Friday, August 19, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday, fabulous Fri-i-i-day! Are you excited? Exhausted? Well, it's time to celebrate all the small accomplishments again with our host Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker

Here we go.

1. I got some cleaning done. The sunroom is no longer a Barbie haven and complete disaster area. All the naked, wild-haired Barbie dolls and their clothes and furniture and house and boat have been packed up and put in the basement. I'll miss the house, but it was too big and no one had played with it for years. Now we have an extra table in that area for craft projects, homework, whatever. I also went through all the books in my basement and am ready to part with a bunch of them including big stacks of V.C. Andrews and Jonathan Kellerman books. 

Barbie celebrates Christmas, circa 2011

2. We got so much rain on Tuesday, I need to mow today. Wow! Green grass. What a concept.

3. A new blogger, Valerie Capps, is having her first book debut today:

First, a note from Valerie about the cover:

Because of recent gun violence in the news there is currently a lot of debate over the second amendment, but Lucy Get Your Gun isn't about that controversy--it is about survival during a time when help wasn't as close as your phone. It is about an adult decision a 10-year-old must make when an unscrupulous man shows up at her farm with plans to take Lucy and her younger siblings away.

What would you do if a stranger came to your house to take you away and there wasn't anyone to help you? How far would you go to stop them?

Now, a blurb:

Lucy Get Your Gun: It was a different time. Somewhere between the taming of the wild west in the 19th century and the insane indiscriminate violence of the 21st century. People like to think it was a time of innocence. In some ways perhaps it was, but there was evil lurking about in the shadows back then as well. Not everyone lived a "Leave it to Beaver" existence. People in rural areas often had to depend on their own resources. It was a world before 9-1-1. A world where sometimes people had to stand firm and protect their own.

That was where 10-year-old Lucy Rhys found herself one day in the summer of 1959. A day of reckoning so to speak. A day when she found herself caught between a child and an adult and had to make a life or death decision that would determine the fate of her family. Lucy Get Your Gun is the fourth in a series of Proctor Hollow short story books released through Lucy Get Your Gun is the fourth in a series of Proctor Hollow short-story/quick-read Kindle eBooks released through (Buy Lucy here.)

Valerie Capps is a freelance writer and author. Her short stories and articles have appeared in various magazines and newsletters with world-wide circulation. Valerie's latest project is a series of short stories with a paranormal theme set in a mid-twentieth century town called Proctor Hollow. The first four books in the Proctor Hollow series, The Holler Witch, Incident at the Diner, Occurrence on a Country Highway, and Lucy Get Your Gun, are available on

Valerie lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and their Welsh Corgi.

Contact Valerie at:

Are you getting any projects done around the house this summer? Do the recent high profile gun tragedies impact your choices for picking movies, TV, or books? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Find Your Genie and a Book Tour Stop

Is it Wednesday, August 17th yet? If so you can find me at M. Pax's blog with a guest post on sinkholes. This natural phenomenon is a major feature in Detour, one of four suspenseful tales in Heart Stopper and Other Stories.

M. Pax is the author of science fiction and fantasy works including the Backworlds and Rifters series.

Pretty awesome covers there, Mary! And here's another one to show you:

I snagged this one at a discount price a few months ago on a tip from one of the contributing authors, Loni Townsend. Here's the blurb:

The Ancient is an anthology of short stories, all revolving around the notion of Aladdin’s Lamp. Some of these stories use an actual lamp, some of them use a different object. But in each story, the object has some unusual magical aspect that stays with it from one person to the next. Be careful what you wish for...

This was a quick, fun read and well worth a look even at the regular price (2.99 on Amazon for Kindle). Here's a little bit more about what you'll find inside:

A Wish To Give by Sherry Briscoe: This author turns the tables on the traditional story by giving the mc, Abigail, the task of granting the three wishes. Guess what? It's not as easy as it sounds.

Lily and the Lamp by Catherine Valenti: As a mother of two daughters, this one totally freaked me out. Would you bring harm to another's child if it meant saving your own?

The Golden Pen by Marlie Harris: A unexpected package arrives for Laura Stanley. She will make a wish most writers have, but the consequences, oh!, the consequences. Creeptastic.

A Lauder Way by Rochelle Cunningham: Romance novelist Grace and her niece, Morgan, spend an amazing afternoon in Grandma Lauder's 1920's house. This charming story has a strong Jumanji vibe. 

Multiplier, A Ridge Falls Story, by Troy Lambert: In a potato cellar in Idaho, young Ferris Wilson finds a lamp whose genie takes him to a castle. Years later, as ruler of the realm, dark forces threaten to destroy Ferris's ideal world. Great read.

Reaction by Bobbi Carol: Liz lost Daniel, the love of her life, five years ago, but at least she has Jeremy, their son. Then she unknowingly releases a ghul, a tiny man, from a rock near Daniel's grave. He gives her three stones that will each grant a wish, but here's the creative catch: the opposite of her wish will happen somewhere else. Oh, dear! 

Smokeless Flame by Loni Townsend: Inside a mountain, a team finds a lamp while investigating a strangely perfect, dome-shaped cave with walls covered in mysterious pictures of magicians and mythical creatures. Who will make it out alive? This one has a cool Indian Jones feel.

Are you a short story writer or reader? Any anthologies to recommend?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday and that means it's time to celebrate. Funny that when you are a kid, Friday is the best day of the week because it's a break from school. As a young adult, it's a break from work. But as a parent, it looses a bit of it's luster because you know you have to take care of your kids all weekend and deal with their activities and needs. Then Monday becomes your favorite day.

Anyhoo, thanks to our wonderful host Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker. Let's get it started!

I missed last week's Celebrate the Small Things because I was driving up to Canada with the family for my husband's cousin's wedding in Caledon, Ontario. It was held at a beautiful place out in the countryside called Cambium Farms.

The groom's family hailed from Sweden and during the speeches, the sister of the groom had her daughter, Elsa, and a family friend, Anna, come to the podium for a song. I know what you're thinking, but they didn't sing Let It Go (thank goodness), but a traditional song that was quite lovely. I can't tell you more because they sang it in Swedish.

While in Canada, we stayed at the Mariott's Fairfield Inn in Brampton and here was our favorite part:

The breakfast bar was awesome as well. The day after the wedding, there was a catered lunch featuring Caribbean cuisine and a steel drum band at the home of the bride's parents. They had a huge tent in their backyard and the whole thing was surrounded in the most gorgeous flowers. The partying at the reception went so late they forgot to cut the cake, so they did this at the lunch instead. We all pigged out enjoyed the amazing cake, cupcakes, and ice cream.

What a weekend!

What did you do last weekend? Do you have a special wedding venue to share? Ever been in a hotel with a water slide?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sign of the Green Dragon by C. Lee McKenzie

Happy Monday! I have a guest blog on writing blurbs as couplets (you didn't know about this trend?) over at Lori MacLaughlin's Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams. She is the author of the fantasy novel, Trouble by Any Other Name.


Today, I'm featuring another blogger's book, something appealing to the young, young-at-heart, or fans of the movie The Goonies. I'm talking about . . .

I read C. Lee McKenzie's newest middle grade novel this past weekend. This fast-paced tale follows the adventures of Sam, Joey, and Roger as they hunt for treasure in a small California mining-turned-tourist town.

What sets these three on their quest? Well, Sam's in a bind. His not-so-nice uncle (who gives Sam the attic space above the garage as a bedroom) wants to ship him off to boarding school. That would be a disaster. Sam's skills are essential to help the boys' baseball team win the big game.

What can they do? Well, hide Sam in a cave, of course! After surviving an minor earthquake, they discover a hidden chest in this cave decorated with a carving of a dragon with jeweled eyes. Inside the chest, they find a skeleton and a letter about avenging the death of poisoned Mei Ling and buried treasure somewhere around the town of Trent. 

Figuring a load of money would help Sam stay in town, the three take a bus to Trent and get mixed up with a nosy sheriff, a high-strung museum owner, an artist, and the artist's great uncle while they search for clues.

One of my favorite parts was the description of the artist's house, literally carved into a mountain. It had a huge fireplace, staircases wandering here, there, and everywhere, and even a white water river roaring outside the kitchen windows into a deep canyon. 

Image: Ken Lund

Here are some images from caves around the world to give you an idea of what this home might look like:

Image: Kent Kanouse

The unique setting, plot twists, and supernatural elements in Sign of the Green Dragon all work together to create an engaging story. 

Have you ever visited a cave? Do you remember The Goonies?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG for August 2016

Good morning, everyone! Today is another opportunity to release those writerly insecurities into the blogoverse with our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh and intrepid co-hosts: Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! (Wait a minute. That includes me! I knew I should have written this yesterday.)

Here's this month's question: 

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

Can a story collect dust on a hard drive? Hmm. When I decided to write a novel, I thought it would be a good idea to warm up with a short story first, just to see if I had it in me to complete such a project. The result was a 20K mash-up of a dream, memories from childhood of swimming in Lake Hartwell, the movie Dirty Dancing, and a road trip I took in my twenties to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Oh, and it's set in the sixties.

So what's it about? A sixteen-year-old girl goes on vacation with her family to a mountain resort (that's the Dirty Dancing part). There she meets a glamourous couple in their twenties and spends an amazing afternoon with them on their pontoon. Days later, a similar trip with her family turns into a series of small disasters.

So it's about being stuck on the verge of adulthood, seeing what you want to be without having any idea of how to get there. Let's just say it needs a lot of work (plus an ending with punch instead of fizzle) before it would ever be ready to see daylight. But it served its purpose. It was good practice before that first novel.


Speaking of characters at rough transitions in their lives, the blog tour for Heart Stopper and Other Stories is making a stop with Kathleen Valentine. There you'll find a character profile of Chloe Langley, protagonist in the short story Detour.

Also, my daughter finally uploaded the book trailer she made for the title story in this collection. Thank you, Sedona! (Now we just got to get a hot link in that description.)


How is your summer going in regards to writing and/or marketing?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Question of the Month with Michael G. D'Agostino

August's question of the month comes (almost) from Jemima Pett. As a variation on "What makes a good beach read?" we have "What is you favorite beach?"

Easy peasy. For over thirty years, my family has gone to Kiawah Island off the coast of SC in the spring. This island (thirty minutes south of Charleston) is famous for its golf courses, but it also boasts a ten mile stretch of beaches. 

Image: Connie Ma

Besides playing in the surf, we like to play in the sand. If you grab a handful of wet sand and let it dribble through pinched fingers, it will stack up like little pebbles. If you swirl your hand around a bit, you can make what looks like little spruce trees. Sprinkle dry sand on top and wah-la, it's Christmas in sand. 

Or funky coral. Or a scene from Lord of the Rings. 

Or a ginormous birthday cake:

This monthly blog hop is hosted by Michael G. D'Agostino over at A Life Examined. Pop over and join us! Until next time . . .