Monthly Archives: October 2011

Introducing…Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

I was very honored to be given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Farsighted, by Emlyn Chand.  Until I discovered that it was a story told in the first person.  And then I tried to come up with a way to get out of my commitment without appearing to be a rotten person.  It’s not that I’ve never read this kind of book, it’s just that with few exceptions, I much prefer those told in the third person.  Especially when there’s more than one perspective.

But I couldn’t find a way to back out gracefully, so I decided to suck it up and just get it over with.

Except I found, very early on, that Alex intrigued me.  And then I found that I wanted someone to beat the snot out of Brady, the lowlife school bully, when it became clear that he had no problem being mean to a blind kid.  I knew then that I actually cared about Alex.  In other words, I was hooked.

I figured it would take me about a week to finish Farsighted, but Ms Chand is very good at what she does, and I wound up staying up much later than I’d planned…meaning I finished it the same night I started it.  First she made me care, then she made me curious.  Enough so that I needed to figure out what was going on.

I won’t  go into a lot of detail, because I don’t want to give the story away but, as Alex’s exercises his gift, it changes in a very cool way near the end of the book.  A unique twist that I never saw coming.

If you have even a little bit of an imagination, and you’re into fantasy at all, I believe you’ll enjoy Farsighted as much as I did.  It’s well worth your time to check it out.

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

MORE FUN: There’s more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!

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Cell Phones, Social Networks, and Romance

A relative of mine got married today.  Well actually it was yesterday, but I keep screwy hours and even if I don’t fall asleep until four in the morning, it won’t be yesterday to me until I wake up again.  Not that it matters for this particular blog, other than the fact that I’m just a hair on the sleep deprived side (what else is new…), with a daughter running a temp of close to 103.  Can we say more sleep deprivation on my to-do list?

Okay, so why am I writing about a relative’s wedding?  Because there are already reception photos on Facebook.  Posted by the bride.  And I just saw that she accepted a friend request a few minutes ago, presumably from her cell phone since computers aren’t a normal part of weddings or receptions.  At least not as far as I know.  And no, I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with it.  It just struck me how different things are today than they were even ten years ago.

With cell phones able to access the internet, people can keep everyone updated on every aspect of their lives now.  Whether we have an emergency, found a great price on gas, or had a delicious meal at a local restaurant, with the touch of a few keys on your phone, you can let everyone in your Facebook and Twitter feeds know almost instantly.

Even at your wedding you can keep everyone who wasn’t there in the loop.  I understand one groom even updated his status on both accounts…just before he kissed his new wife (which was taking it to extremes in my opinion).

Sometimes I agree with so-called experts, that we’re losing something with social media.  Namely the skills to function socially face-to-face.

Except, truth be told, I socialize more since getting on Facebook than I used to do.  Mostly because a lot of my family, and a number of friends, are on it, too.  People I’d see once in a blue moon (at the annual reunion, funerals, etc…) I now ‘talk’ to on a pretty much daily basis.

But updating statuses at weddings?

Why not? 

I might not have been there tonight, but I got to see a little of what was going on, which I enjoyed tremendously.    Add YouTube to the mix, and I can see what happened at the weddings of perfect strangers…like my all time favorite:

I love that video.  Even though I have to make sure no one is around when I watch it because it brings tears to my eyes and makes it hard to swallow.  I always knew I turned to mush at parades when marching bands and veterans passed by.  Who knew I’d do the same thing over something like this?  Joining the ranks of the women who cry at weddings…

Anyone else react that way when you saw this, too?  And what is your opinion about updating statuses at weddings and receptions?  Does it take away from the moment, or is it just another way of allowing others to share in your special day?

I’d also be curious to know if you also socialize more since getting online.  If you’re able to keep up more with family and friends through social mediums like Facebook.

Now pardon me because I need to watch this again.  🙂

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Creepy Memories Crawled Right In!

I’m going to start today out with an apology…to anyone commenting on my blogs that hasn’t received a response from me.  I love chatting with the people who take time out of their busy days to read my posts.  Except it seems that WordPress has some funky criteria for the comments they allow me to see.  And it looks like I’m going to have to make checking the spam folder a part of my daily habits because some that clearly are not spam wind up there.  Unfortunately, after I set them free and approve them from WP jail, I can’t always find them, which means I can’t respond.  So if you’re one who feels ignored by me, please know that it’s only because WP hid you not once, but twice. Never fear though, I’ll keep looking.  Might even send out search parties.

Moving on…

Halloween is two days!  Where did the year go?  I was stunned on Sunday when I looked at the ten-day forecast on the Weather Channel website to find that the tenth day would be November first.  I guess it’s just been one of those months when you know something is coming but it just doesn’t register.

It did hit me, a little, on Sunday though.  I’d taken a solitary drive, needing some alone time, but also hoping to add to my growing collection of photographs.  When I drove past one of my parent’s old country homes, memories just started rolling across my mind.

I remember, like it was yesterday, being terrified to be alone in that house at night.  Heck, I remember being scared to be there even when other people were home sometimes.

Because this house sat on the property next to an old, abandoned meat packing plant…

My brothers and sister and I started life off pretty young sneaking into abandoned houses to check things out.  Don’t ask me why because I have no idea.  It was just something we did for fun.  Something I’d ground my kids for life if I’d ever caught them doing it.  It was a dangerous pastime given that some of the places we went through were falling down.

But this meat packing plant was safe, made out of concrete blocks.  It might have looked old, with paint peeling from the walls, but it was sturdy.  And we just had to have a look around.  Something I think we were all regretted afterward because, following the ‘tour’ (can we say trespassing?), they hated being alone in the house as much as I did.

Why?

Maybe because it was so dark, with lots of scary shadows.  Mostly, though, I think it was because my siblings had watched more horror movies than anyone should ever see.  Not me.  I have no problem admitting I’m a coward.  But I always got the rundown on of all of them anyway.  I made my sister check under my bed and in my closets once after she gave a detailed description of a movie she’d just seen.  It scared me so bad that there was no way was I going into my apartment until she did (and she laughed the entire time).

Let me tell you, this meat packing plant looked to be an ideal setting for a Halloween or Friday the 13th-type of flick.

In addition to the creepy shadows and general eerie feeling that hit you the second you crept through the door, there were large meat hooks hanging from the ceiling.  Lots of them.  Someone (of the male persuasion) mentioned something about bodies hanging from them…and I guess that was all it took to make living next door a nightmare.  I, for one, was very glad to move.

And now I’m going to take my mind off that not-so-pleasant time of life and share with you a couple of cute pictures I snapped at my favorite apple orchard.

Do you have a scary memory from your childhood that seems silly now that you’re a grown up?

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Topsy-turvy End of the Week

Being a mom is hard work.  And some weeks are tougher than others.  Especially as your kids get older.  They’re ready to grow up, while moms aren’t always quite so ready.  Which can cause a serious lack of sleep for some of us.

Or in this case, me. 

After the past few days I think I’m going to have to consider writing a zombie novel…because I actually have some firsthand experience with that particular state.  In fact, with approximately nine hours sleep since Tuesday morning, I may be just a bit overqualified.  Like a zombie on steroids.

So I’m skimping a bit on the blog today.  But I will post something extra tomorrow.  The one I’d intended to use Wednesday, in fact.

And now – for my Freaked Out -rather than Fabulous – Friday installment…

In honor of Halloween, here are a couple of cute videos.  First a light show.  I really love watching these because they’re so cool.  It’s hard to imagine the patience and talent it takes to come up with something like this. 

And now for a chuckle.  I hope.  It made me giggle through most of it:

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A Walking, Talking Miracle

I was actually going to post about Halloween today but I feel like I need to share something else instead.  I’m not sure why, but the thought came and I just can’t get it out of my mind.

My youngest daughter and I have been butting heads recently and it’s made life more than a little interesting.  But tonight I was reminded of the circumstances surrounding her birth which, in my opinion, is pretty awe inspiring.

I’d had a rough pregnancy history with miscarriages and premature babies that didn’t make it.  By the time I got pregnant for her (immediately following my decision to get my tubes tied), I was extremely high risk and knew my odds of dying were really good if I decided to go through with it.

Abortion would have been acceptable in that case, and I actually considered it, but didn’t want to do it.  But before I had to make the choice, my doctor decided it must be a tubal pregnancy because the baby wasn’t growing like ‘it’ should.  I was so happy because if he was right, the decision would be taken out of my hands.  So I prayed really hard that it was.

Until I walked into the hospital for the ultra sound…and saw a woman being wheeled out with her new baby.

And then my prayers changed immediately.  I wanted this baby!  I’d had to leave so many times without one, that’s all I wanted in that moment.  To be wheeled out of the hospital with my baby in my arms.  One more child that I could bring home to love and raise.  Three out of seven would be more acceptable than two out of six.

And when the ultra sound revealed that the pregnancy was normal, no one was happier than I was…or more scared, because the odds were still good that I could die.

I was very fortunate to have a high risk doctor who saw me pretty much on a weekly basis.  I’m not sure why, but I feel that we got to be more than just the regular doctor/patient thing.  Not anything bad.   More than acquaintances, but less than friends.  He knew my fears, and for some reason, also trusted my judgment.

An especially good thing when, a week before my scheduled C-section, I felt like something very bad was going to happen and told him I felt the baby needed to be delivered now.   Doctors just don’t change surgery dates like that, not three weeks early instead of two, but he did.  Even though he was very pleased that I’d made it well past the six month mark, which neither one of us really expected to happen.  He was shooting for as close to full term as possible.

Long story short (or shorter), if we’d waited the extra week, my uterus would have ruptured, likely killing both of us.  As it was, we cut it very close.

So yes, my daughter is a walking, talking miracle.  And even in the midst of all the problems of the past few weeks, I remember how grateful I was to be wheeled out of the hospital with her in my arms.

My ‘baby’ with her very first baby (she has 4 more of the feline variety)

And the amazing stuff doesn’t end there.  At ten days old she was put back in the hospital for jaundice.  When they released her two days later, because I’d just had a C-section, they had me get in a wheelchair…so I got to be wheeled out with her twice.

It brings tears to my eyes every time I remember that.  A baby being wheeled out in its mother’s arms had caused such an intense longing in me to experience that one more time, and I got to do it twice in less than two weeks.

How awesome is that?  Just as awesome as my daughter is.  We’ll probably continue to disagree over this situation for some time to come, but I know she’ll be all right.  With such an incredible start to her life, I’m expecting nothing less.

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What Defines ‘Romantic?’

Sometimes the strangest questions plague me.  Questions that can bug me indefinitely.  Often I can’t even pinpoint what might have brought them to mind.  Maybe a snippet of conversation I didn’t realize I overheard, or something I saw that didn’t register at the time.  It’s hard to say.  All I know is that one question in particular keeps coming up this week.  And it strikes me as a little weird given that the majority of the books I’ve written fall into the romance genre.

What, exactly, does ‘romantic’ mean?

Is it showering that special someone with gifts, candy and flowers?  Candlelight suppers for two, with violin music playing in the background?  Pulling out chairs and opening doors for ladies?  Sucking it up and cuddling with your guy during football games, and making out during time outs and half-time?  An evening of dancing to  your favorite love songs?

What does it mean?

Curious, I consulted the resident expert of the internet…Google.  Which led me to the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

There were definitely a lot of results, but few that were actually applicable to my question.  First was:  ‘consisting of or resembling a romance.’ (Um….duh!)  Then:  ‘having no basis in fact : imaginary.’  (Well that can’t be good.)  Next came:  ‘having an inclination for romance, followed by:  responsive to the appeal of what is idealized, heroic, or adventurous’ (Almost finished),  ‘marked by expressions of love or affection.  And finally:  conducive to or suitable for lovemaking.’

Well…

None of the definitions really matched up with my initial guesses, did they?  Nope.  Not a single mention of flowers, dancing or candlelight.  Would that, then, make them fall into the, ‘having no basis in fact:  imaginary,’ category?  Not if Hallmark, Russell Stover, Kay Jewelers and Hollywood are to be believed.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I think there are a lot of us who believe that the definition of romantic means something entirely different.  Not that gifts and dancing and intimate dinners aren’t nice.  I just think it’s so much more than that.

Having fun together is romantic.  Building a snowman, or walking in the surf on the beach with your jeans rolled up to your knees.  Acting like kids and swinging on the swings at the playground.  Feeding the ducks at the lake, or laughing at old movies together.

Showing consideration is romantic.  A timely massage when your significant other has a backache.  A shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold.  Really listening, which would include not letting it go in one ear and out the other.  In other words, remembering.  Then one of the most important things of all time, never ever forgetting to put the seat down when you leave the bathroom.  Especially in the middle of the night.  Trust me, midnight sitz baths are not romantic.  Not by any stretch of the imagination!

It’s not the extravagant things in life that are romantic, it’s the little things.  The hugs, the cuddling, the moments of quiet, comfortable togetherness that don’t require words.   Sitting on a blanket watching the sunset, or sharing a sundae in the park.  Having a tray of soup and crackers brought to you when you’re too sick to cook.

These are the things that I believe make a relationship strong and happy.  One that will endure.  These things are romantic.  In my opinion anyway.

I think Alan Jackson got the romance thing exactly right here.  The video is a little long, but this shows that living your life-together-is romantic.  Growing old with someone you love and have things in common with is romantic.  I get goose-bumps every time I watch this.

And now I have a question.

Let’s say you have several uninterrupted hours with the one, and it doesn’t matter if you’re married or single.  Other than the obvious, how could you spend that time in a way you would consider romantic?  I’m just curious because I’ve always had two visions of perfect romantic moments.  Though I imagine they would strike anyone else as dull and boring, they would work for me.

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The Best Laid Plans…

When I decided to devote Friday’s to other authors, it seemed simple enough.  Except it turns out that it’s not.  Last week I realize that I need to practice a little more because if I’m going to spotlight someone, I’d really like to do a good job of it.  So…

I’m changing up Fabulous Fridays just a bit.  I’ll still share with you authors I believe are worth checking out (via their blogs), but I think I just want to play with the theme a bit.  So bear with me please.  Let’s consider Fridays under construction.

And have a little fun while we’re at it.

This video is a favorite of mine, and I laugh every time I see it (which is more often than I should be watching it, I’m sure).  It is proof that some people will do anything for YouTube.  Be sure to listen for Muttley laughing in the background.

Now to my favorite blogs of the week…

Prudence MacLeod paints a lovely picture of life near the seashore in her blog, Things I Love #9 An Ocean View.  You can almost hear the gulls flying overhead as they look for their supper, and waves lapping up on shore.  I don’t know about anyone else, but it brings to mind family vacations at the lake when I was a kid.

And Lisa Hall-Wilson touched on a sensitive issue when she wrote, This is really about that.  How many times in our lives do we find ourselves upset about one thing, but it’s not really that thing we’re upset about as much as something else?  ‘This’ just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Until Monday, have a wonderful weekend!

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