Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two GREAT Reviews for The Wild Irish Sea!

I'm THRILLED to share that I just received my first two advance reviews for The Wild Irish Sea! There's still a little over a month to go before the book is scheduled to hit the bookstore shelves (all right, all right -- 38 days and yes, I'm counting), so these early reviews feel very important to me. What a relief to know that other readers LURVE my baby... er, um, STORY as much as I do!

Three days ago, author and reviewer Kelly Moran posted a wonderful review on her blog (just click on the title of this post to go there). Among other nice things, she had this to say:
I adore Irish stories, and this was no exception. A fascinating blend of American and Irish culture come together in this tale to bring the reader right there on the rocky shores, feeling the spray on your face and a lilt to your heart...
This is also a book which readers can take a lot from. A bit of adventure, a little fantasy, a touch of humor, and a lot of love make for a delightful read...
Though there is the mystery element to this book, I found the telepathy angle and love story more rewarding. Highly recommended, and I certainly look forward to more from this author.

Talk about UPLIFTING!

Then, yesterday, I staggered out of my sick bed (yes, I've been down for the count with an ugly stomach bug -- UGH!) to find that The Romance Studio gave The Wild Irish Sea 5 HEARTS (which equals "excellent") in this wonderful review by Theresa Joseph:
This book had both romance and mystery and I loved it. How couldn't you fall into the pages with such fascinating characters including a selkie prince: a sexy, Irish police officer, a feisty American, smugglers, big brown-eyed seals and three adorable youngsters...
The chemistry between the hero and the heroine is sizzling and their dialogue and interaction is captivating. I read this book in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down...
This is a great read for relaxing at the beach or pool and equally well suited to curling up in front of a fireplace. This author is definitely going on my must-read list.

Thank you, Theresa and sorry you didn't find your own hunk in Ireland. Maybe next time...

To read the entire review, go here:

Now I'm off to eat a bland dinner and bask in the glow of these first two wonderful reviews. Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tropical Islands and Running Away

I have a post up today at Casablanca Authors blog (just click on the title of this post to go there). Our topic has been new beginnings and I wrote about running away and starting fresh... like maybe on a tropical island somewhere.

Of course, I had to mention the quintessential runaway, the artist Paul Gauguin. Back in the 1880s Gauguin was a struggling artist who decided to literally get away from it all. So he abandoned his wife and five children and ran off to Tahiti where he painted lots of pictures of the natives.

Oh, and a few of himself too! Here's a self-portrait he did in 1893 when he was living in Tahiti.

While he might have been an artistic genius, I always viewed him as an irresponsible jerk for leaving his wife and kids. I guess he was living proof of that fine line between genius and madness, just like Vincent Van Gogh, who's paintings I find far more appealing.

What do you think about the genius and madness argument? And do you prefer Gauguin or Van Gogh?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Journaling and New Perspectives

A few days ago, I was sifting though a box in my office when I ran across one of my old journals. I've written journals off and on since my first diary didn't have enough room for me to put down everything I wanted in one day's slot. I was 13 or 14 when that happened.

I kept a journal through much of high school. Alas, those all got thrown out when I got married. I was far too busy working and studying when I was in college, but after I got my degree, I started up with a journal again. I kept one throughout my pregnancy, and have that one stored away in my cedar chest should my son ever want to read it. After he was born, I had no time to eat or sleep, much less write in a journal! I didn't start up again until he was three or so.

Anyway, back to the topic of the journal I found a few days ago... This one seemed particularly prophetic because the first entry was dated May 11, 2002.

Eight years ago seems like another lifetime to me now. I was the manager of a multi-million dollar state program that was suffering from some major service delivery crises, while I was going through some personal physical and emotional upheavals. Reading through those journal entries brought it all back to me...
  • My passive-aggressive boss who undermined me at every turn
  • The incompetent staff in our Personnel department who constantly refused to return my phone calls or if they did, refused to help me in any way
  • My primary care doctor who focused on minimal physical problems rather than address the big picture of my overall health
It was not a fun time for me! But it was also a time when I was on the brink of change. During this time, the idea of quitting my job first took shape. I did a lot of angsting about whether I could survive on the money I'd saved and the small amount of retirement benefit I'd receive if I did quit. I was also struggling to write and wondering if I could ever FINISH much less SELL a book.

But eventually, I did convince myself that I could do it. And I did!

Looking back with my current perspective, I still feel bad about the terrible time I had grappling with it all. But I'm happy to know I made THE RIGHT decision! I've never once regretted leaving that job. Plus, I've not only finished, but I've sold and will soon have published three books! One of my major dreams in life came true.

Journaling was a therapeutic activity for me back in those dark and depressing days. Matter of fact, it still is therapeutic for me to write out my frustrations and keep track of my writing progress. And since finding and reading this old journal and knowing that my story does have a happily-ever-after, I can see it's also a great reminder of how far I've traveled, and that things do have a way of working out for the best!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

CONGRATS! And Countdown

First of all

to Helen who is the winner of my contest and gets an ARC of The Wild Irish Sea, a gift cert. and some chocolates!

Thank you to all who entered!

The good news is that The Wild Irish Sea is scheduled to hit bookshelves everywhere exactly TWO MONTHS from today! Yes, we are in double digits and the countdown is winding down quickly.

I will be starting my blog tour at the end of June and it will run through the middle of July, so there will be lots of opportunities to read excerpts, interviews with yours truly, probably some of the characters, and of course FREE BOOKS! On most of my blog tour stops, the only thing you need to do to be in the drawing for a free book is leave a comment. What could be easier?!?!

I will be posting the stops on my blog tour here as soon as they are finalized. Meanwhile, if YOU have a blog and some time from the end of June through most of July, I would LOVE to be your guest! Please drop me an email!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brenda Novak's Auction


Brenda Novak's online auction for diabetes research started yesterday. Not only is this a cause very near and dear to yer olde Aunty's heart (my BFF has been a type 1 diabetic for over 50 years!) but the auction itself has GREAT items for readers, writers and EVERYONE! (Just click on the title of this post to go to the auction home page.) Brenda is hoping to break $1 million in donations this year and I'd love to see that happen too.

I donated several items to last year's auction and of course, I'm donating more items this year! Here's a list of my items and where to find them:

  • An autographed ARC of The Wild Irish Sea -- "The Biggie" of my donated items, you can find it listed along with about 20 other ARCs by many different authors under For Readers: Advance Readers Copies
  • Autographed copies of both The Wild Sight and The Treasures of Venice -- this "Nice Pair" is listed under my local RWA chapter Sacramento Valley Rose Presents
  • Also under Sacramento Valley Rose Presents, I contributed an autographed copy of The Wild Sight and a box of chocolates (a necessity for every reader and writer!) to the special "basket" called Roses and Reading Gift Basket
  • The Romance Bandits have a special "basket" listed under Gift Baskets and Goodies. It's called Romance Bandits Book Bonanza and I've included an autographed copy of The Treasures of Venice along with a lot of other cool books by other Banditas and stuff with our Romance Bandit logo.
The auction really does have something for everyone, including critiques by authors, agents, and editors, trips, lunches, dinners, and gift items of all kinds, even a MacBook and an iPhone! I hope you'll take a look and place a few bids. It's all great fun and for a great cause!

I've got my eye on a massage. So tell me, what are YOU hoping to win?