Sunday, April 30, 2017

Three Creative People- #OpenBook Blog Hop

What do a computer whiz and a quilter have in common?

I almost passed on this week's hop. I didn't think I'd be able to come up with something to say for the topic. But I decided to give it a shot.

Three creative people who inspire me and what they would do if they collaborated on a project. 

This is going to be a reach. The three real but nameless people (to protect the innocent) 
1.  A quilter
2. A graphic artist
3. A computer whiz. (Contrary to public perception, creating computer programs and scripts takes a very creative mind.)

Now let's tie them all together. Somehow. 

We're going to start with the quilter. She knows what colors work well together and what material she already has at hand. She shares the information with the computer whiz.

The computer whiz and the graphic designer work together to translate the colors to their programming hex code equivalent. for example, white is #FFFFFF and basic red is #FF0000. With the current method of programming, there is the possibility of 16,777,216 potential color codes. Yep. more than most of us can distinguish. Here's a simplified version.

So now the whiz and the graphic designer of a list of colors they can work with. They are going to design a tessellation. That's a geometric design that uses geometric shaped with no gaps or overlays. Here's a simple example.

The whiz is going to run the design through a mathematical programs and come up with a symmetrical layout. The graphic artist will give it a once-over to make sure it worked as expected, then the design will go back to the quilter. She'll put her magic fingers to work and, over the course of time, translate the computer program into a work of tessellation art.

Because, when you think about it, isn't that what quilters have been doing for years without the fancy name?

Let's find out what great things the other authors conjure up by following the links below.

And while I have your attention:

I'm tickled pink to announce that my new book, The Baron's Cufflinks, will be released May 5th. This book has been over a year in the making and Harmony Duprie is up to her normal antics. If you are one of my newsletter subscribers, check your in-box for the cover reveal. Everyone else, keep your eye on this space!

May 1, 2017 - Pick Out 3 Creative People Who Inspire You And Think About If They Collaborated To Make A Product—What Would It Be?
If those three people created something awesome with all their skills, what would it be? Create that and then share your process and inspiration.
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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Friday, April 28, 2017

Unnatural Allies- Shari Elder

I'm please to welcome Shari Elder and her new release, Unnatural Allies, to my blog today. After reading the excerpt, this book is going on my TBR list!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited to share Unnatural Allies, Book Two in the paranormal romance series, Shifting Alliances. Although part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel.


A World in Transition
Violent fae encroachment on shifter land is heating up. With death tolls rising, the impossible becomes necessary – an alliance among predator and prey shifters.

An Inconceivable Love
Nicca Baron, lone wolf and wolf clan beta, finds herself under the command of Evan Grant, the rat alpha.  In different circumstances, he’d be dinner. Or so her wolf keeps reminding her.  Evan proves to be a perceptive leader, a skilled fighter and irresistible to her lonely heart.

To rule the rats, you have to rule the pack. Evan is a whiz at managing people and groups. Until he finds himself leading a mission made up of every single large animal that thrives on rat flesh. And not the kind between his legs.  The only bright light is Nicca. Her storm gray eyes miss nothing, her brilliant mind comprehends everything and her succulent curves offer the perfect place for a rat to nestle.

An Impossible Future
In each other’s arms, Nicca and Evan discover love and a new perspective in an off-kilter world. But a wolf cannot mate with a rat, no matter the strength of the human attraction.

Buy Links


Evan had never seen Nicca look frightened before. Those silver eyes expanded into saucers, and they were still beautiful. He wanted to wrap her in his arms, just hold her close as they both tried to process a world spinning out of control. Even his rat wanted to comfort her.
She was getting under skin and fur.
The last leaves hung limp on the branches, resisting winter’s pull. Away from the sidhe, the air had warmed, although the sky retained a grayish winter hue. Shifter bodies held heat, keeping them comfortable in the most brutal frost. Evan burned hot from continuous movement, the too frequent adrenaline spikes, and Nicca’s nearness. Everything about her fit, like she was made for him. That agile mind, open-mindedness, those lush curves. Hell, she even spouted poetry. He yearned to put a sign around her neck—no trespassing, this woman belongs to Evan Grant.
Except for that whole wolf thing…
Why don’t we find a comfortable place to set up camp near Fairy Falls and call it a day?” he said to get his mind back to practical things, not wishing for something he couldn’t have. He told himself he selected the location as part of the mission. All species declared the pristine, wild falls a safe zone, so they wouldn’t need the wolves or eagles to stand guard. The fact that it was the number one rated site for shifter romances had nothing to do with the selection. Nothing at all.
No one would ever accuse Nicca of talking too much, but she was withdrawn even for her on the hike to the Falls. “Any suggestions on places to sleep?” he asked when her silence got too loud for him.
I’ve, uh, never really been here,” she whispered, looking at the ground. “Just run by it on patrols sometimes.”
And that makes you sad?” He itched to run his hand down her cheek.
This mission makes me sad.” Her gaze stayed lowered as she walked.
His rat senses perceived a deep despondency wrapped around her like a black aura.
This mission makes you angry, anxious, and confused. Not sad.”
Who are you to correct my assessment of my emotional state?” She gave him a half-hearted snarl. He figured he’d hit an open, raw nerve.
I lead this mission, and I will not have you fall apart on me. Right now, you are not okay.” He opened his arm, aping Rafe’s earlier action, inviting her to him to take comfort. “Let me help.” Let me touch you.
She visibly shook herself, ignoring his outstretched limb. “You’re right. I need space. Let me run as wolf.”
He dropped his hand, then nodded to cover the ripping sound his heart was making. “Stay close,” he said over the lump of disappointment lodged in his throat. “Give me your backpack, and I’ll find a place to sleep. Meet me at the falls when you’re done.”
Relief brightened her eyes. Once shifted, she brushed against his leg, then licked at his hand dangling by his side. He ran his fingers through her thick, gray fur touched with black and silver as she trotted off. “Grab some happy, Nicca,” he said into the air, as she raced out of sight. Come back to me. Accept me.
Alone, he hummed as he walked toward the falls. The low tune soothed his skittish rat, who hated being alone and wasn’t too fond of the woods. Rats felt secure in the pack. The human in him appreciated the red gold of the sunset streaking across the powder blue of the sky, weaving in and out of spiky, hunter green firs that ate up the landscape. Beauty truly did soothe an aching heart. The whirr of winter birds, a chorus to his ears, unnerved the rat. He picked up his pace, following the smell of ice and the roar of the falling water.
When he arrived at the falls, he saw Nicca standing at the edge of the descending water, running her fingers through the stream. That sadness he’d sensed earlier scented the air and dulled those unique gray eyes. Following a powerful intuition, he approached quietly, staying upwind so she wouldn’t notice until he stood directly behind her. She may have rejected his offer of support earlier, but he was determined to try again. His way.
She turned to face him, and tilted her head up to meet his gaze. He pushed behind one ear a lock of hair that was draped along her cheek. The tresses felt like silk, the skin velvet against his fingertips.
He leaned over, touching lips to lips ever so gently. Giving comfort. Sneaking a taste. Exploring what might be. She pressed back, her mouth opening slightly beneath his. He sank into cherry and cinnamon, shyness and heat. She didn’t require a friend; she needed a lover. He desperately wanted to be that man.
He pulled back, falling hard for the blush staining her cheeks a bright pink.
Follow me,” he said, taking her hand, and led her to the camping spot he noticed along the way.
To love a wolf.

About Shari

Hello, I'm Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges.  I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teenager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination with her furry minions).  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can't resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction. 

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Hang out with Shari on the Web

Monday, April 24, 2017

Top Five Distractions #OpenBook Blog Hop

You call them distractions. I call them moments to allow my brain to think about how I want to say something. Whichever. They are times when I'm not actually writing even though I could be. (Or I'm sitting at the computer pretending I'm writing!)

And that's the clue to my number one distraction. If I'm sitting at the computer, I have access to the internet. I can check my email, I can surf the 'net, I can read any number of forums I follow. None of those are me putting words on paper. (Or on the screen, as the case may be.) But if I disconnect my computer from the internet, I don't have easy access to research whatever question might pop up in the course of my writing.

How do I deal with the conundrum? Not very well, thank you very much. Many times my willpower is lacking and I find myself studying the mating habits of penguins or the the lives of ladies-in-waiting in Queen Victoria's court. My only consolation is finding a way to use the new-found knowledge in my story.

Number two-family. Do they truly count as a distraction? It depends upon what mood I'm in and how well my writing is going. There are times I welcome the little interruptions they provide, and other times when I let them know they'll have to wait for a few minutes.

Number three-the dreaded housework. There's always housework that needs doing. Sometimes I can turn a blind eye to it and other times there's no putting it off. Does anyone really enjoy cleaning house?

Number four-I live in a gorgeous part of the country. On a nice day, I love to go exploring. Traveling the back roads presents the opportunity for stumbling across unexpected beauty. Flowers in bloom, wildlife when you least expect it, new mountain peaks. At least I can claim that the trips recharge my soul and make me a better person and writer.

Last but not least-other creative endeavors. If you've been following me for while, you know I do embroidery and needlepoint. I also got interested in the adult coloring craze. That one was fairly easy to solve—I don't keep my coloring supplies on the same desk as my computer. If I have to get up from my computer desk to get to them, chances are slim that it will happen.

What are your distractions? You can share in the comments.

And to find out what the other authors' distractions are, follow the links below. I suspect at least one of mine will be shared by my compatriots!

April 24, 2017
What Are Your Top 5 Distractions And How Do You Deal With Them?
Distractions aren’t fun, but sadly we have them a lot in our lives. Especially with the Internet. There’s always a distraction waiting around the corner.
Do you have a way of holding the distractions at bay? If so, share your tips.
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:

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Missing The Point- New Release by PJ Fiala

I'm pleased to have PJ Fiala and her new release "Missing the Point" on my blog today.

And now, Here's the other PJ.

I'm so excited to release Missing the Point for so many reasons.

First and foremost, this is a series I've thought about for a long time.  You see, my father's parents were both born and raised in Kentucky.  My grandfather came from a very poor family and on top of that, his father divorced his mother when he was very little, about 2 or 3.  Divorce today isn't thought of in a negative way, back then it was horrible.  My great-grandmother did remarry and the man she married, took my grandfather as part of the package, but the stigma remained.  As a result, my grandfather lied about his age as a 16 year old and joined the Army.  He wanted a new beginning and he was willing to do what it took to find it.  The thing is, he'd met my grandmother before hand at a church dance and he didn't want to leave her behind.  He went to boot camp and as soon as he could come back, he did, and he married my grandmother, but they'd need to leave Kentucky.  Grandpa stayed in the Army for many years, and after leaving the Army, my grandparents settled in Missouri.  My grandmother went back to Kentucky every year to visit her sisters and brothers and their children, my grandfather only went back periodically, the bad memories just couldn't be erased, no matter the situation.

As a result of my grandmother going back each year, as I got to be a bit older, I got to travel with her to Kentucky and spend several weeks.  I remember those times fondly and they've ingrained in me a sense of family, easy times and a long-ago world.  Now, as an adult, I go back as often as I can to visit my father's cousins and my cousins.  My dad's cousin, Janet Sue, still lives on the family farm my grandmother grew up on and visiting there is such a treat for me.  So, as a result, I always knew I wanted to write stories that took place in Kentucky.

Secondly, my friend and fellow author, Stephany Tullis created Chandler County with me and this was truly a labor of love.  We knew from the beginning we wanted to invite other authors to write in Chandler County with us, so we could share this world with them and all of our readers.

It is with great pride and pleasure that I release my first book in Chandler County, Missing the Point.  This book is the first of my books in Chandler County but certainly not the last.  Sam McKenzie is an Army veteran who has finally retired after 25 years.  He and three of his friends have started Bluegrass Security in the little town of Bourbonville, one of two towns in Chandler County.  As the Kentucky Derby nears, the over-flow of people coming to Chandler County brings with it trials and tribulations and as the locals deal with these and other scenarios, we get to know many of the residents in Bourbonville.

Stephanie (Stevie) Jorgenson is a detective in Chandler County.  Though she comes from a wealthy ranch family, she made her own way in the world and followed her dreams.  Keeping Chandler County safe is her top priority.  When she meets the handsome security specialist from Bluegrass Security, there is an immediate spark and the two succumb to the attraction, but neither believes anything more should come of it.  Life, circumstance and intrigue follow the pair as they are thrown together time after time dealing with some terrible situations in Bourbonville.

I hope you'll enjoy Missing the Point and the books of my fellow authors in Chandler County.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Learning Something New #OpenBook Blog Hop

I'm a firm believer in the idea that you're never too old to learn something new. There's several things I've wanted to learn but haven't for one reason or another.

I grew up around guns.  Hunting rifles, mostly. My dad and brothers went deer hunting every year and some years were even successful. They weren't trophy hunting, and the meat was put to good use. But for whatever reason, none of us girls were ever included. Still, I would hang out while they cleaned their guns and wonder if I'd ever get the chance to shoot one.

After I got married, I finally had the opportunity. I went target shooting with my husband. (the targets being soda cans) and he handed me his shotgun. He helped me get it in the right position and aim and showed me how to pull the trigger. I shot it, and missed. The kickback practically knocked me over and I ended up with a big old bruise on my shoulder and I haven't tried it again. But I'd like too. Maybe I'd even get it right.

What I did try recently (after all these years!) is shooting a handgun. I had much better luck with that and even managed to hit a somewhat small target after a couple of tries. (That's not me in the picture. No pictures exist of the moment.)  I know how to load the gun and switch clips. Next time the gun needs cleaned, I'm going to be the one doing it. (Under hubby's supervision, of course!)

Hitting the target made me feel like the heroines in one of my books, strong and confident, ready to take on the world. Or the femme fatale in a mystery. Or a little like Annie Oakley. (I have the hat!) Once the weather is better and our schedules calm down, I'm ready to try again.

So what is it you want to learn? You can tell us in the comments. And to find out what the other authors have to say—you know the rest—follow the links below!

April 17, 2017
What Would You Love To Learn How To Do?
Share pictures and what you’d like to learn, then go out and try that thing. Share an update of your experience with your followers.
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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Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter Week #OpenBook Blog Hop

Easter weeks holds a multitude of meanings, depending upon your beliefs and your background. It can be anything from a time of sorrow commemorating Jesus' death merging into a celebration of the Resurrection to a way of welcoming the arrival of Spring. I've seen the holiday from a variety of points of view.

Growing up in a religious family, we observed all the rituals associated with Easter. Everything from Ash Wednesday to Lent to Good Thursday and Good Friday. (There seemed to a thunderstorm every Good Friday afternoon.) We'd color eggs on Saturday. And of course, Easter was more than candy and eggs.We started with Easter services and our Easter baskets afterward. Lunch was a big family dinner.

But as it happens, kids grow up and leave home. Sometimes they move so far away they can't make it back for holidays. And chances are, they make their own traditions.

I don't do colored eggs anymore. It's a practical thing. Hard-boiled eggs are no longer a special treat. I can have one anytime I'm in the mood, and there's no little ones around to share the coloring process with.

I do look forward to the arrival of spring. Daffodils and tulips brighten the otherwise dull landscape. Lilacs aren't far behind.Trees are in bud and a few are in blossom. Easter means it won't be long until the lawns turn green.

And then there's the candy. Oh, the candy. The Peeps. (Although I stick with standard colors. None of these bright blues for me!) And chocolate eggs  of all varieties. Cheap or expensive, if it's chocolate, its good. Don't forget the jelly beans and robins eggs.

But what's the best part of Easter? I think it's the shift in people's moods. As there is more sunlight and the days are warmer and longer, lots of people become happier. It's as if the world breathes a sigh of relief after making it through winter.

What does Easter mean to you? Find out what the other authors have to say by following the links below. And Happy Easter to you (if you celebrate.)

April 10 – Easter Week - What's the one thing you look forward to most on Easter?
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:

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Favorite Paintings #Open Book Blog Hop

Joyce Kilmer said "I think that I will never see
                               A poem lovely as a tree"

I believe that extends to paintings as well. No matter how good an artist is, no painting can be as good as an original piece of art created by nature. And yes, I am aware of the "hyper realistic" art movement, and am awed by the skill of the talented individuals who create those works of art.
Here's one by Franco Clun. It's a pencil drawing, believe it or not.

No matter how much I admire well-done art, I prefer to spend my spare time in the out-of-doors, where the beauty comes in unexpected moments. Like a hawk perched on a hunk of carrion alongside the road, or a herd of elk grazing in a field. A salmon leaping out of a river, streaming sparkling drops of crystal-clear water. A gentle snow fall covering a cluster of pine trees.Snow covered mountain peaks reflected in a still lake.

So my apologies to all the wonderful artists who have given us gorgeous works of painted poetry. What they create are marvelous expressions of the human spirit. But I'll take the paintings of Mother Earth over them any day.

To find out the favorite paintings of our other authors, follow the links below.

April 3 – our favorite paintings
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:

An InLinkz Link-up

get the InLinkz code