Author, Book Reviews, Books

Kasie West is my hero!

KasieandMeLast night, I had the thrill of attending a book signing at my local Barnes & Noble. This was no ordinary signing. The event marked the first sell date of Kasie West’s debut novel Pivot Point. The place was packed. They sold out all the copies in stock and took orders for more.

I’ve known Kasie for four and a half years. We’ve been in three critique groups together. In many ways, she’s my mentor. She’s certainly my biggest cheerleader. And now it’s her well-deserved turn to shine.

I whole-heartedly recommend you read Pivot Point—and I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend. I don’t usually read YA books, but I loved this one. Kasie’s writing sparkles as brightly as she does! Here’s the description:

PivotPointAddison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with–her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school–but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through…and who she can’t live without.

kasieKasie’s been writing for eight years, and she writes fast, so she probably has hundreds of novels stored away somewhere. She set her sights on getting her work published and never gave up that dream. Harper Collins was smart to recognize her talent and contract four of her books. Like the title of this post says, Kasie West is my hero!

So, read Pivot Point and go visit her blog. Tell her Linda sent you. BTW, pronounce her name correctly—KAY-see—and she’ll be ever so grateful. 🙂

elle

Blog Stuff, Fun Fridays, Writing

Versatile and irresistibly sweet?

My email inbox is an abyss. If I don’t respond immediately, I’m likely to either think that I did, or forget I ever received the email. Two months ago Kate Cardon Parish awarded this blog the Versatile Blogger Award. Her email arrived during the comment blitz after WordPress Freshly Pressed one of my posts and was promptly buried in all those email notices.

Recently, Hannah Fergesen awarded this blog the Irresistibly Sweet award. Both rules for these awards state that I must share 7 random facts about myself and pass the award on to 15 other blogs. I’ll combine the rules, meaning I’ll reveal only 7 facts, not 14, and share them with only 15 bloggers, not 30. So, read the enthralling tidbits about me and then go visit Kate and Hannah’s excellent blogs. Then, visit the blogs listed below. Or be rebellious and do none of the above.

  1. I don’t like the taste of coffee … in any form.
  2. I get anxious when I sweat.
  3. The first book I ever checked out of a public library was A Mouse in the House. (Not the book currently in print.)
  4. I have seen a ghost.
  5. By the age of 26, I was the mother of four boys.
  6. I can’t swim.
  7. I’ve worn the same shade of nail polish on my toes for 38 years. It’s by Revlon, and they change the color name from time to time.

Now aren’t you glad you stopped by my blog today? I mean, really, how could you have lived the rest of your life not knowing those facts about me?

Okay, I’m supposed to pass these awards on to 15 blogs, but I know some of you already have these awards or don’t do “fun” posts. If so, ignore the rules and just consider this a shout out to your blog. And I’ll add one extra for luck. New and old friends, in no particular order:

  1. Kayla Olson
  2. Michelle Davidson Argyle
  3. Christa Polkinhorn
  4. T.A. Olivia
  5. Natasha Drew
  6. Jennifer Neri
  7. Laura Best
  8. Amanda Hoving
  9. Cathryn Grant
  10. Christi Craig
  11. Trisha Sutton
  12. Kasie West
  13. Candice Kennington
  14. J.C. Hart
  15. Heather Simone
  16. Judy Croome

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Excerpt, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

It’s not as easy as I thought!

Choose one!

“Dear God, think before you speak next time.” That’s the advice a friend gives my main character in The Brevity of Roses. I wish I’d done that before I promised to share my favorite passages of that novel with you. I quickly discovered that’s not an easy task. I love too many of them, but that’s not the only consideration.

What makes a selection a favorite—particularly, among words you’ve written yourself? Is it the actual word choices, the syntax? Is it the emotion evoked by those words? Is it the importance of those words to the storyline? Or could it be just that you know how hard you struggled to get that passage right? Possibly, it’s a combination of many or all of those things.

Though they were among my favorites, obviously, I didn’t want to select passages that revealed key plot elements. (I hate when they do that in movie trailers.) I found myself choosing mainly solemn parts, like this:

It had been a long time since she pulled out, dusted off, and examined the memory of her life immediately following Stephen’s death. At first, grief covered her like skin, defining her, holding her together. Gradually, it sloughed off, and collected into another form—pain without warning, like a cat hiding under the bed reaching out its paw to swat her when she least expected it. Finally, it ceased breathing and became only an object, a fact of her life, but that object cast a shadow—the dark, formless absence of Stephen. This shadow lay over her so long she became oblivious to its presence. Then Jalal lifted it like a veil, and now she craved this new sun-filled life.

and this:

Yet, he haunted her. When she sat alone in the kitchen, the scent of his spices wafted around her. When she walked down the hall, her heels echoed his voice from the living room. While she worked in her garden, his beautiful herb pots accused her. When she woke in the night, for just a moment, she felt his weight beside her. Here, a dried pouf of blue where his can of shaving gel had sat. There, a word he jotted on the scratch pad on the desk—Halcyon. Everywhere traces of him remained, if only she looked close enough.

And she did.

But Brevity’s not all deep and dark, so I looked for something light-hearted, with dialogue, and chose this:

Renee arrived precisely on time, and entered the house without knocking. Jalal noted she wore one of those soft summer dresses instead of her usual tee and shorts. And her hair—set free again—cascaded to her waist. “I didn’t know what we were having for dinner,” she said, setting two bottles on the counter, “so I brought a red and a white.”

Jalal glanced at the labels. “You have excellent taste in wine.”

“No,” she said. “I just used to work in an excellent upscale restaurant.”

“I am preparing fish, so the Sauv Blanc will be perfect.”

“You really cook?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said, “it keeps me from starving.”

Funny. So, you’re a gourmet cook, a renowned poet, a financial genius. What other talents do you have?” She pinched a bite of salad. “Mmmm, that’s good.”

“Thank you. The dressing is my own recipe.”

“And …?”

Jalal glanced up, eyebrows raised.

“I asked what other talents you have.”

He shook his head. “I do not even claim the three you think I have.”

“Well, I’ll judge the first one for myself tonight, but the other two are common knowledge.”

“Oh, yes … what would we do without Wikipedia?”

“Smart ass,” she said.

“Now, that one, I will claim.”

Then, my friend Kasie suggested one of her favorite “fun” scenes. It’s not only fun, but it illustrates the dynamic between Jalal and his mother and sisters, as well as the beginning of Meredith’s attraction to his family. You can read that here: Jalal and the Carpet Weaver’s Daughter. Enjoy.

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Author, Author Interviews, Blog Stuff, Books, Contest, My Books, Promotion

News flash … author missing!

That author is me. I’m not here today because fellow author Kasie West has me chained up at her blog while she interrogates me. I find her dimples so intimidating, there’s no telling what she might get me to say. Don’t worry, she’ll be nice to you. In fact, she’s giving away an autographed print copy of my novel, The Brevity of Roses. So rush over there, read the interview, and leave a comment to enter the contest.

Here’s more good news. If you were waiting to buy my novel in print, your wait is over. It’s now available at Amazon. Is this your lucky day or what?

The Amazon page for this book is not complete yet, but you can read the description on the page for the Kindle version and you can read the first chapter here.


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Musings

Mind Puke

Here I sit, speechless … or would that be textless? My mind is blank. Or rather, not blank, but stuffed so full, I can’t sort out a thought without pulling a dozen more with it. I think I’m going to just settle for one of those stream-of-consciousness posts that Judy and Tricia tried, but I’ll be a rebel and not time mine. Warning: this could go on for days.

As I write this, the Super Bowl is on TV and my husband is watching it, but I’m not. Does that make me un-American? I got into watching Australian football once, and rugby another time, but except when one of my family members played, I’ve never watched football. I don’t like that you can’t see the players’ faces. It’s too impersonal. And even though one of these teams is from my home town, I couldn’t care less who wins. (Kasie would be proud that I didn’t say I could care less. :-)) So, until I started writing this, I was reading my first novel by Abigail Thomas and I think she’s going to be one of my favorite “new” authors. The book I have now is “An Actual Life” and is written in such a pure and true character voice that I’m just amazed. I thank Cynthia for introducing me to her with this interview.  I think a lot about character voice because I tried writing my novel in three different voices. Whether it worked or not is yet to be seen. Boy, Pizza Hut bought a boatload of ad time on the Super Bowl. I’m low-carbing, trying to take off the weight I gained writing the aforementioned novel, so pizza for me would just be the toppings. I’m weaning myself off Coke by drinking Coke Zero. I hate diet drinks, which means I’ll end up dropping soda altogether. Eating healthy is not necessarily fun. And at my age, fun is paramount, so dieting is torture.Torture is something I cannot abide to see, hear, or read about. I think this stems from a past life experience—I hope as the tortured, not as the torturer, but then, if I’ve learned anything from Lost it’s that we’re all capable of being the torturer. And speaking of … who is Sayid now, anyway? If you have no idea what that means, you’re not a Lost fan and I feel sorry for you. You do watch Mad Men, at least, right? All writers should.

Okay, that’s enough of my mind puke. Oh, that reminds me; I caught a few minutes of Dirty Jobs yesterday and watched snakes being “puked.” A biology researcher’s life is … um … interesting. And that’s it, I’m gone. Go on back to your lives now.