Kindle Unlimited Romance Book Fair

“Outstanding high school writers reported extensive summer reading.” Stephen D. Krashden

When I was a kid, one of the things that I liked best about summer is that I could read what I wanted to. With summer so close, embrace the spirit of the season and stop by the Kindle Unlimited Romance Book Fair – May 30th through June 5th. With over 40  books to choose from, you’re sure to find your next favorite read, or two. Stop by and find a bunch of new stories to enjoy!

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Of Mothers & Books

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

Like many grateful children, I owe a lot to my mother especially my love of reading.  Although reading to a child often conjures up blissful images of calm contentment, the reality looks a little different.  At the end of a long day, all Mom wants to do is sit quietly and relax and Little One still full of wiggles wants a story. Chances are it is the same story she read to Little One, last night and the night before that and so on…  While there are many wonderful children’s stories out there, most of them wear a little thin by the 20th time.  I swear my mom must have read “One Hundred & One Dalmatians” to me about a million times—not the thin flimsy paperback based on the Disney movie, but the original novel by Dodie Smith.

While the Dalmatians will always have a special place in my heart, my love of books extends beyond that one–much to my mom’s relief.  Since she is such a voracious reader (and happens to be retired), it can be a challenge for me to find a book for my mom that she hasn’t already read. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, fellow author, P.D. Workman’s post Give Yourself a Book for Mother’s Day features a list of links for women’s fiction and cozy mysteries, including Mixed Blessings (which happens to be from yours truly).  Check it out to find the next read for that special mom in your life or for yourself.

Writer Interview-Christina George

ARoyalAffairBoxedSetLARGETell me about your latest book.

A Royal Romance is a time travel romance, with a paranormal twist – set in present day and 200 years ago.

Emma was born with a “gift” to see past live. But she’s never really wanted this gift and she’s certainly never wanted to know about her own past lives. Until it comes back to haunt her.

The story is set in Belgium, New York and takes a trip back through time to the 19th century. I had never planned to write anything historical, this just sort of “happened.”

It also weaves elements of paranormal (the lead is psychic) and royals! We all love our royals! The book also weaves some really lovely historical elements of 19th century Europe.

BOOK BLURB:

Emma was born with a gift to see past lives, but has no interest in reliving her own.

Until it comes back to haunt her.

When Emma meets Peter he seems like an average guy, albeit crushingly handsome, not to mention wealthy. Then he reveals he’s so much more, he’s the crowned Prince of Belgium, and Emma can’t shake the feeling they’ve met before. And when starts falling for him she suddenly realizes they’ll never be together in this life because of what happened in the past.

Two-hundred years ago Fitz and Anna-Maria ruled Belgium as King and Queen, but their heart-stopping love story ended in one of the greatest royal tragedies history has ever known.

Recalling the past is one thing, rewriting history is another.

Is Emma skilled enough for the task?

Battling unfinished business, navigating 19th century society, and evading enemies that are able to travel through time just to keep them apart makes Emma fear the worst, despite what her heart tells her.

What’s next for you?

Well my first book series was The Publicist, so I’m rereleasing those books – with a rewrite and new content! I also have another novella romance coming out (contemporary) called My One and Only in December.

Who are your writing role models?

I love Kristan Higgins, I’ve met her, spoken with her about her books (of which I am also a huge fan) and she’s so lovely and helpful. She’s a model author!

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

Hmmm, that’s a great question and the answer is: it’s tough. I work a very full time job (by that I mean it flows into evenings and weekends sometimes) and I love it, but boy finding time to write and promote is tough. You know you’d think, since I promote books for a living mine would be crazy successful. Well do you know the story of the cobbler who goes home to kids with no shoes? Yeah, often I just run out of time. I think really you have to go easy on yourself. I find this true for anyone holding down a job and trying to be a writer. It’s simply not easy. Also, don’t expect anything to happen overnight and one big lesson I try to share with my authors is this: do lots of things at once. You don’t have to do them all the time every day, but pick three things you love and do those. If you aren’t doing things you love to do, you won’t keep up your marketing efforts.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Reading. Wait, did that just make me sound boring?

Well I love travel, I love teaching. Love. Teaching. I do a lot of writers conferences which I adore.

Yeah I know, there’s a theme here. Books, books, books. You know what they say: Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I adore writing. I never proclaim to be the best writer, but I do adore what I do. If anyone reads my books, I always, always welcome feedback. Loved them, hated them, write me! authorchristinageorge@gmail.com

Writer Interview-Kathleen Kaska

Tell me about your latest book. 

My latest book, Run Dog Run, just released by Black Opal Books last March, is the first of my new Kate Caraway animal-rights series. Run Dog Run revolves around the world of greyhound racing.

Here’s a short synopsis:

After five years in Africa researching the decline of elephant populations, animal-rights activist Kate Caraway’s project comes to a screeching halt when she shoots a poacher and is forced to leave the country. Kate travels to a friend’s ranch in Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. The young woman has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse and believes Kate is the only one with enough experience and tenacity to expose the crime and find out who is responsible. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, which complicates the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

What’s next for you?

 I’ve just finished the second Kate Caraway mystery. A Two Horse Town in set in Montana and Kate is on a mission to save wild horses living in the Prior Mountains. Also, I’m putting the finishing touches on a hardboiled-detective novel.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many and they are all so different. As far as essays and blogs, I love reading anything by Roger Angell, The New Yorker editor and writer; William Zinsser, E.B. White, and Lisa Socttoline. Mystery writers Martha Grimes, Laurie R. King, Spencer Quinn, Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Chrisite, and Arthur Conan Doyle are tops on my list. For literary fiction I read Pat Conroy, John Irving, and Anthony Doerr. And I have an entire shelf of foodie books written by M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Julia Child. My hardboiled-detective writer favorites are Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, and Rex Stout.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I get up early. I’m a morning person so that’s easy for me. Sometimes I over schedule and put too much on my plate and the balancing act becomes tedious. But it also motivates me to get the work done. I set long-term goals and daily goals and that keeps me on track.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love birding. Living in Washington State most of the year and spending several weeks in Texas in the winter allows me to see a variety of birds, some local and some migratory. I have several friends who are birders and this gives us a great reason to spend time together and travel to exotic places. Cuba is next on our list.

I also love running, especially long runs. I live on Fidalgo Island and the scenes are spectacular. This is one of the few times I am by myself and it’s easy to get lost in my thoughts. I solve problems, plot mysteries, and plan my day, week, and year. I often run marathons with my three sisters. The big city races I participate in are quite different from my solitary runs. Running with thousands of people is a thrill like no other, especially the huge races like the ones in Houston and Seattle. Imagine thousands of people out there with the same goal: challenging yourself and having a blast.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like readers to know that a portion of the sales of Run Dog Run will be donated to the Greyhound [adoption] Project Inc, which provides adoption and foresting services.

Books are available through Black Opal Books, Kathleen’s website, and Amazon.

http://www.kathleenkaska.com

http://www.blackopalbooks.com

https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska

Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Can a Basket Save the World?

img_0426Whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, most people would agree that there are many problems in the world.  Any attempts to solve the problems are sometimes overlooked in the ongoing debate as to cause or fault.  Sometimes our own daily challenges with life make it seem impossible to take on one more problem particularly one of global magnitude.

At a women’s retreat I agreed to contribute a prize for the raffle table and searched for a basket and items that would pair well with Ever After.  I had fun hunting for fairy tale-themed items suitable for a grown-up princess, a sparkly crown ornament, a coloring book filled with fairies and dragons, herbal tea and Godiva chocolate.  The wand proved to be elusive; all likely options were either too short or cheap looking. Then I found a glow stick topped with a butterfly and it was perfect.

When I saw my basket among the raffle prizes I was stunned.  Four tables of baskets, gift certificates and original artwork lined completely lined one wall.  During breaks women “shopped” the raffle table, perusing their choices then distributing their raffle tickets for a chance to win their favorite prize. The raffle was held the final morning among much cheering. Thanks to some ingenuity and craft, a group of 60 women raised $1,700 for Awaken, a Reno non-profit  which has done so much to restore lives damaged by sex trafficking, a global problem with a local presence that is disturbingly close to home.

Faced with overwhelming odds, many people would hesitate at the idea of taking up a sword and charging off to face the world’s battles. Many of the world’s problems are complex and rarely solved with a quick solution. A basket may not be the right choice solving for all of the world’s problems, but it’s a good starting point for some of them.

A Tale of Two Talks

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With Ellen Hopkins after Microtalk event at Grassroots.

I recently attended two events featuring local writers.   Both intended to illuminate the journey of community movers and shakers in hopes of inspiring others.  While both events were well-attended only one was a success, the other a disappointment.

The flop was held at a trendy bar to a standing room only crowd.  A local author would interview four  Reno-well-knowns about their creative journey.  The main event was held in a room adjacent to the bar which was packed well before the event started.  Those at the bar could watch the interview unfold on the TV screen. While there’s nothing like watching a playoff game in a crowded bar, a talking head interview doesn’t have the same intensity.  I could have just have easily watched the same interview while settled in my favorite chair with better popcorn at home on a public access channel.

Adding to the disconnect our host gave such an in-depth introduction of his first speaker, that when she finally spoke it seemed like old news.  Or maybe it was the slow pacing of the Q&A format.  In any case, despite the fact that the saison on tap was delightful, I couldn’t stay for another speaker or even a second round.  I expect according to the bar receipts this event was a success, but in terms of human connection it was a failure.

The Microtalk event at Grassroots Books was a completely different story (not just because I had the chance to meet Ellen Hopkins-though that was a highlight for me).  The event was free, but required reservations which allowed Grassroots to gauge crowd control and adjust logistics if needed.

The speaker line-up featured  Molly Sheridan, from Desert Sky Adventures,  Rebekah Stetson of Urban Roots and NY Times Best Selling Author, Ellen Hopkins.  Their host gave a concise intro for each speaker. Each speaker had 15 minutes which allowed them to share their stories with time for questions from the audience.  With the speakers touching on such topics ranging from running in the Himalayas to organic farming to addiction’s impact on families –how could you not want to learn more?

The pacing of the event allowed plenty of time for audience members to chat with the speakers afterwards (and book signing). And for those longing for even more discussion, Grassroots hosted an after party off-site open to all.  I drove home after the Microtalk feeling engaged and inspired.  Sometimes the less is more approach is what works best.