Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Nibbles...Sort of

As I mentioned before, the week of Christmas I wouldn't be pimping out any particular book but I am sort of.  And a movie.

This week on Book Nibbles, I'm showcasing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, both movie and novel.

Here is a link to the trailer and site for the movie. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Poster

As for the novel, you can check it out here on Amazon.

My two cents...
I tried reading the book.  Honestly.  Forty pages in and I just couldn't stay focused and not because of the story or writing style.  There are a lot of names and places mentioned during the beginning of the book and I found myself trying to figure each out and commit it to memory.  Alas, I failed.  However, I've been told by many that the first 60 pages or so are hard but once you get past them, you'll sail through.  Heck, I have a friend who read the entire book in one day.  Now, I'm a fast reader, but dang.  That book is long! 

I did, however, see the movie the other night and WOW!  Totally intense, graphic, on the edge of your seat kind of stuff.  And from what I understand, it is very true to the book only changing a few details and from what I understand those are minor. 

There is only a few things I did not like about the movie and those are really my own personal hang-ups.  The rape.  Yikes, I cannot handle a movie with rape but I pulled my big girl panties on and forged through and didn't let it ruin the movie for me.  And it didn't.  It was great and the cliffhanger ending totally puts me in Twilight mode waiting for the next installment.  (waiting like a silly girl!)

I will warn you, the movie is graphic.  I mean, rape aside, there is consensual sex, violence, blood, foul language and torture. 

Now, you may wonder.  Will I give the book another try so I can read #2 to prepare for the movie.  I don't know.  I want to but the same thing happened with the Harry Potter series.  I watched all the movies, up to 6, and then tried to read the books.  Got to #3 and was totally done with it.  The movie did help to play out the scenes and names in my head but I just couldn't get into them enough where I devoured the entire series in a matter of days. 

Which leads to my question, have you read the book and seen the movie?  Or are you like me and enjoy the visual only?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Customer Service

Today's topic has nothing to do with books or writing, really.  I guess I could make a stretch at the end but you're smart enough to see through my attempt.  No today, I'm fired up about customer services.  Customer service in all industries.

Let me back up a bit and say I graduated college with a degree in Marketing Management.  I studied all aspects of marketing and applied those teachings to real life.  First off, you have to know where to place that product and how to get your target audience in the door.  Next, and this is the tricky part, you need to keep them there and sell them the product.  Finally, once the sale is said and done, you need to have follow-up.  Make that person not only love the product, but if something were to go wrong or if they have follow-up questions, there needs to be good service. 

All of this brings me to a point. In this day with the bad economy and people being better shoppers, don't you think that customer service should be job #1?  That in order to seel the deal and hope for repeat business, don't you think there needs to be, now more than ever, better customer service?  I do.

First off, I consider myself a savvy shopper.  But a loyal shopper.  If you snatch me on the first time around and it was a great experience, I'm likely to keep coming back.  And recommend you to my friends. 

This holiday season has plagued me with bad customer service.  I understand, it's busy, I get it.  Heck, I worked retail at large department stores and small specialty shops.  I get it.  But not once did I let my mood interfere with my job. 

Today, I called my car dealer to get my car in for routine maintenance.  My car is new so this is only my 2nd time needing service and after un-stellar customer service the first time, I'm more unlikely to enjoy the second but I'm stuck getting service from this particular dealer because I paid for a maintenance package.  My bad.  Anyway, my husband also gets service from the same name of dealer, just a different shop and different make of vehicle and when he goes in, they treat him like a god which has made him purchase 2 vehicles from this dealer in the years we've been married.  First off, the service dept at my place could care less what I want.  Then when I make the comment of needing a loaner since I will have 2 kids with me and sitting at a repair shop for 2+ hours is not an option, he tells me I need to speak with my salesman.  I mention that the salesman is hard to get a hold of and last time didn't return my call and I was stuck sitting at the shop.  You know what he said?  Nothing.  So fine, I call my salesman and he assures me he'll have a car waiting for me.  I'll have to get back with you on that.  It would have been nice if the service was like "listen, I understand, he's busy but here's what I'll do.  I'll follow-up with him today and make sure he gets your message or that he knows to have a car for you."  Was that really so hard?

Next, I had to exchange a necklace chain at a locally owned jewelry store; a place I've shopped at for 12 years or more and have sent most of my friends to when they needed jewelry.  Not to mention my in-laws are customers as well as close friends to the owner.  My husband, bless his wonderful heart, had a necklace with the birthstones of me, my grandmother and my daughter made for us.  I love it!  So the lady there, and I've used her before but has never been a "fan" was like too busy to really focus on my needs.  I mean, she didn't even smile.  I almost wanted to be like, do you know who I am, but I came off my high horse and kept my wits.  Then I needed to have other items repaired or cleaned and you'd think I asked her to work late on Christmas.  If I was bothering her so much, I could take my business elsewhere. 

I don't know, maybe it's me.  Maybe I expect too much for my money.  I used to think I got bad service if I dressed poorly but the more I think about it, my appearance shouldn't matter. 

What are your thoughts?  How many times do you get bad service somewhere before you say something or discontinue going there?  I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Today is Christmas Eve and while hopefully most of you have your shopping done, if you don't, be careful.  My presents are wrapped, my cookies are baked and my stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  And while I don't wear a kerchief, I can promise you I'm laying around the house in my pjs. 

If I don't talk to you again this week, please have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and a Bright New Year!  2012 is already shaping up to be a good year for me and my family. 

Thank you for spending a little time with me and I hope to talk with you soon!  Here's a clip from my favorite Christmas movie.  I'm curious.  What's your favorite holiday movie?

Gosh, it get's me everytime!  *balls like a baby*

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Nibbles

So this week, I'm featuring a book I hope to start reading soon:

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Book Two in the Infernal Devices Series

Here is a blurb about the book:  In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

You can buy the book here.

The Infernal Devices series is a preclude to the Mortal Instruments series but you don't have to read this series in order to understand MI and vise versa.

I'm anxious to start the second book but nervous as well.  All over Twitter are reviews after reviews and while each one sings the book's praises, they all share one common theme.  The book will make me cry like a big baby.  I know, Merry Christmas to me.

So while I'm hunkered down during Christmas break, I might find myself stuck in a world of cogs and English gentlemen whilst a tear falls from thine eye.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Signing!

I know, my signing was on the 11th and it's the 19th already but I had to let it digest.  Come down from the high!
Sooooo, it went really well.  Like, OMG good!

There were 3 authors signing and one of them was a good writer friend of mine from high school, Sarah M. Anderson (no relation).  She recently had a Harlequin release for a Man of His Word (she was featured here a while back).  The entire signing took about an hour, while I sold out in 30 minutes!  Yeah!  I know awesome!

Here are a few images from the event.

 Yes, that'a pineapple ornament.  Don't ask!

Sarah, me and the rats!
All in all, it was a great experience and I'm so happy Sarah, my family and friends were able to share with me.  Through it all, they have been my rock and I couldn't have done any of it without them.

But I'm curious, for writers, have you done a signing before?  How was it?  Any tips?  Readers, have you ever been to a signing?  Who was the author?  If you could attend any signing in the entire world, who would it be?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Nibbles

First off, thank you for the comments and ideas about naming this segment.  I've combined the ideas and came up with Book Nibbles!  So, as a thank you to my commentors, I'm sending you both a prize.  Please email me at with your addys.

Now I just need a cute picture!

It's Thursday and that means a new book for you to nibble on.  Here are the deets:

Kentucky Blues by Cat Shaffer

Here's the Amazon link:

Review from Beyond Her Book:
"Once I opened the cover of Cat Shaffer’s book, I was hooked. I liked the characters, the suspenseful situation, and the concept of discovering one’s mother might be a “cougar” challenges the imagination. In the end, Kentucky Blues was touching, intriguing, tense, exciting, and satisfyingly romantic."
I haven't had the pleasure of reading this book yet but you can be sure it is on my TBR list.  Cougars?  Ex-boyfriends?  I think I could really enjoy this book.  If you've read it tell me what you think. 
Here are some more vital stats:
Author:  Cat
Published by Turquoise Morning
Release: August, 2010
Print ISBN: 9781935817048
Digital ISBN: 978-1-935-81712-3
Category:  Romantic Suspense
Heat Level: Sensual
Length: 65,700 words
Price:  Print, $14.99; digital $4.99
Elise Drummond never forgot her first love—and never expected to learn via the grapevine that he was back in Brookville and living with her mother. Sam McCade had broken her heart, and she wasn’t about to let him destroy her mother’s as well. A quick trip back to Kentucky to lay down the law and she could head back to the safe life she’d built for herself in Kansas City.
Happy Reading!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New YA Contest

Hey folks, for those that love YA and love a good and easy contest I think I've found one.  Check out YA Highway and their 3rd Annual Writer Giveaway.  Books, ARC, critiques...oh my!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Something New

To support my fellow authors, I'm going to try something new on the blog.  Each week, except during Christmas, I will feature a book.  I will include as much info about the book as possible as well as where you can get your hands on a copy. 

First in our line up is Raeliksen, Book One in the Emerald Isle Trilogy by Renee Vincent.  Here's where you can get your hands on a copy:

Here's what Goodreads says:
Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens - murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen's raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place - the River Shannon.

Here's an excerpt found on

I'm currently reading Raeliksen and hope to be done today.  I'm a sucker for an Irish romance and Renee's book 1 is no exception.  Her description of the Irish country and sea are spot on.  I've visited the country and reading Raeliksen I feel I'm right there standing on the cliffs watching the water break against the rocks below. 

From the start of the book, there is action.  An attempted kidnapping, a bloody nose, racing horses, dark caves, and the smell of rain.  I feel like I'm there right along the Princess while she tries to wrap her head around the actions of the Viking she's with.

If you enjoy historical romances, especially with an Irish flare, I highly recommend this wonderful novel.  I can't wait to finish so I can start book 2.

Now, I need suggestions on what to call this new adventure.  Let's have a contest to have some fun with it.  The winner will not only get to name my book pushing endeavour but will also win a new, hot off the presses book mark!

Leave your ideas below and a winner will be selected before next Thursday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome Sarah M. Anderson!

First off, I have to say how excited I am to have you.  Sarah and I went to high school together and she and I will be doing a joint signing on December 11th!  She's got the kisses, I'll bring the hugs!

Welcome Sarah!  Tell us a little about A Man of His Word.

The official blurb is: Attorney Rosebud Donnelly has a case to win. And she never lets anyone see her sweat.  But her first meeting with Dan Armstrong doesn’t go according to script.  No one warned her that the COO of the company she’s fighting would be so…manly. From his storm-colored eyes to his well-worn boots, Dan is an honest-to-goodness cowboy.  But is he honest? Her yearning for the Texas tycoon goes against reason, against family loyalty, against everything she thought she believed in.  And yet, in Dan’s strong arms, Rosebud feels she might be ready to risk everything for one more kiss….

Why a western theme?  Are you into Native American culture? Do you have a family history of it?

My parents were history teachers, so instead of vacations to Disneyland or Sea World, we went to Kitty Hawk (first plane flight) and Mount Rushmore. I was horse crazy when I was a girl, and the Lakota Sioux were a horse-intensive culture. The moment I showed the slightest interest in American Indians, my parents encouraged me to learn more. To them, it was about education. To me, it was almost an obsession. I learned how to bead and collected American Indian art (trust me, not normal for a twelve-year-old girl).

I grew out of it, however. I discovered boys and Jane Austen novels, and for a long time, I forgot about American Indians and horses. When I started writing, my stories were set on my in-laws’ farm in central Illinois. However, the fourth book I wrote featured a heroine who wanted to get away from the family farm. She wound up going west and met a cowboy who was also an Indian. That book worked. The dialog was snappy and funny, the sex was sexy, and the characters were real. The whole thing didn’t suck, which was a first. I had fun writing it, and people had fun reading it. My writing went west and I never looked back!

What attracts you to romance?  Were you always an avid reader of it? 

I will admit that, during the years I was pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the Victorian novel that I not only did not read romance, but I looked down my nose at it. Of course, I didn’t consider Jane Austen romance—that was culture! But the nice thing about life is that it provides you with perspective. I discovered a few books set in Victorian England that seemed just like the books I had studied, but they were labeled ‘romance’. My knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss them out of hand, but the thing was, they were really well written and I enjoyed the heck out of them. Plus, I’ve reached a stage in my life where the news—wars, recessions, abuse, death—feels very personal and hopeless. I’ve discovered that the happily-ever-after that is all but guaranteed by romance novels gives me more hope and satisfaction than reading CNN does. I’m a convert!

Often, romance writers take a pen name.  Did you consider one?

I did, but I already have a nickname, so I decided that I didn’t want to add a third name to the list of things I have to remember. Some days, I wish I had taken a pen name—not because people bully me for writing romance, but because I’d like to have another layer of privacy between my public persona and my family life.

Switch hats for a minute.  Mom, wife - how do you manage it all?

You are asking that question at the wrong time! Normally, it’s not that hard. I only work part time outside of the house, and I pick up my son every single day from school. It helps that I have an extremely patient and supportive husband. However, at this point, with the holidays here, A Man of His Word being released tomorrow (!), a book due on Jan. 6th, I don’t think I’m managing much of anything right now!

What does your family think?  Are your kids old enough to understand what you're doing?

My son is in first grade, and this year I went to speak for career day. I took in bookmarks the kids could color and talked about writing. He’s very proud of me being a ‘real-life arthur’, as he says it. I don’t think he grasps the whole concept of ‘romance’, being as he still occasionally thinks girls have cooties. The rest of my family is very supporting. My grandmother, Goldie M. Lucas, was a published poet and author, and just about everyone in the family believes I received her writing gifts.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

My second book, which will be out in July, just got a new title: A Man of Privilege. James Carlson is a prosecutor building a case, but he needs the testimony of a reformed hooker. The third book, tentatively titled A Man of Honor, will be out in September, which means it’s due in January. Nick Longhair left the reservation to make his name. But when he has to go back home, he discovered his high-school sweetheart has a baby that may be his.

Both books take place in the same world as A Man of His Word—Rosebud Donnelly, the heroine from that book, pops up in each of the next two. However, they’re not true sequels, just loosely connected stories.

Thanks for having me today, Jennifer! I’ll give away a signed copy of A Man of His Word to a commenter who tells me what the first romance they remember reading was! I’m also giving away a custom-made Locket of Love (worth $185) on January first. Everyone who comments is entered to win!

This post is brought to you as part of the A Man of His Word Blog Tour. U.S. residents only. For a complete tour schedule and rules, visit Comments on this blog will be entered to win a signed copy of A Man of His Word. All blog comments are added to the Jewelry Grand Prize list. Jewelry Grand Prize announced on January 1st, 2012 to one randomly drawn name on the list. Next tour stop is the Writing Playground on December 6th.

Beginning December 6th, 2011, A Man of His Word is available! Visit your favorite bookseller, at Amazon, or for the Nook.

Bio: Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux.  She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.

When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dog, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.