Archive for the ‘reading’ Category
I’m sad to see Google Reader leave–which it is on July 1st. So many of you follow Motherhoot on it. Do you have a different option for subscribing?
You could subscribe directly by email. There’s a sign-up over there to the right. Enter your email address, confirm your email, and you’re done. When I post something, it comes to your email.
But if you’re not excited about getting a million emails every day from blogs you follow–which could happen, I follow tons myself!–you could try Bloglovin’. There’s a link for following over there on the right–above the links to my Social Media Club Houses.
I like Bloglovin’ because it gives me a daily email with new posts from blogs I follow. I love it. It’s one email…snippets of posts…and I can read it at my leisure. I love having the day’s blogs come to me. Lots of times I don’t have time to get to a reader, so this is a nice reminder.
Whatever method you choose, thanks for following Motherhoot! You’re the best!
About the Author:
A veteran of the performing arts and worldwide missions, Tessa Stockton also contributed as a writer/editor for ministry publications, ghostwriter for political content, and headed a column on the topic of forgiveness. Today she writes novels in a variety of genres, often laced with romance and intrigue. In addition to her Christian suspense/thriller, THE UNSPEAKABLE, she’s the author of the political intrigue/romance, THE UNFORGIVABLE, a fable, LOVE AND LULL, and the upcoming inspirational fantasy romance, WIND’S ARIA, with more in the works.
Visit the Author:
About the Book:
When a furtive conflict is pitted between violent leftist guerrillas and a rightwing paramilitary group in Colombia, a North American woman mistakenly gets caught in the middle.
“I spent four months, one week and two days in a clandestine prison referred to as The Water Cave. Every day I stared hell in the face, and each day I wanted to die. I don’t want to share too much too quickly. To understand fully, you must join hands with me, fasten your heart to mine, and course through my book. Stumble over the incomprehensible human rights journey with me. I’ve pondered it to the brink of questionable sanity, and it is the only way. It’s the only way to explain. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I survived at all—for many did not—yet, perplexingly so, that’s not the premise of this narrative.
He altered my life, marked me forever.
But it’s not how you might imagine.
This is a story involving Horacio Botello, my torturer known as Puma.”
Purchase your copy:
Tessa will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC, one autographed copy of her book, The Unspeakable, and one autographed copy of her other book, The Unforgivable!
This book was a recommendation, but I can’t remember from whom! I waited for a long time to get it from the library e-book borrowing program, so I started it completely blind. I had no idea what it was supposed to be about by the time I got it.
While getting my hair done, the woman in the next chair heard me saying I had just started it, and offered this, “I’ve never read a book with such pathological characters before.” She encouraged me to continue reading, but wouldn’t tell me the ending!
Gone Girl is the tale of Amy and Nick Dunne. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. Nick receives a call at work from a neighbor telling him the front door of his house is wide open. When he goes to investigate, there appears to have been a struggle of some sort. And Amy is gone.
The case gets a lot of attention because Amy is the human equivalent of a beloved children’s book character, Amazing Amy. Her parents arrive in town to support Nick. But Nick’s support from everyone wanes as his involvement in Amy’s disappearance becomes murkier and murkier: no alibi, an affair, poor finances…
The chapters of the book alternate between Nick and Amy’s story-telling. The woman’s description of “pathological” is spot on. But at least one of the characters has some redeeming qualities.
Once I got into this book, I couldn’t read it fast enough. If I could have, I would have stayed up all night to finish it. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that moved me like this one did. It made me think how appearances matter, sometimes more than the actual truth. It also reminded me how manipulative and pathological normal-appearing people can be.
I grew up reading long series of books. Did I say reading? Make that devouring. Third grade was spent in Narnia, fourth in Mallory Towers. All of the Oz books – including the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson – tottered in a stack by my bed. I copied the maps of Moomin Valley. I knew Middle Earth as well as, and perhaps better than, my own town.
So it was very natural to me to write a series. I loved the characters and friendships that were created in books like The Valley and The Mountain of Adventure, and I wanted to have the same sort of thing in mine–a group of kids who would have perilous adventures and yet remain kids throughout. They would perform acts of derring-do, yet at the same time they would squabble and perhaps even develop romantic feelings for each other.
When I read books in a great series, it was like putting on a comfy robe or huddling under a warm blanket. I knew the people in the books and I had a fair idea of what the writer had in store for them.
Characters and adventure, then, drove a series for me. Either there was a group of kids – in the case of the Adventure stories, two boy and two girls – or there was fevered action, as in the Narnia books.
My Crown Phoenix books started around the scene of Miriam, an orphan, reading a book in a large house. She was soon joined by two boys: Simon (with whom Miriam argued mightily) and Neil, Simon’s friend.
Miriam’s governess, Mana, acted as a guide to the three of them. She was dependable and a bit magic at the same time, but her position was hampered by being a woman of color in Edwardian society.
At this point the adventures began to kick in. A pair of thorough villains showed up. I love the dichotomy of beauty and badness, so the woman, Barbara, was breathtakingly lovely and utterly evil at the same time. The three children were separated: Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and put on the train called The Night Watchman Express, headed to a dire end.
Neil took off for the island of Lampala to have his own series of adventures. There he met Riki, a very skinny girl who was immature and what I would call “a pain in the butt.” Eventually, however, they became friends.
As I wrote the books, two things happened at once. The action advanced, but at the same time the characters grew up. Miriam flourished under Mana’s teaching. Simon realized that beauty can be a dangerous thing. Neil found that acting in an irresponsible manner is sometimes the best thing to do. And Riki – well, she will always be Riki. Still, she did learn to be a bit more polite. Neil had a great deal to do with that.
Perhaps it is a bit of an indulgence for an author to write a series. We have the luxury of not having to give all the backstory, since readers (hopefully) will have read them all along the way. At the same time, we do have to provide enough guidelines for those who pick up a book in the middle of the series, as well as enough story in one single book to make it satisfying.
I am close to finishing the final book of the lot, and won’t I be sorry when it’s complete! I’ll have to leave my mythical island, Lampala, as well as all the characters I’ve learned to love. I’ll miss them in the way you would miss a friend who moves away when you are very young – you wish you could see them again, but you know you probably never will.
I found this video in an Upworthy email yesterday. I have found the best videos through them, but this one is the most special of all. It was done by Karen Walrond (aka @Chookooloonks) who wrote the book The Beauty of Different.
Watch it and know that you, my dear, are beautiful in every way!
In the era Steampunk is usually written, which is the beginning of the Industrial Age, we literally thought anything was possible. We’d just seen the horse and buggy, which had been used in various stages for the past several millennia, replaced by a vehicle that worked with gears and a motor. We flew with power and control that a hot air balloon just can’t compete with. We conquered the Wild West. Women made their mark, started going to universities. We pushed railroad through unapproachable territories. The sky was the limit! The feeling of this era is intoxicating. I mean, just picture yourself in that time; watching your first movie, hearing your first radio show, going on your first airplane ride, driving a car for the first time.
I had the opportunity to talk to my grandmother when I was younger, and she was still alive, and she had all these stories. At the time, I poo-pooed what she said. I ignored the wonder in her eyes as she talked about all these things, but as I got older, I started thinking of the stories I would tell my great-great grandchildren. What had I seen? What had my generation done? Hers had won a world war. Her generation had shown the world that we were the strongest nation. Her generation dared to be different, paved paths that were previously thought to be impossible.
I think the thing that draws me the most to Steampunk is the sense of wonder. We literally thought at the beginning of the 20th century that we would have cities under the sea, that we could build cities in the air. We thought the common mode of transportation would be flying cars. We had such big dreams and huge hopes for the future.
That was the route we actually took, though. In Steampunk, we kinda follow that same path, but we veer left. We use resources that are easier on our environment, and toy with renewable energies. Instead of shooting bullets that run out, we shoot electro-static, which is, in theory, is easy to generate while it’s working.
That, I think, is the second biggest reason I love Steampunk. We have planes that flap their wings, airships that use steam. The weapons that were thought up in Steampunk works are just as interesting. Electro-static, electric-array, plasma-pistols. What you don’t typically see are expendable sources. You see vehicles that are just crazy (the spider in The Wild Wild West for instance) and can run forever, weapons that are insane and never run out of ammo.
During this time, we had some pretty ingenious inventors; Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers, Ida Henrietta Hyde, Andrew Alford, Henry Ford. Things were being invented on nearly a daily basis. The Band-Aid, the ballpoint pen, the radio, crayons, the light bulb, the zipper.
So when you think “Steampunk,” we’re talking about an age when anything was possible. You could be in a situation, and you need a widget in order to survive. It would be nothing to just whip up said widget using a nail, a spring, cayan powder, and a glass bottle. Presto! The widget was born!
With that, however, there are many failures, and that’s almost more fun than the things that worked. You’d find yourself in a gun fight, and your inventor hands you a pistol that doesn’t work! Remember when Grandpa would get up and smack the TV because it just stopped working? Can you even imagine smacking your TV now? Oh, no. No, no!
My Steampunk isn’t on planet earth, but the society that I wrote about in The Hands of Tarot is just breaching this age. We’re playing around with different inventions. We’re discovering what we could build, embarking on a new age. It’s a lot of fun! There are things that aren’t working so well, and a few that are. Steampunk is for the geek. It just is. If you’re a geek, a nerd, a dork, then Steampunk is for you! Take it. Own it. Geek is the new black!
The thing I love the most about Steampunk is that the heroes are scientists. That is freaking amazing!
About the Author:
SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Jack, who’s a real bird. She’s still learning to play the piano and guitar, which is going marginally better, and for those of you looking for an Arabic update, she has successfully learned one word, “Yalla, people yalla!”
She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.
Her latest book is the YA steampunk, The Hands of Tarot.
Visit SM Blooding on the web at www.smblooding.com. Stop by SM Blooding’s blog at http://www.smblooding.com/blog/. Follow SM Blooding on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SMBlooding. “Like” SM Blooding on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/smblooding. Check out SM Blooding at Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101760130723468098926/posts. Follow SM Blooding at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5234671.S_M_Blooding. Friend SM Blooding at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US&goback=%2Enpe_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&report%2Esuccess=jgJxTlkGP726Ky-c5KwR61IrRQHo7WkbEMb_CbEDa703MvofkxsDCc06MMP3wv3vgcoytKSrRn0L_rsfDgJjp8-
Don’t forget to check out Colorado Paranormal Rescue: http://www.coloradoparanormalrescue.com/?q=content/about-us
About the Book:
She imprisoned and beat him.
And now she thinks he’s her trophy.
Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right.
Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize. What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her.
The Families are weakened, and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on…The Hands of Tarot.
Watch the Book Trailer:
Book Trailer Link at YouTube:
Watch at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gww98dMC1qk.
How does an author spend their day? Up at dawn, start the coffee brewing, then sit down to type page after page of the characters’ lives that are buzzing in their mind. They break to pop a frozen diet meal in the microwave, wolf it down, then back to the typing grind.
Not so. An author’s life can be solitary, but, it can also be filled with adventure, intrigue and unseen dangers. Not the, ‘Darn it, I just broke my nail on the keyboard.’ danger. I’m talking about the kind of danger that can get you shot, scared spitless or eaten. How can this be, you ask?
Research, deliberate or accidental, can be as docile as reading an article or as perilous as standing in a crack-house. The research for my recent novel, Dark Side of Valor, provided me with both types of experiences. Studying the Sudan, the jungles of the Congo, interviewing child advocates, even pulling from my experience of working in a homeless shelter as a nurse, seemed mundane compared to some of the crazier things I’ve done for the sake of a novel.
Research for the most harrowing scenes from the book came totally by accident. Some years ago, my husband and I were interested in buying rental properties. We’d venture into boarded houses with our real estate agent. The strong smell of rodents would stop me near the front door. On a good day I’d make it to the living room. I was more afraid of the rats then standing amid the litter of needles, syringes, broken crack pipes, piles of trash or looking through the splintered floor boards wondering if I were going to fall through. Going to house after house, the heroine, child advocate Lelia Freeman’s encounters became crystal clear. I thought, ‘This is what Lelia sees when she is going into the crack-houses to save her children.’ Through those experiences, I was able to infuse the emotions I felt, the things that I saw, the smells I smelled, into the story.
More perilous times lay in store for my husband and me on a research trip to a former rice plantation, turned bed and breakfast, in South Carolina. It was about 11:30 pm when we got near the location. We passed the entrance to the plantation several times before we saw the plank signage, turned onto the dirt path, then stopped underneath the sign to stare into a hole cut into the woods. When the inn keeper told us that the bed and breakfast sat about a mile and a half off of the road, I had no idea that it sat ‘off the road’ down a single dirt path, cut through very thick woods. Did I mention that there were no street lights, no moon light and that it was 11:30 pm? My husband said, “Uhhh, are you sure about this?” To be honest, I was ready to turn around to try to find a Holiday Inn, but in my mind I kept chanting, ‘bestseller’s list, bestseller’s list.’ Gritting my teeth, I said, “Let’s do it.” and we drove on.
About a half a mile down the road, I was about to ask my husband to turn around and find that Holiday Inn when he decided that it would be fun to turn off the headlights! Driving 35 to 40 miles per hour isn’t fast, but when it’s pitch black and you can’t see…it feels like warp-speed.
In stressful situations, I’m a fairly calm natured person and generally don’t cuss, but that night was not a ‘generally’ night. I was yelling at him to turn the lights on, he was saying how awesome it was driving in the dark and all of my previous thoughts of being a bestselling author went out the window.
We finally made it to our room, had a de-stressing sleep and started the next day by venturing all over the plantation. It sat on 500 acres, most of which used to be rice patties, river beds and swamps. Behind the plantation’s main house, there were acres of tall grass, paths and cut-outs in the tall grass. Each cut out had a trench furrowed in the ground that led down to the river. I thought about the amount of rain it took to hollow out the trenches and was fascinated. I knelt down to examine the river at the top of each trench, had a wonderful time being one with nature.
The following day we had the delight of meeting Captain Sandy, our tour guide. We told him about walking though the grass and the trenches. He told us, “Yep, those trenches are where the gators slither down into the river. They lie in the grass waiting for their dinner to come along, catch them in their snouts, then drag them down in the water. Hold them there till they drown.” Of course, we didn’t venture back into the tall grass for the rest of our stay.
So, on any given day, the life of an author isn’t boring. It can take you to the streets of the inner city to the perils of the vast outdoors. It all depends on a willing heart and the pursuit of the ultimate prize, a great story.
About Alicia Singleton
Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel. Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor. Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.
About Dark Side of Valor
Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.
Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.
Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.
Rafflecopter Code for the $100 Visa Giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway
It’s an OK read. I know, I just can’t muster up a lot of energy for this one. The story:
Judge Ramsey Hunt is shot in the back on the patio of his seaside home. The miracle is that he isn’t dead because he was turning toward his wife who called to him from the house. He is, however, in grave condition. Luckily, he’s friends with married-to-each-other FBI agents, Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich, who rush in and save the day.
Maybe it’s my mood, but dang these two are just to freaking perfect. They’re gorgeous and talented and great agents and wonderful people with a wonderful child. It’s a little monotonous that the protagonists have no flaws!
It’s not put-down-without-completely-reading awful. It was just tedious. Maybe these characters have outlived their ability to carry a story any longer. I did like some of the secondary characters quite a bit and could definitely invest some quality time reading about them.
I guess I’ll say that this is one is getting a lukewarm thumbs up from me. Not terrible. Not great. I think Catherine Coulter has definitely done better in her past FBI Series.
In order to create a convincing world through words one of the things a writer must do is look at things. And not to tout my horn on this otherwise useless talent, but I do it very well. I sneak looks when people are being candid; I gawk when something strange is happening; I stare when beautiful or amazing moments grab my attention. I’ve been a great looker since I was a kid, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that people tend to be much happier when they’re eating food together.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Sunday dinners all suggested this to me. I can remember enjoying any holiday where my loosely knit extended family of second Uncles and grand cousins came to the dinner table. People that I only saw during funerals would show up and gossip cheerfully with my parents and other grownups between mouthfuls of hard to make food that I, even now, could never recreate without cutting a finger or burning some important part of my body. Growing up I thought these events were specific to my family, but soon I learned through experience that getting together to eat was something everyone in the country enjoyed.
That perspective of what the dinner table looked like expanded beyond national limits when I moved to South Korea in 2009. I had accepted a job offer to be an English teacher there, and though I had never lived outside of my native New York City, I planned to stay at least one year in a country I knew nothing about. One of the most important things I was exposed to was their food culture, which was very different, but very similar to our own.
During one of my first dinners there I was offered plate after plate of strange but delicious food while everyone around me smiled and told jokes about horrible things that happened to them. “And I’m just stranded there! No money and my cell phone’s not working cause its Russia! Ha Ha!” The story could just as easily have come from one of my uncles, if I replaced Russia with New Jersey and cell phone with nothing.
Sharing life stories while laughing and learning about the person next to you is universal. I knew it before I left the U.S., but to see it in person was something else. From my adolescent years of being good looking I knew that people were living their lives in varying degrees of alienation. What I saw on the other side of the world was that if we just slow down and sit with other human beings to do something as simple as feed ourselves those barriers fade slightly (The reasons behind it are a mystery to me, though I suspect everyone has a hidden fear of starving that’s temporary beaten back by the act of eating with see others who are eating.).
Noticing such general human trends such as the pleasure of a good meal with good company was one of the reasons I wrote my first book, Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely.”It’s a collection of true stories about my time in South Korea. If you didn’t know, Kimchi is fermented (read “rotten”) cabbage mixed with chili power and other spices. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever eaten, but while sitting with some wonderful people I ate bowls of it. I laughed and joked and looked around to see that everyone was smiling.
Alex Clermont is a creative writer born and raised in New York City. He has been a contributing writer to Beyond Race Magazine, covering and interviewing independent creative artists in New York. Alex has been featured in several publications such as, Out of Place – an anthology featuring authors from around the globe. He also regularly posts short fiction pieces on his website AlexClermontWrites.com
Alex’s first book, available now and titled “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely,” is a collection of narratives about his time living in in South Korea.
He also smiles a whole lot. Say “Hi” if you get the chance.
Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.
Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.
Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.
You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.
Winner of the 2011 San Diego Book Awards, Action/Suspense category
Where there is art, there are thieves.
Mai Ling is both. Artist by day, thief by night, she recovers stolen art for Interpol. It’s a business, not a passion, until her beloved grandfather reveals a family secret that is also a destiny. He is duty-bound to return to China an especially precious bowl which belonged to his ancestor. Mai must steal it for him.
But Mai Ling is not the only one after the bowl. Four others plan to extract the bowl from a private California art collection. The rival thieves grasp and then lose the bowl until finally Mai is faced with the ultimate dilemma: save the bowl or save herself. Her duty to her grandfather gives her only one choice.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Monterey Peninsula and peopled with quirky characters, this stylish art caper entertains on every page.
WATCH THE TRAILER
~ ~ ~ KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~
Pump Up Your Book and Linda Schroeder are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire!