Archive for the ‘#bloghop’ Tag

I Read It At the Supermarket Counter   Leave a comment

TabloidDo you read the trashy tabloids while you wait in line at the grocery store? What headlines grab your attention and why?

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3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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The simple answer is I don’t read tabloids, but that’s really not true. Many years ago, in a different career, when I was in journalism school, we were challenged to read the headlines in the tabloids and then to read a sampling of the articles to see if they related at all. While I don’t read the articles anymore, I still enjoy the headlines.

Tabloids are all about the headlines. They are the print version of click-bait and highly effective at getting our attention. I certainly hope the headline writers get paid at least as much as the article writers because they are so much better at their jobs.

While I really don’t care if Meaghan Markle’s father is involved in some sort of scandal, I do see those headlines and wonder, if only for a second, about the scandal. I don’t care enough to research it or google the new American princess, but it gets me interested for half a second … and it sells tabloids. I see a lot of people pulling them off the rack as we wait.

And, what really gets me is that sometimes these lurid headlines later turn out to be true. Because they’re not bound by the ethics that regular journalists pretend to subscribe to, tabloid writers follow stories that are bleeding edge and sometimes, they scoop the “real” news outlets by having it first.

Doesn’t mean I read them, but I do find that sort of interesting. I’m also rather amazed that in this era of electronic blogs, tabloids are still being sold, but … there again is the power of click-bait.

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Posted May 21, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Smorgasbord of Snacks   5 comments

Tell us about your top five junk foods or your top five healthy snacks.

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I grew up in a restaurant. My dad was a professional chef and my mother was a diner restaurant. So there was always a lot of good food around … or Dad was trying to poison us using us as his test kitchen. Ah, symmetry!

I’m pretty a pretty healthy eater and my top five healthy snacks are different kinds of fruit, sometimes with cheese. But I also really like this hummus spread I make with sour cream, two kinds of olives and red peppers. It can be used as a dip with chips or on thin toasted slices of my homemade bread.
Junk food, in no particular order, is —
French fries – I keep it simple with ketchup. I don’t add salt or pepper. I prefer crinkle cuts, but a deep-fried diner-fry works too.
Chocolate – I would probably run over little old ladies to get to chocolate. It could be dark or milk, but no nuts, crispies, toffee, etc. I just like the pure stuff.
Ice cream – Hotlicks (which is a local ice cream manufacturer) chocolate is my favorite and I could go all winter without any ice cream if it would keep Hotlicks opening every summer.  The chocolate in Hotlicks chocolate is multi-layered. You can taste the complexity and you end up feeling like a wine-snob as you compare it to the experience of some random stranger also enjoying a cone or a cup next to you.
Related imageRootbeer – technically, it’s a beverage, not a food, but it’s empty calories so I think it qualifies. I like the good gourmet rootbeers, preferably with a pronounced vanilla tone. Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox, Alaska, makes a great one that comes in growlers. We try to pick one up when we’re coming back from our land north-east of town.
Ambrosia Salad – fruit cocktail, apples, and bananas mixed in homemade whip cream (you can use Cool Whip, but I don’t). I also don’t add coconut as many recipes suggest, but that’s because I’m allergic. Nor do I add marshmallows, just because I don’t like them. This great holiday dish has got that ying-yang thing going. The fruit is healthy (I use fruit cocktail only because this is Alaska. You could get a better variety of fresh fruit if you live somewhere where fruit isn’t placed in suspended animation for a month before it arrives in the store). But then you turn this way-healthy snack into decadence by mixing it with whip cream.  I always make extra for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I (er, we) can eat it for a few days after.
Now go check out what my fellow writers have to say on the topic.

Posted May 14, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Musing on Common Themes   Leave a comment

May 7, 2018 – 5. A list of books that inspired your stories or feature similar themes

If you have an upcoming book release, this type of content offers a way to mindfully position this book while also drumming up interest from readers. Try rounding up a list of books that share commonalities with the one you’re launching — perhaps they inspired your writing, or approach similar themes and problems. Does your book focus on a specific time in history? Recommend a list of novels set in that same period. Or are you marketing your book as a hot summer read? Include your new book in the company of other novels that fit the bill.

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3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I’m at least three months out on my next book release, which will be Thanatosis (Book 4 of Transformation Project). Don’t worry, fantasy fans! I am still chipping away at Book 3 of Daermad Cycle.

So, I thought about books that might go with the apocalyptic theme. It was hard. So few apocalyptic books really focus on characters. It’s all about the Big Bad – the terrorism, the natural disaster, the biological outbreak that the characters are just paper cutouts to deal with — and so many of them devolve into prepper manuals. I started writing Transformation Project in part to redeem the genre. I wrote the books to show how it ought to be done.

Saturday evening I was thinking of not even participating in this blog hop because I just couldn’t come up with any books I would recommend — other than, once again, recommending William Fortschen’s John Matherson series — when Brad — who doesn’t read fiction — told me that Keirnan, our son, had told him about this book and I should check it out.

Loss Of Reason: A Thriller (State Of Reason Mystery, Book 1) by [Maxwell, Miles A.]In my books, New York City is one of the few big American cities that was not destroyed by a suitcase nuke. In Loss of Reason by Miles A Maxwell which is the first book of a three-book series, New York is the target of a nuclear attack. Ironic. But what brought me to the point of recommending it is that it focuses on the relationship of two brothers who are extremely different, but who both want desperately to save their sister who was in New York City when the bomb went off. And, that’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot.

It’s got a lot of action, but what sets it apart from most books in its genre is that it is focused on characters who are not major players in the world, but ordinary men who just get tossed into a situation that turns them into heroes. I liked it so much that I now will have to buy the other two books. Well worth the cost.

A Few Simple Things   2 comments

April 30, 2018 – A list of book-related gift ideas
Bicycle BookendsWhen writing is your profession or hobby, chances are you’ve received all sorts of bookish gifts from friends (or purchased them for yourself)! Whether it’s a book light that you love, a framed print of your favorite literary quote, or a pair of Hobbit-inspired socks, these accessories can serve as the start to a great blog post. Though this type of content can work all year round, we find the greatest success in December as book lovers start looking for holiday gift ideas.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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So, I wasn’t sure I was going to participate in this week’s blog hop because, frankly, gift-giving is not my love language. I also am a woman born with the male shopping gene and would prefer to fling myself off a cliff rather than shop for things that I don’t need.

But then I gave some thought to it and came up with some things people who know I am a reader have given to me.

Books, of course, are always welcome gifts. But what are some bookish gifts that aren’t books? Hmmm ….

My husband Brad loves candles and potpourri. Alaskan homes are closed up for about six months a year, so even though we clean, smells happen and so scented candles and potpourri or scented lantern oil makes a nice touch when you’re curled up with a book. We have oil lamps for power outages, but we also have a collection of candle lanterns and potpourri cookers. They provide gentle light and lovely scents and help set a relaxing mood. By the way, you can slice up an orange and put it in a pot on the woodstove and — oh, my!

A nice throw to curl up under is always welcome. My brother gave me this soft wool shawl a couple of years ago that is large enough for me to pull up my feet under and I just love it. He’s given me a lot of gifts over the years, but this one ranks really high on my list of favorites.

Of course, both of these items would go better paired with a nice cup of tea – black, please. Green tea tastes like lawn clippings to me, but black tea or an herbal are most welcome on cold winter nights reading by the woodstove.

Image result for metal bookmarkAlthough my bookcases are mostly full to the point where bookends are unnecessary, there’s always a few places where bookends that have an architectural or humorous twist would be most appreciated.

And then who doesn’t like a pretty metal bookmark that will last forever and you can pass on to your book-loving offspring?

 

Posted April 30, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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A Place Apart   1 comment

April 23, 2018 – Images of reading nooks or bookshelf designs.
Is there such a thing as a bookworm who doesn’t appreciate photos of cozy reading nooks or gorgeous bookshelves? We think not, and have found success rounding up these types of bookish images. Choosing a particular season or unifying theme helps to keep the content focused and repeatable, like outdoor reading nooks or DIY bookshelves. Pinterest and Instagram are great channels to repurpose this image-based content.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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1 Green and window

I have always wanted a reading nook, and when I was in high school, I actually did create a nook in a closet behind a knee wall in my bedroom. Of course, that house didn’t belong to me and the homes I’ve lived in subsequently have had them. Brad promises me that some day he’ll be finished with the restructuring of our house and the family room will end up with a window seat surrounded by bookshelves, with enough room to stretch and maybe a curtain across the front and, given that Brad is an electrician, adequate lighting.

For now, here are a couple of my dream nooks. I like the idea of books being close at hand, but I also like being able to look out a window. The one thing the first nook misses is a blanket. That’s an Alaskan thing, I think.

1 Wood beams and window

I’m not a fan of white – we see too much of it outside, but I like how this one is tucked back out of the room. It’s similar to one of Brad’s potential designs make us of a garreted-second story above our family room that really needs to be insulated better. His idea is that we could build out a nook under the garret. But mine would not be white.

3 Under stairs, blue, books

Before we moved to our current house 16 years ago, we lived for 18 years in 640 square feet, so I truly appreciate architecture that makes use of every inch, like this nook in a coworker’s basement that fits in under the stairs. My perfect noon has a window, but this is pretty cool and, not counting the books, cost him less than $1000 to build and furnish.

Image result for images of reading nooks

But there are so many nooks to choose from. Like this final one that I would quite happily curl up in with a good book. It’s got a window, lighting, a curtain to close out the world. I hope the books are right across the room. I can imagine being the heroine of a mystery, falling asleep behind the curtain and overhearing a critical conversation that leads her on a red herring goose chase that then leads her to the solution.

Whatever nook I might use, I can imagine sitting in any of these nooks not just with a book, but also with my laptop, my muse inspired by these awesome settings.

Posted April 23, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Now Showing … Let’s Not   Leave a comment

Don't be a snotApril 16, 2018 – A collection of bookish memes your audience can relate to.

Humor is a great way to connect with your audience, and positions itself as a highly-shareable content type. Is there a particular reading pet peeve you could create a narrative around? Or perhaps a favorite fandom your readers might enjoy, too? Pinterest is a great platform to find relevant images — just make sure to always credit back!

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Book v movieI hate movies made from books! Well, not really. I hate movies based on books where the director decided to ignore the book. I can actually enjoy a movie that doesn’t have every bit of dialogue, etc., in it, but more often than not, the difference is as  stark as the photo to your left. You know what I mean. You’ve read this beautiful lush novel filled with interesting characters and gorgeous details and you’re looking forward to the movie, but then it looks like the right half of the photo – dead, lifeless, missing most of its parts.

I feel so sorry for the other people in the movie theater … including my husband … because they’ll never know what they’re missing. They think the movie represents the book. They just didn’t have to “waste” a week after work reading it. Instead, they encapsulated it into a 1 hour and 46 minute dose of special effects and great costumes. They believe they got the better end of the deal when in fact they are consuming a picked-over meal. It’s like listening to a symphony on digital media and never realizing all the tones that are left out.

GoT North Remembers

Some directors do a better job than others. Peter Jackson left a few things from the Lord of the Rings book out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the overall quality wasn’t reduced. Walden Entertainment tries to stick with the book fairly faithfully. The Hunger Games books were written cinematically, so a lot of what was in the books made it into the movies. And, trust me, even with eight seasons and counting, the television series couldn’t get all of the Game of Thrones books onto the screen. Although I haven’t yet had opportunity to view beyond the first season, I think the series is well done and doesn’t “ruin” the books. It’s just that it’s definitely not the same thing as reading the novels.

Iceberg comparisonReally folks, watching the movie is honestly not the same as reading the book. It’s more like reading the Cliff notes. And, when I hear people say “Oh, yeah, I saw the movie and it was awful, why would I read the book?” I think, “because the movie is not the book and if you only knew that, you would enjoy it so much more.” There’s just so much we lose out on when we “sample” literary works by way of film rather than consume the real deal. I love well-done film, but far too often, film eviscerates a well-written book. In my perfect world, every book would have a companion movie done as well as the book and based on the book … which surprisingly does happen with movies that end up being novelized. I’m not sure why it works that way … maybe because novel writers can see what’s on screen and just describe it, but screenwriters feel that they can reimagine what they’ve read.

 

Maybe?

Now, there are exceptions to this “the book is almost always better” rule. I’ve read many a great book in my life in many wonderful genres, but one reason I’m writing Transformation Project is because the available apocalyptic books weren’t all that good while television was and is creating fantastic content. You know what I mean — The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, The Last Ship, The Colony, even Z Nation. Books deserve to be that good and so, since I couldn’t find many that lived up to that standard, I’m writing them. By the way, this is the last day of a 99-cent sale on each of the books in that series. You could pick up all three for less than one costs you at full price.

 

Posted April 16, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Feast for the Intellect   2 comments

April 9, 2018 – Recommend books to your readers in your genre(s).

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Of course, if you’re looking for books to read in my genres, you should check out my books or some of the fine authors over at Breakwater Harbor Books.

I am published in fantasy, apocalyptic and political satire, but I’ve also published short stories in alternative historical fiction.

In fantasy, I am a huge fan of Katharine Kerr’s Deverry series. Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle, King Raven Trilogy, and Celtic Crusades, Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series and Crossroads series, and pretty much all of Brandon Sanderson’s catalogue, but especially the Stormlight Archive, but I also really like my friend Dyane Forde’s Rise of the Papilion series and her most recent book Beserker. There are so many good books to choose from in this genre that it is really hard to narrow them down.

A Threatening Fragility Front CoverIn apocalyptic writing, I find there is less high-quality content. Too many books in this genre tend to fall into the trap of teaching people how to prep for disaster rather than focusing on the humanity of that disaster. That makes for really boring fiction. I admit, I watch this genre more on video because of that. But I really enjoy Willian Forstchen’s John Matherson series, which focuses on a community’s survival following an EMP. Since seeing the movie World War Z, I have started to read the book by Max Brooks and I recommend it more highly than I do the movie, which was well-done. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart in 1949 is a great post-apocalyptic, worthy of the detour, but the seminal novel of the apocalyptic genre is On the Beach by Nevil Shute, which is why I quoted from it in the first book of my Transformation Project series.

As for political satire, I think humor is a very subjective thing, so I’m merely going to recommend my own Hullabaloo on Main Street. As for alternative historical fiction, I’ve got a nice anthology that might interest you. Yes, my story is in Echoes of Liberty, but the book is also a great taste-treat of alternative historical fiction in bite-sized pieces.

 

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