Friday, May 29, 2009

Blog Round up

How about a round up of the hot blogs of the week.
Or at least the ones I found interesting.

Jenn Nixon does a TV Recap.
Caridad Pineiro talked this week about vampires (no surprise) and brain drains.
Karin Tabke talks about her latest release and the whirlwind this has been on Murder She Writes.
Over at Romancing the Blog, they are talking about educating authors about the digital age.
Tasha tells us what she does when she's sick at Good Girls Kill For Money.

I think I'll do this twice a week. How does that sound? Editor blogs sometimes. Agent blogs other times. May mean I have to redo the organization of my faves.
It's all for you guys. My readers.
Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book Review Tuesday The Rivers Run Dry

The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello is about Special Agent Raleigh Harmon who was recently transferred to the Seattle office because of politics.
When a hiker goes missing Raleigh is assigned to the case with her mentor who just wants to concentrate on his own cases. He isn’t interested in what might be a girl who ran away.
Raleigh investigates mostly on her own which does do anything for her career in terms of office politics. Once again, she is the outsider.
At the same time she is dealing with her mother’s anxiety and her aunt’s new age way of thinking.
Raleigh is a flawed character. She is three-dimensional and I’m not sure I liked her at first, I liked her by the end. Instead of a spunky strong, character, she was a quiet and strong character. Women are rarely written that way, especially by women authors. She was a refreshing change.
The story was gritty and the author evoked a strong sense of place. I want to hike in the Cougar Mountains. The description was sparse, but effective.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy News Monday - Go Hug a Vet

My family has a short, but varied history in the military. One Uncle was in the Pacific during WW2 navigating planes dropping H-bombs for testing. The other Uncle was at the second wave at Normandy. Father-in-law was in the Army in the Pacific. My Dad was in Naval Intelligence during WW2. I have a good friend doing a tour in Iraq.

And we have a soldier to be.

My niece is a plebe at West Point.

My hat is off to everyone that has ever served!

Who in your family is in the military?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Authorsday - Nancy Brandt

I'm welcoming multi-published author Nancy Brandt as today's Authorsday guest. I've known Nancy for several years from when we belonged the same writer's group. Now we meet online.
Say hello to Nancy.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When I was in about fourth or fifth grade, our English teacher asked us to write a descriptive paragraph or an essay. I can't remember the exact assignment, but I know mine was a long description of a cave full of gems and gold and other sparkly, shiny, glitzy stuff. From that day on, I went into every English class until I graduated hoping we'd have to write something. I think that's when I knew I had to be a writer. I didn't realize then that clearly I wanted to write fantasy.

Also, my father told me when I was in sixth grade that I should be a writer. I thought then that would mean I'd be rich!

How did you pick the genre you write in? When I graduated from college and couldn't find a job, my sister gave me a copy of How to Write a Romance and Get it Published. I thought romance would be easy because, after all, how hard could it be, the book made it sound simple, and my best friend in high school used to devour Harlequins, reading at least one a day, so clearly they were simple, uncomplicated books.

My first book was published about 20 years later! Clearly it was simple!

I started writing fantasy because I didn't like doing research and I've always had a thing for unicorns and magic.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew? Published authors are just as insecure as prepublished authors (well, maybe not Nora!) and it doesn't get any easier; you just have the knowledge that you did it once to kinda keep you going.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you? Just keep going and worry about editing it when it's done. I can't edit while I'm composing and it's nice to know other people work that way, too.

What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? "Get the guidelines of the publisher you want to write for and write to that." I tried to do that, but a nagging voice in the back of my head kept saying, "Yeah, but what if you write a book geared to a specific publisher and they reject it? Where else can you send it?"

Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? I'm addicted to digital scrapbooking and have started designing kits that I sell in 8 online stores. I really have to be disciplined or I design and play on the internet all day and not write a thing.

Describe your book. Sword & Illusion is the sequel to Attack of the Queen, my fantasy novel published by Wings under the name Honor Cummings.

Moonrazer, Exalted Warrior of the Sarl, is getting older and coming to a time when battles end and Sarl women's bodies change, preparing them for attracting a mate and bearing children. Having only known the warrior life, and being the first Exalted Warrior in seven generations, Moonrazer is uncomfortable with the changes she is undergoing and her sister, Whiteshadow, Spiritual Leader of the Sarl, is pushing her into finding a mate as quickly as possible. Whiteshadow has her own agenda which, if things go as she plans, will lead to a radical change in the way the Sarl live and Moonrazer's death.

Prince Varian of Tellan, a wizard, needs an heir in six months or the Dragon Moon Prophecy will mean the end of his entire family. His first wife from a political alliance with a non-wizarding kingdom left him a year after their marriage and he spent ten years searching for her with no luck. Eventually, he declared her dead and remarried. Five months ago, his second wife and child died, for no clear reason, in her bed. Varian receives a summons from his first wife, who, on her own death bed, tells him that he did, indeed, have a child by her sixteen years before. A daughter, who was left to die on a rock in a stream, because her mother feared to have a wizard child.

Discovering that Sarl warriors were camped near the stream at the time his child was born, and receiving an invitation to be a participant in the ritual by which the Exalted Warrior will choose her mate, Varian goes to the home world of the Sarl, in the hopes of finding his daughter.

Can they overcome all the obstacles in their way, including the fact that she chose someone else to be her Consort Intended, find his daughter and thwart the Dragon Moon Prophecy, or will events take them in a direction they never expected to go?

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing? Dialogue and POV.

What do you consider your weaknesses? Description and plotting

Who is your greatest cheerleader? My husband. He is also my first reader and editor. He reads my books before I submit them and critiques and edits them for me. He also helps me talk out problems and plotting issues. We've written a book together that is currently at Baen, and he is writing his second science fiction book.

Nancy Brandt is the author of two published novels. She writes sweet romances under her own name and sword and sorcery type fantasies as Honor Cummings. She is married to a physicist who has taken their family all over the world for his work. Her first book, Fabric of Faith, was completed in a small apartment in Potsdam, Germany as a way to keep herself company when none of her neighbors spoke English. She is a stay-at-home mom with two children, a daughter who is a freshmen in college and a son who is in kindergarten, and two constantly starving guinea pigs. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she now lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is still coming to terms with Christmas shopping in sandals and shorts and seeing flowers blooming in January.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy News Monday- intensati

New workout.
I actually like to workout most of the time, but I get bored.
This looked pretty interesting.
I like yoga, but not first thing in the morning. That to me is a night time activity.
But make it cardio and I'm usually, just not too heavy duty. Crossfit is not for me.
What I love to do is walk. I could walk all day.
I have a dog that would walk with me, too.
And I like to hike.
We have a hiking area near us so I try to get there with the dog once a week.
I pencil it in for whatever day looks the best that week.
Thankfully I can adjust my work schedule to do it.
So what is your favorite form of exercise?

New ideas about the blog

I've been thinking long and hard about what I want to accomplish with this blog.
As I have signed another contract I will be busy doing edits. My day job has gotten busier. (Not complaining because I love my day job.) I don't feell I can blog as often.
So I will keep Happy News Monday and Authorsday and may post randomly in between about the editing process.
I hope you all will come along for the ride.
It's been great.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hot Hunk Friday Day Off

I'm taking a week off from Hot Hunk Friday to regroup and decide if I'm still going to feature hot men on my blog. Feel free to express your opinion of it in the comment section.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Authorsday - J.D. Holday

Welcome J.D. Holiday and her book Janoose the Goose.
Janoose the Goose is visiting her cousin, Molly Duck on the farm. Janoose likes the barnyard very much but she must go home because there are no job openings on the farm. When her flight home arrives, the fox’s has begun a crime spree and Janoose is the only one who can stop him.

1) What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
The best writing advice was to edit, edit and re-edit. This advice I got from
many sources from writers to English professors. For me I can’t edit enough.
It’s is one piece of advice a writer must take seriously and never overlook
its importance.
2) What’s your favorite quote?
I love reading famous quotes. I think there is so much advice in them. I
really have many favorite quotes but the one that suits me most is by Douglas
Hugh Everett (1916-2002), the physical chemist, professor who taught chemical
thermodynamic and was also a gifted painter. "THERE are some people who
live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are
those who turn one into the other."
3) What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I consider my strength to be that I have a sense of timing that allows me to
easily move scenes along smoothly while keeping the story’s focus and action
4) What do you consider your weaknesses?
I consider my weakness to be that I am a terrible speller and can not do
without a dictionary.
5) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for 26 years, since 1983. My father wrote every weekend
for as long as I can remember though I never thought of writing myself while he
was alive. My spelling problem held me back. I didn’t think I could write
because of it, BUT in the sixth grade I did write a story on a rainy day and
loved it.
In 1983 I started writing when a friend asked me to read a few pages from a
historical romance she was writing. I told her what I thought about it and she
asked me to help her write the book. We did finish it and sent it to an agent
who was kind and sent the manuscript back with a detailed account of what was
wrong with it. My friend went on to other things while I found that I loved
writing and did not want to stop.
6) Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
That’s easy. My publisher is me! After years of submitting manuscripts to
the big publishers and waiting for the rejection letters I was giving up on
getting published. I had a agent and editors along the way that were interested
in my work, but no books published. Then, POD publishing, or
Print On Demand came along and was affordable to get books into print. I
decided that was what I was going to do.
I tried one of those print services, which for me, was a disaster. I had my
publicity plan ready to go but the print service had made a mess of my book and
the galley was not ready for printing. I tried working with them to fix it, but
the next galley had the same problems and the deal collapsed. That was when I
decided I could do the job better myself and I started my own publishing
company, Book Garden Publishing, LLC.
7) Describe your book.
My book is a children’s picture book called, Janoose the Goose. Janoose the
Goose is visiting her cousin, Molly the Duck on the farm and likes life there
but can not stay. There are no job openings on the farm. Her flight home arrives
but Janoose misses it because the fox starts a crime spree and Janoose seems to
be the only one who can stop him.
In the late 1980's I wrote the first draft, which was a nursery rhyme. By
the 1990's I had begun to think that the old type of nursery rhyme where the
fox is out to eat the members of the barnyard was not what I wanted children
reading my books to have to think about. I developed the plot line while
shopping for pillows. Suddenly I realized the farm community, especially those
who have feathers, had another reason to be afraid of the fox and it gives
Janoose the perfect reason to chase the fox away. This might give you a good
hint as to what goes on in the story.
8) Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?
That would be that I have stage fright and can’t seem to talk publicly about
myself or my work whether to a crowd of people, or even, sometimes just to one
9) What authors do you admire?
The authors I’ve read who I admire most are: Jane Austen, Agatha Christie,
Charles Dickens, Mary Stewart, Harper Lee, and Rex Stout.
10) Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I plot all my stories heavily. I write detailed outlines of about four pages
and make notes on anything available to scribble on as things come to me. The
notes are clipped, stapled or taped in a binder that no one else would want to
try and read through. But I wade on through the mess to write out my story on
loose leaf paper that is then added to the binder until the story is done.
That’s the first draft. Then I type it on the computer and begin again to
edit. This can not be changed, I’ve tried. This is what works for me!
Thank you, Chris for having me on you blog. I appreciate this opportunity!
J.D. Holiday has had several short stories published. She is the author and illustrated of the children’s book, Janoose the Goose . Besides writing and painting, J.D. Holiday enjoys reading, gardening and listening to all types of music. She lives in Pennsylvania, USA and is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy News Monday - Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty reopens.
This is so cool.
A few years ago, my extended family and I went to see the Statue of Liberty. What I thought was my grandfather came through Ellis Island so we included that in the trip. We later found out it was our great-grandfather.
I was on a cruise years ago as a teen and came back into NY Harbor so I can imagine what Lady Liberty must have looked like to weary immigrants looking for a better life. She probably was a beacon
I'm all for caution, so I can understand why part of her was closed. You could stand in the base and look up to the crown. Not the same thing. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to go up in her crown.
So this news is cool.
And it is also cool, because it means the terrorists have not won. They have not changed our way of life. They have not annihilated it like they want to.
So this is happy news and hopefully I can visit her again in the future and really see things from her crown.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hot Hunk Friday - Jaleel White

This is the beginning of my nerds series. I will feature either people who come off as nerdy or who played nerdy parts and I'll show what they really look like or look like now.

Jaleel White is first.
I didn't watch Family Matters the show where Jaleel White portrayed Steve Urkel, but everyone knew him then. Urkel was a walk on part that became more by demand of the viewers.
I could not listen to that voice. Ever.
I will change the channel if I see Urkel.
But Jaleel White has turned into a fine looking adult.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Authorsday - John Wayne Cargile

Welcome to my blog John Wayne Cargile, author of Cry of the Cuckoos.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I enrolled at Kilgore College in 1963, I was asked what I would like to major in. I didn’t have a clue. I decided at that point I wanted to study journalism. The school had a good journalism department. While attending Kilgore, which is one of the settings in my book, The Cry of the Cuckoos, I free lanced with the Longview Morning Journal. When I saw my first byline, I was hooked and I’ve never looked back. After 40 years as a newspaper writer/editor, magazine writer/editor and book producer it’s been a rewarding career. When I was but 10 years-old, however, I wrote a short story about a dog named “Rinny.” I wish I still had the little notebook that I wrote it in.

2. How did you pick the genre you write in? The mystery genre actually picked me. I started with an historical romance novel titled, “Decoration Day.” The setting was World War Two, and the main characters were a soldier and female civilian who met in west Texas. It was based on my father and mother actually. When my mother died in 2007, the book took on a life of its own. I decided to scrap the historical romance novel for the time being and concentrate on a commercial novel which I thought would appeal to a wider audience. Some of the material gathered from “Decoration Day” seeped into “The Cry of the Cuckoos.”
3. What drew you to the subject of (The Cry of the Cuckoos)? I was toying around with titles, and I ran across a YouTube video that had the sound of the cuckoo bird in someone’s yard. I researched the cuckoo bird and found that it likes to fool other species in its race to imitate their chirping cry. The cuckoo bird is deceptive in the fact that it will fly into another nest and fool the rests that it is one of them. The Society of Southron Patriots, a radical right wing supremacist organization, became my platform in this mystery novel. The society was like the cuckoo bird in its deception. It is more than a whodunit story, but a story about a son separated from his biological mother for more than 61 years. The cuckoos in this book are more than just The Society of Southron Patriots and, beneath it all reveals the flawed personalities in our culture. The themes in the novel are deception and forgiveness. I hope I am not giving too much away (ha)!

4. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
Surprisingly, I wrote a novel when I was in my early 20’s. The title was, “Years the Cuckoo Claimed.” It had the same leading character – Henry Drummond. I had read “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest,” by Ken Kesey and “Siddhartha,” by Herman Hesse. I was really influenced by Hesse at the time. I was attending Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama majoring in religion and philosophy, and Hesse caught my attention in his writings. I think I did send out several query letters, but each was rejected. So, I gave up on it. I may resurrect it later.

5. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? I had a literary agent at the time, and she suggested I look into a new company called AEG Publishing Group. They had several plans and I submitted my manuscript. They also have a group Eloquent Books, which is a Print On Demand publisher. After reading over the contract, I decided this was the best plan for me. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny instead of being controlled by big interest from a traditional publisher. It’s not exactly self-publishing, because you share 50-50 in the royalties and the printing. It’s a tough road, but in my book experience as a book producer and a sales manager with Bantam Books at one time, I felt I made the right decision. I don’t regret the decision at all. I checked with other writers using their service and they were happy with their decisions, too.
6. Describe your book
I think I will let Richard Blake of Reader Views describe my book. I think he analyzed it better than most:
"The Cry of the Cuckoos" is the story of a son separated from his biological mother for over sixty years. They were reunited for the first time after she becomes a suspect in the murder of his father. Donald Drummond, the main character, is a retired news reporter. Award-winning writer John Wayne Cargile incorporates similarities from his own life in this novel of romance, murder, and intrigue. Henry Drummond, Donald's father, was the leader of a rightwing supremacist group called the Society of Southron Patriots, whose goal was deception. It was also rumored that he had Mafia connections. After Henry's death, by arsenic poisoning, a terrorist plot aimed at killing Washington diplomats by poisoning the food at the concessions of the Super Bowl was uncovered. United Nations delegates were a target of this conspiracy. Donald and his wife Anne were recruited by the FBI to work undercover as informants to help untangle the web of deception surrounding his father's death. A fast-moving, complex plot took the couple from Alabama to Texas where they encountered another murder with surprise twists and turns along the way. Cargile carefully puts in place background details which provide interesting technical and medical information. His training in religion, psychology, and philosophy, as well as his strong interest in integral psychology and spirituality, are apparent throughout John's writing. "The Cry of the Cuckoos" becomes a platform for him to help people integrate their mind, body and Spirit into a Holistic lifestyle. Cargile's character development reflects his understanding of flawed personalities. His narrative provides a related analysis of their symptoms, motivations, and resulting actions. The strength of character of the genuine religious or spiritual person is contrasted with the lip service and lifestyle of deception in those motivated by selfishness and greed. These characters become colorful composites, expressions of idealism, reality, and deception. I was quickly drawn into the story of "The Cry of the Cuckoos" and the theme of deceit and forgiveness. Cargile's writing style is crisp, direct, and engaging. While I found this directness appealing, it may be seen as too simplistic for others. Transitions of locale or time-frame and the pacing of conflict and resolution confronted by the protagonists were well-paced, maintaining the suspense element of the story. I felt the story ended quite quickly, somewhat abruptly; however, an "afterward" wrapped up all the loose ends and gave closure to unanswered questions. The final chapters create the possibility of a sequel. "The Cry of the Cuckoos" by John Wayne Cargile will appeal to readers who enjoy mystery, intrigue, and romance. Cargile's writing is thoroughly entertaining and highly informative.
Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? I think I was a writer in a previous life, and I was sent here to complete what the previous writer did not finish. His name was Thomas Carlyle and he was a Scottish philosopher and writer. I was reading some of his works one night and something flew all over me about his writing. It felt to me these were words I had been flirting with for some time was my own. He was a satirical writer, historian and essayist raised by Calvinist parents during the Victorian era. He was expected to become a preacher, but while at he University of Edinburgh he lost his Christian faith. Calvinist values, however, remained with him the rest of his life.
What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Dialogue. Being a news reporter and magazine writer for years I loved to write people stories. When interviewing a person for an article I was able to ask the right questions, kind of get into their head, and was able to pull things from them no other person might know. When they began to tell their story, the dialogue flowed and essentially the story was written by me, but told by them using dialogue. You’ll see a lot of dialogue in The Cry of the Cuckoos. The characters are writing the book through dialogue.
What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go? Perth, Scotland. The sequel to my book is tentatively titled, “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.” This is after the famous British nursery rhyme. Research shows that the innocent little nursery rhyme is not quite what people think it was. The Mary in the nursery rhyme was Mary Tudor. Her husband, one of the British Kings, wrote the little verse after she could not give him children. It actually has been interpreted by some people as a little racy. The character in my sequel appeared near the end of The Cry of the Cuckoos. Her name is Mary Kate O’Quinn. The beginning of the sequel has Mary Kate visiting Scotland with her new husband. They are on their honeymoon. You’ll also notice on most of my websites the Scottish plaid. I am actually wearing a kilt no one can see. Our family roots trace back to Perth, Scotland, and there is a little parish called Cargill in near Perth.
What is your favorite words?
Amazing Grace. When you hear this song played with bagpipes you get a sensation that is indescribable. It’s an old gospel hymn, something I grew up with. In Church, when the choir sang Amazing Grace, it gave me goose bumps. We are truly here by the Amazing Grace of God’s creation.

The cuckoo bird is a master of deception, fooling other species in their race
to copy their chirping begging call. Donald Drummond and his wife, Anne, chase
after the killer of his father, Henry Drummond, but find themselves up against a
radical right wing supremacist organization called the Society of Southron
Patriots and, like the cuckoo bird, deception is the Society’s mission. The
couple unravels a terrorist plot aimed to kill Washington dignitaries at the
Super Bowl and delegates at the United Nations. Donald, a retired news reporter,
and Anne, a retired school teacher, unfold the mystery leading them on a wild
chase from Alabama to Texas. And one of the many murder suspects is Donald’s
biological mother, Betty Jo Duke, who he only just met after his father’s
death. Donald and Anne are hired as informants by the FBI to unravel the
mysterious case and they get a lot more than they bargained for.
About Me
I am an author/writer/publisher. I have won many writing awards, including
Associated Press, Sigma Delta Chi, etc. I worked as a newspaper writer/magazine
editor for nearly 40 years. I spent a year with the FBI as a clerk in the late
1960's, regional sales manager for Bantam Books, and took my first job at
The Birmingham News after taking a Creative Writing Class from the city editor.
I hold doctorates in philosophy and religion and write a weekly column titled,
Integral Life, for two newspapers in my state. I am working on a sequel to The
Cry of the Cuckoos, and also planning on writing a script.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy News - Daughers loving their bodies

New book teaches mothers to show their daughters how to love their bodies.
I know we are always blaming the moms, but a mother's self-image has a lot to do with what a daughter will think about her own body.
My mother was constantly on a diet. I thought that was normal.
Really not a big deal at this point in life, but I wish I had taken more control of my self-image at a younger age. I was thin, but I wore oversized clothes to hide.
Now, I'm more comfortable with my body.
And, yes, part of it is because I've lost some weight. 15 pounds in about 2 years. Not record breaking, but I have no desire to starve myself nor do I have the time to work out 2 hours a day.
I like my body best when I feel good.
It's taken a long time to even get to this point.
I admire those women who don't have issues.
I buy Dove products because of their Real Beauty campaign.
With eating disorders on the rise, we need to do something to combat them. I'm not big on the self-esteem movement that says we are all special, but in this case, we need to teach girls that the Hollywood ideal is not real. Here's a blog about a women who attempted to be a size zero.
Not worth it to me. Besides, I have hips. I have curves. I doubt I'd look good. At my smallest, pre-kids I was a six. I believe the average size of the population is 16.
Being a zero cannot be normal for most people.
And wouldn't it be boring to people watch if we all looked exactly the same?