Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving and Then What?

What comes after Thanksgiving? A hike, of course. If I'm thankful for anything is the chance to be out in a forest on a trail. And today was a perfect day for it. 

This is early with some overcast. No one on the trail this morning, except me.

I'm always on the lookout for poison oak and I never fail to find it. This little guy looks so sweet, but does it ever cause me suffering and itches galore if I touch it.

My shadowy selfie.

Rattlesnake grass. On a windy day, it gives you plenty of warning.

A bit sunnier as I head toward the coast.

A new pine sunning itself.

Dandelion looking up.

"The unquiet spirit of a flower
That hath too brief an hour." Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortizzoz

Along the trail there are always metaphors. Here's life's grand circle. Out of the dead stump a beautiful green bush thrives.

This is my last post about Gadget Girl and my November Featured Follower. It has been wonderful to share this author and her work with you. I hope you enjoyed meeting Suzanne and I hope you'll read and enjoy her books. Check out her AUTHOR'S PAGE

Congratulate the winner of Gadget Girl! Nicola at Burggraf's Blog is the lucky Email Connect follower.

Check back to find out who will be my December Featured Follower! Wow. The last author of the year already. 

Quote of the Week: “Trails are like that: you're floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and flute boys, then suddenly you're struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak…just like life.” 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thoughts about 2017 & Tara Tyler's Cradle Rock

Thoughts about 2017

For this past year, I've been thinking of retiring from blogging and writing. Yet, when I considered how many people I'd miss contacting each week, I couldn't. 
However, I have made a decision about how I'm going to blog. I always enjoy helping writers get the word out about their books, so I started my Email Connect, hoping that I could do that, but maybe even more effectively than with just a one time appearance on my blog. 

I realize that with this new plan I'll only be able to choose 12 authors each year, maybe only 11 because I'm going to take one month off for RandR and a bit of travel. But I hope the trade off--in depth and month-long support instead of a one-time blog post--will be worth their while.

For writers who aren't my Featured Follower of the Month, I'm always happy to 
  • do a Spotlight on my blog
  • add their book to Goodreads TBR
  • tweet
  • share on FB
  • visit other websites and comment
  • give Thunderclap support

In 2017, I'm hoping to write about other things besides books. I'd like to post on topics of interest to me and hopefully my readers. I'm working on that now, and am going to make a stab at it starting January.

I'd like to know what you think about my plan. I could use some feedback.
  • Hate it? 
  • Kind of like the idea, but not sure? 
  • Love it? 

Now, since it's still 2016 and I've not changed anything yet . . .

Tara Tyler has a new book out in December, and she here today to tell you all about it! It's all yours, Tara!

Add to your Goodreads TBR List
by Tara Tyler
Release Date: December 1, 2016

Welcome to the forest.
Gabe and his girlfriend Ona are headed in opposite directions for Spring Break. After finding out humans might be a real part of their history, Ona is determined to dig up evidence of them in the mysterious mountains at Camp Cradle Rock. Being a logical goblin, Gabe tries to talk her out of it, but there's just no reasoning with a stubborn ogress.

When Ona goes missing, Gabe and his friends fly to Cradle Rock to search for her and discover a village of trouble, igniting an age old war. His physical skills may be lacking, but Gabe won't give up. With the help of his diverse group of friends, he will find a way to save his girl and maybe all beastkind. Humans, bah!

And here's the book trailer! With sketches from my super fantastic inside illustrator, Laura Kramer.

Quote of the Week: The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." Alan Watts, Philosopher and Writer

Monday, November 14, 2016

Email Connect Commercial & Double Negative

Commercial Announcement--This will not disappear in ten seconds, so don't fight it.

Email Connect (EC) is not a Newsletter. I have no news. 
"So what do you have?" 
"Thanks for asking." 

*A Featured Follower each month.
*Gifts and Giveaways. 
*Short, but hopefully helpful tips for writers and readers and other humans. (Next EC has some interesting stats on ads.)

Sign up today for your chance to win a digital copy of Gadget Girl by Suzanne Kamata, my Featured Follower in November. I'm reading it now and it's good!

I've been so neglectful of my Young Adult books lately, that I thought I'd give one a bit of press. So here's . . . the Story Behind Double Negative


#anT t# re#d #nd #nj#y # g##d st#ry? Wh#T #f y## c##ldn#t do th#t? W##ld y## b# fr#str#t#d? #ngry? S#cr#t#v#? 

You could probably figure out the message, but was it easy? Did it take a while to decipher the words, and when you did, did you forget all about meaning because you were picking through it so slowly you forgot where you were going? And what about the NO PRESSURE part? Did you ignore that?

Here's what it said:  Want to read and enjoy a good story? What if you couldn’t do that? Would you be frustrated? Angry? Secretive? Maybe act out with anger?

In 2010 I stumbled on an article that said in L.A. County 33% of the residents were illiterate or low-literate. That brought me up short. Wasn’t the inability to read an emerging nation issue? An issue in back-country regions of the U.S.? I guess not!

Bryant Doughtery is definitely Hutch. 
Hot and naughty. Lots of potential.

That article was the beginning of Double Negative. Hutch, then Fat Nyla and Maggie slowly evolved into the characters, then came Father Kerry, Moss and Meeker. All destined to play a part in a story about a kid who can’t read well enough to get through high school, but has the heart of a winner. All he needs is a pair of glasses and someone to believe in him.

Evernight Teen
"My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn't been laid yet. I couldn't go into the slammer before that happened." —Hutch McQueen.

Quote of the Week: "Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." Anonymous

Monday, November 7, 2016

November Featured Follower & Our Heritage, #InkRipples

Meet Suzanne Kamata
The Write Game's Amazin Featured Follower for November

Buy on Amazon
Add to your TBR list on Goodreads

Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother's muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity. 

When Aiko's mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She'd much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father,the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life. 

And here's Suzanne

Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is most recently from Lexington, South Carolina, and now lives in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan with her husband and two children.

Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications including Real Simple, Brain, Child, Cicada, and The Japan Times. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/​Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival, and winner of a SCBWI Magazine Merit Award

This is how Gadget Girl begins. 

My father has blue hands. Or at least that’s what Mom tells me–one of the few facts I’ve been able to wring out of her. See, he’s the eldest sone of one of the last indigo producers in his village on the Japanese island of Shikoku His family has been growing indigo for generations–cuter, even–since back in the time of the shoguns.

“You were named after that plant,” Mom told me. “Ai means indigo. Ko means child.”
Indigo is my destiny.

Her next book arrives in 2017. The Mermaids of Lake Michigan.

Heritage is the #InkRipples topic for November

#InkRipples:a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll
Post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. 

Thanks for the great gift, Mom and Dad.
And thanks for the heritage you passed on to me: the love of good food.

This is a cookbook filled with history and heritage of foods from the early immigrants to the U.S. Every time I make a dish, using this book, I learn more about the people who have helped shape our nation. 

Here's why pumpkins are so much a part of our Thanksgiving feasts. "For the early colonists pumpkin was often the difference between survival and starvation. It was fit for only the peasants, said Europe. But the Colonists soon overcame this prejudice, and pumpkin became an almost daily staple in the New World." 

Quote of the Week: "So long as you have food in your mouth,  you have solved all questions for the time being." Franz Kafka

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG Among Other Things

Brain Child of Alex J. Cavanaugh
The awesome co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG will be Joylene Nowell Butler, Jen Chandler, Mary Aalgaard, Lisa Buie Collard, Tamara Narayan, Tyrean Martinson, and Christine Rains!

I went back into my archives and found this post from 2011. Thing just don't ever change! Except the logo for IWSG is now different, and there's a question to answer each month. November's question is What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

The Insecure Writer, Me 2011

See these nails?  I stopped biting them just in time to save the fingertips and why? Because I'm an INSECURE WRITER; I need those fingers for the keyboard.

This is me when I was an INSECURE ACTRESS, biting my nails.  (Ignore the caption. Marilyn was always trying to get the spotlight away from me. I think she might have been more insecure than I was.)

I don't know which is worse, my insecurity on stage or what I'm enduring now. But I no longer look like the picture above. Here's a more recent one. 
Writer on the Verge . . . but of what?

Oh, I have me ups and downs. There have been days when I've seen myself with the Nobel prize for literature clutched in my nibbled fingers. I once thought I'd craft a Newberry Award acceptance speech just in case . . . you know the phone rang. But when a call came through on the day the award was decided, it was the vet telling me I could pick up Buffy.

This is my INSECURE WRITERS REJECTION week and I'm celebrating by joining the blog hop of other angst-filled-creative-finger nibblers. At last a support group.

Answer to the November Question: I like to be able to tell stories the way I want to. Writing is a control freak's best friend.