J.L. Sheppard

*** I TOTALLY agree with J.L.’s article below and, after bouncing ideas off of several ABA authors, I’ve come up with a NOVEL SOLUTION, but I need your participation to make this work. All TWRP or ABA authors who want a 4-star or 5-star review on a book, just click here: https://casimclean.com/aba-review-interchange/

AFTER YOU READ THIS AWESOME POST:

CASI

Want Reviews? Be careful What You Wish For!

I’m all for reviews. Reviews are great. They give you a preview of what’s to come. What you may like or dislike, etc. Don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time on my hands. I have a toddler. Enough said. For those of you who don’t have kids, maybe you’ve been around some. Multiply that child’s activity by ten maybe twenty, and that’s my boy. He’s special. I love him to death, beyond imaginable, but the kid is work.

DSC_6799With the little time I have, I’ve learned to appreciate reviews. Honestly, before baby, I appreciated reviews. I hated spending hours reading to be let down. We all have our preferences, after all. Reading is a form of escapism. I read to escape, to relax. I read because I love it. And I loved reading before I decided to write books. I’ll always love it.

Life’s imperfect, uncertain, and as beautiful as it is, it can also be devastating. We work so hard, love too much, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. There are too many things in life we cannot control, except how we escape, how we for a moment take ourselves away from our lives and do something we love. My beautiful boy is work, and I love him, but mommies need breaks too. For me, that’s reading.

What do I prefer to read? HEA’s all the way! I love happily-ever-afters. But I love them with conditions. The hero’s a jerk, borderline abusive to the heroine, and she ends up with him? No. Cliffhangers? Ugh.

What can I say? I’m human. I like to read what I like to read. And everyone is different. We all have our preferences: what we like, what we don’t.

Bringing me back to the point—reviews are helpful. I read them. Sometimes, they let me know if I’d like a book before I buy it and spend hours reading. Over the years, I’ve noticed reviews have become sort of like an art form. There are even graphics, and distinct tone.

From the cover and blurb, you should be able to tell what you’re getting into. Why choose to review a book you won’t like? Yet, we still see a wide range of reviews: the helpful, the stellar, the mocking, and the nasty, distasteful, and the down right mean.

And then there are the 1-star reviews with no comments at all. Why?

I have read books from authors I LOVE and did not like one of their books. I have left reviews explaining why I did not like this particular book, but I did’t feel the need to leave a nasty review. I’ve never felt that need, even if the book was by a new author and I really didn’t like the book. Maybe I have too much empathy and realize that a book is a form of expression, a story the author spent countless hours writing, editing, rereading. Not my cup of tea, but it still has merit.

There will be people who will like it, love it, just not me, so there’s no need to bash an author, a person, and their work because I didn’t enjoy a book they spent countless hours writing, editing, and rereading. If it were a song, I’d delete it or not listen to it––not write the station, artist, producer, or writer. Maybe I’m too compassionate, or just polite. But there are ways to express your opinions without being nasty, rude or completely unaware that words hurt, and what’s the point of hurting each other when life hands us a bunch of hurt already?

What do you think?

Running Wild:

She runs from her perfect life into his—a life of bikers who play and ride by their own rules.

Hard as it is, he keeps his distance. But when she kisses him, all bets are off.Whose rules would she play by…his or hers.

instaquote-28-04-2016-17-47-36 - Copy

perf5.000x8.000.indd

J.L.’s Links:

http://wildcatalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/4402-running-wild-paperback.html

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Wild-Hell-Ryders-Book-ebook/dp/B01FG5QG7E

www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-wild-jl-sheppard/1123775328

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-runningwild-2040619-149.html

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/running-wild-30

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30168823-running-wild

 

M. S. Spencer

Which Comes First, The Story or the Research?

Research is key to a novel, but diving into background can also inspire the writer’s muse. M. S. Spencer should know. She’s lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, and the last 30 years were spent primarily in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and “domestic engineer”, aka parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Whew! Here’s her take on the topic:

M. S. Spencer Author (2)Authors must do quite a bit of research for their books even when they know the subject well. The Mason’s Mark, my newest release, is set in my former home town of Alexandria, Virginia at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. A landmark of the Washington skyline, the building is not only a Masonic lodge, but a memorial to our first president. I began with the idea that my heroine would find a dead body on the ninth floor observation platform, with no rational explanation of how it got there.

To ensure authenticity I set about Googling both freemasonry and George Washington, but my search soon led me into a strange world of global intrigue and crime. I followed one thread to a remarkable Italian scam artist named Licio Gelli.

Starting in the 1940s Gelli embarked on a lifetime of bizarre scams and crimes. Alternately linked to rightists and leftists, he bilked or used people from Italian politicians, to the Nazis, the Communists, the CIA, even to Juan Peron, dictator of Argentina. His exploits cross the globe and spanned four decades. He was still alive in December 2015, in his nineties and writing poetry from prison. In 1996 he was even nominated for the Nobel prize in literature.Licio Gelli 1

Note: He died December 15, 2015.

 

Here is a link to an obituary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12054716/Licio-Gelli-financier-obituary.html

Gelli is most famous for founding a Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, a renegade group that was first dissolved, then reinstated, then erased by the Grand Orient de Italia. He had ensnared many prominent Italians into P2, which ultimately led to several huge scandals.

How could I resist? I added him to the mysterious corpse. Further Googling on George Washington tossed up lots of fascinating scandal rumors. So now I had a body, a renegade Mason and scam artist, and long-lost George Washington letters. Voila! The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, a contemporary tale about old scandals. And a dynamite love story.

 

TheMasonsMarkLoveandDeathintheTower_M. S. Spencer

Sneak peek of The Mason’s Mark:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she’ll fall in love with him only to learn he’s a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

 

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Wild Rose Press, May 6, 2016 (Crimson Rose imprint)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Romantic suspense
ebook 79,000 words; print 322 pp.

M/F; 3 flames
Buy Links:

TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6805

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/masons-mark-love-death-in/id1104823156?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-masons-mark-m-s-spencer/1118052638?ean=2940157863760

AllRomanceEBooks (pre-order): https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themason039smarkloveanddeathinthetower-2017038-149.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masons-Mark-Love-Death-Tower-ebook/dp/B01DHAJXWK

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-masons-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-0

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-mason-s-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-2

If you like the Mason’s Mark, you might want to check out The Penhallow Train Incident, also from the Wild Rose Press.

Penhallow Train Incident by M. S. Spencer

 

Live your Dreams

Carousel Déjà Vu

Some places are magical and some are magical for a select few people. Carousel Déjà Vu is such a place. To the ordinary rider, the beautifully restored horses, animals and fantasy creatures are just that—a carnival ride. But to others, those in whom Jackson Nighttraveller senses a need, that same carousel animal transports them in time or dimension to a place where they can change a life . . . maybe even their own.
92
Carousel Déjà Vu is an anthology written by several incredibly imaginative authors with nine short stories centered around a magical carousel. My contribution is called The Promise:
Abandoned as an infant, Katlin Harris was shuffled through endless foster home’s. The only love she’d ever known emerged in mystical childhood dreams––or were they memories? When she inherits a home from a woman she’s never heard of, her life spins in a whole new direction––and changes forever.
After dusting off a picture she finds hidden in the attic, she realizes the portrait was of the man in her dreams. If that wasn’t odd enough, she stumbles upon a carnival tucked into a hidden vale in the North GA mountains and is drawn to an antique carousel. “If you catch the brass ring, your dreams will Read more “Carousel Déjà Vu”
Live your Dreams

The 7-7-7 Game with Beneath The Lake

Lake Lanier, GA is the setting for my new time travel romance, Beneath The Lake.

IMG_1626

Linda Joyce tagged me to play The 7-7-7- Game.

Please check out her blog and read her seven lines of Bayou Born, the first novel in her Fleur de Lis series which will make its appearance mid-April.

Directions to play the 7-7-7 game:

• Go to page 77 of your own book or manuscript.
• Count down seven lines.
• Copy and paste the seven lines that follow.
Then, Tag seven authors to do the same.
(Checkout my Facebook post. I’ve tagged my seven.)

My 7-7-7 offering is from my new manuscript, Beneath The Lake, a time travel romance, with strong historical elements; think Back To The future meets Time Traveler’s Wife. Lacey Montgomery’s life is riddled with rejection and abandonment. When she walks in on her boyfriend’s affair, she drives off in the throes of a torrential storm, hydroplanes and is hurled into the depths of an icy black lake. She awakens in the arms of a strange man, in a town she’s never heard of––34 years before she is born. The desperation to find her way home shifts as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the earth, and Bobby Reynolds, the man who vows to protect it. The struggle to save them both heals her internal conflict, while restoring Bobby’s belief in true love, spinning a star-crossed love story that defies time, as Lacey tries to prevent her new life from slipping beneath the lake.

Here is my 7-7-7 entry:

“What’s so interesting in the news this morning?”

“Nothing much.” I folded the paper before handing it to him. “Here, you read and relax while I start breakfast.” Standing, I poured a cup of hot coffee, then set it in front of him. “Now, which would you prefer, eggs and bacon, pancakes, French toast?”

“Surprise me,” Bobby said, glancing down at the headlines. “I guess you’ll be heading home soon. It looks like you’ll be able to get ahold of Piper by tomorrow night.”

A lump tightened in my throat. “Yes, it does, doesn’t it?”

*****

Stay tuned for more updates about Beneath The Lake

 

Live your Dreams

Dawn Of A New Day

I finally completed my new manuscript, Beneath The Lake, and had a fabulous time writing the story. Even the research was fascinating, learning the eerie lake lore surrounding Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

Kristen Stewart was so fabulous in the Twilight Series. If my new book, Beneath The Lake, were to ever become a movie, she would be the perfect actor to play the part of  the heroine, Lacey Madison Montgomery.

Beneath The Lake is a time travel romance with strong historical elements; think Back To The Future meets Time Traveler’s Wife. Lacey Montgomery’s life is riddled with rejection and abandonment. (sound familiar?) When she walks in on her boyfriend’s affair, she drives off in the throes of a torrential storm, hydroplanes and is hurled into the depths of an icy, black lake. She awakens in the arms of a strange man, in a town she’s never heard of––thirty-four years before she was born. The desperation to find her way home shifts as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the earth, and Bobby Reynolds, the man who vows to protect it. The struggle to save them both heals her internal conflict, while restoring Bobby’s belief in true love, spinning a star-crossed love story that defies time as Lacey tries to prevent her new life from slipping beneath the lake.

 

Of course, once a story is written the real work begins. Editing, agents and the publishing process will take time, but your encouragement will keep me motivated. In the mean time, I’m officially rejoining the real world again and hope to spend more time with my friends through this blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and actually in person. Be sure to check out my Pinterest Books & Writing board to get some insight on Beneath The Lake. Thanks for all of your support through my hibernation. I’m back!

Live your Dreams

Happy July 4th Everyone!

Happy 4th of July! It’s Independence Day—the perfect time to take a good look at your own independence. Especially when it comes to relationships. Have you ever thought you simply attracted insincere people? If so then it’s time to look in the mirror. The truth is, many of us unknowingly have destructive dating patterns that actually attract jerks. If you keep doing the same things and expect different results, then it’s your bad. There are all kinds of agendas lurking in cyberspace, and face it, if you want to catch a certain kind of fish, you need to use the right kind of bait. To avoid the sharks, look at your hook.  
It might me helpful to ask yourself some simple questions––and be honest.
What type of man or woman are you attracted to, and more importantly, why?
Do your relationships thrive, or are they a struggle?
Do you compromise your values out of desperation to hold on to someone?
Do you mold yourself into who you think he or she wants you to be?
Consider the answers to these questions. To find real happiness, you may need to make a few adjustments.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEfIQYG5F_c&feature=watch_response[/youtube[/youtube]
It amazes me that so many people struggle to hold on to someone who doesn’t even make them happy—I was the poster child for that scenario  for a long time! Trust me, it’s a huge mistake. Having a warm body in your life is never better than being single for a while. It’s not a death sentence to be alone––you may actually find you enjoy having your own space. Besides, when you waste time with Mr. or Ms. wrong, regardless of your reasoning, you could miss Mr/Ms Wonderful. Here’s the important message, Read more “Happy July 4th Everyone!”
Live your Dreams

Take A Moment-It Could Change Your Life!

Busy lives have us dashing from one appointment to the next with a seemingly endless to-do list. Life can be so hectic. We have to be here, then be there—sometimes it’s hard to slow down long enough to catch our breath and “just be”—to take time to relax, love, live and soak in the beautiful moments of our lives—like watching a sunset with someone you love, a precious moment with your child or friend. We don’t stop often enough to enjoy a rain storm, a crackling fire or waves crashing to the shore.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMUvgt8lW0E[/youtube]

We can miss wonderful moments that take our breath away—holding hands, a passionate kiss or gazing together at a starry sky. It’s those moments that are the essence of life. Goals and dreams are wonderful as long as you remember Read more “Take A Moment-It Could Change Your Life!”

Live your Dreams

The Secret To Overcoming Chemistry Addiction

Well Jake, you’re right, you would definitely qualify for jerk status, but kudos to you for identifying the pattern as well as for your desire to break it. Maybe I can help. Having been a jerk-aholic for the majority of my life––the flip-side of your coin. If you want proof, just check Amazon and read about my new book, Wingless Butterfly: Confessions Of A Recovering Jerk-Magnet––and I’m pretty sure my book trailer  would resonate. (If you’re not following what I’m talking about, read my last blog post.)

Before I proceed, a caveat to my women readers: Jake’s article is a glimpse into the male mind and is typical of the way some men think. This article should be a wake-up call, so be aware that sometimes romance can have an agenda. And to my men readers, there is a flip-side to that coin too, more than enough for a whole new blog. But today I’ll focus on Jake and my open letter to him.

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I38xQPMQmqo[/youtube]

Dear Jake,

The symptoms you have are classic patterns, so don’t feel like your affliction is rare. In fact chemistry addiction seems to thrive in epidemic proportions throughout the country and it infects females as well as males. We live in a ‘visual’ and ‘disposable’ society––one that advocates Read more “The Secret To Overcoming Chemistry Addiction”

Live your Dreams

Proof: Chemistry Is Addictive!

I posted a rant yesterday about some questionable ‘expert’ relationship advice floating around the Internet and posed the question, “Is chemistry addictive.” My own opinion is an unequivocal “yes!” I can’t help but wonder what agenda the author I referred to in yesterday’s post had in mind as he penned his dating criteria, but it sparked my interest enough to do some research on my own. While there was certainly no lack of opinions, one in particular struck me. The author writes Glamour Magazine’s male dating column, Ask Jake and, though having read his last post I would probably not agree with his approach, he writes beautifully and I admire him for his candid honesty identifying his own toxic patterns––so much so that I’ve decided to take two days to not only share his post but also add my own two cents and hopefully yours as well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aMcOsIJKf4[/youtube]

This video discusses commitment-phobs, male and female, and some views about the issue. While it’s interesting, I have a unique spin on the topic. Today I’ll share Jake’s article and I’d love to hear your comments Read more “Proof: Chemistry Is Addictive!”

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: