Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Friends BookShelf

I've already got quite the collection on my Writer Friends Bookshelf from such greats as RC Lewis, Gennifer Albin, Sophie Perinot, RS Mellette, Mindy McGinnis and A.G. Howard. This past weekend, I was able to add three more...books and friends!

Barnes & Noble, Maple Grove, with Steve Thayer, Angela Halgrimson and Susan Jensen (l-r).

Yes, we are holding each other's books, though Steve also writes mystery/thrillers, so Ithaca Falls and Whispering Minds might be somewhat interchangeable...with the exception that Steve is a seasoned author with thirty years under his pen and a handful of awards for his incredible writing!
Me, I just basked in the glow of his greatness while loving on Angela's amazingly beautiful picture book of Lenny the Crow. Seriously, the artwork between the covers is truly inspiring. And last, but not least, was the great grad gift idea from Susan. Her survival guide for girls comes from her own experiences as a fitness trainer and health coach. In my daughter's words, "Mom, she's really pretty."
Yeah, pretty and pretty cool.
If you ever get the chance to attend an author event, I encourage you to do so. Don't be afraid to approach the tables, ask questions, finger the books and take pictures. You never know what or who you might find!
To find out who else is on my bookshelves, both electronic and physical, you can browse my profile at Goodreads. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Barnes & Noble Meet & Greet: old and new

If you're like me, authors make the best celebrities. They are ultra cool, ultra talented and my kind of peeps. They always have been...and not just because I'm a writer.

In fact, I remember my first author meet and greet way, way back in the day. I was a tiny little girl with blonde pigtails and dirty hands from mucking around in the back yard with my sister. That is, unless we were tucked into bed, clean and reading a book. For years, we had no television--no, I'm not THAT old--we just didn't have one. My sister and I would read, roller skate, read, listen to music, read, climb trees, dig in the garden and read.  It's what we did. It's who we were.

Rewind to one sunny California day when my mom took us to the book store. I have no idea what the name of it was, but I remember the man with rough, warm hands who greeted my sister and I with a big grin.

Louis L'Amour

Years later, in the summer between ninth and tenth grade, I read every one of his books in my dad's leather bound collection.

He's probably the reason I love cowboys.

He's certainly the reason that this Saturday will be so special to me, as I will be in his shoes--though mine are certainly much smaller on many levels.

I can only hope as I sit at a table in Barnes & Noble with other Minnesota authors that I can be as warm and welcoming as he was all those years ago.

I can only hope that my words will mean something to someone.

Louis L'Amour, this weekend is for you. It is me paying it forward in a way I never dreamed possible.

Please join me on Saturday, May 2nd, at the Maple Grove Barnes & Noble from 2:00-4:00pm.
(8040 Wedgewood Lane North)
Meet and greet new or favorite authors.
Get a signed copy of Whispering Minds and/or other amazing summer reads.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Total Immersion

I could be a life-long student. I love learning new things, and I'm fascinated by just about any idea--big or small. Our world is filled with unique people, places, things and phenomena. It's utterly amazing to me just how much there is and just how little I know.

And so, I am prone to total immersion.

When I come across something interesting, I research for hours, days and sometimes weeks. I get so engrossed in learning more that I don't realize how much time has passed. Or, that I've gotten off-topic numerous times because there is always something bright and shiny just around the proverbial corner.

I could be a life-long student.

And I don't think that's a bad thing. I mean, my passion for knowing doesn't hurt anyone--unless you count the dust bunnies which can be neglected when I'm on a researching tangent. But other than that, it's a harmless pastime. And passions drive us. They push us to do. For instance, my passion for all things psychological and child-centric means that so much of my reading/learning/knowing is about human beings, and tiny ones at that. This love spills over into my career and my writing. Not such a bad thing at all.

Anyone else a Cliff Claven? If so, what are your particular areas of interest? If not, what can you get totally immersed in?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Extra Five Hours

In five hours, I can watch two movies.
In five hours, I can eat both breakfast and lunch.
I can work, take a bath, weed my garden and write 5,000 words if my muse cooperates.

Five hours over the course of a week is a mere inconvenience.
Five hours over one month is a drop in the bucket.
Over the span of a year, this chunk of time barely exists.

But to moms who say goodbye to their college age children, Five Hours is a lifetime.

Last week, I dropped my only daughter off at college. Granted she's my second kid and Eldest--a son--has attended college for two years already, but he's only 45 minutes away. Dear Daughter is that plus five hours.

I can handle 45 minutes.

"Mom, I forgot my winter jacket."
"Mom, my new contacts are in, can you bring them?"
"Mom, I'm home." Just because he can.

Five extra hours makes all those things feel easy. As if I've taken them for granted.
Five extra hours means months in between each visit.
Five extra hours means I can't be there for the little things.
It means getting there for the big things will take monumental efforts and way too much time.

Oh, how I hate those extra 300 minutes that stand between me and my daughter.

Curse you, Time.
Curse you, Distance.
Curse the easy mobility of our society and the opportunities that tempt our children away from us.

If you can't tell, I'm terrible at letting go.
I love hard and fast and loyally.
I've spent my entire life doing right by my kids.

All I can do now is pray that I've done enough.

I love you, Connor and Lexi.
I love you for your spirit and independence and motivation to get out there and make an impact on this world.
I love you for being you and miss you both like crazy.

Hugs to all the parents sharing my boat where seconds turn to minutes and minutes to hours as we feel the distance between us and our children with an almost physical pain.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken, Novel Winners Announced

Will the winners of the Romantic Novel Giveaway please step forward to accept your prizes?

All winners have been sent an email they need to respond to in order to claim their prizes. If you did not receive it, please email me ( ASAP so we can have you reading in no time. Hope to hear from you soon!

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Romantic Getaway Giveaway: a novel gift for Valentine's Day

Along with snowflakes and the winter chill, love is in the air. Which is why you deserve the chance to heat up your nights and warm your heart with strong, memorable characters.

  • Who: anyone 18 and older living within the US, Canada and the UK is eligible to win. Only residents of Canada and the US are eligible for the grand prize.
  • What: five new novels ranging in hotness from yearning young adult to sizzling, mature romance.
  • When: entries accepted between February 1st and February 10.
  • Where: blog hop between the five featured authors to learn how their protagonists learned personal acceptance before they could overcome the obstacles in their way.
  • How: scope out the prizes--and how you can win them--on the Rafflecopter form below.

While entering is quick and painless, reading your prize novel(s) will be nothing but pleasure. And so, without further ado, here's a taste of what you can win--or win and give to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day.

Driving Me To You by Julie Farrell combines strong female characters, good-looking guys, and an uplifting ride towards freedom. Miss Farrell writes modern romance for the modern woman. Farrell can be found on twitter (@julieanafarrell), facebook, Amazon and her website.

Evelyn Adams is the author of Love Uncovered, a steamy romance for the
mature audience. Miss Adams writes for the committed couple with the goal of helping them find their way back to each other, rekindle their passion or discover a new one to explore - together. Adams can be found on twitter (@evelynadamsFF), facebookAmazon and her website.

Romance, women and New Adult are the things J. Lea Lopez writes well. She's the brains behind Sorry's Not Enough and a self-described indecisive--which really means she's not content to sacrifice her own happiness in order to follow a "traditional" path. An ideal she applies to her writing as seen by her vow to not sacrifice her voice or her integrity by jumping on a cash cow trend or genre. You can find Miss Lopez on twitter (@JLeaLopez), facebook, Amazon and her blog.

Author Jean Oram tweets (@jeanoram), facebooks, and blogs. Her novel Whiskey and Gumdrops is the second book in her Blueberry Springs series. Contemporary chick lit and Jean Oram go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Macaroni and cheese & love and marriage. For a taste of her delicious books, pop onto Amazon and give Blueberry Springs a try.

And lastly, me and my MC, Gemini Baker. In Whispering Minds, Gemi is faced with a dysfunctional childhood that has tainted her journey into adulthood. Her parents' alcoholism has impacted every moment of Gemi's life--a realty that crashes in when her beloved granny dies and leaves Gemi alone with the ghosts of her past. Before she can move forward, she must first unlock the secret within and learn to love herself despite all that is broken. And, of course, there's a hot guy whose smexiness oozes off the page and turns Gemini's insides out.

So, if you're ready, sign in and join the Rafflecopter giveaway to win one--or all--of these romantic novels.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Call For Submissions: middle grade short stories

The bullies of today become the inmates of tomorrow.

Sad, but true. Not only do the bullied face a hard life of low self-esteem and potential chemical use, the bullies themselves face a much higher risk than their peers of spending time behind bars in their adulthood.

Bullying makes you mean. It makes you disregard other's feelings and safety. It turns off the power switch to dignity, self-respect and personal responsibility. In short, picking on your peers today creates the adult monsters of tomorrow.

Since these are all issues important in my line of work, I urge everyone to do their share to stop bullying in its tracks. A step that starts long before middle school lunch table drama and high school death threats. A step that begins with kindergartners who have yet to solidify their behavior patterns--who still have a chance of becoming something more than the inmates in years to come.

My editor at Elephant's Bookshelf Press takes this message to heart and is heading up a middle grade anthology of short stories on bullying. If you'd like to contribute--or know someone who might--please follow the submission guidelines below:

  • Short stories should be geared toward middle grade students (roughly 7-12 years of age), and should be no more than 2,500 words long.
  • Short stories can be told from the points of view of the bully, the bullied or the bystander and should have a clear resolution that shows the appropriate way of dealing with bullying.
  • These stories should be engaging and not preachy. From historical to futuristic, kids need to connect to the story, the characters and the message. In other words, don't write down to these youngsters, but help empower them to come up with their own solutions.
  • Short stories must be submitted by February 15 to (the acquisitions editor on this project) with the words "EBP bully anthology" in the subject line.
  • No payment will be made for accepted stories, though an author bio, links to a website or blog, and a free copy of the anthology will be provided to included authors. 
Projected publication date: May 5

Happy writing!