Friday, October 28, 2011
Isn't that button super scary? EEK!
I'm giving away a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to the randomly-chosen winner. I'll also throw in some fun bookmarks from The Conduct Series, my romantic suspense series.
Are you dressing in costume this Halloween? My blog avatar is actually me in a Halloween costume--a carrot.
Lord knows why my mother sewed a carrot costume, but she did, and it's been legendary in my family ever since. Lord knows why I wrote about "sexy vegetables" in With Good Behavior, but I did, and now I just have to use the carrot for my author photo.
What's been your favorite Halloween costume you've ever worn?
The giveaway ends at midnight on 10/31/11.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Thank you to Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not a Writer BLOG as well as The Diary of a Bookworm for hosting this huge giveaway!
I love Halloween--I'm actually wearing a costume in my blogger avatar (I'm a carrot.) To celebrate, I'm giving away two ebooks from my romantic suspense series, The Conduct Series. The winners can choose either With Good Behavior or Bad Behavior.
The Conduct Series is going on tour Nov. 28 - Dec. 9. Bloggers can sign up HERE.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bloggers can sign up on Julie's blog HERE. Readers, stay tuned for your chance to win goodies!
The Conduct Series is about two parolees who fall in love and battle bad guys in their quest for redemption.
And now it's time for the Author Author Blog Bounce. Head on over to Omnific's blog to see the details. Authors, bounce on in and join the hop. Readers, bounce over to your favorite blogs.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I'm looking into organizing a virtual book tour for The Conduct Series for the end of this year. Any interested bloggers, please leave a comment or contact me at jenniferlanebooks at gmail dot com.
Now it's time to bounce. Check out Omnific Publishing's BLOG for instructions.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Recently I visited my parents in Cincinnati to attend a Bengals game (they won in an amazing come-from-behind fashion, yeah!) First we went to church and the sermon was about happiness in marriage. In romance, do we only look out only for our own happiness or do we focus on the happiness of our partner?
Like most things in life, I believe there needs to be a balance between our happiness and our partner's happiness. If we focus solely on ourselves, we won't have partners for long! If we focus solely on our partners, we get lost in the relationship. We become spineless, wet noodles.
A folktale I read in Eating in the Light of the Moon demonstrates this balance nicely. The story is about an eel and a lobster working together. On the ocean floor, a lobster sits at the mouth of a dark cave, and an eel lives inside. The cave's opening is an ideal place to attract food for both the lobster and the eel. However, eels EAT lobsters. So, Ms. Lobster needs to keep one antenna pointed out the cave to sense incoming food, and one antenna pointed behind her into the cave to sense an oncoming attack by hungry gobble-gobble Ms. Eel.
What a wonderful metaphor for successful human relationships. We need to point our antennae both inward and outward, sensing our own needs but also cognizant of the needs of others. When those needs differ, that's where communication and conflict resolution skills come in. Hopefully we can avoid the "claws" coming out or a shocking attack from behind, hee hee.
What do you think about focusing on your happiness vs. your partner's, in life or fiction? One aspect I disliked about Twilight was how selfless Bella was, but many readers seemed to love her character.
Time for the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop, which will run through the month of October and then fade away into the blogosphere. Thank you to Lisa Sanchez for hosting the hop all these months! Check out her blog for instructions.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Today’s special guest is author Debra Anastasia! *applauds* I truly enjoyed her novel Crushed Seraphim, and here’s my review.
Where in the universe can you find an angel with a potty mouth and a devil with a heart of gold? Why, in Crushed Seraphim, of course! Debra Anastasia has created cheeky, clever characters in her debut novel, and the unusual cast kept me thoroughly entertained. The writing is smooth and captivating, particularly when Debra writes the character of Jack, aka the devil. Jack forever sucks on a lit cigarette, its smoke swirling around him as he jokes about cigarettes killing him one day, his motorcycle boots and leather jacket showing off his hot, muscled bod. Sizzling.
This novel is wonderful, but at times it felt a bit uneven to me. There are so many parts that I loved (which I’ll list here) and a few aspects I didn’t enjoy as much. Here are my favorite elements of the story (along with noteworthy quotes):
*the location of the gateway to Hell
*angel Emma’s description of how depression feels in the devil’s sordid hallway of torture
*Emma’s food source when she gets changed (mirrored in her shiny green eyes hee hee)
*calling purgatory hell’s “waiting room”
*the devil’s lone hand reaching up out of the soil, begging for Emma to free him
*Jason’s speech to Emma at the end
My favorite quotes (page numbers from my Nook):
“Her wing was a tightly knit gossamer web. Feathers the consistency of hope shimmered . . . A single slice, welted with melted silver, lined her shoulder where another symmetrical wing should have been. Gentle drops of liquid metal pooled in the snow, solidifying into a small mirror.” (p.16) (Fantastic visuals of angels).
When faced with a massive, snarling dragon, Emma doesn’t reach for a knight or a sword. Instead, she uses more powerful weapons: her love and forgiveness. “But I know better. I know even if you kill me, God loves me. He’ll never leave me. I have hope. And I believe.” (p. 114)
Emma’s advice: “Your heart is your compass. It will always tell you about someone’s true nature.” (p. 159)
Jack cracks me up. “The last time he’d busted a pause button there had been a legal hearing in Heavenly Court. Those righteous types were such sticklers for the rules.” (p. 179)
Everett is deliciously evil. “He nodded when the bloodcurdling noise began again. Everett pretended to hold a conductor’s baton as she hit a particularly excruciating high note.” (p. 202)
Wow! A lot of fun. Yet there were parts I didn’t like as much:
*The presence of vampires. While I found the lore of their creation interesting, my personal opinion is that vampires don’t really fit well in a story about heaven and hell. It does seem the “half-breeds” will have a large role in the sequel though. I have to say I’m not a huge paranormal fan so other readers may really love Jason and his family.
*The direction of the story confused me at times. Freeing God from hell seems like the main thrust of the plot but after a big battle it’s almost like another story begins.
*Emma going from Jason to Jack and back again was jarring for me. I wanted more understanding of her attraction and decision-making. We know she’s impulsive but I didn’t get a good sense of why she’d choose one over the other.
In the balance of things, these are minor points. Overall it's a fresh, enjoyable story that I highly recommend. Bravo, Debra!
And now we get to hear from Ms. Author.
Jennifer Lane (JL): I'm happy to have you on the blog today, Debra! Thanks for taking time out of your chaotic recovery from the hurricane to visit. Congratulations on the publication of Crushed Seraphim, which I loved. What inspired you to write the story?
Debra Anastasia (DA): First thank you so much for reading it! Crushed Seraphim came from my curiosity about how an angel who was more like a real person would handle adversity. I was inspired by people who do amazing things and aren’t perfect every moment of every day. I love my heroines to have a courageous attitude, so my angel needed to stand on her own two wings. Wait, I mean feet. ;)
JL: Please tell us about your journey toward publication.
DA: Wow. That’s a great question. I’ve been very fortunate to have access to a computer, which has lead to the most wonderful communities. Writing itself took years to try. I would get nervous that people would know what went on my head! It is a revealing process. After numerous different outlets online and tremendous support, I tried my hand at fiction and loved it.
JL: We’re glad you did! What's been the most surprising reaction from readers so far?
DA: I think I was most surprised with how accepting readers are. They have fantastic imaginations. It is really an honor to try and go as deep as I can when writing a scene. I found if I cry when writing it (or laugh) then I know it will usually come through for my readers. I love sharing that emotion with them.
JL: I feel the same way when writing. How much does your character Emma reflect your own personality?
DA: Well, I love to curse. Not in public or in front of children, of course. I think Emma’s quick temper comes from me and I hope I have a bit of her faith. It’s interesting, as I’m sure you know, even the villains have a bit of the author in them.
JL: Crushed Seraphim deals with spirituality. How have your own spiritual beliefs influenced your writing?
DA: I’m very spiritual. I believe in praying for people and think that the good energy that comes from prayers can help. I’m not tremendously religious now, though I did have 12 years of Catholic schooling. I think I’m trying to tell people a story with Crushed Seraphim about how strong we all are and how we can help each other. Especially women. I’ve found my gender to be just stunning examples of selfless love.
JL: Amen to that! Speaking of spirituality, you've endured tough times with hurricane winds causing a huge tree to fall on your house (Read Deb’s harrowing account HERE). How are your family and your home recovering?
DA: Hurricane Irene was kind of a game changer for my family. We are all safe and my pets are safe. I can’t ask for anything more. We were fortunate to have insurance, so although the process is lengthy, my home will be demolished and rebuilt. I do not look at this as any kind of tragedy because there are far worse things that happen to families everyday. I had tremendous support from Omnific and my friends online that has made a world of difference. We are very lucky.
JL: I've been hearing GREAT things about your next novel Poughkeepsie. And I haven't read it yet, so it will be all new to me, yay! What's the story about?
DA: I’m so excited for you to read it. I hope you like it. The story is about daring to love. I was reading a lot about rich, handsome heroes in love stories and I looked at my husband and thought, “Well he’s not rich.” (Sorry Honey!) and he’s still my hero. I’m crazy about him and we’re total partners. I wanted to write a story about a love that would last even if the hero couldn’t solve every problem with a blob of money, if all he had to offer was his heart. And I wanted a heroine that would appreciate that kindness. So, Blake’s homeless and Livia is smart enough to trust her heart. And of course, because we need a problem, so things go wrong for our lovebirds! Blake has two foster bothers, one a would-be priest and one a criminal. His love for his brothers and his new lady is challenged when they all face a dangerous, deadly night.
JL: Sounds so interesting. Thanks for the interview, Debra.
DA: Thanks for having me. It is such an honor to get to be on your blog. Your writing is fantastic. So glad we are Omnific sisters.
You need to read Crushed Seraphim, people! Find Debra and her novels here:
Goodreads Author Page
Crushed Seraphim Available at Omnific Publishing
Crushed Seraphim on Amazon
Time for the Omnific Blog Bounce. Visit Omnific Publishing’s blog for instructions.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Karen! We met through author Susan Kaye Quinn and then I got to know you better on your excellent blog, especially for the Blog Barbecue you hosted last year. How did you come up with your blog title and design?
Karen Jones Gowen (KJG): Coming Down the Mountain came from the image of the writer being alone at the top of a mountain to write in solitude, and then needing to come down from the mountain to join humanity to promote the book. I originally named it: Coming Down the Mountain: From Reclusive Writer to Published Author. Recently I dropped that part and changed to A Writer's Blog, because since I started blogging two years ago I haven't been that reclusive! (And I never actually sat on a mountain top to write, but I can see them from my house in the valley.)
JL: Your blog is quite successful. What tips would you share with other authors who blog?
KJG: The first big thing I did was establish my platform, which is pretty well described above in naming the blog. This attracted other writers as we all tend to be a pretty reclusive, anxiety-ridden group of individuals. The second big thing is to get out and meet people! Follow blogs, and comment, and interact-- don't just start the blog, post and wait for people to find you. Unless you're a big celebrity.Then the sit and wait approach might work.
JL: Please tell us about your journey to becoming a published author.
KJG: I was published years ago by selling stories to children's magazines but had never written a novel. My first book, Farm Girl, came to the attention of an investor looking to start a publishing company. He wanted it for the first release, and he brought on members of my family who had edited and designed the book-- William and Don Gowen-- thus the name of the company, WiDo Publishing, which has since gone on to publish books by many different authors.
JL: You wrote Uncut Diamonds a while ago, and House of Diamonds follows the same characters years later. Would you consider this a series? How did you approach writing the second book?
KJG: I wrote Uncut Diamonds completely ignorant of my intended audience. Like I said, I was a recluse! When I wrote House of Diamonds, I had a much clearer view of my audience, and I wrote for them. I think the second one is a much better book for utilizing this approach. I don't expect to write a third one because I get bored easily. What I'm working on now is a bit grittier and darker.
JL: What inspired you to write the Diamond books?
KJG: I wanted to try my hand at novel-writing and so I wrote what I know, which is family life. My own family, to be specific. They are both fictionalized, semi-autobiographical novels.
JL: Family life is obviously important to you. How do you juggle your family and writing? How do family members view your writing?
KJG: I have a really supportive family, especially now that my kids are grown and out of the house. They no longer mind that I'm cloistered in my writing room not fixing them dinner. I have supportive sisters as well, who have been very good sports about my fictionalizing them in these two novels.
JL: You and your husband are starting a company to help authors sell books. Where are you in that process?
KJG: Yay, I get to talk about Celery Tree! Celerytree.com is currently in the hands of the quality control guy, who is trying to hack the site. When he's done, he'll tell us where the weak points are so the programmer can fix them. After that, it will go out to the authors so they can review their book and author pages, and fill in anything that's missing, and ask questions. That will be our soft launch. Once the authors have looked it over, it will go live and all of us will promote the heck out of it, because the concept is awesome and people are going to love it!
Thank you for visiting, Karen! I hope you and other authors join us today for the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop. You can find instructions on Lisa Sanchez’s BLOG.