Friday, December 19, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Between The Stars by Kevin J. Anderson


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About The Book:

Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness. The human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.

In Kevin J. Anderson's The Dark Between the Stars, galactic empires clash, elemental beings devastate whole planetary systems, and factions of humanity are pitted against each other. Heroes rise and enemies make their last stands in the climax of an epic tale seven years in the making.

Lynda's Review:

For fans of this series, this book continues in the same adventurous leap from one major plot twist to another. Characters continue to evolve and some make surprising choices and othesr huge mistakes. Space fans get a chance to visit that realm again and will meet some old friends. Pacing is slow in the beginning but steps up about a third of the way in. I think Sci-Fi fans will have mixed feelings on this story, some loving it, some not so in love. But for Kevin J. Anderson fans, no book is ever a waste.



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Anthony Ant Goes to France by Julia Bettendorf

@JuliaBettendorf #Ant #France #Children's #Literature #Educational #Book

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About The Book:
Join Anthony Ant as he travels around the world! Hi, my name is Anthony Ant, and I love to go places. When I travel, I can fit into some pretty small spaces. Once I curled up in a suitcase, as snug as could be. When I came out, I was in beautiful France. Whoopee! These are the tales of Anthony Ant, a child's travel companion and all-around great adventurer. Anthony travels in style, comfortably lodged in a suitcase, and he never knows what strange, new country he will find himself in. In Anthony Ant Goes to France, he travels to Paris, where he meets Lulu Ladybug. Together they explore the food, culture, and sights of the city. Anthony visits the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, eats French pastry, and gets to know the French people, all with his new friend Lulu.

Breeze's Review:
I just loved this book. There are so many reasons why this story stood out to me but the first was the illustrations. They are so detailed and creative, some of the best I've seen recently among  the books I've reviewed. Another aspect of this book that I liked was how informative the story was about France. It was also informative in a way that did not bore or lose the attention of my children. I really appreciated how the wording on each page wasn't lengthy, the illustrations told so much of the story that the story line could be kept simple, which is essential when keeping a younger audience's attention. This was a fun and educational book!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS By Loretta C. Rogers

 #Elvis #Junk Food @RWA @TWRP #Pajamas #Mojito #Insanity

Loretta, I really enjoyed reading through your answers. I envy your sense of humor and how easily it comes through in your writing. Thank you for answering my questions.

Thanks Lynda for hosting me today. All of the questions were great which made it difficult to decide which ones I wanted YOU to answer. I had a lot of fun coming up with answers, so here we goooo…

1. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I consider my writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion?

You'd consider writing a passion.

Let me explain. I'm really a very sane person, but somewhere inside my brain is a world filled with characters begging to have their stories told. Just like the wax figures in the movie “Night in the Museum,” come alive at night, the cowboys, gunslingers, pioneers, mail-order brides, war heroes, Native Americans, all seem to awaken from their days of sleeping to visit in my dreams. Whether figments of imagination or people I might have known in other lifetimes, I am passionate about telling their stories. Geez, I hope this doesn’t make me a candidate for the loony bin. Besides, I get to go to work in my pajamas, eat junk food, find excuses for not exercising, and not have to worry about wearing make-up.

2. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I belong to any writing groups, if so, why.

You'd belong to Romance Writers of American, but your local group is Sunshine State Romance Authors.

Our logo is the mermaid. Like all mermaids, I sometimes tread water; especially if my story is stalled. And like the sirens of the sea, I get to lure heroes and heroines into uncharted territories. And there’s nothing like making a big mermaid splash when signing a new book contract. Seriously, having the camaraderie of fellow writers to cheer you when you’re down, to motivate you when the writing slumps happen, to simply talk about writing, and to celebrate each writing victory with you is healthy stimulation and essential to keeping the creative juices vitalized.

3. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have made a Million $ on my first book?

Well, of course you would dahling, don’t all authors make a Million $ on their first book, along with the multi-million $ movie contract, and with Mathew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, or other famous actors clamoring for the major roles.

I can hardly wait to pick out my fancy gown, glittering jewels, walk the red carpet, smooze with Ron Howard, Stephen Spielberg, and make my acceptance speech when I’m handed the Oscar for best writer. Oh, please don’t awaken me from this fabulous dream!

4. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I get excited over seeing my book cover for the first time?

I need to remove my fun mask, and put on my serious mask to answer this question, but I promise not to drone on and on. As a complete newbie, I had no idea what to expect for my first book cover. Nicola Martinez (The Wild Rose Press) designed the book cover for Isabelle and the Outlaw. The day the mock up arrived in my email, I giggled like an excited child who had just opened the most fabulous gift. I squealed with delight, jumped for joy, couldn’t wait to show the cover off to all my friends and family. I knew readers would love it as much I did and still do. Wow! Being spoiled by this first book cover, I thought all publishers would provide beautiful artwork. Not so. When the book cover for The Twisted Trail arrived, I sobbed (really as in actual tears). The cover was and still remains--orangish-brown, with stick figure cowboys wearing pith helmets, and riding mules. Did I mention that I sobbed? I also agonized. If I complained would I get another contract from Avalon Books? I did, but the covers never excited me.

5. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I love doing book signings, personal appearance, etc?

Absolutely!You'd love meeting, and talking with people.

In fact, my nickname is M&M, which has nothing to do with those little candies that melt in your mouth, and everything to do with “Motor Mouth.” Just like there’s nothing shy about my hero or heroines, or villains, there’s nothing timid about me. I really like wearing my pjs and going barefoot while sitting at my computer conjuring up different ways to put my protagonists in impossible situations then figuring how to rescue them, but every once in a while it’s nice to dress-up and greet the world just to interact with ‘real’ people. Getting out of my writing den lets me know I'm still sane.


6. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOK, Do I have a favorite color, movie, ice cream flavor, and drink?

Your favorite color would be evenly balanced between blue and red. Blue for cool and calm, red for power. Movies--hmmm, “Heartbreak Ridge.” Clint Eastwood’s gravely-voiced character, Gunny Highway is a hard-nosed Marine who cares about his country and the men in his command.

My favorite line is: “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” Isn’t that what we do as writers: improvise, adapt and overcome? As for ice cream, chocolate-vanilla swirl, and favorite drink: regular -- Mountain Dew; alcoholic--mojito. Cheers!

7. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, And I was stuck in solitary confinement, what five items would I most want with me?

When I'm on deadline, my office feels like solitary confinement. But, here we go: you'd want a case of Toilet paper (that one doesn’t need explaining); laptop with electrical cord (hopefully the cell has wiifii); floor-to-ceiling poster of Tom Selleck, Elvis Presley, Eric Close, Hugh Jackman, and Clint Eastwood (all in their younger days) to keep me company, a pillow, and an electric drill. (the drill is for obvious reasons).

8. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be writing alone, or do I allow others in my space while writing?
When You walk into your office the only beings allowed are your two dogs.

Baby Girl and Buddy don’t talk (they do snore), they keep my feet warm, and they get me out of my typing chair by reminding me it’s time to take them out for their daily doodle walks. Otherwise, it’s just me, the dogs, and the characters I'm creating. Everyone else has to abide by the “Knock before entering,” rule.

One last thing, Lynda. I wonder what a psychiatrist would think of some of my answers? Hmm!


You can follow Loretta C. Rogers at these locations:
Website
Facebook
Avalon Authors on FaceBook
Montlake Authors on FaceBook




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Sunday, December 14, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Noodles and Albie by Eric Bennett

#Penguin #Noodles #Watercolor #Ocean #Lost #Fish
About The Book:
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A penguin tale of friendship and coming of age, Noodles and Albie is the story of a young penguin on his first adventure at sea in the mysterious Southern Ocean. When his fun takes a turn and Noodles discovers he is lost, he tries to find his way home before darkness sets in. Noodles has nearly given up when he meets a friendly fish named Albie, who knows the sea “like the back of my fin.” They begin the journey together, but will they make it home to the penguin colony before dark? This charming and imaginative story is set against a backdrop of beautifully intricate watercolor illustrations that help bring the story to life.

Breeze's Review:
This was such a cute story!! I shared this book with my 5 year old daughter and she loved it so much that it was book of choice for three nights in a row. She loved all the illustrations and kept pointing out things I hadn't noticed in the pictures which was fun for both her and I. I also loved how the book was both short and long enough to be the perfect bedtime story. The story about Noodles and Albie helped teach a lot about the importance of friendship and the joy it can bring. I really appreciated how Noodle didn't give up on Albie, I always try to teach my children how important it is not to give up on each other and this story was very helpful. I recommend this sweet story to any family!






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Saturday, December 13, 2014

IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS by SANDRA S. KERNS


#Butterfly Bride #Sock Monkees #Nachos #Pantser #Plotting #BAM #Blogging



Sandra, It's pleasure to have you visit with us here at Between The Pages. IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, where would I presently be in my writing career?

You would be finishing up your second full year of being published and really enjoying it because you retired in the spring and can now play with your characters full time like the ones in “Butterfly Bride” your Christmas novella coming out, oh wow, NOW, which is amazing considering the state of your office.




 IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would my writing space look like? 

Your space would be messy. I know, I know, you tell yourself you really should organize the papers and do you really need all the stuffed animals? However, organizing takes away from your writing time and all those cute little stuffed animals have special memories to go with them. There’s also the fact that the sock munkees (I know that’s spelled wrong, but the they insist that’s how THEY spell it) are an integral part of your blogging and promotion. You can’t get ride of them.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also have other hobbies, if so, what kind? 

Of course, you would have other hobbies. You need to take a break from your characters once in a while or you would end up with too many split personalities. You have a number of hobbies actually, but your favorite is sewing/quilting, hence more mess in your office (see sewing machine in above pic). The piles of shorts and; usually dresses will eventually make it to missionaries that the sewing circle you belong to supports. The quilt you’re making for your son and new daughter-in-law WILL get made, but until then glancing at the fabrics reminds you their anniversary isn’t until June so you still have time to type a little longer.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I eat for a typical lunch? 

Nachos while watching Netflix in your office because it’s easier than maneuvering the 3 clickers in the family room. Plus, your computer screen (and Rudy) are staring at you the entire time you eat so guilt creeps in when you finish and you have to get back to work.

 IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing? 

Rudy, or Rudykins, or Mr. Rudymeister, whichever name you want to use. He will come and go as the mood strikes him. Sometimes he will walk through to make sure you are working and then leave to find a good place to nap. Other times he sits beside you and hits you with his paw to tell you it’s time to take a break and take him for a walk. It’s a good thing, otherwise you would grow roots in your chair and never be able to move again.


IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write for myself or my readers? 

You started out, writing for yourself and then a miracle happened. People bought your books and wanted more! Your first series that was supposed to be three books is still going (4 full length, 1 novella, and the next book in process) strong and readers still want more of the Masters Men! You’re awed, amazed, and thrilled!

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What's the best/worse comments I've received from a fan or critic?  

The worst comment you ever received was; “I would not repeat not recommend this book to any of my friends... .unless they are having trouble sleeping.” and you would wonder why, if it was so terrible they bothered to give it even one star. You would wallow for about five minutes before remembering your favorite (and very first review) comment; “Is it possible to have both your brains blown out AND your socks blown off at the same time? YOU BETCHA' SWEET MASTERS MEN IT IS!!!! I LOVE buying books on a whim (not good on the credit card I tell 'ya :)) AND being blown away by the story! And with Her Master Defender I was!!!”Then you would take a deep breath and get back to work because you can’t let that reader down!

 IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, would I be a Pantser or Plotter? 

You would definitely be a pantser because again, you don’t do organized well. Although, to be honest that’s not the real reason. You’ve tried (and keep trying) to plot because people tell you you’ll write faster if you do. Well, yeah, I’d write faster because as soon as the plotting outline is done, I’m done. I know the entire story and am not interested anymore so that book’s done, or actually, that book never gets written.  So, you don’t plot, you let things (mainly characters) percolate in your mind for a while. You know them very well by the time you sit down to write their story. The reason you still have fun writing that story is because those darned characters you thought you knew so well start taking left turns when you want them to turn right and lead you in a totally different direction (usually much better). It’s kind of like life. You think you’ve got a plan for your day and then BAM someone throws a wrench into it and you have to rearrange the schedule.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have a website or blog? If so, where can they be found? Do I offer promo features for other writers on my blog? 

Yes, of course you would have a website and blog because you’re an Indie author and have to get your name out there somehow, silly. You would go to: http://sandrakerns.com Yes, you do offer promo opportunities for other authors, but you haven’t gotten yourself organized well (see question1) so it’s not on a regular basis. However, you do have a fun partner for blogging. His name is Sock Munkee, Jr. He loves to talk about his travels and exciting jaunts you take him on for ‘research.’ He also attends writing events with you and dresses accordingly (That’s him at the CRW Reader’s Tea in 2013). One of his favorite activities is having his picture taken to promote your books. Yes, he can be a camera hog but he’s so cute you really don’t mind.

Thanks for stopping by and getting to know 'you' as a writer. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.


#Butterfly Bride #Sock Monkees #Nachos #Pantser #Plotting #BAM #Blogging



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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS by Debra Druzy

#Write #Punctuation #Texting #Smartphone #Santa  @Debra Druzy

Let me introduce you to Debra Druzy. Debra says on her blog: "With terrible penmanship, writing books was never a life long dream." I had to laugh at that because I felt the same way. Debra didn’t plan to be a writer. She went to college for childhood education and was a substitute teacher for a few years. Eventually, she left teaching to work in Corporate America. Years of commuting by train gave her a lot of time to read. The more she read, the more she wanted to write her own story…and so she did. She writes full-time now and still has a problem with punctuation. Sleeping with Santa is her first published book. You can find her online at www.DebraDruzy.com

Debra, here are a few questions for you:








IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, 
What would my writing space look like? 

Your writing space would be scattered around the house. There'd be a little table in the kitchen to brainstorm with pen and paper, cluttered with the kiddies’ after-school papers and mommy-to-do lists. Some typewritten work might be done on the family computer. But the majority of the writing would happen sitting on the bed with your trusty laptop.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I do when taking a beak from writing?

Taking a break would mean running to the potty, or refilling the coffee cup, or carting kiddies to/from activities, or folding laundry, or taking your furry writing partner for a walk.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing?

A Shih Tzu named Teddy would be doing double-duty as a writing partner/foot warmer.
  
IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS,Do I often visit book stores and why?

It would be the most interesting way to spend alone-time ~ a mental adventure.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, 
Do I write longhand, on a laptop, tablet, etc.

the Ah-Ha moments would come at the worst possible times ~ while driving or taking a shower ~ where there’s limited access to the tools of the trade: pen/paper/keyboard. Fortunately, there’s the Smartphone. You’d prevent a good idea from escaping by texting or emailing yourself, or talking out a scene into the voice-recording app.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I tell a beginning writer to never do/always do?

You'd tell a beginning writer to know how the story ends. If you know the destination, you can plot backward to the cute-meet, steering the characters in the right direction along the way.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would be the name of my last book or upcoming release? What genre and length. Do I have a tagline for that book?

Your first published story called Sleeping with Santa ~ a contemporary holiday romance, about 55K words ~ would be arriving December 3, 2014, from The Wild Rose Press. 




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Saturday, December 6, 2014

IF YOU WERE ME AND WROTE BOOKS by Laura Strickland

#Hobbit-Cottage #Cows #Fuzzy #Gnomes

I found this tagline on Author Laura Strickland's website: "Where legend comes to life!" Just perusing the covers of her books will send a reader tumbling into a new and exciting world. Of course, I wanted to know more about this writer...


It’s a pleasure to be here today! I’ve enjoyed reading the previous interviews in this series and I had fun with your imaginative questions. It’s nice to put the focus on the writers and find out what’s behind their books. Thanks so much for including me.


IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Where would I live?

You would live in a magical place almost completely surrounded by water and

only nine miles south of Lake Ontario in Western New York. The house is tiny, a hobbit-cottage heated by wood and enlivened with the love of a dog. Trees stand tall here and they catch the moon in their branches when she sails by at night. The cows on your road outnumber the humans about 100-1!

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS,
What things would inspire me?

You would be inspired by the long-ago, by our ancestors both wise and foolish who lived difficult lives and yet still found time to spin tales and sing songs. You would be inspired by music and the beauty that has endured to be passed down through the ages. You would want to write of these people, bring them back to life, and show that in their hearts they’re really not so very different from us!

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS,
Do I consider writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion?

You don’t consider writing a job, because a job is work. You wouldn’t consider it a hobby because that’s far too casual a label. A vocation? Possibly, but how dull does that sound? A passion comes close but “addiction” fits best of all! It’s just like the old orange juice commercial: a day without writing is like a day without sunshine.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS,
Do I have any critters that keep me company while writing? 

Your dog would never be far from your side. You tend to get up very early in the morning in order to write while the world’s quiet, and your faithful dog trails
your heels. You start the fire in the wood stove and then settle in to the coziest and best minutes of your day when it’s just you, the dog, and the world you’re creating on the page. (I’ve had many dogs over the years, and have vowed to rescue from now on. The latest rescue, who joined our family in August, is named Jessie and she’s a sweet little lamb-kins.)

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, How would I explain to a five-year-old why a tennis ball is fuzzy?

You would look the child directly in his/her wide eyes and say, “Well you see, dear, the tennis ball is fuzzy because he’s not old enough to shave yet. When he grows up he’ll buy a razor and become a baseball.”

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, And I was stuck in solitary confinement, what five items would I most want with me?

You would consider a stretch of solitary confinement as a nice opportunity to write without interruptions. It’s not likely the jailers would allow a laptop, so the best five items to take would be: a good, thick spiral notebook to scrawl out the story longhand, a pen, a nice warm quilt, a pillow and twenty-five pounds of chocolate.

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, How would I describe a garden gnome or fairy house?

You would say, “Welcome to the household of Gerome Gnome! Step carefully over the threshold, down into the hollow tree and into our parlor. As you can see, the walls are hung with patterns of moss and lichen, and the roof is made from the woven branches of trees. Here’s my wife’s kitchen; you’ll admire her delicate teacups crafted from flowers grown in her garden: morning glories, daffodils and roses that she’s glazed in her kiln. Her tea cloths are made from the fragrant leaves of raspberry bushes. Up there you can see where we sleep in hammocks I made myself out of grape vines. When the wind blows, it rocks us to sleep!