Monday, June 18, 2018

A visit from Jacqui Murray!



Today I'm participating in the blog hop to celebrate the launch of a great new release from Jacqui Murray, Born in a Treacherous Time. This is the first book in Jacqui's Man vs. Nature series.

Series Logo


Jacqui gave her tour hosts the opportunity to participate in a Q&A about her book, its genre, and its characters. I chose this question to learn more about Lucy, the main character of the story.


What one characteristic would you say allowed Lucy to survive in a world populated with Sabertooth Cats, violent volcanoes, and predatory species who liked to eat man?


Jacqui's answer:


Really, with our thin skin, dull teeth, and tiny claws (aka fingernails), Lucy had no right to survive against the thick-skinned mammoth or tearing claws of the great cats of that time. But we did. The biggest reason: Even then, Lucy was a problem solver. She faced crises and came up with solutions. Where most animals spent their time eating and sleeping, Lucy had time left over. This, she used to solve problems.


To me, that thoughtful approach to living, one no other animal exhibits, is why we came to rule the planet.

Thanks for the Q&A, Jacqui. I am intrigued by Lucy now!

Here's all the information on the book!


Book information:


Title and author: Born in a Treacherous Time
Series: Book 1 in the Man vs. Nature series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza 
Available at: Kindle


Book Blurb:

Lucy struggles to survive prehistoric Africa

Book Summary:

Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Born in a Treacherous Time is prehistoric fiction written in the spirit of Jean Auel. Lucy is tenacious and inventive no matter the danger, unrelenting in her stubbornness to provide a future for her child, with a foresight you wouldn’t think existed in earliest man. You’ll close this book understanding why man not only survived our wild beginnings but thrived, ultimately to become who we are today.
This is a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub’s Lucy (the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist).


Congratulations and Best Wishes on the release, Jacqui!! 



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: A Killing in Kennecott & Some Very Messy Medieval Magic


Hello, friends! Today is the June meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I'm feeling great today as it's the first time in a long time I've actually been excited about writing and blogging. I can't even count how many times in the past few years I've been close to throwing in the towel on both. I'm so glad I didn't!

Last month I didn't even post because I was so annoyed that I got nowhere on my A Window Box in Paris story during my April CampNaNo attempt. But then I decided to go back to my Alaska story and to my astonishment I actually finished it.

I'm so thrilled to be able to share that after three years and countless changes, so many that the story now bears almost no resemblance to the one I started with, A Killing in Kennecott, the third book in my Polar Night series, is done! I've had my trusted readers read it and they've given me great feedback, so all I need to do is go through one final round of revisions and edits. I'm so excited!


I've already talked to my publisher about the story and they are interested in it, so I can't wait to have it polished and ready to submit. It feels so good to be excited about writing again.

Now I'm feeling inspired to return to my Paris story yet again and I feel like I can finally make progress on that as well. Fingers crossed! 

Image result for snoopy typing


I also want to help spread the word about the new book from C. Lee McKenzie, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. The book was released last month by Dancing Lemur Press and is another great book from Lee! Everyone who knows Lee knows she is one of the nicest bloggers around so I'm happy to have the opportunity to share her latest. Congratulations, C. Lee!



SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC

By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand. http://cleemckenziebooks.com

Links:
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/some-very-messy-medieval-magic-c-lee-mckenzie/1127622061?ean=2940154648575
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/some-very-messy-medieval-magic
iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/some-very-messy-medieval-magic/id1324257652?mt=11
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Some-Very-Messy-Medieval-Magic/dp/1939844460/
Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079V72G8R
Foyles - http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childrens/some-very-messy-medieval-magic,c-lee-mckenzie-9781939844460
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37537343-some-very-messy-medieval-magic

Monday, May 7, 2018

Dog Rescue with Guilie Castillo!


Hello, friends! I'm on a bit of a blog break but am popping in to share a dog rescue story from Guilie Castillo as part of the blog tour for her book It's About the Dog: The A-Z Guide for Wannabe Dog Rescuers. I am a sucker for a dog rescue story and this one about a sweetheart named Jake and the wonderful group that worked to save him went straight to my heart. 💓💓

Welcome, Guilie, and thanks for all you do for dogs!
Sometimes rescue just… flows. Sometimes the stars seem to align for the rescuer—and for the dog. Sometimes the dog treats you like a long-lost best friend (and, who knows, maybe in another life you did know each other) and isn’t just willing but eager to jump into your car. Sometimes all it takes is couple of treats and a leash. […] 
More often than not, though, rescue gets rough. And, because the universe loves irony, it’s usually the dogs in most urgent need of help who refuse to cooperate. Because they’re in panic, because they’ve been abused and don’t trust humans, because they’re hurt and in pain. Whatever the reason, it comes down to this: 
How do you catch a dog that doesn’t want to be caught?



Just last week, a group of rescuers here in Curaçao had one such case. Back at the beginning of April, someone had spotted a dog with a severely in-grown collar at Parasasa Beach, but no one had been able to find him. Then, finally, someone spotted him again, same place, just before sundown. He ran off, though; shy and skittish, probably terrified of humans (probably with good reason). 


Parasasa Beach, Curaçao. Image credit: CuracaoTodo.com

This dog was not going to come in without a fight.

But the rescuers from Feed Friends Foundation weren’t about to give up. They went back the next day, armed with kennels and leashes and food—good stuff, tasty (and smelly) bits of kidney or liver canned food, which they placed around the beach and laced with Tranquigel (a mild gel sedative; best invention since the dog leash, I tell you). Then they sat, at a distance, and waited.

At sundown, the dog showed up. Among the five rescuers (including a seven-year-old girl, daughter of one of the rescuers—yes, it runs in the blood) quiet cheers went up when the dog, whom they'd started calling Jake, wolfed down the food. Now it was just a matter of time; Tranquigel can take up to an hour to kick in. 

Jake had come from the direction of the Marriott property next door, currently being 'renovated' (officially, but us locals have our doubts) and thus closed up. If he made it back there, the rescuers wouldn't be able to follow. It wouldn't matter whether they set out liver or raw tenderloin: no one was going to be seeing Jake until the next morning, when the sedative had worn off and they'd have to start all over again.


Everyone wanted to avoid that. Even at a distance, the wound around his neck looked bad enough to make this an urgent rescue. Jake was going to end this day at the vet, in safety; everyone agreed on that.

Jake, however, had different ideas. An hour had passed, and he showed no signs of calming down. Parasasa Beach is not a quiet spot; the neighborhood is home to several hotels, offices, and restaurants, which mean an abundance of cars and buses and people. And every time any of them came to within five meters, Jake bolted. 

The rescuers took up positions between the beach and the Marriott property line, to prevent Jake from escaping in that direction. They tried to close in on him, towels in hand, using every trick in the book—but each time Jake managed to slip away. Finally, with daylight fading fast, they began to consider one last option, an option no one liked: the dog catcher's pole. 


The dog catcher's pole: a rescuer's best frenemy. We love to hate it. We hate that it saves our butts so often.


Rescuers tend to hate the pole: it's unwieldy, it looks threatening even to a calm dog, let alone a panicky stray. In Jake's case, there was an additional factor: the open wound around his neck where a too-tight collar had bitten into his skin. The pole's looped end had to go around his neck, and none of the rescuers liked the idea of causing this poor dog any more pain. 

Many people have the idea that rescuing is a 'fun' thing, all unicorns and rainbows and cuddly puppies. The truth? It's hard-core, and it requires hard-core people. People who rescue have to care about the dog—otherwise why are you out there chasing a dog in the middle of the night?—but they have to be able to make tough decisions. Keep priorities straight. Stay focused on the goal. Do what it takes.

And, right now, it looked like what it took to get Jake to safety wasn't going to be pretty.


Meet Jake. Photo quality shows how far away the rescuers had to stay in order to keep him from bolting. No close-up of the wound here, but — if you have a strong stomach — you can see it at the Feed Friends page on Facebook.
(Photo courtesy of Dyveke Fraaij-Brugman)

They looked at each other, jaws set but eyes glistening. Twilight had come and gone, and in the dark the chances of catching Jake were dwindling with every minute that passed. It was now or never.

They did catch him. As soon as the pole's loop tightened around his neck, he stopped struggling—which, ask any rescuer, is the most heartbreaking moment of any rescue. He was wrapped in a towel to prevent him from biting the odd arm or leg, the loop was loosened and taken away, and he was tucked into a kennel—safe, finally. For the first time in... who knows how long.

Once in the car, with more light, Jake's rescuers were able to get their first good look at him. The in-grown collar was worse up close, and a few nods of we did the right thing were exchanged. Also, they found out why the Tranquigel hadn't worked: other than the wound on his neck, Jake was in pretty good shape. Dirty, long nails, a couple of bald spots, but not emaciated, not even skinny. He had found a good source of food, either scraps left by people on the beach, or a restaurant trash can; whatever it was, it means he has excellent chances of healing quickly and properly. He's also young, probably not much older than a year. His is a success story, and this part, his rescue, is only the beginning.

Jake has been taken in by the Curaçao Animal Rights Foundation (CARF), an organization known for its work with the cases that would stump (and bankrupt) most other rescue groups. They'll provide the best medical care Jake can get, and, when the time comes, they'll make sure he goes to a home where he'll be loved and cherished and spoiled to bits.

Jake is safe. His future is bright and shiny. And none of it would've been possible without the five rescuers who refused to give up that day on the beach. This is my standing ovation to them.

(Photo courtesy of Dyveke Fraaij-Brugman)

Would you like to contribute to Jake's recovery, and help get others like him to safety? You can donate to CARF here and to Feed Friends here, and a Like on Facebook (CARF, Feed Friends) goes a long way. Rescue, however, is very much like sustainability practices: start local. The best way to help is to get involved with organizations in your area and find out what they need; not everyone can do the chase-down-a-dog routine, and there are plenty of other ways to make a difference. You can help organize fundraising, for instance. You can make flyers. You can donate stuff, or collect it from your neighbors and acquaintances: old towels and bed sheets, bowls, blankets, collars, tags... Seriously, the list is endless.

Julie, thanks so much for having me here today, and for giving little Jake's story a chance to reach, and maybe touch, more people. I'm honored to get the opportunity to share his story, and I'm delighted that it found a home here with you and your readers. Looking forward to chatting with everyone in the comments!






Guilie Castillo, Mexican expat, writer, and dog rescuer, is the author of It’s About the Dog: The A-to-Z Guide for Wannabe Dog Rescuers (Everytime Press, April 2018), a hands-on, less-tears-more-action, 100% practical introduction to dog rescue. 

This post is a part of The Dog Book Blog Tour; during April and May, author and book will be making the rounds of dog-loving sites on the blogosphere to talk dogs and rescue—and to give away THREE signed copies (More about both tour and giveaway here.) Come join us!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: Camping & the Tick Tock Anthology


Hello and Happy April! Today is the April meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

This month's IWSG question is: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

This seems to describe my writing life for more than a year now, and anything I've done to "dig down" hasn't made much of a difference up to this point. So this month I'm trying something different and going camping, thanks to the encouragement of my friend Madeline of the Shellshank Redemption


I've never tried Camp NaNoWriMo before, mostly because the past few times I've tried NaNo itself it's left me even less motivated than I was at the start, but after hearing about the relaxed retreat-like atmosphere of Camp I decided to give it a try. I set the modest goal of simply finishing the first draft of the Paris story I've been struggling with for almost two years. I'm hoping to get comfy in my writing tent and emerge at the end of the month with a draft, no matter how messy it may be. 



I'm also excited to help spread the word about the latest IWSG anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime. Gwen Gardner is here with some tips for solving mysteries. Welcome, Gwen!

Thanks for hosting the Tick Tock mystery writers, Julie!

I hope you have some mystery lovers here today, because this year’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, is all about mystery, crime and thrillers.

I’m a complete mystery fanatic in all its forms—except psychological. I lean toward the lighthearted, cozy side. And I am an excellent armchair detective, if I do say so myself. It helps when you read, write and watch mysteries!

How do you solve a mystery?

If you have a literary amateur sleuth or armchair detective in your life, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

1. If someone is looking way too innocent, don’t count them out! Just because Aunt Agatha seems frail doesn’t mean she’s a sweet little old lady. Trust me, Aggie’s been around the block a few dozen times and probably has moves you know nothing about. Even Julia Child was a spy during World War II! Spies come in many shapes and sizes. Aunt Aggie might still have a decent karate chop in those gnarled, arthritic hands. I watched a scene just like this on Midsomer Murders once, so it must be true.

2. Never take an alibi at face value. It doesn’t matter if the Queen of England says she was on the royal throne at the time. If nobody saw her (close up, because it could have been a body double), then her alibi is no good. I love her dearly, but you know she was a mechanic during WWII, right? All I’m saying is that the woman knows how to wield a spanner!

3. If you’re sleuthing it’s because you’re connected to the victim in some way, however tenuous. So if you find the murder weapon, for the love of god, please don’t touch it! Because once you touch it, your fingerprints are all over the murder weapon. And boom! Now you’re a suspect. And now you really have to dig yourself out of a hole. I tell my sleuths this all the time, but do they listen? No. They do not.

If you enjoyed these tips, you’ll enjoy the anthology even more! There are lots of stories to choose from in nearly any mystery/crime/thriller sub-genre. It’s on pre-sale now at all major venues and will be released on May 1st by Dancing Lemur Press.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG & Embracing My Turtle Side


Hello and Happy March, all! I sat out the February IWSG because I was finally making some progress on my writing and wanted to devote my time and energy to that, but unfortunately that sense of progress didn't even last through the whole month. Instead, I was hitting my head against more walls and once again wondering if I would ever finish another story.

When I wrote my first books everything seemed to come together so quickly that I was sure it would always be that way. That fit my personality, as patience has never been my strong suit. I tend to do everything quickly, so writing at a snail's pace has been frustrating to say the least.

Then I remembered that there is another thing I love doing that I don't do quickly. I started running last year for the first time in my life and was amazed how well I took to it and how it became something I looked forward to doing. Now I'm working on training again and hope to be able to run a 10k race by the end of the year.

Even though I love it, I don't have any delusions that I am a fast runner. I'm very comfortable as a turtle, and I know I'm not going to be the hare. I'm slow and that's totally okay with me. I'm not in competition with anyone but myself. It dawned on me that I should try looking at writing the same way.

There's no reason I have to try to finish a story quickly. I am not on any deadline and I don't have a contract I am obligated to fulfill. I can be a turtle writer just like I'm a turtle runner. I know some writers write several books a year and maybe I was trying to compete with that on some level, but I now realize that, just like with running, I'm not actually competing with anyone but myself when I write. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing and improve my skills.

So this is my new motto for both running and writing. I'm going to remember it next time I get frustrated and feel like hitting my head against those walls again.



Any other turtles out there? Either writers or runners?


This is my post for the March meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Twin Sacrifice Release Party!

Hello again! I'm popping in one more time to help with the release of Twin Sacrifice by Jennifer Lane. The book is here! You really can't go wrong with any book that includes a kitty. Scroll down to meet Slim, the feline star of the book.  😺😸
Congratulations and best of luck on an awesome release, Jennifer! See you all next week for the March meeting of the IWSG. 😃😄



Twin Sacrifice
by Jennifer Lane
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: February 28, 2018



My twin brother is determined to kill himself, but I won’t let him. 

I just discovered the sacrifice he made for me when we were young.

Now it’s time I return the favor. This time I’ll be the one with the secret.

Psychologist Matthew Durante’s twin brother, Justin, has struggled with mental illness since their parents died in a house fire. After Justin is accused of setting off a bomb that killed an innocent woman, he lands in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital.

In the face of Justin’s unrelenting suicide attempts, Matthew grows frantic to keep him alive. And as the pieces of their past fall into place, Matthew decides bold action is his only choice, no matter the cost.

Set against the backdrop of weapons manufacturing, terrorism, and a dark family secret, Matthew and Justin fight for survival, redemption, and most of all, for each other.






Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of romance, sports, and suspense! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen’s first psychological thriller launches in 2018: Twin Sacrifice. Psychologist Matthew Durante risks his own life to save his twin brother’s as their foster father tries to take them down.

Jen loves to create sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez finds her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Spiked (Blocked #3) completes the series and features Lucia’s younger brother Mateo.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good BehaviorBad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.





Two Great Giveaways - be sure to enter them both!

to win a Paperback copy of Twin Sacrifice

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Twin Sacrifice by Jennifer Lane!

Hello, friends! I have been taking a bit of a break from the blogosphere as I am (finally!) writing again and making some progress on my Window Box in Paris story, but I wanted to jump in quickly to help spread the word about a new release from fellow Ohioan Jennifer Lane. Check out all the details below on the forthcoming thriller Twin Sacrifice!

Congratulations and best wishes to Jennifer!



Twin Sacrifice
by Jennifer Lane
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: February 28, 2018



My twin brother is determined to kill himself, but I won’t let him. 

I just discovered the sacrifice he made for me when we were young.

Now it’s time I return the favor. This time I’ll be the one with the secret.

Psychologist Matthew Durante’s twin brother, Justin, has struggled with mental illness since their parents died in a house fire. After Justin is accused of setting off a bomb that killed an innocent woman, he lands in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital.

In the face of Justin’s unrelenting suicide attempts, Matthew grows frantic to keep him alive. And as the pieces of their past fall into place, Matthew decides bold action is his only choice, no matter the cost.

Set against the backdrop of weapons manufacturing, terrorism, and a dark family secret, Matthew and Justin fight for survival, redemption, and most of all, for each other.






Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of romance, sports, and suspense! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen’s first psychological thriller launches in 2018: Twin Sacrifice. Psychologist Matthew Durante risks his own life to save his twin brother’s as their foster father tries to take them down.

Jen loves to create sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez finds her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Spiked (Blocked #3) completes the series and features Lucia’s younger brother Mateo.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good BehaviorBad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.





Two Great Giveaways - be sure to enter them both!

to win a Paperback copy of Twin Sacfricie

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!