Monthly Archives: November 2017

Window to the Heart of the Story

This last week I participated in a 7 day book cover challenge on Facebook. The objective was simple. Each day post a book cover that you love, no explanation, no comments, no reviews, no buy links…just post the cover and tag a friend or two to challenge them to follow suit.

I found there are a whole slew of covers I think are beautiful. Then there are ones that just draw me in, making me want to thumb through that book’s pages and delve into the world within. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. I think the covers are the window to the heart of the story. That’s not to say that just because the cover is beautiful the story within is a wonderful read, and the reverse could also be said…just because you or I don’t like a cover, doesn’t mean the story isn’t a wonderful piece of wordsmithing. After all…they also say, never judge a book by its cover.

Next week I will be sharing with you the cover for my story in the fairy tale box set I am participating in. It’s a cover that I have had my eye on for about six months. I would look at it, admire it, wish I had a story to go along with it, and then pray it would still be there when I went back to see it again. The stars aligned…I had a story…the cover was available…and now it’s mine. Miiiiine, precious. lol I can hardly wait to share it with you.

Until next week…Happy Reading!

~Jolanthe~

 

 

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Leftovers make me happy

November has been manic. Those following along on my Thanksgiving Crossword Bloghop can surely attest as posts have gone into the black hole of cyberspace, and others have come up with missing pieces. No worries…every missing post has been caught up on my personal blog so the puzzlers can finish…but it’s been a busy time making sure everything gets where it needs going. I love doing a big hop and having a great prize…but this might be the last time for the month-long hop with the puzzle, I’m sad to say.

In other news, I got to enjoy a great meal with my immediate family and laugh for a couple of hours on Friday night…a treasure I don’t take lightly or for granted. It is so rare that the 4 of us get to sit down together, someone is always running…so, a meal together is a gift beyond measure. I will have leftovers for a week easily, because I don’t know how to do a family holiday meal small-scale, but I’m pretty sure we won’t hear a complaint. There were enough dishes to give variety for several days, even as leftovers.

As we wrangle our way toward the end of the year, I am blown away by the odd weather pattern that persists too. This year has been so off-kilter that I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. We went from low twenties and snow flurries earlier in the month to 50+ degrees the day after Thanksgiving and the weekend as well. The forecast shows more of the same to come. Weird – just weird. The predictability of the seasons here in the northern Midwest is out the window for 2017. I’m hoping to see some regularity return soon. I like the predictability…but more than that…I want a color filled Autumn again next year. I feel like I got jipped.

November was also, “Mom, I need…” month as my girls made life-change choices. One is moving out, and the other is trying to line up the ducks to return to school, starting college. I honestly never know if the sound of the door is someone coming or going. I can’t decide how I feel about it either.

December is stacking up to be zoo-ish as well. I’ve got a huge stack of ‘to-do’ on the desk, not counting commitments to others. I’ve got 3 editing projects to finish and a blender full of stories that are in pieces. I tried to do Nano, but honestly, the hop had me divided for focus and the story I thought I’d work on, like so many others, is a paper wasteland on my office floor, and every other available surface. I’m also preparing for the next step in my jaw reconstruction. There are 3 or 4 pieces left now, which seems surreal, but they will be wrapping up in rapid fashion as the next surgery happens in December…and great Goddess willing…the whole thing will conclude by the end of January, nearly 2 years after it started.

All in all, things have been crazy, and will continue on that trajectory for the foreseeable future. I’m up to the challenge, just don’t ask me what day it is. It makes the down time sweeter, and personally…leftovers that much tastier as the memory of a family night filled with laughter wafts up with the smells from the plate. Maybe that’s the true magic of leftovers…they are more than reheated sustenance for the system…they are food for the soul.

Holiday blessings to all as we are inundated by the season. Until next time, read something amazing and share with those you love.

Sav.

 

The holidays and a new release …

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is staring us in the face. Time is flying by. My mortality always kicks in when my thoughts run down this path. There isn’t enough time to get everything done. I’ve hardly touched my bucket list. Now, there’s my writing. Too many stories wanting to see the page. I need to step up my game.

This past week has seen the release of my latest, Save the Last Dance. The story of Jackson and Roni is a stand-alone paranormal romance geared for the holidays. Get your copy at https://tinyurl.com/y7gpzuta

A Destiny Denied, third installment of The Kindred series, is with my editor. Slated for November edits, I should be getting it back soon. Then, I’ll be shaping it up for release in the Spring of 2018. I can’t wait to share Doc and Maggie’s story with you.

I’m taking advantage of my five-day off rotation this week. In addition to spending Thanksgiving with family, and putting up the Christmas tree and decorations, I’m getting some writing in. I’ve got a new WIP that I’m really excited about. What was originally supposed to be a novella may change before it’s said and done. Events keep unfolding as I write. My muse never fails to surprise me.

On that note, I have a lot to get back to. Enjoy your holiday!

Till next week,

~Madison

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Thankful

It’s that time of year that we, in the USA, set aside for giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. We get together with family and friends, cook up a feast, and enjoy being with the ones we love even as we remember and miss the ones who cannot be with us.

Keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to give thanks for not only my family and friends, but for my on-line for my on-line friends, my fellow authors, the readers who I have met and those I have yet to meet, for my publisher, Eclectic Bard Books, and for you, the bloggers who, with your likes on my blog posts, let me know that I’m not talking to the wind.

Thank You!

Until next week…Happy Reading!

~Jolanthe~

Working on the to-do list…

I woke in a panic at 2 am because I realized I hadn’t written this week’s blog. So, here I sit, bleary-eyed, trying to formulate coherent thoughts without the aid of coffee. If I’m lucky, I can squeeze in a couple of more hours of sleep before I have to get up for work. Sometimes, it’s rough being me. 😉

There are only three more days to get Save the Last Dance at the pre-order price of 99 cents. Don’t miss out on the opportunity! https://tinyurl.com/y7gpzuta This is my first stand-alone, and I’m really excited to share Jackson and Roni’s story with you. I hope you love them as much as I do.

3 days

I’m also sending out Christmas cards again this year. It’s easy enough to get one. Just let me know! PM me through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MadisonGrangerAuthor or you can email me at mgrangerauthor@gmail.com Make sure to put CHRISTMAS CARD on the subject line.

If you live in the States, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is surrounded with family, friends, good food, and laughter.

Till next week,

~Madison

Snippet of WIP

It’s a cold morning…brrrrr…..

Personally, I think the cold weather slows the blood and caffeine flow to my brain. I know you’re thinking…don’t you have heat in your home? The answer to that is yes…yes, I do. But your logical question has absolutely nothing to do with my theory why forming coherent thoughts and sentences this morning isn’t working so well for me. lol

That being said…I thought I’d share a snippet from a WIP that has the working title of Unexpected Treasure (subject to change) This snippet is unedited and also subject to change. As of right now, there is no release date, because it’s not even the story I’m suppose to be working on, but was the one demanding attention this past weekend. lol One MUST obey the Muse lest she decide to give you the silent treatment when you need her most, and that’s never a good thing.

So here you go…

“My apologies,” he started, releasing his hold on her coffee, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“Um, no problem.” She responded, though she was pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the case if her keyboard had been bathed in the yummy caffeinated goodness of her turtle latte. “Thanks for the quick save.”

“It was the least I could do,” he responded, his voice tinged with an accent that sounded Scottish, or maybe Irish.

Shaela picked up her drink, bringing the plastic lid to her lips, not only to moisten her mouth, but to keep it from gaping open at the smooth-as-butter tone of his voice.

“I don’t mean to intrude, more than I already have…” he smiled down at her sheepishly, “but would you mind if I sat with you?” He swept out his arm towards the front of the coffee shop, “It seems to be a full house today.”

Shaela leaned to the side, peering around his tall body, to see his assessment of the crowd was right. She’d rarely, if ever, invited strangers to sit with her. In fact, she usually made it a habit to look engrossed enough in what she was doing that those who were looking for an empty seat were hesitant to disturb her concentration. It wasn’t that she was a snob, she just wasn’t a big fan of small talk. She got enough of that at work. Sighing, she sat back in her seat and smiled up at the charming stranger who had just saved her laptop from certain doom. Leaning over to remove her bag from the unoccupied chair, she replied to his question, “Of course.”

The scrape of the chair legs across the tile floor was barely heard over the cacophony of voices, music, and whirring of various coffee machines that had mere minutes ago been nothing but white noise, and was now a battering ram to her ears. Taking a sip from her cup, she fought to keep her brow from wrinkling in annoyance from having her peaceful interlude interrupted, even if it was by a handsome stranger with a mega-watt smile invading her space.
©Jolanthe Aleksander 2017

Until next week…Happy Reading!

~Jolanthe~

It only grows

It used to be that every other year, we did Thanksgiving with my parents, and the opposite with my in-laws. With my MIL’s passing last year, it hasn’t really had time to shift, but more it became if my sister and her brood would be present or not as they were still on the alternating year plan. Interestingly, this year my parents are taking the holiday to my sister since they cannot get away with school things. As my girls are older, we don’t have that hiccup…only multiple work schedules to navigate.

Which means…it’s just my household doing the holiday together…which is nice on many levels. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love being with family and laughing…but there’s a perk to keeping the gathering small too. I have no idea how many years are left before there will be plus one’s at the table and it won’t just be us anymore. I can totally enjoy turkey day in my jammies this time instead of having to dress for the travel & company factor this round. We can have our favorites at the table and all the leftovers we can handle. There is a win-win to this scenario.

The challenge is everyone keeps adding to the menu and I think I’m going to need a bigger table soon if we hope to sit at one to eat. I am also wondering if I should make the bird. Our family is not opposed to turkey…I’m happy to make it…but good gracious the sides are getting to be so abundant, that I’m not sure anyone is going to eat turkey anyway. And, just when I think I have the list complete, and most of the ingredients, except the fresh ones, bought and set aside, someone adds another dish to the list. I’m going to be waddling for a week or more…and that’s before seasonal baking.

At this rate also, I’m not sure what NANO WRIMO holds for me. I had thought to use my holiday week to crack out the backlog, but at this rate, I’ll be in the kitchen…likely wearing ingredients and laughing like a maniac. 🙂 see…there was a writer’s reason to mention the holiday odd going on…food & family vs. words? Family wins.

My writing itinerary is getting complicated for 2018. Then again, I’m not sure I’d recognize it any other way. 🙂 manic is me.

What’s your favorite holiday dish? What’s the one you could live without? Enquiring minds want to know…and, s’long as I’m already cooking enough for a battalion, what else can I add to the fun?

Never enough time . . .

I never make plans. I learned a long time ago that if I do, something will happen to change them. I broke my own rule this week. I was looking forward to my first five-day off rotation. I planned on getting in some writing on a piece that I’ve been working on. Between appointments of one kind or another, and a list of errands that never seemed to end, I found myself getting zero words to the page.

Yesterday, I finally found myself more or less caught up on everything and sat at my computer to work on my WIP. Of course, I had to reread the whole thing to refresh my memory and figure out where to go from there. As you can imagine, I had to change a few things as I went over it again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to devote most of the weekend to writing.

I’ve also been busy with spreading the word about my upcoming release of Save the Last Dance. Just in time for the holidays, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon for $0.99 right now. https://tinyurl.com/y7gpzuta The release date is November 21. I hope you like Jackson and Roni’s story. It’s my first stand-alone, and I’m rather proud of the finished product. Huge thanks go to my cover artist, Victoria Miller, my editor, Carolyn Depew, and my publisher, Savannah Verte of Eclectic Bard Books. Without these people I’d just have a rough story. They put the polish to my work.

On that note, it’s back to my writing cave. A story is calling my name.

Till next week,

~Madison

Last Dance cover

Time to Get Lost in the Words

My day started at 3:45 this morning. Seriously, there is not enough coffee in the world that would make getting ready for a long day at this time of the morning ok.

At 5:15, mom, dad, my son, and I boarded the shuttle from the hotel to the VA hospital. Dad is having surgery. Agent Orange is a gift from the government that just keeps on giving.

The tic tic tic of the second hand making its usual circuit around the clock face seems to be louder than usual. I have brought my laptop, my handy dandy thumb drive, a pad of paper, and numerous books for research…and if the words don’t flow through the tips of my fingers, I have my lovely kindle to help pass the time.

Oh oh ooooooh…the working title (subject to change) of my fairytale retelling is….Breathe Me to Life. I’ll let you try to guess which fairytale it’s based on.

If you have a mind to…prayers and petitions to whichever deity  you choose would be most appreciated.

Until next week…Happy Reading! 

~Jolanthe~

Stirring the water

More ages ago than I could accurately quantify, a speaker made the comparative reference to personal growth as ‘all in’ or likened to a stagnant pond. I think about their comments occasionally, using them as a metric for myself, based loosely on the ‘smell factor’ for the scum on the surface.  There is a great body of water I know for the mental imagery as well…if the spring warms faster than the aerators are activated…there is a lovely green, mossy blanket that covers the surface of the water. While pretty – it is clearly out of place.

The same can be true for notions about writer things. I’d much rather have my life pond look like this…colorful, peaceful, but also…scum free.

(Image source unknown. No copyright infringement intended.)

Why do I mention any of this? Well…I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I have a professional career outside of writing and publishing, one that I don’t always enjoy, but never fail to be proud of. The idea with that work is that we are always innovating, always growing, reaching out to serve the customer in new and different ways. For that position, I am also on a short list of folks for a chance to move up and be a deciding factor for a team, a location, a region, and my company. It’s daunting and exciting at the same time. There is no moss growing. There’s no time.

That said, I’ve often been fond of the notion that those who forget history, the past that brought us to this present, are condemned to repeat it. Consequently, I spend a fair amount of time learning, and sharing the past practices as we reach for new, better, or innovative ones to replace them for my non-author me. Interestingly enough, I’ve gotten an opportunity to do it for the writer side of the equation recently…and I’m submerged in the idea of how much publishing has changed.

Moreover, I’m shocked to see how some things have returned to the fore, often with the user none the wiser for the point. The dialogue and discourse of the industry has changed expansively, and divisively. I’m not saying anything new, I realize that…but in learning about where we have come from, to seeing what we’ve become…I understand better the confusion so many are experiencing. The sheer number of charlatan experiences is mind-boggling. And, I don’t believe that it’s on a course to turn away soon.

There’s another adage I know about filling many roles, but mastering none – I think that’s where publishing is right now. With the floodgates open to allow publication of works that have been neither edited, or reviewed, put into the mix by writers who don’t understand or know the history, the market has flooded. And, continues to run over. Unfortunately pooling in places that don’t get stirred.

There are pros and cons to this. Writers who the ‘gatekeepers’ withheld once upon a time until they were better positioned to be published, either by writing education, or storytelling instruction, etc…are out and in the market…and what early bard didn’t have a few bumps in their stories? At the same time…they are in the market without the benefit of firm guidance on those factors, nor the expanded circle that used to be the path. In my head I see a fish on land…

What I mean to point out is this…once upon a time, the work went through so many hands before getting to public consumption, the village worked together. Now, we have individuals who are author, editor, art designer, marketer, publisher, and media rep. How many hats can we wear well? I think it is far fewer than most believe. And, I would argue that running for the sake of running doesn’t eliminate pond scum, it only churns it up to smell as each task takes a turn on the bottom.

I further believe, that just because we are seeing someone do something, doesn’t make it responsible or an accurate practice. I think most of us NEED others in our circle of influence. I think it reveals a large scale problem with publishing right now…One we need to get ahead of and back down before it destroys us all. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the past. Innovation should be moving the bar farther…not bringing it down. We collectively need to be doing better. I think that includes reaching out to others, and clasping the hands of those who reach for us.

That said…we also need to know and understand when in the timeline it is time to regroup and right our own ship before we align with an armada that isn’t where we’re trying to go. At the end, balance is everything. It’s what keeps us moving forward without letting the moss grow. For me, after the recent learning curve, I’m more convinced than ever that I need to take some time to stir the water. The surface may be clear, but I’m not sure what’s lurking underneath. I can’t accept that.

Last – don’t forget about the Crossword puzzle blog hop…there have been hiccups, but I’m loving seeing so many new sites and what they have to offer. Hope you will too. Until next time, read something great, and tell your friends.

Sav