Guest Blog Post

The Jeopardy in Instant Gratification

August 17, 2014

Our guest blogger is Christina Carson author of several books including Suffer the Little Children (4.9 stars, 22 reviews).

The Jeopardy in Instant Gratification

I was stunned the other day when I happened to pick up a somewhat current copy of Newsweek and began to read about the effects our digital world has on instant gratification. It focused on the younger generation which has grown up with access to a digitalized life and how they have become addicted to their cell phones. It even talked about toddlers who are given ipads as amusement and the behavioral ramifications of that parental act.
The allure of instant gratification is nothing new to human beings. It seems to come with the package. The difference between today and 30 years ago, or less, is the digital world has upped the ante on how many hours a day someone can be involved in instant gratification. For most of modern history, the places people could turn for a quick fix were food, drink, drugs and sex and that brought on the havoc of obesity and concomitant disease, substance addiction and with sex, the lessening of a moral imperative that honored relationship, especially familial integrity. The digital wave is not a tsunami per se, but its destructive potential is every bit as real and great.
Why? Because it is making it increasingly difficult for our children to accomplish tasks which require a time Read more »

Seeing Double

August 12, 2014

Our guest blogger is Kimberly Dean author of several books including Roxie (Triple X Book 3).

Seeing Double a kid, I went to school with a lot of twins. Back then, I didn’t realize how unusual it was. Looking back, there must have been something in the water. We had every kind of twins from fraternal twin sisters (one redhead, one brunette) to boy/girl twins to identical girls.

The fraternal twins acted primarily like brothers and sisters who just happened to be born on the same day. The identical twins, though, had closer bonds. They were inseparable outside of class and always seemed to be on each others’ wavelengths. There were so many things about them that were alike, but as their friend, I could always tell them apart. All it took was a glance or the sound of a voice.

As we rose in grade levels, we just kept adding sets of twins. There were two more sets of identical girls, another boy/girl set (who did not get along at all), and a set of triplets  (one boy and two girls who looked identical). I was around them all a lot, and I thought it was just so cool. I guess even back then I was an observer of human nature.

It was many years later when I came up with the concept for my Triple X series about identical triplets reuniting and finding the men that they love. I wasn’t consciously thinking of my old classmates, yet I know my childhood Read more »

Domestic Violence Awareness: Time to Get Personal & How to Help a Victim

August 10, 2014

Our guest blogger is Erinn Sluka author of Love Should Not Hurt.

Domestic Violence Awareness

My long story, short……

In 1994 I put on my brave shoes and ran from my abusive relationship. Abuse comes in all forms-about 21 to be exact! The most common being Physical, Emotional, Verbal and Sexual! I was a victim of all of those. In fact, 15 of the 21 forms of abuse is what I suffered almost daily. An abuser carries a whole bag of games and tricks and what started as a great connection enabled me to let my guard down. I talk about this in my book, Love Should Not Hurt: Letting Go of the Pain to Live in Freedom. Like a vacuum, I was sucked in and afraid to leave. The longer I stayed, the more aggressive he became. He was an evil man. A bad, bad man.

At the worst times of his attacks, I never called for help. He had such a hatred for police that I honestly felt like if I called authorities, I would be putting them in danger. I feared and knew he would use abuse or weapons on an officer with no shame so I never called them to my door! When you live everyday in fear, when you feel like you are walking on eggshells every second you have to be so careful about your actions and thoughts of leaving. When there were good days, those were the scariest of all. You know it won’t last long and you wait for the next series of abuse. A Read more »

The Joy of Writing Under Missile Attack

August 8, 2014

Our guest blogger is Yaron Levite (click to view his blog).

The Joy of Writing Under Missile Attack

Ahhhh. That magical tune, that special sound that brings families together, creates unexpected neighborhood pyjama parties, bewitches the children so that for a moment, they are quiet.

The missile attack siren is wailing. Again. Only this time it’s six in the bloody AM. Normally I am a bleeding heart, peacenik lefty, anti-war, anti-violence, with nothing but goodwill in my heart.

But 6 AM?! They are pushing it.

I breathe deeply, get out of bed and stumble to the door, my sleepy partner following me. Outside our pyjama’d daughters are already on their way downstairs, my 10 year old carrying my still sleeping 3 year old.

I take my youngest from my eldest, heave her onto my shoulders and the procession resumes. Thirty steps down, fumble with the door lock, turn left and into the bomb shelter. By now my partner’s daughters are also there. Five young girls and two adults in a four by five concrete cell.

The ritual continues. We count the seconds. Then we hear the explosions. We all count out loud. One, two, three Read more »

Heifer Procurement

July 22, 2014

Our guest blogger is Pamela Fagan Hutchins author of several books including Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Bk #1, 4.5 stars, 377 reviews, $0.00).

If this doesn’t make you laugh until you pee, you have the sense of humor of a rock. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Our house has been all about heifer procurement lately–show heifers, that is, big beautiful bovines with limpid eyes and calf-bearing hips. You see, our 16-year old daughter traded swimming for FFA–Future Farmers of America–and her project for the next two years is to be a heifer.

We’ve scoured websites for weeks. Shorthorns, Brangus, Brahmans, Polled Herefords. Ah, the possibilities. Susanne regaled us with the relevant facts on each breed. “Brahmans are a little big, Mom, and I’m a first-timer.” “I don’t like Brangus.” “”Shorthorns are so cute.”

We had one month within which to buy one so that Susanne and the as-yet just dreamed of heifer would be eligible for 2014 shows.  She and her FFA sponsor had their eyes on an auction in Dallas, and Susanne glued herself to their website. It was like for livestock-obsessed teenagers. She narrowed it down to three potentials: two Chianinas and one Polled Hereford. Her sponsor recommended the one she favored, Lot #4, a fawn-colored Chianina, which he called a Chi and pronounced “Key.”

“He said that she’s real gentle, that a ten-year old trained her on the lead. Her hair is easier to manage than a Hereford. I’m going to call her Dixie,” Susanne breathed.

“I’m going to call her Filet,” Eric said.

We ignored him. “She sounds perfect,” I said.

“If her price goes over my budget I’ll pay the extra out of my Christmas and birthday money. I don’t need any Read more »

Just for Fun: TV Mysteries With Ties To Books

July 15, 2014

Our guest blogger is Pamela Fagan Hutchins author of several books including Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Bk #1, 4.5 stars, 377 reviews, $0.00).

Just for Fun: TV Mysteries With Ties To Books

9. Spenser for Hire: The novels were better, but aren’t they always? Robert B. Parker is the bomb. Robert Ulrich did him proud. (And so does Tom Selleck in the Jesse Stone movies)

8. Hart to Hart: A married crime-fighting team. They made it work, without illicit sex. Hats off to them. Novelist Sidney Sheldon wrote the original script upon which the series was based.

7. Remington Steele: All hail the Irish! The series in which we learned to love female detectives and Pierce Brosnan, pre-Bond. OK, this is a stretch, but the Bond books were written by Ian Fleming. Yeah, I didn’t promise the ties would be direct, y’all.

6. Moonlighting: Yeah, yeah, you youngsters don’t remember it. But I dream of demanding someone shooting my life in soft focus now that I’m in my forties. Cybil Shepherd is my hero(ine). The show was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, written by a fellow called William Shakespeare.

5. Magnum, PI: Makes you want to time travel back to Hawaii with Tom Selleck, circa 1980. Or anytime. Magnum lived in the Robin’s Nest, the home offictional writer of lurid novels, Robin Masters.

4. The Rockford Files: His car. His wit. His rugged good looks. James Garner. And then there was The Notebook. Sigh. And Nicholas Sparks wrote the Notebook. (This is turning into Six Degrees of Separation With Kevin Bacon, but it’s working for me. How’s it working for you??)

3. Bones: Because what author wouldn’t love a series about their real life? Especially one with crispy corpses and crumbling cadavers. Way to go Kathy Reichs, author of the “Bones” series!

2. Castle: Because what author wouldn’t love to be that big goofball Castle? Love the cameos. Love that the series spawned books by an author whose real identity is not Rick Castle, but is a mystery:

1. Justified: Timothy Olyphant, black humor and gore, and did I mention Timothy Olyphant? I’m a sucker for larger-than-life setting and characters. You had me at hello, Elmore Leonard.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Katie & Annalise series next :-)

Which of your favorite mystery series on TV with literary ties did I leave out?

The Bravest of the Brave

July 3, 2014

Our guest blogger is Margaret Tanner author of several books including Allison’s War.

The Bravest of the Brave

Have you ever met a real life character, someone so different to your preconceptions?

I certainly have, a few years ago I met a real-life hero, and I would have passed him in the street and never have known that he had performed a feat of valour that won him the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for bravery on the battlefield in the Australian and British army.

In 1854 during the Crimean War, The Victoria Cross came into being. It was named for Queen Victoria and was the highest award for valour. The medals were struck from a bronze Russian cannon captured in the Crimea.

Like the American Medal of Honor, only the bravest of the brave receive this award.

The first war in which any Australians won the Victoria Cross was in South Africa (1899-1902), six were awarded. In the 1st World War sixty four Victoria Crosses were won by Australians, in the 2nd World War the number was twenty. Four were awarded for The Vietnam War, and four Victoria Crosses have recently been awarded to Australian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. In some instances the medal was awarded posthumously.

I had always thought of heroes as young, tall, strong and virile looking, always confident, sometimes brash even (like the heroes in my wartime romances). Of course, the heroes from Afghanistan are young men, the same ages as my Read more »

The Free Wee Library

July 1, 2014

Our guest blogger is Evie Gaughan author of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.

The Free Wee Library

Not only is this the cutest little invention I’ve ever seen, but also the most innovative. The brainchild of Geraldine Timlin, who took her inspiration from similar schemes in the States, Free Wee Library is a book swap ‘hutch’ that operates on an honesty policy. Members of the public can borrow a book, as long as they replace it with another one. The result is a veritable hodgepodge of books – with everything from rare poetry books to children’s classics.

There are five of these little bird-house-like beauties scattered around the scenic environs of Buncrana, County Donegal and have proved a real success with natives and visitors alike. There are plans to develop the idea, and hopefully spread the concept throughout Ireland. It’s a volunteer effort to build the libraries, stock them and keep a watchful eye on them, while members of the public donate books on a regular basis so the books on the shelf are always changing.

I absolutely love this small yet mighty idea, not only because it encourages reading and literacy, but it’s getting books out into the community. Having these little libraries by the sea or on a country walk is the perfect excuse to sit down on a bench and pick up a book. In this modern age, we have lost the time or inclination to just sit and be Read more »

I Inherited a Publishing House

June 24, 2014

Our guest blogger is James Vescovi author of Eat Now; Talk Later: 52 True Tales of Family, Feasting, and the American Experience.

I Inherited a Publishing House

The will was probated, the paperwork complete. It was all official; I’d inherited a publishing house.

I was hardly ecstatic knowing that, with computer technology, more and more books were being birthed annually. Nearly 400,000 new titles were self-published in 2012, according to R.R. Bowker. The figure represents a 59 percent increase over 2011.

The publishing house was left to me by my friend and co-author, Frances Diane Robotti, who died at 93.  It is called Fountainhead.  Haven’t heard of it?  It closed its doors in 1976, probably before many current editors at Hyperion and Penguin could ride a bike. Fountainhead (FH) was established in 1960 (a year when 15,000 books were published, according to Bowker) in New York City and put out 2-3 titles per year, none bestsellers. Among them: Crucial Moments of the Civil War by Willard Webb; The Gift of Laughter and Nineteen Other Short Stories by Alice Maxwell; and Fairy-Lamps: Evening’s Glow of Yesteryear by Amelia MacSwiggan. A fairy-lamp is a candle with a colorful glass dome that gives off a twinkling light. They were popular in the late 19th century and today are collector’s items. For more info, check out, a site run by Read more »

Boots and Glass Slippers

June 22, 2014

PictureOur guest blogger is Jamie Le Fay author of Ange’el (Ange’el Series) ($0.99).

Boots and Glass Slippers

From as young as I can remember, I have soothed myself to sleep by imagining epic stories of heroes, heroines, sorceresses, dragons, angels, and devils. I based my stories on the books and movies I was watching and the narratives that moved and inspired me.

I was as excited and delighted with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre as I was with Battlestar Galactica (the original TV series). The Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend retelling from the point of view of the female characters, had as much effect on me as Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

I imagined myself occupying the boots of the hero as much as I occupied the glass slippers of the damsel in distress. The first one was what I wanted to be; the second was what society wanted me to be, and I believed them, for a little while.

Unfortunately, at that time, all the really interesting heroes were mostly male. There were very few interesting female characters on TV. I remember Charlie’s Angels (the original TV series). I used to play with tree miniature Read more »

PAGE-TURNER! Small Towns – Big Crimes

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