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Christmas With The Shalans

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 03 December 2016 · 11 views

In keeping with the holiday season, I thought it might be fun to share some Christmas scenes from the Shalan Adventures. Harry and Dee have had some very happy Christmases, as well as one very sad one. I think I'll start with the sad and end right before Christmas with the happiest one. So be prepared. This is a hard one. Dee has just lost her baby and life in the Shalan household is pretty dark on Christmas morning. This is from the third book in the series, In the Shadow.

I gave up and lay on the couch looking at the still-lit tree. In the half-darkness, I could just make out the ornaments that adorned the artificial tree. When we first got married, we'd agreed to always have live trees, but she developed allergies, so we opted for a nice fake one. One thing, though, that had been true from year one: although we opened all our other presents on Christmas morning, every year we exchanged one gift the night before--a new ornament. We alternated, each giving the other an ornament that was appropriate to some milestone from the previous year. She started the tradition the December after our summer wedding with a "First Christmas" ornament from a local gift shop. The next year, I gave her one from the same store honoring our first year in the house we had just bought. She gave me a perfect replica of Eddie the year we adopted him. I could see each one, remember exactly the year it was given and by whom. The most recent had a place of honor high on a front limb. It was a clear ball filled with sand and tiny seashells she had picked out on the sly during our trip with my family to the Outer Banks.  A part of me, way back in the back of my heart, a part I didn't want to admit even existed, worried that it would be the last ornament we would exchange. The thought nauseated me, but after both of us being shot and me nearly dying--twice--this felt like the one thing we may not be able to get past. Our pain was so great that it wasn't allowing us to do the one thing that made us such a bullet-proof couple--lean on each other. Or, more accurately, she couldn't lean on me and I, who draw nearly all of my meaning in life from having her lean on me, felt utterly vacuous, as if all that made me me had been sucked out and discarded. And, worst of all, I couldn't say any of this to her. Partly I couldn't because I am male. Though I'm more in touch with my sensitive side than some gun-toting thugs, I still have male pride that keeps me from wanting to seem vulnerable--even when the choice is between vulnerability and being without my she. And when I finally broke down and tried, it came out all wrong; she took it as an attack, locked herself in her room again. Her room. Which had, just a few weeks ago, been our room.
I was snapped from my dark contemplation by movement in my line of sight. Eddie had basically become the fur baby of the Hillmans, so it wasn't him. She stood in front of me, a blanket wrapped around her, but still dressed in her church clothes from the night before. Her makeup was smeared.
christmas ball tree lights red blue green white holiday season blur "It's Christmas," she said in a flat voice with no tone of joy. No tone at all.
"Yes." I didn't know what else to say.
"We have to open presents so we can go to your parents' house."
"Are you up to that?"
"It's Christmas."
"Yes."
"Make coffee. I'll get cleaned up." And with that, she was in the bathroom. I automatically got up to follow her orders. I heard the shower come on as I scooped out the beans. I ground them, put a filter in the basket, filled it with the coffee, added water to the carafe from the filter pitcher in the refrigerator, put the water into the reservoir, closed the lid, and hit the brew button. I heard the shower shut off and knew I wouldn't scald her, so I went to the sink with the water filter and filled it twice before putting it back in the refrigerator. I did all this from sense memory and expended no thought in the act, but it took every ounce of energy I had left in me. As I collapsed back onto the couch, the bathroom door opened. She came out, her hair wet and face washed. She had worked quickly, but the part that took me aback was the fact that she had the towel wrapped around her. It wasn't because it was cold. Between the furnace I had neglected to turn down the previous night and the heat coming from the tree lights, it was almost uncomfortably hot. And hot or cold, she'd never left the shower and walked to the bedroom with so much as pair of panties on in all the years we'd been married. We spent whole days in the apartment in which she never put on a single piece of clothing without even a second's thought. I could only conclude that she didn't want me to see her naked.
She sat in beside me on the couch, up on the edge, her feet together and her back straight. For perhaps thirty seconds, she said nothing. Finally, I couldn't stand the silence.
"Dee--"
"I'm sorry," she said before I could continue. "I love you."
"I love you too," I said, a catch in my throat. I tried to reach out to her, but she got up before I could. As she passed the tree, she paused, knelt down for a second, got up, paused again, and went on into the room, shutting the door behind her. I couldn't see what she had been doing.
She still loved me! For the first time in two weeks, I felt a tiny flicker of hope. With renewed energy, I got undressed and showered as the coffee finished brewing. I had no clothes to change into, but my robe hung on the back of the bathroom door, so I put that on and went out to get some coffee. But when I opened the door, I was startled to find her standing just outside it, a wild-eyed look on her tear-streaked face. She was panting as if she'd just been running. She had something in her hand that I couldn't make out at first, but slowly it dawned on me what she had picked up from under the tree. It had been my turn to get the ornament. My heart stopped. Or at least I would have preferred that it had stopped.
"I'm so sorry--I forgot--I got that two months ago--"
"A baby rattle? You got a baby rattle?! What is wrong with you?"
"I told you, I--"
“Just get out! I can't even look at you right now!"
"But I--"
"Get out!'
"Can I at least get dressed?"
"Fine!" She threw the rattle ornament at me. I had found it in a gift shop way back in early November. It was pink and said, "Baby's First Christmas" on one side and I had had them paint, "Emma Grace" on the other side. But so much had happened since that, even after looking at all of the previous years' ornaments overnight, I hadn't remembered that I'd gotten it. I had the gift shop wrap it and I put it under the tree way back on the Friday after Thanksgiving, right after we'd finished decorating. Dee had insisted we put up the tree despite our getting ready to move into the house. We would put it back up when we got there, she said, but she refused to have no tree until the week before Christmas, our favorite time of year. How ironic that we may look back on it in the future as the beginning of our end. I honestly wanted to just curl up on the couch and die. It had to be such a soul-crushing blow for her, because it definitely was for me. And the guilt of having done what I'd done, even if unintentionally, compounded the pain exponentially. I had to leave, I knew and wasn't going to argue, but I couldn't go out in my bathrobe. I didn't know what else to do, so I put on the clothes I'd had on the night before. In my distracted state, I forgot to take a cup of coffee or even put on a coat. It was probably cold as I staggered in a sleep-deprived stupor to the car, but I took no note. Ellie fired up and I pulled out. It being 7:00am on Christmas day, there was no traffic, which was lucky for me because I didn't even check.
winding hairpin road rural countryside trees nature outdoors Paying no attention to where I was going, I just drove. I suppose I could have gone to my parents' house. In fact that would have been the logical thing to do, since we were expected there in a couple hours anyway. But logic didn't enter into it. Pure instinct is all that kept me on the road. As the heater slowly kicked in, I was aware of becoming warm, which told me I must have been cold. The rising temperature seemed to thaw my brain, if only slightly, as I became cognizant for the first time of exactly where I was--Route 47, well past WVU-Parkersburg. Having little to no higher mental functions, my body must have put me on course for my old college, Glenville State.
 It also eventually registered that it was snowing pretty hard. Actually pretty hard may be a bit of an understatement. It was the big-flaked sideways snow that was wet and promised to accumulate massively in a short time. These were all facts that registered, but their ramifications were absolutely lost on me. I kept driving, barely aware that I was barreling at over 60 miles an hour over a snow-covered road that would have been unsafe to travel at 60 on a clear, sunny day. The good news is that the danger did become apparent. The bad news is that this happened as I lost control on a sharp curve. Ellie's rear end lost traction halfway through the turn, causing me to start running off the road and into a sheer limestone wall. I mashed on the brake and clutch and turned away from the skid--all the exact things I shouldn't have done. Somehow, the skid corrected just enough that I didn't hit the wall head on, but instead, with the screaming crunch of metal on stone, she caromed off it like a giant red pinball. It was enough of a head-on that the airbag deployed, knocking me even sillier. I thought for a split second that I had averted complete disaster, but an instant later the news got worse. I wasn't slowing down no matter how hard I hit the brakes and was hurtling toward the empty space of a sheer-sided and deep gulley at the bottom of which was the Hughes River. The space was interrupted only by several trees of varying sizes, but almost all of which could prove fatal if I hit one head on, especially since the airbag was a one off.

snow winter branch tree plant nature cold weather The next several seconds are a blur of shattering glass, crashing into trees, pirouetting in mid-air, and a spine-crushing impact with the side of the hill, followed by I don't know how many full rolls before Ellie came to a creaking halt on her now smashed convertible top. I was confused by the fact that I was hanging from my seatbelt looking down at the roof, which was way closer to me than it should have been. At a pace close to glacial, my head wrapped itself around what I had just done and exactly how big a predicament I had put myself into. Then another thing confused me. As I looked down at the roof, I could see my reflection, just barely, as if I were looking at myself in a highly polished crimson surface. I thought maybe my mind, shocked by the trauma, was playing tricks on me. Then it dawned on me. Blood. My blood. So much of my blood that it was pooling on the inside of the roof and making a reflective surface. I touched my head; the gash was pretty deep. I had been thrown forward to the limit of the seat belt at the same time the windshield had bowed inward on impact with the first tree at the top of the hill, and we must have met in the middle. 

So there you go. Harry and Dee's worst Christmas. Stay tuned next week for another episode in Christmas With The Shalans. 


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 03 December 2016 · 16 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Seventeen-year-old Emile Dodgson is in an asylum with only a vague memory of who he had been before and no knowledge of why he is there. If you read this aloud the little word phrases "is in an" and "who he had been" can get a little tripped up. I would advise rephrasing every so slightly, such as Seventeen-year-old asylum resident Emile has no memory of who he is, or why he is there. Otherwise this is a good hook, just be aware of those little connectors that make your brain have to parse as your read With the help of his doctor, Emile tries to patch together the memories he does possess. As these fragmented memories begin to come back, Emile wonders if he truly does want to remember his disturbing past. Highlighting in yellow some echoes - you've got three in one para here. Not necessarily a huge red flag, but it might make the agent wonder if the ms is littered with such problems. It's a nit-pick, but that's what I'm here for.

Two years earlier, Emile looks forward to leaving school and beginning his apprenticeship with his father, a hatter in the late 1860s Oxford. When Emile meets Alice Smalls, the daughter of a prominent watch maker, he feels his life is clicking into place with a precision he’d never dared to dream for. You've got some great imagery at work here - "clicking into place" alongside the watch mention, for example. However, this is slightly confusing as it seems these events precede your hook. I'm assuming that this story is what the doctor pieces together from his memories, and that your story isn't told linearly, instead alternation between his sessions and the past, correct?

Soon, Emile notices the same symptoms in himself that plagued his father and claimed the life of his grandfather. He can’t always explain the disturbing images he sees or sounds he hears. He hopes his love for Alice will be enough to protect him from going insane, but as Emile spirals further into madness his behavior becomes more and more unsettling to those who care for him.

Drawing imagery from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, this standalone book tells the real story of the Mad Hatter’s descent into madness. ALICE AND THE HATTER is a 70,400 word young adult historical fiction told in alternating chapters between Emile and Alice. Wait! Alice has a POV? That needs mentioned as more than an aside down here. It should get half of the query, if it gets half of the book.

I’m a youth services librarian with over ten years of experience working with teens. (Nice, this was pretty much my bio when I was querying too - it helps!)

Overall, this is pretty damn great. The actual writing here is good and the premise is awesome, but the execution makes me curious about the setup of the text. Is it merely bookended with Emile already in the asylum (a la THE GREEN MILE) or do his chapters go back and forth between the present and the past? Needs to be clear within the query. 

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Win Audiobooks with #SnowAudio!

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 01 December 2016 · 26 views

Posted ImageWant to curl up with a romance on audiobook? Want to curl up with one you’ve won? Come check out the Snow Audio audiobook giveaway going on with tons of great authors! Scroll down to learn more and enter my giveaway for a chance to win an audio copy of Champagne and Lemon Drops.




Audiobook giveaway details
  • Enter as many times as you like using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Each thing you do counts as an entry toward my giveaway.
  • There will be several winners of a digital audiobook, Champagne and Lemon Drops by me, Jean Oram.
  • Winners will be given a free download code for Champagne and Lemon Drops which will be good at either Audible UK or Audible US. Sorry, no substitutions.
  • Winners will be contacted by the email address used to sign into the entry form below. (More fine print at the bottom of this post…)
  • Search for the #snowaudio hashtag on Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win from December 1-15, 2016 with over 20 other fabulous authors! We’ll keep you up all night reading! (Well, listening!)
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Champagne and Lemon Drops

One woman. Two men. One meddling small town.
Raised by her older sister in the small town of Blueberry Springs, all Beth Wilkinson wants is to create a family so big she’ll never be alone. Things are going great until her fiancé, Oz, rethinks everything from his own career to their nuptial plans—forcing Beth to do the same.
As Beth works to rediscover herself in hopes of reattracting Oz, she catches the eye of the charming new city doctor, Nash. Not only does he see her as she’d like to be seen, but he knows exactly what he wants from life—and that includes Beth.
Torn between the two men, as well as two versions of herself, Beth discovers that love and dreams are much more complicated than they seem.

I love love love this series!
The quirky characters and the hilarious plot.
I could read more on this series forever.
–Amazon reader, Lenda.

Fine print: No exchanges, cash value or substitutions. Winners will be contacted via the account email used to enter the giveaway with Rafflecopter above. Winners will have two weeks to claim their prize after notice is sent or their prize will be considered unclaimed.
The post Win Audiobooks with #SnowAudio! appeared first on Jean Oram.

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People Watching - Christmas Shopping Edition

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 28 November 2016 · 69 views

People are endlessly fascinating. As writers, we become expert people watchers and I had some fun this weekend while doing some Christmas Shopping.

Here are some folks who may or may not show up in a future story!!

  • the lady who, on Nov 27!!!, announced to everyone at the checkout that she was officially done her Christmas shopping. Her smug smile carried her through the front doors of the store while the rest of us in line either glared at her or whimpered after her with envy
  • the man wearing leather and chains with tattoos covering his hand whose toddler couldn't keep steady on his feet with all the crowds, so he hefted him up to his shoulders and softly sang Jingle Bells with him while they made their way through the store
  • the elderly couple pushing a cart through the store and chatting about Every. Last. Item. on the ends of the aisles. They held up traffic in the busy store, but, while I watched, not one person got annoyed. In fact, one teenager overheard part of the conversation and stopped to tell them that, yes, that pair of fuzzy slippers would be perfect for a twelve-year-old
  • the two women, busy chatting on their cell phones, who rounded the ends of the aisles and crashed right into each other, both of them dropping their bags and their phones. Just like a cartoon. Luckily, they straightened out the mess without too much trouble
  • the elderly woman who shoved me to the side so she could look at the jewelry I was checking out for my mom. When I stumbled (and nearly knocked down the display!), she sent me a glare and told me I should learn to be more careful. I froze a second before I started to laugh. She shoved her nose in the air, sniffed disdainfully, grabbed a necklace, and stomped off
  • the mom who pulled out a softball sized lump of some kind of homemade Playdoh while she stood in front of me in a checkout line. Her son's face lit up and he shaped and pulled and twisted quite happily while they waited for their turn to pay. Brilliant!
How about you? Spotted any great characters lately?


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Giving Thanks for “small wins” in a Difficult Season

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 23 November 2016 · 49 views

                I’ll be honest, I’ve kind of sworn off the internet. Every time I log onto Twitter or Facebook, I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. Unless I’ve been promoting my posts, or answering DMs, I’ve managed to stay off social media. I have to admit it’s […]

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LED Flashlight is exquisite portable and has extensive applications

Posted by michale in michale's Blog, 21 November 2016 · 118 views
flashlight

LED Flashlight is exquisite portable and has extensive applications They will sell protective goggles for use with the Red Laser Pointer .We use laser cutters to fabricate model railroad structures and loco/rolling-stock shells for our Silicon Valley based Z scale group layout, and one of our members works with a 35,000 watt laser to anneal semiconductor wafers in preparation for their use in semiconductor device fabrication facilities (fabs).I would mostly be concerned about eye saftey. Search the internet for vendors of blue lasers.

Full Spectrum Laser started out by importing Chinese lasers, tuning them up, and rebranding them for American sales.Imported laser cutters are so popular, they’re almost a brand themselves.With a reasonable size, the Mini laser is really good for users who have very little space to put the machine. In an attempt to increase reliability and ease of use, FSL decided to create their own laser cutter system and released the H-Series. If you’re on a budget or looking for the biggest bang for your buck, they are a great option.



This high power laser pointer flashlight is easy to use. The fumes can be toxic and cutting some materials creates a LOT of smoke. The first button is for laser pointer while second for LED and you just need to press on and release off the button. With the small size and beautiful color, this laser pointer flashlight is a good choice for you. Great for presentations Power saving, compact and reliable. Comes with key chain.The biggest hassle with laser cutters is not setting up the cooling system but setting up the exhaust system.

Maybe you are confused about which one is the best choice after viewing numerous laser pointers. This 2 in 1 5mW 650nm Red Laser Pointer Keychain with LED Flashlight is exquisite portable and has extensive applications it emissions red light with a wave length of 650nm. The laser pointer is helpful for guiding your traveling and pointing at the faraway target or stars and sending out the SOS signal making your travelling fun and interesting.

Three fairly common components which sometimes fail include the laser tube, the power supply and the mother board. As a green laser pointer reaches nine or ten years old, the machine’s risk of component failure is increased, and you might also encounter a problem with the availability of replacement parts.Sometimes the laser tube merely needs to be recharged, while other times it might need to be replaced. One of the agonizing choices that laser owners encounter, particularly when their equipment is around seven to eight years old, is the cost effectiveness of making the repairs.

Worse, if you do not install proper ventilation you can potentially instantly destroy the mirrors in the laser cutter which are not cheap.You need to actively evacuate fumes to the outside using high power external air blowers which do not come with the laser cutter.You would still have more or less the same cooling requirement and also the same problems with getting rid of the nasty smoke though... And you'd also have a harder time collimating the beam of an solid state laser compared to the tube.

You could easily take any one of those settings and convert your photo for 3000mw laser pointer . Another preset which seems to work very well with laser-engraved photos is the Metzotint presets, which are a scattered pattern of irregularly shaped dots known as worms.Some of the present options are very artistic and do not lend themselves well to laser engraving, but there are some presets that do. The preset Etaglio–Engraving works quite well for laser engraving photos.


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Agents and Editors (and More) that are Looking for #OwnVoices Books

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 09 November 2016 · 45 views



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Un laser contre les moustiques

Posted by tomxuxu in Pointeur laser magasins franchises, 05 November 2016 · 46 views

Un laser contre les moustiques
Un système utilisant des faisceaux laser de réglage carabine s'est montré capable de détecter et d’identifier une espèce d’insectes volants porteurs de bactéries pathogènes, et de les détruire en plein vol. Baptisé Photonic Fence (barrière photonique), ce dispositif, destiné à contrôler les entrées d’insectes volants par l’ouverture d’une pièce ou d’une serre d’horticulture, est développé par l’Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, aux Etats-Unis.

Le système est constitué de trois modules. Le premier détecte le passage de l’insecte, le second l’identifie, et le troisième procède à l’éradication par une impulsion laser de réglage carabine de faible intensité. Un logiciel pilote le tout en temps réel. La portée du système testé par les chercheurs est d’environ huit mètres.

Deux insectes nuisibles ont été ciblés par les chercheurs, à titre de démonstration. Le moustique Anopheles stephensi, vecteur de la malaria, et le psylle Diaphorina citri, agent de propagation de la maladie du dragon jaune (citrus greening), qui affecte les agrumes. Pour les détecter, des technologies de pointe sont nécessaires. Deux lasers dont les faisceaux se croisent, avec en face des photodiodes pour mesurer leurs émissions. Quand un insecte passe dans les faisceaux, l’intensité mesurée diminue, et la cible est ainsi détectée.

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La scène est observée par une caméra à grande vitesse, qui filme à raison de 1000 images par seconde. Pour repérer les insectes visés, Photonic Fence ne se contente pas de l’analyse des images de la caméra : il identifie l’insecte en mesurant la fréquence de ses battements d’ailes.

Une fois la cible identifiée, il faut la détruire. Là encore, c’est un laser vert 10000mw qui est utilisé. Mais contrairement aux armes laser "létales" que les militaires préparent, une très faible quantité d’énergie suffit pour mettre un moustique hors de combat : quelques millijoules. Ce qui est de bon augure pour une utilisation du système à proximité d’êtres humains.

Lors d'une précédente édition, Bill Gates avait suggéré cette méthode comme l'une des techniques de pointe pour lutter contre le paludisme (ou malaria), cette maladie transmise par la femelle du moustique anophèle qui tue entre un et trois millions de personnes par an, majoritairement en Afrique sub-saharienne.

Cette année, Nathan Myhrvold, ancien directeur technologique de Microsoft, est venu faire une démonstration avec un appareil mis au point par sa société Intellectual Ventures . Le prototype a été construit à partir d'éléments très communs (qu'on trouve dans des imprimantes, des appareils photos et lecteurs Blu-Ray) «presque tous achetés d'occasion sur Laserfr.com et des sites similaires», précise Intellectual Ventures. Les ingénieurs travaillent pour abaisser le coût et la consommation d'énergie.

La «photonic fence» («clôture photonique») est capable de détecter un moustique à une trentaine de mètres, de faire la différence avec d'autres insectes et même entre un moustique mâle et femelle (selon la taille et la fréquence du battement d 'aile). Une fois la cible validée, elle est abattue en plein vol en moins d'un 1/10e de seconde par un pointeur laser 3000mw «non mortel» qui «n'endommage pas les tissus humains». En clair le moustique grille. La photonic fence peut rôtir de 50 à 100 moustiques par seconde et dispose d'une sécurité pour ne pas tirer si autre chose qu'un moustique se trouve dans la zone sous surveillance.

Les chercheurs expérimente également sur la longueur d'onde du laser pour simplement cibler l'ADN du moustique et le rendre incapable de transmettre le paludisme. Depuis plusieurs années, d'autres tentent également de mettre au point une variété transgénique de l'insecte qui supplanterait l'espèce à l'origine de la maladie.

Visitez les liens pertinents: http://beaulide.shig...t/e1301649.html

http://www.studyup.c...otes/view/20561


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My Official Blog Is Up!

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 27 October 2016 · 62 views

So, in deciding to establish an official blog, I've created one via WordPress. I find this to be a new exciting avenue as I continue with publishing and establishing friendships and connections with other writers. Stop on by, if you like, and follow as well! It's barren at the moment as it was just established. Thank you!



https://mylifeandtimes.wordpress.com/

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THE SECRET DIARY of LYDIA BENNET Release

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 24 October 2016 · 49 views



Title: THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET
Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Martina:
I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.



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Blog Tour: YA Paranormal Paranormal Romance THE DECISION (Everlasting Trilogy, Book #2)

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 20 October 2016 · 70 views

Title: The Decision
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Author: L.K. Kuhl
The Decision is the second book in The Everlasting Trilogy

Tag Line: The Decision’s made. The choice is simple. Or is it?

Back Cover Blurb:
The guests are invited. The cake is all set. In just a few short hours Sophia Bandell will be saying “I do” to a guy she isn’t sure she loves. But where does she go from here? She feels her life is headed in a downhill spiral. Her first and real true love, Tate Forester, is a ghost. But he’s the man she wants to be with…the one she can’t live without. Sophia is faced with the toughest decision of her life. Does she forget about Tate and marry the egotistical lawyer, Aaron Stuart? Or does she take the plunge and join Tate to be with him for eternity?

Excerpt:
Sometime through the night, Tate’s kisses woke me. They landed on my cheek like a soft sigh. He began on my cheek and traveled down my neck, resting delicately on my shoulder. But each one felt like he was snuffing out a candle flame. I knew that this would be the last time I’d ever feel him again. He was telling me goodbye in the gentlest way he knew.
I held in my sobs but couldn’t stop the silent tears from sliding down my cheeks. They spilled to my neck and pooled there in the deep, hollowed indent above my clavicle. Tate kissed them away, and wiped a wet strand of hair from my face.
“Don’t cry. I was hoping I could slip away without waking you. I need to go. Aaron will be home soon.”
My throat ached. I grimaced and tried to swallow away the soreness, but it had its claws dug in too deep. There was no way to release it, to ease this massive tumor that kept growing inside of me each time it was time to say goodbye.
“This is the end, isn’t it? Your kisses told me everything you can’t say. So do your eyes.”
“It has to be. It’s time.”

Buy Links:
Amazon:  
Barnes & Noble:
Kobo:  
iTunes:
SmashWords:  
Amazon CA:

Author Bio:
L.K. Kuhl is the author of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Series, The Everlasting Trilogy. The Decision is book two of this trilogy. She has also penned Chasm, a Romantic Suspense novel. Chasm was released in May of 2016.
L.K. lives in Nebraska with her husband Gene of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg and Will, their furry dog kids. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.


Author Links:
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kuhlreads
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BXDJGIY    




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My Telegraph (obit)

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 01 September 2016 · 156 views
Writing Groups, My Telegraph and 1 more...

My Telegraph was a blogging and commenting platform hosted on the Daily Telegraph servers (the DT is a national UK paper published daily). It was a free service with an interface that used aspects of Wordpress and Disqus and was provided as is. There were some 20,000 + registered usernames. Many of these participated in the user groups and back in 2010 with my first draft to my first novel handy, I was ready to engage. I headed straight for Creative Writing. It quickly became apparent that the group was headed for oblivion — it's members needed organising so I re-jigged its competition. In 2012, the DT began promoting a new group, the Short Story Club. We had no idea what would happen when it was introduced — how it would run and whether it would replace Creative Writing... in the end, with the inputs of author Louise Doughty, it became a success. There was a back story, however. The DT promoted this new group but the landing page was hard to navigate and there was no supporting infrastructure, this left those wishing to take part not knowing what to do — and there were thousands of them. For several months it was chaos — hundreds of joiners each week, many of whom leaked over to the Creative Writers Group — we helped where we could — some stayed. It took a while to sort things out.

*


Late on in 2015, the Daily Telegraph began changing its main site. Commenting disappeared from some articles. By Easter 2016, virtually all of DT had moved to a new look and feel. The blogging platform, My Telegraph, remained untouched. It was legacy and obviously low priority, a system ready for the chop. This was a hidden community that could have been much more user groups such as Rugby, Finance, Book Club, Job and Careers, Expat, Corduroy Mansions, The Archers Messageboard, Politics,Travel, Technology... there was much potential but these groups just withered for lack of attention. The DT didn't respond to questions about the future of the platform. Users speculated and began to make plans. It was only a matter of time before the plug was pulled, which happened June 2016. Usernames, blogs, groups and platform all disappeared, lost in the final dark of: no servers, no data. History. Ah yes, I forgot History. The link is of course dead.

*

As a social site, users were prone to petty acts of spite – they had vendettas and ganged up on each other. Doubtless this helped convince DT of the wisdom of closing it. The community became a net diaspora and survives on Facebook and WordPress. There is a closed group at https://www.facebook...12280382310342/ and several WordPress presences.

For old time’s sake, here’s a memory:


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*

More info on DT's My Telegraph.

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Once Upon a Typewriter

Posted by thebookworm in thebookworm's Blog, 15 August 2016 · 109 views
Preface, typewriter, preteen

Once Upon a Typewriter

Once Upon a Typewriter:


It was a lovely sunny day, on a quiet street tucked away from the world, where Delilah came across a shed, abandoned by time. She cautiously approached the shed and was surprised to find all of the trinkets and treasures before her eyes.

Page 1 (with illustrations)


As soon as Delilah placed her hand on the dusty old typewriter, she knew she had to have it. “Was it stealing?” she thought to herself or was it hers to keep? Delilah decided to that she couldn’t possibly part with her new found treasure. After exploring the run down structure for some other forgotten treasure, she headed home, typewriter in tow.

Page 2 (with illustrations)


Delilah darted through the living room, up the stairs to her room, slamming the door with excitement. She gently placed the typewriter on her desk, clearing space for the new toy. Some of the keys on the typewriter had faded over time, so Delilah would have to do some research on how to properly clean and repair this new gadget.

Page 3 (with illustrations)


As soon as the new typewriter was polished and good as new, Delilah was finally ready to write her very first story. Sitting quietly at her desk, gazing out the window of their old farmhouse, Delilah could see a shadow cast by the full moon that gently touched the trees, yet appeared to be a castle, it was such a lovely illusion. Snapping to it, Delilah knew the topic of the new book!

Page 4 (with illustrations)


“I know!” Delilah gleefully gasped as her fingers started to dance over the keys, as if the story was flowing out of her, with an unstoppable driving force. Starting on page 4, she was so enveloped in her writing that Delilah failed to notice her surroundings changing. She could not believe her eyes when she finally realized what happened. Delilah was IN her story!!

Page 5 (with illustrations)


“What is going on?” Delilah quietly thought to herself, “This MUST be a dream”, panic set in and she felt lost. “Ok, pull yourself together” she shouted to herself. This was all so real. Delilah slumped down on a rock, overlooking a beautiful valley full of flowers, just like in her story. It was just as Delilah had imagined it would be.

Page 6 (with illustrations)


After the initial shock of what just happened passed over her, like a fog lifting. Delilah had a plan but first she would need to find the typewriter that was responsible for this phenomenon. Walking through the tall grass over-shadowed by a massive castle that seemed to reach up past the clouds, Delilah could see something glistening in the warm summer sun, could it be? Was it the typewriter? Running through the field, Delilah eventually came upon the typewriter and typed herself home.

Page 7 (with illustrations)


Book 1 of many!



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Summer Reading Prize Pack Giveaway

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 01 August 2016 · 109 views

Happy Summer! I have very fond memories of lazy summer days reading on the porch or under a tree. It was a favorite past-time for this introvert bookworm. So, since it’s summer and I just announced my next middle grade duology last week, how about a summer reading giveaway? And since my books have that creepy fairy […]

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Internet Fixed

Posted by LWFlouisa in LWFlouisa's Blog, 26 July 2016 · 177 views

So now I can do research full time now. Sometimes the Internet is still a little slow.

Just finished Hemato Tomato: Bloodlust. Not sure how I feel about the finished product. I still feel like the story is only half way told, so I may end up writing 10,000 more words on this.

This was my first experiment in Historical Futurism, where historical characters play a role in science fiction setting with plots that cross over between science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance in a very that makes you feel really strange.

It's like suddenly meeting Charlotte Corday at your local Star-bucks without any implication for time travel, and the reader is just suppose to take the plausibility of the romance for granted. They are stalked by magic wielding robot police, and the you have a grand ole adventure.

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

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Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 194 views



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9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 119 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Hopscotch
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.

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BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 187 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:

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The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.

-----------------------------------

This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


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Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 139 views



Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,

Utsav



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Query Review Request

Posted by KellyMoore in KellyMoore's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 229 views

AS IT SHOULD BE, a women’s fiction novel of 81,000 words. Emily’s marriage crumbles when she discovers her husband’s secret love nest – filled with the furnishings she has carefully stored away for their future vacation home; and on the heels of their divorce, due to an unexpected night of passion during their estrangement, she finds herself expecting the child she has always longed for. When her ex-husband, Tom, marries his new lover, Emily escapes her heartache by making a new life for herself and her child in a place that stole her heart long ago - the captivating village town of Seaside.

As It Should Be is the story of a woman who finds herself with the chance to redirect her path from that of one who is tossed aside and struggling against bitterness, to a woman with new hope - and fresh new purpose for her life. It is a tale of transition: from a seemingly secure marriage, to the awkwardness and uncertainties of singledom; from a life without the responsibilities of children, to the wonders and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood; from the familiar comforts of home - to the possibilities of life and love in a bright new place.

I am happy to forward all or a portion of my manuscript for your review if you are interested. Thank you sincerely for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Warm regards,
Kelly Moore



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