Sunday, April 24, 2016

Love Affair with Office Supplies #OpenBook Blog Hop

I admit it. I'm a hoarder. But only when it comes to office supplies. (And computer parts and pieces, but that's another story.) A few days ago, someone asked to borrow a pen. I knew I had several in my purse, so that was easy. Then someone else needed one. That was easy too. But when someone asked how many pens I was carrying, I had to figure it out. After about the fifth pen, the giggles started. By the tenth pen, it was no longer funny. Yep, ten pens. In one purse. All neatly stashed in one pocket so they could be retrieved without a problem. The only problem was deciding which to use.

And these weren't fancy pens. These were all your basic freebie giveaways. The kind you pick up from a hotel or a bank. I keep my "good" pens stashed away in their fancy boxes tucked away in a drawer.

On my writing desk at home, I have one large mug and one small pen holder filled to capacity with writing implements. Pens, pencils, markers, a paint brush or two. (I don't have any watercolor paints anymore, but the paintbrushes are still here.) No telling how many of those pens still write.  I also have nine pens laying on the top of my desk.

Now, let's move along to scratch pads. I do better there, because I actually use them and throw away the scribbled on pieces of paper when I'm done with them.  I only have two on my desk currently, but I carry two in my purse as well. I'm not entirely innocent when it comes to notepads however. Somewhere, I still have a small "memo book" from my college days with a list of books I wanted to read.

But let's talk classic stationary. You know, those finely crafted pieces of paper that our ancestors used for communication. Back in the day when people wrote these things called "letters." Companies sold stationary in a variety of sizes , shapes, colors and designs, with matching envelopes. You remember envelopes. Maybe you've even received a card or two in an envelope through snail mail.

I admit to being old enough to have written a letter or two in my time. I used to own stationary with matching envelopes. And in my best hoarding fashion, I still have an unopened package of stationary with a dragon design that was a gift from a dear friend. (Thanks, Kathleen!)

Of course, where would I be without organizational supplies? Folders and binders and paper clips and pushpins and binder clips and manila envelopes and highlighters? Oh, and labels and stickers and rubber bands and pads of lined paper? They all hold a place of honor in my system (or lack thereof.) They come in all sorts of colors and sizes and it's hard to resist the lure of a unique color or pattern in the store when it calls to me. But I've learned to pick them up and admire them and then put them back into their place for someone else to fall in love with.

It all breaks down to the fact that I've never met an office supply gadget I didn't like. I'm looking forward to finding out what everyone else on this hop thinks about office supplies. You can find out too, by following the links below!

"April 25, 2016 - Review your favorite office supplies.
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.

Custom Blog:

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

#OpenBook #Pens #Writing

Monday, April 18, 2016

Giving Up Writing—Open Book Blog Hop

I don't know that I ever truly thought about giving up writing, but there was a time frame when writing gave up on me.

As many of you know, my first love in writing was poetry. Although I never considered myself great, I did feel some of what I wrote was pretty darn good. Good enough that I've been published in literary magazines in both the U.S. and Canada, and won a few small awards.

For a long time, I couldn't imagine ever not writing poetry. Snatches of poems came to me easily, and although they all didn't get developed into a full-fledged poems, it was enough for me to develop the habit of always keeping a notepad and pen handy so I wouldn't lose the bits and pieces. One of the first things I did when we bought a new truck was put a clipboard and tablet under the front seat so paper would always be handy. I have binders and boxes filled with my poems.

But somewhere along the way, and I can't pinpoint the exact time, my muse left me. My scratchpads remained empty and the words disappeared. I believe it was partly tied to changes in my career, which demanded very logical thinking. The more time I spent focusing on my job and training to move to the job I wanted, the less time and energy I had for creative thinking. I might have written one poem every six months or so and I felt as if I'd never recapture the writing spark.

I'd lost an important part of who I was.

Three things happened in close proximity that changed that.

First, I was passed by when an opening came up for the job I wanted. Twice. I had a choice to make. Either stay with my current employer and pursue a different segment of the field or go elsewhere. I chose to stay, which ultimately turned out to be a good decision. It also opened up some spare time for me.

Second, I heard about NaNo. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's National Novel Writing Month. That's right, it's a challenge to write 50,000 words or more during the month of November, basically an entire novel. The concept intrigued me.

Third, I ran across some fan fiction in an old forum that drew my interest. I tracked down an entire story from old posts that spanned several years. It sparked the desire to try writing a book myself. So November rolled around and I did. Try, that is. I wrote 49,000 words and ran out of story and time. But I didn't give up. I rewrote that book and expanded it so it was over 50,000 words. And by the time I was done with it, another story waited for me. (Which was good, because the first one wasn't very good.) And I haven't stopped writing since.

You can find links to my books HERE  (Oh come on, you didn't think I wouldn't sneak in a promo?)

So my muse really wasn't gone. It was just transforming. I've now published four books and am working on the fifth. And a sixth is rolling around in my head. Now I have more story than I have time.

To find out what our other authors have to say, follow the thinks below.

"April 18, 2016 - Write about the time you almost gave up writing for good
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.

Custom Blog:

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

#OpenBook #Writing

Monday, April 11, 2016

Lessons Learned—Open Book Blog Hop

This week we're talking about things we've learned since writing our first book. I've learned a lot, but two things immediately come to mind that I'd like to share.

The one that surprised me the most was the wide range of reactions from the on-line critique group I use. What one person loved, someone else thought needed changed or deleted. The  description I worked so hard to create? Someone would think it needed shortened and another wanted it expanded. The unique turn of phrase that came to me at midnight? There'd be at least one person who didn't understand it. At all.

Which meant I had to learn to trust myself. Did I think the description needed fixed? Then I'd fix it. If I thought it was perfect as it stood, I wouldn't touch it. It was my story and my writing: voice, The old line that says "you can't please everyone?" Writing is like that. No matter how hard you try, someone is going to find a flaw. It takes a certain skill to learn to ignore them.

Of course, the flip side of that is that I had to know when to listen. What seems obvious to me as the writer, is not always obvious to the reader. I've learned that I have to be open to suggestions if I want to improve my writing.

The next lesson I learned was that no matter how many eyes have reviewed a piece, no matter how many programs you've run it through, no matter how many times you've looked it over, you're going to miss something. Maybe a quotation mark at the end of a sentence, or a comma added where you don't need one. Or you forget a "the" in a sentence. Then there's always the dreaded "its" versus "it's." Easy mistakes to make and hard to catch, no matter how good your editor is.

One way I use to help find those missing words or words I've repeated to closely together is to listen to my book. I load the document on one of my devices that will read it to me. It's not like listening to an audio boo, the voice reading it is monotone and expressionless. Which is perfect for catching mistakes that I've missed previously. So while my newer books are still not perfect, but there are fewer errors

I'm eager to see what some of the other authors have learned. You can to, by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page. And if there are any lessons that you've learned and would like to share, please leave a comment!

Just for fun- the first person who finds an error in this post (sentence fragments don't count) and leaves it in the comments will receive a hot-off-the-presses Oak Grove postcard.

April 11, 2016 - Lessons Learned. If you have written a novel, you have done what millions aspire to but few ever accomplish. What have you learned along the way—about writing, about publishing, about marketing—about yourself. Tell us so we don’t have to learn the hard way.
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.

Custom Blog:

Code for Link:
get the InLinkz code

#OpenBook #Writing #Editing

Monday, April 4, 2016

First Memory of Books or Reading— #OpenBook Blog Hop

     This week we're talking about our first memory of books or reading. Spoiler alert: I can't remember ever NOT being around books. Being the fourth child in a family of nine, and having a mother who loved to read, books were always present in the house.
     Even before I started school, I played "school" with my older sister. I would have been three or four at the time.  And I remember both my sister and my two older brothers  reading to my mother as part of their homework. Those sessions normally took place in the kitchen as my mother washed the supper dishes. Obviously, I stuck around and listened but I can't tell you if I learned anything.

(not me and my sis)
   I can tell you exactly when I started reading myself. First grade. I didn't go to kindergarten, but started first grade when I was five. And we learned to read using the standard Dick and Jane books. See Dick run. Run, Dick, run. No kidding. And I can't forget the dog, Spot, either,
     So soon those sessions in the kitchen included me practicing. And ever since, I've always had books around. During grade school, I helped the librarian with checking out and returning books. I was reading a book a day at that point, and not easy books either. If memory serves me correctly, I was reading at a tenth grade reading level when I was in sixth grade.
     I thought I'd get a degree in library science in college, and even majored in library science one semester, but life ended up sending me down another road. I did spend several years working at the library in the small town where I lived after getting married. In my spare time, I did what came naturally—read. I wasn't always the first person to read new books when they came in, but I had an inside shot at it!

    I suppose it makes sense that eventually I started writing my own books. Although I didn't expect that the first book I'd release would be a paranormal; romance—and the romance wouldn't be the primary story line! My first attempts at writing were standard romances. Then I figured out I was better at writing action than romance.
   So thank you, Mom, for always having books in the house and encouraging us to read.  And thank you Dick, Jane, and Spot. And thanks to all the teachers along the way that recognized my love of reading and helped me develop it further. (Including teaching me how to open the school library without a key on the days the librarian was running late.)  My life has been fuller and richer because of all of you.

To find out what other authors remember about books, click the links below. And feel free to tell me your story in the comments.

#Books  #Reading

"April 4, 2016 - Your first memory of books or reading.
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.

Custom Blog:

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

Sunday, April 3, 2016

M.S. Kaye and the Cover Reveal for Once

Today I'm welcoming M.S.Kayne and the cover  reveal for her book Once.

Cover Reveal
by M.S. Kaye
Her first and also her Once.
 Jonathan is studying to become a priest. He is three days from taking vows. He will not be a priest.
 Rebecca’s major is pre-law. She is supposed to take over her father’s law firm. She will not be lawyer.
Their paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say. Jonathan’s structured life is turned sideways, but Rebecca also helps him learn how to forgive himself. It was self-defense, not murder.
Rebecca finds the strength to stand up to her father, to be the real her. If Jonathan likes her writing, it must be worth pursuing.
They must each struggle to forge a new path without each other’s comfort and strength, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

Will be released 7/2/16 by Inkspell Publishing.
Add to your to-read on Goodreads.
Author Bio

M. S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. She writes in genres ranging from contemporary romance, to romantic suspense, to paranormal young adult. As s 4th degree black belt and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo, she enjoys bringing some of that kick-butt attitude to her stories. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, FL, where she does her best not to melt in the sun.
Also available from M.S. Kaye:
Fight Princess (romantic suspense)
Kindling the Past (romantic suspense)
Clouded (paranormal YA)
Coming Soon:
Once & Again, Once & Forever (Once books 2 and 3)
Strong as Death, Awaken from Death (paranormal YA, Born from Death books 1 and 2)
Endless as the Rain, Overcast, Echo Through the Mist (romantic suspense, Taken books 1-3)

Excerpt from Once:
What’s the answer?”
He paused. “A switchblade.”
With my fingertips, I reached out and traced the scar across his cheek. “Did you win?”
He removed my hand and closed his eyes. “Yes.”
I slid his Book back to him. “This says we can find forgiveness.”
His eyes still closed, his jaw clenched. He bowed his head. “It also says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
I took his hand in both of mine, petted his rough skin, and then brought it to my lips. He had a talent for guiding invisibly, but I didn’t know how to do that.
He watched me again. His eyes were intense, like the black of the night sky, and his forehead was furrowed, as if his emotions were scattered, as if he was shocked at my reaction, as if he had been sure his answer would drive me away. But I knew him. Already, I knew him.
You’re still a good person,” I said.
His jaw clenched. “I’ve been trying to believe that.”
I have faith in you.”
He continued to watch me. His forehead never smoothed, as if he was fighting for strength, but his eyes softened. He slid around the booth, closer to me.
I didn’t move, not sure what to do, what was right, what he wanted.
He leaned closer.
I only watched him.
He touched his lips to my cheek, the faintest pressure. I struggled to sit still, to keep my hands in my lap, not to grab hold of him. And then his lips were gone, such brief contact that I couldn’t be sure if he had actually kissed my cheek or if I wanted his contact so much that I’d imagined it.
He spoke in my ear. “You must be some kind of final test.”
My heart pounded into my ribs, against the point of the blade. “Are you going to pass?”
His lips brushed against my jaw. “I don’t know.”
He trailed to my neck, his mouth softly pressing. My hand curled into his hair, the other on his shoulder, holding, clutching. His mouth found mine, barely touching. His warmth invaded my head.
God give me strength,” he murmured.
The door slid open, and the compartment filled with laughter.

He closed his eyes. Then he slid away from me.

Want to pre-order? 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Clare Dargin and Wolf's Blade

Presenting- Wolf's Blade and Clare Dargin. I had the pleasure of reading this book several weeks ago, and if you like erotic shifter romances, I think you'll like it too!


Samantha Dixon rescues a wounded wolf shifter in the woods near her home … and unwittingly gets drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a murderer. Callum Blake is on the trail of an evil man who would be king of all wolf kind, no matter the cost … it’s up to Callum to stop him. How can Callum fulfill his duty to protect his pack and save the woman who is destined to be his mate?


Callum Blake growled and grabbed his forearm. He opened his clenched fist as the nails on his hand morphed into long dark claws. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes as he fought the urge to shift. He pounded the tree and glanced up at the night sky and prayed in agony to the wolf goddess. He pleaded for help. He’d take anything she had to offer if it would provide even the smallest amount of relief.
Nothing. The pain continued. He shook his head and grimaced in an attempt to remove the fog that was starting to shroud his mind. He silently cried out to her again.

Why are you silent? You’re the reason I took this mission and now you’re allowing me to suffer?
His frustration mingled with his physical pain, adding to his misery. The beast fought its way to the surface. He opened his mouth and howled. A mixture of a roar and a yell, it relieved some of the tension within him, but it did not drive away the urge to shift. Leaning against the tree, he dug his claws into the bark, burrowing deep grooves as he exerted his strength against the muscle contraction. His pulse pounded in his ears as sweat poured down on his face. Unlike his wolf self who resided peacefully inside of him, his lycan did not have the same kind of placating nature. It yielded only to the strongest of commands exerted to it from his mind. It was supposed to live in harmony just as his inner wolf, but it refused.

For wolf shifters, their human and wolf self were like two individuals abiding in one nature. One innately human, sharing some of the same abilities and desires as regular people only with keener senses and more powerful instincts. The other, their wolf side was wild and untamed. It acted on a gut responses, using its innate sixth sense to interact with the world around it. The wolf freely gave into its passions, choosing strength and cunning over calculated reasoning.

The lycan, however, was a being whose nature lived far beyond that of the wolf. Not present in all wolf shifters, it was like a curse of their wolf self causing them to revert to a primitive version of their wolf self. Acting on impulse and rage, the lycan did not use reason or soft emotions like joy, love, and happiness, it understood violence.


Buy Links-


Liquid Silver Books-

Author Bio

Clare Dargin is a multi-published romance author. She has written for several publishers in different genres, including erotic romance, military romance, contemporary, paranormal, and sci-fi. She lives in the mid-west, and when not surfing the web, she is hard at work writing her next romance novel. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Amazon.

Web Links-

Clare's Blog 2 The Haven-

The Embraced: Scribal Love-



Google +

Author Page:

Thanks and Happy Reading!

-Clare Dargin