Monthly Archives: September 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road…

Barbara Vey -- September 30th, 2010
Space Needle

Space Needle

I’m off to the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle.  Another place I can check off my bucket list.  I’m especially looking forward to seeing the Space Needle built in 1962 for the World’s Fair because it was such a big deal when I was a kid.  So futuristic.  I’ll be doing a panel and presenting the keynote on Sunday.  It’s really a thrill for me.  I saw the roster of authors attending and realized that I’d read many of them, so it will definitely be fan girl time for me.

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Then on Sunday night I leave for New York.  It’s one of those crappy red-eye flights that will stop in Detroit and then arrive in New York about 9:30 in the morning.  Can’t imagine how I’ll be looking at that time.  But, after a quick nap, I’ll be attending Lady Jane’s Salon where I’ve been invited to act as emcee.  The talented authors reading from their books will be Janet Mullany, Donna Hill, Leanna Renee Hieber and returning star Sabrina Jeffries.  It’s always an entertaining evening with proceeds going to charity.

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Woman Road Warrior

Woman Road Warrior

Tuesday I was invited to the 5th Annual Celebration of Woman Road Warrior Day in Chicago, but I couldn’t make it.  Last night I received an email letting me know that I won the award for the Literary Division.

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Barbara Vey Woman Road Warrior � Literary Division. Barbara is a popular blogger for Publishers Weekly based out of Milwaukee. She “Goes the Extra Mile” to book shows and conventions around the world finding and delivering to her readers guidance and appreciation for the fun, fine and fantastic in contemporary books. She has particularly encouraged young readers and has a faithful following among literati of all descriptions. Thank you Barbara.

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I’m so amazed I could burst and just sick that I wasn’t there when it was announced.  They’ll be sending me the award and I’ll be sure to take a picture of it.  It’s on my calendar for next year so I don’t miss it again.  Thanks so much to the Woman Road Warrior group for this great honor.

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Bottom Line: “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.” ~ Jack Benny

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Where I’ll be Next:

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  bvey@publishersweekly.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

The Writers’ Police Academy

Barbara Vey -- September 28th, 2010

Samantha

Samantha

Today’s Cub Reporter is Samantha Kane who attended the Writers’ Police Academy. Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband of fourteen years and their three children. Between shuttling her children from school to various activities she manages to write books. She has an MA in American history and taught it to reluctant high school students for ten years before becoming a full-time writer. Her latest book, Love’s Fortress: Brothers In Arms Book Seven, was released in print last week, and is available in all e-book formats.

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Last weekend was the first Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) held in Jamestown, North Carolina at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) and Public Safety Training Academy. The WPA is a conference where writers, readers, editors, publishers and agents can learn about law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire fighting, and forensic procedures. The workshops are specifically geared toward what writers need to know to make their books correct and realistic, with a large portion of the workshops and schedules open for questions and answers from the experts.

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The WPA is the brainchild of Lee Lofland, author of Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide for Writers and a former police detective and police academy instructor. With his contacts in the law enforcement community Lee was able to bring a top-notch group of speakers and instructors to the academy, including the weekend’s two main speakers: international best-selling author Jeffery Deaver, and Senior Chief Medical Examiner for Manhattan and international best-selling author Dr. Jonathan Hayes. Rick McMahan, author and AFT agent, Marco Conelli, NYPD detective and author, Verna Dreisbach, author, owner of Dreisbach Literary Management and a former deputy sheriff and California Highway Patrol officer, and the instructors and students at the Public Safety Training Academy rounded out the instructor list.

Marco Conelli, Lee Lofland and Jeffery Deaver at Friday night reception

Marco Conelli, Lee Lofland and Jeffery Deaver at Friday night reception

The weekend started with a hands-on police department demonstration. The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department was incredibly generous with their staff and materials over the weekend. The demonstration included vehicles and equipment from the bomb squad, the S.E.R.T. (Special Emergency Response) team, the dive team, EMS, the fire department, the crime lab and the Sheriff’s department. Questions were encouraged, and the officers and personnel who were there were very patient with author questions. They stood in the 90+ degree heat for over four hours allowing attendees to sit in the vehicles, try on the equipment, and pick their brains for information.

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Hostage situation

Hostage situation

Ongoing throughout the weekend was FATS training. FATS is a firearms training system using a computer simulator. Attendees got the chance to train with weapons adapted for the simulator (No real bullets) in simulations of real police situations. When is it okay to fire your weapon? How do you assess the threat level? How fast do you have to make the decision to use deadly force? Many attendees agreed this was the highlight of their weekend, not just because it was fun and exciting, but because it gave them a new perspective on what policemen and other law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. Friday ended with an autopsy seminar by Dr. Jonathan Hayes. That evening attendees and speakers mingled at a reception and listened to Lee Lofland’s presentation based on the real- life murder of a young woman.

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Saturday began with a bang as members of the GCSO Rapid Deployment Team and EMS personnel joined with cadets from the academy in a hostage simulation. WPA attendees observed from the sidelines as they re-enacted a training exercise. The writers were allowed to ask questions about the situation immediately after. The rest of the day was filled with workshops on various topics including toolmark and trace evidence, jail searches, arson investigation, crash investigation, pepper spray, handcuffing techniques, and fingerprinting. I attended the handcuffing workshop and got a great idea for a romantic comedy. I also used the pepper spray on an officer in a demonstration. It was very scary, but also incredibly informative. (He’s fine now. I swear.) Saturday ended with another session by Dr. Jonathan Hayes, Ask the Pathologist, where he answered attendees questions.

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Samantha Kane trying on fireman's gear.

Samantha Kane trying on fireman's gear.

Saturday night was the banquet and silent auction. Proceeds from the WPA went to the Criminal Justice Foundation at GTCC. The raffle and silent auction alone raised over $1300.00 for the foundation. A big thank you to all who contributed.

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International best-selling author Jeffery Deaver, who I hear was a crack shot in FATS training, was the keynote speaker at the banquet. He gave a funny, motivational speech about how he came to write what he writes today. After the banquet he signed books along with Lee Lofland, Jonathan Hayes and Marco Conelli.

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Two awards were presented at the banquet. Rick McMahan, who was also an instructor, won the Golden Donut Short Story Award. The contest was judged by Hallie Ephron, author and crime fiction book reviewer for the Boston Globe. The second award was the Don Knotts’ Silver Bullet Award for novel writing. Winner Lara Louise Crawford won free registration to the next WPA (a $235 value), free attendance at an Algonkian conference (such as San Francisco Write and Pitch Conference (W&PC) and the New York Pitch and Shop Conference), and the opportunity to submit her manuscript to one of the judges. Ms. Crawford actually received three requests for the full manuscript from the judges’ panel, which included agents and editors. From the eight finalists, twelve full manuscripts were requested by members of the panel. There were some great contest entries!

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 Jonathan Hayes, and Mari Freeman at the book signing

Jonathan Hayes, and Mari Freeman at the book signing

The WPA ended on Sunday with a debriefing seminar moderated by Lee Lofland. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions from a panel that included Rick McMahan, Verna Dreisbach, Jonathan Hayes, Marco Conelli, forensic psychologist Richard Helms, retired Greensboro police officer and current assistant professor of criminal justice at GTCC Andy Russell (who I pepper sprayed the day before), Dr. Denene Lofland, Bioterrorism and DNA expert and Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes. Sheriff Barnes suggested that ride-alongs with his deputies and a tour of the new Guilford County Jail may be offered at next year’s WPA.

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The Writers’ Police Academy is an event for writers of all genres. If you have a character involved in law enforcement, firefighting or emergency medical services, regardless of genre, then you’ll find this conference very useful. I don’t write mysteries or suspense, but not only was I on the WPA Planning Committee, I got some great story ideas from the demonstrations and workshops. This is a conference organized by writers for writers. I’d like to give a special thank you to Nancy Metzner and the staff of the High Point Public Library for helping to organize the conference and make it such a great event. I hope to see a lot of you there next year!

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Bottom Line: Book ‘em Danno!  (Sorry…I couldn’t resist)

Here’s the Free Stuff for this Week!

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From Debbie Giusti: Seekerville.com celebrates three years of blogging success!  Our birthday bash is October 1-31. We have an awesome line up of guests…Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell, Bob Mayer, Stanley D. Williams, Patty Hall, Nancy Kress, Debra Dixon, Caroline Tolley, Jeff Gerke, and the fifteen Seekers who have blogged their way to publication’s door. Don’t forget our pre-party guests, Avalon Editor Lia Brown, authors Angi Morgan, Sara Mitchell & Barbara White Daille and our exciting post-party guests include authors Alicia Rasley, and Cat Shield. Stop by for a chance to win CRITIQUES, GIFT CARDS, BOOKS and the GRAND BIRTHDAY PRESENT–a Kindle loaded with Seeker books.

From Mary Janice Davidson: She’ll be giving away 3 sets of All New MJD Books for 2010:  autographed copies of UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED, RISE OF THE POISON MOON, and ME MYSELF AND WHY.  All people have to do to enter is e-mail her assistant at contactmjd@comcast.net with MMY givewaway in the subject line.  She’ll pick 3 random winners after midnight on October 2nd.

From Jennifer Martin, Samhain Publishing:

Samhain is pleased to partner with Borders and Kobo for a special week-long promotion. From October 4 through October 11, the following titles will be available for free on Borders.com and Kobobooks.com. Colters’ Woman by Maya Banks      The Ghost Exterminator by Vivi Andrews    Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend

A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers       Standoff by Lauren Dane      Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James

Crazed Hearts by Shiloh Walker      Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell     Hara’s Legacy by Bianca D’Arc

Trey by Cat Johnson

Here are Samhain Publishing’s freebies for this month on Nook and Kindle. The first date is the day the book price flips to $0.00 and the second date is the final day and the original price will go into effect again.

Begin Date

End Date Book Title Author
10/1/2010 10/14/2010 Love Me Kelly Jamieson
10/15/2010 10/28/2010 The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, and the Poltergeist Accountant Vivi Andrews

Banned Books Week

Barbara Vey -- September 27th, 2010

Banned Books Week runs September 25-October 2.  Celebrating it’s 29th year, the American Library Association received 460 challenges.  According to the ALA, “people challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups–or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature.”

The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 (from the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF):

  • ttyl,  ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: Drugs, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
  • “And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: Homosexuality
  • “The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Anti-Family, Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group,
  • “To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Offensive Language, Racism, Unsuited to Age Group
  • Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
  • “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
  • “My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
    Reasons: Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
  • “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
  • “The Color Purple, Alice Walker
    Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
  • “The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books and I never did like Catcher in the Rye (maybe because it was a must read in school).  As for Twilight, it’s almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t read it.

I guess the one thing that always gets to me is that most of the challenged books seem to come from people who have never even read them.  They just heard what they’re about and decided it wasn’t in line with their way of thinking, so no one else should have the opportunity to make up their own minds about it.  (Gosh, that sounds confusing.)

The kick-off for Banned Books Week was Saturday, in Chicago, where some of the challenged authors read from their books.  There are events scheduled all over the United States and online throughout the week.

Here in Milwaukee on Thursday, we’ve taken it a step further by including banned food and drink.  I’ve teamed up with Burp! Milwaukee Reads! and  Great Lakes Distillery to celebrate Banned Books Week with a deliciously literary evening! BANNED: Taboo Books, Bites & Libations From 5pm-9pm, Great Lakes Distillery will graciously open its doors for a fund raising event like no other, with all proceeds being donated to our local libraries. During the course of the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy: * Free distillery tours * Samples of Great Lakes Amerique 1912 Absinthe (the legendary “green fairy” * A variety of cocktails made with absinthe * Samples of delicious raw milk cheeses from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board * (I won’t be there since I’ll be at the Emerald City Writers Conference.)

There’s even an author on Twitter begging to be banned.  Michael P. Spradlin asks, “Is there a form you fill out? A website? Do you have to delete your cookies b4 filling out the form banning your own book?” “Would it help if I created a why you should BAN MY BOOK guide on my website? Cause I’ll do it! I’ll bring donuts & pie!”  “My Youngest Templar bks feature a budding romance btween a Christian boy & Muslim girl! THIS CANNOT STAND! Who’s with me?”

Bottom Line: How do you plan to celebrate Banned Books Week?

Ok, the video is from last year, but it still applies.

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My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- September 24th, 2010

I’m getting books together to give away at the Alice Baker Library tomorrow in Eagle, WI.  Library events are a joy and I’m thrilled to moderate a panel of romance authors.  My favorite part is talking to the readers.  Really finding out what they read and why.  Of course, I’m always up for the task of getting them to try something out of their comfort zone.

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But my reading this week was all about comfort.  I love historicals and the warm and cozy feeling I get after I finish them.  Well, most of them.

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Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer – Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes and her friends belong to a spinster’s club, holding out for true love.  She invents a fiance, the Duke of Drummond, to hold off potential husbands.  When the real Duke turns up to claim his bride, Poppy has her hands full.  Nicholas Staunton loves being a spy for his country and finding out he’s inherited the Duke’s title isn’t in his plans and neither is Poppy.

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Utterly charming and delightful with a twisted spy plot mixed in with Russian Royalty, unruly dogs and gossipy cooks.

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The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser (E-Book) – Lady Anna Arrington follows her officer husband into war in Spain to try to save her marriage.  His death frees her to return home to Scotland.  Will Atkins is a well liked sergeant and when he crosses paths with Anna, they both realize that social classes will never allow any kind of a relationship.  With a harrowing journey ahead, it’s sometimes hard to remember the rules.

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Not your typical Regency with balls and country parties, but to “follow the drum” as these women did with their men.  This gritty, thoughtful story had me thinking about it long after I finished the book.

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Now it’s your Turn Friday to comment on the books you’ve been reading.  Your chance to recommend a new discovery.

Bottom Line: Hope to see you at the Alice Baker Library Event tomorrow.

The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference

Barbara Vey -- September 23rd, 2010
Cathy

Cathy

Today’s Cub Reporter attended The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis.  Cathy Shouse’s historic photo book, “Images of America: Fairmount,” includes previously unpublished photos of James Dean and was released in July. Published in newspapers and magazines, she was named a 2007 Midwest Writers Workshop Fellow for fiction and is currently writing a novel.

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The American Christian Fiction Writers national conference opened Friday at the Indy

Literary agent Karen Solem and author for Steeple Hill's popular Love Inspired Historicals, Janet Dean, partied at the awards banquet Sunday

Literary agent Karen Solem and author Janet Dean, partied at the awards banquet Sunday

Hyatt Regency Downtown, with horse-drawn white carriages on the streets by dusk, creating the ideal setting.
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Is a Christian conference different? Yes and no. There were worship sessions and a prayer room. But it was all business for 650 writers and many inspirational agents such as Karen Solem, Chip MacGregor, Rachelle Gardner and Steve Laube. Thomas Nelson mega author Colleen Coble, CEO of ACFW, flitted about as hostess.
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Barbour author Kaye Dacus

Barbour author Kaye Dacus

The inspirational market’s success in a tough market caused keynote and author Tim Downs to address the buzz on what makes a “Christian book.” Everyone agrees the acceptable topics and plots are expanding. He asked,”I’m wondering if you know how powerful what you’re holding in your hand is?”

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Tracie Peterson, author of 85 novels, advised plotting by chapter (“You don’t have to marry the thing!”) to overcome sagging middles and to drastically reduce rewrites. She pays an editor before submitting to her Bethany House editor, though. Barbour author Kaye Dacus said “voice” is word choice, tone, topic and more and warned not to “educate” your voice out.
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Susan Downs of Summerside Press

Susan Downs of Summerside Press

Multi-genre writer Susan May Warren hosted a pizza party for people involved in her online writing group, My Book Therapy, letting anybody with a paid ticket crash. To wrap up, she traipsed the group across the hall and taught everyone her My Book Therapy Line Dance, snagging the Most Memorable Moment. It all went faster than an Indy 500 race and the best part was “connecting with old friends and making new ones” like editors Emily Rodmell and Tina James of Steeple Hill, and others, saying the magic words: We are looking for new authors!
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Congratulations to the 2010 Carol Award winners:

Contemporary Novella
Susan May Warren – The Great Christmas Bowl (Tyndale House, Karen Watson – Editor)

Historical Novella
Janet Tronstad – Christmas Bells for Dry Creek (Steeple Hill, Tina James – Editor)

Short Contemporary
Mae Nunn – A Texas Ranger’s Family (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich – Editor)

Short Contemporary Suspense
Jill Elizabeth Nelson – Evidence of Murder (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell – Editor)

Short Historical
Dan Walsh – The Unfinished Gift (Revell, Andrea Doering)

Young Adult
Jenny B. Jones – I’m So Sure (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez – Editors)

Long Contemporary
Christina Berry – The Familiar Stranger (Moody Publishers, Paul Santhouse – Editor)

Long Contemporary Romance
Jenny B. Jones – Just Between You and Me (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez – Editors)

Mystery
A.K. Arenz – The Case of the Mystified M.D. (Sheaf House, Joan M. Shoup – Editor)

Suspense/Thriller
Terri Blackstock – Intervention (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Dave Lambert – Editors)

Long Historical
Allison Pittman – Stealing Home (Multnomah, Alice Crider – Editor)

Long Historical Romance
Mary Connealy – Cowboy Christmas (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany – Editor)

Speculative (includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Allegory)
Kirk Outerbridge – Eternity Falls (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke – Editor)

Women’s Fiction
Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge – Never the Bride (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese – Editor)

Debut Author
Dan Walsh – The Unfinished Gift (Revell, Andrea Doering – Editor)

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Bottom Line: “This was my first conference and it far exceeded my expectations. I hadn’t expected such spiritualness about it, but like it.” ~ Jude Urbanski

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- September 22nd, 2010

Saturday I’ll be at the Alice Baker Library in Eagle, WI moderating a panel of authors.  I love visiting libraries and putting out the good word on wonderful books and their amazing writers.  One of my favorite parts is handing out free books to the attendees.  I’ll also be visiting a library on trip to Seattle when I attend the Emerald City Writer’s Conference October 1-3.  Hope to see you there.  And here’s what the WW Ladies have been reading this week.

joysann

joysann

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Read by joysann
While Paige and Lucas are on vacation, Savannah takes on her first solo job for their paranormal private investigations firm. Hired to look into the possibly ritual murder of a young woman in a small town, Savannah finds it follows the murders of two other young women, and she works to discover how they’re connected. Becoming involved with one victim’s young daughter, and with no shortage of suspects, including the leader of a local commune, Savannah relies on her powerful witchcraft talents to protect herself and find the killer.

Kelley Armstrong has done it again, and successfully fed my addiction to her Women of the Otherworld series. Though Savannah is now an adult, I’ve been following her progress since she was pre-teen, and have truly enjoyed watching her mature. Waking the Witch is exciting, mysterious, and satisfying, and, as I do with all the series, I’ll be re-reading it while I wait impatiently for more of Savannah’s adventures.

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Loretta

Loretta

The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson

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Read by Loretta
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Lily Moore is a travel writer who comes home when her drug addicted sister, Claudia is found dead.   The two estranged sisters, who are like oil and water, merging, then separating and tugging away from each other until death creeps into their paths.
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When you begin the book, The Damage Done, you enter into a world of evil, love, hate, drugs and murder, to mention a few.  The story ensnared me and kept me guessing while it trapped me in its meshes with a host of most unusual characters.  A completely captivating tale which kept me entertained through to its most unexpected  ending.
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Marjorie

Marjorie

Damaged by Pamela Callow

Read by Marjorie

Newly hired attorney Kate Lange is disappointed at the lack of challenge in the cases she has been assigned, never suspecting that one of these cases will lead to a psychopathic killer and an illegal scheme to sell dismembered corpses for research. Kate’s quest to find justice for a murdered teenager leads her to the basement of a funeral home – where she narrowly escapes becoming the next victim.

I admire the way Pamela Callow constructs her suspenseful story by shifting points of view. Most of the time I was seeing events unfold through Kate’s eyes, but sometimes I had a different perspective from the viewpoint of her former fiance, Detective Ethan Drake, or from one of the two lawyers she works for – even through the eyes of the Body Butcher himself! I’m happy to report that two more Kate Lange novels will be released by the publisher in 2011.
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Jennie

Jennie

Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills

Read by Jennie

Special Agent Bella Jordan is a FBI agent who gets recommended for a triple homicide case because she used to live in the town the murders took place.  Carr Sullivan is a suspect, but he’s been working hard to start a new life for himself.  When Bella is starts getting threats, she knows she’s on the right track.

I always enjoy a book more when I don’t see what’s coming.  With an added bonus of a secret treasure, I found this to be a suspenseful page turner.

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Kathy

Kathy

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Read by Kathy

Growing up with an alcoholic mother finally takes its toll on sixteen year old Dana Hathaway after her mother shows up drunk to her recital. Nothing could be worse in her mind than the embarrassment and the burden of her mother being a drunk, not even having a Fae for a father. Through drunken ramblings from her mother, she knows that her mother has tried to hide her existence from her father. She had no idea why until she travels to Avalon, the only city that exists for both Fae and humans, where her father lives and steps into enough trouble that taking care of a drunk mother suddenly seems appealing.

I love stories involving Fae mythology and Jenna Black gave me an entertaining adventure. I couldn’t put this book down until the last page was turned.

joysann

joysann

Assassin’s Honor by Monica Burns

Read by joysann
The Sicari is an order of assassins founded in ancient Rome, thought to be eradicated over the centuries. When archeologist Emma Zale finds confirmation the Sicari still exist, she becomes embroiled in a dangerous conflict that could mean her death. Ares DeLuca is the assassin who becomes her protector, and whose love sweeps Emma into a new and mysterious life of danger and magic.

This is Book 1 in the Order of the Sicari, and Monica has kicked an intriguing and romantic new series. Romantic, passionate, and hot, with an imaginative premise and sizzling romance, I’m all set up for the new release, Assassin’s Heart.

Bottom Line: Today is the Autumn Equinox…how many of you will try to balance an egg on it’s point?

Where I’ll be Next:

Alice Baker Library Event in Eagle, WI – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  bvey@publishersweekly.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

Kindle and iPad Update

Barbara Vey -- September 21st, 2010

I’ve had my Kindle for some time now and I have to admit that on the whole it’s much better than I expected.  I love the convenience of having so many books at my fingertips at any given time and in such a compact form.  The Kindle easily slips into any of my purses or bags.  I can change from one story to another if I want, wherever I am.

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A lot of the books I receive, I get from NetGalley(From their site:  NetGalley is an inexpensive and green way for publishers to share their digital galleys securely. Professional readers—reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators—can all use NetGalley for FREE to read and request galleys they want to review. Welcome, and happy reading!)

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Not all publishers use NetGalley, but there’s a large enough selection for me.  Already they’re boasting over 10,000 users.  My problem with it is that to use it on my Kindle, I have to download it from Amazon who charges 30 cents per book.  Now that doesn’t sound like much, but with over 10,000 users…well, you do the math.  I guess it’s the principle of the thing for me.  The other bad part is that I can’t share the books with my readers who don’t own e-readers.  I still need regular book Advance Reading Copies.

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Sometimes publishers send me the books directly over the internet and once in a while they come directly from authors.  It just all comes down to convenience.

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Last week I had a chance to dabble with the iPad (only on a trial basis).  For me, it won the book reading part hands down.  The print was so clear and I love the backlight because I read a lot in poorly lit places.  Children’s books are especially delightful with the beautiful color illustrations and, in some cases, even animation during the story.  You have the option of reading or being read to.

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The one drawback is the glare screen.  It is a little unsettling to see myself in the screen while I’m reading, but I quickly got over it.  Kindle has a nonglare screen that’s ideal for reading in sunlight, but since I don’t really sit outside and read, that’s not necessarily a plus for me. And they both offer the option of changing the font size.  For me, the later in the day, the larger I need the print.  I’m holding out for the next generation iPad.

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Like anything else, it comes down to personal preference.  A friend has a Sony Reader and loves it.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try any other readers yet.  Will I ever give up my paper books…no.  I love holding a book, looking at the cover, getting it signed by the author and passing it on to friends.  But I like to think I’m open to new ideas.

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Have you given in to try an e-reader yet?  Pros and cons you’ve run into?  Feel like a traitor for liking it?

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Bottom Line: E-readers are easy to read while eating…no sticky pages.

The winner from yesterday’s blog is Beverly.  Beverly, please send me your snail mail address and I’ll ship the books out to you.  barbaravey@gmail.com

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Where I’ll be Next:

Alice Baker Library Event in Eagle, WI – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

Authors and Charities

Barbara Vey -- September 20th, 2010

Charities and authors many times go together like Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction, Debbie Macomber’s Warm America, David Baldacci’s Feeding Body and Mind, Romance Writers of America’s ProLiteracy Worldwide and Romantic Times Book Review’s SOS America, Inc.

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Some of my family at the PKD walk

Some of my family at the PKD walk

Yesterday I participated in the local PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Walk. It was only two miles, but it was really a show of solidarity against a disease that strikes millions.  I was walking for my brother-in-law and my nephew, who both have PKD.  PKD is a hereditary disease that causes cysts to form in the kidneys making a kidney transplant eventually necessary.
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While I did the Cancer Relay for Life this summer (my mom died of lung cancer in March), I was also thinking about the many author charities that I don’t know about even though I read about some on Twitter and Facebook.

So, here’s your chance.  Please post the charity you support and add a link to it.  Let other’s know what’s dear to your heart.

And just for naming a charity, I’ll pick a winner to receive a set of five new books that I have received (all different genres).

Bottom Line: “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.” ~ Arab Proverb

Monday Giveaways

From Tracey Devlyn of Romance University: Freelance Assistant Kim Castillo of an Author’s Best Friend joins us to discuss the benefits of having a personal assistant. Don’t miss this informative post and a chance to win an autographed book from Eloisa James (DESPERATE DUCHESSES), Courtney Milan (PROOF BY SEDUCTION), Vanessa Kelly (SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL), or Anna Campbell (MY RECKLESS SURRENDER).

From Liz Kreger of Magical Musings: We here at MagicalMusings are thrilled to welcome five new bloggers joining our ranks.  We have Karin Tabke (a/k/a Karin Harlow), Cynthia Eden, Amy Atwell, Marilyn Brandt and Carrie Lofty.  You’ll also notice a change in our appearance and our format.  Since all bloggers are published authors, we plan on gearing our group blog to appeal to both readers and writers.  And as a special thank you, well be drawing three names as winners of books just for posting at our blog.

Where I’ll be Next:

Alice Baker Library Event in Eagle, WI – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

In Favor of Library Amnesty Days

Barbara Vey -- September 16th, 2010

When I was a kid, it was a really big deal to get books back to the library by the due date.  The librarian had that official rubber date stamper that was set for precisely 3 weeks and woe be it onto the person who failed to have their book back on the shelf (where it belonged) after that time period.  “They’re are others besides you, young lady, who want to enjoy Little Women.”  So I had the calendar marked, and rushed to read every book before I had to give it back.  That was then…this is now.

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Everyone’s life seems to move like a speeding bullet.  Hurry to this, don’t be late for that, and talk on the phone going and coming.  Hard to remember to return a library book sometimes and according to my local library, people are more likely to consider it the norm to have to pay the fine.  And the libraries are glad for the extra income.  (I always considered my fines to be donations to the library.)   It’s when people feel it will cost too much that they hold on to the books and just never return them.   Which is why I love amnesty dates.  It gives a person a chance to get that book that’s been used to prop open the laundry room door out of their house.  Finally…and at no cost.  It also adds to the libraries collection and gives more opportunities to patrons to read that sometimes obscure book they’ve been looking for.

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I found this article on Yahoo the other day and since I love a happily ever after and wanted to share it with you.

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Librarians at Winona Public Library were thrilled this week when someone returned a book that had been checked out some 35 years ago. The book is called “Small Voices: A Grownup’s Treasury of Selections from the Diaries, Journals and Notebooks of Young Children.” It’s a collection of journal entries that prominent public figures had written as children. Someone left it in the library’s drop-box as part of the its Amnesty Week for overdue books.

Reference librarian Robin DeVries said she’s thrilled to get it back.

Records suggest it was checked out in the early 1970s. But because the circulation system has since changed, it’s not clear who last checked it out.

The Winona Daily News said the overdue fine would have been more than $1,400.

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Now I’m not sure who would want to read Small Voices: A Grownup’s Treasury of Selections from the Diaries, Journals and Notebooks of Young Children,” but it’s comforting to know the book finally made it home.  I’d like to see a national week of Book Amnesty, just to see what would be returned.  Maybe some treasures would show up.  I realize the fines are necessary for the running of the library, but just one week isn’t too much to ask.

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Bottom Line: “There are 70 million books in American libraries, but the one I want to read is always out.”  ~Tom Masson

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Where I’ll be Next:

Alice Baker Library Event in Eagle, WI – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook


WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- September 15th, 2010

I hope you all had a chance to check out some of the wonderful book blogs out there that were listed in yesterday’s comment section.  Remember this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

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Heidi

Heidi

When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster

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Read by Heidi
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In the town of Avening, the air is filled with magic. Autumn is the guardian of the Jaen sisterhood and it is now her time to move on to a new life. Autumn creates a one year contest to help her find her protégé. Her list is long and the candidates are diverse. She hopes within the year, she can find the group of thirteen and the magical one to lead.
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I had a preconceived idea of what this book was going to be; and was delightfully surprised by the actual novel. I was intrigued to begin with, because the author is the daughter of composer David Foster. Then the story began with a delicate weaving of finding the right candidate for a replacement, and I was hooked.
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Dina

Dina

Scoundrel: The Blades of the Rose Series by Zoe Archer

Read by Dina
Bennett Day loves the ladies even when danger is near, until he meets beautiful and smart London Harcourt.  London does not want to believe that her father could be trying to overpower the world’s magic, as she is the only person who can read the ancient Greek dialect and will tell him what he needs. She struggles with the knowledge of her father and her growing feelings about Bennett.
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Fun and magical, this second book in her series had me dreaming of being in Greece with the picture that Zoe drew in my head with her words.
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joysann

joysann

Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner

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Read by joysann
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Favorite characters Sookie Stackhouse, Cat and Bones, and Effrijim all make appearances in this fun and spooky all-new story collection. Written by popular authors Charlaine Harris, Sarah Smith, Jeaniene Frost, Daniel Stashower, A. Lee Martinez, Jeff Abbott, L. A. Banks, Katie MacAlister, Christopher Golden, Lilith Saintcrow, Chris Grabenstein, Sharan Newman, Toni L. P. Kelner, these stories of the dead, not-so-dead, and undead take some exciting and haunting twists and turns.
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I always enjoy these short story collections, especially when there is a story or two that adds color and enrichment to series books that already have me enslaved. But it’s also fun finding authors I’m not acquainted with, or reading genuine horror stories, a genre which I haven’t pursued in awhile. This anthology gave me all of these things.
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Denise

Denise

In The Flesh by Rita Herron

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Read by Denise
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Detiective Cortez is a man who likes to work hard on closing a case. His wife was killed by a psycho who was released, on bail.  In walks Dr Jennifer Madden a psychiatrist that does profiling of murder scenes.  Detective Cortez has no choice but to work with Dr. Madden only to have a stalker set his sights on her.  She has to surrender to Detective Cortez’s protection (much to her dismay) because things are getting a little to personal for either one of them to feel comfortable.
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The energy of suspense, not knowing what was around the next corner was exhilarating.  I had to make myself put the book down to get things done around the house.  I was baffled as to who the stalker was, and glad to find out it was not who I thought it had to be.
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Michael

Michael

Trail of Blood by Lisa Black

Read by Michael

In actual fact, in Cleveland, Ohio, back in the 1930’s there were a number of unsolved murders attributed to a serial killer. Lisa Black uses this true history as the foundation for a fascinating tale that jumps back and forth in time. In the past we watch as one of the few honest detectives attempts to solve a case that has depression era Cleveland in alarm. In the present, recurring character, Theresa Maclean, a forensic scientist, works on a case that may be connected to those previous murders.

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The author has an excellent eye for detail, plus an admirable vocabulary. I personally enjoyed the way she made the 1930’s come alive with her use of the era’s vernacular.

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Denise

Denise

The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross

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Read by Denise
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Former Navy Seal Sax Douchett has just returned home from the war.  He is trying to get on with his life, which is hard for him, because everyone is claiming the former bad boy is a local hero.  A secret unites him with Sheriff Kara Conway.  Ever since they were kids, she has always held a special place in Sax’s heart.
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The empathy I felt for Sax dealing with the complications of war made me stop and think about all the men and women coming back from the war now and how difficult it must be for them.  I envied the way Kara was worshiped by Sax.   A touching, thoughtful  read.
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joysann

joysann

The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks

Read by joysann

Olivia Sotiris is able to sense emotions and the truth of what people think, which makes relationships with the opposite sex difficult, meaning that even as a 20-something, she’s still a virgin. Taking some R&R at her grandmother’s home on a Greek island from her stressful FBI psychologist position, she meets Robby MacKay, recovering from his own dangerous job with MacKay Security, and finds she cannot sense or read the gorgeous hunk at all, and falls head-over-heels. Robby falls in love, too, but must keep secret that he’s a vampire.

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Kerrelyn Sparks’ best-selling Love At Stake series are fun, sexy books that are good for some laughs and a whole lot of romance. As the story evolves and more characters are introduced, I find I want to keep up with them all, and Kerrelyn is good at bringing them all together, sometimes seriously, sometimes comically, and always warmly. I’m looking forward to the next one coming out soon, Eat, Prey, Love, featuring a character of whom I’m fond.

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Bottom Line: “A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.”  ~Author Unknown