October and the Superstition Game

Can you believe it's October already? I'm not going to focus on how time flies because, by now, you must be feeling it too. In a couple of months it's Christmas again. But let's not get a head of ourselves.

October is my favorite month! And one of the reasons why has to do with my favorite holiday: Halloween. So, in celebration, for the whole month of October, I'm bringing back the Superstition Game. It's very easy, just mention a common everyday word or item in the comments section and I'll feature the superstition behind it.

Let me kick things off by telling you a little about the superstitions behind shoelaces. Yup, you got that right, shoelaces.

Just as shoes are a focus of superstitious speculation, so too are shoelaces. Very familiar is the tradition that if a shoelace comes undone someone is talking about the person concerned. If the left lace comes untied, bad things are being said, but if it is the right one, only good things are being said. In the USA, this superstition is expressed in the rhyme:

'Tis a sure sign and true,
At that very moment
Your true love thinks of you.

It is also widely acknowledged that it is a bad omen for a shoelace to break, but that it is good luck to find a knot in one's laces. A more obscure tradition warns that it is unlucky to mix the colors of one's shoelaces. If one shoe is tied with a brown lace and the other with a black lace this is particularly unlucky because brown represents the earth of the grave and black represents death.

See? Who would have thought that having different color laces can be unlucky? And who would have thought that there actually are superstitions about shoelaces? This is why I love the Superstition Game. Really, common everyday things you take for granted actually have great significance to them. So, join the game and see what you can learn.

At the moment, my most popular post on superstitions is about Ravens.

And since I'm in a celebratory mood, I will leave you all with the current theme song of my life:

Review Request: Goddess in Pyjamas by Lucy Daniel Raby

Our novel up for review sounds so eclectic. Read the blurb to see what I mean: ‘Hitch-hikers Guide’ meets ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ How can you go wrong with that? So, if you feel like you want to review this novel, please leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Lucy can contact you right away. Happy Reading!

From the author of the ‘Nickolai’ series, this is ‘Hitch-hikers Guide’ meets ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Venus finds it really embarrassing being worshipped in her pyjamas. They’re not even her best ones! It’s also a bit disconcerting that her previous incarnation was a bloke - and she’s a girl! But according to Divine Prophecy, she is The One, brought back to save this world. This really is the final straw after a pants day at school. Venus has fallen out with her best mate, been teased about being asked to the school disco by Colin Drummond, the Archgeekon of Geekdom, stalked by a weird boy and glared at by an even weirder looking supply teacher. She hates her new secondary school! That night, Venus wakes up with an overpowering urge to go outside. Next thing she’s being attacked by a UFO and chased round the streets. With her pet cat Pluto following at her heels, she takes refuge in an empty pub. The stalker boy from school, now curiously clad in a spacesuit, bundles her into a spacepod and it’s bye bye earth. Further shocks follow when the boy reveals a third eye in his forehead and her cat turns into a six foot black panther, claiming to be the High Priest of her old temple. They’re taking her back to her home planet of Ventura – where’s she got this Great Destiny to fulfil. She is the living reincarnation of their spiritual leader Sunev, who was assassinated many centuries ago by the Chagrinians – an evil reptilian race from the planet’s underground ocean. Pluto transported her soul to earth to be re-incarnated, then turned into a domestic pet to look after her. Now the evil ‘Chags’ are back – and she’s had to be brought back ahead of Prophecy. The UFO was trying to 'take her out' before she could return to Ventura and the boy got her out just in time. After a scary journey through space, they land on Ventura, winner of 'Most Beautiful Planet in the Universe' Award several centuries running. It has 3 moons, a huge sun that never stops shining and a population of strange hybrid species from earth’s ancient mythology. Here things like merpeople and winged humans are real! It’s a tough call, living up to the memory of a charismatic world leader, but if Venus doesn’t fulfil her mission by tomorrow morning earth time, ( several weeks Ventura time) her soul will go to limbo forever! With trusty allies Skye and Pluto, Venus boldly hitches up her jim jams, grasps her destiny, plucks up her courage and sets off on her dangerous mission, travelling through strange and shifting landscapes and pursued by the Emperor Tyranog’s terrifying beasts of war. She returns to earth at dawn a different, more confident girl – although her pyjamas are somewhat worse for wear…..

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There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

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Thank you!

Pan Am, Hart of Dixie, and the not so happy Playboy Club

Hallu, dear readers! How's everybody doing today? My cold is finally seeing its final stages, which is something I've very, very thankful for. I really need to get a cracking on my editing, and since my head is clearer now, I can actually start. Full speed ahead.

Anyway, for today, I decided to dole out a TV viewing update. Lots of new shows this Fall Season. Some I like and some I don't ever want to see again. We'll focus on three so far.

First up, Hart of Dixie. Here's a little summary of the show:

Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out - after graduating top of her class from medical school, she'll follow in her father's footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will. She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn't always so hospitable - the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe's only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker - who just happens to be Lemon's fiance. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe's decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn't known was there.

The series stars Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, Jamie King as Lemon Breeland, Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella, Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes, McKaley Miller as Rose and Scott Porter as George Tucker. HART OF DIXIE is from Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Fake Empire, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Leila Gerstein ("Gossip Girl," "Eli Stone"), Josh Schwartz ("Gossip Girl," "Chuck," "The O.C."), Stephanie Savage ("Gossip Girl," "The O.C."), Len Goldstein and Jason Ensler ("Gossip Girl," "Chuck"). The pilot was directed by Jason Ensler.

My mother is the culprit of this TV viewing endeavor. Since her favorite Brothers and Sisters has been cancelled, she'd been looking for an alternative, and since she was a fan of Summer from the OC, it seemed only natural that she gravitate toward Hart of Dixie. We've watched the first episode, and I would have to say that I can't wait for the second. I love the shots in this series. It's reminiscent of the way Stars Hollow was depicted in Gilmore Girls. Bluebell is such a beautiful town. I think it's fictional, but I love seeing the place. Might even want to live there. So, if anything, I'm watching this series for how beautifully shot it is. And it doesn't hurt that it's funny. Of course, Rachel Bilson still reminds me of Summer, just with a medical degree and not an activist from Brown.

The second show on my list today is Pan Am:

Pan Am is a television series centered around the iconic airline Pan American World Airways during the 1960s. The period drama, from writer Jack Orman (ER) and director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), focuses on the pilots and flight attendants working for the world-famous airline in 1963.

The series, produced by Sony Pictures Television, was picked up by ABC in May 2011 for the 2011–2012 television season.[1] Sony licensed the rights to the Pan Am name and logo from Pan Am Systems, a New Hampshire–based railroad company that acquired the Pan Am brand in 1998.

The series premiered on September 25, 2011.

I quite enjoyed Pan Am. I guess this stems from me wanting to be a flight attendant years ago. It seems to be such a wonderful and glamorous job. In Pan Am, it's made even more glamorous because it's set in the 60's, where everyone dressed up when traveling. No tourist shorts on this flight. Again, this is one of those beautifully shot dramas. And I have a feeling there's lots of intrigue in store. I also can't wait to watch the second episode. Hopefully, the ratings are good enough to keep this show going.

Speaking of ratings, I turn to my third show of the bunch. The Playboy Club didn't do so well during it's premier, only racking up over a million viewers. In the TV world, that might as well spell a death sentence. Here's what the show is about:

From Academy Award-winning Executive Producer Brian Grazer, "The Playboy Club" is a provocative new NBC drama about a time and place that challenged the existing social mores and transformed American culture forever. It's the early 1960s, and at the center of Chicago lies the legendary and seductive Playboy Club, a living, breathing fantasy world filled with $1.50 cocktails, music, glitter and of course, beautiful Bunnies. The key to the club, which offers the ultimate in beauty, is the most sought-after status symbol of its time. But all that glitters isn't gold, and in the back rooms and alleys behind the club, life happens - both good and bad.

Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, "CSI: Miami," "Third Watch") is the ultimate playboy and one of the city's top attorneys, rubbing elbows with everyone in the Windy City's power structure. With mysterious and complicated ties to the mob, he comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, "Zombieland," "Pineapple Express"), the stunning and innocent new Bunny at the club, who accidentally kills the patriarch of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, "Take the Lead," "Eli Stone"), a bombshell of a beauty and an established star at the Playboy Club who's ready to be more than a Bunny. As she seeks an opportunity to elevate her stature even higher at the club, she can't help but notice that something is developing between Nick and Maureen. Adding to the charm of the club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, "American Virgin," "Step Up"), the foxy and carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, "CSI: Miami," "Dracula's Guest"), a sweet and romantic bartender. Brenda (Naturi Naughton, "Lottery Ticket," "Fame"), a stunning beauty with a dry wit, has big aspirations. Bunny Alice (Leah Renee, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet") manages to take care of everyone but herself, and while married, is hiding a huge secret from everyone. Pearl (Jenifer Lewis, "Strong Medicine," "What's Love Got To Do With It") is the club's seamstress who's been there since day one and knows more about what it takes to survive than anyone. Running the club and answering only to the top is general manager Billy Morton (David Krumholtz, "Numb3rs," "Superbad"), who also shares a close friendship with Nick. With all of these larger-than-life ambitions, there are even greater secrets. It's a good thing Hef's Playboy Mansion is open after hours for a little R&R - and burying your past.

I honestly didn't connect with the characters of this show. I thought it would be beautifully shot, but I'm disappointed. The 60's seems like such a glamorous decade. I just wished the show's producers played that up more since it's The Playboy Club for crying out loud. I guess, the bottom line here is, I expected more but was given way less. The story telling leaves little to be excited about, too. So, I'd have to say bye-bye to The Playboy Club. Even if they manage to turn things around, I don't think I'll be coming back for a second look.

Okay, that's it for now. My many other commitments are calling for me to make an appearance. I hope you have a great day, dear reader. And if it's not going so good, take a deep breath and know that tomorrow you can start all over again. :-)

Confessions of a Writer

I know I haven’t been posting about my writing lately on this blog. In fact, I haven’t been posting about writing, period. It’s been a crazy couple of months, and those closest to me know why. Certain decisions needed to be made, and now, I’m finally ready to start writing about said decisions on this blog. As you can see, dear reader, I have revamped the website. Gone are Story of the Week and Movies, Music, and More. And I’ve referred to Reads, Reviews, Recommends as Kate’s Blog.

I wanted the website to feature my writing prominently. I’ll get to the main reason for that in a second. First, the biggest of my decisions…

Almost two months ago, I decided to part ways with my agent.

“WHAT? Kate, say it isn’t so!” you might say, dear reader.

I understand your shock, horror, and utter dismay. I can even imagine your facial reaction because I’ve had my friends (well, those who I’ve spoken to in person) give me the same expression live and in living color. But I knew in my gut that it was the right thing to do. So, I started querying again. At the moment, this is how the stats stand:

IMPULSE = 4 fulls and 2 partials.

TASTE = 1 full and 2 partials.

‘TIL DEATH = 1 full.

How did this happen? Well, I started querying Impulse, and when one agent would reject it, I’d send another query for another novel. Simple as that. I’ve worked hard in writing the three novels featured on this site, and I wanted to give them all equal opportunities to get out there. So, I’m waiting on feedback from the agents who’ve requested my work.

While waiting, I started feeling pressured and a little angst. I thought that querying the second time around would be easier because I knew what the experience entailed. I was wrong because the writer’s common affliction of self-doubt crept into every waking moment. Which meant every rejection hit me hard. Almost like a physical blow.

With my emotions spiraling down a drain of self-pity and a feeling of smallness so profound I thought I would go crazy from it, an epiphany happened. In your darkest hour, you truly find the light, and I will admit here and today that I have found mine.

I told myself that if by the end of December of 2011 I don’t get an offer of representation, I will enter self-publishing. Hence the revamp of the website.

For so long, I resisted the idea of self-publishing my novels. For those still resisting, I used to know how you feel now. And I’m sure that your doubts are the same, if not, slightly similar to mine. (Enter self-doubt here)

Because of my initial fear of self-publishing, I told myself that I would take all the “ber” months to learn everything I can about the process: what I need to do, which companies I could use. Along with searching the Net and reading countless blog posts on the subject of self-publishing, I have been contacting self-published writers (those that don’t turn me away) and asking them questions. There’s something about commiseration that helps relieve your fears. At least, for me, I get courage from “if they can do it, then so can I!” Coming into the venture knowledgeable and with a plan certainly helps because most of what we are afraid of is the unknown. If you shed light on the darkness, the scary things our imaginations come up with seem less scary.

I didn’t come into this decision lightly, dear reader. Ultimately, I realized within me that I wanted to share my stories with the world. That’s why I love to write. If one person says he or she likes what I’ve written, then it’s job well done for me.

Then I asked myself: can the decision really be that simple?

Actually, yes.

And I knew it was the right decision because everything clicked into place. I stopped caring about rejections. I stopped being overly excited about requests, taking them in stride. Feeling happy when an agent is interested in my work, but not making it the end all be all of my day. I’ve actually started feeling excited to go to sleep at night just so I can wake up and open my inbox to see what it holds inside: good or bad, great or not so. Excited about it all.

So, dear reader, I would like to thank you for sticking with me this far. For sharing my ups and commiserating with my downs. I hope that you continue to check back and see if I’m still alive. *smiles* But seriously, I hope that you are excited. I sure am. I’m also scared, I’m not going to deny it.

Let’s take this journey together.

I want to be honest with what I’m going through when it comes to my writing. I want to share the experience with you.

Take a look around the site. Each section features a different novel with the first three chapters open for you to read. I intend to add a few more things when I have the time. I have lots of things in mind for this site. And don't ever forget to let me know what you think. I love hearing from all of you!

That’s it for now.

I hope you have a great weekend! Cheers!

Confession transmission over.

*walks away to watch first episode of CSI's new season*

What I've Been Watching

Since catching the dreaded cold from my icky brother, I've been taking this time to catch up with my TV viewing. So far, here are the shows that have the attention of my eyeballs.

The trend of adapting YA novels to the small screen keeps on coming. The Nine Lives of Chloe King is one such example. Unfortunately, the series was canceled after ten or so episodes. Sigh. Another bites the dust, and just when I was getting into the whole Chloe and Alec coupling. Well, what can I do? Not enough rating for this one to stay alive.

The Lying Game is another young adult novel turned TV series. It's based on the story of twins separated at birth who found each other. Lots of mystery, lots of drama. I wonder where the story will go? I haven't read the book, so I don't know if the producers are sticking to the original story line. But I have a feeling that's not the case. This one was picked up for a few more episodes. I don't know if it will live until a second season. We'll have to wait and see.

Okay, by now, you see a trend in my TV viewing habits. But, I assure you, this is just the tip of my TV viewing iceberg. Why do I watch Pretty Little Liars? For the story line? No. For the actresses? No. I actually watch it for the fashion. It's just so nice to see how they dress up in this series. Great place to get fashion tips. :-P

FINALLY! They are back and I can't be happier. I just watched the first episode of the third season and I damn near blubbered myself to sleep. Oh, Stefan, you ripper you! And Damon? Seriously, he needs to take advantage of the situation. I have a feeling there will be so much going on this season. Episode two, where art thou?

Another one from the author of The Vampire Diaries. This one is about witches. Something new, huh? Anyway, I watched the first episode as well since it comes before or after The Vampire Diaries, I'm not quite sure. It has promise. I'm certainly curious to see more. Plus, it has Gale Harold in it. I love him.

TV that I plan to watch this season:

The Playboy Club

Hart of Dixie

Gossip Girl (just because I've stuck around for so long)

GLEE (oh, come on, admit it. You watch it too! You even sing along!)

CSI (Again, just because it's been there a while)

Supernatural (I've got to have my Sam and Dean fix)

List to be added too when I remember the rest of what I plan to watch. So far, my cold is preventing me from thinking coherently. So, what about you? What do you plan to watch this season?

Review Request: The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

A mystery, one that promises secrets worth uncovering, I would think. Check out the blurb below to see what I mean. If you're interested in reviewing this book, please leave your name and email address in the comments section below so that Barbara can send you a copy of her novel right away. Happy Reading!

Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.

Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Please leave a tip on your way out by following me on Twitter or "liking" me on Facebook, or if you already have, I hope that you encourage your friends and followers to do the same. 

Thank you!

Blogger Interview: SmartLit

About the Blog:

I created SmartLit after attending a webinar given by Writer's Digest's Jane Friedman (Her Blog: There Are No Rules). She's smart, funny, and up to the minute about the publishing industry. During the webinar, Jane talked extensively about the ways to connect with readers through blogging. Part of her advice (for authors who want to publish traditionally) was to focus the blog -- not just blog about random subjects, the weather, your shoes, etc. While that can be fun and entertaining, to create an audience and attract readers to your site, it is better to choose an area of interest and dedicate yourself to it. I love books, talking about books, and critiquing books. SmartLit was born!

About the Blogger:

In my former life, I was a news anchor and reporter for six years in two small-market CBS stations (WTVY and WWNY). I've also been a public relations director, an employee trainer, a pharmaceutical sales representative, and a substitute teacher. I'm married and the mom of two fabulous boys (13 & 5). I stay at home now, practice yoga, and read a lot. I live near the Gulf Coast, which is wonderful, since I grew up near Rochester, NY (snow, snow, snow)! Right now, I'm hoping to publish a novel and am at work on another (there are at least 2 or 3 others in my drawer that will never see the light of day!) Keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

The Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

4 months (more than now, since it's been a few months since the interview began)

Why did you decide to blog?

I love books and want to share the best ones with other avid readers.

What books do you blog about and why?

Fiction, Non-fiction, Memoir, YA, anything I find interesting

What memes can be found on your blog?


What is your review style like?

Concise (300-500 words), honest, fair, accurate

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

"Eclectic" ... I love books that make an impression on me, books that make me think, take me to another place, or teach me something I didn't know

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Don't post every day, use spellcheck, check your blog for errors before you post, use punctuation, go out on a limb and read books outside your comfort zone

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

Book Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Email

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

That it's a reliable source for solid book reviews

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

An eclectic mix of books reviewed, helpful information for readers, a starting point for interesting discussions

Blogger Notes:

I would like to thank Laura for granting this interview. I know it was a long time in coming. If you want to visit Laura's blog, you can click on this link:

Do you know Andy Whitfield?

If you're a fan of this TV show:

Chances are you know this guy:

There are days when you go to sleep one night thinking all is right in the world, and then, you wake up and someone has died. 

I started becoming a fan of Spartacus: Blood and Sand fairly late in the game. To be honest, I began watching the series over the summer. I heard that Andy Whitfield, who plays Spartacus in the series, was sick and had to leave the show, but I didn't think that a mere 18 months later he'd be dead at 39 of lymphoma.

What do I take away from this?

The cliche: time is short and it flies by just like that.

And the not to cliche: even people who you think are super healthy get really sick.

Hug your loved ones. Tell them you appreciate them for who they are. Because tomorrow, you don't know if they will still be there to hug you back.

So, good-bye Andy Whitfield. I'm sure you find yourself in the fields of Elysium now.

Review Request: Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes

We have a YA for today, folks, and it looks like one wild adventure. Read the blurb, and if you're interested, please leave your name and your email address in the comments section so that Elise can contact you as soon as possible. Happy Reading!

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist, Professor Serena Phillips, is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips' disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor's brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. An unlikely duo, they set out to find Emery's mother, who is key in explaining Cassidy's newly acquired superpowers.

Their lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Also, please take the time to spread the word about these posts. The more readers the better.

And before you leave, remember to "Like" me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for continued updates.

Author Interview: Marc Douglas

About the Book:

The fabric of the story is woven from many of the issues we face in today’s world. I began work after September 11th, 2001 and took nine years to complete the three book series. Terrorism, environmental damage, economic chaos and inept governments form the foundation of the book, but these conditions are not the story. “Slingshot” is the tale of two flights from Earth that become marooned on an alien planet. Earth will no longer sustain the human race so we have had to search the skies for a sister planet. Our long range telescopes discover our sister planet in the Goldi-locks Zone (not too hot, not too cold). The slingshot effect is discovered and for the first time humans can walk about the stars. These two flights crash unbeknownst to Earth or each other. They have lost all technology in the crashes. The two colonies clash and the series tells of the faith, resolution and courage of these pioneers as they face man made and naturally occurring obstacles.

About the Author:

I reside in Charlotte , NC with my soul mate, Susan. Fortunately, our son and daughter have moved to the area so we can enjoy their company. My Zen master is my dog, Charlie. I have written all my life but upon retirement took the time to hire an editor and publish. After I finished the “Slingshot” series I read another good Dean Koontz book. I was inspired to try my hand at a thriller. “Soon” was the result and although I originally did not think of publishing it my editor really enjoyed it….and introduced my work to EDGE Publishing Company. I had a contract with another large publishing house but decided to cancel that contract and have EDGE do all my books. At the moment “Soon” is being revised. “Blind Sight” should be going to press very shortly and my next book, “The Lieutenant’s Angels” will probably be done by the end of the year. “Angels” was inspired by “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas.

The Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

I have written all my life but it was not until I retired from running my own business that I took the time to hire an editor and publish. I have always been enthralled with books that are able to take you to exotic places and unexpected adventures.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

I started with “Slingshot” which is the first of a three book science fiction series. I am not really satisfied with a science fiction classification. “Slingshot” looks at today’s issues and projects a future adventure and romance for two long range space missions that become marooned. After I finished the series I was inspired by Dean Koontz to try a thriller. It was so enjoyable to write “Soon” that I have just finished my second thriller, “Blind Sight”. Finally, I have just about finished a rough draft of a classic inspired story, “The Count of Monte Cristo” which has its own story to tell.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

“Slingshot” became a very large book and I decided to divide it into three books. Otherwise, no, I let the story tell itself and go where it wants to go.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

I like pace and rhythm in my works so I often jog back and forth between subplots and characters to create interest and tension. All of my stories have a mind of their own which always amazes me when done. All my work is PG-13…..perhaps PG-16.2 as I don’t really see the point of needless violence and (in my stories) sex scenes. These things are there but left to the imagination rather then spelled out.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

“Slingshot”: notable “Soon”: fun “Blind Sight”: wired “The Lieutenant’s Angel: dramatic

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

“Slingshot” is the scientific principle we discovered that allows deep space travel. “Soon” is a phrase that the victim/monster repeats over and over. “Blind Sight” was chosen because the antagonist truly does not know himself or reality until he has lost his sight.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I wrote “Slingshot” in response to terrorism, inept governments, economic chaos, and environmental destruction. I hope for several things for the reader: first, it must be an enjoyable ride- second, the adventure and romance is inspiring- lastly, that it is a book that remains with the reader long after he or she is done with it. “Soon” I wrote for fun and “Blind Sight” to be a good old fashion page turner. “The Lieutenant’s Angel” came from “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas. “The Count” was my father’s, my son’s and one of my favorite books. “Angel” is a slice of romance, spiced with some adventurous toppings and served with gusto.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

I spent several years looking for a publisher and was offered a contract for the “Slingshot” series with an outfit in Toronto . My editor fell in love with “Soon” and convinced me to approach EDGE Publishing Company with the book. Instinctively I liked these folks, canceled my contract in Toronto and gave all my work to EDGE.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Patience, thick skin, and fortitude. It is extremely difficult for new authors to be published but even harder to become a recognized name. I write stories I believe in and get my satisfaction from readers that express delight in the time they spend with them. If you write only for commercial success I am afraid it would be much less satisfying and perhaps a rougher road to travel. Writing is a personal, and if I might be a bit theatrical, sacred activity. Putting down everyday words onto paper, letting them simmer and steep, coming back to taste and sample the stew is a magnificent thing. To read someone else’s thoughts from another time, but feel as though they are sitting next to you is magical.

Blogger Note:

To know more about Mark and his novel, you can visit his website at:

As always, Happy Reading!

ココア男。 - Rebirth PV

Right now, this is what I needed. It's in Japanese, I know, but I've added the English lyrics below. It's the meaning of the song that I needed right at this very moment.

Lyrics:Kamakari Kenta Rap lyrics: Ide Takuya 
Composition:Sameshima Takumi
Arrangement:Nakamura Taichi

Surrounded by noise I can't hear my voice
I lean against the cold walls

The right answer? The wrong answer? I wander searching
Excuses, impatience, a bad habit

Is it simple for fate to fly?
Even with a clumsy appearance, I'll believe in my strength

I won't be negative, I'm passing through a critical point
Let's jump out now
It's fine even if I'm looking pale, I'll reveal everything
I'll embrace the pain of this predetermined world, so for this, goodbye

If I cut the surrounding noise your words will echo
"You're wonderful, like me"

I heard this voice so I'll have no more doubts
I'll take a step, knowing my courage

I noticed something precious to me that night
The possible light, let's turn it on

I'm not scared anymore, I'll break through the limit
Let's fly away from here
It's fine with my eyes facing forward, beyond the pain
I'll embrace the warmth, the invisible truth, so for this, thank you

[What noise of THE SHOW
Light slate color of the dungeon
But in the same day I didn't notice

The roadside flowers blooming
Father, mother, holding hands
Pleasure knowing the unknown
Knocking on the stone bridge, passing a child

Return, discard my title
Forcibly, elegantly passing like a wave

Common feelings
Common story
Much for somebody
Bad form
Reality, filled to the brim, escape, failure, flattery, anything and everything
Collected hated things
Absolutely, here and now
Consequences left, mistakes made

I won't be negative, I'm passing through a critical point
Let's jump out now
It's fine even if I'm looking pale, I'll reveal everything
I'll embrace the pain of this predetermined world, so far...

I'm not scared anymore, I'll break through the limit
Let's fly away from here
It's fine with my eyes facing forward, beyond the pain
I'll embrace the warmth, the invisible truth, so for this, thank you

[Move from black to white ONE SCENE
From an important place to ash DINING
Morning, night, and noon
A strategy starts to remove loneliness]

Review Request: The Empire by Elizabeth Lang

We have a thrilling sci-fi in our hands today, folks. Take a look at the cover and the blurb. And if you believe that it's right up your alley, leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Elizabeth can beam you a copy for review. Happy Reading!

"It will be interesting to discover which will make you beg. Will it be the pain or the pleasure?"

How do you tame a man without breaking his spirit?

The galaxy is under siege from alien invaders. The Empire is the only force that stands in their way, trading the freedom of its citizens for a tenuous security.

Amidst this chaos, Lt. Adrian Stannis is a brilliant scientist trying to stay out of the limelight. He hides on a research vessel plying the Outer Rim and finds peace of a sort with Kali Mirren, a psi-enabled humanoid. But his days of anonymity may be coming to an end. Someone has discovered his secret and is determined to make him pay for his treachery. He must finish the project he abandoned years ago, one the Council deems essential in its fight against the aliens, but things are never that simple where Adrian is concerned.

Is he more man than machine, or have years hiding behind a mountain of logic eroded his humanity? Can he survive the tangled web of political expediency and psychological manipulation that surrounds him? Will Kali be able to save him from himself, or is there a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces?

Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Also, please take the time to spread the word about these posts. The more readers the better.

And before you leave, remember to "Like" me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for continued updates.

Review Request: Chocolicious by Geraldine Solon

Sounds like we have a delicious novel on our hands today! Chocolicious by Geraldine Solon melts in your mouth, not in your hand. Read the blurb, and if you find your sweet tooth tingling, leave your name and email address in the comments section so that Geraldine can send over your mouthwatering copy. Happy Reading!

A week after Blair Nightingale’s husband, Larry, dies, she learns she’s about to lose everything she owns due to a foolish mistake Larry made. In an instant, Blair’s life is transformed from rich, Silicon Valley trophy wife to poor, widowed single mom. Her only goal now is to provide for her daughter. As Blair begins to pick up the pieces, George—Larry’s best friend and the man she truly resents—seems to always be around. When Blair is overwhelmed by all the challenges she faces, she seeks comfort in baking rich, filled, three-layered chocolate cupcakes that her grandmother once taught her, and soon Blair's life is changed forever.

Want more books to review? Just check back here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.

There's no limit to the books you can get from the authors willing to offer them up for review.

Also, please take the time to spread the word about these posts. The more readers the better.

And before you leave, remember to "Like" me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for continued updates.

I had to share...

Watch, and you'll know what I mean.

Blogger Interview: Ambitious Ambigue

Blog Description:

The Ambitious Ambigue is dedicated to reading, writing, and the joy of blogging. It offers aspiring writers a variety of tips about the writing process and developing one’s platform, and hosts interactive features such as weekly writing prompts and contests and a Writer Karma critique forum. Readers are challenged to delve into the classics with Emlyn as she attempts to review every book on Boxall’s “1001 books you must read before you die.” Live twitterviews are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday at 4 PM EST with authors and literary bloggers on #emlyn

Brief Blogger Bio:

Emlyn Chand is a hardworking would-be novelist, ready to remove the would-be from her calling card. She also works as the lead book contributor for using her plebeian name, Melissa LR Handa.

Longer, but more entertaining, Blogger Bio:

Let’s not skirt around the issue. It’s not that I haven’t taken a few modest steps towards disguising my true identity. I have, in fact, updated my homely, Midwestern name to something that has a bit more of an exotic flair. I’ve even converted my self-portrait to grey-scale–the missing hues make it much more difficult to ascertain my true identity, I know.

Doubtless though it seems that I would be able to conceal my real day-to-day persona, I’d rather avoid the whole song-and-dance of my Clark-Kent self doing a quick change-a-roo in a phone booth and then bounding back on the scene breathlessly, as you pretend not to notice that I’ve forgotten to remove the glasses that cover-up my heroic secret. Let’s not do that, shall we?

If I lose your trust now, how will I ever recover your respect? In the interest of saving time and a fair number of awkward encounters, I’m going to lay all of my cards out on the table before you.

Emlyn Chand is my writerly identity. There. I’ve told you.

By day I play the part of humble linguistic validation research analyst, wife, and book club organizer, Melissa LR Handa. But, by night–ahh, by night–I put on my flashy costume and become the elusive writing hero known as Emlyn Chand.

Well, I would be a hero, I suppose, if anybody wanted to publish my work. Hmm…

I guess what makes me a hero, in the end, is my inability to take “no, thank you” for an answer, my perseverance in the face of faceless rejection (yes, I’m talking to you, literary agents), and my boundless love for the craft.

Ambitious, I have always been, I will always be. But I won’t be an ambigue forever…

The Interview

1. How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been pseudo-blogging through my work for the News site,, for almost two years now. My private blog, The Ambitious Ambigue, went live on December 21, 2010.

2. Why did you decide to blog?

As funny as this may sound, I was discovered much in the same way that models or actresses are discovered. When the Ann Arbor News went out of business and the planning phase for its replacement (a pioneer in the multimedia news platform) began, I was contacted and asked to work as a community contributor for the site. They found me through my large and active book club and deemed me a book expert. I began writing pro bono, and after a couple of months, they liked what I did enough to promote me to the lead books contributor and began to pay me. Pretty cool, huh?

3. What books do you blog about and why?

I blog primarily about classic literature. The book club I run is based off of Boxall’s anthology “1001 books you must read before you die,” so naturally I blog about the books I read. I also do a fair number of author interviews and have recently begun reviewing more contemporary literature. I’m quite excited to have an advanced reviewer’s copy of Jodi Picoult’s next novel, “Sing You Home” sitting on my shelf.

4. What memes can be found on your blog?

I’ve taken a number of steps to make my blog interactive, and I’m continually brainstorming new ways to foster a community on The Ambitious Ambigue. I conduct live twitterviews twice weekly at 4 PM EST (audience participation is welcome an encouraged)—on Tuesdays, I twitterview literary bloggers and on Thursday authors. You can learn more about that (or sign up to have your work featured) here:

I’ve also recently begun a weekly writing contest. Every Saturday, I give a prompt and a set of rules, encouraging all that are interested to submit an entry. The winner gets a special badge to put in the sidebar of his or her own blog. I also feature winners on a special “Winners’ Page” with their pictures, bios, winning submissions, and links to their blogs, plus I promote their work via my Twitter and Facebook networks. The contest page is here:

5. What is your review style like?

I have two ways of doing a review. The first is to secure an interview with an author and incorporate that into a combo review-interview piece. The second is by providing a plot preview along with a list of reasons why potential readers might like or dislike the book in question.

6. If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Interactive. What’s the point of shouting into an empty drum? I’m on the web, because I want to touch base with other writers, I want to meet new people, learn new ideas, and hear new voices.

7. What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

I have so, so many tips I want to give other bloggers, that I’ve started a weekly series. Every Wednesday I post social media, blogging, and tech tips for writers. So far, I’ve written “11 steps for getting the most out of your blog in 2011” and “Is WordPress or BlogSpot the better choice for your blog?” If you can catch me on Twitter (@emlynchand), I’m always happy to provide a quick answer to any tech questions you may have.

8. What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I’ve found that Twitter is the best way to get new people to visit your site and Facebook is the best way to get returning customers. I have RSS feeds that post regularly on both sites (and I make sure to keep my post titles enticing and feed-friendly). I’ve also added my blog to a number of directories and to StumbleUpon.

9. If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

You’re not alone. My blog is dedicated to both reading and writing—two very solitary activities. It’s easy to forget that there is a whole world out there, that there are other people who share your passions and interests and who would love to talk to you about them. My number one bloggerly goal is to foster community.

10. What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

You can look forward to even more ways to interact. I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate a live Twitter component into my real-life person-to-person book club meetings. I also plan to feature bookish quizzes on my Facebook Author Page, to host Book Trivia on Twitter, and to create a Book Blog Scavenger Hunt. You can look forward to lots of new content every week, both from me and my existing site contributors. I’m always looking for new people to help spread the literary love.

Blogger Notes:

I would like to thank Em for indulging me and my little site. I've been a total flake when it comes to these interviews of late. But I promise that will change. Must post all interviews. So, take a little detour to Em's blog. I promise, there's a little bit for everyone there. Until next time, Happy Weekend!

No Joke

They've started playing Christmas songs in malls in the Philippines today. The five month long Christmas Season has begun! So, really, everyone, my greeting isn't a joke. Merry Christmas to one and all!
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