Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

With the movie coming out soon (and the LGBT controversy swirling around it, keeping it in the news), I decided to read ENDER'S GAME, a book my oldest son has been trying to get me to read for years. It's one of his all-time favorites. But I resisted when he mentioned "video gaming" several times in his descriptions. Not my cup of tea.

But Harrison Ford? Yeah, I'll go see that.

(And about the controversy due to the author's hard-line anti-gay marriage stance? He's wrong. Marrying the person you love should be everyone's right. Everyone. Time will prove just how wrong as gay and lesbian marriages become more accepted throughout society.)

Okay, Book Blurb first (courtesy of Goodreads):

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Published July 15th 1994 by Tor Science Fiction (first published January 1985)
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

My Take:

My sons both insisted that I read this novel - my oldest boy read it "at least 5 times," he says. As we're looking forward to the upcoming movie, I read the book. And enjoyed the book. Not enough to read it again (or 5 times) but enough to totally recommend it.

We meet Ender Wiggin when he is 6 years old, right before "They" come to take him away to Battle School. The book is set in an undetermined time in the future, after there has already been interstellar battles with bug-like alien creatures (I pictured it kind of like Starship Troopers, but at least those kids were high school graduates. Ender and his cohorts were all pre-pubescent.)

The Earth is under attack, and the military is seeking leaders who can defeat the alien forces. Genius-level children are recruited to train in battle tactics and learn to be commanders, and training occurs mainly through the use of simulators - video games.

My sons are gamers; I am not. The "games" play a vital and central role in the storyline. This is also a boy-centric book, with few female characters. I hate to say something as simple as "it's a boy book," but I think in general young male readers will get more enjoyment from this story than young female readers.

Despite the high levels of violence throughout, there is also a huge emphasis on morality and the conflict of conscience created by war, battle, and self-defense. The author does an exquisite job of walking a razor-fine line through this minefield, leaving the reader to ponder his meanings and wonder if war is ever the answer.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Let's Talk About Pirates

Blogger Book Fair is all about supporting new authors, indie authors, and the community of bloggers, readers and reviewers who love them. Giveaways, Rafflecopeters, Prizes, Free Ebooks... all of these things are the authors giving back to their readership, supporting the community and each other.

So why do some people feel the need to ruin it?

There are sites and Facebook pages giving away free copies of books without the knowledge or consent of the authors or their publishers. There's a word for that.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *  * ~ *  ~ * ~ * ~ *


  1. The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
  2. A similar practice in other contexts, esp. hijacking.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *  * ~ *  ~ * ~ * ~ *

Book Piracy is a serious problem for authors, especially indie authors who don't make a whole lot of money to start with. Maybe JK Rowling doesn't mind if her books appear on ebook pirate sites - or, more likely, she has a team of lawyers at her disposal who look for and deal with this kind of thing for her. Those of us just starting out have to rely on Google Alerts and the kindness of others to alert us when our books are being stolen.

Piracy is stealing.

When an author or publisher DECIDES to reduce the price of a book, that's one thing. When an author decides to GIVE AWAY COPIES of their book in a contest, that's the author's choice. Most authors routinely give away ebook copies to reviewers, bloggers, and contest winners. But when someone ELSE decides to post that book for free... well, that's not only rude, it's illegal.

Should this make authors wary about sending out copies of their ebooks to bloggers and reviewers? Should it make authors think twice before offering free copies as contest prizes, worrying that the winner will turn around and post the book somewhere illegal?

I hope not. I enjoy receiving books for review, and feel I'm helping my fellow authors by posting my honest reviews. I'm happy that some great bloggers posted reviews of my book on their sites, as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. But just like in elementary school, some bad apples spoil it for everyone.

What can we in the Blogger/Author/Reader community do to combat piracy?

First, DON'T DOWNLOAD FREE EBOOKS FROM QUESTIONABLE SITES. If an author wants her book to be available for free or 99 cents, chances are that sale is going on at Amazon, or Smashwords, or at the publisher's website. As much as you may want to read that book for free, it's not the right thing to do if it's not what the author intended.

Second, LET THE AUTHOR KNOW HIS/HER BOOK IS BEING PIRATED. This rant is here today because I just spent yesterday dealing with a book pirate site. I wouldn't have even known about it, except that 3 other wonderful authors contacted me and let me know my book was being pirated. Authors need to stick together in combating piracy.

Third, PURSUE YOUR RIGHTS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. If you aren't sure how to get your book taken down, ask. Post in a forum. Ask your publisher. Ask your author friends. We may not all have JK Rowling's team of lawyers, but we have each other.

Thanks for listening to my rant. If you have comments on this topic you want to share, please leave a comment - especially if it will help others. The only pirate I want to blog abut going forward is Johnny Depp...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Chatting with.... Eliza Tilton

Blogger Book Fair lasts all week long! Have you clicked the link on the left of my page to visit the main website? There are hundreds of authors and bloggers participating, and there's even a listing of FREE and 99 cent books available just through this Blogfest! Pretty Cool, right? Don't forget to check it out. 

But first, I'm pleased to welcome author Eliza Tilton to my blog today! Hi, Eliza! Give a brief bio and tell us what kind of books you like to read and write.

I went to college for graphic design and wrote stories for fun. When I became pregnant with my son, I decided to get serious about writing and finish the novel I had been working on. I’ve always had a heart for adventure, which probably started with my obsession of Choose Your Own Adventure novels. My stories reflect that love. For my book release, I wrote a CYOA that takes place in Tarrtainya (the fantasy world of my book) and did a CYOA blog hop. It was a lot of work, but a ton of fun. You can check out the page on my website.

Cool! I've never really read any CYOA - can't wait to check it out! So...What's your favorite part of being an author?

The writing. A scene will pop into my head and I can envision what everything looks like. Being able to transfer those images into a story someone can read, blows my mind.

What's your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

I’ll have a basic outline and the important scenes mapped out, but the rest, I create as I go. Also, I write in scenes, then put them together like a puzzle. It tends to get a bit disorganized, I really should try Scrivener, but it’s the best way for me to work. Jumping around helps those creative juices flow! I have a binder where I keep all my facts, notes, character bios and a world map.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation, because I’m lazy . . . Have you ever been out late, stuck in heels, and all you can think about is your nice, soft bed? Well, how awesome would it be if you could teleport straight into bed! My husband thinks it’s stupid, but I’m sticking with my decision.

Totally not stupid. (In fact, that's what I would choose, too!)

Tell us about your latest release!
BROKEN FOREST is a YA Fantasy, released in May 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Hopeless he'll never be more than the boy who didn't save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest.

With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

His shape-shifting brethren feed off the auras of humans, and Jeslyn's golden hue is exactly what Lucino needs to increase his power. The longer it takes Avikar to reach her, the more entranced she becomes with Lucino's world, and the harder it will be for Avikar to set her free.

He failed his family once. He won't fail again.

Okay, you’re casting the movie version of your novel – who would you choose for the main characters? We’re talking dream cast.

The novel is told from three alternating perspectives: Avikar, Jeslyn and Lucino.

Avikar (Logan Lerman): I needed someone with a boyish charm, sweet on the eyes and who had a lean, athletic build, and who could hide his fears and doubts behind a smile.

Lucino (Ed Skrein): This bad boy was the hardest. I needed a villain who was charismatic, snarky with a big ego, while still being likable. Enter in season three of GOT. I saw Ed playing Daario Naharis and knew he was my perfect Lucino.

Jeslyn (Imogen Poots): Jeslyn is a classic beauty. I wanted a girl who could be innocent, vulnerable, and strong.  Her looks were specific because Lucino is picky when it comes to women. She was a tough cast.

Sounds like a great cast! Where can readers find your book and where can they find you online?

Eliza Tilton is the author of the YA Fantasy, BROKEN FOREST, published by Curiosity Quills Press. You can find her blogging about video games and writing on her blog and doing bi-weekly posts on author media over at YAStands.

She graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Writing Wednesday:What is Blogger Book Fair Anyway?

If you're visiting from Blogger Book Fair - Welcome to my page! I posted author interviews from some very interesting Book Fair YA authors on Monday and Tuesday - Marshall Best and Maren Dille were awesome to interview! - and Eliza Tilton's interview  is coming up tomorrow...

But I thought I'd take a minute to talk about the Book Fair itself, for other readers who are wondering... what the heck is going on?

Blogger Book Fair is only in it's second year, and has already attracted hundreds of authors and bloggers - with 17 different contests authors could enter, sponsored by different blogs, reviews, interviews, free and reduced price books only available through the Book Fair... and Reader's Choice Awards. (We'll get to those in a minute.)

Kayla Curry is the organizer extraordinaire, and has been doing a great job of keeping everyone organized and on target. (I'll bet she's already planning on making it a team effort for next year, kind of like the A-to-Z Challenge team...)

The first Blogger Book Fair was held in June 2012 and organized like a blog hop. The plan is to hold an online Fair every six months to showcase authors and their books. Participating blogs will have giveaways, discounts, and other events you can't find anywhere else.

As for the Awards.... With each Blogger Book Fair, every book entered is entered in 1 to 3 categories, depending on genre of the book. Categories must have at least three books competing. Voting takes place during the fair and the winners for each category will receive a web badge and a permanent place on the Book Fair page!

The BBF Reader's Choice Awards are hosted by Sheri on the Shut Up and Read blog.

Authors are allowed to campaign for your books! Get the word out there and tell your readers to vote! So, umm, this is me telling you (cajoling you, begging you...) to go vote for SON OF A MERMAID in the Fantasy and YA categories. I would loooooove to have that BBF badge on my website!!

Here's how it will work:
1. Each book will be listed by categories according to the information given by the author.

2. Anyone and everyone can stop by the Shut Up & Read blog between July 22 and July 25 and vote via blog poll for their favorite book. You can vote for one book from each category. Each IP address can only vote once for each category.

3. Votes will be tallied and winner for each category announced on the last day of the book fair, July 26.

4. Category winners will receive a book fair winner web badge to proudly display on their blog.

Any questions? So... first, go vote (for my book!) and then check out the incredible stuff going on around the blogosphere with this Book Fair! Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Chatting with.... Maren Dille

Blogger Book Fair continues! 

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Maren Dille as my guest, while I'm off talking about myself and my new book... (somewhere else)
Hi, Maren! Thanks for being my guest today! Tell us a bit about yourself and what kind of books you like to read and write.

I'm Maren, a mom, musician, dog-lover, thriftier, and writer. I enjoy reading almost anything, as long as it's intriguing, well written, and has a satisfying ending. The same goes for my tastes as an author. My current publications range from YA fantasy to middle grade readers, with my WIP's exploring a sci-fi and NA genre.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

The freedom of creating and controlling your own story.

What's your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow? 

A mixture of both. I have a hard time planning out all the details of a story until I start writing and have a good handle on my characters. Usually I get lost halfway through, then spend a while plotting until it's solved. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 

It changes all the time, but once I became a mom, I just wished I could have stretching abilities like the guy from Fantastic Four. 

Tell us about your latest release!

The Faith and Fate of David Ghent, a YA fantasy novel, chronicles the end of earth from a young man's perspective that is assigned the task of defeating the Devil. Part romance and part action and adventure, it's a fun telling of a coming-of-age story.

Okay, you’re casting the movie version of The Faith and Fate of David Ghent. Who would you choose for the main characters? We’re talking dream cast.

Dean Geyer for David, Maggie Grace for Layla, Patrick Wilson for Nathaniel, Eric Bana for Karael, Paul Bettany for Puriel, Carrie Ann Moss for Ramiala.

Mmm, Eric Bana and Paul Bettany! I'd watch that movie! So...Where can readers find your book and where can they find you online?

You can learn more about me at, and buy all my books online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Here are all Maren's links so you can stalk her find her online...

Here's a little more about Maren's books... because you know you're still curious...

Book Blurbs:
The Faith and Fate of David Ghent:
In the Lucen city dwell the descendants of Righteous and Fallen angels. Kept hidden from the rest of Earth and governed directly by Heaven, each descendant is given a chance to prove themself loyal to Heaven, and obtain salvation. For most, the task is encouraging and fair, but for David, it’s devastating. David Ghent has waited twenty-one years to fulfill a prophecy foretelling the destruction of Lucifer’s power on Earth and Heaven, saving himself and the entire world from Hell’s power. His training is complete, the city prepared. As the battle commences, the city’s most beloved daughter, Layla, suddenly appears at the Hellgate. David is then faced with an impossible choice: fulfill the prophecy, or save her life. The consequences David faces after choosing Layla force him to question his entire life, and his loyalty to Heaven. As the aftermath of failure unfolds, David discovers that the real battle against Lucifer has just begun.
The Treehouse:

Ten-year-old Artie and his friends love two things: Molly Martin, and baseball. They are terrified of exactly two things: Molly Martin, and Old Lady Farnsworth, Artie's crochety elderly neighbor. When their baseball is stolen by Old Lady Farnsworth, Artie and his friends embark on a secret mission to steal it back. But they can't do that without the help of Molly Martin, and she's got her own set of likes and dislikes. Join Artie and his friends on the greatest summer adventure of their ten-year-old lives.
A Tale of Two Cemeteries:
It's 2012 in Deadworld, and the ghosts are hungry for a good human haunting. All Charlie Quinn wants to do is keep his cemetery in business and live a normal, honest ghost life. But Julian McNabb, the ruthless owner of the cemetery across the street, always seems to steal his business.

All of that changes when a teenage pop sensation dies and joins Charlie's cemetery, and Charlie discovers that Julian's success has come by some costly means. It's up to Charlie's haunting company and their new employee to keep their business afloat, and stop Julian from taking any more lives.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Chatting with... Marshall Best

Welcome to the first day of Blogger Book Fair, an online event involving hundreds of authors from around the world! The idea is to highlight new and up-and-coming authors.

My guest today is Marshall Best, whom I just "met" earlier this month through this event. He writes sweeping epic tales that sound simply incredible! Meanwhile, I'm over at his place chatting about my latest book, Son of a Mermaid, and hundreds of other authors are out and about chatting about their books... explore the book fair and have fun meeting some interesting new authors this week!

Welcome, Marshall! Give a brief bio and tell us what kind of books you like to read and write.

My wife, Tracey, and I have six great children ages 5-17.  I live in Fishers, IN.  I have learned to play piano, marimba and bagpipes, love airplanes, target shooting, fishing and writing.  Mostly writing.

I am the grandson of the founder of Best Lock Corporation and served there as VP of Manufacturing. The Best family is no longer involved and I now own my own business, Marshall Best Security Corporation, which competes against the old company. I have a great Best Lock memorabilia collection and occasionally speak at lock collectors meetings. It is a great heritage. If you cut me, I bleed locks. 

I love history. My usual fare is autobiographies of WW I and WW II pilots, snipers, tankers. I also like all the Tom Clancy type novels.

I've read a boatload of ancient writers such as Diodorus Siculus, Pliny the Younger, and the Geography of Strabo from the Loeb Classical Library. As I read those, I made a note whenever something interesting was brought up, and I’ve made great use of these notes in writing this series. 

What's your favorite part of being an author?

I love the peaceful, totally focused writing time. Writing is like putting together a giant mental jigsaw puzzle. When I’m writing, I like to write for an extended time so the thought flow is continuous and connected. The words just seem to flow from my pen.

When I come to a point that needs further research, I draw an underline in my text and go on, keeping the momentum up on the rest of the text. To avoid writer’s block, I’ll jump ahead from one section of the book and write another. When I have several of these fleshed out, I’ll come back, place them in the appropriate section of text and then write the transition. 

I really enjoy writing about the ancient gods, particularly from Rome and Greece, telling their stories more in line with how the ancients believed than with such distortion that is shown in popular movies today.

I also like the wisdom and philosophy parts where I can “wax eloquent.”

What's your approach to writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Guiamo began as “go with the flow,” but as the books developed, it has become more structured, though not to the point of formal outlines.  I do know there will be nine books. 

I’m now in Book 5 and I have pages and pages of notes of points to cover, genealogies, calendars to lay out key events and the like.  What drives me nuts is that I can’t keep everything in my head, but what author can?  When I write something that reflects on previous text, I have to go back and research the details.  Oh bother.  However, I know where I need to go in the plots of the remaining books. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d be Tax-Immunity Man!  Soaring through the stratosphere spreading prosperity across America!

Tell us about your latest release!

I released the first four books simultaneously. Following Guiamo is Cúmóro, and the third book is Mórlános. Book four is entitled Inis Emain Ablach. The beginning is set in 50 B.C. Ireland. Here Guiamo really gets involved in the secrets of the gods. Let’s just say the gods are not too happy with Guiamo.


In 60 B.C., ten-year-old Guiamo Durmius Stolo, an exceptionally gifted Roman orphan, is abandoned in Gaul. Left to fend for himself, Guiamo is set onto a path of legend. Recognized by the gods as having world-changing talents, he is given a weapon that changes his destiny and the world's forever.

Combining legitimate legends with actual historical events, Marshall Best weaves an epic story that portrays the ancient world as it might have been, a world which the ancient historians recorded as fact; a time when gods ruled the earth and strange creatures dominated the land. It is the era of civilized conquerors exploring distant and primitive new lands. Scant recordings left to us today by ancient writers only touch on the fringe of the fantastic and brutal reality that existed in those distant lands of the west. Into this age, young Guiamo enters the world stage as the great game-changer, and by his hand the gods and beasts become destined to disappear into myth and legend.

Okay, you’re casting the movie version of your novel – who would you choose for the main characters? We’re talking dream cast.

I don’t claim to have any great knowledge of acting skills and don’t follow most actors, but here goes...

Guiamo would be played by a child actor, of course, in the beginning of the story and he goes from being 10 to about 15 by the end of book one.  I don’t have a child actor in mind for this key role. The fisherman Gabinius would be John Hurt, aged, weathered, experienced and full of simple, but profound wisdom. Now, Guiamo’s best friend, Ursius, isn’t much older than he is, but I’d love to see him played by Channing Tatum in the later books in this series. He’s a man’s man and comes across as a natural leader of men.   

My choice for the arms merchant Gabinius would be Liam Neeson.  He could play this role well as the war-wise veteran who has many things to teach Guiamo in a no-nonsense way.  The bandit leader Actus would be Tommy Flanagan, rough, road weary and burdened, but strong.  The lame-legged counselor Suadusegus could be played by Derek Jacobi, though he’d be better as the Druid Abartach in later books.  Susama, the Druid wife of Suadusegus might well be played by Helen Mirren.  And of course, a cameo appearance by yours truly and my son, William.

Very cool cast (and I love Channing Tatum!) So, Where can readers find your book and where can they find you online?

You can purchase GUIAMO:

You can find Marshall online at


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Release Day Blitz for Kary Rader and A TAYLOR MADE LIFE

Today is RELEASE DAY for my friend Kary Rader's brand new romance, A TAYLOR-MADE LIFE.

She is very excited about this book, as it is near and dear to her heart, and I'm so happy to help her spread the word - AND share an excerpt! First, let me give you the blurb...

About the Book:

They lived the life they were given; they loved the life they made.

Cheerleader Taylor Smith doesn’t want to die a virgin. Unfortunately, if the terminally-ill leukemia patient doesn't find a lover or a stem-cell match within months, her fear will become reality. When her cancer mentor is revealed to be a hottie entrepreneur from California, it seems fate might finally be on her side.

Tech-geek Gavin Taylor has everything he ever wanted, except someone to grieve for him when he's gone. With his melanoma cancer beyond the help of his riches, he agrees to participate in a cancer patient mentoring program where he's matched with a dying teen from Texas. Despite his immediate attraction, the Silicon Valley whiz intends only to provide friendship and happy memories to the beautiful, young woman who is determined to win his love.

When it's discovered that his frozen sperm and her harvested eggs could lead to a cure, Taylor's mother offers to be a surrogate. And Gavin must decide if he can risk the heart he has never given and a child he'll never know to a girl he just met.
* * * ~ * * *

My blood rushed hot through my veins like a West Texas brush fire as Gavin pulled into the driveway and parked.

We were perfect together. Couldn’t he see that? When I’d asked about the matchmaker, I thought for sure he would sweep me off my feet and carry me away. He hadn’t.

He turned off the ignition and twisted in his seat to face me. “I had a great time the last three days.”

“Me, too.” I lifted my gaze to look at him, to really look at him. God, he was gorgeous, smart, fun, but also sweet and kind. Panic made me want to latch on to him and not let go. I’d rather get an IV in my eyeball than let him leave. I loved him. I always would.

He stared at back at me, his eyes misting with some emotion I couldn’t name. He was breathing heavily, too heavily. I didn’t move. I knew this game—the first one to blink loses.

Kiss me. Please kiss me.

His hand twitched. My lips parted, and I quietly gasped.

Finally, he closed his eyes, whistled out a long breath, and got out of the car.

I wasn’t about to give up yet.

He walked around and opened my door, offering his hand. I clasped it and yanked myself from the seat so quickly that I collided with his chest. He dropped my hand and jumped back like I’d burnt him.

I slapped my palm against my thigh. “What is your problem? Am I so repulsive you can’t stand to accidentally touch me?”

His face paled, and his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. “No. Of course not. It’s late. I’m sorry.”

It’s late? What kind of lame excuse was that? My shoulders sagged as he swiftly ushered me to the door. I tried to smile hopefully. “You wanna come in?”

He eyed me up and down then shook his head like he was trying to remove a bug clinging to his ear. “I better go. I have an early flight tomorrow.”

“So that’s it, then? You’re just gonna leave?” Everything inside me fell to my toes.
He smiled sympathetically. My hands fisted. Slapping the pacifying expression off his face crossed my mind. “Hey. It won’t be that bad.” He reached out to brush my arm but let his fingers fall short. “We’ll talk on the phone, and maybe you and your Mom can come for a visit in a few weeks.”

He leaned to kiss my cheek, but I stuck my fingers over his lips. His mouth was soft and warm. Heat spread from my fingers into my arm and through my body. I pulled my hand away so I could concentrate. I was not about to let this end here. “I don’t want a kiss on the cheek, Gavin.”

“I understand.” He held out his hand for me to shake. Captain Oblivious.
I crinkled my nose and frowned. “No. You don’t understand. I want a kiss, but not on the cheek.”
He rubbed a palm across his forehead. “Taylor, we’ve gone over this.”

“No, we haven’t. You’re leaving and—let’s face it—I’ll never see you again. You know it, and I know it.” My voice broke. I stood tall and continued, “You came here to mentor me, take me on a few outings, and give me happy memories. You’ve done that. But I’m asking for one last thing.” I twirled my hair and met his gaze. “I want a real kiss.”

He started shaking his head before I’d even finished. “No.”
Crud-ola! “Why not?”

“Taylor, you know the answer. I told you from the beginning. It’s not appropriate.”

He hadn’t said he didn’t want to. I glared at him and decided to pull out the big guns. “It’s one harmless kiss, Gavin, and it’s a dying girl’s wish.”

His jaw twitched. “That’s not fair, and you know it.”
“Fair? Are we talking about fair now? What’s not fair is that I’ll never get married or have children or even be in love. You’re all I get.” I waved my hand between us. “This is all I get.”

He set his jaw stubbornly, but his eyes betrayed him. “I’ve offered you what I’m willing to give.”

Tears stung my eyes. Damn it. I hated crying, but I couldn’t help it. He’d hit the nail. “You’re no better than those doctors offering me another round of chemo, knowing it won’t do any good and would only make me weaker, sicker.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Well, I won’t settle for less. I’m settling for too little as it is.” I swiped at my stupid tears. My pulse pounded. I was fighting with everything I had. “How many women have you been with?”

He squinted in apparent disbelief. “What kind of question is that?”
I stamped my foot. “How many?”

He almost yelled it at me. “A few.”

“Do you remember how it felt to be with them? To love them? Would you trade those memories because a few people said it wasn’t okay?”

He darted his gaze around the front yard, shifting his weight from side to side. Even in the dim light of the porch I could see his mind working through possibilities, making him uncomfortable.

“There’s no one out there in the dark to tell you it’s okay. You have to decide.” I pressed on. “What memory do you want to leave me with? What memory do you want to take? Is it really such a sickening thought? Just one kiss.”

He stared back at me with a wildness that scared me. My heart drummed a xylophone chord across my ribs.


I locked in on his gaze and stepped toward him. “Tonight you get to decide what you can live with—or without. I’m asking for one moment.”

Stopping inches from him, I absorbed the tension like a thirsty towel. Electric sparks flew between us. The only sounds were our shallow breaths.

Softly, I went in for the kill. “A kiss goodnight. Is it really too much, Gavin?”
* * * ~ * * *
You can buy A Taylor-Made Life here!

Kary is also hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway on her blog at, starting today and ending July 23. The winner will be announced July 24 on her Facebook page. (Open to US residents only)
About Kary Rader:
Kary Rader is a part-time Twitter sage, stay-at-home mother of three, and slave to the characters and worlds inside her head. Always creative, she's drawn to stories with fantastical worlds and creatures. With a little bit of magic and divine guidance, there isn't anything that can't be accomplished with words. It's the power of words that creates and destroys. Vanquishing evil and injustice while finding eternal love in the process is all in a day's work. With the help of her critique partners and master cartographer imaginary places come to life.

Author Links:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Puppy Tales: Teaching New Tricks to an Old Dog

The newest addition to our family may be puppy sized, but she's 10 years old. Too old to be learning new tricks, right?

That doesn't deter my husband. He was determined that Zoe should learn to love to swim, just like the big dogs. And she did.
 Look at the smile!!

And yes, she did go back in on her own. She wasn't just swimming because he forced the issue, or rather, she was the first time, but then she was in and out of the lake as much as the big dogs were!

And then, of course, there's my husband's favorite trick. The "Wait" command. Our big dogs are very familiar with this trick, but Zoe and both of my mother-in-law's dogs took a few attempts to get it right. Husband is patient. Dogs learn. Everyone is happy in the end.

Happy, that is, when it's over. In the mean time, the poor big dogs had to wait. And wait. And wait, until everyone was sitting and staying and waiting the "right" way. I'm not sure this photo captures the sheer amount of drool expended in the waiting time, but believe me it was a prodigious amount...

But yes, everyone is happy in the end.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy Fourth of July Week, Cape Cod Style!

The Fourth of July on Cape Cod conjures lots of classic images, of simpler pleasures and simpler times. Of parades large and small - from the humongous Chatham Parade Extravaganza to the neighborhood parades that can be found in so many towns and villages across Cape Cod.

We're talking red and blue jello topped with Cool Whip, paired with hot dogs, watermelon and Red Solo cups.

There are beach parties and craft fairs, sparkling ocean and fabulous displays of fireworks ... there's something for everyone on Cape Cod in the summertime, but especially at Fourth of July.

Even though the Fourth of July lands on a Thursday this year, the fun lasts all week on the Cape. And especially throughout the long holiday weekend. The annual Harwich July Craft Fair will be going on July 5th through the 7th - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - at Brooks Park at the corner of Main Street and Oak Street.

I will be at Brooks Park Saturday morning in a tent with a gaggle of local authors, and copies of SON OF A MERMAID to sign and sell. If you happen to be on Cape Cod for the holiday week or weekend, stop by and say hi - I'd love to chat with you!