Sunday, April 27, 2008

TO CATCH A HIGHLANDER by Karen Hawkins

When Sophia MacFarlane's father loses the family estate at the gaming tables, she takes matter into her own hands to win it back.

I really looked forward to this book, mainly because of the setting and time period. As I read, I liked the concept, I liked what seemed to be ahead in the story, but it seemed to be a long time in coming. The characters were one dimensional and I started skimming at one of the climactic scenes.

Overall, I was disappointed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sharing Friday

Sharing Friday seems to be contagious. I'm joining Susan, Helene, and Jen. This is how it works...post 200 words from your latest wip but remember, it's just for fun and no crits.

Here's a small snip from McNight.

The silver fox slid to the end of his seat, arms perched on the desk edge. Cole was certain there was a hissing sound as he prepared to speak. The man’s tongue slipped between his lips, wetting them. Without realizing it, Cole glanced down to see if it was forked.

“Did she say how she found you?” he asked.

“It wasn’t mentioned.”

“I don’t suppose you know where she was going?”

Cole pushed himself up from the chair. He had cursed the strong-willed woman with every step and briar patch he had encountered, especially when blisters had rubbed his feet raw and forced him to walk barefoot. Her destination was not of any interest unless he could be assured of ample time alone with her. Thoughts of a sound thrashing for his unwarranted misery had fueled most of his trip.

“No,” Cole snapped and limped toward the desk. Sitting down had been a serious mistake. His entire body protested his insistence on renewed movement. At least, he had had the forethought to grab his boots before standing. “I don’t know where she is. Just give me my assignment and a horse that doesn’t belong to someone else?”

Foxy laughed and handed him a folded paper. “Isabella Foster is your next assignment. You need to find her and bring her in.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

I've been tagged

Tag! I'm It!

I've been tagged! Sarita Leone tagged me to play a cyber-game and this one seems like fun. :)

The rules:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.


Hmm, I think all of my secrets are out, let me think... okay, six random facts about me:

1. I have never developed a taste for coffee. It doesn't matter how you truss it up, I can't stand it. Each time I've tried it, I've had to drink a full glass of water to get the taste out of my mouth.

2. At the back of this wallflowers aspirations, tucked under a pile of old clothes is a desire to act.

3. I played the clarinet in grade school and middle school.

4. I make lasagna and spaghetti noodles from scratch.

5. I am related, by marriage, to the Hatfields of the Hatfields and McCoy fame. I was even given the grand tour of the sites and told their side of the story in great detail by a relative.

6. I have green eyes. (I couldn't think of anything else. *shrug*)

I tag:
Jen
Claire
Jenny
Nina
Precie
Deniz

Saturday, April 19, 2008

TAKE ME IF YOU CAN by Karen Kendall

Avy Hunt is an art recovery agent whose new assignment is to retrieve the Sword of Alexander from Sir Liam James, a high-end art thief. With a fat commission and her reputation on the line, Avy crosses more than one moral line in her quest for the muti-million dollar art piece. A cryptic message from a trusted source shatters her common sense and leaves her basic instincts in question. The lack of which means death in her profession. Still, only one thing is clear. She'll bring in the sword no matter what.

This is the first book I've read by this author and WOW, what a great read. Never have I been gripped so early in a book. This book has everything and holds nothing back. To be honest, this author's style has a certain agent's fingerprints all over it. I was surprised to discover this person was not her agent. Anyway...

Miss Kendall has a succinct style of writing but not in a way that leaves you feeling cheated. You are left very satisfied. The characters are very nicely drawn, the story is plausible, her research is spot on, and the tension is high. The only complaint I have is there were a few chapters featuring Gwen that didn't seem to fit with the story, but they were entertaining and didn't distract, so...

Overall, you gotta read this book!

Friday, April 18, 2008

New read

I know when I've found an author I love. Fifty pages is generally my litmus test. This is the point where I decide how much further I'm willing to go with an author. One hundred pages is where I draw the line.

When an author has me seriously considering a job change that will take me into the world she's created within the first twenty-five pages--WOW, I'm hooked, big time.

I'll be back with a full review soon. I love finding new authors (to me) that are fabulous.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A little bit of everything

I haven't written much today but seem to have accomplished a lot. I read more of The Spymaster's Lady and finished tweaking my discussion board, please come take a look. I hope it will pick up after my release date.

I did start a new wip a few weeks ago, tentatively titled, McKnight. Do three chapters constitute a start? I really need to get going on this. Maybe a word counter in the side bar will help motivate me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why I’m Giving It Away.

Jane Richardson is a friend of mine and is newly published with The Wild Rose Press. Most new authors have varying thoughts of how publication will affect their lives. Jane is different. Instead of wanting success to change her life, she wants her success to change others. This is why.



A few years ago I became friends with a girl when I worked in the theatre. She had Type 1 diabetes, and over the course of our first few weeks together, she told me a little about it. Specifically, she told me about her first symptoms that led to a friend of hers recommending she visit her doctor right away.

I’m glad I listened carefully to what she said. It never occurred to me that several years down the line, I’d be seeing exactly the same symptoms in my son.

The first signs that something was going awry with Alexander were the emotional ones. He’d fly off the handle at the slightest little thing. We couldn’t understand why. Was it something we were doing wrong as parents? Was there some kind of bullying happening at school? We spoke to his teachers, who were already seeing his tempers vary to extremes. My little boy was on the edge of being branded a ‘difficult child’ in school. Then we came to the summer break, and with it, still the temper tantrums, often followed often by exhaustion. Summer went on, and then over the course of the final few weeks, other symptoms started to appear – the raging thirst, and the need to drink what seemed like gallons of water, followed by endless visits to the loo. We went to a movie – he visited the loo immediately before, during, and right after the show. Major alarm bells started to ring, as I remembered my friend’s symptoms. I made notes. Over the course of three days, my son drank an average of three litres of water a day and visited the loo thirty-three times. Armed with this information, we visited the doctor the next day. His words were, “You know what it is already, don’t you, Mum?”

Yes, I did. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

His life - our lives – changed in that moment. I’d heard my friend’s story, but I didn’t really understand what diabetes was all about. Now I do! Put simply, as I’m not a medical person, it occurs when your body stops producing its own insulin, which is the hormone that regulates your energy levels. No-one fully knows what causes diabetes, but it certainly isn’t caused by ‘eating too much sugar,’ as I’ve heard people say. The body’s blood sugar levels have to be regularly checked, which might be where the confusion arises. In order to do this, my son (and others like him) pricks his finger with a machine containing a sterile lancet, and he applies a drop of blood to a test strip attached to a meter that translates the information into figures. We use those figures to determine if he’s within the optimal blood glucose range, and also to establish what insulin he needs to take. This is balanced and calculated along with the food he eats at every meal or every snack. By doing this, we hope to prevent major, harmful drops or gains in his energy levels – the ‘hypos’ and ‘hypers’ you might have heard about.

I’ve mentioned insulin a couple of times. Alexander injects himself with insulin four times a day. Yes, I said he injects himself! He began to do his own injections about nine moths after diagnosis. Up till then, I’d done it, or his father had. Giving your own child an injection is not easy; neither is watching them inject themselves. But if it didn’t happen...well. You can’t think about the consequences of that too much. You just get on and do it. I should add – insulin is not a cure for diabetes. At this time of writing, there is no cure for diabetes, and it can have far-reaching and potentially harmful consequences, including damage to the eyes, heart and kidneys.

You’d think that by maintaining a routine of testing, eating and exercising well, and keeping up the insulin injections, everything would be perfect. That’s not always the case. Sadly and frustratingly, diabetes isn’t always easy to control.

My son is a very bright boy. He loves theory and reasoning, and can understand most things that can be explained and proved. He knows how his body works, and he knows what he has to do to stay well. If he asks a question, we can usually find the answer somewhere. But there are two questions we can’t answer for him – why this has happened to him, and how things might change for him in the future. Right now, all the signs point to the fact that my son will not outgrow diabetes. It’s a life-long condition, and may involve all kinds of complications further down the line.

But this could change, and research is happening all the time to find a cure. Even in the few years Alexander has been diagnosed, things are moving along. I can’t take the diabetes away and have it instead of him, though like most parents in this position, I’d do that in a heartbeat. But what I can do is help the organisations working towards a cure.

That’s why I’m going to double and donate every penny I raise from the sale of my contemporary love story ‘A Different Kind of Honesty,’ to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. If you buy the book, not only will you get a jolly good read out of it - - but you’ll be helping raise funds for diabetes research. You can read the blurb and an excerpt at The Wild Rose Press website, here. It’s currently available as an e-book, and the print format will be available in October. There’s another excerpt at my website, too.

I’m also lending my support to Brenda Novak’s wonderful on-line auction for diabetes research! I’ll be donating a book and a basket of organic aromatherapy products to that, and she has some stunning goodies to bid for! Please do take a look.

So that’s it. If you’d like to know more about me, please visit my website. I’m also running a contest to celebrate the release of my book; all the details are at the site. And if you want to drop me a line, please do. I’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Contest

If you like Italian men and English women, and who doesn't, you must read Jane Richardson's A DIFFERENT KIND OF HONESTY. To kick-off her debut novel, she is holding a contest at her website, and talk about a killer prize. Go take a look. I can't decide which is my favorite.

I also want to mention, every penny Jane makes from the sale of her book will be doubled and donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Thank you Jane for your generosity and good luck to all who enter.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

An interesting time at B&N

Okay, I went to Barnes and Noble to look around and while there, I discovered two things.

First, I am reminded of how small the writing world is. I was looking through an aisle display of books, listening to a woman give me a detailed list of who was good and who wasn't and why she thought this way. This woman may have favorites but let me tell you, she reads the gamut on authors. She was a treasure of information.

Anyway, she pointed out one book and when I turned it over to read the back cover, I almost dropped it. This author is on my Facebook and I had no idea she was an author. Much to my embarrassment, I also learned that she's no small potatoes. Nice to know we befriended each other before I became aware of who she was.

My personal critic continued to advise me. She thrust another book in my hand and said, "This author is fabulous. Start with this one." She tapped the front cover. "Especially if you like gardening."

Ummm, I'm definitely an indoor girl and not fond of the author being regaled. Okay, to be honest, I've not read this author, but I've heard a lot about her. From what I've heard, the author tends to leave a "love her" or "hate her" taste in readers' mouths, and I know where I'd fall.

Trying to be fair, I thought, this is the second time this author has been praised as a must read. I haven't given her a fair chance. At least, read the back and see if the story sounds interesting. I flipped it over. *blink, blink* I stared at an entire glossy, back cover of the author's image. I checked to see if there was a blurb on the first or last few pages. Nothing. Hmm, this spoke volumes to me and nothing flattering. I have to wonder, is she that good that people will purchase her books on her name alone? Is she not interested in new readers?

I nicely thanked the woman for her time, waited for her to leave, and returned the blurbless book to the shelf. Maybe I was right in my thinking after all?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Suggestions?

I have been reading a lot lately. It is soooo nice. One thing that I have tried to do is go outside of my reading comfort zone and read something from every genre. Although the idea made me a little nervous, I actually enjoyed it. Because of this exposure, I have seen a variety of things. Some authors have really stretched the limits of Literature 101. My Lit teachers would probably turn inside out with some things that were done. (I was taught by literary purists.) Still, I enjoyed seeing the novelties each author brought to their work.

I have a few books left on my tbr pile, but I plan to go to B&N in a week or so for someone else. While there, I thought I'd restock my supply. Hey, I barely, if at all, read while writing. This is my fix before I jump back in and disappear into the writing world. So...any suggestions out there that are a must read?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

TWO FOR THE DOUGH by Janet Evanovich

In Janet Evanovich's TWO FOR THE DOUGH, Stephanie Plumb is staking out funeral homes and discovering detached body parts. Her latest bounty: Kenny Mancuso, Joe Morelli's cousin. She'll have to decide if Joe's loyalties are to his family or to the law.

I liked seeing the characters once more and couldn't wait to get to know them better. But by the time I finished the book, I didn't feel like I knew them any more than when I started reading. There was limited action and suspense and when the third body part showed up, I rolled my eyes and put down the book. From listening to other readers, I'm aware that there is a love triangle with the main characters but at this point in the series, I didn't feel any chemistry between Joe and Stephanie.

Oh, well. I did give the series a try with two books.

Ellis Island

My daughter is in New York for the week, visiting a friend and playing tourist. I just got a text from her telling me she is on her way to Ellis Island and wanted to double check our family name. I hate to sound like a prissy-girl, but I got choked up.

As an historical author, historical events and settings steel me. I'm sure this won't make sense but...when I walk through historical places, everything around me changes. To prevent you from thinking I'm really weird, I'll not go into detail. Then again, maybe it's just my imagination.

Anyway, to think that she will be in the very place where most of our family was at one time, wow, emotional.