Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is Penelope Price a Plotter or a Pantser?

By the Seat of my Custom-Ordered Bloomers
by Penelope Price

Its a question every writer (okay, maybe just those who have ever participated in NanoWRimo must face at some point.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Which is to say, do you write by the seat of your pants (a 'pantser') or do you write with meticulously constructed notes and plot points (a 'plotter')?

This would make a great poll - in fact, I'm posting one on my Facebook page today to coincide with this post? I wonder which is more common amongst my fellow writers and whether or not there are others like me.

Because I go both ways.


During the best, most organic moments of writing -- I am a pantser. I fly by the seat of my bloomers! I clamp on my chunky magenta headphones, crank up the playlist, and let my fingers do the work. It has been that way since I started writing books twenty years ago. Perhaps that is why I enjoy sprinting/word wars so much during NaNo; sprints are a license to just let loose and allow whatever comes out to just be.

Yet I write a lot of fantasy, and with fantasy worlds comes world-building, history-writing, research-gathering. And I have been told that I do world-building to excess. I don't believe that - you never know when some small nugget of information may end up being crucial to a plot! Plus, its fun. For me at least. I adore creating timelines, maps, intricate relationships between Ancestral Houses or religious institutions, webs of intrigue stretching across time and space. I have reams of pages filled with brief character sketches, key exports from certain regions, weather patterns, historical changes in geography/topography/political boundaries, lists, maps, details about the style of dress, notes from books or websites about various topics that may come up in the plot, real world mythology and legends... I could go on, but I think that gets the point across.

I am a meticulous planner. To the point that, yes, sometimes I bog myself down in detail. But I like to err on the side of caution and have too much information than to end up stuck on some niggling detail in the midst of a hot and heavy writing session.

But I have a shameful secret to share.  Despite all my world-building, all the information I've put together for various projects -- several of those, my dearest and most beloved projects, remain unfinished and incomplete. Probably because despite all the planning, I wrote them as a pantser and tripped myself up in the actual plot.

Which is why, when I began my current WIP, "Incandescence" and its sequel, "Inferno", I made a conscious decision to go against my usual modus operandi and outline the plot BEFORE I started writing. I spent a couple days before last November scribbling out first a general 'this happens, then this, and then this, then the end' before fleshing it out into scenes and chapters. This process has been super stream-lined thanks to Scrivener, which I purchased after winning NaNo last November.

In the future, I am going to continue to work on my process. I think I work best with a good combination of both plotting and pantsing. Of course, the beta readers' verdicts are still out, so...

Anyway, my answer to the question above is muddled. I guess I would have to say that I swing both ways, and I'm comfortable that way. What about you, friends? Are you pantsers, plotters, or both? Would you consider yourself something else entirely?

Comment below and then check out my poll on Facebook to vote and see how other people are answering!

Love & Rainbows,

Penelope Price: author, gamer, nerd. Though she has been writing since she learned to read, P.P. did not emerge from her coccoon to join the writing circuit until the year of Tangerine Tango. She is the crazy chick behind this summer's Incandescence and its sequel, Inferno and can usually be found plotting projects with her partner-in-crime, Jack Morgan of PunchJackMorgan.com. Get updates, gossip and geekery by following P.P. on Facebook (http://facebook.com/PP_TheWriter), Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/PP_TheWriter), and at her blog (http://www.penelopeprice.net).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Please Welcome Monique O'Connor James and Becoming Jolie

Becoming JolieBecoming Jolie is about a woman writing her thesis and focusing on a small town where children mysteriously go missing left and right...and nobody seems willing to do anything about it. At first she thinks they are all nuts, but when she begins to have some bad dreams and ends up talking to the ghosts of the children, well... maybe she's not crazy.

She must get to the bottom of it.

Meanwhile, she has a romance with Hutch...

A touch too drawn out for my taste and didn't "feel" the romance, but I enjoyed the mystery of the children and especially loved the bad dreams. It was just the right amount of spookiness.

And I'm pleased to say that Monique has agreed to answer some questions about Becoming Jolie.

Me: What town did you think of or what place came to mind when you pictured/wrote about Follette?

Monique: Ha, that's a great question.  Mostly Follette was a figment of my imagination, however, my dad came from a small town in Louisiana called Mamou with lots of rice driers and such.  I know that this area of the state played a role in my development of the town.  There is also a small town called New Roads. It sits on False River and that was my inspiration behind the bayou that runs through Folette.

Me: Jolie has some serious bad dreams. What's the worst dream YOU have ever had?

Monique: Oh, your questions are awesome.  This I haven't really shared with anyone before, but once right before I got married I had a dream that I walked in my bedroom and my (now husband) was hanging from the ceiling. (disturbing, right?).  It was such a horrific dream that I woke my dad up screaming and I remember it taking hours before my heart stopped exploding in my chest!

Me: Does Jolie have any of your own traits/characteristics?

Monique: I'm sure on some level she does...oh, yes, we both suffer from headaches.  Someone pointed out to me recentlyt hat alot of my heroines have headaches! 

Me: Neither Hutch, nor David are on the cover, but both seem to be good looking men. What stock photo would you have used, or celebrity do you visualize for them?

Monique: OMG!  Don't make me do that! You know I'm horrible at picking out stock photos of these guys!  Maybe, someone could do that for me!!! 

Me: They call Jolie City Girl. Are you a city or a country girl? What makes you one?

Monique: OH, I'm a city girl!  I live in a little suburb of the city and it's nice and quiet and country like, but I have to be close to the shopping and fun.  Also, I love to fish, but you wouldn't catch me hunting or cleaning fish or anything icky!  Blame my dad and my husband. They spoiled me rotten!

Thanks, Monique, and readers, do any of you wish to take the challenge of finding a photo/celebrity to match the heroes?

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Fire of Thieves by Chacelyn Pierce

The Fire of ThievesThis is an action-packed story featuring a strong-willed heroine who knows how to handle a gun, a knife, climb walls, and thieve with the best of them. Caityln and  Jerrick have been partners for a long time, both professional thieves. She wants out of the life, but Jerrick is keeping her there; his demands and her lust for his body...and well, she loves him.
So they go on one last thieving expedition, requiring Caityln to leave behind her good, stable boyfriend. But she gives into temptation... what's going to come of that?

And will this really be their last job? Can she convince Jerrick to quit the life?

It's exciting and has hot sex. I especially liked Caitlyn, her attitude, skills, and I love that we had a woman sort of behaving badly instead of a man. Nice role reversal.

From a mansion with guards to a vault in Mexico, Caitlyn is torn between her history with Jerrick and her future with Ethan. It leaves you wondering who she is going to choose for her HEA.

Five bikes. I bought this on Amazon kindle.

The Devil You Know by Victoria Vane

The Devil You Know (The Devil DeVere #2)First, there was A Wild Night's Bride. Then there was The Virgin Huntress. Now we have The Devil You Know...and this gets way more in depth on the history between Diana and The Devil DeVere..

You may have noticed the dislike on her part, the discomfort on his, the tension when their names are mentioned in each other's presence...now you'll know why.

A woman in an unpleasant marriage...a man offering her a night beyond her wildest imaginings...a mistress bent on revenge...an intricate murder plot.

There's no humor in this one, but we see a softer side to The Devil DeVere and much is explained.

A must read for historical romance lovers. Available here

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay

The Map of Lost Memories: A NovelThis is a story that is a blend of historical fiction, greed, determination, women making waves, anger, finger-pointing, and tied with an ending that just left me sitting there with my mouth hanging open.

Irene is a young woman who has spent years making a museum all it can be, silently permitting a man to take all the credit, knowing one day her time will come. But instead of being named the next curator, she's cast out...all because she is a woman.

She has one chance to take the world by storm: find some copper scrolls in Cambodia. It's ancient history, and valuable in so many ways.

Enter Marc, Simone, Louis, and numerous other people as the journey commences from Shanghai to Cambodia. There's angry tribemen, a dying man,government officials needing to be bought, drug use, arguments, the jungle, secrets of the past unveiled, and all the while Irene comes to realize a stunning moral: You can spend the rest of your life always searching and wanting more or you can be happy with your life as it is.

Simone wants the scrolls to start a revolution. Louis says he wants them for Cambodia. Irene wanted them for herself. The tension mounts as they continue to argue and though they are working together, they are also racing against each other.

It was intense and a perfect blend of history and fantasy and heart-stopping moments. I'd give it a five but I was really put off by Simone.

This was a Vine book.

Great quote: "loneliness is not about what happens when you are alone but about what happens when you are with others."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Natalie Star is PISSED

For this week's post on the Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour, I have the YA novelist, Natalie Star, and she has a rant in response to a blogger's rant. And wow, I have to say, I agree with a lot she says. Welcome, Natalie, and take it away.

"I read a blog by Ritesh Kala on Alexia’s Chronicles and decided to write this blog following his, hence the title and the subject of bloggers, authors and review requests. I wanted to write about this very issue during the release of my debut young adult novel, The Keeper.  I decided against it for many reasons. But now after reading Ritesh’s experience, I think it’s time to share mine. People will never know unless we share.
My YA paranormal romance came out the first week of January. My plan was to have a couple of reviews up before it went on sale so people could gage whether or not they wanted to purchase it. The month before the release there were some really wacky format issues with the ARC; therefore it wasn’t ready for my publisher to send out to reviewers until after release day.
As soon as I had my hands on the corrected ARC I began my journey to find bloggers to review my eBook. That journey was disheartening. I emailed over one hundred and fifty blogs. I heard back from a dozen and only a few could actually review it for me. This is when I found out that the young adult genre is saturated with writers looking to be reviewed. It wasn’t just me.
*Ritesh said his will be a three part series (at least) on the subject. I would love to retort each of his blogs (in a good happy fun way, Ritesh is one of the good guys). So I will be waiting on his second blog for a rebuttal. To read his blog, here is the link: http://alexiachronicles.blogspot.in/2012/07/i-am-blogger-and-i-am-pissed-1.html.

1.      Read the review policy: I do! Every last word. And let me tell you - some bloggers can get real wordy. I understand the need to give some of the info you do, but sometimes what you’re telling us isn’t important, and has no bearing on the fact that I want you to review my book. So short and simple should be the motto. The best review policy I read said: Hello, my name is… this is what I read… this is what I won’t read… in addition to hardcopies, these are the formats I accept… my turnaround time is… and this is how to contact me. ß That info right there is what I seek. Nothing more. When reading an official review policy, I really don’t care about the specific classes you’re taking, or what days they are on and what time you attend them, or that you need to visit your grandmother on Sundays, (friend me on facebook we can chat about that kind of stuff there), or don’t tell me the bad experiences you had with a certain genre… Oh, and reviewers when you list your genres, please be educated in what they are. I had people read my blurb and excerpt and say “I don’t review that kind of stuff.” when they plainly listed my genre on their page. These are all real things that I came across. I kid you not.  I think to make things easier you can indicate right off if your blog site reviews eBooks or Indie books. That’s where the masses are coming from. That would be awesome! Then we don’t have to comb through the jibber jabber to find that info in the last line of a three page policy where it says “Sorry, no eBooks (or no Indies)”. This is frustrating beyond words.

2.      Draft personal review requests: I do! When I can readily find the bloggers name. I don’t have time to read the “about me” section in addition to reading three page policies while searching through 150+ blogs. In my experience with this, I sort of shy away from using a name unless it’s clearly listed on the policy page. I ran into issues with several bloggers saying “That isn’t my name!”…  Well, when you are a chick and your blog has a feminine name attached to it, and the contact email has that same name involved. I assume that’s your name. Not the name of your niece, your daughter, or your dog (all true stories)! Really, how could I know that? I’m not a mind reader.

3.      Don’t attach your books with your review requests: I don’t! (I actually have my publisher, Decadent Publishing send out the requested format directly to the reviewer). I would never. That’s presumptuous on the author’s part, and kind of pushy.

4.       Don’t assume your book is the best thing since sliced cheese:  I don’t! But I am guilty in saying, “According to your review policy and your requested genre’s I think you might enjoy my story.” And I haven’t said that often, only in the ones that give off a certain vibe.

5.      Not giving out review copies: for free, and sending out a purchase link for the reviewer to buy the copy. Heck no! I would never do that. In my opinion, no one should charge on either side of the coin. I think that the reviewer is being rewarded by receiving the book for free, and the author is being rewarded back with a review. That’s just how I see it.
 Author’s, blogger’s, how do you feel about the topics above?
I can’t wait to see what Ritesh brings up next. I have more to say on the matter."

Natalie Star is a young adult author who favors paranormal romances and urban fantasy. She lives in Hampton Roads, Virginia with her loving husband, two soccer playing children, and one unintelligent diabetic cat. The family loves to travel, and Natalie enjoys photographing all of their journeys.

The KeeperThe Keeper (Young Adult/Paranormal Romance), by Natalie Star

   The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
   “Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.
   As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.
The Keeper can be found on many fine online eBook retail sites; however, Natalie would appreciate it if you would purchase it through her publisher: http://bonobookstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=20

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Poem I Had To Share

My cousin, Jon Curran, takes awesome photos. He's starting his own photography business, and I not only ordered this photo for my wall, but posted it on Facebook. Aw, the power of a photo. The lovely Jennifer Don was inspired to write a poem. I was so moved, I had to share them both. I hope you enjoy them.

In winter's hand, the canopy removed

A burst of light uncovers food

Fleeting trails lay spread across the ground 

While what's hidden remains alert for sound 

Near a path so worn, the trees they sing 

Songs of old and tales of the king 

Weave endlessly in winters hold 

Where no man ventures unless they be bold.

Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.

While she aims to work through the edits needed, updates on her progress can be found on here -http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferDon
To find out more with regards to her other projects, then check out her blog here - http://thoughtsgowild.blogspot.co.uk/
And should you wish to follow her on Twitter, or ask her any questions please see here -https://twitter.com/#!/Voice_Of_Spirit
You can also add and follow Jennifer over on Goodreads. You will find that link here –http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6155054.Jennifer_Don

Jennifer will be more than happy to answer any questions you have for her. You can contact her at any of the links posted above. Or email her at authorjenniferdon@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hooked Book Trailer

Having read Liz Fichera's Captive Spirit and Craving Perfect and enjoyed them both, I'm excited to say she has a new one coming out next year. First she gave us a historical love story, then she gave us a witty ConRom, now she brings us a YA. The woman has many talents!

Blurb: Sparks fly when a Native American girl with a killer swing joins the boys’ varsity golf team and takes on the boy with the killer smile. Don’t miss this heartwarming and emotional new romantic contemporary!

Expected publication: January 31st. You won't want to miss this one.


Please Welcome Ed Griffin. How Did a Real-Life Friend Become a Character in His Book?

It's rare that one finds me speechless. I mean, really, I'm one of those petite chicks with a big mouth and lots of opinions I'm not afraid to voice. The following post has pretty much left me speechless though. I hate to use the word entertaining when it's such a sad story. I feel kind of wrong. But I was truly riveted while reading about Ed and Ricardo. I'm happy to be hosting and posting this today. Please, welcome Ed Griffin. Ed, take it away.

"I had two amazing men in my prison writing class. Mike was a boxer before he was arrested in Mexico for smuggling drugs. He was a talented writer, who could produce an entertaining story in a week’s time. The guys in the class loved his work. One time I said that many men wrote romances using a female name. The next week he came down to class with “Breach of the Heart,” and he read chapter one aloud. Again the men in the class liked it.
One guy asked, “Mike, how did you do it? How did you get inside that chick’s head?”
I will never forget Mike’s answer, and only he could say it in a prison and get away with it. Mike said, “I just got in touch with the female part of myself.”
But it is the other man that I based a character on. His name was Ricardo. He had a million ideas for TV shows and he wrote a novel about an Italian drug king. (Write what you know, the saying is.) He loved his Italian heritage and his novel was full of characters named Rocco, Alfonso, and Vincenzo. They hung out in a restaurant called La Dolce Vita. He had real talent to promote and to write.
Together the two of them energized my class.
Ricardo got out on parole first. I knew that the first days out of prison are very hard for a man, so I met him for coffee and we chatted. He told me how much he hated prison, and I reminded him that the best thing he could do about that was never go back. It was clear to him that I expected him to go straight, but lurking behind him, I saw the high life he used to live. I knew he had little money and I worried about what he would do to get it.
I set up another coffee the next Saturday at the Starbucks by Science World. He lived downtown and that would be convenient for him. I took the Skytrain from Surrey and I waited a half hour for him. I called his cell and got the answering message. He never showed. He knew what I expected.
The rumors started – he had gone back into crime and Ricardo did nothing in a small way.
Mike got out a year later and he went straight – poor but straight. Today he’s in a great relationship and has his own business. The writing will come back, but earning a living is on his mind now. He told me he’s seen countless crime opportunities, but he’s turned them down. Often he runs into old friends who present him with tempting plans, but he refuses.
I kept hearing of Ricardo’s rise in the crime world. One night he rented a downtown nightclub to have an invitation-only party to announce his engagement. Of course, I wasn’t invited.
The next day I read the papers. On the way to the party a rival gang gunned him down. His fiancé and their six-month old baby were not injured, but were badly shaken.
I went to his funeral where six beefy gang members carried his coffin and the police photographed everyone there. It was a Godfather rerun and this also made me sad, that there was no mention of the artistic side of the man.
I’m writing a novel now about a new kind of prison, one that is about rehabilitation, not punishment. I have a character there named Nino Mandaro. He’s just like Ricardo, used to the high life and making big drug deals. Neither Mike nor Ricardo used drugs, but they dealt them. Mandaro is the same, he doesn’t use, but he deals – and in a big way. In the story he even figures out a way to get drugs into the prison.
Mandaro loves his Italian heritage and he sings Italian songs while he works in the prison.
I tried hard with Ricardo, but failed. Every time I drive by the cemetery where he’s buried, I say hello to him. Tears come to my eyes. Such a creative young man dead in his early thirties.
To handle my grief, I write. I write Nino Mandaro. He is my tribute to Ricardo."

Ed Griffin teaches creative writing in his community and in a federal prison in Canada. He’s written five novels. He’s an ex-everything, ex-politician, ex-businessman and ex-Catholic priest.

Find Ed online at
Personal Blog http://edgriffin.net/
Writer’s Write Daily Blog http://writerswritedaily.wordpress.com/

Friday, July 13, 2012

Release Day!

mbtmebook-smHi all! Today I'm pleased to announce the release of Maiden Behind the Mask, a historical lady Zorro romance. It's now available from Ruby Lioness Press. I had great fun writing this, immersing myself in another time. I even incorporated some family names. Can you guess what they are?

Special thanks to Bev Pettersen for her guidance/help with one scene. Really appreciate it.

Meanwhile, here's a blurb:

When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she’ll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.
However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other’s charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina’s nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband’s amorous advances…or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.
Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so…they will both pay.
It can also be found on Smashwords and Amazon.

Blessed Homecoming by Lorraine Nelson

Blessed Homecoming by Lorraine NelsonI'm not big on Christian Fiction. My blog followers will know that. However, when this manuscript hit my inbox, I saw a real good story. Even if you don't go for God this or God that, there's strong theme of forgiveness and letting go of your demons... because if you can't let go of the past, how can you move on into the future?
Wendy is pregnant and alone. Her husband is in jail after beating her. She heads home to her parents to recuperate and give birth. She never wants to love again. That leads to a world of hurt.

Jake is the handyman just going house to house to escape his own past. He doesn't want to be around a pregnant woman remind him of all he's lost...but there's something about Wendy, and there's something about the Danforth family. Slowly his faith in people is restored.

Love blooms. But we all know that past comes back to haunt us and it does for these two. Wendy must escape her ex husband again, and Jake needs to forgive someone himself.

A sweet, clean read that explores love, learning to trust again, forgiveness, and the close bonds of family.

Available from Breathless Press

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hot Wheels by Stephanie Campbell

Hot WheelsI love stories featuring disabled heroines. This story not only is about a girl in a wheelchair, but also touches on the issue of school bullying.

Though a YA book, I think adults would enjoy it as well.

Lindy is in high school and when one day, she opens her favorite poetry book to find a note from a secret admirer to Hot Wheels, she's floored and suspicious. And why shouldn't she be? Nobody in school is very nice to her. Surely, it's a joke when the popular guy, Mark, not only fesses up to being her admirer but asks her to the school dance...

And there's a lesson here...for all involved. Lindy hears some stuff and is mighty quick to make assumptions. Remember when you assume...I don't need to finish that quote, do I?

But the greatest part of all is the moment Lindy realizes something: "It was her insecurities that were the problem."

The kids are dicks, but Lindy can have the last laugh if she realizes that in time. Don't let the losers win.

Well told. It felt juvenile, but it is a YA book so the simplicity of the narrative makes perfect sense. I think they should make this required reading in school, especially middle school.

I bought this on Amazon.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Please Welcome D.F. Krieger and To Honor

To Honor (R&R Series, #1)I had the pleasure of reading this book pre publication and it was one of the saddest and yet funniest pieces I've ever read. That may seem strange to you...how can a story be both?

Well, in To Honor, you have a military wife who has been dealt a really bad hand: the loss of a child combined with a misbehaving spouse. The wife's pain and frustration and anger radiates off the page. She loves her husband, but he hurt her. When she needed him, he wasn't there. How can she get over it and forgive him?

But see, he's got some parts too, so we also get his POV: his grief, guilt, frustration.

I found myself cheering for the couple, wanting them to work things out, hoping their love would be enough. But where does the humor come into this?

The heroine is so spunky underneath her grief, has so much great attitude. I LOVED how she put her doctor in his place and handled her roommate, and that's all I'm gonna say.

Meanwhile, I asked D.F. to come on Book Babe and answer a question. This is an extremely emotional and honest post. I hope you all take the time to read it and remember: not all illnesses are visible.

How did your own experiences tie into writing To Honor?

Most people don't know, but To Honor strikes home for me in many ways. It is the story of my own experience in a parallel fashion. My time in a psych ward from attempting suicide allowed me to effectively write this story as realistically as possible.

Taking my wedding rings off and shuffling around in unlaced shoes were some of the most degrading and painful things I've ever been through. My roommate was highly OCD and constantly rearranged my things...Unfortunately rearranging hers got me put in one on one therapy with the "principal." Being accused of having a drug addiction because I overdosed on over-the-counter pills was demeaning  and I found that I could argue until I was blue in the face, but my word meant nothing because I was considered insane.
Little Known Fact: The psych ward almost didn't accept me. They said my issues were too complicated for them to handle. I still laugh about that to this day.

For two years straight I was hit up one side and down the other with the worst things that could happen to someone. A wreck, cancer, my mother's unexpected death, my husband's constant absence due to the military, a miscarriage that lasted seven months, and finally, discovering my husband wanted a divorce because his girlfriend told him to divorce me. In the end, I broke and took the wrong way out. I suffer from compound Post Traumatic Stress along with anxiety and depression. These things shape every day of my life and some days it is a struggle to get out of bed and face the world around me.

My therapist suggested that I use my passion (which happens to be writing) to express my pain and release it. I don't think she ever expected me to pursue publication with it! LOL. However, so many people suffer from invisible illnesses and our number one myth is that we believe we are alone in it. We're not alone! No matter what you've gone through, I can guarantee you someone else in the world has or is going through it too.

If I'd stopped for a moment and talked to others about my pain, instead of bottling it up thinking no one wanted to hear it, I would have sought help sooner. Suicide is not the way out, if anything it only complicates and makes matters worse for yourself and your family. Now I know that if I speak, I have people who will listen. I want anyone who feels alone or suicidal to read To Honor. It will show them that just because it feels like the end of the world, it doesn't mean it is.

I'm still not healed, and I never will be. People don't understand that with an illness like this, there is no secret cure, no overnight success that will allow you to greet the next day cured. I have to take it one day at a time and do my best. I hope that along the way as I fight my inner darkness, that I inspire others to do the same. ~ D. F. Krieger

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Kicked Off Jennifer Starks' Current WIP?

This week, I'm pleased to say, I have Jennifer Starks visiting. She is going to tell us about her current work in progress and how it came about.. I love the title: Messy Death.
What kicked off Messy Death?

"An idea. I know that seems like a pretty lame answer, but that's the truth. I took a break from writing to start college. Because I had so many things going on along with school, I just stopped. At the time, I thought it was the right decision. Two years later, as I struggled to find my author voice, trust my characters and remember how to make that prose of mine sparkle, I realized it was definitely NOT the right decision.

The novel I intended to start then was titled The Madness of Sorrow, but the characters were not speaking to me, I didn't feel connected to the story at all and Messy Death kept begging me to write it. One day, after a particularly frustrating stint trying to connect with characters that didn't want to play with me, I said forget it! I'm starting Messy Death and it WILL be the one I finish.

Last night, June 29th 2012, after an incredibly long day of writing, that goal was accomplished and I've never felt such soaring relief, pride, nostalgia or fear in my entire life. To be in these uncharted waters is completely invigorating. Also, mildly terrifying.

The idea for Messy Death was not a complete one. I didn't know until I started writing the first chapter that it would be set in the future or that the cast of characters would be as heavy as it is. I didn't know how the main character would resolve her mystery, who her love interests would be, if there'd be sex or how in the world it would end.

In short, I knew jack squat. Wait, I take it back. I had a vague plot line and hot guy characters. Is that enough to make a novel? Hell no! And yet, it was. With a crew of pretty kick ass cheerleaders, Liz Sogard you are the bomb, I was told day in and day out to keep writing,  trust the character. Trust myself and the single most important piece of advice: remember its a FIRST DRAFT! You've got plenty of time to make it pretty. Once I let go of the belief that a first draft should be damn near perfect, I got a hell of a lot more accomplished.

This journey has taught me So much. Messy Death will always be more than "an idea" to me now. It's the book that taught me how to a be writer that finishes her work and isn't afraid to put herself out there for the world to judge."

Jennifer Starks has been writing since the tender, but still wise beyond her years, age of eight. She gets giddy at the thought of visiting a bookstore, loves that good ole Library smell, is most at home on the couch reading or at her desk writing. She adores her children (though they make it entirely difficult to keep any kind of writing schedule) and is humbled beyond belief to have a mother who fostered her love of the arts and a husband who supports the lifestyle even when it means listening to her type at 5 AM. Messy Death will be Jennifer’s debut novel. Updates on its progress can be found at www.jenniferstarks.wordpress.com
Twitter: @princessjen20              
Email: princessjenjs202000@gmail.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The Great Escape (Wynette, Texas, #7)This book was just so fun... I didn't expect much from it either. I've never read this author before and I did not realize until it landed on my doorstep that it was part of a series, so I was afraid that I would be lost...

Not only does the book standalone just fine, but I loved it so much and laughed so hard, I immediately made sure a previous one is on its way to my door.

Lucy is the heroine and she was adopted by the president...so she has always felt out of place and naturally, every time she turns around. she's told how lucky she is and this has led to feelings of "owing" her adopted parents...that means no misbehaving...

But we all have to misbehave sometimes. In her early thirties, Lucy finally does, beginning with running away from her groom at the altar and jumping on some stranger's motorcycle and going on vacation with him. That's where Panda comes in, with his own personal demons in tow, under those offensive Tshirts he wears. LOL

I just roared with laughter and chuckled so hard in so many different spots. Lucy and her dreads and skank clothes...we've all been there. I think women everywhere will be able to relate to her, her conflicts, her "what I am?" feelings. And Panda, despite his gruffness, is just sexy as hell.

The sex scenes were more playful than sizzling, but in a time when every darn book is nothing but sex, it seems, I appreciated this.

There's a side story too. Bree and Mike and Toby, adoption, forgiveness, moving on. Temple and Max are another story, along with body image, expecting too much of oneself, coming out of closets.

To sum it up: It's a very funny, engaging read with serious notes and lessons between the pages. Five bikes.

I received this from the publisher.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rescued Love by Angelina Rain

Rescued LoveThis was a tough book for me to read. I'm one of those folks who treats my dogs like children and reading about them being viciously murdered/used in dog fighting was hard. But I appreciate the unique story the author came up with, especially in a time when there are billions of books released every day it seems, and all of them the same blasted story line.

There are three stories here. Jordan and Nate are one. Jordan did him wrong sorta (she didn't mean to) long ago, and now Jordan, upon running into her in his new hometown, is doing her wrong...but he doesn't want to. There's a story here I don't wish to reveal as it would spoil things.

Petra and Dan are another story, and I thought Petra sorta stole the show. I found myself more fascinated with her than I should be with a secondary character. Her situation in her marriage, her inner turmoil...

The dogs are the heart though. Someone is abducting them and returning them mangled and battered...sometimes dead.

It's entertaining, unique, and I'm hoping that book two is not only about Petra, but about the dogs who made it through. I see a fantastic opportunity here for the author to now show us how a fight dog is rehabilitated and show the serious repercussions of the crime. I see great opportunities here.

Quibbles: I actually wanted more of Nate's POV. I was fascinated by his situation and felt it and what he felt warranted more ink. I also was slightly dissatisfied with the villain's motives. It wasn't enough for me, but then again, I had a hard time fathoming that kind of cruelty to pets to begin with, but it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. It does. Will we ever understand their motives?

Four bikes. I recommend it. This was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean

The Shadow Queen: A Novel of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of WindsorI first heard of Wallis Simpson when I watched The King's Speech, a move about Edward's younger brother and his stuttering problem. I said, "Wow. That woman made a KING abdicate his throne!!! What in the world did she do?" And I was fascinated.

So when this book popped up, I could not wait to get my hands on it. And first, I'd like to say it was extremely well-written. I was riveted in the beginning even though I was a touch put off by Wallis's obsession with society, class, finding a husband.

At the halfway point, I started to get irritated. Wallis just expects everything handed to her. She's absolutely worthless, can't work, won't work, just has to get married asap. And though I realize this was the norm, it didn't make me like her. She thinks she entitled to everything from the wedding of the season to an allowance she doesn't earn. Did I mention she also tries to seduce her own cousin?

By the end of the book, I did not like Wallis Simpson. She was a worthless socialite who did nothing for anybody except a Navy mission in China. She was in a huge rush to marry, got the guy, and when he began hog tying her to the bed, I actually clapped my hands. This whole "trap a man by withholding my virginity" thing...Sorry, no respect for it. Her attitude...seduce this man, seduce that man...I'll be an ambassador's wife! Her whole stepping out on her husband but getting mad at her beau for stepping out on her... I found it eye-rolling. I didn't care for Pamela either. Come to think of it, every woman in the book was all, "Oh, I'll get him to sleep with me. It's a challenge! No, I'll seduce him to upstart myself... No, I'll make this one marry me."

Meanwhile, around them, there's a war going on and women actually being USEFUL.

I found the narrative extremely engaging. I just didn't like Wallis. What I did like, however, were the parts about Pensacola's Navy base: the carriers, the planes, the records... That was just...awesome and really made great reading. Also, as perverted as this sounds, I found myself intrigued by the whole "impenetrable hymen."

One last quibble: She doesn't mean Edward till the end.

Something I did like: the motto that it's not necessarily physical beauty that makes one stand out but confidence.

Three bikes. There were some things that had me riveted and some things that had me rolling my eyes.