April Camp NaNo 2016: Monday Blog Post

CNW_Participant

Oh! Oh! Oh! It is April Camp NaNo and as of Sunday, I’m over four thousand words into my new book, Mystery at the Book Festival. Camp NaNo is a slightly different take on the November event. At Camp NaNo, we choose our desired word goal count. Some people choose just 5,000, some, like me, push for that 50,000-word goal. I’m already looking forward to digging deeper into my main character, Jean and her best friend, Karen. In Mystery at the Book Festival, Jean and Karen, both big readers, learn more about authors and book writing and publishing than they ever wanted to know. I think you’ll like the story.

 

Me, Begging for Reviews Photo by Brenda Warneka

Me, Begging for Reviews
Photo by Brenda Warneka

I have not received any notice of reviews yet, the new contest I started last week. Missed last week’s blog? Reviews, you say. What’s up with that? Well, in the publishing world, reviews are everything. They are a measure of my audience involvement, my ratings. My several ratings on Amazon and other book-sellers is predicated on my reviews. How many, how good are they? It’s a thing. Other places actually count the number of ratings I have. If I don’t have “enough” reviews, they don’t want to take my ads or other promotional materials. So for an author, reviews are a big deal. So here’s the contest. If you have read or read one of my books, drop a review for it on your platform of choice. It doesn’t matter to me where you put the review. It also doesn’t matter to me what kind of review it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a good review but that’s not what I’m asking for. I’d like an honest review from you on how you liked my book, whichever one you read. Back to the contest. You write a review. Put it where ever you’d like. Send me a link to your review. In a couple of weeks, I’ll do a random number generator choice of the people who’ve done a review and you win! Prize? An ebook of mine of your choice. Contest ends April 10th. I’ll announce the winner here on this blog and on my newsletter on the 11th.

 

Author Arlene Hittle

Author Arlene Hittle

Just so you know—my next author interview is romance author Arlene Hittle in two days on Wednesday, April 6th. She’s a wonderful author and her books are sweet. You’ll want to hear what she has to say.

 

Tomato Seedlings and Rosemary Cutting

Tomato Seedlings and Rosemary Cutting

On the gardening front, we had a big cold front move through and it did indeed drop some snow on us. Those tomato seedlings were safely inside. But now the forecast is for warm sunny days. It’s time for me to get the compost on the garden beds and get planting. The rosemary is a sprig I had cut to use with a chicken dish a month ago. I didn’t need that sprig, but thought I would later. I stuck it in a glass of water and not using it, the cutting rooted. So, I’ve stuck it in a pot of dirt. I think I’ll give it to a friend. She doesn’t have rosemary growing in her garden, yet! Who doesn’t need rosemary growing in their garden?

 

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

The Spring Into Reading giveaway has started. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple times to enter. You could easily win a prize. Enter today and every day.

 

StPatsGiveawayPromo

Speaking of the Spring Into Reading giveaway, I want to give a shout out to my winners of the Luck o’the Authors giveaway. My first prize winner was Petr Kristek and he won a free ebook. My second prize winner was Belinda Clemons who won a necklace and earring set. I want to thank both of them so much for participating in the giveaway. I’m glad these great fans won these prizes. Don’t forget to enter the Spring Into Reading giveaway.

 

Bookmark and Charms Swag

Bookmark and Charms Swag

The owl charms and the book marks I ordered have come in. I plan on attaching the charms to the book marks to give away to book purchasers at the events I attend. Aren’t they cool!? The April 16th event at the Tempe Library is free but the June MysteryCon is a 2-day event with just a $35 entry fee for BOTH days. Sign up for that now. Mention my name on the registration. I may have a special gift for people who’ve registered in advance and visit me at the event. I am making special prizes for a drawing for those who have registered in advance and noted my name on the registration. I need to know in advance, though, so register today. Look below or at my website, Where Will I Be tab for specifics.

 

TempeBookFestival2016

Speaking of appearing, if you get my newsletter you may have clicked on my link to my newest YouTube video. (The video is something only newsletter people receive.) I know! I have a YouTube channel. I didn’t even realize I was setting one up! Anyway, you can see my hair is getting a little shaggy. Sometime this week I’ll be getting it trimmed so I don’t look like a sheepdog at the Tempe Book Festival.

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

January-Jones

April 11th at 3pm Arizona time I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories web talk radio show. Have you heard me there? Don’t miss out.

April 16th I’ll be at the Tempe Public Library book festival where I’m on a panel talking about Science Fiction and World Building. I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

Mystery Con Flyer

June 2nd and 3rd I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there as well on writing a mystery.  Tickets for both days are only $35. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it.

pbflogoorig1446X1253pxcroppedcontrast

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you are a Brown Rain series fan, I’ve created a list just for you! If you join my regular newsletter, that’s all right too as I’ve put sign-up prizes on both. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. The YouTube video I just made about Kindred Spirits will be in the newsletter. Just a note. I’m going to be sending out newsletters more frequently. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Kindred Spirits Ad

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Keeping up the Pace: Monday’s Blog Post

D'Elen McClain at APW January meeting

D’Elen McClain at APW January meeting

Hiking and bronchitis update. I did not go on last Tuesday’s hike. As expected, the water was running high and fast. At least two hikers slipped on wet, algae-covered rocks and landed in the stream. I’m still coughing. It seems as though I cannot get my lungs clear. I continue to take the allergy meds the doc gave me and use the puffer to open airways. The hope is that with the airways open, the congestion left in my lungs can be coughed up. I hope so. I’m beginning to worry about using that puffer every day. This Tuesday’s hike is to the south of Payson. I’m planning on going on that. I haven’t been hiking since the week after Christmas. I need to get out of the house!

At last week’s monthly Arizona Professional Writer (APW) Rim Country Chapter meeting our speaker, D’Elen McClain, spoke on using social media to build our author platforms. We had a great turn out for the talk and a lot of enthusiasm from several people on using Twitter. The Thursday APW Phoenix chapter meeting panel on self-publishing was also very well attended. There was a lot of interest by traditionally published authors and even self-published authors on what our experiences were with the process.

My story, The Reunion, was rejected but FreezeFrameFiction.com included their reader’s comments on what they felt didn’t work with the story. That kind of feedback is invaluable and I’m very grateful that the publisher took the time to provide it. If you’re interested, you can find more about the company at http://freezeframefiction.com/ or on Facebook at facebook.com/freezeframefiction.

Kindred Spirits is still in edits. I’m glad my editor is so thorough but it takes time to get through everything. I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today!

Mystery in the Woods is moving forward. After a review of my scene cards, I realized one of the plot lines had been left hanging. I am fleshing out that part of the story and continuing to write on it. My enthusiasm for my Jean Hays story has been renewed. I hope to have this book out in late May so I can bring it to the June MysteryCon in Scottsdale, June 3-4.  More on the conference later in this post.

Vision Quest, the short story set in the Brown Rain series I mentioned last week is finished. Not only was it a fun little story but I used it to foreshadow upcoming series books. When the anthology comes out, I’ll let you know so you can buy a copy.

My next Author Interview posts Wednesday, January 27th, and is on author Katharina Gerlach. I hope you enjoy reading about Katharina as much as I did.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway is well underway. There are over 40 authors involved in this giveaway so there are books and prizes galore! I have put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter.  I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

I’ve updated my Where Will I Be page on my website. The MysteryCon I mentioned above is on there with details about how to attend. Also listed are all of my planned January Jones, Sharing Success Stories, web-radio interviews. As other events come up, I’ll post them there. Oh! Just saying that made me remember that I didn’t put the Payson Book Festival on there. The festival is on July 23rd, 2016 again at the Gila Community College campus. I hope you can make it here. We already have a fantastic array of award winning authors attending, some from last year and there are several new authors attending this year. Mark your calendar. I’d love to see you at our Book Festival.

I put out the January newsletter on Saturday, the 23rd. I have a couple of contests in there. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign-up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Monday Post: Mixed Bag of News

e-book Cover, Lost Rainbows, J.A. Marlow

Cover for Lost Rainbows by J.A. Marlow

Review of The Self Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Finally, a resource guide for indie authors. A few of the suggestions I was aware of but there are so many more listed in this essential guide. I love how the book is broken into logical parts as the independent author goes through the writing and publishing process: Prepare, Publish and Promote. As always, the indie author must do their own research and choose the options and people they want to work alongside with care and take all due diligence. Now the hardest part will be picking from so many wonderful options. Thanks Joel and Betty. Well done.

And even more for my writing friends, I’m posting this link to Donna Fasano’s blog Author Donna Fasano: In All Directions, http://donnafasano.blogspot.com/2015/01/facebook-offers-authors-call-to-action.html . As you can read from the post and the comments, not all author pages on Facebook have this button yet. Even more interesting is that I never noticed the Offer, Event tab on the Status block. I clicked on it and a new window opens allowing me to create an offer for my books. Also very cool. I haven’t used it yet so don’t know if I would have to pay Facebook but it’s something to look into.

Now news for my readers. I’m finishing up the formatting of Lost Rainbows. It’s just about ready to appear in your favorite ebook or paperback on-line book vendor’s site. But surprise, I’m going to try something a little different. Since Lost Rainbows is appropriate for children, I’m going to serialize the book and post it chapter by chapter on a website called Wattpad.  Wattpad  is a reading site marketing to young people. So, it will appear there. I’ll be posting the link sometime in the next week. If you don’t want to read it chapter by chapter, it’ll be at your fav on-line book vendor’s. And by the way, that’s the cover, up there at the top. Many thanks to J.A. Marlow for the wonderful design.

I’m on the calendar to speak at the Rim Country Arizona Professional Writer’s monthly meeting on February 18th at noon in the Payson Library community room. I’m going to talk about my self-publishing adventure. The meeting is open to the public so if you’re in town, come on over. I’ll have a selection of books available to purchase.

The garden is sleeping, though as the weather warms up here in Central Arizona, a few hardy things will start poking their heads up. I’m looking forward to the parsley, onions, and maybe Swiss Chard to taking the lead in the garden but probably not until late in February. In the meantime I’m still able to cut and use fresh sage and rosemary.

If you like food, stop by the Chicklets in the Kitchen blog. I just posted a meatloaf recipe over there. http://chickletsinthekitchen.com/2015/01/25/gluten-free-meatloaf/

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

The Downtrodden: a Brown Rain Story released November 22nd! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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More News on Where I’ll be and Other News from my Life

Bird, Fence, Fall Color

Bird on Fence by Randy Cockrell

The picture is of a western jay sitting on my back fence. The neighbor’s tree is in the background in full fall color.

I updated my Where I’ll Be page on my blog. http://conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com/where-will-i-be/. I’ve just lined up an author signing here in Payson for November 29th. The Swiss Village shopping strip has a Christmas kick-off the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. On Saturday the 29th, the biggest day of the three day event, I’ll have a tent set up to sell and sign my books. I have invites out to a few other authors, so I’m hoping there will be four of us there to say hi and sign books. The event starts at 10am and runs until after Santa leaves, probably 9pm. Hope to see you there.

I’m still doing well on my National Novel Writing Month challenge. I’ve passed the halfway point and to be honest, I’m really getting into this story. Estimated release date? Maybe March. I’ll see how the revisions and editing go.

My book, The Downtrodden, book two of the Brown Rain series came back from the editors and I’ve made all of my corrections. Now I need to format it and get it put up on Amazon and other places. As usual, I’d love to have some reviews. Sign up for my newsletter and tell me you’d like to do a review and I’ll send you a free PDF file of the book. Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link.

We started having a cold snap two days ago so I brought my lemon tree, my bay leaf tree, my jade plant and my daughter’s plant inside. I picked all of the rest of the tomatoes and peppers, sweet and hot. Once we get a really hard frost, I’ll go out and clean up the garden beds for the winter.

I mentioned last week I’m getting ready for my mom to come and live with me. Saturday I found a used chest of drawers. It is in very good shape. I’ll paint it to match the bed and put it in the room we’re prepping for her. I’m so excited.

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

First Encounter: a Brown Rain Story released September 18th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Mid-Month Update for July

Horn Worm in the Tomatoes by Randy Cockrell

Horn Worm in the Tomatoes by Randy Cockrell

I cannot believe it’s the middle of the month already. July is a busy month and I guess that’s why it’s going so fast.

Fourth of July was pretty much rained out here in Payson. The town held the fireworks but very few people were left to watch them fire off in the rain.

The garden has been going like blockbusters. I’m harvesting blackberries, swiss chard, herbs, and sungold cherry tomatoes. The other tomato plants are producing but they’re all still green. There is no sign of hornworms yet, which makes me thankful. They get as big as my forefinger and can eat a tomato plant to just stem in no time flat. This is the time of year they show up so I’ve been carefully examining the plants every time I water. Unfortunately, they look exactly like a tomato leaf so they’re tough to spot. Other plants in the garden, hot and sweet peppers, cantaloupe, summer squash, butternut squash, peas, and green and yellow beans. The cantaloupe have, so far, produced two small ‘lopes but the pill bugs are eating them before they are even close to ripe. I don’t generally like to use bug killer but if I don’t, there won’t be any cantaloupe for me. The picture at the top of the page is of a hornworm, just in case you’ve never seen one before. It looks like an alien, doesn’t it?

July’s Camp NaNo is proceeding nicely. I have a 7K short story done and yesterday I completed the first of two novelettes for my new Brown Rain series. The novelette, titled The Beginning, finished at 21K words in the first draft which puts it in the novella category. I don’t mind. Longer is nearly always better in my opinion. I’ll start the second one today and continue my march toward the 50K NaNo goal for the month. I’m at 28K, past the word mid-point with time to spare.

I’m 18 chapters into the semi-final revision of Revolution, a little over half way done. I’ll hand it off to one more editor, my hubby, for a final look see then one last edit before formatting for release. Yes, the editing, rewriting process takes longer than the 1st draft writing. Be patient, it’s on its way.

The Goodreads site offers a Question the Author option. What do you think, are there questions you’d like to ask and no place to ask them? Would you be interested if I signed up for that on the Goodreads site?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know you’d like to be a reviewer on the e-tailer or Goodreads site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here. Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Hard Choices: A Gulliver Station Story released May17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Spotlight: Selena Laurence’s New Book – Camouflaged

I don’t do book reviews very often and I’ve never done a spotlight. But Selena’s part of my writing group, Power Writing Hour, and we like to give each other a hand when our books come out. I’ve read both this book and it’s follow on book, Hidden. They’re both page turners to say the least. Here’s some info about the author and the book. For fun, I’ve posted an excerpt and a picture of the book cover at the end. If you’re ready to buy, there’s a link at the bottom that will take you directly to Amazon. Enjoy!

To celebrate the release of Camouflaged Selena is having a great giveaway, go to this rafflecopter link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef955d0/

The Book

 Camouflaged (Hiding From Love Novella #0.5)

Gabe Thompson enlisted to help out his buddy, but three years later he’s 100% US military bad boy, serving in the desert of Afghanistan where the days are hot, but the nights are hotter.

Alexis Garcia is out to save the world. The University of Texas freshman has come to Afghanistan to do aid work with the United Nations. She’s all about the peace, and she has no use for the camp’s biggest, baddest, gun toting player.

But, sometimes camouflage is more than a color, and people aren’t what they seem. When conflict develops not only between Gabe and Alexis, but also all around them, they’re forced to look deeper, and what they find will rock their worlds and change their hearts forever.

Camouflaged is the prequel novella to Top 100 bestselling Military Romance, Hidden.

The Author

 Selena Laurence lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and spends a hell of a lot of time at soccer games, on her laptop, and reading. She requires a Mocha Latte every day to function, keeps a goldendoodle at her feet most of the time, and has more kids than she knows what to do with. Her husband, Mr. Laurence, spends as much time as he can at the office and the gym in order to avoid the kids, the dog, the laptop and the reading, but he always shows up for the soccer games, and he makes a mean Mocha Latte.

Selena can help you Escape the Everyday at these online locations: www.selenalaurence.com

Twitter: @selenalaurence

Facebook: SelenaLaurenceRomanceAuthor

The Reviews

 5 STARS: “absolutely amazing. Definitely another book that is going on my perfect romance shelf.” – Heather, Not Everyone’s Mama Book Reviews

4 STARS: “Selena does a fantastic job building the characters and the story line so that you’re sucked in from page one.” – Michele, Goodreads

5 STARS: “well written beautiful storyline and characters” – Caryn, Goodreads

5 STARS: “This is a perfect love story” – Mary, Goodreads

4 STARS: “Selena Laurence grabs you from the first paragraph and pulls you into Gabe and Alexis’ story which keeps you interested until the very end.” – Mary, Goodreads

The Excerpt

             I slowly looked down, meeting up with a tight t-shirt stretched across full breasts and a tiny waist that was followed by low-riding cargo pants which fell from narrow hips down long legs. The top of her head barely reached my chin, so I put her at about five foot four. Her crazy mess of hair was half hanging alongside her face in loose waves and I thought it would feel really good if I dug my hands into it while I yanked her in for a hard, hot kiss on those lips slick with some kind of girly lip crap.

“Sorry,” she said, looking at me like I was the enemy. Her voice was low and rough, like a great torch singer. I wondered if she was musical, because looking at her made my head spin like there was a song ricocheting around in it. I grinned at her a little to see what her reaction would be.

“No problem, babe. Can I do something for you . . . or even to you, if you’d prefer?” She scowled more and her eyes narrowed. “My name’s Alexis, not ‘babe,’ and I really doubt there’s anything you could do that I’d be interested in,” she snapped.

The book is now available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.  Here is the buylink for Amazon: http://amzn.to/1duopGr

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Spotlight: Seleana Laurence: Hidden

I’m trying something new this week, a spotlight on another writer’s work. I haven’t done this before so let me know how you like it.

Many thanks to Brianna Soloski for this post info. Check out her blog GirlSeeksPlace at: http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/spotlight-hidden-2/

I’ve personally read this book and it is well done. It’s on sale this week so go ahead and check it out!

HiddenTourButtonHIDDENcoverSynopsis: Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from his future. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?
Add Hidden on Goodreads.

SelenaLaurenceAuthor bio: I love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday.

Find Selena on:

Facebook    Goodreads     Twitter    Blog

Purchase links:

Amazon

Hidden is on sale for 99c this week only!

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A new book by Selena Laurence: Hidden

I beta read this book for my writer friend Selena. I’m not usually a reader of romances but I wanted to help her out. I was totally impressed. The story is fast moving and engaging. The characters are realistic and I was interested in them and the story from the first chapter. I hope you check it out.

HIDDEN – A Hiding From Love Novel

New Adult Contemporary Romance

Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from his future. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?

And here’s a little about Selena Laurence:

I love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday. I love to hear from readers, so don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter, and feel free to email me, Tweet or Facebook any time! www.selenalaurence.com.

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Book Report – Blind Your Ponies

I’m reading a book by Stanley Gordon West called Blind Your Ponies. I was reluctant to read it because of the title but two friends recommended it so I picked it up.

Book Title: Blind Your Ponies

Author: Stanley Gordon West

ISBN 978-0-9656247-8-7

Format: Paperback (4X6 inches)

Pages: 574

Here’s the back of the book blurb:

Willow Creek, Montana. With bold strokes on a large canvas, Stanley West has drawn an entire village of curious and outlandish characters who have been cast so vividly that one can see the, here, them, laugh with them, feel with them — people as real as relatives.

When Same Pickett come to the quiet little village to hide from the violence and madness that have shattered his life, he discovers buried and shadowed stories fraught with aching regret, human wreckage, and heartrending bravery–people silently bearing their broken dreams and unbearable sorrows. Can they be aroused by the unexpected and least likely source in their midst? encouraged and uplifted to embrace life for all its worth? Out of these utterly ordinary lives, West brings forth a startling glimpse into the hidden places of the human heart and characters who will stay with you like old friends long after you’ve turned the last page. Timeless and enchanting, inspiring and hilarious, compelling and compassionate– A song of homage to the lives it brings to light-

Note, the title is from a story about the local Indian tribe folklore and not about blind ponies. So don’t let the title put you off. I love the descriptive words Mr. Pickett uses to describe the people he meets, his own life and his romantic interest. They’re beautiful turns of phrase that show insight and reveal secrets. The main plot is about his role as the high school basketball coach. With only 5 boys on the team, they’re the regions underdogs. But that’s not the whole story.

Mr. Pickett delves into the lives of the town people, Many of them broken and damaged goods, but still, plugging away, I’m a fast reader but I’m not reading this one fast. I’m savoring each paragraph.

Warning: there is violence and sex, but please don’t let that put you off. This is a great read.

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