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Archive for the category “General Musings”

My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series

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Was thinking yesterday about all the great Urban Fantasy series there are out there, and decided to make a list of my very favorites. I tried to list them in order, and then realized that they tend to shift up and down the list a bit, based on the latest book, or a current favorite plot twist, perhaps. All except one. I’m sure it’s no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog for a while. My number one all time favorite Urban Fantasy series has never changed. Why? Because none of the rest appeal to me quite as much, in spite of the fact that I love some of them like crazy. Here they are, in order from first to…everything else. 🙂

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The best characters, good and bad, best plot lines, best adventures, best…and longest drawn out…love affair)

2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: Yes, he’s a master of horror, but while the Odd Thomas books can be scary, they are so much more than that…funny, endearing, hopeful, and poised on the edge of redemption, since I haven’t read the last one yet. Been saving it for just the right moment.

3. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: Toby Daye’s world of the fae is filled with all the Celtic legends a person could imagine: selkies,  kelpies, mermaids and mermen, The Luidaeg or sea hag, barghests, trolls, and all the high Queens and Kings of the Fae, complete with their courts and the attendant political intrigue and discord. There are banshees and barrow wights, kitsunes and Tylwyth Teg, and best of all for a cat lover, the Cait Sidhe, led by Tybalt, King of Cats. And all set in  San Francisco! *sigh* It’s a world like no other!

4. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill: Talk about political intrigue…those obsessive, control freaks, the vampires, pretty much outdo every other supernatural being when it comes to mind games and power plays. I love how well it’s done in these books, but most of all, I love the liege of Cadogan House, 400-year-old vampire,  Ethan Sullivan. Best. Vampire. EVER. He and his house Sentinel, Merit, are a couple to be reckoned with, though it took them a few books to get to that point. A solidly entertaining and satisfying series.

5. The Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs: This one is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, mostly about shifters and skinwalkers, though a few other creatures pop in now and then for good measure. While I very much enjoy the Mercy books, I think the Alpha & Omega books are even better. I’m very partial to Charles and Anna, largely because angsty, somewhat frightening men are interesting (as long as they aren’t actually hurting innocent people or battering their women around, of course), and this was the first series to introduce me to the concept of an Omega wolf. It’s extremely well done and never fails to hold my interest to the last word.

6. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews:  This one has it all, too. Shifters and magic, horrible, totally non-sparkly OR sexy vampires, and all sorts of complex shenanigans going on. But mostly, it has Kate and her love, Curran, who just happens to be a lion when the mood strikes him. There’s a healthy dose of humor, which I love, and which Kate uses to keep; “his furriness” in line. I’ve enjoyed every single book in this series, and am always looking for the next one.

7. The Weather Wardens by  Rachel Caine: This one wrapped up a couple of years ago, but it was one of the most original concepts I’ve come across. The weather wardens keep the earth safe and spinning smoothly, controlling rain, storms, floods, fire, earthquakes, etc, to the best of their ability. They can’t eliminate these things, but they can shape them, soften them, steer them a bit, and otherwise try to blunt the trauma wrought by Mother Nature, who is always trying to scrape humanity off  the surface of the planet. And did I mention there are djinn? Oh, I love djinn. Especially David, who is the love interest in this series. It’s a fun, action-packed romp, and the 4-book spinoff series, The Outcast Season, is equally entertaining.

8. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: This is a YA series that is profoundly moving and beautiful. Stiefvater’s writing is second to none to my mind. Lyrical, strong, and often heart-wrenching, without being maudlin, it will suck you in and wring you out! I’ve read the first two books, and have the third lying right next to the final Odd Thomas book. I’m torturing myself with them, daily, but soooooon. Sooooooon, my precious! I WILL read them, and mourn them when I’m done. If you’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater, I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, a book so beautiful and dark, it will speak to your heart in shivery whispers you won’t soon forget.

9. The World of the Lupi series: Eileen Wilks: Shifters with intriguing pack politics, power struggles, and romance, all done better than most, by far. Interesting secondary characters, and complex plotting make this series a solid standout, book after book.

10. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: Mentioned above, this is a solid series featuring Mercy, who is a coyote skin-walker, and a host of other interesting characters, including the occasional vampire and troll. Some Native American lore here and there, and enough drama to make it all very interesting, and all of it, very well done.

Ooops…did I say TEN? Surely I meant FIFTEEN? And since they are ALL tied for second place after The Dresden Files, it doesn’t matter too much, anyway.

11. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison: This one is at the top of most lists, and I admit that I enjoyed it very much, and looked forward to each book, but I can’t put it at the top of mine because there were some things…and some characters…I just didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong…the series was still worth reading every single book, but I can’t quite rate it as highly as I have some others. I’ve reviewed enough of these books that some of you already know the things that annoyed me, so I’m not going into that here. But suffice it to say, no self-respecting list of good Urban Fantasy would be without these books. And Trent Kalamack will always be a favorite character of mine, as will the demon Algaliarept, and the obnoxiously funny pixie, Jenks.

12. The Leandros Brothers by Rob Thurmon: I’m adding a caveat to this series. It was one of my very top favorites…until it wasn’t. Things happened, and I found I wasn’t enjoying the new direction the books seemed to take. So I was hesitant to mention it in this list. However, if I’m honest, I got enough enjoyment, shivers, AND snarky laughs out of the first 7 or 8 books to warrant including it, even if I won’t be reading any more. Cal Leandros was a character I truly adored for a long time, and I won’t forget the books I loved, though I’ll try to forget the ones I didn’t.

13. Tales from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green: These quirky, off-the-wall, sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying books are like nothing elses out there. Noir meets Poe meets King, perhaps. Just bizarre, and filled with wonderful characters like John Taylor, Private Eye…who actually HAS a private…EYE. And Dead Boy, and Suzie Shooter. Oh, there’s no way to describe all of them. You’ll just have to visit the Nightside yourself…that world beneath London, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die, and most babies are born. You want shivers? Head to the Nightside.

14. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine: Another YA series, but one with such a well-done cast of characters, and entertaining plot lines, I just couldn’t leave it out. I devoured every single book, because…hello? Town run by vampires. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And yet, the good guys never give up, and their way of making it all work is totally believable. Assuming you’re the kind who can believe in vampires at all for the duration of a book. Solid writing, unexpected twists, and a very satisfying ending to the series.

15. Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia: Non-stop action from page one right through the series. This is serious, kick-butt and take no names stuff. A manly kinda supernatural series, with plenty of things that go bang and boom and give off a lot of smoke. Manly, yes, but I like it, too! 😉 Fun. That’s it in a nutshell.

And there you have it, folks. Fifteen terrific Urban Fantasy series, with something to please just about everyone. Hope there are one or two in the list you haven’t yet tried. Check ’em out! Tell ’em Marcia sent ya!

😀

Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas Cover

The World Will Miss You, Sir Terry Pratchett!

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I’ve just learned of the passing of author Sir Terry Pratchett, and the world seems a sadder place to me today. His imagination made everything better and funnier, and I wish I had discovered his books years earlier. Tonight, the wee, free men and I will drink a toast in his honor, and we will never, ever forget him!

I’m Still Standin’!!

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(Just Because This Picture Makes Me Smile)

Okay, some of the time, I’m not quite vertical, but by golly, I have survived this latest mutant spawn of the Swine Flu, and I’m here to tell the tale. My first advice…DON’T GET IT!! This is wicked, wicked stuff, and can be fatal for the very young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. So, avoiding is a good thing! And if you DO get it, for the love of everyone you know, stay home. HOME! Sleeping alone. Washing your hands about a million times a day, and trying not to cough on anyone. AND…if you go from well to sick in about sixty seconds, head straight to your doctor for Tamiflu to try to knock this stuff out. (It only works within the first 48 hours or so). Then pray.

Today is the first day in well over two weeks that I am actually thinking I might be recovering. And I’m SO happy to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I have things to do, stuff to say, and most of all, a brand new book to get published! Yes, A Boy Named Rabbit is now ready to be formatted and sent out into the world, hopefully to reach lots of people and make them smile…or cry. I’m pretty excited about this third novel. It’s a sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge, and I hope readers who enjoyed that one will find a place in their hearts for a little ten-year-old boy, unlike anyone else you’ve ever met. I know he shakes up Sarah and Mac’s life pretty thoroughly, and I hope he’ll have an impact on yours.

Also, I’ve been reading whenever I can, so I have lots of reviews I need to get posted for you. Just finished Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher story, Personal, and have a few things to say about my beloved Reacher, and about Lee Child’s way with words. I finished what should have been a light fantasy series by Lindsay Buroker, The Emperor’s Edge, but which turned out to pull me in and make me crazy for each succeeding book in series. Also, a review of The Thorn Prince by Mark Lawrence is coming up…truly one of the darkest and most disturbing books I’ve ever read, for so many reasons.

Currently, I’m reading Jennifer Melzer’s latest, Siren, and so far, it’s proving to be very intriguing. That will be on my agenda, too. And I don’t want to forget Karen Yankosky’s wonderfully funny Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing, a book sure to brighten your spirits and make you laugh out loud.

Last, now that I’ve gotten Rabbit’s story told and into publication mode, I can get back to writing the sequel to Swamp Ghosts. I’m pretty excited about this story, too. The book tells the story of Maggie and Gunn’s best friends, Hunter and Willow, who live in the same little Florida town of Riverbend, but it’s a very different kind of tale than Swamp Ghosts was. Fewer reptiles, for one thing. 🙂 And more romance, with a pretty large helping of human tragedy to complicate things. And of course, humor, because Hunter Painter is nothing if not a weirdy-weird guy, with a very quirky way of looking at things. Hopefully, Hunter will be out this fall.

So that’s all the news from me–the good, the bad, and the unwritten. What’s yours? Anything new in your lives that I need to know about? Let me hear from you. I’ve missed you ALL, and I’m so glad to be back!

TGI…Freya’s Day!

Another week gone by, another list of things done, things undone, things I wish I hadn’t done, and things that will likely never get done. Pretty typical for a Freya’s Day, all in all. I have a new review coming up later today, if things go well with my editing this morning, and I get a bit more work on my 4th novel, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts.
Hunter is turning out to be far more romantic than anything I’ve done before, which may or may not translate to far more sexy, depending on your personal definitions of that. But whatever you call it, it’s fun to write so many love scenes right from the start of the book. (Breaking the rules and doing this one backwards by letting the couple find each other right off the bat, and then throwing trouble at them. I think I like how it’s working, so far.)
WordPress is causing me grief again, first by not sending me any notices of new comments, so I have to scroll around hunting for them, in order to respond appropriately. And second, by changing the fonts in my posts, and not giving me any way…that I can find…to reset them. Not so happy about that, but in the grand scheme of things, a minor annoyance, to be sure.
And just because you’ve been so good things morning (you have been good this morning, haven’t you?) here’s something to make you smile. No punchline. Just so dang adorable, I defy anyone to look at it and NOT go “Awwwww,” even if only using your tiny, innermost voice, so you won’t spoil your curmudgeonly reputation. So…TADA…I present the first of my new Terminally Cute series. Behold!

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Catchin’ Up!

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Slow But Steady Wins The Race…Right?

Wow, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur, and I’m still far behind, try as I might. My inner tortoise is beating the crap outta that wily hare! I’ve had bad news (an injured back that’s almost well and foot problems that might entail yet another steel pin), good news (my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, made the Amazon Top 100 Best Sellers list in Fiction/Ghosts, and just regular news (hangin’ in there pretty well for an ol’ granny like myself).

This week, I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, even though I’m not caught up yet. I finished my draft of A Boy Named Rabbit (the sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge), and it is now in edit, and hopefully will be released next month. I’m four chapters into Hunter, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, and on schedule for a release date early next year. My last medical procedures proved I’m still cancer-free, so dancing around about that. Or I would be, if it weren’t for that foot issue mentioned above. My friends and family are all doing well, and my daughter, SIL, and grandbaby, Kaelen, are coming to see us Sunday for a week’s visit. So, Life is good, and I’m a happy camper, looking forward to catching up to that rascally hare any day now.

One of the best things that’s happened is that the marvelous Captain Jeanne Bell, my inspiration for Maggie Devlin’s character in Swamp Ghosts, has said she’d like to do a Meet The Author cruise on her beautiful boat, The Naiad. I hope we are able to make that happen, because, hello? Cruising down the river with a bunch of book lovers? What could be better? Captain Jeanne has also told several local places about my book, and there just might be a few stores who want to carry it in the future, along with a chance or two to do a presentation here and there. Very exciting! Cross your fingers for me that some of these things work out.

My new blog, The Write Stuff, is off to a good start, and I’m hoping it will build membership and participation quickly over the next few months. If you are looking for a very friendly place to hang out with fellow writers, please stop by and follow along with us. We’d love to meet you, share resources with you, and help you promote your work.

In the words of Little Rabbit (from my latest book), “Ain’t that somethin’? Ain’t that just somethin’!”

Paranormal vs Supernatural

 

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Ever wonder what the difference is? I did some research, and quickly discovered there were lots of opinions out there, most dancing around the same basic distinctions (though some were quite different). I found the one that made the most sense to me, and suspect that’s what I’ll be using as my guidelines when I’m reviewing books in the future. The entire article at Knowledge Nuts can be found here. For purposes of this post, I’m going with their opening lines. Works for me.

“The terms “paranormal” and “supernatural” are often tossed around to mean the same thing—something we don’t understand. They’re actually two separate terms, though. “Paranormal” refers to something that’s not understood by current scientific knowledge; there’s the potential that something paranormal will someday be explained scientifically, and there’s a likelihood there’s a good, natural explanation for it. “Supernatural” refers to a phenomenon that is beyond our capability to understand, now and simply forever, because it just doesn’t operate under our rules.”

A Word About Negative Reviews

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Sometime back, before I tried my hand at writing myself, actually, I decided I was done writing negative reviews. I’d only written a few of them, because frankly, they aren’t fun to write, and I realized, I was only writing them when I was angry about something in the book I was reviewing. Don’t know about YOU, but I think writing (or doing anything else) when you are angry, is usually a bad idea. Since I’m not going to lie about a book I didn’t enjoy, I made up my mind only to review books that I would rate at 3 stars or higher. And after I started writing books myself, I knew I absolutely couldn’t tear down anyone else’s work again. So, I don’t.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do. It’s just my personal choice to review books I enjoy, and share them with others. And, quite honestly, there are many, many people out there willing to jump all over someone’s work and call it garbage, so my voice won’t be missed in that area. But I still have opinions about negative reviews. I think they should help a writer understand where he or she has gone astray, and be filled with constructive criticism, rather than insults thrown out there by a reviewer having fun ruining someone else’s day. One approach  fosters learning and growth, and the other is…in a word…mean-spirited. (Okay, so it’s a hyphenated word. You get the idea.)

I just wanted to make my position clear on this, because I have mentioned here and there that I don’t do negative reviews any more, and I wanted to be sure you guys all understand that I do not mean I’m lying when I post a positive one. I’m just choosing to ONLY review books I enjoy. It’s a choice that lets me feel good, and hopefully makes someone else feel good, too.

Thanks for listening. As you were, folks! And happy reading!

A Request For Your Consideration

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No, the picture of the gorgeous Destin beaches in the Florida panhandle has nothing whatsoever to do with my request. It’s just there “for pretty.” 🙂 But I do have a request. For those of you who enjoy the Wednesday Author Interview feature (and I hope most of you do), would you consider tweeting the posts in order to help me spread the word? Many of my interviews feature new, independent authors who would be very grateful to have the extra publicity, and I would enjoy having more visitors stop by Bookin’ It, too. There is a Twitter button on the bottom of the Comments page. One click, and a window pops up, ready for you to okay the Tweet. It’s quick, and easy, and could really help new writers get discovered.

Thanks so much on their behalf and mine, for considering this. Now, as you were, folks. Enjoy your weekend! (Maybe you’ll be relaxing at a beach like this somewhere?)

Thank You!

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Thanks to everyone who helped make my Swamp Ghosts giveaway such a success yesterday. SO many downloads! I hope each of you will enjoy reading this book, will be able to imagine yourselves canoeing down peaceful Florida rivers, and will be appropriately entertained during the romantic bits, as well as the scary ones! If you enjoy it, please tell your friends and neighbors, and consider leaving a review on amazon. Writers LOVE (and NEED) that kinda stuff! 🙂

Thanks again, and have a wonderful week. Will be announcing the Monday giveaway soon.

Great Weather for…Soliciting?

Well, must be something about 90+ degree days that brings out the solicitors en masse. The last week or two has been one constant barrage of doorbell ringing, accompanied by the not-so-dulcet tones of two frenzied dachshunds who continue to bark for another three or four minutes after I’ve chased off whoever was at the door to trigger their stubby-legged outrage.

I’m trying to write, here, but instead, find myself under constant assault from people of all ages and clothing tastes, trying to sell me home security systems, cemetery plots, life insurance, flood insurance, frozen steaks in bulk all the way from Omaha, and even salvation, or at least their particular concept of what being saved is all about. Doesn’t matter if I tell them I have my own concept, a freezer full of steak (I wish), all the insurance I need (doubtful), a place in the garden set aside for my eternal rest (ha), and plenty of home security, provided by Ankle Biters, Inc. No matter what I tell them, the hits just keep a-comin’! Finally I got smart, and no one has rung my doorbell since. Could it really have been this simple all along?

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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To All the Wonderful Mothers Out There!

May your Special Day be filled with all the people you love the most, and celebrated doing
all the things you love the most.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Email Issues (Maybe) Fixed?

Photo: Woohoooo! Went to bed with another 25,800 emails trying to download onto my computer. Got up this morning to find it had stopped after a mere 5,000+. So far, it hasn't started up again. I've deleted those five thousand
 from each and every folder it sent them to, and I'm praying this never happens again. I haven't had the nerve to go check out my Webmail account, from where the trouble sprang, I'm sure. (No matter that RoadRunner says they haven't a clue. Yeah, right. Then why did you send me an email 2 weeks ago saying you were making significant changes to your email program that might result in your customers being sent "some duplicate emails/" You recommended simply deleting them, but I bet you had no idea that somewhere, a server or two had thousands of emails stored, and would try to send them all at once.) 

At any rate, the last girl I talk to, at midnight, was diligently trying to gain access to my RR Webmail account to eliminate them from that end, but it had locked both me and RoadRunner out. Then we got disconnected, and I said the hell with it and went to bed. I'm guessing she finally got in, deleted everything, and solved this problem that they were so clueless about. Hurray for her. Boo and hiss for RR not being a bit more specific about what we should do in advance to avoid this problem. And also, for not having told customers who don't check their mail from the RR page that they should go in there a couple times a week and make sure things were being deleted, as need be. This could ALL have been avoided.

So, raspberries to those who screwed up, and didn't have the foresight to see what might happned, and raspberries to those who denied any responsibility for the resulting problems. And strawberries with whipped cream and a cherry on top for Michelle in Tech Support, who worked for hours to make it right.

Doin’ My Happy Dance!

Woohoooo! Went to bed with another 25,800 emails trying to download onto my computer. Got up this morning to find it had stopped after a mere 5,000+. So far, it hasn’t started up again. I’ve deleted those five thousand from each and every folder it sent them to, and I’m praying this never happens again. I haven’t had the nerve to go check out my Webmail account, from where the trouble sprang, I’m sure. (No matter that RoadRunner says they haven’t a clue. Yeah, right. Then why did you send me an email 2 weeks ago saying you were making significant changes to your email program that might result in your customers being sent “some duplicate emails/” You recommended simply deleting them, but I bet you had no idea that somewhere, a server or two had thousands of emails stored, and would try to send them all at once.)

At any rate, the last girl I talk to, at midnight, was diligently trying to gain access to my RR Webmail account to eliminate them from that end, but it had locked both me and RoadRunner out. Then we got disconnected, and I said the hell with it and went to bed. I’m guessing she finally got in, deleted everything, and solved this problem that they were so clueless about. Hurray for her. Boo and hiss for RR not being a bit more specific about what we should do in advance to avoid this problem. And also, for not having told customers who don’t check their mail from the RR page that they should go in there a couple times a week and make sure things were being deleted, as need be. This could ALL have been avoided.

So, raspberries to those who screwed up, and didn’t have the foresight to see what might happen, and raspberries to those who denied any responsibility for the resulting problems. And strawberries with whipped cream and a cherry on top for Michelle in Tech Support, who worked for hours to make it right.

Sunday Update!

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SO sorry to have been absent so much recently. My life has spiraled out of control, it seems. Outside issues, animal issues, book writing issues, self-marketing issues–all of them have conspired to fill up my every waking minute. I’ve even been relegated to catching up 0n my reading at midnight, lately, which leads to nodding off after a few pages. Things should be easing up a bit soon, says she, with fingers crossed.

I have reviews to write, and all I need is a few minutes in which to do so. On my list are Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty, Gail Carriger’s Timeless from the Parasol Protectorate series, and Ned Hickson’s hilarious Humor at the Speed of Life. A couple other things are waiting, too, but those three will probably be coming up in the next day or so. This is assuming I can finish mastering the proper use of Hootsuite, and get out from under the extra work involved in promoting my books via Twitter. I’d like to get the basic promo type tweets automated, so I can concentrate on meeting and enjoying fellow Tweeters for the more social aspect of Social Media. If you’ve never been on Twitter before, trust me, it can overwhelm a newbie in no time.

On the book front, Wake-Robin Ridge is still selling well, which pleases me no end. I won’t be retiring to a South Pacific island any time soon, but I’m optimistic about my late-life career as a Romantic Suspense novelist, at least.  And that’s good, because my second novel, Swamp Ghosts, is almost finished. At least the rough draft, anyway. I expect to get it through the editing process in a few weeks, and then on to publishing. (I hope I can remember how I did it the last time. Now where are those Kindle notes?) So, I expect to be announcing publication at least by late spring, if not sooner. I’m really excited about this one. Alligators, and snakes, and psychopaths, Oh, MY! *grin* It was fun to write.

And that’s about it for me. What have YOU guys been up to? Any news you want to share? I’m listening……………

Follow me on Twitter: @marciameara

And Like Me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.meara

I’ll follow you back, I promise!

File This Under “What Was I Thinking?”

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Okay. I admit it. I’m addicted to books. I’m addicted to reading books. I’m addicted to piling them all over my shelves, and stopping by them now and then just to pet the covers. But mostly, I am addicted to downloading Kindle books. Constantly. Especially FREE Kindle books. I have lots and lots of them waiting to be read. And by lots, I mean well over 350 of them. GAH. If I live to be 125, which is what I’m aiming for, I’ll never finish reading them all!

Add to that, the fact that I’ve got at least five books I’ve promised to read and review waiting for me, and oh, yeah…I’m writing a second novel, myself, which is a Time Suck of astronomical proportions. Where, oh where, in all of this, have I left myself time to LIVE MY LIFE?? I really don’t know. But I can’t think about it right now…the latest BookGorilla email just arrived. Free books are calling me! Later, boys and girls!

😀

Freezin’ in Florida!

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Look What You’re Missing!

Went down in the mid-30’s last night, and was still only 37 out when I woke up, but no ice in the birdbaths, anyway. This doesn’t sound like much to you folks in the Frozen North, I know, but when you consider it was over 80 degrees here less than a week ago, well…it is a bit of a shock to the system. And it will be back up in the 80’s again in a couple of days, I’m sure. Not as bad as last month, when the temps dropped 50 degrees in one night, and then soared again in 24 hours. But still. It’s a good day to stay home by the fire, and I think that’s just what I’ll do. Throw in a few hours on the computer, working on my next book, Swamp Ghosts, and it will be okay with me to postpone my winter gardening for another day.

How is it where YOU are? Cold? Freezing cold? Or my tongue’s stuck to a lamppost, someone just shoot me now, cold? 🙂  Hope you are all snug in your toasty homes until this lets up.

 

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet…

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…that is, indeed, the question. I’ve been reading lots about social media lately, in an attempt to learn more about self-marketing (and to make new friends, of course), and it seems to be the general consensus of opinion that a writer simply must Tweet. Trouble is, even after following a tutorial and setting up an account on Twitter, I’m still scratching my head in confusion. So many little messages, everywhere I look! GAH. I can’t even read them all. I feel like a truck full of snail mail backed up to my house, lifted off the roof, and dumped tons of paper on my head. 

Question to those of you more familiar with Twitterverse than I (which would be just about every living soul on the planet, except for some guy in Outer Mongolia, maybe)…does it get easier? Less confusing? Maybe actually fun? Any tips on how to get from Here to There? Any experiences you’d care to share? Anyone? Help….

Happy New Year!

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One of 2013’s Biggest Blessings!

As the evening winds down, taking 2013 into history, I’ve been thinking about what a remarkable year it’s been for me–filled with wonderful things and not-so-wonderful things, but on balance, a much better year than I would ever have expected at this stage of my life.

In February, I was pronounced cured of cancer, a blessing that would have been enough to make it a good year all by itself, but then that was followed in fairly rapid succession by so many more good things: the birth of my first grandson, Kaelen; the publication of my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, the publication of my first book of poetry, Summer Magic; my daughter, her husband, and Kaelen moving from San Diego back to Florida, just a few hours’ drive from me…how can you complain about any of the less happy events when you’ve been given riches like that, all in one year? I’m sure not going to.

Instead, I’m going to lay out a few goals for 2014 and keep on keepin’ on. I will turn 70 in March, and I plan to keep writing, blogging, painting, working in my garden, spending time with everyone I love, including my granddaughter, Tabitha, and the aforementioned grandbaby, Kaelen, and making sure to laugh every day. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Happy New Year to each of you, and may 2014 fill your lives with joy and prosperity!  

A Word On Free Books

kindlevsbooksEver wonder why an author would willingly give away hundreds of copies of his or her hard work for free? (And trust me on this…writing IS hard work.) The answer is simple: word of mouth. The more people that have read a book, the more it gets talked about. And the more it gets talked about, the more it gets sold,  and then the author can afford to stay at home and write another book. This is why you see Read more…

Still Here!!

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The Naiad
St. Johns River Eco Tours
Moored at Highbanks Marina, DeBary Florida

So sorry I’ve been MIA for the last two weeks, but I have been spending most of my days at the hospital with my 89-year-old mother, who fell and broke her hip and her wrist. This has been a very exhausting time for all of us, her in particular, and she has had some ups and downs, requiring more than one procedure to help her get back on track. Today was a better day than yesterday, so I’m hoping she will soon be able to continue with her physical therapy and get back to her room and her friends at the nursing home where she lives. She misses her room & her things, and her friends there. And they miss her.

I’m hoping to have some time to get a few reviews up in the next day or two, if all goes well. In the meantime, I have a wonderful link I want to share with you. Some of you know I’m writing my 2nd book now, set in Florida, amidst our beautiful rivers and wildlife. My heroine runs an Eco-Tour boat on the St. Johns River, which is interesting in itself, being one of very few rivers in the country that flows north. The St. Johns is incredibly beautiful and teeming with all manner of wildlife and birds. There is a wonderful lady who has her own eco-tour boat, based at Highbanks Marina in DeBary, Florida. I’ve been on her tour, and she was my inspiration for my new heroine, Maggie Devlin. Monday I took a break from everything for a short time & drove to the marina to interview her about her life on the river. I had a list of questions for her, and she very graciously took me out for an hour’s ride in her smaller pontoon boat, while answering my questions and sharing some interesting stories about her tours.

If any of you are in this area, you really should do yourself a favor and go for a ride with Captain Jeanne Bell, on her lovely boat, The Naiad. You’ll enjoy every minute of the roughly 2-hour cruise, and you’ll see all sorts of fun stuff like alligators, wading birds, eagles, deer, and maybe even manatees or a bobcat. You never know what you might come across. Please check out her website to see some great photos. And on the main page is a terrific video showing you what the cruise is like. (Be sure to click the icon in the lower right corner to see it full sized.) And just think…that’s where I went to relax Monday, when the pressure of the last two weeks got to be too much. It was so beautiful! (We even saw purple gallinules, one of my favorite water birds. This is not my photo, but really shows what a gorgeous bird this is.)

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Here’s the link for you. Check it out! And go see Captain Jeanne when you are in DeBary!   St.  Johns River Eco-Tours

Enjoy!

Long Days of Reading…It Could Be Worse!

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Having spent the last eight days alone in a hospital room, listening to the steady beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor, while waiting for my mother to have her surgery, then wake up again (which she didn’t do for four pretty scary days afterward!), I have found a lot of time to read, as you might imagine. I finished the latest World of the Lupi book, Ritual Magic, which was fantastic, and which I will be reviewing as soon as I catch my breath. And I’m re-reading one of my favorite Urban Fantasy books, Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews. It is Book 2 of their On The Edge series, and it is just as good this time around as it was the first. I’m remembering with every page why I fell in love with William Wolf and why he will always be one of my favorite characters in the genre. Maybe in any genre. He’s brilliantly done.

I will post a reminder tomorrow about my free promo for my own book, Summer Magic, and will get back in the swing of things here soon, I hope. My mother has taiken a turn for the better in the last two days, and we are all very encouraged about her progress from this point forward. Thanks to everyone who has written or posted, sending well-wishes to her, and to me, with my vision problem. (I’m coping. It’s not changing very much, but I’m learning how to deal with it better.)

Can’t wait for life to be back to something akin to normal again. I’ve missed you guys!!

Back Home Again, And Thank You!

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Nothing Like A Day At The Beach To Make A Guy Happy!

Just wanted to touch base and let you guys know I’m home again, after a wonderful trip, and I’ll be catching up here soon. Got a couple of new reviews to put up, but I have developed a complication from my cataract surgery that might keep me from spending quite as much time on the computer as I’d like. Will know more on that in a day or so. 

In the meantime, I just want to thank everyone who participated in the free promo of Wake-Robin Ridge. Thanks to you guys, there were nearly 2,000 downloads of my book, and I’m pleased as can be. Hope some folks will enjoy it enough to leave a few more good reviews. Stay tuned to see what’s free on Monday’s Lunchtime Giveaway!

And just so you know, Destin, Florida has some of the state’s most absolutely beautiful beaches, sunsets…and GRANDBABIES! I’m just sayin’……………..

😀

 

 

Reading & Writing & Cataracts, Oh MY!

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Ahhhh, getting older! It’s so much fun! Okay, maybe not so much, but it does beat the alternative, so go with me on this. 😀

I have been gradually getting harder of hearing for the last ten years, but apparently I’ve also been slowly losing my eyesight, as well. Or at least some aspects of it. I’ve known for 5 years I had cataracts building. When you have lived in a very sunny place for as long as I have, and you are fair-complected and light-eyed, your chances of developing cataracts past a certain age are apparently highly elevated. But what I didn’t realize was just how bad mine were getting until a couple of months ago. 

Yesterday, I had surgery on my right eye, which is my dominant eye. (My left eye doesn’t really focus on anything, though the vision isn’t too bad in it when my right eye is covered. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story.) Anyway, I have discovered that everything in my world has been covered by a nasty, yellow haze for some time. Kind of like that “waxy, yellow build-up” old floor wax commercials used to decry. Dang. Now, I’m looking around and even though my eye isn’t healed yet & is still blurry, my walls are so bright and beautiful, it’s amazing. Now I don’t need to repaint! 😀  And don’t even get me started on the plants in my garden! Oh, what a riot of colors are out there, even amidst the summer-long neglect. 

The insidious thing about cataracts is, they build so gradually, you don’t even know what you are losing, until they are removed, and you take a look around. All the other little details I couldn’t see are now apparent, too. No WONDER I missed so many typos in my last manuscript. (Which I am still correcting on Kindle, btw. You may contact me at any time, if you want an updated version.)

Of course, my eye isn’t healed yet, so I have to cover it up to force my left eye to work, in order to post here or do any reading at all.  I’ve got another week or two ahead of me before the eye is stabilized and we will know if I’m still going to need glasses for distance or not. But that’s okay. I know that better, clearer vision is coming. For now, I’m just wandering around with one lens removed from my glasses, and occasionally covering my eye to see something close up.

You know, for someone whose life centers around reading, writing and painting, you’d think I’d have been more aware of what was happening. But I guess anything that slow, quiet and stealthy can sneak up on you, if you aren’t careful. (I should know that from all the Urban Fantasy I read.) You folks out there beyond a “certain age,” need to do yourselves a favor, and even if you don’t think you have any vision issues,  get your eyes checked regularly, and not just for things like cataracts. You need to watch out for other eye health issues like glaucoma, or retinal problems. Your eyes are so precious, you really don’t want to neglect them. How are you going to read all the good books there are, if you do?

Take good care of yourself, folks! You are all special to me!

The Joys (and Pitfalls) of Self-Publishing Part 2

 

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Copyrights. If you are writing a book, poem, or anything else that might be published with an eye toward making you some money, you must NOT forget to be careful of copyrighted material. In my case, I was very nearly done in by song lyrics. I hadn’t stop to think about them Read more…

Vampire Smut

shocked grandmaI have a friend who calls all Paranormal Romance “Vampire Smut,” whether it has blood suckers in it or not. If it has some element of the supernatural and more than a casual mention of sex, to her, it’s Vampire Smut. Ever read any? You know the books I mean. The covers usually feature some hot, sexy, bare-chested guy  Read more…

Chapter Titles?

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Like ’em? Hate ’em? Never even notice ’em? 

Just curious as to how many of you read chapter titles? I’m guessing not too many. Myself, I love them. A well written or humorous one is something I enjoy greatly. If it is based on a line from the chapter, I find myself watching for it, and it becomes an “Ah! There it is!” moment. It doesn’t distract me from what I’m reading, but my “ear” recognizes it when I get to it.

Since I like them so much, I’m planning to use them in my own book, but I thought it would be fun to know how others see—or don’t see—them.

How about you? How do you feel about chapter titles?

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