Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Review of a Fun Summer's Read A Courtesan's Desires

This book is a type, romance, that I don't often read, because I don't write in this genre -- or haven't yet. But I needed to review it because it was a perfect for and perfectly delightful summer read.

One of my major complaints about romance novels in general (especially the historical ones) is that they can be overwritten. By that I mean the author puts every ounce of historical information the author knows in the novel, so it takes forever to read! Now I love history, especially European History (my major in college), but if there's too much it bumps me out of a story.

A Courtesan's Desires is an excellent balance, just enough historical verisimilitude to keep me reading and engaged in the 19th century world of a young Hutterite woman, who is thrown from her insular world into a far, far different one. I adore reading about history and groups I know little about, and this novel begins with stepping into the Hutterite world and gives the reader a wonderful taste of that world. Action filled, A Courtesan's Desires also moves along at an excellent clip, I read this short novel in a lazy summer afternoon! Only one tiny historical inaccuracy bumped me out of the work and only because I was a history major  -- and I doubt any other reader will ever catch it. For anyone who enjoys a historical romance, A Courtesan's Desires will be a great read.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What My Father Taught Me and Happy Father's Day

My father was an artist. Growing up, he lived with a Navajo family and grew fascinated with their sandpaintings. As an adult, he was the first person to permanently preserve sandpainting forms. In his art and life, he always followed the less-traveled path. Here's what my dad, Luther A. Douglas, 1919-1976 taught me about being a creative person:

1. It will always be hard and complicated.
2. It will always be simple and easy.
3. Many people will neither understand nor appreciate your end product.
4. Many people will understand and adore your end product.
5. There will never be enough time to create.
6. There is nothing but time as you are always creating.

And most of all, my father taught me, none of the above matters because being creative is not what you do, it's what you are.

Miss you, Dad.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

The King's Ransom A REVIEW

Here's one of my biggest writing tips, and it's a simple one that's been said before (and better): If you want to be a writer READ. And I'd add to that read in the genres you're writing in, each book is a great lesson on writing, plus it's fun!

That having been said, here's my review of  The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello:
This is a fast, enjoyable read that I believe any middle grade boy would be enthralled with, and girls too. Set in the fantasy world of  King Arthur, the story follows 12-year-old Gavin and his friends on their individual quests to save their friend, the Wild Man. The story also is accurate as to the medieval time period in many respects. I was most impressed by the complexity of the emotional world of the main characters, their character and story arc were surprising but rang true and satisfying. The author did an excellent job of portraying rich and varied people in a rich and varied culture. Only one small thing bumped me as a reader, I do not think that one of the surprises at the ending was well enough foreshadowed. But overall, I'm looking forward to reading this author again--and I'm an adult.

What did I learn from reading The King's Ransom? That a story can be complex and satisfactory for an adult and still be appealing to a younger audience, too. As long as we care about the characters, we care about the story. Something to remember, IMO characters come first and foremost.And in my writing, I start with characters and go from there.

Readers, what do you think? Are there, as I believe, only "character driven" novels out there now? Or?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Giveaway Winners, A Tip, and A Workshop

Congrats to DK Christi, JQ Rose and BN100 who all won a $10. Amazon gift certificate. Jan won the copy of THE MALL FAIRIES: EXILE. Please winners, if you don't get your prizes within 48 hours, notify me in the comments. I'll be sending them out, plus the cookbook to all those who requested it.

Since I have two novels just released from two different publishers (and I've never been self published) I've had several people ask what was the most useful thing I did to have two novels out? The answer: when I was first starting to write, I wrote short stories. It's an ongoing class in how to write. Now, I sell about 12 short pieces a year and that helps gain the attention of publishers.

And speaking of ongoing classes, here's info on my upcoming workshop:
    • Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    • 7:00pm until 8:30pm

  • Maui Wowi - 520 E. Franklin in Meridian, ID

  • Come to this very popular workshop taught by Conda Douglas, writer of tween fantasies and cozy mysteries and a film editor. Learn tricks, tips and strategies for writing solid shorts!

    For more about Conda, visit her blog or Conda's Amazon page and check out her book trailers there too!

    The cost of the workshop is $25 each. For more information and to register, contact Jane Freund at or (208) 407-7457.
So, readers who are writers, what furthered your writing the most?

Sunday, June 3, 2012


This is the last day of my giveaway, and I'll announce the winners tomorrow JUNE 5th, so here's how to enter again:
THREE AMAZON GIFT CARDS, each worth $10 will be given away.
Plus, a copy of THE MALL FAIRIES: EXILE, which is available in all e-book formats.
AND for everyone: a PDF of THE MALL FAIRIES SWEET TOOTH COOKBOOK. All of the recipes are easy and my kitchen tested. I will send the PDF of the cookbook to anyone who requests it in the comments.
This giveaway is simple to enter. Just leave your name and e-mail address in the comments.These comments will  not be published. And your e-mail information will not be kept on a list, but deleted after the contest ends and the winners are selected. If you want a comment to be published, please send that comment separately. PLEASE NOTE: if you don't have some kind of account that allows you to comment under that account, you can comment anonymously and be entered that way. Just select anonymous at the end of the comment list. 
And here's one more wonderful fairy recipe that's included in the cookbook:
Smoke, the Black Patrol Sheriff is a bit miffed. At six inches tall, he's the biggest of the fairies. So he's been press-ganged into making a Toddle Wing's birthday cake, since he's big enough to add the ingredients to a large mug, stir with a whisk and with the help of the rest of the Patrol, place the mug in the microwave. But he's a Sheriff, not a chef, grumble, grumble. Or at least he complained until he saw the three-year-old Toddle Wing's face light up at the delicious results.

4 tablespoons flour (unbleached works well, self rising too)
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk or soy milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug. Whisk well with a fork or whisk until smooth and make sure well mixed. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 3 minutes. Cake mix will puff up and then settle. (Time depends on microwave wattage and shape/size of mug. Experiment.) Makes 1 very large serving, or two little snacks. Or enough for a large fairy birthday party.

Add ¼ teaspoon salt and drop 2 salted caramels into mix for a salted caramel chocolate mug cake.
Add 3 tablespoons Nutella or peanut butter.
Add 2-3 drops of orange extract for a orange chocolate mug cake.
For "frosting" add 1 to 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips to mug. These will sink to the bottom of the mug and then flip the mug upside down on a plate and you have a mug cake with frosting!