Hot Reads and Cool Drinks

Are you keeping track of the top sellers? J. K Rowling has done it again, but this time under a pseudonym – Robert Galbraith. Her book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, has sold tons of copies. She definitely has a way with words! Mysteries and thrillers have a huge followings (I love reading them, too). This one has a detective named Cormoran Strike.

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Of course, you all know about the new Dan Brown book, Inferno. This one delves into the classic from Dante that we all had to read in English class in high school or college. This is another popular author who weaves great stories.

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These books are not news to you, but let me share a couple of more that you may not know about that are also wonderful reads that you don’t want to miss. We have one more month left before school starts and the Fall routine begins. Just released earlier this month – The King: The Bowers Files, by Seven James. He is really good. I’ve read the other books in this series.

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Patrick Bowers has pursued the nation’s fiercest serial killers—and now one elusive foe is back for revenge.

Settling into a new post at the FBI academy, Patrick and his fiancée, Lien-hua Jiang, are planning their future together with his stepdaughter, Tessa.

But just when his life seems normal, a demon from the past returns to draw him down a dark road he hoped had closed forever. Forced into a desperate hunt to save the two women he loves most, Patrick is in a race against time to stop an international conspiracy from becoming the most widespread act of terrorism in U.S. history.

Okay, one more book to share before I go. Terri Blackstock is another author who will never disappoint you. As you know, she is one of my favorites. Truth Stained Lies is on my must read list and I hope it will be on yours if you haven’t already gotten to it.

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When truth doesn’t make sense, will lies prevail?
Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she’s about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief . . . until her brother’s wife is murdered and all the ‘facts’ point to him. The killer has staged the crime to make the truth too far-fetched to believe. Working to solve the murder and clear her brother’s name, Cathy and her two sisters, Holly and Juliet, moonlight as part-time private investigators. Juliet, a stay-at-home mom of two boys, and Holly, a scattered ne’er-do-well who drives a taxi, put aside their fear to hunt down the real killer.
Stakes rise when their brother’s grieving five-year-old son is kidnapped. As police focus on the wrong set of clues, the three sisters and their battered detective friend are the only hope for solving this bizarre crime, saving the child, and freeing their brother.

Sit down with your iced tea and enjoy!

Evaluate, Consummate, and Propagate

Book FestivalDon’t get excited, this isn’t a blog on sex education. This is advice for my fellow writers. Here we are in the seventh month of the year and if you haven’t evaluated where you are with your writing goals so far for 2013, then its a good time to take a few minutes out and do that. That’s where the evaluate comes in. I recommend that you take a look at those things you’ve already accomplished or how far you’ve come on the  projects you’re still working on. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Don’t beat yourself up for everything you have not done. At the same time, unless there is a good reason why you haven’t accomplished more then ask yourself what prevents you from getting more done on your writing goals? What do you need to do so that you can accomplish your goals. What do you need to do so you can write? At times in the past, the answer for me was to leave the house and go to the library or coffee shop for a couple of hours so I could clear my mind enough to write. Maybe it is sitting out in your backyard away from the family for an hour every evening while they watch TV.

What could I possibly mean by consummate and what does it have to do with writing? The meaning of consummate is to complete or perfect in every way; to finish. First, get it done. Then be sure that you edit your work. Whether you self-publish or go through a royalty publisher you want your best work out there. Who wants the reader to wonder how you ever got “this thing” into print with sooo many errors in it. How embarrassing. I know from experience that no matter how many eyes are on a manuscript that sometimes a few typos or mistakes can slip through, but do your best to perfect your work as much as possible before you put it out there.

Last but not least — propagate. Keep on writing. Don’t stop. A lesson that I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that you don’t want to stop the flow of articles or books coming out. I focused on writing a couple of nonfiction projects and didn’t keep my fiction series coming out at a regular interval so that there has been a gap between book 2 and book 3 of over two years. That was not very good planning on my part. I won’t let that happen again. I’m back on track again with one in production with the publisher now and another that should be out by Christmas. I need to discipline myself to keep propagating my novels so that the readers have them. If you don’t feed your readers they may go somewhere else.

So all you writers out there — come on and evaluate, consummate, and propagate with me!

60th Anniversary of the AP Style Book

This isn’t your normal Birthday party. For readers it may feel like a ho-hum, but for writers this is a big deal. If we want to get ourselves in print in the media including newspapers, magazines and the like this is really important that we not only know what this little book is but that we at least follow the basics in this style guide.   bigstock-happy-birthday-cake-shot-on-a--14496323

At my party, it’s a toss-up who gets to blow out the candles on the cake, my husband or me. My personal favorite cake is sour cream white cake with lemon frosting! Don’t worry, I usually include a chocolate cake, too, for all of you chocoholics.

Let’s blow out the candles and have some of that cake. Then, I thought we would take a quick look at some of the most common guidelines we use every day in the AP Style Guide.

Commas in a series: Use commas to separate elements in a list, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple list. Example: We purchased apples, oranges and pears. Even though the style guide says “No comma before the conjunction” your grammar check on MSWord will indicate that a comma is required before the conjunction. I suggest that you follow the AP if you are submitting to the media.

Quotation marks: Commas go inside quotation marks.

Numbers: In general (except in the case of ages, dimensions or distances when and you only use numbers) spell out numbers 1 through 9 and use the numerals for 10 and higher. If a number begins a sentence, then always spell it out except when the number is a calendar year. Also, spell out numbers used in casual expressions: “Thanks a million.”

Ages: Always use numbers for people and animals, but not for inanimate objects. Example: The boy is 13 years old; the law is nine years old. Use hyphens for ages used as adjectives before a noun or in place of a noun: Example: She’s a 3-year-old girl. The girl is 3 years old.

State abbreviations: Do not use tow letter ZIP code abbreviations such as IL(Illinois) and WA(Washington) unless they’re part of a full address. Otherwise, use the traditional abbreviations we learned in school, for example, Ill. (Illinois) and Wash. (Washington) and only when a city or county name precedes the state name. However, according to AP, the following states do not use abbreviations: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas or Utah.

Addresses: Street, avenue and boulevard (St., Ave., Blvd.) are abbreviated when writing street addresses that include numbers. Road, highway, terrace, circle are never abbreviated. Example: The school is on Canal Street. Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School is at 222 Canal St.

The new AP Style Guide will release on July 13, 2013 in all formats. Don’t forget to pick up a copy for your reference shelf or ereader.

Happy Fourth of July

bigstockphoto_freephoto-Fireworks_542My husband and I watched the movie Gettysburg last night on the 150th anniversary of that battle. Over 250,000 visitors are gathering on the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA this weekend to watch re-enactors stage the three day battle where 53,000 of our countrymen died fighting for what they believed in. It is a part of our history. In the movie, when General Lee realizes what the date is he says to his aide, “God has a sense of humor.”

Two years later the union was preserved when the South surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. We are a diverse country and yet we persevere. I hope we are still here in spite of all our differences in another 150 years.

Today we celebrate the founding of our country that started with 13 tentative colonies with very different ideas of what they wanted, but one goal — freedom from England. Did you know that only 10% of the population in the colonies wanted revolution when it stated? Did you know that the resolution on Independence almost did not pass because of a difference on opinion over slavery? If we do not learn from history, then we are bound to repeat the mistakes and suffer the same consequences. The issues may change but the results of our actions or inaction will repeat themselves until we learn and change. Our own national history shows us that.

I encourage you and your children and grandchildren to read history – fictionalized and nonfiction – it is important for us to know where we have been and who we are. Now, go out and enjoy this day. Attend a parade, go on a picnic, grill out, and go to the fireworks tonight. It’s our Birthday!