Saturday, May 31, 2008

SHADOW DANCE by Julie Garwood

SHADOW DANCE started off with an ancient mystery concerning a Buchanan and MacKenna family feud. That's enough for me. I got comfortable and readied myself for a good read. Ms Garwood had my attention...but then lost it. Somehow the plot skidded all over the place and never came together. Once the professor, who informed the main character about the feud, died, so did any follow up to this story line. The pacing was very slow, which surprised me since the back cover promoted this book as a suspense. I expected cliff hanger chapters and edge-of-my-seat reading. Instead, I tried to get through this book on several occasions but ended up flipping the pages, hoping to find more information about the mystery. What I found were pages that dragged and never captured my attention.

Début

Cost of Freedom débuted at #1 in its genre and #5 for all historicals!!!

THANK YOU everyone for your support!

Office

Other than a touch up here and there, here are the photos of my office. The sad thing is, the walls look so much better in person than how they photographed.








No humidity yet.

What a beautiful day. We put the top down on the Jeep, I grabbed my hat and sunglasses (gotta keep covered in Florida), and off we went to B&N. A raspberry black tea, a piece of key lime cheesecake, and new books to browse through, it sounds ideal to me. I discovered two new authors and picked up a third book by an author that had been recommended to me a long time ago.

Madeline Hunter SECRETS OF SURRENDER

Anne Mallory THREE NIGHTS OF SIN

Cheryl Holt DOUBLE FANTASY

Friday, May 30, 2008

THANK YOU!

Surreal. There's no other way to describe it. I am overwhelmed with the outpourring of kindness and support from everyone. When I first started writing, I noticed that writers were very supportive of each other. A few years have passed, (s) and this observation still holds true.

Granted, our pride can take a beating from time to time, but rarely do I believe any negative comments were meant as malicious. And I have a feeling that even those are no longer seen as an issue.

So many of you have posted announcements on your blogs heralding my debut release. I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much. I am very touched.

I hope you won't mind if I single out one person in particular. Dr. Jennifer Hendren, (VBG) you have been my most honest critic, my biggest supporter, and my most vocal cheerleader, not to mention a great friend and favorite author. You'll never know how grateful I am to have shared this entire experience with you. I cannot wait to stand in the middle of B&N and tell everyone that your books are a must read (and then follow them to the register so they don't leave without them.) THANK YOU!

You guys are phenomenal. My sleeves are rolled up, and I'm ready to help all of you! Who's first?!

RELEASE DATE

Cost of Freedom is released TODAY!!! Purchase your copy here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stuck in mud as thick as Georgia clay

Okay, I admit it, it doesn't matter if I'm reading them or writing them, I prefer scenes with dialogue. For me, it keeps the story moving and keeps the pages turning. I know, I know, we need the details. You do know what they say about details, don't you?!

Why am I telling you this? Because... 1. I need a break from my current scene, 2. it helps to vent. (s) Plus, this blog was set up to give an inside view on my writing experience. Don't let those smiling faces on the back of book covers fool you. It isn't all cheery days filled with sunshine.

I know that everyone has their areas of specialty. Descriptive, one character scenes is not mine. I have a friend who does this beautifully *cough* Claire. Every time I read one of her scenes, I sit back and am amazed. How does she do it?

I have taken scenes from well known authors, okay, one author in particular, and studied them to see if I can see what it is they do. There has to be a formula, right? Nope. Writing is an art. grrr. Please don't remind me of craft--not a fan.

So, let's see where I am. I have internals, always good. I have sensory, nice. I have a progressive order of events. I tossed out a full page that was muddier than the Georgia clay my heroine is tromping through. Hmm, how long does she need to be at this particular place before she has interaction with a fellow character, thus bringing in *cue the Hallelujah Chorus* DIALOGUE? Oh happy day. Light has broken through the gray clouds. Woohoo. See, venting is good. (s)

KISS OF THE HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning

When Gwen Cassidy, literally, stumbles upon a sleeping Drustan MacKeltar, she has a hard time convincing him that five hundred years have past since he last closed his eyes. The last thing he remembers is being informed of his brother's death. With Gwen's help, he is certain he can return in time to prevent this event from occurring. Being a Druid, it is within his power to pass through the stones, however it is forbidden to do so for personal gain and to defy the edict is done at a great cost.

Ms Moning does a great job of pulling you into the story from page one. Gwen Cassidy makes no bones about her reason for being in Scotland and when she and Drustan meet, not only do you know what will happen between them, you can't wait to get there.

The plot is simple and straight forward, which adds to the pace of the story. Ms Moning does a wonderful job of letting the story unfold with enough surprises and twists that you are never bored with what could be a predictable story line.

One thing that I loved were the secondary characters. They were vibrant and interesting. When Drustan threatens to fire Nell, I laughed out loud at her response. Nell and Silvan were strong enough to be endearing but never annoying.

The only eye rolling moment for me was when it seemed that all the MacKeltar births were twins. If this was explained, I missed it.

To be honest, I put off reading this book for quite a while. The reason being, I read the third book concerning the MacKeltar family first and didn't see how all the pieces fit. From what I have recently learned, Ms Moning has several books in the Highlander Series and they are capable of standing alone. Since (to my knowledge) all but three deal with unrelated characters, this shouldn't be a problem. But, with the three books that deal with the MacKeltar family, I would have enjoyed them more if read in order.

Overall, I really enjoyed Kiss of the Highlander (and reread and enjoyed Spell of the Highlander.) Ms Moning is an author that goes on my buy list.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Live Chat

Have you ever wondered what my fascination with the 1700s is? Come and find out. On Tuesday night, June 3rd, from 9:00pm-10:00pm eastern time, I will be chatting live at Romance Book Junction. I hope you will stop by to say hello and try to win a digital copy of Cost of Freedom.

I'll see you there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CONTEST!!!!

Hi everyone,

My debut novel, COST OF FREEDOM is due for release on May 30. My friend, Jen Hendren, has posted a contest for an ebook giveaway on her blog. If you'd like to participate and have a chance to win a free ebook of COST OF FREEDOM, please go to Jen's blog.

I hope to see you there and good luck!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

THE MURDER GAME by Beverly Barton

Special Agent Nicole Baxter would like to keep as much distance between herself and private investigator Griffin Powell as possible. It should be easy to do. They live in different states, socialize in different circles, and neither of them like anything about the other. But when someone calls her with a revelation about a serial killer, she is willing to listen. The caller will give one clue to her and one to Griffin. If she plans on ending The Murder Game before the caller has a chance to capture his next victim, she will have to work with the most arrogant and self-promoting man in the business.

THE MURDER GAME is riveting from the first page. A few chapters into the book, I became aware that this book is a sequel. It didn't matter. Ms Barton was able to handle the back story in a way that I didn't feel cheated or confused. She sporadically dropped in just enough information to fill in the gaps but allowed me to stay focused on the present story.

Tense...talk about nail-biting. I couldn't believe what was happening. About one hundred pages from the end, Ms Barton pulled the biggest surprise of all. My mouth hung open for a good twenty pages (in a good way). I kept thinking, are you kidding me? How is this possible? This was no sucker punch, simply good story-telling. I never saw it coming, but should have. All of the clues were there.

The only problem I had was when Ms Barton would jump forward in time without a scene break. This was infrequent but enough to mention. And toward the end of the book, a few spots, not many, felt a little Mary Sueish to me.

The characters in this book were fabulous. I was right there with them, feeling every emotion, and there were plenty to share. If you like a good thriller, that isn't gory, (okay, a little, tiny bit) you need to read this book. There are so many twists and turns, you'll feel like you are getting a workout. I did.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sanity

I don't normally do these, but this is too cute.


To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice. !

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.

7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'.

9. Sing Along At The Opera.

10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.

11. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!'

12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!'

13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Running errands

While out running errands, I had to stop at B&N. How could I not? At the customer service lady's suggestion, I picked up:

Dark Rival by Brenda Joyce
Hidden Secrets by Cait London
The Charm School by Susan Wiggs

I'm doing well at finding a variety of authors. Every author needs to be read at least once, and I'm trying to do my part.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tagged!

I've been tagged by Precie with a miscellaneous meme (blogless called it an Interrogation Meme).

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

A Meme about Various Things

What were you doing ten years ago?
Hmm, ten years ago, I had two young children and was at their beck and call. Actually, this was the best time in my life. I was a home school mom who made sure my children were exposed to all of the arts and life experiences I could find. This was their time and I have no regrets. Now, it's my time. (s)


What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
Write
Work
Read more of "The Murder Game"
Try to catch up on any loose ends.
Write

What are some snacks you enjoy?
chips and dip
fresh fruit

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Travel and write. Could you imagine, picking up on a whim and going anywhere you want?

What are three of your bad habits?
Lacking confidence
Pigeon-holing people
Leaving used towels in the bathroom

What are five places where you have lived?
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Bainbridge, Ohio
Ormond Beach, FL

What are five jobs you have had?
Executive assistant
Substitute teacher
cashier
Administrative assistant
Editor

What were the last five books you read?
Outrageous by Christina Dodd
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
To Catch A Highlander by Karen Hawkins
Take Me if You Can by Karen Kendall
Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich

What are five web sites you visit daily (in no particular order)?
Facebook
Reader
My forum
Writers Forum
Historical Fiction forum

Okay, I tag: Susan, Jane, Jenny, Nina, and Julie

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

OUTRAGEOUS by Christina Dodd

In OUTRAGEOUS, Marian is protecting 'her son' as well as a massive secret. Griffith is sent to deliver a message to her but finds himself unwilling to leave. When a new king is crowned, Griffith and Marian have to pledge their fealty, but will it leave them on opposite sides of the monarchy?

This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm not sure what my thoughts are concerning her work. I found the beginning of the book confusing and difficult to become part of. The characters were a bit stiff, but this could be due to the author's attempt at authenticity. The story is set in the 1400s, after all. Everytime I thought I would stop reading, Ms Dodd managed to bring in something that grabbed my attention. For this reason, I will give this author another try.

I'm aware that Ms Dodd writes historical as well as contemporary. Although I will try another of her historicals, I will also read one of her contemporary works.

My overall thoughts...undecided, but willing to try again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY EVERYONE!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

OMG EEEEEEEE

I was just offered a contract for Bound by Honor!!!!!!!!

Breathe...breathe...breathe

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

With three months until Tally Youngblood turns sixteen, she sneaks into the pretties world to find her best friend. He is glad to see her but shocked that she is there. Uglies and pretties never mingle. She will return after her surgery to make her pretty and then they will resume their friendship. Emergency sirens and spotlights speed her exit from the perfect society. While waiting for her birthday, she meets Shay who shows her a world of blissful imperfections. Shay invites Tally to stay as she is and escape with her to a world where appearance is never seen as ugly.

I have to admit, I held off reading this book because I thought it would be a new version of an old Twilight Zone episode. Although the initial concept is there, it does not follow the same plot line. UGLIES explores the depth of the pretty-making-process and the unseen damage that is within the realm of acceptable failure.

Mr. Westerfeld's writing is superb. The reader is swept into his world as if it were their own. The pace and timing are spot on with no sluggish moments and the tension builds perfectly.

Although UGLIES is set in a futuristic world, the setting is not far removed from reality. There is never a distanced and cold feeling, except when Tally jumps into an icy river. The characters are believable and enjoyable and portrayed as intelligent teenagers who still face the awkward transition into adulthood.

All elements for a good story are here and told in an enjoyable fashion. Scott Westerfeld has easily become my favorite YA author.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New office

I have been busy converting a bedroom into an office. This weekend, I tackled Venetian plaster. This is very time consuming and I still have another coat to apply, but I'm sure it will look great.

On a positive note...Having searched every furniture store in the greater Daytona area, I found my desk. What do you think?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Regency

I am about halfway through my reading frenzy and have a question. When reading back covers, how do you know if an historical is regency? Does anyone know?