Monday, February 24, 2014

Liza O'Connor on Tour - Coming to Reason

I love Liza O'Connor's books, and it is my absolute pleasure to turn over the pen, well, keyboard to her for the Coming to Reason blog tour!

Doesn’t matter if you are alien or human, we all have to Come to Reason when we are in an unhealthy relationship. Only it’s not that easy for those of us who take commitment seriously. In fact, we can be incredibly blind to reality.

Take for example Carrie and Trent from A Long Road to Love series. Book 1: Worst Week Ever. 80% of my reviewers thought it hysterical. The other 20% focused in on the unhealthy relationship and were thus unable to laugh at anything.

Then came Book 2: Oh Stupid Heart where I let Carrie try her best to make Trent a good man. While she made him good enough to make me love the jerk, fundamentally he didn’t change. And part of the problem is Carrie. Her need to fix everything prevents him from growing up and taking responsibility.

I introduced a better man in book 1, but right now she refuses to see him as anything but a friend. But let me show you a side by side comparison and you decide who is better…by a mile.

A slam dunk, right?


Carrie is so committed to Trent, she won’t even considered this fabulous guy as anything but a good 

So I had no choice. I had to make use of some untied strings in book two and blow up the relationship. It’s the only way Trent will fundamentally change himself. He has to lose the ONLY person who has ever loved him. Well many of us loved him, but he doesn’t know that.

All Carrie has to do to find her HEA is open her eyes to the great guy right before her…well it’s a little more complicated than that, but she’s clever, so I’m sure she’ll solve the ‘no rebound’ problem.
However, Trent is going to need a whole book to fundamentally change himself. So book four is his journey. It’s called Climbing Out of Hell and because I love my readers, I reshuffled my schedule so it will come out next.

Book Three: A Long Road to Love
Humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance


Book 3 of A Long Road to Love series
Carrie has committed to an inter-species engagement with Trent, her billionaire boss. Presently, he is eighty percent dreamboat and twenty percent nightmare. When he fires her so they can become a ‘normal couple’, everything heads south.
Providing her a stark contrast, her new boss, Dan Marshal, is everything a woman could want. But for Carrie, her heart is taken and thus, her path to reason remains long and arduous.
When her relationship with Trent explodes in a shocking fashion, finally her heart gives up and reason takes over. She realizes a brighter future and a better man has been at her side all this time. But can she overcome the obstacles in her path to secure him? Or is Carrie doomed to never know true love?

Warning: If you loved Carrie and Trent as a couple, this book may break your heart. 

Liza O'Conner writes books that speak to my soul. Carrie is a character you will not soon forget.
--Rebecca Royce, author of The Warrior series. 

I only have one thing to say about Liza O'Connor's A Long Road to Love series: Read them. They're funny. You won't regret it!
  --Maria Hammarblad, author of Kidnapped.


Monday morning, Carrie stood outside Dan Marshal’s resource firm, wearing her best blue suit. She’d arrived early, knowing Dan kept to a tight schedule. She smiled as his car pulled to the curb.

Dan let himself out of the limo, something Trent still wouldn’t do, and headed to the office door. His brow remained furrowed until his gaze settled on her, then a smile brightened his handsome face.

“Carrie! What a pleasant surprise.” Leaning down, he kissed both her cheeks in greeting. While Dan didn’t possess Trent’s height, he still towered over her. “Are you by chance wishing to speak to me?”

“If you have time.”

He glanced at his watch and the furrows in his brow returned. “Fifteen minutes, before a meeting I’ve called. If you need more time, hopefully, you can wait an hour for the meeting to be finished.”

“More than fair since I didn’t make an appointment.”

His head tilted as he studied her. “Which is unlike you.”

“True, but I didn’t know I needed a job until yesterday, when Trent decided the time had come for him to grow up and run his own company.”

Dan led her to the elevator with his hand rested on her back. “Really?” His tone turned happy upon discovering her state of unemployment, but she let it slide.

“Evidently, he made the decision a while back, but didn’t bother to share it with me until yesterday.”

Dan’s smile grew more pronounced, borderline celebratory.

Once they entered the elevator and the doors closed, she wrinkled her nose at him. “Well, I’m glad my unemployment makes you happy. I expected a stern lecture after the last time I asked you to get me an interview.”

His smile disappeared. “Good point. Is this a real job you want, or are you trying to get rid of one of Trent’s groupies?”

She laughed. “Trent doesn’t have groupies. And this is a real job I want. We’ve decided to become a normal couple with daily time off from each other. Otherwise, Trent will continue to rely on me too much.”
For some reason, her reply saddened him.


A Long Road to Love
Book One
Worst Week Ever
“Love this book and couldn't stop laughing from beginning to end.” 5 stars – Alves - Amazon
71 reviews: 4.2 stars

Book Two
Oh Stupid Heart
“Be warned though, this book is completely different from The Worst Week Ever. Yes, there is still humor, dry wit, situations that you would think...NOT AGAIN but this one humanizes Trent more.” 5 stars - Brian’s Mom – Amazon
8 reviews: 4.8 stars

Book Three
Coming to Reason
 “This series has become addictive for me. Liza is unpredictable in her twists and turns which I love.”
2 reviews: 4.5 stars

Other Books by Liza O’Connor

Liza O’Connor
Author Bio:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.


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Sunday, February 23, 2014

I need advice

I currently have three novellas published in the series Embarkment 2577; Brand New World, High Gravity, and Adam and Eve. The books are centered around Alex - a woman who wakes up in a strange environment with amnesia and finds herself on a spaceship in the future.

These books are the only things I've written in first person. They're short and a bit silly. Some people love them, others hate them, and funny enough the individual novellas get much better ratings and reviews than the compilation - even though it's the same thing.

Anyway, I've been working on a few more books in the series. Two of them tell the stories of side characters and don't involve Alex. These will be told in third person.

Two of the new stories are about Alex, and I've come a little more than half through each before realizing I'm writing in third person.

Would you as a reader perceive this as a problem? Would a shift in point of view between books centered on the same characters disturb you, or is it okay because they're separate books?

Emma Stone would make a great Alex

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Authors, choose language for your audience

Readers who pick a book to read for pleasure generally don't want to have to stop to look up words. Authors shouldn't want the readers to have to put the book down - we want them to be mesmerized with our stories - but if they find the hero gasconading and the heroine being ebullient about her accoutrements, the enchantment of the story is gone. 

Yes, those are all English words. To gasconade means to boast or brag. Ebullient means zestfully enthusiastic, and accoutrements means accessories.

We still do it. I write science fiction and often have the privilege to make words up, but I strive to keep the language accessible. There's a matter of pride, of course, but honestly, we're writers. No one doubts that we know a lot of words. We don't have to show them off.

To a certain extent it's different when writing non-fiction. Each area will have its own special words, and the writer needs to adapt to the trade. But, even then many seem to think their material seems more important if people can't understand it. From my point of view, what's the point of writing in the first place if the audience won't get it?

Regional words and expressions is another related matter. I fall into this trap all the time. I'm Swedish, learned British English in school, and write for a mostly American audience. Once I got over the spelling - or most of it - I still used words wrong. To me, a biscuit is a cookie or a cracker. Here it's a kind of bread you buy with chicken. To me, a jumper is a nice, thin, knit women's sweater. Here it is, well, not that. In my world, being homely means feeling like home. Here it means ugly.

The thing is, America is a big country. There are local expressions all over that means something else in another area of the country. And, then there are areas who take a word that means something completely different and use it in a wrong way. It might make perfect sense in that one area, but when used in a book, it will make people go, "Uh, what?"

I have an example. Bluetooth is a communications protocol named after a Scandinavian king. It's a form of radio communication. I have a bluetooth keyboard, mouse, studio headphones, and watch. My phone, iPad, and computers all use bluetooth to communicate with each other and with these devices.

I started to read a book a while ago where the author puzzled me by writing, "She hid the bluetooth in her hair."

Say what? She did what?

A few pages later it became clear that the writer thought bluetooth synonymous with a headset for a phone. I could have gotten over it if it were in three places or so in the book, but the heroine used her "bluetooth" at least one on almost every page.

After a while I couldn't stop seeing it. The rest of the book was good and well written, but I didn't finish it. When chatting with some other writers on Facebook, they told me that in one area somewhere midwest, people use the word bluetooth when referring to a headset for a phone.

It's really difficult to avoid this, because you think you're using the word right. If you see me doing it, I appreciate if you point it out.

On the note of big words, I just learned that penultimate is a bad thing; it means second to last. I always thought it was something good. Go figure. LOL!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Englewood book fair was great!

I had a great time at the Englewood book fair. Actually, I think it's the best one I've visited this far. They've been doing it for a few years and it showed; they had banners hanging over the roads, big signs showing the way, and good attendance of people actually interested in books. To make things even better, the weather gods smiled at the event. It has been cold for a few days - for being Florida - but Saturday was gorgeous. 

I don't have a tent, and I thought sunscreen would be enough. It wasn't. I returned home red as Santa's suit with huge white rings around my eyes from the sunglasses. Haha!

Anyway, I met some really great people and I have already told the arrangers I want to come next year again.

Before going, I promised myself that if I sold more than X books I could get a toy. I've been wanting a Pebble SmartWatch to go with my iPhone - I keep it tucked away at the daytime job, and a Pebble could be a great way to keep track of who's trying to reach me, and if I should grab the phone or not. I'm on the no-call list, but I still get so many calls from people wanting to sell insurance and other stupid stuff, you wouldn't believe it. (28 between Friday morning and Saturday morning.)

I sold twice as many as I hoped for, so I went down to BestBuy to get my toy. (Don't get me wrong - it doesn't cover the price of the watch - but I've been working hard and this made a great excuse for buying stuff.)

The Pebble is awesome! It synced with my phone just like that, and now I can see who calls or texts me, what time it is, what weather it is, what day it is, what I have planned, and so on with just a glance at my wrist. Win!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Visiting the Englewood Dearborn Street Book Festival this Saturday!

I have been a bit asocial these last couple of weeks. There's a lot to learn at the new job, and it's quite an experience to be the greenhorn again. My inner workaholic is panicking, feeling I'm too slow. I understand at least five hundred percent more this week than last week though, so it's moving in the right direction. =)

My inner lazy self wants to spend the upcoming weekend napping, but it's time to go out and meet some actual people. Real life people. At the Englewood Dearborn Street Book Festival, to be precise.

It is at Pioneer Park on W Dearborn Street in Englewood, on Saturday February 15th between 10 AM and 3 PM.

Besides a number of authors there will be music and a coffee and food tent.

If you're in the area, come see me!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"My Past Life as a Dung Beetle" by L.K. Hatchett

Writing good short stories is an art. Cramming personalities, events, and a satisfying end into so few words requires skill. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing L.K. Hatchett, the writer of one of my favorite short stories!

Welcome, L. K. Hatchett!

Hello everyone! I'm a little nervous because this is my very first guest appearance on a blog. When Maria asked if I'd like to talk about my book here, I happily said, "Yes!" Then I wasn't sure what I would say. It's all very exciting and new for me.

I suppose I could just hop right in. This past Fall, I wrote and published "My Past Life as a Dung Beetle." That title came to me before I started writing and it fit so well that it never changed. It makes me smile every time I see it.

"My Past Life as a Dung Beetle" is about a collector and his family. It's about the human nature of gathering things. Having studied as an Anthropologist and spending numerous years as an Archaeologist, I have seen this tendancy first hand in both ancient and modern peoples. It's also relevant to note that I have hoarder tendencies myself. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about how this story is about hoarding on my own blog. However, now I see that it's about way more than that; it's about family.

Although offbeat and quirky, "My Past Life as a Dung Beetle" is romantic at its core. There aren't too many things more romantic than a man who wants to make his family happy, maybe nothing more romantic than that. In this story, Jim Williams is all about his happy family and it's evident in their interactions.

One of the most interesting things that has happened with the story is the reviews. There are two reviews that give both sides of the spectrum so perfectly that there's no way I could have explained it better myself.

For a limited time, from now until Feb. 10th, "My Past Life as a Dung Beetle" is being promoted on Amazon for free. Click here to download!!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you all enjoy!

Twitter: @lkhatchett 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Clumsy? Who, me? Nah, LOL!

On my way home from work today I needed to stop for gas. That shouldn't be a big deal. Only, as I stepped out of the car the heel of my right shoe somehow caught on the pant leg, and I nearly fell on my face right in front of the cop car that idled on the other side of the pumps. Yes, I can stumble over my own feet.

Then, the little display on the pump was malfunctioning, and I probably looked pretty confused as I squinted and tried to figure out what it was saying about, "something-something-not-available-something-see-attendant." I thought it was whining over my card, but it was about not being able to give a receipt.

Did I ever mention that gas pumps are completely different between the US and Sweden? As a Swede, you're trained to use the green handle. Green is gas, blue is E85 (ethanol) and black is diesel.

Here it's the other way around. Green is diesel and black is gas.

Naturally, every time I get gas I grab the green handle, realize it's the wrong size, and rejoice over catching it before filling up with the wrong fuel.

Evidently, falling out of the car, being unable to complete payment in a timely manner, and nearly filling the car with diesel was enough to get attention. The cop waited until I was done and followed me almost all the way home.

Having to keep the speed limit, not mess with my phone, come to a complete stop at all stop signs, use the blinker every time, and attempting to be a model citizen for twenty minutes was hard work!

On the bright side, if I ever need a heroine to hook up with a cop, now I know how to get their attention. =)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New adventures and good news!

2014 is a year of change. Friday was my last day at Pet Doors USA, and Monday I'm starting my new job at the Fraud Practice. The company specializes in fraud prevention and I will be doing all sorts of writing. It is super-exciting.

It was time to move on, but I'm awful at goodbyes. As excited as I am about my new job, walking out the doors of Pet Doors USA for the last time still felt strange. (Bad at goodbyes, yes... I managed to stay employed at SSAB for five years after I left. LOL!)

All jobs have their ups and downs, that's normal, but I will miss the pet industry, not to mention the "family" at Pet Doors. It's a small company and we've become a tight group. I'll still keep in touch with them and I will be doing some work for the company, writing for the website and the blog. I'm happy to be able to keep that connection.

My new job? I'll tell you all about it when I've been there. ;-)

In other good news I just got an e-mail from my publisher saying Operation Earth has made its way to the print schedule. Yay!

It is scheduled to become paperback in May, and I can't wait. I don't sell all that many paperbacks online, but I need them for the book fairs. Plus, there's something special about seeing your work in print.

E-books are great, but being able to hold a physical product and say, "I did that, I created this" is a truly great feeling.

More good news... My Borealis novella, Shadow of a Man got a great review from Ind'Tale Magazine! They give it 4.5 stars out of five and say:

Theresa can’t help the shudder that runs through her. She’s headed to Borealis and can’t think of a place she’d rather NOT be. And why her husband, Dominic, would want to return to that orbiting house of horrors is beyond her. He still bears the scars he received from the last time he was there—scars that led to a long line of mistresses and ever-increasing insanity.

Captain Geo has always been there for Theresa. Sure, he was hired by her husband to protect her after rescuing Dominic from Borealis, but he sees the gem her husband has cruelly cast aside and would gladly step in to do more than protect her. If only she’d let go of the stubborn loyalty to her bond and let him in.

“A Shadow of a Man” bears an intriguingly original plot line that leaves one starving for the next chapter... and the next! With tangible emotion and compelling description, Hammarblad creates a more-than-worthy addition to the Borealis series of novellas. In what other book would you find yourself cheering equally for a hunkity hunk and a cray crazy womanizer? Love it! Only one problem - the cliffhanger. Ugh, the cliffhanger! As cliffhangers go, it’s fabulous, but one still feels like the nerd-boy reaching for the sack lunch suspended enticingly out of reach. Aw, come on! Don’t do this to us, please!!!

The Universe - or is it Fate - is fickle.

If someone had told me yesterday that an asteroid would collide with Earth, that we'd have a flood of Biblical proportions, or that a so...