Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z Challenge: V is for Violets (and Denise Vega and "Voodoo Ridge" by David Freed)

 V turned out to be easy, thanks to a wonderful Northern Colorado writer of books for young folks and an upcoming book release from David Freed (who will return as my guest blogger on May 22nd).

Four more posts to go, folks. We're almost done for another year. This is the only challenge, blog hop, or blogfest I sign up for each year. It helps me get back to blogging because I tend to turn into a slug after the holidays. And it proves to me (once again) that I have more time to write than I claim I do. When I turn the blog-writing and blog-hopping and comment-responding time into writing time, I should be good through NaNoWriMo in November.

So here we go.

Featured Author:  Denise Vega

Denise lives in Colorado where she writes for both kids and teens. Here's what she says about herself on her website:

"I always wanted to be a writer and I always wrote but I started out writing a lot of magazine articles, computer books, and other stuff like that for adults to help keep our family in toilet paper and chocolate chip cookies.

Then, in about 1998, things began looking up and I was able to devote my free time to writing what I really wanted to write–underwear labels. Just kidding. I really wanted to write books for kids. So I started. But right about then, we had our third kid–Rayanne. So I often had to stop in mid-sentence to change a diaper or make sure someone wasn’t creating their latest work of art on the wall–out of oatmeal."

Denise has a blog called Blab-o-Denise, and her books (Rock On, Click Here, Facts of Life, and Access Denied for older readers and Build a Burrito and Grandmother, Have the Angels Come for kids) are listed on her website. She also teaches middle grade and YA writing classes. I don't have a photo of Denise in my file, but if you go here, you'll see her short bio on and all her books in a nice tidy list.

Featured Book:  Voodoo Ridge by David Freed

This book releases in May, so if you haven't read the first two mysteries in Freed's Cordell Logan series (Flat Spin and Fangs Out), you have time. The protagonist is a pilot, a flight instructor, and a bit of a cynic. I like the Logan character a lot.

Here's the scoop on Voodoo Ridge.

"It’s 1956. A plane bearing a mysterious cargo takes off from a small airport outside Los Angeles and disappears into a raging storm. Nearly 60 years later, while flying over California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, retired military assassin-turned-civilian flight instructor and would-be Buddhist Cordell Logan catches a glint of sunlight on metal and spots what appears to be an aircraft wreckage. His life will never be the same.

Logan and his beautiful ex-wife Savannah, plan a reconciliation in posh Lake Tahoe. But upon landing in the Ruptured Duck, his beloved aging Cessna, Logan agrees to put those plans on hold when he’s asked to help guide a search and rescue team to the remote, mountainous crash site. The team finds not only a long-missing airplane, with the mummified remains of its pilot still at the controls, but something much more recent and far more sinister: the body of a young man, shot to death only hours earlier. Someone has beaten the rescuers to the site and will clearly stop at nothing to profit from what the plane was carrying – including kidnapping and threatening to kill Savannah if Logan refuses to help them carry out their getaway plans. With the clock ticking and the love of his life in peril, Logan is drawn into a vexing vortex as personal and potentially deadly as any he’s ever known."

So go on, give Freed's series a try. You know you want to.

Word of the Day:  Violets

When I was a kid in Illinois, there were violets all over our yard every spring. In Indiana, I'd trek to the woods and see violets everywhere.

Now I'm in Northern Colorado, and wonder where have all the violets gone? I know they're around here somewhere, but there aren't any in my yard. Too dry? Not enough shade from trees?

I have to do something about this. I need violets.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Go plant some in your flower bed!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I love violets too! They were everywhere where I grew up, and when we moved to Ill. I saw them a lot there, too. Not where I live now, so I hear ya. And thanks for your introductions to new authors for me to try.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh, I love violets! Not sure if they come up here in the North - they did in Nova Scotia -and my other favorite - forget me nots!
I went to Denise Vega's site as I'm working on a YA and thought she seemed like my sort of fun gal -AND she is! So thanks a tonne. Hope you enjoy spring in the mountains...

Patricia Stoltey said...

Alex, I don't want them in my flower bed. I want them sprinkled all across my yard. If I could find a big packet of violet seeds, I'd try, but I think the ground is always too dry.

You're welcome, Margot. If you haven't read David Freed's series yet, I think you'll like it.

Jan, Denise is great. She (and her website) should be very helpful.

The Irish Avenger said...

Trivia: Ruptured Duck was also the name of a B-25 which flew off the deck of the U.S.S. Hornet to participate in the Doolittle Raid in 1942. I wonder if that's where the author got the inspiration.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've enjoyed the violets the past week. Can't believe we're at V already. Where did April go?

Patricia Stoltey said...

Irish -- I wouldn't be surprised. The author is a pilot, so he'd know all that.

Susan, April has gone by in a flash...but I'm finding lots of months do that as I get older. :D

Stephanie Faris said...

Blab-o-Denise. I like the name of that. I'll have to check out her blog. Yeah, it is amazing April is almost over. X and Z are going to be interesting ones!

Writer David Freed said...

Thanks for the plug, Pat! In answer to the Irish Avenger's comment about my protagonist's airplane, the "Ruptured Duck," the name actually derives from the nickname given to the Honorable Service Lapel Pin that was issued to World War II vets upon their discharge. The pin was intended to identify them as having served in the military. Unofficially, it was also used as an identifier to railroad and bus companies who offered free rides to returning vets. Hope this helps!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Stephanie, I considered cheating on X but actually found what I needed (but not among the authors and books I know and love).

Hi David -- Thanks for responding. I'll bet my dad and his brothers all had one at one time. That may be one of the things that's in my mom's box of treasures.

M. K. Theodoratus said...

Pat, you'll get a giggle out of the old-lady-dog-walker who was startled by our lawn ...

She pointed a finger at it and exclaimed, "You have an investation of violets."

{We were out in our front yard discussing how to plant a new flower bed. Yeah. Violets are colonizing both our back and front yards.}

Teresa Cypher said...

Where would we be without violets? I'm fond of this quote--I don't know who actually said it, but it's often attributed to Twain: " “Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet on the heel of the one who crushed it.” I'd share mine with you, Patricia, but we're miles apart. I have white, yellow, lavender and bright purple. I sure would miss them too.

Voodoo Ridge looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing :-)

Grammy Staffy said...

I agree with you Pat.... I need violets too. I don't have any in my yard. I love the smell of them. I've tried to grow them but they always die. Maybe it is too hot here... or maybe I just don't have a green thumb. I have to make do with violet scented soaps. Have a great day

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Patricia, where do you come across so many books? And as for the violets, plant some in your garden.

Dean K Miller said...

And then violets you shall have.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kay, if you see someone lurking in your lawn with a trowel, it's just me digging violets. :D

Hi Teresa -- I haven't seen yellow violets since the mid-80s when I lived in Indiana. They're so pretty.

Grammy, I do know they love shaded woodsy areas, and I only have one spot in my yard that might qualify.

Rachna, it's an addiction.

Dean, if you know where I can get them (besides Kay's yard), let me know.