5.29.2012

Madly & the Jackal

Today is the release day for the 3rd book in the Madly series by M. Leighton!  As a kick off for Madly & the Jackal I wanted to share with you an excerpt from the book!  If you haven't started this series yet you need to!!! 

How deep does love run?  Deeper than the ocean?  Deeper than memory?  Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea.  But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find.  This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges. 
Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her.  They want her power, but first they must weaken her.  They need her beaten.  Vulnerable.  Near death.  And alone.  But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side.  The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind.  And his heart. 
Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly?  Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing?


Excerpt
I tried to smile brightly, but felt it falter.  I reminded myself that if there was anyone who could fix it, it was Jackson.  I was fairly certain there was little he couldn’t do if he set his mind to it.
Clinging to that knowledge like a lifeline, Jackson and I stepped out of the cave and into the vastness of the ocean.  Within a fraction of a second, our tail fins had reformed and we were speeding through the water.  Jackson kept me close to his body as we moved, whether for my comfort or my safety I wasn’t sure.  Either way, I appreciated it.
We swam for quite a distance before I began to feel oriented, recognizing several landmarks as we passed.  I wondered about the magic used to keep the cave entrance and canyon cloaked.  I’d never encountered magic like that before, magic that could be concealed from my bracelet, from my senses.  I concluded that it had to be ancient magic, put in place by the older generations, possibly even someone from the High Council.
 When Jackson stopped suddenly, all thoughts of that curious magic left my mind, replaced in an instant by the task at hand and the inherent peril of it.
“What’s the matter?” I asked in a hushed voice.
Jackson didn’t respond right away.  His sharp blue eyes scanned the waters around us like an eagle scans the sky.  I looked out, trying to see what he saw, hear what he heard, feel what he felt.  Although nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me, I knew Jackson was sensing something.  His tension tickled my nerves from head to toe as if he were strumming them like guitar strings.
“Madly, don’t ask questions.  Swim that way,” he said, pointing off to our right.  “Don’t stop.  Don’t look back.  Don’t worry about me.  I’ll find you.  Just swim.  Now!”
Grabbing me around the waist, Jackson gave me a push for a head start before he turned and darted off like a bullet, cutting through the water in the other direction.
Confused and a little scared, I did as he instructed.  I ignored the thought that there was only one portal in the shield and that it did not lay in this direction.  I ignored the thought that the further Jackson was from me, the harder it would be to maintain his invisibility.  I ignored the thought that I wouldn’t know when to summon the whale or if I still needed to.  I ignored all my screaming instincts and did only what Jackson asked.  
So I swam.
Straining with all my power to keep Jackson’s appearance concealed, I reached out for any whale in the vicinity, thinking absently that I believed I could feel one.  Without taking away from Jackson, I let my own visibility shine through just enough that I could confuse the whale and draw it closer then I put my appearance back under wraps.  It was all I could do, the best I could hope for.  
When the alarms sounded, I wasn’t sure if I had triggered them or if the whale had stumbled into them.  I felt the disorienting, debilitating effects of them instantly.  I managed to keep enough of my wits about me to pray that Jackson was safe and that he would get away.  I wasn’t sure whether it was a good sign or not when the alarms were silenced less than a minute later.  I recovered quickly, but it was with great unease that I resumed my swim.  How could I get out when the portal lay in the other direction?  What if I got trapped?  What if…
My thoughts swam faster than I did as I focused on my trust of Jackson.  It wasn’t until I began passing the familiar landscape of the waters outside Slumber that I slowed.  How had I escaped the shield?  Was there another portal?  
I had so many questions, but at that moment, none of them mattered.  My worries were tightly focused on one thing, one person, as I scanned the shadows of the deep—looking, listening, feeling.  Jackson was nowhere.  I couldn’t sense him at all.  
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I started to swim back toward Atlas when the memory of Jackson’s voice stopped me.  It rang clearly in my head, as if I were hearing him say the words again, right at my side.  
Don’t look back…I’ll find you.
With an unbearable emptiness burning in my chest, I turned from Atlas and made my way toward shore.  Without Jackson.



Well that is all for today peeps! Now if you will excuse me I just started Madly & the Jackal *goes in reading cave*

5.26.2012

Meeting Destiny Blog Tour


For this stop on the blog tour I will be reviewing Destiny's Revenge since I have already read and reviewed the first book!  I hope you are all enjoying the tour so far and don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway! You can find the tour schedule HERE.

Destiny's Revenge by Nancy Straight
My Rating: 4 Stars
Summary (amazon)

There was no reason for Lauren to be in a coma. Her physical injuries had healed, but she had been non-responsive for so long that her doctors told her family and Max to move on. She awoke to find her life in a shambles; the man she loved was gone, her friends had moved on with their lives, and her family was ripped apart by her accident. No one knew of the evil forces watching, waiting for her in the shadows, in the lonely corners, even in the eyes of those she loved. Lauren needed to reclaim her destiny, to get her life back; the last thing she ever expected was Destiny’s Revenge.


My Review
I had to read Destiny's Revenge right after I finished Meeting Destiny!  I mean how could you have not with that cliff hanger! It killed me and then I read the first few chapters of Destiny's Revenge and it broke my heart!  I was hoping for the cliff-hanger ending to be some type of fluke but it wasn't :( That's all I'm going to say about that because you people out there that haven't read Meeting Destiny don't want the ending to be spoiled because it is a biggy.  
As you probably know every review I do I HAVE to mention the romance.  It's just my favorite part and I can't help it! The romance in this book definitely did not disappoint and it definitely heated up a little bit!  Max and Lauren go through plenty that tests their relationship but they get through it!  
Ugh I really can't tell y'all much but this is definitely a great read and I loved going through the adventures with Max and Lauren and finding out how Lauren is Destiny!  I loved finding out more about this world and I can't wait to get to Destiny's Wrath. 


Buy It

Find Nancy Straight

Meeting Destiny 
is the first book in 
this series!  

You can find it on 
Goodreads HERE and 


Destiny's Wrath is the 
3rd book in the series.

You can find it on 
Goodreads HERE.
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5.23.2012

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Whisper

I'm really excited to have the opportunity cover to help Chelsea Cameron with the cover reveal of her latest novel Whisper!  I love the cover, and I think y'all will too!  Also check out the synopsis and sneak peak of chapter 1!  After you've gotten really excited about this new upcoming book, enter the giveaway for your chance of winning it!  Now are you ready for the cover?

Synopsis:

People think I'm crazy. Maybe I am, since I've been able to talk to spirits for as long as I can remember. They are the forgotten, the souls who have unfinished business and can't cross over. I help them, or at least I try to. There's this one in particular, Jack, I call him, who's been following me around a lot. Usually they tell me what they need to do and move on. Not him. 


It isn't until he brings another spirit, Tracy, the victim of an unsolved hit-and-run accident, that I know for sure he's something more than just your average spirit. Then I start seeing him. And feeling his touch. And falling for him. 

In our quest to get justice for Tracy and help her move on, Jack and I become something more than just a dead boy and a living girl. I'm just waiting to see what happens next...

Whisper will be released on June 16th in Ebook and later in June in paperback. Here's a sneak peek of the first chapter!

You don't look like the kind of girl who would speak to the dead.

“I can't decide if that's meant to be offensive or not.” He was right, though. From my t-shirt which had a picture of the Cookie Monster on it and a caption that read, “Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies,” my holey yoga pants that had never been used for yoga, and my mismatched Christmas socks, to my not-straight-but-not-curly hair blondish hair, I didn't look like the kind of girl who would talk to dead people. I didn't hang out in cemeteries and listen to too much Evanescence and wear a lot of crystals. Not that there was anything wrong with any of those things.

It was not meant to be offensive.

“What was it meant to be?” I pulled my knees up and put my chin on them.

Didn't your mother call you for dinner?

Evasive. There was definitely something different about him. Most spirits were so confused about where they were or if they were dead they didn't know how to be evasive. This guy was something else.

“You sure you don't want anything?”

No. Just visiting. Spirits didn't visit. The only reason they hung around was to accomplish something they'd left undone. So either he didn't want to tell me, or he was just messing with me.

“Well, if you want to stick around, that's your choice, but I'm going to pretend you aren't here.”
Do whatever you want. He was starting to get on my nerves. I walked to the doorway. Once I was through there, I was going to pretend I was normal.

“Okay, I'm going to stop talking to you now.”

Silence.

“Thank you.” I took a step.

You're welcome.

“Ugh, stop it!”

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA writer from Maine and author of Nocturnal and Nightmare, the first two books in The Noctalis Chronicles and Whisper, about a boy who is dead, a girl who is not. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, vacuuming and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. Follow her Blog, on Twitter or Facebook and find her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Giveaway Time 
Do you believe in spirits? Comment below (with a way for me to contact you i.e.email) by May 28th for your change to win an ecopy of Whisper sent to you the day before it's released! Be sure to visit Chelsea's Blog for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. 
Alright folks I hope you have enjoyed this awesomeness, but I must go for now.  I'm in the middle of reading Chelsea Cameron's novel Nightmare, and I can't keep my nose out of this one, so ta ta for now :D

5.21.2012

Guest Post: Dave Becker


Goodreads | Amazon | B & N

Plymouth Rock is bleeding. Day has turned to night. Hundred-pound hailstones level buildings. The small town of Clement seems cursed, and the residents know who's to blame: the new kid, Tony Marino.

After losing his family and his home, 14-year-old Tony is forced to move from Florida to Massachusetts to attend Kalos Academy, an unconventional school for gifted children. Strange things begin to happen the day he arrives, and soon stories of plagues, monsters, and mystical objects surround him. Refusing to believe superstitions, Tony struggles to explain the occurrences logically, until he comes face to face with a satanic cult determined to bring about the end of the world.

Guest Post: How Many Hats Can You Wear? by Dave Becker


A career in writing involves wearing many different hats. It's not enough to be a disciplined and talented writer. Authors must also be accountants, managers, and marketers like every other self-employed business person. And as if that isn't already enough, many of us choose to publish our own titles, which adds even more hats.

Prior to publishing my first novel, my experience was in marketing - specifically graphic design, web design, animation, and copywriting. In many ways, that skill set is ideal for self-publishing. It certainly made the process easier, and there are a few tips I can share.

Self-published authors need an editor just like every other author. Most people can't edit their own work, especially lengthy novels. After decades of writing advertising copy, I'm still astonished by the number of errors I can make in a few paragraphs. Multiply that by 1000, and you begin to realize the potential for mistakes, shallow characters, clunky plots, and poor story development. If you choose to edit your own work, just try to remove yourself as much as possible from the story and study each paragraph objectively. I edited THE FAUSTIAN HOST by converting it to a 130-page screenplay. That forced me to reshuffle events, delete some, combine some, and rework the entire story. Some of those changes were incorporated back into the novel because they made the book better. In the end, it gave me a completely different way to view the story.

Next is cover design. Nothing sells a book more than the cover; it's just basic marketing. With decreased prices in graphic software, everyone fancies themselves a Photoshop wizard. It's not impossible for an amateur to design effective covers, but it's not as simple as many sites would have you believe, and there are a few things to consider. Selling a commercial product means you must abide by all copyright laws (unlike simply grabbing any image from a Google search and using it personally for your desktop background, which is completely different). If you're using someone else's image, odds are you don't have permission to do so. Stock photos have become relatively inexpensive, but they're not exhaustive or eternal. Check the agreement to make sure you're covered for usage - not just now but in the future. Many standard licenses allow for half a million impressions. If you ever sell more than half a million books, you may find yourself dealing with a lawsuit if you don't purchase an accommodating license for the images on your cover. And even if you find the perfect image and typography, you need to understand the differences in end usage. At the very minimum, you should have the tools necessary to create high-resolution RGB (for ebooks) and CMYK (for printed books) images and software designed to create professional graphic materials (I use Adobe products - so does 95% of the graphic design world).

The most economical and financially rewarding method to publish is electronically. With the advent of Kindle, Nook, iPad, and numerous other readers, ebooks are becoming the new paperbacks. Conversion software exists for manuscripts, but I can't recommend any of them because I never used them. As a web programmer, and already knew XML, the language used to create ebooks, and like graphic design, I always think it's better to create something the way professionals create it. With a clean, validated XML package, I created an EPUB file, which I then modified according to the various standards for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks. Previewing THE FAUSTIAN HOST on all those devices, the book looked and navigated just like other mainstream novels for those platforms. You can download the requirements for each device from the company websites, and I'd recommend doing so. Some outlets (like Apple) won't even make your title available if just one character is out of place in the programming.

Lastly, if you plan to sell printed versions of your book, you'll need to design that. Since the margin is so small on paper books, I only made THE FAUSTIAN HOST available for purchase as an ebook, but I did design it in paperback for a few reasons. One, it's what I do so it wasn't too taxing; two, my wife wanted a copy and she doesn't own an e-reader; and three, I ordered ten copies and used them as exclusive giveaways. I used Illustrator to create the cover and InDesign to lay out the interior pages. Even choosing a custom trim size on CreateSpace (I wanted the smaller, mass-market paperback size), the files were accepted, processed, printed, and delivered without a hitch, all in less than a week. I know that's not the experience of many self-publishing authors. You can play with the formatting in Microsoft Word, export a PDF document, and get that printed online, but it won't look the same as a professional file formatted with trim sizes, bleed areas, gutters, and all required printer's marks.

If any of these steps seem daunting, or any of my tips seem confusing, don't feel bad. I've spent over 20 years writing, designing, programming, and marketing for companies all over the country. I'm just lucky those same skills are what's needed to publish a book. Currently, I'm typing this while sitting in front of a French patio door which needs to be replaced. I haven't received an estimate under $3000, which seems outrageous to me, but I know I don't have the skills to do it myself. Frankly, it's not a hat I'm prepared to try to wear. We can't be awesome at everything.

Self-publishing has long carried a stigma of poor quality. The tools to circumvent that are now accessible to everyone. The knowledge to circumvent that is another matter. As publishers (not just authors) we should present the same level of quality our competitors (professional publishing houses) create and our customers (readers) expect. Readers aren't simply buying our writing or our ideas; they're buying a product, a book, and they deserve the best we can possibly give them. And if that means investing in some additional help, maybe in the long run that's a better decision. Who wants to see their favorite author wearing eight hats anyway?


Website | Facebook | Goodreads 
Author Bio: Dave Becker is the author of The Faustian Host, a new young adult, paranormal thriller. After losing his family and his home, 14-year-old Tony Marino is forced to move from Florida to Massachusetts to attend Kalos Academy, an unconventional school for gifted children. Strange things begin to happen the day he arrives, and soon stories of plagues, monsters, and mystical objects surround him. Refusing to believe superstitions, Tony struggles to explain the occurrences logically, until he comes face to face with a satanic cult determined to bring about the end of the world.

5.19.2012

Giveaway Winners


I have an announcement for you...not only am I revealing the winner of this awesome giveaway, but Priya informed me that just because she is awesome she is giving away 2 copies of My Boyfriend Merlin!

The Winners are...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats! I will be emailing y'all shortly!

5.18.2012

Indie Revolution: Wrap Up


Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a copy of My Boyfriend Merlin, so if you haven't entered yet do it now before it's too late! Also, Priya emailed me today with some awesome news!  Her book My Merlin Awakening, Book 2 of the My Merlin Series, which is exclusively on the Nook for a limited time has hit the Barnes and Noble Teen NookBook Bestsellers list!!! That just shows you how awesome that series is and that you need to go get it (I will be reading it soon so my review will be up shortly!).

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

If you haven't broken the rules, have you really lived?

Excalibur has been pulled from the stone, but what does it mean? Arriane (aka Ryan) DuLac doesn’t really care. She's got bigger problems—as student president, she's got to put on the Prom. While the Wizard Council debates their next move, she leaves the craziness behind and heads home.

But she can’t hide forever. Sooner than she’d like Merlin (aka Matt) has her chasing mermaids on the trail of the Fisher King. The wounded King defeated by Merlin’s brother, Vane, in the past holds the key to save the future. 

On the journey, Ryan begins to realize the friends she thought she knew, she may not know at all. At a time of shifting alliances, she must decide whose side she’s on—the brother who struggles to do right or the brother who dares to break the rules? And Ryan must decide who she is—a regular or a champion? 

One wrong decision and her family falls apart. One wrong decision and the world falls apart. No pressure.

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5.17.2012

Review: On the Island



On the Island
by Tracey Garvis-Graves
My Rating: Golden Star
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
My Review
If you haven't read this book yet then where have you been?  Seriously you need to stop reading this right now go to the buy links and get this book! If the hundreds of raving reviews haven't convinced you then buy it because it's going to be a movie and you need to be in the know!  Have I convinced you yet?  Maybe I should say a little bit more of why this is a must read...would that help with your indecisiveness of whether to get the book or not?

Tracey Garvis-Graves gave me the book for review and let me tell you I put the book on my kindle and read until I was finished! (which I think turned out to be like 5 a.m.) This is one of those WOW books.  The kind that grip you from the beginning and don't let go until you turn the last page!  It's the book that you would pry your eyes open with toothpicks at night just so you can read the next chapter!

I was a bit of a skeptic at first...I couldn't figure out why all these people were loving this romance between a sixteen year old boy and thirty year old woman.  I was thinking what you're probably thinking...until I read the book.  On the island, age disappears.  It's all about survival.  When the romance appears in the book (which it doesn't for awhile), it feels completely natural.  All of the skepticism I had vanished once I was immersed in the story.  I guess I'm saying if that is what is holding you back from the story, don't let it.

The world building was phenomenal.  For most of the book I was on that island with TJ and Anna fighting for survival.  I was there right along with them trying to figure out how the heck to survive off the land.  The emotions they were going through felt real to me.  They had many hardships throughout the book and I loved going through that journey with them as I read through the book.  That is one of my favorite things about reading is when an author can bring you in like that!  I also love the character development and growth.  Both TJ and Anna had to learn some things and get through stages of life and they were definitely challenged with getting through those things while stranded on an island.  Just to top it all off the romance was awesome!  I loved TJ and Anna's relationship.  They definitely had to get close fast (not necessarily in a romantic way at the time) in order to survive.

I loved every part of this book and if I sat here long enough, I would accidentally tell you the whole story!  It is SO good, and I recommend this book to EVERYONE and if for some reason you didn't listen to me at the beginning of the review go buy it now!

If you've read this On the Island, what did you think? or If you haven't read it, did you go buy it? :D

5.16.2012

Interview & Giveaway: Stan Morris


Last day with Stan Morris! I hope everyone enjoyed this week! Don't forget to enter the giveaway and come back next week for the new Indie Revolution author!
If you missed any of the posts this week, here they are!

and now for the interview with Stan Morris!

What inspired you to write Sarah's Spaceship Adventure?
In the late 1960’s, during the time of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement, science fiction began moving away from themes with a positive message and toward dystopian futures.  One of the most prominent writers was Harlan Ellison who collected a number of stories in an anthology titled Dangerous Visions.  Although we had managed to make our way to the moon, there was a sense of, “What do we do now?  We have all these problems on Earth that have not been addressed.”
As I see it, the mood of science fiction darkened and with a few exceptions has stayed fairly dark.  In addition, the focus of science fiction began to shift from the exploration of our solar system to a wider view of humankind traveling the universe.  Now that’s fine, I don’t mind the Rama stories and other visions of interstellar civilizations; even Heinlein wrote many stories about interstellar civilizations.  But I longed for the stories about humankind’s efforts to create a space faring civilization within this solar system; stories by Robert Heinlein like The Rolling Stones, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which the characters are just as important as the technology.
Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure is my reaction to that longing.  What I am attempting to create is a solar system that has one habitable planet, Marl, one giant gas planet, Junior, and an enormous asteroid belt where humans dwell on many asteroids.  The cultures on these asteroids are gradually evolving away from each other, much like what happened in the evolution of the animals on and around the Galapagos Islands.
My vision is of a fractured planetary society that uses chemical rockets to reach Low Marl Orbit and plasma engines, such as those that are being developed by Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz at Ad Astra Rocket Company, to travel to and within the asteroid belt, which in my book is called the ‘Hoop.’  
This is the world of Mackenzie’s Rock and Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure is just one of those books that are set in that world. Chronologically, SSA is not the first book.  The first three chronological books will contain the stories of the girls from Mackenzie’s Rock, Julee Mackenzie, Jara Mackenzie and Wendra (Wendy) Mackenzie.  I am presently working on Julee Mackenzie and the First Officer.
But I am writing books in which the technology is secondary to the interaction of the characters.  I’m writing about adventure, fun, happiness, love, family, and commitment.  People often debate the morality in my stories, and I consider that a feature and not a bug.  I try to be honest with my readers, and to make them think.  In my mind, there is no greater success than to have a reader say that they are pondering what I’ve written days after reading the story.
Do you have a dream cast for your characters?
Does this question refer to a possible movie?  The main characters are ‘Sarah’ and ‘Pall.’  The people in this world are all brown skinned from light to dark, and there is a reason for that, although I won’t go in to it now.  So I would probably be looking for Latino/Latina actors/actresses, or perhaps Asian-Americans.  I do like the idea of Jackie Chan in a short role as ‘Jak.’ With makeup, Nathan Fillion could play ‘Pai.’  Elle Fanning is a little too fair to play ‘Sarah,’ but I loved her in “Super 8.”  I think it would be interesting to have a young Bollywood actor play the part of ‘Pall.’
Did you do any type of research for your book?
I did some, but I found it difficult to find understandable information about the physics of the story.  For example, what mass would an asteroid need to have so that its gravity would be strong enough to prevent humans from jumping off?  At what point would an asteroid be hollowed enough so that its spin would be sufficient to offset gravity and require a person standing inside the asteroid to have his/her head pointing toward the center of the asteroid?  I hope I was able to fudge this to most people’s satisfaction.  The business aspects of the story were not hard, because I ran my own computer assembly business for about fifteen years.
If you had to give your book a theme song, what would it be?
I guess my answer is, I don’t know.  “Magic Carpet Ride,” by John Kay and Rushton Moreve and performed by Steppenwolf comes to mind, but that’s kind of dated.  Then there is, “I’m With You,” by Avril Lavigne, or maybe “Sailing the Wind,” by Loggins and Messina, or perhaps something by Joe Satriani from his album “Surfing With The Alien.”  I would say, “Truckin’ Blues” by Stan Morris, but then I would have to rewrite the lyrics so they would be about a space freighter.
What is your favorite place to write?
I like to write at my desk using my MSI laptop with my external drives and my external keyboard.  I plan to purchase an external LCD monitor/TV sometime this year.  In the morning, on weekdays, I usually have the TV muted on CNBC, and at night I might be listening to old rock and roll like Country Joe and the Fish or It’s a Beautiful Day.  I know I’m really in to a book when I start writing before 7:00am, or when I’ve been writing for several hours, and I look at the clock and it’s after 1:00am.

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5.15.2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Stan Morris


For today Stan Morris wrote an interesting Guest Post!  I hope you enjoy and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post for your chance of winning Sarah's Spaceship Adventure! Check out the blurb and an excerpt from the book so make sure you go check those out too! Also, let me know what you think of the Guest Post!  I always love the comments :)


Why are More Men Reading Romance Books?
By Stan Morris
According to information from The Romance Writers of America website, men are only nine percent of romance book readers, although the website theromanceclub.com claims that this number is increasing.  The reason that men make up such a small percentage of romance readership seems intuitive, but why is this number increasing?  Why are men discovering that they like romance novels?
I was lucky enough to discover romance novels in the late 1980’s.  I was in the Kahului library on the island of Maui and feeling bored with the science fiction of that time.  I happened across two novels, The Adventuress by Marion Chesney, who now writes mysteries as M.C. Beaton and Wishes by Jude Deveraux.  Now this was a stroke of luck, for both novels are worthwhile reads.  Previously, I had read a couple of steamy romances, and while the sex was interesting, the writing was less than adequate.  I am a reader who stays with an author until I have exhausted that person’s work, so I began to read everything I could find by Chesney and Deveraux.  
About that same time period, a group which called itself “Friends of the Library” was formed to raise funds for the library system on Maui.  They were given space in an older building and they began to sell used donated books which they priced as little as ten cents.  They began to receive and resell many novels that were published by Harlequin and Silhouette, which had been acquired by Harlequin in 1984, and these books were priced at a dime.  Seeking to broaden my scope of romance literature, and seeing that they were sold for a pittance, I purchased a lot of them.  Some were not worth the dime, some were not that bad, and some were very good indeed; good enough that I began to select out books by certain writers and put them on my own shelves.  One of these writers was Stephanie James and another was Nora Roberts.  
There were also many regular romance books, so I was able to find an occasional Deveraux and Chesney.  Gradually, I came across Johanna Lindsey whose books were either very good or very bad, and then Jayne Ann Krentz whose writing I fell in love with.  I was not long before I realized that Stephanie James and Jayne Ann Krentz was the same writer.
This was in the days when Waldenbooks was still an independent entity and the internet was a text only system.  Email was the amazing new thing we had at Maui Community College where I worked.
Once I realized that I was really enjoying some of the romance authors I was reading, I started purchasing newer romance novels from Waldenbooks, and I discovered Pamela Morisi and other romance writers.  Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz and Marion Chesney had reached my must-purchase-new list.
So what was drawing me to these romance books?  In a word, quality.  Like any reader, I want to read books that have tight, well-plotted stories, characters that are interesting and not one dimensional, and climaxes that are well reasoned and often surprising.  Yes, man and woman will get together at the end of the book; we know that, so what is important is the process of getting them together.
Don’t get me wrong.  The romance genre has its share of lazy writers who use clich├ęd plots and devices.  I have often thrown aside a book where the hero or heroine overhears a conversation and ‘misunderstands.’  And some of the books have characters that I could care less about.  One of my shortest and most frequent private book reviews is, “An unpleasant book about unpleasant people.”  Heroines or heroes who set out to make their counterparts jealous will not find space on my shelves.  I enjoy erotica, but page after page of repressed boring desire, or even worse, violent physical meanness disguised as sex is not tolerated.  And in my mind, commitment is a must.  Jayne Ann Krentz has become one of my favorite writers because of her dedication to commitment and family in her writing.
I cannot help thinking that another reason more men read romance is the change from steamy covers featuring half clad females or males to more sedate and less defined images, although I notice that erotic scenes are still the case for many ebook romances.  I mean, come on, if guys want to read porn they’ll get on the internet.
Back in the 1990’s, it was very uncommon for me to hear about other men who enjoyed reading romance books, but this has gradually changed.  I remember listening to football one Monday night about a decade ago, and hearing the announcer mention that one of the players (I believe that he played for the Washington Redskins) enjoyed reading romance books.  Since then, it has become more common for men to “admit” that they enjoy romance literature.  
I’m sure that much of this is due to the changing nature of our society and culture.  The rigid lines that use to define us have blurred.  We are not surprised now to see women taking dangerous roles in the military, or to hear of men who are pursuing a nursing career.  And of course, it does not hurt for readers of either gender to be able to purchase reading material on-line.
Reading romance literature has helped me to become a better writer.  When my male and female characters interact, the spirits of the romance writers hover over me.  In Surviving the Fog, there is a conversation between two boys.  One of the boys declares that their survival depends on the males taking charge in order to survive.  The other boy counters with the observation that his group has survived due to the benefits of including the girls in the decision making process.  Two of my books, Amy’s Hero and Kate’s Movie Star are written primarily from a female point of view, something I probably never would have attempted before reading romance literature.  And my most recent book, The Colors of Passion and Love is written in the first person from a girl’s point of view.
One last observation; I think that if I had read romance novels as a teenager I would have had many more successful encounters of the physical nature with girls.  In other words, I would have scored more sex.  I say this because the insights I have gained into the mind set of women from reading romance literature has led me to be more empathetic to women.  Just another benefit from discovering romance books.

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5.14.2012

Giveaway Alert

Awesome Giveaway Alert
just to let you all know about some awesome giveaways going on here and at some other blogs!

as always you can click on the giveaway tab and find all the giveaways I'm currently hosting but here are the current ones.  Also if you haven't noticed yet EACH week I have a new Indie Author for Indie Revolution so every week there is a new giveaway on the blog! so come back to check those out!

ebook copy of Sarah's Spaceship Adventure
ends May 20th

print copy of My Boyfriend Merlin (US)
 or ebook copy (INT)
ends May 19th

On other blogs


She's giving away 4 awesome prize packs! Also, when she reaches 150 followers she is adding an awesome Grand Prize! (currently only 13 followers away from 150)

Blog Tour Wrap Up Giveaway-Ebook copy of When Destiny Knocks and When Destiny Strikes!
If you aren't following her, you need to be.  She also has giveaways frequently which is a plus :D

Excerpt: Sarah's Spaceship Adventure


Today I have for you an awesome excerpt from Sarah's Spaceship Adventure.  Seriously read it and then you will be hooked like I was and you will HAVE to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post so you could have a copy and see what happens in the rest of this story! Also check out the Blurb of Sarah's Spaceship Adventure HERE!
Reggardi hesitated a moment, and then he disappeared back down the passageway, but not before giving Sarah a warning glance.  Sarah took only a few seconds before deciding.  She quickly walked over to Pall and grabbed his sleeve.  He glanced away from a display to give her an inquiring look.
“I’ve got to off this ship,” she said urgently to Pall.
He turned from his task with a puzzled look on his face.
“What?” he asked.
“I have to get off this ship,” Sarah repeated.
“Why?” asked Pall.  “You’ll be able to drop in a couple of hours.”
Sarah pulled her hair away from her face and turned her cheek toward him so he could see the mark on her face.
“Please.  I need to get off this ship,” she repeated once again.
Pall’s brown eyes widened as he heard the plea in her voice and saw the damage to her cheek.  He looked at the passageway, and then he looked back at Sarah.
“Did he do that?” he demanded.
“Yes.  I truly need to get off this ship.”
“Great Captain’s Spirit,” exclaimed Pall.  “Yeah, I can see that’s true.  But I can’t take you off this ship without permission from the Captain.  And he is the Captain, right?”
“But there’s only the two of us,” wailed Sarah who was becoming desperate.  This rescue was not going well at all.
“It’s the law,” explained Pall.  “And I can’t break it, Sarah.  He could get my ship banned from trading with Marl.  I have shipmates who have money invested in this ship.  We have to be able to return to Marl.”
“Can’t you do anything?” Sarah begged.  Once again, she was feeling panicky.
The young spacer thought for a few moments.  As they waited, the ship’s comm dinged.  It was Reggardi demanding to know why Pall was taking so long.
“I’m having a little trouble aligning the gy,” Pall lied.  “Hold on for a few minutes.”  He turned to Sarah.
“Have you ever been united?” he asked hesitantly.
“What?  No,” replied Sarah, offended that he would ask such a personal question of a perfect stranger.
“Legally, I can take you off this ship if you’re willing to unite with me,” said Pall.
A deep hurt settled into Sarah.  She gulped.  So that’s how it is, she thought.  He’ll risk a brush with the law if I have sex with him.  She thought about refusing but only for a moment.  Still, she had to know something.
“Have you ever…,” she indicated her cheek, “…done this to a girl?”
“Never,” replied Pall emphatically.  “That’s despicable.  My shipmates would probably space me if I did such a thing.”
Sarah gathered her courage.  “All right,” she said bravely if shakily.  “I’ll… unite with you if you take me aboard your ship.”
But even as she made the promise, Sarah was hoping that, once aboard the young man’s ship, she could get the attention of the Captain or of one the officers or of someone who could help her get away from this person, too.
Pall nodded and then to Sarah’s surprise, he put his hands together and pointed his fingertips toward Sarah.
He spoke.  “I, Pall Swiftcar, vow that I will protect you, Sarah…,” he paused and looked at her expectantly.
For a moment, Sarah’s mind was blank, and then she said, “Talmaiz.  Sarah Talmaiz.”
Pall nodded and said, “Talmaiz.  And I will unite with you.  Now you say the words back to me.”  With a virtual roll of her eyes, Sarah said the words.
“We can say the other words later,” said Pall.  He returned to his task.
A rather formal statement that he’s going to get laid, thought Sarah crossly.   With an internal sneer, she wondered if later he would use her words to claim that she had consented.
* * *
With a start, she became aware of the young, naked man sleeping next to her.  She drew away from him.  Unhappily she remembered that before she could return home, she had to fulfill her part of their bargain.  She had to be intimate with him, although in this situation ‘intimate’ was not how she would describe it.  She was not the most morally upright girl on the planet, she realized, and there were things that she had done in the past that were painfully embarrassing to look back on.  But performing sexual intercourse with a stranger out of necessity would be a low point to which she had never dreamed she would fall.
She wondered if she should wake him and demand that they get it over with.  She could not bring herself to do so.  She would stall as long as possible.  A sudden wave of shame overcame her.  She was so stupid to get herself in this situation, she felt, even if Reggardi was the one at fault.  She felt like crying again, but she choked back her tears.
She felt the spacer stir, and then he sat up, rubbing his eyes.  Afraid, she pulled away as far as possible.  He glanced at her and gave her a look of concern.
“You okay?” he asked.  “That must have been spirit tense, yesterday.  How’s your face?  I should have given you some salve for it.”
“It’s better,” she told him.  At least he’s not acting like a jerk, she thought.  So far.
“Everything is set on my ship,” he said.  “So I’m free.”
Here it is, she thought.  It’s time to pay for my passage.
“You promise that after we do it once, I’ll be free to go?” she asked nervously.  She wondered if she was expected to have sex with him multiple times.
“Do what?” he asked.
“You know.  Bounce.  Have sex,” she said.  Maybe he would turn out to be a jerk.  Could he be worse than Reggardi?
“Uh, about that,” he began.  He felt a blush happening, and he hated the fact that his face was red.  “I can’t have intercourse with you until I’ve passed seventeen standard Marl cycles.”
He saw her light blue eyes widen.  He suspected that she saw him as an unsophisticated Hooper.  That was not unexpected.
“Look,” he said feeling more and more uncomfortable.  “I understand that on Marl you have your own ways and well… your own values.  I’m not saying that they are wrong.  But out in the Hoop we have our own principles.  Mine say that I have to wait until I pass seventeen cycles before having intercourse, unless I get my shipmates permission, in which case I only have to pass sixteen cycles.  I’m only half way through my fifteenth cycle, so I have to wait at least another half cycle before we can bounce.  I mean, I don’t think that Pai and Tai will have any objections.”  I hope, was his private thought.
Sarah’s mind was blank.  Then her natural optimism surged to the surface.  She was about to get a lucky reprieve which she knew that she did not deserve.  She gave a quiet word of thanks to the Spirit.
“Okay.  Okay.  Then just drop me on Marl,” she said as she tried to keep her voice calm.  “When you’re back this way, we can… uh, you know… finish it.”  Fat chance of that, boy, she thought.
Pall stared at her so long that her hope began to waver.  Something was wrong, and he did not want to tell her.
“Sarah,” he said quietly.  “You agreed to unite with me.”
“Sure.  But you said that you can’t right now.  So maybe later…”
“Sarah, we are united now.  By the Spirit.  For the rest of our lives or until the Great Captain returns for us,” explained Pall.
Sarah could see that he was unhappy now.  For several moments she stared back at him until his words sank in to her consciousness.  Then she gasped.
“You mean united as in… married?”  She gaped at him in horror.
“Married.”  He slowly repeated the word and turned it over in his mind.  “Yes.  That’s the Marl word for it, isn’t it?  We’re married.”
For a second she was too stunned to say anything, and then Sarah wailed, “I thought that we were just going to have sex.  I can’t be married.  I’m still in high school.  I graduate in a month.  My parents are awake now, and I need to get ready for school, and I have homework to turn in.  I want to go home.”  She coughed as she controlled a sob.
Pall was feeling miserable now.  How could she not have known what he was saying?  This misunderstanding was bad. Very bad.  He equivocated before telling her the worst.
“Sarah, even if I wanted to, I can’t take you home now.  I started my burn while you were sleeping.  On our course and heading, I don’t have enough energy to take you back to Marl.  No ship in the system has that much plasma.  We’re too far away now.  We’re going to the Hoop.  We can’t return to Marl for another year at the earliest.”

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5.13.2012

Indie Revolution: Stan Morris


This week I will be featuring Stan Morris author of Sarah's Spaceship Adventure!  We have a lot of awesomeness planned for everyone so keep coming back and make sure you enter the giveaway for your chance of winning an ecopy of Sarah's Spaceship Adventure!
 
Goodreads | Amazon | B &N | Smashwords | Bookiejar

When Sarah sneaks out of her house to go riding on her boyfriend's space yacht, she expects to be back before dawn. But her boyfriend is not as nice as she had thought, and now Sarah is in trouble. Then a chance encounter with some space junk and with a young spacer sends Sarah off to the Hoop on the adventure of a lifetime. Get ready for fun, romance and adventure.
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5.12.2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Priya Ardis


Today is my last post with Priya and My Boyfriend Merlin.  It's been a really great week, and I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have!  Even though this is the last post, you will be able to enter the giveaway until 5/19 so keep those entries coming! 

Here are the other posts of the week!

and now last but not least a Guest Post by Priya Ardis!
Merlin, Gargoyles, and Mermaids

In the world of My Merlin, there are several races running around today’s world. One is, of course, the regulars. Regular human beings. (I happen to like this set!) Our main character, Ryan, is a Regular. It was important for me to show in a world of supernatural creatures that a normal (albeit kinda brainy and a perfectionist) girl could hold her own.

Second, there are the Wizards. The main characters here are our heroic Merlin and his more pain-in-a-girl’s-backside brother, Vane. The wizards (much like in Harry Potter) live in secret, but the twist is that they are somewhat mercenary. For generations, they’ve been selling magic to maintain their wealth and prominence.

Third, there are the baddies—Gargoyles.  They look like anyone else. Except when they turn. You got it fangs, Cro-Magnon forehead, super-strength. They’re a deadly clannish controlled by one gargoyle king. Oh, they’re also super-healers so they’re near impossible to get killed.

Fourth, in My Merlin Awakening, you meet Triton’s children—the mermaids. Gorgeous, green-skinned, and with gills, these are not your average carefree mermaids. They are a little crazy, a little vicious, and a lot blood-thirsty. Dressed more Spartan than Disney, they make life interesting for our heroes.

More than an Arthurian series, the world My Merlin delves into the mixing of the ideas of chivalry and magic (put on your cute bunny slippers here) with more up to date supernatural creatures (wait, your cute bunny slippers has fangs! Bunnicula, anyone?)
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