Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Off Topic: Political Blindness

I rarely post my political thoughts.  I mean, I write fiction, not op-eds. And it's not like I can afford to lose any fans. But for a long time I have not been feeling like writing at all (which is BAD, people) and a conversation I had over the holidays got me typing. So here goes:

I am what some call a bleeding-heart-liberal. I see the value in social programs and gun limitations and gay marriage and immigration and environmental protections, among other things.  Like many liberals, I surround myself with people who think the same way.  Like many liberals, I was more than shocked in November when Donald Trump was announced as the president-elect.

I've been an idiot. I've been living in a very beautiful but very fragile rainbow-colored bubble.


At Christmas dinner I talked with a family member--I'll call her Y-- about what is going down in the United States. She's black. I'm white. Y and I have both been living in Europe for years, both having come here for love. And though we adore where we are, and most likely will stay here until we die, the word "home" for us means the USA.

Even though we aren't currently there, it was impossible to not discuss the recent turn of events with the election and Trump's cabinet picks and the upheaval throughout the country.  Y and I are both truly terrified about what the future might bring.  But (and this is what I find interesting) Y said that she was almost glad it happened--almost.

You see, while I was spending the days after the election in a state of total disbelief, she was nodding her head.  While I was saying, "How could this happen?" she was saying, "See? Told you it could happen. Open your eyes, my friend."


For years, people like me have admitted that racism exists, hatred exists, bigotry exists, xenophobia exists. Sure. But we don't come face to face with it every day.  And we don't frequent people who might say or do things we wouldn't approve of.  And so we thought it existed, yes, but in small pockets somewhere in the deep backwaters of the country. We thought that, overall, things were getting better and that, overall, the nation was full of good people.

We thought that the nation had a nasty little sore under that Band-Aid, but that the sore was starting to heal.

Like I said, idiot.

This is why Y is almost glad for the election results.  Almost.  Because it finally revealed something she always knew: that under that Band-Aid, the sore was not healing at all.  In fact, it was festering, an evil pus oozing from all sides, and that the infection had already spread throughout the bloodstream.

Perhaps, Y thinks, this is what the white majority needed to Wake The Hell Up. Once we've scraped our chins off the floor and rubbed our eyes clear, we can no longer stay the same. We can no longer put on rose-colored glasses, no longer claim ignorance or innocence.  We can no longer believe that everyone thinks just like we do.

It is time we step up, or the infection will get worse.  Gangrene will set in. Limbs will certainly be lost. And death may ensue.

It is time for aggressive empathy.  It is time for fierce compassion.  It is time for merciless unity. It is time we brought evil to its knees, instead of always trying to soothe it into submission.

The question is, of course, how?

There are people out there who have real ideas, real solutions that will make differences when it comes to policy and plans and people.  We need to follow them.

But before that, the very first steps are these:

Open your eyes.

Open your mind.

Stop thinking with your wallet.

Start thinking with your heart.














Thursday, December 22, 2016

Good Riddance 2016

I am not the only one who felt 2016 was an absolute disaster in so many ways.  I don't know that I see 2017 being better, but Oh My Lord, I hope so.  Something's gotta give somewhere.

Have a great holiday season, everyone.  And then let's give 2016 an appropriate send-off!


Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Feather by B. Brumley Cover Reveal

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Title: Feather
Author: B Brumley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 16
Goodreads
Synopsis
Average is for the birds.
And Jane Jones is average in every way. With sixty-seven Jane Joneses on Facebook alone, it’s easy to blend in. So when the universe spins its vindictive web of chaos, Jane refuses to interfere. Saving humans is somebody else's job. She's just here for the buffet.
When the local wanna-be-a-hero-priest corners her in Central Park, she’s convinced he’s lost his mind. He soon makes it clear that a shadow-villain is out to kill her. Plain Jane has a price on her head. Her only hope for survival is join his mysterious band of misfits.
But when their plans fail, she does the most logical thing: she captures the would-be-hitman and drags him to the Hotel Paranormal for the weekend.
In a fancy room with six hundred thread count sheets and complimentary champagne, can Jane turn an assassin to an ally?
A Hotel Paranormal story.
The Hotel Paranormal is THE place for supernatural beings looking to get away from it all. Beings like werewolves, vampires, elves, sprites, djinn and more check in from all over the world for business and for pleasure -- and sometimes for both.

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PreOrder Now Feather CS

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About the Author
Bokerah
Bokerah Brumley is an award-winning freelance writer. In her spare time, Bokerah enjoys climbing trees, photographing peacocks, and writing flash fiction. She lives with her husband, five kids, and three dogs in West Texas where she serves as the blue-haired publicity officer for the Cisco Writers Club.


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Monday, October 24, 2016

A Little Writing Humor

I am sorely in need of a good joke. A good writerly joke.  I came across this one on a few sites and it hit the spot:


A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.
She thought he would check out each place first.

The writer descended into the fiery pits of hell and saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As the writers worked, they were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh, how awful," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

And so the writer ascended into heaven where she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As the writers worked, they were whipped with thorny lashes.

"What's this!?" exclaimed the writer. "This is as bad as hell!"

"No, it's not," replied God. "Here, your work gets published."


(main source: Villanova University)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Harvesting Series by Melanie Karsak Blog Tour


The Harvesting
Melanie Karsak
(The Harvesting, #1)
Publication date: January 8th 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult, Zombies
It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead.
Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town’s medium, and dubbed the “weird” girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home.
But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla’s instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.Layla, however, isn’t entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right?
Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.
Begin The Harvesting Series with The Harvesting, Book 1.
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EXCERPT:
“If you ever need to slice someone’s head off, this is the blade you want,” I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me. “We’ve been practicing épée and foil so far, but tonight I want to introduce you to the sabre.” The practice sabre’s curved blade reflected the orange streetlight shining in through the window. A grant from the Smithsonian where I worked allowed me to teach my two passions: ancient weapons and their arts. “The sabre is a slashing weapon,” I continued and then lunged, showing the wide-eyed and excited students a few moves. “And in general, it’s my favorite,” I admitted with a grin.
The students laughed.
“Is that why you have it tattooed on your arm?” Tyler, one of my best fencers, asked.
My hand went unconsciously toward the tattoo. The ink was a sword interlaced with other once-meaningful symbols. “That’s not just any sabre,” I said, mildly embarrassed. “Here, let me show you. I brought something special tonight.” Setting the training sabre down, I lifted a rolled bundle. I laid it down on the table and unrolled it to reveal weapons in various elaborate scabbards.
“Some are épée, foils—you can tell by the hilt—a broadsword, a claymore, a katana, a scimitar, throwing daggers,” I said, pointing, “but this, this is a Russian shashka.” I pulled the shashka from the bundle. “It’s like a traditional sabre, but has no guard. She’s light, single-edged, wielded with one hand, and good for stabbing or slashing. Not awkward in close quarters like a Scottish claymore, but it will kill you just as dead,” I said with a smile. I unsheathed the weapon and gave it an under-and over-hand spin around my head, shoulders, and back.
The students grinned from ear to ear.
I put it back in its scabbard and handed the shashka to them. “Pass it around, but keep in mind it is sharp enough to cut a blade of hair in half.” I then turned my attention to Tyler. “Now, since you’re so interested, let’s see how you do with the sabre.” I tossed one of the training swords to him.
Tyler, already in his gear, jumped up and lowered his fencing mask. “But you’re not in gear,” he said.
I shrugged. “Hit me, if you can.”
We stood at the ready, made the ceremonial bow, and began. Tyler was not overly aggressive, which is partially why he was so successful. He waited for me, moving slowly. He was smart, quick, and often tried to over-tire his opponent.
I waited, dropped my sword a bit, and let him make the lunge. He took the bait.
The swords clanged together, and we clashed back and forth across the strip. He lunged and slashed while I dodged and blocked. He was fast. I was faster. When he lunged again, I ducked. With an upward movement, I went in.
“A hit,” Kasey called.
They clapped.
“Man, that’s what you get for taking on a former state champ—and the teacher,” Trey told Tyler with a laugh.
Tyler pulled off the mask and smiled at me.
Just then, my cell rang. I would usually ignore it, but something told me to answer.
“Everyone pair up and start working with the training sabers,” I said and pointed to the sword rack. I went to my bag and grabbed my cell.
Before I could say hello, she spoke.
“Layla, Grandma needs you to come home,” my grandmother’s voice, thick with Russian accent, came across through static. I was silent for a moment. My grandmother lived 500 miles away, and she never used her telephone. With the exception of her T.V., she hated technology. She’d cried and begged me to take away the microwave I’d purchased for her one Mother’s Day.
“Grandma? What’s wrong?”
“Come home now. Be here tomorrow,” she said. She hung up.
I lowered my cell and stared at it. Confused and worried, I dialed her back. The phone rang, but she did not answer. I had obligations: practice, bills to pay, groceries to buy, tons of work to do, and a date for god-sakes. But my grandmother was the only one I had left in the world.
“Sorry, guys. Emergency,” I called to my students.
Disappointed, they groaned.
“Sorry. Let’s pack it up for the night.” My hands shaking, I slid the shashka back into the bundle and rolled up the weapons. What had happened? Maybe Grandma was sick. Maybe she had some problem. Or maybe she had seen something.
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Author Bio:
Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

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Okay.  Time to admit I am not exactly the best or most regular blogger in the world. (GASP!)  Big freaking surprise, I know. Anyways, since it's summer and I am busy visiting family and friends, I know I won't be doing much here. So...here's a nice little placeholder until I come back.  This is my best bud's cat with my book. He's a smart little guy.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Release Day Blitz: I Do Believe in Faeries by Erin Hayes

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Title: I Do Believe In Faeries
Series: The Cotton Candy Quintet #3
Author: Erin Hayes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 9
Goodreads Synopsis
Abby knew that life wasn’t fair. That’s why she turned to the Fair Ones.
Abby thinks she’s a disappointment. Even though she’s grown up in a family of powerful witches, she can’t use magick, she can’t connect to nature, she can’t do anything special – she’s just a normal human.
And normal isn’t good enough for her.
When a group of faeries offer her one wish, she doesn’t hesitate to wish for magick of her own. But wishes require a sacrifice. And that sacrifice is her friend Alaina's unborn baby.
Magickal or not, Abby has to make things right. She ventures into Tír na nÓg to rescue the infant before it’s too late. There's only one problem. Once she’s there, she may never be able to leave.
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Buy Links

ONLY $.99!!!

AMAZON * AMAZON UK

AMAZON CA * AMAZON AU

The Series Book #1
ONLY $.99!!!
Book #2
ONLY $.99!!!
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About the Author
Erin
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.
She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Eat. Prey. Decay: Support my buddies and get the boxed set!

Some of my author friends have decided to bundle their books together for a limited time! Here's your chance to get the whole shebang for only 99cents!  I've already downloaded my copy...




** Limited Edition Boxed Set ** 



How does the world die? Join these award-winning and bestselling authors for seven tales of the apocalypse. Zombies rise, aliens attack, and vampires claim the dying world in this post-apocalyptic boxed set. In this collection, our authors share their horrific visions of the undead world. Ready for exciting new twists on tales of the walking dead? Over 1000 pages of dystopian, horror, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic, and zombie tales! 


THE HARVESTING: It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead. Just when Layla believes she might survive the undead apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force seeks to finish mankind for good. 

ODIUM: Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise. Now, she lives behind the walls. The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. 

UNDOING: THE GOOD, THE DEAD, AND THE LAWLESS: When a widespread infection sweeps the nation, reanimating victims into walking corpses with an insatiable hunger for human flesh, future FBI agent Haven Janero struggles to keep her loved ones safe amidst the bloodbath. Teaming up with other survivors as society crumbles and lawlessness and chaos take over, they must fight hordes of ravenous zombies… and a dangerous enemy from the past who is hell-bent on seeking twisted vengeance. 

SANCTUARY: In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meet The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. First the aliens attacked the sun, then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate, and when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it… 

Z CHILDREN: AWAKENING: Our kids are no longer our future… They’re our demise. Enter Z Children: Awakening—a world where toddlers and tweens have graduated from bubble baths to blood baths. 

INDEADPENDANCE DAY: Trapped in a small town during a zombie outbreak, can Rachel survive? Aided by two soldiers, she fights to keep her little cousin safe and make it to a safe zone. 

MIDWAY: Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end. Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy. Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

My World of The Hunger Games Wish List

Okay.  My biggest wish is that I had come up with and written The Hunger Games
Yeah. Well. 

Since that's not going to happen...  How about a wish list of things from the World Of The Hunger Games Auction taking place on Invaluable tomorrow? 

The auction starts at 11:00 AM PST on May 20 and will feature props and outfits from all four of The Hunger Games films. Items include Katniss’ Mockingjay propaganda outfit from The Mockingjay - Part 1, Katniss’ District 12 hunting bow and signature brown leather jacket from The Mockingjay - Part 2, Peeta’s arena wetsuit from Catching Fire, as well as props used by characters President Snow, Gale Hawthorne, Effie Trinket, Haymitch Abernathy, and more.

Pretty damn awesome, right? 

There are over 400 lots in this auction. I'm not about to post them all here, but I am going to give you the top five lots I would be bidding for if I had the cash.


1. Lot 88: “Katniss Everdeen” brown leather jacket ensemble worn in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

I'm a jacket freak.  I can never get enough of them.  And I actually think I would look pretty damn good in this one.

 

2. Lot 10: “Katniss Everdeen” black chariot ensemble worn in The Hunger Games. 

Okay, I know I would look like a stuffed sausage in this, but...it's just so sexy.  Since I'm imagining I have enough money to bid, I'll also imagine that I have the body to pull this off.



3. Lot 12: Set of (12) Presidential enclosure chairs from The Hunger Games .

Oh, yeah. I could see these in my dining room.  That is, if I actually had a dining room in my apartment.






4. Lot 367: “Finnick Odair” signature prop stunt trident from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 .

Oh, come on. You know Finnick is your favorite character, too!  Gotta have something from him.

 

 

 

 5. And last but not least, Lot 403: “Katniss Everdeen” Capitol map from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 . 

Because maps are just plain cool.  

Wait!  I lied.  There are six things on my wish list.  I don't want to be predictable but...

6. Lot 446: “Katniss Everdeen” hunting ensemble with bow from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 .

 Because this is pure awesomeness.

Good luck to those of you who will actually bid. May the odds be ever in your favor.

As for the rest of us, we'll keep on dreaming... What would you wish for?

All photos from the Invaluable  The World of The Hunger Games auction site.

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Indie Awesome (Part 2): Meet Olivia

So I am finally going back to my Indie Awesome series where I talk about other awesome Indies. Problem is that there are so many awesome Indies that it's hard to know where to start.  So...I started locally, with a woman I consider myself lucky to have met this past year.


http://www.amazon.com/Masterpiecers-Masterful-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01AWCAEWO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1461487781&sr=1-1&keywords=the+masterpiecers
I'd like to introduce you to Olivia Wildenstein, a friend from the Geneva Writers' Group. She is not only a YA author but a mom three times over who (somehow) makes time to write.  Olivia writes with a freshness that is surprising and fun.  In my opinion, she is definitely an Awesome Indie, because not only does she take pride in her craft, she also has a great sense of how important it is for Indies to support each other.  She's generous and innovative and not afraid to take a risk.  She's recently released her YA suspense novel, The Masterpiecers.  I got to read the ARC, and let me tell you, I devoured the thing.  It was a great ride that kept me guessing throughout.

So...I asked her to tell us five things we most likely wouldn't know about her.  And I found out that the two of us have a couple things in common, (cooking aside)... 




5 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME
BY OLIVIA WILDENSTEIN


1. PEN OVER WHISK
My childhood dream was not to write books; it was to write menus. I wanted to open a restaurant, and not a bistro-style one, I wanted the 3-star, 28-Zagat rated sort of restaurant with glitzy tableware and glamorous customers.

My father, who has a passion for food, organized for me to meet Maguy Le Coze of Le Bernardin (which is one of the best restaurants in New York City). It was a pivotal moment in my restaurateur ambition…for it eradicated it. I walked out of there knowing that the food business wasn’t for me. Why? Because to have the best restaurant, you had to work at all hours of the day and night, and you had to forget about having a family—or at least, about raising one. I was 16 at the time. Even though it would be another nine years before I felt the call of motherhood, I wasn’t ready to swap my freedom for a wooden spoon and chain. Little did I know that ten years later, I would choose a profession where I would work at all hours of the day and where I would strive to obtain those coveted stars (5 instead of 3 in the book business). The difference was, that in the end, I got my family, which has made the choice of pen over whisk entirely worthwhile.


2. EMOTIONAL DOWNPOUR
I cry at least once a week. I bet this is why my husband has chosen a job that involves traveling and why my kids don’t make a fuss when I drop them off in school. ;) I’m a very sensitive person. I cry when I see a YouTube video of a woman giving birth, when I listen to a song that reminds me of someone, when I read a sad book. I cried when I wrote Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti.

I believe I’m genetically engineered to be overly-sensitive. When I was younger, I would dream of growing tougher skin so that I could be that cool kid in high school who just didn’t give a crap. I actually tried to bargain with God: I told Him/Her that I would stop complaining about having microscopic cleavage if He/She made me less susceptible. I must have caught Him/Her on their day off because that never happened. So I went back to asking for bigger boobs. Which never happened also. Which leads me to item #3 on the list of things you don’t know about me.


3. INEQUALITY IS UNFAIR
I’m agnostic. And not because my superficial prayers weren’t answered, but because I just have trouble believing we are someone’s puppets on some giant game-board where horrific things happen right along extraordinary ones. If there was a God, then why isn’t that person punishing people who sexually exploit children? Why are there still gaping inequalities in our world? Why do some bad people get away with it? Yes, this inspires authors, but I would rather answers than writing material.


4. IN THE CLICK OF TIME

I change my mind at least twenty-seven times a day. This is the reason I published my first book, Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti—if I hadn’t I would still be tweaking it. This is also the reason why I set up a pre-order for The Masterpiecers. Without a deadline, I endlessly write and rewrite every sentence. I work much better under pressure and with a deadline. I completed my paranormal mystery novella, Rose Petal Graves, on the day I had to hand it in to the wonderful Poppy Lawless to be included in the faerie anthology she put together: Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection.




5. THE MASTERMINDS

I’m sure you now find me a riveting person, but what truly matters, is that you find The Masterpiecers riveting, so that you’ll read the sequel, The Masterminds. Instead of Aster & Ivy narrating the story, there will be two spanking new narrators…drumroll…Brook & Josh. You’ll get to see their sides of the same story, like in the TV show The Affair; you’ll get a stop-your-breath plot twist you never saw coming in Book 1; and last but not least, you’ll get your no-more-loose-ends ending. How great does that sound?

Now I really should go back to writing it to have it done by October 15th. Yes. I voluntarily gave myself a deadline. :)


Thank you, Olivia!


Check out Olivia's WEBSITE for more info and fun.


Get THE MASTERPIECERS on Kindle.