Tag Archives: great books

A fun way to start the week

25 Jun

I’m the featured author this week at Kindle on the Cheap and Cheap eReads! If you’re not familiar with these sites, you should be, especially if you’re on Facebook. They list free and inexpensive ebooks for the Kindle and the nook. I think the Cheap has another page that lists deals for Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony as well. They have pages that specialize in YA books, romance, even nonfiction. All books listed include the star rating and the genre as well as a link to the book. Check them out!

Kindle on the Cheap

Cheap eReads

Death of an Inspiration and a Legend

7 Jun

I have to take a moment out of this week’s insanity to post about the loss of a legendary writer, a man whose works both entertained and inspired me: Ray Bradbury, who was 91 at his passing. I know this might seem strange, coming from a romance writer. But before I wrote contemporary romance, I toiled over tales of speculative fiction (with romantic subplots), and most of my reading in my youth came from that genre.

I came across Mr. Bradbury’s work as a young teen, when my reading material consisted primarily of epic fantasy novels. His stories and novels added more speculative fiction into my reading mix. The dark look at the future in Fahrenheit 451 cracked my youthful vision of a utopian future world, leading to growth in both my critical thinking skills and my imagination. Something Wicked This Way Comes entertained me, scared me, and made me think about deeper themes, which further shaped my storytelling skills as I studied how to wrap several elements into a tale. I devoured his short stories and enjoyed the adaptations on his TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater.

Mr. Bradbury is a true legend among speculative fiction fans. He will be missed, but through his work, he will live forever.

Graduation Day and A Twist on Pride & Prejudice

31 May

Happy Thursday! It’s a crazy busy day around here because son #3 graduates from high school today, woohoo! Three children down, two to go, I’m over the halfway mark. So, while I’m off to watch a class of nearly 800 students walk (and yes, that takes as long as you might think it does), here is something to brighten your day.

Have you seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It’s a modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, told as Lizzie’s video blog on YouTube. New episodes are uploaded every Monday and Thursday, and it is so much fun! Give it a look!

The Auction for Diabetes Research is ON!

1 May


I’ve been missing in action for a while, sorry about that. It’s been a bit crazy around here, full of car repairs, forcing teenagers to attend school when they are suffering spring fever, and, of course, preparing the next book for release.

One of the best things I did while I was away was donate to Brenda Novak’s annual auction to raise funds for diabetes research. This is the eighth year of Ms. Novak’s auction, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it on the donation side, rather than just the bidding side! A Kindle Fire is loaded with a copy of Mending Fences, along with 25 additional contemporary romance and romantic suspense books donated by other authors, and the bidding is underway. Check it out by clicking the blue auction banner to the right!

There are some truly amazing items to bid on, for both writers and readers. Please, go explore and place your bids for a great cause!

Book cover poses and the people who test them

24 Apr

My daughter gave me a hard time about the cover of Mending Fences when she first got a look at it. She zeroed in on the way the woman’s shoulder and arm look. Something about the top line seemed unnatural to her. It wasn’t until I took her in front of the mirror and positioned her like the cover that she saw, yes, indeed, that’s how her own arm looked in that pose.

The discussion reminded me of an awesome post back in January by Jim C. Hines. Mr. Hines is a fabulous writer. His series about Jig the Goblin is delightful, unique in its choice of hero, and very funny. His Princess Novels are another stroke of creative genius, twisting old fairy tales, using their darker origins, and turning princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,  and Snow White) into fantasy versions of Charlie’s Angels. Seriously, if you like fantasy or fairy tales, check these out. You will not be disappointed.

Now that I’ve told you a bit about Mr. Hines, I’ll explain how this relates to the book cover poses. Mr. Hines decided to discuss the frequently unnatural and downright ludicrous poses of women on fantasy and urban fantasy novels. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, he posted with photos of him mimicking the poses beside the actual book covers…and then discussed the pain involved in getting into those poses. And the post is a scream: http://www.jimchines.com/2012/01/striking-a-pose/

Now he has decided to take on male poses on UF and paranormal romance novel covers! http://jimhines.livejournal.com/628418.html His analysis of what is expected of men and women on covers is great.

Equally brilliant, I thought, is a post by Anna, a book blogger, who ran with the idea and did a side-by-side comparison of men’s vs. women’s poses. http://genrereviews.livejournal.com/371367.html

Really great stuff! I have only occasional flashes of brilliance myself, but I’m happy to take the opportunity to share the good things I stumble across.

What book cover poses have made you think the model must have been in pain or Photoshopped because a real body couldn’t possibly achieve that position?

An Intro to a Friend for Her Birthday!

21 Apr

Today, a woman I have known for a great many years is celebrating her birthday. That’s a great time to introduce her to you, don’t you think? Of course, she has so many books out, you may know her already!

MJ Fredrick is one of the hardest working women I know, and honestly, I think she is blessed with more hours each day than the rest of us. Or she stole Hermione Granger’s time turner. Or she’s an alien. Somehow she manages to teach music to elementary school children, maintain a blog and impressive Pinterest boards, actually complete projects inspired by Pinterest, sew (beyond basic mending), keep up with her favorite TV shows, raise a fine son, spend time with her hubby, maintain a social life, and STILL publish a hefty number of books. Her writing speed amazes me. She works with several publishers and has also jumped into the self-publishing arena. She writes everything from historical to contemporary, from romantic suspense to paranormal.

I am in complete awe of MJ. Always have been. So, happy birthday, my friend! I hope it’s fabulous!

If you have a moment, please pop over to her blog and wish her happy birthday: http://mjfredrick.wordpress.com/

And if you like contemporary, small-town romance, give her new Bluestone series a try! You can find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

I’m visiting another author today!

11 Apr

I’m spending this gorgeous Wednesday in Texas…virtually, anyway! I’m a guest on romance author MJ Fredrick’s blog, talking about everything from the inspiration behind Mending Fences to three of my favorite things.

I’m also giving away a copy of Mending Fences, so come on over and visit! http://mjfredrick.wordpress.com/

World Book Day! Is your child a reader?

1 Mar

Today is World Book Day, a time to celebrate books and get books into the hands of children and teens. But what if your child, or a child you care about, isn’t a reader? How do you encourage them to pick up a book?

I have five children, the youngest turning 16 this year. They are all readers, but it didn’t come naturally to any of them. So how did they become readers? Let’s face it, forcing kids to read doesn’t make them love it. Often it will have the opposite effect, especially if they equate reading with work, such as reading for school. How do you help a child discover that reading is a wonderful journey, an escape that will take their imagination to amazing places, and help them learn more about themselves, other people, and the world around them? How do you get them to the point that they can come out of a great movie, sigh, and say, “But the book was better”?

I believe there are three very important factors. One, start keeping books in the house for kids far earlier than you think they would ever be interested in them. Read stories to them even when they’re too young to understand. Leave the books where they can touch them, hold them, and look through the pictures.

Two, find that one book that opens it all up for the child, the one special book that grabs them and pulls them into the lives and worlds of characters so well that they suddenly understand why people enjoy reading.

That one book, the key book, was different for each of my children. For my oldest, who hated reading, it was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. JK Rowling’s world pulled him in and I will be forever grateful. Son #2 refused to touch fiction until he read a novel based on a video game he liked, and that hooked him. Son #3’s key was the Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket. Son #4 waited anxiously for each of the Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi to come out, quit reading again for a while, then graduated to the Ranger’s Apprentice books by John Flanagan and hasn’t stopped reading since. The Princess read sporadically until she discovered Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. It was the first book to give her an emotional reaction: it made her cry. She was hooked. Now she devours books, most recently by Neal Shusterman, Scott Westerfeld, and John Green. So…to start, recognize your child’s interests, what they pretend to be when they play, what sort of experiences entertain them, and find books that fit those criteria. Then it’s trial and error until they connect.

The third most important thing? Let them see you reading and enjoying it. A lady in my neighborhood once complained that her children refused to read and she couldn’t figure out how to get them interested in books. I asked if they saw her enjoying books, and I’ll never the dismissive way she said: “Are you kidding? I don’t have time to waste on reading.” She very actively sent a message to her children that reading had no value, at the same time as she prodded them to read. I’m sure they got the stronger of the two messages there. Teach by example, and let them see you enjoying books, whether hardcover, paperback, or on your e-reader. It really does matter.

What book triggered your child to read? And what are you reading today?