Saturday, March 28, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Tabor Heights -- ACCIDENTAL HEARTS

Today's SPOTLIGHT is on a Tabor Heights Year One story: ACCIDENTAL HEARTS.

What do you do when you seem to be a trouble magnet? Anything that can go wrong, does. The worst part is when certain nieces and nephews want to help you with your romantic endeavors, but all their efforts just seem to add to the confusion.

Tyler Sloane and Abby Morgan meet entirely by accident when dropping off their respective nieces and nephews at summer camp. When his niece and nephew break and then try to fix his beloved Corvette, Abby comes to the rescue. Tyler is the director of the Royal Community Theater, while Abby is a pilot and
makes a living as a courier and giving flying lessons. Their schedules just never seem to mesh, except when the children are involved.

That's fine, but only up to a point. What will it take to shake free of the kids so they can find some private time and figure out if what they're feeling for each other is real, or just the excitement of all the accidents that hit them with frightening regularity?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: FESTIVE IN DEATH, by JD Robb

I've been a really good girl -- productivity-wise. So when the latest paperback in the In Death Series was available, I didn't feel guilty -- too much anyway -- about indulging and buying a new book.

FESTIVE IN DEATH takes place at Christmas. Amid all the strain of preparing for Roarke's annual blow-out Christmas party, and navigating all the social obligations and niceties of gifting and holidays and decorations, Lt. Eve Dallas has to deal with the murder of a personal trainer.

Gee, hasn't everybody wanted to kill their personal trainer at one time or another? The thing is, this personal trainer deserves to die. He's a user. A blackmailer. A manipulator. An ego-maniac. And as Eve investigates all the people on his client list and then the secret list tied into the huge wads of cash found in his locker, she discovers he's also a rapist. The kind of rapist who convinces himself his victim wanted it. Yeah, he deserved to die. But the thing is, that kind of decision should be left to the courts, so that's where Eve Dallas comes in. Despite everything, she has to stand up for the dead.

I love the characters in the In Death series. The interactions. The relationships. And the process of tracking down the murderer and even understanding, a little bit, why ....

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Tabor Heights -- A BOX OF PROMISES

Today's SPOTLIGHT is on a book from Year Two of the Tabor Heights, Ohio books: A BOX OF PROMISES.

Casey, Meg, Bergen, Ray and Andrea are dorm sisters, preparing to separate for their summer apart. They all have big plans and dreams and want to do something important. They make a list of their goals for the summer, and make a vow that they will accomplish or pay up: with a pizza party. Then they put their signed vows in a box and give it to their dorm supervisor for safekeeping.

The summer is filled with adventures, challenges, problems, disappointments, laughter and frustration. Bratty kids in VBS, mean girls at summer camp, affectionate elephants at the zoo, summer classes, weird customers at the newspaper office, killer bees in Mexico, orphans, sunburn, broken limbs, temporary blindness, bubblegum in hair, oblivious boys, career barricades ... and amazingly, a chance at romance for each of them.

Who has to pay for the pizza and who gets far more than she set out to do? Read it and find out.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: KISS AND SPELL, by Shanna Swendson

I have a HUGE bone to pick with the authors of my favorite book series: You don't write FAST enough!

I was delighted to discover 3 more books in Shanna Swendson's Enchanted Inc., series and bought all of them, and as you can see here ... breezed through them. Devoured them. So ... I'm out and need more! Write faster, please! What happens next to Katie and Owen?

In KISS AND SPELL, Katie and Owen, Katie's grandmother and Merlin and all their friends and enemies are dealing with the fallout from the end of the last book, where the entire story took place in one breathless day while they searched frantically to get their hands on an evil jewel that would help the possessor control the world. Not a nice thing to fall into enemy hands. Part of the fallout was a burst of magic that restored Owen's burned out magic, and gave Katie magical powers.

Another part of the fallout was accusations of wizards acting against elves. Magical people start vanishing, and when Owen and Katie try to track down an ally who suddenly isn't answering his phone, they end up in ... well, a live version of a romantic comedy movie, complete with soundtrack and montages. Katie discovers that having fading magical powers isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially when it means that her handy-dandy immunity to all magic isn't there to help her.

Will they escape fake New York and return to real New York and solve the mystery of disappearing people and stop the invasion in time? Read it and find out. And if you happen to see Shanna, tell her to write faster!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Tabor Heights, Ohio -- A QUIET PLACE

In December, the last Tabor Heights novel is scheduled to be published.

At least, that's the plan right now. Who knows? I might get ideas for another year in Tabor Heights.

Until we run out of titles, the SPOTLIGHT will be on Tabor Heights books .... and just to confuse you, they'll be in alphabetical order instead of published or chronological order.

Today's SPOTLIGHT is on A QUIET PLACE.

Jeannette Marshall finds herself a widow before her first
anniversary. Despite being newly pregnant, she is ordered by her vicious in-laws to leave town. She is glad to return home to Tabor Heights, to her church friends and her "big brother" from the orphanage, Nathan Lewis. All she wants is a quiet place to settle down and raise her son.

Nathan realized too late what Jeannette meant to him. Now that she's a widow, he tries to be happy as just her big brother and favorite uncle to her son, BJ. Then her ex-in-laws come to Tabor and try to take her son, and everything changes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Letters to Kel: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I don't know what to tell you here.

Maybe the lesson is that you gotta do what feels right for you -- and you gotta be willing to admit when you need to change your approach.

Here's the thing: with my Commonwealth Universe, it's been growing kind of "organically." They started out as individual books, and as I rough drafted them and put them aside to work on something else and came back to them and made revisions and put them aside again ... I realized that some of my SF books kind of fit together, belonging in the same "universe," sharing the same history. Sometimes I "discovered" that one book was ancient history for another book. All it took was some tweaking of details, changing names, adding other details, and ... viola! ... the Commonwealth was born.

As I wrote some of the books, I mentioned historical events, which gave me ideas for more books, and as I got to know my characters better, I was "introduced" to their friends and relatives and ancestors, who had their own stories to tell.

Right now there are nearly 30 Commonwealth books, either published or waiting for publication. I have titles and outlines -- sometimes just a thumbnail sketch -- for a total of 58 Commonwealth books. At this point, I am announcing that the Commonwealth is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, I'm gonna stick with the planned titles, and I'm going to write in chronological order from now on. If I get ideas for books that happened earlier ... well, I'll have to think seriously about writing them. Maybe I'll do short stories, shorter episodes in Commonwealth history, and kind of insert them into the timeline.

My longsuffering publisher, Writers' Exchange, is going to re-issue the books as we go along, some of them with new cover art, but more importantly with a new numbering system to make it easier for people to know exactly where each book is in Commonwealth history. It seems some people haven't been too happy not knowing where in time they are, and hearing that there are other books that happened before the one they just read ... but those books haven't been written yet. (some people .... there's just no pleasing them! )

I'm a big proponent of being flexible, but sometimes you gotta set out a plan and stick to it, no matter what. In the next few years ... probably the next 5 or 6, we'll have all the "holes" filled in. Then I guess we'll be writing forward in the Commonwealth instead of jumping all around in history. A new adventure! I hope everybody will stick around -- and feedback is more than welcome. If you meet someone in a book and want to know what happens to that character later, or what happens to their descendants, ask! Give me more ideas for the Commonwealth. I don't want to leave it any time soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Sunsinger Chronicles #10, SCOUTS

Today's Spotlight is on the 10th book in the YA science fiction series, Sunsinger Chronicles: SCOUTS.


The adventures of Bain Kern and the Free Trader ship, Sunsinger, are part of the Commonwealth Universe science fiction novels from Writers Exchange.

Bain and Gorgi lead the newly formed Scout Corps and are still in
training. It is time to take a test flight of the first Scout Corps ship.

Rhiann and Herin K'veer come looking for Bain with grim news: Sunsinger has been bombed, Ganfer the ship brain might have been destroyed ... and Lin is missing.

The Scout Corps's first mission might be its most important mission of all.