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Archive for June, 2014

KellyAHarmon03172010e Thanks to author Kelly A. Harmon for stopping by and sharing some thoughts about her new novel, Stoned in Charm City – Charm City Darkness Book I. But before we read Kelly’s comments, here’s the back cover blurb of Stoned in Charm City:

“Forty dollars. Two crisp twenties. All that stands between Assumpta Mary-Margaret O’Connor and homelessness.

For the price of forty dollars, she helps archeologist Greg LaSpina find something he’s lost—and causes all Hell to break loose.

Literally.

With demons tormenting their every step, Assumpta and Greg become both hunted and hunter in their search for a way to send the demons back to Hell. One careless mistake could cost them their lives.

Wrestling with her faith, Assumpta considers as offer made by one very sexy demon: sleep with him, and learn how to rid the world of escaped evil.

But the offer comes with a steep price: her immortal soul.”

Stoned in Charm Cityby Kelly A. Harmon

“I grew up in Baltimore, and it was very natural to use Baltimore as the backdrop for Stoned in Charm City.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001] Baltimore was dubbed Charm City in the mid-1970s. It came about when the mayor at the time, William Donald Schaefer, hired four of the leading ad-men in Baltimore, to come up with a campaign to do something about Baltimore’s bad image. (At the time, Baltimore had very little to recommend it: there was no Harbor Place, no Oriole Park, and no Ravens!)

It took only five full-page ads in local newspapers, each with a charm bracelet depicted at the bottom, to cement the name “Charm City.”

Here are some other fun facts about Baltimore:

*Baltimore is home to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the oldest free public library systems in the United States. The main character of the book, Assumpta, spends a lot of time there. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say she meets some very interesting people there.

*Edgar Allen Poe led a prominent life in Baltimore. He’s buried in Baltimore’s Westminster Cemetery on Fayette Street. Well after he died, his personal library of books was given over to the Enoch Pratt Library. It’s in the Poe Room at Enoch Pratt that Assumpta does much of her research.

*The first successful balloon launch in the US occurred in Baltimore in 1784. The operator of the balloon? Thirteen-year-old Edward Warren.

*The Basilica of the Assumption, the US’s first catholic cathedral is located in Baltimore. (It’s not important to the story, but I mention it because Assumpta is named after the Catholic precept of the assumption.)

*Snowballs! Or snow cones, shaved ice, or slushies—whatever you call them—were invented in Baltimore during the American Industrial Revolution. (No spoilers here, so I can’t tell you why Assumpta would be dying for one of these when she comes back from a trip…)

To learn more, you’ll have to read the book!”

Want to discover more about Kelly A. Harmon and Stoned in Charm City? Visit her website, Facebook page, Facebook Fan page, or twitter.

And you can purchase Stoned in Charm City at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

Thanks again to Kelly A. Harmon for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Saturday Owl posts, blogs from me, and ocasional Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a charmed day! – Vonnie

 

 

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This is the sixth blog in a series of owl-focused posts to promote Owl Light, my new YA-friendly collection of stories featuring owls. Each post features a mix of owl art, facts, folklore, quotes, and links to owlish sites. If you’re a fan of owls, or know someone whooo is, follow my blog, buy my book, and be kind to these beautiful birds.

0 Owl & Moon cover page Owl art: One of my owl scratchboard drawings from Owl Light.

Owl fact: While most owls are nocturnal, a few species feed during the day or at dusk.

Owl folklore: Sir Walter Scott must have believed, like many people of his time, owls were harbingers of doom, death, and bad news when he wrote: “Birds of omen dark and foul,/ Night-crow, raven, bat, and owl,/ Leave the sick man to his dream –/ All night long he heard your scream.”

Owl link: Want to know more about Northern Owls? Check out Owlman’s Owl in a Night’s Work page.  and a video of a Boreal Owl.

And, of course, here’s a buy link for Owl Light.
Or buy it from The Owl Pages and help out owls.

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hunger games Here’s a link to an article which actually encourages adult readers to pick up a Young Adult book: Why Young Adult Books are Not Only Acceptable, but Beneficial for Adults

This YA debate has stirred up quite a bit of talk online and off. Again, I’ll admit to not only reading YA books, but enjoying them. (And it’s not just because I write YA).

How about you – are you a YA reader? Next week, more of the YA debate.

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graceling Another voice sounds off in the YA debate: In Praise of Reading Whatever in the Hell You Want

If you missed earlier posts on the subject, here are links to Against YA and More YA Discussion and Adults Read YA Books. I’m actually shocked by the number of adults who don’t read YA – they’re missing out on lots of good books!

What do you think? Check back tomorrow for another point of view on the YA firestorm.

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green angel For those who haven’t read Against YA, read it first, then read this response from another writer: Really? Are We Still Shaming People for the Books They Like?

Where do you stand? Do you read YA books even if you’re no longer a Young Adult? And teens and twenty-somethings, do you resent older adults reading books designated YA?

By the way, I’ve decided to add the scan of the cover of a YA book from my bookshelf to each post. Today’s YA fav of mine: Green Angel by Alice Hoffman (and I love the companion book, Green Witch, too).

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This is the fifth blog in a series of owl-focused posts to promote Owl Light, my new YA-friendly collection of stories featuring owls. Each post features a mix of owl art, facts, folklore, quotes, and links to owlish sites. If you’re a fan of owls, or know someone whooo is, follow my blog, buy my book, and be kind to these beautiful birds.

2 Pawprints large art Owl art: One of my owl pen and ink sketches from Owl Light.

Owl fact: There are over 150 species of owls (and some folks think that number to be over 200 species).

Owl folklore: In some cultures, an owl hanging around a home is a sign that a powerful shaman lives in the house and is using the bird as a messenger.

Owl link: If you’re looking for fabulous owl pictures and lots of owl info, you might want to check out The Owls Plexus  and an audio and video of a Barred Owl.

And, of course, here’s a buy link for Owl Light.
Or buy it from The Owl Pages and help out owls.

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lament There’s a firestorm brewing over whether adults should be reading Young Adult books. And if they are, whether they should be embarrassed by admitting their YA book choices.

Here’s the link to: Against YA – Adults Should be Embarrassed to Read Children’s Books, the first discussion of this dilemma.

Do you agree with the author? Check back on June 24th for another point of view tomorrow.

By the way, I’ve decided to add the scan of the cover of a YA book from my bookshelf to each post. Today’s YA fav of mine: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater.

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I was delighted to learn my fondness for Young Adult books is shared by lots of other adults. I find in YA, the stories move along at a brisk pace, there’s a feeling of growth and discovery, and the main character’s flaws are not only forgiveable, but expected, since they’re “coming of age” during the story.

cinder The most recent YA novel I’ve read is CinderBook I of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (and I await the arrival of the next 2 books in the series). Readers, do you enjoy Young Adult books, too? Why?

By the way, this post was written 2 weeks ago before a heated discussion on adults reading YA hit the internet. I’ve decided to share a few of those posts with you over the next couple of weeks. I think you’ll be surprised at the strong opinions this subject is generating! Here’s the first Adults reading YA link: Thirtysomething Teen – An Adult YA Addict Comes Clean.

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Jack L. Chalker was a prolific and talented writer who passed away much too young. One quote from him which I like is: “If you’ve got what it takes, you’ll make it. If you don’t, Shakespeare couldn’t help you.”

Now, he never tells you exactly “what it takes,” but judging from Jack and other successful authors I know, it’s lots of things. A few that come to mind: practicing your craft, persisting against seemingly impossible odds, getting back up after rejection slips knock you down, a boundless imagination, a little luck, a pinch of talent, and faithful fans who buy your books, come to hear you read, and tell their friends about your writing.

Thanks to photographer, friend, and active Baltimore Science Fiction Society member, Patti Kinlock, for sharing this wonderful photo of Jack.

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cropSQUARE_tamie_009 Thanks to author Tamie Dearen for stopping by and sharing a summary, an excerpt, and some thoughts about her new Young Adult fantasy novel, Alora. Enjoy!

Alora—A Young Adult Fantasy by Tamie Dearen

First, a bit about Tamie Dearen’s new book, which she says is “recommended for ages 13-113” – “Alora is a normal fifteen-year-old girl who lives on a ranch in rural Montana. Her biggest excitement is the upcoming school dance. Until one day while taking a shower, she sees an image that almost seems real. A boy, with long brown hair and the most intense green eyes she’s ever seen.

Little does she know that this vision is only the beginning of a great adventure. That her life will be forever altered as she discovers another realm, a strange world of magic and gifts, where a man full of evil power will use any means possible to capture and control her or else to end her life.

Alora must decide whether to hide in the relative safety of her Montana home or risk everything to fulfill her destiny and defend a home she never knew existed. Though despised for their youth, Alora and her friends, mark the beginning of a new era in Laegenshire.

Alora is a book of powers and magic, good and evil, fighting and valor, and love that conquers all. Where urban fantasy and medieval fantasy merge, there we find the adventures of Alora.”

And next, Tamie Dearen writes about the genesis of Alora
“The story of Alora grew from my love of fantasy and young people. I love fantasy because of the escape that comes from letting your imagination run unfettered by silly things like the laws of physics. I love young people because they are in a constant state of change as opposed to adults who have become solidified, stale and boring. I equate young people to fresh Playdough—fun, formable, moldable, full of limitless possibilities. Many adults, on the other hand, have left the lids off their Playdough. They have become stiff, dull and unable to adapt or change. Tragically, most adults are oblivious to what they have lost. They look down from their lofty position of venerable agedness to criticize the idealism, imagination, enthusiasm, and acceptance of their young counterparts while attempting to force them into hardened molds of themselves. To enjoy life again, we need to look through the eyes of and think through the minds of the young. I know an eighty-year-old who proves, ‘If you think young, you are young!’”

alora Finally, an excerpt from Alora
“When Alora awoke with a start, the water was almost cold. Disappointment formed a knot in her stomach—he’d never appeared. She released some water down the drain, and added hot water, swirling it around until the temperature was comfortable again. It was only five-thirty, so she could relax for five more minutes before she started her day. She lay back down, sinking below the water with her eyes closed, swishing the fresh water over her skin to remove the bubble bath film, her face floating above the surface to breath.

Abruptly, he appeared again. She held her breath, clamping her eyes shut tight, trying to hold the image as long as possible. Though the apparition was still slightly blurry, she could see all of him, head to toe. She studied him closely. She almost clapped her hands when her mental measurement estimated his height at over six feet. At five feet ten, she was taller than most boys her age. But she scolded herself for examining him as if he were a potential boyfriend. He wasn’t even real.

His clothes were made of supple-looking brown leather. The attire was odd—held together with ties rather than buttons or zippers. The fit was close enough that his well-formed muscles were evident. She noted that his long hair was tied back, as it had been earlier. She could only see the front of him as he stood frozen, stock-still, with his mouth agape, his jewel-green eyes wide and . . .moving. His eyes were moving, up and down, as if he were scanning her body as she had done. Suddenly, it occurred to her that if she could see all of him, he might be able to see all of her.

Quickly, she opened her eyes to dispense with the specter, but his image remained—now sharp and clear. And he seemed to be standing in her bathroom. She cowered under the water, attempting to hide under the few remaining bubbles. His eyes dropped down to her navel, and as they widened, he whispered, “Wendelle?”

Alora sat up and screamed at the top of her lungs, lunging for her towel on the floor. Hastily covering herself and preparing to leap from the tub, she looked up, only to discover the vision was gone. If indeed it had been a vision.”

To learn more about Tamie Dearen and Alora visit her website, Facebook page, goodreads page, or twitter.

And you can purchase Alora at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Thanks again to Tamie Dearen for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Saturday Owl posts, blogs from me, and occasional Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastical day! – Vonnie

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