Monday, May 30, 2016

A Special Day: Memorial Day & Lori MacLaughlin

Memorial Day 

This is a day to honor those who sacrificed their lives so we could continue to be a free people. We're always in danger of losing our freedoms, so I think it's especially important to show our children the value we place on those freedoms by explaining to them what this holiday is really about. I also think we need to remind ourselves why we have Monday off.

I'm taking Monday off, so I won't be around to say hi to everyone this week. I'll catch up next week. 

Lori MacLaughlin is now officially my last Hats Off Corner Author. I totally blanked that I'd offered her a place on this blog when I posted last week and said I was retiring that feature. But I'm glad Lori's here and from the sound of her book, you will be, too.

Take it away, Lori!

Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble

Genre: Fantasy

About the Book:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Buy Links:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo               iBooks

About the Author:

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

You can find her here:

Website/Blog              Goodreads      Facebook         Google+          Pinterest

Quote of the Week: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald Reagan

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hello Email Connect & Hats Off Corner Welcomes Nicky Peacock

Hello Email Connect: Goodbye Hats Off Corner: Nicky Peacock is my last Hats Off Corner writer. 

As some of you know who've been hanging with me for a while, I'm "sometimes" scattered. So to help un-scatter my brain, I've put together a plan to keep supporting authors, but to do so in a more organized, and I think a better way. Jury's still out, but it looks like this just might work. 

Sign up on my Special Offers List. Take a look, and if you don't think it's for you, unsubscribe. 

I invade your email once, a month. 

My plan is to choose a Follower to Feature each month. I'm still fine-tuning that, but if you want to see what that involves right now, here's the LINK to the post that explains what I do.

I'm also sharing information that I think might be helpful. 

When I can, I offer free stuff--mostly books. 

End of Commercial. So now on to the last Hats Off Corner and Nicky Peacock!

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Nicky Peacock

Nicky's an Evernight Teen sister. I'm really happy to host her here today. 

Connect with Nicky on her Amazon U. S. Author's Page

ME: So, Nicky,  if you had to tweet about your book what 140 characters would you write? 

NICKY: Battle of the Undead is a vampires VS zombies YA urban fantasy. It’s the Walking Dead meets True Blood for teens and above.

ME: I'll do some Tweets for you using that. It's good. Can you tell us about one of your characters. What would she love to receive as a gift? What would she most likely choose to buy for someone she cared about?

NICKY: Britannia is the heroine in the Battle of the Undead series and she is a stubborn 400+ year old vampire with a dry sense of humor and love for violence (whether its necessary or not!) I think she'd want the gift of a weapon of some kind, something that could do a lot of damage in a small amount of time. She really wants people to like her, so she'd probably buy someone she cared for something really expensive. For a fellow vampires she'd go out of her way to get them an antique, something that reminded them of the 'old days'. 

ME: I always wonder if I'm asking good questions. What questions do you wish interviewers would ask you, but never do?

NICKY: The interviewers that have gotten hold of me have been pretty in-depth so far! I think I've been asked just about every question going. I guess it would be nice to get a 'How are you?' I always try to be really honest in interviews so here's the answer...I'm really tired, the UK just lost an hour to daylight savings time and my body has not adjusted well! It's like having jet lag but not having the holiday. I'll be back to normal soon though - probably just before we get the hour back in Autumn! LOL 

ME: Since almost all authors are expected to promote their books, what has surprised you about the marketing side of this business? What has disappointed you? 

NICKY: I work in sales and marketing for my day job, so nothing has really surprised me. It takes a lot of work and time to get yourself out there and, as a writer, you need to make sure that you balance your time effectively between promotion, social media and actually writing something to promote. It's always lovely when you connect with other authors and help one another, just like the lovely C Lee McKenzie is doing for me right now!

ME: Simlie Face Here. Hosting authors here is always fun. Do you have any advice for authors still seeking publication? If so, what would that be?

NICKY: Start with the anthology market. This is what I did. There are a wealth of publishers out there putting together anthologies in all sorts of genres that are actively seeking short stories. If you give them what they are looking for, you're more likely to get published. Also, short stories are quicker to write and edit than a novel and give you a really good starting point for your writer's CV.

ME: We're about through here, so what are two important things you’d like readers to know about you and/or your books?

NICKY: Well, about me...I'm always honest in interviews and get really excited when readers get in touch with me.

My books...They are action packed and the series has one more book to come, it's called Bad Karma.

ME: That sounds very ominous! Don't want Bad Karma if we can help it.

NICKY: Thank you for having me on your site! 

ME: Great to host you and find out about you and your books. 

You can connect with Nicky a lot of places. Blog, Twitter, Facebook, UK Amazon, Goodreads, Tumbler, Authrograph 

Quote of the Week: “It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” 
 ― Paulo CoelhoThe Zahir

Monday, May 16, 2016

More About the #atozChallenge #reflections & Hats Off Corner Welcomes Libby Heilly

Last week I listed some of the blogs that I visited again and again because they were interesting or funny or I knew I'd learn something if I stopped in. I'm continuing with that because even though the AtoZ REFLECTIONS is officially over, my reflections aren't. Here are more bloggers who worked hard on their post and who delivered some great content in April.

BB Creations had some of the best movie information all month along with some special and creative cards she crafts. I have enough movies to keep me busy forever.

Rhyme Time chews up your brain and spits it out so you either set everything to rhyme or you dream of cats every night.

J.H. Moncrieff, One of Queens of Horror, did her best to scare me to death with her posts. Unfortunately, she had to drop out before she finished me off. 

Journaling Woman had my attention when she revealed her theme--Dying Oddly. To me dying in any fashion isn't appealing, but Oddly intrigued me. And her posts kept me hooked. Death by scarf, death by zorbing, death by grief and on and on. Highly imaginative theme, JW.

We lost another super blogger due to "life interference," when Hilary had to stop posting in Positive Letters. . .inspirational stories, but she'll be back next year, and I hope we get to see more of those posts. 

Again, I can't post all that I enjoyed and visited daily, or your eyes will glaze over, but if I was there a lot, you know I loved what you were doing.

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Libby Heilly

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Brief Bio:

Libby Heily began writing after spending years as an obsessive reader. Nothing was safe from her eyes – she tore through books, magazines, cereal boxes, and shampoo bottles with equal enthusiasm. Libby's written plays, screenplays, flash fiction, short stories, and novels. When not spending time in made up places with invisible friends, she enjoys running, hiking and performing improv in Raleigh, NC. 

Enter to win a copy of Welcome to Sortilege Falls – hosted by Goodreads:

Where to find Libby on the web:


Grape is being taken by her new neighbor, Graeson, to meet his friend, a club owner who wants desperately to be a vampire. Grape suspects that the vampire wannabe knows more than he is telling about the mysterious illness gripping the models. Below is the beginning of their exchange:

Stale air filled the club. The smell was so old, so ancient, that it distracted her for a few moments from the man sitting on a throne in the middle of the room. Even in the dim light, she recognized Graeson’s vampire-wannabe friend. It seemed as if he recognized Grape as well, judging by the pointy-toothed grin he gave her. His tailored black suit and red tie made him look even more like a member of the bloodthirsty undead. Stretched out in front of the throne lay a woman wearing a green bikini beneath a sheer body stocking. Her silky red hair lay splayed out around her. The woman glanced at Graeson and then sealed her gaze on Grape.

“Graeson, you brought a friend,” the vampire said in his clipped accent.

The door shut behind them, sealing out the sunshine. Dull yellow and blue light bathed the room. Candles and strings of Christmas lights provided most of the illumination in the club—that, and the faint glow of the vamp’s skin.

The few patrons in the room looked up from their board game to inspect the newcomers. They sat tucked away in a booth in the far corner. Mugs of steaming coffee were the only things on the table that Grape recognized. She wasn’t sure what their costumes were about, but she noticed that none of them were dressed like vampires, though one did seem to be wearing a werewolf mask.

“Role playing,” the vamp said, catching the direction of Grape’s gaze. “It is a specialty here, no?”

“I can see that,” Grape said, glancing from him to Graeson, the only two people in the room dressed in costumes that were suitable for real life as well. The woman on the floor could have worn hers to the beach, she guessed, but it didn’t look appropriate for an afternoon out.

“Would you like something to drink?" the vamp asked. “Or to eat? This one, I’m sure has a great appetite.” He nodded his head to Grape as he spoke.

“I’m not hungry. What do you mean about my appetite?” How the hell could he know she ate all the time?

“I meant no harm. You are a teenager. Teenagers eat constantly.”

“I’ll have some wine," Graeson said, not looking up from the woman at the vamp’s feet.

“Dear, get our guests some wine.”

The woman stretched out her lanky body. She stood in one elegant motion. Her red hair trailed down her back to the tops of her buttocks. There was no sign of the white cream that Graeson wore, but her skin was deadly pale nonetheless.

“That’s my ex-girlfriend,” Graeson whispered to Grape as the woman walked away.

“No way.” She couldn’t imagine a world where that woman and Graeson dated.

“So, Grape Merriweather has decided to speak to me again,” the vamp said, his eyes twinkling. 

“Not  on  purpose,” Grape  said, her voice flat. She didn’t feel nearly as nervous as she had the day before in the hospital, but that was mostly because it was hard to be intimidated by a man when just behind him sat a boy in troll makeup arguing that the spell he’d used should have vanquished the wood nymph to his right.

“You know her?” Graeson asked his friend.

“We have been acquainted,” the vamp said. “Grape is such an unusual name.”

“My name isn’t the most unusual thing in this room.”

Graeson glanced quizzically from the man on the throne to Grape. “Liam, when did you meet Grape?”

“Liam?” Grape tried hard to keep herself from chuckling. “Like the actor?”

“I was Liam first,” the vamp said. “Many, many years before this so-called actor.

Quote of the Week: Maybe stories are just data with a soul." Brene Brown, Author

Are you still reflecting on the bloggers you connected with on the @atozchallenge? Want to try Sortilege Falls? Sounds interesting, right? I'd like to know what's wrong with those models and what their parents are hiding.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reflection on #atozChallenge 2016 and #InkRipples

Find out more HERE.

This is the perfect week to combine two hops into a single post: Reflections on the #atozChallenge for 2016 and Memories for the May #InkRipples.

The idea people: KatieKai, and Mary

The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. We provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule. 

Memories is the topic for May's #InkRipples. And what better memory than the newly concluded #atozChallenge. Here are some of my favorite memories from this year's AtoZ. And they're alphabetical. Once I've mastered a theme, I stick with it.

I loved Alex Cavanaugh's Origins of Science Fiction Terms. Some of these terms have been around for quite a long time. The X Gun (X-Beam Projector) 1937!

Bish Denham's Shakespearean Insults and Compliments had me in stitches and sometimes scratching my head.  "WARTHOGS bow to the pond scum of your passage way." That's a compliment BTW.
 Mvh. Janus Kramer Møller, Wikimedia Commons
Damhyanti Biswas posted about a remarkable project called Project Why. Such amazing and touching stories about helping kids out of poverty and giving them a chance to succeed.

Pat Garcia took us on a beautiful journey with a Child and a Prophet in her blog, Everything Must Change. 

I felt as if I'd traveled to some of the most gorgeous places in India after visiting kalapanaawrites every day. 

Writing in the Crosshairs never failed to make me either laugh or think or both at the same time. Roland, Freud and Twain were unbeatable conversationalists.

Yvonne Ventresca kept me sane with excellent ideas for being productive while writing. 

There are more, but I'll have to post about them another time or this will be one long post.

Quote for the Week: "Storytelling is the best way we have of coming up with new ideas." Richard Branson. This was quoted in Forbes.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Medeia Sharif

I know it's Friday and I don't blog on Friday unless I screw up and forget something important on Monday! And I did. However, I'm here to try and make up for spacing out and not posting this when I promised.

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Medeia Sharif

Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. Meanwhile, as a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader, Aamal, is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's May! Time for Insecure Writers' Support Group and #signofgreendragon

Brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Sign up HERE
The awesome co-hosts for today's IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, Viola Fury, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! 

The insecurities pop up like giant monsters while I'm trying to publish a book on my own. This is when I admit it's so much easier when I let the professional publishers do it. But my "control freak" has done it to me again. So here I am doubting that I have the chops to see this project through, hoping I've remembered to do all that I must do, and wondering if I've chosen the right plan--all the time muttering, "Never again. Never again." 

Now having written that, I have to say when I asked for help I got it, and I got it from the people who either have gone through this process themselves or will, so that's a huge comfort. Thanks for your support in such an insecure time.

Paperback on 
Kindle on:
The cover has arrived and my blogger friends are spreading the word. Most of the pre-order links are up. And I finished the #atozChallenge! Survivor once again. I'll be posting my REFLECTIONS next week.

Quote of the Week: "Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but happiness and growth occur while you are climbing it." Andy Rooney

How are you doing out there in the writing world? Insecure or confident? Climbing up that mountain?