Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You're never too old for a little fun!

 Allow me to introduce a bit of fun, brought to you by Dan O'Brien's overactive imagination and Steve Ferchaud's incredible sketching. It's a bit out of what I ordinarily post, but that's what you get for giving a writer a computer and free wi-fi!

You’re never too old to have one more adventure 

Brought to life by Steve Ferchaud’s vibrant drawings, this story for all ages by Dan O’Brien lets us know that it is never too late to have one more adventure. 

An Excerpt:

Robert Pendleton opened one eye as the light of a passing car flashed over the window, shattering the darkness into prisms. He rolled onto his back on the beat-up couch and yawned as he reached his hands up and rubbed his eyes unceremoniously. 

He looked out over the darkness at the digital clock. The red digits spelled out a quarter ‘til midnight––nearly fourteen hours of sleep. He smiled and grabbed one of the cushions of the couch, burying his head in it. Just enough sleep, he reminded himself. Robert felt that anything less than twelve hours of sleep was very nearly too little. 

He grasped blindly for the TV remote. 

Groaning as he lifted his head, he looked at the empty table––his eyes drawn by another flash of a passing car. He couldn’t see clearly, but he knew that the remote had been there before he had fallen asleep nearly half a day ago. 

“Could have sworn….” he mumbled as he pushed himself up and brushed his hand around the top of the table, finding nothing. “Where did….”

Another groan escaped his lips as he lifted his body to a sitting position and threw aside the cluster of pillows that he had gathered around himself. He reached out for the lamp, but instead knocked it to the floor with a resounding thud. 

Robert muttered as he stood up from the couch, and then sank to his knees to search around in the darkness for the fallen lamp. Reaching around on the shadowed floor, shards of the broken lamp scattered like pieces of light. 

He turned his head, peering beneath the large space underneath the couch and saw the reflection of the buttons on the remote. The off-gray piece of machinery was underneath the couch––only darkness lingered beyond it. He reached out as he spoke again. 

“How did it get all the way down there?” 

Robert flexed his hand and strained as he twisted his back to reach farther; yet, the remote remained just out of reach. He pulled his arm away with a huff and craned his neck to the side, staring underneath into the darkness below the couch. 

His eyes widened as he saw the impossible: there was something beyond the remote. He shook his head and closed his eyes, whispering to himself that he didn’t see what he thought he had.

“I saw a little man,” he whispered to himself as he opened his eyes once more and nearly gasped as he did so. 

The figure was closer now and he could make out the outline clearly. A tiny man rested just beyond the remote. 

“What in the name of…?”

“Not here in the name of nobody, laddie. I be a friend though,” crooned the miniscule figure as he interrupted Robert and stepped forward, placing a hand on the darkened and slick surface of the remote. 

A tam-o’-shanter crested his bright red hair, the shaggy mane blending perfectly into his equally crimson, neatly trimmed, beard. 

A billow of whitish smoke drifted from the long-stemmed pipe that he held clenched between his lips. 

Robert fell back and knocked aside the adjacent table. Rubbing his eyes, he spoke a single word: “Leprechaun.”

About the Author:

Dan O’Brien, founder and editor-in-chief of The Northern California Perspective, has written over 20 books––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com. Contact him today to order copies of the book or have them stocked at your local bookstore. He can he reached by email at amalgamconsulting@gmail.com

Would you like to win a remarked copy of Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and Loose Change Collection Agency signed by the author and illustrator?

Simply follow the author here and here and a few winners will be randomly selected on March 20th!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What first impression did you make?

We all get but one first impression. We have only one chance to make it a good one. And I know I've lacked sorely in that department. 

Do you know how important it is? Before you tell me yes, and before you tell me a story of someone's first impression on you, allow me this. 

Years ago, I went to a Romance Writer's National Conference in Washington. It was my first and walking into the literacy signing that first day was like a baptism of fire. I was overwhelmed by the number of women there. Thousands.

Then, a tiny, pretty woman stepped from the crowd. "Barbara!" she called. Her name was Danica Favorite, a fellow writer who took care of some of the Harlequin boards and rallied the Love Inspired writers when we needed rallying. She recognized my name and wanted to say hello.

I could have hugged her. A light shining in the dark, she was, for I was not well known back then. That first impression that she made was awesome.

Fast forward a few years later, in Atlanta, my second conference, and I still remembered Danica's kindness. And there she was, sitting in the lounge, talking to another writer. I couldn't help myself. I hurried up to her and told her, after excusing myself for interrupting, that I appreciated what she'd done years before. She'd made a wonderful, kind first impression on me.

I walked away, telling my companion what Danica had said to me, years before. My friend promptly grabbed me. "Did you see what you did!  Did you see who Danica was talking to?"

I swiveled my head around. "No. I just saw Danica."

"She was talking to Nora Roberts!"

Oh. Well, there goes my good first impression with Nora. I'd been terribly rude, but in my excitement of seeing one kind person I had forgotten my manners. (It's not good form to interrupt people talking at conferences, I was told. Oops. But to be honest, if I followed that rule to the letter, with 2,000 plus romance writers, I probably wouldn't get a word in edgewise!)

Still, my point remains. Danica had made a wonderful first impression. We only get one chance to make that first impression and yes, we screw it up sometimes. 

Now that you've heard my sorry story, the story behind my rather poor first impression on Nora Roberts, I'm going to ask you to do something the next time someone makes a bad first impression on you. 

I'm going to ask you to remember me, because that person ruining his or her first impression with you may not be doing anything malicious at all.

They just don't realize that you're as special as Nora Roberts is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book lovers, avert your eyes!!

I'm done my edits!! Naturally, I was calm and mature.


Now that that's out of the way, I absolutely need to show you this sculpture. Book Lovers, take a deep breath. This isn't going to be pretty for some of you, but this is a piece of art found at the University of Alberta. I stood there, jaw hanging down so low the magpies starting to look in there for a possible summer home.

I like it. I know there are so many wonderful books in there, I couldn't even begin to count them, but I think this is such a great way to celebrate the book. 
The artist actually cut books (gasp) and assignments, but it's still pretty neat. 
So, what do I see?

 Swelling, tornado-like motion that is like the way your heart acts when you crack open a good book. The whirlwind of emotion is felt here, drawing your eyes upward, drawing your soul in, your body close as you are compelled to...see if your book is there.
Here's a close up.

So, what are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hello, world! Hello, ENT!

I took the Christmas season off to spend time with family. Then I jumped straight into edits for my next historical. 
I'm still doing them. 
But in the meantime, I want to share a site where my book is currently featured. 
Hard Target

Please drop by and like it and share it. This site always has some great bargain books, and they treat authors quite fairly.

Here is the FB site that has some other great books

Thank you!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Answers and one last decoration.

If you read yesterday's post and the question I left had you up all night in anticipation, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. (If you're just tuning in, check out yesterday's post first.).
Well, my husband did the train set decoration. I did the crackers in the Dutch oven. 
How did you do? Did you guess correctly?
Well, my last snippet of life here at Christmastime shows another Christmas decoration. I got this one in Florida at one of those Christmas stores that are open all year round. But it is not quite what it seems. 
Yes, it's a tiny book tree decoration, but it's not the Holy Bible. It's only the New Testament. It's really all there, written in the smallest font I have ever seen, which is remarkable since I bought it in 1989, when computers didn't do much of this stuff. With a magnifying glass, you can actually read it.
It's important to me because within it is the true meaning of Christmas, one that has been lost to some. We celebrate the birth of a Child who would grow up to die so we can go to God with cleansed souls. He was born in such a lowly, filthy barn to an unmarried mother, that no one could claim to have been born more basal than He, yet He did extraordinary things for us. That's what we're celebrating. His gift to us. That's why we give gifts, in recognition of that.
Give gifts of love and time and of course, fun, this Christmas. Like the birth of any baby, it truly is a joyous time.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Take a guess at who did which one!

The last few years, my husband had done much of the decorating, and I appreciate it. This year, he made a special decoration whilst I did the same. Can you guess who did which?
Now, there is this nice one. We bought this circus train set 20 years ago, (on sale after Christmas) and it lights up and plays music and the kids loved it. The candle on the left was a Christmas gift from the parents of a student in the class where I volunteer, and the church on the right holds a votive candle as well. I bought it at a candle party the year after I bought the train set. It's lovely when it's lit up.

The other decoration is simpler. It's a Dutch oven pot, the kind you cover with hot coals and bury in the ground. This Christmas it's filled with festive crackers. They'd lost favour for a few years, but are back. I remember them from my childhood. Do you?
So, who did which decoration? The answer tomorrow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A few of my favourite decorations

I am not the fashionable tree decorator with in vogue decorations that are tailored to her house. I am not fashionable at all. But rather, I have decorations that mean something to me. I still have homemade decorations and silly ones that were given to me, and even ones that don't match!
I thought I would share a few of my favourite ones with you.
Where we lived years ago, there was a large grocery store down the road and one year, they featured a Pillsbury pastry giveaway. If you bought so many Pillsbury roll packets, you would receive a Beanie Baby like toy. I thought they were cute, and bought enough Pillsbury rolls so I could get all three versions.
 This one, 
and this one,
and lastly, this one.
At various Christmases, they've hung from my tree, or curtains, like this year, or even been tucked away to make their reappearance special. One year, I lost one, but it miraculously appeared the next year. Like most of my Christmases, they are fun, have no ancient significance, (unless you equate them to man's enduring love of bread products,) but they do cheer us up. 
Tomorrow, I will share with you two new decorations. One of my husband's making and one of my own.