Thought of the day: When the light goes out

So, yeah. This is a writing/book review blog, but occasionally I feel the need to do something else, so here is my thought of the day.

 

I was sitting on my back deck earlier this evening stressing over work and the next chapter of my book when I glanced up and saw my elderly neighbour doing her nightly routine. She takes the dog out, then shuts the blinds and finally turns off the porch light next to the door. I know what you’re thinking, uhm…so what? Hear me out for a moment.

When the final light went out, it was bittersweet. Ah, the mind of a writer…always drawing comparisons and conclusions where there are none. Really though, this started me thinking about “the light going out.”

When was the last time you took a moment for yourself? When did you really enjoy the taste and smell of a morning cup of coffee, or revel in a hug from a loved one? Do you remember?

We spend a lot of time stressing about work and commitments and life in general. There are only limited hours in the day, so just take a moment today and enjoy something. Just a quick moment where there are no phones or worries or computers. Just a minute to appreciate someone or something around you.

Every day we pull the blinds and turn out the lights, but we never know when that final light will go out.

 

Be a good human.

A Stillness of Chimes

A Stillness of ChimesA Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley

When Laura Gantt returns to Georgia to handle her late mother’s estate, she hears a startling rumor—that her father staged his drowning years ago and has recently been spotted roaming the mountains.

With the help of her former high school sweetheart, Laura searches for the truth. But will what they find destroy their rekindled feelings?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out intriguing and that initial interest stayed with me until the end. Mostly, this is a mystery with strong family ties. I liked the way the author kept the flow of her story going by using events from the past and the present intertwined.

The characters are easy to get to know and like and I thought the Christian angle of this book was present but not overtly in your face, so if you like reading less “religious” Christian novels this would be a good choice.

The most compelling part of this story for me was what happened many years ago coming to the surface, but the rest of the story molded around that event nicely and made for a well balanced reading experience. The writing itself was very good and the descriptions were handled in a way that wasn’t overly wordy but still gave you a sense of place and the emotions of the characters.

A bit if a wow ending, but not much on the characters after that. Still, enjoyable and unexpected. Definitely worth the time to read.

Overall this was a great book. You should check it out if you like mysteries with a bit of romance tossed into the mix.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.

The House On blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

House on Blackberry Hill (Jewell Cove, #1)House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

When a young woman inherits a rundown mansion, the last thing she expects to find is the key to her heart…

Abby Foster is a fish out of water in the Maine coastal town of Jewell Cove. The crumbling Foster estate, left to her by a relative she never even knew, has everyone’s eyes on her—an eerie reminder of the long-buried family secrets that have haunted her…forever. Single, stunning, and sometimes too strong-willed for her own good, Abby’s plan is to sell the house and hightail it back to Nova Scotia. But another part of her is intrigued by the idea of starting over somewhere new—and finally learning the truth about her heritage.

The House On Blackberry Hill

Enter Tom Arseneault. The best contractor in Jewell Cove, Tom is determined to restore the beauty and prestige of the Foster mansion—and maybe even work his charms on its beautiful new heir. The attraction between him and Abby is undeniable, and the more time Tom spends on the house the more he wants to be in it with her. But Abby’s not sure she can trust him—or anyone in Jewell Cove who seems to know more about her family history than she does. Home: Is it really where the heart is after all?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The House on Blackberry Hill” by Donna Alward is a lovely contemporary romance with historical ties and a strong feeling of roots and family connections.

I liked this book very much. Every once in a while I am lucky enough to find a book that has such wonderful atmosphere that it transports me from the world I know to the same place the characters are in. This is one of those books. The descriptions are perfect. I could smell the scent of blackberries in the air and feel the breeze upon my skin.

This is a very family and small town oriented story. The author did a superb job of introducing her characters. There was enough about their previous lives to make them interesting, but not so much time spent recounting the past that it got boring. Reading this book was like making new friends.

I enjoyed watching the mysteries about the old family home come to light. The understated paranormal in this story worked really well with the plot. I am really looking forward to the next book.

As the romance was more sweet and authentic and than hot and sexy and the love scenes were very mild, this would be an excellent choice for those who like love story based romances.

Overall, this was an intriguing book that satisfied my desire to escape reality for a bit. I’d definitely recommend it.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Missing You by Harlan Coben

Missing YouMissing You by Harlan Coben

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming off the heels of “Six Years,” Which I absolutely loved, I was really hoping that this thriller would be just as good.

Harlan Coben is a fantastic author, there is no doubt about that, so I had high expectations for this book. For the first third or so of the story, I wasn’t positive that I was going to love this. The story starts out well enough, but is so focused on the main character and her own wants and desires that it was hard for me to see how this was going to form into a complex thriller.

As the story progressed the plot thickened and there were multiple angles being worked at the same time. The characters were well written and each had a defined purpose in the story, even the ones that at first glance didn’t really seem to be important.

There were a few things I thought were a bit too convenient (everyone seemed to be a computer genius) but for the most part I found this story easily digestible. The last few chapters of the book were very edgy and tense and the kind of writing that makes you grip the book in terror for the heroes.

This author is good at creating tense situations for his characters and making the reader want to keep turning pages. This book was no exception. I enjoyed getting to know Kat and trying to anticipate what her next move would be. Although there were times during the latter half of this book that I wondered about the things she did (would an officer really do that?)she was a character that I formed a bond with and wanted to see prevail in the end.

Even in the last few pages, the story was still taking unexpected turns. If you are a fan of Harlan Coben or just a good mystery/thriller, this is a book you will not want to miss out on.

the Pen Name Game

Been a long time, but here’s a game from the Ionia Martin/Charles Yallowitz team. Maybe this is the start of us returning to a few comical sketches or interviews. Seems ‘Life’ got in the way. Seriously, we were playing the board game called ‘Life’ and it got totally out of hand. We’ve called off the ninja squirrels and capybara cavalry, but peace talks are still ongoing. Having trouble with the Cupcake Clause. Anyway, on to the real fun.

Many authors use pen names for various reasons. Some dislike their birth name or feel it’s too complicated to put on a book cover. Others wish to hide their true identity because of any number of reasons. For example, a writer of erotica might want to keep their writing career hidden from family or a full-time employer. Either way, there’s a big tradition in pen names, so Charles and I came up with a game.

Give us a pen name in one, some, or all of the following categories:

Romance
Erotica
Poetry
Fantasy/Science-Fiction
Horror
Mystery/Thriller
Cookbooks

This will be on both our blogs today and we’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Let’s have some fun.

Intimidation is nine-tenths of the writer’s law

What do I mean by this? I don’t mean that writers are the intimidating type–actually just the opposite. What I mean to say, is that writers tend to be their own worst enemies.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. It used to be that when I started a writing project, the first thoughts in my head were always about the project itself: title, chapter length, beginning, middle and end. In recent years my initial thoughts (after the story idea itself) become more about audience, marketing, price, platform, etc. So what happened?

I became obsessed with the ideas of successes and failures. I had an epiphany yesterday, whilst buried up to my elbows in topsoil:

 

If you write–you are a writer.

 

Well, duh.

When we become authors we spend a lot of time worrying over how our work will be received. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will it be compared to some other work? Ever hear someone say it is amazing that we survive our births or our childhoods? I think of writing the same way. It is amazing any project we begin ever gets completed, let alone published.

I have a dear friend who took her first adventure into publishing this year. She was not only amazed that anyone would want to read her work, but was shocked the first time she was referred to as “an author.” I thought she was silly, as clearly, her work was good enough to be published and enjoyed, but I kind of understand at the same time how she felt. She had spent so much time reading published works, and yet did not put herself in the same category as those other authors. We read so much about what other authors go through that sometimes I think we do ourselves a disservice. We are worried the horse will collapse on the track before it is even out of the gate.

This post is a simple reminder that if you write, even if it is not published–you are a writer.

Perhaps the best thing any of us can do to help out our writing careers, is to sit back and take a breath. Look around you. Decide what is most important during the writing. I am willing to bet the first thing that comes to mind when you are about to write that first sentence, next chapter, fantastic ending–whatever, will not be marketing or audience reception—if it is–take another deep breath and try again.

 

Writers write.

 

 

Janice Ross – Rave Reviews Spotlight Author

ioniamartin:

An author to watch

Originally posted on Fiction Favorites:

Jumping Ship CreateSpace

Jumping Ship Book Description

The year was nineteen seventy-five. Barren couple, Pearl and Edward Riley stumbled upon a newborn baby girl. Her cries could only be heard by a true mother, which Pearl immediately became. Bundled up with their new child, they discovered a parcel of artifacts and a scribbled note that read: Sakkara. Pregnant seamstress, Petrina Dugal, became a runaway at the age of twenty-six. She ran away from a brutish husband, Roger, and a well-loved South American home in Georgetown, Guyana; at the heart of her rebellion – an enigmatic lover named Michael Chen. Pet and Mikey, as they became affectionately known, allowed love to blossom in front of her police officer husband and an intrusive community. Were they not aware of the dangers? Or did the pursuit of love trump obligations?

Sakkara Riley grew up with two loving parents – adoptive parents to be exact. She never…

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Kate Miller-Heidke Makes Your Head Spin With O Vertigo! – A Guest Review by Helena Hann-Basquiat

d3yb0YMSo I finally got around to listening to the record-breaking crowd-funded fourth release by Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke. (It actually came out March 14th, but I was in the midst of planning my own crowd-funding effort at the time and so it’s taken me a while to be able to actually sit down and enjoy it).

I could lead off by telling you that I’ve discovered the lost Eurythmics album, or that hearing this album reminded me why I love Kate Bush so much, but while those comparisons may be apt, darlings, it doesn’t give this Kate the credit she deserves. While it’s clear that she studied at the Lennox academy of glamour and drama when it comes to the often cinematic scope of her songwriting (just listen to the opening track Offer it Up and tell me you don’t envision feather boas and sequined dresses a la Diva era Annie Lennox), Kate has a voice all her own.

Her voice is her instrument, and it is quite literally all over this album. You’ve never heard anyone quite like Kate Miller-Heidke, and no one I’ve heard since Kate Bush has so impressed me with her vocal courage and willingness to stretch and experiment. She can sing a tender pop ballad or a hip-hop influenced song full of snark and wit with equal appeal. She shows off her opera training on several songs, including the instantly lovable title track – a performance that will blow you away, and have you laughing with delight and amazement.

Then grab your headphones and be prepared to be brought to tears of rapture as Kate makes you believe that she is actually an angel – the layered vocal performance on Rock This Baby to Sleep has to be heard to be believed, and contains the excellent lyric refrain: “If I can’t have what I want, dear God, let me want what I have.” I guarantee you’ll be listening to this track on repeat a few times.

Musically, the album is solid, and while a lot of it is heavily rooted in the very best part of the 1980s, it doesn’t feel retro – rather, the sound is just the foundation that Kate has built her album on. The result is a warm, comfortable feeling of instant recognition – like you’re listening to an old favourite again for the first time.

If Kate Miller-Heidke’s voice is her instrument, then her weapon is her wit. As on her previous albums, she’s included a couple of songs that allow her to demonstrate just how clever and sarcastic she can be. On Drama she takes a bite out of celebrity divas and drama queens in a track that would have sounded right at home on a Sublime album.

This is her first independently produced album, after three albums with Sony Music. Having first discovered her by seeing her live when she opened for Ben Folds Five, my initial reaction to hearing her previous album, Nightflight, was that while I enjoyed the songwriting, I felt it was a bit overproduced – like the record company was trying to make her sound like something she’s not.

If O Vertigo! Is more indicative of the singer’s desired direction for her music, I would say there can only be more great music on the way.

Visit http://katemillerheidke.com/ for more from this wonderful young artist.

And in case you are thinking that I wasn’t going to give you a taste — here, enjoy this very nice intimate stripped down version of the track O Vertigo, showcasing Kate’s amazing vocal prowess in the short promotional film by Jarrad Seng.

Alphabet Success by Tim Fargo Review

ioniamartin:

Check out Pamela’s review

Originally posted on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project:

http://www.amazon.com/Alphabet-Success-Keeping-Simple-Success-ebook/dp/B00DTWQXGG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397593148&sr=8-1&keywords=alphabet+success+by+tim+fargo
Not your typical self help or business strategy book at all. This was a short (78 pages in print) book that broke different strategies down by the alphabet.

ABC – Always Be Committed
DEF – Don’t Ever Forget
GHI – Getting Highly Inspired
JKL – Just Keep Looking
MNO – Make Notes and Observations
PQR – Pursue Quantitative Results
STU – Start Teaching and Understanding
VWX – Value with X-factor
YZ – Yellow Zebra

This is a a quick and easy read, yet has many salient points and reminders. I do recommend this book if you are looking for a short book that will remind you of many things you already know in the CRM world. Four out of five stars.

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Family of the Tri-Rune Blog Tour

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Legends of Windemere: Family of the Tri-Rune has Arrived!!!

Buy it Here for $2.99!

Book Blurb:

The magical adventure continues after Luke Callindor and his friends recover from their battles in Haven.

Nyx still has nightmares about casting the genocide spell in Hero’s Gate. Every night her heart is gripped by the sensation of hundreds of goblins dying by her magic. By the request of Lord Highrider and Duke Solomon, she is returning to fix the damage she caused. With Luke Callindor and Sari by her side, Nyx is ready to face the vengeful goblins and opportunistic thieves that plague Hero’s Gate. Yet, there is a darker threat that was born from her violated magic: The Krypters.

It is another action-packed, character driven story that will reveal one of our heroes has been lied to for their entire life.

Wondering what you’re in for? Check out the praise earned by the first three installments of this high fantasy series.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero:

“I greatly enjoyed the vivid characters, the gripping plot, and the refreshingly unique writing style (present tense). ” – kdillmanjones

“One of the things that won me over was the bouts of humor. Especially in the beginning. “This is not possible! I am a Paladin!” I thought I was going to die with delight.” – C.N. Faust

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower:

“Nyx is such a strong personality. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and more of the other characters, new and already known, with the rich tapestry of Windemere unfolding in between intense actions scenes and moments of kindness and budding friendships.” – Danielle Taylor

“Almost like the Harry Potter series. The books start out so young and innocent, but by the last book – watch out!” — Momto4Booklover

Cover by Jason Pedersen

Cover by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies:

“One of the things I love most about this series are all the characters! They are developed so well that I feel like I know them personally. Even the newly introduced characters fit in immediately.” – BarbBookWorm

“Let’s talk about action. The author creates interesting action sequences with believable use of fantasy elements. He is very creative. There are also good sections where the characters stretch out and we get to know them better.” – Donald L. Mitchell “Music Lover”

Charles author photo B&WAuthor Biography:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Contact:

Blog- www.legendsofwindemere.com

Twitter- @cyallowitz

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CharlesYallowitz