Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Hop and Farewell for a While

I joined Lexa Cain's Summer Hop because I'm ready for a vacation, and it gave me a great way to say goodbye to everyone for June. I'll be around to your blogs, but probably as I make my way to Oregon. I'll wave to M. Pax on my way through her beautiful state and keep an eye out for those Gangsta Cows she's alerted me to. Then I'm off Ireland for a family wedding and a revisit to a few Leprechauns.

So on with the Hop. 

Lexa Cain

I've been to a lot of summer vacation places: Costa Rica, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, Hawaii (Maui, Kawaii, Lanai, Molokai--still my favorite island), Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, France, Wales, Scotland (where the word isn't in the dictionary because they don't have summer) England, Turkey, Yugoslavia--interesting summer there--New York, Kansas (don't ask), Alaska and someplace else I can't remember. So what's my favorite summer vacation spot? Here it is!

Welcome to my SECRET GARDEN.

My favorite summer vacation spot is this tiny dot on the map where all things are possible as long as I want them to be. Where I'm the mistress and the servant, and where peace settles inside me with a friendly purr.
This is where I kick back and think and wonder at my good fortune to have a place on this planet to just be.
This is where I plan my stories and plant my seeds and watch my peaches ripen.

 This is where I read and consider philosophy and magic.
This is where I wait for the new birds who find my umbrella a safe nesting place.
This is where I pull weeds, turn the dirt, pick fresh produce and savor the smells of summer.

This is where the fish live in the ponds, and Albert the Cat used to contemplate their world of water. He's missed.
And, of course, this is where I come when everything around me crumbles and I need help.


Hope you'll visit all the others who are sharing their favorite summer vacation spots, and be sure to visit Lexa and her Co-Hosts: Melanie Karsak  T.F. Walsh 
Vanessa Morgan Jolie Du Pre  Stuart R. West

Bye until July!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Erin Fanning

Good News
Baltimore had a bad start in the month of May, but then something good happened. A community torn apart came together. Over 2,500 people worked to clean up the littered streets and help local businesses reopen. 

Something in the Middle

I'm revving my motor for the AtoZ Road Trip. Hope you'll come along. I've found my dashboard buddy, so I thought today I'd introduce him. Meet Mario the Muse. He'll be on the trip with me, so you'll get to know him quite well. 

Say Hi to Mario. He loves to travel, so he'll be hitting the road a lot the rest of this year to bring you Road Side Rest Stops, Best Books for the Road, On the Road Games to keep you and the kids sane--along with other bits for us as we roll across those miles.

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Erin Fanning

First let's get to know just a tad more about this author. No matter what interview questions authors are asked, there are always essential basics. Let’s start with those: You'll notice that this author actually played the lightning round right! She answered with a single word. For that she gets a prize. 

A) Coffee or Tea? Coffee
B) Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate
C) Paper or ebook? Paper
D) Morning or night? Morning
E) Cake or pie?  Pie

Now that we know what’s important to know about an author, I’m going to ask one more thing. Ready? 
If you could change one thing about your writing career, what would that be?

I wrote all the time when I was young, everything from poetry in elementary school to news stories for my college newspaper, but for some reason I quit writing when I graduated and didn’t pick it up again until I was in my early 30s. So I wish I could get that time back. I would say to all want-to-be authors: never give up. Hard work, patience, and perseverance are rewarded in the world of writing, even more so than raw talent.

Now take a look at what Erin writes.

Blood Stitches
By Erin Fanning
Love and danger intertwine…

It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.

Here's her super book trailer. Take a look. 

Buy it here:

Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of a mountain biking guidebook, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. 
Find Erin online: Website  Goodreads Twitter Amazon 

Rafflecopter Giveway: Enter to win a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card.

Quote for the Day: If everything seems under control. you're just not going fast enough." Mario Andretti (This is my muse's cousin. Our 2015 Road Trip ought be interesting and speedy!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Getting Ready to Switch Off

Yes. I'm getting reading to Switch Off

Photo Credit
Usually I have some good news in this spot, but today I'm changing this a bit. I'm closing shop for the month of June and since we've all been in a reflective mood lately, I thought I'd use this Monday to reflect a bit about where I am and where I'm going. 

There are several fronts to reflect on: personal life, my writing, this blog.

On the personal front, all is as good as it gets. I'm very lucky to have a family, a home, my health, and friends. I can't complain about any of it.

Photo Credit

As to the writing, there's all sorts of issues with that. I'm shredding a lot of my latest WIP out of frustration. I have a story to tell, and I'm not telling it right--not yet. The good news is that my research is turning up some fascinating history about something I know little to nothing about. 

  • Did you know that silver miners spared rats in the mines? And that was because rats were supposed to have some kind of special sensor that signals them when there's about to be a collapse. When the rats ran, so did the miners.

  • And in the lower depths of a silver mine (1000-3000 feet) temperatures could rise to 140/160 degrees F.? They had special cooling rooms where miners retreated to cool off and drink water. They could only work about 40 minutes at a time before collapsing. I'd make it to about a minute.

There's more. I'll save it for another post when I regale you with my writing success. 

By now you know I'm writing about silver mining in the 1800's. This period has always fascinated me, so reading about it has been exciting. It's getting that story to cooperate that's giving me fits.

Weary Blogger Help

As to this blog, I'm weary of it. I love to blog, but I'm tired of this one. I'm hoping that after a month away, I'll come back with some enthusiasm and some new ideas about how I want this site to look. 

This next year I'll be a co-host for The AtoZ Road Trip with a great blogger at Madlab Entertainment . I won't do much before July--maybe a couple of posts, but after that I'll be there regularly once or twice a month. It should be fun, so join us. HERE'S where you sign up. 

Some Housekeeping

I've made some more changes to the sidebars. I like to keep them up to date as often as possible. New books. New hops. New ideas.

If you'd sign up to follow me by email (top left sidebar), I'd appreciate that. I don't use the emails except to respond to comments that I think might be interesting or fun to discuss. And I don't bug people who prefer not to reply to my emails. Temporarily, I've gone back to responding on the blog in hopes some will return to see my responses.

Now with a nod to my usual posts, here's my Quote for the Day:

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." Edward Abbey, Naturalist

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hats Off Corner Welcomes J.H. Moncrief

Good News

Riley Gets a Home

When shelters become overloaded with unwanted animals, those animals are euthanized.  Over 4 million a day! But Pilots N Paws is helping by shuttling these at risk sweethearts to places people want to adopt. You can help, too. Here's the LINK to take you to their page. I donated and will do so again. My trip to Burma has made me even more aware of animal needs.

Something in the Middle

Beware the Little White Rabbit is his hosted at Thornton Berry Shire Press. Please stop by and say hello. I'm at the bottom, but there are some other authors you might enjoy along the way, too.

T.B. Markinson is giving some books away! Enter to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Hats Off Corner Welcomes J.H. Moncrief

Sometimes evil looks like a fuzzy teddy bear.

Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant to accept a well-worn stuffed teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy...and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things begin to happen.
Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ efforts rebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth—Edgar will always get even. 

Raised in the far north, amid Jack London’s world of dog sleds and dark winters, J.H. Moncrieff has been a professional writer all of her adult life.
During her years as a journalist, she tracked down snipers and canoed through crocodile-infested waters. She has published hundreds of articles in national and international magazines and newspapers.
When she’s not writing, J.H. loves to travel to exotic locations, advocate for animal rights, and muay thai kickbox. She’s an avid reader of many different genres, including thrillers, suspense, true crime, memoirs, cookbooks, women’s fiction, and horror.

Want some spine-tingling? Take a peek at this trailer:

Buy Now 
Amazon US  Amazon UK Amazon Canada  Kobo  B&N  Samhain

Quote for the Day: "The most difficult thing is the decision to act: the rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart

Will you consider helping out the animals in need? Did you hop on that Rafflecopter to win a book? And don't forget to click on one of J.H, Moncrief's links to buy her book. Have to read this one on a dark and stormy night. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Reflections on AtoZ Blogging Challenge

Reflections on the AtoZ Blogging Challenge

Well, it's over. Everyone who stuck it out from A to Z is well aware of that, I'm sure.  So now it's time to Reflect. I divided my Reflections into three categories: What I Loved. What I didn't Love. What I'd do Differently.

What I Loved

  • My Muffin Commando Squad Team. They rocked. 

Thanks to Matusic

Yvonne Ventresca, Patricia Lynne, Elizabeth Seckman, Tammy Therialut, Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Donna McDine, Carrie Butler

  • Visiting my already favorite blogs daily or almost daily. 

Hilary's posts  about Cornwall were amazing and informative. I've marked a few to return to. 

Julie at Empty Nest Insider always is entertaining and poignant. She was that and more from A to Z. 

Alex gave use something fun, informative and interesting daily. 

Untethered Realms made up a great team and served tantalizing teasers to their books. 

And speaking of teams, I thought L. Diane's beautiful photography along with Writer In Transit's (Michelle's) short fiction was a super theme. 

Chrys Fey terrified me with her AtoZ catastrophes, so, of course, I went back again and again. 

Zalka's Multicolored Diary intrigued me with myths I'd never heard of before. 

  • Discovering new favorite bloggers was something else I loved.

J.H. Moncrief's Tales of Terror and Suspense was a thrill a day.

Kern Windwraith's The Odd Particle Review is so well written and interesting that I've marked it as a blog I'll visit frequently.

Maui Jungalow is clever, perky and informative. I'll be back there for sure.

Brigit at BB Creations went through some fabulous actors from bygone eras and filled us in on their lives. So interesting.

Scribbles From Jenn took us back through the Twilight Zone, and that was quite a trip. Well written. 

What I Didn't Love and what might be in the Guidelines for 2016

  • Some blogs had font that was so small or complicated I couldn't--and finally wouldn't--stop by. 
  • I soon hated the black background, especially with green font. Be serious! My eyes just couldn't take it.
  • Never appreciated the comment "Thanks for sharing." That's a Red Flag and means: "I didn't bother reading or even skimming your post."
  • It was sometimes so hard to figure out where the comment link was on some blogs. It would be great if bloggers would configure blogs so that feature was easy to find. 

What I'd Do Differently 

I'd always include a direct link to my blog with my name at the bottom of my comments. I didn't always do that.

I'd try to find MORE blogs I'd never visited before. This is always a challenge during the Challenge.


Did I touch on any of your favorite bloggers? Your peeves about blogs your visited? What would you do differently?

You might like a Survivor T-Shirt. Take a look at what Jeremy Being Retro has designed for the intrepid bloggers who finished the AtoZ Challenge and are proud of it.

Get your A to Z Gear

And then there's that thing called Insecurity! Can't forget that, can we? But we can give it a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Go away. I don't want to be Insecure today. How easy that was. Try it. See what happens.
Alex Cavanaugh

Monday, May 4, 2015

Get Ready for A to Z Reflection and Hats Off Corner with Chrys Fey

Good News Returns To The Write Game

Photo Credit
Did you hear about Marcus MCoy who kept his cool, called 911, and directed them where he and his family were trapped by fire in the second story of their home? For 11 minutes he stayed calm and kept his sister, who was in the room with him, calm. Now that's something. And he's just 13 years old. Very good news.

Something In the Middle

Now's your chance to rehash, rethink and share your April experience. I'll post mine on Wed. 4/6.
Sign Up Now

Beware the Little White Rabbit Racks up 5 Stars.
I've been reading the opening lines of several of the short stories and posting them on my fb page. If you'd like to catch a preview of what's inside the anthology, here's one example. They Call Me Alice.

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Chrys Fey

Chris says: When I write supernatural-themed stories, such as my newest short stories Ghost of Death and Witch of Death, there are certain songs and singers/bands that I gravitate to for inspiration. And yes, every time I write, I am wearing my headphones. :) I have always said that music is my muse.

10 Songs/Artists that Inspire my Supernatural Writing:

1. Evanescence (All songs!)
2. Within Temptation (All songs!)
3. “Superstition” by Alexz Johnson
4. “Breath of Life” by Florence and the Machine
5. “Dead in the Water” by Ellie Goulding
6. “Slept so Long” by Jay Gordon
7. “The Blood Legion” by In This Moment
8. Delain (All songs!)
9. “ET” by Katy Perry
10. “Helena” by My Chemical Romance

Book Links:

Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost stalking the lead detective on the case. 
Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.
But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Available for PRE-ORDER:
Book Links:

Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.
Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series. 

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way. 
You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!
Author Links:
Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads

Quote for the Day:

"One must forgive fashion everything because it dies so young." Jean Cocteau