HallowRead 2017 – #horror #UF #steampunk #paranormal

I’ll be at HallowRead this weekend. If you’re going to be near Ellicott City, Maryland on Saturday, come see me!

What’s HallowRead?

HallowRead is a book festival and mini-con for authors and fans of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Steam Punk and Horror.

Multi-author event with various activities throughout the weekend including:

Writing Workshops

Ghost Tour

SteamPunk Author Tea

Author Panels

Book Signings

Paranormal Investigation

… and so much more.

Hang out with your favorite authors in our host city, the haunted and historic town of Ellicott City, Maryland!

What will I be doing there?

I’ll be watching and participating in the panels (more info on the two panels I’m on below; for a full schedule, check out HallowRead’s website. Darynda Jones is doing the Keynote Speech at 3:00.)

Indie Uprising- 12:30 The crest and subsequent ebbs and flows of the Indie market. Best practices, tips and techniques for an ever changing industry. Moderated by Bryan Nowak, with Meg Eden, C.J. Ellisson, Jill Archer, J.A. Grier and Alex Owens

Nevertheless, She Persisted- 2:15 Writing kickass heroines and wise women in the age after Buffy, Bella and Hermione. Moderated by Rebecca Rivard. With Jill Archer, Katherine McIntyre, Kathy MacMillan, Heather Elizabeth King, Misty Simon and R.A. Boyd

I’ll also be at the book signing from 4:00-6:00. If CreateSpace cooperates and sends me my books in time, I’ll have copies of Pocket Full of Tinder there. I’ll definitely have copies of the first three Noon Onyx books. I’ll have some Halloween goodies and some bookish bling to give away. Hopefully, I’ll have my new Square credit card reader, although cash always works. 😀

If you already have a copy of one of my books, bring it. I’d love to sign it!

Hope to see you there!

More Info

October 20-21, 2017
Roger Carter Center
3000 Milltowne Drive
United States
Ellicott City, MD 21043

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#Maryland #Writers – Writing and Publishing Workshop in Westminster this Sunday!

Hi all–I’ll be at the Westminster Library this Sunday, April 23rd, at 2:00 p.m. along with three other Maryland authors (JL Lora, Jamie Farrell, and Tracee Lydia Garner, who put the whole event together — thank you, Tracee!) I’m going to briefly discuss some of the things I talked about at the Indie Author Day Follow Up we held in Hereford but I’m also going to share the #1 thing I wish I would have done when I first started writing and the top three things that every new writer should DO RIGHT NOW. I’ll have some books to give out. If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you!!

Indie Author Day Follow Up: March 25th at Hereford Library – Come see me!

My wonderful local library participated in the first (ever) Indie Author Day back in October of last year. (The 2nd Indie Author Day will be on October 14, 2017 — indie authors, mark your calendars! Contact your local libraries! Get involved!! 😀 ) In the meantime, my library didn’t want to wait a whole year to round up indie authors from the mid-Atlantic area for another sit-down, so we’re hosting an Indie Author Day Follow Up on March 25th. Details below!


What’s Indie Author Day?

On October 8, 2016, nearly 300 libraries across North America invited thousands of local writers in their communities to join them for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authors. During the inaugural Indie Author Day, libraries big and small hosted events where local authors connected, networked, shared experiences and offered advice to one another, while also featuring locally written books to library patrons in their communities. http://indieauthorday.com/


Hereford Library’s

Indie Author Day Follow Up

March 25, 2017

10:00 a.m. Meet and Greet: Grab a coffee, buy a book, and get it signed.

10:15 a.m. Path to Publication: An overview of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Discussion of the pros and cons of each.

11:00 a.m. Author Platform: Building your social media foundation.

11:30 a.m. Readings/Book Sales/Q&A: Space for readings and sales are limited. Pre-registration required.

1:00 p.m. Break

2:00 p.m. Self-Publishing Nuts & Bolts: Hiring editors, formatters, and cover designers. Writing back cover copy. Obtaining blurbs and ISBNs.

3:00 p.m. More on Marketing: How to get reviews and author quotes. Perfect your elevator pitch and social media strategy.


More Details

I’m doing the “Path to Publication” part of the program. This event is mostly for writers, but would appeal to any reader who wants a behind-the-scenes look at writing as a business. And the readings are for everyone, of course!

If I do it correctly, my presentation will be dry, professorial, and purely informational (kidding — hopefully there will be a lively Q&A). I’m not doing a reading (they aren’t my bailiwick and I wanted others to have more time), but I will be giving away a few books.

girls-weekend-by-cara-sue-achterbergThe “Author Platform” session will be led by Cara Sue Achterberg, who is a blogger and novelist from South Central, Pennsylvania. She’s the author of I’m Not HerGirls’ Weekend, and Live Intentionally, a nonfiction book based on ten years of trying to shop, cook, eat, and live intentionally with kids haranguing her. She teaches creative writing and is working on a memoir about fostering her first fifty dogs. (She currently fosters dogs and puppies for the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes.)

The “Nuts & Bolts” and “Marketing” sessions are panels featuring authors with a wide range of experience, including:

Nechama Frier, co-editor of Vertoscope, A Villainous Collection by Many Devious Minds, which is “an original comics anthology that specializes in beasts, villains, shadows, and anything else you might find by taking the wrong way home.”

Rachel Rawlings, author of the Maurin Kincaide series and founder of HallowRead.

viking-by-katie-ritterKatie Ritter, author of Viking, The Green Land.

Demi Stevens, writing coach, founder of York Book Expo, and CEO of Year of the Book Press.

mosaics-by-p-k-tylerP.K. Tyler, co-curator of Mosaics, A Collection of Independent Women, an anthology whose profits were donated to the The Pixel Project.

We’d love to see you for the whole day, but you can also come to whichever part of the program interests you the most.

Hereford Library, 16940 York Road, Hereford, Maryland


Are you an author who wants more information on the upcoming October 2017 national Indie Author Day? Click here

Are you a librarian who wants to get involved in the 2nd national Indie Author Day? Click here.

In the meantime, if you live in my area…

Hope to see you at our local Indie Author Day Follow Up next month on March 25th in Hereford!

5 Photos with N.D. Jones, Author of BOUND SOULS (#writerslife #SFR)

Fellow Marylander N.D. Jones shares another batch of writer’s life photos, as well as information about her latest release, Bound Souls, a science fiction romance. Welcome, N.D.!


The Photographs

Something that represents something unique about you

nd-jones-baltimore

I was married at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Recently, my daughter was going through my wedding album. And, to my surprise, she had no idea her father and I were married at the museum, although she’s been there on field trips. Her older brother knew, so I assumed she did as well. Needless to say, that bit of old-new news led to a very nice discussion with my daughter while she flipped through the wedding album, asking questions and making remarks so typical of teenage girls who think themselves witty and cute.

Jill: My daughters like to look through family albums too. I wish I had more of them. I’ve been horrible about printing copies of my digital photos and putting them in albums.

Something that represents where you live

nd-jones-raven

I was born and raised in Maryland, and I love football. More, I love the Baltimore Ravens. Now, loving football and the Ravens does not equate to me actually enjoying watching my team play. Because, really, I don’t court that much angst and frustration in my life. Which, if you ever watched the Ravens play, you know precisely what I’m talking about.

Alas, no one in my immediate family is a football fan. Sometimes, we feel like we’re the only Marylanders who don’t watch fall football. 🙂

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for

(besides your human family/friends)

nd-jones-stuffed-animals

While I consider myself a wonderful mother and wife, (No, you don’t need to verify my claim by asking my husband and children. Just take my word for it and the rest of this interview will go smoothly.) I haven’t extended my stellar nurturing skills to plants or animals. I do, however, have a collection of stuffed animals I keep on my bed—gifted to me by various members of my family. The cute unicorn in the pic is the most recent addition, given to me this past Christmas by my daughter. So, in lieu of taking care of something I could actually kill through neglect, I take care of a brood of stuff animals, who require nothing more than to be picked up off the floor every morning and placed back on their throne at the foot of my bed.

Everyone should have a rainbow-colored unicorn. Adorable!

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

nd-jones-laptop

I have a love/hate relationship with my computer and Internet. I need both for professional, personal, and academic purposes—like most people. But the Wi-Fi in my home can be so frustratingly slow, at times, especially in the evenings when I need it the most. And I have this ridiculously large screen laptop with tons of features and great sound quality, which hardly matters at all because it’s obscenely slow. Not it’s-an-old-laptop kind of slow, because it isn’t, but overpriced-name brand-got-you-to-buy me-stupid kind of slow.

Would Pratt Library or BCPL work better for you some of those nights?

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

nd-jones-comics

I’m a big comic book fan. I especially love reading comics with positively-depicted African American characters, as well as comics with awesome couples. A few of my favorite comics were canceled, such as Superman/Wonder Woman. And the superhero couples I used to love to read are no longer a couple, such as Storm and Black Panther. Sigh. I miss those days. But I still have Saga, which is great. And I just purchased the first issue of Tuskegee Heirs.

Neat!


The Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

A supernatural love triangle that tests the bounds of science, truth, and faith.

What are you working on next?

My goal is to complete the third and final book in my Death and Destiny paranormal romance trilogy. I love this witch/shapeshifter series. I’ve spent more time with the hero and heroine from this series than any of my novellas, the length giving me an opportunity to explore the characters and their unique world. For those interested readers, Of Beasts and Bonds, the second book in the trilogy, is free on Kindle Unlimited.

What are you currently reading?

Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology. It’s a great collection of horror stories written by talented independent authors. There is a Colors in Darkness Facebook page and website that are platforms for fans of diverse, multicultural horror, dark fiction, and paranormal stories. If you haven’t checked out this one-of-a-kind book, I highly recommend the read.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

While I don’t watch television nearly as much nowadays, I started Emerald City a few weeks ago, which we watch, faithfully, as a family every Friday night. My husband and I also started watching Colony on Netflix. We just finished season one and are now picking up with season two on USA Network. Thus far, they are both well-acted and plotted shows, which is what I want in a television show.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

As a self-published author, my biggest challenge is getting my novels before interested readers—finding my niche audience. I wish I had a magical formula to solve the challenge, but I do not. I’ve read books on marketing, as well as participated in webinars, all with a theory to promote the author platform and/or gain email subscribers. It’s an uphill battle, and one I have yet to master or conquer.

It’s an uphill battle for all of us. Stay the course! 🙂

How can we meet that challenge?

My goal is to be more purposeful and strategic with my marketing, using the vast experience of others to help me make better, more informed decisions.


More info on ND Jones and her recent release

N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, eBook, and paperback company. Kuumba Publishing is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works of authors and artists of African descent.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

nd-jones-bound-souls

Regent Lela of Asiya is the most powerful person on her planet but she is powerless to save the life of her beloved soulmate—Zion Grace. For thirty years they lived as husband and wife, but Zion’s time is at an end. Lela must go on without him.

“There will never be anyone else for me.”

Despite having died, nothing can keep Zion from his soulmate. He’s back but not as the man he once was. Zion must help Lela move on with her life, lest he lose her forever. But how can Zion convince Lela to accept the love and affections of another man when he still wants her for himself?

“I love you, Lela. My heart is forever yours.”

Lela and Zion are bound souls, destined to live eternity together. For these lovers, death is not an end, but a fateful beginning.

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Inkterra | iBooks


Thank you, N.D., for the great interview and for sharing your photos. Good luck and best wishes!

Happy Halloween!

It’s here! One of my favorite days of the year!!

Since I have to work tonight, I celebrated over the weekend. On Friday, I had drinks at the Millstone American Farmhouse Cidery with a few fellow librarians for happy hour. What a neat place! The owner acquired and restored an old grist mill, which you can tour – so, of course, I did because you all know how much I adore old buildings. They’ve put a lot of work into the old mill while still maintaining its original, rustic character. Very inspiring! I want to go back and sample more cider and learn more about the process of making cider, the apple varieties they use, etc. I tried four different ciders: Bonfire (“a hot cyser aged with smoked fish peppers”), Debauched (“a dry hopped cider smoked with juniper and applewood”), Cherrykriek (a seasonal, dark cherry cider), and a hot cider. My favorite was the Cherrykriek.

On Saturday, I took E and some friends to Maize Quest, which is an outdoor farm in central Pennsylvania with a giant corn maze, as well as a half-dozen or so lesser mazes and lots of stuff for kids to climb on (that’s E pictured below… I asked her if she could strike a pose against the setting sun just because I thought it would look neat. Nothing like doing a Lord of the Dance pose in muckers on a giant tractor tire! 😀 ). This year’s corn maze theme was Expedition Everest, which was pleasingly whimsical and incongruous. Maize Quest’s slogan is, “Get lost in the stalks.” We never truly got lost, but we had fun finding our way out.

Last night, I poured some Ghost Pines Pinot into my new Witchy Woman wine glass and carved pumpkins. As luck would have it, we had a brief power outage while we were carving. For one short moment, I felt a little bit like I was in a horror movie… and then the lights came back on. Pictured below from left to right are our 2016 masterpieces: Craig’s, Penny’s, E’s, and mine.

From our house to yours, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Five Photographs: Jill Archer (#writing: challenges, frustrations, joy, and hope!)

No post last week because I was on vacation. We went to wonderful Cape May, a place I’ve blogged about many times. Did some new things there too, which was nice: biked to the lighthouse and climbed to the top, biked to the brewery (a good way to work off the calories of a seasonal sampler! 😀 ), and tried a few new restaurants/bars (among them, The Blue Pig at Congress Hall and 410 Bank Street). But now it’s Monday and time to get back to work!! Today’s Five Photographs guest is ME! 🙂 I share one of the things that brings me joy that I can’t believe no other writer picked. I dish on some things that frustrate me and I tally up everyone’s “biggest challenge facing writers today” answers and add my own. This will be one of the last posts this summer, so please give me a shout out in the comments if you’ve enjoyed this series!

Something that represents something unique about you

Mother Sculpture

My older daughter made this awesome sculpture for me when she was in elementary school. It’s me! There are two kids poking up from my head and arm, a tree growing out of my middle because I love nature, and I’m holding a pencil because I’m a writer — and because my daughter’s art has a practical side. Is that the coolest pencil holder you’ve ever seen or what? 😀

Something that represents where you live

Fly Fishing

There were so many pictures I could have picked for this (see below), but I wanted to share a picture that I hadn’t posted yet so I went with this one. This was taken in the Gunpowder Falls State Park during a hike. The Gunpowder Falls offers world-class catch and release fly fishing. Even though I don’t fish, it’s neat to see the fishermen quietly going about their business in the river as you hike along its banks. It’s an amazingly beautiful park. Hard to believe when you’re in it how close you are to urban centers like Baltimore and York, PA.

And, because I love Maryland so much, here are some links to other posts I’ve done highlighting just some of what Maryland has to offer:

Your pet or plant or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

Panda Plant

I’ve shared lots of pictures over the years of all of my pets so I wanted to share something new. This is the Panda Plant that my daughter grew from a cutting in Ag Science class. It now keeps me company in my office. If you want to see pictures of all of my pets though, here are some links:

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

BUTTONS!!! Not the kind like “he really pushes my buttons” but the myriad, omnipresent buttons that you actually suspect do nothing. They’re smoke and mirrors. You press them and nothing happens (like the “Comfort” button in my car. Huh? What exactly does that thing do?! I notice zero difference when I press it.) And just look at all those buttons on my remote controls!!! (Yes, we actually use all of those. Yes, we probably need a universal remote. But that would just add MORE BUTTONS to my life.) Take my washing machine, for example. Fourteen settings. Fourteen!!! (Convenient that 14 can be divided by 2 so that each side of the dial has an equal number.) And, yep, I realize that my washing machine technically has only one button and the other settings are controlled by a knob. My old machine had half as many settings but they were all buttons. I’m not sure which is worse.

I saved the worst (best?) for last — my alarm clock!!! Retro is cool. This thing is like circa 1985 or something. It picks up weird signals when you leave your cell phone too close to it. And it’s called the “Dream Machine.” But. Really? As if! The thing lives to torture you with its hideous a.m. screech. The one good thing I can say about it is that there are only seven buttons and I know what each and every one of them does. See? They don’t make ’em like they used to. 😀

BTW — a quiz for writers — which buttons can we not live without?

[Hint: QWERTY 🙂 ]

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

Coffee

Of course my family brings me joy!! And my friends. And all sorts of other stuff in my life like books, movies, hiking, biking, day tripping, etc. But I had to pick the one thing that I couldn’t believe no one else picked — COFFEE!!! We’re writers for crying out loud! Where’s the COFFEE LOVE?! 😀 Pictured above are three of my favorite coffee mugs.

I also had a runner-up I debated picking:

Pac Man

Yep, PAC-MAN! This is the real deal, folks. Vintage Atari. (My husband still has his old console, as well as about fifty katrillion cartridges. He was much better about keeping all his old electronics than I was.) When I was getting this post together, I was telling him about all of my choices. And before I decided to pick coffee, I told him I picked Pac-Man as the thing that brought me joy. And he was like, “Why?”

Huh?

Why?!?

Because it’s Pac-Man!!!

(In his defense, his question wasn’t because he doesn’t understand the appeal of old video games, but because Adventure is his favorite, not Pac-Man.)

Like vintage gaming? Check out these posts:

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

Sometimes a reviewer can say it better than I can:

“A thrilling adventure that brings Noon and her Guardian Angel Rafe, literally to the gates of Hell…” The Qwillery

What are you working on next?

A YA duology and more stories set in Noon’s world.

What are you currently reading?

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Everything I usually watch (GoT, Outlander, Downton Abbey, and Mr. Selfridge) is on hiatus so I may go back to watching Vikings and/or Orphan Black.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

Ah, so many choices! And, even though I’m the one who came up with this question, I’ll admit that “what’s your favorite” questions are always tough for me. My favorites constantly change depending on my mood, what I’ve recently read or watched, sentimentality, the season…

So here’s my answer to this question as of today:

Favorite fantasy creature: Temeraire from Naomi Novik’s HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON

Favorite fantasy villain: Lasher from Anne Rice’s THE WITCHING HOUR

Favorite fantasy weapon: the sharing knife from its eponymous series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

I was curious about the final tally for this question so I went back through everyone’s answers. For the most part, there were six answers:

  • Discoverability (5)
  • Marketing (3)
  • Deciding whether to self-publish or traditionally publish (3)
  • Balancing writer demands like social media and marketing while writing the next book (2)
  • Pressure to write faster and produce more (2)
  • Digital disruption (1)

There’s no doubt these are all significant challenges facing writers today. But I’m going to pick something different yet familiar to all of you writers out there to talk about:

The challenge to KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON. It’s not a new challenge. It’s a timeless one.

How can we meet that challenge?

Challenges will always be there in one iteration or another. Anyone who sets a meaningful goal for themselves will have obstacles to overcome. The key to success is perseverance. Is it hard? Yes!!! Writers suffer rejections, bad reviews, low pay, long hours, self-doubt, and countless other buzz and bliss kills. Some days, meeting the challenge of “keepin’ on” can feel like you’re hiking up Mt. Everest with an anvil on your back.

When it starts to feel like that, take a breather. Do something else. Not for too long, but for a little while. When you return to the mountain the anvil will be lighter. Why? Because it’s not real. Yes, the challenges that writers face are real. But once you step back from them they merge and meld and blend and mix into the rest of what comprises a writer’s life (imagination, creative expression, immersing yourself in stories with emotional resonance, spending time with characters that make you laugh, cry, and/or admire them, the wonderfully rich dynamic between writers and readers, your love of the written word, narrative, drama, etc.)

You will realize that climbing a mountain is difficult but doable. The anvil is no more real than a knot in your shoulder, a cramp in your calf. Rub it out, smudge it out, and keep going!

Have fun and be proud of the fact that YOU ARE HIKING A MOUNTAIN!!! 😀

Happy Holidays, Hon: Three Fun Things To Do In Baltimore Over Winter Break

I’m not originally from Maryland. Years ago, I moved to Baltimore to go to law school and never left. I didn’t plan to. I chose my school because I wanted to stay. So, even though I didn’t grow up in Baltimore — or even Maryland — I love it. I’ve talked a lot about my love of Maryland (“America in Miniature” – there’s something for everyone: the Appalachian Trail in western Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, Ocean City and the Eastern Shore, urban areas like Annapolis and D.C., and the beautiful rolling countryside, farms, and rail trails of Baltimore County, where I live now) but I haven’t talked as much about Baltimore.

When I was younger, I went through a phase when every New Year’s resolution was “be a tourist in my own town.” It was kind of a cheat; it’s a fun, easy resolution. But it’s one I’d recommend no matter how long you’ve lived in your own home town, city, county, parish (whatever). For those of you that live in Maryland, below are three things that are A MUST if you haven’t already done them. All of these events will be over by mid-January 2015. For those of you that live elsewhere, come visit! And if you can’t, find some fun things to do in your own backyard and report back. 🙂

MAURICE SENDAK MEMORIAL EXHIBITION

Enoch Pratt Free Library

WHAT:

An exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are by the late, great Maurice Sendak. The exhibit contains original artwork by the author/illustrator (including some first sketches) and a life-sized replica of Max’s bedroom.

WHEN:

Until December 31, 2014

WHERE:

Central Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Enoch Pratt Free Library
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition — 50 Years, Works, Reasons
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Max’s Bed from
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

Hampden

WHAT:

Named after the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a block of rowhouses that go all out with lights and decorations for the holidays. A Baltimore tradition, rowhouses in this part of the city have been a beacon of brightness for 67 years now. Lots of people and places put up spectacular lights. What makes Miracle on 34th Street special is how uniquely Baltimore it feels. It’s a riot of color, personality, Christmas creches, interesting art, peace displays, Santa, and Mr. Boh (a local beer icon).

WHEN:

Until January 2, 2015

WHERE:

34th Street, between Chestnut and Keswick
Hamden
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Miracle on 34th Street, Hampden, Maryland
Miracle on 34th Street

HOLIDAY TRAIN GARDEN

The Shops at Kennilworth

WHAT:

Huge model train display built over the fountain in the middle of the mall. It has local stuff: Ravens Stadium, Fort McHenry, Clipper ships, row houses, and Camden Yards. AND tons of fun characters: R2-D2, Santa, and Yukon Cornelius; Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. Kids (and adults!) can push a dozen buttons or more to make things move and light up.

WHEN:

Until January 9, 2015

WHERE:

The Shops at Kenilworth
800 Kenilworth Drive
Towson, Maryland

MORE INFO:

model trains, holidays, Christmas
Holiday Train Garden at Kennilworth Mall

Honorable Mention: Papermoon Diner

Remington

WHAT:

Quirky café in a local Baltimore neighborhood about twenty minutes north of the Inner Harbor. It’s also been called whimsical, eclectic, eccentric, and bohemian. Serves comfort food Baltimore style (i.e. lots of diverse stuff — they have bacon milkshakes for crying out loud 😀 ). The décor is funky. My photos don’t do it justice. Google “Papermoon” and take a look at the images. Not recommended for anyone with a manikin, doll, or PEZ phobia. Definitely recommended for anyone seeking a late afternoon brunch. We went at 3:00 p.m. I had three cups of coffee and a stack of vanilla custard French toast. I’d love to go back Christmas morning but, alas, we have other plans. 🙂

WHEN:

Closed on Tuesdays, but will be open well beyond mid-January 2015.

WHERE:

Paper Moon Diner
227 West 29th Street
Baltimore, Maryland

MORE INFO:

Paper Moon Diner
Paper Moon Diner
Paper Moon Diner
A Giant 3D I SPY Book

Whatever your plans are for the next week plus, whether you celebrate Christmas, another holiday, or none, I hope you have a very joyous end to 2014. Best wishes to each and every one of you!

Winners: White Heart of Justice Blog Tour Prizes

Today’s post: winners of the prizes I offered as part of my WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE blog tour, a belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and some pics from our weekend. (As you no doubt have guessed already, posts/emails from me will slow down a bit this summer. I have lots of writing to catch up on!! But I’ll still be around. I have some guest bloggers lined up and will likely be posting a few interesting day trip posts and hopefully even a book recommendation/review or two.)

WINNERS!

$50 Bookseller eGift Certificate

JODY D.

5 copies of White Heart of Justice

KAREN H., KATIE D., SAMANTHA D., ANDREA K., WANDA C.

Dark Light of Day themed prize pack

GIAO P.

Fiery Edge of Steel themed prize pack

KAI W.

White Heart of Justice themed prize pack

AMBER T.

All of the winners have been contacted and most of the prizes have already been sent. I will be mailing the themed prize packs this week.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you who tweeted, posted, and shared the links to the blog tour posts!

If you haven’t already, please consider reviewing White Heart of Justice wherever you hang out online. It’s an oft-repeated request of mine simply because reviews matter.

˜˜˜˜˜

FATHER’S DAY AT THE BEACH!

We had a fun Father’s Day weekend and I hope you did too (even if you weren’t celebrating Father’s Day exactly). We flew in to OXB (Ocean City, Maryland) on Saturday and it was bustling! Throughout the weekend, we saw formation flyers, sky writers, banner towers, Daedalus’ modern day descendants and — in my imagination at least — other fierce, awesome winged beasts. Scroll down for more on where I was, what I was thinking, and what I was reading…

Chincoteague Bay
“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things…” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight. For the greatest tragedy of them all  Is never to feel the burning light.” Oscar Wilde
“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight. For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.” Oscar Wilde

"It flew in from the west, so that all I truly saw at first was a black silhouette against the fiery sky. Then it caught an updraft and skimmed up the mountain's slope, barely above the trees, and that gave me a better view: the blocky plates of the hide; the close-tucked legs and trailing tail; the enormous expanse of wings dwarfing the body they bore." MARIE BRENNAN
“It flew in from the west, so that all I truly saw at first was a black silhouette against the fiery sky. Then it caught an updraft and skimmed up the mountain’s slope, barely above the trees, and that gave me a better view: the blocky plates of the hide; the close-tucked legs and trailing tail; the enormous expanse of wings dwarfing the body they bore.” Marie Brennan

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And a quick hello from Ginger, the “monster” under my daughter’s bed 🙂

 

Other links you might enjoy:

How about you? How was your weekend? Did you go anywhere fun or read anything interesting? Have you skydived? Do you want to? Stay tuned… tomorrow I have a terrific guest post by Brynn Chapman, author of recently released YA Historical Romance/Mystery BONESEEKER.

Fireworks, Hot Dogs, Chlorine, Scorched Asphalt, and Love at High Tide

My last two guest bloggers in my Spring Into Summer Romance series are from Washington Romance Writers, a fun, friendly writers group that also happens to host great, informative meetings. Christi Barth is here to talk about her upcoming contemporary romance, Love at High Tide, which releases July 8th. I love the cover! It’s so summery. Even though we live in Maryland, we go to Ocean City, New Jersey, but I agree with Christi about how laid back the East Coast beaches are. We usually hit the boardwalk a few times and maybe go shopping one day, but the rest of the time we just relax under an umbrella. (I can’t wait!! 😀) Christi is giving away one e-copy of Love at High Tide. Leave a comment to enter to win!

Love at High Tide

Even though I’m from Los Angeles,

I never fully experienced the beach

until I moved to the East Coast

Summer brings a lot of evocative sights and smells to mind. Fireworks, hot dogs, chlorine, scorched asphalt….but universally, people agree that the beach always springs to mind. So I’m going to celebrate springing into summer by bringing you the beach.

No surprise, I’m visiting today because I’ve written a book set at the beach. Ocean City, Maryland, to be exact. Even though I’m from Los Angeles, I never fully experienced the beach until I moved to the East Coast. Sure, we’d drive out to the Pacific for the day, but with the traffic-filled, hour-long commute each way it didn’t happen often and became a flurry of checking things off the to-do list. Play beach volleyball. Explore the tide pools. Grab lunch. But the beaches in Maryland and Delaware are much more laid back. You don’t do anything. You just soak in the sights and sounds and enjoy the lull of the waves. The silken sand underfoot. The energetic hopping of the sandpipers. And in my case, reading up a storm beneath a beach umbrella.

I’m not a morning person. Ever. But the beauty of the beach is something that must be experienced at all times of day and night. Here’s a peek at dawn in my book, Love At High Tide:

The ocean shimmered with fifty shades of gray. At its very edge, between sky and surf, a thin line the color of a pearl shimmered, slowly widening its way toward dawn. A trio of tan pipers poked their beaks in and out of the sand. Darcy breathed it all in. The peace of the beach settled over her. It calmed her much faster than the valium shot the paramedic had offered both she and Trina.

Coop stroked his fingers through her hair. “My plan is to get you breakfast from the Fractured Prune. Best donuts on the planet. They’re hot, and you get to pick a glaze and toppings. My favorite’s the Pebble Beach, with honey glaze, cinnamon sugar and mini chocolate chips. I need at least six dollars for that.” He paused their slow stroll to shake his head. “Sorry. I get a little spacy at dawn o’clock. This is all the long way of saying I can only offer you about a dollar fifty for your thoughts.”

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that our beach has terrific donuts. I can’t give you a peek at what I wrote about sunset at the ocean – spoilers! – but I will give you a tiny hint at the beach smells:

As he leaned close to her, Coop caught a whiff of coconut and vanilla, hanging like a piña colada cloud. It made him want to lap at her skin and find out if she tasted as good as she smelled. Probably a good idea, though, to start with at least a few minutes of small talk before nuzzling her neck.

Hmm. I should also mention that there are hot guys at the beach. Maybe that’s what makes it so spectacular….Point being, if you can’t get to the beach this summer, let me take you there.  Love At High Tide will be a sassy and sexy mini-beach vacation for you. Here’s the blurb to make you start seeing those striped umbrellas above and scuttling crabs below:

Darcy Trent is lucky Cooper Hudson is on hand to sweep her off her feet—literally—when she nearly drowns while swimming in the ocean. But life-saving aside, Mr. Perfect’s timing stinks: Darcy’s career is about to take her to the complete opposite side of the Atlantic. Still, a little summer loving with the tall, blond and sexy former cop is far too tempting to pass up.

When his plans to enter the Secret Service went south thanks to a bum knee, Coop retreated to the family beach house to mull his future. Romance is the last thing on his mind, until he fishes a curvy brunette out of the sea. Now, spending time in Darcy’s arms seems like the ideal distraction, even if it is just for a week.

But with Darcy’s departure date fast approaching and their careers on the line, can they realize in time that their beach fling might become the real thing?

LOVE AT HIGH TIDE 

is available for pre-order here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

More about Christi

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.  Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

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What’s your favorite beach? When you head “down the ocean” do you spend most of your time in the water, your beach chair, or in the sand? If you’re not a beach person, what’s your favorite place to go? Leave a comment until June 30th for a chance to win an e-copy of Love at High Tide (international) and a book from my collection (US). Thanks for guest blogging today, Christi! Hope everyone is having a great week!

The Chesapeake Bay is a 4,480 Acre “Water Park”

St. Michael’s Lighthouse

Usually when you think of water parks, you think of slippery slides, wave pools, and raging man-made rivers. Those kind of parks are fun, but there are natural water parks all over — ya know, they’re called lakes, rivers, and bays. 😉 My favorite? Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

My in-laws keep a small motor boat docked on the Eastern Shore. Earlier this summer, we took a boat ride from Kent Narrows to St. Michael’s. It’s a ride we’ve taken many times, but it’s easy and enjoyable — an almost straight shot south across Eastern Bay that allows you to enjoy both the bay and the quaint and utterly charming town of St. Michael’s, Maryland.

Chesapeake Bay is a Boat Lovers Paradise

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, the Chesapeake Bay offers some of the best boating in America. It’s the largest estuary in the U.S. Two hundred miles long and, at its widest, 30 miles across — the bay’s total shoreline (including tributaries) is over 11,600 miles! You could spend every weekend for the rest of your life exploring each of its nooks and crannies and I still don’t think you’d find them all. Luckily, you only need a day to have fun on the bay.

Kent Narrows & Dock Bars

The Bay Bridge spans the Chesapeake Bay from just outside Annapolis to Kent Island, a large island that is separated from the Delmarva Peninsula by no more than the narrowest strip of water — a continuously dredged channel that connects the Chester River to Eastern Bay. “The Narrows” is full of boats and bars (okay, there’s food and fuel too :-)). When we were younger, my husband and I spent a considerable portion of many of our weekends at those bars. The music was loud, the drinks plentiful, and you could always walk “home” — to your boat! 😀 (We’ve now settled into calmer weekend rhythms, but I sometimes miss those late nights out!)

Red Eyes Dock Bar in Kent Narrows
This is what we miss when we fly into Bay Bridge Airport (a tiny, un-towered strip to the right of Bay Bridge as you cross onto the Eastern Shore) — TRAFFIC! This traffic isn’t even that bad. As any Marylander can tell you, the Bay Bridge can be bumper-to-bumper during summer weekends!

St. Michael’s, Maryland

Patriotic View from the Town Dock

St. Michael’s is a historic town dating back to colonial times. The place is full of charming cottages, beautiful boats, churches, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and lots of great restaurants. We ate lunch at the Town Dock. I spontaneously and sentimentally ordered a Pimm’s Cup (thinking of the ones I used to drink at the Napoleon House in New Orleans), but either my palate has changed or adding lemonade really does make a difference. (Anyone else a fan of the Pimm’s Cup? Have any tips on how to make a good one?) In any case, the Town Dock’s waterfront deck views were sunny and sparkling and it was nice to just sit in the shade, watching the boats in the harbor. Later, we took a leisurely stroll through town.

The Crab Claw in St. Michael’s is another great place to eat. Crabs, beer, and boats… What could be better?

Want to know what else to do in St. Michael’s? Here’s a list of 50 Free Things!

Other Chesapeake Bay Options

If you’re not up for docking and eating, another option is to pack a picnic and beach your boat on a sandy spot. My kids love jumping off the boat into the water and playing in the sand. I usually opt for lounging with a book.

Nice sandy spots are popular!
On the way back, you can look for osprey nests…
Watch the sunset…
Or just blow bubbles at the marina…

Want to know more about the Chesapeake Bay (as well as where I got my facts from)? Click here and here.

So readers, how about you? Have you ever been on the Chesapeake Bay? If so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? Do you like to go boating? Where’s your favorite place? Have you visited the Eastern Shore? Would you like to? Do you still blow bubbles? Watch the sunset? Eat crabs? Love a good Pimm’s Cup? Whatever your plans are for the weekend — Enjoy!