Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Day Late, Though He Was Right on Time

Our dear friends from Texas have a son who was married Saturday at Grand Targhee in Wyoming. We went up the Wednesday before so that we could take part in some of the pre-wedding activities. Following the wedding, my hubby and I hopped on our Harley's and cruised through Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, over to Flaming Gorge, then home yesterday, July 24th. Throughout our time we had very little internet access, and when we did it was sporadic at best.

Why am I giving you all my boring vacation info? To explain why this post is a day late.

In Utah, July 24th is celebrated as Pioneer Day, the day when the pioneers first set foot in the valley in 1847. It's a pretty big deal, basically an extension of the 4th of July, celebrated with fireworks, family BBQ's, rodeos, a big parade held in Salt Lake, and other things of that nature.

I celebrated it in 1989 by giving birth to my second son (and second child) Randy, right on his due date (the only one of my 4 kids to do that). We always joked with him that they have a parade each year in celebration of his birth. While the parade might not be held in his honor, the day has taken on a new meaning for me since he came along.

Randy was born funny. I don't mean his birth was funny, I mean the kid is funny. He has a quick wit, and can make anyone laugh with his one-liners. He has always gotten a great deal of joy out of making others laugh. I'm kind of surprised he didn't go into comedy in some way.

As a kid he was always really sensitive to others. He hated to see others hurt. I remember one time, when he was around 6 or 7, he was playing baseball. He hit the ball and ran to first base. He accidentally ran into the kid guarding the base, and rather than continue to the next base, he stopped and helped the kid up, asking him if he was okay. I'll never forget what a happy moment that was for me as a mom, to see his empathy for another.

When he was a senior in high school, he had long hair. Rather than just chop it off, he decided to grow it out long enough to donate to Locks of Love. I think he was the only boy who did so. It was a very cool thing for him to do.

Right out of high school, Randy joined the United States Air Force. For a patriotic mom who's always been grateful to those who serve in the armed forces, it was another prideful moment. He went to Texas for boot camp, where he had his butt soundly kicked by the officers. We went to his graduation and I was shocked to see my already skinny son had dropped 20 pounds he couldn't afford to lose. He worked really hard, and came out a better man.

Randy and his wife, Nikki
He trained in Texas, then Arkansas for his job as Crew Chief on the C-130. Six months after his graduation from boot camp, Randy and his wife, Nikki, were shipped to Germany to serve at the Ramstein Air Force Base. That was three-and-a-half years ago. He's been there since, other than the time he volunteered to serve in Iraq, spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas there so that other men who had families wouldn't have to go. In spite of being on a base that was shot at or bombed daily, he went home safely, for which I'm extremely grateful.

I wasn't able to talk to him on his birthday this year because he's being relocated to New Hampshire, still a long way from home, but at least on American soil where I can drive to see him if need be. No chance of driving to Germany from here, though we did get to fly over a few years ago and see him.

So to my son, my soldier, Randy, I say happy, happy birthday! I love you, miss you, and hope that I can see you soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Paid Book Reviews?

Yesterday I came across a post at Books, Biscuits, and Tea on Bookish Ramblings: Should bloggers charge authors for reviews? Vicky (the author of the article) began the discussion when she read a post by author Michele Gorman, in which Michele (who I do not know and have never had any personal dealings with, just FYI) spoke of writing to a book blogger to ask them to review her book, Misfortune Cookie. Their response began with the traditional, 'We're very busy and have to be selective about what we choose to read," type response. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Since writers have discovered what I've long known, that bloggers are a freaking gold mine to a writer, they are basically inundated with requests for reviews, and rightfully so. Bloggers have avid followings, and their followers believe what they write. However, this response was then followed with, "Currently, we have so many requests for book reviews and promotion help, that we do have about a 3-4 week wait list. Because we have such a large amount of book review requests, we have had to start charging for them . So now we are now charging a fee of $95.00 per review and subsequent postings. That includes a nice review with the short synopsis that comes with your book, a picture of the book with a link to purchase it from Amazon." (Direct quote)


Below is my response to Vicky's post:

"As an author, I would never pay for a review simply because, as a reader, I’d be less inclined to read and believe any review given by someone who was paid for it. Knowing that other readers will feel the same, what is my inclination, then, to pay for a review I know won’t be read/believed? None, I’m afraid.

I have absolutely no problem with bloggers charging for advertising space on their blog, or for additional services such as arranging blog tours, or even a donation button on their blog, but paying for a review? Not going to happen, not for me anyway.

I recently received an email from a reader asking if I’d send her a copy of my book in exchange for a nice review on Amazon. I told her absolutely not; however, I’d be more than happy to send her a book if she promised to leave me an HONEST review, whether she loved, liked, or yes, hated the book.

Bloggers are seriously the bread and butter of any successful writer, which we are well aware of an grateful for (hugs and kisses to you all!). However, if blogging becomes a paid vocation, I’m afraid it will no longer carry the charm and magic it does now. Authors will find much better places to spend their advertising money that putting it in the pocket of a paid amateur reviewer. Book bloggers will no longer carry the weight and importance they do now because they’ll be paid for their words, rather than reviewing out of a genuine love for reading.

I read that book bloggers have more power to sell a book than a review in the NY Times. I believe it. Why? Because we all know the book blogger is being honest. We all know the NY Times writer is paid for their review, and is likely getting kickbacks from the publisher. Their review can’t hold a candle to the power of a review from one of you amazing book bloggers."

So my question to you, my dear followers, is: what's your opinion of book bloggers charging authors and/or publishers for reviews? Would you pay for a review? Would you feel like you were buying a good review rather than receiving an honest review? As a reader, would you believe a review given by a paid reviewer, or would you assume the reviewer is "selling" good reviews?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Red and the Wolf

Coming Soon: Red and the Wolf,

My first book in the series, Beautiful Beast, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Red and the Wolf is a retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood. You can read the blurb and a sneak peek below.

Three years ago, Rafe left their tiny mountain burg of Piera, leaving Ruby Hood behind to mend her shattered heart.

Rafe's brother, Lowell, has befriended Ruby in his absence. He's almost as gorgeous as Rafe, and nearly as charming, but the problem is . . . he's not Rafe.

A sudden increase in the violence and frequency of wolf attacks in the forest surrounding Piera has all of the residents on edge. Dealing with the fear created by the powerful and intelligent wolf would be enough for anyone, but now Ruby has to contend with more heartwrenching news . . .

Rafe has come home.

Sneak Peek:

“Hey, Red, wait up.”

Ruby stopped, teeth and fists clenched at the voice. Taking a breath and forcing a pleasant look on her face, she turned toward the speaker.
“Hey, Lowell, what’s up?”

Lowell continued jogging toward her. Ruby wouldn’t deny it: Lowell was gorgeous. Tall, dark hair, dark eyes, strong jaw, full lips, just enough stubble to exude a sexy aura . . . buff in all the right places. Even covered in jeans and a jacket in the chill air, his strength was obvious. Most girls in their tiny mountain burg of Piera would give anything for Lowell to turn his gaze their way. And he had, on many of them, leaving a string of broken hearts. Not that it stopped those same girls from continuing to pursue him.
“Just chasing down the elusive fox,” he said, bestowing on her the grin used for melting girls’ hearts. Didn’t work with Ruby. She rolled her eyes and continued walking. If it wasn’t for her lifelong friendship with Lowell’s family, she wouldn’t give the guy the time of day. “Come on, Red, I’m just teasing you.”

Ruby stopped again in frustration. Lowell, hurrying to catch up to her, continued past at her abrupt stop and turned back to her.
“Lowell, I’ve told you how much I hate being called Red. Why do you insist?”

He shrugged, completely unrepentant. “It’s your name, right?”
“No, my name is Ruby.” There was one person who could call her Red and get away with it. And she didn’t need any reminders of him.

“Which means red. And if that weren’t enough, well . . .” He lifted a strand of her long, curly hair.
She cursed her parents yet again for thinking they were so clever naming their red-headed child Ruby.

She sighed. “You’re so . . .”
“Charming? Sweet?” Lowell’s fingers lightly pinched his chin. “Incredibly good looking?” He tipped his head comically side to side. Ruby couldn’t help it, she laughed. “See? I knew you liked me,” he said.

“Incorrigible,” she said. “You are utterly incorrigible.”
Lowell placed a hand dramatically over his heart. “Why do you wound me?”

“I’m in a hurry, Lowell,” she said with a grimace, and began walking again. “Is there a purpose to this torment?”
Lowell stuffed his hands into his pants pockets. As she walked away, he said somberly, “Thought you might be interested to know that my baby bro is coming home.”

Ruby’s feet practically skidded to a halt. Her mouth dropped. She raised a hand to her chest as if she could still her pounding heart. She calmed her breathing into a normal pattern, snapped her gaping jaw shut, and said, “Rafe’s coming home?” When Lowell didn’t answer, she glanced back at him. He nodded. “When?”

Ruby turned away from Lowell again. Tomorrow? Hurt threaded through her heart, and she forced nonchalance into her voice. “Good. That’s good. It’ll be good to see him again. Tell him to stop by the shop and say hi.”
Without looking at Lowell again, she walked away. She heard his muttered, “You’re not fooling anyone,” but ignored him, not in the mood to spar with him. Not about this.

Coming home.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

For the Love of Books...

Kate at Kate's Book Blog wrote this wonderful, and completely unexpected, review of Heart on a Chain:

A heart wrenching story.
YA novel of a young beautiful teen Kate, who suffers physical abuse at the the hands of her mother and an alcoholic father who ignores her.
You think she would be able to escape from the abuse at school but she is a target and suffers at the hands of bullies because of jealousy and her shy and reclusive personality.
You will fall in love with Kate. I was heartbroken for her at every turn and had to have the tissues on hand as her character grew and by the end, her strength and courage had you cheering for her.
This book had me sobbing at the start, the end and all the way in between. A truly beautiful and well told story about a young girl who grows up way too fast.
Not so many abuse sufferers are so lucky, but this girl was in the way that she had a gorgeous guy and his loving family come in to her life.
Couldn’t put this book down (or the tissues….).

Thanks, Kate!

Kate's Book Blog

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ednah Walters and a Kindle Fire!

I owe Ednah Walters a HUGE apology. I signed up to be on her blog tour, then completely forgot to post all the info. So Ednah, I'm very sorry.

I haven't had the chance to read Betrayed yet (because of trying to finish my own book), but I did read the first book, Awakened, which I really liked. Ednah was kind enough to write a guest blog post giving us the scoop on one of the deleted scenes from her new book, Betrayed (a Guardian Legacy book).

At the end of the post, enter for your chance to win one of many prizes, including copies of Betrayed, and a Kindle Fire!

Betrayed blurb: Lil isn't just an average teenager. She's one of the Nephilim--the descendants of humans and angels--which gives her some serious psi skills and a mission for redemption. Just when Lil thinks she's found a balance between her normal life with human friends and her training to become a Guardian, she's warned that someone close to her will betray her. When the boy she loves starts acting strangely and one of her human friends acquires a supernatural ability, Lil begins to realize that someone is manipulating the people she loves... and won't stop until she's been lured to the dark side.

Good morning and thank you for inviting me to stop by your site on the blog tour for BETRAYED (Guardian Legacy book).  Sometimes scenes are chopped from the story because they mess with the flow, or the character took unnecessary detour. This is one of the party scene that was deleted.


Quarter to eight, I headed upstairs.  Bran and Celeste still hadn’t arrived.  Something wasn’t right.  I had aches on my body yet I hadn’t bumped into anything.  I also didn’t get headaches anymore yet my temples throbbed.  Those symptoms could only mean one thing—Bran was hurt. 

Luke from the mall blocked my path at the top of the stairs, a drink in his hand.  “Cool party, Lil.” 

“Thanks.”  I tried to pass him but he blocked my path.  Last time I saw him, he was all over McKenzie. “Where’s McKenzie?”

He put his hands on either side of me, trapping me against the stair rail. “She’s downstairs with your fag DJ friend,” he said with a sneer.

Did I really invite this loser to my party?  “The word is gay, which he’s not.  And even if he is, who cares.”

Luke smirked, his gaze roaming my face before dropping to my chest.  He licked his lips.  “You’re hot.  I only came here to see you again, not McKenzie.  How about we blow and go somewhere private.”  He leaned toward me and whispered, “Where’s your bedroom?”

Eew.  Get lost, loser. No, get out of my house.

He blinked then took off toward the front door.  I glared after him.  Someone slid by myself and I turned ready to snap.  I bit back the words when I realized it was Christian, my physics buddy, with a plate piled with slices of pizza and grapes.  My stomach growled, but I doubted I could eat or hold anything down.  Too many things kept me on edge—the call from Valafar, Bran’s absence.

“Was that guy bothering?” Christian asked.

 “No.  He’s leaving.” 

Luke opened the door and stepped out without a backward glance. 

“I could follow him for a beat down with one of these.”  He grabbed a slice of pizza.  “If I threw this at just the right angle and with enough force, it might even slice his head off.”

I laughed.  Christian was about five-six and a bit on the chubby side while Luke was six-foot-something ballplayer.  “No, that’s okay.”

“This is the best party ever.”  He bit chunk of his pizza.

“Get lost, dude.  She’s with me,” a voice said from behind us.

I didn’t see Sykes come from behind me until he spoke.  His possessive behavior was beginning to worry me.  I scowled, watching Christian scurry downstairs. 

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah. Stop being rude to my friends. It’s not cool.”  I turned and started toward my bedroom.  He shadowed me.  I unlocked my room and entered. 

He stood in the middle of the room and watched me pace.  “What’s not cool is Llyr not being here.”

I ignored the dig.

“Do you want me to close the door so you can focus?”

I nodded, but instead of lying on the bed, I pulled out the computer chair and sat.  “You don’t have to stay.”

“I don’t mind.”  He closed the door, leaned against it and continued to study me.  “Do I make you uncomfortable, Lil?”

“No.”  Despite my response, I was.  He’d been acting weird tonight.  “Bran is in trouble.”

Sykes made a face. “How do you know?”

“He took Celeste to see Gavyn and was supposed to be back by seven.  It’s now,” I looked at my watch, “ten to eight.  Something is wrong.”  Sykes didn’t need to know about the special connection between Bran and me.  Ever since Remy told me believing in alrunes was archaic, I didn’t dare share anything like that with any of them.

“Do you want me to teleport to the Brotherhood’s and check on them?”

I almost said yes, but resentment gushed from him like water from a geyser.  It was obvious he hated discussing Bran.  Seriously, I didn’t know what to do or say to lessen Sykes’ feelings for me.  Remy insisted Sykes needed time to get over me, yet his feelings seemed to grow stronger.  It was becoming harder and harder to bear his frustration.

“Do you?” Sykes asked, still studying from his position by the door.

I sighed. “No, you don’t have to.  I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why he’s late.”  Annoyance crossed his face.  My gaze went to the drink in his plastic cup and back to his face.  “How much have you drunk already?”

He shrugged.  “A bit.”

Maybe the alcohol was making him act weird.  I narrowed my eyes.  “Are drunk?” 

He chuckled, took a long sip. “No.  We naturally metabolize alcohol faster than humans.  Why do you think Kim is the Queen of the Bong, or no guy can beat Izzy at shooting shots?  Do you want to try some?”  He extended the frothy amber liquid toward me.

I wrinkled my nose.  “No thanks.  One, Gramps would ground me forever if he ever catches me drinking.  And believe me, he’ll know as soon as he walks through the doo.  Second, I don’t think I trust anything you say tonight.  You’re in a funny mood.”

“Oh, Red.  I’m always in a funny mood around you.”  He left the door and walked toward me, a wicked glint entering his eyes.  “You and Llyr have been fighting a lot lately.”

I shrugged.  “We had a little misunderstanding and already made up,” I said in an upbeat tone I didn’t feel.  Where was Bran?  I looked at my watch again. 

Sykes paused by my chair, his jean-clag knee deliberately brushing against my bare skin. He stared down at me.  “He doesn’t appreciate you enough.” 

“Oh, he does.”  My heart pounded as my empathic powers picked up his feelings.  He wanted me.  Usually he hid it well.  Tonight, something egged him on.  “It’s just that—”

“Don’t make excuses for him,” he cut me off in a sharp voice, clearly frustrated.  “If you were mine, I’d never give you a reason to get angry or disappear when you need me the most.”


Read more about Ednah Walters and her Guardian Legacy books on her blog.

Want to win your own copy of Betrayed? Use the Rafflecopter entry form below to join in her blog tour contest. Not only is Ednah giving away copies of Betrayed, she also has a bunch of other amazing prizes, including a Kindle Fire!
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