Thursday, October 23, 2014

Publishing in the E-Age Panel

Once again I'm fortunate to be joining a panel of members of the Central Coast chapter of Sister in Crime for a panel on the E-age.

Frankly, the Internet has opened up a whole  new way of doing things for me--and for the people on the panel. 

We'll be meeting in the Atascadero Library on Saturday, October 25th, 1-4.

I hope some of you in the area will come and see us.

Our illustrious panel consists of:

Susan Tuttle

Professional editor and award-winning author of the "Write It Right" 5-star review e-Book series now available on Kindle, "Tangled Webs," a novel of suspense available on Amazon.com and Kindle (print and ebook). Just released! "Proof of Identity" as both print and ebook on Amazon.com. Check out my blog at: www.SusanTuttleWrites.com <http://www.SusanTuttleWrites.com>


Barbara M. Hodges

Barbara M. Hodges is the author or co-author of nine published works of fiction.  She was introduced to e-books fifteen years ago when Hard Shell Word Factory published her first book, The Blue Flame, in electronic format as well as print. Barbara bought her first reader not too soon after, and has been a huge fan of the format every since.

Three years ago Barbara became interested in Indie publishing and has published her last five fiction books herself in print format as well as electronic format.

She has two traditional publishers for four of her books as well as her indi published books and is proud to say that when side by side you cannot tell the difference between any of the nine.

Barbara’s books can be found at all online book sellers as well as many brick and mortar stores.

Website: http://barbaramhodges.com

Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Spirit Shapes from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Murder in the Worst Degree from Oak Tree Press. She was e-published long before there was such a thing as an e-reader. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit  her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Paul Alan Fahey

PAUL ALAN FAHEY writes for JMS Books. He is the author of the Lovers and Liars gay wartime romantic suspense series, and the editor of the 2013 Rainbow Award-winning anthology, The Other Man: 21 Writers Speak Candidly About Sex, Love, Infidelity, &Moving On. His first LGBT novella, The View From 16 Podwale Street, published by JMS Books, won a 2012 Rainbow Award. Over the years, Paul’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals such as Byline, Palo Alto Review, Long Story Short, African American Review, The MacGuffin, Thema, Gertrude, Kaleidoscope, and in a variety of fiction and nonfiction anthologies from Carry the Light, Cup of Comfort, My Mom’s My Hero, to Writing on Walls, and Somewhere in Crime. He lives on the California Central Coast with his husband, Robert Franks, and a gaggle of shelties.


 http://paulalanfahey.com

You'll find out about publishing electronically and the promotion that goes along with it.

We'll all have copies of our books for you to peruse and purchase if you're so inclined, and of course where to find them if you'd rather read on your electronic device.

Marilyn aka F.M. Meredith

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Novel Circle's Fascinating Turn by Syd Blue



My second novel Circle has taken an interesting turn. It is finding a home in education because of the sea change in that system this year.


The idea to create curriculum from the novel came from a teacher who found her students didn’t want to stop reading the book in class. In the backdrop of chase drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets, the gripping adventure captivated even the most reticent student. She found that all types loved Circle. Tracy Tokunaga developed the course because it was a combo of literacy and science, which fit in well with the new educational edicts.

Schools have only one year left to change over to new curriculum that incorporates Common Core into every subject. And STEM is also a big push. STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Since our country has discovered a deficit in professionals in these fields and these fields offer better paying jobs, everyone is interested in encouraging students to dig into STEM.
Circle introduces genetic engineering, conservation, consumption, climate, astronomy and petroleum during the fast ride. Circle is about a 14-year-old boy who discovers an extraterrestrial girl, Mandy, hiding out in his house ever since the jet she stowed away on crashed in the desert behind his home. When the pilot is captured by the Air Force, Mandy is left lost and alone. She asks Spencer to risk everything to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get back home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive. As they’re on the run from the military, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what it is that Mandy and the pilot have really come to Earth for.
We will launch the curriculum nationally this month. You can see what the students are saying about the book here. In a time when students are proud to say they hate reading (I’ve heard that over and over when I give talks at schools) it makes us very happy to have a book that easily engages them and serves so many purposes. I believe there is nothing more important for the educational system to do than inspire kids to read. As I tell the kids: if you can read, you can learn to do anything! The wisdom of humanity is all contained in books, which are available to everyone! How awesome is that?
But I do know what an uphill battle it is to get kids to read when they have so many choices that may be more alluring. That’s why I thought making a trailer for the book would grab their attention. It’s fun to play in the visual medium and since I had experience as a producer, this was something I could do. The trailer accomplished its purpose of making young viewers curious about what happens in Circle. With almost 18,000 viewers, the trailer is reaching a large scope. Now comes the task of trying to convince the curious to pick up a book.

I know older generations grew up in a different world, where books provided much more interesting fare than the three TV channels on VHF. But times have changed and kids can play games during class on their cell phones. They have billions of choices of entertainment on their laptops and they can hardly even find a quite spot that isn’t full of attention-grabbing media blaring interesting offerings every second. Though the publishing industry has been slow to adapt a marketing strategy that includes live-action trailers, I think it’s essential. Why wouldn’t we utilize this avenue? I think book trailers that are strings of words with static pictures are arcane. Cheap, yes, but hardly in line with what is possible and competitive with every other entertainment industry on earth.

The next thing I hope to figure out is how to tell adults about Circle since young and old enjoy it. It has crossover appeal and a sweet coming-of-age love story. As one male reader wrote: “Reading Circle brought me back to my childhood! It was wonderful. I didn't want to put it down. Normally I'm very analytical and rational, but Syd brought me back to a world of possibility, idealism, and excitement!”
Can you imagine if your first kiss was with an ET? Mandy’s heart is wide open and it’s fun to see how she interacts with our world. To me, she makes it all worth it – this journey of launching a book in a crowded world of endless entertainment. I just keep thinking I want to be Mandy – to walk up to strangers and give them her standard greeting. I hope my eyes can find a bit of the innocent wonder she sees in Earth.
Student Art Based on Circle.
Circle Booth at STEM Convention

Brief bio and links:



As Chief Pilot running an aviation business specializing in aerial surveillance, Syd Blue lives a life in the skies from California to Texas. On the ground, Syd has also written, edited and produced for everything from TV stations to production companies, from book publishers to national magazines. Along with two books, Syd has had over 40 articles published, and supervised writing staffs around the world at magazines and a news service. She also produced an award-winning documentary, TV shows, commercials and short films. With two cats and one husband, she manages two corporations from her cabin in the woods.

Links:
The Circle trailer:
FlyGirl e-book on sale:
Circle e-book on sale:
 PJ Nunn 972.825.1171
BreakThrough Promotions
http://breakthroughpromotions.net

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finding that Elusive Fossil by JJ White


“Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

If you’ve already read, On Writing, then Stephen King has already set you straight that there’s no story fairy to conjure magic ideas and plots for nascent, or even best-selling authors. You’re pretty much on your own to find that once in a lifetime tale that brings success, fame, and untold wealth. After you’ve achieved that goal then you can write about anything and somebody will buy it just because you wrote it. King also said, “A story is a fossil you find on the ground, and you dig it out slowly, gradually uncovering its full potential.” which contradicts his earlier quote, somewhat. Still, I’m a firm believer in King’s philosophy and have searched and found those elusive fossils to use in my novels. These metaphorical fossils can be just one idea or several that morph together into a cohesive yarn someone will be interested in reading and even possibly moved by. These rare fossils inspire you to write something that will keep you and your reader interested for three hundred pages and hopefully more.
 In my novel, Prodigious Savant, I found two fossils to inspire me to labor tirelessly for eight months until I had an honest-to-God book, tangible and complete.  The first fossil was an antique and the other, brand new. When I was a young boy growing up in Vermont, I played centerfield for the South Burlington Braves in the local Little League. During an extra inning game, one Saturday, my team had used up all three of our pitchers. Our manager decided to use me as a relief pitcher since I was the only player who could throw a ball from the outfield to the infield.  As I threw my first pitch toward home plate, a huge explosion rocked the field, knocking all of the players and some of the parents to the ground. Two teenage boys had been shooting their .22s at a construction shed filled with dynamite over at the I89 construction site, a half-mile from the ballpark. Besides blowing out all the field lights, the resulting explosion killed one of the boys and blinded the other. I still have vivid memories of that blind teenager riding on the back of a bicycle-built-for-two with either his mother or father steering in the front. I always thought I would write his story, someday.
My other fossil came from a television piece about, Jason Padgett, an acquired savant. Jason had been partying at a local karaoke bar, when at the end of his night he was mugged outside the club by an assailant who hit him a vicious blow to the left side of the head. Much later, Jason woke from a coma in possession of new-found genius abilities in mathematics and memory. Apparently the damage to the left-anterior temporal lobe made the right hemisphere overdevelop, giving him these amazing abilities, and all without the usual mental disabilities that plague prodigious savants.
My job was to take these two fossils and meld them into a coherent and hopefully interesting story about Gavin Weaver, a seventeen-year-old every kid, who in 1962 Vermont, survives that explosion, waking with not just one genius ability but several, including mathematics, memory, music, and the arts. Gavin struggles with the celebrity his savant talents bring him, while fighting the demons that drag him toward madness. A little dramatic, I agree, but my point is any experience can be turned into a gripping novel if you know where to look. 

J.J. White


According to Dr. Darold A. Treffert of the University of Wisconsin, there are fewer than one hundred reported cases of prodigious savants in the world. Those few who possess the savant syndrome all have an island of brilliance that allows them to excel in some remarkable talent. Unfortunately, they all share various developmental disabilities.
Burlington, Vermont, 1962. Seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake possessing not just one savant talent, but several, including art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma.
The odds are slim Gavin will survive both the internal and external conflicts that keep him from the one thing he wants most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.
First place, Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award.
Second Place, Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest.


Bio: J. J. White

A native of Vermont, J. J. was dragged kicking and screaming to Central Florida by his parents when his father relocated to work at the Kennedy Space Center. J. J. was a precocious and adorable little boy who overflowed with the creative juices that would prepare him for success as a noted author. Unfortunately that was stifled at a young age by an overwhelming desire to take things apart to see how they work. Thus, the left side of the brain won the battle over the right and he became an engineer. He graduated from The University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Engineering and has worked primarily in the electric and electronic engineering field for most of his career. While this was going on he married the lovely Pamela and they raised two daughters who grew into wonderful young ladies.

A while back, as luck would have it, he ruptured the L5 disk in his back playing tennis as if he were eighteen–years–old, again. With nothing to do but lie on his stomach for days on end, the right side of his brain saw an opening, and pounced on the left brain and thus the creative juices once again surfaced.

Since that time he has penned seven novels and over two hundred short stories. He has had articles and stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Nine Hole League, was recently published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Volume 13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece Tour Bus, published in The Grey Sparrow Journal. His novel, Prodigious Savant is scheduled for publication by Black Opal Books in October, 2014, to be followed by Deviant Acts in 2015. He enjoys writing, surfing, golf and tennis and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor, and typist, Pamela. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Great Valley Bookfest




COME CELEBRATE THE FUN OF READING!


Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, CA!

Saturday, Oct 18th 2014 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Free admission!

The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley aka Bass Pro Center
Hwy 120 @ Union Road exit 280 ~ Lifestyle Rd., Manteca

Yes, I'll be there and you can find me and my books in the Author's Alley.

And at 2 p.m. I'll be speaking on Stage A about writing two mystery series.

If you are in the area, do stop by and say hello! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Only 99 Cents for Bears With Us!

Yep, I'm doing it again, only this time with my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. If you've never tried it before, here's a chance to get acquainted with Tempe.



For only .99 you can read what Tempe is up to in Bear Creek. The title ought to clue you in that bears have a part in the story--but though they are a big part, a lot more is going on.

The sale will be on from October 13 through the 17.

Here are some of the reviews:

Marilyn Meredith's latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree offering, "Bears With Us," is full of the well-crafted twists and turns we've come to expect from her. It also has a lot of bear action, as we might expect from the title.  For those readers who may not live in bear-y areas, it accurately depicts what life with those creatures can be like.  (Just check out some of our National Park's pages like Yellowstone and Yosemite and see the real damage bears can do!)  Far from the cuddle teddy bear image we've grown accustomed to, we are treated not only to a well-crafted tale, but also it's topped off with the unpredictability of 'nature.'  And isn't that what really happens in our lives?  Unpredictability.

Victoria Heckman, author of Hawaii Mysteries and "Burn Out." Sisters in Crime-Central Coast Chapter President

* * *

4 Stars

Bears are all over Bear Creek, the small mountain community in the southern Sierra where Tempe Crabtree lives with her husband Hutch. Hutch is a pastor in the local church. Tempe is a deputy in the small community and it seems she is being called out so much that she hardly has time to eat or sleep. The bears are preparing for their period of hibernation but are having a hard time finding sufficient food so a few have decided that they will forage for food wherever they can. Tempe has been called when a bear is tearing up a Bear Creek resident’s kitchen and helping itself to whatever is available in the refrigerator and creating quite a mess. A local apple orchard attracts a bear that is dead set on eating the entire crop before the owner of the orchard can get the apples picked and sent to market. Some new residents of the community find a bear on their deck enjoying a nice big roast. A bear even tries to get into the local school.

But it isn’t all about bears. Tempe is called to the home of a new family who has moved into the community. Their son has committed suicide. Although Hutch, serving in his capacity as a minister, tries to offer comfort and help to the family he is not very well received. The family is acting very strangely and seems to want the death of their son kept very quiet.

The mother of a young girl calls upon Tempe to investigate the young man her daughter wants to date. That isn’t exactly in the line of duty for Tempe but she tries to reassure the mother that the boy is a nice young man and well liked in the community. When Hutch invites the daughter to attend his youth group and the young man is in the group the girl’s mother decides to file a complaint with Tempe’s boss.

The most tragic of the episodes that Tempe becomes involved in is that of an older woman who is suffering from dementia. The woman keeps wandering away from home. The first few incidents turn out okay but finally the woman wanders too far and Tempe has to try to figure out what has happened to the woman.

This new Tempe Crabtree novel brings Hutch into the action. If you want a few tips on how to keep a bear away from your residence and your food this is the book for you. A very entertaining way to learn bear habits and understand what it is like to work in a small community as a Deputy. When a hitman attempts to harm a local resident, it is even more dangerous than trying to scare away a big bear.

Patricia Reed on GoodReads

* * *
I just love curling up with a Marilyn Meredith novel. Bears With Us didn't disappoint. Marilyn's writing is as usual, crisp and sharp--and her story interesting, touching timely issues in a lot of folks lives, and connected to Native American traditions. I particularly like her character Nick Two John, and he plays a key role in this mystery. For me, by this time, Tempe and Hutch Crabtree feel like old friends. So reading Bears With Us was like visiting familiar friends--very comfortable, and enjoyable. I'd had a long day when I curled up with Marilyn's latest, and it was just the ticket! I read the e-book on my Kindle and loved it.--M. M. Gornell

* * *
In this latest installment of her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Meredith creates an engaging, unique story filled with twists and turns. The unusual storyline pulled me in right away. As the various subplots unfold, there are moments you feel you have it all figured out, just to discover you're nowhere close. 

Tempe and Hutch have always made an interesting couple: a Christian pastor and the sole female of the Bear Creek police force, who is part Native American. In Bears With Us, just like previous books, Tempe's heritage is explored in some way. Nick Two John is one of my favorite characters. He is the one who pushes Tempe to learn more about her heritage and to use the skills she has because of it. This has sometimes put Tempe and Hutch on opposite sides, but in this book, we see a husband and wife working together.

A strong female lead, Native American mysticism, and well-drawn characters fill Bears With Us. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel, but I suggest you read all the Deputy Tempe Crabtree novels. They're a bit like Lay’s® potato chips, "you can't have just one." –Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

* * *

I always await new installments in this series eagerly.  Since I have read the entire Tempe Crabtree series (and own copies of all) I know Tempe, her family, friends, and co-workers well. I know the area where she lives, the nearby Indian Reservation, the restaurants and businesses around the community.  I could do a drawing of how I picture her home, the inn where she and her husband, Pastor Hutch often eat, and even the mountains not far away.  Others may not see these places as I do, but they are almost as real to me as places I can visit by driving there. I enjoy my trips to visit Tempe and Hutch more than I enjoy visiting a few real places I frequent.
        There are many puzzles and even many crimes in this story, more than the ordinary number I would say.  There's the secretive and unfriendly family who's son has just committed suicide, an apple grower who may or may not be what he seems, and an intelligent and kind Mexican father who is raising a similarly upstanding, kind, and intelligent son, but faces virulent prejudice among the community's "upper crust."  Then there's the family attempting to protect and shelter a mother dropping into increasingly dark dementia--causing distress for the distracted and secretive father and the practical-minded daughter, plus aggressive and threatening action by an adult son. In addition there are new retiree residents, some kind and friendly, others aloof and snooty. (I could have said snotty, but I want to keep this dignified.) 
        What a mix of humanity.  Stir into this real bears who, starved out of normal food locations, now seek dinner among trash cans and backyard barbecues--even a few refrigerators behind unlocked doors--in the community.   (One of them is especially fond of Rocky Road ice cream.)  Ordinarily they aren't really happy moving in among humans, but, just get between a starving bear and a food source, well,  watch out!  But,  will they kill a live human?  Or . . . ?
        Talk about the cliched term, "page turner!"  I kept saying, "Radine, it's time to turn out the light and go to sleep, lot's  to do tomorrow."   And then I turned the page and began the next chapter.
        See how many of the crimes and problems you can solve before answers are revealed within the story.  My batting average?  0.  I had suspicions, no answers. The reason for the main murder is especially puzzling. 
        Loved this novel.  Bet you will, too. --Radine Nehring
                                                                                                                                              
  * * *

Four Stars:

Marilyn Meredith has a unique way of writing that takes us into the life of the character.  We see everything happening through the eyes of Tempe.  Bears With Us drags you in gradually and then grabs you and won’t let go.  We follow Tempe as she investigates her various calls and we feel for her and those she is trying to help.  A great story written by a great author, Bears With Us and Marilyn Meredith will certainly bear with us. –Debbie, Single Titles

Author Marilyn Meredith once again draws readers into the small mountain community of Bear Creek and the life of her protagonist, Deputy Tempe Crabtree. Faced with everyday challenges and the demands of her job, Tempe is a strong character with soft edges that readers will enjoy. The supporting characters add depth to the story.

As the bears forge for food before hibernating for the winter, their actions are intertwined with several mysteries Tempe is faced with solving. The story flows smoothly and quickly. The author keeps the suspense high right until the end. 

There are bits of Native American customs, tips for protecting against bears, and issues families dealing with dementia face sprinkled throughout the story. In addition, there are moments of humor that will have you smiling.

If you are looking for a fantastic new book by a seasoned, talented author, then look no further than this 4 Book worthy novel. It's got me hooked on Tempe's character and I am highly, highly looking forward to going back and reading the other 11 books in this series! Fantastic work, Ms. Meredith! –Molly’s Reviews

* * *
This is the first book that I have read in this series, even though it is number 11.  I can definitely say that I am going to look for the others in the series.
Marilyn Meredith has written characters that are likable and strong.  You actually feel like you are there in Bear Creek right along with them. 
I also loved that she had all these great subplots weaving in and out of the book.  There were plenty of twists and turns to keep my interest.
My favorite character is Tempe.  I love that she is trying to explore her Native American heritage.  It brings a unique quality to the books.  Plus when you figure in that Hutch is a Christian minister, it can provide just the right amount of tension at times.
If you have not had the chance to read this series and you love mysteries, then you don’t want to miss out on them. –Makela Ruens World



As in previous entries in the series, Meredith uses the somewhat unusual combination of Tempe’s position as a police officer and her husband’s as a pastor to both create tension as well as to explore the differing approaches that can be taken to solving the same problem. Tempe’s Native American heritage also plays a role, adding a nice, and educational, layer to the story.
Readers familiar with the series will find this to be one of the more enjoyable and involved outings for Tempe yet. But it’s not necessary to read the series in order, so if you’re just finding out about the series why don’t you Bear With Us and visit Bear Creek? You’ll be glad you did.
Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White

*  * *

Marilyn Meredith is quite possibly one of the most underrated writers out there. Her book, Bear With Us, delivers an exceptional story that delivers on her previous Tempe stories. In this book, there is a possible break in in the home of a former socialite that suffers from severe dementia.
While this is going on there is a second case in the works where Tempe handles a fifteen year old boy who has shot himself. However, nothing seems to be straightforward in this case and there is speculation there might be more to this case that meets the eye.

This story is superbly told with exquisite details and the characters are all very believable. While the pace at times did seem to dip, I felt like I was rewarded with a fully fleshed and powerfully delivered story. More importantly, those who have not read any of the previous works by Marilyn Meredith will find that this story can hold up on its own.

If you are a fan of Native American stories that deal with mysticism and add in a little mystery, then this is an excellent story that I would strongly recommend for you. In my personal opinion, it is one of the better tales that I have read in a long time.

Reviewed by Joel M. Andre

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mitchell Family Reunion

Believe it or not, I spent a whole weekend not thinking about or doing anything with writing or books.

The last weekend of September, our family always gets together in Barstow, CA. Why Barstow, you may ask, since it's right in the middle of the desert. The answer is simple, it's also in between our family members and easy to get to. My sister and family live in Las Vegas. Most of my family (except for two grandsons who are out of state) live in California--Southern and Central.

This year my sister was unable to attend (bummer) because her hubby just had surgery a few days before the event. Two cousins opted out for other reasons, they were missed too.

However, we still had a lot of family who attended. 

We hold this event at the Holiday Inn Express by the Outlet Malls (and yes, some do take advantage of the shopping.) The hotel is wonderful to us. Besides having the best breakfast of any of the Holiday Inn Expresses I've stayed in, they treat us like royalty. We rent a big meeting room and that's where we spend a lot of time. (Some of the younger and brave used the pool too, but this year it was unseasonably cool.) Oh, and they also allow dogs in certain rooms so Dana and Mike's golden retriever, Archie, also attended. 

On Friday I made my chili beans--yes, we can cook in the meeting room--and those who came by then enjoyed them for our supper. 

In the afternoon, only a few had arrived so four of us played Mexican Train, but that evening, the majority of us played Estimation--definitely our family game.  Granddaughter Melissa and hubby Billy, nephew Doug and wife Diane played pinochle until the wee hours of the a.m.

Saturday a.m., more arrived and lots of visiting went on over breakfast, in the meeting room, out in the lobby. We took a group picture out by the pool. Melissa had a Bible verse Scavenger hunt for the kids and yes, there were prizes. She also cooked two turkeys--did this up in her room, so that floor smelled like Thanksgiving day.

That was our midday meal, turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, and fresh veggies. 

More folks arrived in time to eat. After lunch some swam, some shopped, other spent a lot of time talking. And oh, the kids played ping pong.

That evening we ate leftovers and Chinese food. Believe me, we always had plenty to eat and  snack on. Those who come bring all sorts of goodies to share. 

Some of the folks had to go home and left us at this point.

Tradition has it that we have a talent show. This year only great granddaughters Peyton and Kay'Lee were the only ones brave enough to perform. Kay'Lee sang two country western songs, and Peyton danced. (She's an award winning Irish dancer.) They were both great!

Daughter Dana had us all play a wild game and everyone participated.

Once we were done it was game time once again--pinochle, Estimation, and some other games. Always noisy and wild.

We cleaned up after that because the room has to be empty by morning, but the pinochle game continued into the wee hours.

Of course we had again gathered at breakfast and out in the lobby before everyone headed for home.
The time goes by way too fast.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

So Many Books, So Little Time


I’ve loved books since I can remember. One of my first memories ever was the day the bookmobile parked across the street in front of our house (we lived across the street from the elementary school). From that day, I waited eagerly for its next visit the same way I counted the months until the State Fair. There I discovered worlds that waited for me, friends to meet and stories to share. I loved it even more than the skating rink at the end of the block.
While I never thought of myself as nerdy, I am one of those rare creatures that loves school. I’d be in school today if I could. There’s always so much more to learn. Another book to read. But alas, life intrudes and we have to apportion our time accordingly. I work full time and am Mom to five offspring and Grandma to one perfectly lovely granddaughter. My oldest son is disabled and lives with us. While he’s doing well, he needs daily care and medication dispensed. My husband suffered a stroke in 2012 and also needs special daily care. My twenty-four hour days are very full.
Add to that the fact that I’m a publicist. I promote authors and their books for a living. Of course it’s imperative to keep abreast of the industry in which I work so I read books. Lots and lots of books. My clients’ books. Other authors’ books. All kinds of books.

I’m sure your lives are comparable. Everyone is so busy these days, leisure time is hard to come by. So when we finally carve out a few minutes that we can indulge in a new book just for the pleasure of reading it, how in the world do we choose which one to read next in the midst of so many?
Back in the days when I did book reviews as a freelance writer, I operated by the common 100 page rule. If it hadn’t grabbed me in the first 100 pages, I quit reading. Maybe I missed something that was just slow starting but I didn’t want to invest another 200 or so pages to find out. As time went on, my rule shrank to 75 pages, then 50.
Today, when I pick up a book to read it for no reason other than I just want to, there are a few things I consider:
·        Who wrote it. If Robert Crais wrote it, I will read it. If it’s another author I’ve read before and enjoyed, I’ll consider it.
·        Book description. Hopefully there is a description that is concise and engaging. If it looks like the type of storyline I enjoy or otherwise intrigues me, I’ll give it a chance.
·        Reviews and blurbs. Honestly, I’ve never bought or read a book solely on the basis of a review. However, if the reviews or blurbs give actual information as opposed to “this is great” hype, or if there’s a thoughtful mention by someone I recognize and respect, I’ll probably give it a look.
·        Author info. I’ve chosen to read several books over the years based more on what I learned about the author than the typical book information. If an author demonstrates writing skill (even in making sure his/her website is typo free) and presents a professional and interesting bio, I’m easily persuaded to look further and find out what he/she has to say. On the other hand, if the online persona says little about the person, is all about the books, and seems otherwise amateurish, I won’t bother.
·        Ambiance. It’s a no brainer, but if I’m captured by the opening sentence and the scenario set forth on the first page makes me want to keep reading, I’m in. It’s like a positive first impression. If that opening is great, even if interest wanes in subsequent pages, I’ll keep reading for a while, believing it will come back to the place where it began. But if it starts bad, even if it gets better, I’ll exhibit less tolerance if there’s a lot of back and forth.
How about you? I know your time is as fleeting as mine. How do you decide when to put it down and when to keep reading?



About Angel Killer: The death of a child is every mother’s nightmare.  But what if the child has no mother?  What if their little bodies are discarded like garbage and no one even seems to care that they’re gone? 

Shari Markham, psychologist for the Dallas Police Department, knows what it feels like to be unclaimed and unwanted. She can’t turn away, even if it means demons dancing in her dreams at night.  But when her relentless pursuit of information to help apprehend this madman gets a little too close, he turns the tables, warning her that his next scheduled victim will be her own three-year-old granddaughter, Angel!

"Dr Shari Markham demonstrates skills Charlie Fox would be proud of in this
tense hunt for a deranged serial killer. Crackles with romantic suspense."
– Zoe Sharp, author of Die Easy and the Charlie Fox Thriller series

About Private Spies:

When Jesse Morgan’s boss and best friend died, she inherited Private Spies, a private investigation firm that specializes in missing persons. Unfortunately, she knew little about the business aside from her intensive work on the computer. But if Joey thought she could handle it, she felt obligated to at least give it a try. How hard could it be, right?

So Jesse took on her first case. Very straightforward. This guy is missing, find him. Oh but wait, he also kidnapped his own daughter. Find her too. Still not that hard. Except when she ran his report, the picture she found on his drivers license is of another guy. And when she found a guy who matched the first picture, he had another name. And when she found a girl that looked like the daughter, she didn’t match anything. Not good.

Enter a retired police officer named Byron (really?) who says before Joey died, he hired him to work for them. Ok. This might be helpful. But then came a stalker, and a dead guy, a dead duck and an increasing list of incidents that all seem confusing to Jesse. Up to her eyeballs in threats and questions, Jesse’s outraged when the woman who hired her decides to fire her. Unbelievable! Unable to stop at that point, Jesse is determined to find the guy and solve the case. If only it was as easy as it sounded.

Bio: 


In 1998, PJ Nunn founded BreakThrough Promotions (breakthroughpromotions.net), now a national public relations firm helping authors, mostly of mystery novels, publicize themselves and their work. The business is thriving and PJ is also the author of Angel Killer: a Shari Markam Mystery and Private Spies: a Jesse Morgan Mystery. PJ lives with her husband some of their five children near Dallas, TX. Learn more at http://pjnunn.com.
Links:

PJ Nunn 972.825.1171
BreakThrough Promotions
http://breakthroughpromotions.net