Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: The Caves of Etretat by Matt Chatelain


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author is giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the banner to see his other stops and go leave comments on those as well as here. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!


Before writing the Sirenne Saga four-book epic adventure, I owned and ran a used bookstore. I'd been in that business for more than twenty-five years and my concept of categories had been formed there. The reasoning used for such categories likely did not fit into any established or recognized categorization system.

When I started writing The Caves of Etretat six years ago, I used those categories to classify the genre of my book. I thought it was a historical mystery. Little did I know how wrong I was.

The problem began when I decided to send my first letter to my first agent. That was the day when my used bookstore system clashed with the real world. I discovered that historical mysteries were considered to be mysteries occurring during a specific period in history, not a mystery about history. So that classification was gone.

Was it even a mystery?

What was a mystery anyway? My used bookstore background insisted it was a bloodless murder that required solving by a sleuth of some sort. Research told me it was:

< 'A form of narration in which one or more elements remain unknown or unexplained until the end of the story.'

That was a relief, since the Sirenne Saga had endless elements that remained unexplained until the end. It was a mystery. The problem was the story was not just a mystery. I had no idea I was about to enter to dreaded world of cross-genre.

Apparently authors generally write books so that they fit into neat little categorization boxes. Why hadn't I known that when I began the series? As a result of my error, genring (is that a word? It ought to be, considering the time it took me to do it.) was becoming difficult, if not impossible.

Every time I tried to pin the books down to a specific category, they slipped away. I really liked the 'Thriller' genre and, if truth be told, I did brand it as a thriller series originally. My problem with it was its incompleteness, once again. Judge for yourself:

Thriller: a story intended to arouse feelings of excitement or suspense. (That's me.)Works in this genre are highly sensational, usually focusing on illegal activities, international espionage, sex and violence.(Not so much.)

Sure, the Sirenne Saga is sensational; there are illegal activities in it, some spying, some violence, even some sex. Unfortunately that wasn't enough. The story went beyond that. Then there was suspense. Check out what that definition is:

The elements of fiction that makes the reader uncertain about the outcome. Suspense can be created through almost any element of the story.

I knew my story had suspense. The Caves of Etretat was an exercise in creating it. Even when you finished, you still didn't have a clue what the outcome would be. Each subsequent book in the series only made it worse, bringing new levels you hadn't even thought of.

It wasn't science fiction either. There wasn't a single element of sci-fi in the story. Yet, for some reason, science fiction held a certain appeal, because those stories had a freedom similar to that found in the Sirenne Saga.

Action was another possibility. My series has a fair amount of action, although it does not compare to pure books in that genre. Then, one day, I came across Adventure and fell in love with it. Take a look at this little beauty of a definition:

A genre of fiction in which action is the key element, overshadowing characters, theme and setting.

In some ways, you could agree that my story is an adventure. It follows Paul Sirenne (the main character) through all his experiences, ultimately leading to the end of the world (don't worry, that's not the end, if there is such a thing. There's more, much more). If that's not an epic adventure, I don't know what is. My problem, of course is that the Sirenne Saga does not overshadow characters, theme and setting, with its action. The story is all about character in the end. It's about what makes a person do the things they do. In fact, the story is so twisty, that it turns just about every character you encounter into a key character. Can't tell you more than that, without spoiling things but you get the idea.

No category really fit. A real problem.

If I were to try and express 'The Sirenne Saga' genre, it would look something like this:

Action/Adventure/Thriller/Historical mystery/ suspense/mysticism


What? The mysticism? I know, I know, it's probably not even a category for fiction, but it's in there, so what can I do? Anyway, it doesn't matter. No one will let me classify my book like that. They want me to slot this rollercoaster of a story into a neat little box and I can't do it. I just can't. What happens is I'll give a different answer, depending on how I feel, or who I'm talking to.

I figure each person will pull out of the series what they need to. If they like action, it's an action story. If they like historical mysteries, it's got that too (mysteries about history, don't forget, not vice-versa). As for how it ends, it doesn't. Sorry, but there it is: Book Four just latches on to Book One and starts all over again.

Maybe it's not even a book. Is it a book without an ending?

I sure hope so. Otherwise, I've wasted six years of my life. Anyway, you judge for yourself. Read the series and figure out if I was right. While you're there, test out these wilds claims I make about my series:

1) When you finish the series, you will feel uplifted, floating above everything, looking at the world and everything in a new light (without becoming a cult member or anything). That'll be the mysticism bit doing its job.

2) After reading Book Four, you can read Book One and it will have become a different story.

3) There is a final revelation hidden in Book One that can only be found through the re-read. What do you think it is?

Go to my websitewww.MattChatelain.com to find out more about my books and to sign up for a free signed book contest. While you're there, let me know what category you think I should be slotted in. By the by, Book Two (The Four Books of Etretat) is out. Books Three and Four should be out by August 2012. I'm putting them all out within one year. So no waiting to read the series. Another first. Darn.

About the Author:
Born in Ottawa, fifty-two years ago, I have been the owner of a used bookstore I opened in Ontario, since 1990. I have been writing since I was ten. Beginning with poetry, I quickly moved on to short stories and non-fiction pieces. I stayed in that format for many years, eventually self-publishing a franchise manual (How to Open Your Own Used Bookstore), as well as a variety of booklets, such as 'How to Save Money at Home', 'Build a Greenhouse with Style' and the ten booklet series of Eddy Brock, Brockville Detective.

Having semi-retired from the bookstore, I embarked on the project of writing my first serious novel, which I expanded to a four book series after discovering an incredible mystery hidden within Maurice Leblanc's books.

My interests are eclectic. I like Quantum Physics, Cosmology, history, archaeology, science in general, mechanics, free power, recycling and re-use. I'm a good handyman and can usually fix just about anything. I'm good with computers. I love movies, both good and bad, preferring action and war movies. I can draw and paint fairly well but am so obsessed with perspective and light that I cannot think of much else. I am too detail oriented. Takes too long to finish anything.

Website: http://www.mattchatelain.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003486781507

In 2007, Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne is suddenly thrust into a quest for answers, when his parents are found brutally murdered, their bodies cut up and shaped into the letters H.N. Finding a note inside his father's copy of The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc, Sirenne is determined to uncover the roots of his long-forgotten family secret.

He heads to the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of the Hollow Needle. Falling in love with Leblanc's great-granddaughter, he deals with puzzles, theories, codes and historical mysteries, leading him to believe that Leblanc held a secret war against Adolf Hitler, fighting for the control of an incredible complex of caves hidden in Etretat's chalk cliffs.

The Caves of Etretat is the first in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.

Friday, May 25, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: HOWEVER LONG THE NIGHT by David Pereda

Cuban-born, award-winning Miami Architect and successful real estate developer Cid Milan suddenly faces a dilemma when his dying father reveals to him a shocking twenty-five year old family secret. Cid realizes there is only one thing he can do to unravel the mystery of his own past and right the wrongs committed. He must return to the land he abandoned. In his quest, Cid rediscovers himself and his roots as he searches frantically throughout Cuba for his teenage flame, Sandra, and the secret she kept from him all these years. In the process, Cid learns an invaluable lesson about love, forgiveness and redemption which changes his life forever.


He's handsome, rich, successful, and in a relationship with a beautiful model. He has it all--or does he? Nobody realizes the emptiness inside caused by what he perceives as the betrayal and rejection of the one woman he loved. When his father reveals the truth of that, events are set in motion which will forever change Cid Milan.

However Long the Night is very much a plot-driven book. There were some very interesting characters--loved the blonde porn stars mom and daughter--but they were not the focus of the book. The story was...and there were enough twists, turns, and almost-misses to keep me reading to find out what happened.

There was one character in the book that overshadowed the others--and the changes in that character, the effects those changes had on the plot were vital--Cuba itself. I was fascinated by seeing Cuba through the eyes of Cid--the Cuba he remembered, the Cuba he returned to.

All in all, However Long the Night was a very interesting book, and I look forward to reading more of David Pereda's work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: However Long the Night by David Pereda


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions


Cid and Manny leaned against the rail on the crammed upper deck of the venerable boat, watching the retreating Cuban coastline. Vessels of all sizes motored out of the harbor, seeking the open sea. The noise was deafening. Passengers screamed and boat captains blew their horns. On deck a group of men drank rum from a bottle and chanted, “Libertad, libertad, libertad . . . ”

“Many weird-looking people on this boat,” Manny commented. “That man over there looks like a drug lord.” “Castro emptied out the jails and let out all the scum along with the political prisoners -- murderers, druggies, thieves, prostitutes. The cream of society.”

“Hear, hear. But we’re out of there and on our way to America. A new life, Brother.” Manny flashed a big smile to someone behind Cid’s back and added a wolf whistle. “Think you can be without my charming company a while? A cute girl just gave me the eye. You want to join me and make new friends?”

Cid shook his head.

“You’re still down about Sandra not coming to say good-bye to you?”

Cid nodded. “It’s been a bad week all around.”

“Things will improve now, Brother. Cheer up. You’re depressing me.” He punched Cid on the arm playfully. “In a month you might not even remember Sandra. There are tons of beautiful women in the United States. I’m going to try to get a head start, maybe find me a new girlfriend right here on this boat. Sure you don’t want to come?”

“I’m sure.”

Great excerpt, no? Stay tuned to this spot for a review...coming soon!!!

About the Author:
David Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards. He has traveled extensively around the world and speaks several languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching college-level courses, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, Pereda is the regional director of the Florida Writers Association and the co-founder of AWE (Asheville Writing Enthusiasts). He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.

Pereda lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina.

Please visit him at…

www.DavidPereda.com
www.twitter.com/DavidPeredaAVL
https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Pereda-Writer/345490998614

ISBN: However Long the Night 978-1-61572-598-4 E-Book 978-1-61572-599-1 Print Book

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

VBRT: A Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson


This post is part of a Virtual Book Review Tour scheduled by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour. The author will be giving away a chocolate treat to a random commenter at every stop and a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Remember to check out the other reviews and leave comments. The more you comment, the better your chances!


If you're a fan of snarky humor about the differences between men and women, pick up a copy of A Snark in the Park. For me, it was best savored in small sections, much like her blog, on which the book is based. There are funny, laugh out loud sections; sections I would have to say to my husband, 'Listen to this'; and sections I would read and then assure him that 'no, of course you aren't like this--but there are men that are!.' There are also sections that are very poignant.

From her view that the week should be rearranged alphabetically to her advice on never, ever buying food at the drugstore, you will find yourself laughing and wanting to share--I challenge you to pick this book up and not find something to laugh about, not see yourself or people you know, or not to want to read parts of it out loud.

About the Author:
I'm a chick who writes stuff that makes you laugh. My book A Walk In The Snark hit #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list this past September (do you think they know I talk about sex? Shhh.). It's since hit about oh, SEVEN more times. #woot! I've been nominated for Funniest Blog, Best Humor Writer & Redhead Who Makes A Killer Dirty Martini (okay, I made the last one up, but it's true. Honest.).

I released The Mancode: Exposed right after Thanksgiving 2011! Two books of snarky goodness, baby.

I've been told I write in the style of that Dickens guy. Kidding.

I'm a mom, a wife, and a recovering pharmaceuticals rep. It's been a long process but I'm doing okay, thanks.

I also used to sell Trojan brand condoms. Yeah, it's hilarious, I know. I did it for three years way back when, and I was their top salesperson in the Western Region, a dubious honor at best. My number-one customer was the Mustang Ranch. No, seriously. The Mustang Ranch. I couldn't make stuff like that up.

The experience definitely gave me insights into the... er... ins and outs of men.

So it should come as no great surprise that I write about how men (The Mancode) and women (Chickspeak) approach most things differently. And since I did, in fact, grow past my Trojan days (in more ways than one or--insert your own joke here), I've thrown in a few tidbits about marriage, kids, being a mom, living in the OC (ya know-being a pale redhead living in a sea of blondes), coffee, and vodka. Not necessarily in that order, depending on the day.

Don't read this book to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I'm pretty much allergic to both of those words. Actually don't read this book for advice on anything. (My lawyer made me put that in just in case you know, you thought I could save your marriage or something - not).

Or if you are looking for some light, heartfelt humor in everyday life (Erma Bombeck-style), well, I'm really not your girl, either. Nothin' homespun about the Queen of Snark, baby. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See "Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.") Yet somehow it all seems to work.

And don't call me cute. (Hint: Babies and puppies are cute. Grown women are soooo not.)

Special note to men: I write frequently about "The Mancode"--like how you guys do goofy stuff and we women try, and often fail, to understand. (Um, change the toilet paper roll much? Yeah, that's what I thought.) If that offends your sensibilities, this may not be the book for you. Yeah, I'm crushed.

Like everyone, I've also had some rough times. I share those with you, too. Life can't always be martinis and beaches. Wait, this is the OC (Orange County, CA, for those of you from Canada, or people on the East Coast who don't know California beyond LA). Naw, not even here.

So, welcome to RachelintheOC.

Now go read an essay or two and find something to laugh at, would ya?

I have to go help my husband find the butter. Again.

Blog: http://rachelintheoc.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rachelintheoc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExposingTheMancode

Monday, May 21, 2012

VBT: Destiny's Fall by Marie Bilodeau



This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour scheduled by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author is giving away a signed eBook copy of Destiny's Blood (the first book in the series) to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and an autographed set of Destiny's Blood and Destiny's Fall in print (US and Canada only) or eBook (International) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour--remember, you can't win if you don't play. And, you get an entry for every stop you comment on. So...go forth and visit!!


Destiny’s Fall continues the story of Layela Delamores, which began in Destiny’s Blood. The first book brought Layela to Mirial, a world steeped in tradition, loyalty and the firm belief that its role in the universe was unique and irreplaceable. Returning to the world of Destiny meant that I had the opportunity to further explore Mirial and her people.

The culture of Mirial was very much inspired by things I find fascinating. I remember as a kid, some thirty odd years ago, when the Internet was starting to make an appearance in households. At first it was hailed as an ingenious way to share information quickly and effectively, which was exciting (how did we ever find information before Google?)

Then, I overheard my dad one night, a casual philosopher, mention to a friend that the Internet would make the world a smaller place and, consequentially, a potentially much more homogenized place. He didn’t find it an appealing prospect. It took me years to understand why.

Layela’s homeworld, the main setting of Destiny’s Fall (when they’re not hopping about to other worlds in a spaceship), was inspired by those words. From them was born a world that is staunchly independent, with a people that clings to traditions bred as much from history as superstition. But this world is dying, and outside influences, including Layela herself, begin to weaken the very traditions that secure a very fine balance in the ether that controls the universe.

And there are explosions. Just to keep that landscape every fresh and changing!

About the Author:
Marie Bilodeau is an Ottawa-based science-fiction and fantasy author. Her space fantasy novel, Destiny’s Blood, was a finalist in the Aurora Awards and won the Bronze Medal for Science-Fiction in the Foreword Book Awards. She is also the author of the Heirs of a Broken Land, a fantasy trilogy described as “fresh and exciting” by Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo award-winning author of WAKE. Her short stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including the recent When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.

Marie is also a professional storyteller who’s told adaptations of fairy tales and myths, as well as original stories, in venues across Canada. More at www.MarieBilodeau.com.

A broken tradition. A hunted child. A rebellion that threatens to topple the very fabric of the universe.

When Layela Delamores gives birth to her first child, the ether immediately rejects what should be its only heir. A wave of destruction sweeps the ether races and sparks Solaria’s ire and rebellion on Mirial. A new heir rises to take the throne of Mirial, one who wields tainted ether.

Unable to access the flow of ether, Layela is left with little choice but to flee Mirial, seeking answers that may no longer exist, prepared to sacrifice everything to free herself and her daughter from the clutches of the First Star.

Friday, May 18, 2012

VBT: Seaswept Seduction by Tracy Sumner


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner to see the rest of Tracy's stops, because at the end of the tour she's going to be giving away a Kindle!!


The Author's View: Inside/Outside


Thanks for hosting me on My World of Dreams! An interesting question was posed for the post: To describe my writing space. And here’s the thing. I used to believe I needed a “set” writing space. Somewhere quiet and filled with music or photos/images of my heros and heroines, setting, etc. However, as life goes, quiet is hard to find, time to sit and contemplate/dream/create in my space hard to manage. Why, I need a full hour or two to actually make use of the writing space. But, wait, I only have fifteen minutes!

So, I had to adjust my thoughts of my writing space.

Stephen King in On Writing relates his experience writing Cujo. He balanced a card table on his knees in a trailer. And the guy is tall. Doesn’t sound comfortable or great for inspiration. :-) So…the idea of the writing space is wonderful, however, I think it’s a creative challenge to flex those muscles and write in: Starbucks, for ten minutes at the table as your toddler is eating dinner, in between loads of laundry with the laptop on the kitchen counter. I have a Mac Air, the most conducive computer ever made for writing on the fly. It literally weighs little more than a feather.

So, it may be crazy, but I’ve actually done away with the writing space. :-) I’m an A personality, mom, graphic designer. I write on the fly!

Happy reading! Let me know what YOU think is the perfect writing space.

And, enjoy the book video:



TIDES OF PASSION, the National Reader’s Choice for Best Long Historical, debuted in October 2011. The second novel in the Tides series, TIDES OF LOVE, arrived in November. Tracy’s holiday novella, which begins the new Southern Heat series, TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL: A Christmas Seduction, released mid-December 2012. The next in the Heat series, TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, released in February. Next on the agenda? The start of the True series, about the True men. TRUE FATE arrives mid-May!
About the Author>:
Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.

When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). After stops in France, Switzerland and Taiwan, she now lives in the south. However, after spending a few years in “the city”, she considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.

Readers can find her at:

Website: www.TracySumner.com
Twitter: @SumnerTracy
Facebook: Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5259839.Tracy_Sumner

Thursday, May 17, 2012

VBT: Feedback by Jo Sparkes


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour scheduled by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo will be giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one random commenter at the end of the tour. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour--remember the more stops you comment on, the better your chances of winning.


Okay. First I'll confess, genre is not my favorite thing. It's a label, a way of dividing things into categories. And I've always been anti-label. Too confining.

However, with any book, you have to 'pitch' it. You have to quickly convey what it's about – be that to an agent or publisher you're hoping will take it on, or to a reader you're hoping will pick it up. And genre is a key to that.

Think about it. I had a writing professor use the term “bodice rippers” the first time I ever heard it. He pointed out that the image of the couple on the cover, panting in each others arms, clothes askew, boldly declared a promise about what was inside. Your father, looking for a book on the space program, is not going to pick it up by mistake.

And if the book had an Apollo 13 capsule on the cover? No seeker of romance will read the title, much less buy it.

There is, naturally, a ton of things to do to make your book stand out among all the romances available today. But we'll save that for another time.

Each genre in turn has rules that the reader expects. And if you think no one will yell if you break them, try writing a bodice ripper where the heroine dies at the end. Even in cross genres – new books coming out that merge or blur the lines between genres – there are subtle rules, which is to say expectations by your audience.

And that's the key – the audience. You need to understand them. They are never wrong, and they are very smart.

Mystery lovers want to solve the mystery. There has to be clues in your story, clues that upon reflection tell who did it, but don't shout 'murderer' too soon. And the murder itself must make sense, with a good motive and well-thought out plan. The reader has to think, 'of course!', not 'What the hell???'

Science Fiction readers love science fiction. They expect a science-based world, stretched however you like but it must have some grounding in science. Great science fiction is a marvelous exciting story in a universe with a new twist on existing knowledge. So much the better if that twist becomes part of the plot.

The accepted advice is to research your genre. Personally, I don't buy that. It sounds far too detached, lacking passion. Instead, write the tale you have to write – the one that haunts you. Then let others tell you what genre it really is.

And – perhaps most difficult of all – be open to feedback. When suggestions come back to you, weigh them carefully. It's always the writer's choice, of course – but you really won't interest too many people in that bodice ripper / Greek tragedy.

About the Author:
A well-known Century City producer once said that Jo Sparkes "writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read." Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer,but a true reflection of her commitment to her work.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program. Years later, Jo renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.

Taking every class she could find, she had the good fortune to study with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

The culmination of those years was the short-film "The Image", which she wrote and produced singlehandedly. And in so doing, she became fascinated with the dynamics of collaboration on a project.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back. Her body of work includes scripts for children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct-to-video children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She's been a feature writer on ReZoom.com and a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network, where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, has teamed with a producer on a low budget thriller, and a director on a new "dramady.” She went in front of the camera for a video, “Stepping Above Criticism”, capturing a popular talk with her students.

Her new book, FEEDBACK HOW TO GIVE IT HOW TO GET IT, shares her lessons learned with writers, and indeed everyone dealing with life's criticism.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

http://www.feedbackthebook.com
http://josparkes.com/

Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.

When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?

Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.

Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

VBT: Moving On, A Prairie Romance by Annette Bower


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author is giving away a $25 GC to All Romance Ebooks to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of her tour. Click on the banner above to visit the other stops on her tour. Remember, the more stops you comment on, the better your chances of winning!


Five Things We'd Never Guess About Annette Bower


I chase after shiny things just so that I can put off what I should be doing. Five things that readers would never guess about me creates a mind block. I’m an open person and I think everyone knows everything about me. So instead of preparing for this interview, I decided to try and fix my mother’s problem. My mother wears a hearing aid and has for over forty years. Two weeks ago we learned that the best aid will no longer help her hear. Last year at 88, I taught her to text and this is how she keeps in touch with her children and grandchildren, but she is feeling very isolated in the assisted living community where she and my father reside. My shiny thing to chase is a speak- to- text program for a small device like an Ipod touch. I may have a partial solution for her but now I have to write out step by step instructions and then do tutorials for her and my father. This is no longer a shiny thing. It is work, so I’ve delayed it until after I prepare for my visit to you here on Welcome to My World of Dreams. In many ways this trait is reflected in Anna when she decides to toss her nursing career and focus on building miniature houses and not just any house but replicas of customers’ special homes. She created a miniature of her grandmother’s house for her mother and of Anna’s dream home that she was going to share with Murray. She has one commission, to build a house for a customer whose wife does not want to leave the house where they raised their family. The husband’s hope is that if his wife has a replica of the time when their family was young and happy, she will be able to move to a smaller home.

Today is my birthday. My mother has six children and when I was exploring astrology I asked her what time of the day I was born. After a hesitation she told me 10:05 am. I’m not sure I totally believe her because she was hesitant and delivered six babies. I’ve always wondered if she made an error and if I was born just a couple of hours later or earlier what amazing qualities I would have rather than who the chart says I am today.

Now you may say that mother’s don’t forget the time their children are born. I have forgotten my sons’ or at least to the exact minute but I have it written in their baby books so I can always check for certain, if they would ever ask. When I cut out their horoscope for their birthday they roll their eyes so I’m pretty sure it won’t be an issue for me and my sons. So even though my sons do not need to see the horoscope for their birthday it is something small that they like to receive from me and who knows perhaps one day their horoscope may come true.

Anna decided that in her new life she would not step forward and care for others. Her new mantra is self care, but she has a caring personality and she realizes it is hard to shut that part of her off. Self care can be extended to the satisfaction that is received when she shares with someone else.

Way back when in one of my high school yearbooks the caption beside my picture said: “She looks both ways on a one way street.” Of course I was insulted at the time. But whoever wrote that caption did have an insight into who I was and who I am today. I do prepare for the unseen. I always leave the house with money and a cash card with my name on it. If I’m away from home and need to return in a hurry, I can call a taxi. With cash or the availability of money, if I meet a friend we can have a spontaneous coffee, or if the clouds roll in and a sudden thunderstorm causes torrential rains I can drop into a restaurant and wait in comfort.

I also take the parking space with a quick exit, either in front of or behind a driveway or a straight drive through space without the necessity of backing out. I search for these rare spaces whenever I can but there are many drivers out there with the same preparedness skills.

One day while Anna was musing about her new career as a miniature house specialist, a thought surfaced; what if someone asked her to build a house that they would destroy to rid themselves of horrible memories? What would she do then? She was looking both ways on a one way street.

Looking both ways is a helpful talent for a writer because story is built on “what if” and “what next”.

Oh this interview is shinier and shinier.

I have directional confusion. I cannot do jigsaw or crossword puzzles. I cannot tell my left side of my body from my right without the assistance of my watch, which I wear on my left wrist.

Maps do not make sense to me. I can use bright colored markers and map out a route but just one little detour or a missed sign and I’m crying on the side of the highway. Many meaningful friends say, “just look at the sun and when spread your arms out wide, your left hand is W for west and your right hand is E for east. It spells WE.” That is a lovely rule but when I don’t understand if I’m supposed to go north, south, east or west, it doesn’t make any sense. One day a friend and I were trying to get off a freeway around a city. She also has directional confusion; we kept getting off and asking for advice back to our hotel; we circled for an hour and a half. This same friend and I were actually lost in a flat asphalt parking lot but it was dark. My GPS is my constant companion on my travels. Because of technology, I now have a bigger life.

In Moving On-A Prairie Romance, Anna and Nick find ways of adjusting to their new lives. Anna finds ways of fitting into a small community and building a life where she learns to garden and repair her older home but also find resources through the internet and Nick finds ways of making his prosthetic device work for him rather than against him.

This feels like many more than five things you would not guess about me. But just in case it isn’t five, I have mentioned on my web page and perhaps in other places that my writing career saves my family, friends and even stranger’s lives. If I’m not writing I’m chasing shiny ideas to fix others’ lives and most times they are happy with their life just the way it is.

About the Author:
Annette Bower lives and writes in Regina, SK Canada. She is an author of many short stories published in anthologies and magazines in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. She explores women in families, women in communities and women at the beginning and end of love and their quest for love. She pursues the writing craft in workshops, conferences, Writing with Style, Banff Centre for the Arts, Victoria School of Writing, Sage Hill Writing Experience, the Surrey International Writing Conferences and the Romance Writing of America Conferences.

When she isn’t writing she walks or bikes around the streets and parks in her neighborhood imagining complex worlds behind seemingly ordinary events.

Her first contemporary romance, Moving On A Prairie Romance is published by XoXo Publishing™ a division of Ninni Group Inc.

Find the author online at:

Website: www.AnnetteBower.com
Blog: http://www.annettebower.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Annette-Bower-XOXO-Publishing-Author/378438088839629

Anna is a mysterious woman that has just moved to Regina Beach. The residents of the small town know everyone’s business and they are very interested in discovering Anna’s secrets. Nick was a Sergeant in the Canadian Army, doing active duty until a horrific accident sent him home to recover. He helps Anna feel safe and comfortable in her new environment, just as he has always done for his men in strange, dangerous places. Meanwhile, he focuses on preparing for his future physical endurance test to prove that he is capable of returning to active duty.

Anna doesn’t talk about her past, and Nick doesn’t talk about his future therefore she is shocked to discover that his greatest wish is to return to active duty. She won’t love a man who may die on the job again. Intellectually, she knows that all life cycles end, but emotionally, she doesn’t know if she has the strength to support Nick.

Monday, May 07, 2012

VBT: Fighting Gravity by Leah Petersen



Our guest today, Leah Petersen,is visiting with us as part of her Virtual Book Tour sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions. If you click on the banner just above us you will be able to see the rest of her stops. She will be giving away a prize pack containing these items hand knit by the author: a hat and a replica of the symbol of an important institution referenced in Fighting Gravity to TWO randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

I love science fiction AND fantasy, so I asked Leah to describe the difference between the two as she sees it.

I think you can get a lot of geeks riled up with a question like this. In either genre, fantastical, “magical” things happen that we can’t do here and now. Science fiction writers in particular seem to get persnickety about pointing out that their “magic” is based in known science and is theoretically possible. (Though I don’t recommend bringing up FTL—faster than light—travel with a group of sci-fi writers unless you want a whole ‘nother discussion altogether.)

Personally, I don’t get all the fuss. I was a sci-fi/fantasy reader long before I wrote either. I came to the books because I wanted to experience fantastical, magical things and worlds. I didn’t care whether they conformed to the laws of physics, biology, and genetics as we know it, or they were wildly impossible. Whether they took place on worlds we might conceivably encounter out in the great wide universe or some supposed alternate history. If people could start fires with their eyes because they lived in a world where magic like that happened or because they had fancy-schmancy futuristic eye implants, I wanted to know more. Either way worked for me. Both could be fascinating and both could open up worlds that promise amazing and exciting experiences.

I don’t take issue with people who want their science fiction to be pure. I was very careful to make sure my sci-fi was exactly that, SCIENCE based fiction. (We’ll reserve judgment on the FTL thing.) There’s no magic involved. If they can do things we can’t or have things we don’t, it’d because the understanding of the physical world has grown to allow us to manipulate and control with technology things we couldn’t before, or in ways we can’t now. But as a reader, so long as the world is internally consistent, heck, it can have magic AND science and unicorns and rainbows for all I care.

The distinction between the two genres becomes even less important, in my opinion, now that there are so many sub-genres. Urban Fantasy looks a lot like dystopian sci-fi sometimes. Steampunk is technically sci-fi, but in most cases, it’s acknowledged that a lot of what’s “possible” with that technology isn’t really possible. Does it matter? Not to most readers, I think. Sure, on the far edges of each genre, you expect very different things. Hard sci-fi bears almost no resemblance to paranormal fantasy. Epic fantasy is almost nothing like near-future sci-fi. But, at the core of each genre, what we pick up science fiction and fantasy books for, is to experience the impossible.

Sounds like fun to me.
Leah's debut novel, Fighting Gravity, is available from Amazon.

When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.
About the Author:Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.

Find the author online:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeahPetersen
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeahPetersenAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/leahpetersen
Google+: http://profiles.google.com/leahpetersen
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lpetersenauthor/

Friday, May 04, 2012

At the Library

I'm working on a craft project for Mother's Day to present next week to my Community Storytime (ages 1-5 with caregivers)...and a thought struck me. How many jobs are there where you can get paid for coloring?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

GUEST BLOG and GIVEAWAY: Lilia Birney and TO CATCH A THIEF-TAKER

This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour...it might be you! But, only if you leave a comment--you can't win if you don't play! Click on the banner above to see her other stops and go comment there too!!


Roaring in the Twenties by Lilia Birney


Hi everyone! First, I would like to thank Judy for hosting me on my blog tour for To Catch a Thief-Taker. She's asked me a lot of interesting questions, but I think the one I found most intriguing was about historical time periods--which one is my favorite?

Well, I have to admit that it's easier for me to talk about what historical periods I don't like. I am such a history nerd that I will read almost any historical-set novel. I even got my bachelor's in history, after changing from an English major. But, if I had to pin down one era, I would say that I love the Roaring Twenties.

When I say that, people in the writing business just cringe. They say that it's not historical enough, or that it simply doesn't sell. So I have stuck to the tried-and-true, and I write in Regency England. It is, after all, my second-favorite era in history. But there's something about the 1920s that makes it irresistible to me. Maybe it's the Art Deco sleekness of design. The hot jazz music and gorgeous silent films. The beaded dresses and adorable bobbed haircuts? Delicious. And the romance writer in me loves that this era was a great time of sexual revolution, particularly for women. Why not write a romance novel set in an era where women really began to take charge in the bedroom?

I'm a huge fan of the PBS series Downton Abbey, and I am so happy this third season will be taking place in the 1920s. Maybe it will reignite the popularity of this era. What do you think? Would you read a book set in the 1920s? What's your favorite era in history?

About the Author:
Lilia is a reader and writer of historical romance. While the Regency is her favorite era, she loves anything from the Revolution to the 1940s, with a special interest in American history. Her first novella, From Air to Eternity, was published by Night Shift Publishing in 2011. Her newest series,The Liberated Ladies, explores the lives of four very independent women in Georgian England. Lilia lives in New Bern, North Carolina.

Find the author online:

Twitter: liliabirney
Email: liliabirney@hotmail.com
Blog: http://www.canyonlandpress.com/

When Lady Penelope Annand's trusted servant goes missing, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid's whereabouts. But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second--even if she's infuriated by his high-handed manner. She doesn't trust any man--not after the way her first husband wronged her--so why is she so quick to believe in a thief-taker?

Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London's most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family's sordid past to create a life of his own. But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, all his carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling. As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

New Job...New Responsibilities

It's official. I'm now the Children's Department Head of the library where I work, instead of Circulation. I'm excited about working with children again.

I was a preschool teacher for several years and assistant director of one of the preschools in North Carolina--and I've also worked with school-age kids in after school programs. On top of that, I homeschooled my kids--so, yeah, I think it's a good fit.

And, we all know that "kids say the darndest things" so I'm expecting to have some fun things to share :-)

What is your favorite library memory?

Book Blurb Blitz Tour: Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti Tyler



Today is the release day for Pavarti Tyler's newest book: Shadow on the Wall.:::throwing confetti:::: To help her celebrate, she is visiting here with me as well as with other bloggers throughout the blogosphere. Here's what her book is about:
Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero? Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way? Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm. In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.
And, here's a video for you to enjoy: