Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Technology and Me

When I was young…er, I was the go to person for electronics.  Get a new stereo?  Get Courtney to set it up.  New VCR?  Having trouble getting the clock to stop flashing 12:00…, Courtney can fix it, set it up, hook it up, whatever. 

Through the years, I have tried and tried to stay abreast of the latest and greatest technology.  I have a facebook and twitter.  I have my blog (as you can see).  I have been “up” with the cell phones as much as I could.  Now however, I find that I am falling further and further behind and frankly just don’t get it anymore.

For Christmas this past year we purchased our first flat screen tv.  Woo hoo, right?  Wrong.  I hate that TV.  It’s a nice one and it’s big, but setting it up was not my idea of fun.  I got the Blueray set up fine.  I got our Wii set up and working.  The cable was next.  I got the cable box hooked up fine, but the tv guide for all the channels said “to be announced”.  I thought maybe it just needed a minute to hook up.  Nope.  I had to physically set up the channels.  Had no idea how to do that.  I read the stupid book for the tv, still no clue.  I called the cable provided to see if they had any insight on what I needed to do.  They were worthless.  I finally gave up and had to ask for help from my teenager.  I hate that!  Now, every time the power goes out I have to do this process all over again.  Seriously, I loathe the tv anymore. 

This past weekend, I was upgraded to a new iphone 5 (not exactly by choice either).  Lord, help me.  I read the little book that came with it.  I have added in my contacts and updated my apps and connected to my itunes for my music.  I am stumbling my way through making a call and getting my voicemail and figuring out where to go to read my texts and email.  Sadly, I find myself feeling old.  I just want my phone to be…a phone.  Oh it’s fancy and it’s new and exciting but iphones are a bit out of my league.  I assume this will change as I get used to it and play with it more, but for now, today, if you text me or email me and I don’t get right back to you, it’s because I have no idea how. I will either need to get to my computer or find one of my kids to tell me how. 

Sad.  Yes, I do believe technology is passing me by.  Sigh…

Anyone know how to get a photo you took on your iphone onto your computer?  Anyone?  

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Day in New York

Last year, this time, I was all set for a trip to New York City.  Due to some unforeseen animal problems, I was unable to go.  The trip was put off until this year, same time, which was this past weekend.  We had a wonderful time.  It was only two days, but we filled it with as much free and fun stuff as we could, along with the paid for must see places.  Day one was spent with just my family.  Day two was spent with a friend and fellow writer, Denise, who graciously and happily accepted my plea to come and spend the day with me, so that I was not alone on my first trek through the big apple.  

Here are a few of things we did and saw.

I find it fascinating that even in the land of concrete, life can find a way to not only grow but will thrive.

As with any tourist, we had to make a jaunt to see the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Was it as wonderful as I thought it would be...eh.  Not so much.  Oh the history of the place is awe inspiring and somewhat interesting, but considering what it offered, the time it took to see it (all flipping day!) and the cost to see it, it wasn't fantastic.  You get to ride a ferry, you get to see the statue, and you get to see the immigration area, complete with photos, but all in all, it was just eh.  I can say I have now seen with my own two eyes, the statute, so that is enough for me.

This is the bird that attacked Seren.  No really.  It came after the poor girl and tried to steal her fries.  That blood curdling scream you heard on Friday afternoon, yeah, that was her.  

A nice family photo of the girls and me with a back drop of the NY skyline.  Aren't we cute...

Apparently I didn't get many photos of Denise and I.  Only this one.  How sad is that?  Here we are at the start of day two in front of the NY Library.  We made our way through this awesome place.  Couldn't find any books...but it was still a great stop.  The children's section at least is filled and over flowing, just don't sit down to rest at the computers in this area as you will be scolded that those computers are for the CHILDREN!  Yikes all mighty.  


These are photos to prove that I am a SUCKER.  These little guys came running up to my girls and I of course being the mama that I am, quickly snapped several photos.  It was then that a bag labeled TIPS was thrust under my nose from not just one but all the critters that I had taken a photo of.  I ended up paying a total of $3 ($1 each) for the opportunity to have these photos.  So you must enjoy them.  At least $3 worth please so that I can get my moneys worth.  Thanks!

We stopped at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It was HUGE.  Now I am not Catholic, so I don't understand a lot of the Catholic doings, but what is the point of all the pomp?  This is a serious question by the way, I am not being insulting at all.  I really don't get it.  Also, I was always raised to believe that God wants our prays and that prayers are free. Not so in this Cathedral.  If you wanted to pray and light a candle...well that would be $2 please.  Yes, really.  So even though the place was lovely to see, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and the lingering questions of why?  

 What trip to New York would be complete without a stop over at the Empire State Building? This is another one of those must see places to mark off your list but after marking it off, wondering if it was worth the $25 a head to do it.  The place is HUGE and the architecture grand.  I admit it.  The building itself was cool.  The line wasn't too bad (no thanks to the rude skyride people that accosted us outside) only about 45 minutes to an hour total.  That includes all lines.  The line to get tickets, the line to wait for the elevator, the line to have your photo taken (everyone was herded into the photo line), and the line to get outside.  The ride up was ear popping and crowded but we were all excited.  

The view outside was breathtaking and beautiful.  This is as close to central park as I got though.  Maybe next trip.  I could have stayed up there in the warm sunshine for a long time, but our time to play in the city was dwindling.  We needed to head out after taking time to oooh and aaaah over each side.  It was a worth it event btw, even at $25.  Surprised?  So was I.  

All in all we had a lovely trip.  It was good to come home though.  Yes there is always laundry to do and clean up to complete, but the trip was worth it. I am sorry it was so short but we will go back.  Not till next year but, we will go back.  

It was wonderful to see and spend time with my friend Denise.  Thank you Denise for coming out with us. I don't think I would have made it out of the bus terminal without you.  Okay I dont think, I KNOW.  I was daunted by the idea and the size of the city.  Having another adult and one that had been there before was a Godsend. 

Have a great week everyone!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review and Interview - K J. Dahlen

Today I have a new review and interview with fellow author, K.J. Dahlen and her book, Blood Memories. 

Blood Memories
By K.J. Dahlen

K. J. Dahlen lives in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and dog. She can see the Mississippi river on one side and the bluffs where eagles fly on the other. She has two kids and two grandkids. Kim loves to people watch and she uses what she sees in her books. She loves to create intense situations for her characters and sit back and see what they do to get to get themselves out of trouble. Sometimes her characters even surprise her. Her characters come alive for her, and what starts out as just an idea becomes a story with unusual twists and turns. She loves to keep her readers guessing until the very last page.

First a bit about this book:
When an accident turns out to be not an accident but murder, Savannah must solve a double murder that happened over twenty years ago to find the truth. She was the only witness to her parents' murders and now their killer is after her. She puts her trust into a man her aunt has known for all these years, but evidence soon points to him being involved with the man she thinks killed her parents. Will she prove him innocent or fall prey to his intent? Her life and over two million dollars in diamonds is at stake.

My Review:

I am a fan of thriller/mysteries.  I like trying to figure out who did what and how it all fits together and why.  This book gives you all that and more.  The main character, Savannah, you can immediately connect with.  After the death of her parents, she was raised by her aunt, and on the run for most of her life.  Her world is not all roses and sunshine.  Then upon the death of her beloved aunt, her life turns upside-down once again.  She is thrust into the world of smuggling and with it, death and deception.  Who can she really trust?  Who is the bad guy?  What does Savannah need to remember in order to find the people responsible for her parents’ murders? 

This author does a great job of connecting you with the characters in this book.  Not just the main character either, but all of them. The dialogue seems genuine and flows with easy.  The suspense never stops from the moment you begin all the way to the very last sentence. 

I can’t find one thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It was fast paced, full of suspense and mystery, and just a good fun book to ready. 

I give this book 5 stars.  I loved it.

Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Suspense
Length: 318KB
Rating: 5.0
Reviewed by:  Courtney Rene


For a bit of extra fun, I like to find out a bit more about the authors I review. So, here is a short interview with Author, K.J. Dahlen:

1.         Can you tell us a little about yourself?   I have 18 books out at the moment with a couple more still coming. I am a mother and grandmother and wife. I live in a small town and love it and I have a very good imagination, or so I’m told.
My books are all suspense, because I love putting the characters I create into intense situations and seeing how they get out of them. Sometimes what happens next even surprises me!
2.         What are you currently working on? I just finished a book I call, The Guardian’s Key, the first book in a series I have planned dealing with angels, demons, white lighters and time travelers. It’s different than my normal suspense but with some interesting twists and turns.
            I am also starting new edits on my book Phoenix Rising- which will more than likely be under a different title by the time it comes out. I have a feeling the book itself will be completely different as well. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I kinda like the story as it is, but I’m sure the editor won’t.

3.         If you could be any character from any book, who would you want to be and why? I’m comfortable just being who I am. If I were to become a character in a book I would have to become someone else, a person someone else created and I would behave differently and I don’t think I’d like that.

4.         Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about? The first story I wrote was a romance I called, The Ghost in the Valley. Let me be the first to tell you I absolute suck at writing romance. I finished the book and put it away for twenty years. I switched over to suspense and when I found my book again I reread it and laughed at my first attempt. Maybe if I rework it I can change it to a mystery romance, but I would have to do a lot of work!

5.         What is next for you?  The contract for one of my books, The Prophet, is up and I have plans to rewrite the book. I want to add the rest of the story. I was going to make it into a trilogy but other ideas came up and there were other stories to be written, between then and now. Also I’m looking into making a sequel to my book, The Bradbury Inn. Jillian and Seth get involved in another mystery in New Orleans. This one has to do with Jillian’s long lost family and a curse over a hundred years old.

6.         What resource has been most influential in helping you become a published writer and why? How often do you refer back to it? I love reading. I have always been a reader and the more I read the more I understand the craft. I often write the way I and everyone around me talks and thinks. While it may not always be grammatically correct, it’s the way people know now days. I usually have a ton a edits to redo in the end but that’s ok too.

7.         What is the thing you enjoy the most about writing.  I love taking an idea and creating a complete story from it. I love adding twists and turns to my story and leaving my readers to guess what’s coming next.

8.         What are you doing when you are not writing? I love reading and spending time with my family. Not necessarily in that order. My family comes first in my world, they always have and always will.

9.         Who is your favorite author? I don’t have just one favorite author I have several and I’m always on the lookout for more. I have read some very good books from my author friends and I’m sure I’ll read more in the future.

10.       What is your absolutely favorite movie of all time? I would have to say National Treasure, both movies are the best. I love the intrigue and puzzle solving that leads the characters to the treasure. If only it were real…

11.       What are your thoughts on ebooks vs. print books? I can see the allure of an ebook. It seems to be the way we are headed, but I have to say I love the feeling a print book has. You can actually hold the book in your hand while you’re curling up on the couch. There is nothing better than that in my book. Sorry but that’s how I feel…

Thanks for stopping over everyone.  Have a great week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shadow's End

Happy Release Day!  Yes, today is the release of my latest book, Shadow's End.  This is the 3rd book in the Shadow Dancer seriers. 


The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn, not just by King Gideon, but also by the rebels that were once Sunny’s allies.
Due to unexpected trips to the ice realm and the fire realm, new allies are found to help build the Army of the Sun. There are new worlds explored. New friends and new enemies made. Ready or not, Sunny must prepare for what is coming as well as decide where she belongs within it all.
But…what about prom? What about Leif? What about home? How can she, just a seventeen year old girl, rule a whole world? She’s not even sure if she can get through finals.

Shadow's End RPP Link
Shadow's End Amazon
Shadow's End Review

Is this the end of Acadia?  No.  I have been hinting about a story line for Leif.  I have begun this continuation.  Maybe I shouldn't call it a continuation.  It is more of a branch-off.  So far it is going well.  Stay tuned for more on this later. 

As for today, go out and get your copy of Shadow's End.  Let me know what you think.  Or stop by my Facebook Fan Page to share your thoughts.  Either works for me. 

Have a great one!  See you next week.