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Best of 2012 Giveaway

Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer blog is at it again hosting another awesome giveaway...

The Best of 2012 Giveaway, featuring our favorite reads of 2012.

Because I write both YA and adult books, I've chosen my favorite from each genre.

Favorite YA Book: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry


Any book that makes me cry is A-OK with me, and this book elicited so many tears!

Here's my REVIEW of Pushing the Limits.


Favorite Adult Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


The twists in this thriller are jaw-dropping. I love how Gillian Flynn manipulates the reader.

Here's my REVIEW of Gone Girl.


To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter form. Hop over to all participating blogs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaways are Best!

A little bit of this and a little bit of that in this post.

First of all, would you like to win a Kindle loaded with Omnific Publishing romance novels? Then enter my publisher's awesome giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Secondly, I'm giving away a signed copy of my YA swimming romance Streamline at Ensconced in YA. Christina interviews me and links to her 4 star review of Streamline.

Part One of my interview is HERE.
Part Two of my interview is HERE

Finally, it's time to finish the meme The Next Best Thing where I answer questions about my current work-in-progress: On Best Behavior.

I'd hoped to finish by now, but you know how that goes. I guess I haven't been on my best behavior when it comes to conquering writing distractions. ;-) I am pleased to have written 93K words though, and I'm still hoping to finish in 2012.

Here are the last two questions for The Next Best Thing:

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

That's easy. My muse is actor Wentworth M…

Cover Reveal: Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn!

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy)Now Available! When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price. Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love. All Mindjack stories available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes (Note Free Souls is not yet available on iTunes) Early Pr…

Political Suicide: Review and Giveaway

Political Suicide is a medical/political thriller by Michael Palmer that launches Tuesday 12-11-12. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, and it looks like I have more Michael Palmer novels to catch up on!

As a psychologist, I have treated physicians and other professionals who are recovering from addictions, so I found this novel intriguing from the start.


Political Suicide by Michael Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful Suspense!

What would you do if a friend gets accused of murder, but you don't think he did it?

When the hero of the military/political thriller Political Suicide faces that exact dilemma, he proves that he is not one to back down from a challenge. Dr. Lou Welcome has battled through many challenges in his life -- the biggest being the daily struggle to stay clean and sober. He helps other physicians through drug rehab and re-entry into medical practice.

Gary McHugh is one such physician who calls Lou after falling off the wagon. Unfortunately, Gary…

Insecurity and Impatience

I came across a great TED talk by social worker Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability. Courage is showing others who we are with our whole heart. The only way to connect with others is by showing them our vulnerabilities.

Since the above talk is 20 minutes and I know we're all busy hopping blogs for the Insecure Writers Support Group, here is a 5 minute presentation by Dr. Brown about the joys of imperfection.



Power of vulnerability?

Joys of imperfection?

Wha?

I'm here today to share with you some of my vulnerabilities, including insecurity and impatience. That's what happens in support groups, right? ;-)

In an earlier IWSG post I mentioned that my book sales had improved once my publisher lowered my ebook prices to $2.99. Unfortunately sales have slowed since then. Like, real slooow. Has anyone else noticed sales dipping?

While it's incredible to witness some books killing it (especially Wallbanger by Alice Clayton--released from my small publisher Omnific)--I feel …

Volunteering with Teens: Guest Post

Thanks to Sara from Nanny Pro for her guest post on volunteering with teens who have mental illness. Take it away, Sara! 
Volunteering and Teens with Mental Illness
When you consider volunteering, most people think of the local soup kitchen or the animal shelter. These are the more common ways to give back in your community—feeding the hungry or assisting helpless animals. But those seeking more of a challenge should try volunteering with teens, particularly teens with mental illness. Mental illness is a growing problem for today’s teens and there are many different organizations around the world to help them through this time. 
Everyone knows that teens can be a tough group. Babies and children are innocent, fun, and sweet...the elderly are wise, calm, and full of wonderful stories...but teens needing the most help are the ones that don’t want it or don’t think they need it. You remember your teenage years--you and your friends were wanna-be rebels who thought you knew everything

No Justice by Darcia Helle: Review and Interview

Meeting author Darcia Helle is one reason I enjoy being an author. She is so kind and supportive! And I'm pleased to have her on the blog for an interview about her suspense novel No Justice. But first here's my review:

No Justice by Darcia Helle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Leaving Las Vegas Meets Dexter

In No Justice, Darcia Helle creates a gritty world reminiscent of the movie Leaving Las Vegas. Instead of alcoholic Nicholas Cage turning to prostitute Elizabeth Shue for solace, this time it’s hit man Michael Sykora falling for prostitute Nicki. Similar to the TV show Dexter, Michael kills bad men — like the one who murdered his wife.

From the first line…

Let him laugh. One more hour and he’d be dead.

…it’s clear a dark ride awaits. Somehow Darcia manages to show Michael’s integrity despite his sinister side vocation as hit man.

Although Michael first met Nicki when she serviced him as a prostitute, both developed genuine feelings for each other. He felt guilty for his attraction to…

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

To all my American friends, I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving. I'm at the airport on my way to Chicago *points to skyline above* to spend the holiday with my oldest sister, brother in law, nephews, and parents.

To all my international friends, happy Thursday!

Here are a couple of recipes I want to share.

I made "Wild Rice with Shitake Mushrooms and Miso Dressing" for a potluck at work, and got some rave reviews from the vegetarians on staff:

Recipe HERE


And today I plan to make these hilarious chocolate turkeys, perhaps as place settings for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Hee hee.

Gender Differences in Mental Health

Today I have a guest post from Ken Myers. Take it away, Ken!

YALL Fest Fun

What fun it was to attend a young adult book festival in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday: The YALL Fest 2012!

Omnific Publishing sponsored an exhibitor table and provided tons of YA books to give away to our readers. Lovely author Trisha Wolfe signed copies of her steampunk-futuristic-sci-fi Destiny's Fire, and I signed copies of my swimming-romance-military-murder-mystery Streamline.

Here I am wearing a fake Navy hat, posing with Trisha Wolfe. Yes, I am twice her size. ;-)
We also had the pleasure of introducing readers to our pub sisters' creations:
Embrace by Cherie Colyber Life, Liberty & Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn Ember and Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates Breaking Point by Jessica Bowen
(Too bad Iridescent by Carol Oates and Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista were too hot off the presses to make it to this festival.)

Here are readers holding their signed copies of Streamline!

Kristen and Sharanna
Marie works at a library on a Naval Base
Morgan and Briana--a…

Men & Women of the Military Giveaway Hop

Thanks to Vanessa from The Jeep Diva for hosting the Men & Women of the Military Hop.

I LOVE men in the military! I have to confess I've written stories about men in the US Navy simply because they look so damn hot in uniform. *blushes*

Shallow, right? Okay, it's also true that I really admire their sacrifice in keeping us safe. I'm also fascinated by the complete obedience required to serve in the military.

All three of my romantic suspense novels feature a military influence.

The hero of With Good Behavior and Bad Behavioris Grant Madsen, former Navy lieutenant. Unfortunately his Mafia family interfered with him serving his country for very long, but he still calls everyone "Ma'am" and "Sir" hee hee.

Leo Scott--the hero of Young Adult swimming romance Streamline--seems like the perfect midshipman for the Naval Academy. But perfection is hard to achieve.

I'm giving away ebooks featuring these hot men in uniform! To enter, complete the Raffl…

Insecure Writers Support Group: Politics

I HOPE the Presidential election has been decided by the time this post goes live. The last thing we need in America is more hanging chads!

Today I want to talk about political beliefs and the extent to which you share them.

I live in Ohio, the state that COULD DECIDE THE ELECTION dun dun dun. I'd much rather frolic on the beach than listen to the endless political commercials.


But I am passionate about politics. I have strong opinions about who I want to win this election. Yet I stifle myself from sharing my political views in both careers as a psychologist and author (psycho author). Why?

1. Therapy is about the client, not the therapist. My political views don't really matter. The only times I self-disclose are when those disclosures could benefit the client, and my opinion about politics probably isn't central to our therapy goals. So I listen, nod with understanding, and sometimes *grr* inside.

2. Marketing my books is not about me spouting political beliefs, mostly …

Review: Pushing the Limits

With the Goodreads Choice Awards opening, I want to share my review for the book I voted as best Young Adult Fiction--truly one of the best reads of this year for me: Pushing the Limits.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreaking Tale of Healing and Young Love

I love YA issue contemporaries, and this story is the best I've read. Thank you to all my GR friends who recommended this story. Yes, Rena...Mrs. Collins rocks!

Echo Emerson used to be the popular girl at her Midwestern high school. Sure, her controlling father and mentally ill mother had divorced, and her older brother had died fighting in Afghanistan, but she was managing okay. Until the night her mother stopped taking her medication for Bipolar Disorder. Echo emerged from that night covered in scars, with absolutely no memory for what happened. She went from popular to freak -- withdrawn and scared.

Luckily for Echo, the school hires a new clinical social worker -- Mrs. Collins -- who meets wi…

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Get your spook on with this giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer blog and The Diary of a Bookworm blog.


I'm giving away a $10 gift card to an online bookstore. Get out there and buy some creepy reads this Halloween.

Might I suggest two books written by my pub sisters?

* Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez...my review HERE
* Grave Refrain by Sarah Glover...a love/ghost story
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And did you know there are over 400 participating blogs? Visit as many as you can and improve your chances of winning!

Alpha Male Blog Hop

Thank you to Carrie Ann for hosting the Alpha Male Blog Hop! Roar! This guy's all "I get hot and powerful when I read books."
Alpha males are wonderful -- I've enjoyed reading their exploits in romantic suspense novels by Pamela Clare and Cindy Gerard.

But my ideal hero has a mix of Alpha AND Beta. He's wounded, physically and/or emotionally, and therefore has a lot of depth. He's intelligent and respectful of women. He's clean-shaven, tall, and lean. And I don't mind him in handcuffs (wait...the Hot in Handcuffs Giveaway just ended!) My ideal hero is not a bad boy, but a man who gets in trouble due to standing up for others.

When I was dating more, I sought a man who was athletic and could talk about his feelings.

And I wonder why I'm still single! *snorts*

Anyway, Carrie Ann offers some amazing GRAND PRIZES if you comment and leave your email address on the comment:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet 2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N …

Look! The Next Best Thing!

Author Darcia Helle sure is creating a lot of work for me on the blog. ;-) First she tagged me for The Next Best Thing Blog Challenge. Then she tagged me AGAIN for the U Got the Look Blog Challenge.

Both challenges involve my work-in-progress On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3).

Author Gail Baugniet started The Next Best ThingHERE. The rules are:

Answer 10 questions about my current WIP (Work-In-Progress)

What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I decided to follow Gail by posting…