Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Crazy Summer

by Maria Geraci

I can't believe that in just a few days summer will be over. Although officially, summer isn't over until Sept 21, Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of fall. Soon, it will be football games, cooler weather, dropping leaves and the beginning of the holiday rush. I'm both looking forward to it and regretting it, because honestly, my summer seemed to just disappear.

Maybe it's because I had a book debut in early August and it seemed that most of my days were filled with some kind of promotion. Or maybe it's because my youngest daughter was home from college, and having a kid in the house again is always busy. Or maybe it's because I never once made it to the beach. I know. I live in Florida and I'm ashamed to type that! All I know is that we made time for vacation this week and now we're sitting in the middle of a tropical storm. Oy! I'm a native Floridian and should know better. No one takes a vacation in Florida in late August (not if they can help it, that is!).

So, I didn't make it to the beach, I didn't take a real vacation, and I didn't make much, if any progress, on my next novel. Yet, I can't remember having a busier past few months.

In the tradition of back to school essays everywhere, I asked myself,  what exactly did I do this summer?

Here's my list:

I wrote a gazillion blog and Q&A pieces for my blog tour to promote my new release. Plus, answered lots of emails.
Updated my website.
Traveled to Orlando for a book signing at the public library.
Caught up on 3 years worth of business expenses to amend my taxes. (Can you believe I found $22,000 worth of deductions?--yep, I'm a terrible book keeper.)
Cleaned out most of the closets in my home.
Took up Jazzercize again.
Went to see our local community theater's version of Aida 4 times (hey, my daughter was in the play!)
Obsessed endlessly over how my new novel was doing by Googling my title, name, etc... over and over.
Oh, and still worked at the day job (night job, to be exact- delivering babies).

Whew. I guess my summer was somewhat productive, after all.

What about you? What did you do this summer?



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The END




I have a joke with a few of the writers here on Stiletto that when I’m just about to get to the end of a manuscript but have run out of ideas, my inclination—one that I have never acted on, by the way—is to write “and then they all died.”  Because let’s face it, by the time you’ve written eighty thousand words or so, you are bone tired.  Tired of your keyboard, tired of your characters, tired of finding new ways to say “murdered.” (I personally like “bought it.”)  Eventually, knowing that that is not an acceptable way to end a story, you walk away from your computer and figure out how to tie up the loose ends by not killing all of your major characters, and by extension, your writing career.

I happened upon this topic because I just read a recently published book that skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller list, loving every single page, every single word until I got to the last chapter.  Then, the book completely fell apart for me, no resolution to the main conflict that existed for the better part of four hundred words.  Several friends and even my mother read this book and I anxiously awaited their comments when they finished.  They were all the same:

Loved the book.  Hated the ending.

Now don’t get me wrong:  I don’t necessarily like everything tied up in a very neat bow, every single loose end resolved in such a way that there is nary a question or concern upon my finishing of a book.  However, I do expect some justice for the aggrieved, some sort of comeuppance for the perpetrator, so to be left hanging leaves me feeling…well, for lack of a better word…aggrieved.  Obviously, though, in the case of the aforementioned bestseller, the author didn’t feel the same way, nor did their editor, I can only assume.  They both thought that the non-resolution brought forth by the main characters was suitable, maybe more like life itself? I’m not sure.  But it did leave a bad taste in my mouth, but not completely diminishing the joy that I felt while reading the book.

The ending of this book didn’t approach my favorite “and then they all died” ending but more like “and they lived…maybe not happily…maybe not forever…but at least for a little while.”  It was interesting to me that my visceral response was shared by everyone I knew who read the book as well as a bunch of really ticked off online reviewers whose consternation practically jumped off the screen.

How do you feel when you finish a book and are dissatisfied with the ending?  Does it affect future purchases of the same author’s books? Would it drive you to post a vitriolic rant on Amazon?  Would it depend on just how unsatisfying the ending was?

Maggie Barbieri

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Searching for the perfect fit


by: Joelle Charbonneau

I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to believe that life is all about looking for the right fit.  As kids we spend time doing lots of different activities in a search for the things that interest us and will help us grow into the people we are meant to be.  (My son is currently in this stage.  This summer alone we did swim lessons, played t-ball and raced up and down the soccer field.  He loved them all!) 

As we get older we search for the right colleges that will help us develop our interests.  We search for friends that will see us through the good and bad times and go on date after date hoping to find the right match to walk through life with.

We shuttle through television shows and books in a quest for those that speak to us.  We work job after job hoping to find that which fulfills us.  Day by day we continuously are searching.  Growing.  Changing.

In my life, we are currently searching for a perfect something.  For us it is the perfect house.  While I love our townhouse, the time has come for us to move somewhere that has space for me to have an office….with a door!  (And with a handful of deadlines and an active 4-year old to deal with, moving sounds like a relaxing thing to do, right?)  I’m lucky the tot loves the house search.  He counts bedrooms and bathrooms (often testing the bathrooms…sigh) and smiles with delight over every interesting detail.  (Or not so interesting depending on your point of view.  Personally, the large bathtub in the master suite of one house was way too interesting for me.)

During our quest for the right house we have seen bathrooms without doors (I wish I was joking), closet doors wallpapered on both sides, attached garages that have no direct entrance to the house (this apparently was a trend in the 70s?) and d├ęcor that belongs in an Austin Powers movie.  Fun times.

We also found a house that I love.  I think.  Today is the day the inspector will go through the house and let us know if it is the perfect fit.  If it is, there will be boxes to pack, a piano to move and lots of work ahead. 

And if it isn’t so perfect…well, I guess house hunting is a lot like searching for the next great book to read…you have to keep looking until you find the one that speaks to you.

Do you have any great “search for the perfect fit” stories?  If so, I’d love to hear them.  And if you’ve seen anything crazy while hunting for houses, I’d love to hear those, too!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lori's Book Sense



Welcome to this months edition of Lori's Book Sense.

I've had a very lazy, but exciting summer, so I've barely gotten any reading done this month. So for this month, I thought I'd share some titles that are due to be released in September that I'm really looking forward to reading.


The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (September 18th) ~ Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news…until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on her assigned puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election.


Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hunting the young women of Boston.  

As the body count rises and election looms closer, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their cases are connected…and that they may be facing a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to silence a scandal.

Dirty politics, dirty tricks, and a barrage of final twists, The Other Woman is the first in an explosive new series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Seduction, betrayal, and murder—it’ll take a lot more than votes to win this election.


Murder Unmentionable (Sweet Nothings) by Meg London (September 4th) ~ Sweet Nothings has it all: silk ribbon, Venetian lace, the best bra fitter in town…
and two unsolved murders.

Emma Taylor thought she knew what to expect when she abandoned life as a big-city fashionista to help her aunt, Arabella, breathe new style into Sweet Nothings, her waning lingerie boutique. As Emma settles back in to Paris, Tennessee—a world where pie is served with a parable and a pitcher of sweet tea is the cure for most of life’s ills—her escape seems smooth as silk.

But when the town acquires a touch of unneeded je ne sais quoi with the arrival of Emma’s philandering ex, an unseemly murder turns her world inside out. As the police’s top suspect, Emma is going to need more than fishnets to snare the real killer. And when she and Arabella refuse to let death threats wrapped in knifed nighties stall Sweet Nothings’ vintage lingerie fashion show, it becomes increasingly clear that any garter may hide a gun and that bullet bras might have to live up to their name…


A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (September 11th) ~ Reacher is back! A Wanted Man is a new masterpiece of suspense—from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child.

Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia.

An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified.  Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there.

All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat—to both sides at once.

In Lee Child’s white-hot thriller, nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth. As the tension rises, the twists come fast and furious, keeping readers guessing and gasping until the explosive finale.


Last Wool and Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery (Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries) by Molly MacRae (September 4th) ~ Kath Rutledge is about to learn the true meaning of TGIF—Thank Goodness It’s Fiber....


That’s the name of the spunky group of fiber and needlework artists founded by Ivy McClellan, Kath’s beloved grandmother. Though Ivy has recently passed on, the ladies still meet regularly at her fabric and fiber shop, The Weaver’s Cat, which Kath has now inherited. But that’s only the first in a series of surprises when Kath returns to the small town of Blue Plum, Tennessee, to settle her grandmother’s affairs.

There’s been a murder, and it turns out her grandmother was the prime suspect. Before she can begin to clear Ivy’s name, Kath encounters a looming presence in the form of a gloomy ghost. It turns out the specter has just as much interest in solving the murder as Kath. So, with a little help from the ladies of TGIF—and a stubborn spirit from beyond—she sets out to unravel the clues and hook the real killer...


Seconds Away: A Mickey Bolitar Novel by Harlan Coben (September 18th) ~ When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.
Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?


Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub (Septermber 25th) ~ 
Ten years after the catastrophe, a great fallen city has risen again. Ten years after, a horror begins anew . . . or never truly ended.




The nightmare of 9/11 is a distant but still painful memory for Allison Taylor MacKenna—now married to Mack and living in a quiet Westchester suburb. She has moved on with her life ten years after barely escaping death at the hands of New York’s Nightwatcher serial killer. The monster is dead, having recently committed suicide in his prison cell, but something is terribly wrong. Mack has started sleepwalking, with no recollection of where his nighttime excursions are taking him. And here, north of the city, more women are being savagely murdered, their bodies bearing the Nightwatcher’s unmistakable signature.

Suddenly Allison must confront a devastating truth: her life is in jeopardy once again . . . and quite possibly from the man she trusts and loves.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Writing Books and Maintaining Friendships



by Linda Rodriguez

I have become a terrible friend. I spend all my time writing books, taking care of the business of books (research, tours, conferences, accounting, and correspondence with editors, agents, publicists, and fans), and promoting my books (blogs, guest blogs, interviews, signings and readings, Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, etc.). There’s little time left over even for my family and my own physical and spiritual needs.

Making time for a friend involves carving a hunk out of an already over-committed day, and the problem is that I have a lot of friends. They’re wonderful people with whom I love to spend a leisurely lunch or afternoon coffee/tea break while engaged in delightful, intelligent conversation. I’m lucky if I can manage this with one of them every few months. So I have many friends I only “see” on Facebook. This is one thing with friends I love who live far away. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with them when we know we’ll only see each other once a year at some conference. It’s quite another kettle of fish with friends who live in the same town.

I’ve been thinking about this situation lately—and my thoughts have not been happy ones. I miss my friends, and I hate responding to an invitation to get together with a list of three possible dates four months in the future. I worry that the message that sends is not at all the one I want to send, that they will incorrectly feel I don’t value their friendships. As for a spontaneous “Mary’s in town for two days, so let’s have lunch with her and catch up,” I’m almost never in a position to join in.

This situation all came to a head for me recently. A friend sent me a chain email that talked about a sister who would never spontaneously go to lunch and had recently died without ever going to lunch with her sister. (I wonder why they chose to send that email to me?) Right after that, I received an email from one of my oldest friends to tell me she’d had surgery and was laid up at home in bed, going stir-crazy. My first thought was, “I should drive out there and visit with her.” This friend lives on the other side of town out in the country, entailing an hour-long highway drive there and and another hour-long highway drive back. That visit would eat up an entire afternoon, so my first thought was immediately followed by a list of the things I have to do, many of which have imminent deadlines. “I’ll send her a card and some flowers to wish her a quick recovery and finish some of these urgent tasks,” was my next thought. “I’ll visit her later when I have time.” As if I would ever have an open afternoon to go see her without creating it!

That quick dismissal of my friend’s situation in order to get back to the always-present workload left me wondering what was wrong with me? When had I become the kind of person who would begrudge a few hours to visit a friend at home alone on bed rest? If a wonderful professional opportunity suddenly presented itself, and I needed to make major adjustments to my schedule to accommodate it, I knew I would. Why not for an old, dear friend?

I sat down and made a list of all the good friends I’ve had to put off for lunch or other meetings. I decided I had to do something about this. I’m trying to build a whole new career with my books, and it’s demanding and time-consuming, as it is for any small businessperson. But I don’t want to ignore my friends. So I made up a schedule that allows me to meet someone for lunch every week. I’m going to work my way through my list of friends that way. It means finding some other time to do some critical tasks. They’re also important and can’t be skipped. It won’t be easy, at all. But I know the kind of person I am, the kind of person I long ago decided to be, a person to whom people are more important than things. If my career takes a little longer to get going, at least I won’t have achieved it at the cost of becoming someone different from who I truly am.

And yes, dear reader, I’ll be slow responding to your comments today because I’m spending the afternoon taking lunch to my dear friend who’s recuperating from surgery, and we’ll be making bad jokes and laughing hysterically at them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So a Man Walks Into a Bar...

Or
Look, it's My New Short Story!
by
Bethany Maines

I have a theory that short stories are like jokes.  There’s the set-up that establishes location and characters. A man walks into a bar with a duck on his head.  Then there’s the action that moves the plot forward. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve monkey’s in here.” And the man says, “It’s a duck.”  And then there’s the ending. The bartender says, “I was talking to the duck.”  There’s always more that can be added to the joke, such as why the man had a duck on his head to begin with or who won the fight after the ending, but the joke doesn’t really need it.  And there’s the challenge to the author – to figure out what is the right amount of information and what is just an explanation of the why the man is wearing a duck hat.

Tomorrow, I’ll be releasing my first e-short story, Supporting the Girls, (available from Amazon, ibook, Barnes & Noble, and Vook) so you will be able to judge for yourselves whether or not I selected the correct information. Supporting the Girls is a new adventure for Nikki Lanier and her covert team of Carrie Mae make-up ladies.  (If you haven’t read my novels Bulletproof Mascara and Compact With the Devil, you may need to understand that Carrie Mae is a make-up corporation, specializing in at-home sales and make-up parties, that also happens to run an organization of female operatives that help women everywhere.)


And I may have gotten a little carried away while I was working on my story because I also made a video.  But when you have a “great idea for a movie” (you have to say that part like Jean Claude VanDamme), you know a videographer, and you’re friends with an entire karate school of awesome people, suddenly an action movie doesn’t sound like such a far-fetched venture.  Head over to youtube to check it out!

It’s possible of course that my joke isn’t that good, or that possibly the joke is on me, but tomorrow you will have the opportunity to judge for yourselves and I’m hoping I hear laughter.  But… um… you did read that part about how I’m friend with an entire karate school, right?  Let’s just say, I’d better hear laughter. 

Leave a comment to below for a chance to win a free copy of Supportingthe Girls!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Confessions of a Retired Queen of Camping

Every vacation my family took was a camping trip of some sort--first to Yosemite when I was small and as a teen, every summer to Bass Lake where we tent camped for two weeks. Glorious long days swimming, boating and water skiing and making lot of new friends. (Even had a couple of summer romances.)

After I married and we had our kids, tent camping was all we could afford. I was a champion fire starter and was a great outdoor cook. When my girls became Camp Fire Girls, of course we camped everywhere--at the beach (cooked a turkey in a deep pit in the sand and it actually turned out wonderful), and every nearby campground. When the girls became high-schoolers, we back-packed into a remote area. (I'm good at research, talked to some Boy Scout leaders to find out how.) We did great. Went on a couple of back-pack trips with other Camp Fire Girl groups. I was fearless. Slept on the ground under the stars and cooked gourmet meals.

Hubby's family reunion was planned on the East Coast, of course. We were poor as church mice so the only way to go was by tent camping across the country. I saved $500 for gas (before credit cards) and when we had to pay for incidentals like campsites. (I had a book though that showed all the free camping spots. I planned accordingly, two days at the freebies, one day at a paid site that had washing machines and dryers.)

I planned the menu with recipes for every day we'd be on the road and bought all the food (a lot of cans) and put everything for each meal in a sack marked accordingly, which day and which meal.. We drove a VW bus back then and hubby built a tiny utility trailer that we pulled along behind. This is where all our camping gear (tent, stove, pots and pans, sleeping bags, and food went.)

Our daughter was married, the other soon to be and they stayed home with the dog, cat and took care of the house. Going with us were two younger teens (boy and girl) and grammar school aged boy. The teens slept while we traveled when they weren't squabbling. The youngest loved watching out the window. No seat belts back then and he sat on the ice chest so he could see out the front window.

We barely made it up some of the highest mountains with our loaded trailer. And it wasn't long before the bus wouldn't start on its own--we all had to get out and push. Didn't take much though, a pop of the clutch and it started and we all jumped back in.

When we reached our daily destination, it took us one hour to set  up camp. In the morning, it took one hour to take everything down. It rained so often at night, hubby would ask, "What cloud shall we camp under tonight?" All five of us slept in the tent together--very close quarters.

If was already raining when we arrived somewhere, we sat up the tent and hooked it to the VW and cooked and ate inside it, and slept in the VW, also cramped.

We finally arrived at our destination, one day late. Most of the relatives had gone home. We still got to see a lot of hubby's family. He took the VW in to get it fixed. It worked well while were there, as soon as we took off it quit starting on his own. (We kept this VW bus for a long time and it continued to have this problem, but even kids could push it--or ladies in evening gowns--for a short distance and a pop of the clutch would get it started.)

Back on the road, we traveled a more southerly direction and actually did a bit of sightseeing. Camped and visited the Carlsbad Caverns. The wind came up in the night so fierce, people's tents toppled, some blew away, but not ours, hubby always made sure our stakes were hammered into the ground.

We survived thunder storms, close lightning strikes, hid under a bridge during a tornado, but we finally made it home.

After that, we bought a camper to put on our old truck--my tent camping days were over. The camper was a big improvement.

We traveled to Oregon in truck and camper with two kids, and to Yellowstone with the youngest.

My latest "camping trips" have been in my daughter and son-in-law's luxurious motor home, lots of fun, but nothing like the camping we used to do.

This past week our church had a family camping trip up in the mountains. I declined. The idea of sleeping on the ground in a tent, getting up in the night to go to an outhouse didn't appeal at all. They had a wonderful time and I'm glad. I've retired from camping and I mean it.

Marilyn (who still loves to travel, but wants to sleep in a nice bed in a hotel room.)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Excerpt from Summer Lightning in Lottawatah




by Evelyn David

from Summer Lightning in Lottawatah - Book 9 of the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series

______________


"Cooper?"

The apartment door was ajar. "Cooper?"

I was yelling his name, partly because I was afraid, partly to make myself heard over the thunder and the barking dog I clutched in my arms.

I reached inside and flipped the wall switch. Nothing. The power was out.

"Cooper?"

Leon struggled against me and managed to escape. He disappeared into the blackness of the apartment.

Lightning flashed and for a few seconds I could see the living room.

Cooper was standing in the center of the room, staring down at something on the carpet.

The next flash of lightning revealed it wasn't a something on the floor; it was a someone.

"Cooper? What happened?" I took a few steps into the room, pulling my cell phone out of my pocket. I felt something brush past my leg. "I'm calling 9-1-1. Are you hurt?"

"Be sure to tell them he killed me."

The raspy voice came from beside me and it wasn't Cooper's.

Instead of dialing 9-1-1, I started to call the Lottawatah Police Department directly. Obviously paramedics weren't going to be needed.

***
I didn't finish my 9-1-1 call. Turned out Cooper's landlady had heard the gunshot and called the cops. A couple of seconds after I saw Cooper the room was filled with flashlighted first responders and police officers. It felt like the storm had moved inside the apartment.

Thunder kept booming, the sound waves shaking the apartment building. I was standing just inside, near the open doorway. The rain was blowing in from behind me. Except for where the beams from the moving flashlights fell or when the lightning flashed, the room was pitch black. I kept trying to focus on the location where I'd seen Cooper. He didn't seem to be there anymore. He hadn't said a word since I'd entered the apartment. The whole scene had the quality of a nightmare. I was ready to wake up.

Officers in raincoats circled me as though I wasn't there. I ventured a few steps farther into the room. That was a mistake. I was finally noticed, my invisibility cloak deactivated.

The officer I often jokingly refer to as Barney Fife physically removed me from the scene. He took hold of my arm and pulled. He wouldn't even let me look for Leon before rushing me through the pouring rain to his patrol car. It wouldn't have taken me long to find Leon, the bulldog was probably hiding in the closet, buried under whatever dirty clothes that Cooper had tossed on the floor last. I tried to explain that to Barney Fife. I tried to tell him that I needed to bring Leon with me, but he ignored me. I guess I'm lucky I wasn't put in handcuffs.

To punctuate the surreal quality of the scene, Barney Fife put on flashing lights and a siren for the few deserted blocks to the small town police station. Without a word, he locked me in one of the two sparsely furnished interview rooms. I noticed that the police station had electricity. Apparently the power outage didn't extend to Main Street. Maybe the boom I heard wasn't a gunshot, just a blown electrical transformer.

No. That was just wishful thinking. It was a gunshot. I was sure of that. And there was a body on the floor and a ghost talking to me, although the last fact would probably not be admissible in court.

My clothes and hair were soaking wet from the rain. The wooden chairs were just as hard as I remembered from my first visit to the Lottawatah Police Station just after I arrived in town.

I sat there, staring at nothing in particular. My thoughts were jumbled. I didn't know if Cooper had been hurt. Had someone tried to rob the apartment? Had a criminal come after Cooper seeking revenge? Who had been in the apartment?

I pushed my dripping hair out of my face. I noticed my hands smelled like the wet dog I'd recently handled.

"Do you want some coffee?"

Chief Harlan Bell was standing in the doorway. How long had he been there? I hadn't heard him come in. Was I losing my mind? How much time had passed since the shooting? Minutes? Hours? No, not hours.

"Is Cooper okay? Will you tell me what's going on?" I asked the question but knew I wouldn't get an answer. The man didn't like me in the best of times. This certainly wasn't the best of times.

"Beverly is bringing you some dry clothes. Did someone read you your rights?"

"Am I under arrest?" Surely by now Cooper had explained to his boss what had happened. And whatever that was, it must have been self-defense. And besides, why would I be under arrest. I hadn't killed anybody. I didn't even own a gun.

Chief Bell just stared at me. I noticed he had a plastic cover over his Stetson. I didn't realize they made rain covers for cowboy hats.

"Is that a new hat?" It seemed I couldn't process more than one thought at a time. Is this what shock felt like?

He shook his head. "Old hat. Do you want a lawyer?"

I needed something, but it wasn't a lawyer.

"I think I'd like that coffee now."

To read more purchase a copy of Summer Lightning in Lottawatah
Kindlehttp://tinyurl.com/briannav9K      
Nook -  http://tinyurl.com/briannav9N
Smashwords - http://tinyurl.com/briannav9Smash

Also for a limited time only the first 4 ebooks in the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series are being offered as a boxed ebook set for only $5.99 (half of what buying the books separately would cost).
The Ghosts of Lottawatah
Kindle - http://tinyurl.com/LottawatahGhostsK
Nook - http://tinyurl.com/LottawatahGhostsN







Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah - trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 - A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake KindleTrade Paperback  (exclusive to Amazon for 90 days)
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Romances
Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reaching For The Stars

Reaching For The Stars
By Laura Bradford

Aside from being a mom, working toward a dream and having it come true has been one of my biggest joys in life.

I remember, quite vividly, the day the writing bug bit. I was ten years old and playing at a friend's house. It was raining and we'd had our full of Barbies and back-up-dancers (don't ask). At a loss for other entertainment options, we decided to write and illustrate a kids' book.

That was it. I was hooked.

Now, before your eyes glaze over at the thought of yet another why-I-became-a-writer blog post, this isn't one of those.You see, now that I'm a mom, I'm getting to see the whole "bug" thing from another perspective.

Sure, the kids had their "I wanna be a (fill in the blank)" stage when they were little. At that time, Dear Daughter # 1 entertained a host of options--bus driver, garbage collector (she thought it would be neat to ride on the outside of a truck), and the ever popular dance teacher. But by the time she was ten, she began to say one thing and one thing only...

She wanted to be an actress.

At first, I assumed it was a phase like the garbage collector had been. Then, as she got into high school and kept saying, "actress", I began to worry. I mean, who out there doesn't envision their "actress" child waiting tables for years and years?

Friends told me to talk her out of it.

Family told me to talk her out of it.

But it would be rather hypocritcal for me to try and talk her out of acting when my dream of being a writer wasn't a whole lot easier. So I stepped back, said a few prayers, and made the decision to let her try.

A few months ago, she came to me with information about an intensive week-long theater workshop in NYC. The program enabled her to pick a concentration (acting, dance, or vocal) and study with professionals in the field (working professionals--broadway dancers, broadway singers, tv actors, etc). The cost was blink-worthy, but her thought process was sound:  by putting herself in that environment in a way no school production ever would, she could get a real feel for what life might be like as an actress.

So I said another prayer, scraped up the money, and made the arrangements (including securing a place to stay via my aunt's apartment).

Monday was her first day. She worked with actors, practiced scenes, took notes, and soaked up the experience like a girl with a dream. And in all my seventeen years of being her mom, I don't think I've ever been more proud of her (and that's saying a lot). She has seized hold of this experience with both hands and is making it her own.

Tonight is the showcase, where she'll get up on stage in a real Broadway theater and do the monologue she's been preparing. And there I'll be, sitting in the audience, knowing that the first part of her dream has just taken flight.

This kid has heart and passion for her dream.

This mom has all the confidence in the world she's going to make it.