Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Last Few Hours!

Check It Out!

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Last chance to download your free copy of Swamp Ghosts for quite some time. Grab it while you still can! Meet Maggie Devlin, Gunnar Wolfe, and Big Blue, an incredibly beautiful and rare force of nature…a white alligator! And Blue’s not the only dangerous thing in the swamps, either! Lester Purvis can attest to that. Swamp Ghosts…it’s not just the cover that’s scary!

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Run, don’t walk, to the link below and get your copy tonight!

Swamp Ghosts

Sunday Bonus Joke #2

And Tiger scores yet another free dessert!

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Sunday Bonus Joke #1

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Don’t Forget: FREE Today – Swamp Ghosts

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Amazon Rating: 5.0 Stars

Don’t forget! Swamp Ghosts is free today and tomorrow. Download your copy now! Find  out why fiery, red-headed Maggie Devlin hates photographer Gunnar Wolfe on sight., and why Gunn hires her to be his river guide anyway. What is it he’s looking for in the remote Florida wetlands? Go along for the canoe ride as the two of them make a grisly discovery and find themselves caught up in something they never expected. Who is killing young girls in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida? And what will Maggie & Gunn do, once the most dangerous creature in the swamps sets his sights on them? Adventure, murder, and spooky looking creatures with sharp, pointy teeth…what more could you want for a weekend read? Swamp Ghosts…it’s not just the cover that’s scary!

Swamp Ghosts

Get Swamp Ghosts FREE!

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Amazon Rating: 5.0 Stars!

Download my latest novel, Swamp Ghosts, for free all day Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, August 31. Meet Maggie Devlin, the fiery, red-headed owner of the eco tour boat, The Undine, and Gunnar Wolfe, a big Viking of man who needs her help to access the most remote areas of Florida’s wetlands. Together, they’re on a quest, but a grisly discovery on a lonely creek proves that the most dangerous creature in the swamps walks on two legs, and is hunting them!

Check it out! Alligators and serial killers and Vikings, Oh, My!

Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Marcia Strykowski

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Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski

Bookin’ It is happy to have Childrens/Tween author Marcia Strykowski with us today. Hi, Marcia! Nice name! *grin* Could you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

MS: I was always creating storybooks as a kid, so my interest evolved from there. I took an array of classes in writing and illustrating books in college. Eventually I tried expanding one of my shorter manuscripts until it turned into my first tween novel, Call Me Amy. After much reworking, I submitted it to publishers and it was accepted by Luminis Books. My next two novels were a lot easier to write, now that I was familiar with the process. I also joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and volunteered at their conferences. Most importantly, I’ve been in several long-term critique groups over the years. 

BI: I love the genre you are aiming for with Call Me Amy. Those “tween” years seem to fall between the cracks, at times, with many books being geared for much younger audiences, or much older, more experienced ones. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

MS: I’m inspired by many different authors—there are so many great ones. Novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne of Green Gables, where the characters, setting, and storyline stay with you long after the last page, are especially inspirational. A few of the many authors who motivate me include Katherine Paterson, Richard Peck, M. M. Kaye, and Willa Cather. 

BI: Great choices. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

MS: I would probably first check out the YA section and I especially enjoy historical fiction. For example, I recently listened to The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd on audio—loved it! 

BI: Haven’t read The Invention of Wings, yet, but I loved The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid’s Chair. I’m making note, here. On to the more physical aspects of your writing. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

MS: I use a shared study. We fondly call it ‘the library’—lots of books along with an overstuffed chair, a desk, and a computer. Although I would like to be, I am not at all consistent in writing. It comes in spurts with great gaps in between. 

BI: Can you tell us if you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

MS: I do a lot of online research, but I can’t say I use any materials in particular, mostly just Google. Actually, though, I did use one of those novelty gift calendars. It included all the important events, music, TV shows, etc. for my story’s time period of 1973. 

BI: When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

MS: I don’t outline. I usually have a small story with a beginning and an end. From there I write all the middle chapters (sometimes drafting individual scenes in longhand). I continually polish until it’s a full-size book. 

BI: Thanks, Marcia. I love finding out how different writers approach their actual work time. Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why? 

MS: I definitely prefer books made from paper that you can feel and smell and put in a bookcase. But I think there’s a place for e-books, too. They’re a good way to cut down on ‘stuff’. 

BI: I agree with both of those points, especially the space factor. Now it’s time to share a bit of information on your books. Can you tell us what books you have published, and where we can buy them? 

MS: Call Me Amy came out last year and a companion book, Amy’s Choice, will be released Oct. 1st, 2014. They are both available from many online retailers and can also be requested from your favorite local booksellers. Call Me Amy, which was awarded a place on the prestigious Bank Street College of Education list of best books, is about a shy 13-year old who lives in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine in 1973. With two unlikely friends, she helps a wounded seal pup and discovers that everyone, herself included, has a voice worth hearing. In Amy’s Choice, bullies, boy trouble, and a talented painter who lives on the island keep Amy and her new BFF busy, but in order to be true to herself, there are many difficult choices for Amy to make in this heartwarming sequel.

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BI: I think both of those sound charming and interesting. I’m adding them to my personal reading list, for sure. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available? 

MS: I am finishing up a new YA novel, which features a boy who lives in a big city—so a whole new setting. When it will be available is up to the deities of the publishing world.  

BI: Please keep us posted on that one, too. And good luck with those deities! Marcia, what is the best thing about being a writer, in your opinion? The worst? 

MS: I love to create something out of nothing and to then hold the finished product in my hands. Keeping up my blog and participating in book events is very enjoyable, too. Writer’s block can sometimes put a damper on my day, but I really can’t think of anything I’d rather do—it’s all good. Thanks so much for having me as a guest today! 

BI: Great way to look at it. I try to be positive about writing, too, but sometimes self-marketing makes life difficult.  It was lovely having you as our featured guest today, and I hope you’ll join us again, in the future. 

Marcia Promo Final Close-up

Marcia Strykowski, a graduate of Northeastern University, lives in Massachusetts and works at a public library in New Hampshire. She enjoys music, theater, fine arts, family get-togethers, and hanging out on the coast. 

Check out Marcia’s books here: 

Call Me Amy 

Amy’s Choice

Eight Day Wonders!

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For those who never notice my Countdown widgets, the next couple of months are going to be a lot of fun for fans of several great series. And in eight days, on September 2, four new books hit at once that I’m particularly excited about, to wit: Read more…

In The Famous Words of Harry Dresden…

…just before he starts setting things on fire.

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And with that thought, I’m going to keep calm, take myself to bed, and call this weekend DONE.

See you all tomorrow. Sleep well.

Question for You Writers Out There?

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Just started working in Scrivener. Big learning curve, but I love it already. Also taking a course in tips and tricks, etc. Anyone using this program for writing novels? Would love to hear what you think of it. Have you mastered it? Do you love it?

I’m crazy about the concept of keeping all my research, photos, maps, URLs, etc, in the same location as my draft…in one program for easy access. I’m always trying to find the folder where I’ve stored something I need for the next chapter. I also love that you can easily import an entire book into the program, and you can convert your finished manuscript instantly into so many formats for publication.

Am looking forward to the whole program becoming second nature to me. I’m a geek at heart, so I hope to be comfortable with this in a matter of a few days. Fingers crossed. What do you think?

WRR Still in Amazon’s Top 100 List!

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Wow! Wake-Robin Ridge has been in Amazon’s top 100 (PAID) Bestsellers Fiction/Ghost list all week, and is still moving up. Today, it’s at #32. I know this is probably old hat for you folks who have been writing a long time, but for me, this is exciting as all get-out! :) Seeing my book on the same page as books by Stephen King, Joe Hill, Anne Rice, Heather Graham, and my personal favorite, Dean Koontz, is a dream come true! I’m stoked to finish the sequel, which should be out by October, if all goes well. But today, I’m just very, very grateful to everyone who has bought a copy. Hope you all enjoy it.

Wake-Robin Ridge

New Feature: Contest Saturday!

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Decided to celebrate all the fun I’m having with my books this week by starting a new WEEKLY contest. Be the first person to answer my Contest Saturday question correctly, and win a SIGNED copy of Wake-Robin Ridge. Just email me at mmeara@cfl.rr.com with the answer to the following question about Wake-Robin Ridge:

What kind of car does Ruth steal from her abusive husband, Lloyd?

Be sure to include your mailing address, so I can send you your book! 

READY? 1, 2, 3, GO!

Exciting News About Wake-Robin Ridge!

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I’m thrilled to say Wake-Robin Ridge moved up into the Top 100 Best Selling (PAID) Ghost stories this week. The best part about that, besides being able to refer to my book as an amazon best-seller, is that it is listed on the same page with books by Stephen King, Joe Hill, Heather  Graham, Anne Rice, and my very favorite, Dean Koontz! What a thrill to see my book alongside theirs, even if only due to a surge in sales this week. Next week might be different, but for now, I’m just thrilled. Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of Wake-Robin Ridge. Hope you enjoyed it! And stay tuned for a new feature: Contest Saturday! Details upcoming.

Blood Games by Chloe Neill

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Very Hot Stars

Let me get it out of the way right up front. I’m not a fan of this cover. I’m not a fan of many of the covers in this series, I’m afraid. No insult intended, and I’m sure many readers love them, but to me, none of them have conveyed the “feel” of the books, and all of them have made our heroine, Merit, look so much less than she is. This is a personal opinion, only, but I doubt that I would ever pick up a single one of the books based on the cover. Thank goodness I didn’t have to. I got hooked on the Chicagoland Vampires series on my black and white Kindle, and it almost never opens with the cover, but instead, jumps right to the story. Read more…

Thor’s Day Joke #3

And, of course, one for the Cat Lovers out there (Ben)!

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Thor’s Day Joke #2

Now THAT’S Just Plain WRONG!

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

It comes for ALL of us…

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Excerpts, Etc

Just want to remind you guys that I’m now posting excerpts from my books under the appropriate menu headers at the top of the page. I’ve just started doing this, so there are only a few things up so far, to include prologues to both Wake-Robin Ridge and Swamp Ghosts, and an excerpt from Swamp Ghosts Chapter 9, just a scene I enjoyed writing. There are also a few poems from Summer Magic up, as well. Hope you’ll check them out from time to time. I’ll be posting news tidbits there, too, when I have things that need sharin’!

Enjoy!

Wednesday’s Author Interview: Meet P. S. Bartlett

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Fireflies by P. S. Bartlett

Today, I’m happy to welcome Irish historical fiction author P. S. (Peggy) Bartlett to Bookin’ It.  Peggy would you start by telling us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

PSB: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I didn’t start out in life wanting to be a writer though. Writing came to me gradually. Writing appeared slowly like a fog rolling in but a fog that carried thoughts and characters and stories. I was originally focused on my art. I’ve been drawing longer than I’ve been writing. My art evolved until those imaginary images came to life with words as well as pictures. I wrote and illustrated my own little books out of construction paper. My handwriting wasn’t the best but I’d practice lettering and copy the text in children’s books until I was content with my work.  Read more…

Tewe’s Day Beauty #2

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One more, because…hello? BEAUTIFUL! This is a snowy egret showing off breeding plumage. Don’t you just know all the lady egrets are crowding around his bad self? :)

Tewe’s Day Beauty! (And a 3rd picture added)

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Nothing much exciting happening here on Tuesdays when I don’t have a review ready, so I figured it’s a good day to share some beauty with you guys. Here’s one of my favorite Florida birds, the purple gallinule. Just look at those colors! And the size of those feet! (The better for walking across lily pads without sinking…kind of like snowshoes for water birds.)

When I first started birdwatching, many years ago, purple gallinules were not very common in central Florida. You had to drive a good bit farther south to find them. Now, I see them pretty often on the St. John’s River, and other waterways, ponds, and lakes. I wouldn’t call them common, but I don’t think of them as scarce, either. But no matter how often I see them, I’m always thrilled by their peacock coloration, and the way they cluck along on top of the vegetation, picking around for things to nibble on.

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One more picture, just for Caitlin! Just look at these feet, now! You’d think it couldn’t possibly hold on to that skinny stem!

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Why Have Free Promos?

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(Nothing to do with this post, but funny, anyway.)

Ever ask yourself why authors are so happy to give away thousands of copies of their books? I mean, if you sold apples for a living, you probably wouldn’t be parked somewhere giving away 5,000 crates of them, would you? Same thing. I know a lot of people don’t realize it, but most writers need to sell books to earn a living, so giving away their product seems, well, counter-productive, doesn’t it? Frankly, there are times when I think that’s the case, myself, and wonder why I’m doing it. Especially when a promo turns out to be as successful as my latest one is shaping up to be. It’s scary seeing that much product go out, with no money coming in for it. So why do it? Read more…

Monday Giveaway: Jim Butcher and Dean Koontz

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Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

It’s Monday again, with my apologies for missing last Monday, and it’s time for my Monday giveaways. As I’ve been doing for the last few weeks, I’m offering a free download of either Jim Butcher’s Turn Coat, Book #11 of The Dresden Files, and Odd Apocalypse, Book #5 in the Dean Koontz Odd Thomas series. All you have to do is be the first to email me at mmeara@cfl.rr.com after 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time (to give the west coast a chance, too), and request the one you want. Be the first to ask for it, and it’s yours. Easy-peasy. One more time, here they are:

1. Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

2. Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

Good luck!

OddApocalypse

FREE Today and Tomorrow ONLY!

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Currently 4.7 Stars on Amazon!

Just a heads up! Wake-Robin Ridge is free today and tomorrow only. Last time this year! Romantic suspense, with a little touch of spooky, and a whole lot of Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. :D Download your copy today, and be ready for the sequel, A Boy Named Rabbit, which will be coming out this fall. Hope you’ll enjoy it, and if you do, hope you’ll consider leaving a review on amazon. It would mean the world to me! Thanks!

Wake-Robin Ridge

Star-Gazing by Marcia Meara

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The Perseids . . . 
Lying back under 
The ink-blotted sky,
He tries out the words.
They tickle his tongue.
The Per-see-ids. Those
Pinpoints of brightness
And streaks of fire,
Lighting the night
In a spectacle
Older than he can 
Possibly know.

Look Dad, he cries,
Look how many!
I see a hundred,
Maybe a thousand!
I see them, too,
Dad says,
And together, they laugh, 
Delighted.
Joy shared, 
And excitement 
Doubled.

Come see the meteors,
Dad said, as he
Shook him awake
Just before dawn.
He crawled from the tent,
Rubbing his eyes, 
Then staring in wonder.
With the sky still a midnight black,
And bright stars wheeling overhead, 
The fireworks came.
Racing toward Earth,
One after another,
The Perseids. 
The miracle of hot August nights.
A late-summer light show
That electrified his soul.
His young heart transfixed
By the sight of the universe,
Lit with streamers
Of flame.

A meteor shower,
Dad tells him again,
But he knows nothing
So beautiful has a name
So ordinary.
Stars, he thinks, pulled loose
From the fabric of the sky,
And flung toward earth, 
Trailing silver and gold,
And bringing pieces of Heaven
To those watching below.

He holds up his hands,
Cupped reverently, 
To catch one of his own.
To be blessed by 
This summer magic.
He holds his breath, waiting
For the illumination
Of his soul to begin.
Falling stars,
Falling from the
Summer sky,
For him.

-Marcia Meara -

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

A Bit of Remodeling Going On

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Decided to add a few new pages to Bookin’ It, featuring excerpts from my published novels and news on upcoming ones. It might take me a day or two to get things posted under the new headings (found in the menu at the top of the page), but hang in there. I will try to have a few things for you to explore by tomorrow or Monday. Hope you’ll enjoy checking them out.

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