Thursday, March 29, 2012

Win A Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 1, 2012 you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.

Organized Grime by Christy Barritt

Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker. The second book in the Squeaky Clean series, Suspicious Minds, won the 2009 Daphne de Maurier award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. Christy lives in Virginia with her husband and two sons. For more information about Christy's other books and projects, visit her on her Facebook page here 




From the book’s back cover
Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn't guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call.

Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning tie seemingly random murders together--and point to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into?

If that's not disturbing enough, who's the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans?

To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she's only recently begun to believe in. 

From Jo 
If you enjoy reading mysteries, this book is for you. While trying to prove her friend innocent of all charges, Gabby follows every lead, some good, some dead ends. Well written, suspenseful, develops Gabby’s personality quite well. You won’t have this one figured out till at the very end!



Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 1, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Organized Grime. You must be eighteen, U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

COTT's Fiction Flash Clash

Michelle
Today's guest bloggers are April Gardner and Michelle Massaro, who hosted Winner of the Fiction Flash Clash, One Hundred


April
Last week, Clash of the Titles (COTT) posted a "Flash Clash" in which readers had just 2 days to cast their votes between two 100-word excerpts. It was a fast one! But not so fast that voters didn't have time for their say. To add to the tension, the winner took the clash by a margin of one vote. That’s right. ONE vote difference. Both excerpts were so good, readers were split almost exactly down the middle. I love clashes that are this close!


The winner of our Flash Clash First Hundred is…
Rebecca Carey Lyle’s Winds of Wyoming.
 CONGRATULATIONS, BECKY!!

Winds of Wyoming clashed against Tom Blubaugh’s Night of the Cossack. It was a pleasure getting to know both authors during this fun, super-speedy clash. We wish many blessings on their writing paths!

Here's what readers had to say about both books:
*Great excerpts...both caught my interest immediately! *Wow - two really great flashes that sound like amazing stories! Love it! *Keep writing and don't give up! *Both excerpts were great, especially given the short time to convey what was happening in the story. Keep up the good work!
 
COTT is taking a spring break starting immediately. We will begin clashing again on April 2, 2012 when hostess Gail Pallotta brings us a brand new clash--Comparable Covers!


In the meantime, check out these other Splashdown Books…

Monday, March 26, 2012

Soul Mate


Monday Musings on This ‘N That


Rain, rain, go away……  Did we have the weather across our country last week! In different places we had rain…boy, did we have rain!


Then flooding from all the rain.


In spite of all the rain, other parts of the country still had drought.


Some places had sub tropic-like temperatures.


 Snow skiers were rewarded by snow on their slopes.

All that to say that last week reminded me that no place is exactly like another place and no one is exactly like someone else. And wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same? As I’m prone to say, “That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla,” since we’re not alike and have our own preferences.

And what about the saying that “opposites attract”?  Do you really believe that? If so, why do you think opposites attract one another? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I’m guessing there are examples for both. 

On the flip side we hear “birds of a feather flock together.” That probably means that birds that are alike stick with their kind. Many times when at home or away, I notice that when birds congregate they usually are very similar, at least cousins in the same “family.”

Okay somewhere among the two—“opposites attract” and “birds of a feather,”—some use the term “soul mate.”  Is a soul mate one who knows you better than you know yourself? Does a soul mate anticipate your every move and thought? Can a soul mate finish your every sentence? Are soul mates “opposites attract” or are they “birds of a feather”?

Do you know folks who are soul mates? Are you comfortable being around them? Are you maybe a little envious of their obvious contentment with each other? You may know folks who are soul mates and will tell you that they are. Maybe soul mates can be likened to a pair of turtle doves.



Let me hear from you on this. So, how do you define soul mate? Do you have one? Would you want one?


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Am I Doing This and How?


Our guest blogger today is Tiffany Colter, writer career coach. Welcome, Tiffany and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.


One thing we're going to examine while we're talking about this is what it is you're really selling.  Are you selling food or are you selling an experience.  Take for example McDonald's versus a fine dining restaurant.  Both accomplish the goal of providing some kind of nutrients to an individual, but one is really selling convenience while the other is really selling an experience.

What you need to determine is what it is you're really selling.  If you're a designer, what image are you selling?  Is it artistic?  Is it contemporary? Is it rural?  Is it urban?  What is it you're trying to get across to your target market?  What are they looking for?  They're looking for someone to communicate their message.  So what is their message?

What is it you are selling!  That is what you need to figure out and once you've done that, that's what we're going to market.  So let's begin by just figuring out what our business description is.  Take the time to sit down and write down here what your business description is.  Describe it in detail.  Tell me what you do and then tell me how you explain it to them.  What kind of words would you use?  What kind of services do you offer?  Be as detailed as possible and then we're going to look at what the next step is.

And then go back to your dreams. Where is it you’re headed? Where is the next place you want to go with your writing? With the other stuff you do? Go back to the last blog I did, "Why Am I Doing This?" and put yourself at that kitchen sink. Let your mind wander and dream about where you could go. Don’t be afraid.

------------------------

Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Everything is Looking Up

The winner of last Thursday's drawing for a copy of Death in Dahlonega by Deborah Malone is Faith Hope Cherrytea. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.



Monday Musings on This 'N That

This blog post today is truly going to be about This 'N That.

The broken rib I told you about last week is healing well. I expected to be hampered for 4-6 weeks (according to the doctor), especially with difficulty breathing. I'm doing so well I wonder if I really broke it. The color of the bruise would say yes I did--it went from black, navy blue,then a lighter blue for now. I have not done much lifting with the left arm so maybe I'm just being a good patient and being rewarded for good behavior. The hematoma in my hip has lessened and it's much easier to sit now. So all things are looking up on that front.

Most of the family is rid of what the doctor called "the crud." Yay! All of my family had it; the doctor said it was everywhere in the air.

It appears we've jumped from winter to spring in the south. Everything's blooming. The same thing happened this time last year. And our winter wasn't all that cold at that. Heard someone say yesterday we didn't have enough cold weather to kill off the bugs, so get ready for them. I wouldn't choose to live in a northern state because of the cold weather. But a plus would be that there are fewer bugs up there.

And jumping into spring means yellow pollen all over our cars. I love black and navy blue cars but they are the worst for seeing the collected pollen. Our car is white and hardly shows the pollen on it.

We live in a college town and the students had their spring break last week. Now the students are back and we can know that without looking at a calendar. Add 25,000 more bodies, seemingly each with a car, and you know the college is back in session.

Many secular writers include things in their books I choose not to expose my mind to. But I do have some favorites in the secular book field. Two of them have new books just out: Jane Green and Kristin Hannah. Another favorite of mine is Cassandra King and I'm waiting for her next novel.

Sorry about that; book talk is supposed to be on Thursday. I just let that slip in today. That’s all I can come up with for today. But as the days go by I’ll be getting out more and promise I’ll come up with a spectacular blog post next Monday. Please come back and see if I keep my promise.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.




Thursday, March 15, 2012

Win A Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 18, 2012 you'll be entered in the drawing for a *signed* copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.

Murder in Dahlonega by Deborah Malone

Deborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer since 2001, for the historical magazine “Georgia Backroads.” Her writing is also featured in “Tales of the Rails,” edited by Olin Jackson. A member of the Georgia’s Writers Association and of American Christian Fiction Writers, she has an established blog, Butterfly Journey, where she reviews Christian fiction. You can visit Deborah at her website.




From the book’s back cover
A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains.

Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along.

Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum—the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day—holding a bloody pickax in her hands.

Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

From Jo
In this cozy mystery, Deborah Malone creates memorable characters—Trixie and Dee Dee. Those girls get easily into and out of full blown mischief as well as danger. Malone is good about dropping clues along the way, but not until the end did I really know who committed the murder in Dahlonega, GA. Hope we see more of Trixie and Dee Dee.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 18, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a *signed* copy of Death in Dahlonega. You must be eighteen, a U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Margaret Brownley: Cowboy Lingo


Our guest blogger today is Margaret Brownley, author of Dawn Comes Early. Welcome, Margaret and thanks for sharing with us today.


About Margaret:

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
           
So that’s what Margaret did. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author and a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 25 novels to her credit
           
The first book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series, Dawn Comes Early, published March 2012. The book will be followed by Waiting for Morning.

Margaret’s also excited to announce that her non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: The Path to Hope and Healing will be published in July—not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.




More Love and Laughter from Margaret Brownley,
 N.Y. Times Bestselling Author

“Daily Reasons to Smile” Contest

“I’ve matched up twenty-three couples over the years and in all that time I only made one error. Although I still think the marriage would have worked had she not shot her husband.”
                                       —Aunt Bessie in Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch)

Characters from Margaret’s new book will send you a reason to smile every day until April 11th. Join in the fun and you could win a book, potted cactus (the story takes place in Arizona Territory) or an iPod Nano and alarm clock docking station. To enter send an email to info@NancyBerland.com. Be sure to put “Reason to Smile” in the subject line. That’s it!


When Cowboy Lingo Ruled the West

I love writing about the old west. That was when men were men and women were women, but a cowboy wasn’t a cowboy unless he was wild, woolly and full of fleas. Of course the heroes we write about are more likely to be tall, dark and handsome, which may be a bit of a tall tale or whizzer. But as far as the lingo goes, there’s no reason to stretch the blanket—and yes-siree-bob, that’s part of the fun.


Today’s language seems rather dull compared to the colorful expressions and words of yesteryear. Can you think of more mouth-pleasing words than hornswoggle, caboodle or skedaddle? Or what about fiddlefooted, ranktankerous, rumbumptious or splendiferous? A latte may be the haute cuisine of coffee, but give me an Arbuckle’s any day.


A know-it-all has a saddle to fit every horse, and if someone called you a drowned horse it meant you had a bloated ego. And when was the last time you heard the weather man describe a dust storm as Oklahoma rain? Cowboys didn’t just work together they were in cahoots, and if you want to ride your horse fast, you will either have to burn the breeze or ride a blue streak.


The rebellious part of me delights that my characters can use such words as “ain’t” and “druther” without being cut down. My eighth grade English teacher would have had a fit. Of course, back in the 1800s, she’d be more likely to have a conniption (any way you call it, it serves her right for branding me with an F).


Today’s nicknames seem rather tame compared to Old Fuss and Feathers, Rattlesnake Dick, Cattle Annie, and Crazy Horse Lil.


When a cowboy said “hell on wheels” he wasn’t talking about no bikers (double negatives welcome). He was talking about movable towns that followed the building of railroads.


Job hunters could take a lesson from an old buckaroo who claimed to be born in a hurricane and could handle anything that came his way. A cowboy didn’t have work experience but he sure did have wrinkles on the horn. He was also a firm believer that every bull should carry its own tail. Think you’re right for the job? “I’m your huckleberry” meant I’m your man. Write that on your resume.  


Want to impress someone with your courage? Tell them you know how to die standing up. Someone dallying too long in the chow line? Yell at them to fire and fall back. Fallen off the straight and narrow? What you need is a fire escape (a cowboy’s name for a preacher). Feeling spooney? You haven’t lived until you’ve lallygagged on a sparking bench with your beau.


Criminals were called gangs, and a bad guy was a desperado, cattle thief, gunman, or roughneck. Anyone caught messing with the sheriff was escorted to the hoosegow immediately, if not sooner.
  
Finally, a word of wisdom to all you greenhorns out there. Get a wiggle on and chew the cud but stay away from conversation fluid (whiskey). Tell us your favorite cowboy expression and you’ll make us as happy as a dog with two tails.


You can find Margaret here 
You can find her book, Dawn Comes Early here


Monday, March 12, 2012

Did I Break Something?


The winner of last Thursday's drawing for a copy of America: Her Hope for the Future by Jo Huddleston is Pegg. I'll email you today to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Monday Musings on This ‘N That

I’m glad I don’t have to drive an 18-wheeler for a living; or lift weights or work for FedEx or UPS. I couldn’t do it; not today.  Last Monday I tripped and fell in my house. My side hit the edge of the coffee table and my backside hit hard on the floor.

Went to bed early on Monday night. Tiptoed around the house on Tuesday. Used an ice pack 3-4 times. Checked my bruised side several times in the mirror. When I looked again on Wednesday morning and it looked worse, I decided it might be time to go to the doctor.

A broken rib and deep hematoma on my left backside. He said doctors never did anything for broken ribs more than pain medications and sleep aides if needed. I asked about wrapping them; he said, “We don’t, but you can if you want to.”  He said continue using ice for two more days then switch over to using heat, which I’ve done.

The doctor said it would take three weeks for the hematoma to heal and 4-6 weeks for the rib to mend. As I was leaving the doctor’s office his nurse came close and said “Just take it easy.” I appreciated her saying that but it’s the only way I can take it. The hematoma actually hurts worse than the rib as long as I don’t touch the rib.

It had been some time since I had taken a prescription for pain. Thursday night I had crazy, mixed-up dreams. All I could remember about them was somewhere in there was a fruit jar full of little rocks. Crazy, right? Had crazy dreams again Friday night but can’t remember anything about those. Stopped taking the pain pills except in the daytime; nowhere close to bedtime.

I’m a SOTP (seat of the pants) writer but right now I can only get one side of my seat on the chair. Ever tried to type while sitting on one hip? It’s not easy, but doable for a short while. The only other part of my body I’ve broken is a little toe; but that’s another whole story.

My sob story today is nothing monumental when compared with others around me and around the world. What’s that song, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off…”? So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve waited longer than six weeks for a response from an editor or agent, so I can work through this…somehow.


“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.” —Norman Vincent Peale




Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Win A Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 11, 2012 you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.

Our guest blogger today is me. I want to tell you about my latest release, America: Her Hope for the Future, #1 in its category on Amazon.com. This book is a reissue of Shades of Gray with a more positive theme.


I’m a multi-published author of nonfiction books, as well as over 200 articles and short stories published in more than 50 different publications. I teach at writers’ conferences and am a contributing writer to Christian Devotions Ministries (www.christiandevotions.us), an international daily devotional. If you’re reading this, you’re on my website/blog address. Visit any time.




From the book’s back cover

“Jo Huddleston takes a refreshing and healthy look at the virtues and lessons we learned from our past. The chapters on courage and patriotism show us that we can better understand the problems of the present and be prepared for the future if we take the time to apply the wisdom learned from our past.” –Bob Riley, former Governor of Alabama

From Jo

You know I can’t say nice things about my own book, so here’s another endorsement: “A challenging, inspiring vision for America. Jo Huddleston’s easy style of writing and her art of persuasion make readers of this inspiring work reflect on their lives with rededication and appreciation for the past. This excellent work can become a cornerstone for our homes, our cities, and our country. This book is the hard rock of ethical values.” –T. D. (Ted) Little, former Alabama State Senator, District 27.

From inside the book


"This patriotic book has an upbeat message that speaks to the heart about today's America. The book takes a good look at time-tested values needed to help smooth the rocky paths often encountered in relationships among people and countries."


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, March 11, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of America: Her Hope for the Future. You must be eighteen, U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Purple Coat


Monday Musings on This ‘N That


The winner of last Thursday's contest for Mississippi Nights by D. M. Webb is rubyreba. I'll email you for your mailing address.




At the end of last winter, when winter clothes were at reduced prices, I was walking through a mall. I moved beyond a store then did a double-take. It was a rack of beautiful mid-thigh length ladies’ coats. I could see a purple coat among others on the rack.

I didn’t know what size the purple coat was but I was certain it was calling to me. I walked back to the store, leaving me husband moving forward. I called to him and we went in the store, both standing at the coat rack.

The purple coat was my size!! I tried it on and knew that it had waited all season for me to come take it off the rack. I didn’t really need the coat but purple has always beckoned to me—coats, scarves, sweaters, etc. What choice did I have? I bought the purple coat!

As I wrote above, this happened at the end of last winter. I wore the coat that afternoon and evening. One day. One half day. Then we actually skipped spring where I live and summer came. Had no more coat-days.

Now this winter has been a surprisingly warm season. So, guess what? I’ve not had a day this winter cold enough to wear my pretty purple coat. (I even already had a purple purse to match it.) But here at the end of winter again, I’m wearing a light spring jacket when I go out. My purple coat hangs in the closet and I look at it often and feel its fabric.

Easter is early April. Usually we have a “cold snap” just prior to Easter. So, here’s hoping I’ll maybe have a day or so yet to wear my purple coat.




Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 12, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.

Mississippi Nights by D. M. Webb

D. M. Webb lives, along with her two sons and a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. She is an active member of American Christian Writers (ACFW). Her studies in art and sociology coupled with her many jobs ranging from bookstore clerk to volunteer firefighter/EMR has produced a plethora of ideas for upcoming books.

From the book's back cover

Two brothers, one death--the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt. Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?

When Firefighter David Boyette's fiancee perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt Jeremy Boyette, for her death.

Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman's love, and a small child's devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him?

Together the brothers muse decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.


From Jo

Firefighter David Boyette’s soon-to-be wife dies in a flaming auto crash. David blames his policeman brother, Jeremy, who was on the scene of the crash and was unable to save her. David leaves town only to return home years later carrying a heavy load of secret burdens. David can’t believe anyone, especially his family, needs to hear his secrets. He doesn’t share his burdens with anyone until eventually he’s convinced God didn’t abandon him but he is the one who strayed. He must let those who love him help him with his burdens. But can he do that or will he leave town again?


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 19, 2012, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Mississippi Nights. You must be eighteen, a U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.