Monday, August 30, 2010

Guest Post: Linda Weaver Clarke

Romance VS Mystery!

I have written five historical romance novels but have changed to mystery. The writing process between romance and mystery is quite a change with a completely different mind set. It’s so different from telling a love story. With romance, you plan out the plot around the meeting of a couple. As you write, you develop some sort of charisma between the characters, making the reader feel excited that one day they're going to hit it off and fall in love. You, as the reader, know what the outcome will be. But with a mystery, the reader is in the dark. The author has to come up with a plot that no one knows about until towards the end of the story and hope they haven’t figured it out. In a mystery, you may or may not allow your reader to know who the bad guys are, according to whether it’s just a mystery or mystery suspense. Do you know the difference between a mystery and a mystery suspense novel? In a mystery, when a knock is heard at the door, the reader doesn't know who's behind it. With mystery suspense, the reader knows who's behind the door and yells to the heroine, "Don't open the door!"

Anasazi Intrigue is the first book in a mystery adventure series called “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.” It’s about a devastating flood that takes out several homes in a small town, the importance of preserving ancient artifacts, and a few puzzling and mysterious events. Julia is a reporter, and when she finds out about a possible poison spill that kills some fish and neighbor's pets, she has a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Before she realizes what is happening, Julia finds out that this incident is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought. With dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants chasing John and Julia, they have their hands full.

Artifact theft is a very intriguing subject. That’s why I call it the Intrigue series. In my research, I found that archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year. Did you know that looting is only second to selling illegal drugs? While researching the second book in this series, Mayan Intrigue, my eyes were opened to the problems they have in southern Mexico. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. The reason why is because the Mayans used astrological alignments when planning their city. Looters have learned the layout of the Mayan cities so they know where to dig. With this knowledge, they can loot a sacred temple in a few days. I also found that artifact theft in Mexico has been taken over by drug dealers from Columbia. In other words, since organized crime has taken over, there is also an increase of violence.

Mayan Intrigue will be released on August 30th and I’m having a week long celebration with a book give-away at my Blog. Mayan Intrigue is about the discovery of a priceless artifact that puts Julia’s life in great danger. While on assignment for the newspaper, John and Julia try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins, but when Julia accidentally comes upon a couple of suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it’s too late. Before John and Julia realize what's going on, they find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan. To read an excerpt from each of my books, you can visit

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell

From the back cover:
Jocelyn Rogers’s life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother’s house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life.

However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy — especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty-mile radius.
To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives.
Join the Butterfly Girls in this charmingly romantic story that shows sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land on your feet.

Michele Ashman Bell sent me this book to review and I'm so glad she did because I really enjoyed it. I found myself thinking about it even after I read it. It's a fun romance. At first, I wasn't at all excited about the main love interest, Jack. With his long hair, beard, and bad attitude, I couldn't understand why the main character, Jocelyn, would find him at all attractive--I wouldn't have. But, she could see beneath his exterior and as I read the story I could see more and more why she would be attracted to him. At the end of the story, Jack explains why his appearance is what it is and it makes perfect sense.

This book also includes some deeper, even disturbing, issues. The main one concerned Jocelyn. I felt connected to Jocelyn and I ached for her when she shared her long-held secret. It also made me angry--I won't say anymore so it doesn't ruin the story.

I love the relationship between the Butterfly Girls and how they worry about each other and love each other.  What a great group of friends.

I think Michele visited where I live to assemble such a cast of quirky characters. The townspeople made me laugh and reminded me of people I know. I loved Jocelyn's neighbor, Harry.

All in all, I had fun, and a few tears, reading this book and I recommend it. It's true that Michele sent it to me, but that didn't influence my review--the romance did that. I loved, loved, loved the first kiss. Michele sure knows how to show the romance in her writing and communicate those emotions. Gave me some tingles.

Michele is hosting a contest on her blog for a $50 VISA gift card. If you'd like to enter the contest be sure to visit her blog for directions on entering.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hear Me Roar

Several weeks ago, my laptop keyboard started acting up. The enter key and the right shift key both stopped responding regularly. Here and there they would respond, until one day, the enter key completely stopped working and a few days later so did the shift key. It's very hard  to write anything without those two keys. The shift key on the left side still worked so I retrained myself to use that key. My husband told me to use control-m to mimic the enter key and that worked for a few days until they quit on me. Needless to say, I was frustrated.

We decided to order a new keyboard in hopes it would solve the problem. Fortunately, the new keyboard was only $29. While I waited for the keyboard, my husband brought home a desktop keyboard that I plugged into my laptop. Yep, that keyboard sat on top of my laptop so I could still access the mouse. Not the most convenient way to write which is why I haven't blogged for almost two weeks--did you miss me?

This morning, my new BFF, the FedEx guy, delivered my new keyboard. Of course, my computer-genius husband left for Singapore on Saturday so I had a new keyboard, but no way to install it. Until I decided to do it myself.

That's right, I installed the new keyboard myself. And, it works. I've written this blog with the new keyboard.

Last week, I discovered that the upper spray arm on my dishwasher wasn't rotating, evidenced by the food particles left on the dishes in the upper rack. I decided to take it apart and see if I could fix it. And, guess what? I did. Yep, the spray arm is still working a week later.

So, listen up. I am woman--hear me roar!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Love Nintendo

A few weeks ago, we lost our Wii when a lightning storm hit too close to our house. We also lost phone service, access to the internet, and thought we'd lost  a flat screen computer monitor. The first summer we lived here, lightning hit so close to the house that we lost our garage door openers, a TV, it messed up our dryer, and we lost the electric line to our water pump which meant we had no water. The water issue put us in a crisis and we had to hire someone to dig up the electric line and replace it so we'd have running water.  Lightning and I are not great friends.

But, we've learned that when lightning is in the area, we need to shut down and unplug all electronics. My kids were in the process of doing this when we lost these items in the last lightning storm. Since then, the phone company restored our service, the internet company came in and replaced the power supply at no charge, and, thankfully, the monitor works.

We were upset about losing the Wii because we use it every day with "Just Dance." We also use it to stream movies from Netflix--a very cool feature. We researched buying a new one, buying a console from ebay, and decided we'd try to repair it. The guy at the repair shop told me to contact Nintendo and see if the company would repair it. Honestly, I didn't think Nintendo would since it was a lightning storm. I went to the website, filled out the form with the serial number and was told to ship it to Nintendo for a free repair. I was surprised and ecstatic.

That was 10 days ago and today we received the Wii back, not only fixed, but with an additional 1-year warranty. I LOVE Nintendo. What a great company. Guess what will happen in the future? I'll be buying more Nintendo games. In fact, I've already purchased 2 new games--one called "Broadway Dance" and another that's kind of a charades-type game--you act out movie scenes.

I  highly recommend Nintendo. I'm a lifetime customer, that's for sure!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thunder and Lightning

Last night we had an amazing lightning storm. It was as if we were in the heart of the whole storm because we had lightning flashes on all sides of our house. We turned out the lights so we could see the awesome display. Thankfully, we'd unplugged all of our electronics so we didn't have any losses. There was certainly a lot of power in that storm. It made me realize how very little control we have of the world around us. Should  lightning have struck our house there would've been nothing we could've done about it. We, as mortals, are no match for the power of God displayed through nature. The people of Noah's time must've realized that as well, but far too late.

The thunder scared my kids. My four-year-old was terrified by the loud booms. Every time we saw lightning, the kids would start counting so they'd know how far away it was. We decided to have a slumber party in our living room so everyone could be "safe."

We also has quite a downpour. We live in an area that tends to be dry so when we get a lot of rain we're happy. Some are even happy when we get a lot of snow, but I wouldn't count myself in that group. I love to see the snow fall, especially at Christmas, but I don't like it at all on the roads and I definitely don't enjoy getting stuck in my driveway. But, I love the rain. I love the smell of it, the feel of it on my face. I love to see how everything greens up after a rainstorm.

Watching this storm also gave me plot ideas for my current work-in-progress. I love when that happens!