Friday, March 11, 2016

Revealing, OUR WAVERING HEARTS by Diane Rose Duffy

Alas,  Our Wavering  Hearts is Revealed!


If you’ve read any of Diane Rose Duffy’s previous works, some of the characters from TAKE A PIECE OF MY HEART (her debut novel) and LOVE HEALS THE HEART (her 2nd romance) have roles in the soon to be released book, OUR WAVERING HEARTS a part of a new series - THE WAVERING HEART SERIES. 


OUR WAVERING HEARTS can be read as a standalone.


About The Author

Diane Rose Duffy is a California native who has a passion for books, a whopping coffee addiction and a perpetual craving for chocolate. After recently retiring from a lengthy accounting career in Silicon Valley, Diane presently enjoys the peaceful serenity of daily life in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Diane Rose Duffy has completed two humorous romance novels and a funny children's chapter book with the support of her husband whom she proclaims to be her 'happily ever after'.

You can find her on Facebook.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Review of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King - My Favorite Selections


Since childhood, Stephen King has propelled my imagination to foreign places, delivering horrors that keep on giving. If you are like me, you have a lifelong relationship with Mr. King...well, at least with his stories. Granted, few can say they actually know him, but I am okay with being one of his constant readers as long as he keeps writing. 

I find it comforting that even with all his accolades, King states that he is an amateur. In his opinion, writing is something all writers can consistently improve on. A story is never truly finished as long as the author is alive and eager to perfect his/her art. I'll try to keep that in mind whenever I'm working on a story that has me on the ropes in a choke-hold.

So he's at it again...




The title alone and accompanying artwork is enough to invite me in and once I'm there, his stories carve into my subconscious, navigating  busy junctures, leading me into a boondocks of endless possibilities. This time he's taking me/us on a bazaar of bad dreams. I have no expectations and yet, I playfully whisper, surprise me


Mile 81

For the record, I'm not a fan of driving on the highway, the concrete dividers inspire nightmares in and of itself.  At times, it can be a scary place; even when you're at the wheel. All it takes is one wrong move by you or a distracted driver and anything, everything can go wrong. If the odds are in your favor,  you walk away with minor abrasions or you're carved into by carnivorous metal that somehow graduated with a PhD in Creative Butchery in a matter of a millisecond.

In Mile 81 we're introduced to various characters that vie for our attention. I have a healthy imagination, but the story didn't seize my fear. Christine had teeth; the antagonist in Mile 81... Well, I'll let you decide for yourself. The characters, specifically the teenagers were interesting, but with short stories, it's hard to get to know the characters, much less care about what happens to them.  I started to care when Rachel and Blakey came into the story line.



To his credit, King delivers jokes you can enjoy for years to come. Often, it comes to mind when you’re trying to get a joke or jab in. That's why I read his stories; he keeps me entertained even when I don't particularly like a story.

Premium Harmony

Life can become redundant for couples and even more so when they’ve been together for 37 years. Still, I enjoyed the depth of the couple’s interaction in this story. Ray and Mary spend most of their time disagreeing than loving  and appreciating each other until the couple goes for a ride and stop to pick up a treat for their niece in a dilapidated part of town.

Life is strange like that; one minute you’re going toe to toe and the next, you're staring at the mirror wondering if it was all a dream. I like this story the most. It just goes to show you that sometimes getting a good scare is not necessarily the best form of entertainment; being able to sit back, and appreciate the deeper meaning of a story can be equally gratifying.


So, what's the verdict?

This collection did  not inspire bad dreams, but if you are a fan of King's body of work give it a try. 

Either way, I enjoyed the book and I think you will too. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"There are times when life is shorter than a waltz, so dancedamn it, dance!" - Mila A. Ballentine



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday's Writer: The Legend of Turtle Pond by Mila A. Ballentine - An Interview by Eva Lenoir


Re-blogged: AUTHOR INTERVIEW

WELCOME MILA A. BALLENTINE to Wednesday’s Writer Interview! I’m very happy to have you here with us! Please have a seat, enjoy a drink and let’s talk about your novel: The Legend of Turtle Pond. 

First and foremost, inquiring minds want to know: Who is Mila? The author….the person?
I’m a mystery writer who writes about the things that grasp the core of my imagination. My writing style is an extension of my personality. I try to write the story as if I’ve lived it. Like most of my characters, I’m complex, but I enjoy the freedom that writing provides.
I’m most interested in showing how we handle difficult situations and exploring our vulnerabilities. If you ask a man, “What are your strengths?” He will recite a stanza. Ask him about his weaknesses and he’ll narrate a haiku.
Let me begin by informing my readers that this novel is a paranormal with a twist of mystery.  Set in the 19th Century when families sought the comfort of starting a new life in the land of opportunity, we are catapulted into a world of love, hard-work, greed and magic.  How did your idea for this novel come about?
 I walked the slate steps in Central Park that led to the boardwalk outside Belvedere Castle.  Turtle Pond sat in front of the castle covered in moss. I walked up to the railing and looked over the edge. Turtles swarmed the perimeter beneath the railing. I fell in love with the pond and its inhabitants. The pond inspired me to write, The Legend of Turtle Pond: The Initiation of Tabitha Obrien.



As I read this novel, I was immediately taken by the main character, Tabitha Obrien.  Her accepting yet strong force of character was evident but her immeasurable heartache was what reeled me in from the beginning.  Is her character based on any one woman in particular?
The character wasn’t based on one person in particular. However, a certain feature, her hair for example and what it did in a particular moment was inspired by a friend. Otherwise, Tabitha was a perfect storm created by my imagination. Her strengths were gathered from two women I have admired throughout my lifetime, my mother and best friend, Evelyn. Her weaknesses were merely, what ifs, their maniacal doppelgangers.
Set in the New World, this novel explains the hardships of having to start life anew.  Is this time frame something you are passionate about or did you have to do a great deal of research to insure the details were consistent with reality?
A lot of research was involved. I read books about ships, lifestyles in the late 1800s and 1900s. I’ve always been fascinated by period films from that era. So, the clothing was the most enjoyable part.

I used to work as a costume assistant for a theater department at a community college. We often went to the storage room to look for costumes for the actors. There were costumes from every age in there. It was inspiring and in my mind, I took elaborate trips through time adorned in fancy garments while holding a parasol.
Throughout the novel, we are given little bits of information, here and there.  It is captivating and riveting.  To be honest, I read this novel in four hours because I just had to know what was coming next.  How long did it take you to write it and was it difficult at any point in time to keep the suspense going?
I wrote The Legend of Turtle Pond in three months. It was an emotional process but I enjoyed the journey. I became emotionally invested in the characters’ lives. After a while, they became a part of my reality.
I enjoy a good mystery that keeps me on the edge of my seat. So, creating an environment filled with suspense wasn’t too hard. I tried to keep the reader intrigued and never gave away too much information.
The relationship between Tabitha and Marc is heart-warming, their love…although not openly passionate, is real and palpable.  However, it is the love for her children that takes the forefront.  As a mother, I have to admit that there were scenes that made my heart ache…I won’t reveal which ones in order to keep the spoilers to a minimum… Was it equally difficult for you to write those scenes?
Writing The Legend of Turtle Pond: The Initiation of Tabitha Obrien was one of the most intriguing and emotional writing experiences I’ve had thus far. I tried to bring honest emotions to the story. I kept telling myself, ‘if they can’t feel the character’s anguish why should they care?’ I put myself in the character’s shoes. I cried, laughed with them and in essence their reality became my own.
In the turning point of the story, Tabitha Obrien has a complete change in personality, we are introduced to quite an interesting secondary character and we are given an “OHHHH” moment when we discover the true identity of one of the other characters…At any point did you have a “Mwhahahaha” moment thinking about the reader’s reaction to your plot twist?

Absolutely, it was the most enjoyable part of the entire experience. Everyone likes a literary twist that keeps them interested. Mwhahahaha.
So, at this point I believe our readers deserve a little taste of this magical world.  Would you care to give us a snippet? The Legend of Turtle Pond: The Initiation of Tabitha Obrien (The Life and Trials of Astonia Series)

Chapter One


“Passengers lined up to board the Lavinia, a broad four-masted pinewood ship with a draped goddess attached to the prow. Her hair flowed against the pine as her eyes faced the heavens and her body clung to the ship. Travel chests punctuated some of the heads in the crowd, while others carried their possessions in leather travel cases. The passengers looked out at the vast deep as they walked the narrow gangway to board the ship and entered the lower level, disappearing into the hull.

There was little room to move around, but once the other passengers saw Tabitha’s eyes, they moved to the outer edges of the cabin. Her blood-red eyes released their fears from the safety of ignorance, leaving them vulnerable to her powerful gaze. They stared at the Obrien’s, held their families close and whispered amongst themselves. Tabitha was used to people staring at her; she had experienced it since she was a child.

I’m supposing from the book cover, that this is a series: The Life and Trials of Astonia.  Can you tell us a little bit about what the entire series is about as a whole?
The Life and Trials of Astonia is a historical paranormal series set in a time and place unlike our own, enthused with old world charms and peculiar characters that are bound to tickle your imagination. The series will delve deeper into Tabitha’s character and continues to shed light on the persona of Astonia. The second book in this series will tentatively be released by the end of this year and it will pick up right where the first book left off. I want to know what happens from that point onward and so will the readers.
Besides the Legend of Turtle Pond, what other novels do you have available to us and are they all based on the same genres?
I write paranormal and other types of mysteries. There’s even a western inspired mystery in the pile. 
Link to Books:
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Mila-A.-Ballentine/e/B00GIZTJXK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1426439511&sr=1-2-ent  
Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mila-a-ballentine?store=allproducts&keyword=mila+a.+ballentine

As most authors, I’m guessing you have some Works In Progress stashed somewhere in your computer…Care to tease us a little and give us some tantalizing information?
I am currently working on book two in The Life and Trials of Astonia series. If all goes well, it will be released during the Winter of 2016, so keep your eyes peeled.
The title, and blurb information will be posted on this blog when the time comes.
Okay, last question before we get to my favorite part of the interview… What do you find is the most difficult part about being a published author?
The hardest part is the editing process, but what’s equally daunting is not knowing if the story will be well received.

Here is my favorite part of the Interview!  In an effort to “analyze” you, please choose one answer for each pair and yes, you may elaborate if you would like.  Good luck!
-Old World or New World?
I appreciate the old world atmosphere. I would love to live in the late 1800s or in the 1950s. I think the fashion was simplistic yet elegant. Still, I couldn’t imagine not having technology at my disposal.
-Taking Chances or Playing it Safe?
I take chances when I write or travel to places that I’ve never been before and I have no problem going alone. The only time I play it safe is when I’m at the beach.
-Karma or Coincidence?
Life is arguably filled with both. Everything happens for a reason but if you exude negative energy don’t expect anyone to throw you a parade.
-Forgiveness or Revenge?
Both, Life would be dull without them in a story. In the real world, forgiveness is necessary for human development, but forgetting the lesson leads to repetition and repetition is hellish.
-Overprotective or Lenient (Mother)?
I’m overprotective in general when it comes to children. They are precious even when they start growing feathers and talk back.
-Truth or Dare?  
Both, a person who tells the truth is both respected and feared. Liars are like cancers they eat away at your patience. When I start a new project, I dare to do the unexpected. I write about the things that terrify me or about the things that draw out the deepest emotions that we often try to tuck deep inside us.
-Vanilla or Spice? 
Spice makes everything taste better whether it’s in food or added to other areas of our lives. Like books, there are many spices to choose from; pick one, but try them all.

Thank you so much, Mila, for stopping by! I hope you have great success with The Legend of Turtle Pond and I cannot wait to continue the adventures! 
Thank you for interviewing and featuring me on your blog. Your questions allowed me to delve into my thought process while learning more about myself. It is my hope that your audience enjoyed getting to know me. Hopefully, they will explore The Legend of Turtle Pond or any other book that I have written.

Twitter handle: @MilaABallentine.



 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wishing you all a great Wednesday!

Writers go write, readers go read!

Cheers,

Eva J
About The Interviewer/Author
 Eva LeNoir grew up travelling with her parents to various countries in the world. Reading was her constant companion during her travels and her ability to adapt to different cultures fed her mind with endless possibilities. The characters swimming in her head are always from various horizons with a multitude of dreams and aspirations. However, all of these voices always have one thing in common: The women are strong and independent. A true believer in the female cause, Eva's wish is to portray the women in her books as the leaders. She sees them walking hand in hand with their partners and not be the sheepish followers of the male gender. But most of all, Eva LeNoir wants to offer her readers a moment of pleasure as they dive into the world of her mind's creation.
To learn more about Eva, visit: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575734.Eva_LeNoir?from_search=true

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Review of Jade Sky ( A Matt Rowley Novel) by Patrick Freivald




 
 
Genre: Militia, Science Fiction
Book Description
 
Matt Rowley hasn't been human for years. A commando for the International Council on Augmented Phenomena, he hunts down superhuman monsters the military can't handle. But his abilities come with a price: bloodthirsty whispers that urge him to acts of terrible violence. An encounter with a giant, angelic being with wings of smoke and shadow casts him into a world of inhuman brutality, demonic possession, and madness, where he must choose between his family and his soul.

The Review
 
Matt Rowley, an ICAP commando, and his crew are always on the move. This time, they are inside a warehouse.  It should be an easy operation, with little to no casualties. They maneuver the building and encounter more resistance than they had expected, but they hold off the goons long enough to make it to the helicopter. Once they are out of harm’s way, Matt and his boss debate the likelihood that something was off about the mission.


From then on, disturbing events unfold, and Matt and his team learn things that would make grown augmented men shudder—things that might very well strip away everything they know and love. In the meantime, ICAP kept them busy, sending them to foreign lands to spearhead negotiations with a Jade dealer.

Midway, Matt and his squad are propelled into a high-octane bloodlust fight. Lives are extinguished, some they regret, others not so much. Cursing the choice he was forced to make, Matt soldiers on, determined to find out what went wrong.
 
Will he find out what caused all of the chaos or will they die before learning the truth?
I like that…
Matt can crush a trachea with his thumb, but when he is at home with his wife, Monica, he is a different man.  Even when he feels like his humanity is slipping away, she is the thread that holds him together.

Purchase Links
 
Kindle     Nook
 
I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, BLACK TIDE, which comes out 4/17.
 

Author Bio

Patrick Freivald is a two-time Bram Stoker Award nominee, a teacher (physics, robotics, American Sign Language), beekeeper, and author, and coach of an award-winning competition robotics team for high school students.
He lives in Western New York with his loving wife, birds, dogs, cats, and several million stinging insects.   

Social Links
 
You can find him at http://patrick.freivald.com
 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Facebook Blog TAKEOVER: Desperate Trails, A Romantic Excursion


Facebook Blog TAKEOVER: Desperate Trails, A Romantic Excursion


Today, I'm taking over Once Upon a Crush. Join me to learn more Desperate Trails, my newly released romance mystery.

 

The Blurb


 
If the opportunity arose, Drew Tanner would probably trade places with just about anyone. He wasn’t a stranger to misery, but he had an unquenchable need for acceptance that spanned his entire childhood leading up to the present. Throughout that time, he saw how elusive and fickle the nature of love could be, and experienced unyielding misfortunes until a newfound friend made those hellish moments somehow bearable.


Despite his new friendship, things at home continue to deteriorate, making it difficult for him to cope with the situation; let alone breathe. But, an opportune moment arises out of his suffering that will potentially change the course of the life he’s known and he’ll have to decide if he wants to continue living this way or choose a new path, a decision that could change his life forever. Whatever he decides, Drew’s life is about to change, and there is no guarantee that his life will change for the better.


 Come on over to 'Once Upon a Crush' and meet the cast!  
Select the link to enter..

http://facebook.com/onceuponacrushbookblog
 





Copy the following post:
Explore DESPERATE TRAILS, a heartfelt, passionate tale filled with mind-numbing revelations and moments that will make you blush. Get your copy of this unforgettable story today. #mystery #Romance #Kindle
 
Or
 

Things heat up in the hive! Get a copy of Desperate Trails today and find out why. #Romance #Mystery #Paperback

 **The Giveaway closes at 10AM EST December 7, 2014**

 
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Creating Memorable Characters That Can Potentially Leap Off the Page by Mila A. Ballentine


 
 
Creating characters that leave an impression on the reader whether it is a good or bad impression is what every author strives for, but getting readers to care about the characters is not an easy task. The author must give the reader a reason to care about what happens to the character. Otherwise, the character meets his or her demise on page eighty-nine and the reader turns the page without giving it a second thought.

Characters should leave an impression on the reader to the point that they question themselves. Would I have done the same thing under those circumstances? What would I have done differently? The question that emerges is, “How can a writer go about making the reader care?”
 I will use a non-literary example—the goal is after all to make your characters realistic. First, I must ask… do you know who Caylee Anthony and Elizabeth Smart are? It is safe to say that most of us do. Why is that? The media and law enforcement play a crucial role in making the public aware of when a child goes missing. An Amber Alert is issued; local news stations and their affiliates show pictures of the missing child. On some occasions, parents and law enforcement make a plea to the public in the hopes that the child will be returned unharmed. They also keep the public informed when there are new developments in the case.
Whether we intend to or not, viewers begin to care about finding said child, even when they are in another state. It is important to mention that we all respond to the same situation in different ways. As a writer, you have to ask yourself, why should readers care? Once you have found the answer, write a story with that in mind.
Write as if the character was fighting for air and the only way he/she could make it to the surface is for you to make them believable—so believable that the reader has no choice but to invest in their journey. It should illicit emotions that are reserved for inopportune moments; make them connect on the slightest level in a way that they can relate to, whether it is love, hate, abandonment, abuse, or fear. We are all affected by something. All you have to do is find the common ground.




Mila A. Ballentine is an award winning, best-selling mystery writer who enjoys writing Historical, Crime, Paranormal, and Science Fiction mysteries for a general audience. When she is not writing, Mila enjoys learning about other cultures, traveling, and doing anything that allows her to put her creative energy to use.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Fix or Avoid Image Display Issues When Submitting a Webpage Filtered File to KDP




Microsoft Word can be an author’s best friend… at least until the message “document cannot be saved” appears. When that occurs, your removable disk or hard drive maybe full, deleting unnecessary files may cure that. I've read KDP's format guidelines, it is extremely helpful. It has given me more control over the format that I choose. KDP has also played a crucial part during my writing process, but at times, it feels as though we are in a one-sided relationship.

If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word or KDP, you can relate. This time around, I decided to use images in my document to add elaborate font. Everything was going great, until I tried to view the uploaded file. The images were not visible. Instead, there was a camera icon with an error sign displayed where the images should be.


What did I do wrong?

My fly was open. I didn't zip the file! When a webpage filtered document is created it creates a folder automatically, but it also separates the images and other aspects from the text.  If you open the folder, you'll see numerous files inside. The images are separate and that's where the problem lies. It was a frustrating moment, but I was determined to fix the problem.

'Operation Fix It' commenced!

 
 

Code Name: Goosfraba

 

Task: Create a Zip Folder.


Okay, so you have saved your eBook as a webpage-filtered document. 
 
What's next?

Tutorial:


 Note: This tutorial is not for beginners.
 

First, you'll need to...

 
Access your document folder.  
 
 
1.  Create a folder.
 
 
Right click in the 'open' dialogue box  
 

of your document folder. 
 
Note: There is more than one way to do it. The same is true for the other steps
 
provided in this tutorial.
 
 
Select New. Select Folder. A folder is created.  Give the folder a name. Press
 
the enter key on your keyboard.  You are the proud parent of a new folder.
 
2.   Next, 'add' the document to the folder. 
 
Note: (Practice with a dummy document first. Once you've got the hang of it you can use the actual file.)
 
Use the Drag-and-Drop method to add the file.
 
 
 You've created a folder, named it, and added the interior file to the folder.
 
 
 3.   Next, Right click on the folder. Select send to . Select "compressed 'zipped' folder."
 

You have a zip folder.

Upload it to KDP . 

Preview the document to verify that the images display.