Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things!


It's time for another edition of. . .

CELEBRATE THE SMALL THINGS!

This is a weekly blog hop sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about those moments. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

 If you'd like to join in and add a little more joy to your week, then go ahead over to Lexa's or simply pop by the linky below!

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

This is a crazy week (probably for several of you too), so here's the short scoop!

1) My youngest's birthday! She's now a huge nine years old and is feeling pretty big. My hubs had the great idea of decorating my hay trailer and meeting the school bus at the end of our dirt road (yeah, we really live in the boonies). He packed on drums, tambourines, horns, soap bubbles, flowers....it was quite the parade. And scared our neighbor's cows to death *hehehe*




2) I signed a contract this last week! I'm now an official, professional (*clears throat* I love saying that word) book reviewer. I'll be writing for a new off-shoot of an international book tour company which starts April 1st - The iRead Review. Won't be rags to riches, but I'm hoping to squeeze an ice cream or two out of it.



Enjoy your weekend! And Happy Easter!!!


What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? See a rabbit hopping by? Catch a snowflake on your nose? Get a lovely glimpse of the moon or stars? What are you celebrating?












Friday, March 18, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things!


It's time for another edition of. . .

CELEBRATE THE SMALL THINGS!

This is a weekly blog hop sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about those moments. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

 If you'd like to join in and add a little more joy to your week, then go ahead over to Lexa's or simply pop by the linky below!

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Warm weather! We had a couple days of very nice weather this last week, giving me a chance to head out into the yard and do a little weeding and cleaning up. Now, it's time to figure out what flowers I'd like to plant this year.

2) A surprise package from an author whose book I'm reviewing! There were all sorts of goodies inside. A bribe? Nah! But it was nice to get, and definitely put a smile on my face.

3) Good grades. Keep those coming kids!


And what about you? What are you celebrating this week? Notice the trees budding? See a funny commercial? Hear a song you haven't heard in a very long time? What put a smile on your face this past week?



Friday, March 11, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things


It's time for another edition of. . .

CELEBRATE THE SMALL THINGS!

This is a weekly blog hop sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about those moments. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

 If you'd like to join in and add a little more joy to your week, then go ahead over to Lexa's or simply pop by the linky below!

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1)  State Championships! The boy's basketball team of my daughter's high school made it to the last stage in the State games. Since the tournament is being played several hours away (nothing is close here), the entire team is spending a few days up in Columbia. Being a huge sports town, the cheerleaders, of course, go along (to my daughter's delight) and better yet, it's all expenses paid. So goooooo Panthers!

2) My younger son has a new habit--every morning at 5:50am, he crawls into bed next to me for a morning hug. 

3) Flowers are blooming! But since we're getting a lot of rain this week, I decided to bring some into the house so I can look at them all day long.





What put a smile on your face this week? Get to enjoy a very peaceful moment? Did you hear a song you haven't heard in years? Run into a friendly cashier that ended up making you smile for a moment?

What are you celebrating this week?




Monday, March 7, 2016

Approaching Night by Ilana Waters

Today, I'm excited to help  spread the word about the first book in a new series by a wonderful author friend of mine, Ilana Waters! This one has a slightly darker side to it and is placed in one of the creepiest places possible -- an asylum. And the cover. . .well, I was totally wowed by that to. But before I start going on and on, here it is:




APPROACHING NIGHT
Book 1 of Seluna

by Ilana Waters
YA Fantasy
189 pages






"Almost everyone is convinced I’m mad. But I’m not sure I believe them." 

Seventeen-year-old Seluna doesn’t know why she was admitted to an all-female insane asylum called Silver Hill. She doesn’t know exactly how she makes inanimate objects come to life. And she can’t figure out the reason for the sadistic and brutal experiments on girls here—many of whom are never heard from again. 

When Seluna sneaks out to the moonlit, forbidden garden behind Silver Hill, she meets a mysterious boy swimming in a pond. She senses there’s a connection between him and what’s happening at the asylum, but he’s not telling what. Then there are the screams from down long halls and the constant absence of light. No doubt they’re all part of the scheme concocted by the merciless head of the facility, Dr. Catron. He’s growing more and more frantic and violent in an attempt to find the person—or thing—he’s looking for. 

Yes, there’s a lot Seluna doesn’t know about Silver Hill. About why moonlight, madness, and murder are following her. But she needs to find out fast . . . before she becomes the next victim. 

(Set in the nineteenth century of an alternate world called Hartlandia, APPROACHING NIGHT is a YA gothic, paranormal fantasy).







MY TIDBITS


I enjoyed this the moment I had the chance to beta it, so my opinion might be a bit biased. But here are my thoughts and the reasons I'm a Seluna fan.

This is a darker story set in a place screaming with creepy possibilities--an asylum, and one with tons of secrets and eerie characters.

The main character is a seventeen year old girl named Seluna, who isn't quite sure why she got stuck in the dismal institute. She's an easy character to sympathize with, not only because of her situation, but despite everything, she's pretty level-headed. She has 'talents' but isn't stupid enough to let the world know about it, and she's not the type to believe everything anyone tells her. Of course, she makes a few bad decisions and has a couple of quirks, but it's exactly this type of thing which makes her more realistic.

The setting in this book sent chills down my spine. The descriptions picked out the right amount of detail to let me sink into Seluna's world and feel the icy shadows. The deeper one gets into the book, the more unsettling the world becomes. And that's perfect.

I really enjoyed the other characters as well. Each has their very own personality and ticks. Even with their oddities, they grew on me. This made the story that much more heart-wrenching when the plot starts to thicken.

This isn't only about creepiness, though. Like a sprinkle of fairy dust, fantasy dances around the edges adding a touch of brightness and hope to off-set the weight of the rest of the plot. As things blacken over into evil pure, this tiny touch is what I found makes the story so alluring, especially since there were times that the layers of dark secrets really piled up. It's not clear who Seluna should trust and the tension of whether or not she'll make it safely through, mounts with every page.

I recommend this to fans of slightly darker stories, ones who still love a bit of fairies, magic and other pieces of fantasy. And although this does work as a stand alone, I can't wait to see where all of this takes Seluna next.


And the best part???
A little mouse told me that book two won't take long to hit the shelves, so there will be more about Seluna soon.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things!


It's time for another edition of. . .

CELEBRATE THE SMALL THINGS!

This is a weekly blog hop sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about those moments. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

 If you'd like to join in and add a little more joy to your week, then go ahead over to Lexa's or simply pop by the linky below!

This week, I'm celebrating. . .


1) Fresh bread! As a German, my husband loves his bread. Unfortunately, all we have around here is what he calls 'sponge'. To make sure he gets what he likes, he's turned into quite the bread baker. The only thing better than eating warm, fresh bread is the smell of it.

2) Unexpected letters! I received a letter with pictures this last week from the choir I directed in Germany. I was so surprised and happy to hear from them.

3) Growing grass! Okay, it's not shooting up by leaps and bounds, but the grass is growing. Why does this make me happy? Because that means I don't have to hay my cows too much longer.


And what about you? Did you see a lovely flock of birds? Meet an old friend? Go out for dinner? What put a smile on your face this last week?







Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG Composing with Heart


Hello, March! With a new month comes another session of the awesome writer's support group:

IWSG!!!

This group is the brain child of the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and exists to offer writers a safe haven, where they can voice frustrations, worries, fears or whatever troubles them. It's also a place where writers can offer support, words of encouragement or any other shining bits of hope. But the group doesn't stop there and has SO much more to offer. It's worth a visit here if you haven't run across this before.


Thanks also goes to Alex's co-hosts this month:
 Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard


For over a year now, writing hasn't been so much a 'flow of words' for me as much as a 'forcing them through a concrete wall with a sledge hammer'. Although there are several reasons for this, I think some of it's a mental block. While writing, I keep catching myself wondering if the story is marketable. Is it something that can finally get published? Can it sell?

This last week. . .while procrastinating (another reason words don't flow). . .I happened to see a show about a composer, who was chasing her musical dreams.

Here's the nut-shell version: her songs caught immediate attention and the band she wrote for soon shot to the top of the charts. However, there was another composer who was better than her and blocked her band's chances at gaining more popularity (oh that TV drama!). Determined to write a song to 'defeat' her rival's, she sat down night after night, writing her little heart out. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't write a song that could beat his. . .in fact, everything she wrote was even worse than the songs she had once written before. The special glimmer in her music was gone.

Why? (I'm betting you can guess!) Because she no longer wrote from the heart. She was so determined to gain popularity and fame that she forgot why she was writing music in the first place.

Of course, this doesn't do a perfect, fairy tale flip-flop into real life. As writers, we do have to keep our audience in mind, and like it or not, there are genres and themes that sell better than others. Still, we can only write our best when we enjoy writing. . .when it comes from the heart.

See, TV shows are good for us writers!