Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Monthly News

Welcome to the Remembrance Day edition of Monthly News.
What did you do to remember those who fought for our independence? Did you take a moment of silence at 11am? I did, and also sent a post out a 11 am est.

BOOKS:
1. The Frankincense Trail - Jody Kihara
2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Cathrynne M. Valente (HIGHLY recommend)
3. Silver Girl - Elin Hildebrand (recommend)
4. Bon Appetit - Glenn Gamble (recommend)
5. Hot Water - Erin Brockovich & CJ Lyons (recommend)
6. She Smells the Dead - EJ Stevens (recommend)
7. See Mix Drink - Brian D. Murphy (recommend)
8. Roseannearchy - Roseanne Barr
9. Remembering You - Tricia Goyer (recommend)
10. Bye Bye, Baby = Max Allan Collins (recommend)
11. Juniper Berry - M.P. Koslowsky (recommend)


PRODUCTS:
1. Basa Body- All Natural Coconut Oil Body Lotion (recommend)
2. CrazyDog Tshirts (recommend)
3. Piczzle - Your Personal Photo Puzzle (recommend)


YEARLY TOTAL: 159 Books, 1 Magazine, 2 Services, 25 Products, 1 Tv Show, 2 CDS and 1 Movie


Freda's Fave Five (In No Particular Order):
1. The Frankincense Trail
2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
3. She Smells the Dead
4. Juniper Berry
5. Bye Bye, Baby


BOOK OF THE MONTH:


AUTHOR INTERVIEWS:
1. With Georgia Cates
2. With Kelley York
3. With Linda C. McCabe
4. With Gervase Shorter
5. With Kelvin O'Ralph
6. With Dee DeTarsio
7. With James Hutchings
8. With Shelli Wells
9. With James Conway


SPONSORED POSTS:

1. An Excerpt: Hot Water - Erin Brockovich & CJ Lyons (Chapter One)
2. Scholastic Shopping Guide - The Most Popular Children's Books for this Holiday Season
3. Great Gift Ideas from the Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony Collection
4. Out Today: Untraceable - Shelli Wells

Get to Know Author James Conway

Howdy readers!
Today we have author James Conway here for a Q&A, and talk about his book, The Vagabond King.


The Vagabond King is a coming of age story that weaves mythology, astronomy, religion and the histories of Hungary, Africa and ancient Mesopotamia into a metaphysical mystery. When the main character, Chris’s, mother dies and he discovers the man he believed was his father is not, the sixteen year old is haunted by a mysterious apparition that forces him to question his pampered existence and embark upon a quest to find himself. Hoping she will “make a man of him”, he seeks sanctuary in the home of Magda, a middle aged waitress with a penchant for sex, only to discover she lives with her father, a cigarette smoking, beer swilling immigrant.
Chris hates his shabby new surroundings at the end of the street and the shabby old man at the end of his life who spends his days listening to old blues records and making Chris fetch him fresh cans of beer. But, when the old man tells tales of Communism, torture, escape and the mysterious medallion he wears, Chris learns that, like the old man’s skipping records, history repeats itself and the roles we play have been played many times before.

Kindle Edition: 308 KB
ASIN: B005MGEQ2K


Who or what inspires your writing?
I am inspired by writers who have a powerful command of the language and can use it to stir deep emotions in their readers. I was first inspired to become a writer after reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The heroic language he uses can awaken and inspire the slumbering greatness in people. I have the same opinion about Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. I also love the work of Isaak Dinesen and love her Seven Gothic Tales.
But, in terms of what inspires me I would say that, for me, writing is a medium of discovery. It is a way for me to discover things about myself and the world around me and craft it into new way to view the world and which I then present to the reader.

When did you know you would be a writer?
As I mentioned above it was Tolkien who first inspired me to become a writer when I was an adolescent. Around that same time I was younger I would take long walks with my Uncle Paul, who was a very literate man, and he would talk about various writers and the things that made them important. So I always had an idea of some sort floating around in my head that I would become a writer, but didn’t really believe it. Back then the only thing I wrote was bad poetry and I was plagued by uncertainty and doubted my ability. It was only when I went to Ripon College and met some friends who were musicians and planning to start a career in music that I actually thought I could do it.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?
I don’t know if I’m embarrassed or proud to state that The Vagabond King took me about 20 years to complete. This is because of the various things life requires from you like raising a family and paying the bills etc. But, when I left Ripon College I was bound and determined to write something of lasting quality, a masterpiece. I was a terrible writer when I first started but, I’ve heard it said, anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. I wrote The Vagabond King in the nooks and crannies of my day. Many times it felt like I was trying to build a book out of a crossword puzzle. But, the nice thing is that writing is not a performance art. No one has to see the multitude of bad drafts, just the one that counts.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
As I said before, writing is a medium of discovery for me. With The Vagabond King the most difficult part was the fact that I didn’t know where I was going. I had an internal desire to get there but didn’t know exactly where there was. That is different with my work in progress which I’m calling The Mythological History of Chicago. I know where I want to go and what I want to do. The main problem now is just time.
Also, now that I’m published and my words are free to be read by my family, friends and anyone else I have come to realize that the hardest thing about being a writer is that now I am open to criticism and attack. It feels like walking around naked. Criticism and attack are fine though. I took my time with The Vagabond King so it would be god and strong enough to stand on its own.

Do you have any writing rituals?
I don’t know if they are rituals but I do have some definite habits. Have a wooden puzzle board that I was given as a child. It fits perfectly in my lap and I place a college ruled legal tablet on it to write when I’m sitting down. I find that writing at night is better for creativity and coming up with things and writing during the day is better for editing.

Have you written anything else?
As I mentioned before I have written a lot of bad poems. But, I’ve also written some good poems, a few of which I included in The Vagabond King. Perhaps I have a natural tendency toward poetry, maybe that is why the style of The Vagabond King is so musical.

Any advice to aspiring writers?
Stick with it! Every life has a purpose and if you feel that this is your purpose follow through with it. Your life will be empty and meaningless if you don’t.

Who are your favorite Authors?
While I’m not a fan of the Fantasy Genre I do love Tolkien. As I mentioned above I love Dinesen’s Seven Gothic Tales. I’m also a big Fan of Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred years of Solitude. And then there is Italo Calvino. I’ve got to say that I like the idea of Italo Cavino more than I like the actual writing. His Baron in the Trees is great. And the rest of his writing, while I don’t like it as much, is incredibly creative and imaginative.

What are your favorite books, or which book has impacted you the most?
This may sound arrogant but I don’t mean that way. The Vagabond King is my favorite book simply because it is the book I wanted to read but no one had written it.

What are you currently reading?
While I have a library of a few thousand books, surprisingly I’m not reading any of them currently. I’m just two busy building a buzz for The Vagabond King.

How do readers find out more about you?
Well, they can buy The Vagabond King on Amazon for .99, that would be a great way to get to know me first : ) But, they can also find me on Facebook by typing in my e-mail thevagabondking@myluckymail.com


A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
I was born on the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I lived there all of a month before moving thirteen times before I was nine years old. As a child my mother was frequently in the hospital and, because my father was in the navy, he was frequently at sea. Consequently, I lived for periods of time with both sets of grandparents. Because I moved so frequently I was always the new kid at school, sometimes more than once in the same year. I didn’t have a lot of friends as a child so I read voraciously. The first book that caused me to realize the power that language has over people was The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. It was this book that inspired me to eventually become a writer. My family eventually moved to the Chicago area where I spent my formative years. It was in Chicago that I became very interested in Blues music. I went to Ripon College in Wisconsin which is also the Alma Mater of Harrison Ford. While there I studied English Literature and history and made the decision to dedicate my life to writing. I started collecting notes for the novel that would eventually become The Vagabond King at Ripon. Shortly before I graduated I was married and shortly after I was a father. I took a job driving a forklift for 12 hours a night from 7 pm to 7 am in order to have time to raise my son, write and teach myself Russian. I was only getting an hour or two of sleep a day and so this was a very difficult time for me. It was then that I began to realize the power of Blues music to sustain the human soul in the most adverse of conditions and I tried to imbue The Vagabond King with a sense of this through the musicality of the language.

The Blues. Boom. The Blues cut like a back alley knife and, tormented and tortured, with all the unrestrained rage of a field holler, those old bluesmen sang of lives lived in dissatisfaction and despair. Oh, I was there man. I was there and, with every dip and slur of the slide guitar, they conjured up images of unfaithful lovers, crying in the rain and standing at the crossroads, frozen in time like lovers on a Grecian urn, and forever trying to flag a ride.

I am currently working on a project I’m calling The Mythological History of Chicago. It’s a noir mystery narrated by a trickster god and combines my interests in Quantum Physics, Taoist philosophy, history and how the human mind perceives reality.

2012 Audio Book Challenge

TERESA'S READING CORNER


Since I have only read this many this year I am choosing the Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books Level.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#159: Juniper Berry - M.P. Kozlowsky


Juniper Berry's parents are the most beloved actor and actress in the world—but Juniper can't help but feel they haven't been quite right lately. And she and her friend Giles are determined to find out why.
On a cold and rainy night, Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell you all the world's secrets bound in a balloon. For the first time, Juniper and Giles have a choice to make. And it will be up to them to confront their own fears in order to save the ones who couldn't.
M.P. Kozlowsky's debut is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (April 26, 2011)
ISBN: 9780061998690



AUTHOR BIO:

M.P. Kozlowsky was a high school English teacher before becoming a writer. Juniper Berry is his first book. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.


My Opinion:
LOVED it!
This story is great for pre-teens teaching them about temptation and making the right choices.
I devoured this story. It had enough fantasy to keep an adult mind occupied and interested, and had values you would love your child reading about, even when they won't necessarily know it.
That's the great thing about great books, they're great for everyone!
This is one of those books, so get your copy today!


5/5


Recommend? DEFINITELY!


~I won my copy. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Teaser

SHOULD BE READING


There was a noise, an unusual sound, as if the tree were speaking gnarled words. The ground trembled slightly, the raven flapped its wings, and yet nothing appeared to change.

OUT TODAY: Untraceable - Shelli Wells (With Interview)

16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn.
After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence.
Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.

Kindle Edition: 634 KB
Publisher: Coleman and Stott (November 15, 2011)
ASIN: B0069Z9A74
Purchase at Amazon
GoodReads


AUTHOR BIO:
Shelli Johannes-Wells started out writing for her local school paper, winning a state Nutrition essay contest for “Be a Smart Cookie”, and singing in a local Jazz band. Somewhere along the way, she earned an MBA in Marketing and embarked on an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America working as a marketing and communications consultant.
In 2000, Shelli traded in her expensive suits, way-too high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own marketing & communications business, www.bilaninc.com, and continues creating materials for a variety of large profit and nonprofit clients, including Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, Delta, CARE, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Shelli’s dream is to publish children’s books and magically imprint the imaginations of kids. In addition to juggling nap schedules while attending client meetings, Shelli focuses on her writing. She is a frequent marketing speaker at SCBWI conferences across the U.S and runs a popular marketing blog, Market My Words (www.faeriality.blogspot.com) where she provides marketing advice for authors in the hopes of helping them better market their words.
In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), Shelli obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), wishes she could squeeze in Bikram Yoga sessions, and dreams of sleeping in on the weekends.
She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess that someday will change the world.

Author Newsletter

Twitter
Facebook
GoodReads


PRAISE FOR UNTRACEABLE:
"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!"
-Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder series (Harper Teen) and The Pledge series (S&S)

A Moment with Shelli Wells:

How long have you been writing?
I started right after I had my daughter in 2004. I always say she sat on something. I think since I had 4 months off maternity leave – I started writing while she was napping and couldn’t stop. I hadn’t written much before that. But when I was little I used to write all the time. IN 2006 I left my corporate job and started freelancing in copywriting and marketing. From there I started my own business where I could take the jobs I wanted while writing. It’s the best of both worlds.

What was your inspiration for this thrilling romp through the wilderness?
I wanted to create a contemporary thriller. I loved James Patterson growing up and there are very few young adult thrillers out there that aren’t paranormal or dystopic. I wanted to create a “stay up late and read” sort of book with a strong girl character who could take care of herself in the real world with no magic or special powers.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Oprah, Steve Jobs, Ghandi, Dali Lama, Joan of Ark
Maybe Brad Pitt or Keanu Reeves – but that would be for breakfast - ha!!

What is one book that you think everyone should read?
The Prophet by Kahil Gibran

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
John Steinbeck, Kahil Gibran, Ann Rand, James Patterson (in the early years)

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
There is a special edition coming in Jan/Feb with a different ending and the first 5 chapters of the next book.I do have a second book planned – Uncontrollable set in the winter.

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?

My dad always says Hero or Zero – I either go all the way for something or I don’t go at all.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don’t give up and go with your gut!

Thanks to Shelli for joining us. Make sure to check out Untraceable!

Monday, November 28, 2011

#158: Bye Bye, Baby - Max Allan Collins (With Giveaway)



It’s 1962, and Twentieth Century Fox is threatening to fire Marilyn Monroe. The blond goddess hires Nate Heller, private eye to the stars, to tap her phone so she will have a record of their calls in case they take her to court. When Heller starts listening, he uncovers far more than nasty conversations. The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia—even the Russians—are involved in actions focused on Marilyn. She’s the quintessential American cultural icon, idolized by women, desired by men, but her private life is... complicated...and her connection to the Kennedys makes her an object of interest to some parties with sinister intentions.
Not long after Heller signs on, Marilyn winds up dead of a convenient overdose. The detective feels he owes her, and the Kennedys, with whom he busted up corrupt unions in the 1950s. But now, as Heller investigates all possible people—famous, infamous, or deeply cloaked—who might be responsible for Marilyn’s death, he realizes that what has become his most challenging assignment may also be the end of him.
PI Nathan Heller returns in his first new novel in a decade, as Max Allan Collins brings to life a vivid star-studded cast, from JFK and RFK to Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford, from Jimmy Hoffa and Joe DiMaggio to Hugh Hefner and Sam Giancana. Bye Bye, Baby is a Hollywood tale you never thought could happen…but probably did.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (August 16, 2011)
ISBN: 9780765321794

AUTHOR BIO:
MAX ALLAN COLLINS is the bestselling author of crime fiction including Road to Perdition and the Perdition Saga, and the award-winning novel based on the film American Gangster. He has won two Shamus Awards for Nathan Heller novels. He also wrote the Dick Tracy comic strip for fifteen years, and is an independent filmmaker. He lives in Eastern Iowa.


My Opinion:
Most people who know of Marilyn Monroe wonder what really happened surrounding her death. It is true she had some connections in life that were questionable, and this story touches down on some of the most sensitive ideas of death.
I loved how noir-esque this book is. The era, the characters, the plot, all pulled me in and kept me reading until the end. Which I have to admit surprised me. It wasn't at all what I expected, but I was too wrapped up in all the conspiracy theories.
This book was very well written and one I am definitely shouting at mystery fans to read!


4.5/5


Recommend? Yes!


~I received a copy from Tor/Forge. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY....
Fill in the Rafflecopter form to enter.

Get to Know Author James Hutchings

Good morning Readers! Happy Cyber Monday!
Here is a treat for you guys to consider in your Cyber Monday book shopping. James Hutchings is joining us today for an interview and discussing his book, The New Death and Others. If you click his name, you will end up on his website where you can learn more about him and his book. Check it out and let me know what you think.

'The New Death and Others' is a collection of short pieces (44 stories and 19 poems). Most of them are dark fantasy, but there's some humor, general fiction and science fiction in there too.

Kindle Edition: 264 KB
Publisher: James Hutchings (September 27, 2011)
ASIN: B005Q8Q8DY
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at Smashwords


Who or what inspires your writing?
Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. An example of that is a recent poem I wrote, called 'Angel Square', about a square where angels take the place of pigeons. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go, and write down ideas as they occur to me. I don't think I have more or better ideas than anyone else, but people who don't write don't bother putting their idle thoughts down. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'. I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner.
Of course other fiction is a big inspiration. In some cases it's obvious. I've done poems directly based on stories by HP Lovecraft and other writers for example. In other cases it's more subtle: for example the city of Teleleli or Telelee is partly based on Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar, partly on Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork, and partly on Port Blacksand in the Fighting Fantasy series. The dialogue in Lord of the Rings had a big influence on how my characters talk.

When did you know you would be a writer?
I think I've wanted to do something creative since I was a teenager. But I've tried several different things, such as music and film making, before I finally settled on writing. Even then I've changed from short stories to poetry, and now I'm considering writing a novel. If it turned out that I was actually better at, say, painting than writing, I think I'd be happy to change. So for me it's much more wanting to do something creative, rather than wanting to write specifically.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?
Writing the stories in 'The New Death and others' took about a year.
However before that I spent about a year creating a fantasy city called Teleleli or Telelee as a background for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Once I finished I realized there wasn't any demand for it. My ex suggested I write stories instead, so I did.
However even that was largely based on an online game I did called Age of Fable (www.ageoffable.net). I created that game over about four years.
So one year if you only count the actual stories, six years if you look at when the original idea started.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
When I run out of ideas halfway through a story. One thing I do is make a point of writing every day, even when I don't feel like it. This helps get through temporary slumps. I think if you wait for inspiration to strike it never will. Often I start with the attitude that "I'm really tired and I can't think of anything. I'll just write a token amount so I can say I did something today," and actually end up having a good idea and getting a lot done.
I usually have several things that I'm working on at the same time. This helps with running out of ideas, because I can leave what I'm working on and do something else instead. The danger with this is that starting something can be more fun than finishing it, and so you run the risk of having lots of half-written pieces that you never finish.

Do you have any writing rituals?
Only making myself write every day, even if it's only a little bit. I think if I tried to write, say, three times a week, that would actually be harder. If it's three times a week it's too easy to put it off and say that you'll do it later. If it's every day you 'have' to write now.

Have you written any thing else?
Years ago I wrote a novel called 'Escape', which is...best not spoken of again. I don't think I was a bad writer, but I wrote it without getting any feedback from anyone else, and I think feedback is absolutely essential.

Any advice to aspiring writers?
Nowadays anyone can self-publish. If you can make a Word document, you can have an ebook on Smashwords or Amazon. However that means that if your work is no good, no one's going to stop you. I'd recommend that people get onto Critique Circle (www.critiquecircle.com) and/or Scribophile (www.scribophile.com), put their work up, and listen to what people tell you. Don't 'defend' your work against people's 'attacks'. They aren't attacks, they're helping you. I've found that the people who defend their work have a strong tendency to have the worst writing, I suppose because they're not making the changes they need to make.
My next point doesn't matter if you're going to self-publish, but it is important if you want to be published by a regular publisher, or if you want to submit stories to magazines. Most places won't publish work that's already been published. And most places count putting a story on the internet as publishing it. In my opinion that's silly, but that's what they do. Scribophile and Critique Circle are exceptions, because Google doesn't index them and you can't see any stories without logging on. However there are writing group websites out there where, if you put a story on the site, that counts as the story being published. That seems like a really terrible way to set things up, but they're out there.
I'd also say that getting a book out isn't the final step. It's just the start of the work of self-promotion. This is true even if you're not self-publishing: I'm told that authors are expected to pretty much arrange their own book signings and so on (if you just want to have a book out to show family and friends then this doesn't matter, of course).
There are a lot of sharks out there, who make their money from authors and not from readers. They will make all sorts of promises about how they're going to promote you and help you, but these are lies. Authors do not pay publishers, ever, and if they're asking you to pay then it's a scam. Of course if you're self-publishing you might end up paying someone to design a cover for you, or you might pay for internet advertising, but those are different things. You might also pay a printer to print your books if you want to get physical books rather than ebooks - but in this age of the kindle and print-on-demand I don't know why you'd want to. Preditors and Editors (www.pred-ed.com) is a good website to look at, and you can get good advice at the forums of Critique Circle.
Finally, I'd suggest learning to touch-type if you can't already. You're going to be doing a lot of typing, and every hour you spend getting faster at typing will save you ten in the long run.

Who are your favorite Authors?
JRR Tolkien and Jack Vance for the elaborate dialogue. Robert E Howard for the general atmosphere. Terry Pratchett for the humor. Lord Dunsany for the use of Fame, Time and so on as characters.

What are your favorite books, or which book has impacted you the most?
I think every English-language fantasy writer is probably most influenced by Lord the Rings. Even if they write in a different way, it's probably a deliberate decision to not write like Lord of the Rings, rather than a result of indifference to it.


What are you currently reading?
I actually read short stories far more than novels, so I'm seldom in the middle of anything. The last story I read was 'A Centurion of the Thirtieth' by Rudyard Kipling (spoilers: it was a good idea, but not a very good story).

How do readers find out more about you?
I have a blog (www.apolitical.info/teleleli), and I post something every day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Get to Know Author Dee DeTarsio

Happy Sunday readers!
Today we have author Dee DeTarsio joining us for a Q&A! She has a new book out, Ros, and we'd like you all to check it out! You can click her name and head over to check her website out. It includes all her books there for you to check out.


Dee DeTarsio's literary talents shine with tenderness and humor as she once again takes readers into the heart of women's lives in an unforgettable tale. Filled with friendship, love, loss, betrayal and out-of-this-world challenges that force her characters to find their place in the universe, Ros gives us the hopefully-ever-after we're all searching for.
When a plane crashed behind Micki Cramer's house, in San Diego, California, she kept waiting for the sirens and rescue team to show up. As the first responder, it was up to her to tug on the arm that was waving out of the broken wreckage. Holding her breath against the choking smoke, she managed to get the pilot out and carry him to safety into her backyard. He wasn't that heavy; he was about the size of her 10-year-old nephew, who did play a lot of video games and ate nothing but Flamin' Hot Cheetos, but still. As it turns out, he wasn't a guy after all.
Ros, the pilot, was on a mission to find her missing brother who had crash-landed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Seems she was a bad driver, too, missing her target by nearly a thousand miles and more than half a century.
If Ros can teach Micki how to use eleven percent of her brain, how can Micki help Ros?

Still not convinced? I knew Ros would be a hard sell, as featured in
Dialogues With The Devil--A Conversation With A Literary Agent: Selling Your Soul
Me: It is a warm, witty (hopefully, though God alone knows how many of us try to pass off the unfunny by calling it warm and witty) novel; friends-on-an-adventure facing insurmountable odds…
Devil: Is there an alien in it?
Me: Yes, but…
Devil: Science Fiction.
Me: No, but…
Devil: No Sci-Fi for me.
Me: Me, either.
Devil: (Recorded message) Thank you for considering me for submission of your manuscript. I kindly ask that you refrain from darkening my doorstep in the future.
Me: It’s not Science Fiction! Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Devil: Cloven hoof tapping impatiently.
Me: Think of it as a coming-of (voice lowers to whisper) -space- (louder) age story!
Devil:  SF.
Me: No, not at all! Geez. Never. I mean there is romance in there, and a few NSFW scenes that while gratuitous, certainly do serve to move the story along…
Devil: SF!
Me: No! I do not write erotica.
Devil:  Static on line; indeterminate rumbling that sounds a lot like “Maybe you should.”
Me: Who’s to say this didn’t really happen? Or that it won’t happen? The whole sci-fi world doesn’t have to be riddled with Stephen King monsters, or werewolves or vampires. Sookie Stackhouse would love Ros!
Devil: Dial tone.
Me: Oh, Ros. I miss you so. I mean, I would miss you if you had actually…Oops. My lips are zipped.
Ros was taped before a live studio audience. For a transcript of the show, please visit Ros!


Who or what inspires your writing?
I am stalking Marian Keyes! She’s a Virgo, I’m a Virgo. She’s a successful internationally recognized goddess of an author, and I...have read everything she’s ever written. I expect we would be best friends. She even looks amazingly like my younger sister, Ma... OK, my sister’s name isn’t Marian, it’s MaryBeth, but we call her Beezer, which has the exact same number of letters Marian’s name does. Coincidence? (I sometimes even call my sister an eejit!)
Goddess Marian Keyes (top) ...and her doppelanger, my sister, Beezer (bottom).
Her most excellent Ms. Keyes is from Ireland...I love the color green. From her first book, Watermelon, (my seventh favorite fruit) to Sushi For Beginners (I’m only up to California rolls myself) to Anybody Out There...I have loved, read, and reread every word. I’m even practicing what I will say when I meet her.  I have been working on “Top of the morning,” as an icebreaker. I am such a gobshite.

When did you know you would be a writer?
Still waiting for confirmation.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?
I wrote my first novel, The Scent of Jade (finalist in the San Diego Book Awards Association) in about 8 months.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part is that little, teeny-tiny one paragraph synopsis that becomes the road map for the story!

Do you have any writing rituals?
I try to write novels as a TV producer: Writing for television is writing for tell a vision. Producers are the authors of suspense: amping up the conflict and drama. Storytelling a vision invites the audience, through whatever medium, to stay tuned for the good stuff...coming up.

Have you written any thing else?
In addition to The Scent of Jade, I’ve written a novella, ‘Til Somebody Loves You, Romantic Comedy Quick-Pick, and The Kitchen Shrink (if you’re life’s a mess, your house could probably use a makeover, too!).

Any advice to aspiring writers?
Read for pleasure.
Reread for what you missed the first time around.
Remember the stories and styles that spark your passion.

Who are your favorite Authors/Books?
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Green Darkness, Anya Seton
Shining Through, Susan Isaacs
The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
The Botticelli Secret, Marina Fiorato
and Anything by Marian Keyes

What are you currently reading?
As a contributor to the new reader’s blog, www.ReaderUnboxed.com I am reading genres all over the map, and it’s a blast: Hello, India Black (by Carol K. Carr) I’m talking to you, as well as Before Ever After (by Samantha Sotto). I also hear Marian Keyes (insert harp music here) has a COOKBOOK coming out in the Spring, which I will read! And, I am also drooling to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63...

How do readers find out more about you?
www.DeeDeTarsio.com
Twitter: @DeeDeTarsio
Facebook: Dee DeTarsio

A Note From Dee:
When I’m not writing, I’d like to say I’m busy speaking and cooking fluent Italian, teaching yoga class and volunteering for the Peace Corps, but none of that would be true.
Thanks for reading!


Author Bio:
Dee DeTarsio is a television writer living in southern California. (Remember those aptitude tests in sixth grade? She was supposed to be a Farmer’s Wife.) After growing up in Ennui, Ohio, and graduating from Ohio State University she vowed ‘never to be cold again’ (in a tantrum more worthy of Suellen than Scarlett) and ended up in Tucson, Arizona, producing the news for the CBS affiliate (oddly enough called KOLD-TV). She moved to San Diego where she worked in the SeaWorld entertainment department as a producer/writer (penguins are mean!), before producing and writing for the NBC affiliate.
From the girl who ate too many potato chips, Dee is the author of women’s fiction novels, THE SCENT OF JADE, THE KITCHEN SHRINK, ‘TIL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, and just released, ROS.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Friday 56

Welcome to Week 53 with me!


Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It's that simple.


She took out a handkerchief and wiped breadcrumbs from her lips. "I'd like to see the library, but I don't know if I want to see the librarian."



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giveaway: One Hundred and One Nights - Ben Buchholz

After 13 years in America, Abu Saheeh has returned to his native Iraq, a nation transformed by the American military presence. Alone in a new city, he has exactly what he wants: freedom from his past. Then he meets Layla, a whimsical fourteen-year-old girl who enchants him with her love of American pop culture. Enchanted by Layla's stories and her company, Abu Saheeh settles into the city's rhythm and begins rebuilding his life. But two sudden developments--his alliance with a powerful merchant and his employment of a hot-headed young assistant--reawaken painful memories, and not even Layla may be able to save Abu Saheeh from careening out of control and endangering all around them.
A breathtaking tale of friendship, love, and betrayal, One Hundred and One Nights is an unforgettable novel about the struggle for salvation and the power of family.
Where can I purchase this book?

Thanks to Anna and Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies up for grabs!
Fill in the Rafflecopter form to enter...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Piczzle - Your Personal Photo Puzzle


Piczzle Picture Puzzle service is an Internet-based retailing and manufacturing service of Custom Jigsaw Photo Puzzles.
We strive to provide the best custom jigsaw puzzle service by creating a fun, dynamic and an interactive option for those who wish to capture precious life’s moments through a photo puzzle game – for themselves and for the ones they love.
Piczzle's Cardboard Puzzles are made of outstanding materials, top craftsmanship and the highest print quality. They are constructed of a premium grade cardboard that has been laminated with a glossy finish. Our cardboard puzzles are precision press cut so that all pieces will be perfectly match one another and they are printed using an advanced digital printing technique that results in sharp, multicolored prints.

Check them out on Facebook




My Opinion:
I love my Piczzle!
I chose one of my favorite photos of the hubster and myself, and though it took some time to put together 110 piece puzzle, it looks amazing!
I'm going to get it matted and framed, it's that nice!
The hubby gave it a two thumbs up too!
SO this could be a great Christmas gift for someone you know who loves puzzles. Get their favorite photo, or a great family portrait as a keepsake. They will love it!



5/5


Recommend? Yes. Most definitely!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Teaser

SHOULD BE READING


The morning was bright and surprisingly clear for smoggy Los Angelos, pleasantly warm thanks to desert winds, though experience said by midday we'd have a scorcher.
It was pushing 6:00AM when I followed a cream-colored, somewhat battered Ford van down the dead-end that was Fifth Helena Drive.

#157: Remembering You - Tricia Goyer (With Giveaway)

Television producer Ava Ellington cannot refuse her grandfather's last wish--that she accompany him to Europe on a tour of World War II battle sites. Ava has little interest in historical battles, but this may be her last chance to break down the barriers that have grown up between them, and she sets off, camera in hand, ready to record and report on their journey. She and Grandpa Jack are greeted in Paris by Paul, her grandpa's best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The Dennis who just happens to be Ava's first love. History comes alive as the group travels across Europe--from the romantic sights of Paris to the bleak battlefields of Belgium to the Austrian labor camp these men liberated so many years before--and Ava sees a side of her grandfather she's never known before. As he shares his memories of those bitter days on the battlefield, she begins to understand how his experiences in the war made him the man he is today. Throughout the journey, Ava and Dennis are drawn together in ways neither of them expected. Can their memories of the past lead to a bright new future?

Paperback: 311 pages
Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (November 2011)
ISBN: 9780824948122
Purchase at Amazon



AUTHOR BIO:
Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. On Tricia's weekly radio show, Living Inspired, she shares stories of inspiration and encouragement. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

For more about Tricia and her other books visit www.triciagoyer.com


My Opinion:
This is a great story and with a well thought out premise. It had me wondering what it would be like, to experience it myself, and would I have valued the journey? My guess is yes. To be able to see what others fought for, and to feel the impact by being at the actual spot it took place in, that alone marvels me.
The romance was an added bonus. The story was best when it revolved around the trip and the family connection, but the love story was the story in the end. And a good one at that.
Tricia is such a clever writer being able to stir these emotions within. Because of it, she is one of my favorite Christian authors.


4/5


Recommend?
Yes to Christian-Romance fans.


~I received a copy from LitFuse. I was not compensated for my opinion.~



AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY... Comments here DO NOT count.

Win a Kindle Touch for YOU and a Friend from Tricia Goyer!
Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her novel, Remembering You, with a KINDLE Touch Giveaway for you ... and for the friend of your choice. Then on 11/29 she'll be wrapping up the release of Remembering You with a Book Chat Party!



During the first half of the party Tricia will be chatting, sharing a sneak peek of her next book, and giving away a ton of great stuff. Then she'll head over to her website for a Live Chat! Readers will be able to chat with Tricia via video or text.



Don't miss your chance to win a Kindle Touch for yourself ... and to "remember" a friend this holiday with a Kindle Touch for them!



Read what the reviewers are saying here.





One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Kindle Touch and a Kindle Touch for a Friend (winner's choice!) 
  • A copy of Remembering You by Tricia Goyer for each
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on November 29th. Winner will be announced at Remembering You Facebook Party on 11/29. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away copies of her other WWII books and gift certificates to Starbucks and Amazon.com. So grab your copy of Remembering You and join Tricia on the evening of the 29th for an author chat, a trivia contest (How much do you know about WWII?) and lots of giveaways.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get to Know Author Kelvin O'Ralph

Good evening readers!
Tonight we have author Kelvin O'Ralph joining us for a little Q & A. Check out his newest book, LS: Deception (Book 2).


The second book of a paranormal romance series. It’s the sequel to the romance action packed LS: The Beginning, and it’s titled, LS: Deception. In this installment, we find the two MCs growing and learning more about their supernatural powers and themselves. There’s romance, action, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and loads more in this eye catching book.

Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 23, 2011)
ISBN: 9781466463523
Purchase at Amazon


Who or what inspires your writing?
Mostly successful authors inspire me every day. Anytime, I read the papers about J. K. Rowling or blog sites about Amanda Hocking, I feel so inspired to continue writing books.

When did you know you would be a writer?
The moment I entered the university and I found out that my chosen course wasn’t what I really wanted. I had the required skills for it, but I lacked the enthusiasm or passion.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It took me about three months to write my first novel which was over 70,000 words. However, the editing process took up to a year to complete. I can recall rewriting the first chapter close to twelve times.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Rewriting, I guess. It’s a lot of work to polish one’s manuscript. Though, it’s a bit easier if one gets a professional editor to have a look at it. This helps reduce the long process of editing.

Do you have any writing rituals?
Hmm, none really, just that I do most of my writing on my blackberry.

Have you written anything else?
Asides LS: The Beginning and LS: Deception, I’ve written a romance sci-fi novella, titled, Fast Forward: Into The Future, and I’m going to release another novella(fantasy romance) this month, titled, ‘Jimmy and The Enchanted Book.’

Any advice to aspiring writers?
Learn about your genre, target audience and the publishing industry. Ignorance isn’t an excuse, but rather a way exit. Keep writing, you don’t really need to publish all you write, but just keep writing and reading. The more you do these two, the better your writing skills will become. Also, be passionate about the art of writing. Make your readers want to pick up your book for the second time. Lastly, be determined and consistent. Your readers want to know what book you’re releasing next.

Who are your favorite Authors?
J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King. Angeline Kace, Tiffany King

What are your favorite books, or which book has impacted you the most?
Harry Potter Series, and Twilight Series, but most especially, ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King.

What are you currently reading?
Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace. It’s really an intriguing read. I like the main character Broke very much.

How do readers find out more about you?
To find out more about me and my books, stop by my blog Kelvin’s World. I often blog about my life as a writer and give updates on my books. On my blog, you can find various links you could use to get to me, like Twitter, Facebook etc.

'I believe time's the only barrier between greatness and me.' - Kelvin O'Ralph

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Gift Ideas from the Jennifer Lopez Collection and the Marc Anthony Collection

For your Mom
Jennifer Lopez Marilyn Belted Shopper ($129.00)

For your Sister
Jennifer Lopez Tuxedo Jacket ($84)

For your Best Friend
Jennifer Lopez Marilyn Heels ($79.99)

For your Mother-in-Law
Jennifer Lopez Cowl Neck Sweater with Lurex ($84)

For your Work Friends
Jennifer Lopez Gold Tone Bead Multistrand Necklace ($34.00)
Jennifer Lopez Jet Studded Ball Necklace ($38.00)
Jennifer Lopez Gold Tone Simulated Crystal Hoop Earrings ($26.00)
Jennifer Lopez Jet Studded Dome Stretch Ring ($24.00)
Jennifer Lopez Gold Tone Twisted Ring ($18.00)
Jennifer Lopez Gold Tone Multistrand Bracelet ($28.00)
Jennifer Lopez Silver Tone Chain-Wrapped Bangle Bracelet ($28.00)

For your Boyfriend
Marc Anthony Fashion Moto Jacket ($150)

For your Dad
Marc Anthony Tonal Striped Sweater ($65)

For your Brother
Marc Anthony Boots ($120.00)

For high resolution images of items from the Jennifer Lopez Collection and the Marc Anthony Collection, please visit the holiday look book. Please consider including items from the Jennifer Lopez Collection and/ or the Marc Anthony Collection for your Christmas Gift List!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giveaway: Love and Shame and Love - Peter Orner


Alexander Popper can't stop remembering. Four years old when his father tossed him into Lake Michigan, he was told, Sink or swim, kid. In his mind, he's still bobbing in that frigid water. The rest of this novel's vivid cast of characters also struggle to remain afloat: Popper's mother, stymied by an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the relentless energy of Chicago; his brother, Leo, shadow boss of the family, retreats into books; paternal grandparents, Seymour and Bernice, once high fliers, now mourn for long lost days; his father, a lawyer and would-be politician obsessed with his own success, fails to see that the family is falling apart; and his college girlfriend, the fiercely independent Kat, wrestles with impossible choices.
Covering four generations of the Popper family, Peter Orner illuminates the countless ways that love both makes us whole and completely unravels us. A comic and sorrowful tapestry of memory of connection and disconnection, Love and Shame and Love explores the universals with stunning originality and wisdom.


Thanks to Anna and Hachette Book Group, I have 2 copies up for grabs.
Fill in the Rafflecopter form to enter.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reading Challenge Addict

HOST


I'm going for On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges


1. 150+ Reading Challenge
2. 2012 ARC Reading Challenge
3. 2012 EBook Challenge
4. Mount TBR Challenge
5. 2012 Audio Book Challenge - OPTED OUT.
6. 2012 Mystery & Suspense Challenge
7. 100+ Books In A Year Reading Challenge
8. A-Z Book Challenge
9. 2012 ARC Reading Challenge - OPTED OUT
10. 2012 Books Won Challenge


This is all I have signed up for so far, so if I sign up for more, I'll change the level.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Friday 56

Welcome to Week 52 with me!


Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It's that simple.


Sinatra made a dismissive gesture, but he was beaming.




Stella & Dot

ManyBooks Email Subscription (CA/US/UK)

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