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

Monsters, Magic Items, and Thingies from Ionia and John

ioniamartin:

So much fun. You guys really should give the man a word.

Originally posted on Legends of Windemere:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDpYBT0XyvA

Thanks to everyone for playing along with the ‘Monster Maker Fun’.  This is going to be going all week, so let’s kick it off.  First set of nonsense words are from Ionia Martin:

Mastaxe

This is a tiny creature found in the fallen forest of Surdu.  The fur coloration helps them blend into the collapsed trees that it calls home. It’s kind of like a rabbit in that it hops around on powerful legs and directs its movements with a sail-like tail.  The ears that are longer than the Mastaxe’s body twist around each other and their edged ends form a pickaxe.  This is what it uses to burrow straight into the ground by leaping eight feet into the air and coming down with surprising force.  In fact, a Mastaxe is capable of breaking stone if they need to.

Rhinarmor

This is what armor is called when it…

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An interview and opportunity to win a signed copy from Francis Guenette

The Light Never Lies - ebook cover - Francis L. GuenetteFrancis Guenette - author photo

 Synopsis:

As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the secluded shores of Crater Lake. Set against the backdrop of Northern Vancouver Island, The Light Never Lies is a story of heartbreaking need and desperate measures. People grapple with the loss of cherished ideals to discover that love comes through the unique family ties they create as they go.

 

Author Bio:

Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.

Read on after the interview to find out more about how you can win a signed copy of this book.

 

Tell us a little about you and your writing projects.

I live on the shores of an isolated lake on Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. If you’ve read my books, that will sound familiar. I’ve used this setting as my fictional jumping off spot for the first two novels of The Crater Lake Series – Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies. I’m currently working on the third in the series that is tentatively titled, Chasing Down the Night.

I’ve worked in various areas of education most of my life – lately as a trauma counsellor, earlier with challenged young people. Many of these themes come out in my writing. Because I’ve always had a good sense of humour, even though my books cover some hard-hitting topics, the reader will find more than a few laughs amid the tears.

What first made you decide to become an author? Was there a specific genre you knew you would write in or did it just happen when you began writing?

My way into writing fiction was through a round-about route. I spent a lot of time honing my writing skills in very different arena – academia. Then one day, I ran up against a brick wall. I came home to the lake and wandered the trails for days on end trying to clear my thoughts and figure out why my ability to get on with my current project was so blocked. I found no answer to that question, but in those days of being near the lake and walking, the characters for my first novel popped into my head. The idea of these people and the unique situations they found themselves in took over my thoughts and resulted in an absolute shift from one type of writing to another – from one career to another. I didn’t think at all about genre – I just knew I had to tell the story my characters were clamouring to have told.

Who are some of your literary heroes?

I have always been a big fan of Hemingway – mostly his short stories. To be able to say so much with so few words tends to make a writer heroic, at least in my mind.

If you could have a conversation with any author, alive or passed on, who would it be and why?

I would love to sit down and have a chat with J.R. Rowlings about what it was like to start out the way she did and end up where she has gone. How did she find the courage, especially in the beginning, to stay with the writing? Was there a moment when she saw the fame coming? How did she feel? Did the popularity of the first books shape her writing of the last ones? Her rise to fame as a writer fascinates me.

What advice do you have for new authors about publishing and marketing?

Hands down, marketing is the most difficult part of the entire writing process. I chose self-publishing and that has its picky, hair-pulling moments, for sure. The learning curve is steep, but that is nothing compared to the grind that marketing can be. There are so many voices (blogs, books, those who have made it big) telling the new author what to do and it is very difficult to make a wise choice. Advice from those who made it big is almost always out-of-date – things are changing so fast in the realm of self-published book promotion. It seems as though every click on the social media network reveals new sites offering services that will bring one’s book to prominence. Rarely are there any statistics to relate these services to actual sales. It is a buyer-beware market. Okay, lest I sound all doom and gloom here, I do have three small pieces of advice. Hunker down for the long haul, limit time spent on social media, and write your next book.

Anything else you would like the audience to know?

Self-publishing has thrown the gates wide open for all the people who always thought they had a story in them. Now they can tell that story and get it out in the world. This reality is a double-edged sword. For every author who rewrites so many times they’ve lost count, has the money to spend for a discerning editor, good cover design and formatting, there are a dozen others who didn’t think rewrites, or editing, or cover design and formatting are all that important. Or maybe they couldn’t afford such luxury. Either way, if you read widely across the self-publishing spectrum you will definitely find a mixed bag of lemons and gems.

This need not discourage anyone. Quality will always rise – it just takes time. More gatekeepers are not the answer. Readers will decide. They’ll find the books they like and then they’ll come back for more. We writers must produce the most professional product we can and then we just have to be patient. In the words of W.B. Kinsella in his wonderful novel, Shoeless Joe (that became the basis for the movie, Field of Dreams) “If you build it they will come.”

Where can we find you on the various social media outlets?

I blog over on WordPress: http://disappearinginplainsight.com

I have an author Facebook page that I keep up-to-date and topical: https://www.facebook.com/pages/francisguenetteauthor/377139735716267

You can also find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrancisGuenette

And over at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6978213.Francis_L_Guenette

 

*Want to win a signed copy of this great book? All you have to do is comment to be entered in the drawing. One random commenter from this blog tour  will win a copy signed by Francis. Give it a shot, it could be you!

collecting thoughts

Hello everyone:)

I’m working on a new project right now, and I was hoping you could all give me some input on a question I have been mulling over. When you read a book what do you want in a villain?

Do you want someone who is senselessly and inherently evil, or one that can be almost likable? Does your bad guy need a defined reason to do the things he does or can he just like being bad?

Can you form a connection and hate him or love to hate him if he has virtually no good qualities to redeem him?

I have been tossing around ideas and am really curious to see what you think.