Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Battling stress-Open Book Blog Hop

Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop. This week we're talking about our methods of relieving stress.

Anyone here remember MAD Magazine's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman? I know, I'm dating myself, but he's one of my heroes. His slogan was "What, me worry?" That's been my mantra for much of my life. Only I take it a little farther.

See, when I find myself worrying about something, the first thing I ask myself is can I do something about it? If the answer is yes, then I need to get my act together and just do it. And if I can't do anything about it, then I need to find something better to spend my energy on.

Shoot, if my mother's stories are true, I had the same attitude as a baby. I was born weeks late, and when I finally decided to make my appearance, I was sucking my thumb. Yes folks, I was sucking my thumb while my poor mother spent hours trying to give birth to me. Of course,it was all for show, because I'm told I never sucked my thumb after that.

Now, if I'm being honest, I will admit that there are a few things that make me stressed. When my now grown-up kids were having issues as children, I stressed about how I could help them. When economics meant I needed to stretch not enough money too far, I stressed. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I stressed. (She's a survivor!)

Then I got out of my chair and did something. What I did depended upon the situation. But even making the plan of what I needed to do would help relieve the stress. Of course, I have some standard remedies for stress relief. I guess they came to me instinctively, because they are things I've done since I was a youngster.

I've always liked going for hikes and long walks. Growing up I lived in the country, and I'd spend hours walking along the nearby back roads and through the forests and meadows. I may not have as much time to do that as I used to, but I still go exploring when I get the opportunity,

If you've been reading my posts, you know that I do needlecraft. (Didn't catch that post? Check the archives for the July Crafty Things post.) I find it totally relaxing to poke a needle and thread (or yarn) through canvas or cloth and end up with something beautiful. (At least in my humble opinion!)

My habit of getting up to the mountains whenever I can is another way to shed any stress I might be feeling. I say that the mountains "feed my soul." I lived for too many years near sea level, and I spent a lot of time plotting how to get back to hilly country. I'm here now, and I'm still plotting how I can get even nearer and stay longer!

Finally, there's my writing. Frankly, it causes me stress at the same time it relieves stress. Trying to find the right words can me a real headache. But once I finally get a story down, it's such a satisfying feeling that I have to start all over again.

Want to find out what how other authors relieve stress? You can click on the links below, but I suggest you start over at Traci wooden-Carlisle's blog. Check out her books while you're there. Traci Wooden-Carlisle  (Isn't that a beautiful cover?)

And feel free to leave a comment and tell us how you relieve stress. 

Code for Linnking:

get the InLinkz code

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Songs from My Past

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop: Songs from your past. Share your high school music loves.

Rebellion. That was the theme of music during my high school years. It was the height of the Vietnam protest era and the songs we listened to reflected the political discontent of the generation.

"Revolution" by the Beatles may have been a B side song, but it's popularity couldn't be denied. There were several versions, but the words expressed the feelings of many of my peers. Revolution. After all, we wanted to change the world.

If you've never heard it, take a listen. Or listen to it again. For some of us, it never gets old. In fact, it's one of the songs my mother made the rule for—it could only be played once, and not over and over.

But the Beatles were tame compared to some of the other music. Woodstock introduced many groups to a wider audience. Some are still well-known, others have faded into history. Country Joe and the Fish may never have received much radio airtime as their Vietnam song didn't meet decency standards, but their songs were made popular by word of mouth. Vietnam Song

Putting together this list reminded me of so many other great songs. There's WAR by Edwin Starr and the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black. There's the Eve of Destruction and Fortunate Son.

But not all the popular songs were protest songs. Top songs ranged from Tony Orlando's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" Ribbon  to John Denver's Rocky Mountain High. Rocky Mountain. Women singers had their share of popularity. Roberta Flack,Dionne Warwick, Janis Joplin, Carol King, Olivia Newton-John and Aretha Franklin all had major hits. Me and Bobby McGee was an anthem for every girl who longed to cut loose from society's expectations and find themselves. 

Frankly, I could ramble on for a long time. So many songs, and I spent several hours reminiscing as I put this post together. So before I get off on another tangent—I haven't even got to the country songs that crossed over to the popular lists—I'll stop here and send you over to another of the authors. But before you leave, don't forget to share the songs from your high school years in the comments.

PJ Fiala is the author of the Rolling Thunder Series. You can check out her books HERE  and see what music she listened to here PJ Fiala

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Title: Protect and Serve Anthology
Authors: Various
 Release Date: September 14, 2015

Introducing Protect and Serve, a
collection of EXCLUSIVE, NEVER RELEASED novellas from 11 amazing
authors, including NYT and USA Today bestsellers!
From rookie cops to special ops, this collection celebrates all that Protect and Serve.

J.M. Madden - Her Secret Wish
Sharon Hamilton - True Navy Blue
Amity Cross - Rebel (A Men of The Underground Novella)
Stacy Green - Shots Fired (A Cage Foster/Delta Detectives novella)
Jamie Lee Scott - Uncertain Blue (an Uncertain Novella)
Allie K. Adams - Brace for Contact
Hildie McQueen - Tea, Theft and Scones
Cheryl Bradshaw - Dead of Night
Carra Copeland - Lilah By Midnight
Jenna Bennett - Overcome
Danielle Stewart - Running from Shadows

Purchase Links



J.M. Madden - Her Secret Wish
Rachel Searles, a former Marine Pilot, normally did the rescuing, so she’s a little off balance when Denver PD officer Dean West comes to her aid in a crash. He’s incredibly handsome, seductive and threatens all her natural defenses.
Dean West is intrigued by the warrior woman with pain in her eyes. As she adjusts to her new life, he wants to be a part of it. Will he be able to surmount her fears and convince her to take a chance with her heart?

Connect with J.M. Madden

Sharon Hamilton - True Navy Blue (Novella)

Zak Chambers grows up in the shadow of a home grown hero he’s always being compared to. But even heroes can be unlucky, and when the legendary SEAL sacrifices his life overseas, Zak is moved to follow in his footsteps.

His fast and furious fling in high school, Amy Dobson, is still the wild child daughter of the local Chief of Police, doing her best to excise her demons by partying with half the male population of their town. She barges back into his life and Zak finds he is powerless to resist her. They explosively reconnect one last time before he ships off to the Navy.

But will it be enough to save her from terrorists and for a happily ever?

Sharon’s next book, SEAL Brotherhood Band of Bachelors: Lucas, is on preorder now:

Connect with Sharon Hamilton

Amity Cross - Rebel
(A Men of the Underground Novella) 
Kane “Rebel” Sturgess is the newest fighter at The Underground, an illegal cage fighting racket that’s bad news…and big money. He’s set to make his fortune with the only thing he’s ever been good at. Fighting dirty.

He’s got no job, no family, no ties and this is his ticket to an easier life. Winning a Championship in this place could mean better and more honest things for a guy like him.

Enter Charlotte “Charlie” Croft, undercover detective with the Victoria Police, tasked with bringing an end to The Underground. She’s got her work cut out for her considering most of her fellow cops are taking bribes on the side from the ringleaders. The only chance she’s got is if she heads in undercover and immerses herself in the life. She needs to get close to her targets, collect evidence and pounce…all without being found out.

What she doesn’t expect is to fall for one of the fighters. A handsome, dangerous, bad boy with a rap sheet longer than War and Peace. A fighter who goes by the name Rebel.

There’s only one thing he’s interested in cracking, and it isn’t The Underground. It puts Charlie in an impossible position and she’s got to make a choice before she winds up in a body bag.

Her heart or her career. She can’t have both…or can she?

Connect with Amity Cross

Stacy Green - Shots Fired
(A Cage Foster/Delta Detectives novella)

Cage Foster is finishing up a long shift as a criminal investigator for the Adams County, Mississippi's Sheriff department. He's eager to go home to his fiancé and new baby when a report of shots fired at a friend's historical antebellum home changes everything.

When Cage arrives at Magnolia House, he discovers a victim on the front lawn and realizes his friends are still trapped inside. A domestic dispute between two guests has gone horribly wrong, and the hostage negotiation team won't arrive before the situation explodes.

With time running out, Cage must sneak into the house through the long forgotten tunnel once used to shuttle slaves back and forth. Once inside, his only hope is a surprise attack, but the old house has tricks of its own.

Will Cage be able to save his friends, or will he become yet another victim of a furious husband hellbent on punishment?

Connect with Stacy Green

Jamie Lee Scott - Uncertain Blue
(an Uncertain Novella)

When he was just a kid, Dane Briggs spent his summers in Uncertain, at his uncle's house on the lake. Now he's back in Uncertain, as a rookie cop. During his first week on the force, he's reunited with his childhood crush, Claire Hamilton. She's one of the people arrested during a drug bust. Dane feels a sense of responsibility he can't explain, and wants to save her. Can Dane save someone who isn't ready to be saved?

Connect with Jamie Lee Scott

Allie K. Adams - Brace for Contact
Leaving is easy…

As an agent in the State Bureau of Investigation’s Narcotics Unit, it’s Norman “Nash” Ashford’s job to track down the drugs destroying his city and get them off the street. He’s one of the best narc agents the SBI has. Even with his talent at tracking, he’s never been able to find the one that got away—the brightest star to have ever blinded him. Nash has been trying to track her down ever since she walked away half a decade ago.

TREX Cadet Michaela “Mike” Starr is pulled from training on a matter of national security. Her ex-boyfriend has intel vital to the success of a find and is refusing to deliver, so TREX sends her in to persuade him to divulge his source. The man she ran away from is now her target.

Coming back is a whole other story.

Nash and Mike must work together to overcome their past, all while trying not to make the same mistakes. Instead, they make all new ones. Will they get it right this time?

Connect with Allie K. Adams

Hildie McQueen - Tea, Theft and Scones

Random thefts are rampant in Whisper, Georgia and Abbie Adams, the owner of Sweet Magnolia Tea shop decides to step in and help investigate. After all with the Whisper Festival about to take place, the town doesn't need this hanging over their collective heads.

It's more complicated than she expects, as everyone seems to be hiding something. From the new hunky veterinarian to the town's mayor.

Just as Abbie gets closer to solving who the random thief is, she becomes the prime suspect.

Connect with Hildie McQueen

Cheryl Bradshaw - Dead of Night

On the outside, the Bancrofts are an ordinary, squeaky-clean family. No frills. No scandals. When matriarch June Bancroft is fatally stabbed after a weekly Sunday dinner, all eyes are on her daughter-in-law Wren who was seen fleeing the house with the bloody knife. Is Wren really the killer, or is a dark, scandalous family secret to blame?

Connect with Cheryl Bradshaw

Carra Copeland - Lilah By Midnight

Lilah Canfield has one last chance to save her career as a country music performer with a performance at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth. Bad thing is the worst snow storm in a century has hit the Texas Panhandle making passage on the highways dangerous at best and closed at worst. When her motor coach slides off the road into a snow bank outside her hometown of Mistletoe, Texas, will Lilah make her gig and save her career? Or will she give it all up for a second chance at love?

Two years after the death of his wife, Sheriff’s Deputy Jack McCommas is ready to move forward for himself and his eight year old daughter. When he and a friend stop to help the folks in a stranded motor coach, he can't believe Lilah Canfield's standing in front of him and is literally shocked to realize the old spark is still there when they touch. He uncovers a plot to sideline Lilah’s career and realizes he has a dilemma. If he solves the mystery and she chooses her music, will he be able to let her go a second time? Or will he try to convince her to stay in Mistletoe?

Connect with Carra Copeland

Jenna Bennett – Overcome

The last thing Carmen Fuentes wants, is another encounter with a rapist.

She couldn’t get away from Key West fast enough after the trial of Stan Laszlo. Attending the Miami Police College gave her time away from her hometown—away from the stares and whispers, from the pity and the people who thought she’d probably done something to bring it on herself. It also gave her a chance to get on her feet again, to find purpose to her life and some meaning in what happened to her.

But when she envisioned a future in which she helped catch other predators before they could hurt other women, she’d seen herself doing it from a safe distance, behind a desk at the Key West Precinct. Not dressing up in the kind of skimpy outfit she hasn’t worn since before the trial, and hitting the Miami nightspots trying to catch the attention of a serial rapist preying on young Hispanic women.

Yet that’s exactly what Detective Will Murphy offers. A chance to help catch a sexual predator, and to prove—to Will and herself—that when she took the oath to serve and protect, she wasn’t just mouthing words.

But can Carmen handle another encounter with a rapist? Can she trust Will to have her back? And can she put the past behind her and move toward the future, a future that might include Will?

Connect with Jenna Bennett

Danielle Stewart - Running from Shadows

As hard as he tries, Roark Miller can’t forget the cases he worked as a homicide detective in Detroit. The haunting images are blazed into his mind. When he crosses paths with a victim ten years later, the details of her beating and the murder of her boyfriend come crashing back to him. Now Demi's life is in danger again and Roark must act fast to save her from a past she’s not willing to admit even exists. She can’t face the truth and he can’t stop hunting for answers, but their love might be the only thing to keep them both alive.
Connect with Danielle Stewart


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Remembering 9/11—Open Book Blog Hop

There are certain moments that define our lives and become part of our culture. The Kennedy assassinations, Kent State, Mount Saint Helens, the Challenger exploding, and of course, the events of September 11, 2001.

I'm not going to post any pictures for this entry. We've all seen them, and for those of us who lived through the day, they're burned into our brain. Each time I see them, the terror  and sorrow of the day rushes back.

I was working in a small branch of a law-enforcement related agency. It was a fairly normal, busy day, with scads of paperwork to get down for the courts. I'm not sure which on my co-workers first alerted the rest of the office to the first plane crashing, but soon the word spread.

A TV was set up in an office so we could keep track of what was going on while continuing to work. We tried to keep things going normally—we had clients in and out of the office—but it wasn't easy. When the second plane flew into the Towers, none of us could believe it.

I think the tears started flowing when the towers collapsed. 

When the plane plowed into the Pentagon, it  get personal. I have a brother who lived and worked in the Washington DC area, and although he didn't work for the military, I was worried about him. I was also worrying about my sister, who sometimes—but rarely—went into New York for her job.  

About the time we heard the first reports of a plane flying around Pennsylvania, the building was evacuated. No one could imagine our little office would be a target for anyone, but no one could imagine any of the day's events. I was freaking out, because most of my family lived in Pennsylvania—my parents in particular because they lived in rural are in the western portion of the state— and suddenly we were cut off from the news. There we were, standing in the hot Florida sun, watching the skies, while I worried about about my parents and my siblings. 

I didn't even have a cell phone to call them. Luckily, a few of my co-workers did, and one let me use hers to try to reach my parents. It took too long to get through. The lines were overloaded and it took too many tries before I was able to establish a connection. Finally, I got ringing at the other end, and my mother picked up.

At that point, most of my brothers and sisters had checked in. Everyone was safe. The only sibling that hadn't reached  out to my parents was in a location that appeared to be safe.

Eventually, we were allowed back inside and we went back to work. Not that anything went back to normal. 

One of the weirdest things over the next couple of days was the absence of planes in the skies overhead. There were always planes in the sky, no matter one time of the day or night as we lived along several major plane routes. To look around and see no contrails, and hear nothing but traffic and birds, felt like a scene out of a sci-fi flick.

And that's my personal remembrance of 9/11. If you'd like to share yours, you can do it in the comments.

To read about the experiences of others in our hop, check out the links below. One of them is Kelly Williams. Here's a direct link to her blog. Blue Honor

get the InLinkz code

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Review–Open Book Blog Hop

We're doing something different this week for the blog hop. We're each reviewing a book of our choosing. The book I picked is Designing Samantha's Love  by PJ Fiala.

Samantha–Sam–Powell has denied her emotions for too long. After a marriage gone wrong, ended by the death of her husband, she struggles with mixed feelings of loneliness and guilt. 

Grayson Kinkaide, owner of Kinkaide Architects, hasn't fared well in matters of the heart. He believes he's squandered his chance at true love somewhere along the way. When he and Sam have a chance meeting, they're immediately attracted to each other.

But second chances don't always come easy. Someone is determined to keep the two apart. Can Sam and Gray survive he threats long enough to give love a chance?

In Designing Samantha's Love, PJ Fiala has given us a touching story of two people struggling to recreate themselves,  and at the same time,trying find a way to create a happily ever after.

PJ Fiala is  a wife of thirty years, a mother of four grown children and the grandmother of three lovely grandchildren. When not writing a new story,she can be found riding her motorcycle and exploring this fabulous country of ours. Her writing revolves around people anyone would love to spend time with. No self-absorbed billionaires for her.

You can get more information about PJ Fiala at her  BLOG, and you can find more of her books on  Amazon and other retailers.

To see what books other authors are reviewing, check the links below. 

Code for adding a link:

get the InLinkz code