Sunday, December 29, 2013

Nerd-Girl of the Year, 2013

Drum roll, nerd-girl of the year is...Zooey Deschanel!

Now, before you get all up in arms about whether Zooey is truly a nerd-girl, let's first go over the criteria.

A nerd-girl:
-is abnormally obsessed with at least one of the following, and possibly more than one: science fiction, fantasy, classic literature, English grammar, Renaissance fairs, comics, classical music (or some obscure musical genre), or math and science in general.
- is involved (or was once) in some school activity that others find weird, i.e. drama, chorus, band, chess club, debate club, save the whales, etc.
-does not follow obvious fashion trends - in other words, she's either hopelessly out of fashion, or she makes her own trends along the lines of vintage, goth, librarian chic, etc.
-is not "the popular girl," in whatever world she finds herself: jr. high, high school, college, or the work place beyond. And though she may dream of being the prom queen, or whatever, she knows she's better off with her bizarre friends and strange little world.

Getting back to Zooey, she may very well have been the popular girl in school - she's certainly pretty enough - and that popularity itself ought to disqualify her. She's also more privileged than most nerd-girls tend to be. Her father and mother are both movers and shakers in the film and television industry. As a matter of fact, her sister Emily plays a hard-core nerd as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the hit TV series Bones - a character so nerdy she's probably a little on the Asperger's spectrum (I'm sorry, but sometimes those things go together). But it's Zooey character of Jessica Day on the TV show The New Girl, glasses-clad, quirkily dressed (see 3rd criteria above), kindergarten teacher, who truly charms us into believing she can identify with our nerd-girl reality. Jessica is always a little out of step (even though she's also quite sexy with her big blues eyes and ample cleavage). Her best friend may be a super-model, and she may date some hot guys, but she's always doing something clumsy or odd that make people think she's slightly off-beat. A perfect example is the episode in which she gets a job at a new school and can't quite get in with the teacher's clique. We are treated to a flash back from the days when she was an awkward teenaged school girl, singing in the acapella Renaissance choir - a moment that would make any nerd-girl proud.

It's not just her character on The New Girl that qualifies her though. As a successful film actress (her role in 500 Days of Summer caused both my husband and son to fall hopelessly in love with her, something I've learned to live with), she's obviously into "drama" - perhaps not theatre per se, but drama yes - and so meets the criteria in the second category above. Additionally, she's a musician with the band She and Him, in which she sings lead. Though I can't say their music belongs to an obscure musical genre, the band is not widely known among the average population, and their music is sort of unusual. I think this places her firmly in the first category as well.

Yet it's really the image she lends to being a nerd-girl on her show that makes me so appreciative of her and her work. She must have the nerd-girl spirit if she's able to pull her role off so successfully. So, Zooey, whether you're a died-in-the-wool nerd-girl or not, thanks for giving us a good name. We all hope we can grow up to be you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Kindle HDX NOvember This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Ripple Effect Romance Series
  4. Dark Motive's Books & More
  5. Fae Books
  6. Author Marianne Morea
  7. Buku-Buku Didi
  8. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  9. Author Stacy Claflin
  10. Patchwork Press
  11. Author Louise Caiola
  12. Author Bella Street
  13. Author Bonnie Blythe
  14. Author Julia Crane
  15. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  16. Author Kim Cresswell
  17. A Bookish Escape
  18. Author Talia Jager
  19. Mother Daughter Book Reviews
  20. Fiction Dreams
  21. Book Angel Booktopia
  22. Kelly's Lucky You
  23. Author Roxanne Crouse
  24. Author Rachelle Christensen
  25. Author Jennifer Laurens
  26. Hardback Book Hotties
  27. Lori's Reading Corner
  28. Author Misty Moncur
  29. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
  30. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  31. Living, Learning and Loving Life
  32. Fairiechick's Fantasy Book Reader
  33. My Story That I Like Best
  34. LeahSay's Views
  35. Christine's Blog
  36. Candle Light Reads
  38. The Demon Librarian
  39. SMIBookClub
  40. Author T.L. Clarke
  41. Back Off My Books
  42. Michael SciFan
  43. Author Carole Brown
  44. Coffee and Characters
  45. No Thought 2 Small
  46. Stanley and Katrina, Pet Authors
  47. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  48. Love Bites & Silk
  49. Kimber Leigh Writes
  50. Author Rae Z. Ryans
  51. Author Georgina Young-Ellis
  52. The Reporter and the Girl
  53. Fic Central
  54. Like a Broken Vessel
  Sign up to Sponsor the December Giveaway (starting around December 2nd)   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 11/30/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Barbara Silkstone Unveils Cairo Caper and a Wild Good Time It Is!

On Amazon
Author Barbara Silkstone fits all my criteria for nerd-girl, romantic, and time-traveler. Though the genre she writes in is classified as comedy-mystery, her main character, Wendy Darlin, based on herself, is clutzy, brainy, adorable nerd-girl personified. There's no doubt Barbara's a romantic too: her Wendy Darlin mysteries sparkles with clever romance between Wendy and the charming, but also nerdy, Johnny-Depp look alike, Roger Jolley. She could even be a time traveler since she writes about adventures that have to do with archeaology and recovering ancient treasure, sending the reader back in time if not in actuality, at least in essence. As a result, I'm thrilled to host her on my blog with a review of the latest in her series, Cairo Caper, a quick interview, and a rolicking excerpt from the book.

Having loved the first two in her series, Wendy and the Lost Boys, and London Broil, I couldn't wait for Barbara to unveil the third, and was not disappointed. Silkstone has an amazing way of creating characters you love to love and love to hate. One of the new characters that appears in Cairo Caper that really tickied my funny bone was Fiona Feelgood, the clueless librarian. She kept me laughing throughout the whole book. But I also came to feel even more affection for Wendy and Roger. Even though they're officially an item in Cairo Caper, Silkstone still manages to create plenty of sexual tension between them. Plus there are a slew of lesser characters, each so distinct, each so well drawn, all of whom keep you laughing. Not only that, but she has a great way of using words, phrases and images in ways you've never thought of before to create an endless flow of wit. Let me also add that Silkstone manages, while filling the book with action and thrills, to remain sensitive to the terrible political unrest currently happening in Egypt. I appreciate that. I like this book SO much. Hilarious story, clever writing, great characters. The perfect comedy mystery thriller.
On Amazon

And now let's find out some things we didn't know before about Barbara Silkstone and her writing. Here's a short interview I recently did with her:

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I work out my phobias through my characters – Wendy Darlin in particular.
My fear of escalators drove Wendy to learn how to fly a helicopter and drop down from the sky onto the deck of a super-yacht. I can’t stand to get my face wet; neither can Wendy. I’ve had her perform more than one water rescue grousing through the entire operation. I have to admire her gumption.

My biggest phobia is one I cannot bring myself to inflict on her. I can’t stand seeing holes in fabric. It freaks me out. Both my hair and nail salons know to hide holey towels before my appointments. When checking into a hotel I strip the bed to check the sheets for HOLES. If I find one I ask for another room. I just can’t slam Wendy with holes. Too icky!

Where do you get your inspirations for your books?
They are all taken from my real life experiences… shaken not stirred.

Who are some of your favorite characters in your books?  Why?
I guess Wendy Darlin sits at the top of my list because she is willing to take lots of physical chances and laugh at herself when she messes up.
I love Kit. He is a famous Miami Beach drag queen and nail-tech for a number of my heroines. He makes a great best friend for the gals and he’s a hoot to boot.
Fiona Feelgood tickles me. She showed up in Cairo Caper. Fiona is a virgin librarian attempting for make a name for herself by writing Erotica for Dummies.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’ve just begun to write Miami Mummies. I know where it’s going and I have a general idea of the challenges Wendy Darlin will encounter. But once she gets started chaos always follows.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
I love the graveyard of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds. I could spend eternity there but I think it’s a closed club.

The following is one of my, and Barbara's, favorite excerpts from Cairo Caper: 
A room filled with cat mummies caught my attention. Fiona marched ahead, but I was drawn inside. Cats were considered guardians of the underworld and protectors of those in the afterlife. The dried feline bodies caused a wave of sadness to wash over me.

I moved to the middle of the room where the weight of a stare on my back caused me to spin around. I locked on to the dark eyeholes in the head of a long-necked cat mummy standing next to a wooden cat coffin. The plaque under the cat noted it had been entombed with its master, one of Cleopatra’s guards who had been slain protecting her in the early days of her reign. A tear ran down my cheek. I shook my head to break the strange connection I felt with the tiny figure.


Fiona’s shrill voice snapped me out of my mystic fog. She was standing cross-legged in the doorway, frantically beckoning to me.

Before I could move, a cat brushed my ankle. I jumped and looked down. No cat there. As crazy as it seemed I swiveled my head toward the cat mummy. I could have sworn it winked. My imagination was working overtime.

“Wendy, I really have to go.”

I barreled through a door marked with a drawing of a woman in a long skirt with a scarf over her head. The lights were a notch down from the gloomy hallway. Fiona managed to squeeze by me and race into the nearest stall, I grabbed a potty two doors over.

I locked the door then wrestled with my long skirt and the weight of two mummy-ashtrays in the pockets. I swathed it around my thighs and lifted it just as someone pushed on the stall door.

A gravelly male voice, heavily accented in Arabic said, “Open the door!” I dropped my skirt, dragging the hem in the toilet. Ick. The curse of wearing a long skirt.

“Wendy! Who is that?” Fiona called. “Is that a sex-maniac?”

“Don’t sound so excited,” I said pressing against the door as it shuddered from a fist bashing on the other side.

“Open up! I have something for you.”

“Go away.” I fought to keep my voice from quavering.

 “Open up or I’ll… put it under the door.”

“You do and I’ll step on it,” I yelled. He damn sure wasn’t delivering a pizza.

Something let loose with a high-pitched howl. It sounded like a cat but meaner.

I adjusted my skirt, bent down, and peeked under the stall door. Nothing. No male feet. No feet at all. Only the shadow of a cat. What happened to Gravel Voice?

“Fiona, on the count of three hit your door and start running. I’ll be right beside you. One!”

“I can’t get my Spanx up. I’m too sweaty!”

Spanx, my foot. A girdle is a girdle, and a girdle in this heat is ridiculous. “Fiona, drop ‘em and start running!”

“It’s the only pair I brought with me…”

“Two. Three!” I kicked open the door. No one was there. I didn’t bother checking the shadows. “Run for it!”

I imitated Fred Flintstone powering his stone-age car as I paddled my feet for all I was worth.

Fiona galloped alongside me. “Was he good looking?”

“Shut up and run!”

We slip-skidded down the hall and onto the slick-as-glass stone staircase.  We shot down the stairs like supercharged Slinkies.
Thank you, Barbara! 

Please visit her Amazon page to pick up Cairo Caper:
or a boxed set of the Wendy Darlin mysteries: 

Monday, September 9, 2013

9/11 - Finally Healing

I usually don't post on this blog about serious topics, but I had a revelation I wanted to share: I think I'm finally healing from 9/11.

It's been twelve years. I didn't lose a loved one that day, though I know people who did. I wasn't in the towers, nor near them. I was working on 56th Street, a few miles north, teaching. I was at work an hour earlier than usual because I'd taken on a special Business English group that started at 9:00 instead of the usual 10:00 am. If I'd had my regular 10:00 class, I would have left home at about 9:00, but I would have had the news on until then, and so probably would have known that the first tower had been struck and perhaps would not have set off for work. But who knows? At that point in the morning, no one yet knew it was an attack, so perhaps I would have.

The point is, I was in Manhattan when I normally wouldn't have been. The administration of my school was not glued to the internet so they didn't know about the attack until around 10:00. At that point, our Academic Manager came into the classroom telling us the Pentagon had been hit - that's all she knew. At the same time, someone rushed in to say there was a phone call for me from my husband. I went to the office to take the call.

"I heard the Pentagon has been attacked," I said.

"The World Trade Towers have been hit too," he said, calling from his office on 45th Street. "We have to get out of Manhattan. Meet me at home!"

I couldn't believe what he was saying. This meant we had been attacked on U.S. soil for the first time since Pearl Harbor, and I assumed it wasn't homegrown terrorism. The reality was, I didn't know anything, no one did. I hurried into the teacher's room and grabbed my stuff, even my lunch out of the fridge, and ran into my friend Teresa there. She also had to go to Queens so we decided to go together. We first tried the subway, but the trains had stopped running. We then thought to get a cab or a car service, but they were all taken. So we walked to the east side as she listened to the small radio she carried, one earphone in her ear, reporting to me what she was hearing. We couldn't see the World Trade Towers from where we were, but she said planes had crashed into both and they were burning. She said Chicago had been hit - we couldn't distinguish rumor from fact. In my mind, I saw the country under siege, who knew by whom, or where the next attack would take place. At the Queensborough bridge, we caught a bus. They were letting people on without paying, Everyone was trying to get off the island. I was terrified to be on the bridge, fearing another airplane attack would take it out. As we drove over, we saw the towers in the distance, though it was hard to know what exactly we were seeing. I think one had fallen by that time, and one was still burning, but mostly, they were covered in smoke. I tried not to look, and in glancing away, saw a Muslim woman, a frightened look on her face. We'd learned enough to know, or at least assume, it was an attack by a Muslim faction, and I prayed she wouldn't be harassed.

Once over the bridge, I said goodbye to Teresa and got off the bus because it wasn't going my way. I walked several miles to my son's school, trying to flag cabs along the way, but none would stop. When I got there, I took him in my arms, trying to explain in simple terms what I knew to be happening. He was nine at the time, old enough to comprehend some of it. He said some of the teachers were crying, others were trying to keep the kids calm and occupied. We walked about a mile together to where my car was parked, then stopped to pick up a few staples on the way home - rice, pasta, beans, I didn't know what else to do. As I pulled up to my house, I saw my husband walking up the street. He'd walked all the way from his office, across the bridge, and through Queens. I was so glad to see him!

Home was the place we live now, but under heavy renovation at that time, filled with boxes and construction - not exactly a welcoming haven. We turned on the television, and watched, horrified, though we put on cartoons for our son in the other room. I got on the phone and called my parents. I'll never forget my father saying to me as soon as he picked up, "I've never been more glad to hear from anyone in my life!" We both cried.

I won't even talk about the days and weeks that followed because they were the worst of all, as the reality of loss of life set in, and we had to deal with the gaping void in our city, a void so much bigger than buildings destroyed.

That was twelve years ago. I've never written about it until now. Sometimes I tell people my experience, people who weren't in New York at that time, but I don't like to. Yet now, it suddenly feels less difficult. My pulse isn't racing, my heart isn't in my throat. Tears aren't springing to my eyes. It's beginning to feel like an historical event, though a terrible one. And this is the first time in twelve years I haven't begun to feel dread as the date approached. I always used to pray it would fall on a day when I wouldn't have to get on the subway or go teach a class. I always hated being the cheerful ESL teacher on that day, and having to explain it to a bunch of people who weren't here and couldn't understand what it was like. This year, I don't have to do any of those things, but I realize that, for the first time, I wouldn't mind so much. Maybe. I also realize I'm not resenting the perfect, blue, September skies for the first time in all these years because that day was such a brilliant, cloudless azure. And though I have no desire to see the 9/11 Memorial again, thinking about it doesn't fill me with as much sadness as it did at first.

I am still thoughtful as the day approaches, but it's becoming more of a distant ache. This is how I know I've finally begun to heal. I suppose I've been healing all along but didn't know it.
What do I plan to do this September 11th? I'll go to the gym, as usual. And then maybe I'll go shopping at my favorite used and vintage clothing place because I need some clothes for the fall - not, as some suggested all those years ago, to do my patriotic duty to the economy, but just because I can finally, on that day, do normal things again.

To all those still suffering because of 9/11, and I know there are many, I'm sorry, and my heart is with you. I hope you'll find the peace to heal too someday, or maybe you're already on that road. I'm also thinking of the other people in the world in anguish because of war or terrorism or any of the other many horrors we bring upon each other, and pray for them, especially if my country had anything to do with it. We New Yorkers are not the only group to have suffered a terrible attack - almost minor compared to many other atrocities. And I'm not discounting how all of America suffered that day too, especially the people who lost loved ones at the Pentagon, or on any of the four planes that crashed. But I have many things to be grateful for, and one is that, so far, I have been spared worse. I only pray that in the future the suffering on this planet will abate for all people, and all can be granted healing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

At My Secret Getaway Spot - Another Ewan Sighting!

Sunset from the beach in front of our hotel
 I recently heard Garrison Keillor say that happiness is boring. We don't want to hear or read about anyone else's happy life: "Oh, I love my job, my kids are great, everything's wonderful!" What's satisfying, Keillor maintains, is to commiserate - to share how crappy things are, or the stories of the awful things that have happenend but that you've survived. And he's right. No one wants to hear about my blissful vacation. Well, if you're reading this, and you keep reading this, that's exactly what you're going to read about, though there were some crappy bits too. So, if you want to know about the crappy bits and/or the Ewan McGregor part, you must read on through the good stuff.

The other aggravating thing about this post is that I'm not going to tell you where we went. My husband and I stubbornly refuse to advertise this wondrous place we go to as often as we can afford to because we don't want anyone else to know about it. Oh, plenty of people do, we just don't want anyone ELSE to know. My close friends and family already are aware, and some have begun vacationing there. Well, that's enough. NO ONE ELSE GETS TO KNOW. (Hint: it's about 2 and 1/2 hours from New York City by car and requires a ferry to get there. In other words, it's an island. I've said too much.)

So, we drive out there on Sunday August 11th, arriving about 3:00, this is after sending the child off to friends in Mexico City the day before, and frantically cleaning, packing, and filling the ice chest and food basket. We thoroughly enjoy the drive on a breathtakingly beautiful day while listening to the new David Bowie album (sensational!) and this great Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan duet LP. We stop for lobster rolls at our favorite diner that hasn't changed a whit since 1959, or so we imagine. On the ferry, we get out of the car and Jon takes pictures of me, all the while the anticipation building, as we see our island approaching. We get to the hotel, built in the '20s, a perfect blend of rusticity and elegance, and are given free drink tokens as we wait for them to ready our room. They've had a busy weekend. Before we can say bob's yer uncle, the room is ready. It has a partial water view of the bay and a full view of the salt-water pool. Again, nothing here is over the top - everything is understated and charming, even the pool. We change into bathing suits and go for a swim - it's a bit chilly because they don't heat it, but it's lovely anyway, and we enjoy tequila and oj via our drink tokens, lying there after the swim, soaking up the late afternoon rays, incredulous that we're here. We go to get ready for dinner and this is where I lose my bathing suit cover up that I took out to the pool and never put on. I never did recover it. Dinner is at the hotel, on the deck overlooking the bay  - they have a nice prix fixe menu, but Jon has the steak frite from the regular menu. I have the freshly caught swordfish and freshly plucked bay mussels and its all incredible.

The next day it's drizzly. Hmmm, ok. We take a drive out to a long spit between two beaches and explore the flora of the area. Jon photographs. We come back and hunker down in the hotel common area which is like a super comfy, huge living room, and do some writing. We love to do this on vacation, especially there. We also go into honeymoon mode back in our room if you know what I'm saying nudge, nudge, wink, wink. (TMI? Oh, sorry.) For dinner we get take out from one of the few soul food restaurants we know of anywhere other than Harlem, and, oddly, this island, which tends to mostly consist of white folk. We'd rather it didn't but it does - nothing to do about that. We enjoy a nice dinner at the little table in our room and are happy. The weather clears and we go for a long walk along the shore. We watch a movie in our room. It's chilly in there, no heat, and since I've lost my cover-up and don't have much else with long sleeves, I ask for another blanket from the hotel and this becames my make-shift bathrobe.

Tuesday it's pouring rain. Really? We buck up. We go to the island library summer book sale, which we always look forward to, and find some treasures. We drive around doing some reconaissance, because a book I'm currently writing takes place largely on this island. We plan to write off the vacation for research, which is legit because I'm doing a lot of it here. We do some more writing and more canoodling, though we're also dying to kayak. We keep waiting for a break in the weather. When it comes, we decide not to chance it with the kayaks but go for a walk and get caught in a downpour.
I have my small umbrella but it's hardly sufficient. We go for dinner at a burger place which is delish! And naturally, as evening falls, the weather clears up. We enjoy a jazz duo in the bar area. I've perfected the art of sitting and staring at the bay. I rarely do nothing, but here, I've come to embrace it.

Wednesday the sun is out though it's a little chilly and breezy. Gorgeous, really, but too cold for a swim. This is the day for the long hike we've planned, through the nature preserve which makes up 1/3 of the island. We plan to do a 6 mile hike because we feel we need the exercise and because we  also feel intrepid. And though the trails are all mapped out with plenty of signage, we go the wrong way at first and have to double back, adding an extra mile to our hike. But we press on. The day is exquisite. 

We pass through deep forest, sunlit foliage, golden fields of grass and wildflowers, past cliffs overlooking the bay - the sky so blue, the air so warm yet the breeze so cool it makes you want to weep with the sheer, sheer beauty of it. We could not have picked a more perfect day. But a seven mile hike is a good 3 hours, up and down hills and over rough terrain and at about hour two we're ready to be done. Jon is stopping often to take photos and this irritates me as it means just standing around when I'm already tired. He's on a fungus kick, taking pictures of all the intersting mushrooms and tree funghi. 

We continue on, as we have no choice, our feet beginning to ache, our legs tired and our water almost gone. We make it, obviously, but we're quite worn out. We go back to the burger place for a lunch of salads, then head to the hotel to chill. Tonight is the big BBQ at the hotel, and after that, a band, and we hope, dancing, so we better rest up. The BBQ is epic. So much food you can't believe it and a grilled, fresh-caught tuna so tender it melts in my mouth. But we see more and more people coming: on boats from across the bay, from the nearby Hamptons (whoops! another hint) and the line for the
food is growing and growing. We're glad we got in it when we did. We finish up eating and the band starts. They are a great group doing early rock and roll, blues, Johnny Cash (again!), etc. We are dressed for swing dancing, me in my vintage dress, unlike everyone else in their resort wear, and we take the floor before anyone. Because no one else there has had the couple of years of swing dance lessons that we have, we wow them. There's a crowd forming, not just to see the band, we imagine. We're good, we think, we show off a little, people compliment us. We meet a nice couple and have fun getting to know them between dances. Then, I see HIM. Standing by the door to the deck. Same hair style, same beard as when I last saw him ( He's a slight man, trim, neat. He's wearing slim white pants, rolled up in a cuff and a boaty shirt. He's hair is russet red. There's no mistaking him - after all, I've seen him up close and personal. I've SPOKEN to him. He's smiled at me. But this time, I don't approach him. Ewan wants to be incognito. I point him out to my new friend but she doesn't know who he is. Really? He doesn't stay long. He's with his family. I wonder if he's seen me dancing and is impressed. Anwway, Jon and I poop out about 10:00 and go back to our room, which is right across from the bar. The party keeps going and going. The band stops, but recorded music goes on and the people, the mob, are drunk and do not leave. We hear it all from our room. We turn on the loud fan and try to go to sleep around 12:30. The party continues. Soon, the bartender starts to clean up and the door to the bar opens every five minutes then SLAMS shut. This goes on til almost 3:00 am, when Jon finally calls the front desk to complain. Then, the bartender finally seems to be aware that there are guests staying in the place and begins to close the door quietly. We're not happy. 

We wake up at 8:30, darn it. Anyway, the lovely full breakfast that is included with the room ends at 10:00, so we can't dilly-dally. Jon demands reparations at the desk and they refund us $100 bucks, which doesn't seem enough. But since we've decided to stay over another night beyond our reservation, they upgrade us to a really nice, full water view room, so we feel better. The day is spectacular. We take our inflatable kayaks out to a more remote area of the bay and boat vigorously for quite a while. Our friend from the city then comes out and meets us - she's hanging with us for the rest of the day. We swim in the bay while she takes a kayak out, then we go back to the hotel and lounge by the pool for the rest of the afternoon (in the shade, thank you), drinks in hand. I swim, but the water has grown quite chilly. We dress for dinner and eat on the deck of the hotel restaurant again, and they comp us a lovely bottle of local wine. That's nice. We say good-bye to our friend and go down to the lawn where there's a fire pit. We nab two chairs and when the fire goes out, the weird family that was already hanging out there beats a retreat. I ask the hotel to re-light the fire and they do. The moon is beautiful. We've purchased a sweatshirt apiece at the only clothing store on the island so we're warm now. A couple of ladies and a young boy come to join us and we fall into easy conversation with them. They're very funny, and soon we're talking and laughing like we've known them forever. Finally I get some appreciation for my Ewan sighting!

Friday. We must leave. We must say goodbye to our island paradise. It's so sad. We have breakfast, greet our friends from last night with another few guffaws, then pack up. We check out and go for one last walk. Before we leave, we call a realtor about a cottage we spy, with a water view, that we desperately want. It's listed for under a million! Oh good! If only we'd won the lottery! Well, we can dream. We meander home, stopping at a farm stand and a thrift/antique store. We listen to a podcast of Prairie Home Companion all the way, and this is where I gain the insights from Garrison. I think he wouldn't mind the rambling-ness of this post, since he rambles so, though I realize this is not as entertaining as his. Still, the trip was well worth recording if not entirely, dear audience, worth reading about. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot Summer Giveaway!

I don't know about where you live, but in New York City it's been scorching! Still, I like to think nothing's as hot as my romantic, time-travel trilogy: The Time Mistress Series. From now until August 31st, you can enter to win a signed, print version of book one, The Time Baroness, set in Jane Austen's England. To enter, just go to The Time Baroness Facebook page:
"Like" it if you haven't already, and leave a brief comment on the wall - even just a "Hi!" will do.
Only U.S. residents will be eligible. (Sorry to all my international fans!)

All U.S. residents leaving comments between July 21st, 2013 and noon on August 31st, 2013 will be entered in the contest. At 12:00 pm on August 31st, I'll put all the names from the The Time Baroness Facebook wall (those starting on July 21st) into a random selector and pick one. If you're the winner, I'll message you for your address and send the book.

Here's the Facebook link again:

Good luck and have a cool rest of the summer!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Excellent Weekend Book Sale!

We all love excellence...we all love excellent books...some can even be called phenomenal books for one reason or another. It might be because of the story, a unique idea, the style, prose, descriptions or amazing and believable characters.

For the weekend of the 12-14th July inclusive, my friend Faith Mortimer has selected a few books which all have that mark of excellence and which you might like to take a look at. All are priced very reasonably...often just a couple of dollars, (& many are reduced just for you - this long weekend only). We all know how long it takes to write a book...months, even years, so let's hear it for some phenomenal books then!

By clicking on the book links below, more information will be given about the book and author. Let's make this a fantastic weekend and get yourself a bargain fantastic book! Thanks for dropping by!

DERRICK ~ Donna Fasano

The Single Dad:
Ex-military man Derrick Richmond. Solitary and satisfied...until little Timmy was dropped into his lap and Derrick had to learn to be somebody's daddy.
The Single Woman:
Schoolteacher Anna Maxwell. Fate might have denied her a family of her own, but Anna still had plenty of love to give, if only someone would notice.
The Solution:
Anna would teach Derrick all he needed to know about kids. Father and son would give Anna some precious memories. Then the schoolteacher and the single dad would go their separate ways. Unless one little boy figured out a way to make Miss Maxwell become his mom!

Donna Fasano... three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #17.

I love the journeys this author takes us on in her stories. They are realistic, heartwarming and often heart-wrenching. A phenomenal author! (Ed)
Usually $2.99 on sale for $0.99

Fourteen Days Later ~ Sibel Hodge

Fourteen Days Later was short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008 and received a Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009. It is a romantic comedy with a unique infusion of British and Turkish Cypriot culture. Written in a similar style to Marian Keyes, it is My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Bridget Jones.

When accident-prone Helen Grey finds a thong stuffed into the pocket of her boyfriend's best work trousers, it's time for her to move on. His excuse that he needed to dust the photocopier and just thought that it was a rag sounds like a lame excuse.

Helen's life is propelled in an unexpected direction after her best friend, Ayshe, sets her a fourteen-day, life-changing challenge. Helen receives a task everyday which she must complete without question. The tasks are designed to build her confidence and boost her self-esteem but all they seem to do is push her closer to Ayshe's brother, Kalem.

How will Kalem and Helen get together when she's too foolish to realize that she loves him? How can he fall for her when he is too busy falling prey to her mishaps and too in love with his own perfect girlfriend? How will Kalem's Turkish Cypriot family react when they find out?

Is it really possible to change your life in fourteen days?
Sibel Hodge writes great books and as one reviewer put it; "This story was impossible for me to put down" -- Coffee Time Romance & More  - a writer of excellence.
Sale price $0.99 for this weekend

Boreal and John Grey ~ Chrystalla Thoma

Centuries ago, they nearly conquered humankind. But their Gate to our world closed, leaving them out. Now the elves have found a way back.

Ella Benson, agent of the Paranormal Bureau, fights the Shades when they cross into our world, keeping everyone safe. But increasingly dangerous creatures are slipping into her city, her work partner has just gone missing, and a mysterious – and, quite frankly, hot — guy saves her life. His name is Finn and, as it turns out, he’s a natural when it comes to fighting the Shades.
When the Gates between the worlds start opening and the elves make a comeback, Ella needs a new, temporary partner. Enlisting the mysterious Finn is a no-brainer, until she realizes he is guarding dangerous secrets of his own. Together with Finn, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, what’s Ella to do but grab her weapons and figure it all out, one way or another.

Chrystalla is Greek Cypriot  and likes writing about bratty, angsty boys and spunky girls in fantasy and science-fiction worlds. She writes mainly for a young adult public but not only  - she's currently preparing a non-fiction book about dragons, because the truth must out, and is juggling two series ("Elei's Chronicles" and "Boreal and John Grey"). Fab storylines - a phenomenal writer!

99c this weekend!

An Eternity of Roses ~ Natalie G Owens

"...'Til the end of my life, I shall belong to you as your husband."

That was the promise Adrian made to Emmaline. And then, he was gone forever...
It is 1807. Adrian Segrave, Viscount Bournemouthe, and Lady Emmaline Deramore are about to wed and British Society teems with excitement at this imminent love match. But Madeleine de Brandeville, a mysterious Frenchwoman, has her lustful and ambitious sights on the groom. When she sets her cruel plan in motion, she leaves devastation in her path.

Heartbroken, Emmaline embarks on an adventure she'd never imagined having. As the world changes and chaos brews, her fate becomes linked with the Valthreans, a group of immortals who must learn to face a deadly enemy that threatens their place in the human world. But all the while, there is one thing she wants more than any other--to get back her man.

When she finally finds her prize and the intense blue flame of desire burns once more, her worst nightmares are far from over and the toughest battle is yet to begin. Will love win the war in the end?
Natalie G. Owens got her first taste of serious writing by penning award-winning poetry, short stories, and articles for college and local publications. She sold her first book to a small publisher in 2007 and is currently indie published. Her favorite stories to write are romances with a dark edge featuring brooding heroes, strong heroines, and a good dash of fantasy.
Original price 3.99, discounted to 99c

Inescapable ~ Natalie G Owens & Zee Monodee

A two-thousand-nine-hundred-year-old immortal and her daughter must protect their town, Shadow Bridge, from the Evil that threatens its existence and the very life of all supernatural creatures on Earth. For readers who like kick-ass heroines, irresistible heroes and great action!

"You won't regret reading this series; you'll regret missing it!"--Rebecca Royce, bestselling author
Original price 3.99, reduced to 99c.

Wild Water ~ Jan Ruth

Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set. An unlikely hero, or someone to break all the rules?

Wild water is the story of forty-something estate agent, Jack, who is stressed out not only by work, bills and the approach of Christmas but by the feeling that he and his wife, Patsy are growing apart. His misgivings prove founded when he discovers Patsy is having an affair, and is pregnant.

At the same time as his marriage begins to collapse around him, he becomes reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Anna, whom he left for Patsy twenty-five years before. His feelings towards Anna reawaken, but will life and family conflicts conspire to keep them apart again?

An excellent book, which I have read! (Ed). And as another reviewer says:Romance Reviews Magazine: "Jan Ruth ruthlessly puts her hero through the grinder and God only knows how he retains his sanity. I’m literally breathless from reading this novel in one go in order to know Jack’s fate. Wild Water is a damn good read."
Special low price this weekend

The Assassins' Village ~ Faith Mortimer

"The Assassins' Village," introduces, Diana Rivers, writer, sometime actor and amateur sleuth. When an expatriate theatrical group gather to discuss their next play there will be murder. The group is riven with jealousies, rivalry, sexual tension and illicit affairs.

Unbeknown to each other they all attempt to find solutions to their problems. Some believe it lies in murder. Can they find the blackmailer? And can they find that all important 'little black book' - the chronicle of their misdeeds.

A body is discovered and Diana turns detective to draw up a suspects list. After the police get involved one of the suspects is found hanged - is this another murder or suicide?  A visit to a villager's home uncovers an ancient assassin's device.  Is it possible that an assassin lives at the heart of this formerly peaceful and idyllic mountain village?

Love, hate, murder and high drama all feature in this classic historical detective story.
The Assassins' Village reached #1 in Women Sleuths and #2 in Suspense on Amazon and has been awarded the title of 'Awesome Indie Book' and is an Amazon best seller.
Normally retailing at $3.25 the ebook is just 99c/77p for this weekend.

The Time Baroness ~ Georgine Young-Ellis

It started out as such a simple experiment: time-travel to Jane Austen’s England, live a quiet life as a woman of independent means, blend in and observe. I never thought I would fall in love or... end up planning a prison break! When did everything go so terribly wrong? October 24, 1820 - Dr. Cassandra Reilly.

Boasting impressive, solid reviews on, The Time Baroness has become popular with lovers of the time travel genre. The novel is a creative, engaging and brilliant display of Young-Ellis’ writing and storytelling skills.

Georgina Young-Ellis, The Time Baroness reached a place as Kindle’s #88 Top Rated, Amazon’s #23 in Time Travel Romances and Amazon’s #1 selling travel novel set in England.
Editorial Review:

This phenomenal book is normally $1.99 but is just 99c for this weekend.

Aphrodisiac ~ Alicia and Roy Street

Winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

A murdered friend leaves the secret of her paranormal perfume with warmhearted oddball Saylor Oz, launching her into a deadly seven-day race to find the killer, aided only by her wisecracking BFF Benita Morales and smoking hot middleweight boxer Eldridge Mace. Danger never smelled so sweet.

Review: A murdered friend leaves the secret of her paranormal perfume with warmhearted oddball Saylor Oz, launching her into a deadly seven-day race to find the killer, aided only by her wisecracking BFF Benita Morales and smoking hot middleweight boxer Eldridge Mace. Danger never smelled so sweet. "This sexy, exciting race against time is a gripping, fun read that is hard to put down."

Alicia & Roy Street have written many great books

Normally $2.99 this weekend 99c

PictureEbook and Audio version
Wendy & The Lost Boys ~ Barbara Silkstone

Be aware, this is not the Peter Pan story you want your kids reading, it is clearly intended for adult readers. Yet it appeals to the childlike part of us that loved the classic original stories. Combine that childlike love with modern politics and technology, and you get this smart, snarky, hilarious mystery. The story is richly developed and leaves you guessing until the very end. I am liking this grown up version of Peter Pan even more than the original. ~ Tiffany Harkleroad ~ Tiffany’s Bookshelf.

About the author:
Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters ~ Wendy and the Lost Boys ~ London Broil ~ Zo White and the Seven Morphs ~ The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men and One Woman.

Her writing has been described as “perfectly paced and pitched - shades of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen without seeming remotely derivative. Fast moving action that shoots from the hip with bullet-proof characterization.”
$2.99 down to $1.99 for the weekend

Fast Movin' Train ~ Pam Howes

A CURRENT FINALIST IN THE 2013 eFestival of Words BEST NOVEL of the YEAR.

Interior Designer Mandy Radcliffe runs a thriving business. Her husband is married to his job and her three daughters are adults with lives of their own. Anyone observing would assume they were a happy and successful middle-class family. Then a phone call and a declaration of love leads Mandy into a secret affair that turns her well ordered life upside down.

PRICE for July: 99 cents.

Pam Howes was born in Cheshire, UK. She is a retired Interior Designer who loves creating stories, but only started writing seriously about twelve years ago. The idea for her first novel, set in the sixties, came from her time as a teenager, working in a local record store and hanging round with the musicians who frequented the business.That first novel evolved into a series, three books now published. The first, Three Steps to Heaven, is the tale of rock'n'roll band, The Raiders, and their lives and loves. The sequel, 'Til I Kissed You, featuring the same characters, is set in the eighties. This book sees the reformation of The Raiders after a spell of retirement. Always On My Mind, set in 2001,is a further tale of love, betrayal and music. Pam is a big fan of sixties music and it's this love and the support and encouragement of her musician partner that compelled her to write her series.
99c this weekend

The Rock n' Roll Romance Box Set ~ Pam Howes

Take a trip down Memory Lane with the first three novels in the series about The Raiders chart-topping rock band and their lives and loves, spanning forty years. Now available in this box-set at a very special price. Individual books have many five star reviews.


Regret No More ~ Seb Kirby

No one is safe from the past
James Blake and his family were safe - until he received the phone call that meant they knew where he was. A stolen Picasso lies at the root of an international conspiracy that reaches into the life of a prominent US politician with devastating consequences not just for him but for so many of those caught up in the crime. Wolfgang Heller, a ruthless assassin, is seeking to eliminate those who have any knowledge of the theft. James Blake must come out of hiding and face the threats to himself and his family by putting himself on the line.
REGRET NO MORE combines thrilling action with a thought-provoking story line centred on international art crime.

This is the second in the James Blake thriller series. It can be read as a stand alone story but it is recommended for maximum enjoyment you should first read TAKE NO MORE, available exclusively at amazon.

'A Stellar Mystery Thriller.... gripping, intense, and captivates the reader to the end. Author Seb Kirby is an outstanding author who knows how to write what I think of as a classic action-packed thriller.' One viewer's summing up and seeing as I've reviewed all of Seb Kirby's books I completely agree - he writes an excellent story. (Ed).

Retailing normally at $3.99 £2.99 - for this weekend only $2.99/£1.99.

The Seeds of Time ~ Faith Mortimer

When Englishman Richard Barker suffers a devastating loss he learns to come to terms with his grief. He is helped by two beautiful women, newly discovered quiet and smouldering American, Sorrel and the tempestuous and wilful, Miranda, an old flame from long ago.

While Richard is battling with his feelings, by chance he enters into the dark, often surreal world of his dead father's past life spent during the Second World War. It is Sorrel's Grandfather, an American Air Force pilot, who contacts Richard with some intriguing news which helps Richard to his senses.

His story and that of his father are crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love. The action is non-stop, the locations are intriguing and the characters are appealing. There is tension, romance and harrowing escapes all woven within a story that captures the imagination and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

"Another incredible story from Faith Mortimer riddled with suspense, intrigue
and action. There are not enough words to express how much I love her work. Just when you think the characters have no way out, the twists take the book in a whole new direction. LOVE IT!!(Review)
An Awesome Indies Book
Normally $4.99 $3.12 for the weekend

She Belongs to Me ~ Carmen DeSousa

A tightly woven tale of love, obsession, and concealed histories, She Belongs to Me will have you falling in love and wondering if you can trust anyone right up to the last page.

About the Author;

I'm privileged to know Carmen as I believe she has the edge when it comes to writing romantic suspense. Her novels overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a great story be without a tragic event setting the stage? Her sensual and gripping mysteries have earned bestseller status on three continents because of their ability to make readers love, laugh, cry, gasp, and hope.
99c for the weekend.

All of Carmen DeSousa's novels are 'standalones'; however,she do link each of her stories with a little surprise. If you read out of order, you'll never notice. But if you read them in order, it's fun. You can find all novels in print and eBook formats.