September 27, 2010

Love Remains by Kaye Dacus: Review & Giveaway!


Get a group of matchmaking grandmothers together and you get a some fun, romantic stories! Love Remains is the first book in The Matchmakers series, and Kaye Dacus doesn't disappoint with this one.

Delving into parental verbal abuse, long lost love, and investigations of fraud, Dacus gives us a thoughtful, as well as delightful, look into the lives of Zarah Mitchell and Bobby Patterson. Torn apart a decade ago by forces beyond their control, Zarah and Bobby meet unexpectedly at a church singles function. Even after such a long time, feelings are still raw for both of them and Dacus does a brilliant job in slowly bringing them through a journey of re-discovery of one another. Throw in the conflict of Bobby investigating her and her company for fraud, and you've got great tension and turmoil!

I especially loved Dacus jumping into Bobby's feelings as he struggled with his growing love and his investigation of her. BRILLIANT KAYE! It was good to see older singles who have built great careers still have the feelings of their first loves. It made it so much more romantic, in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the rest of the series!

Back Cover:

Zarah Mitchell, who's worked at the Middle Tennessee Historic preservation Commission for more than a decade, is about to face a piece of history that could ruin the life she's built in Nashville: Bobby Patterson--her first love and the reason her father kicked her out fourteen years ago.

Nashville native Bobby Patterson has just returned home after many years away to take a position with the Tennesse Criminal Investigations Unit. His new job: lead a task force investigating potential real estate fraud connected with the Commission.

When Bobby realizes Zarah is part of his investigation, he is tempted to use his grandmother's not-so-subtle setup as a way to learn if Zarah is involved in the fraud.

Zarah, at her grandmother's suggestion, tries to put the pain from the past aside to see if any love remains between her and Bobby. But when she learns he's been investigating her, will she be able to forgive him a second time?

Because I love to share good books, I am giving away a copy of Love Remains. To be considered for the drawing you must give me your spam-free email address in the comment section. Drawing will be held and announced Sunday, October 3.  Due to legalities, only US citizens may enter.


To see Kaye's other books, go HERE.
Kaye's website: http://www.kayedacus.com

***This book was given to me for review and my honest opinion.***

September 24, 2010

Procrasti-Pants

I found a new pair of pants and I've been wearing them for a few weeks now. The Procrasti-Pants. Yes, I've been procrastinating and am getting so frustrated, I could just scream. Actually, my Cranky Pants are wanting to be worn over the Procrasti-Pants, but I am really trying to keep them stuffed in the closet.

I took the month of August off due to massive work hours and moving into a new home. Now that I am settled and ready to jump into a new story, I am doing everything in my power to avoid it.

Whyyyyyy?????????????

Really. Why? Why? Why?

Well, I have a feeling I have found the problem. A sweet friend of mine gave me Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and I am loving it. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Perfectionism. Listen to what Lamont says about it:
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a sh**** first draft.....Perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force. Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up.
I think the problem is that I don't want to write a messy book. My first one didn't have much of a detailed plot and there are some major issues with it--so much that I can't bring myself to finish editing it. It is too much work, according to my perfectist's mind. (Don't worry...I will edit it one day soon, but I want to start something new first.)

I want this next book to be less work in the editing phase, so I want to really get it plotted out and know where the story is going. But I think this may be my problem. I am not allowing myself to write a bunch of drivel, but  sometimes drivel is needed to find the gem. Sometimes the great story is in the midst of the pile of mess that you have created.

I'm thinking I need to have a basic plot, know the 3 acts, the disasters and black moment, and just let loose. Maybe that will get me going.

I'm still finding it difficult to find "My Writing Time". It's time to try some different times and what really works for me. Is early better? 4:30am is really early, but maybe that is best for me. Or maybe 9-10 pm. Could that be the sacred hour? I don't know...we shall see.

So what kind of pants are you wearing these days? Happy Pants? Productive Pants? Cranky Pants? Or the dreaded Procrasti-Pants?

P.S.  By the way, I posted about my Three Country Dream Vacation at The Writer's Alley today...complete with pictures!

September 17, 2010

Mind Bender Friday

What do you post about on a day when the biggest conference for Christian writers is beginning? Do you post about how jealous you are? Do you make your post into a pity party? Do you not post at all since most of your readership is most likely at the conference?

Since I need to bend my mind away from the TripleP (personal pity party), I decided to post my Hi-Lo. Hi-Lo is something we do at the dinner table at my house. Everyone goes around the table and says what the highlight of their day was and the low point of their day. It makes for great conversation starters when those teens don't want to talk. So here is my Hi-Lo for the week.

Low: My 7 month old puppy, Titus, had his little surgery yesterday. I dropped him off at a place that does low cost neutering and I...along with about 20 other people...left our precious pets in the hands of doctors that would  give them stitches and a plastic cone collar to wear.....FOR A WEEK! He has been bumping into furniture and whimpering because he can't get to his food bowl very well. Poor baby. I am hoping this helps calm him a bit and eases some of his aggression that he has shown lately.



High: We have had car trouble and I have had to bum rides or walk home from work. A neighbor across the street stopped by and said a lady at his church couldn't drive anymore and wants to give her car away. Did we want it? God used a complete stranger to bless us in a great need that we had. He never ceases to amaze me with His grace and mercy...and His perfect timing!

And now, for your enjoyment...The Cone of Shame from UP!



September 14, 2010

Interview & Book Giveaway With Debut Author Jody Hedlund!

Oh yes! Today is the day! I'm interviewing debut author Jody Hedlund at....

The Writer's Alley

Stop by to find out more about this up and coming author and enter for a chance to win a copy of your debut book, The Preacher's Bride!


September 13, 2010

Beginning the Character Sketch

This is the week I begin to work on my new story. I've been thinking about this story for a couple of months now, but am not ready to share my storyline. But I will share with you who I have chosen for my main characters.

Here is Emilie, the heroine of my story. She is an art teacher at a middle school. She is cute, a little sassy, but doesn't think she has what it takes to get a boyfriend. She's an artsy kind of girl, a little odd, and is not one to follow the crowd. She is her own person, not afraid to be different. She is strong and independent, and that seems to scare off most guys. She is going to be fun to write, I think.


And here is my hero, Mark. I think I tried to use this actor for the hero in my medieval, but he wasn't manly enough. I ended up using Tom Welling for my medieval. But Ashton is perfect for what I have in mind for this story. He is handsome, cocky, a little stuck on himself, but fun loving. He is the new coach at the middle school where Emilie works and thinks he's "all that". A total opposite of what Emilie looks for in a guy.


I'm trying something new and I know this is another story that won't get published...at least in CBA. Unless I go with something like Marcher Lord Press. It is a paranormal story. Not about vampires, werewolves, or witches. It has to do with a special magic object that could grant my heroine her deepest desire...or cause great havoc in her life--which, of course, it does. Lots and lots of turmoil and catastrophes and fun. I am excited about this story and hope it is good practice for me in writing a contemporary.

I've started my character sketches in my One Note Program and have pasted lots of pictures of my two main characters, but I have a lot of thinking to do to deepen my characters. I only have about 1/10th of my sketching done, but hope as I fill out more of it, I will learn more about each one. To me, this is the fun part of writing. The daydreaming....sigh.

How do you learn about your characters? What processes do you employ to sketch out your characters?

*******SPECIAL ALERT*********
I am interviewing Jody Hedlund tomorrow at The Writer's Alley! She is such an interesting person and you will love learning more about her and her debut book, The Preacher's Bride. Annnddddd, she is giving away a copy to a lucky commenter! Stop by tomorrow for a chance to get a copy!

September 10, 2010

Are You A Giver?

Last week was my birthday and I was not a giver. I was the receiver. We all love receiving gifts, don't we? I received a pedicure from my oldest son and his wife. See the pretty flowers? I loved having my feet pampered, but cringed with embarrassment when the petite woman took my foot in hand and said, "UGH". I replied with a hopeful smile, "Big tip!" She nodded happily and I relaxed in the massage chair, hoping I was not the subject of her fast talking and silly laughter with her friend next to her.

What is it about people that makes them want to give a gift, even when they need their money for other things? I found a card by my bedside table and my heart swelled with emotion as I recognized the creativity of my sweet daughter. I've put up a blurry picture of it. She crafted a card to look like a Kindle and inside was a pocket with a $20 bill in it. You see, I have a Kindle fund and I am 2/3's to my goal. Money is hard to come by for my daughter, so after a babysitting job she had extra cash and promptly gave some to me for my birthday. It makes her happy to give.

Are you a giver? Do you give of your money? Your time? Your expertise? I have found many givers in the writing community. I've had offers to critique my work, guest post a blog, and even brainstorm a bit. These writers are givers.

I often don't give like that because I don't feel qualified to offer my services. But is that really a prerequisite for  giving? Shouldn't we want to give because we have received so much? There is always someone less experienced who could use some encouragement and guidance. We all were beginners once, weren't we?

How has someone given to you? How have you given back?

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