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Blog Hop

I don't normally post on Sundays, but there is a blog hop starting tomorrow for Musa Publishing, and I want to make sure you all have time to get involved.  The rules of how to win the Kindle can be found here, along with the list of all the participating blogs.

Rules to the HOP:

1) HAVE FUN!!!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (est)
THIS TOUR ENDS: , October 7, at Midnight (pst)
Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***

Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes.


5) Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for US and Canada mailing addresses only. International winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card. Winner will be announced on October 7th 2012 at 11 est at The Romance Review forum.
***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

For those of you who leave a comment on my blog or Facebook page any time during the next week, I will be giving away a copy of both of my books from Musa Publishing.  Two books, two winners.  

You can choose Other Options:

Eddie has a great life with a loving wife and fabulous job. His work keeps him away from home for long stretches of time, but he counts down the moments until he gets to be back in his wife’s arms. He would do anything for her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel the same way, and plans on leaving Eddie for another man. Feeling crushed and betrayed, Eddie has a hard time trusting women. He knows it’s unfair; he knows not every woman is as evil as his ex-wife, but he can’t deny his feelings. As an ice miner, he’s expected to spend months at a time on his ship. Much to his chagrin, he is forced to spend it with Rie. Will being trapped on a ship with a woman help Eddie get over his fear and hatred of women and move on with his life? Are there any other options?

This is a collection of five different stories that explores what it would take to drive someone to deal with the Devil. Think they’re all evil? Think again. Driven by tragedy and loss, most of the characters are looking for ways to cope. When no one else can help, the Devil steps in with an irresistible offer. From mothers to husbands to college students, each character has their own reason for leaving the path of the righteous and drifting to the dark side. What would push you to make a deal with the Devil?

This Week in Reading

I'm in the process of finishing It Came from Del Rio.  I only have 40 pages left.  I would have made more progress, but I was sick yesterday and didn't feel like doing much of anything.  This weekend, I'm sure I will get it done.  Then, I have to decide what I want to read next.  I have several books on my Kindle, so I'll check it out.

I'm still not feeling 100%, and I can't think of a funny story, so this will be a short post.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Self-promotion Thursday

As you know, I'm always looking for ways to promote my books and get my name out there.  I do a lot of different things, including things like readings/book signings, blog tours, attending conferences, you know, the usual stuff.  Occasionally, I do unusual stuff.  A few years ago, when Coming from Nowhere first came out, I made an appearance at a local flea market to promote my work.  That didn't work out as well as I expected, but I did sell 3 books, so it wasn't a total loss.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box for promotional stuff.  You never know who you are going to inspire to read/buy your books when you do that.  Next month, I'm doing a book signing at a local bank.  They have a promotion running that involves zombies, and they've been looking for other zombie things to tie into it.  I'm not holding my breath that it will turn out well, but it can't hurt, right?  It's possible I could reach a whole new audience of people.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Late Post

Sorry for the lateness of my post today, I had some major issues this morning.  A bad reaction to a medication left me almost completely incapacitated.  Not fun.

Just so you know, there is still time to get your reviews in for my books.  A little under one week.  Don't forget you could win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  The competition is wide open.  No one has sent me any links so far.  I'm looking forward to what you have to say.

Meet an Author Tuesday

Today's guest is John Doody.  John holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Coral Ridge University and Seminary, as well as an M.A. in Political Science from George Wythe College. For the past twenty years or so, he and his wife have run their own business in Jacksonville, Florida. He has four children, a fat dog, and a cat that ignores him.

Some people like pie, he likes robots.

He can be found at johndoody.com (the site is under construction), and the book is called The Wonk Decelerator, which will be out soon, but not sure when (I will let you know when it's available.  He is an author with eTreasures, as am I, and deadlines don't really exist for them. :)).

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Several years ago I read that scientists had managed to view a dark atom. The dark matter appeared for less than a second and then it beat feet back into negative space. Our galaxy is enormous and even at light speed it would be next to impossible to get anywhere, so I thought of Wonk travel, and my story, The Wonk Decelerator, came out of that. This is book one of six in the Guild saga.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
It took me a few months. Originally, this was a short story. When it was rejected a couple of times by the big magazines I prayed about it and started adding to the story until it was a novella. Overall it took about six months.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I enjoy the feeling that comes with nailing an emotion deep in your heart. There’s a sense of well-being that comes with it, like the mailman shows up at your house with an unexpected package, and it’s got a check in it.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Having to face up to me: I can be impatient; writing requires patience. I can get on edge when things aren’t just right; God wants me to love.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I would like to be Johnny Appleseed, just to try and understand what in the world made that guy tick.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
There’s a dinosaur carcass. It’s either six thousand years old or a bajillion, depending on your perspective.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Book Two, The Late, Great Benjamin Bale, is with the publisher. I’m working on Book 3, The Crimson Witch, now. After this initial trilogy I have three novels I want to do before returning to these Guild stories for the concluding trilogy--All God willing, of course.

Movie Review Monday

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Why am I just now seeing this film?  It came out last year, and I remember seeing previews for it, so why has it taken me so long to watch it?  It was freaking AWESOME!

I'm not going to tell you too much about this film because I don't want to give anything away.  It's one of those things you have to experience for yourself.  It is a horror film, but it's also so much more.  It has elements of slasher films and zombie films and conspiracy films and there was a little bit of spoof in it.  I found myself jumping (which isn't that big of a deal because I still jump at slasher films and I've seen them a bazillion times) and laughing. 

The movie was weird, there's no denying that, but it was so entertaining.  It's one of those films I would love to sit down and dissect because of references to other films, but also because it plays with the audience.  I highly recommend it, especially if you're a horror fan or a Joss Whedon fan.  It was great!

Oh, did I mention is had Chris Hemsworth in it?

What Are You Reading this Week?

I'm reading It Came from Del Rio by Stephen Graham Jones.  I'm a bit late on the uptake, considering it came out in 2010.  I actually got to meet Stephen Graham Jones at Mile Hi Con, and he signed my book.  He's a really nice guy, and I'll get to see him again this year, although I doubt he remembers who I am.

I've made it about half way through.  It's told in two parts, one from the perspective of Dodd, and the other from Laurie.  I just finished Dodd's part.  I'm a little confused.  There aren't any chapter breaks, only bunny icons to separate the different sections.  Time is strange in the book, and it jumps around from past to present to way in the past.  I keep trudging through, though, hoping that by the end it will all come clear, which it might not since it's the first book in a series.  I'll let you know when I finish it.

What are you reading this week?

A while ago, while the boys were staying at Grandma's, some how or another they got on the topic of John Wayne.  I think they saw a glass or a coffee mug with his picture on it.  Grandpa is a huge fan.  Of course, they asked who it was.

"That's John Wayne," Grandma told them.

The 3 year old looked at her, the wheels turning in his head, and said, "Is he related to Bruce Wayne?"

Why, of course he is!  They are both awesome people!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Self-promotion Thursday

I'm not going to bombard you with a book today, but I would like to talk about promoting.  Many self-published and indie-published authors know how important it is to promote their own works.  Heck, I'm sure some traditionally published authors know it, too.  The publishing model has changed, and authors have to take responsibility for getting their work into the hands of readers.  But that's not what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about different venues for promotion.

Recently, I signed up to do a blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours.  It costs, but the prices are incredibly reasonable.  My tour doesn't start until October 26, and I'm doing 2 weeks for Life After the Undead.  I'm hoping that by the time my tour is done, Death to the Undead will be out, and then I'll start a tour for that.

In addition, I've also signed up to be on the Author's Show.  For this, you have to send in a query, then if they like what they see, they'll send you a lengthy application.  If you fill the application out correctly and they think your book is worth advertising, they send other information.  I guess they have tons of applications, which isn't really surprising, so they have to be selective of who they interview.  I kind of wonder about their process, though, since I was selected.  :)  No, I'm very excited to do the show, I hope it helps.  My interview is October 11.

During the application process, you have to listen to a tutorial on their website.  In it, they explain the different types of things they do and throw around some statistics.  I have to tell you, those statistics depressed me.  In a nut shell, for every 1,000 people you show/advertise your work to, five people will end up buying it.  FIVE OUT OF A THOUSAND!  Those aren't very good odds.  Like I said, it depressed me, then got me to thinking about how I could reach more people.

I also became a Goodreads Author, so now I have the ability to do giveaways and other stuff on the site.  I'm still trying to figure that out, but thankfully they have tutorials.

We shall see how this stuff goes.  As a cynic, I'm not holding my breath, but every little bit has to help, right?

Notes from an Editor

As some of you may know, I'm a freelance editor for a couple different fiction publishers.  I really and truly enjoy it.  There's nothing better than getting to read stories before the rest of the world and helping an author make it the best it can possibly be.  Best.Feeling.Ever.

Between working with other authors and having my own work edited, I've noticed something:  passive writing.  Many of you know that I'm the queen of passive writing.  I'm horrible about leaving it in my stories.  I always have to go back through and scrutinize every sentence when I edit.  Editors have tried to pound it in my head over and over and over to not use passive writing.  I finally think I'm getting better.  At least I recognize now when I'm using is.

Passive writing does have a place in stories, but it can't take up the bulk of the writing.  Publishers and editors want the story to be active so they draw the reader in to the action.  However, as an editor, I've noticed I'm not the only one who puts passive writing in my stories.  I've edited many stories that use passive writing.  I'm reading a novel right now that is full of "to be" verbs.  Does it bother me?  No.  Would I have even noticed if I wasn't an editor?  It's hard to say.  Does it diminish my enjoyment of the book?  Not at all.

Most of the time, passive writing seems to be used when the story is told in first person.  For some reason, most of us like to say "I was doing..." instead of "I did..."  I'm not exactly sure why some of us authors do this.  Was it something taught long ago that's stuck with us?  Or is it because when we write first person we still try to have separation between characters and author?

Think about it, when you read a third-person narrative, there is a distinct separation between who the characters are and who the author is.  When it comes down to first person, the author and character are the same.  He/she is "I."  I don't know if it's a subconscious need or what to still put the distance between the "I" on the page and the "I" writing the story or what, but there is a desire to make it clear that the character did the acting, not the author.  That's the case for me, at least. 

I'm not necessarily sure that the author realizes they are using passive writing while writing.  I know I don't.  I have to force myself to recognize those verbs when I edit.  They are easy for me to spot in other people's stories only because I've been trained to do so.  Still, I wonder how often a reader notices when they aren't exposed to it every day.  I don't know if there is an easy cure for passive writing.  I suppose we'll have to continue relying on editors to point it out, which is fine with me.  Gives me job security!

Meet an Author Tuesday

I have a guest post up here.  Go check it out. 

Today's guest is Susan Royal.  She'll tell you a little about herself.

Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, I make my home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes with a ghost who harmonizes with my son when he plays guitar. I’m married, with three children and four grandchildren.

I am from a family rich with characters, both past and present. I spent my childhood listening to my grandmother’s stories of growing up in a large family on a farm in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. My father shared stories of growing up in San Antonio during the depression, and through my mother’s eyes I experienced how it felt to be a teenager during WWII.

Yesterday, the first piece I ever submitted, won first place in author Cody James Wolfe’s Flash Fiction Newsletter Contest. My entry, Lost Souls, won 2nd place in the 2009 short story contest of the Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization and My Father’s House won 3rd place in the 2010 competition. Not Long Ago is a time travel romance filled with adventure, available through MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. I am currently working on a sequel.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Traveling to another world through time has always intrigued me. Maybe because I love history and learning how different cultures lived in different times, and I can still remember the first time travel book I ever read. Three Hearts and Three Lions, by Poul Anderson, followed soon after with The Glory Road by Robert Heinlein. That's all it took to hook me on the genre. Actually, I had the beginning written for at least half a year. Young woman walking down a busy sidewalk passes a coffee shop window and catches a glimpse of a handsome stranger. When their eyes meet, the connection she feels stops her in her tracks. She's drawn to this man and she knows things about him she couldn't possibly know. Who is he? Why does she feel this way? It could have gone in so many different directions.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I have a full time job. I'm wife, mother and grandmother of four. Not Long Ago took about a year. While writing it, I learned my writing style and how to plan my writing time effectively. The sequel is going much quicker.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love it when a scene unfolds before my eyes. I can envision everything about it. I know what my characters are thinking. I know what they'll say. I feel what they're feeling. I'm in the moment.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The waiting. Waiting for a response from your query. Waiting to start edits after you've signed a contract. Waiting to finish edits. Waiting for your cover art. Waiting for the book to finally be a reality. Can you tell I'm an impatient person?

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I would love to be Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) for a day. The man has an imagination that won't quit.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
My ice pack(s). Technically, they are in the freezer, I know, but I've had them for years (along with the migraines).

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have just finished In My Own Shadow, a fantasy/adventure/romance that takes place in an alternate universe and am in the process of querying.
Talk about the worst first date ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

Rhys believes Lara’s alternate in his dimension, Lyra, has left clues in her subconscious to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets which explains the mystery of time travel. Power-hungry telepaths pursuing them will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s mind. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.

With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power. Only then can Lara return to her world safely.

I am currently writing a sequel to Not Long Ago, titled From Now On. After reading the first book, my daughter insisted I write more of Griffin and Erin's story. Look for a mysterious island, smugglers, magic, little people and more.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Pembroke. You can find me at http://susanroyal.moonfruit.com, http://ssnroyal.blog.com/, http://tinyurl.com/85vgye3. (Thanks for being here!)

Movie Review Monday

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

I love fairy tales.  They are so rich with hidden meaning and lessons.  Their attempts at teaching morals and values can't be surpassed.  Not to mention, they are usually very dark and full of magic and mythical creatures. 

I wanted to see this film since the previews.  I was leery about seeing it in the theater, only because it's so expensive anymore and I don't have a lot of time.  This one would have been all right to see on the big screen.  It's not Disney's Snow White.  It was a great film, even with Kristen Stewart.  She actually surprised me.  The film was dark.  It was full of magic and magical creatures.  The heroine had to go on a journey to discover her true potential and worth.  It was fantasy in its truest form.  I enjoyed it immensely.

I have to say, I really liked that Snow White become more than the fair maiden who needed to be rescued.  There were moments of that, but in the end, she stood up and fought her own battle.  She donned armor and a sword and wasn't afraid to use it.  I was a little confused as to why she didn't have a helmet, I would have assumed she wanted to protect her head, but what do I know?

Queen Ravenna was deliciously evil.  I love a bad guy/girl with a rich history and complicated reasons for revenge.  I sympathized with her, I really did.  Her distaste of men and how they view/idolize women and beauty rang true.  She desired to destroy everything beautiful with her beauty.  The contradictions and double standards were fantastic.

The film is nothing like the Disney version of Snow White, so if you watch it thinking it's going to be, you'll be sorely disappointed.  If you watch it as a fantasy movie with all the conventions of the genre, you'll enjoy it so much more.

Getting Back to Normal

We are slowly settling in to our new schedules.  Thank goodness kids are flexible and resilient.  It doesn't take them long to get used to new things.  It helps that the 5 year old really enjoys kindergarten, too.  That makes life so much easier. The boys are definitely feelings the changes, and I've had to wake them up the past couple of mornings.  Trust me, I know how grueling some weeks can be.

I was thinking about making some changes to the blog, and I wanted your input.  On Fridays, I was thinking about making it a discussion about books that you lovely readers are currently reading.  I would love to know what kinds of things interest you and what you recommend to others.  On occasion, perhaps we can even discuss my books.  What do you think?  Is that something you'd be willing to do?  If not, perhaps I'll just bore you with what I'm reading.

As I mentioned above, the new schedule is wearing the kids out.  When I woke them up this morning, the first thing I told them was it was Friday, hooray!  They dragged themselves out of bed and slogged into the living room.  While I was preparing their breakfast, the 5 year old says, "Tomorrow is the weekend, right?"

"Yep," I responded.  "We get to chill out."

He turned to his brother, who was laying on the couch, and said, "We get to sleep in tomorrow.  That will be nice."

Hope your weekend is restful!  Have a great one!

Self-promotion Thursday

This book was released this week.  It's only available from the publisher right now, but it will be available on Kindle soon.  I'm not sure if it will be available in paperback, but I'll let you know if that changes.  You can purchase it here.

Drunk womanizer Duke, spends his life selfishly taking care of himself and screw the rest of the world. After one particular black-out alcoholic binge, he wakes to find the world changed—the dead are rising from their graves.

Lonely, guilt-ridden Hank is someone who minds his own business, and sympathetic but strong-willed Lana is on the receiving end of harassment by other students.
Forced together for survival, the three misfits must confront their world gone strange. God said the people of Earth would be punished for their sins, and so the end has come. Duke, Hank, and Lana must walk their own paths to salvation, but they also must depend on each other.

Will their salvation lie in Finding Eden?

I originally wrote this story about 3 years ago, maybe longer.  It's been so long, I can't remember!  I had a very specific publisher in mind for it, and he was more than happy to take it.  At the time, he was working with another company to develop apps for phones, and he wanted to turn this story into an app.

Well, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  It took him a while to send a contract, then he finally did.  Then I waited, waited, waited for him to send me edits.  He kept putting it off, then, eventually, real life got in the way and he released me from the contract.

From there, I searched for some other publishers.  See, the story is religious.  There are zombies, but there are also Bible passages.  It's completely different from what I normally write, and I wasn't sure where to send it.  After receiving no response or rejections from other places, I sent it to eTreasures.  Not that they were my last choice, I just wasn't sure if the story would be their cup of tea.

The story was supposed to come out July 30, 2011.  Obviously, it didn't.  It went through three editors (I'm pretty sure this story helped brand me as a diva in the eyes of some of the editors), and I think two or three major rewrites before it was finally finished.  This story has had a rough history.  Perhaps it was a sign.  But, it's finally out.  Enjoy!

I would love to know what you think of the story, and you can post reviews to be placed in the drawing for the $100 Amazon gift certificate!

I was thinking about it, and if you aren't comfortable posting links to your reviews, feel free to send them directly to me at pembrokesinclair at hotmail dot com.  Thanks!


I have a $20 Amazon gift card.  I know you want that card.  Here's what you have to do to get it.  It's easy.  All you have to do is be the person who posts the most reviews about my books/stories or recommends them to the most friends.  For a list of all my books/stories (if you don't already know about them), you can access the tabs above.

It can be all or one of my stories.  You can post to blogs, Amazon, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, wherever.  Just make sure people can access it.

Now, no cheating.  You actually have to read the stories and post a thoughtful review or it doesn't count.  Love it or hate it, I don't care, but tell others how you feel.

After you've posted your review, post the link either in the comments section on this blog or on my Facebook page.

If you recommend my stuff to a friend, have your friend comment on my blog or Facebook page.  Make sure they tell me who recommended it.

Easy.  You have from now until the end of the month.  I will announce the winner on October 1.

Have fun!  And thanks for playing!

UPDATE:  One of my biggest fans and bestest friend wants to get in on the action, so she has kindly offered to add $80 to the gift card.  You read that right, now you can win a $100 Amazon gift card!  Who wouldn't want that?  Thanks, Jamie!  YOU ROCK!

Meet an Author Tuesday

Today's guest is HL Carpenter, which is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes of flying horses and other fabulous creatures from their home in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Their multi-genre collaborative work includes mysteries, short stories, essays, and non-fiction articles, and is featured in the bi-monthly newsletter Top Drawer Ink. Their most recent book is The SkyHorse, a young adult e-novel published by Musa Publishing. Their home on the web is www.TopDrawerInkCorp.com.

Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck - until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.

As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest standoff in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.

She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.

When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.

As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.

Read an excerpt of The SkyHorse at www.TopDrawerInkCorp.com.

Amazon link

Musa link

What inspired you to write this story?
Old friends - that is, the extraordinary horses we’ve lived with and loved over the years. The Carpenter Country pasture is empty at the moment, though we swear we still hear hoofbeats on moonless nights.

How long did it take you to write The SkyHorse?
The entire lifespan of a winged horse. Or some such length of time. It’s hard to say exactly because we’re not sure when to start the counting. Is it considered the beginning when we spot an interesting poem, picture, or quote - the kind that calls out for more consideration? Or is the beginning sometime later, when the first word appears on the computer screen? Deciding when the story is done is a problem, too, because the characters are still with us, even after the book is in “finished” form.

What is your favorite thing about writing?
We have to pick just one? You’re tough...well, if you insist. Writing with a partner is our favorite thing. Sharing words and ideas with someone who is so deeply into the same story is a great way to write.

What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Discovering - after a country mile of work - that the story should have taken a different direction way back, at that dusty fork in the trail. The discovery leads to revising or replacing huge chunks of the story, which we hate to do, because we’re always in love with our words.

If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
We’d pick the fabulous duo of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Trigger and Buttermilk - need we say more? Hum along with us ... happy trails to you ... it’s the way you ride the trail that counts ...

What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Mold? We're too busy writing to clean. (Kidding...we think...wait a minute, back in a flash). Okay, we checked. No furry green stuff in there. There is a carrot of uncertain provenance...

What can readers expect from you in the future?
Books, books, and more books. We’ve recently finished the first draft of another young adult novel, and we have three other finished manuscripts cooling off and waiting for revision. We also have a cozy mystery for adult readers that’s in the final stage of revisions, and three completed novellas featuring the same character. We love writing stories!

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk about The SkyHorse, and about writing in general. It’s been a pleasure!  (Thank you for stopping by!)

Movie Review Monday

A while ago, my cousin (hi, BJ!) asked if I would kindly review Avatar:  The Last Air Bender--the series on Nickelodeon, not the movie (which I haven't seen and doubt I will ever see)--so here it goes.

I've always been a big fan of cartoons, especially Japanime.  I've seen some really good ones, and I've seen some horrible ones.  I've seen some that would pass as porn.  I call those ones Japornime.  I also really like cartoons on Cartoon Network and things I watched as a kid.  I'm a big fan of Disney.  If it's intelligent and well written, more than likely I'll watch it. 

Trust me, not all cartoons are intelligent.  There are some things the boys watch that make me want to throw things at the TV.  They are terrible, but they appeal to young kids, so I suppose they've cornered their market.  I know a lot of people who don't like to watch cartoons because they think they all appeal to kids.  While for the most part that's true, the cartoons that last are the ones that can appeal to all generations.

Getting back to Avatar.  I don't even remember how I got involved with this series.  It ran from 2005-2008, but I know I didn't watch it when it first came out.  I'm guessing I didn't start watching it until the 5 year old was older and he started watching it.  They replay it every so often on Nickelodeon.

The basic premise of the cartoon is that there are four nations:  Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.  All of these places live in harmony with one another, and each has a group of people called Benders who have the ability to control the elements.  For example, if you are an Earth Bender, you can control rocks and the earth.  Water controls water, Fire controls fire, Air controls air.  The Avatar has the ability to control all four elements, and they are responsible for keeping things in balance.

When the series opens up, the Avatar has been missing for over 100 years, and the Fire Nation has declared war on the rest of the planet.  The Avatar is born from each nation in cyclical fashion, so one year the Avatar is from the Fire nation, the next Water, etc., so it can be predicted what nation the Avatar will come from, just not who it is.  Before the Fire Nation attacked, they Avatar was supposed to come from the Air Nation, so to ensure the Fire Nation wouldn't be stopped in their attack, they destroyed the Air Nation.

That gives you a pretty good overview of the story; it's actually quite a bit more complicated than that, but I don't want to explain the entire thing to you.  You can watch the series.  The storyline of the series is just fantastic.  It follows Aang, who is the last Airbender and the newest Avatar, but he's only 10 years old.  It's a great coming of age story and a fantastic hero adventure. 

The story appeals to both kids and adults alike.  It is very intelligently written, but it also has things that kids can relate to.  Visually, it looks like Japanime, but it isn't.  In some ways, it even makes fun of the genre.  It's a really great series, and I highly recommend it if you like cartoons.  Heck, I recommend it if you don't like cartoons but enjoy classic storytelling, it might change your opinion about them.  It's also important to watch it if you want to get into The Legend of Korra.  Again, another amazing series that is a continuation of Avatar.  The first season has concluded, and I can't wait for the second to start.  Korra is older in this series than Aang was, so it would probably be considered Young Adult.  Even if you don't have kids, it's totally worth the watch!  If you do, it's something you can enjoy together.

Looooong Day

Sorry for the late post, but I've been busy at work with board meetings.  Tomorrow is the last day, so things will quickly get back to normal.

If you recall from my Wednesday morning blog, I couldn't wait until that afternoon to hear from my big kindergartner to make sure he made it to his grandma's safely after school.  He wasn't supposed to get to grandma's work until close to 4:00.  I did a pretty good job of keeping myself occupied until then, but around 3:45, I made sure I kept my phone right next to me.

It rang.  I scooped it up and looked at the number.  It wasn't one I recognized, but then I thought, "Well, maybe my mother-in-law forgot her phone and borrowed someone else's."  I answered it, and that stupid boat horn sounded, followed by a recording telling me about cruise lines.  Irritated, I hung up.

After a few more minutes, it rang again.  THIS time it was the right number.  I answered and asked the 5 year old how his day was.


"How was the bus ride?  You get on okay?"


"Were your friends on there with you?"

"Yeah.  Can I get off the phone now?"

I, of course, said yes.  Later when I picked him up and asked him more questions about his day, his response to everything was that it was "stupid."  Ah, tired, hungry kids, it doesn't get more exciting. 

Have a great weekend!

Self-promotion Thursday

Today, I thought I'd go with an oldie but goodie.  It's an anthology with one of my stories.  You can order it at Amazon.  Seriously, check it out.  I'd love to hear what you think!

On the Verge of a Breakdown

The 5 year old started all day kindergarten today.  I thought I was going to be fine with it, that I was tough, but I was wrong.  We took him yesterday for an informational meeting, which lasted an hour, and I almost lost it then.  Thankfully, the spouse took him today so I didn't have to deal with the emotional turmoil of leaving him by himself, exposed and vulnerable to the world.

Him going to school is a wonderful and fabulous thing, I know it is.  And he is absolutely thrilled to go.  However, it doesn't seem possible.  He can't be old enough to do things on his own.  I feel like I need to be there, hovering over him to make sure he's safe and protected from the bad things in the world.  But, I can't.  He has to learn to become self sufficient and a free thinker.  And I want him to, but part of me is mourning the fact that he's growing up.

It doesn't help that I'm a totally worrier, either.  Last night around 2:30-3:00 in the morning, I started freaking out that he wasn't going to be able to eat his lunch.  He took a cold lunch because he didn't like what the school was serving.  I had visions of him leaving his lunchbox in the classroom or only eating the applesauce and cookies.  Then, after school, he's supposed to ride the bus to the high school to be with his grandma.  I had visions he'd get lost somewhere along the way and be standing on the sidewalk crying his eyes out.  Sometimes my imagination is a curse.

These fears, of course, are completely unsubstantiated.  First of all, he's not going to a desert island.  There are teachers and other adults around to make sure he'll eat correctly.  Plus, he's a good kid.  He knows what he needs to eat for lunch.  Secondly, he rides the bus with two older girls, one is at least a fifth grader, and he has a name tag with the bus number that specifically says he can't get off until the high school.  He's going to be just fine.

I need to learn how to relinquish control and let go.  I can still worry about and protect my children, but I don't need to freak out.  The best thing I can do for them is give them skills and the intelligence to cope with whatever life throws their way.  Granted, I'm not going to teach them my coping skills, they'll be emotional wrecks, but I'll teach them to do the opposite of what I do!  I hope I can make it through this first day...

Meet An Author Tuesday

Today's guest is Mindy Hardwick.  She is the author of a tween novel, Stained Glass Summer, published December 2011, and a young adult romance, Weaving Magic, published in April 2012. When Mindy is not writing, she facilitates a poetry workshop with teens at Denney Youth Juvenile Justice Center. The youth’s poems can be seen at www.denneypoetry.com.  Mindy is a frequent school and library presenter and included on the Washington State Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster.

Readers can learn more about Mindy at www.mindyhardwick.com, follow her on Twitter @mindyhardwick.com
or subscribe to her blog: www.mindyhardwick.wordpress.com.

He loves magic. She loves romance. But the biggest illusion is the one Shantel and Christopher perform together. Sixteen-year-old Christopher fights to stay sober while fifteen-year-old Shantel struggles in the aftermath of her mother’s death and seeks refuge in a fantasy world. But the unacknowledged roots of their problems refuse to stay buried and soon, the two are headed toward a deadly magic trick. Can Shantel and Christopher move beyond magical illusions to find love?

You can find WEAVING MAGIC on Amazon and at MuseItUp Publishing. It is coming soon from Barnes and Noble and the Apple Store.

There is a free book discussion guide available at Mindy’s website: www.mindyhardwick.com.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired to write WEAVING MAGIC by the teens in the poetry workshop at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. For about five years, I have been facilitating a poetry workshop with teens in juvenile detention. We read YA and memoir, and write poems about our life experiences. The voices of the teens crept into my writing, and WEAVING MAGIC was the end result. You can read the real life teen poems on their blog here: www.denneypoetry.com.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
WEAVING MAGIC took five years to write and a few more to sell. I wasn’t working on WEAVING MAGIC the entire five years. During some of that time, I was also working on my tween novel, STAINED GLASS SUMMER which is published with Musa Publishing.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
The challenge. Each story I write is different, and I have to learn more about the craft of writing. I get bored easily, and writing is one of the few things which continues to challenge me.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The blank page and the first draft! I love to revise once I have a first draft, but that blank page creates a lot of anxiety and I spend a lot of time checking email, blogging and social media!

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I love how she inspires so many people.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Salad dressing! I moved into my house five years ago, and cleaned out everything from my old refrigerator before I moved. And I’m pretty sure that a couple of those bottles have been in that side drawer of the refrigerator since I moved in!

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have been working on a contemporary, sweet, romance novella trilogy. The first one published in February and is titled, “Love’s Storm”. I’ve just turned in the second story in the series, “Love’s Bid,” and there will be a third one for the holiday’s, “Love’s Gift.” I’m also working on a chapter book series and a middle grade for boys.

Movie Review Monday

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Anyone who reads this blog and/or knows me knows that there are a few things I really enjoy in movies:  eye candy, explosions, fights, really evil bad guys, and a hint of a plot.  This film had all of that AND the added bonus of seeing my heroes from childhood on screen.

This entire film was over the top, from the explosions to the gun fights to the computer-generated blood to the cheesy one liners, but it was FUN!  The lines between good and evil were distinctly drawn, and you cheered and rooted for the good guys.  The actors may be getting old, but don't count them out.  They'll still mess you up royally!

The spouse and I went to this movie as part of our anniversary celebration.  It brought back so many memories watching the guys kick butt in the movie.  I remember when we watched all the Jet Li movies, just because Jet Li was in them.  Or Jason Statham.  In my case, I love Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I have the vast majority of his films.  Seriously, it was these films that helped fuel my interest in karate, even back when I was an undergraduate in college (I am a third degree brown belt in Seyo Shorin Ryu, and I practiced for years.  Sadly, after the second boy was born, I no longer had time to go, and I miss it terribly).  Action films have always had a special place in my heart.

The plot in the film focused on revenge and really bad guys who want to sell weapons-grade plutonium to the highest bidder.  The fight scenes were amazing, the amount of anonymous henchmen deaths was ridiculous.  From beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the next fantastic scene.  Was it predictable?  Absolutely, but it was still a great film.

The spouse was a bit distressed because there weren't enough hot chicks for him to feast his eyes on.  If he could change anything, he would have changed that.  Otherwise, he seemed to enjoy it just fine.

If you enjoy old-school action films with stars from yesteryear, then you will thoroughly enjoy this movie.  Like I said, it had everything I needed to make it a fabulous film!