Friday, September 24, 2010

Congrats to and News from 3 fellow authors

First, I have to yell a big CONGRATULATIONS to a fellow author and long-time close friend, Andra Marquardt, who just won the Speculative fiction category of the Genesis Award at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference! I know how much she struggles to get her work “just right” and not just done, how much she studies the craft, how much she has to say within her work that’s worth hearing … and I have to say we have exchanged some critiquing along the way. The beginning of Off The Moon benefitted from her sharp eyes.

Visit her website here, and check the winners list of the ACFW Genesis Awards here.

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Also, a congrats to Dawn Colclasure for her recent story acceptance in an anthology. It’s not hardly her first, but I have to mention it here because after two rejections of the story, Dawn didn’t give up. She pinpointed the problem the editor mentioned, was willing to ask for advice and used it, and tried again. This time, it worked.

I’ve seen so many authors who ask for critiques and then balk at suggestions, sometimes not nicely, as though they have no room to improve. A writer who believes that is true, wherever they are in their career, will go no farther. So kudos to Dawn!

Find Dawn at her website and watch for her coming revisions book (of which I have a small part in, btw).

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Finally, some news from a fellow author. Today is release day for Sharon Donovan’s newest book, Her Biggest Fan. Unfortunately, Sharon is in the hospital with health issues and can’t be around online today to promote. A fellow Pennsylvanian with whom I’ve had some contact in the past several months, Sharon writes award-winning romance in various subgenres. The newest is a romantic thriller.

Find her books on her website. Congrats on the newest release, Sharon! And get well soon!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Cold and Scenic Travelogue (pt 2)

Warren PA courthouse (scroll down to catch pt 1)

Continuing into Pennsylvania on 62 South, we came to Warren. The courthouse in the photo is only one of the magnificent buildings we saw as we cruised through the main part of town and then headed east toward the Allegheny National Recreation Area. Our only stop there was at Kinzua dam.

I again couldn’t help thinking I’d like to grab a notebookKinzua Dam and sit out on one of the tables under the trees overlooking the branch of the Allegheny Reservoir and stay a while. At least, I’d love to do that some day when it’s warm and not threatening rain.

I have several beautiful photos from this area, but my a hawk overlooking the reservoir favorite is the one where we found the hawk resting on the wooden fence. He sat patiently and prettily until I got a decent shot of him, and then he flew off majestically. Such pretty birds, hawks. Last year, we had a nest outside our back yard, but I think the dogs have deterred them this year, since they were constantly running after their flight path and barking at them. *sigh*

We doubled back a few miles to Warren, where I got an Warren library almost decent shot of their stately library! One of these days, I’ll have to go back and visit. The library has a few quotes etched along above the big windows, in Roman architecture style.

The one on the front corner says: “Philosophy – the thoughts of men about human thinking, reasoning, and imagining, and the real values in human existence.”

The one next to it: “Literature – the storehouse of knowledge, the record of civilization, the fulcrum for the lever of progress.”

The next says something about “.. elemental passions but ever aspiring.”

Railroad Bridge Heading out of Warren, there’s a beautiful old bridge. I love bridges, also, and had to grab a shot of it.

As it was growing late in the day, we headed west toward our destination for the night and I found another incredible library in Oil City:

Oil City library
As this isn’t very far from us, I’ll definitely be back that way to explore the inside. Doesn’t it just look like a great place to spend the day?

Oil City Vets At the Vietnam Memorial at a crossroads of the town, we were treated to three Vets standing in front of it with a sign asking drivers to honk in support of the troops. There wasn’t much traffic at the time, but there was honking, including us. They seemed happy enough to pose for a quick photo as we stopped at the light. 

Finally, as we came into the final stretch of the ride, the clouds began to break and the sun peeped out as if to say, “You made it fine even with me in hiding.” Never mind I felt pretty much like a popsicle by then and rushed right in to find the shower and plenty of warm water. Hey, we went for an adventure and found one. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.

We topped it off by visiting the original Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, PA and my very adventurous husband put his name on the wall of flame by managing to eat 5 of their hottest hot wings. Better him than me. I’m not quite that adventurous. But I bet he warmed up faster!

Did you know the closest living relative to the tyrannasaurus rex is the chicken? So the Lube says.

no longer flaming hot wings
By the way, Sharon PA is home to the Buhl Mansion. Formerly owned by a big steel magnate, the mansion fell to the state’s hands and then to disrepair and was rescued and restored by the local man who invented the Club (you know, that thing that was supposed to keep cars from being stolen). It now hosts an inn and spa, a park with a gorgeous walking path, and a health center for the community.

Oh, along the way from Warren to Tionesta, we traveled along the edge of Allegheny National Park and marveled at the water-side scenery of homes along the edge, on stilts or up the bank slightly. I don’t have a photo, except in my head, but I can see it becoming part of a story somewhere.

Western PA is biker’s heaven, at least during the more temperate months. You can’t hardly be in the area without seeing them out enjoying the area.


[WATCH for bikes and Start SEEING them! We’re everywhere, and we’re not the Hell’s Angels, regardless of media portrayal.]

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Cold and Scenic Travelogue

¬©LKHunsaker.comThere’s nothing like a cool, crisp morning that turns into a sunny warm day for a day-long ride on the back of a Harley. You see more from a bike than from a car or truck. You see not only the road beneath, but the sides of the road and the birds overhead. You feel the change of the air as it shifts from pavement-reflected warmth along the interstate to cooler and fresher along little tree-lined roads. You know without looking when you’re passing by or bridging over a stream or river because of the sudden moist chill in the air and the smell of the water. You’re more fully connected with and part of nature on a bike, even more so than rolling all four windows of your car down and allowing the wind to gush in and cause a racket.

Of course, then there are those days when a cool, crisp morning turns into a cloudy, colder, rainy day. That’s not great bike weather, and you better hope you’ve remembered to pack your rain gear, but a cold, damp day on a bike is still more soul-refreshing than a day in a car.

This is true even when you’re easily cold and completely un-enamored with being cold and if it takes you two days to warm up again.

Over the weekend, that’s the kind of day my husband and I had when we agreed to meet a friend from New York (state, not city) and have lunch and cruise around in between our two home areas. We started off chilly, drove up into the rain, and kept counting on the weather prediction of clearing skies and 70 degrees. Neither happened.

Ah well. We still put over 340 miles on the bike in one day and I, of course, had my camera in hand. Here’s some of what we saw:

Northwestern PA in September 2010As it’s mid-September, the trees in northwestern PA are turning all shades of fall. The hovering mist and clouds interfere a bit with the crispness of the colors, but it does add a soft variation.

Our meeting point was a little NY town called Hamburg where I had some incredible chocolate chip pancakes (yes, I splurged) and coffee to add fuel for the rest of thealong the road day. From there, we moved down farther south through back roads and farm land and Amish country.   

A tip: while in Amish country on a bike, watch carefully for slippery obstructions from the horses! We managed to avoid this pitfall, thank goodness!

along the roadHeading toward Jamestown, we were treated to a few pretty lakes and ponds. Have I said how much I love water? As we passed by, I thought this would be a wonderful place to set a chair and sit and write or read or daydream (writers must daydream, after all) on a warmer, dryer day.

marina Of course, while riding, you can’t pull out a map and ask your passenger where to go from wherever you are, so at one point we pulled into the parking lot of a little marina and grabbed the map from the tour pack. This is somewhere along route 62 and I think we were still in NY.

Had I known that next door to Jamestown is a little town called Lakewood, NY, I would have asked the guys to take a little buzz over in that direction so I could get a photo of the town sign. Why? Rehearsal is set in Lakewood. Okay, so my Lakewood is actually a fictional town in Massachusetts, but it would still be fun to post the town sign that matches my imaginary town. Yes, I’m easily amused.

I also wished I’d had the camera ready when we passed someone’s yard. They had a sign advertising something that had “Aim High” in big letters. [A- hem.. Highest Aim] *shrug*

at the marinaMoving along, the parking area was bordered by alternating rows of these shrubs. I’ve no idea what they are, but they are beautiful. Aren’t they?

As this was quite the long trip and I’m being rather long-winded about sharing it, I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.


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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Fun Finds: Fairly Fascinating?

Okay, how many of you Google yourselves? Admit it. Hands up and wave big.

My hand is waving big. I guess I better since I not only Google myself, but also my book titles. Every day I get a few alerts that “match” my alert phrase. This can actually be fairly fascinating if you take the time to look at them other than to see they have absolutely no relevance to you at all. (Well, now and then they do.)

It’s kind of cool what you can find. For instance, some of today’s finds:

key term: Finishing Touches

related url: Doing the Math

relevance: Amy is an avid reader who blogs about books she reads. Alas, this has absolutely no relevance to me other than the similar book title she did read – The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne. Yes, well, I have seen this book around here and there. No, I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard good things so maybe I eventually will. What makes this a fascinating find is that if you skim through Amy’s posts, I dare you not to chuckle at least once. Another blog to bookmark, I dare say. She runs the gamut, all on the one page of the blog, from Respiratory Therapy to guys’ butts. Seriously. Check it out.

key term: Protect The Heart

related url: http://ribguards.zonblog.com/ancient-explorers-discovered-unique-native-nut-trees-growing-in-america/

relevance: Um, it’s related because nuts protect the heart with all the good stuff within. There’s so much I could say about this in relation to a romance novel, but it isn’t really relevant (and it’s also not related to the above post about guys’ butts, but with a good imagination, it could be). Check this one out if you want to explore everything you ever wanted to know about nuts, including Thomas Jefferson’s Illinois nuts. Hmm…

key term: Off The Moon

[There was a fairly fascinating link to a blog asking what happens if an astronaut is bit by a werewolf before he goes to the moon, but my computer thinks it may be a spam site, so I won’t post the url. Still, if one of you paranormal experts would like to field this one, I’d be fascinated by your hypothesis.]

So, moving on…

related url: http://paperscaper.blogspot.com/2010/09/broom-rides.html

relevance: Roxie from Michigan creates greeting cards with rubber stamps and such. I found the “Broom Rides” title to this particular blog that mentions how she “Masked off the moon” both funny and not-so-appropriate that Google found it related to my novel. I also found it interesting that she’s a retired landscape designer (shades of Alan from Finishing Touches) and donates cards … to soldiers, ill children, and cancer charities. Many kudos to Roxie.

Our Roxie!Our Roxie!

Sometimes, though, it does turn out relevant!

key term: LK Hunsaker

related url:  Supersonic Jet Style

relevance: Ms. Savanna Kougar is wonderful about sharing happenings about other authors and I commonly find my name listed on her blog (how much do I owe you now, Savanna??). Warning: this is an 18+ blog, so enter only if you are at least 18.

In this instance, Savanna is generously listing my Monday blog post on Lindsay’s Romantics titled Libraries, Ireland, and the Book of Kells – click to read!

And um, if you’re ‘of age’ and enjoyed the guys’ butts and nuts references above, you might enjoy the imagery on Savanna’s post, even if you don’t read it. The image itself is safe, relatively.

If you haven’t had enough blog hopping yet, I’m also part of Classic Romance Revival’s brand new blog with a “Where Do You Write” theme. Want to see our work areas? Hop on over and check them out. (Mine has photos because I’m photo obsessed – sorry, no guy mentions. This time. Both of my posts are very much all age appropriate. This time.)

my flowering almond in spring My flowering almond in spring, just because I love this photo of it. *shrug* 
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Oh, and if anyone wants to be a real sweetheart and help my downloads of the story I added to Smashwords just two weeks ago hit 100 today (or tomorrow), click the link and download it free! Toward The Sky is a very short glance inside the life of Daws, a young vet, as he meets the love of his life. Heck, if you want to be super sweet, leave it a review, also!