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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Success Leads to Success

Well, that seems rather obvious, doesn't it?

Success leads to success.

In the great lottery of life, some fortunate few are born with the world as their oysters. The successes of their forebears almost ensure that these lucky ones will be successful, even before they begin. Yet, some of those who seem to have it all go on to squander their head starts.

Some people start life with even less than the short end of the stick. They have no other option than to work hard and make the most of what they've carved out for themselves. Sometimes those who may never have started with the basics rise to the tops of their fields.

The type of success to which I'm referring is the kind where a person feels a deep, personal satisfaction with achieving a goal. In this case, let's strip away a person's socio-economic background or perceived privilege, or lack thereof.

Every person has dreams and desires, yet not everyone follows these dreams, sometimes because they simply don't know how to articulate what it is they actually want out of life.

As a writer, I'm used to looking at large, nebulous projects like turning story ideas into novels, then breaking down the various components into manageable pieces and tackling each part as I encounter it.

Something that I've discovered: every time I'm successful in this sequence of mastering steps, my sense of achievement spills over into other aspects of my non-writing life.

For example, because I've grown familiar with breaking down large projects into sequences of smaller projects, I've discovered that tackling a rather large lifestyle change for health reasons has been a lot easier than I would have imagined possible.

Instead of looking at the Big Picture, which seemed self-defeating, I simply split the lifestyle change into one hundred little mini-challenges and set an achievable pace of one year. Because I'd already achieved success with my writing projects -- and before that, with my film projects -- I knew that if I focused on smaller milestones such as every ten, and also each quarter mark, I would head for the larger one-hundred challenge goal with ten milestone successes and four quarter marks already in the bag.

If you've been dreaming of writing and perhaps think of a whole novel as too big, perhaps setting a non-writing goal of clearing out your over-stuffed garage will help you see over that mountain. Every time you scale a new height, the view from there helps you see your way clear to that next goal.

Success really does lead to success.    

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mystical Moments - Book 2 in the Mystical Series

From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk

As I prepare to write my next book, I'm re-examining the details in the first book of the series: Mystical Connections. It's important to pick up all of the tiny details for the side characters as their stories will be told next - first Anya Quinlan's, then Rory Jenssen's.

Anya Quinlan takes the spotlight in Mystical Connections for a brief moment as she graduates from culinary school and follows her dream of opening her own pastry shop. She then gracefully sidesteps to let Jenna and Aidan have their moment - or in their case, moments!!

Mystical Moments will continue Anya's journey as a pastry chef. She'll learn the ups and downs of running her own business, while dealing with a not-so-silent partner, and the pesky, but handsome project manager in charge of finishing the renovations in the building her bakery occupies.

On top of her day-to-day balances, she learns she has a unique gift, one she's not sure what to do with... She seeks help from her friends and family, who lend moral support but are just as clueless as Anya is in this situation.

I won't say any more as I don't want to give too much away, but if you haven't met Anya, you may want to pick up a copy of Mystical Connections to get acquainted. Mystical Connections is available in eBook and paperback from your favorite retailer: Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, iBook.com, Kobo, and more. Simply search Christine Mazurk or Mystical Connections to find it.



Jenna Nichols paced in front of the large picture window in her office, excitement mixing with a pinch of nerves in the pit of her stomach. She stopped to stare at the bay, trying to clam herself. The San Francisco fog had dissipated not more than thirty minutes ago. The vast body of water, now tranquil.

Though Jenna looked forward to promoting her newest release, a knot of trepidation fluttered through her, making it difficult to breathe. Book reviewer, Carla Wren, known for her no-nonsense approach to interviewing, did only exclusives. Her agent, Kira, pulled some strings to book this.

Why was she so nervous? Was it that Carla was late or was it a sign? Her morning run along the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge didn't ease her stress, and pacing now didn't help.

She knew the characters better than anyone. No one else could describe her story better than she. After all, they were her creation--or her channel to the special revelations sent to her to share with the world. A sharp knock at the door pulled her attention, and she turned to greet the journalist.

The door opened, and in stepped a younger, much hunkier, and oh-so-sexy version of Kevin Bacon. His blue eyes stopped her in her tracks like lasers cutting through steel.

"Ms. Nichols?" His top lip lifted to one side as he smiled, though his eyes remained cool. He sauntered over. "I'm here to discuss your new book, Destiny's Power."

She glanced up at the man before her. Light brown, finger-combed hair lazily framed his lean face, as his electric blue eyes flicked over her body. She wore a simple pants suit of black and cream over a solid black tank, but for a moment, she felt naked.

Her pulse skipped, and she felt a sizzle of warmth shimmy down her spine. When his gaze zeroed in on her face, she swore he looked straight through to her soul.

"I was expecting Ms. Wren." Her tongue tripped over the syllables, and heat kissed her cheeks.

"Yes. Unfortunately, on her drive here, she got side-swiped, landed her in the hospital. They sent me in her place." He reached out to shake hands. "I'm Aidan Scott. Can't say I'm happy about this assignment, but you want to get started?"

                                                                         *   *   *

Learn what happens during the interview between Jenna Nichols and Aidan Scott, and then follow them on a journey that will change their lives ...

Follow Christine on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn.
Check out her website and sign up to receive her newsletters: www.christinemazurk.com


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sometimes the truth can kill you . . . Sweet Karoline by Catherine Astolfo (suspense thriller)

UnknownTuesday's Revolving Book is the psychological suspense thriller SWEET KAROLINE by CATHERINE ASTOLFO
Sometimes the truth is better left dead
WATCH THE TRAILERhttp://www.youtube.com/?gl=CA

If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?
Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline's mysterious death than meets the eye?
Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?

"Astolfo's wonderful first sentence in Sweet Karoline explodes on the page and resonates right to the end of this twisting examination of dangerous minds. Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing." —Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire On The Runway
"A deliciously twisted story about the perplexing power of adult female relationships. By turns scathingly funny and darkly insightful, Sweet Karoline is a hedonistic journey with all the right ingredients: lust, betrayal, true love and mystery. Grab a glass of wine and have the bottle handy. A compelling read from the start through to the surprising end." —Robin Spano, author of Death's Last Run

"In Catherine Astolfo's chilling new novel Sweet Karoline, things aren't always as they seem. Anne, the multifaceted anti-heroine in this noir tale takes a fateful journey into her forgotten past, uncovering the painful roots of her childhood. While furrowing for answers, a mystery unfolds, truths swirl to the surface, a heinous murder occurs. Who's the killer? Caught in a tangled web of greed, lies and deceit Anne must come to terms with her past, present and future, and the bleak realization that those we hold close may be the last ones to trust. Compelling, visually descriptive, deftly delivered…Catherine Astolfo's got the goods!" —Douglas Wickard, author of A Perfect Husband

"Sweet Karoline is a multi-layered mystery, where nothing is as it seems. The story grips you on page one and leads you through a maze of history, twisted relationships, and ultimately the darkness of the human mind." —Liz Bugg, author of Oranges and Lemons

"In Sweet Karoline, Astolfo has created a daring hybrid mystery that combines elements of romance, history, and suspense in a carefully crafted story that keeps you guessing to the very end. Astolfo explores new boundaries as she extends her reach beyond the cozy mystery in this psychological exploration of the mind of a killer. A unique exploration of guilt and revenge." —Michael J. McCann, author of The Fregoli Delusion

"The clever plot twists in Sweet Karoline will enrapture you from page one through the last paragraphs of this fast-paced modern mystery. Author Catherine Astolfo exhibits a strikingly perceptive gift for believable dialogue and rich character development. Her dry wit and colorful descriptions will have you howling in laughter at points, but in tears at others as she digs deep into the themes of guilt, race, and relationships. The powers of love and redemption are strong, but does the heart of an Ice Queen ever really melt? Enjoy the romp from Los Angeles, through Canada, to a priceless Italian rendezvous—all in the pages of Sweet Karoline, where long-buried secrets lie." —Lisa Pell, award-winning author of Who's Your Daddy, Baby?

Catherine Astolfo retired in 2002 after a very successful 34 years in education. Catherine received the Elementary Dufferin-Peel OECTA Award for Outstanding Service in 1998. She was also awarded Dufferin-Peel Catholic Elementary Principal of the Year in 2002 by the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario.

Catherine is a past President of Crime Writers of Canada and a Derrick Murdoch Award winner (2012). She was a Zonta Club 2012 Nominee for Women of Achievement.

Writing is Catherine’s passion. She can recall inventing fantasy stories for her classmates in Grade Three. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of literary Canadian presses. In 2005, she won a Brampton Arts Award. Her short stories won the Bloody Words Short Story Award (second and first) in 2009 and 2010. She won the prestigious Arthur Ellis Best Short Crime Story Award in 2012. Catherine’s novels, The Emily Taylor Mysteries, as well as Sweet Karoline (July 14, 2013), are published by Imajin Books and are optioned for film by Sisbro & Co. Inc. Visit Catherine at www.catherineastolfo.com.

Twitter: @cathyastolfo

Monday, March 23, 2015

Slanging in Tune with the Times

What's wrong with this picture?
By Alison Bruce

"Cast your glims on yon bene gentry mort" roughly translates from Thieving Cant to English as "Look at that lovely lady." Neither phrase captures the time and place of "Here's lookin' at you kid."

That's language for you. Always changing. It can be the bane of the historical fiction author and is the delight of a word-lover like myself.

Take the word "gumshoe" as an example. Gum rubber came into use for shoe soles in the 19th Century. The term "gumshoe man" was first applied to thieves, who previously had to take their boots off to be quiet. In 1908, it attached itself to police detectives. In the 1930's, the golden age of detective fiction, all detectives were gumshoes.

Some slang lives on and get's respectable by being added to mainstream dictionaries*. Some even live on in common usage. Others not so much.

A "bash" was a drunken spree in 1900s and can still be one today. "On the make" meant flirting in the 1910s which is close enough to how we use the phrase. And things have been "copacetic" since the 1920s.

Slang for know-it-all, on the other hand, has changed over the years. At the turn of the 20th Century such a person would be called a "Wisenheimer". In the 1930s, he was an "Abercrombie". Now we'd say "Smart Aleck". Our children have been "ankle-biters" and "rug rats" at various times, but they're been "kids" for centuries. Since authors and readers are a bit like time travellers, the trick is to make sure you never use a word or phrase before it's time.

Here are a few examples from the first half of the 20th Century.

  • Goop: A stupid person.
  • Hanging: Excellent, outstanding (“Hanging new tie there, old man!”).
  • Hep: Part of the current musical culture (“That cat is hep!”).
  • Duck soup: Something easy.
  • Gas: A joke.
  • Grifter: A con artist.
  • Hoosegow: Prison.
  • Jake: Alright (e.g., “Is everything Jake out here?”).
  • 23 skiddoo: to get going; move along; leave; or scram
  • Bank’s closed: No kissing or making out (“Sorry babe, bank’s closed.”).
  • Cash or check?: Do you kiss now or later?
  • Chassis: The female body.
  • Drugstore cowboy: A guy that hangs around on a street corner, trying to pick up girls.
  • Fish: A college freshman or a first-timer in prison.
  • I have to go see a man about a dog: To go buy whiskey. (Not to be confused with seeing a man about a horse, which is older, and means going to pee.)
  • Splifficated: Drunk.
  • The bee's knees: excellent; outstanding
  • Abyssinia: I’ll be seeing you.
  • Blow your wig: To become really excited.
  • Dog soup: A glass of water.
  • Eggs in coffee: To run smoothly, or a general phrase of approval.
  • Gig: a job
  • Juke joint: a casual and inexpensive establishment with drinking, dancing, and blues music, typically in the southeastern United States
  • You shred it, wheat!: You said it.
  • Blockbuster: a huge success
  • Cook with gas: To do something right.
  • Cool: excellent; clever; sophisticated; fashionable; or enjoyable
  • Dead hoofer: A bad dancer.
  • Ducky shincracker: A good dancer.
  • Hi sugar, are you rationed?: Are you going steady?
  • Keeping up with the Joneses: competing to have a lifestyle or socioeconomic status comparable to one's neighbors
  • Smooch: kiss
  • Back seat bingo: Making out in a car.
  • Big brother is watching you:  someone of authority is monitoring your actions
  • Boo-boo: a mistake; a wound
  • D.D.T.: “Drop dead twice.” (Appropriate response: “What, and look like you?”)
  • Frosted: Angry.
  • Hipster: an innovative and trendy person
  • Lay a patch: To accelerate so rapidly you leave a patch of rubber on the road. (AKA: I'm outta here!)

*Did you know that The Oxford Dictionary never retires words, only adds them? The Complete Oxford Dictionary fills volumes.That's why I only have the Concise Oxford Dictionary on my desk.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lucky Us! THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X by best selling author ELOISA JAMES is on sale for only 1.99

Old wallpaper
"She was gorgeous. Dangerously so." Thorn Daughtry (THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X) by ELOISA JAMES. GET IT WHILE IT'S ON SALE FOR ONLY 1.99!
FRIDAY'S FANTASTIC FIND is THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X by New York Times best selling author ELOISA JAMES. And it's on sale FOR ONLY $1.99! Vander, the hero of Eloisa’s upcoming FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE makes his first appearance in Three Weeks with Lady X as Thorn’s best friend. Meet two of Eloisa’s sexiest heroes for a great low price of only $1.99!
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1bIfNI5
Nook: http://bit.ly/1sYYr3i
iBook: http://bit.ly/1oEnGlY
Kobo: http://bit.ly/18Xca5Y
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1E8nKIU
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized facade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. But there is only one thing that will make India his.
The one thing Thorn can’t afford to lose–his fierce and lawless heart.
Three_WeeksStay connected with Eloisa online:
ABOUT ELOISA: A reviewer from USA Today wrote that she "found herself devouring [Eloisa's] book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Eloisa wrote her first novel after graduating from Harvard, but alas, it was rejected by every possible publisher. After she got a couple more degrees and a job as a Shakespeare professor, she tried again, with much greater success. Over twenty best-sellers later, she teaches Shakespeare in the English Department at Fordham University in New York City. She's also the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.