Friday, May 28, 2010

Broken Heart

My blog has sat dormant for the last week. I do have a blog tour going on, but I haven't kept up with it much this past week either.

Reason: I lost my puppy, Bogey.


That little guy was the world to me. I even wrote a blog about him on the blog tour. He wasn't like any dog I have ever known and I have had a few dogs. To start with, Blacky, a stray that I feed, but passed when someone poisoned him. Then came Minnie and Cocoa. They came from the pound. They actually let us take those dogs home without getting fixed and a few weeks later Minnie had eight puppies. We found homes for them, but kept one, Princess. Well, Cocoa had to be put down because of cancer and Minnie ran away as we were moving. So that left us with Princess. One day when my husband was walking her, a little guy, Yorkie mix, followed them home. After we found the owner, they said they really didn't want him. So we took him in. I didn't want to because I'm not a dog person. But this little thing refused to take no for an answer. He sat on my doorstep in the rain and waited until I let him in. And that is how we got Bogey.

Minnie Princess



Bogey. He was outgoing and the funniest thing ever. He loved everyone, people and animals, even cats. He played with everyone. And if you didn't like him, he never gave up, insisting you'd love him. The cats thought he was funny.




He followed me around, babysat the kitties, slept with me, chased golf ball with my husband, you name it. Looking back, I see how he was a mischievous puppy. He tried to get out all the time, he chewed things, even my underwear, he perused the litter box for "treats", he stuck his butt in your face, he licked himself until his friends shined, he got in the trash, he marked territory...The only thing we really got onto him about was chewing the carpet.

And he took bad pictures.




But that was my good, bad baby. He didn't listen to anything and he ran in the street. I loved him more than I ever thought I could love a dog. I'll never forget him or stop missing him. My house felt so barren without his spirit. We lasted three days before we got another Yorkie. I'll never be able to replace Bogey, but my heart was so broken I had to have another little guy.

So here is Mulligan! My cute, full blood Yorkie. He's not as bad as Bogey, but maybe he'll get there. lol.






KJ
Put some mystery in your life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Carl Brookins Review - A Journey to Die For By Radine Trees Nehring



A Journey to Die For
By Radine Trees Nehring
ISBN 978-1-60364-020-6
Wolfmont Press, trade paper
296 pg., May 2010

Here’s a good example, if readers still need one, of a crime novel that fits comfortably into the fine tradition of fiction that relies on good writing, a fine plot, odd and usual suspects and an interesting setting. The author relies on a good story rather than tortured or crass language, logical development rather than constant physical action.

Carrie King a neighborly, bright, woman of late middling years and her husband, Henry King, a retired cop from Kansas City, are making an exploration into Arkansas history with a trip on a restored train to a small historic community on the shores of the Arkansas River. At the halfway point passengers leave the train to enjoy a brief sojourn in the town of Van Buren . When Carrie and Henry reach the river and a large historic mural to study, the possibility of encountering a dead body of the farthest thing from their minds. But alas, there it is and then there are the buttons.

A charming and delightful mystery ensues. Nehring’s unerring ear for dialog and her sense of what constitutes a well rounded character serve the reader well as the Kings travel between home, Van Buren and Kansas City where Henry had a solid career as a police officer. There have been allusions in the past to Henry’s rather abrupt retirement and in a powerful emotional scene at the Van Buren police station, Carrie and readers will receive serious and deep insight into Henry’s secret.

In the fine tradition of traditional American mysteries, A Journey to Die for is an excellent and satisfying entry in this author’s “to die for” series.

Carl Brookins



Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island, Bloody Halls

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blog Tour

Yesterday was the first day of my blog tour. I think it started off great with nice comments from the readers and even a question. I also had a guest here yesterday and I'd like to say thanks to all who stopped by and left a comment or question for Jean. It really makes the bloggers day when someone just says hi. Anyway, my blog tour schedule is loaded under the events page at the top. You can link to each blog from there. I hope everyone enjoys it and I'd love to hear your thoughts about blog tours. Have you done one? Did it help get your name out there? Did you enjoy it or did you feel it was too much work? Have you followed a blog tour before? Tell me what you think.

KJ
Put some mystery in your life

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today's Guest: Jean Hart Stewart

I’m a research junkie. Pride myself on researching each book I write, CAREFULLY, and so far I’ve had no objections from fans or reviewers. Cross my fingers on that one. I thoroughly enjoy researching. I did more research for The Third Rose than any of my other books. Although I don’t start any book until I’ve researched the period. Sometimes I jot down a few lines to suggest the opening scene but no serious writing until I get anchored in the mood of the period. Since The Third Rose is an historical romance, the era it’s written in influences every scene and action. The year is 1815, and the book ends with the hero at the battle of Waterloo. I was pleased to read about and include the famous dance in Brussels the eve before the battle. Wellington attended, astonishing everyone. There’s also little of the actual battle where the hero is wounded.

This is only takes up the very last part of the book, but of course it had to be accurate. I found myself completely fascinated by the complex character of Napoleon, in fact am just reading a book saying that Napoleon’s hemorrhoids might have been responsible for the disastrous delay of the final battle which determined the outcome of the war. According to this account pain kept him from mounting his horse and so he spent hours reviewing his troops in hopes he’d feel better. This gave Wellington time to join forces with his allies and possibly allowed him to win the battle. Certainly Napoleon fled the scene in a carriage, not his horse. Interesting to speculate, isn’t it, and an example of what you can find when you start digging.

Another interesting thing about Napoleon is how differently he’s viewed. I have a French friend who thinks he’s the greatest hero France ever produced, so I tred carefully around her.

My Druid and Mage books all required extensive research into mythology and history and the powers these fantastic people were alleged to possess. My characters in the Mage books are direct descendants of Merlin and Lady of the Lake and inherit their powers. In the first series the Druids are descendants of a Druid priestess. I’m just finishing book seven in the Mage series and each of those series books have been fun.

But I LOVE reading and writing historicals.

Had a little leeway in my paranormal books, but in Third Rose I stuck strictly to history. Had to put my rather active imagination into the sex scenes. I’m now polishing another historical, called For Love and I are New, which I like a lot.
The Third Rose Blurb:

When Sara Coverly hides in Lord Wolverton’s bedroom to avenge him for the rape of her friend, she is determined to shoot him so he can never ruin another female. Instead she finds herself wondering if she’s picked the wrong man! Wolf decides he needs a token fiancĂ©e to cover his tracks as he searches for a spy, and soon Sara finds herself helping him. And falling deeply in love.

Wolf’s espionage duties bring danger to them both. When he
decodes a message threatening the assassination of Wellington at Waterloo, they both set out for Brussels to catch the villain.

Can their growing love endure through war, a desperate villain who is out to stop them, and Wolf’s determination to save Wellington at any cost?




Excerpt:

At last. The bastard had come home. He must have lit more candles, as the room became brighter. She could see a large man, elegantly dressed, stride across the room. Double drat! He moved out of her vision, and she did not dare part the draperies any further. She waited, breath suspended, as he re-appeared and sat on the bed. He arched one long muscled leg, bending over to tug at his boot. His face was in shadow, but his build was powerful, that of a more than adequate sportsman. His size didn’t worry her. A gun was a great equalizer.

He meant to take his boots off himself? She was surprised he didn’t require his valet to wait up for him. An unusual bit of consideration for a servant, one she’d not expected. She’d thought she’d have to stay hidden until the valet had come and gone. Perhaps this was better, since at least he was decently clothed. Not that she’d let any missish tendencies deter her. Actually seeing a large nude male might be educational.

Now was the time.

She cocked the gun and stepped out in front of him, the barrel pointed directly at him.

“You will please rise, my lord. I do not intend to shoot a seated villain.” She felt pride in the composure of her voice. She’d worried a little about that.

Wolverton did not appear unduly upset, although his eyebrows arched upward. He bent the long leg stretched on the bed and clasped both hands around his knee.

“A woman. How interesting. I admit you make a very fetching young man dressed in those breeches, but your voice is definitely female. Might I inquire why you have your gun pointed at me?”

She had to give him his due. His tone seemed as cool as hers, and she certainly must have been a nasty surprise. Although come to think of it, he probably often found women accosting him in his bedchamber. But surely for more pleasurable purposes, cad that he was.

“Stand up, my lord.”

Neither her voice nor the hand holding the gun on him wavered, as Joshua Sinclair, Earl of Wolverton, slowly placed both his boots on the luxurious Aubusson carpet and rose to his feet.

“Is there anything I can do for you, madam?” he inquired, as politely as if he were asking her if she took milk with her tea.

She shook her head slowly, carefully lowering the gun a trifle. What a shame he was such a handsome devil, but then she should have expected no less from a despoiler of virgins.

She was pleased to see him blanch a little as he realized where she aimed.

“Can I persuade you to raise your gun a little? I don’t mind being shot in the chest nearly as much as if you hit the most valued part of my anatomy.”


Monday, May 10, 2010

Renewed Hope

Hello everyone. I hope you had a great weekend and Mother's Day. I know I did. While I didn't manage to get the kids to do a load of dishes, I did get floors scrubbed and mopped. Way better than dishes! I read a book, Sunset, book 6 of the 3rd series of Warriors, and I played a game of spades with hubby and kids, which my daughter and I won. But I also got a great present - a day planner.


Boring! I know that's how it sounds to most, but to me, it's what I asked for. I had one before and it got messed up in our move to Mississippi a few years ago. Really a lot of stuff got stolen from that move, but that's a different story.

Having fibromyalgia, I forget things very easily. Not only that, but I lose track of time. And I don't mean an hour or two. I can lose days. I will think it's like the 2nd or 3rd when really it is the 15th. Yes, that bad. I forget to do all kinds of things, appointments, pay bills on time, chats I wanted to join, emails I needed to send, phone calls I need to make and so on. Using a planner really helped me before when I lived in Florida. So, I'm going to try it again and maybe I can keep my writing on schedule.

I thought I would get one, but I figured it would be some little black thing to stick in my purse. Let me tell you, I carry small purses. I had one that most people call small, but when my family (mom, dad, brother and sister) saw it, they wanted to know when I started carrying BIG purses. That one was a gift. No fear, I am back to my tiny wristlet. So anyway, I think I could fit my purse into my planner now. Bright red, fresh and new with lots of zippers and pockets. I just love it. The first thing on my list is to make an event page for this blog, which I am doing today instead of playing farmville. (No fear on this either, I'm sure I will get to my farm.)


So what about all of you? Tell me about your day, I'd love to hear about it.

KJ
Put some mystery in your life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. May you have a wonderful day.


I'd love to hear what everyone is doing (or did) for Mother's Day. My hubby is cooking dinner. Tonight, the family is going to sit down and play a game of spades. (Yes, the teens have to stay home today.) And I'm hoping to get dishes done from them too. We'll see.

KJ
Put some mystery in your life

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today's Guest: Kelly A Harmon

1. Welcome Kelly, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Do I have to? Oh, it’s so much easier when I’m asked something specific…I always wonder, “What should I say?” I find it difficult to just talk about myself.

How’s this?

I live on the East Coast, in a somewhat rural town, but close enough to the big city to have to trek there each day for work. I do work full time (to support my writing habit) and write every spare minute I can. I’m married.

When I’m not writing, I can be found walking, hiking or jogging, or now, occasionally knitting (as I am teaching myself to knit.) I love going to concerts, reading (of course) and working crossword puzzles.

My favorite food is homemade lasagna, and nothing beats a tall cold glass of brewed iced-tea with lemon, except (after a long, torturous day at work), when only a vodka martini will suffice.

2. I see from your website that you were a reporter. What made you want to dive into the non-fiction world of writing?

I didn’t really dive into non-fiction. I knew I would always be a writer, and somewhere along the line one of my parents said (and I’m paraphrasing here...) “You should write for newspapers. You’ll make more money at reporting.”

It sounded good at the time, so, I decided to be a journalist.

I worked for the high school paper and I became a stringer at a local weekly before I graduated from high school. I wrote for my college paper. I won awards. I’d found I really liked being a journalist. I graduated from collete, and continued to work as a reporter.

At first, it was exciting, there were murder trials and land development scandals and always an election to cover somewhere. I found I was juiced enough from work to go home and write fiction, too.

But the hours got longer and longer and the pay didn’t get any better. It turned out that when you took my salary and divided it by all the hours I worked, I could have done better at McDonald’s. So, I quit reporting and found a job in the tech industry…and still write fiction at night.

And yet, non-fiction still calls to me, so I freelance whenever I can.

3. Your latest book is Blood Soup. Tell us about this book and how it came about.

Blood Soup is a story about murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

The story opens with a heavily pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. The Queen is from Omera, where the first born rules, no matter the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.

The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

The first draft of the book, about 20,000 words was written (and yes, completed) in 72 hours!

A friend asked me to participate in the 3-Day Novel contest and I agreed. I assumed, once the weekend was over, that I’d trunk the story and get back to my WIP. But as I wrote, I could feel how powerful the story is, so I set about re-writing and then looking for a publisher before getting back to my original work.

4. Would you share a bit about what you are working on now?

I’m working on two novels concurrently. The first is a story of an honorable man who falls into the company of a dishonorable woman: a thief. I force them to work together to complete a job. It’s not a love story, but they become strong friends. He unbends a little, and learns that there is a lot of gray between black and white. She loses a large chunk of the chip on her shoulder, and sees that a man can be honest and bending, too. It’s a fantasy, full of magic, corrupt politics, encroaching armies…

I’m in the final edit stages now.

The second is a dragon tale. Once again, there are politics involved—a sand kingdom—dragon burial grounds, mayhem, mischief, and death. There’s more to it, but to describe it I would have to know the ending….which yet confounds me. I’ve got a forked path to trod, and I don’t know which way to go. (This is what happens when you plan for something, and your characters decide you’re wrong.)

5. I hear you are a book collector with a large number of books. Do you think you will ever transfer your collection to ebook or do prefer print books?

I don’t see myself transferring my entire collection over to ebooks, but I will probably transfer my favorites. I war with myself over this, because transferring everything to ebooks would enable me to de-clutter the house in a single weekend. (And that’s HIGH on my priority list.)

But…I love traditional books. I like the heft of a good book in my hand, the smell of ink on paper, beautiful bindings, etc. I love sitting in my office with hundreds of books within easy reach. I like them surrounding me. It’s as if they emanate some pheromone which leaves me feeling pleased and satisfied. (Sad, I know.)

But on the other hand, I love the ebook experience. I’m always reading more than one book at a time…so being able to carry around five, or a gazillion, books at a time is the epitome of efficiency. I like being able to make notes while I’m reading and having a handy dictionary, too. And the search capability of ebooks far outstrips that of their paper brethren.

I know the market is still volatile, and pricing is being worked out, but one of the best things going for ebooks right now is how inexpensive they are. I’m trying out all kinds of authors I wouldn’t have even looked at before: just because the price is right.

6. Can you tell us about your fascination with spiders? Do you a have book planned using them as a major character?

I’ve always been fascinated by creepy, crawly things: spiders, snakes, insects. I might have made a career out of that if I hadn’t caught the writing bug. Of all the creepy-crawlies, I find spiders the most fascinating.

Is it because some are so deliberate: you can watch them for an hour as they step gingerly—One. Foot. After. The. Other—in a sedate waltz across the floor? Maybe it’s because I wonder where those large, hairy spiders are racing off to as they zoom across the carpet. Some spin beautiful webs, resplendent in dew drops on a summer morning. I love the sight of a spider web prism casting tiny rainbows on the sidewalk. Others are deadly.

I think I like that dichotomy. It’s clever. And sinister. I’d be willing to write a story like that.

I haven’t planned a book using spiders as a major character yet. They do turn up in several short stories I’ve written.

7. I’ve enjoyed having you on my blog today. Thank you so much for stopping. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?

If folks want to learn more about me or my writing, they can always check out my website/blog: http://kellyaharmon.com/.

I’m also on Twitter: @kellyaharmon. I love hooking up with folks there.

Thank you so much for having me!

Blood Soup Blurb:

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

Excerpt:

Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.

“You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.

She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”

Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.

“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”

“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.

“Kill her now,” said Theodicar. Salvagia looked stricken.

“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.

“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

What a Superhero Means to Me



My book, Pieces of the Star, is a story about an ordinary man who survives unusual circumstances and finds himself developing extraordinary senses. It’s like the beginnings of a superhero where we met the nemesis and learn how they are connected.



We all know these types of stories; Batman, Spiderman, Superman. I’m a Wonder Woman type of girl myself. I remember being a little girl with Wonder Woman Underoos. I loved that set, running around deflecting the enemy’s weapons with my indestructible wrist bracelets. What can I say; I was a hyper little girl. These types of stories are cool and great to fantasize about, but as I grew, I learned the true meaning of a superhero.


A superhero is someone who shows up at the right time and fights for injustice. They put other’s safety before themselves. They’re honest, caring and hardworking. They go without if they have to so others may have. They sacrifice all for the good of the whole. These are not people with superpowers, just super hearts. They have fears like everyone else. One of my characters puts it like this, “Bravery doesn’t mean you’re not scared to face what life throws at you. It means you face your circumstances in spite of your fear.”


Who are these heroes? They are the men and women of the military forces. Your local police force and firefighters. They’re the child social workers and the foster parents who do it because they care about abused and neglected children.


I’ve met a lot of these heroes in my life. I spent ten years in the military before I had to give it up due to a chronic illness. I’ve worked hundreds of disability claims of these military heroes at the VA benefits office. I’ve read their PTSD claims and seen their injuries. I’ve meet couples who take in children with nowhere else to go. I’ve seen these heroes give everything they had, including their lives.

So, I’d like to salute the true superheroes while giving them a bit of fantasy to get through their day. Here’s to all the superheroes of the world, fictional and factual.

KJ

Put some mystery in your life.