Uncategorized

April.15 Book Rec

This month’s book recommendation: Land of Dreams by Cheryl St John. A sprawling frontier western about finding love–and believing in it when it finds you. Puts me in the mind of the first spring day when the breeze is warm, and you know long days of sunshine and green and growth are finally here.

dreams

I discovered Land of Dreams early in my romance novel reading career. While plenty of other titles have been read and redistributed, I’ve always held onto my copy of this book. It’s one I can’t ever quite part with; when I curl up with it for a reread, my impulse of keeping it is rewarded.

There’s a big story that takes place in big country here. There’s some intrigue, some action, and some wonderful sensuality, some great historical details, some great grit, and some great dailyness of the characters figuring out their places as dynamics change around them. But what I enjoy most are the two very real leads at its heart who work to make their happy ending true and deserved. I like who they are–individually and together–and love the life they forge, fight to keep, and eventually settle into.

Brew a pot of tea and enjoy!

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Geoff Symon. Thanks, Geoff!

To know more about Geoff Symon, check out www.geoffsymon.com or see what he’s up to on twitter (@GeoffSymon). He offers authors of all genres classes and personalized consultation on criminal investigation and forensics. His upcoming classes include SavvyAuthors and an in-person workshop at ThrillerFest this July.

ggun


1) If you could wipe your memory of any book so you could read it as brand new, what book would you choose?

My college Statistics textbook? Because if I picked it up as fresh now, I know I’d be all “What the hell is THAT????” and not waste memory space on it. 🙂

Seriously, I think I’d choose To Kill a Mockingbird. The truths in that book are still so relevant today. Every time I read it (which is often) I experience the world building and anxiety and sweetness and horror as if it were my first time anyway.

2) Time travel: Go back through history or forward into the future?

The fantasized version I have of myself is where I’d pick the future. I’d be a Captain Kirk/Frodo Baggins/Buckaroo Banzai and discover new lands/tech/cultures… but the truth of the matter is I know I’m actually a control freak who likes all of his ducks in a (very straight and precise) row, with no surprises around the corner. So if I’m being honest, I’d choose the past every time.

3) Red Vines or Twizzlers?

Twizzlers. Duh.

4) What is your favorite word?

Hence. We don’t have near enough hences anymore. (I’m German, so Schadenfreude is a close close second.)

5) Any obscure and quirky subjects you are fascinated with and thus read and research obsessively?

The physics of super-heroics. If a man was given the power of flight, how high could he really go before he blacked out from lack of oxygen or hypothermia? If he was invulnerable would he be able to feel a pencil enough so that he didn’t snap it every time he tried to write? If you’re in the Arctic would it be better to be the Human Torch where you generate heat for yourself or Ice Man where cold is your norm? You know — the kind of questions everyone asks/researches! Well either that or how to get viable fingerprints off of a deceased person in various stages of decomposition. But that’s not quirky.

…Right?


Geoff Symon is a 20-year Federal Forensic Investigator and Polygraph Examiner. His participation in high-profile cases includes the attacks on September 11, 2001, the War in Iraq, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, tgprinthe 2002 bombings in Bali and the Chandra Levy investigation, among countless other cases. He has direct, first-hand experience investigating cases including murder (of all types), suicide, arson, kidnapping, bombings, sexual assault, child exploitation, theft and financial crimes. He has specified and certified training in the collection and preservation of evidence, blood-spatter analysis, autopsies and laboratory techniques. Today he uses this expertise to aid genre fiction authors in making their works vivid and factual.

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Susan Lee. Thanks, Susan!

To know more about Susan Lee, check out the blog she co-founded boysinourbooks.com, or see what she’s up to on twitter (@SusanNYLee).

biob


1) You get to resurrect a series (tv, movies, books) from your childhood! What will it be?

Ok… this is totally silly! But I was *just* thinking about this show the other day. There used to be this competition show called “Battle of the Network Stars.” And it would have all these actors from the shows on each network competing in silly games like Simon Says, tug-o-war, obstacle course, dunk tank. I used to LOVE this show… it was on maybe once a season! Anyone… anyone?  I guess with paychecks as much as they are these days, no way actors would risk something like this anymore. Sad.

2) Deep sea or deep space exploration?

I’m TERRIFED of the ocean. I’ve almost drowned twice (once parasailing, being dipped, and not being able to be pulled back up! and another time bodyboarding too close to a pier!). So, I think deep sea would paralyze me. But, I don’t have much desire to go into the black of space either! I guess I’m kind of a chicken when it comes to the unknown!

3) Magical Kingdom or Animal Kingdom?

Hmmm… this one’s tough. I grew up in Southern California so Disneyland lost a bit of its luster for me. I’d DIE to go to Harry Potter world though! Still, I think Animal Kingdom. Some of the animals that you come in contact with in their “natural” habitat are ones you’d never expect to see up close in your lifetime, ya know?

4) What is your favorite word?

Shit. I say it all the time. Without knowing it.  My least favorite word that I also say all the time without knowing it? Like.

5) What’s your dream vacation? Caveat: You get 3 days on an unlimited budget or 30 days on a limited budget.

If a limited budget included food enough to cook, and all the firewood I would need, I’d definitely do 30 days in a mountain cabin during winter. I love the snow and I also love the quiet/seclusion. I just got back from 4 days in a secluded mountain resort (so I guess unlimited budget) and it just wasn’t enough time! As much as I love living in New York City… the noise, the energy… I think it makes me need those quiet times even more!


Susan is a voracious reader, a sometimes blogger, a binge tv watcher, and a professional fangirl. She’s part of thesusan founding team at Boys in our Books, a review blog for LGBTQIA+ books, with reviewers in 6 countries over 8 time zones. Susan recently sold her first short story and is slowly, quietly, and laboriously putting more words to (digital) paper in her new role as wannabe writer.
do good, Uncategorized

Do Good March.15

Every month I feature a way to give back by sharing things I’ve found meaningful to champion. For March 2015 I chose helping good people help dogs. I love dogs so much! I can’t imagine my life (or a lot of my books) without them. But for every dog in a happy home, there are so many more who are still searching for one. Send a cheeseburger Hope For Paws’ direction and start getting great dogs into great forever families!

hope

Hope For Paws || Hope For Paws Facebook & Twitter || Rescue videos on Youtube

Mission Statement:

Audrey and Eldad Hagar have been fostering hundreds of animals in their home for the past eight years.  They created Hope for Paws to help animals in this country who suffer and die every year because of negligence and abuse.  They also created a huge network of rescuers from all over the world on their Facebook pages.

Our fostered animals are a part of our family and are treated as such.  Too often, people undervalue their furry family members and abandon them in their backyards, on the streets or at the shelters.  These animals die from starvation, abuse, and euthanization because of the overcrowding at the shelters.

Pets are not items that can be thrown away or exchanged for younger models. Animals are sentient beings who feel pain, love, joy, mourning, and loss.  These valuable creatures help us whether it is assisting the blind or finding people under the rubble from an earthquake.  They help us in times of war and during human catastrophes.

We want to help both humans and animals alike live harmonious and fulfilling lives together.

Theo – Before & After:

theo

Happy giving, in whatever way you choose to better your world!

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Suleikha Snyder. Thanks, Suleikha!

To know more about Suleikha Snyder, check out www.suleikhasnyder.com or see what she’s up to on twitter (@suleikhasnyder). Her most recent literary triumphs are Bollywood and the Beast and Opening Act, available from Samhain Publishing and Entangled Publishing, respectively.

BatBcover


1) If you could create a magical chimera, what animals would you combine?

Hmmm. Tough question. How about a kitten, an African grey parrot, and an otter. Mind you, I have no idea what it would look like, but it would be smart, chatty and extremely cute.

 2) Floral or spicy candles?

Spicy candles all the way! I find most floral fragrances cloying, so hook me up with sandalwood and other rich, earthy odors. Are there candles that smell like my mom’s home-cooked Indian food? Because I would be all over that!

3) Canoeing or yachting?

Neither. I’ll just hang out in the boathouse snacking on ice cream bars and Coronas until the rest of you come back to shore. I’m not a big fan of being out on the water.

4) What is your favorite word?

Without a doubt it’s “dude.” I use it as almost every part of speech. I have even exclaimed “Dude!” at some of my bosses and, red-faced, explained, “No! I don’t mean you’re a dude!” I have no idea where this affection for the word came from. I’m not from California. I don’t surf. Maybe the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

5) You get to vacation for a week within any movie universe–which would you choose to enter?

Part of me wants to say the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because I love that whole franchise (Call me, Cap and Hawkeye!) but I have to go with Om Shanti Om. It’s a splashy, epic, colorful, hyperaware self-parody of the Bollywood film industry, and I think it’d be great to move around in that sphere and hang out on the movie sets in this film-within-a-film context. Plus, I’d finally get to be in a musical number! I’ve always wanted to be in my own montage!


Editor, writer, American desi and lifelong geek, Suleikha Snyder published her first romantic short in 2011, SuleikhaSnyder2015sm.joggoing on to multiple releases in recent years — including three Bollywood romances from Samhain Publishing, SPICE AND SMOKE, SPICE AND SECRETS and BOLLYWOOD AND THE BEAST, and a short in Cleis Press’ SUITE ENCOUNTERS anthology. These days, she’s hard at work on more South Asian-themed romance and erotic romance. Suleikha lives in New York City, finding inspiration in Bollywood films, daytime and primetime soaps and anything that involves chocolate or bacon.

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Rayna Vause. Thanks, Rayna!

To know more about Rayna Vause, check out www.raynavause.com or see what she’s up to on twitter (@Rayna_Vause). Her latest literary triumph is the sale of her urban fantasy novel, Demon of Mine, to Dreamspinner Press. Rayna is also the organizer of the Create Something Magical writers’ and readers’ convention, an annual event in Iselin, New Jersey. This year’s conference takes place March 21-22. For details visit www.lsfwriters.com/conference.

CreateSomethingMagicalConAd_FINAL_web


1) Is there a specific quote, essay, or even fortune cookie you once read that’s really stayed with you?

“Well behaved women seldom make history.” by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. This quote appeals to my inner rebel and my sense of adventure. I guess this explains why I’m always being accused of being a trouble maker.

2) Jewel tones or earth tones?

Both.

3) Snakes or spiders?

Absolutely snakes. When I was in high school, I volunteered in the Live Animal Unit at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. The LAU was home to a variety of animals most of which couldn’t return to the wild due to injury or domestication. In the unit, they had a room that just housed snakes and lizards. While I was working there I got the opportunity to handle ball pythons and boa constrictors. It was at first disconcerting, then sort of awesome. While I have no plans to go out and get myself a pet python, I did develop an appreciation for snakes.

Never been a fan of spiders. Ever since I saw the movie Arachnophobia they’ve really freaked me out. It was those eyes. Ugh, so creepy.

4) What is your favorite word?

Megalomaniacal. It’s the first thing that popped into my head. It’s not a word that I’ve used often, but I have managed to work it into a conversation. Not sure what that says about me. I like the word because it’s a bit of a tongue twister, but also because I’m a Pinky and The Brain fan.

worlddomination

5) You’re getting treated to lunch every day for always–but the meal will always be the same. What’s on the menu?

Tough question. There are so many yummy things to eat on a regular basis. I think I’d have to go with a variety of breakfast foods. Pancakes, waffles, omelets, the works. Of course, I’d need dessert too. The Borders near where I went to college used to sell these chocolate coated walnut brownies. Those would have to be included oh and Daiquiri Ice. It’s this sorbet like creation from Baskin Robbins that has lime in it with a hint of rum flavoring. Yum.


RAYNA VAUSE writes stories that mix a little action, a little adventure, and a little paranormal. Her books feature gay andRayna Vause-4096-color-sm straight couples because everyone deserves a happily ever after. A perpetual student, Rayna has collected more degrees and certifications then she cares to admit. She is also a cat lover, a martial artist, a video game enthusiast, a Disney fanatic, and a Pop Tart aficionado.

Uncategorized

March.15 Book Rec

This month’s book recommendation: Watership Down by Richard Adams. A great read for the advent of Spring, and simply a great book.

watershipdown

Being read a chapter a night for bedtime was my introduction to this story. I was enchanted by the world created and thoroughly believing in these rabbits and their epic journey. It’s the first “adventure novel” I read, and primed me as eager to devour other classics in the genre. Also, a detail I find compelling and heartening as an author, Watership Down is another book in the grand tradition of having been rejected several times before a publisher took a chance on it (and thank goodness they did!).

I’ve reread Watership Down twice since those bedtime hours; in junior high for a book report, and as an adult after reaching for it on a whim on a rainy, quiet day. The story rewarded my loyalty and my enchantment returned with each read, even as I gleaned new insights about the rabbits and their tale.

I have named more than one stuffed animal and glimpsed rabbit hiding in the grass Fiver in my day. I became friends with a dog named Hazel who, upon inquiry, was confirmed it was for the stout heroine of this book. And for a long while, Bigwig was an endearment in my house.

This is a story about struggling to survive and overcoming great challenges. Maybe most of all it is a story about family–having and creating one.

Brew a pot of tea and enjoy!

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is Kate McMurray. Thanks, Kate!

To know more about Kate McMurray, check out www.katemcmurray.com or see what she’s up to on Twitter (@katemcwriter). Her latest literary triumphs are When the Planets Align and the upcoming Rainbow League series, which are available from Dreamspinner Press.

The Wind Up_FINAL


1) What toy do you remember most fondly from growing up?

I was a child with a short attention span—my mother still jokes that she thought she’d have to hire a circus to keep me from getting bored—so there wasn’t one toy, but I did have maybe 20 Barbies, and those were my favorites. My allowance money was divided pretty evenly between books and Barbie clothes. My Barbies were all fashion-forward and had great hair, and they lived out crazy soap opera stories I made up for them—I mean, they were as soapy as a 9-year-old could come up with. (The Barbie I remember best came wearing this hot pink lace number that was very “Like a Virgin”-era Madonna, because I was a kid in the 80s. I often paired her with ice skater Ken, who came with a sparkly mint green and pink skating costume, and in retrospect, I wonder if he was really all that into Barbie.) I coveted Barbie’s Dream House, but my parents couldn’t afford one, so I built one out of my brother’s Legos, and it was pretty sweet, at least until my brother got mad and took his Legos back.

2) Chocolate or vanilla milkshake?

Vanilla!

3) Fifth Avenue or flea market shopping spree?

If money were no object, Fifth Avenue. My super power is that I’m really good at sniffing out sales, though, and I try to dress in a way that looks expensive but isn’t. I’m not really focused on labels except insofar as there are certain designers I like aesthetically. My personal approach to fashion is that I like to wear clothes that make me feel good, so I tend to pick things that fit well with lots of patterns and colors. (I like fashion and shopping, if that was not obvious!) I’ve lucked out at flea markets and clothes swaps too, though; one of my favorite dresses is one I got for free at a clothes swap. So the answer to this question is that it’s kind of a toss up!

4) What is your favorite word?

Well, James Lipton, the first one that came to mind was “pomegranate.” I like a multisyllabic word.

5) If you had one month where you didn’t have to worry about work or money, what would you do?

I’d hop a plane to Europe and spend the month traveling around and looking at art.


Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as unnameda nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America and is currently on the board of RWANYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Uncategorized

Friday Fun Five

Happy Friday! This week’s guest is K.A. Mitchell. Thanks, K.A.!

To know more about K.A. Mitchell, check out www.kamitchell.com, see what she’s up to on Twitter (@ka_mitchell), WordPress, or sign up for her newsletter. Her latest literary triumphs are Bad Influence and Bad Behavior and are available anywhere you want to buy books. If you want to know what happens when a dive vacation goes on a little too long, read No Souvenirs.

BadBehavior-R(3)


1) When you’re flipping channels, what movie will you always stop on to watch?

I love old movies, and even if I’ve never seen that one, I can get sucked into a screwball comedy. But in terms of the modern stuff, I can never flip past The Mummy. “I…am…a librarian.”

2) Hamsters or chinchillas?

I’ve had them both. I still miss my chinchilla Joey terribly. He’s been gone 13 months. He was a sweetheart. He gave kisses and loved to be petted. He lifted his arms up for scratches. We shared lots of greens together, and I fed him roses from the garden too. He was here for over ten years.

However, the story of the hamster Killer-I-Bite is much more entertaining. He was once Speedy, a classroom hamster with a genial personality. Unbeknownst to the teacher (a.k.a. my wife) they decided to release some very serious fumes in carpet cleaning over one weekend. The chemicals wreaked a Mr. Hyde-like transformation in Speedy. He became vicious, attacking even his food when it was offered to him. We took him in, changing his name to Killer, which had the I Bite warning added as a sign on his cage that became part of his name. He was often seen hanging from the top of his cage bars by his hind feet and swinging, much like a bat. He lived out the rest of his typical hamster life span in solitude and earning deep respect. Feeding him was like throwing something to the velociraptors in the first Jurassic Park, cleaning his cage required a game warden’s assistance.

3) Sunny spring day or rainy fall day?

Rainy fall day, please. Love them. Give me a drive and rain and fall and some Chris Cornell coming out of my speakers, and I’m in heaven.

4) What is your favorite word?

Sesquipedalian. It’s so much fun to say. I like its literal meaning best (a foot and a half long) but it’s great at describing what it means, an overly long word. However, my critique group and editors might weigh in and say that I have a deep and abiding love affair with the word even.

5) You can travel anywhere in the world, but only stay two hours. What’s your destination?

Dive boat off Oahu or any Hawaiian island, I’m not picky. Can I start out already 50 feet under water? By the way, you know I can’t fly right away after I’ve been diving, right? I’m going to have to stay or risk decompression sickness. And you wouldn’t want that, right? Right, Elle?


K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefullybadinfluence crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house, and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Chip and Ken made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was surprised to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.

do good, Uncategorized

Do Good February.15

Every month I feature a way to give back by sharing things I’ve found meaningful to champion. For February 2015 I went with three things I love all combined: Dolly Parton, books, and supporting literacy.

dolly

Dolly Parton‘s Imagination Library

Children in need can be registered to receive free books. Donations can be made or merchandise purchased. And reading programs can be set up in your area.

Mission statement:

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

Happy giving, in whatever way you choose to better your world!