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Back in the saddle again

Internationally renowned
Hey! Are you there? I know I haven’t posted for a while and thank you for not unfollowing my blog because of it. Life happened. On May 25th, I had surgery. The weeks leading up to it were full of taking care of things I wouldn’t be able to for a while afterward. Then, it was about recovery. Happy to say things are going really well! Still have a weight limit for lifting, and haven’t been cleared to start coffee again, but I can work with those. In the weeks leading up to surgery, I had ideas for ‘Guarding Amber’ (the follow up to ‘Guarding Charon’). I just didn’t have the focus I needed. My mind went to a million little things that I’d not done for months (years?) that demanded my attention ...
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Ring of Flames - chapter 1

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RING OF FLAMES Book 3 in The al-Andalus Series CHAPTER 1 Ahmad couldn’t believe his eyes. He always came straight to the Falcon House after he’d been to the mosque. Being with the falcons prolonged that feeling of peace he got from his early morning prayers. But not today. He looked at the empty perches, at the feathers covering the floor, at the drops of blood that led to a dirty sack in the corner of the room. Who had done this? Who had killed his beautiful birds? His legs felt weak with shock. He squatted on the floor and looked around him. If he were a woman he’d weep and wail, he would tear at his clothes and howl his grief to the skies. But he was no woman. All he could do was hold his...
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Just finished The Ring of Flames - last in the al-Andalus series

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  Until I got started I never believed I'd have enough  material to write a third book about the Omayyad caliphs in Córdoba. I was wrong. One tiny detail of research opened up a new avenue for a complete novel. What was it? It was the realisation that the caliph al-Hisham II, who featured so tragically in book two, The Eye of the Falcon, didn't die in 1013 as I had originally thought. He'd disappeared. Well that's a whole different story. Where did he go? Who helped him? If he escaped from the city, how did he do it? Or did he die and they just didn't find the body? The latter is unlikely because it seemed to be the custom at the time that when someone was deposed and executed, their head wa...
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Yo-Yo (All Tied up with String #4) review by: Mandy Tyra

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Spinning in as the 4th twisted All Tied up with String personalized story is Yo-Yo and this one is an all spun out, brutally sick little tale. Sprinkled with just enough dark humor to make us feel uncomfortable, hop-the-fence in a squirm. It stars Zachary Walters, that popular reviewer feller from the Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness blog. Zakk enjoys scary books, cheap whiskey, smooth yo-yo’s, and long moonlight lurks on the Cali beaches with the above items firmly in hand. Taken from his website, well, except that last one. Maaay have overtaken a touch of creative license there…. Right after I read this wicked tale, I felt a taunting pull to seek out some yoyo tricks, see what all this hoophl...
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Join Me at SBWC Santa Barbara Writers Conference June 18-23

SBWC Santa Barbara Writers Conference 2017
Since 1972, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference has been connecting writers with mentors, agents and editors. Every summer, writers in many genres from around the world gather to participate in a magical week of intensive work focused on story, voice, craft, marketing, and networking with fellow writers and publishing professionals. The conference has hosted a legacy of America’s best writers, including: Ray Bradbury Jane Smiley William Styron Eudora Welty James Michener Sue Grafton Charles M. Schulz Clive Cussler Fannie Flagg Elmore Leonard T.C. Boyle Join us this summer for our 45th anniversary, June 18-23, 2017, and become a part of this on-going literary legacy. I will be there on a pan...
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A New Carson Reno Mystery is Available For Preorder!


The Owl Branch Book Promotions All Carson Reno Mystery Series Books are standalone novels. It is not necessary to read them in any particular order. What happens when a rich client, three beautiful women, a shifty businessman, a gambler and a missing spouse are all suspected of murder? The results are a merry-go-round of shadows and lies in a house of cards with clues almost as old as Carson. Greed, blackmail, infidelity, murder, serial killers and a twenty-year-old crime spin a tale that is practically unbelievable – with the truth masked behind a story that nobody wants told. This old fashion ‘whodunit’ takes Carson Reno and his crew on a complicated adventure, which has too many victims a...
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Con Science

Con Science
Right or wrong… I’m just doing it! And some impulse says you are right and you leap into the moment… into danger. Outcomes uncertain… You “just do it”. Remorse maybe… later… but not to act means you might own guilt….. We have glorified “conscience” as an explanation of moral urge. Someplace deep inside, some small voice, hints at what is right and what is wrong…It’s always been there, even as a child, but only as developed as the child. Then even as an adult depending on your growth. I like what is right and don’t like what is wrong. Good and bad. This heartfelt compass offers advice even when not asked. These days morality gets a bum rap as it is labelled judgmental. But one cannot shake on...
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Giveaway–TRR Sizzling Summer Reads Party


Today, I’m participating in a Summer Reads Party for The Romance Reviews. Along with ten other authors, I’m offering a prize to one lucky winner. Scroll down here and look for my question: What is the name of Gilda Greco’s restaurant? (Note: You will get a clue) Answer correctly and you could win an e-book of Too Many Women in the Room.   Original link

Old And Useless Books

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I was reading a book the other day – yes really, I do read, I’m a voracious reader, in bed, the smallest room, during meals if I can get away with it, while not watching the television, you get the picture. But I gave DH (Dear husband) quite a fright when I shrieked with joy the other day. I’d not only found a typo but noticed a plot hole in a book by a very, very famous household-name writer. Yes!! Even the best of us and their top five publishing companies are not perfect. I still cringe when I think of the mistakes I made with my first book, I probably shot myself in the foot at the beginning of a possible career as an author (who am I kidding I’m long past career time, I’m supposed to be...
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Coming Home by Kimberley O’Malley - $15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


    BLURB:   Dr. Elizabeth Abbott Fitzgerald has spent the last ten years of her life running; from tragedy, from family, from love. But now her mother’s failing health calls her home to Windsor Falls, North Carolina; to the place where her past awaits. Sam Bishop can’t believe his eyes when the love of his life returns after ten long years. All he wants is to clear his conscience and get back the family he lost when Connor, his best friend and Elizabeth’s husband died tragically. Could it really be true that time heals all wounds?     EXCERPT:   Sam Bishop stood in the hallway just outside of the darkened waiting room wrestling with himself. Shock had ripped through him when Katie called hi...
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Spice Up Your Book


          We labor hard on our books, going the extra mile to make them intriguing to new readers. As authors, we develop a plot, sprinkle in intrigue, drop in a pinch of spice, stir into the action, and deliver a finely baked product to the market that should have people slathering to grab it and enjoy themselves.   Sounds like a recipe for success. Doesn’t it?   Yet, once your book has entered the realm of being noticed among the thousands of other books of similar genres, your sales are non-existent or poor. It’s not your promoting, since you’ve been talking up this particular novel since you finished the first draft and have had excellent reactions from potential readers. You even contac...
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SILVER LAKE on the #Amazon "99 Romances for #99c Each" #KindleDeals


  A #1 Kindle Bestseller! My debut novel, a reunion romance/ghost mystery, has a special place in my heart, since it was my first book and I lived with the story--and the characters--in my head for years before I even wrote a single word.   Silver Lake was first published in 2012 by The Wild Rose Press, and then the electronic rights were acquired by Amazon's traditional publishing house for their Encore imprint several years later.   This has been wonderful for Silver Lake's visibility, as Amazon occasionally drops the price for a temporary sale and features the title as one of their Kindle deals.  I noticed a big bump in sales this weekend, and upon investigation, I discovered Silver Lake ...
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Camp NaNoWriMo

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I’ve decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo (basically, a summer writing marathon) to help keep me on track for my current work in progress.  Bayou NonStandard Time is a collection of short fiction featuring some of the characters from Bayou Fire.  It will most likely be released as an eBook in early 2018.  If it’s long enough, I’ll consider doing a paperback edition. As I often do with works in progress, I made a cover strictly for inspiration.  I used the tools in Canva for this one, along with a photo I took of Bayou St. John.  This will most likely not be the final product, but it gives me a place to start. Stories already in progress for the project are “Down on the Corner of Love,” “Last Stop: S...
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Dysfunction Junction: By April Erwin

“I’m twenty-six and I’ve never been kissed.”  I flew through this book. I think I finished it in a little over two days, which is no small feat since I'm a breastfeeding mom of two, have a full time job, and am actively writing a new book.  I enjoyed this book very much, such a sweet story. This chick-lit/Romance is the sweet tale of a young innocent woman that is eagerly seeking her first love, her first kiss, but is seriously lacking in confidence where she feels she falls short in the appearance department. It's the tale of a woman learning to love herself, take no mess off anyone, and not settle for anything less than she deserves.   I love a romance, LOVE. I don't however, love a romanc...
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Getting teenagers to read.

Girl Friends - cover
Hello, and welcome to another ‘Happy Everybody Reads YA’ #SundayBlogShare. Teenagers, or Young Adults as they are called when they are potential book readers, lead pretty full lives these days. School exams, sports and other after school activities, friends and parties and, perhaps dominating all of these, social media and computer games. Reading for pleasure doesn’t seem to get much of a look in. There are exceptions of course – books by JK Rowling have a huge teenage following (not to mention avid adult readers). But I’m not sure whether it is the fact that Harry Potter was a boy wizard (and wizards etc. are very popular these days) or that, when she started writing about him, Harry was yo...
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Summer Breeze


          Welcome to Sunday Blog Share! Today, we’re talking about summer stories, giving our characters fun in the sun with their favorite activities!     Get Summer Breeze on Amazon!   Heading on back to the early seventies, to the beach experience. For many people, the first beaches that come to mind are those in California. Who doesn’t remember the Beach Boys and their iconic music? Of course, there were other groups, particularly Seals & Croft with Summer Breeze in 1972.   Beth and Trane are like another teen in that hot, romantic summer when the world was changing so fast. They have their dreams. He’s yearning to surf in Hawai’i and she has her vision set on a non-traditional job f...
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The case of the stolen brainbox


And talking about using this place where I live as an inspiration for stories: two nights ago somebody stole the brain of a saint. I’m not kidding. Now, in this area there’s a lot of towns and villages called Castelnuovo – which means New Castle, and the Montferrat territory is dotted with castles and fortifications. So to tell one place from another, they add something to the name. Castelnuovo Belbo , where I live, takes its name from the Belbo river flowing by (and sometimes through) the village. Castelnuovo Don Bosco takes its name from Saint Giovanni Bosco , founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco , a Roman Catholic religious institute – back in the times of yore boys-only, now open to the...
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Amazon Has A Fake Book Problem


Look! Another reason why I’ll never go KDP Select! David Gaughran Fake books – powered by clickfarms – are gatecrashing Amazon’s charts. And despite being aware of the issue for well over a year, Amazon has failed to resolve it. If you look at the Kindle Store Best Seller charts right now, and click over to Free Books , you will see that the Top 20 currently has five suspicious-looking titles. None of them have reviews. All were published in the last week. They have no Also Boughts – meaning they have had very few sales. Each of these titles are around 2,500 pages long, seem to have duplicated content, and are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. What is going on here? For over fifteen months now ,...
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I Need to Talk About Sexual Harassment

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Public Domain Image via Pixabay I didn’t get nearly enough sleep last night, and had come to the computer ready to write about the fabulous time I had going to a ladies’ night “Wonder Woman” experience sponsored by our local comic shop … and I’ll do that at some point this weekend.  However, something came up in my e-mail that I need to talk about. Remember this post from a couple of days ago:  How to be a Convention-Goer That Vendors and Authors Love ?  Well, I left something pretty important off from the item that talks about not buttonholing the vendor or author at their table. Do NOT use the fact that they cannot get away as an opportunity to sexually harass them.  PERIOD. In that linked...
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The City of Miracles | Robert Jackson Bennett | Rougeski Review


City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett is the third epic in his Divine Cities Trilogy.  In the first novel, City of Stairs, readers follow three fascinating characters: Shara Kamayd, spy and politician, her Beowulf-like sidekick Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, and Turyin Mulaghesh, a quirky yet distinguished soldier who spearheads the action in the City of Blades.  In City of Miracles, Sigrud, perhaps the most interesting of the trio, is humanized and drives the narrative.  Readers finally get to enjoy a close relationship with this mysterious, conflicted hero. “What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war we do not bring our loved ones with us.” (City of Blades) In City of Blades, Sigr...
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