anyway, I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan not entirely because of that. I also read it because I'm fascinated with Chinese history. The culture, the power struggles, the intricate imperial court goings on. Fascinating!

What I liked most about this story is the very real emotion of a changing friendship. Lily's self-absorption isn't necessarily evil or mean spirited, but human. It's what happens to all of us over time when we're not reminded, or don't remind ourselves, that there are people in our lives not in our immediate circle of friends and family.

We can say it's easier to keep in touch now, Facebook updates, email, phone calls, but it still requires time and effort and without that, there is no more.

The secret woman's language is something I'd recently read about but the intricacies are incredible. Not worthy to learn 'proper' Chinese, this language is over 1,000 years old and told from mother to daughter. Another piece of female bonding that is both secret and slightly rebellious.

Overall, I think the best thing about this book was that it didn't take place in the Forbidden City as several others I've read have. (And enjoyed don't get me wrong!) It was a rural town populated by the proverbial big fish in a small pond type of people trying to get by.

Did you read Sonya Clark's post from yesterday about her release, Mojo Queen? Did you enter to win a prize pack?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Author: Sonya Clark and giveaway!

The Deeper Vision of Roxanne Mathis
The main character of Mojo Queen is Roxanne Mathis, a paranormal investigator who can see auras and spectral energy. She uses that ability along with hoodoo folk magic to help people with supernatural problems. I don’t remember where I first read about auras but I’ve always found the idea intriguing. Simply put, an aura is an invisible layer of energy that surrounds all living things. The color of a person’s aura reflects the tone of their emotions, the state of their health, and other things. Different people will see and interpret auras in different ways and I found a ton of various color correspondences in my research. I wanted to settle on one system for Roxie so I went with the chakra colors.
Chakras are believed to be centers of energy within our bodies, the main ones being seven centers from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Each chakra corresponds to a different part of the body and purpose of energy. For instance the brow chakra is located on the forehead between the eyes (hence it’s other name, the third eye chakra) and its associated with intuition and psychic abilities. The color correspondence for the third eye chakra is indigo. When Roxie looks in a mirror and sees her own aura it will always have at least some indigo present, because of her paranormal abilities. Any time she sees the aura of anyone with paranormal abilities, their aura will have indigo in it. I used the rest of the chakra color correspondences as a baseline for how Roxie interprets auras and it seems to work pretty well.
Roxie can also see spectral energy, which means a spirit doesn’t need a very strong energy signature for her to see it. This comes in handy when she’s hired to evict bothersome ghosts from a home or help reverse a case of demonic possession.
I didn’t want Roxie to have to constantly be surrounded by all this nebulous energy that no one else could see, so I knew I had to figure out a way for her to “turn it off’ so to speak. To do that, I gave her glasses. Roxie is near-sighted. She doesn’t have to take off her glasses in order to see with her “auric vision” but she has learned to use them as a sort of shield. It helps to keep her from being overwhelmed.
Roxie is used to certain colors and imagery and hasn’t seen anything she couldn’t interpret in years. That changes when she first sees the aura of a sexy, dangerous sorcerer named Blake Harvill. She actually sees his aura before she sees him. It’s unlike anything she’s ever seen before, a black starfield full of rippling color. My inspiration for this was the amazing imagery from deep space brought to us by the Hubble telescope. His aura is the first thing that attracts Roxie to Blake and it had to be special. I wanted something that represented beauty and mystery, danger and limitless possibility, and when I happened across a Hubble image of a far flung nebula I knew I’d found something that fit the bill.
To Roxie the shade of a person’s aura represents the color of their soul. It gives her a level of insight normal people don’t get. That’s one reason she needs a shield – to give people privacy. It’s also why when she decides a bad man like Blake is worth saving her instinct should be trusted. Roxie’s auric vision lets her see what people are made of – good, bad, and all shades in between.

Blurb:

Hoodoo and high magic are on a collision course.

Roxanne Mathis isn't like everyone else. Not only can she see auras and spectral entities, she can mix herbs and roots for spells to do good or ill. She can even light a candle without the benefit of a match. But when she’s hired to exorcise a demon from a young girl, she discovers the limits of her powers. 

With her vampire cousin at her side and a sexy sorcerer chasing her on the rebound, Roxie sets out to send that evil entity back to where she came from. 

Nothing is as it seems and Roxie’s in over her head. It’s not going to be enough for her to just be a paranormal investigator and old school root worker – to defeat this demon, she’s going to have to be the Mojo Queen.

Excerpt:


I sat in the chair opposite the loveseat, placing the candles on the coffee table. Glanced at him to make sure I still had his attention, which of course I did. One side of his mouth still curled up in a smirk, eyebrow quirked. I sat back, let myself sink into the comfy chair and relax as much as possible. First the candle on the left. Focusing on the wick, I visualized a tiny flame erupting from it--concentrating my will, pouring energy into my intention. I could feel myself sliding further into exhaustion as energy curled inside me, but after a long, agonizing moment the candle came to life. I let out a breath before I could stop myself, avoiding his gaze. I didn’t want him to know how much this was taking out of me, but I had a bad feeling it was obvious. I turned my attention to the other candle and though it took even longer this time, it too lit. I felt almost as bad as I had this afternoon.

Blake reached for a backpack on the floor I had not seen in the darkness. He opened it, fished something out, and tossed it to me. I didn’t so much catch it as let it fall in my lap. A chocolate candy bar.

It was my turn to quirk an eyebrow. Waving the bar at him I said, “What, is this to ward off dementors?”

The smirk became a genuine smile again briefly. “Something like that. You need to eat.”

I gave him a skeptical look.

“You know you’re using energy with that.” He gestured at the candles. “The energy needs to be replenished.”

I rolled my eyes but tore open the wrapper. The chocolate tasted, well, damn, like mainlining something illegal. Maybe he had a point. I was halfway through the bar when he spoke again, as if there had been no pause.

“Especially since you don’t really know what you’re doing yet.” Even in the low candlelight I had no trouble seeing the wicked amusement in his dark eyes.

I managed to finish chewing without choking, tossed the remainder of the candy bar on the coffee table and sat up straighter. “Why don’t you tell me why you’re here? Or better yet, tell me where I can find your demon lover? So I can send her back to Hell.”

“Well, actually, that’s exactly why I’m here, Roxanne.” Like we were discussing insurance or something. “I want you to find my demon lover.”

Gob-smacked, all I could manage was, “Huh?”

“And I want you to send her back to Hell.”


Author Bio:

Sonya Clark grew up an Army brat, living all across the United States as well as Japan and Germany by the time she graduated high school. Books were one of the few constants in her life. An eclectic reader, she always had a special love for the paranormal and is a lifelong fangirl of all things that go bump in the night.

A deep love of music is another constant thread in all of her fiction. She writes at a desk equipped with High John the Conqueror root and a mojo hand. She has worshipped at the mother church of country music, traveled the back roads of the blues highway, been to the crossroads at midnight, and though she’s never cooked up a mess of polk salad, she has been to Graceland four times.

She lives with her husband and Yorkie in Tennessee.

Sonya's:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Buy Links:

And an awesome prize pack! See cool photo to the left. And since I'm not 100% sure the embeded form will work, here's the link to enter!
Giveaway Details:
Winners will be chosen from all of those who enter via the form, leave comments at tour stops for bonus entries you can also enter at each tour stop.
 
10 winners will receive signed book plates
 
2 winners will receive free ebook copies of Mojo Queen 
1 grand prize winner will receive the Mojo Prize Pack, which includes:
·         Signed book plate
·         Mojo Queen playlist CD
·         A voodoo doll
·         A protective mojo hand
·         Spirit of Good Luck incense
·         A seven day spell candle
·         A bag of graveyard dirt
The winners will be announced on Sonya's blog on Friday, August 19. Physical prizes open to US Shipping Only Please. Ebooks international.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vacations are important

What are some of your favorite vacation spots? Are you a beach fan? Mountain lover? Historical site traveller? Or a hottest spots in the city kind of person?

Me, I love the beach. And the mountains...and historical sites & national parks. I like anyplace where I can be away from work, stress, and the every day minutia and feel like I'm really living. Maybe I should've been a national parks travel guide.

What about you? What's your favorite?

And don't forget tomorrow Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen. Have you seen the cover? HOT!

Friday, August 5, 2011

TGIF

Ever have one of those loooonnngggg weeks where you need the weekend? Ever think why our days off are a measly 2 days when we work for 5 of 7 days? Who came up with that ratio!

I don't mind work. I prefer writing, but I don't mind work. I love keeping busy, I like to be productive, I adore that sense of accomplishment when I did a kick-ass job on a project or came up with an idea that'll really work and make a splash.

It's the amount of time I spend there that I don't like. Takes away from my writing, my time with family and friends, my time relaxing in the back yard or on the couch with the dog. I'd say it takes away from my TV time, too but that's minimal as it is.

Ever wonder why the faster we become the more time we spend doing things?

Ever wonder why some people over-intellectualize things?

And don't forget Tuesday August 8, Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Indie book stores

Last week I read that Jay Z and Kanye West's new album release will be exclusively on iTunes & Best Buy for 2 weeks prior to being released in other stores. The article explained how such deals hurt indie record stores.

Whatever mega-money they're getting with such a deal I hope they realize just how deeply it'll hurt small business owners.

I prefer indie stores to big names. Given the chance, I'll happily pay slighty more to support a local business rather than a multi-billion dollar retailer who can't even find me on the map. I don't shop at Best Buy any more despite their so-called greatest selection. (I'm sure the kids working there think they know it all, but the lack of training is abismal and downright embarassing. Spend a day and a little money and actually train them. Everyone will be happier for it!)

All that said, and despite my like of the Sears Appliance Center and Macy's, I don't have indie music or book stores near me! I have a B&N about 20 minutes away, so their online site is a permanent bookmark on my favorites toolbar. Gets me my music & DVDs, too.

Which brings me around to self-publishing & the indie book store. How can I help them when most of my stuff is e-book only? They don't have websites where I can download books from, nor do they have a shipping option.

I'm open to options, I'm open to any dialog on this. What are your thoughts? And indie bookstore owners, how can we help?

And don't forget Tuesday August 8, Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen. Maybe you can find it at your local indie bookstore.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shadow State and self-publishing

I've blogged about this before, the rights reversed stories I have. In the one, I want to add at least 5,000 more words to flesh out the main characters. The plot stands solid, and the romantic arc is just fine. It's the characters. Took  me 3/4 of the story to realize why I didn't like it as much as I remember liking it 3 years ago when I first wrote it. Not much character development. Going to work on that!

But Sunday I received the converted version to Shadow State. I sent it out to a company that does this because after spending less than 30 seconds just reading the formatting requirements I realized the inherent value of paying for this service. They were wonderful, very communicative and easy to work with.

What's that saying about paying a professional? Yeah, this was just such a case.

So now it's published on Smashwords and within the next 2 weeks will be on Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo, Sony, All Romance eBooks, Diesel and Scrollmotion, the last two I've never heard of but seem to be rather popular.

All in all, it's really exciting to see my book up for sale like this.

And don't forget Tuesday August 8, Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When to pull back

Lately I've come to realize (see yesterday's post) that time is slipping by. Between work, dog, family, writing, and everything else I cram into my days, blogging takes a distinctive back seat. I blog on 2 other sites, Slip into Something Victorian and Unusual Historicals and barely remember when I have a post due or what it's supposed to be on.

I've been thinking of pulling out of at least one of them because I believe in honoring my commitments and by not blogging when I say I am, that makes everyone else's lives just that much harder.

The question is, would you try to keep up? Keep blogging, keep your name out there...or would you pull back?

And don't forget Tuesday August 8, Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Musings

I refuse to contemplate the fact that it's August 1. I refuse to believe that it's already August. I'm in deep denial and plan to go to the beach.

I refuse to acknowledge the older I get the faster time flies and the more I want to do. I refuse to believe I won't have time to do it all.

And I absolutely and utterly refuse to believe that age is important! It's just a number. So there survey takers who insist I reveal my age for their little pencil-pushing number crunchers.

And don't forget Tuesday August 8, Sonya Clark is joining me here to talk about her release, Mojo Queen.

Goddess Fish Blog Tour Partner

Goddess Fish Blog Tour Partner
Goddess Fish Blog Tour Partner