When looking for a new book, what grabs your eye? Is it the cover? The author's name? The title? I'm doing a totally unofficial survey here.
I started thinking about this because of the new book I'm working on, and because of discussions with one of my partners. We're both bibliophiles. What's worse, we're freebie fanatics. If it's free, and a book, and an ebook, we go bananas. Of course our first reads are the books we know we need to review for authors or publishers. But, we each also get books because we want them! Need them! CRAVE them!
I started looking at what was grabbing my attention. I'll admit it, I'm a visual person so the cover grabs me first. Then, if that didn't do it, I look at the title. If I'm still on the fence, I read the blurb about the book. Then, I go back and look for authors that I know I like (or, okay, I'll admit it, I look for authors with what I think are interesting names! I'm crazy that way).
So what do you look for? I'm interested to find out. Please leave a comment on this. Here are some suggestions: Cover; author; title; blurb about the book; first chapter . . . take your pick or choose what turns you on and makes you pick up the book, or the ebook, whether you purchase it or put it back and choose another. What drew you in the first place?
The past two weeks have had a number of eventful things happen for me. On May 27th, Silver Tongue Press launched (hey! we're looking for authors!). I'm one of three partners, and editor, and help with marketing, and do a little writing on my own, someday I'll actually finish! Since we're small for a while yet, I can wear many hats. Our hopes are, of course, that we'll grown and get to pick and choose our hats, depending on our strengths and necessity.
Then, on Monday, the 4th, I started back to my classes. I'm working on my BA in history, and minoring in English. I'm taking 15 hours this semester, then again next semester, then 12 the following semester. So by this time next year, the Good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll have completed my BA. That is so exciting to me. I'm always asked what I want to do with the degree. Well, folks, I'm a grandmother, so I'm doing it for me. Not to "be" something or "do" something. I'm doing it for me. Because I can.
Then, on a sadder note . . . a group of us online quilter friends (obviously with my schedule I don't quilt much, but try to drop in now and then) passed away from cancer. It seems to have all happened quite quickly, and she was only two years older than me. She was a true angel on earth. I have never met a more giving or loving woman . . . even online . . . . I'll miss her dreadfully. She always took time to send me quick emails, just to see how things were going for me. She didn't only do that with me, she was equally caring about everyone of our group. I know she was probably like that in person as well. Did I mention I've never met her face-to-face? But, she was important to me. I've known her several years online, so I feel I know her.
As a result of losing this dear lady. A lady that many of us are touched by her passing, and in true mourning for her, I've decided to put to the side the book I've been working on and change gears. I'm going to write a book about her, well about all of us, but about how she touched us with her humor, her caring, and her giving. Wish me luck on it. I hope I can do her proud. I miss you Gerda, but know you're in a better place and are no longer ill.
Here is western Kansas the weather turned cooler as a storm rolled through last night. It made sleeping wonderful, and waking up slow. Working from home, I usually wake up fairly early but have to inhale many cups of coffee before I'm semi-awake and have brain-wave activity, as my friend and partner Rebecca Graf has found out! Today however, I got to wake up nice and slow and was actually AWAKE when I got up.
The kids (read: dogs) went out, came back in, and enjoying the cooler start and cloudy skies, immediately began their morning nap. Zed (the Yorkie) takes his in my lap. Corky takes his under my desk beside my feet. Pistol sleeps on his pillow. Cyndar Ellah (pictured) takes hers on my chair legs, or under the bookshelf beside my desk, or in her crate, or wherever she drops. Today, she went to her crate. UNTIL . . . .
Cyndar is a little bully. She bullies all the others around here. She bullies people walking down the street. She bullies people going to the convenience store across the street that dare to walk into the store rather than stand at the pump. She especially tries to bully people on bicycles. But thunder! That's her undoing. You see, she can't bully thunder. Her little eyes get wide, she starts to shake. Then she does one final bully. She shoves Zed out of my lap and takes over. Thunder is the enemy! And it's mean.
So here I sit. One unhappy Yorkie that his place has been usurped. One unhappy dachshund that thunder has disturbed her little kingdom. And two still sleeping, the male dachshund and the Min-Pin because they couldn't care less about thunder.
And I need coffee. I don't dare get up because it will disturb her majesty. I shall suffer thru the thunder attack while her preciousness is uneasy, then after she's calm, I can take care of me. It's a lot of sacrifice being mom to four babies. :)
Have a great day! And watch for more reviews today!!
Thomasina Burke –
Ms. Burke graciously granted me an interview after reading her novel, Magic Bridge. If you haven’t read it, please do. Very few authors come out, independently published, with such power as the powerful writing she displays. A high school friend, Deanna Birdsall, “introduced” us on Facebook. Tommy and I spoke briefly then I requested to review her book. My original thought was, “It will be a sweet little book and I will give it a sweet little review.” My next thought was, “Oh please don’t be horrible so I don’t have to mangle my integrity.” Then my next thought was, “Oh please have fairly decent editing so I don’t have to cringe with every sentence.” And … I was not only pleasantly surprised, I was knocked out of my chair. Magic Bridge is a love story, a story dealing with emotions, and a story that no one should forego experiencing. My review is located on the Book Reviews page of this site. And my interview with Thomasina Burke is here:
Sara: I know that you said the idea and characters came from your husband, friends, and lost loved ones. How deeply were you affected while you were writing this book?
Ms. Burke: When the book was first conceptualized, my beautiful sister Kelley Bridgette (Bridge) was in the final stages of her battle with breast cancer. It just broke my heart; my sisters and I are very close because of the truly horrific childhood we endured. They were my fiercest protectors, and to lose one was unfathomable. There were many days when I sat at the computer writing and simultaneously sobbing at my own words. My book is very personal; my brother-in-law Matt died in a plane crash at only 22 years of age, so it was natural that my characters would be named after two truly beautiful souls; Matthew and Bridgette. One funny aside, neither of our daughters will read the book because they feel as if I “killed off their father!”
Sara: Have you traveled to all the places you mention in Magic Bridge? If so, which is your favorite and why?
Ms. Burke: Let me preface this by saying that travel represents something really important to me, as I was pretty much agoraphobic, would not fly in an airplane, and barely ever left my house. I was crippled by panic and phobias, and it took many years for me to work through conquering those fears. So, for me, travel represents mental health and my own courage to get in an airplane even when it still strikes utter fear in me. Now, back to your question! Yes, we have travelled to all of the places in Magic
Bridge. It is difficult to pick just one, so I will have to go with the top two; Dingle, Ireland and Vernazza, Italy. Ireland calls to
my soul in a way that no other location does; the castles, shimmering mists, and Celtic crosses are so evocative for me. There is also an indefinable aura in Vernazza, the smells and sights that make it one of the most uniquely beautiful locations in the world.
Sara: What did you learn as a writer while you were putting Bridgette’s and Matt’s story on paper?
Ms. Burke: Someone once asked when I “knew” I was going to be an author. Although I have always liked to tell stories and have the “gift of gab,” I am first and foremost a nurse. Five years ago, if someone had told me that I would write a book, which was actually well received, I’d have said something like “yeah, right!” What I learned as a writer is that your characters do have their own voices and they take on a life of their own. I never had a pre-conceived idea of what Bridgette and Matt were going to do next
Sara: How many boxes of tissues did you go through while bringing Bridgette and Matt to life?
Ms. Burke: Tons! ! I fell in love with both of them, and I suffered for both when Matt’s time came to an end. I wrote that chapter out on the front porch of our cabin, bawling my eyes out the entire time. My husband finally came outside and said,“Are you okay?” I asked him to read it to see what he thought, and my big, stoic goof of a husband started crying. That is when I knew that I had“nailed” that section.
Sara: I notice the point of view changes by chapter with your primary and secondary characters. What made you decide to use the first person point of view each of these chapters?
Ms. Burke: It was a style that I have admired in other authors, such as Jodi Piccoult. To be perfectly honest, however, I wrote the entire book in Bridgette’s voice. It was my wonderful editor Candy Green Gustavson that thought the changes of voices would be more effective. I think it really worked for this book, and I am continuing on in that style for the sequel.
Sara: What advice can you give to someone that considers writing a first novel?
Ms. Burke: I will tell you the exact advice that I have been giving my hiking buddy for the last five years, “sit your butt down and write every day, even if it is two sentences!” I am thoroughly convinced that everyone has a good book in them that they just need to let out. About two months ago, that same hiking friend told me she had something for me. She proceeded to hand over a flash drive containing a 90,000-word book that she had written over a four-week time period! And its good!
Sara: Did you have another story that you wanted to tell before this story where Bridgette and Matt wanted to have their story told first?
Ms. Burke: Although I am visiting some of Bridgette’s “dark places” in the second book, dealing with some of her childhood abuse and phobias, I don’t know that I would be able to write the story of their background. It may be difficult for others to understand, but I feel that if you write about perpetrators of abuse, it shifts power to them again. However, I can share that there will be a trilogy of Magic Bridge books.
Sara: Is there a particular place or time of day that helped you write more effectively?
Ms. Burke: I am a School Nurse at a High School, so when the last bell of the day rings and all the teenagers make their escape, I sit in my nice, quiet office and get some good writing done. My daughter is an Interior Designer that has decorated my office beautifully, and even feng shui’d it, so that it is a beautifully calm sanctuary. Right now, school is out for the summer, and I’m trying to figure out where to write. My house isn’t an option, since I live in what I have dubbed the “Burke Commune,” with a daughter, three grandchildren, and my husband adding to the chaos.
Sara: Thomasina, our mutual friend Deanna connected us so that I could read your book. First, I’m eternally grateful for her friendship from high school days, but now I’m grateful that she was the wheel that connected us. Is Deanna a character of your book?
Ms. Burke: Deanna was and is a dear, dear friend and she is beautiful, inside and out. Although she isn’t a character in the first book, I’ll have to work her in to the second one! Her family was so wonderful, I always felt like I was safe in her house. Her Mom was even my daughters’ babysitter!
(Note to readers: I had to ask this, but honestly didn’t “feel” Deanna in the characters Ms. Burke brought to life)
Sara: The last question I have for you is: Am I going to be privileged to read another novel by you? Or are you going to make me want more for the rest of my life and feel unfulfilled?
Ms. Burke: LOL. Already answered that! I really felt like I had to continue on, because so many people asked about Bridgette and what she would do with her life. A lot of people made comments like“your book changed the way I looked at life,” or “I am going to talk to my parents about their end of life wishes,” or “Is she going to get together with Luke?” I feel that I have a responsibility for my readers to know that Bridgette will forge ahead, find love again, and live her life with passion and strength.
On a more personal note: I could not have read this book at a sooner period in my life. You touched my heart and soul on so many levels with Bridgette and Matt. I want to thank you for granting me this interview, and thank you for granting me the privilege of reading Magic Bridge and taking me on a journey that I did not know was there. I lived and went to high school in Phoenix, and never met Thomasina Burke although we shared common friends. A trip to Phoenix will be somewhere in my future and will hopefully include a visit with her.
So dear readers, grab a cup of your favorite drink, go to your most comfortable area, be sure to have a box of tissues and a little time without interruption and read Magic Bridge. You won’t be disappointed.
Silver Tongue as previously announced is accepting submissions for two children's anthologies. Their official launch is not until June 1, 2012, but they have agreed to begin accepting submissions instead of making you wait!!! Now, for more good news!
If you have a book ready to submit to a pubisher, you may do so! STP is not a vanity press and will work with its authors in anticipation of publication. Authors will need to be prepared to sign a contract for their work. Genres accepted are various, see the website for more information. Feel free to complete contact forms for any questions.
This is an opportunity you do not want to miss! Take control of your future now :)
for all the poop on it!
Do you like to write stories? Have you wanted to try writing one but were too afraid? Now is your chance! Silver Tongue Press was created for a first-time author to take advantage of this opportunity. This is the chance for you to try something. This is the moment for you to test a dream. We are looking for children's short stories about Halloween or anything scary for an anthology we are putting together. Details will be coming soon. What do you do now? Contact us with any questions and begin writing! Deadline for these stories are June 30th.
Silver Tongue Press will officially launch on June 1 so the site is not live at this time. If you wish to submit children's stories, or wish to become published with any other genre, please contact me and I'll pass on the information. Oh - and I'm Creative Director for Silver Tongue Press, so seeing you published is important to me. At STP we will work with you to make your work as polished as possible. We are not a vanity press!
I've been spending a lot of time researching the Princes in the Tower for my current novel. My biggest challenge in writing seems to be coming up with tons of ideas for books before finishing this one. Also, my dogs are distracting because they're so darn entertaining.
Today, Corky is helping keep me distracted. In order to move away from the computer, and to distract myself, and to feed my munchie urges, I made some brownies. They're just now coming out of the oven and I'm forced to wait until they cool enough to not leave blisters in my mouth as I feed my need for chocolate. Yes, I'm a chocolate lover, but not just any chocolate. It has to be Nestle's chocolate or Hershey's chocolate or Baker's chocolate. It can't be deep chocolate, or Swiss chocolate, or even white chocolate. Do you see the problem with focus here?
Back to the current situation . . . The brownies are cooling, I'm drooling, when I hear a little bitty, teeny tiny noise. What could it be? My computer set up is in the kitchen where the dog throws are. It keeps them, and me, company. Plus, keeps me close to the refrigerator and the oven in case a chocolate craving should attack me. *sigh* focus, Sara.
The noise . . . I look over at the only dog that is awake (for the moment). I had left the cabinet door open where the bakeware hides. There is a little black dog nosing around looking for I-don't-know-what. He's not touching anything, but he sniffing like crazy. He freezes and turns his head. He sees me looking at him. His little head ducks down and he sulks off to his pillow. Wow, am I powerful or what? I don't have to say "no" or "lay down" or anything!
I'm sure my brownies are cool enough. Okay, they probably aren't, but I'm not patient enough to wait for them to cool. I have a cold drink that will take care of any blistering effect .... brownies beware!
Before I go . . . who do YOU think killed the Princes? Or, were they killed? That's the topic of the novel I'm writing and I'm not telling you how my brain is doing its figgerin' (basically because it works without informing me). Was it Richard III? One of his minions? A trusted friend or friends? Was it Henry Tudor when he took the throne? Or . . . did they escape the Tower?
Tales from the Tails
Today I’m taking a departure from research and personal reading and crafting to tell you about my favorite things: my dogs. I suppose “thingsis not quite true since I think of them as my companions and my children. Let me introduce you:
Corky is a long-haired black and tan dachshund. He was the first of this group of dogs. I had been petless for several years when he came into my life. Corky is NOT a quiet dog. He plays loud, barks loud, and talks incessantly. He loves to play. Corky is now about 9 years old. He was several months old when I found him. He actually belonged to my grandson, before that to my grandson’s dad, and before that who knows. So Corky had a little anxiety at being left places. He found home with me but still is anxious when we separate . . . like when I’m gone forever taking the trash out to the alley (sigh).
Cyndar is the second dog to the family and is 2 years younger than Corky. She’s a long-haired dachshund as well, but is red. She joined us in hopes that she would keep Corky company and help keep his anxiety level low. Her real name is Cyndar Ellah. She’s a funny little girl that has a funny group of stories around her. All that, however, is for another day’s musings. Cyndar, rather than helping Corky deal with his anxiety, has FED it. So, instead of coming home to one overly anxious dog, I was now coming home to two. Not only were they overly excited and anxious as I pulled into the driveway, they acted like idiots (in the same joyous manner) when my neighbor would pull into her driveway. (another sigh here)
Next to join my family is Pistol. He’s not actually my dog, he moved in when my roommate moved in. Pistol is an older min-pin (he’s now about 17-18 years old). He’s now blind from cataracts, is arthritic, but can smell and hear like I don’t know what. If I peel a banana, his little nose is in the air. Yes, my dogs like bananas. Pistol is, just like old men, rather crotchety. He complains if you walk to close to him and barks crazily if another dog gets near his pillow or his dish of food. Now, when his mama (my roommate) comes home from work, he lets her know it’s time to be held. She picks him up and he makes a yowling noise that, every evening, cracks us both up. He almost sounds like a cat in heat (dare I sigh again?)
Last to join us is Zed. Zed is a 3 year old Yorkie. He’s speedy, silly, and lovable. He was my son’s dog that joined us when my son moved where Zed could not go. He’s been with us about a year. Zed loves bananas, green beans, carrots, and anything else we drop. He has gotten goofy and won’t eat his food unless I stand right beside him (double sigh). We keep Zed in a puppy cut to keep grooming time down. With four dogs, time is not always our friend.
So, that’s the family. Watch the blog for more Tales from the Tails. arf arf
How do you select the next book to read? Does it pull you to it or do you just shut your eyes and grab? I'm receiving a number of books lately, so choosing is becoming more difficult daily. Some books are for research, some are for reviews, and some are for education. Yes, I still go to university (and love it!).
So, I thought and thought, how would the best selection of books be for the immediate future? First, I have books that are required for school, so obviously those get me first attention. Then I have books that I have been requested to write a review on, so those are second on the list. Then, I have books for my personal research for the books I'm writing. Those will get third on the list. Then, finally I have books that on waiting to be read that are just for fun. They get to be last on the list.
Until early June, I'm not in coursework, so I get to work on the review books. Of course, I now write a review on every book I read, no matter the reason for reading it, but those that I have been requested to review get to be at the top of the pile for the remainder of April and all of May. I do keep a "fun" book for night time reading by the bed.
I look forward to reading for review and personal research in the next 5-6 weeks!
Today I began using this site religiously. I feel good about it! Thanks to Rebecca Graf for all her encouragement to begin this process. My hope is that I can daily add a book review for one of my "in the attic" books and blogs once or twice a week. So keep your eyes open! If you don't see me blog, give me a poke!
I am willing to review books for authors, especially new authors. There are a few limitations so be sure to contact me prior to sending a book.
For those that self-publish, I can help with the editing portion. Formatting, sentence and grammar structures are so important for the reader. I know these are difficult to do with your own eyes, and sometimes a second or third pair of eyes can find errors that the originator often misses because we tend to read what we think. :)
I hope to hear from you folks soon. Let me know if you have books to review, if you have suggestions for books or movies to review, and what you'd like to see me address.
See you soon!!