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Guest Blog Post

How To Get Your Workout And Reading In At The Same Time

September 16, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Deirdra Eden author of Knight of Light (The Watchers Book 1).

How To Get Your Workout And Reading In At The Same Time

 Leg Lifts
Crunches. Or get in this position and hold.
One handed push-ups

Read more »

Please Save the Puppies

September 15, 2014
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Save The PuppiesOur guest blogger is Suzanne Vince author of The Many Lives of June Crandall.

Please Save the Puppies

A few years ago, in order to quell the tedium of my 110-mile round-trip commute, I began listening to audio books. It quickly became an addiction. Though I write romance books, my supplier prefers murder mysteries, so that’s what I listened to. And hey, as expensive as audio books are, who am I to argue.

But then I listened to a book where the antagonist (bad guy) beat a poor, defenseless puppy to death. I stopped listening to the book immediately and got my own subscription to www.audible.com so I could listen to my own kind of books. Ones that do not involve the savage murder of innocent animals. I mean, seriously, who would want to listen to listen to such a book? More, what kind of person actually writes that kind of book?

And so I began listening to women’s fiction and romance novels, and listening to books on tape became safe again.

But recently, my friend and author Jansen Schmidt posted a blog entitled,Sometimes You Just Have to Kill ‘Em. In the post, Jansen talks about how upset her husband was when one of his favorite characters in a book he was reading was killed off. She argues that sometimes it’s necessary to kill off a character (for various reasons), and asks if any of us (writers) have ever killed off a character.

My reply? No, none of my characters have ever ticked me off enough. Read more »

Writing is an Endurance Sport

September 9, 2014
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LV Marathon LegsOur guest blogger is Suzanne Vince author of The Many Lives of June Crandall.

Writing is an Endurance Sport

I started running in 2001. The first time I ran, I huffed and puffed my way to the corner and back and wondered what in the heck I was thinking. The next day wasn’t much better. But then, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And I was not a quitter (except when I tried to golf).

In 2003, I ran my first marathon. In the two years since I’d begun running, I’d logged over a thousand miles, gone through a dozen pairs of running shoes, incurred at least seven of the ten top running-related injuries, and experimented with every imaginable form of nutrition.

I read every magazine made for runners and triathlete’s, and scoured Mental Training for Peak Performance for tips on how to avoid hitting The Wall (also known as the 20-mile marker).

I was as prepared for Race Day as one can be.

Or rather, I should say that I was prepared in all the ways a runner could be prepared. And then, everything that could go wrong, did:

Two days before my husband and I were scheduled to leave for Las Vegas, my father had a heart attack. He’d been battling esophageal cancer for a year at that point, and the doctors said he wouldn’t last the day. My father did make it through the day, and the next, and he encouraged me to do the marathon.

Three days before the marathon, I came down with a bad head cold and a nasty cough. I bought some Dayquil and sucked it up.

The night before the marathon we watched the weather report for the Big Day. Forecast called for 35mph sustained winds with gusts up to 50 mph. Read more »

Are We Honest or Overboard About Obscenities?

September 8, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Bonnie McCune author of several books including Falling Like a Rock (4.9 stars, 12 reviews).

Are We Honest or Overboard About Obscenities?

While watching a 50′s Western on television, I chuckled to be reminded of the extremes the media used to reach to avoid censorship or offending their audiences. One character, a rancher, was married to a Native American woman; and two of the townsmen launched a sexist tirade to get his goat, stating, “We’ve heard she’s some pumpkin.” To update the scene, replace “pumpkin” with the profanity of your choice.

At the same time, I was rereading a science fiction classic, The Stars My Destination,” by Alfred Bester. (The teleporting hero seeks revenge for his abandonment on a wrecked space ship and causes havoc all about him.) Published originally in 1956, the version I perused made special note twice of the lack of complete rape and sex scenes, claiming that had the author been writing more recently, he wouldn’t have been stifled and we could have been treated to vivid renderings.

I was thankful I’m not limited in my writing the way people were sixty years ago. I have more freedom, I thought. But then I wondered why that was my reaction. I didn’t miss the violence and sex in the book; the plot certainly raced Read more »

The Thoughtfulness of Fiction

September 2, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Bonnie McCune author of several books including Falling Like a Rock (4.9 stars, 12 reviews).

The Thoughtfulness of Fiction and How It Impacts Our Mental Acuity as Well as Ideas, Beliefs, Perceptions, Even Behavior

Have you ever read a novel and felt as if you’ve left your surroundings for a new world? This is one of the ways I use to decide if a book’s made a major impact on me. The process by which this happens isn’t simple, not a matter of exciting action or steamy love scenes. A combination of writing style and language, plot, compelling characters, and an unfathomable mixture of interesting ideas old and new are some of the qualities that go into what’s called “willing suspension of disbelief.” In essence, although I know what I’m reading is imaginary, I react as though it’s real. And it changes me in ways I haven’t measured, provides knowledge, even, dare I claim?, wisdom.

Some of the books that have done that for me are Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Hunger Games, Main Street, Caramelo, Doomsday Book, Revolutionary Road, and The Things They Carried. These probably aren’t your choices, but you might have your own favorites.

Or you might not read fiction. I know people who refuse to on the grounds that it’s not real, not for serious-minded people, it’s fluff. Stop and think a minute though: fiction is more truthful than nonfiction because it allows us entry into other people’s minds and emotions. It presents thoughts in action and practice. It’s the closest thing we have to eternal life since every eon, each individual can be represented.

As usual with slap-your-face obvious information, this perspective, known for centuries to readers and writers, now is being substantiated through various studies. Yes, reading fiction stimulates and strengthens certain areas in your Read more »

Pursuing the Creative Muse

August 29, 2014
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Our guest blogger is J. Cafesin author of several books including Reverb (4.3 stars, 39 reviews).

Pursuing the Creative Muse

How do you get good at anything?
Practice.
 
How do you get great?
Obsession—Practice most all the time.
 
Pick any famous author, artist, musician, and they’ll all have obsession in common. And while we, the public, enjoy the fruits of their creative labor, those closest to these individuals were/are generally left wanting.
Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, “was an indifferent and often inattentive father and husband.”
Rod Serling, of Twilight Zone fame, “worked 12 hours a day seven days a week, [and] his wife, Carol, tended to their daughters, Jodi and Anne.”
Adrienne Armstrong, wife of Billy Joe Armstrong of Greenday said of her husband after the release of the album American Idiot, “I think it challenged us to a new level, pushed us pretty far, the farthest I ever want to go.”
The creatives above are all men. All married and all had/have children.
Now lets explore a few famous women.
The romance novelist Jane Austen never married. She was, in fact, ‘relieved in later life to have avoided the pitfalls of married life, not least the huge risks of childbirth, “all the business of Mothering.”’

Read more »

What Is Chick Lit?

August 25, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Jennifer Gilby Roberts author of several books including The Dr Pepper Prophecies (4.1 stars, 152 reviews). 

What Is Chick Lit?

There seems to be a lot of disagreement about what ‘Chick Lit’ means.  Here’s my take on where it fits in:

Chick Lit and Women Writers
Some people believe that chick lit covers everything written by women, which is ridiculous.  The range of work by women authors is, amazingly enough, just as broad as that by male ones. 

Chick Lit and Male Writers
Chick lit doesn’t have to be written by women.  Mostly it is, but there are a few male authors too (e.g. Nicholas Sparks, Nic Tatano and Chris Dyer).  And now of course we have lad lit (also called dude lit, dick lit, etc.) which is the same style but aimed at men.

Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction

I view chick lit as a sub-genre of women’s fiction, which I take as all fiction aimed specifically at women by dealing with issues of modern womenhood.  What marks chick lit out is that it is funny.  The degree varies from laugh out loud to quiet smiling, but there is always a significant element of humour.

That doesn’t mean that chick lit is all about sex and shoes and never deals with anything serious.  Some is like this, certainly, but not all.  A good example of one that deals with meatier issues would be Marian Keyes’ Rachel’s Holiday, which is about drug addiction.  The key to making it chick lit is that the book looks for the humour in all situations.  If it could be described as ‘gritty’, it’s not chick lit.

Chick Lit and Romance
Chick lit usually includes a romantic relationship, but unlike in romance the relationship is not the focus of the book.  The heroine(s)’ relationships with friends Read more »

The Jeopardy in Instant Gratification

August 17, 2014
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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
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Our guest blogger is Kimberly Dean author of several books including Roxie (Triple X Book 3).

Seeing Double

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-twins-taking-photo-image9103336As 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
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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 »

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