Sunday, July 20, 2014

Taking a Little Break and Calling for Fall Guest Bloggers

I'm not totally unplugged, but will spend limited time on the computer between now and August 4th. You can expect to see me popping up here and there on social media, maybe a short blog post here and a few blog comments there.

My next blog guest is Eileen Goudge who will be here Thursday, August 7th.

My schedule is pretty open for the rest of the year, so if you're interested in guest posting here after September 1st, let me know. You can email me using the link in my blog profile (the link is in the upper right sidebar).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Winner of an ebook copy of JL Simpson's "Lost Cause"

The winner of an ecopy of Lost Cause

by JL Simpson


author and blogger

Thanks for being our guest and doing the giveaway, JL, and congratulations to Julie for the win.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Looking for an Idea ... by J. L. Simpson

As a writer one of the hardest things to do is come up with a fresh new idea for a story. There are only so many plots in the world, but there are endless ways to tell them, and yet when you try to come up with a premise for your next book your mind turns to mush. You need a spark, a flame, a torch to light the way. It may be something small and insignificant that sets your imagination whirring. A conversation, a comment, a picture or perhaps even a TV show could be the catalyst for your greatest plot ever.

A few years ago, whilst on a trip back home to the UK, I stumbled across a TV show that sparked my imagination. Heir Hunters. The show follows a group of professional investigators who track down missing beneficiaries of deceased estates. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? However, the team must find all of the beneficiaries for an estate and sign them up before the competition does, otherwise all their hard work is for naught and no money is earned. This is no reality TV show, this is real life with the usual disasters, sadness and drama that surrounds discovering you have lost a relative and inherited a fortune.

When I decided to turn my writing talents to mystery I just knew I had to write about an Heir Hunter. I would desperately love to create stories full of angst, real white knuckle thrillers that have readers on the edge of their seats, but it seems I am cursed with humor. The subject matter of the book, death and inheritance, is a very serious one. My heroine’s inability to actually do anything without getting herself into trouble, and her partner’s continuing frustration with having to baby-sit her, are not.

Team up an incompetent would be Heir Hunter with a professional seasoned Private Investigator. Add in a dash of mutual distrust and general dislike of each other, and an interesting back story. Give the PI a huge secret. Let my female Heir Hunter get a whiff of scandal and suddenly the plot takes on a life of its own. Bullets, bombs, bad wardrobe choices, fast cars, dangerous criminals, dead bodies, and a kiss that makes brushing your tongue with toothpaste a must all add to the mix.

If only real life was filled with that much fun and excitement. Unfortunately my day job is more calculators, spreadsheets and pencil sharpening. The most exciting thing to happen is a power surge that puts the computers out of action for a couple of hours, leaving us all anxious about meeting our chargeable hours and making the monthly billing’s budget.

I never know what my heroine Daisy is going to say next, or how my hero Solomon will respond, but I do know that now they have wheedled their way into my life they won’t be going away anytime soon. So, it looks like I will have to write a few more Daisy Dunlop Mysteries before I can exorcise them from my life.

Blurb:  Daisy Dunlop loves a challenge but heir hunting is supposed to be easy. She can deal with anything her new job throws at her, except the bullets, bombs and working with P.I. Solomon Liffey. Her husband's best friend is supposed to be looking out for her, but when she uncovers Solomon’s biggest secret he's the one who needs protection.

JL will give away a copy of the ebook Lost Cause to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this blog. You have until midnight tomorrow (Friday, July 18th) US Mountain Time. The winner will be selected on and the winner posted here on Saturday.


Diminutive English rose, JL Simpson, was stolen away by a giant nomad and replanted in a southern land filled with gum trees and kangaroos. She quickly grasped the meaning of G’day and mate whilst steadfastly refusing all attempts to convert her to Vegemite.

She loves sharing tales about unexpected twists of fate. Holding on to a steadfast belief every obstacle can be overcome, she spends her moments of solitude creating adventures where mystery and mayhem collide.

Learn more about J. L. Simpson and her work at her website/blog. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Lost Cause is available at Taliesin Publishing and other online booksellers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Most Entertaining Book of Short Stories: Coffee Cup Tales

While I was out of town last week, I had the chance to get a little reading done. One of the books I took with me was Richard Keller's Coffee Cup Tales: Stories Inspired by Overheard Conversations at the Coffee Shop.

Those of you who visit this blog regularly know I have Rich here to guest post from time to time because his sense of humor brightens my day (and he's a nice guy, too). I had very high expectations for the stories in Coffee Cup Tales, expecting originality and lots of humor.

Rich did not disappoint. There were moments he made me think. And other moments I laughed out loud.

The one that made me giggle the most is called "I Married the Hell Outta Her."

This book was self-published through Rich's new venture, Wooden Pants Publishing. The formatting is excellent, the writing/grammar/punctuation way awesome (Rich had an outstanding local editor as well as a critique group to help him polish his prose), and even the Acknowledgments and Introduction are entertaining. I promise you will not be disappointed in Coffee Cup Tales.

Rich has a novel out now as well.  Paradise Not Quite Lost has been added to my reading list.

Rich's bio from Richard Keller is the founder of Wooden Pants Publishing and the Associate Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Richard has written over two thousand articles over the last three decades for various media outlets, including USA Today, RM Parent, Fort Collins Magazine, BellaSpark, The Coloradoan, and AOL TV. Richard resides in Northern Colorado with his wife and five children. In his spare time, Richard likes to read, travel, perform Improv, and sleep in a sensory deprivation chamber to get at least one minute of peace.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back in the Saddle...

Well, almost.

I've been through most of my email.

Not even trying to tackle Twitter or Facebook today.

Going unplugged for eight whole days has its downside.

I hope to have a couple of reviews up early this week because I actually did a little reading while I was gone.

And on Thursday,  I have a guest author from Five Star/Cengage, Janet Simpson.

Wow, writing this blog post was hard work. I think I need a nap.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Have a Wonderful 4th and a Super Week!

I'll be back at my desk on Monday, July 14th.

I've never gone totally unplugged for more than 4 or 5 days before. This time it will be more than a week away from my computer.

 There's comfort in knowing I can always go to a library and check my email if I start suffering symptoms of withdrawal.

See you on the 14th.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Here's What's At the Top of My Reading List

And this is important because I'll be out of town and unplugged July 5th-12th so I have to have the right books with me to read while waiting in airports, on the plane, and those occasional moments of downtime between Mom's errands and appointments.

Top of the list for real print books I'll take with me:

1. The Enlisted Men's Club by Gary Reilly, published posthumously by his friends

(Mark Stevens is the one I know--he's the past president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and currently volunteers on the board as Program Chair and is a monthly contributor to the RMFW Blog. I'm already familiar with Reilly's wonderful Asphalt Warrior series about a Denver taxi driver named Murph -- just finished reading Doctor Lovebeads --but The Enlisted Men's Club is the first of a the Gary Reilly trilogy about the war in Vietnam and I've heard it's way different from the Asphalt Warrior series. The Gary Reilly team is currently trying to raise the funds on Kickstarter to publish the rest of Gary's outstanding novels. Go here to learn more and contribute.)

2. We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth Norman

I became interested in this topic because one of my mom's Registered Nurse friends was with the women who were taken captive by the Japanese when they invaded the Philippines in World War II. When Mom heard about a new book on the subject, a YA non-fiction by Mary Cronk Farrell called Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific, she asked me to order a copy for her. I sent Pure Grit in hardcover on to Mom and kept the Bataan story to read first.  Of course, I'll be reading Pure Grit too.

3.  Coffee Cup Tales: Stories Inspired by Overheard Conversations at the Coffee Shop by Richard Keller

Knowing how loud a conversation can get at a coffee shop and how we tend to convince ourselves we're in a bubble and no one else can hear, I'm expecting lots of fun with this selection of stories from Rich.

Most who regularly visit this blog know I have Rich over to guest star at least twice a year and sometimes more (because he has me wrapped around his little finger). I can't help it. He makes me laugh.

And the books on my Kindle will serve as back up although I'm not sure where to start. I have an assortment of genres and will simply go with my mood and the luck of the draw.....from over 175 choices.

Now it's your turn. What's at the top of your summer reading list?