Posted in Writing at 10:36 am by Amber

Isn’t it amazing how adaptable people and plants are?

For twelve days I’ve had no hot water.  We called our home warranty company that first morning.  Plumbers, purchasing departments and so on seem to run on different time tables than the rest of us.  I was surprised to receive a phone call yesterday informing me of our two options to replace our water heater.  Who knew the home warranty company worked on Sundays?  The first option was to have the current plumber install a new water heater and pay the extra money to bring the new system up to code and the second was to give us $500 to take care of the issue ourselves.  Not wanting to delay the replacement we went with the first option.  To adapt, we’ve been heating up water for washing dishes and taking cold showers. Read the rest of this entry »


Crossed Genres Flash Fiction Contest

Posted in Event at 10:22 pm by Amber

Crossed Genres has opened the polls for their Flash Fiction Contest.  Voting (just one per IP Address) is happening now until June 30th. 

There are 10 entries to choose from and just over 4000 words if you read them in one sitting.  All of the entries are different and by voting you might make a writer very happy.

Crossed Genres Flash Fiction Contest Voting.


The iPhone and Kindle

Posted in Writing at 2:53 pm by Amber

I may or may not have mentioned it before but when it comes to new technology I’m a slow adopter.  It’s not because I don’t want some of the latest and greatest gadgets.  I spent many years working in the Help Desk industry and have seen too many cases of where getting the latest and greatest also came with frustration.  Not a lot works with it or doesn’t work the way it should.  And because it’s new there aren’t many people around you can ask questions.

But I am slightly salivating over an iPhone.  My husband bought one after his Palm Treo died.  Oh, he lets me play the games but the thing that caught my attention was the free Kindle app that can be downloaded for the iPhone.  I wouldn’t be limited to just .pdf files for my ebooks.  It would be a trade-off.  As I understand it, there isn’t an Adobe Acrobat Reader for the iPhone.  But Adobe has one in the works.  So it’s only a matter of time before it’s available.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bloggiesta Summary

Posted in Event at 11:22 am by Amber

The Bloggiesta Finish Line!

The Bloggiesta Finish Line!

 Here’s my list of things I wanted to get done.  Items crossed off have been completed.

  1. Finish adding WordPress Plugins. (SEO Optimization and a mirror for LiveJournal are the two I had to finish.)
  2. Finish writing reviews.  (That Went Well, The Trap, The Patriot Witch, King Titus, Dead Witch Walking, and Death’s Daughter.)
  3. Finish my blog tour/book review policy page.
  4. Finish my May Story of the Month post. 
  5. Review my list of future theme posts. 

Mini-Challenges Attempted

Bookish Ruth on Website Grader which grades your site for SEO (search engine optimization).  I did this earlier in the month and my grade raised from 82 to 86.  During the weeks between grades I added the All-In-One-SEO plugin and added metadata information.  I also signed up for Technorati where my authority rating has fallen from 30 to 33.  (The lower the number the better.)  Technorati uses the number of links going to your blog in the last 180 days and I figured out one reason why my rank lowered.  I was a blog tour stop for Secrets to Happiness but didn’t add my own link to the list of tour stops.  Other tour stops came by to get the code for their own sites but my link was left off.  Lesson learned.  🙂

Another mini-challenge hosted by softdrink consisted of making new connections by visiting 10 new blogs to us and leaving a thoughtful comment.  There 85 participants and not all of them were book related blogs so I got to visit some new sites.  This mini-challenge was not completed.  I did go to 10 new blogs but I only left thoughtful comments on 6 of them.  Here are the sites I visited and left comments:
Lou’s Pages
Confuzzled Books
Muse in the Kitchen
Chain Reading

Beth Fish Reads on Blog Improvement.  Write a post (opinion or list) and save it for a rainy day.  I was reminded I want to do a post about book formats (hardcover vs. trade paperback vs. mass market) but I didn’t actually start writing it. 

Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile on Blog Catalogs.  The challenge was to add your blog to a new to you blog catalog.  I was already a member of most of the book related blog catalogs so I signed up for bloglistings.net which I hadn’t heard of before.

Devourer of Books on updating a key page or post.  I completed this mini-challenge without knowing I had completed it.  One of my goals was to finish writing my book tour and review policy page.  While I did that, I checked out my bibliography and biography pages to make sure they were still accurate.

Michelle from Galley Smith regarding anchor text.  If you haven’t learned about anchor text this is very informative.  I completed the challenge successfully, I might add!


For lunch yesterday my husband and I went to Cuco’s, one of our favorite restaurants.  I had the Al Pastor and Chorizo tacos which were both new to me.  And of course I ate a lot of their chips and salsa.  It’s important to take time to eat during a challenge, right?  Altogether, I spent about 10 hours on the challenge and left a dozen comments on various blogs.  It was a lot of fun!  A big thank you goes to Natasha at Maw Books Blog for hosting the Bloggiesta challenge and her husband for making the badges for the challenge.


The Patriot Witch by C. C. Finlay

Posted in Review at 10:25 pm by Amber

I have C.C. Finlay’s blog on my LiveJournal f-list so I’ve been hearing about The Patriot Witch and the other books in his Traitor to the Crown series for a while now. When his publisher offered it as a free download I took the opportunity to find out how Finlay executed his idea.

What if witches were involved on both sides of the American Revolution and were able to have a hand in the outcome of the war? Call me prejudiced or conditioned, but I thought the main witch character in The Patriot Witch would be a woman.  To discover Proctor Brown, a minuteman, is the title witch was a pleasant surprise.

Finlay weaves fictional characters with real people and events.  The real people are military and historical figures.  Proctor Brown symbolizes the average man.  He’s a farmer’s son in his 20s with goals.  Proctor would like to get married and expand the farm into the cattle business.  The war necessitates changes to his plans and he finds himself involved with witches.

The first hundred pages are slow but Finlay is packing in a lot of cultural information and introducing multiple characters that return later in the story.  As the pace picks up, it’s a difficult book to put down.  It has spies, fights to the death, and even zombies.

When all is said and done, Finlay executed the idea well and leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens to Proctor Brown.


Bloggiesta Goals

Posted in Event at 4:08 pm by Amber


Here is my list of items to accomplish during Bloggiesta.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

  1. Finish adding WordPress Plugins. (SEO Optimization and a mirror are two of them.)
  2. Finish writing reviews.  (That Went Well, The Trap, The Patriot Witch, King Titus, and Dead Witch Walking to start.)
  3. Finish my blog tour/book review policy page.
  4. Finish my May Story of the Month post.  (I’m only a month and a half late getting it posted!)
  5. Review my list of future theme posts.  For instance, last week it occurred to me that I could review a bunch of books with father and child relationships for Father’s Day.  It was a bit late to start for this year.  🙂

Bloggiesta Begins

Posted in Event at 9:35 am by Amber

Have you met Pedro?  (Plan.  Edit.  Develop.  Review.  Organize.)  Isn’t he cute?


Because I’m at work today and have an engagement party tonight I will spend most of Friday planning what I want to accomplish.  I had an idea before but I didn’t make an actual list and I want to see how the mini-challenges will fit into my goals.

If there is any free time at work (ha!  ha! – I make myself laugh) I do have some books with me that have half-finished reviews.  If you’re participating in Bloggiesta, good luck to you!


Magic Trixie Sleeps Over by Jill Thompson

Posted in Review at 6:28 am by Amber

In this story about Magic Trixie, she gets tired of her nightly bedtime routine.  Upon finding out her classmates don’t have to bathe or brush or brush their teeth she resents her parents.  Her friends offer to have her sleepover so she can see what they do.

As you can imagine, the night time rituals for a werewolf, frankstein, mummified princess and vampires are quite different from those of a little witch.

I love Jill Thompson’s artwork.  She can use facial expressions to convey what a character is thinking.  The drawings are detailed and vary between colored and black and white.  This is a cute book appropriate for younger readers.


Magic Trixie by Jill Thompson

Posted in Review at 1:29 am by Amber

Magic Trixie

In Magic Trixie the reader is introduced to who else but Magic Trixie, her family and her friends.  Magic Trixie is a sassy little witch.  The first floor of her house is home to Elixir, a restaurant run by her parents and a cousin.  She attends Monstersorri School. 

Show-and-Tell starts in a few days and she’s stumped on what to bring.  Her friends have all seen her magic tricks.  Trixie’s family tells her she’s not responsible enough or too young to bring in some of their magic items.  Her baby sister gets to do whatever she wants; Abby’s so young the family considers it harmless when she flips through the big spell book or chews on a magic wand.

I’ve been a fan of Jill Thompson’s since her book Scary Godmother was released over a decade ago.  Her stories are engaging (I didn’t see the ending to this one coming) and her artwork is wonderful.  Each panel is detailed and I find myself looking at them more than once to find things I missed.


My Bookcase

Posted in Writing at 11:11 pm by Amber

We have several bookshelves in our house.  Most of them are built-in pieces but I only have two to call my own. 

The first is in our living room and holds some of my TBR pile including many issues of comics I need to catch up on.  One day soon I should organize it so it doesn’t look so cluttered.

Last weekend though, I made progress on a goal I created during October’s Muse Online Writing Conference.  In my little office where I go about the business of writing (sending out/keeping track of submissions, writing query letters, and I usually write my blog posts here) is a bookcase that once belonged to my grandfather. 

When we moved it lost a shelf pin.  I’ve not been able to use more than one shelf because of the missing pin.  Last weekend I went to Lowe’s and got a replacement pin.  The bookcase is older than me but the replacement pin looks like the original pins – just shinier.  Now I can have my writing magazines nearby.

Is there anything you’ve been putting off lately with your writing?  Or the business of writing?

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