Greetings all! It's a gorgeous day here in Iowa, and on gorgeous days such as these, a young girl's mind gently turns to (what else) tasty reads! A lovely story you can read in a deck chair or on the beach or wherever you find yourself, completely ignoring the boring, old world. Today, for your reading pleasure, I bring you an urban fantasy with a dash of mystery, or maybe a mystery with a dash of urban fantasy. You decide.
Where I Find You
by Tracee Findlater
After the death of her mother, fourteen year old Anna goes to live with her aunt. She is struggling through adolescence, grieving, and out of her element. Although she seems a fairly normal, level-headed sort of girl, she initially has some difficulty relating to her aunt and finding her place in her new life. Then, one evening, while strolling in a beautiful garden, she meets Matthew. Anna is aware that she is dreaming, but Matthew insists that he is real and she is in his dream.
Over time, through recurring dreams, Anna and Matthew form a friendship. Each encourages the other's creative passion – writing for Anna, and art for Matthew. But which of them is dreaming the other, and can a friendship that only exists in dreams survive?
What I liked about the dynamic between Anna and Matthew was that I was kept guessing until the end about who was dreaming whom, and that some meetings were dreamy and blissful, while others were angry and they argued. It brought so much more depth to the relationship than if Matthew had just been a cute, dream boy Anna was infatuated with.
I would have liked to know more about both characters, and how the ending came to be, but I realize it's not that kind of book. I actually loved the way it ended in the art gallery.
When I first began to read 'Where I Find You', I took note that this book was written in 1st person, present-tense. I'm not a fan of first person, present-tense writing. However, it is such a delight to read a piece of work that challenges what I think I like, and 'Where I Find You' was one of those books. Ms. Findlater's execution of the first person-present tense was excellent. It flowed so smoothly that I honestly didn't think about it again once I started reading.
'Where I Find You' by Tracee Findlater would make a great summer read at the beach (or anytime/anywhere else), and I highly recommend you check it out at Amazon. I hope to see more from this author soon!
I defy physics to explain this. Go on, Big Bang Theory guys - cover a white board in squiggles and give me an exasperated glare, because no matter how I puzzle it, I can't figure it out. There is a black hole between my kitchen door and my car. Or is it a time rift? Well, heck, I'm not Stephen Hawking, YOU tell ME what it is!
Every morning, when I leave via my kitchen door, somehow it takes 10 minutes to get from the kitchen to the car. The car is right outside the door! It's not like I have to walk six blocks! The clock in the kitchen says 7:00 AM. The car clock says 7:10 AM.
Now, I can see you shaking your heads condescendingly, saying, "Oh, you silly girl! Clearly one of those clocks is wrong." Well, stop it! Because here's the creepy part - the clock in the kitchen agrees with the local TV stations. The clock in the car agrees with the local radio stations. Explain that! Is there some great time war going on between television and radio, each one insisting the other is wrong and they operate on an atomic clock based precisely on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)?
Here's what I have deduced - I think it is a black hole and it's sucking my life away, minute by minute! Think about it! Weekends go by in a flash. A week at work lasts FOREVER, but a week on vacation is gone like that! Yep, in one side, out the other and blip! YEARS of your life gone forever.
I think that's what happens to missing socks and car keys and other miscellaneous things that disappear. That's the real secret of those missing socks - they're being sucked into an entirely different dimension inhabited by one footed creatures who covet our footwear!
Sheesh, just getting to work on time is complicated enough without having to deal with black holes and time rifts and quantum physics and wildlife and farm implements on top of it. What? You don't have tractors and deer on your commute?
Well, see there? That's why mine is so complicated.
Throw in a black hole, missing socks, a morning commute, tractors, deer and time lapses and you've got an episode of Doctor Who. Hey... wait a minute! Stephen Moffat, get off my lawn!
I just saw my first sales report. Well, let's just say I'd need about twelve million more like it to be JK Rowling's neighbor. Still, I sold 52 books in my first quarter, and I just want to say a big THANK YOU to the people who bought them. You are awesome and I appreciate your support!
You know, people keep asking me when I'm going to retire to become a big, full-time writer. I'd say in about 20 years or so, when I retire from my job on my very modest retirement savings. Writers don't write for the money, which is a good thing, because we'd starve. The sad fact is, only a very few of us get to be the super stars of the field - the JK Rowlings, the Stephen Kings, the Neil Gaimans, etc. And I'm not knocking them! They are wonderful writers, they are tops at the craft and there is a lot to be learned from all of them.
Now don't be sad, because I'm not, and if you're a young writer and find this discouraging, well, take heart, friend. It is what it is, and the harder you work at it, well, who knows what the future holds? Someone is going to make it, and the only guarantee that it won't be you is if you don't try. So I'm going to keep on working, keep on writing, keep on trying. And keep on loving what I do.
Currently, I'm still working on the sequel to 'The Mage Sister', but I'm planning to have it submitted soon. I just want it to be really good for you, or at least, as good as I can make it, but I promise, it will be soon and I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, if you've read 'The Mage Sister', I'd appreciate a review. An honest review. It doesn't have to be a book report - just a line or two. Just "I liked it" if you don't like to talk a lot. Or just star it on Goodreads. It's not for my ego, but to help your fellow readers decide whether they want to spend their money and their time on it. Believe me, that's something I can appreciate. I'm a reader, too.
Barnes & Noble
Hey friends! Do you own a Kindle or a Nook? Are you up for a good read this weekend? It could be your lucky Friday the 13TH! I'm giving away 5 e-copies of 'The Mage Sister' for Kindle OR Nook (5 total)!
Here's how it's all going down:
TO ENTER: Go to my Mage Sister page on Facebook. LIKE and COMMENT on the post (it's pinned at the top). You must BOTH LIKE and COMMENT in order to be entered.
Don't know what to say? Say anything! Say "I'm in!" or "Hope I win." Tell me which character you most want to read about (you can check them out here and here). Just a simple comment. I promise I won't laugh at you.
Entries must be received by 7 PM on Friday, March 13th.
I’ll draw 5 winners on Friday, March 13 at 8 PM and post them there on the Facebook page. Winners can private message me their email address. The book will be delivered directly from Amazon (Kindle) or Barnes & Noble (Nook).
Remember, you must own a Kindle or Nook in order to receive the book.
And cross my heart and hope to die, winner's contact information will not be used for any purpose other than delivering the book.
Any questions? Good luck!
I love my Charlie. Look at that face! How could you not? And I do my best to make him happy, which, with my crazy life, is not easy. But that's not his fault – he lives to make me happy, too. And it's not easy for him, either, with a hot-headed, impulsive, reactionary, crazy-busy, creative-type Mom like me.
So when I have to come home quite late due to whatever my crazy life requires me to do, I like to bring him a treat of some sort. Sometimes it’s a yummy cookie (doggy cookie, of course), sometimes it's a toy. (Yes, he's spoiled, but not rotten!)
The other night, I found a funny-looking little snowball on the sale rack in the gift shop at work. It was leftover from the Christmas season, and had a crazy smile on its little face (first warning ignored).
When you throw it, or drop it, or bash its little head in… um, I mean thump it… yeah, that sounds better… it goes BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY LOUD.
Well, Charlie loves talking toys, but he has a particular favorite – the Monstaz. I thought the snow ball would make him happy for an hour or so and then he'd forget it favor of his favorite Monstaz baby as usual.
Not this time.
He fell in love with his little snowball. He took it to bed with him that night. He took it out of bed the next morning. And out to go potty with him. And every minute ever since. He carries the little demon around in his mouth EVERYWHERE. He barely puts it down to eat!
"Aw!" you say. Yeah, it's cute, I'll admit. Until you've heard BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for 57 hours straight.
Because every time I move – BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Every time he moves – BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The middle of the night – BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hate that snowball. I'd like to kill that snowball. But I suspect that snowball was forged in the bowels of Heck by evil, plotting, winter garden gnomes, because it WON'T go away.
I've tried to hide it. BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Charlie rescues it.
I've tried to smash it. BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Charlie rescues it.
I tried to burn it in the woodpile out back. BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Charlie rescues it.
And it just keeps grinning at me with that evil little smile. BOOOIIIIINNNNGGG – WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO – CRASHING GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Evil grin.
Like it knows. And it knows that I know just how evil and twisted it is. It knows it will win, and it's only biding its time.
What have I done? I've invited a demon to live with us. Now my little doggy has gone to the dark side! Evidently, they have cookies, too.
I got up on the wrong side of the bed this week. Just about everything I start to say turns into a rant of some sort. I can't just say, 'Gee, I'm busy today'. It turns into 'OMG, I'm DROWNING! I can't do this! LEAVE ME ALONE BEFORE I KILL YOU ALL!'
Like that. Well, in my head anyway. I mean, if I said it out loud I'd probably get fired. Or arrested. At the very least, people wouldn't like me anymore.
Of course, it's really damn cold outside and that doesn't help. I recognize five different levels of cold.
- Brrr, it's chilly. (40's)
- Yikes. Who turned off the heat! (30's)
- Gloves. I need gloves.(20's)
- OMG! (10's)
and anything below that is
- Hurry the hell up and chipachop, Charlie! I'm freakin' freezing!
Which I screech so all the neighbors can hear. After all these years, I'm pretty sure they've caught on to the fact that 'chipachop' is our codeword for 'go poop'. So, really, I might as well screech that. But a girl's gotta stay classy, you know.
And it doesn't do any good anyway because when I do that, he looks up at me as if to say, "I beg your pardon. Are you speaking to me, madam? I'll thank you to keep a civil tone." And then he goes back to sniffing around for that elusive, perfect spot.
It was so cold yesterday morning that he only pretended to go chipachop, and then left me a present on the rug when I went to work. Yay.
Then, while at work, someone made me so mad I had to leave the office to eat a burger. I don't eat burgers. If you see me with a burger I didn't make myself, someone's going down. If you see me with fries... run. And if I happen to be clutching a burger, fries and real ice cream shake combo? Go to church because Hellmageddon is imminent.
Okay, so I'm a bit of a stress eater. It's better than robbing banks and beating up old ladies, right?
So yeah, I'm still cranky. But it's Friday, and hopefully I can work out a few kinks over the weekend. I think baking a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies might do the trick. Hey, I'm not going eat them all! Just baking them and having a few is enough. Then I take them to work and ruin everyone else's diet.
And that makes me happy! Bwa ha haha ha ha!!!
So… phew! It has been a while since I wrote for this blog. I have been busy trying to be an author, and holding down a job and having a life. That's a pretty tall order, and I'll be honest, I'm not very good at it.
So what happened? When I started this website, it was fun. I enjoyed it. I'd just talk about anything knocking around in my head, have fun with it, and it seemed like folks went along with it. They didn't always like it, but no one seemed to hate it enough to say "I hate you and you suck!" or "Why don't you shut up!"
Here's what I think went wrong, for what it's worth. I let people get into my head. Not people reading here – people in the industry telling me what I should be doing or that what I was doing was all wrong. Your blog has to be about something specific. But stop writing about this or that. But write about one thing. You have to be consistent. You have to write every day. You have to treat it like a job if you want to it be a career. And all of that is true to an extent, but my head just doesn't work that way.
I'm an observer, and here's what I have observed. Everyone has an opinion, and some are paid to give it. I'm not saying these industry folks are wrong – not at all. They have the benefit of expertise that I'm still developing. I'm saying I let it affect me in all the wrong ways.
I stopped being what makes me special. I started doing book reviews and talking about writing processes and getting snarky because that's not what I'm good at and I was frustrated. And it's not bad enough that I allowed this to affect my prattling on my website (which is just prattle and should never be taken as gospel), I let it affect my writing, too. Not surprisingly, it has become an almost painful process. I stopped having fun at it.
So here's what I think I'm going to do – I'm going back to being my silly, rarely-serious, sassy self. I'm going to write to please myself. I'm going to be random and goofy, and sometimes talk about books and writing and being an author, because I hope I can give a little support to anyone else out there who is trying to do the same. But I'll also talk about other things that are just taking up space in my head and need to come out. Because that is what I do here.
So here's my best piece of advice to myself and anyone else listening for today – listen to the industry advice to better your chances of surviving, because this gig is really hard and you need all the help you can get. But also, don't forget that just because your work is different than someone else's doesn't mean it's bad or wrong. It's your work and people are allowed to like it even if it is different.
Ahem... pay no mind to the industry folks who just gasped and fainted and are milling about outraged. They'll be fine. They may even rant about it on their blogs! Hey, just doing my part to support my fellow bloggers.
You are awesome and I love you.
I don’t have the words to define that statement to her. Let me tell you why. It all began Tuesday evening when I came home from work.
I opened the back door, like I do every night, but I immediately felt that something wasn’t right. The house was dead quiet, to begin with. Charlie did not greet me as he usually does. Well, he’s getting on in years and he doesn’t always hear me right away. The first thing I do every evening is glance across the kitchen at the little red light on my phone to see whether it is blinking, thus whether I’ve had a phone call while at work. I couldn’t see it. I started getting that creepy feeling you get when something just isn’t right. I turned on the kitchen light.
It took me a few moments of looking around, trying to fathom what was different – because something was different! Someone had been there while I was gone. And Charlie still hadn’t come.
And then I noticed a patch of that hideous orange paint that I painted over the first day I moved into my house nine years ago – everywhere except behind the stove. Why was the stove pulled out? And where was Charlie? And – wait a minute – my kitchen is really clean! The counters were clear, the floor spotless. Nothing was missing… And then I saw it - a big, red bow on the stove.
But it wasn’t my stove. Not my old broken, lightning-sizzled Kenmore. It was a brand new, shiny white GE stove, with a Christmas card from my Mom and a note on top from my sister saying, “Sorry, we wanted to surprise you, but the fittings aren’t right and the plumber has to come back. Charlie cried when I started to leave so I took him with me. Come for dinner.”
It turns out my mother had saved up her pennies for MONTHS to buy me a new stove for Christmas, and never said a word to me about it. And my sister helped Mom purchase it, and coordinated the delivery and the plumber and cleaned my kitchen without even a hint to me that anything was going on! And my nephew, bless him, hired the plumber to fix the fittings and get it hooked up.
I’m so excited to be able to cook again, to contribute to family dinners and just bake for the heck of it. Because I really do love to cook. I forgot how much I love to cook. And I don’t know how to tell my mother that she didn’t just replace my broken oven – she gave something back to me that I truly missed, something I value a great deal, something I do quite well and my ability to share it. She gave me the ability to participate and be a part of things again.
‘Thank you’ just doesn’t seem to say enough.
But really, Mom, thank you.
What a year this has been! It's been eventful, I'll say that. It has presented many challenges, but it has also presented many blessings. This week of Thanksgiving I am thankful, not only for the blessings, but also the challenges that keep me striving, working to figure out how to overcome and get through. They keep me moving forward – they keep me motivated. I wouldn't mind a little less motivation in my life, but I'm grateful for my blessings, all the same.
I’m a new author and now, on top of a full-time job, I have a LOT of extra work to do.
I AM A NEW AUTHOR!!! After many years of trying, I am FINALLY a published author! It is hard work, and at times a bit frustrating, but it’s a blast and I can’t wait to do it again!
My full-time job is demanding and doesn't always make me feel happy.
I have a job. It’s not a glamorous gig, and it doesn’t pay a lot, but I could be unemployed and I’m grateful for it. AND some of the people I work with are truly awesome and amazing people and I’m fortunate to know them.
Two years ago, lightning blew up the transformer in my back yard, taking with it a random assortment of my appliances including my ancient furnace, my old stove, my washing machine, all of the communication equipment in the house (phones, modem, cable box, etc), the coffee pot, the doorbell. Insurance would not cover them because either they were too old or didn’t cost enough to cover the deductible.
My house did not burn down, and Charlie and I are both safe and sound.
My furnace is no more, and I can’t afford to replace it. And winters are dang cold in Iowa!
We have enjoyed a long, warm autumn and from a writer's standpoint, it’s an excellent educational opportunity to learn what it was like when people didn’t have central heating, and still managed to cope. We can always put on sweaters and snuggle under a blanket.
My stove is broken, and I can’t afford to replace it.
There is only Charlie and me at my house, so a little counter-top roaster that I had tucked away has sufficed for most of our cooking needs. Thank goodness I had it!
AND BEST OF ALL – well, maybe I should tell that story tomorrow…
I've just discovered that the 'The Mage Sister' is available in other countries as well as the US. Isn't that something?
I was searching online to see if there were any reviews out there that I hadn't seen (or more accurately, any reviews at all) and my ISBN search came across all these bookstores in other countries that are carrying my book.
It turns out that 'The Mage Sister' is available in:
Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
That's so exciting! When I first started talking about my book back in 2011, I started gathering lots of followers in other countries around the world. I hoped that someday I'd be able to get my book out to them, but had no idea how that would happen.
And I still don't know how it happens, but happily, that doesn't matter. If you live in one of these countries, 'The Mage Sister' is now available for you to read! And if you do read it, wherever you live, I hope you'll leave a review to help others decide whether they'd like to read the book.
There are so many books out there to choose from, now more than ever with the increasing popularity of indie publishing. It can be overwhelming trying to choose a book. Reader reviews help others readers decide if a book is not only well written, but whether it's a book that would interest them.
And, of course, it helps authors by getting the word out about their books. So if you've read a book you loved, don't be shy! Leave a review, or at least give it a star rating. It's the one of the best ways to tell your favorite authors that you appreciate their work!
Mostly loony, generally harmless. Writer & professional smarty pants. Owned by an exasperated spaniel.