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Day 1: Ros Clarke

24DaysofGuestPostsandGiveaways

Welcome to the first ever 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways!

The time has come and so have the 24 amazing authors participating in this event. I wouldn't have been able to put this all together without their generosity. I am able to give this season to all of you because of their hard work and willingness to share. Here's to more years of this to come!

Let's get this party started with the incomparable Ros Clarke, who has volunteered to kick off this event with a guest post about her earliest Christmas memory. But before we read her magnificent post, let's get to know Ros a little better.

Author Bio:

Ros is a writer, a student, a church worker, a crafter, a blogger, a twitterer, a lazy gardener, and an appalling housekeeper. She lives in a sixteenth century shed in England and is very glad that it has twenty-first century plumbing. She is interested in almost everything except cricket and football (US and UK) and mostly she likes happy endings in fiction and in real life.

Ros has been writing stories for as long as she can remember, never dreaming that other people would be interested in reading them. A few years ago, she discovered a writing forum on the internet, and has never looked back. Her head—and her hard drive—are full of ideas for fresh, fun, contemporary romances that she hopes you’ll love as much as she does.

Website Link(s): http://theoldshed.me
Twitter handle: @ros_clarke

Please make sure to visit her website and follow her on twitter!

My first Christmas memory involves a doll in a spinning teacup. Let's see what Ros's earliest memory is. Take it away Ros.

~*~

I grew up in a huge Victorian farmhouse – just the kind that you imagine in traditional English Christmas scenes. We grew our own Christmas trees and went out each year to choose which one to cut, drag back into the house and decorate. They were tall trees, and we had to lean out from the staircase to fix baubles on the highest branches. For weeks beforehand, the house would smell of Christmas – scents that I now know are cinnamon and cloves, bay leaves and brandy. My mother ran a choir who rehearsed in our house every Wednesday night, filling the house with sounds of carols and Christmas songs. It really was magical. Especially the occasional year when it snowed and we could take out our sledges and make lopsided snowmen.

But my earliest Christmas memory isn’t about any of those things.

When I was very young, I shared a bedroom with my brother. He’s only just a year older than me, but when you’re five and six, that one year matters a lot. We’d been sent up to bed on Christmas Eve as normal, after putting out the traditional mince pie and sherry for Father Christmas. (I remember being shocked when I learned that in the US poor Santa only gets milk and cookies!) But I was far too excited to sleep.

Our windows were old and the curtains didn’t quite cover them. So I lay in bed, looking through the gap in the curtains, watching for Father Christmas. Of course we had hung our stockings at the ends of our beds, hoping for all sorts of wonderful things. There was a fireplace which we never used, but which was very handy for Santa.

I have no idea how long I waited, and I expect at some point I fell asleep. When I woke, it was dark, but there was just enough moonlight coming through the curtains to see the silhouette of large man standing at the end of my bed, quietly putting wrapped presents into my stocking. I held my breath. I didn’t want Santa to get delayed chatting to me when he had so much to do that night. And I really didn’t want my brother to wake up and get to see Santa as well. That was just for me.

The filled stocking was laid on the end of my bed, too heavy and full to be hung up again. Then he did the same with my brother’s stocking. He gathered up his empty sack and I glanced over at the fireplace.

He put his hand on the doorknob. I frowned. Hadn’t he come down the chimney?

In our old house, it was impossible to walk through the corridors without floorboards creaking. I knew those sounds perfectly so that I could even tell which member of my family was approaching.

I recognized Santa’s footsteps.

And when I pulled the stocking towards me, I recognised the scent that always hung around my father’s sweaters. (He was a farmer. You can guess what kind of scent that was).

As I snuggled back into my warm bed in our freezing house, I was very happy indeed. Because I knew who Father Christmas was. And my older brother didn’t. That was the best Christmas present I could have had.

~*~

A close encounter of the Christmas kind! What a wonderful story, Ros. Thank you for kicking off our 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways with your discovery of Santa's true identity.

You can see from her post her talent for writing, which is why I would like to introduce to all of you Ros's novel. It's a great read for the season. Check out All I Want For Christmas.

Book Blurb:

Last night, Anna Gardner was the life of the office Christmas party—right up until she threw herself at gorgeous advertising executive playboy, Hugh Munro. Again. Last year, Hugh let her pretend their passionate kiss never happened, but this year he’s determined to make Anna admit she wants him as much as he wants her.

Except, Hugh doesn’t know the office party is the only night of the year his friend lets her hair down. That every hour she’s away from the office is spent caring for her sickly mother. That her mother’s condition, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, is hereditary.

When Hugh finds out what she’s been hiding, he’s forced to do some serious soul-searching. It’s not fair to Anna or her mother for him to get involved casually, but casual relationships are all he knows. Can he prove to himself—and to Anna—that she’s all he wants for Christmas?

Read an excerpt here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/all-wants-for-christmas/

Grab your copy now from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Books on Board
B&N (Nook)

~*~

Now on to the GIVEAWAY portion of this post. *confetti*

Ros is giving away:

An ebook copy of All I Want For Christmas and a handmade (by Ros!) Christmas papercut (and she is happy to send it internationally).

Here's a picture of the papercut:


Aren't these great prizes?

Enter now for a chance to win them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway is open until Dec. 6, 2012
If you want to share this giveaway on your blog or website, here is the link.
What a wonderful start to the 24 Days!
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.
Spread the word!

A Little Bit of FERVOR

Remember when I blogged about signing the SAVOR contract? No? Here's the link.

When I was writing SAVOR, another story was begging to be written in my head. Actually, when I was thinking of what happens in Luka's life after Taste, two stories came to mind. When I chose one of the two, I thought the other would disappear, but when I finished writing SAVOR, the other story was still there.

This second story got me thinking. And since I'm not one to waste a potentially good story, I emailed Steph at Crescent Moon Press.

In that email, I discussed how another companion to TASTE came to mind and how I wanted to write it too. Steph replied right away and FERVOR was born. And below is the contract, which I am signing today.


The plan is SAVOR and FERVOR will be released at the same time. Two very different stories featuring Luka at the same time. You get to choose which one you'd want to read most. Or you can even read both! That's the amazing part.

SAVOR is a contemporary romance with paranormal elements while FERVOR is an urban fantasy paranormal romance. You get to see Luka in two different roles and I'm so excited to show them both to you.

I have one more contract news, but that will come in another post.

Let me know what you think of the twins: SAVOR and FERVOR.

Are you excited to read them both?

Reaping Me Softly Available Now!

This one's for my peeps in the Philippines!

Copies of Reaping Me Softly have arrived. *confetti rain*

You know the drill. If you want to order a copy, please leave your email address in the comments section and I'll get back to you right away. Or you can send me an email.

Each copy is P600.

Order now while supplies last.

Authorgraph.com

You can now have your copies of Taste and Reaping Me Softly signed via Authorgraph! Click on each of the widget to request an authorgraph.


Story Telling for Little Ladies

I mentioned yesterday that I got roped onto reading a story for the younger year levels at St. Scho. No words can accurately describe the feeling of all those little ladies smiling at you, greeting you once you arrive. Ah, the innocence of those so young. At the same time, having them listen intently while you read a story is an irreplaceable experience. I was so glad I said yes to this event.

Yesterday, I got to mold young minds by sharing what little I know about the writing process, and today I got to put smiles on little girls' faces by simply reading to them. I'd have to say that this is a great start to my week. The books I signed for the young readers is just a bonus to the whole thing. I'm a pretty happy lady right now. All that positive energy is impossible to ignore.

When my Momager and I arrived, we were met at the front of the school by Miss Mau. Can you believe she was my student when I first started teaching? Now she's a teacher herself. It's either time is flying by really fast or I'm getting really old. *laughs*

She presented me with three stories to read. I chose the one about female empowerment. It was about a grandmother with extraordinarily long hair who helps her village survive a storm by tying everything down with strands of her hair. Mom grew up with her grandmother who also had very long hair. That's the other reason why I chose the story.

Once at the gym, all the little ladies--close to a hundred of them--sat on the floor by grade level and they were ready to listen. Ms. Mau introduced me to everyone. All those smiling faces makes you want to smile too. Now I get why she chose to teach younger year levels. They are all so adorable.

After greeting everyone, and getting an enthusiastic greeting back, I sat down and began the story telling. Not a peep from anyone. They were all leaning forward and listening. Another surreal moment for me. To have that many young girls--all so behaved--sit and listen, I just prayed I wouldn't mess up the whole time I was reading the story aloud.

When I finished, a round of applause followed then the Q&A. To test their listening skills, I asked a series of questions about the story that I just read to them. Having that many hands in the air to answer each of my questions was gratifying. They are good girls and I have to credit that to their parents and their teachers. Like the community of writers I belong to, the students of St. Scho remind me about the best the world has to offer. It's not all bad.

St. Scho Westgrove English Month Culminating Activity

I just got home from the Saint Scholastica's College Westgrove's English Month Culminating Activity (say that ten times fast) where I gave a talk on writing a novel in 30 days.

Fresh out of college, St. Scho was the first school that hired me. I taught junior and senior English there for one and a half years. It was my very first job, and I'd have to say that it was the best environment for a fresh grad to be in.

Six years later, they have invited me to be a part of their English Month Culminating Activity. It was an honor to be there, not only to talk a little bit about my books, but to help inspire young minds to pursue what they love, be it be writing or whatever it is that makes them happy.

Since I just finished putting a workshop for writing a novel in 30 days, I thought I would incorporate the techniques I discussed in the MUSE workshop in my talk. To my surprise, a majority of the girls attending the talk are actually budding writers themselves.

I love being able to mold young minds. I may not stand in front of a class anymore on a daily basis, but I still take the opportunity to be a part of speaking engagements. It's so much better now because the pressure is off. I don't have any lessons to plan and papers to grade. I get the best part of the process where I stand and  teach the students.

Once I finished the talk, I was asked to read a potion of Taste. I decided on a part of chapter one because their school is the inspiration for that section of the novel. The ringing of the bell that Phoenix wakes up to is actually something that is done in St. Scho every afternoon to signal to the students that they can't roam around campus anymore.

After reading the excerpt came the Q&A. It was such a pleasure answering the students' questions. I actually didn't expect that there would be that many who would stand up, go up to the mic, and actually ask me questions. It took courage to stand up in front of their classmates and ask a question. So I applaud the ladies that did. Sir Gene, the friend and colleague who invited me to speak, actually had to cut the Q&A short because they still had other events after mine.

Then, for the very first time in my life, I was given a framed certificate of appreciation. I damn near cried. For so many years I sat in the audience watching speakers being given that same certificate--in different incarnations, of course--and now I'm one of those people. It's like being awarded an Oscar after watching it for so many years from home. Well, maybe not exactly, but you get the gist.

At the end of the activity came my very favorite part: signing books for the kids. Since a lot of them weren't prepared to buy a copy of Taste, they have requested that I return tomorrow and continue the signing. So, I will be back, copies of Taste in tow, for the students who want to grab a copy.

Of course, an event wouldn't be complete without having my Momager there. Here's how she keeps me grounded. I'm the speaker of the event, and yet I am the one who drivers her there and holds the umbrella over her head to keep her out of the sun when we walked to the gym. This is what she said, "You can become J.K Rowling and still you will have to drive me around, carry my things, and hold an umbrella over my head." And who am I to object. "I didn't scream in pain for sixteen hours to bring you into this world not to have you be at my beck and call," she adds. That's my Momager for you. *laughs*

And before I left campus, we ran into one of my old students who is now a Kindergarten teacher at St. Scho. All she did was smile at me and I suddenly got wrangled into being the Story Teller for tomorrow's simultaneous reading for the Kindergartners to Sixth Grade. *le sigh* Such is my life.

So, not only do I have a book signing tomorrow, I have a reading too. I have to say that I'm so very excited.

The best part would have to be when we ran into a group of Sixth Graders. One of them was holding a well-loved copy of my book. Apparently she was the daughter of Sir Gene, who purchased a copy for himself but was subsequently taken hostage by his daughter. When he told the group that I was the author, they simultaneously squealed in delight. I'd never been screamed at with adoration before and was promptly told that they were all Team Demitri. *laughs*

It warms the heart to be among those who have read and have appreciated the reading of something you wrote.

Surreal is the best word for it.    

24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways!

HalloweenChirstmas008600x800180x240-1
Hi, everybody!
 
*throws confetti*
As promised, I am unveiling my event for this coming holiday season. *super excited*
As you can see at the top of my blog, there is a new page tab called "24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways"
When you click on the page tab, it will lead you to the list of 24 awesome authors participating in my 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways.
As the title entails, the event involves:
24 Amazing Authors.
So, starting Dec. 1, 2012 until Dec. 24, 2012 each of the authors will be featured on my blog with a holiday specific Guest Post and a wonderful giveaway. 
Make sure to check in every day to get a chance to join all the giveaways. You have 24 chances to win something from our participating authors. 
Also, as you can see at the sidebar of my blog to the left of your screen, there is a Button for the event that you can grab and add to your blog or website bar. 
This event wouldn't even be possible without the generosity of the participating authors. To them, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU and my patented *tackle hugs*
"Like" the Facebook Page for constant updates to this event: https://www.facebook.com/24DaysOfGuestPostsAndGiveaways
Let's make this holiday season a memorable one!
Go forth and spread the word.

Conversion Complete

As you might have read on my twitter feed or have seen mentioned in several posts here, I've been given the task of converting the point of view of my manuscript with Entangled Teen. It's the reason why I set my NaNo project aside. And I'm happy that I did. The reason to follow. Today, I finally finished the conversion. I was so happy doing it that this is what I've learned during the process:

1. Leave the Story Alone

I wrote Til Death a couple of years ago. Since then, it has evolved into many different things. The characters have stayed the same, but the story has shifted somewhat. After signing it with Entangled Teen, I had the chance to leave the story alone for a while. When we finish writing a story, it's so easy to want to get into the editing process right away because of the euphoria left over from the writing process. This isn't always what the story needs. Because I hadn't read Til Death for a while, I was able to go into the world with fresh eyes and a keener sense of what needs to be added or subtracted in the story. I've grown as a writer since the inception of Til Death, and when I was converting the POVs, I could really see what needed to be done.

2. Adding a New POV

This isn't the first time that a story of mine has multiple POVs. Reaping Me Softly is the perfect example since the story revolves around three POVs. In earlier incarnations of Til Death, the whole story was told through Selena's eyes. I get into her head quite a bit. But as the story evolved, I found Dillan's voice too. Now, with the conversion, I saw the need for a few new chapters to round out the story. And I realized right away that I love being inside Dillan's head. It's one snarky place. I can't wait to see more of him on the page.

3. Enjoying What I Do

Writing is the love of my life. I think I've mentioned this enough times in my blog. I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face because I know I get to write something new every day. When I got a chance to immerse myself back into the world of Til Death, I found myself smiling more the usual. I had so much fun that I forgot what day it was or even that I had to go back into the real world some time. Luckily I don't have plants to water because they would have died on me during this process. Enjoying myself converting Til Death as reinvigorated my love for writing. It's reminded me why I do this for a living and why I love it so much.

4. Go with Your Gut

We don't listen to our gut often enough. Our instincts is the universe's way of guiding us down the right path. Without getting too new age-y, I went with my gut while converting Til Death. I wasn't afraid to change things up, to shake up the story. I tweaked, added, subtracted, and reinvented the concepts I'd first brought into the story years ago. Every time I felt I needed to go somewhere with an idea, I went with it. That's the great thing about writing. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, cut it and try again. Nothing is ever permanent. The delete button is easy to use.

5. Looking Forward to More

Like being reminded how much I love writing, converting Til Death makes me look forward to what comes next. At some point, I enjoyed myself so much that I was scared of how much I loved the story. I can get that way sometimes. Stare love in the face and it scares the crap out of you. But this experience has given me new hopes and dreams. Has brought back my sense of whimsy and the many ways I could put a story together. In short, I'm ready to take what I'm feeling now and apply it to my other projects. I have a to do list, and now I can check off the conversion and move on to the next item.

If you haven't yet, you can now add Til Death to your Goodreads TBR list. Click here to bring you to the Til Death page.

If you're looking for some help on the writing front or you find yourself stuck, I just read this great Top Ten Writing Tips you might want to check out. Let me know what you think.

Giving Thanks


It's that time of the year again where people give thanks. Even with the American blood in my veins, I've never celebrated a day of Thanksgiving. A part of me yearns for what this day brings. I've seen and heard some horror stories about this day, where being with family can be very stressful. But how stressful can a day that brings family together be? I'm sure many of you will argue with me, because what do I know about celebrating this day?

But even with my lack of experience, what I love about this day that most is giving thanks for everything that has happened to me this year. I reread a similar post of mine from last year. Man, I was so much more eloquent then. Maybe that's because I wasn't as busy inside my writing cave and my words aren't taken hostage by my ravenous characters. *laughs* So, in the spirit of giving thanks, I would like to revive that post again this year and share with all of you what I am thankful for.

First, and always foremost, I am thankful for family. Everyday that passes, I am reminded of how much time I have left with my father. Granted, our relationship isn't always a bed of roses because we are so much a like and that means we butt heads a lot. But I am my father's daughter and I am proud of that. I am also thankful for the constant love and support of my mother. She is the beacon that guides me down the right path. Often she is my voice of conscience. It can get annoying sometimes because I am still that rebellious girl in many ways, but she is a treasure I would be lost without. And, no matter how annoying he can get, I am thankful for my younger brother. He has his faults as I have mine. He is a special guy and I'm learning that more and more each day.

I am thankful for the people I get to meet during my journey as a writer. Fellow writers are fascinating. Their continued support and sense of community uplifts me. There's no force stronger than a group of writers coming together. Whether it be a show of strength during a coming storm or sending support to someone who has shared something deeply personal, being a part of this wonderful group reminds me of the best in people.

I am also thankful for the tireless work of editors. They are the backbone of a writer's process. Without them the words on the page may not reach their full potential. Editors are the brave who aren't afraid to say how it is and give pointers on how to make a manuscript better. The lessons I have learned from the editors I have worked with will stay with me for the rest of my life. My writing wouldn't be the same without you. Thank you!

Another aspect of my life that I am thankful for are the friends I call Sis! You know who you are. Whether it's to raise pom poms of encouragement or send virtual cookie treats when you've done good, they are there every step of the way. The email exchanges might not be on a daily basis, but when you ask a question there is always an answer. When you need to cry on their shoulder, they are there. When you need to share your frustrations, they totally understand. I count myself blessed to know these wonderful people.

And lastly, I am ever thankful to readers. Basically, everyone and anyone willing to spend some time here or in the pages of my books. This time last year, I'd just signed my first contract. Since then, I'd released two books, signed several contracts, about to sign two more, working on three sequels, and editing the first book of another series. Without readers, I wouldn't be where I am today. I am forever grateful for your love and support.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Have some turkey for me.

Beyond the Yellow Line

Source
I’ve been taking the subway for as long as I can remember. I would ride a train going to school, to the mall, to anywhere I wanted to go basically.

Do you know what the long yellow line about a meter away from the edge of the platform was for? Authorities say it was for the safety of the passengers.

Before the yellow line was drawn, many people would stand close to the edge of the platform. They did this thinking they’d get an edge above the rest when it came to getting on the train first. This works – sometimes. But common courtesy dictates that you let the people getting off out first before entering. Not many people thought this way – what was common courtesy after all when you were late for work or if you just wanted to get a seat before all of them were filled?

Hence, many people stood close to the edge of the platform. At first, nothing really happened. Until the day someone decided to push people off the edge just as a train was passing. No one really noticed at first, but the string of murders happened with increasing frequency. When the authorities started investigating, they couldn’t really pinpoint the crime to one killer. All they knew was that it happened when the rush was at its peak and the crowd was at its thickest. No one really noticed then. A hand would come out from within the crowd and push an unsuspecting, almost random, victim.

Once, the deaths became absurd. Why, you might ask? Well, the killer started pushing people wearing red. Anything red would do. A red shirt. A red scarf. Red shoes. Anything, so long as it was red.

This started a panic. It soon became noticeable that no one wore red during rush hour. Those who forgot where pushed to their deaths – poor people.

Then, the killer decided to push people who carried umbrellas. This baffled the authorities even more. Why umbrellas? They would ask while scratching their balding heads.

These particular killings brought the authorities to conclude that it was by one killer. This one they called the Subway Rush Killer. The name seems lame, but what could I do? I'm just relaying the story of the equally lame and unimaginative authorities.

Even with the warnings and the news spreading, people still stood close to the edge. They didn’t seem to care that their lives were in danger. Hence, the solution of the bright yellow line was implemented. Some genius in the transportation department suggested that if there was a yellow line painted a meter away from the edge that people wouldn’t cross it. Of course, the authorities liked this idea. They even added a penalty for those who crossed the line before the train was at a full stop.

I didn’t think the solution would work since it was so lame, but unfortunately, it did. People actually started staying behind the yellow line. Somehow, they felt that to go beyond it would be instinctively wrong, regardless of the penalties included with crossing the line.

Things got boring after that lame yellow line. The killings lessened exponentially. I never thought people would be so law-abiding in my city. Of course, this yellow line caught on in other places, even if there were no killings there. The transit authorities thought it was a good idea as well. It apparently kept order among the passengers. This was very disheartening to know. Why did it have to take a yellow line to tell people that what I was doing was dangerous?

October Giveaway Winners


The days are just blurring for me. I'm so deep into my conversion of Til Death. I'm loving every second of it. Almost done too!

Last month, I held a October Giveaway with five amazing prizes. Now that I've finished my conversion for the day, I wanted to take this time to announce the winners.

First Prize


The Signed and Dedicated Paperback Copy of Taste goes to Niegel S.

Second Prize


5 Taste Bookplates goes to Giedre S.

Third Prize


5 Reaping Me Softly Bookplates goes to Kristia M.

Fourth Prize


1 Blue Charm Bracelet goes to Haraiah D..

Fifth Prize


1 Green Charm Bracelet goes to Carmel L.

Congratulations to all the winners!

If you may remember, during this giveaway, I promised a bigger event for the Holidays. Well, it's coming soon. I just need to finish my conversion and I'll tell everyone all about my 24 Days. :-)

Have a great week ahead!

Keeping Busy

Gosh, so much has been happening, I feel like I've graduated from juggling three balls to fifty. But it's a good kind of busy! Here's a breakdown of what's coming up in the next few days:

I'm currently in the middle of converting POVs, which I'm totally enjoying. I get to be in the thick of the story again. I've missed my characters. I stand by leaving your work alone. Having not read Til Death for close to a year now gives me a fresher perspective and insight into the characters.

I will be announcing the winners of my October Giveaway. I have already emailed them. And got all the responses I need.

Also, I have a couple of big writing news I will share with all of you. I just need to sit down and actually write about them first. STAY TUNED FOR THESE!

Lastly, I'm working on a huge December event for all of you. It's HUGE!

Before you leave, please take a moment to grab a copy of Taste and Reaping Me Softly by clicking on the covers. They are both available now:



With that said, I've got to go back to my conversion. Please stay safe! And everyone watching Breaking Dawn 2, no spoilers. *laughs*

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Source
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is what happens if Bruce Willis and the cast of Armageddon didn’t succeed. The asteroid is on a collision course with the earth. This information brings out the best in people and it brings out the worst. But at the core, the film is a romance between two people who wouldn’t normally have met if the world wasn’t about to end.

I loved watching Seeking a Friend for the End of the World because it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Let’s play “what if” shall we?

What if, on TV, we were told a giant asteroid was heading for earth and we were given three weeks to live? This is the premise behind Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. There are people who fall apart. There are people who still go to work every day even if they only have three weeks to live. There are those who lose all the inhibitions. Then there are those who prepare for survival. Doomsday Preppers, anyone?

There’s this scene in the movie where Dodge (our male lead) goes to a friend’s End of the World party. It’s almost like Thanksgiving, except it has excessive booze, heroin injections, kids being given martinis to chug, and a potential orgy. Basically, anything goes.

Will "anything goes" happen when we know the world is ending in X amount of time?

Through the course of the film, Dodge meets Penny, the flighty romantic who helps him find the love of his life. Of course, and this is not a spoiler, they are the ones who end up falling in love with each other. It’s a heart-warming romance. Almost feel good if it weren’t for the giant asteroid—which we never see, by the way—headed toward earth.

From beginning to end I hoped the asteroid wouldn’t hit. I guess I’ve been desensitized by all the end of the world movies I’ve seen where the world is saved by the United States. Maybe it’s because, no matter how hopeless the circumstance, I still hold on to a better outcome. I will admit the ending shocked me even if I knew it was coming. Really, folks, the world ends in this one. But, at least, Penny and Dodge found each other and were able to spend their last moments on earth loving one another.

I think Seeking a Friend for the End of the World portrayed to the best of its ability what would really happen if the human race was given a finite amount of time to live. When Sandy hit, my mother called a family friend whose sister—also a dear family friend—lives in New York.

Our family friend said, “It’s the end of the world.”

My mother’s response, “That’s good. At least we all get to die together.”

My mother isn’t usually this morbid, but you have to admit that she makes a lot of sense. Today, we live in a world where a majority of people don’t know when they will die. It could be tomorrow, it could be years from now. But what if we know we only have three weeks to live because of an asteroid? Will we leave that soul sucking job we always hated? Will we finally take that dream vacation we’ve always thought about? Will we take strides to fulfilling our dreams? Will we say “I love you” and really mean it to the ones we treasure the most in our lives? Will we not be afraid to fall in love?

I think the end of the world can be a liberating thing. When you have nothing to lose, you take chances. Time becomes precious. It’s worth thinking about, don’t you think?

Totally Made My Day

Taste is on the Weather Channel Website:


Dreams

Lately, I've been having the same dream. I guess I can officially call it recurring because it's the same thing most nights. Thankfully it's not every night, but it happens often enough that I take notice.

The actual dream I don't remember. It's what happens when I wake up that makes me pause because it's the same thing over and over.

I wake up from the dream I can't remember then I sit up in bed and look at my side table. In my head I know there is something that's supposed to be there, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it's supposed to be. So, I spend a couple of minutes, still sitting in my bed, looking around my room in search of whatever it is I thought is missing from my bedside table. When I can't find it or frustration hits because I can't remember what I'm looking for, I go back to sleep.

The weird thing is that this can't be the dream because I know I'm fully awake when I sit up. It's the same thing. I look at my bedside table for that "thing"--whatever it is--and not seeing it there I look around my room for it.

I don't know why this keeps happening, what it means, or what causes it. Maybe you can share some insight?

What is this missing thing I can't seem to find? *scratches head*

NaNo Confessions


Dear NaNo Project,

I know your word count hasn’t moved in a couple of days. It’s not for a lack of trying. I’ll be honest. I’m cheating on you.

A couple of days ago, while I was checking my Goodreads account, I noticed my third YA novel, Til Death with Entangled Publishing, had been uploaded. It was such a happy surprise. I was so excited that I didn’t know what to do with myself. While spreading the word about Til Death, I had a feeling I would be receiving a very special email.

And I was right.

Again, I’m sorry for putting you in this position. I know I promised I would concentrate on you right now, but I think time away will do us some good. Editing Til Death is what I need right now. It’s been a while since I’ve visited with Selena and Dillan. I want to know how they are doing.

I’m learning. I’m always learning. And after editing Til Death, I believe I’ll come back to you fresh and a hundred times better. But please know that even if I’m away, I am still thinking about you. In fact, you’re in my thoughts constantly.

You and I have a long way to go. Don’t give up on me.

Sincerely,
Your Typist

Interview Yumminess!

While I'm editing at Starbucks waiting for the BroMonster, check out my interview with Clancy Tucker at: http://clancytucker.blog.com/2012/11/07/7-november-2012-kate-evangelista-guest-author/

Surprise!

What a happy surprise! My novel with Entangled called Til Death is on Goodreads! Add it to your TBR now: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16129271-til-death

Do Not Read This Post If You Haven't Watched Skyfall Yet

Source
The title says it all.

If you are reading beyond this point, you have been warned.

I just watched Skyfall, the latest installment to the immortal Bond franchise, and I need to share my thoughts in order to digest my experience. There will be spoilers. I will hold nothing back.

Once again, turn back now if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to runaway from my blog crying.

Alright, I believe I have given everyone fair warning at this point, now I start putting my thoughts together.

First, 50 years and 20+ movies later, Bond still looks damn good. Daniel Craig can do no wrong. He has an ass made to bounce quarters off. But this post isn't entirely about objectifying him. I just thought to get that out of the way.

On to the serious stuff.

I walked away from this movie feeling torn.

Why?

Because I think Skyfall is my favorite of all the Bond films so far.

But I say I'm torn because after I've had a minute to think about it and had a lengthy discussion about the film with my brother on the way home in the car, I can say that Skyfall might not be the best film in the bunch. There are several reasons for this.

1. The Bond Girls.

Or should I say the lack of showcase. One of the aspects Bond films are known for are the Bond Girls. Don't get me wrong. Skyfall has two hot mamas, but they weren't used effectively in this film. We have the introduction of Moneypenny. The flirtation is there between Bond and Moneypenny, but it's twisted where it becomes such a departure from the franchise. Then there's the second Bond girl who is killed halfway through the film. In fact, she becomes so insignificant to the story that I question her status as a Bond Girl in the first place. Oh, by the way, Moneypenny is no Bond Girl. So, at the end of this paragraph, I realize Skyfall has no real Bond Girls. *le sigh*

2. The Villain

The Bond films are known for their villains. They either want to take over the world or destroy it then Bond foils their attempts and saves the world. This time around, the villain's aim is more personal: a vendetta against M. I'm torn here too because I like Silver. He's a former agent, so he's got more than what it takes to go toe to toe against Bond. But a knife in the back at the end of it all? Way too easy. It's a cop out. I like how psychotic his character is, but I don't believe it puts him among the hall of famers in the Bond villain universe.

3. The Storyline

What makes the Bond films so wonderful to watch is the storyline. Like I mentioned earlier, the world is in danger because of something the villain is planning. Skyfall's beginning showed promise where a list of the names of agents in deep cover among several terrorists organizations is stolen. That already tells the audience the movie will be an explosive one. When the identity of the agents are revealed it will be a bloodbath. A hint of this is shown in the movie, but this storyline is completely abandoned for the personal vendetta of Silver against M. I mean, if the studio wanted to go with the M vendetta, then they should have led with the explosion at the MI6 HQ. That would have made it very clear without the need for this list of agents' names nonsense. Like my brother said, "If they weren't willing to take it to the worldwide level, why introduce the plot line anyway?" I agree with him. They basically wasted awesome potential there. If they wanted to kill M at the end, they could have still used the "list" scenario.

4. No Gadgets

You got that right. For a franchise known for introducing cool gadgets to aid Bond in his hunt for the villain, Skyfall has none. NONE! The only gadget is a gun only Bond can fire, but he loses that quickly enough and it becomes irrelevant to the story. The lack of gadgets makes Skyfall the runt of the family. This alone will anger a lot of the die-hard fans. Okay, they reintroduced the original Bond car, which they blew up by the way (broke my heart, that), but that alone isn't enough to make Skyfall cool. The new Q had nothing to give Bond. As in NOTHING. I feel sad.

5. A Family Tie Hint

Okay, this is me being a conspiracy theorist, but toward the end of the film, there was a hint that M was Bond's mother. Why do I jump to this conclusion? Because Silver, upon walking into the chapel, looks at the gravestone of Bond's parents. Then when he sees M in the chapel he says it was an appropriate place for her to die. WHAT? Maybe I got my "read between the lines" mojo crossed somewhere, but it makes sense M is Bond's mother. She's hard on him more than she is on anyone else. There's obvious affection between them. I'm stopping. I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. But being wrong won't stop me from putting the though out there.

6. No Sex

We all know Bond is a ladies man. *shakes head* Skyfall is probably the most PG of all Bond films. We don't even get a bed scene. There's a steamy shower scene, and when I say steamy, I mean the shower and not what is happening inside it. There's that island girl Bond falls into bed with, but it was ten seconds of back-on-wall and nothing more. I'm not one to make such a big deal about sex in a film, but this is James-freakin'-Bond we're talking about! In many ways he's the type of Alpha Male who leads with more than just his head.

At this point, I don't remember what made Skyfall my favorite of all the Bond films. If you've ignored my warnings or if you have watched the film and read up to this point, then I will admit to being as confused as you are. I'm scratching my head. Just six reasons and already I don't know why I liked this film. Maybe that's a testament to the filmmakers. Skyfall is a mind-rape of a film. While I was sitting in the theater, the words "I really like this" kept scrolling across my mind. But now that I've written this post, it seems like the statement scrolling along the ticker-tape in my mind was a complete lie.

Reaping Me Softly Day 6

Last day of the tour, folks!


Here are all the fabulous stops:

Saturday, Nov. 3:

Jennreneeread ~ Review
Always YA at Heart ~ Review
Paranormal Reads ~ Review
Splash Of Our Worlds ~ Review
My Guilty Obsession ~ Review
Addicted to Books ~ Review
Imaginary Reads ~ Review
YA Between the Lines ~ Promotional Post
Nette’s Bookshelf Reviews ~ Review
Books to Brighten your Mood ~ Review
Bookworm Lisa ~ Review
artsy musings of a bibliophile ~ Review
The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger ~ Review
Book-A-Holic ~ Promotional Post
YA Sisterhood ~ Review

I hope to see you at any one of these stops.

Superstitions about Make-up and Day 5 of the Reaping Me Softly Tour

Ollie
*waves* Hello, dear readers! It's a Friday, and the weekend is upon us. Let's all take a deep breath, we've all had a busy, crazy, scary week. We survived and that's certainly something to celebrate!

Ollie and I would like to present the last of our Superstition Game for this year. It's surreal that November is upon us. I'm shaking my head in disbelief as I type up this post. Today's superstition comes from Aloi S, who suggested lipstick. I couldn't find any for it so I stuck to make up.

Enjoy!

Superstition warns that care should be taken not to spill face powder: to do so means that the person concerned will shortly quarrel with a friend. In the theater, it is said to be unlucky to put one’s stage make-up on while looking over someone’s shoulder into their mirror, and also that it is unlucky to tidy a make-up box or to use new make-up on an opening night. If an actress spills her face powder, she may dance on it in order to preserve her fortune.
  

Here are all the stops for today:

Friday, Nov. 2:

Short & Sweet Reviews ~ Review
The Busy Bibliophile ~ Promotional Post
The Procrastinator’s Corner ~ Review
The Reading Diaries ~ Review
Booklove101 ~ Review
My keeper shelf ~ Review
Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Reviews ~ Review
What’s Beyond Forks? ~ Review
Jinky is Reading ~ Review

Check out the awesome bloggers and their reviews then grab your copy of Reaping Me Softly!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Reaping Me Softly Tour Day 3 and Superstitions about Pennies

Before we start with today's Superstition Game, I want to start with the blog stops in today's tour for Reaping Me Softly. Have you grabbed your copy yet?


Here are all the stops for today:

Thursday, Nov. 1:

WinterHaven Books ~ Review
That READioactive Book Blog~ Promotional Post
Ja Ĩitam, a ti? (I’m a reader, what about you?) ~ Review
For The Love Of Film And Novels ~ Promotional Post
A Soul Unsung ~ Promotional Post
Unforgettable Books ~ Review
Literary Love Affair ~ Review
Great Minds Literary Community ~ Promotional Post

Alright, today's superstitions was suggested by Caius Caligula from Geek Rage. After reading this post, you really need to visit his blog. I love reading his reviews.

The humble penny has always been considered lucky. Many people are familiar with the tradition of carrying a penny about the person for luck, while others will toss one overboard on setting out to sea in the belief that this will appease the marine gods and guarantee them safe passage.

Source
 A luck penny is a single coin or small sum of cash that is returned to a purchaser by the vendor in the belief that it will give the buyer good luck with his purchase. The custom of handing over ‘luck money’ was once commonplace, particularly on the sale of livestock and crops—though records exist of the same practice in all manner of other business transactions. Butchers in former times often expected to be returned a shilling on buying a cow for slaughter, the ritual being widely known as ‘tipping the cow’s horn with silver.’

There are many people around the world who value coins for their luck-bringing qualities. Tossing a coin into a fountain or pool while making a wish is a universal custom, and many persons carry ‘lucky’ coins (often ones minted in the year of their birth or ones with holes in). Fishermen fix a coin in the wood of their boats and even in their nets for luck, and in former times the poor frequently carried specially made ‘touch pieces,’ which depicted the devil being defeated, to protect them from disease. Particularly lucky are coins given out at Holy Communion and coins found during a rainstorm, on the grounds that these must have fallen from Heaven. It is, incidentally, courting bad luck not to pick up a coin spotted on the ground, and gifts of purses, wallets, and coats should never be made without first putting a few coins in them.

Some coins are, however, unlucky. In Britain, the crown or five-shilling piece of pre-decimal currency was disliked in many circles, especially in public houses where it was alleged that any barmaid accepting such a coin would shortly lose her job. In many countries, coins are placed upon the eyes of the dead to prevent them from reopening and looking around for someone to join them in the grave.

The Black Penny is a coin that was credited with magical powers by the people of Northumberland in the early nineteenth century. Owned by the Turnbull family of Hume Byers, the Black Penny was revered by farmers in the area for its efficacy in treating madness in cattle. The coin was dipped in drinking water that was then given to the livestock, whose condition soon miraculously improved. Lent out by the family on many occasions, the Black Penny was eventually lost in 1827 when a farmer from Morpeth returned it in the post.

Ollie
The Lee Penny is a coin belonging to the Lockhart family of Lee that is reputed to have miraculous healing powers. A groat dating from the reign of Edward I, the Lee Penny incorporates a dark red pebble that is supposed to have been brought back from the Holy Land in the fourteenth century. Legend has it that, when dipped into drinking water, the coin has proved most effective in the treatment of various livestock diseases as well as against such human ills as rabies and hemorrhages. In 1645, the coin was credited with having curtailed an outbreak of the plague in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The Lockerbie Penny is a small silver disc that was once highly regarded, in the Lockerbie region of what is now Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, for its apparent efficacy in treating cattle diseases. Dipped in the animals’ drinking water, the Lockerbie Penny, of obscure origin, was credited with countless cures by local farmers and was still in regular use up to the middle of the nineteenth century. 

I think the three pennies described in this post are one and the same. What do you think? 
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