Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sex- Open Book Blog Hop

Welcome everyone! Before I dive into this week's topic, I want to thank Kelly Williams for the new banners she designed for our blog hop. There are several, so check them out when you travel from blog to blog. They're great!

Our topic this week is sex. It's everywhere. From the commercials blaring on the TV to the covers of magazines at the checkout stands at the grocery store to the conversation around the water cooler at work—when HR isn't around! We, as humans, are fixated on sex.

I suppose it's natural and we're wired that way. The urge to breed and procreate is instinctive. No matter how sophisticated our thinking, no matter how marvelous our machines, we are, at our core, mammals.

How we handle that urge is what makes us interesting. I remember many years ago hearing about a early Christian movement that insisted its followers forego sex. Not only the leaders, but everyone in the sect. My first reaction was "Well, then, how do they get new members?" And since the next paragraph in the textbook mentioned that the movement didn't last very long, I got my answer. They didn't.

Of course, different cultures through different eras have treated sex differently. We may not now the truth of how sex was seen in the Greek and Roman eras because history is always being re-written, but we don't have to look to far back to see the difference between the Victorian Era and the counter-culture movement of the 1960's. From a woman not being able to show her ankle to a time when we let it all hang out, the attitudes towards the topic of sex have shifted. We've gone from not being able to discuss the topic in polite company or not showing a married couple sleeping in the same bed, to having it be a normal part of our daily lives.

But the question that arises is this: if you agree that it's healthy to allow some discussion of sex into our public lives, has the pendulum swung too far? Is it good for us to be exposed to sexual images and innuendos on a constant basis? Do we really need commercials for "feminine products" shoved in our faces when we're eating supper?  

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a believe in moderation. And I find beauty in the human form, both male and female. So I differentiate between sex and a picture of a naked body. I have no problem with viewing the picture of a good-looking, unclothed body. Do I want too watch that person engage in the act of sex? Hmmm. no. :) Do I have a problem with that body having sex? Not at all. I just don't want to watch. 

And I write that way. The characters in my books talk about sex, think about sex, have sex. But I don't show my readers the details when they get to the bedroom. (or whatever spot they happen to find at the moment!)  I make the assumption that most if my readers have engaged in the sex act and don't need instructions on how it's done. If they want details, there are plenty of videos out there they can go watch. 

What's your take on the topic of sex? Let us know in the comments, but keep it clean, please. By current day standards, anyway!

You can find out what Tamsen Schulz has to say about sex by visiting her blog at Tamsen Schulz.  Tamsen is new to our hop, so I'm looking forward to hearing her opinion.  Check out her book page while you're there. I've just added them to my "to be read" list. They sound good!

The Puppeteer

CIA agent Danielle “Dani” Williamson never stops believing that one day she’ll find the man who killed her parents and stole her childhood. And when the nightmare she relives in her dreams is played out in carbon copy and linked to a group the CIA believes is planning a terrorist attack in the US, Dani thinks she might finally have her chance.

Detective Ty Fuller loved being a Navy SEAL, but after seeing one too many innocent children killed, he was no longer able to stomach the world of politics, manipulation, and death. Now, as a detective with his local vice squad, he likes to think he’s helping kids by keeping drugs off the streets–local problems, local solutions.

But when Dani and her team arrive, they bring a case bigger than anything Ty’s small New England town has seen in decades, drugs in exchange for weapons-lots of them. And as the case unfolds and the tensions simmer between them, Dani and Ty discover that all is not what it seems. Uncovering a web of manipulation that spans the globe and reaches all the way to the US president, they know the price for justice will be high, risking not just their fledgling relationship, but their very lives.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quality vs Quantity—Open Book Blog Hop

Welcome to the Open Book Blog Hop where you can find out more about a merry group of authors. This week we're discussing quality vs quality.

Many years ago, the Boy Scouts in my hometown sold Hershey candy bars at Christmas time. No, not the little bars you buy in the grocery store, but 5 lb. ones. Yes, 5 pounds. That's a heck of a big candy bar. Of course, when it was being shared among eleven or more  people, it didn't last long. But to a little kid's eyes, it was amazing.

But I enjoyed the little candies we got in our stockings better. For one thing, they were mine and I didn't have to worry about sharing them. For another, we got a variety of candy and I could enjoy the different flavors over the course of the holidays. If you had asked me quality vs quantity as a child, I would have immediately voted for quantity. Of course, I hadn't been introduced to the concept of fine chocolate.

In my teens I started to understand the idea of quality. I started to notice the difference in clothing, with the more expensive and better quality clothing generally fitting better and looking better when worn. However, I didn't care much about clothes and was hard to fit, so I ended up with what my parents could afford and it didn't bother me.

Mostly, however, I translated the idea of quality to my school work. I liked school and my teachers and wanted to shine. I put a lot of effort in the papers we were assigned and and even my homework. My reward was good grades. I suppose it was a combination of quality and quantity throughout my high school years.

When I was a newlywed, we didn't have much money. There was a lot of "making do" and "stretching" what we had to make it last as long as possible. During those years it
was definitely a case of quantity over quality. I learned to grow, can, and freeze my own food during those years, so sometimes the quality came as an added benefit to the struggle. Someplace I have a recipe for a mean refrigerator strawberry jam although I haven't made it for years. (We grew our own strawberries. Talk about quality! Can't do that where we live now.)

Now that I'm older (cough) and have a little more money, I can appreciate quality more than quantity. I still appreciate chocolate candy, but my taste runs to slightly more expensive brands. I find it takes less of a richer chocolate to satisfy my urge for sweets. I'm an avid reader, and I find I like books that I can take my time reading because I enjoy the skill of the writer over reading as fast as I can. And I don't mind spending a little more money on good quality clothes because they'll last me longer.

So quality vs quantity? Quality is the winner in the long run.

So do you go for quality or quantity? Let us know in the comments!

To find out what author Stevie Turner has to say, drop by her blog. Stevie Turner.  You can find her books on Amazon Stevie's Author Page and at other retailers. 

Pilates Class

Roger is a down-to-earth builder type, Judy is the harassed single mother of four teenage boys, and Thelma is a librarian who usually looks as though she's been sitting on a wasps' nest for most of her life. Neville is on the lookout for a woman (any woman will do), and Julian just wants to be young again. Edie is the wrong side of 70, and Roz is a size zero fitness queen. 

These characters, together with one very overweight Alice, all meet up for the first time at their local Pilates class. Petra, the class instructor, has no idea what she has let herself in for! 

1. Link your blog to this hop.
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3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ‪#‎OpenBook‬ when tweeting.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brothers and Sisters- Open Book Blog Hop

Do you like to read? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

This week we're talking about brothers and sisters and I have a batch of them.There are nine of us.Yep, that's more than the Waltons. There are  five boys and four girls. The oldest was basically out of the house (in college) before the youngest was born. My relationship with each of them is different.

I was in the middle of the batch until my youngest sister was born when I was 16. Being in the middle had both its advantages and disadvantages. Since I was fourth in line, my parents were already "broken in" and had a good idea of what they were doing. Plus, since I had older siblings, I had built-in connections at school and outside activities. Things that I might not have been allowed to do by myself were okayed as long as I was tagging along with one of my big brothers or my older sister.

The disadvantages were the hand-me-downs—I didn't get much in the way of new clothing. Oh, I had plenty of clothes, but they were mostly things my older sister wore first. (I found a way to get around that—I eventually grew taller than her so her stuff didn't fit me!) And although I don't ever remember being the youngest—the next sister in line is only two years younger than me—i do remember the "big kids" getting to do things I wasn't allowed to.

I absolutely adored my two big brothers and wanted to do everything they did. When they went fishing, I wanted to go too. When they went to build a fort in the woods near the house, I tagged along. When they got older and went deer hunting with our father, I got a little bit jealous. I don't know that I would have been able to kill a deer, but darn it, I wanted to go along. But I was a girl, and it wasn't ever suggested.

My oldest brother was responsible for expanding my musical interests. When I was a pre-teen, he already had a job and was buying records. He'd play them in his room, and I could hear them even through the closed door as I walked by. Sometimes I'd even stop and listen, My musical tastes ended going in a different direction than his, but I still credit him for opening my eyes to new artists.

I also stood in awe of my big sister who is borderline genius. I was basically an introvert (and still am in many ways) and never understood how she made friends so easily. Thankfully, she allowed me to hang out with her "group" on many occasions and even if I didn't feel like I was totally a part of it they never made me feel unwelcome. We were only a year apart in school, and I felt that I was competing with her.  She almost always won except when I did things she didn't do. (I was better at embroidery and climbing trees.) 

I haven't talked about the younger half of the family much. I can only hope I made some impact on the next four kids in line. The youngest—well, I was out of the house by the time she turned three. She's only a few years older than my daughter! We've connected as adults although we live far apart. Modern technology can be a wonderful thing. 

Tell us about your brothers and sisters in the comments. To find out what Lela Markham has to say about brothers and sisters, head to her blog HERE.  You can find her books on Amazon. 

The WIllow Branch:

A healer must mend a fractured kingdom and bring two enemy races together before a greater enemy destroys them both. 

Fate took Prince Maryn by surprise, leaving Celdrya to tear itself apart. A century later an army amasses against the warring remains of the kingdom as prophesy sends a half-elven healer on a journey to find the nameless True King. Padraig lacks the power to put the True King on the throne, yet compelled by forces greater than himself, Padraig contends with dark mages, Celtic goddesses, human factions and the ancient animosities of two peoples while seeking a myth. With all that distraction, a man might meet the True King and not recognize him. 

You can find more stops on this hop by following the links below.

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.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Interview with an Alpha—Open Book Blog Hop

Join us each week as our group of authors discuss different topics. This week we're interviewing a character from one of our books. I decided to interview Gavin Fairwood, the hero from Wolves' Pawn and the upcoming Wolves' Knight. And yes, I've interviewed him before and enjoyed it so much I decided to do another,

I met up with Gavin at his office at Fairwood Industries. His tailored dark blue shirt accented his deeply tanned face, but didn't hide his broad shoulders. From the stacks of paper and folders on his desk, it appeared he was in the middle of a major project.

Me: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me.

Gavin: My pleasure. It's a good excuse to take a break from all the paperwork.Would you like to take a stroll while we talk? I'd need to stretch my legs.

Me: Of course. (Editor's note: The Fairwood village is made up of neatly-kept and brightly painted Victorian style homes. It's like walking through a Courier and Ives painting.) Did you get to help out on the search for that little boy who was lost a few weeks ago?

Gavin: Only from an organizational level, although I was ready to drop everything if needed. That one had me worried. The daytime temperatures have been warm but nighttime temperatures are dropping below freezing. According to the preliminary information given to the state police, the boy was dressed only in a T-shirt and jeans. If he hadn't been found before dark, there was a good chance he wouldn't have survived the night.

Me: Did one of your group locate him?

Gavin: No, one of his neighbors actually found him asleep in a shed behind his house. We are glad to help whenever we can, but it's always good when we turn out not to be needed.

Me: Would you know anything about the two big doggies the boy claimed found him in the woods and led him to the shed?

Gavin: He must have been dreaming. With an imagination like that, maybe he'll be a writer when he grows up.

Me: Right. Switching topics, tell me about the biggest challenge you're facing as the CEO of Fairwood Industries?

Gavin: The software field is overloaded with start-ups and young companies that make big promises and then can't deliver. We've lost a few customers to young companies. When those companies fold, and the majority will, we'll have to hustle to get them back and hire the employees we need to support them again.

Me: What is the biggest challenge you face as the pack leader?

Gavin: The conflict I feel every time one of our young people leaves. On one hand, I'm proud that they've confident enough to head out on their own. On the other hand, I worry that it weakens the pack. But after the influx of new members we got from Free Wolves, our numbers are actually up. Dot tells me I worry too much.

Me: Speaking of your mate, how is she doing?

Gavin: Working too hard. I keep telling her she needs to let her board of directors take on more responsibility. She feels like to has to know everything that's going on. But then she tells me she's learned by example.

Me: (laughing) Meaning you, of course.

Gavin: I'll admit to nothing. Of course, I'm trying to figure out a way to make her slow down. I'd like to give her a vacation, but I want to take her somewhere she's never been. That's tough, because she traveled all over before settling down here. I don't think she's ever been to either Alaska or Hawaii, so maybe I'll surprise her with a trip to one or both of those states.

Me: There's a rumor going around that you're thinking of running for the position of the Head of the Council. Care to comment?

Gavin: I don't know who your source is, but they're wrong. I've got enough on my plate without taking on additional responsibilities. Besides, Counselor Carlson is doing a fine job. Any other rumors I can squash?

Me: No, but there's a pool at the office taking bets on how soon you and Dot will have a baby. Have you got any inside information you could share with me?

(That was the first time I was ever at the receiving end of Gavin Fairwood's alpha stare, and it was not a fun experience. He didn't answer the question, simply stared at me  until I backed down. It only took a few seconds.)

Me: I withdraw the question. I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I have one final thing to ask. Some of our readers are wondering about Tasha. How is she doing?

Gavin (returning to his normal friendly demeanor) I'm told she's doing well. The time she's spent with the pack in Maine has been a good experience for her. We'll welcome her back whenever she's ready to come home.

Me: (We had returned to the front door of the office building, and Gavin  had glanced at his watch a couple of times. I took the hint.) Thanks for your time. Anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Gavin: No, but I hear you have some exciting news. Want to share?

Me: I will at the end of this post. Thanks again!


To read Kelly Williams' interview with Captain Maiel from The Shadow Soul, go Here.  This is Kelly's description of the captain:

"Today on the blog I’ll be interviewing Captain Maiel, of Eden, Zion. She’s a commander of a military unit under the designation Moon Order. Her commanding presence, reaching just over seven feet in height is disarming, along with those eyes of lurid blue and brilliant red hair. This doesn’t even mention the wings! Today she is dressed in the plainclothes uniform of her order, a subtle toga-styled gown in cream with the order penannular (that’s a brooch of sorts, fitted with nano-tech that houses her active duty uniform—that uniform is very Greco-Roman in design—see the figure on the left) fixed on her left shoulder. Ever at her side is Leader Argus, a wolf who serves the legions in her unit. Despite his formidable appearance, he is laying by the Captain’s chair as sweetly as a pup."

And now for the big news Gavin hinted at:

Wolves Knight-Tasha's Tale, the follow up to Wolves' Pawn, should be available in early December. Tasha was shipped off to Maine in the middle of the pack wars to recuperate from physical and mental injuries, and to learn new skills in the field of providing security. Here's the working blurb:

 The Free Wolves are under attack.

That's what Dot Lapahie, leader of Lapahie Enterprises, suspects. Tasha, who has been called back from Maine to help in the investigation, isn't so sure. She fears the Fairwood pack may be the real target, and Dot only a decoy. The deeper she digs to find out who is behind the attacks, the more puzzles she uncovers.

But when old enemies arise, will Tasha be willing to risk everything—including her own life—to save Dot and what she stands for?

Stay tuned for more updates!

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