Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bits N Pieces Contest #2


BITS N PIECES CONTEST #2


Tuesday April 30- Monday May 13th

Use the following sentence, “As he washed his blood from her shirt…” as either the beginning or ending of your story.
The topic of the story should be horror

*1000 word limit.  You do not have to use all 1000 words but if you go over you will be eliminated.  

__________________________________


Submissions can be done in one of two ways:

1.     If you have a blog of your own- Post your short story on your website with the header:
             Bits N Pieces Short Story #1. Then under the contest listing leave a comment with the link
             address.

2.)    For those without their own blog- Shoot us an email with your short story in the body. No
             attachements will be opened.

__________________________________

>Winner of the Bits N Pieces Contest will be announced the following Tuesday and will be posted on
              the Winner's Page.
>Winner will receive the Bits N Pieces Award Badge to post on their website and will advance to THE CHALLENGE where all finalists will compete for the grand prize (totaling over $50) by having a Bits N Pieces write-off!

*Author retains all original rights and privileges associated with the story.  Bitemybook reserves the right to publish the winning story on the bitemybook website.

Who's On Top: Fiction



This Week's Spotlight:
Hardcore:
WHISKEY BEACH 
by Nora Roberts
   
For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home…

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of—but never arrested for—the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.

He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents—including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries—one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all…



A - Z Challenge: Z is for Zelda

By: William G. Muir
The title of this post is rather misleading. I am not really going to talk about the video game series Zelda. To be honest with you I have only played about a total of 10 minutes of the game since it was first released in 1986. The reason for that is fairly simple, I never owned a Nintendo. But I wanted one.

When I was in sixth grade every boy that I knew either had a Nintendo, or was getting one for Christmas that year. I too was one of those young boys wishing to wake up Christmas morning to find a Nintendo game system sitting underneath the tree. Instead I found a Sega Master System.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

My disappointment was short lived though, there was two reason for this. The first being that my parents assured me that they tried to getting a Nintendo but they were sold out. However the salesperson had informed my parents that the SMS had better graphics and more colors than the Nintendo. Knowing that my system was the superior one helped lift my disappointment. But what really drove away those dark clouds was the game my Sega came with.

My parents hadn't just bought me a Sega Master System, they bought me the Sega 3D system. Unlike the Nintendo system where the game only came in cartridges, some of the SMS games came on these little cards. Now I never did play any of these games, but none the less the first generation SMS had a built in card reader for those games. That card reader also doubled as a slot for the adapter for the 3D glasses.

So I slid the 3D glasses adapter into the card slot, hooked up the Light Phaser (the gun) and popped the 3D Missile Defense cartridge into the SMS and soon I was trying to shoot down nuclear missiles before they made to their target. If you failed the world was plunged into a nuclear holocaust.

Even though the game only had a limited number of different screens, I found it to be very entertaining. Each time you cycled through the different locations the missiles would increasingly speed up. So they were flying at me so fast I had to swerve to one side or the other. With the 3D effects my mind though the missiles were headed straight towards me.

Having a Sega Master System I missed out on one pain in the neck that every Nintendo owner went through, and that was having to blow into the cartridge to get it to work. Unlike the NES which you loaded the games into the front of the system. All the SMS cartridges were loaded on top of the system. So while other kids were busy trying to get their NES to read their games, I was already on my way to the second round.

Even though the SMS did have as large a game catalog as Nintendo, mainly do to the fact that Nintendo had exclusive deals with third-party suppliers. Add to that the fact that for a few years I was the only kid I knew that had the Sega, I was glad I had the SMS over the Nintendo. Cause the few games that came out for both systems, the Sega games always looked better and had better controls.     

Book Review: Chasing Nikki

Reviewed by Michala T.


About the book

Chase Walker used to be a good kid—charming, athletic, and with a bright future ahead, but that was before travesty struck his life, sinking him into deep despair. Caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol, he doesn’t notice time slipping away until he’s arrested for underage drinking one night. Fed up with watching her son destroy his life, Chase’s mom relocates him to live in a small ranching community with his ex-military grandfather. Chase is far from happy about the situation until he meets, Nikki, the cute cheerleader who won’t give football players like him the time of day. Chase enjoys a good challenge though and sets out to claim Nikki for his own. He soon discovers she’s more than a pretty face—she’s a balm to his troubled spirit also. But when tragedy strikes Nikki’s life too, suddenly Chase finds himself put to the ultimate test. Can he trust Nikki, and all that she’s taught him? Will it be enough?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a life long resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first "big" book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!
Books in the series:
Finding Chase (Chasing Nikki #2)
 

My Personal Review

by Michala T.

 
Chase Walker gets hit with a huge blow when his father dies. Instead of dealing with the pain, grief, and loss he falls into drugs and alcohol. His once charmed life and great future tanks and he finally gets hit with a wake-up call when he is arrested for drinking and driving.
Though he walks away unscathed for the most part he gets a crap-load of community service. If that wasn’t bad enough, his mother decides to ship him off to live with his grandparents. Anger, resentment, and hatred course through his veins.

With a new environment and a lot of community service hours, Chase is trying to both make a place for himself in his new school and still holding true to changing his life for the better. It’s hard though because after living with numbness, one doesn’t want to give up that and actually feel things.
And then he meets Nikki, a good girl who is definitely not prone to dating guys like him. Still Chase isn’t one to give up when he sees something he likes. He gives it all he’s got and when he finally gets what he wants, he isn’t at all prepared for the package.

She makes him feel and this both excites him and scares him. She’s had her own trials in life but that makes him like her ever more. But she didn’t want anything to do with him. I think the ‘chase’was a bit quick and then done with….and the majority of the book was less to do with chasing her as it was their relationship together.
This novel was a sweet read. It reminded me of the emotional aspects of Highway to Heaven or Touched by an Angel television series. This book isn’t just about teaching a lesson, and it’s not at all preachy or focused on making a statement. It’s just a really nice novel that will likely make a few tears spill onto the page.

The characters were great. I really liked Chase’s grandparents, especially the old man. His personality is perfect for his background as ex-military and I could only wish more people would be like this character.
The storyline was realistic for the most part. I felt there were some scenes that seemed a bit…rushed and not up to par with the professional writing style Weatherford displayed through most of the book. Still, I think this book was done very nicely, a great read for a middle or high schooler (or adult!).And if you like books with continuing storylines this is one of them.
This book was a very simple read, nothing complex, and beautifully enjoyable. Chase Walker is not your average trouble maker. He’s had it rough since his father died and he found he could numb his feelings with the aid of drugs and booze. It’s not uncommon. The story propelled the reader into his troubles and it was easy to believe this character; very well-rounded.
I thought the novel was nicely done and deserves credit for being what it is…a book that deals with the hot topics of even today’s young adults. In the times past, one might go to Lois Duncan or Beverly Cleary or writers similar and Weathorford has an amazing ability to reach the pressures and write from the heart. I believe she certainly has a definite opportunity to be just as potent and popular as these writers if she continues on this track.

I wouldn’t mind reading more of her work. For parents of the late 80’s and 90’s, this might be akin to those afterschool specials you grew up on.
Buy this book...here
There is a book two.  

Personal Verdict:8.5/10

Doctor Who A Show Review: Cold War

By: William G. Muir

It is as if I am outside myself. I can feel the icy air slam against my body, but when I look down I see I have no corporeal form. It is as if I am only a thought, a manifestation of pure energy. I wish I did have a body so I could use my hands to pull the lapel of coat closed. I do not wish to freeze to death.

I am soaring high in the sky, gray clouds spread out above me as far as my eyes can see. No sunshine to warm my nonexistent body, no blue sky to lift my soul. Below me a field blue, no an ocean of blue rushes beneath me. I fly among the white mountains of ices. Are these icebergs responsible for the chill I feel.

Suddenly the I am falling from the sky as the surface of the oceans speeds towards what would have been my face. I slam into the freezing liquid, as I crash through the membrane that separates horizon of the ocean blue from the hazy, forever winter, cloud full skies.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Who's On Top: Movies



This Week's Spotlight:
Pain& Gain

To describe “Pain & Gain” as a Michael Bay movie on steroids would be accurate but also redundant and a little misleading. Pumped-up, aggressive, muscle-headed entertainment is Mr. Bay’s specialty, after all, and while this grisly true-crime drama is partly about performance-enhancing drugs and the bulky men who love them, it is also, compared with “Armageddon” or the “Transformers” series, a stripped-down, modest enterprise in which no major American city is reduced to rubble. This is not to suggest that the film, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and based on a series of articles by Pete Collins (published in Miami New Times), is in any way subtle or restrained. The opening scene, a police chase from which the rest of the story flashes back, sets a tone of hectic excess. Mark Wahlberg, running from the heavily armed forces of law and order, dashes across rooftops and lumbers, sometimes in slow motion, through streets and alleys. The camera swirls around him, freezing as a glob of saliva pops out of his mouth, dropping down to allow us a peek up his nostrils and then tilting and sliding to register the impact of his face on the windshield of a car. — A. O. Scott

Top 10 List
1. Pain & Gain
2. Oblivion
3. 42
4. The Big Wedding
5. The Croods
6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
7. Scary Movie V
8. Olympus Has Fallen
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Jurassic Park

Disclaimer: All list and blurbs come from NYTimes.com.

A-Z Challenge: Y is for Youth


By JccKeith

Youth is that wonderful time period before adulthood. I say adulthood and I mean, not necessarily when you turned 18 or whatever age your country/religion considers you to be an adult, but when you officially became an adult.  There is a time period in everyone’s life when they stop, look around and realize they are no longer in their youth.  It is different for each person.

What we consider as adulthood is usually the time period when we can both legally and emotionally take responsibility for our actions.  For some it began when they had children if that was at a young age.  For others it began when they got their first ‘real job.’  For still others it began when they moved out of their parent’s home or graduated high school or college.  Whenever it was, we knew it. 

In my youth I whiled away the hours daydreaming about faraway lands and the excitement and adventure that lay within them.  I wanted to travel the world.  I wanted to be free of the trappings of the small town area I grew up in.  I also wanted to be a doctor.  I wanted to travel to third world countries with the Peace Corps, Mercy Flights or Doctors without Borders or some similar organization and heal the sick.  I wanted to help the poor and suffering.  I, like so many dreamers in their youth, wanted to make a difference in the world.

As an adult, my dreams changed.  I ended up a million miles away from faraway lands and dangerous adventures.  I am not a doctor. I was a biochemist for many years but not any longer.  I decided to pursue another of the dreams of my youth – becoming a published author.  I am now a writer.  I spend my time writing to amuse others, to entertain them or make them think.  Writing is an adventure all on its own. 

As for location, I ended up right back in the same small town area I grew up in with a husband, three kids, a dog, a cat, three rats and a couple of chameleons.  I am happy.  I met the man of my dreams and realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life traveling around to other countries – I wanted to be here raising a family with him.  I realized that making a difference can be done right here in my own house, in my own town, with regular people right here on a daily basis.

How about all of you out there?  What were your dreams in your youth?  How did they turn out?  Did you fulfill your dreams or alter them as new information arrived in your life?

New Release: Playing Tyler

Playing Tyler
By:T. L. Costa
Coming July 2013
(Strange Chemistry/Angry Robots)


Keep telling yourself – it’s just a game... it’s just a game.

Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on much of anything except caring for his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab. Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, his mentor Rick asks him to test an incredible new video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school. But then Brandon goes MIA and Tyler discovers that the game is far more than it seems...

4/28/13 Book Review: After Math

Book Review by: Michelle Baker
Reviewed by Michelle Baker
After Math (Off the Subject #1) by Denise Grover Swank

Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X is for XOXO

by: Michala T.

Nope, this isn't a game of tic-tac-toe. (That is for another x challenge. :) Today we are all about loving each other.

In other words, hugs and kisses or kisses and hugs.
In other words XOXOXOX or OXOXOX

A long long time ago (in the Middle Ages) Christians would draw a cross on their documents. This was a sign of their faith as well as their sincerity and honesty. Once the cross was drawn, a ‘kiss’ would be placed over the cross. This was the sender’s oath. In the early Christian history common people weren’t well rehearsed in reading and writing so this was a simple but sincere method of ‘expressing oneself’ as well as providing a signature.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Failing to Fly: Music Spotlight

Video: Solitude by Failing to Fly


Post by JccKeith

This week's spotlight is on a Phoenix, Arizona band by the name of Failing to Fly or F2F.  How did I find this group?  Well, to be honest I was searching the web, particularly Facebook, for local bands to feature.  Local for me means Louisville, Kentucky.  As it happened, the Facebook page for Failing to Fly popped up on my laptop screen.  I clicked on their page and discovered that they were not a Louisville band but they were awesome!

I decided that I liked their music and I liked their page.  They seemed like just the sort of people I wanted to feature in this spotlight.  Music everywhere should be promoted and in the interest of sharing music from all over with people from all over - I contacted their manager, Debbie Wills for more information on this incredible group.





  • Where did the name Failing to Fly originate?


We are a band called Failing to Fly or F2F. We are not failures by any means.  Our name was created because for most of us we went to church but then the church turned their back on us when we started playing music that was hard rock. We were told we were going to hell and that they would not support us playing Satan's music.

The Flyz all live, eat and sleep music, seriously. All live within a few minutes of each other and practice and write music like most people bathe!


Who's On Top: Music 4/27




This Week's Spotlight:
Pop:
Heart Attack
by Demi Lovato




Casting An Eye At The Pods: Hardcore History

By: William G. Muir

Before I get started there is something I need to say. I have no idea what I am doing. I don't know how to do a review.  Am I suppose to sit here and give you a play by play on what it is I am reviewing. Or am I suppose to sit here and tell you if the thing I am reviewing was any good, or was it god awful? Am I  suppose to tell you if I enjoyed it or not. Or am I suppose to a combination of those things.

I just don't know!

Sure I could probably go on Google a find a checklist of things to look for when conducing a review. But let's be honest here, I could have that list and still not know what it is I am suppose to do. I tell you why that is, I don't know what is good and what isn't. I just know what it is I like. Often times it is nowhere near what other people like. But that's ok.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A - Z Challenge: W is for Wallet

By: William G. Muir
So I thought today I would try writing something simple...I mean about something simple. About something so mundane, an item that most all of use every single day, an item we never give second thought to. I want to talk about, the wallet.

But what do I say about the wallet? It is such an ordinary object that it doesn't bring any real thoughts to mind. It is therefore a challenge I am willing to accept.

I guess I could start off by talking about my wallet. There is just one problem, there is nothing to talk about. My wallet is so underwhelming if I was to have my wallet lifted, the pick pocket would only be getting practice. My wallet basically has nothing in it. At the moment there no money in it, no credit or bank cards, no photos of family members. Besides my drivers licenses and social security card.

Who's On Top: Graphic Novels 4/26

 This Week's Spotlight:
Hardcover:
All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Here Comes Yesterday
by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen
 
It's a blast from the past as the original five students of Professor X - Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel and Beast - are plucked from the past and brought to the present. But what they find, the state that their future selves are in and the state of Xavier's dream, is far from the future they dreamed of. And how will the X-Men of the present deal with their past coming crashing forward?




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Contrarian

- Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


By: William G. Muir
I guess you could label me as a contrarian. As soon as words come out of someone else mouth I automatically take the opposite position. Even if it is on a point of view that I might agree with. Call it skepticism, call it playing devil's advocate, call it being a hypocrite. Call it whatever you like, that is just how I look at the world.   

Having said that, what really gets under my skin is when some advises people that they should chose their own path. While I don't disagree with this sentiment, I do take issue with the tone that it is often delivered in. The attitude of the people who usually going around saying this kind of stuff is one of you are just to stupid to realize this yourself, so I need to point it out to you.   

A-Z Challenge: V is for Vicious


By JccKeith

Vicious is defined by several sources as being addicted to or characterized by vice or immorality.  Why is this definition important?  Well it’s not.  What is important is how you spell the word.  I personally seem to be unable to ever spell this word correctly in my writing.  I always end up looking it up because auto correct always tries to make it viscous.  Viscous means thick in consistency, glutinous in nature.  It is nowhere near vicious in meaning.

How many times have I been type, type, typing away only to stumble up because of a single word.  I am well into the throes of a caffeine fueled run of words and ideas only to be tripped up unexpectedly by a fairly common word.  It is distracting.  It usually manages to throw me off enough to disrupt my chain of thought.  I have to stop, pull up the internet – or, and I know this is unheard of these days, grab the nearby dictionary to look up the correct spelling of certain words.  Granted it only takes a minute, maybe two to find the correct spelling but that is all it takes to derail my thought train.

Who's On Top: Children's Books



This Week's Spotlight:
Picture Book:
The Dark 
by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of the dark.

The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn't come into Lazslo's room. But one night, it does.

This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark.

With emotional insight and poetic economy, two award-winning talents team up to conquer a universal childhood fear.

Never Trust and Angel

An Excerpt from Never Trust an Angel

by: Crystal Smith-Connelly


About the Author

Crystal Smith-Connelly has written more than fifty plays, some of which have been
performed in New York, Los Angeles, Maryland, and France. Known for her twisted
sense of humor, she counts Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Conan O'Brien, Sarah
Silverman, and Tina Fey among her influences and hopes that someday Will Ferrell
will star as Zeus in one of her plays. Crystal lives with her husband in
Charleston, SC and would be delighted to hear from you at
www.facebook.com/crystalsmithconnelly or crystalsmithconnelly@yahoo.com.
For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology is Crystal's first
book, and she looks forward to publishing many more!

 

EXCERPT:

Setting: Hell, Satan and Angel’s kitchen, morning.

At rise: ANGEL, a blonde woman dressed all in white, places a basket of muffins on a table set for three. SATAN enters, wearing a black suit with a red shirt and carrying a briefcase. Satan sets the briefcase down and kisses Angel on the cheek.

SATAN
Good morning, Angel!

ANGEL
Good morning! Have some breakfast…I made your favorite!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who's On Top: Nonfiction





This Week's Spotlight:
Hardcover:
GIVE AND TAKE 
by Adam Grant

An innovative, groundbreaking book that will captivate readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, The Power of Habit, and Quiet

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton's youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, this landmark book shows how one of America's best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron's demise four years before the company collapsed-without ever looking at a single number.

Praised by bestselling authors such as Dan Pink, Tony Hsieh, Dan Ariely, Susan Cain, Dan Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin, Bob Sutton, David Allen, Robert Cialdini, and Seth Godin-as well as senior leaders from Google, McKinsey, Merck, Estee Lauder, Nike, and NASA-Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.


A to Z challenge: U is for U-turn

U-turn
by: Michala T. 

Have you gotten your lines crossed in your personal life on that golden road to the published book? Have you lost a bit of that burning passion with which you originally began this road?

When I began writing I wasn’t doing it to show everybody the miraculous, brilliant piece I’d created. I was writing because it was therapy for me. It was my voice, being recorded forever, and I knew that I could grow up and turn back to those recordings and peruse through them and remember how hard or easy I had it, what events caused me to cry and how I pulled myself up, and well, it was for ME. Not for anybody else.

Author Spotlight: Crystal Smith-Connelly

Crystal Smith-Connelly



For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology contains six short plays about the most entertaining of the Greek gods. Join Zeus as he suffers through marriage counseling, makes an indecent proposal to his sisters, and tries to sleep with anything that moves.

For I Am Zeus: Zeus tries to pick up a woman at a bar.
Master of Disguise: Zeus is reunited with a few of his past lovers...and they are not happy.
'Til Death Do Us Part: Zeus and Hera give marriage counseling a try.
Last
God Standing: Zeus and God are the final two on a reality show (hosted
by Jesus) which will determine who is the most awesome god of all time.
Four's a Crowd: Zeus tries to talk his sisters into a four-way.
A Greek God Walks Into a Bar...: Zeus hosts a speed-dating night at his son's bar.

For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology was voted best comedy book of 2012 in the Turning the Pages Book of the Year contest.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's On Top: Fiction


This Week's Spotlight: 
Hardcover:
DADDY'S GONE A HUNTING 
by Mary Higgins Clark

In this new novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark, the reigning “Queen of Suspense,” a dark secret from a family’s past threatens the lives of two sisters, Kate and Hannah Connelly.
When the family-owned furniture firm, including the mansion where priceless antiques are kept, explodes into flames in the middle of the night, Kate must escape to save her life. But the suspicious circumstances point to her involvement. Was the explosion set deliberately? Why was Kate, a gorgeous CPA for one of the biggest accounting firms in the country, on the premises at that hour? And why was Gus, a retired and trusted employee, with her? Now Gus is dead and Kate lies in the hospital gravely injured. Hannah, Kate’s sister and a rising fashion designer, must discover what drew them there and what dangerous secrets lies hidden in the ashes.

Step by step, in a novel of dazzling suspense and excitement, Mary Higgins Clark once again demonstrates the mastery of her craft that has made her books international bestsellers for years. Daddy’s Gone A Hunting presents the reader with a perplexing mystery and a fascinating cast of characters—one of whom may just be a ruthless killer.
 

Lessons from a Cracked Rearview Mirror: Dessert before Dinner?





Lessons from a Cracked Rearview Mirror


I’ve been in school for an eternity already, or so it feels. Trying to work, study, and write (on top of raising a family) is damn near impossible. Somehow I’ve managed to do it and I consider myself very blessed thus far.

I’m not the most responsible ‘student’ and I’ll admit I’ve done my share of procrastinating until way past a deadline. And being in school for this long has ultimately left me feeling completely burnt out on ‘learning’ and ‘studying’. I’m bone dry. At least I feel that way and still my professors push and push and I somehow manage to produce more scholastic papers.

All this studying has zapped me of my creative sparks. My urge to write is ever present and I even find my fingers twitching with the need to type a piece of a story out. But I tell myself I can’t allow the creative me to come out until the school work is done.

Cover Extravaganza: Going After the Heart

Going After The Heart

by: Kristen Beairsto

Lizzy Bergstrum thought she finally reached a point in her life when she could honestly say she had it all. A thriving writing career. A wonderful daughter. And a marriage to the love of her life. But looks can apparently be deceiving because her husband just walked out on her and their eight year old daughter hates her.

Gavin Bergstrum can’t handle the direction his life has taken. Not only did he get laid off from his job, but his wife seems to barely remember he exists. Convinced he’s tried his best to change things, he begins to wrestle with the possibility of divorce. But he can’t think straight in the same house as Lizzy. Hating to leave his daughter, but needing time to think and come to terms with what he feels he needs to do, Gavin decides to return to his small home town in Oregon and stay at his family ranch with his father and brothers.

In shock, Lizzy gives Gavin his space. But as time passes and he doesn’t say a word about their marriage, Lizzy decides it’s past time she takes matters into her own hands. Without a word, she follows Gavin to Oregon.

Now facing a daughter who blames her for everything, an irritated husband, and a small town that feeds on the drama, Lizzy finds herself trying to figure out how to convince Gavin to give her another chance, teach her daughter it takes two to make a successful marriage, and overcome her own insecurities – all without compromising who she is.


About the Author

In between her to-be-read pile and trying to bring the characters in her head alive, Kristen spends as much time as she can with family and friends. Much to her husband’s dismay, she enjoys collecting purses, shoes, and jewelry. During those rare times she’s not working at her day job, rushing her daughters somewhere, watching movies with her husband, and trying to meet a deadline, she can usually be found energetically cheering for one of her favorite New York sports teams.

As with just about every other writer on the planet, Kristen grew up an avid reader. She started with young adult before she technically hit the age range and moved on to sci-fi classics by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. At fifteen, her best friend gave her a book she just had to read! The book was Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts. Always a sucker for a happy ending, she was a goner and fell in love with the romance genre. Having started writing novel length stories at the age of eleven, Kristen’s stories all took a romantic turn from that point on.

You can connect with Kristen through her website www.KristenBeairsto.com, Facebook www.facebook.com/AuthorKristenBeairsto, or Twitter www.twitter.com/AuthorKBeairsto.




Monday, April 22, 2013

What Sylvia Plath Said: Self-Doubt


By JccKeith

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
Truer words were never spoken.  I know very few people who create who do not suffer from bouts with self doubt.  There is that moment after you create something where you feel ecstatic.  It feels great to complete a project.  It feels significant.  There is a brief moment where you stand back and marvel at your creation.  You smile, you nod at the accomplishment.

Then, sometimes only minutes later, you begin to second guess your decisions.  You look at your work as someone else, someone outside of yourself.  You wonder what others will think.  You wonder what flaws they will find.  You wonder whether they will understand your intention.  You wonder whether they will appreciate not just your effort but your talent.  Then you begin to wonder if you have talent.

Is everything you create worthless?  Is everything you have created not as good as you thought?  Do people really like your work or have they just been ‘being nice’ to your face?  How does your work stand up compared to everyone else’s? 

Who's On Top: Movies




This Week's Spotlight:
Oblivion

If only it were less easy to laugh at “Oblivion,” a lackluster science-fiction adventure with Tom Cruise that, even before its opening, was groaning under the weight of its hard-working, slowly fading star and a title that invites mockery of him and it both. The agony of being a longtime Tom Cruise fan has always been a burden, but now it’s just, well, dispiriting. You not only have to ignore the din of the tabloids and swat away the buzzing generated by his multiple headline-ready dramas, you also have to come to grips with the harsh truth that it no longer actually matters why and how Tom Terrific became less so. No one else much cares. — Manohla Dargis



Top 10 Movies:
1. Oblivion
2.  42
3.  The Croods
4. Scary Movie V
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
6. The Place Beyond the Pines
7. Olympus Has Fallen
8. Evil Dead
9. Jurassic Park
10. Oz the Great and Powerful

Disclaimer: List and blurb come from NYTimes.com.

Cover Extravaganza: The Children and the Blood


The Children and The Blood
 Book one of the series ‘The Children and The Blood'
 Megan Joel Peterson

 
A forgotten life.

A secret war.

Eight years ago, an exploding gas main killed Ashley’s family and left her with a childhood she can’t remember. Eight years later, the forgotten past is behind her and life on her isolated farm is all she knows.

Until that past comes looking for her.

Until men with superhuman powers hunt her down in the night, determined to take everything she loves away from her again.

 

 Amazon (US, UK and elsewhere), Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords

Further information can be found on my website at www.meganjoelpeterson.com. I am also on Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/meganjoelpeterson



Megan Joel Peterson lives somewhere between the cornfields of Illinois and fantasy worlds filled with magic and wizards. She writes by day, writes by night, and occasionally decides to fit sleeping in between. The Children and The Blood is her first published novel.

Fantasy/Young Adult Fiction Writer

Author of 'The Children and The Blood'

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine e-book retailers.



A-Z Challege: T is for Toons.

By: William G. Muir
No this article is not about the short lived and virtually unknown fantasy role playing game Toon. Though I did own a copy of the Player's Handbook and one of the companion books, at one time. It seemed like a pretty cool concept for a game. The players got to role up and play there characters in a universe governed by the laws of cartoons. How could that not be fun? If I could get my hands on a copy of the books and find some people willing to play I would like to give the game a try.

It would be something different.

No, what I want to do is jump back in the WABAC machine and travel to the 1980s. Why do I want
to go back to the 80s, you might be thinking to yourself? Cause that was when I was boy and watched cartoons. Ok sure I still watch cartoons today, (I'm never growing up) but the cartoons were different back then. At least they were to me.

Doctor Who A Show Review: The Rings Of Akhaten


By: William G. Muir
I have to say it, there is no other way around. I just have to come out and say it. I did not like this episode of Doctor Who! There I said it. Now we can all move on.

No I am afraid not. I would be failing in my job as a reviewer if I didn't go into the reason why I didn't like this episode. So just sit back and I will try to not make this hurt too much. But I do advise that you all put on your safety helmet and safety glasses. We are about to plunge head first into a big pool of Epic Fail

Before we get into the things that I didn't care about this, lets first look at somethings that I did enjoy.
I liked that the Doctor mentioned his granddaughter in this episode. It seems like too many times they try and distance the fact that Doctor once had a family. And if they do mention it is only in short bits. We are never given any details about them. The only reason we know the Doctor must have had children in the past at all is because we were introduced to Susan Foreman. Some might say by not giving us any information on the Doctor's family it gives the character an air of mystery. Fine I will go with that, but that doesn't mean you have to almost completely ignore the fact that he did have a family at one time.

I also liked when the Doctor asked Clara where she wanted to go that she didn't have an answer for him. I too am like that, ask me what my favorite book or movie is and I draw a blank. Maybe cause I don't spend all that much time thinking about what my favorite this is or what I think what the best that is. There needs to be more scenes like this in television and movie. It adds just a bit more realism overall. 

Martial Law: What is your take on it?


By: michala t.
 
The Boston Bombing is behind us…as in days and yet they will remain in our memories just as any other horrific event whether global scale or personal. Our thoughts definitely went out to those who were immediately affected by the event. Having said that I wanted to raise a question to our viewers.

I have read various sources saying that on April 19th, a manhunt took place for the bombing suspect. During this process many homes were ‘searched’. I am wondering whether those people minded or not. They were not voluntary. The police and federal agents never knocked at the door and said, “may we search your home”. And I’ve seen a few videos of homes where the people were pulled away from their homes at gunpoint and then rushing into the house to perform their search.

I am not on the up and up with legalities and such. I’m so far away from being a professional of history and geography nor do I know all the laws. I have heard of ‘martial law’ (thank you television and Hollywood) but seeing it in action from a person’s video camera was eerily troublesome.

My question to the viewers here is:

Would you mind being treated like this (under Martial Law) knowing that they were searching for a terrorist or would you have a problem with it?

I personally…well, I freak out over a simple police officer pulling me over. So I’m sure I’d probably shit my pants or something of that nature if I had guns pointed at me and people yelling at me to….(fill in the blank). But Would I mind it so much because it was for the sake of protecting our country?

I think I would. I don’t appreciate my rights being taken away. I wouldn’t appreciate being treated like I’M the one who is doing something and by having guns pointed at me, yells in my face, and what not…I think I would mind it very much.

But of course, all this is hypothetical as its not happened to me. I’m sure the people person taking this picture wasn’t expecting Martial Law to come knocking at their door either. I suppose it was hypothetical until April 19th for them too.

I mean…look at this picture. Do you see that soldier pointing a gun at ‘you’. Would you really not mind that?

YIKES!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Picture: Painting with Style


Digital Anime and Manga Paintings by Sakimichan

This painting is the work of Sakimichan

I didn't have any paintings to share with you but then I found this one and it was so striking and vivid.  I visited the website of Mayhem and Muse and was in awe of their beautiful work and found several other artists I'd like to check out.  

A-Z Challenge: S is for Satisfaction


By JccKeith

I was going to open this post by saying, “I can’t get none.”  Fortunately, this week has been wildly successful for me so not only would saying “I can’t get none” be grammatically incorrect, it would also be untrue.  This is the first week in a very long time where I feel a sense of accomplishment and control over what is going on in my life.

I could list here the details of why I feel this week has been successful but I’m not the kind of person to brag.  I’m the kind of person who shares the wealth.  I stole that phrase from a card on either Monopoly or Go For Broke – both copyrights/trademarks of Parker Bros.  The card reads simply, “Share the Wealth.”  I guess you could say I never forgot it and have been using that phrase ever since.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.  I have been very successful this week and have accomplished much so I thought I would share some tid bits of insightful information.  Now these are just a few rules I’ve been following this week so take into account that they might not work for everybody.  Without further ado:

 Rules to Live by to be Successful:

  •  Work hard and play hard


  •  Figure out what you want.  If you don’t know what you want, you will probably be unable to get it.


  • Make a plan of how to get what you want or how to achieve your goals


  • Be realistic on what is possible to accomplish


  • Follow the plan, as best you can, but leave room for adjustments or unforeseen events like a FarScape, Stargate, Walking Dead or Dr. Who marathon on television – watching the entire marathon should easily fit right into your plan if and when the situation arises


  • Reward yourself for accomplishing small steps along the way
    Not Good at Outlines


  • Remember that the internet, while it can be your friend, is distracting and can quickly spiral out of control into an endless black hole of wasted time that refuses to release its hold upon you.


  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Denying that you will make them or beating yourself up about it won’t get you any further along on your list


  • For guaranteed reassurance – ask your dog.  Your dog will always think you’re brilliant no matter how badly you f*** up


  • Have others read your work whenever possible but remember that rats are useless for offering feedback on writing. They are much more likely to chew up your work and use it for building a nest.


  • Caffeine is your friend but be on the lookout for overdoses.  Know the signs: If your heart begins to race uncontrollably, your hands begin to shake or you have a mild heart attack or stroke – chances are good you’ve had too much.

  • Never take your cat’s advice on how to write an outline.  Do your own research and figure it out for yourself.

  • Chameleons, no matter how wise they may seem, know absolutely nothing about writing.  Don’t let
    Know Nothing about Writing
    them fool you.

  • Read other people’s blogs and make comments.  Not only might you learn something you hadn’t thought of before or had forgotten but you will make someone else happy.  Writers love comments, so go make some.  They don’t have to be the most insightful prose ever written, just a quick hello, I stopped by and read your blog post is enough if you have nothing else to contribute.  Also, taking time out to surf the blogosphere gives you a reprieve from your own writing which is a good thing every once in a while.

  • Remember that the rest of the world will do anything and everything in its power to derail your train of thought and take you away from your writing.  Have a back up plan.  Have an excuse at the ready why you can’t stop writing at the moment and they will have to fend for themselves for another hour or so.  Have a way to get back on track quickly whether that is going into a different room, meditating for a few minutes, telling your cat how you feel about the distraction, or having the ability to tune out the world around you.  If you have no way to get back on track easily, find one because you will need it.


There you have it.  My secrets to success.  Now granted, not all of you have a dog, a cat, three rats and two chameleons so you might have to disregard a few of those.  You might also have to adapt the list to suit your personal issues.  You might have to have a laugh at my list, realize I’ve had way too much sugar today and throw it out to make your own.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck to you.  My final parting advice is, and everyone should know this, if you or someone with you ever utters the phrase, “I have a bad feeling about this,” things are not going to go well.  Alter your current course of action accordingly.