Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Wishing you all a delightful Labor Day weekend! 

This holiday signals the end of summer. It is sad to realize those fun days at the beach and delicious produce from the garden will be only memories. But school starts with all the events to look forward to in the school year, fall foliage, crisp apples, apple cider, warm sweaters, and delightful walks among the colorful leaves.

Enjoy that roasted hot dog over the campfire and pack in the s'mores this weekend. 

Happy Labor Day!! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza: Pat McDermott's A Band of Roses

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza

Welcome to the Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza!





Blurb:
Irish kings still rule the Emerald Isle—and a princess is in trouble . . .

Ancient Irish traditions remain strong in a world where High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf and established a dynasty that rules Ireland to this day.  When greed for oil prompts England’s Regent to claim an Irish island in the North Atlantic, Ireland’s Crown Princess Talty becomes a pawn in a murderous plot to seize the throne of England.

From Japan to California to an eleventh century Ireland preparing for the Battle of Clontarf, Talty must hide her true identity, though she can’t hide her ingrained training as a member of the Fianna: the warriors who guard the Kingdom of Ireland.  She brings home a discovery worth more than any oil well, yet all she wants is to return to her family and Neil Boru, the adoptive cousin she secretly loves and cannot have—or so she thinks.  Neil has a secret of his own, one that emerges as the Boru clan works with MI6 to thwart an invasion of Ireland and bring Talty home.

Review:

A Band of Roses: A masterfully told tale, May 4, 2008
By  Robin L. Haseltine (Houston, Texas)
    
A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott is an exciting, masterfully told tale that spans the globe and thousands of years. Skillfully drawn characters spring to life in the form of dashing Irish heroes and a very kick-butt princess who'll win your heart.

Modern day Princess Talty must wed a developmentally delayed King of England for the good of her country. When the wedding goes horribly awry, she picks up the tattered pieces of her life to fashion a new existence isolated from those she loves and depended on.

From the opening scenes, where you'll be squirming in your chair, to the ending chapters, where you'll be on the edge of your seat, you'll be assembling the odd bits of scattered puzzle pieces until the entire picture becomes clear and striking.

The heart of A Band of Roses is a tender love story with a satisfying and feel good ending that makes the reader want to stand up and cheer. Kudos to Ms. McDermott for weaving a fanciful tale that seizes the imagination and takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride.

BUY LINK: Amazon



Sunday, August 26, 2012

School Time--New Beginnings

It's that time of year again. I haven't taught school for over thirty years, and I still get a thrill in the fall. Lucky teachers get two new beginnings every year in the autmn and in January too. There's something about the season that makes me want to get out the scissors and colored paper and make a bulletin board. It's in my blood. My mother and grandmother were teachers.

Perhaps this is the reason I feel compelled to write a non-fiction book for kids. I loved teaching and working with students. On this blog, you will note I planned to take you, Dear Reader, along with me on my adventure into publishing when my first mystery novella, Sunshine Boulevard, was published by Muse It Up Publishing. 

Today I introduce you to my next adventure--publishing a non-fiction book for middle grade girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women.




From 2003-2006 I spent summers working at a girls summer resident camp in Michigan, Camp Newaygo. I enjoyed meeting and interacting with the campers and the counselors. So many smart, brilliant girls with such wonderful futures ahead of them. I wondered in this new world of more career opportunities for women what choices would girls make. What plans do they dream for their future?

In 2006 I began the process of interviewing successful women about their careers and how their lives led to their decisions. I gathered all the interviews and put them together so girls can discover information about careers.

It has taken me this long to get it all together and to decide to publish the book as an interactive e-book, the technology which completes my vision as a way to deliver an interesting, worthwhile experience for the readers. After each interview there are links and resources for learning more about the woman and her career. So when the reader is connected to the internet, she can click on links for more information.

It is my hope the profiles with these savvy women will inspire and empower the girls to dream big dreams and to work hard to make their dreams come true.

Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women will be released in October. Come back for more information as I step into this exciting new adventure in publishing. Grab your ticket and join me as I share this  new beginning with you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza: W.S. Gager's A Case of Hometown Blues


Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza

Welcome to the Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza!!



When Pulitzer-winning reporter Mitch Malone's editor presses him for a favor, Malone breaks his vow to never return to his hometown. It seemed simple enough--lead a seminar for Flatville, MI's newspaper, keep a low profile and get back to the city post haste. But memories of his parents' death swarm him, and, to avoid solitude, he stops for a beer. In the crowded bar, Mitch is dismayed to see many of his former classmates--including the still-lovely Homecoming Queen, Trudy. Once the object of his teenage crush, Trudy joins Mitch. He quickly realizes she is upset and inebriated. Always the gentleman, Mitch sees her safely home, and returns to his B&B, still trying to shake memories of his parents' sad demise. The next day, he is stunned to learn Trudy was murdered and he is the prime suspect. The locals treat the murder charge as a slam dunk, and Mitch realizes he must track down the real killer to keep his butt out of jail. As he investigates, facts he thought he knew about his family unravel, and danger ratchets up. Can Mitch discover the truth that will allow his parents to rest in peace, or will he be resting with them?

Review 

“Author W.S. Gager has a background in news reporting and it shows through in this novel. The short chapters keep the pace at a high level and every paragraph contains important information. The story never drags. The red herrings are there in such a subtle way it doesn’t leave the reader feeling betrayed. It has a good surprise ending. This is one of the best mysteries I’ve read lately.”  Reviewer & Columnist Dennis Collins is the author of Turn Left at September, The Unreal McCoy, and The First Domino


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza: Tess Grant's Trajectories

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza

Welcome to the Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza!
First in the YA Kitty Irish Series is Tess Grant's Trajectories

Book One in the Kitty Irish Trilogy
Blurb: 

Kitty Irish has heard all the rumors swirling around Daniel Phinney. Most of them involve a gun, a flask, and a temper. One chance encounter with the WWII veteran over a grisly find in the woods pulls the cover off the dark secrets of their small town, and Kitty is drawn into an unlikely partnership.

Armed with an antique rifle and a handful of homemade silver bullets, the two form an efficient team. Unfortunately, their game is werewolf hunting, and disaster is only a bite away.

Review:

From Long and Short Reviews Young Adult 4.5 stars

With her father in Iraq, Kitty finds herself fighting a very different kind of war in the woods at home. 

Kitty is one of the most relatable young adult heroines I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.... I was pulled into Kitty’s internal struggle so deeply, that I felt as if I’d known her for years when I finished reading the story.... I will absolutely be reading the next book in the series so that I can find out what happens to Kitty next. 

Reading Trajectories was certainly an emotional experience. Kitty easily found her way into my heart and I was sad to leave her behind when the tale ended. Anyone looking for a chilling paranormal with a wonderfully developed heroine should definitely give Trajectories a try. 

Buy Links: Trajectories e-book 

                           Trajectories Paperback 

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Release: Setara's Genie by Marva Dasef

A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?
I am thrilled today to introduce you to Setara, the clever and adventurous girl from Marva Dasef's new novel, Setara's Genie. This young adult fantasy will be released from Muse It Up Publishing on Friday, August 17, but please note, you can pre-order the e-book by August 16 and save 20%.

Marva kicks off her blog tour for Setara's Genie today. Be sure to leave a comment with your contact information to be eligible for prizes during the tour.

Now it's time for Setara to share a bit about her exciting story. 


Setara Speaks

At first, all I wanted was a little romance in my life, just the slightest bit of adventure. Was I seeking danger? Did I wish to consort with demons? Heavens, no! I will have to admit, though, the idea of being the future wife of a rich merchant was highly unappealing.

When the mountain raiders kidnapped me, I thought that I’d have neither adventure nor much future at all. Especially when the raiders threw me into the cave as a sacrifice to the demon who supposedly ruled within the mountain.

I’m happy to say that Basit wasn’t a demon at all, but a genie in search of a new master. I wondered what happened to his old master, and he assured me the man died of natural causes. I also wondered why Basit wasn’t in a bottle or lamp as the legends say. Again, he assured me that only the stupidest of djinns would get themselves caught in that manner.  Genies choose their masters, and Basit thought that having a female master—a mistress, so to speak—would be a nice change of pace.

Once he forced me to figure out how to get out of the cave, he continued to be of little help. Well, that’s not entirely true. He did change a camp dog into a sheik (a handsome one, of course) when I asked him to, but that didn’t work out entirely. It seems that Basit prefers to have his charge (that’s me) figure out how to rescue herself. Sheik, when returned to his dog self, became my close companion from then on. So, something good did come from my wish for a rescuer. It just turned out not to be as romantic as I first believed.

Once I had tasted freedom and a touch of adventure, I hungered for more. It occurred to me that some other poor soul might be thrown into the cave for the demon to eat (even though there never was a demon), and it was up to me to rescue them.

I wasn’t sure how to get Basit’s attention, since he simply disappeared once I was safely home. It turned out that calling him worked eventually. I’ll have to say he sometimes takes his own sweet time to answer my summons. Not a very obedient djinn. I got used to him, though, and we enjoyed many adventures together. But our first adventure (after my initial rescue) turned out far different than I imagined. There was, indeed, a lost soul within the cave, but not exactly what I expected.

Blurb:

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

Excerpt

The cave looked much the same as the month before. Shrubbery partially covered the mouth, but someone had shoved most of it to one side. It didn’t look like anyone had been here since they escaped. Still, they continued cautiously to the opening and stood for a few moments considering whether to just go in.

Setara tapped her finger on her chin. “Oh, I’ve got it. Change Sheik into a mouse so he can enter quietly to see what’s inside.” Basit performed the transformation, and the tiny brown Sheik-mouse scurried into the cave.

A shrill scream emanated from the cave’s depths. Sheik came tearing out as fast as his little mouse legs could carry him. He stopped in front of Setara. “Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak-squeak.”

She looked at Basit, who shrugged his big shoulders.

Setara rolled her eyes.  “He needs to be able to speak human language.” She thought it obvious.

Basit waved his hands.

Sheik said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak-squeak,” but in a human voice.

“What does that mean?” Setara was just about fed up with Basit’s tricks.

“Well, I can only assume a mouse’s squeaks translate to more squeaks, not to any actual words.”

“We’ll have to go in, then.” Setara did her best to sound brave. “First, change Sheik back into a dog.” Basit transformed Sheik yet again.

“After you,” Basit answered, sweeping a deep bow.

Setara hunched down and frog-walked through the low opening of the cave. Once inside, she stood up and peered into the dark depths. She saw two red, glowing eyes staring at her from across the cave. She jumped back, nearly tripping over Sheik, who had followed close behind her.

Suddenly, the eyes disappeared, and the sound of running feet came from the depths; then a tremendous thud echoed through the cave. A moan; then a groan; then silence.

Setara stood still, straining to hear anything else, but the cave was now quiet. Basit appeared next to her in a puff of smoke looking as puzzled as she did. Sheik whined deep in his throat, seemingly unsure whether a growl was justified.

The three adventurers took a step forward as if they shared the same thought. Perhaps the cry came from one of the poor souls kidnapped by the raiders. The captive might run if he or she thought they were the kidnappers, or even the mountain demon the raiders believed lived in this cavern.

Slowly, they wended their way down a tunnel that led deeper into the caverns. Basit flicked a flame alight on the tip of his finger, holding his hand high, so they could see beyond the shadows. Sheik sniffed the air, turning his head left and right to catch a scent. At least they could rely on the dog to find the source of the cries.

It did not take long before they found a figure huddled on the floor of the tunnel. Basit stuck out his foot and gingerly rolled the form to expose its face. Setara crouched to look, but immediately lurched backward and fell away from the body.

“What is it?” Basit whispered.

“A, a demon.” Setara’s voice trembled at the sight of the face staring blankly toward the ceiling. It certainly looked like a demon: the open eyes glowing red, the gaping mouth exposing long fangs overlapping the sharp row of teeth in the bottom jaw, the broad proboscis more snout than nose. Setara could now see the fallen creature was larger than she first thought, almost as big as Basit.

Sheik drew his lips back and snarled; the first time the dog had ever shown any bravery.

The red eyes slowly came to life. The three friends found themselves transfixed in the stare of a horrible demon.

“Don’t hurt me,” a deep voice begged. Then, the demon began to cry, at first a few sniffles, then launching into full-scale sobs and wails.

* * *

About Marva:

MuseItUp Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/MIU-MarvaDasef

Bio: Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several already published books and the Witches of Galdorheim Series from her super duper publisher, MuseItUp.





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza: Penny Ehrenkranz' Mirror, Mirror

Welcome to the Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza appearing every Wednesday!



Lindsey Baker is intrigued by everything about the middle ages, but when she purchases an antique mirror and a costume to attend a Renaissance Faire, she suddenly finds herself transported back in time.  There she finds she’s been called by a witch to right a terrible wrong. 

Graham loves Prudence, but he can’t marry her because he’s landed gentry, and she is only the baker’s daughter.  Before Lindsey can return to her own time, she must convince Graham to marry against his father’s wishes.  Unfortunately, she also finds herself falling for the handsome gentleman.

Can she find her way back to her own time, or will she be stuck in a time when women
had no rights?


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alaska Journal Part #5: Seward, Kenai Fjords, Sea Life Center



Welcome to the Final Edition of the Alaska Journal. 

We made a good decision to make Girdwood and Seward the final stage of our tour of Alaska. (We only saw a small section of this huge state.) We left Girdwood to travel the scenic highway to Seward, a small town 127 miles south of Anchorage. Seward is dwarfed by gorgeous scenery all around the town complements of the Kenai Fjords National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Resurrection Bay. Amazing, awesome, spectacular...yes, I'm a writer and I could go on and on with adjectives to try and describe the beauty in this area.

We were anxious to experience a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, about the only way to see the park except for one road into the Exit Glacier. (You can hike the area, but that was not one of our options...!!) 

We chose the five hour boat trip to view the fjords. (A fjord is created when a glacier plows out a valley and sea water flows into it.) Let me explain that my DH usually gets motion sickness, and we were both a bit fearful of rough seas. Luckily, we had a smooth day for the trip on the ship that carries about 200 sight seers.  

There are many boat tours available, but we opted for this one because they served a salmon/prime rib buffet on the boat as we toured the waters. The other options served a buffet on Fox Island and stayed on the island for an hour. We didn't want to sit on an island, which was probably a tourist trap for the company's souvenirs, and waste an hour of sightseeing time. Our tour also featured a National Park Ranger sailing with us. She was fantastic with her knowledge of the park and its wildlife. 

Well, take a look for yourself. I have photos of our adventure on the Kenai Fjords tour.


A playful sea otter, about 5 feet long, played alongside the boat.


Sea lions sleeping.

Puffins pair. What a funny looking bird, but now one of my favorites!

Breathtaking beauty surrounded us the entire trip.

View from the boat of Exit Glacier.


Close up of Exit Glacier.
 The next morning we visited the Alaska Sea Life Center. We viewed whales in the bay from the deck behind the center and enjoyed seeing the ocean life in the exhibits.


Alaska is famous for its salmon fishing. The displays and live exhibits of the life of salmon were educational and interesting. These are the five kinds of salmon in Alaska, pink, silver, king, sock-eye, and chum.

Alaska has so much going for it. For instance, the zero to less than two per cent sales tax in most of the areas we visited or the long, long days of light. I never took a photo of a sunset which occurred around midnight or a sunrise at 3: 30 a.m.!! The awesome views really make humans realize just how small we are in this world. I believe I was most impressed by the spirit and strength of the Native Alaskans who can survive the harsh winters and the life of isolation living in villages with no roads to travel to another community. Only rivers and planes connect them to the outside world.

I hope you enjoyed my attempt to share this state and our travels with you. Next time, you're all invited to pack a suitcase and go with us to experience and explore the richness and wonder of Alaska.

In case you missed the previous editions of the Alaska Journal, you can click on the links below to continue the journey.

Part 3: Alaska Native Heritage Center 
Part 4: Ski Resort Girdwood

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BBB: Joselyn Vaughn's The Warden's Lantern and Giveaway

Welcome to the Bodacious Blurbs Bonanza 
appearing every Wednesday for your summer reading pleasure.



Author Joselyn Vaughn has generously offered a PDF copy of the e-book to the winner of a random drawing. Please comment to enter your name in the contest.  
Winner selected on Friday at 9 p.m EDST.




Blurb:
Dark, creaking trees. Cracking thunder. A ghostly orb.

Barbara Milanowski couldn’t have picked a worse night for her amateur paranormal investigation, but she couldn’t let her longtime crush Elmer Derecho’s skeptism go unchallenged. When Elmer runs her off the road with his motorcycle and scolds her for being out in the inclement weather, her happily ever after drops with the barometric pressure and the loss of her keys and glasses. While spending time alone with Elmer was one of her fantasies, the dream date didn’t entail diving into the mud and untangling herself from a raspberry bush.

While trying to protect Barbara from the storm, Elmer’s eyes are opened to all the things in his life that are missing. Elmer had gotten comfortable with his maps and pictures and chasing tornadoes after the fact. But Barbara reminds him of his forgotten zest for adventures, and ignites his interest in the Warden’s Lantern and for Barbara.

While sheltering in a dilapidated guard house, Barbara and Elmer are drawn out of the protection by the Warden’s Lantern, the ghostly light Barbara had been trying to document. Elmer dismisses it as a trick of the electrical storm, but together they attempt to find the true source of the light. Will their shared talents solve the mystery and start a lasting relationship?