Huzzizzle of the Realm - February 2016 UR News #amreading

Check out these awesome new reads from the authors of UR!

(Book #1 of The Sasquatch Susies)

Suzetta Hughes has it bad for gorgeous forest guide Rayce Webb, but her best friend already called dibs on him. He hasn’t shown interest in anyone other than Suzetta, though. Clearly that means the claim is canceled, right? But after Suzetta shares more than a kiss with him by the river, everything goes wrong. Suzetta flees into the woods alone, leaving behind both her pissed friend and a hot guy who’s actually attracted to her. And exploring a potential Sasquatch hideout only makes things worse—and more dangerous.

Buy the book:

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Heart in a Box by Catherine Stine

Joss Olstad wins the fight to switch from her private school to a public high to “find her pieces” she lost when the Indian artist father she never knew died. There, Joss struggles with a slutty friend, who flirts with her new love, club girls who press her on her shady past, as well as her stoner mother’s lies back at home. Armed only with her handmade heart boxes that hold private messages, Joss’s search for identity leads her to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.
9+ weeks in Amazon Top 100 Teen & Alternative Family
“Found myself completely intrigued!” - Go Read a Book
“Really moving” - 5 Girls Book Review

Coming soon from Catherine, Witch of the Cards!
(paranormal historical suspense)
Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late. 
Join the Facebook launch party with a huge lineup of guest authors for fun & games on March 23 right here.

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FABLE RANGER: SUMMONS (an MG fairy tale mash up)

Take care of what you wish for. You just might get it.

Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get anymore unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s change in wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and - oh the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother is kidnapped.

Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. She also discovers she isn’t the hero they would accept. In the world of fairy tales, damsels are meant to swoop in to save the day.

Now all Casey wants is to go home, a wish easy to grant if the veil between worlds weren’t on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can help open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail placed on her head. Casey refuses to fail knowing it would allow the legends of Arabian Nights to disappear forever and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.

(Available February 23rd) Buy link: Amazon

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Why I Love My Smart Phone

You know that useless piece of electronic junk that everyone carries around in their pocket or purse? You know what I'm talking about. Your cell phone, smart phone, a.k.a. mobile. I used to curse a lot whenever I tried to make a phone call with mine. I've heard you can make and receive phone calls with these devices, but only if you keep them fully charged. I never bothered to charge mine so the power bar was always in the red or nonexistent when the battery plummeted to absolute zero.

A year ago, my feelings for my smart phone changed. I charged it every day. I carried it around with me, even in the house. What led to such an amazing reversal? No, I didn't find I suddenly had more people to talk to. I discovered a secret, the true purpose of a smart phone. Because they fit neatly in your pocket and have a headphones jack, they are the perfect vehicle for listening to audio books. It's like they were made for our listening pleasure.

But, but audio books are expensive, you say. Get yourself the Overdrive app (it's free). Log into your library and start listening (for free), all from the comfy confines of your home. No more squinting at call numbers. No more crawling on the floor to see the books on the bottom shelf. No more fines as audio books are returned automagically when they're due.

Do you hate doing mundane tasks to keep your house running? With audio books plugged into your mobile phone, chore time is transformed into reading time. Fun time! Fight with Shelob while you load the dishwasher. (Just don't throw plates at her.) Dodge bludgers while restocking the linen closet. Imagine how much more reading time you'll have and how many more books you can plow through.

Now, if I can just figure out how to disable the phone part of my smart phone, I'll enter book nirvana. There's nothing more annoying than a ringtone when you're deep into an exciting story.

Have you discovered the many joys of audio books?


Why Write

When I began my writing adventure I really didn't know what I was in for, or what would actually become of it. I just knew I had a story to tell and I wanted to get it down on paper, and then eventually a computer.

A tale had exploded from my head and after many revisions, rewrites, editing, and a year or so later, I had my first novel. I'm paraphrasing here because I don't want to bore you with my task of the endless query process and depressing rejections. Let's approximate, it took...a while before I signed a contract.

I didn't go to college. I didn't take creative writing courses. I didn't know the first thing about writing. But, I was a voracious reader. I find it a pleasant diversion of humdrum life to venture into a variety of fantastic novels. 

Now ~ a few books and years later, I've learned quite a bit about grammar, pronouns, adverbs and adjectives (which I tend to overindulge in) and needless to say I'm still at the learning stages. Like life, I believe writing is an everyday learning process.

Then comes the unceasing and mindboggling marketing, promotions, and not only book promos, but promoting yourself as an author. Then after all that, book sales go into the dumpster. To get books into the public eye through promo newsletters, its beneficial to sell your baby at the low price of 99 cents. All that hard work for pennies seems ludicrous. Kindle ebooks, if you're an indie or self-published author are generally priced between $2.99 - $4.99, and I believe that's a steal.

It would be awesome to make scads of money for our novels, or have our books be a main source of income, but that's highly uncommon. Only if you're J.K. Rowlings, James Patterson, Stephen King .... etc... and/or happen to get your book made into a movie, then you might be swimming in dough. If your writing a novel and hoping for riches and notoriety,  then you'll be disappointed if that's your expectations. 

Usually between the revisions and the unceasing edits, I'm not a happy camper. I realize editing puts the varnish and shine on our books, but I start to dislike re-reading my words a gazillion times.  

After all my complaining and thinking about the arduous task of writing a novel, I'm asking myself....

Why do I write? 

I've been asking myself that question a lot lately. Definitely not for the money. 

I finally realized something! 

Last week I was adding words to my WIP, and I found myself smiling. Yes, I was smiling ~ because I liked it. I enjoyed the fantasy world I was creating. I liked being transported to another place and time just like when I'm reading. And, I have learned a few things. My style and grammar and punctuations are getting easier to handle.

Will I continue on my writing journey? 

For now, I can't seem to stop the stories from drilling into my skull, at least for the time being. It's a dream to be bigger and better, but I must remember to just write the best that I can ~ to entertain readers, and myself.

If you're an aspiring author, 
write what makes you happy! 

And write for the Love of it!!


Review for Salem's Daughters by Stephen Tremp #paranormal

Following the loss of their promising careers, Bob and Debbie Stevens embark upon opening a bed and breakfast. Their savings depleted and desperate for cash, Bob reluctantly allows Debbie's meddling grandparents to co-sign a three million dollar loan. They purchase a burned down property on twenty five acres in scenic rural southern Michigan and builds Murcat Manor.

Rumors of curses and ghosts haunt the property’s reputation. But the history of two previous houses burning to the ground killing nineteen people do not deter Bob and Debbie from their dream: raising a family while earning a living with one of the few bed and breakfasts in the entire region.

During construction, the Stevens adopt thirteen kittens found in the rubble of the property. The cats are possessed by disembodied souls from daughters of witches put to death during the Salem Witch Trials. Each cat possesses a unique ability, and together they bring terror and death to the guests of Murcat Manor.

With each killing bringing more cancellations, Bob has to get creative. Burdened with massive debt, he devises inventive ways to allure new guests in order to keep up the payments. But the malevolent felines have five previous lives, spanning four centuries, of deviltry and murdering practice to draw on. Their vast experience now enhanced with the use of modern technology, they devise cagey ways to keep killing, including leaving evidence at the scene for detectives to believe Bob and Debbie are the perpetrators.
My review:
Bob and Debbie Stevens are a young couple down on their luck. On a picnic one sunny day, they discover a property perfect for a future Bed & Breakfast. Even Debbie's grandparents agree and they co-sign a multi-million dollar loan to have the grand Murcat Manor built. The Stevens adopt thirteen kittens found on the property and ignore the animals' strange behavior as well as the dark history of the property. The cats are possessed by the souls of the daughters of the witches killed during the Salem Witch Trials, and they thirst for revenge. Each cat has their own special ability and each of them wants to cause more than just plain mischief. As the deaths pile up, the Stevens have to find a way to keep the B&B booked and dodge two cops who have a vendetta against them. Will Bob and Debbie find out who is really responsible for the killings, or will they be put away for life if the can survive the cats' fury?

A wonderfully written paranormal tale that will raise the hair on your arms and wonder what will happen next. Great tension building and lots of surprises. My favorite part was the great descriptions. I could vividly picture Murcat Manor in my mind with all its unique rooms and the people (and cats!) that reside and visit there. I wasn't drowned by long paragraphs of descriptions, but it was nicely dispersed throughout.

There's a huge cast of characters, and sometimes it was difficult to remember who was who with the cats. Bob and Debbie had incredible depth. They're your ordinary young couple and yet circumstances make them something much more. While I could see how some would describe Bob as boring, he has an immense strength and smarts. Debbie might seem a little wild, but she's just as admirable as her husband. Erma and Ross made me smile too.

Highly recommended to fans of mysteries and paranormals.

Buy the book here:

Find out more about Stephen Tremp on his blog!


Groundhogs, Badgers, and Bears, Oh My!

Have you ever wondered about the origins of Groundhog Day? How could a rodent make us believe it can predict the weather, inspire grand celebrations, and bring us one of the best Bill Murray movies of all time?

Going back centuries, we find part of its beginnings in European weather lore. Except they believed a hibernating bear was the creature to look to for a prediction. Now imagine what it would be like if America had adopted a bear instead of a groundhog as their meteorologist. Bear Day? Bill Murray certainly wouldn't be driving around in a truck with one.

Groundhog Day also bears similarities to the ancient Pagan celebration of Imbolc. It is a time for feasting and celebrating the lengthening of days. They looked to badgers and serpents for their weather predictions. Badger Day or Serpent Day? Nope, honey badger doesn't want anything to do with that.

While the U.S. adopted Groundhog Day in 1887, Alaska celebrates Marmot Day because they have very few groundhogs in the state. Yes, those ground squirrels are cute, but Marmot Day doesn't have quite the same ring as Groundhog Day.

In a time of satellites and radar, many people still look to animals to predict our weather. No matter how far we've come technologically, we're still a superstitious lot. Even when the groundhog is right less than half the time, especially in recent years.

Don't go making plans based on how the half-awake animals behave. Instead, spend today watching Groundhog Day over and over and over and over again. It will be a better use of your time.