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Monday, November 29, 2010

Gift Ideas

Looking for an easy way to fnd the best gift for anyone on your Christmas list? Google it. Describe the recipient in five or six words and drop the keywords into any search engine.

For example if Greg was looking for a gift for me, he might use these keywords: dogs, writing, reading, gardening, decorating, and gifts.

Out pops out 1,140,000 results. That's a lot of possibilities right at your fingertips.

Too much work for you? There's a British web site that does even more. GiftGen not only gives you suggestions based on sex, age and price range, but also tells you where to buy it. The currency is in pounds so you'll have to convert, but it's still great because it gives you ideas that you might not have thought of on your own. 

Want something fun and unique? Try Distinctively DD. Book thongs, earrings, bracelets. DD's business has really grown. The book thongs are especially nice.


And if you're looking for something with an artisan flair, check out Form & Funktion. Stacy Low hand-makes  beautiful metal jewelry, like rings, pins and necklaces with a heart motif.




 
And FYI, books never goes out of style. 

This week, the always delightful Kimberly Nee is out with her latest, Playing With Fire, a very sexy Regency historical. Kimberly really knows how to put a girl in a compromising position.
 
At Carina Press, fab Aussie author, Jenny Schwartz is releasing Angel Thief today! The story is about a djinni and an angel. You can't go wrong with that.

I'm telling ya, if you have trouble buying gifts, just get them a book. Better yet, get them an e-reader AND a book.

The other day Amazon held a Black Friday special selling the Kindle for $89. I was this {close} to buying it, but I can't justify buying something that won't read all formats. Right now, it seems I'm better off buying a notebook and downloading the appropriate app. But boy, I was teetering on the brink.

What do you want for Christmas this year?  And if anybody says world peace, I'm going to sock you. LOL. 

Leave lofty out of this. We're into big-eyed, gimme stage. 

I'd like an e-reader this year. ...well, what I really want is an i-Pad, but Greg already called dibs on that. He says I might get visiting rights, but I'll never get custody. 

Can I get any meaner a husband?

How about you? What do you really, really want?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Day To Vote

Let's take Mistress Of The Stone to the next round! This time, you're voting for Best Hero and Heroine. This month's challenge was to describe the hero and heroine in under 150 words.
If you thought my heroes were hot in True Believers and Touch Of Fire, you ain't seen nothing yet. :grin:

With the holidays begun, it's hard to reach everyone so I appreciated all the extra mentions for the contest. Sherri Meyer, Dru Ann, Linda Leszczuk and my mentor, Terri Brisbin who started it all, were kind enough to post and share on Facebook. 

***
I've had my hands full working on edits. I finished the first pass and adjusted everything my editor suggested. This week, I'll read it again and see if there's anywhere to tweak it.

Apocalypse Rising is a sequel, so I'm particularly nervous about not losing new readers and keeping past ones. I think I succeeded, but we'll see in 2011. 

This time my post-apocalyptic heroes time travel to the 21st century, to a time without magic. You can just imagine what they think of indoor plumbing. ;-)

Friday, November 26, 2010

State of the Homestead

It's been a crazy week and not always a happy one. The homestead has been rife with drastic climate change, savage attacks and even death. Several deaths. But only one was murder.

First off, Greg has joined the club that until now only Iko and I were members. A grumpy scorpion, angry at being disturbed, stung Greg on the foot. Many colorful cuss words and smashing ensued. 

I know Greg thought I was being a drama queen a few months back when a scorpion stung me while in bed. He doesn't think that anymore. ;-)  Fortunately, the pain lasted only two days.

This week we also sent five roosters to chicken heaven. I had hoped to dispatch them over a month ago, but I didn't want to butcher them alone and we always seemed to have something else to do while Greg was here.

Being older birds, I figured they were tough so I boiled them for the dogs. (I regularly cook chicken for the dogs anyway.) As it simmered in the pot, the aroma was heavenly, so I took a little bite to see how tough it was. OMG! It was the best chicken I had ever tasted.

The dark meat was really dark and the white meat actually had flavor. Unlike store bought chickens, the legs were long and straight and the skin was a beautiful white with pink undertones. Greg is already making plans to build an automated chicken plucker so we don't spend so much time plucking next time.

But death also came in fur this week. I was working on edits when a coyote sprinted not six feet in front of my studio window. I dashed out as soon as I saw him, but he was gone in a heartbeat. So were one of my hens. I looked for her several times yesterday, but there was no sign of my poor chicken anywhere.

I'm glad Tank wasn't with me. I don't think I could have stopped him from giving chase. I might have to carry a gun from now on though.

We'd been in the 80s most of the week, but yesterday in the space of five minutes, it dropped down into the 40s. I still have tomatoes, peppers and eggplants on the vine so I covered them up and hope they'll make it for a few more weeks.

Our project for most of this week was a remodel of the greenhouse. The plastic sheeting didn't work, getting torn off with the first big winds of the spring, so this time we riveted hard plastic sheets together. 

One half of the greenhouse will be an actual greenhouse. But we're turning the other half into a second chicken yard. We'll be separating by breed in 2011 and we realized part of the greenhouse would be the perfect size for a smaller chicken yard.

The weather turned on us before we could finish though. I'll post pictures as soon as it's done. It looks pretty cool so far.

***
Today is Black Friday. Will you be out today? Let me know how the crowds are. I'm going to lie low until Monday. Meanwhile, I'm going to look for that dastardly coyote.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stuff(ing) of Legend

With all the heartwarming messages of thanks and warm wishes across the blogosphere, I thought I'd do something different and BEG for help.

My cooking is nothing to brag about. It's okay. It won't kill you. And sometimes it even looks nice on the table. But I have no finesse, none of the pageantry my kid sister puts into her meals, or the gourmet magic my father used to inject into his food. And my best friend? She could rival Martha Stewart with one hand tied behind her back.

Let's face it, despite being surrounded by good cooks and culinary fashionistas, I'm a washout.

Even my mother-in-law showed me up.

I'll be honest. I did not like her cooking. It was too dry for my taste and most of it too lightly flavored. Greg liked it, but that's what he grew up eating. Today, he'd never touch the stuff because God bless him, he got used to my cooking. LOL.

But there was one thing my mother-in-law excelled at. Stuffing. So help me, in 35 years I've never been able to duplicate it. And my mother-in-law died before I had the sense to ask her for the recipe.

I've tried savory stuffing, sausage stuffing, and crunchy stuffing. Last year I even made my own cornbread to make the stuffing. None of them could compare to hers.

I'm thinking she used a particular spice that really brought out the flavor in her stuffing. I mean it's bread, right? How hard could it be?

Yet, I've never been able to reproduce it for my table. Every Thanksgiving, I ask Greg if it tastes like his mother's and every year I fail. It's good, he says. But it's not Mom's.

Rats! There's always next year.

So fellow friends and hearty eaters, if you get a chance, can you share your stuffing recipe? Or at least tell me what seasonings you use. I'm tired of my mother-in-law's ghost snickering at me over my shoulder.

Regardless of when you celebrate, the sentiment's the same. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Reveal

It's been a heck of a tour, hasn't it? I wasn't sure I could pull it off. Most of it was fun and that was due to you guys. I was tickled so many of you visited me at all my stops.

I hope you found some new blogs to visit and I hope those host blogs added you to their friends list too. I wanted this to be an interactive resource for everyone.

I know you're all anxious to find out who the winner of the big giveaway was so I won't keep you in suspense. But am I ever glad I didn't have to choose! I let Randomizer.org do it for me.

The winner for the True Believers Blog Tour is Dru of DallNotes. Congrats, Dru! I'll email you for mailing information later today.

So which was your favorite post? The Tank and Iko Show interview? Greg Tells All? The photo journal? Or was it the business posts like the ones on networking and promo tips?

I think the photo journal and Greg Tells All earned the most comments. But I got a lot of additional comments here about the interview with the dogs.

It was all good. I earned several new followers along the way and I hope you did too. In all, I can safely say the blog tour was a success.

By the way, if you followed me and I haven't followed you back, be sure to leave me a comment so I know who you are.

***
For some reason, I thought the Kensington contest was over today. I checked the web site and it's actually going on through November 28. So more days to vote for Mistress Of The Stone if you can.

I really need to keep better track of that thing. Between the blog tour and working on edits for next year's release of Apocalypse Rising, I don't know what day it is anymore. We're still in 2010, right? :grin:

We're celebrating Thanksgiving today since Greg is leaving me tomorrow. I'll probably post a Thanksgiving tale tomorrow depending on how my edits are going. Stop by and visit if you get a chance.

Off to start the turkey and wake the husband. We're still working on our latest 'sekrit' project and I'll be in and out all day checking on big bird.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Lite

It's going to be a light blog week since (US) Thanksgiving is this week, so we'll make this Announcement Day.

The winner of a copy of True Believers from those who entered over at Bitten By Paranormal Romance is Lia Bal. Lia, if you'll let me know whether you want that in pdf or Kindle, I will email it to you promptly. 

The grand prize blog tour winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Followers: 
I was thrilled to see several new followers add themselves to the Friend Connect list during the course of the blog tour. Thank you! 

Blogger, belligerent beast that it is doesn't email any sort of notice. Most of the time I glance over to the right hand column and see that the number has risen. But unless the new follower leaves a comment and tells me, I have no way of knowing for sure who it is.

If you followed me recently and I haven't followed back, leave me a comment with your blog url so I can add myself to your list.

I have been incredibly blessed with some amazing friends and thoughtful readers. Recently, Dru, Linda Leszczuk, Jackie Burris, and Ronda Tutt have written beautiful and heartfelt pleas to their readers to vote for my entry, Mistress Of The Stone.

I don't know what I did to deserve such selfless acts of kindness, but I will strive to make sure your confidence in me is not misplaced. 

I don't have a huge following so you can imagine how moved I've been by your support. I mentioned your posts to Greg the other day, and he said: You have good friends.

You better believe it.

~Thank you.~

Yes, the contest is still going on until 11-28-10. If you haven't already done so, please vote.

***

The blogosphere will probably be pretty light this week. We'll have to depend on the rest of the world to keep us entertained while we're marinating the turkey--and ourselves.

So American friends, are you traveling for Thanksgiving or keeping it local? How do you feel about the TSA debacle? I'm hearing the TSA is 'reconsidering' its touchy-feely stand.

See you on Wednesday for the BIG reveal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The End

Today is the last day of the blog tour and we end it with an interview at Embrace The Shadows. Susan Blexrud asked me a couple of questions about my favorite subject, the dogs.

This final interview is bittersweet because I finally tell the story about why I chose to use the picture of me and Chelly as my author photo and avatar. It's very special to me.

Be sure to stop by and visit me Embrace The Shadows for the full story.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. And I hope it was fun, unique and interesting. I worked very hard at it and I've learned a lot which I'll share on later posts.

In the meantime a lot of other topics have come up that I'd like to talk about, but I think I'll take the weekend off first. I'm tired! LOL.

Feel free to visit and comment on any or all the blogs where I stopped. All comments are welcomed and every comment, tweet, and blog mention will be tallied up and put into the Randomizer. I'll announce a winner on November 24th.

Oh, and if you'd like to win a copy of True Believers you can still comment on Bitten By Paranormal Romance. I won't draw a name for that one until November 22.

To see everywhere I've been, here's the rundown. Was I busy or what?

Blog Tour 2010

10-20  Carina Press  
10-21  Brava: UNSTOPPABLE 

10-22  Marian Perera: The Nephilim
10-23  Jackie Burris: A Photojournal 


10-24  Lia Booke: Dr. Maria and the One-Two Punch
10-26  Cate Masters: Interview


10-27  Marianne Arkins: Dog Dish!
10-28  Cheryl Tardif: Cover Art Confidential

10-29  Tia Nevitt: Don't Panic
10-30  Ian Healy: Promo Quick Tips

11-5    Ellie Garratt: Are You SF Romance Author Material? 
11-8    Jayne Ferst: Greg Tells All
11-9    Kait Nolan: Full Circle


11-10  Samhain: What's Your Sign?
11-11  Liz Fichera: Blog Tour Tips
11-12  Krista Ball: Networking Made Easy


11-15  Novel Spaces: Old Books
11-16  Maya Reynolds: Computer Armageddon


11-17  Jaunty Quills: Ask The Right Question
11-18  Bitten By Paranormal Romance
11-19  Embrace The Shadows: The Final Interview



**Round Two: Best Hero and Heroine. 
Please vote for Mistress Of The Stone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Secret Life

True Believers is all about secrets and apparently so is my husband. Recently, he shocked me with a bombshell that shattered everything I ever knew about him.

Bitten by Paranormal Romance, which gave True Believers an alpha howl rating (thank you!) asked me to guest post on today's blog. What better place than to reveal Greg's secret?

Brace yourselves. It was far worse than I imagined. I may need therapy after this.

Go over and visit me at Bitten By Paranormal Romance and let me know if you have any deep, dark desires and if I should be worried about Greg.

And today we'll also do something special. One commenter over at Bitten By Paranormal Romance will win a copy of True Believers. I'll pick a winner on November 22nd.

Visit the Blog Tour Page to see everywhere I've been.

**Round Two: Best Hero and Heroine. Please vote for Mistress Of The Stone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Writing Epiphany

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that even if I didn't win Kensington's contest, I had already walked away with a huge bonus?

When my mentor, Terri Brisbin and I were working on the excerpts for this contest, I had a spectacular writing epiphany when we reached the last challenge.

The fifth and final round was to submit an excerpt of a love scene. Little did I realize how complex it was. And Terri, saint that she is, kept prodding me until I literally fell face forward on my 'aha moment'.

Read the rest of the story at Jaunty Quills and share with me your aha moment.

Although that post has nothing to do with the True Believers blog tour, I hope it will touch a chord with all the writers out there. It made such an impact on me, I felt I had to share the experience.

I hope you'll visit me on Jaunty Quills and chip in to the conversation. The revelation shocked me--literally shocked me. I don't think I'll ever read my work the same way again. It was one of those moments where you know you learned something profound.

You guys have been wonderful about spreading the word. Thank you for nudging your friends and neighbors to vote. Who knows where this contest will take me, but I'm keeping special tabs on the people who helped get me there.

I never forget a kindness.

Round Two: Best Hero and Heroine. Vote for Mistress Of The Stone

See you at Jaunty Quills!
 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Computer Armageddon

I had written a post for RT Reviews for the blog tour. We had scheduled this weeks before and I was sad to learn it wouldn't run since I was now in the Kensington contest being held at RT.

Enter Maya Reynolds who is letting me shanghai her blog for the day with a public service announcement for anyone under the influence of an evil computer. I hope you like this one. It's one of my favorite posts and I had a great time writing it.

Stop by Maya's and let me know what you think. Feel free to add any other tips. I'm always looking for creative ways to outsmart computers. Today's post, "(Almost) 8 Tips to Avoid Computer Armageddon". 

All I've got to say is if you don't read this post, don't blame me when your computer takes over.

See my Blog Tour Page to see where else I've been.

*****

Spread the word!  Round Two in Writing With The Stars has a week left! 

(I'm at the bottom of the list--the one with the very cute dog.) 

Every vote, tweet and nudge is hugely appreciated. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Know-It-All Book

I know it all now and I have the book to prove it. We're in the final week of my blog tour, but I'm not slowing down yet. Today, I'm over at Novel Spaces where I talk about a unique book in my possession.

I love books, and I read across all genres, including literary. But I have a special fondness for old books--especially nonfiction.


Drop by and visit Novel Spaces. There's a picture of the book and a few examples of what's inside. Some of the info is outdated, some insane, and others are just downright preposterous. But it's one of my favorite books.

Stop over here and chip into the conversation.

***
Don't forget you can still comment on any past post of my blog tour and increase your chances of winning. See the Blog Tour Page to see where I've been.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

She's Back!

Huzzah! I am online again. We had a storm rip through the area on Friday night and it took out our service provider's tower.

It was a pain in the posterior but I was able to use my smart phone and email a couple of people who needed an answer from me--and even post on this blog yesterday. The keypad is very hard to use though and it won't let me capitalize letters without going through a lot of extra steps.

I may never get used to this thing, but it has proven itself useful at least during emergencies.

The blog tour continues tomorrow where I'll be at Novel Spaces. Book lovers, you'll want to tune in to see what caught my fancy recently. It's not what you'd expect.

***

Thank you to all you wonderful people who have voted for me at RT Reviews for the Kensington contest. 

The deadline is getting near. If you know anyone with a computer and a pulse, please ask them to vote for Mistress Of The Stone.

Mama needs a new contract. And she'd really like it to be at Kensington.

Send them here. I'm at the bottom of the list. I'm the one with that sweet puppy, my little shadow, Chelly.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

no power

Internet down. Storm has taken out tower.
If you need to contact me use my gmail account.

Crossing fingers I'll get juice soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Networking Secrets

You can write reams about networking and barely scrape the surface. Today I'm visiting Krista Ball and revealing a little insider information on the subtleties of networking. It's a very fine line, something many people overlook, primarily because they often confuse social networking with marketing. 

It's not the same thing. 

Remember that every blog I visit is a goldmine of new contacts. Don't be shy. This is why authors have blog tours. It's a great way to meet new people and expand your network.

Stop by and see me at Krista's. I think I gave a very good example of networking that might be useful.

***

We are nearing the end of the blog tour. Next week is my final week and then I think I'm going to collapse! It's good timing too. My editor emailed me yesterday to let me know my edits for Apocalypse Rising will reach me in a couple of days. So it's time to roll up my sleeves and get back to the real world.

To see where I've been and where I'm going, check out the Blog Tour Page.

***

If you've already voted for me at RT Reviews for my novel, Mistress Of The Stone, Thank You! It would not hurt my feelings if you tortured your friends and family to vote for me too. They probably owe us money anyway. LOL!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I might post this weekend if I get rained out.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blog Tour Piñata

Liz Fichera and I decided to swap blogs today. I'm over at her place with a punch list on how to set up your very own blog tour, and she's over here discussing lit fiction vs commercial fiction.

Come visit me over at Liz's place where we can kick that blog tour monster like a piñata. Then leave me a comment with your rants and observations. Blog tours are the drunk uncles none of us want to talk about. What can we do to make them less painful?

But now that you're here, hang around a bit and visit with Liz Fichera. Today, she's talking about the inequity of press between lit fiction and commercial.

Let's give Liz a warm welcome!

***

Literary Fiction is From Mars, 
Commercial Fiction is From Venus

It's always perplexed me why books written by women authors about family and relationships are often classified as commercial fiction or chick lit while books written by men on the same topics often get literary fiction status.   

Chalk this up to one of those life ain’t fair situations—like the five pounds you always gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas—but it is what it is. 

A fairly recent interview with bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner highlighted this issue.  What started out, I think, as a basic complaint (and, frankly, an old complaint) about why commercial fiction is not more widely reviewed (if at all) in mainstream publications like the New York Times turned into a much broader discussion about women's fiction and the role gender plays in literary criticism.   This discussion isn’t new, but it does get dredged up every now and again.  I’m not sure why, exactly, or even who keeps picking at the wound but it’s like the publishing bruise that never completely goes away.

I suppose this will matter to you if (1) You buy books based on what Big Time Reviewers say at Big Time Mainstream Newspapers; (2) Your life won’t be complete until your book is reviewed in a Big Time Mainstream Newspaper; and/or (3) You can clearly tweet the difference between literary fiction and commercial fiction in 140 characters or less.

Interestingly, the books that usually sell best and have the most widespread appeal are those that never get reviewed (or even mentioned) in publications like the New York Times.  Irony, much?  I’d say those authors are having the last laugh, all the way to the bank.  And their readers seem pretty satisfied too, especially since they keep buying their books.

Fair or not?  What do you think? Bonus question: Can you tweet the difference between literary fiction and commercial fiction in 140 characters or less?

About LizLiz Fichera is the author of CAPTIVE SPIRIT, her debut historical romance novel from Carina Press.  CAPTIVE SPIRIT is now also available as an audiobook from Audible.com.  Liz prefers to write about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends in the American Southwest.  When she’s not plotting her next novel, you’ll find her on the web dishing about books, writing, or the best brands of chocolate.  Please visit her web site or follow her blog because it can get real lonely in the desert.  Virtual chocolate cupcakes served daily.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Your Horoscope For Free

Swami Maria is in the house! Despite my other dubious talents, I decided to take up astrology when I discovered Lady Gaga and I shared the same birthday.

How the heck did she get so famous while I mire in obscurity? The truth was out there and I looked under every rock to get to the bottom of this inequity.

While I was at it, I went ahead and divined your horoscope charts too. Go over to Samhain Publishing and see how I did.

Did I nail your personality? 

Okay, so I had a bit of fun. I promise, if I got it wrong, I'll give up astrology. ;-) Stop by Samhain and tell me your sign.

Update: The Samhain blog is a little fickle--or it could be my browser. The way to see previous comments over there is to click on the Preview tab in the Comments area.

***

To see where I've been and where I'm going, check out the Blog Tour Page.

***

If you're on Twitter, would you do me a favor today? Would you give my book, Mistress Of The Stone a tweet for votes? It's in the Kensington contest hosted at RT Reviews. The deadline for Round Two is November 23rd.

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blind Trust

What dream have you held onto the longest? What goal, project or love have you clung to even when no one believed in it but you?

Today's guest post is about trusting your instincts even when you don't know where they're taking you. Kait Nolan invited me on her blog and asked me about True Believers and how it came about.

Oh, Lord. She just had to ask.

True Believers had the dumbest and shakiest beginning any book could have. I was embarrassed to even tell her the story. What made it particularly silly is that I wrote this novel with absolutely no intention of publishing it. I was not a writer, and would not be a writer for at least twenty-five more years. 

But I wrote it, and hung on to it even when common sense told me to throw it in the trash. 

Go and visit Kait for the rest of the story. Then you tell me: How long have you held on to your dream?

***

To see where I've been and where I'm going, check out the Blog Tour Page. Thursday, I have a special treat. I am trading blogs with Liz Fichera. Woo hoo!

***

Have you voted for me at RT Reviews? If you're waiting for cookies, I'm working on 'em. Go vote while I finish baking.

...oh, you've heard about my baking, eh? Okay, these cookies might take a while.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kiss and Tell

UPDATE:  I have moved on to the second round in the Kensington Brava contest. Thank you for helping me get there! Can we do it again? This month the description of the hero and heroine is being judged. Please vote for Mistress Of The Stone, a paranormal historical. 
All votes, tweets, nudges and mentions gratefully accepted. Karma loves kindness.

Back to the blog tour.

I am still in the UK for my blog tour and visiting with Jayne Ferst. But once again, my guest post has been hijacked. First it was the dogs, now...the dreaded husband.

Yes, Greg has hijacked an interview that was supposed to be completed by ME. Is there no end to this tour torture?

But what's done is done and my computer is back under my control. Go over and see for yourself how terribly he paints me. I thought my dogs were snitches. Greg is far worse. 

Visit Jayne and answer me this question at her blog: Should I beat the husband for his kiss and tell or let him slide for being so clever?

Your votes will determine his fate. Ah, payback is hell. ;-) 

I'm sure he'll be waiting with bated breath.

***

To see where I've been and where I'm going, check out the Blog Tour Page.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Do You Have What It Takes...

To be a Science Fiction Romance author? Wanna find out?

Today, I travel across the pond and visit with Ellie Garratt, who asked me to write something about SFR. I tackled that topic for all of ten minutes when I realized what was really needed was a quiz.

But not just any quiz. The genre demands that we conduct a super scientific examination to find out if you do indeed have the chops to become a SFR author.

Take the quiz and report your findings over at Ellie's place. We'll be waiting, wondering who will join us and take up the quest.

(I was so excited about this quiz, I even designed a logo for it!)

***
To see where I've been and where I'm going, refer to the Blog Tour Page.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blog Tours: Trick or Treat?

Some readers hate blog tours and who can blame them? If all you get is a sales pitch, you might as well nail your coffin now. I'll even throw in some old Halloween candy (circa 1989).

Here's my reader confession: I won't follow a blog tour that only brags about the book. As a reader, I want to be entertained, or at the very least informed. 

I am not big on excerpts either. Some of my hosts for this blog tour have asked for excerpts and I oblige with very short ones. Maybe I'm the exception, but very few excerpts have ever gotten me excited about a book. I count on the blurb to lure me in. If it succeeds I will hunt for the book myself and seek out my own answers. 

This is my second ever blog tour and I learned a lot this go round. A blog tour (for me anyway) is all about name recognition. Secondly, it's about the book. 

With that in mind, I strove to choose blog hosts who had a diverse readership on their blogs. I wanted to find new readers, people who didn't know me before I stepped onto that platform.

But that added a new parameter in how I wrote my posts. I had to write "universal" topics that new readers could follow without knowing my history, but familiar themes (or insider jokes) that old followers would appreciate. 

Interviews were tricky too. A regular old interview is fine for people who don't know you, but how do you spice it up for people who know you too well? 

That's why some interviews were conducted with "snitches", and some have off the wall questions (or answers). One of the big favorites so far was Jackie Burris's idea of my life through pictures. I honestly didn't think my photos would be interesting to people, but it got a load of comments.

I really struggled with interviews because they can be very boring, but the new twists on this year's interviews added a lot of warmth and whimsy. 

Perhaps my biggest problem on this blog tour was time. In the beginning, I was afraid no one would want me on their blog. (Note big puppy dog eyes.)

The offers trickled in and then all of a sudden I was bombarded. I had to started declining. I think that mortified me more than not having any offers at all because I hated to let people down. 

I could have accepted them all and wrote something. But I really wanted every post to stand up on its own and not be a slapdash through tourville. So I declined and hope those people will ask me again later on down the road.

Friday, the blog tour gets underway again and my next stop will be my one and only quiz. Be sure to check back!

In the meantime, if you missed any of my other posts, check out the Blog Tour Page to see where I've been.

Tell me, guys. What do you think of the tour so far? Don't be afraid to tell me if anything sucked. Really. Any suggestions on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated. Is there anything I could have done better? Is there anything you expected and didn't see?

I think there was one thing that failed, but I'll reveal that at the wrap up report after the tour.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Day Of The Dead

While half the world celebrates Halloween, MesoAmerica celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

It's a day when friends and relatives gather to remember those who have departed. Technically, I think it's celebrated on November 2nd, but most people I know celebrate from October 31st through November 2nd.

Since we lived so far from relatives, I remember celebrating this holiday only once with my family while we were on holiday in Mexico. I was very young, and we went to visit my grandmother's grave on my father's side.

My father, knowing we were rapscallions (descended from the same) warned us that if we strayed off the path in the cemetery, snakes and ghouls would carry us off. --There was no end to my father's stellar parenting skills. LOL.

Obviously, we were terrified, me constantly glancing up at the trees, knowing a giant snake could easily drop down and whisk me away. We were the quietest, most well behaved children you could imagine. 

Even when we reached my grandmother's grave, we remained somber. On the other hand, my parents, aunts and uncles, and assorted cousins were laughing and telling stories.

Día de los Muertos is a day of thoughtful remembrance and celebration. It's not a sad time at all, though if the death was recent it could be. For the most part everyone gathers to pay their respects to the dead and to celebrate the life they lived. We drink a toast to them, share our food and our stories about the deceased.

I like this holiday a lot. I miss my friends and relatives who have already gone, but I'd like to believe that on this one day, maybe they come back to reassure us they are well and happy--especially when we remember them.

We all die. What matters most is how we live.

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Despite my father's simple solution for keeping us in line, fright night didn't have a lasting effect. To this day I love visiting cemeteries, reading the inscriptions on the stones and wondering what that person was like in life.

Surely, I can't be the only one who thinks like this. How about you? 

Are cemeteries scary or comforting? Has anything weird ever happened to you at a cemetery (barring, of course, you didn't have a father like mine)? :-)

Happy Día de los Muertos

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The blog tour continues on November 5th, but I'll be posting before then here on this blog. Stay tuned. More good stuff on the way.