Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting ready for the Holiday Bazaar

Stuff spreads. I've got boxes, books and papers all over the spare bed, bookmarks waiting to be sliced and diced on the desk, stray books and calendars waiting to be packed on the shelves... and my Mum's arriving next Tuesday! Luckily the bazaar's on Friday and Saturday, so that gives me plenty of time to tidy her bedroom doesn't it??? I'm glad I'm only doing one bazaar this year; Oak Hills usually run a good one.

Oh, and there are tons of leaves outside waiting to be raked. Leaves spread too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading with coffee

Someone asked how many books I read in a week. I think it's about six--less if they're long (think Stephen King), more if they're short (like my own Flower Child).
Do I speed-read, my friend asked next. But I'm not sure what speed-reading means. I skip bits sometimes, then check back and work out what parts to cut from my novel.Some books grab me so I know I can't miss a word (think Stephen King again). Those are the ones I put on the outside of my bookshelves (two deep, two high... you get the picture), but they're not always the ones that take longest to read. Short books can grab me just the same.
Do I read ebooks? Yes, definitely.
And what have I read this week?

Read books. Drink coffee. (At six books a week, I need a lot of coffee!)

The Depressed Guy's Book of Wisdom, by Doug Westberg, might seem a strange choice for me, but I really enjoyed it. A book full of humor, written about depression, laugh out loud funny and deeply touching and intriguing, it's great to dip into (like Readers Digest) and full of amazing factoids, musical poetry and fascinating tales. Enjoy this beautifully balanced book with a 3-star well-balanced cup of coffee.

I met the author of The Depressed Guy's Book of Wisdom on Gather, and this next one's by another author I first met there. Aaron Paul Lazar's For the Birds tells the story of a happily married woman traveling in the Adirondacks to a hotel where she, her husband and her mother hope their pet parakeet might win an award. The author creates a very enjoyable female protagonist in this book and promises more mysteries to come. With amusing hints of paranormal strangeness, scary villains, and a truly surprising twist, this is a perfectly balanced mystery to enjoy on a cold afternoon (remember sunshine) with a 3-star well-balanced coffee. (When you've finished it, look out for some of Aaron Lazar's other great series.)

Roses are Red, by Carrie Green, is an enjoyable set of short stories introducing a horror/suspense author whose first novel comes out next year. The situations are very deftly set up with economical and very effective description and explanation, and each story comes with a trademark intriguing twist. Enjoy these with a 5-star bold intense coffee, but the suspense might keep you from drinking.

Continuing in a sci-fi direction, Karen A. Wyle's Twin Bred is what my husband would call "hard" science fiction, a novel where the science makes sense, isn't overly (and therefore implausably) explained, but contains just enough of the known to be enjoyably and convincingly unknown. Enjoy a 4-star rich, elegant, complex coffee with this science fiction epic.

Now for two young adult novels. The Jinx, by D.F. Lamont, is a fun short novel about an eight-grade boy who seems singularly accident prone till he realizes everyone else is actually suffering from the accidents. Drawn into a battle to save the world, young Stephen's not sure which side he's meant to be on. But his irrepressible good humor and youthful outlook might save the day. Read this one with a 5-star bold intense coffee and give the kid a soda.

The Magi, by Kevin M. Turner, is the first book of a new teen fantasy series, telling the story of a young boy suddenly orphaned and whisked off to a rather scary boarding school. When the only teacher Elijah likes disappears he's almost ready to give up, but that's when his adventures really begin. Imagined and told in intricate detail, the plot and world are fun, the lessons learned are wise, and the series promises to intrigue. Drink a bold dark 5-star coffee with this dark tale of wise Magi, control of the elements, and the use and misuse of power.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Win a Free Copy of Chill Run!

Russell Brook's Chill Run comes out on Thursday. It's the story of a publicity stunt gone seriously wrong, and here I am, coming off my first ever blog tour--the closest I've ever come to a publicity stunt. With classic action, carchases, likeably inept hero, scary enemies, great dialog, zany twists and turns... what more could you want? Click here for my review of Chill Run, and click here for Russell Brook's Chill Run contest. All you have to do is leave your email address by the end of November 30th. Good luck! And enjoy!

A book in hand...

I love my kindle, but all the same, a book in hand is surely worth two or three on the kindle. It's visible. I notice the cover (kindle books always open at the first page so I keep missing those good pictures). It inspires my family to ask what I'm reading this time (all the more so when one of the covers looks like a favorite board game.) But... thinking of covers... I have to show you the latest cover image for Divide by Zero, my novel coming next summer from Stonegarden. I love it (look, there's even a garnet in her collar!). It makes all the editing feel worthwhile.

Meanwhile, here are the real books, with real book covers, that I've read recently, plus coffee recommendations, of course.

The Settlers of Catan, by Rebecca Gable, is a huge historical novel of Viking village life, set on the mythical island of Catan and filled with real world research that brings history instantly to life. Based on the board game, this novel stands perfectly well on its own and lingers long after the last page is turned. You'll need several cups of coffee--it's a long and beautifully balanced novel, so go for a 3-star smooth full-flavored blend.

There's a rather different take on history in Theodore Morrison Homa MD's Archimedes Claw, where a modern-day scientists stumbles on the mystery of how Archimedes held the Romans at bay in 212BC Syracuse. The ethical questions raised are quite fascinating, though the detailed science grated on my mathematical expectations on occasion. It's certainly an intriguing tale, to be enjoyed with a 4-star complex coffee for the complexities of plot and explanation.

Moving to the present day, Dancing at all the Weddings by Susan Surman looks at the ethical dilemmas facing a young woman choosing between the safe, mother-pleasing marriage option and a more exciting Hollywood alternative. Delving into the five stages of divorce when a less-than-ideal marriage turns sour, and building on very genuine human interactions, this is a nicely involving, well-travelled tale, to be enjoyed with a well-balanced 3-star coffee.

A Thinking Man's Bully by Michael Adelberg is a uniquely structured novel in which a father writes stories of his childhood and his psychiatrist critiques them. The combination works wonderfully, giving a feel of someone slowly learning and freeing himself from his past, becoming ready to face the future. Matthew's son has attempted suicide and Matthew wants to be a better father to him. In this story better becomes a choice grounded in honesty. Drink a 4-star elegant complex coffee while you read.

Still in the modern world, Code Blood by Kurt Kamm weaves a noirish mix of paramedic training, vampire fetishism, high-stakes medical research and low-life drug-and-body-part dealing into a real and gritty tale with a surprisingly real and redemptive ending. Drink a 5-star bold dark coffee with this one.

And finally, 03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat weaves a one-threaded tale of a young man watching a girl at a bus-stop... for 84 pages in one paragraph. The young man is French, precociously intelligent, lonely and all those other things stereotypical of modern French protagonists. Though the book's short, you might need several 5-star bold dark coffees to keep you reading.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shadows from the Past: Guest Post with Ashley Dawn

It's Thanksgiving!

Thank you to all my blog readers, my book readers, and the many people who've encouraged me in writing. Thank you to my editors at Gypsy Shadow and Stonegarden for their endless patience and the wonderful lessons they've taught me. Thank you to my online friends on Gather, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Lunch, Google, Blogger, etc. And thank you to my family and real-world friends in England, the US and beyond.

Above all, thanks be to God for His wonderful gifts.

Today I'm privileged to welcome Ashley Dawn, author of Shadows from the Past, to my blog. You can find my review of Shadows from the Past here--one of the first books I reviewed online! It's lovely to read Ashley's post and learn some more about her. I wish you all the best with your Shadows books Ashley. And thank you for visiting my blog today.

Good morning!  I thought since today is Thanksgiving, I thought a post about things I’m thankful for would be appropriate.  Like many, I don’t take the time to stop and be thankful as much as I should so that is what I’m doing now!

First, I’m thankful for God.  He saved me and has been with me through everything!  I can never express how thankful I am for all that He has done for me.  

Second is my family.  I have a wonderful husband and 2 great children that I don’t know what I would ever do without.  They make my life complete and I adore all of them.  Not to mention my extended family with which I am equally blessed.  My parents, grandparents, siblings, niece & nephews along with a host of cousins are all extremely supportive and loving.   

Third is the wonderful life I have.  I have a life I love and that I cannot imagine life different from this one.  I work, take my kids with me to the office, and write.  I spend enormous amounts of time with my kids through the day and I love it.  I have the ability and desire to home school my children and am excited about that.  Writing is my passion and there is time to sit and get lost in my own stories and worlds.  Getting to indulge in my passion is so fulfilling!

Last, I’m thankful for all my friends. The ones that I’ve met both on line and in person.  You are the best group of people that I could ever ask to be surrounded by.  Thank you so much for befriending me and for supporting me through the different things in my life.  I love all of you!
Thank you so much Shelia for having me today & I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!!

About Shadows from the Past:
“It is the price you pay for choosing to be a cop. Your brother’s life.” These words haunt Officer Aurora Kavvan. She must find her brothers killer.“Kill her. I don’t care how and I don’t care where, but I want her dead now!" Someone was trying to kill FBI agent Jordan Reiley’s dead partner’s sister and he will protect her. Will God keep them alive long enough to find the truth?
A message from Lightning Promotions:
**ATTN authors*
If you need help with promoting your books, Lightning Book Promotions is the place to go. We can organize book tours, write press releases, help you get set up all over the net, what ever you need we can try and help..we will promote your book while you work on another one! Contact me at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reading on my Kindle, editing on my computer

Lessons learned from editing my novel...

Write a timeline.
Print a timeline.
Post the timeline next to my computer.
Check the timeline.
Double-check the timeline.
Print it out again whenever it changes.

My editor wasn't sure how the timeline worked in my novel, so I've been checking and fixing it. Events that took two years in the original draft clearly happen in one year now, which means the girl driving to the Christmas dance is only 15, which means I have to move her birthday back from January to November... Arhghghgh! So many mistakes! But it's coming together and I hope to meet my deadline--the end of this week. If I meet it by Thursday I'll have something extra to be thankful for. But I'm certainly thankful for a good editor who spotted the problem and gave me the confidence to believe I can fix it.

Lessons learned from reading on my kindle...

pdfs can be a pain when the fonts keep changing size.
New reading glasses help.

Here are the ebooks I've read this week. I'll post reviews of paper books later, when I've finished writing them. And meanwhile, I'll edit.

A light fun flight of paranormal fancy: No shirt, no shoes, no spells, by Rose Pressey is the first in the Mystic Cafe series--think bewitched with sprinkles of spice instead of wrinkles of the nose. Elly's grandma ups and leaves her with a magical cafe to run and no warnings of what might go wrong. Just don't mix up the spells... right. With threats of closure from the magical police, and a handsome young man suffering under the wrong spell, there's plenty of missteps and confusion in this light happy tale. Enjoy some 2-star bright lively coffee with this bright lively tale.

In a slightly darker paranormal "vein", Subspecies, by Mike Arsuaga is the first of another series, in which the curious subspecies of humankind--vampire and lycan for a start--unite to reduce the destructive nature of their presense and research a way to more safely interact with humans. Of course, eating (and drinking) humans is a bit of a problem, and this book spares no details in diet nor in sexuality. But this is a nicely balanced tale with humor, good timing, well-imagined worldview and interesting storyline. Drink a 5-star bold dark coffee with this bold dark tale.

Even Swamp Creatures get the Blues, by Hilary Goldstein, is  fascinating collection of paranormal short stories, each unique with some amazing twists, all very cleverly imagined. Savor these one at a time with a 5-star dark intense coffee and keep the lights on.

Continuing the scary sci-fi theme, the next book is Against Nature, by John G. Nelson, a scary modern tale of science and politics at war, evoking Robin Cooke or Michael Crichton. Definitely dystopian, incisively cynical, and sadly convincing, this novel raises a wealth of disturbing questions replete with detail. Drink a 5-star bold dark coffee and you'll stay up all night reading this.

There's more gritty real-world suspense in Russell Brooks' Chill Run, coming out on December 1st. The underworld of Montreal and the struggles of Canadians from Trinidad and Barbados are brought to vivid life in this exciting adventure with  likeably inept heroes chased by violent villains and corrupt cops. Another dark 5-star coffee required.

Finally a short YA novel, Oginalii, by Stephanie M Sellers, prequel to her longer Black Purse, tells of young Exilee as she struggles to reconcile her mixed heritage while her buffalo friend Oginalii struggles to balance a three-legged life. The writing and the ideas are complex but oddly compelling. Drink a 4-star complex coffee with this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Post--creativity and CEOs

I read a fascinating little book called Creatively Ever After a little while ago (click here for my review of Creatively Ever After). I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but if you look at the cover you'll see why it intrigued me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, and by how relevant well-remembered nursery rhymes becamse as I got involved in reading. Today I'm delighted to welcome the author, Alicia Arnold, to my blog to tell you all about Jack and Jill, CEOs and more. Thank you for joining us Alicia...

For all the CEO talk about creativity being the number one leadership competency for the future there’s a decline of creativity in America. But, there’s a well kept secret. What is that secret you ask? The secret is creativity can be taught.

Not only can you learn to be more creative, but techniques like creative problem solving have been tested and retested over the past 50 years and proven to be effective. With the goal of helping to solve the "creativity crisis," I set out to write a how-to book on creative problem solving. In my book, Creatively Ever After, I set forth a business fable that weaves the fictitious story of Jack and Jill (yes, the two who keep falling down the hill) and the nonfiction steps of the creative problem solving process to demonstrate techniques for tackling seemingly unsolvable problems.

In thinking about the format for the book, I wanted to help readers absorb the tools and techniques in a way that would be memorable and entertaining. This led me to write a business fable.

Through the story of Jack and Jill, readers learn hands-on tips and tools for solving their own challenges. The fable takes readers through visits with Old King Cole, Hey Diddle, Diddle, Humpty Dumpty and others. Along the way, readers learn how Jack and Jill managed to stop falling down the hill by tapping into the creative problem solving process:

·         Identify the goal, wish, or challenge;
·         Gather Data;
·         Clarify the Problem;
·         Generate Ideas;
·         Develop Solutions and
·         Plan for Action

I hope you enjoy the book. Creatively Ever After is my contribution to broadening awareness about creativity and a way to show business professionals how to tap into their natural creativity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude blog hop Nov 16th

Yes! It's the Gratitude Blog Hop, courtesy of WoMen's Literary Cafe. I'm thanking Melissa Foster for sharing this wondering post. And for offering a free book--read on to find out more (and leave a comment with your email address).

In fact, lots of authors are offering free gifts today, so just follow the links, enjoy some wonderful posts, and add these gifts of Gratitude to your reading list.

Gratitude, by Melissa Foster

If you are following our blog hop, then you are reading many blogs about gratitude. I’m going to present this one from a little different slant. Enjoy!

G – Giving without expecting something in return is the best gift of all.

R – Receiving is a sign that you are appreciated. Share it with someone else. Pay—it-forward

A – Appreciation can be shown in many forms; a smile, a thank you, a gift, or even just a wave. It’s easy to do. Reach out, show your appreciation for others.

T – Thanking someone is one way to show you appreciate them. Sometimes, a thank you is nice to receive when you haven’t done anything other than being you. Perhaps you can share that with someone today.

I – Including others in your life and in your success is a wonderful gift. Try it.

T – Tell someone what you like about them for no reason at all—you’ll make their day.

U – Unhappiness comes from within. Helping others can help your happiness. Try it.

D – Delve deep into why you do things—is it for others or for yourself? If it’s all for you, change it up a bit. You might find greater results.

E – Expecting friends to help you is not being a true friend. Expecting yourself to help others is. Know the difference. Share your love.

A little preachy? Maybe, but it’s from the heart and I hope you enjoy it as well as the free books you receive on our gratitude blog tour. We are truly grateful for all of the support we receive from readers, bloggers, authors, and friends. WoMen’s Literary CafĂ© ( is all about giving back. Join us!

"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"—Author Jennie Shortridge

"Foster's latest novel is in the same league as books written by such authors as Nicholas Sparks, Jennifer Weiner, and Kristin Hannah."--Author Carrie Green

Melissa Foster is the bestselling, award-winning author of three novels, Megan's Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She has also been published in Indie Chicks, and anthology. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and the WoMen's Literary Cafe, a cross-promotional site for authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan's Way, and hard at work on her next novel. 
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest or her personal website.

Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
My social network for women:
Facebook Melissa Foster : (profile)




Thanks to the author, I'm able to offer a free ecopy of Megan's way to everyone who comments here today. Just make sure I have, or can find your email address.

Meanwhile, enjoy jumping to the next stop on your blog hop tour.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One more stop on the Flower Child Blog Tour

Yes, Flower Child's still out there--ghost or angel--ereader or computer... And here's a bonus stop on the Flower Child blog tour, with an interview brought to you by Jeanz at JeansBookReadNReview:

Many thanks Jeanz, and I wish I knew how you do those neat scrolling buttons!

Hope to see you on on Jeanz' site. I'll check in during the day to answer any questions you leave for me. Meanwhile don't forget to check out some more of Jeanz" great reviews and interviews on the rest of her site.

For those who asked, yes I will write a post on how the blog tour went, but I'm editing Divide by Zero on a deadline until Thanksgiving. I'll get there eventually...

Saturday, November 12, 2011


An ocean of leaves is lapping at my door and the cupboards are growing suspiciously bare of cheese, but I got the manuscript back from my editor yesterday, so I've other games to play.

Here, for anyone interested in editing their own writing, are some of the things I've found I have to work on. Who knows, they might apply to you too.

  1. Commas. Hey, this is a big improvement for me. I used to be told I used way too many semi-colons, but now we're down to something much less iniquitous. I try to be grammatically correct in using commas but readers, it seems, will view them as intrusive in print, so instead I must use them only when necessary.
  2. Overly profuse similes and metaphors. They may be vivid and valuable, but I might want to save a few for later books.
  3. Comic relief. The story's kind of heavy and a little light music might play well. Since there are three kids and a cat amongst the main characters, plus two dogs and other assorted children, that shouldn't be hard.
  4. Be true to other people's memories. I have a scene set outside a university dorm, but the memories I use are mine and might not apply to the time and location. Which leads to...
  5. Time and place. I left my story somewhat timeless and placeless, but the world and its readers aren't. I need some suitably neutral comments to give detail for those needing it while not intruding on the story for those who don't care.
  6. Time-line. I know two years passed during some events, but my readers might not and I need to make it clear. (Ah, memories; in my first novel--written in elementary school--I had six weeks pass between two people meeting and having their first child!)
  7. Don't name all the minor characters. I think this might be my Englishness showing. It feels impolite to say the ladies served coffee and the tall one objected to this while the short one kept talking about that. It feels unreal to have too few people speak in a committee meeting too. But I'll work on it.
So that's it. My next two weeks (plus shopping, plus yard work, plus etc...). I'll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile I'm sending a HUGE THANK YOU ! to my editor. If anyone knows how to critique while building up and encouraging, it is surely she!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everything for Froggy Boots

I'm delighted to welcome author Jill Martin to my blog today. I reviewed her delightful board book Froggy Boots go with Everything yesterday, and today she's here to answer some questions. So, where did the book Froggy Boots come from, and who is it written for?

To me, Froggy Boots Go With Everything is for children as much as for their grown-ups.  Froggy Boots is a celebration of the wonderfully imaginative spirit that drives young children in everything they do.  Children bring new meaning and new life to the world around them in all the games they play.  

Just like other parents, I loved watching my young children invent and explore as they played.  In the house, in the yard, everywhere they went, ingenuity was at work.  It was fascinating and inspiring to catch those glimpses into their world.  Every leaf, stick and rock; toy, stuffed animal and measuring cup; cushion, blanket and hamper – all provided endless fun.  Clothing was no exception.  With clothes and accessories there was instant transformation.  There were also the favorites, well-worn and well loved.

For children I wanted to create an accessible, friendly and happy book.  I chose activities that my children loved in the hopes that other children would identify with the moment and the feeling.  I added elements to the book that would keep the attention of young readers and invite them to come back for another look.  The “Can you find” game at the end provides a fun way for children to engage with the book.  My children loved to search for things in books and the list of items to find is only a start.  Grown-ups and kids alike can identify new objects within the book and play games together trying to find them.  

For grown-ups the book is a compilation of snapshots of precious childhood moments.  I kept thinking that I wanted to remember how joyfully my kids embraced everything around them, and I tried to capture some of that magic in Froggy Boots.  I chose simple phrases to playfully describe each activity and an uncluttered look and feel with the intent to best highlight the moment depicted by the illustration.  In this way I also hoped to convey a sense of nostalgia for simple pleasures and simpler times, while bringing to life the boy’s strong imaginative engagement in his activity.  

My hope is that readers of all ages will enjoy the fun adventures within Froggy Boots Go With Everything and revisit it again and again.

I can certainly say that this adult reader enjoyed it and revisited memories of my children as I read. Thank you Jill.

About Jill Martin
Jill Zabkar Martin spent her early career as a technology writer and publicist in the Silicon Valley.  After becoming a mother of two, she began writing children’s books.  Froggy Boots Go With Everything is her first published title.  Jill received a BA in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from San Jose State University.  She lives in Los Gatos, California with her husband, two children, a guinea pig and three hermit crabs. 

Froggy Boots go with everything is available from Amazon and other bookstores:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An eclectic mix of books reviewed this week

I'm still not sure how it got to be November. Doesn't that mean it's Christmas next month? Not to mention Thanksgiving coming soon? Help! I set myself a target to finish reading my backlog before the end of the year, but I don't know if I'll meet it. Still, here goes with a fairly random selection of books, ideally suited to my (and the weather's) rapidly changing moods. Enjoy reading. Enjoy coffee!

I'll start with a nice little board book: Froggy Boots goes with Everything, by Jill Zabkar Martin. Froggy boots are perfect for splashing in puddles, and this is definitely the time of year to get this for your young one--enjoy reading, enjoy pictures, and the odd drip of coffee will easily wipe off--enjoy a 1-star light crisp cup. Plus... author Jill Zabkar Martin will visit my blog tomorrow to tell you more! Don't miss it!

The intriguing and scary teen adventure, The Hour of Tiamat, by Lisa M Taylor, is a novel that mixes Christian concepts and Mayan tradition with the dreaded 2012 to create a really fascinating, enjoyable and thought-provoking read with one of the best endings I've read recently. Enjoy a 5-star dark intense coffee with this dark tale.

Now for some sweet historical romance: Surrender the Heart, by MaryLu Tyndall is an American Christian romance, set in the high seas in the days when England and America wielded trade embargoes and threats of war as eagerly as cannons and knives. Two wounded characters persist in misunderstanding each other against a vivid historical backdrop and eventually learn to hear the still small voice. Enjoy this bright lively book with a 2-star bright lively coffee.

Next comes a unsweetened but intriguingly funny novel, Donations to Clarity, by Noah Baird: This zany tale with low-brow humor, excellent song lyrics, crazy movie references and laugh-out-loud weird situations has drugs, drink, darts and perfect dialog. Enjoy with a 4-star coffee for rich complexity.

Leaving Bigfoot country and returning to Oregon, my next review is for Jerry Banks' Vital to the Defense. Another court-room drama/mystery starring Barry O'Shea, this one's a fine addition to my collection, and very pleasingly, realistically set in Oregon. Drink a rich, complex 4-star coffee while reading.

Finally I've read and thoroughly enjoyed a completely different book, Terrorists in Love, by Ken Ballen. Sub-titled The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals, this tells the stories of young (and not so young) Islamic men who've become involved in jihad over the years. The author, an American Jew, and experienced interviewer with an extensive background in investigation, politics, government, etc, was able to use his connections and qualifications to get himself invited to personally interview these men. What results are stories of heartbreak, pathos, humor and jihad, beautifully organized into an experience that leaves you dreaming of more. Highly recommended. Drink several cups of 5-star bold, dark, intense coffee as you walk in these very different shoes (or sandals).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why I love my editors

Denise Bartlett was my editor for each of my Gypsy Shadow books. Shirley Anne Howard is reading my novel Divide by Zero at the moment, as my editor for Stonegarden. And I couldn't be happier.

Why do I love my editors?
  • I love seeing the words I wrote turn into words worth writing--that diet I put my book on leaves me with something smoother flowing, richer, like tasting cream instead of milk in the coffee.
  • I love seeing my word-pictures through new eyes and getting the chance to remove those distortions and specks I hadn't noticed--like filtering out the grounds before serving the cup.
  • I love the comfort of knowing if I missed something obvious (me English, reader American), it will be found before it's released--the coffee blend can still turn out right, neither too bitter nor too mild.
  • And I love knowing a second pair of eyes has spotted the unfilled holes in time-line or plot that I, being over-familiar with the tale, leapt over unseeing. Soon that precious drink of words might be served from a chip-free, drip-free cup.
Of course, the novel's not there yet--there's plenty of editing still to be done on it. But after the agonizing thoughts of, "Help! It's not good enough," as I started on my own, it's enormously comforting to have a real editor and think, "No, but it will be."

Thank you, Shirley.
Thank you, Denise.
And thank you, readers, too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I've just updated my blog

It felt like it was time...

I've finally learned what badges are there for and how to get them, so I've added a few...
And I've learned about pages...
And I've tried to gather together related blogposts into pages...

There's a page of interviews, but if you've interviewed me and I forgot to put it there, I'd really appreciate a reminder. If I missed you from my guest posts page I'd love a reminder there too...

I've written way more posts than I'd realized. Sorting by labels helped me find them, but it would work work much better if I

a) spelled the labels correctly (or at least consistently--book review, boo review...),
b) didn't keep changing the words (blog tour, book tour, blog tours, tour...), and
c) remembered to use them.

Anyway, if you've time to wander, I'd really appreciate any comments on the new stuff.

Meanwhile, it's time to write...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A little romantic reading for Guy Fawkes night?

I'm still trying to work out how to post my blogtalkradio interview on my blog--I probably need to read  more how-to-do-it articles, but instead I've been reading novels and story-books, trying to catch up on my reviewing backlog. If you want to listen to me talk about Flower Child (and many other things), just follow this link
Then, while it plays, you can come back here and see what I've been reading. (Don't forget the coffee too--coffee ratings for content, not quality, since every tale requires a different brew.)

Starting with a wonderful literary tale, The Twoweeks, by Larry Duberstein reflects the many faces of love in the relationship of two people taking a two-week break from their lives. Happily married, but not to each other, the poet and the actor play roles that neither intended, but fate's a kinder playwright than it seems in this intriguing tale. Drink a 4-star complex-flavored coffee while enjoying this complex tale.

Another tale of love is Loving Joe Gallucci, by Kate Genovese, reviewed for poetic monthly magazine. Click on the link for November's edition to find my review. A romance that spans 30 years, high-class political families and a risky restaurant where drugs and alcohol flow, this is a true tale, filled with as many characters and details as full disclosure might require. It offers a very honest look at the consequences of risky behavior and the trials of Hep. C. Read with a 5-star dark intense coffee.

The Key to Charlotte, by E.A. West, reviewed for Nights and Weekends (Nov 10th) is a much shorter romantic tale, perfect for coffee or lunch break with a 2-star bright, lively coffee. Autistic Charlotte is a silent cleaner in her local church when she meets the new youth leader. Will he, who once overcome the letter-blindness of dyslexia, be able to help find her voice? But maybe God has brought them together for more than just words.

And for those with darker romantic thoughts, there's Cursed to Kill, by Claire Ashgrove--also reviewed for Nights and Weekends. The first of an intriguing series where members of an ancient family seek release from the family curse,  this story reunites two lovers once parted when Cian realized he was bound to murder his beloved.Will he hold his darker nature in check? Will she hold her doubts in check long enough to save him? Another short book, enjoy a 5-star dark-flavored coffee with this intensely sensual tale.

And finally, another lunch-break read, Beloved Life-Mate: Dong of the Sidhi by Jodie B. Cooper creates love in a parallel (second dimension) universe of valleys where mythical creatures--including vampires and elves--have been trapped after a war on their home-world. A young teen just coming into her powers is abducted by an ancient leader, and if only her LifeMate weren't trying to kill her... Drink a 1-star light crisp coffee, and be ready to enjoy the glossary after you've finished your meal--it certainly fills in a hugely detailed background to the story.

So... what have these romantic tales to do with Guy Fawkes Night? Well, I guess Guy Fawkes loved his country so much he wanted to blow up parliament, so why not read about the many guises of love while remembering him?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Blogtalkradio interview TODAY !

HELP! I'm on internet radio today, talking on a telephone (never my favorite thing) about Flower Child and whatever else comes up. I'd love to hear from you.

Anjuelle Floyd interviews Sheila Deeth

airing live at 12 Noon PT, 1pm MT, 2pm CT, and 3pm ET

Call in on (347) 215-7740

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Come Back to Me! 99 cents

No, I'm not asking you to pay for my blog tour, but there's a lovely book called Come Back to Me being released today with a great 99 cent deal. Head on over to The Women's Literary Cafe and you'll find that's not the only deal--a fantastic launch party and really good read.

Melissa Foster, is the award-winning author of Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way, and you can tell I enjoy her writing since I've already read all three books. Click the links for...

my review of Megan's Way
my review of Chasing Amanda and
my review of Come Back to Me.

Then go on over and enjoy the party! for the 99 cent book event, and for more about the author, plus a really neat video trailer!

Come Back to Me tells the tale of a photographer in Iraq and a wife back home, separated by reports of the photographer's death. Tess determines not to believe the reports while everyone else says move on. Meanwhile Beau is just as determined to "come back" to her. Rescued by an Iraqi family, befriended by a handsome client, both Tess and Beau have their loyalties tested in this tale. A young teen strays from his family, a young man faces loss... and a country sees its own identity changed. This novel explores love and loss, of people, hope, culture and land, with beautiful descriptions, great characters, and a truly absorbing tale.