Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Ultimate Agent-- Cover Reveal

The Ultimate Agent Cover Reveal 


I don't usually post book releases but I've been captured by my buddy Derek Borne's excitement about his upcoming release. If you're into superhero spy novels from an up and coming author click on that preorder link and let's give him a boost. 

Click here to preorde

Derek has the perfect mix of originality and creative flair that should make this an exceptional tale. Plus he is smart enough to ask my advice here and there. 
#CoverReveal #TheUltimateAgent #DerekBorne #ComingSoon #SuperheroSpy
Pre-Order on Amazon here: myBook.to/UltimateAgent 
Add To GoodReads TBR Here: https://goo.gl/Y0MK9K
Official Website: www.derekborne.weebly.com
Release Date: April 15, 2017

Synopsis:

WARNING: THIS MISSIVE CONTAINS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

Your Mission:
Undertake an adventure of epic, global, and dire proportions.

 Agent #524 - Devon Bertrand

Once a normal civilian, Agent Bertrand has been recruited by the Ultimate Agency—a secret organization of the world’s best spies. Now, after undergoing genetic upgrades, he has become a superhuman agent dedicated to fighting against all threats against the nation he now calls home.


Agent #146 - Brett Gallagher

A brilliant scientist, Dr. Gallagher invents and utilizes technologically advanced gadgets and weapons to fight against national security threats like a modern day superhero.



The Target – Supervillian Maximus Romanov

Employed by a mysterious Russian terrorist group, Romanov is a superhuman operative wreaking havoc in the United States.




Mission Data – Confidential
Join Agent Devon Bertrand and Agent Brett Gallagher on a mission to stop Romanov from destroying the United States. As Bertrand and Gallagher work to discover why Maximus harbors a deep hatred toward America, they uncover a conspiracy brewing against the Ultimate Agency, and one man will make the ultimate sacrifice.


Ultimate Agency Director -- Franklin Thomas

Frank can be rough around the edges, but deep down has a heart of gold.




Agent #531, Jade Hatheway
Jade sparks a jealous tension between Devon and Brett.



Supervillian Valeriya Romanov
Valeriya is Maximus' step-sister, who joins the mysterious Russian terrorist organization. 



Lord Konstantin Kozlov

Kozlov is the mastermind behind the Russian organization with a twisted agenda. 



Thursday, January 19, 2017

In the Spotlight -- My Interview with SJ Hermann and MJ LaBeff

I'm In the Spotlight this week!

My latest podcast interview is available here on Zcast, a platform connected to twitter. This interview aired live on Twitter last Tuesday, January 10, 2017 and has had a great response ranking near the top of that platform's ratings. Woot woot!

Click on the link here to listen to an in depth interview about my writing process, the Stealing Time Series, the truth behind my short-story Blow,  my future writing projects, and a really clever Hurricane round in which I stumble a few times. It was a lot of fun on the other side of the mic for a change.

Interview with SJ Hermann and MJ LaBeff.

I had a blast hanging out with SJ Hermann and MJ LaBeff on SJ's brand spanking new podcast, In the Spotlight. Be sure to catch his weekly show on Tuesday nights at 8:00 central on Zcast and Twitter.



I won SJ's "Hot off my Kindle Award" contest for Suspense/Thrillers this fall and this is a follow up to that incredible honor. Thank you SJ for your support and creative energy!

Please take a minute to sign up for my newsletter to get the first six chapters of my upcoming novel Shattering Time, book 2 in the Stealing Time series. You can sign up on my website here.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Blondie’s Reflections in Mirror Lake – Yosemite National Park

Blondie’s Reflections in Mirror Lake – Yosemite National Park June 2016


This past summer I took a break from the book writing and marketing journey and took my family on on another adventure of a lifetime exploring five national parks. Here is quick story about the first day we went to Yosemite National Park. If you'd like to keep up to date with my book journey follow my free newsletter full of updates and freebies here.

Late June, 2016

The mountain air was dry and crisp as we packed the car with our picnic. My husband, three kids, mother-in-law, sister- in-law, and I had been eager to explore another of our magnificent national parks. A few years ago we explored the wonders of Yellowstone together and had been truly a magical experience. See my two blogs here and here on that amazing trip. Okay, that is partly a lie. Six of us were giddy with excitement. My son was being dragged along for the experience. What he really wanted to do was stay in the cool, bug-free basement of the cabin we’d rented just outside of Yosemite and alternate studying science and playing games with his friends online.


We had jackets just in case the weather app lied again. A few days prior it promised cool temps at Sequoia National Park, but was a big fat lie. It was 90 degrees and we managed to hike with jeans carrying our jackets and sweating profusely. This time we wore shorts and tank tops expecting the heat despite the promised high of 62. In Yosemite Valley, a cartoon of a blazing sun and 97 degrees posted on the information center board told us what we had in store. We jumped on the shuttle to Mirror Lake Trail that was only two miles, just about the right length for Shorty to not completely suffer, with the added bonus of a cool lake at the midpoint to cool off.

The bus had standing room only but that wasn’t so bad until the second stop where a sardine can-esque scenario ensued. Poor little Shorty was smashed in the front with me. To our chagrin, an enormous man got on the bus squeezing in the last possible space right between us. It wasn’t too bad until he lifted his arm to hold onto the railing on the ceiling giving me a front and center view of something that still haunts me -- a glaring red rash and loads of armpit hair. I peeked around the fuzz and made a face at eight-year-old Shorty. She looked terrified. I couldn’t help but be grateful for the fact that it was the beginning of the day and the potential for fresher air was still at hand. The Scottish word ‘oxter’ rolled around in my mind endlessly until he got off the bus with gobs of other park-goers to allow us to sit in a diseased-armpit free zone.

At stop number seventeen we exited the bus and we joked about it being as crowded as Disney, not exactly what we had expected. One of us had the bright idea to wait a few minutes to let the hordes of people from the bus meander ahead as we enjoyed the gorgeousness of the giant white pines, and redwood lined path calling out to us. When most of the crowd was out of view, we started along the path following Tenaya Creek.  


About a mile uphill we came to a clearing with magnificent views of Half Dome and dozens of people swimming in a calmer area at the head of the creek. The water widened to a narrow lake with stunning mountain views all around. You know me, I was itching to get in that water. We shucked shoes and crossed a small stream to get to what used to be the middle of the lake, feet squishing in the ice-cold mud.



Years ago, they dredged the area to create a lake that would mirror the mountains, hence it’s name. As the years passed they made the choice to stop dredging and let nature take its course. Now it sports two small halves of a stream with an island in the middle. 

We waded across the water braving the bone-chilling temps with little Shorty thigh-deep complaining of how much it hurt her little bones. My ankles were screaming to get out of there but my mind told it to hush since the water was so refreshing. The two men folk wanted a longer walk so they walked around the lake, or so they said. Truth be told the boy didn’t want to wade through the water. We reunited with them about a half an hour later as they sloshed through lake. I recognized the steam coming out of my son’s ears and his hunched body language letting me know to tread carefully. He emerged from the water shoes still on his feet and a seething hatred for all things natural, despite his love of science. Turns out the path around the lake was blocked and they had no choice but to wade through the longest part of the lake.  


We made our way back down the path along a tree-lined road with the boy doing his best to swat every flying insect within a ten-foot radius of his delicate “I prefer the indoors” and “haven’t I been put through enough today” self. The rest of us were in heaven with the huge trees creating dappled shade (might I add desperately needed shade) and fresh air. Living in Dirtville, any trees are a welcome sight, but these were magnificent giants bigger than any trees I’d ever seen. My sister and mother in law, two very well-traveled ladies, were greatly enamored with the stunning views of sheer granite cliffs above us and occasional burned out forest as we walked.



We stopped for lunch back in the village after another crowded shuttle ride, but absent offensive body parts in my face (thank God) and spent some time in the air-conditioned Ansel Adams museum and other stores. The hardier folks in our group (and more nature loving) went on another hike as my beautiful darlings ate ice cream in the cool bug-free zone.

I sipped on coffee and discussed twitter pages of the politicians running for President with my son, who critiqued their worthiness on twitter. His analysis: Some were more genuine than others, and one definitely had a staff member do all the social media posts. At least I could talk to him without the incessant question of ‘couldn’t we walk faster’ or ‘when are we going home’ inserted every other sentence. The poor boy was just not cut out for the rest of his nature-loving family. He should have raised by a pack of nerds.  

After buying Shorty a cute stuffed black bear at the grocery store we made our way out of the park snapping pictures of Half Dome, El Capitan, and the enormous cliffs. About a half hour out of the park it was 105 and ridiculously hot. Our rental home was down a long dirt road deep in the woods where the devastating effects of the 5-year drought and an infestation of a beetle that targeted smaller pine trees left as many brown trees as green ones. The boy immediately retired to the cool solitude of the basement to recover from his torturous day out in one of the most spectacular National Parks our country has to offer. The rest of us retired to make dinner with cold white wine in the delicious air conditioned upstairs to make dinner and talk of our adventures of the day.



I counted my blessings to be surrounded by family in such a spectacular place in the world. How was I so lucky to be able to afford this vacation and the love of such amazing people? I hoped my kids would realize what a unique adventure they had just experienced and maybe even bring their kids here someday. I felt sorry for the people who were raised by a pack of nerds and never venture out to experience such stunning nature and, despite the crowds, a national treasure.


Please see my post about the Petrified Forest National Park here, Blondie in the Crystal Forest for more of our amazing California vacation soon. If you like my writing feel free to check out my books here

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blondie in the Crystal Forest

Blondie in the Crystal Forest - A dry and hot adventure in the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest



In June, we spent three weeks exploring California and hitting several national and state parks. This is the first blog in that journey. I’ve not written new material since last summer about my travels and I’ve missed it. I hope to get into more regular travel blog pattern and even offer an eBook of my travel adventures. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’d like to stay in touch with what I have going on please sign up for my newsletter. As a bonus, I’m offering the first six chapters of my second book if you sign up. Click here to join the fun.

June 2016

I shut the trunk that was packed to the gills with our gear for the three-week vacation and sat on the bumper looking up at the sky. It was a cool Dirtville evening and stars were sparkling as far as the eye could see. I loved this little space just before a journey begins. The half year of planning and anticipating is over. The packing is done and all that stands between me and the adventure is a mere restless sleep. In the morning, we would leave on a trip that we’d be talking about for decades. I savored the moment of peace and joy. This would be a busy few weeks free of quiet moments like this. We’d be meeting my mother and sister-in law in Yosemite for several days and then to a beach mansion for a week. Quiet moments were about to be filled with laughter, nature, and family fun.

The next morning I woke early and readied myself before I woke my three kids, all sleepy and slightly less eager to face the morning as I had been. A month into summer break and they were used to sleeping until they woke naturally. We ate and jumped in the car, settling into our journey.
I watched the sun creep across the sky heating up the flat landscape and marking the passage of time and distance away from our flat, dry homeland. A half a day later the carefully chosen path brought us along the Petrified Forest National Park. In contrast, Dirtville, my fond name for our hometown, appeared teeming with lush greenery and huge trees, which I assure you is only a matter of perspective. Our previous summer’s eastward journey’s left us feeling wholly differently about our arid hometown.

“Hey kids, look up from your devices. We’re here!” I announced.
My son feigns deafness but my daughter is quick to respond. “Where’s here?”
“The Painted Dessert.” I respond heartily. Truth be told it was unimpressive. Mountains of gravel and lame brown dirt piles all the way to the horizon was not enough to pull the boy from his laptop.  
“Painted with what, a brown crayon?” My fourteen-year-old daughter exclaimed. We all laughed but the brochure we had showed glorious images of an entire palate of colorful dirt so I began reading aloud some of the promised sights as we made our way to one of the more interesting stops along the drive.



We stopped at a gorgeous vista of the painted dessert in it’s full glory. Every possible shade from brown to red was displayed in the ancient rocks and sand. It made me want to start painting again. The blazing sun scared us back into the car for another piece of road full of the brown landscape we’d already seen.


Finally, we stopped at likely the best choice in a day where we really needed to eat the miles up towards our ultimate destination. The Crystal Forest. in the Petrified Forest, sounded to my writerly mind like a magical place full of wonder and adventure. We meandered through the dirt, found the sign, and parked the car.

“We’re here!” I exclaimed excitedly again. I knew this was going to be a hard sell to the boy who preferred controlled environments and man-made luxuries like chairs, and dirt free footing, and most especially a cool bug free 72 degrees. The car thermometer blinked in disbelief an alarming 105.
Shorty responded. “Mom, if this is a forest how come all I see is flat dirt.”

“It’s a petrified forest.” I responded grabbing an ice-cold water out of the cooler, and debated shoving it down my pants for good measure.  I chose normalcy mainly for my teenagers who were mortified by my mere existence.

 “Son, tell them how the trees got this way.” My reverse psychology worked this time. Not only did he unfold out of the backseat and not clutch the cup holder and seat belt in revolt of leaving the comfortable car, he sorted through the miles of neurons relating to the science of petrification and educated us all what happened here millions of years ago. He explained gently to Shorty, my 8-year-old daughter and his favorite student, that the forest was covered by the sea and replaced with minerals leaving behind completely intact trees now made of rock. Milena passed and the ocean receded leaving the petrified trees. As the land moved out from under sections the weight of the trees, now made of stone and inflexible, cracked and broke away leaving large round chunks of petrified wood laying in the dirt.



We walked the ¾ mile petrified forest with hundreds of logs broken in strange crystal hunks shining in the blaring sun. Gorgeous colors and different layers made for beautiful landmarks of days gone past. The stark bleak surroundings of high dessert added to the contrast of the huge trees captured in time now lying flat on the desert floor.


Little shorty almost didn’t make it, or it would seem based on her melting in the hot sun. My son survived fueled by the spark of real live science to explore and he came to life explaining to all of us more about what made each color and other things I marveled that he had absorbed from the Internet.
We jumped back in the car and continued westward towards our destination of sunny California, passing through the Mojave Desert on I-40 putting our fond nickname for Dirtville to shame once again.  It wasn’t as hot as we’d expected only reaching 109.
















Once we entered California the bounty of the state was immediately apparent with the Garlic trucks filling the road with open beds full of cloves, unbound in any container. Wind farms as afar as the eye could see set up in the mountains made for a warm windy welcome. We stopped for the night in Bakersfield and the next morning we were back in the car enjoying acre after acre of orange groves and even passing the plant that packaged Halo oranges.


The drought was wicked hard on the land with more than just dead grass but barren patches where there once was life. We passed lush fields of corn, apple orchards, and endless orange groves in every stage of life from tiny saplings to mature trees, and even entire groves left to die in the hot sun.
Despite the horrible drought, the farmers seem to kick out massive crops of lush green produce. I can only imagine how much that water costs during these hard times. We passed thousands of cattle all with heads stuck through feed troughs surrounded by nothing but dirt, readying for the slaughter. Poor saps had a rather boring last few months with nary a blade of grass to crunch between their teeth.

I’d been to California years ago, but had started in San Francisco and worked down the coast. This view of California gave me a great new appreciation for the delightful bounty contained within. I knew of all that Cali produced but to see it live and in person was a life changing scene.


Stay tuned for part two of our California Adventure, coming soon.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays Year in Review

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and what ever else I forgot.


This is just a happy little post to share a few things that have made me laugh in my life and to share a few of my milestones this year.

I've learned a lot this year and one thing that has been very valuable is to look back on all I've accomplished and enjoy the journey. I often feel like I'm going nowhere with the rush of my goals and lack of time to finish everything I want to do. This simple act makes me feel like I've moved forward and can feel content with what I'm doing and work towards my future new goals.

Random Funny Things from my Children




One thing I have done right is instill humor in my kids. Here are a few examples.

1. My son used to call adults owners. In a way he is right. 

2. On the way home from the hospital after a minor injury my son sang this little ditty, "On the first day of spring break my doctor gave to me, nine stitches in my right knee."

3. I like to call my youngest Shorty on social media. It has stuck now and everyone calls her that. Her friends are very puzzled since she is one of the tallest kids in her class. Every time I see them they ask me to explain. This has inspired a new kids book series that I'm toying with. I'll tell more later when I develop it more.

4. One day a few years ago when I still had my old car, Shorty and I sat down and buckled up. The interior lights were blinking. I had an issue occasionally with the electrical grid (it's a Ford, what can I say). Shorty asked, "Why are the lights blinking?" I responded that I didn't know. Instantly she responded, "I know, it's aye-blinkin...get it? Abe Lincoln?" I died.


Year in Review

Looking at this past year I am excited to see my work has paid off. I feel like I've run endlessly and I have to admit I've burned out a bit. But looking back I can see that my work has brought results and this gives me hope for the coming year. I've grown my social media following nearly doubling all of my numbers. I've used a strategy designed by my podcast partner Suzanne Kelman that has increased my interactions on Twitter dramatically, and sold more books that I ever thought I could.

Blog
This blog has almost 130,000 hits and over 10,000 last month. It's crazy since I was super stoked when I had 5,000 last month. Whatever it is I'm hoping to keep it up.

Short Story
Also this year I released my first short story, BLOW, and it reached #8 in Teen and Young Adult Short Story on Amazon in a matter of days. I hope to follow it up this summer with a continuation of that same story. Plus I have ideas for at least 3 new short stories.

Find it here on Amazon

Shattering Time Book 2
I'm working hard on my second book, Shattering Time, that I hope to have out this spring. I've made the first few chapters available on my website here if you care to see how it starts. It's been a blast working on it. I'm nearly done with the cover design so I'll share that with you as well.
Stealing Time
My novel, Stealing Time, has reached the coveted #1 spot this summer in Time Travel and I've spoken to an agent about representation. It didn't work out but it did give me some ideas for future potential with an agent. I was also contacted by a movie rights outfit so who knows where that will lead. Here is a sample if you're interested.



Podcast
This past year I worked diligently with Suzanne on our Blondie and the Brit podcast providing a new podcast every week for a year. It has been so much fun getting to know the other authors and I've made some friends for life. Plus I loved learning some great tips from them about writing and how to market my book. It has been a truly inspiring year. We had a fun celebration for our one year birthday in October.

Visit our podcast here

Author Consulting
I've also started running a local author group, somewhat by accident, but I'm really enjoying it. I've started a bit of author consulting to help them self publish as well and have met some exceptional people in the process. If you're interested please send me a note on here or my social media (click on Facebook on the sidebar) or leave me a message on my website here.

Writing Life
This year I'm trying to make more space for writing. I keep getting these amazing ideas and putting them into the world but they all take my time away from writing. This year I will finish book two, put out a short story and begin a short story compilation from my blogs. I'd like to blog more as well so we'll see what happens. I need to shut my brain up a bit and stay focused on my writing. This will mean a bit less time on the podcast and other distractions to get my writing time in.

I have so many surprises for you in this book and I'm really eager to get to book 3 in the Stealing Time Series. This one is 75% written and I promise to blow your minds with the major twist in the story. I cannot wait to finish that one because Book 4 is insanely twisty as well.


I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and get some time to relax over the holidays. I'm spending time with my in-laws and my wonderful kids and getting some free time to write that dang book. 

If you're interested in my work here are some links for you. My two books are available nearly everywhere you may want to find it.

Amazon:  Stealing Time  Blow
Barnes and Noble: Stealing Time  Blow

More options on my website.

If you'd like a signed copy of my book please let me know. Send me a request here.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Luke Romyn -- Episode 66 -- Self Professed Pantser

Luke Romyn -- Episode 66 -- Self Professed Pantser



Luke Romyn -- Episode 66 -- Self Professed Pantser  Join Blondie and the Brit for part 2 of our entertaining interview with Luke Romyn, Amazon and USA Today best-selling Indie Author from Down Under. Luke continues to share with us his brave, and some might even claim reckless creative process. Luke confesses that his last few story lines terrified him. Trinity, recently released, is one Luke admits raised serious doubts about writing his way out. It is a psychological thriller that starts with his main character in an asylum with only memories of three murders. Self-taught photoshop maestro, Luke takes the same bold seat-of-your-pants "oh I'll figure it out" stance on his cover designs, that are as creative and powerful as the stories themselves. Like this one? Then give part 1 (Episode 47) a listen as well.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Blondie and the Brit Holiday Science Fiction Book Blast



Join me for an evening of fabulous holiday fun with a science fiction twist for the 


Blondie and the Brit Holiday Science Fiction Book Blast 


Friday December 9, 9:00 - 11:00 Eastern 



I've invited David Estes, Sean Fletcher, and SJ Hermann for a lil shindig hosted by Suzanne Kelman of Blondie and the Brit for a fun-filled Facebook party with a lot of games, prizes and bookish-goodness.

Don't miss out. You will need to join the above link on Facebook to get reminders and all of the content of the party.

Can't wait to see you there!