Monday, December 02, 2013

Black Friday was Book Friday

Not only was last Friday "Black Friday" but it was also Book Friday, as dubbed by Hawaii Content Marketing (HICM). I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the Non-Fiction portion of the program, where I was able to talk about Non-Fiction writing and my books, "Do You?" and the upcoming disaster preparedness guide, "Ordinary People - Everyday Prep".

HICM created the event as a "Marathon of Author Twitterviews & Book Talk", giving authors a chance to discuss the genres and writing topics we love.

The event ran all day. Here's the 1 hour Non-Fiction chat from Storify, in case you missed it.

And while you're at it, make sure to check out the Cyber-Monday sale of "Do You?" on Amazon - free for two days only (12-2-13 & 12-3-13): http://ow.ly/rmGNk


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Greetings

 

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. 

As you spend time with family and friends, may you realize how blessed you are in this life. Take stock in all you have. Live, love, laugh, and cherish every moment.   

Free Vintage Thanksgiving Clip Art
Credit: Graphics Fairy http://thegraphicsfairy.com/free-vintage-thanksgiving-clip-art/

Monday, August 26, 2013

You Are Already Missed - Felix


It is with a heavy heart that I share this post with you. On Saturday, Felix left this world to be with the angels, and I lost an important part of my life. 

Felix was the most loving, intuitive, and compassionate soul I have ever met - it just so happened that his soul was housed in the body of a cat.

Felix was six months old when we first brought him home. My husband and I had decided on a spontaneous trip to the shelter. We hadn't intended to bring a pet home that day, and had discussed visiting with the dogs to give them some attention. We never made it to the see the dogs.  Felix made sure of that. He was a bundle of love, from the moment I picked him up and out of the cage, he cuddled himself in my arms and purred like a fine car tuned-up and ready to race. He placed his paw gently on the side of my face and leaned in to brush his cheek to mine. I was sold. We adopted him on the spot.

Felix earned his spot as an important member of the family every day since that first day. He comforted my husband when his Dad had a quadruple bypass, somehow knowing that he needed the support. A paw on my husband's leg at just the right moment was all it took. On another ocassion, Felix  rescued one of our fish who had flopped out of the tank and onto the floor. Most cats would have devoured the fish instead of coming to it's rescue, but not Felix. And when my son was born, the fear was that Felix might get jealous. We weren't sure how he would react to a baby in the house. He surprised us again, and after getting over the initial transition of no longer being an "only child", Felix became my son's protector. If the baby cried, Felix came to get us to ensure that he got what he needed - a bottle, diaper change, or what not.

On many occasions, Felix became a contributor to my writing as well. He'd sit beside my laptop as I typed away, the best kind of writing company - quiet and intent as I read my work outloud. There were a few times when he'd walk across the keyboard and add his own touch to my manuscript. He preferred when I wrote in silence, not liking the Loon Wilderness CD I'd often play, shaking his ears as if the sound of it hurt.

In the past few weeks, Felix was feeling his age. He turned 17 this month, and his body was giving out. After injuring his front leg, he just couldn't recover. When he no longer continued his usual routine of putting the family to bed - my son first, then me, and then my husband - we had an inkling that something wasn't right. When he stopped eating, we knew the end was near. And on Saturday, Felix waited for us to return, waited for his family to be by his side, and then he left us very peacefully.

It is hard to write this, and I have tears in my eyes as I do. For those of you who met Felix, you know how special he was. The stories above only bring to life a small portion of what made him so special.

So, I end with a message to Felix: You are already missed. You completed our home, and without you there is an emptiness here. Rest in peace my dear friend, may we meet again some day in the hereafter.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha

 

 

Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


This book has claimed the spot as my second all-time favorite book to date. Memoirs of a Geisha is a story about a young girl named Sayuri who is sold by her father to a geisha house, ripped from her home, her dying mother, and her sister. The tale is so intricately woven that the reader feels like a silent observer, watching Sayuri as she traverses the life of a maid, to a geisha apprentice, to a geisha, and finally to her life after WWII, leaving the life of geisha behind.
Arthur Golden is a master at developing the characters he’s created, giving them life on the page, so much so that many people believed this book to be a real-life memoir of a real geisha, when in fact it is a work of fiction. The story is beautifully written, the historical and cultural details are exquisitely interlaced throughout, and still the author keeps the book paced for a fast read. The true work of genius!
 
If you haven’t read this book, I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Goodreads Review

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cover Reveal for Reaper's Rhythm by Clare Davidson

Cover Reveal Banner Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00100] Blurb When everyone thinks your sister committed suicide, it’s hard to prove she was murdered. Kim is unable to accept Charley’s sudden death. Crippled by an unnatural amnesia, her questions are met with wall after wall. As she doubts her sanity, she realises her investigation is putting those around her in danger. The only person who seems to know anything is Matthew, an elusive stranger who would rather vanish than talk. Despite his friendly smile, Kim isn’t sure she can trust him. But if she wants to protect her family from further danger, Kim must work with Matthew to discover how Charley died – before it’s too late.
Excerpt from Reaper’s Rhythm
The warm light seeps through the closed sitting room curtains when I step into the drive. The muffled thump of dance music grows louder as I approach the familiar front door. I push the key into the lock, but the door swings open on its own. My breath catches in my throat, but I force it into a growl. Not only has my sister, Charley, not bothered to lock the door, she hasn’t latched it. Whatever she rushed home for must have been important. I step over the threshold and a blast of warm air hits me, enveloping me like one of Mum’s overprotective hugs. My wind-chilled face tingles, as I close and lock the door. "Charley, I hope you’ve set the table.” My voice competes with the din of the deep bass of my sister’s music. I toss my keys into the wicker basket on the hall table. As I peel my coat off, I see Charley’s in a crumpled heap on the floor. Rolling my eyes, I scoop it up and hang it, then place her discarded boots in the shoe rack beside my own. Why am I the conscientious sister? I’m only sixteen. Charley will be heading off to university next year. Stomach rumbling, I snatch up the Chinese takeout I’d picked up on the walk home and wander into the kitchen. Frowning, I flick the switch to light up the pristine room. Mum is a clean freak now that Dad doesn’t live here. The table isn't set, even though Charley promised she would do it before she rushed off ahead. "Charley,” I call out and then dump the bag on the kitchen table and stomp across the hall to the sitting room, shoving the door open. The music hits me first, making me jerk my head back, then the smell. An odd odour, metallic and rich, overpowers the air freshener on the mantel. "Charley?" She must be trying to scare me. "Charley, stop messing around.” I grit my teeth, expecting her to jump out at any second. My body shudders and my flesh tingles as if an army of ants is marching beneath my skin. I back out of the empty sitting room and bolt upstairs. The smell is stronger, snaking down my throat, making me want to gag. “Charley?” I shove her door open, hard. Charley’s lying on the bed, her blond hair fanned out over the pillow. Her arms are spread wide, palms up. Crimson blood drips from deep slashes on her wrists. Her blue eyes are open, staring at the ceiling. But they don't see. They're dull, empty. Dead. The room spins. My stomach lurches and bile rises up my throat. I swallow and clap my hand to my mouth. Sagging against the doorframe, I can’t tear my gaze from the single lock of hair resting over Charley’s porcelain cheek. What should I do? Charley would know what to do. As I stumble down the stairs, my mind clicks into gear. A scream rips out of my throat, eclipsing the pounding music. My foot slips on the beige carpet, sending me tumbling down the remaining stairs. My shoulder and back slam against the wall. I scramble to my feet, screaming, sobbing, then stagger into the hallway, colliding into a young man with the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. My own force knocks me backwards. His strong grip clenches my arm, preventing me from falling. I try to scream again, but the sound is trapped within my constricting chest. My sister is dead. A stranger is in my house. I writhe against his grip, lashing out with my foot. My toes crumple and sting when they hit his shin. I’m thrown off balance, but he holds me fast. He raises his thumb to my forehead and applies gentle pressure, as he sweeps his thumb towards my brow and then hooks it back up. "Sleep." His quiet voice acts like a sedative. My head flops forward until my chin touches my chest. A new scent replaces the sickly metallic tang of Charley’s blood: freshly cut grass. Inhaling it makes my head fuzzy and my heartbeat slow. I want to see his face, memorise every detail. The contours of his cheeks and jaw, the shape of his nose, the colour of his hair. The police want to know those things, don’t they? The only feature I can see for sure is the impossible darkness of his eyes. My own eyelids droop, my limbs turn liquid. A strong arm loops round my back and lowers me to the floor. I fight against sleep. Each time I force my eyelids open, they flutter shut again. "Forget,” he says. The word is nothing more than a whisper at the edge of my hearing. "Sleep."
  Author Bio: Clare Davidson is an independent writer, based in Lancaster. Clare is a high school teacher, mother and character-driven fantasy writer. Clare was born in Northampton and lived in Malaysia for four and a half years as a child, before returning to the UK to settle in Leeds with her family. Whilst attending Lancaster University, Clare met her future husband and never left. They now share their lives with their young daughter, a cranky grey cat and an insane white kitten. She published her first novel, Trinity in July 2012. Trinity is a young adult, fantasy novel, which currently has seventeen five star reviews on Amazon UK. Her second novel, Reaper’s Rhythm, is due to be released on the 26th July 2013. Also aimed at a young adult audience, Reaper’s Rhythm is an urban fantasy with a dash of mystery.   Ways to connect with Clare Davidson: Website Twitter Facebook Goodreads New releases mailing list      

Friday, July 12, 2013

THANK YOU for Your Support

First, let me say Thank You to each and every one of you that supported me and my Kickstarter project, Ordinary People-Everyday Prep. So many of you helped to spread the word through Facebook and Twitter, and backed the project with funding pledges. I am very grateful, and I appreciate your support more than I can ever express to you.

This has been an incredible journey. It was thrilling talking to people about this project, and in the process gauging a better understanding of people’s perception of disaster preparation. Through these conversations, I’ve gained insight into what I need to do to improve Ordinary People-Everyday Prep to make it stronger and more marketable. I plan on adding survival tips from top survival experts, and expanding disaster experience examples throughout the book to illustrate the need for disaster preparation.
Unfortunately, the project failed to gain enough backers to get fully funded, so my  initial plan to release the softcover book in connection with the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy will not be possible, but I still plan to continue with the project by strengthening the contents of the book and working to find ways to bring this project to publication. I am toying with the idea of possibly releasing an e-book version, if I can garner funding for that part of the process. I might also try submitting the book for traditional publishing as well.

Thank you again for all that you’ve done.

-Michelle

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Book Review - Between You and Me

Book Review - Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus


Between You and MeBetween You and Me is a novel by the New Times Bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus. It's the story of Logan Wade and Kelsey Wade, best friends and cousins who grew up in Oklahoma and then were forced apart by their parents as kids. Now, many years later they are reunited. Both have taken different paths in life, Logan finished college and at twenty seven works in New York. Kelsey is a singing superstar, rich and living the high life.



Their reunion turns into a reminder of the events that wrenched them apart so long ago, the layers of Kelsy's glamorous life reveal a toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents. And now Logan is in the middle of Kelsey's efforts at breaking away.

I loved it! It was a fast-paced read with strong characters. The authors did an amazing job of capturing the awkwardness of Logan with Kelsey's family at the initial reunion, which added to the mystery of what happened when Logan and Kelsey were kids. I also thought the behind-the-scenes of the celebrity lifestyle were perfectly captured, allowing readers to see a more true-to-life representation instead of just a glossed-over glamorous depiction.
 
Great read - well done. Highly recommended!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Bookstore Trip

I took a trip to the bookstore to get some summer reading books for my son, and of course, I had to pick up something for myself. So, here's the latest book added to my reading pile:



My son picked up DK Biography: Barack Obama by Stephen Krensky for a summer assignment, as well as Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi for some casual reading.

The reading pile is always changing. Just as soon as I read a book and remove it from the pile, there's always another one there to replace it.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Book Review - The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima



The Crimson Crown coverThe Crimson Crown is the final book in Cinda Williams Chima's The Seven Realms Series. In this book, the Fells is again in danger, the castle is close to being overrun, and tensions between wizards and clans is pushed to the breaking point. Finally, the fate of Han and Raisa is revealed; will their love & life suffer the same fate as Alger and Hanalea? I won't spoil the plot for you.

If you are a fan of The Seven Realms Series, this book is a must-read. It is filled with action, suspense, and all the wizardry that Chima's previous books delve into. I found this final book to be the best of the series. I couldn't put it down; page after page I pushed to find out how it would end.
 
Highly recommended!

Young Adult, fantasy, good for boys and girls, strong adult crossover appeal.

Take a peek at my reviews of the previous two books in the Seven Realms Series here:
The Exhiled Queen
The Demon King
The Gray Wolf Throne

Monday, July 01, 2013

New Video for ORDINARY PEOPLE-EVERYDAY PREP

I added a new video to the project on Kickstarter. Check it out...only 10 days in the funding window for this project. I hope you'll consider helping me bring this book to publication.





Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Thoughts - The Friends We Keep by Holly Chamberlin

The Friends We Keep

by Holly Chamberlin


The Friends We Keep is about three friends (Sophie, Eva, & John) who lost touch, and reunite again twenty years later. It's the story of them rediscovering themselves and each other, including betrayals and hookups.
Front Cover
This book took me a bit longer to get into than others of similiar style. I think the way it was setup, with each chapter from a different character's perspective was a bit jarring at first, which is interesting because I've read other books setup the same way and I didn't find those as jarring. Anyway, once I got a bit into the book, then I felt more invested in the characters' stories.

I think Eva was the  most realistic and developed character and the one that I found myself rooting for throughout the book.

 I'd say this is a good beach read if you give it a chance to get going.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kickstarter Campaign Launched for ORDINARY PEOPLE-EVERYDAY PREP


I just launched a Kickstarter campaign for my book ORDINARY PEOPLE-EVERYDAY PREP. Please help support the project. Here’s the link: Kickstarter

Ordinary People-Everyday Prep is an easy-to-follow guidebook for the everyday person preparing for planned and unplanned disasters. It’s a framework to readiness; a go-to guide for traditional solutions, mixed with creative ideas for budget & time conscious readers.
Ordinary People-Everyday Prep is more than just a prepping book, it’s also the story of Hurricane Sandy - what Michelle saw, how it affected her community, and what the experience taught her about preparing for disasters.
The Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds for publishing and marketing expenses. My goal is to raise $7,500 by July 12, 2013. The project can be backed with as little as a $1.00 and as high as $6,000, with rewards for backing the project starting at $5.00.


Thanks!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What’s In a Name – The Next Installment (#4)

The list of additions to my “What’s in a Name” series has grown, which warranted yet another installment on the blog. People ask me how I uncover the names that make it onto the list, and to be honest they come up in my everyday comings-and-goings. Some are names I come across on my own, and others are ones that coworkers and friends direct  me to - they know my affinity for quirky and unique names.

So here goes, here are the newest inductees to the “What’s In a Name” list of quirky and unique names. Which ones are your favorites?

Echo Lee

Sherill Spies

Tiffany Circle

Garry Terry

Dreama Knight

John Strange (This is my favorite for this list; it sounds like it should be the name of a character in a book. Love it!)

Cats Ketchup (overheard this one at The Natural History Museum in NY)

Douglas Buttman (my son contributed this one, he overheard it called over the loudspeaker at school)

Steve Kitchen

Judy Rainwater

Anthony Tuggles

Basil Katradis

Steve Bowling

Glenn Mamary

Wendy Christmas

Charm Stone

Marilyn Shuck

Mike Livermore

Rob Loseman

January Williams

Rick Lovelady

Patricia Innocenti

Don Pickenpaugh

Hirut Getachew

 

Here are links to my previous posts in the “What's In a Name” series:


(post #2)



Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Ripple In Time

ARIT COVER FINAL
Title: A Ripple In Time
Author: Julia Huges
Book Description: One hundred years after she sunk, the Titanic has a new love story. Wren awakes in a present day in which World War 1 never ended, and the alternative him died as a child. Somehow, his nightmares entered the consciousness of Carina, a girl on board the Titanic. Using Wren's knowledge, she has been able to avert the tragedy, so creating a ripple in time. With the help of Carina's descendant, Carrie, Wren must find a way to go back and restore the time line. If he does, the lives of those aboard the vessel will be lost, and the love of his life will never be born. Will he be able to save the present, or is history as we know it, doomed? A Ripple in Time by Julia Hughes FREE to download from April 14 – April 18: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
About The Author
76b87d62be030ad8976f30.L._V394752341_SX200_ The London born author of the Celtic Cousins’ Adventures: A Raucous Time; A Ripple in Time; and An Explosive Time. The Bridle Path, and her latest title is a young adult/crossover action adventure: The Griffin Cryer. “I’m an eldest child and walking my younger brother and sister to school and back, I’d tell them stories – a captive audience! On leaving college, I worked at the BBC, helping write stories for their “Schools’ Programmes”. That was back in the day, before satellite telly made it over to the UK and ‘Auntie Beeb’ ruled the air waves! I gave it all up for the good life, and moved down to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful counties in England, and often known as ‘God’s own country.’ I think the greatest compliment I received was ‘Julia’s more Cornish than the Cornish.’ I picked daffodils in winter and made pasties for the holidaymakers in the summer. But all good things come to an end: I upped sticks to be closer to my family, and landed in a little village just outside London, and have been here ever since, scribbling away at my stories. ” I don’t specifically write in any one genre, an idea will flitter into my mind, and the story develops. My first three titles, “A Raucous Time”, “A Ripple in Time” and “An Explosive Time” are action adventures, while “The Bridle Path” is romance. I think I’d overdosed on the testosterone flying around in the previous three books and wanted something a little more feminine and romantic. My latest title “The Griffin Cryer” is an adventure/fantasy. What makes this genre special is the opportunity to really allow imagination to take flight, and even create whole new worlds for readers to explore.
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