Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Blood and Circumstance

This week I'm reading Blood and Circumstance by Frank Turner Hollon.


Blurb:
Joel Stabler kills his beloved brother Danny in what appears to be murder in the name of mercy. When Joel’s lawyers assign a psychologist to determine his sanity at the time of the shooting, the full story of the brothers’ past and long family history of mental illness begin to unfold.

Told entirely through Joel’s pre-trial interview sessions with Dr. Andrews, Blood and Circumstance takes on the argument of nature versus nurture. And as Joel responds to the doctor’s probing questions, he, in turn, begins to evaluate the doctor, stealing glimpses of his notes and speculating about his personal life. As the reader listens in on their conversations, it becomes less and less clear whom to trust, what is certain, or where truth and fact actually live.


Opening:
He stands in the kitchen doorway, a black figure surrounded by the yellow light background, the small details of his face unseen from the darkness of the living room. His left shoulder leans slightly against the threshold, a pistol suspended from the left hand, dangling in the yellow space between the hip and the dark.

Teaser:
"Sometimes when people leave, it's worse than dying for the people they leave behind. We don't usually choose to die. But we sure as hell choose to leave."






Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Manhunting

I adore Jennifer Crusie's romantic comedies and Manhunting is my all-time favorite. I re-read it regularly because sometimes I just need a guaranteed laugh.



Blurb:
Kate Svenson may be a dynamite businesswoman—but after three failed engagements, she's decided she's hopeless at romance. What she needs is a Business Plan to help her find Mr. Right. The Cabins resort is ripe with eligible bachelors, all rich and ambitious—just her type. But they're dropping like flies, and after fishing Kate's latest reject out of the swimming pool, Jake Templeton is convinced that Kate is nothing but trouble. Especially for him. A man who's sworn off ambition and a woman hanging from the top of the corporate ladder don't have much in common. But in that unpredictable territory known as the heart, anything can happen…


Opening:
"Planning on jumping? I wouldn't. Blood's hell to get out of silk."

Teaser:
  Later, she couldn't remember whether she'd had time to stop, or if Donald's trying to ruin her potatoes the way he'd ruined everything else had made her temporarily insane. Whatever the reason, she stabbed him with the sharp, narrow, old-fashioned fork and hit a vein in the back of his hand.
  Donald screamed, and she shoved his hand away so he wouldn't get blood on her potatoes.






Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

CFA Master Class ~ Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is a NYT best selling author and one of my favorites. He's almost as entertaining when he speaks as when he writes.






The second half is available here.

His books are available  here. Including his latest, Found: A Mickey Bolitar Novel, Book 3

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ George R R Martin

[After A Dance With Dragons was completed] I did my sweat. That’s a technique I learned in Hollywood, where my scripts were always too long. “This is too long,” the studio would say. “Trim it by eight pages.” But I hated to lose any good stuff — scenes, dialogue exchanges, bits of action — so instead I would go through the script trimming and tightening line by line and word by word, cutting out the fat and leaving the muscle. I found the process so valuable that I’ve done the same with all my books since leaving LA. It’s the last stage of the process. ~ George R R Martin



Tuesday Teaser/Opening - Dreamfever

Have you ever read a series that's consumed you? Caught at your every free moment to keep reading it. Karen Marie Moning's series has done that to me. This week's teaser is from Dreamfever, the fourth book of the incredible urban fantasy Fever series.

The Blurb:
MacKayla Lane lies naked on the cold stone floor of a church, at the mercy of the erotic Fae master she once swore to kill. Far from home, unable to control her sexual hungers, MacKayla is now fully under the Lord Master’s spell.…In New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning’s stunning new novel, the walls between human and Fae worlds have come crashing down. And as Mac fights for survival on Dublin’s battle-scarred streets, she will embark on the darkest—and most erotically charged—adventure of her life.
He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge.…

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons…and about the world she thought she knew.

The First Paragraph:
   Death. Pestulance. Famine.
   They surround me, the terrifying Unseelie Princes.
  Who'd have thought destruction could be so beautiful? Seductive. Consuming.

The Teaser:
I was wrong. I wasn’t poised between stupid and testing my limits. Miles of uncharted stupid stretched on both sides of the line on which I stood.

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/ 



Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Eight Sentence Sunday ~ Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer ~ Meeting Jackson

I haven't done an 8 Sentence Sunday in some time, but I'm closing in on finishing the first draft of my WIP Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer, and I have the cover (at the right. Isn't it pretty?) so I think it's time. This bit is near the beginning of the story. Our heroine, Cleo, is being given the introductory tour by Nigel, her editor, at the tabloid where she is now (unhappily) employed.

   “And this is Jackson Palmaroy.” Nigel’s high-tone British accent made Jackson sound like he was someone who should have gone to Oxford instead of University of Florida. “His speciality”—pronounced with five very British syllables—“is alien abduction stories.”
“Yeah, this week the President is being controlled by a receiver put in his brain by little green men,” Jackson said with no trace of sarcasm as he shook her manicured hand.
  “We’ve already run that story, Jackson,” Nigel said.
  “We did?”
  “Last administration. You should know that; you wrote it.”

Not to worry. Jackson isn't our hero. Just the hero's best buddy. But I thought this was a fun snippet. I hope you agree.

To read more 8 Sentence Sunday samples, click on the button below.

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ JK Rowling

I didn’t write with a target audience in mind. What excited me was how much I would enjoy writing about Harry. I never thought about writing for children — children’s books chose me. I think if it is a good book anyone will read it ~ JK Rowling

 Don't you love being able to get calendars of your favorite books? Click on the picture to get this 2015 calendar from Amazon

Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Darkfever

I love good urban fantasy. The key word there is "good." The vampire stuff that never seems to die (bad pun alert) has worn out it's welcome with me, but something that builds on the fairy realm? Even better when the fairies are kind of evil. Or at least wicked. When that's done well, it will always catch my attention. And Darkfever: Fever Series Book 1 is done so very, very well.

Blurb:
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

Opening (Prologue):
My philosphy is pretty simple–any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book.
I haven't had many good days lately.   

Teaser:
  As the grizzled gentleman fired off a spate of lovely lilting words that made no sense to me at all, I nodded and smiled a lot, trying to look intelligent. I waited until he wound down, then took a gamble--what the heck? my odds were fifty-fifty--and turned to go north.
  With a sharp clucking sound, he grabbed my shoulder, turned me in the opposite direction, and barked, "Air ye deaf, lass?"
  I think. He might have called me a hairy jackass.

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/ 




Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Gifts for that Crazy Cat Lady

I'm going to depart from my normal writer oriented postings and actually do some product endorsements. If you don't own a cat, or you don't have a cat lover on your Christmas list, you can skip this post. Or just go to the end and watch the video.

I've been a cat person all my life, but the worst part about being owned by a--er, I mean, owning a cat is, of course, the litter box. If only your cat would use the toilet! (I had a cat when I was younger who taught himself to use the toilet, something I've never managed to convince another cat to do.) In lieu of that, the Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the next best thing. I've been using this for nearly a year and it's the best litter box EV-VER. It's designed so you roll it to the side. The unclumped litter goes through a grill, the soiled stuff goes into the tray on the right. You pull out the tray and dump it. Add some fresh litter through the doorway and voila! You're done. Best ever.

(If you're a cat person, you've probably seen ads for those self-cleaning cat boxes, but I have a friend who bought one, and it kept breaking down. She went through several replacement litter boxes before she gave up the fight.)




I'd seen these around and always thought they looked interesting. When I finally broke down and bought a Petmate Crazy Circle Interactive Cat Toy, my cat went nuts over it. That first day, he must have played with it for over an hour. That went on for a week or so. When he stops playing with it, I put it away for a while. When I bring it back out, he goes crazy over it all over again. 







 Need a stocking stuffer? SmartyKat Fish Flop Crinkle Toys are cheap and my cats really like them. Walter, the marmalade kitty I have on an extended cat sitting deal, especially loves these. Walter isn't the pushiest cat in the world--until I throw one of these out. Then he elbows Puss-Puss out of the way to take possession. And yes, I know they look like they're not much of anything, but he will play with it for the better part of an hour, tossing it, pouncing on it, carrying it around in his mouth. The only drawback is that they're small and so when he does eventually lose interest, it might be under a chair or behind the couch--some place you'll never find it without moving all the furniture. Still, they're cheap, so now and then I break out a new one for him. Hm. He hasn't had one for a while. I think it's time.


And then of course, there's that perennial favorite--Catnip. There are two varieties of catnip: fresh and dried. If you've never seen a cat with fresh 'nip, you've missed one of the best shows in the world. They go absolutely bonkers for it. Even the mellowest cat in the world will get territorial if you try to take it away from him. It's not hard to grow, but there are logistical problems. If you plant it outside, you'll draw every cat for miles. If you plant it indoors, you need a place the cat can't get to--and they can reach places that will surprise you when the reward is fresh catnip. If they can reach the plant, they'll gorge themselves on the leaves and leave you with a bunch of denuded stems. Repeated attacks of this sort eventually kills the plant. But it's fun while it lasts.

I discovered this fall that the neighbor of one of the local farmers I know grows catnip to sell the seed, so I'm hoping I'll have a source of fresh 'nip next year. In the meantime, I'm getting by with the dried variety. I don't think brand matters much with this. Cats love this stuff even in this less potent form, so if you don't have access to fresh, which most of us don't, they'll still enjoy this.

In fact, catnip is, in my opinion, as essential as their food if you own a cat.




Word on the street is that I may be getting PetSafe ScatMat Electronic Indoor Pet Training Mat for Christmas. They're power by a 9-volt battery, so I'm not worried that it will actually hurt the cats. Hopefully, it will train them not to go places I don't want them to be. Huh. Training cats. That's a unique concept. Then again, think I could grow catnip if I put it in the middle of the mat? No, I guess not. Either way you go with that scenario, there's some torture involved.


BTW, these come in a semicircle as well so you can protect your Christmas tree.

So that's my holiday list for the cat lover in your life. Certified by the crazy cat lady writer.

If you're a cat person, I'd love to hear what your cats like.

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Stephen King

So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ~ Stephen King




Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Ten on Sunday

As a writer myself, I'm always looking for insights about the unique ways men think, so when I stumbled across Ten on Sunday: The Secret Life of Men by Alan Eisenstock, of course I had to pick it up. I'm so glad I did because I'm truly loving this book. There are some hysterical moments of the guys acting like guys in ways that make women shake their heads the way we do when they get so caught up in "saving face" in front of the other guys.

Blurb:
A moving, lyrical, eye-opening look at the true nature of intimacy among men.

After the LA riots, and once he'd fled his mid-city home for the relative safety of suburban Santa Monica, Alan Eisenstock at last found himself with a driveway that was big enough for a weekly basketball game. For years he'd yearned for this; now all that stood between him and the zone defense was the fruits of the carob tree that fell on the driveway and threatened to ruin the game. Once the surface was clear, however, Sundays were given over to a raucous, competitive, and hilarious series of ball games. But what began as a recreation soon became a chance to shatter the Boy Code once and for all.

So here they are: doctors, lawyers, writers, construction guys--some single, some married--all, however, committed to the game they're playing, and to the deepening of friendships the time together engenders. Along the way there's a fight and a falling-out; the tragic death of one of the guys' wives; a trip to Mexico that's right out of a buddy movie, except that these early-middle-aged men end up in bed by 9:30 P.M.; a laugh-out-loud karaoke session that has to be read to be believed; and more bagels than any book should ever be able to bear.

Holding it all together is Alan Eisenstock himself. His own personal journey from unhappy, stressed-out screenwriter to full-fledged, fulfilled book writer is the story of a man risking his financial and emotional life in order to follow his heart. And what begins as a weekly ritual of game-playing becomes, over five years, a meaningful exchange on marital issues, money worries, and the onset of various midlife crises. The result is a lovely, whimsical, and hilarious book about guys and what they talk about when their better halves are not around.

The Opening:
  Los Angeles is burning.
  It is the sprinng of 1992. Even though a video tape clearly shows four Caucasian police officers brutally beating and kicking an African-American man named Rodney King, an all-white jury delivers a verdict of not guilty. The four officers are freed. Outraged, the people of South Central Los Angeles begin to burn the city down. They set fires and loot stores in their own neighborhoods, then head north toward other neighborhoods, such as Hancock Park, where I live.


The Teaser:
It could be because of all that's happened--the death of Kyle's wife, Brick's knee injury, surviving the Northridge quake, Mitch's marital troubles, our trip to Mexico. Perhaps sharing these events has cemented us, served as a glue to bring us together. Whatever the reason, I am certain of this one truth: men can achieve closeness without intimacy, while women can achieve intimacy without closeness.


Any takers?

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/ 




Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea