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Bloggiesta almost over!

The site is currently under redesign, and the bloggiesta is about to conclude! Stay tuned, and in the mean time, line up for some fall reads by my author friends I can’t wait to introduce you to, starting with my dear friend and fellow romance author, Joanne Bischof:

“Bischof kicks off her Cadence of Grace series with a tale of love blossoming in the most daunting circumstances. A gem by an author sure to draw fans.”

~Publishers Weekly

The Castaways is a keeper…

The CastawaysThe Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One book, four couples, eight lives intertwined, six of them–in grief after losing two of their own.

Did you get that? Sounds like my daughter’s word problems from math homework, but in reality–it’s the Castaways, by Elin Hilderbrand. One wonders if an author of this caliber takes time to read or scan every review of her work. If so, I’m offering a hearty hello! and bravo! You’ve gone and made a fan for life. Expect a spike in back-list sales!

In The Castaways, I identified most with Delilah–a dreamer, a steadfast lover, wife, and mother with her feet on the plot of land tended by her stoic, farmer husband and her head in the clouds. She knows at any moment she can take flight, run away, and yet she remains. Driven. Caring. Loving fiercely. Grieving even fiercer for her friends, lost. And love, unrequited. Okay, so I don’t identify with that part–but I have, in the past, and that’s why Delilah (who is VERY close to being a proverbs 31 style wife except for the fact that she doesn’t believe in anything but her friends and family) is easiest to identify with. At least, for me. I fell in love equally with the emotionally bound Phoebe, the two-sides of Andrea, and the men in their lives. Ed–who could be my own husband in his and Andrea’s relationship. Jeffrey–who loves so deeply just in his being there. Addison, sweet, flawed Addison. And of course, Greg and Tess, remembered by all. They are caricatures of us all in the microcosm of Nantucket.

As for the place, it is obvious this is the heart of the author’s home, as much as the octet’s wanderlust shows her love of travel. Nantucket, in its beaches, it’s quaint town square, it’s dunes and isolation. Suddenly, it is someplace I must visit someday.

A wonderful study of personality, friends, relationships, parenting, and forgiveness, The Castaways is not to be missed. Each page should be savored like fine wine, like exotic flavors, like times remembered. It reminds me that too often we live on the surface. There is so much below, beneath us all, that has made us into the people we are. The Castaways reminds us of that. Of failed expectations, secret hopes, hidden dreams, and in the end, that love is all that matters.

Thanks, Elin! and I look forward to following you out of The Castaways, and into The Island.


View all my reviews

Twitter Book Reviewers by GalleyCat

This is a rerun from GalleyCat reviews, on of my favorite Twitterers to follow… if you’re interested, either as Author or Reader, take a gander below and read their take on The Most Popular Book Reviewers on Twitter

By Jason Boog on Feb 03, 2010 04:23 PM

flwbooks100x100.pngWhat are your favorite book review sites on Twitter? We are putting the finishing touches on our growing book review directory for GalleyCat Reviews, and we realized that we can’t exclude Twitter.

The microblogging site has become a hub for many book reviewers and readers. Last year, we interviewed Eric Mueller, the co-founder of the Twitter book review, Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations. They’ve since grown to include more than 80,000 followers.

In addition, we’ve already uncovered a few hashtags for literary criticism, including: #bookreviews, #reviews #books, and #bookchat. Even better, TweepSearch lists 575 book reviewers on Twitter.

Where do you go for book reviews on Twitter? Add your favorite Twitter reviewers in the comments section, we’ll add them to our growing collection of literary criticism on Twitter. After the jump, check out the ten most popular self-identified book reviewers on Twitter, ranked by number of followers.

Here are the book reviewers with the most followers, according to TweepSearch.

1. Tamoor: “Astrology, Teaching Metaphysics since 1972, EFT, Award Winning Fantasy Author, dragons, fairies, wizards, book reviews, gold panning, Labradoodles”

2. Janette Fuller: “My Thank-You Project, Social Media, Blogger, Book Reviewer, Librarian, Children’s Literature Enthusiast, eBay, Card Making”

3. Horror News Net: HORRORNEWS.NET Official Site FREE Horror Horror news Horror reviews DVD reviews Book reviews”

4. Library Journal: “Library views, news, and book reviews from LJ staffers.”

5. Susanna K. Hutcheson: “Copywriter, journalist, entrepreneur, fitness fanatic, photographer, collector of vintage ads, fountain pens, book reviewer and a hell of a lot of fun.”

6. Organic Wales: “The Organic Wales directory covers organic Welsh food, restaurants, homes, gardening, and holidays. Features include recipes and book reviews.”

7. Wayne Hurlbert: “Blogger, social media, SEO consultant, speaker, business book reviewer, Blog Business Success host on BlogTalkRadio”

8. Erin–Books in 140: “Book reviews. In 140 characters. Also: coffee addict, tv addict, pop culture addict, giant.”

9. Katlogictalk: Award winning Blogger of Kat Logic, published author, book reviewer, business owner.

10. Maria Schneider: “Freelance writer, editor, blogger, forum hostess, book reviewer, former editor of a writing magazine you’ve probably heard of. Wants to eradicate the semicolon.”

Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni

Hey, everyone

I have taken a step back from editing MAMMOTH SECRETS as my heart was heavy, and my spirit flagging. So, instead of writing and rewriting as I’ve been called to do, I picked up ANGELOLOGY, which amazingly enough – I own a lovely autographed edition, thanks to Dona Watson and her Fantasy & Faith blog.


Angelology brings you into a world beneath the world, behind a curtain if you will, revealing that which has been veiled from our view. It postulates that society as we know it is an enslaved earth, with the Nephilim–the heirs of the fallen angels aka “Watchers”, now trapped in the bowels of the earth–in control.

Angelologists are those tasked with maintaining the natural order, restoring the earth to that which the Lord intended and managed (according to early philosophers) for a total of 29 seconds before Lucifer fell.

Are you still with me?

The story takes place in both 1999 and 1943, flip flopping briefly to childhood of the main character, Evangeline,  in the 1980s. My favorite parts took place during the revelation of Celestine as a young woman, and Evangeline’s discoveries at St. Rose Convent. The historical flashbacks were so neatly woven into the tale, it became a seamless-secondary novel. I roamed the Paris streets with Celestine and Gabrielle. I bought the historic accounts they read and cataloged, as if the texts by the Venerable Clematis were actual works.

I admit, there were a few moments I had to stop, and breath in my willing suspension of disbelief. There were other moments where I simply turned page after gripping page, hanging on for the ride. Danielle Trussoni is a magnificent story teller, and left me…wanting more.

I want more.

I want a sequel. Are you hearing me, out there, Penguin USA? Ms. Trussoni? You cannot leave me like this. I must know what happens next, to Verlaine, Evangeline, to Angelology as I now know it.

Pretty please, with sugar on top.


Spend Some Time in The Shack

The Shack The Shack by William P. Young

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book intrigued me from the word “go.” Working as I do for R. R. Bowker, I keep my ear to the trades, plus as my friends know, I’m a new novelist – – so any story of how a new author becomes published is of interest to me. ESPECIALLY this one. Windblown Media blew my mind. Way to go, guys.

At any rate, I was intrigued by the fact this book couldn’t find a home at a “traditional” publication house, but hit the world with such powerful timing. No matter how this book found the shelves, demanded distributorship, and now can be purchased everywhere from Walmart to Costco, I can’t tell you enough how I suggest everyone read it. The funny thing, I found myself recommending it to others before I even purchased my copy. And that, I think, is testament to the power of word of mouth.

First and foremost, the story of Mack. Man, as a Mom — the trials that Mack and Nan went through as parents leveled me before I even picked up the book to inspect the cover. I, as a rule since becoming a mother, refuse to watch my once favorite show, Law and Order SVU. I stay away from movies like The Changeling, even though I know at one time I would have eaten that up. But after encouragement of a friend, I started reading. (Simultaneously, as it turns out, with my Mother — which I find cosmically cool.) Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

All spoilers aside – because I wouldn’t do that to you, Mack, Papa, or Willie – this story shows the heart of God in a way I’ve rarely seen. Wrap The Shack up and give it as a Christmas gift, to yourself, and others. Read it for the heart in which it was written, whether you choose to agree or disagree with its philosophy. You won’t regret the journey.

View all my reviews.

Reinvent the perfect invention?

I stumbled across this article this morning — through Twitter. The title:  Why We Don’t Need to Reinvent the Book

Before you hop on over and give it a read, let’s think about the truth, falacy of this. Does the book need to be reinvented to fit into the time frame we have for it? As a mother and writer, I love to read. I read to the kids — I try to read for pleasure when I can, usually after everyone goes to bed with the help of my itty bitty booklight. But the truth of the matter, I can grab a chapter here or there, waiting for the kids at gymnastics or dance. Or soon, at soccer games.

But, as I was reminded by Smart B@#$%es Trashy Books this morning, sometimes when you dart out the door you forget something of key importance. Your latest paperback. Your Sony E-Reader or Kindle. No time to return, you suffer watching little ones tumble about — okay, it’s not suffering, but you get the point. Your heart longs for whatever story has captured your attention. Whichever author is currently holding you hostage with their carefully woven story. BUT who leaves the house without their phone?

Personally, I’d pay the two bucks to download a chapter through Stanza, while on the go. And while I love the feel of the book, I also love the earth. I am a author, so I want to build an audience.  As a new author, maybe readers will check out a free book or shell out a few cents for a short story. And, as one of my reviewers once said, the short story is the perfect fulfilling length for mommies on the go.

So, yes. Don’t reinvent to book. Don’t stop printing them. Keep them, love them, shelve them on something other than Shelfari. But, maybe Tim O’Reilly is right about something. We do need to reinvent some of the medium to keep up with the world. To engender a love of reading in our youth. And remind them why literature, the book, and the musty page smell we all adore is something not to forget.

Wow! Take a look at Wowio!

I came across a read today which I can’t put down. And, what’s more, it’s an E-book, downloadable for free from

I’m suddenly a huge Jack Cavanaugh fan. I’ve never read the story about how the Bible was ultimately translated out of Latin, and I find myself entranced after page 1.

Review to come!

Constructive Criticism

One of the most helpful books I’ve ever read is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”Sure, everyone says “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is his best work. I tend to disagree. Though I honestly couldn’t tell you the majority of what is in that book. What I do know, is that it changed my life — it taught me how to be critiqued – which is imperative for my growth as a writer. Who knows what else Mr. Carnegie expounded upon. This is what impacted me, at that low point of my life, and what I can share with others as a turning point towards a better day in mine.

What’s changed in my life since I read that book? Back then, I was in a crappy relationship (read UNDERSTATEMENT, and fodder for many villains in my stories), I was trying to make extra money selling soap. I honestly was miserable, but I longed for a career as a writer of fiction. I longed for love and for friendship and a home and a family that loved me.

Well, let’s see. About 14 years later, (oh Lord! feeling REALLY old) I’m happily married to my soul mate (the very saying would make him cringe), I have two lovely daughters, a great “day job” career – if they’ll still have me (going to see when I can go back to work tomorrow!), and I am a working Author of romantic fiction. I also have befriended numerous authors, editors, cover artists, and publishers, who are all working to define this new dawn of the Print on Demand publishing industry.

Perhaps I have my head in the clouds with aspirations of being a full time writer, but realistically, I know that is several years in my future. Right now, I’m in writing boot camp. I’m learning from my editors at TWRP – I’m on my THIRD! now working with the Senior Editor of the White Rose Line. (Hi, Nicola!) I’ve been brow-beat, lovingly guided, and instructed on how to improve my writing techniques on everything from: Showing – not telling, maintaining proper POV, getting rid of the dreaded words: was, felt, seemed, etc. which I’m still working on. And so many other points. They are basically bad writing habits that many of us fall into — I’m sure you notice I have a comma problem. Apologies to that regard. I tend to comma splice when I’m thinking. Crazy.

What I can say is this. For aspiring writers out there: if you ask for criticism, be ready to take it in for the spirit in which it was given. Your manuscript will return to you, bleeding and ripped through with “suggestions” and “pointers” on the errors of your ways. Your editor is now your partner, with an equally vested interest in your success. Make no bones about it. It is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

I was given an excellent piece of advice by one of my writer-buddies. She told me to breathe. Then, read through the entire thing – absorbing all of the comments. Then, pick up a pen and make your notes. Develop your tricks. Use find and replace. But, pay attention to what they say and don’t assume your first pass is your best work. Give your editor’s comments the chance they deserve, and soon you won’t believe what you were capable of producing.

The back and forth can be difficutl. Honestly, your baby — your precious pages — will be the bane of your existence by the time it goes to galleys. But, having it go to galleys?!?! Having your story receive a gorgeous cover?!? an audience to read your words?!?! That’s my idea of heaven on earth.

Book Review – The 10th Gift

The Tenth Gift The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

My review rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jane Johnston’s the 10th Gift is an amazing first person adventure into the life of a young woman, on the verge of falling apart. Her long-standing affair at an end, she is bound to her ex-lover only through the pages of an antique book – her parting gift. What she finds is an invaluable treasure: the story of a young woman from 1625 who is kidnapped from the Cornish coast by Barbary pirates to become a Christian slave.

Soon consumed by this story, she finds herself rootless, homeless, and following the young Catherine’s trail to the coasts of Moroccco. She learns that there are two sides to every story, and that true love can find even those who’ve made mistakes.

Not just a romance, it is a mystery frought with intrigue and well researched historic detail. She maintains a fast pace for all of her characters, even though the story flip-flops back and forth between time periods, and locations. It is a highly recommended, entertaining read.