Monday, March 25, 2019

Chaos

There’s chaos everywhere. As expected, the Mueller report was released and will now cause even more debate as both sides debate, well, everything. Great Britain doesn’t know what the heck it’s doing and Canada’s gorgeous PM is plagued by scandal (Canada? Really?).

When the world goes crazy, I retreat into Romancelandia. Except there too, there is chaos. The Rita Awards finalists were just announced, and once again, we have a problem with underrepresentation of authors of color. The fact that not a single author of color has received the award in its 37-year history, despite exceedingly qualified candidates is a problem. A huge problem. A judging problem. One that the RWA Board is working on, but nevertheless, a huge problem that should never have gotten this far. I have several good writing friends (white ones) who have finaled in this contest (the equivalent of the Oscars in the movies) and a few who have won. They all deserved it and I’m so excited for them and proud of them. But there are many authors of color who are as good or better and who deserve it just as much. 

Interested in who I’m talking about?

Alyssa Cole: https://alyssacole.com
Sonali Dev: https://sonalidev.com

There are plenty more. Try someone new. Try someone different. Step out of your comfort zone. 

And regardless of your politics, race, gender, or beliefs, stand up for what’s right.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Pride

As a mom of two college students (well, one and a half, since Banana Girl will officially be one in September), I was obsessed with, and horrified by, the reports of the college admissions bribery scandal that overtook the news last week.

I’ll admit, it was a relief to have something other than politics and violence dominate the news, and I was no longer embarrassed to be caught scanning the reputable (and not so reputable) entertainment sites in pursuit of “more information.”

But overwhelmingly, I was heartbroken. I’m not going to debate white privilege. This was a perfect example of it, and if you don’t see that, well, you’re part of the problem. I’m part of the problem, too. I’m one of the white parents who goes outside what her kids’ school offers, and pays for SAT tutors and college counselors. I don’t regret it at all. A guidance counselor at our high school has 400 students to help with college admissions (at least). Someone I pay has a max of 20. A guidance counselor doesn’t work during the summer, on weekends, nights or holidays. My kids work on their applications at precisely those times—in fact, Banana Girl wrote her college essay at summer camp, FaceTiming her counselor (the one I paid for), during her off periods to go over it. My kids were tutored, but they took their tests on time and on their own. The only "tricks" they learned were test-taking strategies. The college counselor gave them tips and advice, but left the work up to them. They wrote their own essays and they filled in their resum├ęs with their activities—and only the activities in which they had a pivotal role. The Princess wouldn't even let me see her essays, despite the fact that I'm a professional writer--to this day, I have no idea what she wrote. 

I don’t know what’s going to happen to the parents who were caught, and frankly, I don’t care, as long as they’re punished. I think the system needs to be overhauled, obviously. But I do feel for the kids, even the ones who knew what was happening. Because those kids are never going to know the true joy of getting into a school they worked their asses off to get into. They’re never going to know what it’s like to be sick to their stomach worrying about whether or not they’re going to get in, to studying the graphs and charts of acceptances and wondering if their grades and scores and achievements and activities are enough on their own merits. The Princess got into the school of her choice and experienced those exact doubts. I still have the photo of her when she found out she was accepted, and the joy on her face is not something you can replicate if you’ve gamed the system. Banana Girl got into her reach school and her tears of joy were genuine. 

They’ve learned an important lesson, one they’ll need to remember throughout their life, and that is pride in their own work. Cheating is wrong in whatever form it comes in. And the reward for honesty is not only your achievement, but the pride you feel in knowing you set a goal, worked toward it, and made it. That feeling can’t be faked and can’t be paid for. And that’s why I pity those kids whose parents gamed the system. They will wonder for the rest of their lives if what they've achieved is due to themselves or their parents. 



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Welcome Sandra Dailey

25 Crazy Days

So I approved the final galley of my new book, the Co-Parent Project, and received the cover art. I knew I’d have my release date soon. From past experience, I figured I’d have at least a couple months to prepare a good promotion plan. I had time to tidy up the loose ends of work in progress, personal and professional. Then, I woke up to an email from the publisher. My release date was only twenty-five days away. Everything in my life spun into chaos. Let me tell you what was already going on.
My dog, Archie, had just had surgery to remove three teeth, close a whole in his sinus cavity, and remove a cyst from his eyelid. He was on two prescriptions, twice a day, plus eye ointment, and barely getting down any food.  He was in pain and annoyed by the cone. He wanted to be held constantly. My heart was with him.


I only had three chapters left to write on the first draft of a new story. I figured I had plenty of down time to help out a few friends by reading ARCs for reviews--six of them to be exact.
I know this all sounds do-able, but I’m not finished.
My lawn and garden supplies had taken over my husband’s garage and half the laundry room. After endless complaints and a little discussion, I purchased a new shed that had to be built by hubby and myself the next weekend. Why the next weekend, you ask?


The week after the shed I had to strip all the carpet, padding, tack strips, and remaining lumps and bumps off the floors in the living room and master bedroom. It had to be down to the clean, even concrete. Why? Because, the new flooring had been delivered. Yes, hubby and I would be hard at work laying hundreds of feet of new wood laminate during his vacation days.
There’s another problem. Hubby was taking vacation time. That meant cooking actual meals, looking halfway presentable, answering all his questions, and keeping him entertained when not crawling around tapping floor planks together—which, by-the-way, were being stored in my office.


So, what have I accomplished as far as promo for the new release? It was too late to hire a promo company for a blog tour. I contacted all my friends to host me on their blogs. I contacted the people I was reading, and had recently read ARCs for to return the favor. And, I sent tons of emails to professional reviewers. All accomplished while eating meals at my desk. I don’t have bling purchased, contests planned, or events scheduled yet, but I do have awesome friends like Jennifer to get me started.

The Co-Parent Project 

Tag line:
Parenting style won't matter if they don't all survive.

Blurb:
Luca Wolff and Joy Sullivan are competing for guardianship of their estranged, teenage nephew, Eric, after his parents are killed in a plane crash. Evidence shows the crash wasn't an accident. Neither was a recent explosion that destroyed Luca's house. When a fire is intentionally set in Joy's home, suspicion points to Eric--and that's not the end of their trouble. Eric has been in his share of mischief, but now he has a chance to clean up his reputation. That's hard to do when the only people who believe in you are the ones you're accused of targeting. Just as Luca and Joy give in to romance, new information comes to light that could tear them apart along with Eric's dream for a happy family. The three have to set aside their grief, personal issues, and disagreements to figure out who is out to kill them…and why.

Buy Links:
Wild Rose Press:https://bit.ly/2EmYPGj
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2IrWA8V

Excerpt:
As soon as he walked through the door the smell of chemicals nearly drove him back outside. The odor was so strong it made his eyes water. He couldn’t take it anymore. “How can you live with the constant stench in this house?” “I’m sorry. Mrs. Erving needed a perm today.” Joy walked in through the kitchen door carrying a squeeze bottle of mustard. “I was just making lunch. Would you like a ham and cheese sandwich?” “No thanks,” he snarled. “All I’d be able to taste is that nasty smell.” “How can you taste a smell?” “You’d know if your olfactory receptors weren’t burned away. That stuff has got to cause brain damage.” “Do you plan to claim it as a way to get Eric away from me? I wouldn’t put anything past a Wolff.”

Author Bio:
From childhood I've moved from place to place, from Indiana to Florida, stopping in several places in between. I also moved from job to job; as a waitress, soldier, retail manager, dental assistant, etc… The one thing I never had to leave behind was my imagination. Storytelling has always been my favorite way to pass time. I've often been told I should write a book. Finally, I did. It was so much fun: I felt I must write more, so I have. I've been a student of Long Ridge Writers Group and once won a short story contest with Harlequin. I currently live in North Florida with my husband, whom I torture with crazy story lines and half written manuscripts.

Contact Info:

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Welcome Julie Howard

Spotlight on Spirited Quest

Tagline:

She’s chasing a ghost, but who is chasing her?


Blurb:
Paige Norman believes in a tangible, explainable world. When her ghost-hunting niece comes for a visit, she tries not to scoff. But someone, or something, is stirring up trouble at the Deerbourne Inn and her niece, Jillian, is at the center of the mystery.
Paige is certain the handsome Aussie photographer is behind the unexplained disturbances, and she warns her niece to stay clear. Meanwhile, Jillian gets to know the otherworldly Lady of the Deerbourne, who foretells an encounter with "two men." Then the pranks turn dangerous. Has her niece attracted a stalker or has she conjured an evil presence? Can the culprit be the man who has captured her heart? 


Excerpt:

He nodded a friendly greeting to her, his gaze grazing past to include others on the porch. “G’day, ma’am. G’day all.” 
An Australian. Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, to be twenty-five, even thirty-five, again. His gaze settled on her niece, and as always happened to men where this girl was concerned, his jaw slackened, then tightened. 
Next to her, Jillian grew still, lifting wide blue eyes to the newcomer. The moment passed. He was through the front door and into the lobby, and the door closed behind him. 
“You’re in for some nice company this week,” Paige commented with a smile. 
A frown flickered across her niece’s face. “I’ve seen him before.” 
“You’ve met?” 
“Not exactly. He appeared to me in a dream.” Jillian’s blue eyes were troubled as she gazed at the Inn’s front door. She lifted one hand and rubbed the back of her head, then gave a shiver. “There was blood and I was afraid.” 

Buy Links: 






Bio:
Julie Howard is the author of “Crime and Paradise” and “Crime Times Two.” She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Author Links:








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