Monday, December 24, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Butler family

Christmas can be bittersweet. If you published this year, you may be experiencing the low that follows. If you're alone, you may be faced with memories of better Christmases past. If you've lost a loved one, the hole may feel much larger this week.

Life is a highway. Sometimes it's clear and beautiful ...


east on Highway 16 to Cluculz Lake
sometimes it's not...




In our family we understand the sadness that may accompany Christmas. The memories of our loved ones have sustained us in a bittersweet way. We've learned to focus on the wonders of life and to take one moment at a time. But even so, some days are overwhelming. We get through those moments mostly by remembering how very blessed we are.

If you're more happy than you ever thought possible, we rejoice with you. But if you're hurting this Christmas, if you're lonely and struggling, please know that my family and I are praying that you experience a peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year even under the worst circumstances. Prayer may not seem like much, but experience has proven to me that it's not that God won't bless you if you let Him. It's only a matter of accepting the gift despite the pain. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HAPHAZARDLY IMPLAUSIBLE by Jack Lewis Baillot

Today I'd like to introduce you to a new author, Jack Lewis Baillot, and his novel HAPHAZARDLY IMPLAUSIBLE! Please give Jack a warm welcome. Merry Christmas, Jack!


Everything in Peter rebelled at Tony's words. He trusted the general with his life. When his parents had abandoned him, it was the general who took him in and raised him. The general loved him more then his own father had, and now Tony wanted him to believe this man wanted him dead. His head spinning, Peter slowly sank to the ground, unable to keep his legs under him.

 Three unlikely heroes. A world teetering on the edge of war. A mad man who will stop at nothing to gain complete power.

 Peter Jones, an Aeropilot in the Scottish Royal Air Force, has grown up believing his parents abandoned him. Isidore Thaddeus Reichmann, a famous Detective running from his past, is trying to save the last person he cares about. Singur, an Inventor who has been forced to hide his real name his whole life or risk being killed, holds an important secret.

 Little do they know their lives are about to entwine and that together they have the power to save the world from complete destruction, or destroy everything.

 Loyalties are questioned. Friendships are betrayed. Trust is shaken. Who do you turn to when the friends you've always relied upon become your worst enemies?

 Greetings!

 I would like to thank Joylene for helping in spreading word about my book! (I need all the help I can get and it is great when fellow bloggers and writers help out.*Grin*)

 My book, which is out now actually, is in fact my first attempt at Steampunk. When I began it, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. (I just wanted to write something with airships.) When I wrote the first draft, in fact, I had no real villain. It wasn't until the second draft I sat down and plotted him out.

 I am wary of writing villains. I wanted mine to have a purpose, I also wanted him to be terrifying, but not the type of man one would look at and think, "He's a bad guy."


 It took a lot of work to get him just how I wanted. Mostly because I wanted his main goal to be world domination. And when a villain is out for that the first thing that comes to mind is James Bond villains or some wacko who rubs his hands together, cackles, mutters under his breath, and has henchmen who can't aim. All things I wanted to avoid.

 The first step was in making my villain believable. Could I work with the world domination plot and still make him fearful? If so, how? What was it about the other world domination villains which made them unbelievable?


 Once I had these worked out, I set about applying them to my villain. The main thing I learned? He had to be ruthless. When he actually gets the hero in his grasp nothing hinders him from shooting him on the spot. No monologue, no explaining his plans. Nothing. (If the hero wishes to live he can't wait until the villain ties him up and leaves before making his daring escape. It isn't that easy this time.)

 After all, the villain is just as important in a story as the hero and he has to be just as real and convincing. What would a man do in his place? Would he tell the hero about his next move, or would he just shoot him to get him out of the way? (And with these questions answered, there are a lot more options open.)

 Thank you, Joylene again for helping in spreading the word!

 My book can be found at Lulu publishing, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. It is in both paperback and ebook format. You can learn more about it here. http://missjacklewisbaillot.blogspot.com/


Jack Lewis Baillot

Monday, December 17, 2012

WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE by Adriana Ryan

Because Christmas is a time of giving, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce Adriana Ryan and her novel World of Shell and Bone...

 

World of Shell and Bone
By Adriana Ryan

In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in Asia.

New Amana is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless. 

Vika has just one purpose: to produce healthy progeny using a Husband assigned by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on, just as Vika’s little sister Ceres was, eight years ago. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.

When she’s assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, Vika expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Ceres.

As she learns more about the Rads’s plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she’d never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres? 



Why did you write this book and what do you hope readers will take away from it?
There’s a pretty famous Toni Morrison quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That sums up the “why” part of the question really well. I wanted to explore a world where females had been given power. The society Vika Cannon, my protagonist, lives in is feminist and supposedly forward-thinking. But as you go along in the story, you discover why that’s not true and how things have come to be as they are. 
   I hope that readers will see how too much of a good thing can turn bad really quickly. While it’s absolutely essential that those who’ve been historically taken advantage of be given the authority and power to speak out against their oppressors, there is a very real danger in vilifying your oppressors as well. We risk losing our humanity in the face of our indignation, which, I think, is what a lot of the great civil rights leaders of the world, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted people to realize.
   I also hope readers see that there are many different forms and kinds of oppression. Vika’s world is one of sub-societies and second-class citizens. I think we could draw parallels to the world we live in today, but many times it’s easier to not think about those issues.
   And finally, I hope readers are able to connect with Vika’s vulnerability, courage, and hopefulness. Those, to me, are universal traits, and I tried hard to capture them in World of Shell and Bone. More than anything, I hope Vika comes alive and really speaks to readers in a way that’s personal to them and their truth.


About Adriana Ryan

Adriana lives and writes in beautiful Charleston, SC. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the historic graveyards and outlet malls. World of Shell and Bone is her first book.

Reach Adriana at her website, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.

Buy World of Shell and Bone at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Kobo, Sony, and iBookstore will follow soon!

Monday, December 10, 2012

CHEERS, CAVANAUGH BLOGFEST

Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the person who was always there for you during the last year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?

If there’s one person in the Blogisfear who you want to say cheers to, who would it be?

For us, it was a no-brainer: Alex “no hyperlink needed” Cavanaugh.

Alex is an awesome blogger who’s helped hundreds of us via book releases, guest posts, guest interviews and always positive comments. While we can’t have a live part-ay for the Ninja Captain, we can host a BlogFest:

Welcome to the “Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest.”

Hosted by Mark “The Madman” Koopman, ”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy, Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp, and David “Kingpin” Powers King, the BlogFest runs from December 10 - 12. 

 * * * * * 

When I heard Mark, Morgan, Stephen, and David were hosting this fest, I jumped in with both feet. Now I'm obliged to answer the four questions. I just hope my answers do homage to our fierce and noble leader Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh!


In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
Alex looks Ninja, thru and thru. Dark hair, dark menacing eyes, no—piercing eyes—NO, dark menacing and piercing eyes. 


In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
Christian Bale, and how come, you ask. Because Christian Bale has dark menacing and piercing eyes like Ninja Captain Alex! 


In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?
Oh that’s easy, eh! Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life. Why? Because like Jimmy, Alex is always helping others


In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:

Cavanaugh

Ninja
IWSG
Cosbolt
Guitar
CAPTAIN CAVANAUGH AND THE NINJA FIGHTERS

Captain J Cavanaugh slipped into his Cosbolt pilot seat as smoothly as a bride out of her gown. He was determined to save his men held captive on planet Guitar
      When the engines were at full capacity and his Ninja warriors were aboard, he set out across the galaxy. They landed on the LZ under a dark moon. Those who died died bravely. With his students safe and the injured on board, Alex set coarse for home and landed in time for the next IWSG blogfest. His ninja warriors gathered at the cockpit and sang out, “Long live Captain Cavanaugh!”   



For Bonus Points:
In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing J
Mrs. Cavanaugh, thanks for allowing me, a narcotic author from Cluculz Lake in central BC’s Bulkley Nechako, the privilege of hanging out with your dear husband J.  You've done a right nice job of pruning him. Merci beaucoup, eh!




  * * * *

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Next Big Thing, #2

At the end of November Pat Bertram, author of Daughter Am I, The Spake of Heavenly Fire, and More Deaths Than One, to name a few, invited me to participate in THE NEXT BIG THING. Thanks to Adriana Ryan, author of World of Shell and Bone, I did my first The Next Big Thing post on October 23 for my manuscript Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries.

I'm going out on a limb here to confess that I actually enjoy doing these chains. What I don't enjoy is trying to find someone to tag in return. I've asked 4 people in the last 2 weeks and they all graciously declined. They'd already done a round of The Next Big Thing.

I should probably have asked more, but instead I'm going to change the rules, just this once. (That's probably a lie) I'm not going to tag anyone. I'm just going to say I hope you stop in and visit Pat Bertram's blog. She's a fascinating lady and has a wonderful blogging style. You won't regret taking the time to visit, I promise. Come back and bite me if that's not true.

With no further ado, (sorry I can't promise my answers are brilliant) here are the questions and my answers:


What is your working title of your book?

Kiss of the Assassin
 
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I'm sure it came from somewhere, but heck if I can remember. I began the first draft in the 90s. Movies and television had a lot of rock and roll in those days, so maybe that was the contributing factor. 
 

What genre does your book fall under?

Epic Political Thriller  (yes, I just made that up)


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

He's neither Russian or over 50, but I can see Eminem playing the part of Kurenkov, head of KGB because of his intensity, and because the story begins when he's 30 and spans almost 20 years. Can't you just picture him in a military uniform wearing an earflaps sable hat and looking 50? With blue contacts, of course.

By the time they got around to making the book into a movie, Penelope Crux would be too old, but hey -- this is fantasy, right! I think she would make a wonderful Marina Antonovna Abramova, the assassin.







The sad and tortured Homicide Lieutenant Mateo Arcusa would be played by Eduardo Verástegui:

 



What is a brief synopsis of your book?

Five year old Marina witnesses the murder/suicide of her parents, and instead of being protected and nurtured, is trained to become the personal assassin to her guardian, the man who believes he'll be Russia's first President. When she falls in love with the man she's suppose to kill,  they decide to destroy her guardian before he destroys them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Because I've been there and done that, I prefer to sign with a publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It's an epic that involves the Vietnam War, so I'm going to say it took 18 months to write the first draft. Hallelujah for the Web, which made researching the story much much easier!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Black Heart, The Borne Identity, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Nikita.



Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I love these types of novels, so writing one made sense.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Marina and Mateo are kindred spirits destined to be together even though they come from opposite sides of the geographical and political spectrum. They are both trained to kill, yet their love for each other knows no bounds.


* If you missed out on THE NEXT BIG THING blog chain, by all means, join in from here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ask PZM Dec '12: KDP Select Listing Sites



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! Yes! It's Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. It's our time to cry, sob, share, whine, and help. Today my very special guest Phyllis Nimbler Miller will answer some questions about KDP. Enjoy. 

We'll be serving gluten free cookies and refreshments in the parlour.

*  *  *  * 


Q: Where can I post my free KDP Select book days (and as a reader find free ebooks to download)?

This is an excellent question without an easy answer. (And even if you are not yet an author, as a reader who would like to download free ebooks you may find this information very worthwhile.)

Let’s step back a minute and remind people that KDP Select is an Amazon exclusive 90-day period for your ebook (physical books are NOT included in the exclusive requirement). As an author, you can do only one 90-day period or automatically roll over to additional 90-day periods.


Full disclosure: I am only talking about Kindle free books although some of the sites I mention might also allow promotion of free ebooks on other online retail sites as well as low-priced ebooks.

To clarify, I will be talking about where to post announcements of your free KDP Select days. (Each 90-day period allows five free days in any combination.) Yes, you have to invest the time to tell people about your free ebook. You can't expect people to miraculously find this out for themselves.



Now here is the complicated part. To the best of my knowledge there is no one answer about where to list free Kindle ebooks. I personally use a hodgepodge of sites that I have gleaned over the last few months – and many of the sites on the various lists I use are no longer active.

Another clarification:

Many of the sites where you can list your free books for free (some sites charge for the listing) require you post at least x days (depends on site) before the free days.

Other places such as http://snickslist.com/ only allow you to post when the ebook is actually free. (Snickslist calls the listing an ad, but it is free.)


What I have learned from my own experiences is that you can only do so much ahead of time. Then on the day (or days) your book is free, you must devote several hours to tweeting and updating on Facebook on the sites that allow you to list your free book.

Of course, there is etiquette. First you have to follow the requirements of the individual sites. (I am often bewildered when asked to assign a movie rating to my book – I usually put PG13 to be safe. And note that some sites do not allow erotica listings.)

Second, you should only post once a day (or maybe only once if your book is free over consecutive days) on Facebook sites.

Even on Twitter I believe you should only tweet once to a specific Kindle free site.

An example? I found this Twitter account -- https://twitter.com/No1KindleSource

I can’t vouch for it but it looks good. So I might tweet from my Twitter account on the day a book is free (and include the link to the ebook on Amazon):

To @No1KindleSource Spy story CIA FALL GUY free today Dec 11 on #Kindle at http://amzn.to/L38eiP






Note: I use bit.ly to shorten any Amazon book links because bit.ly automatically shortens an Amazon link to include amzn, which in theory gives people more confidence about clicking on the shortened link.)

And why do I put the “to” in front of the account to which I am tweeting? It is a workaround for Twitter’s supposed control of who sees a tweet directed at another Twitter user.




A tip about who to tweet about your free days: If your fiction or nonfiction book is about a specific topic, you can tweet (and post updates on Facebook) to a related account. For example, when my Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS is free on KDP Select, I tweet the U.S. Navy on Twitter and post the info on the Navy's Facebook Page.


Now here is a site with a list of where to post: https://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/kdp-select-free-days-promo-sites/

Just remember I cannot verify that this information is correct. You have to do what I do. When I am posting, I click on each link and read the info on the site.

Some more shoutouts:

Here is a site I recently found that is very interesting: www.facebook.com/JumpSeatBookClub

Another site that I like and have used several times: www.freebooksy.com

And a new discovery I like: www.facebook.com/Ebookdealoftheday

As either an author or reader, as you begin to research these sites you will develop your own lists. And whenever you get a chance to promote these sites, do so. It’s good karma.

FREE DAYS:

I have two KDP Select free days coming up this month:

Romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY will be free on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at http://amzn.to/Sp29TC

 

2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT will be free on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at http://amzn.to/TKTk4B



Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books. Her newest fiction books are the cozy mystery novel CAST THE FIRST STONE: A REBECCA STONE MYSTERY at http://amzn.to/SLYBJY and the short story ebook TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE: REBECCA STONE MYSTERY SHORT STORIES at http://amzn.to/UWeFsa


Both ebooks include recipes from the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION by Rabbi Karen L. Fox and Phyllis.

See all Phyllis’ books at her Amazon Author Central Profile at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller




Phyllis is also the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE, cover reveal!

I'm so happy to be involved in spreading the word about WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE, a new novel by my friend ADRIANA RYAN. Today help me shoutout a huge "BRAVO" for World of Shell and Bone bookcover!

World of Shell and Bone
By Adriana Ryan
Coming December 7th, 2012
Cover by: James Helps (http://humblenations.com/)

In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in Asia.

New Amana is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless. 

Vika has just one purpose: to produce healthy progeny using a Husband assigned by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on, just as Vika’s little sister Ceres was, eight years ago. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.

When she’s assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, Vika expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Ceres.

As she learns more about the Rads’s plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she’d never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres? 

Bio: Adriana Ryan lives and writes in Charleston, SC. She is currently at work on a dystopian and an urban fantasy series. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards.

Contact her using the form at the top right of this website or emailadriana@adrianaryan.com.

Adriana Ryan is a member of the Romance Writer’s Association (RWA).

Contact: Adriana@adrianaryan.com

http://adrianaryan.com

www.facebook.com/authoradrianaryan

www.twitter.com/adrianaryansc

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

book review - THE SPACE BETWEEN by Alex Sokoloff

How can you prevent the future? Would you dare? 
 
Sixteen-year old Anna Sullivan is having terrible dreams of a massacre at her high school. Anna's father is a mentally unstable veteran, her mother disappeared when Anna was five, and Anna might have been able to chalk the dreams up to a reflection of her crazy waking life—except that Tyler Marsh, the most popular guy at the school and Anna's secret crush, is having the exact same dreams. 

Despite the gulf between them in social status, Anna and Tyler connect, first in the dream and then in reality. As the dreams reveal more, with clues from the school social structure, quantum physics, probability, and Anna's own past, Anna becomes convinced that they are being shown the future so they can prevent the shooting... 

If they can survive the shooter—and the dream. 

Based on the Thriller Award-winning short story, "The Edge of Seventeen."


Honestly, doesn't the synopsis above sound fascinating? I read that and thought Wow, now that's worth checking out!  

Alexandra Sokoloff writes about one of society's most compelling issues: school shootings. I'll admit I was hesitant to read the book, but because I love her writing so much, I decided to take a sneak peek and leave it at that.

I ended up reading the first chapter and immediately ordering the eBook. The prose were that powerful and the story was that compelling.

Do you remember the most popular guy in school? If you were like me, you watched him from a distance, right? You may even have gone through those 5 years without ever having shared a word or even a glance between you. 

Anna is in love with Tyler, the most popular guy in school, from a distance. One day she realized they're both having the same dreams. That's incredible, but guess what? They can talk to each other through their minds. Anna, the girl who has no one, connects with Tyler in a way that is at once profound, disturbing, and gratifying to anyone who has experienced the heartache of being considered invisible.

Anna is an incredible young woman with a bright mind, a sad past, a hopeless existence, and a huge hole in her heart left by the abandonment of her mother. The mother in me wanted to embrace her and make that pain go away. As I read, I saw that it was even worse than her having no friends. Her father suffers from PTSD and is capable of doing who knew what. But that isn't the worst of it. Anna discovers that she and Tyler are having the same nightmare. There's going to be a school massacre... unless she and Tyler can stop the shooter.

This is a story about what if...

What if you knew something very very bad was about to happen and you could prevent it from happening, but not without a huge cost.


I believe that when you read a good story that disturbs you, brings back memories you never expected, makes you feel different for having read it, I think that book is worth mentioning. THE SPACE BETWEEN is that book. It came alive for me very quickly. I love being so engrossed in a character's life that I hate the thought of saying goodbye. THE SPACE BETWEEN made me remember clearly what it meant to be young, in love, and desperate for a hopeful future.

Here's a glimpse:

At the foot of the staircase, on the landing below, Tyler Marsh stands looking up at her, as real as she is, even now heart-stoppingly beautiful, perfect profile and long, dark silky hair falling into his eyes. The alarms pulse around them, vibrating through her body.

Tyler?

She takes a shaky step toward him.

Run,” he says, without opening his mouth. 

I enjoyed this novel very much and highly recommend it. THE SPACE BETWEEN is a story about a brave and courageous young woman who epitomizes what it means to take a chance and make a difference. 


*  *  *  * 
Meanwhile, winter has arrived at Cluculz Lake:
 




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Huntress Moon: book review



In addition to thanking you for stopping by, wish I could offer you a cup of java and some home made gluten free oatmeal-raisin cookies. Wonder if it'll ever come to that, when I can beam you over to my place and we can have a lovely real-time visit. Of course, that means I'd have to change out of my jammies... brush my hair... clean a path to the dining room table. Ah, scratch the beaming over idea.



Anyhoo, (sounds like a cross between a Canuck and an owl, eh) thought I'd do something different today. (Ha, like that's unusual)  I don't write a lot of book reviews, because, well I'm terrible at them. Every once in awhile, though, I read a terrific book and think "Wow, I have to share this!"

I have my favourite writers: Keith Pyeatt, I'd write a review of one of his psychological horrors any day. Christopher Hoare's regency romance novels and S/F are excellent. Vicki  Lee Smith's historical epic novels; except, I have to wait for her publish something first. I'm working on her. Meg Webster's S/F Fantasy. Jan Holloway's suspense, Martha Engber, literary, Judy Avila...
.

If you've followed my blog long enough, you know I'm a huge fan of award-winning dark suspense author, screenwriter, and workshop teacher Alexandra Sokoloff. I've been following her blog for a few years, (she shares her screenwriting tricks for authors) and last year I took her Three-Act Structure online course, which was absolutely fabulous. (Can't you tell I'm Canadian? What other nationality uses so many "awesome, terrific, absolutely and my all-time favourite: kewl! Also, the not to be forgotten: EH)

Told you I get long-winded, or as my dear old dad used to say, "Josephina, the laughing hyena" with verbal diarrhea.

With no further ado: HUNTRESS MOON. 


Here's what the online synopsis says:

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization when he witnesses his undercover agent killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at the scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murders, and who may well be that most rare of all killers: a female serial.

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states... while in a small coastal town a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach, and strike up an unlikely friendship without knowing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.


Now for the part where I try to explain why I loved this book so much. Since the synopsis does such a good job of describing the plot, I thought I'd skip that part and explain three reasons why I enjoyed HUNTRESS MOON so much.

One -- great writing.
Two -- appealing characters.
Three -- believable and riveting storyline.

HUNTRESS MOON is a lesson in voice, in creating characters that immediately tug at your heart and leave you with a suddenly and inexplicable urge to know everything about them. Roarke is definitely kewl and endearing, but the antagonist, Alex's female serial killer is a haunting portrayal of a woman coping with the most horrendous history any person could possibly deal with. Not many of us would have survived. 

Alex doesn't focus on the horrendous though, but instead shows through story the long-term effects of violence against women and children, a subject that she feels very strongly about and uses as the theme to many of her books. Her antagonist is broken, yes, but she's also intelligent, focused, clever, determined, and an equal to any man. In fact, she's the victor because every bad man she comes up against underestimates her. Think: Nikita, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Point of No Return, and the new series ARROW.

As a reader I was enthralled by the complexities of Alex's characters. As a writer, I loved her descriptions, her character's monologues, the setting, and the way she used set pieces to enhance my experience as a reader. I read the book through once, then read it again to study her techniques.

If your genre is suspense, you're going to love this book. Even if you don't read suspense thrillers, but you're excited about improving your skills as a storyteller, I can't recommend HUNTRESS MOON enough.

Alexandra Sokoloff majored in theater. She excels in her ability to create characters and story in a way that is so gratifying and even amazing because of the simplicity and beauty of her style. I, for one, love it when I can lose myself in a good story that is both credible and extraordinary.

I just learned recently that Alex is working on the sequel to HUNTRESS MOON titled BLUE MOON, and my first thought was: YAY!!!



In case my sense of humour was a bit too profound and you really do believe the above dining room is mine, here's my real workstation:

 
Okay, it's not always this tidy, but check out the view!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I MISS YOU BLOGFEST

It's an honour to participate in the OH, HOW I MISS YOU BLOGFEST hosted by loving father Andrew Leon, the oh-so romantic Matthew MacNish, and our very own Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. It's a honour because it gives me the opportunity to introduce you to two special bloggers. One isn't blogging any longer, (he won't soon be forgotten) and the other is a very special fellow Canadian who is a privilege to know and who have brightened many a gray day here in blogland.

The rules for I MISS YOU are simple. I'm to list one to three blogger buddies who I really miss because they've stopped blogging, and one who I would really miss if they stopped blogging. Actually, that applies to everyone on my blogroll, but rules are rules so I've chosen one of each who has made my life better for having met them. In blogland, that is. Okay, I did meet Carol for real, but I'll get to that in a moment. Oh, and I picked only two to keep this short. My nickname isn't Josephina the laughing hyhena with verbal diarrhea--for nothing.

When you're finished here, you can visit our blog hopping hosts at:

http://strangepegs.blogspot.com/ - Andrew
http://theqqqe.blogspot.com/ - Matthew
http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ - Alex

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I met Grandpa through Klahanie's (Gary Pennick), who I met through UK Children's author Carole Anne Carr. I'm sure most of you know about Gary's quick wit and humongous heart, eh? If not, do pay him a visit. Gary's not on my list because I assumed everyone already knows him. He lives in jolly ole England, pens a wonderful tribute to "a man challenging his inner critic," is one brick short of a full load, has a few roos loose in the top paddock, and has a wisdom as rare as hen's teeth.Yup, he's a right dandy young feller. (Carole should be on my list too, but I'm working at keeping this short. Next time)

Grandpa's LIFE ON THE FARM was a wonderful blog about "Tales from the tropical rainforest, at the foot of the Malaysian main mountain range..." He aired his last post May 2, 2010, and every day since, I've been hoping he'll come back.

Grandpa took an early retirement to retreat to The Farm where he had fun growing fruit trees, playing with his grandson Irfan, and enjoying a quiet, tranquil life in the jungle. He could hear the river flowing and the birds singing, and he shared those things with his readers. I hope he's still there, whispering to his many tropical plants. Every single time I stopped in for a visit, I was soon lost in the wonderment of his world. His words were like resting pods where I could sit for a bit and forget all my troubles.


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To illustrate the kind of a sweetheart Carol from CAREANN'S MUSINGS is, when she heard I'd be in Penticton in the summer of 2011 for the launch of my second novel, she had her dear husband Bob drive her down from their vacation in Salmon Arms so we could spend the afternoon visiting at my BFF's home in Kelowna. We'd been blogger buddies for several years, but hadn't met in person. Honestly, from the moment I lay eyes on her it felt as if we'd been friends forever.

I found Carol through the Federation of BC Writer's webpage during one of my many rite of procrastinations. Carol, wife of retired minister Bob, is a mother, grandmother, a free-lance writer, poet, and fiction writer. She's also quite a photographer. Carol is funny, adorable, wise, and generous. I'm actually a little nervous because I borrowed her profile pic without her consent. But I wanted this to be a surprise, so really--how could I ask?

Joylene: "Carol, can I borrow you profile pic?"
Carol: "Sure, why?"
Joylene: "No reason. I just, uh, well, I, ah...."
Carol: "Okay, spit it out."
Joylene: "Huh? Oh--thanks for the pic! Gotta go--I hear my cat calling me."

I think it'd be a earthquakie day in the Fraser Valley before I'd pull the wool over Carol's eyes.

I'd surely miss Carol's posts if she ever decided to stop blogging. She takes the most spectacular photos and always manages to making an association between nature and writing. It's truly remarkable how she does that. For instance:

“Three rules of work:
out of clutter find simplicity;
from discord find harmony;
in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

Carol once wrote that the above is true in nature and in work, and then illustrated how.

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To conclude today's tour, here's a photo I snapped yesterday of a dear friend, someone I'd miss watching if she ever stopped kayaking on Cluculz Lake. In our neck of the woods, all you have to say is "Singing Lady on Lake" and everyone knows you mean Carmelita.




If you'd like to read some more I MISS YOU blogs, and I hope you do, click here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG: YOUR MOVING STORY


Wow, how time fly's. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! IWSG! 

Started by our brave and fearless Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, this is our time to share, encourage, cry, scream, and well, get some stuff off our chests. It's also time for some Ninja vibes. We share our ups and downs, but most importantly lend an ear. And frankly, I only need the one anyway. 

In case you missed the link to Alex's name, here it is again: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.ca/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

Click on the link above and you can visit the rest of the Ninjas posts.

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Today I want to share an awesome book with you. If you get a chance to read Tell To Win, by Peter Guber, I hope you do. I've been skimming it mostly for now until I have more time for an in-depth read. But already it's helping.


In short, Mr. Guber is one of Hollywood's elite. Among other things, he's the Chairman & CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, and has produced Rain Man, The Colour Purple, Missing, to name a few.

Despite his many hats, he decided to write a book on telling purposeful stories. If you follow his techniques, he believes you can land the job, get a promotion, move others to action, and on and on. You can learn more about that at his webpage here.


I'd like to narrow the topic and concentrate on how I took his 5 techniques and incorporated it into a winning book reading.

Back in September, I wrote a post about social anxiety disorder, the fear of public speaking and how it affected me physically for up to 24 hours prior to book readings. Since then I've been in search of ways to fight my fear. That's not to say that my audience isn't gracious, or that they even noticed my distress; I'd learned to hide it well. But Peter's Guber's book has given me the tools to experience a fun-filled evening of book reading & sharing.


When I read his 5 points for telling purposefully stories, I understood immediately that I could take those points and enhance my book reading experience.

Here are his 5 techniques:

• Motivation - Get into the state of an authentic state of mind.
• Audience - Hit them in the groin and the wallet. Move them.
• Goal - Build a relationship with your audience so they own your story. (Make it their story)
• Interactive - Pitch & catch. (Give them the only opportunity to participate.
• Content - Write a purposeful story that moves you so you can move your audience. (reader)


Although he's using the term audience as in anyone you happen to talk to, I turned it around to include those sitting in the audience at my book readings. I'd already written a compelling story about a character who moved me. Now I want to share my journey from struggling writer to published author with my audience so it becomes their story too. I've actually done that in an early post called Accepting The Journey pt.3

Most importantly, I had to present my protagonist in a way that my audience could either see themselves in her place or feel themselves loving her.

Because you see, even if many of you are still unpublished, know that it's a necessary step to publication. It's the chicken and the egg. You take all these experiences authors are willing to share, and you make that your story on the road to publication.

Write a purposeful story that will hit your reader in the groin and the wallet. Build a relationship with your reader through your prose so that they believe your story could be their story. They can live it through the pages. Give them a credible story that they believe will change them for the good, leave them feeling better for having read it. And finally give them an experience they'll not soon forget.