Signs of Spring…Signs of Hope

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Happy First Day of Spring! The air is cold but smells of spring….smells of hope.

The snow still covers the ground in some parts of the Northeast, but the tippy top of the yellow bulbs in our yard are emerging through the soil! The small pink buds on the maple trees are bursting too. Even the sun is preparing, shifting higher, as if readying itself for all the summer gardens it must feed.

These new inklings make me want to do the things I love. Reading a book under the tree. Feeling the rush of the wind through the open windows. Watching the late night stars brighten against the sky.

All signs are getting ready for the beauty of spring. Are you?

Book Breakups are hard to do!

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Saying goodbye to a good book is hard. Really hard. Sometimes gut wrenching!

When I become submerged in a good story, I connect to the characters and hop into their life journey. I learn what gives them superpowers, and what scares them in the dark. I want to read at every free moment… over coffee, waiting for doctor appointments, and at bedtime. And sometimes, gulp, even over dinner. This can go on for days, sometimes weeks, and then it comes time to close that last page and say goodbye. At eleven years old, I can still remember finishing the Little House on the Prairie series and wondering how I’d make it through the rest of the summer without my friend Laura Ingalls Wilder. We’d go to Plum Creek together daily!

As an author, I spend countless hours creating characters (or them telling me who they are!). In my latest novel The Dark Path, Parker Stillen’s journey was tough, and this reflected in his not-so-great choices that put him in the middle of a murder. When I typed The End, I immediately missed Parker in my ear. This guy would get himself in a mess, and tell me to get him out of it. Like I could! Time and time again, I had to tell him no. He had to figure it out on his own, so he could grow. Is it wrong to just want him to be happy?

But alas, I’m ready to send him into the world and share his roller coaster with others. I’ll miss him and his journey.

Have you read a character that you’ve missed well after closing the book?

How Do I Love Thee?

Love is in the air today.  This beautiful sonnet “How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was written in 1845 during her courtship with writer Robert Browning. Enjoy and celebrate all the love in your life! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

What is Evil? Author Kristina Rienzi explores in new release Breaking Evil

I’m thrilled to welcome Kristina Rienzi to my blog! I had a chance to talk with Kristina about her new suspense Breaking Evil, the second book in the Ensouled Trilogy and sequel to Choosing Evil.

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Can you tell us about how you came up with your idea for The Ensouled Trilogy?

The question, “What is evil” sparked the inspiration for The Ensouled Trilogy. I wanted to explore what it meant to be evil through multiple character viewpoints. By forcing the main character, Serafina to repeatedly examine her true nature throughout the trilogy, the lines between good and evil blurred until they seemed invisible.

What was your favorite part of Breaking Evil (Ensouled Trilogy, Book 2) to write?

I loved writing the action scenes, and there are so many of those in this book! My favorite scene, which applies to all the books I write, is the climax. The rise of action and energy is intoxicating to me as a writer. I never want the climax to end!

I really enjoyed the twists and turns in Choosing Evil, your first book in the series. What can we expect from Sera and Damon in Book 2?

Sera and Damon are on a supernatural thrill ride In Book 2. They’re wavering between two worlds, and deciding on a moment to moment basis at times, where they stand. This story is action packed and for a good reason: Sera and Damon are on a mission to save lives. As the truth is revealed, they can’t determine whether demons or humans are worth the sacrifice.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what are your go-to tunes?

I don’t listen to music, but I always have “The Twilight Zone” (1960s version) on in the background. I know all of the episodes by heart, so I don’t need to watch them, but their tone sets the stage for me to write with twists and suspense in mind. It’s my signature writing tool, along with a pot of coffee!

I’m looking forward to reading more! Can you tell us what project are you working on now?

Thank you, Christine! I’m so excited about my current project. It’s a sci-fi thriller called, Among Us. In this story, we meet Marci Simon, an English Professor with an undying curiosity about the existence of intelligent life in the universe. When Marci is given a classified government document with the proof she’s always wanted, she embarks on a quest to share its content with the world. Soon, she’s on the run from the ESA and a mission to reveal the truth before the proof, and her life, are extinguished forever.

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Excerpt from Breaking Evil

Time was of the essence. Sera burst out of her room and into the hallway and raced down the long corridor. As she reached the winding stairs, she opened her mouth to scream that she was coming for Damon. But before she could say anything, a booming crack silenced her. It bellowed loudly. 

The noise stopped her in her tracks. She had no idea where the sound had come from. Dazed, she froze in her steps and looked around, trying to identify its source. What was that? Her blood pumped fast through her system. When she took her next step, an excruciating and undeniable agony came over her. She had been attacked.

Stars swirled and danced in her vision. Everything dimmed.  The back of her head throbbed. The pain pounded in her skull, making a ba-boom sound over and over again. Without further warning, her body gave way, and she dropped fast to the hard floor. As she fell and desperately tried to right herself, she spun on the perfect angle to see the reason for her unfortunate circumstance. He loomed over her, poised for a further assault. 

Her attacker was a dark, blurry figure. He watched her collapse with his small beady eyes glaring at her from the holes in his black mask. While the hunter’s face was obscured, his smile gleamed brightly in the dimly lit house. Sera could have sworn she heard laughter. It was a note higher than she anticipated. She noticed the hunter’s right arm; he was positioned ready to strike. He wielded a giant baseball bat, which had just connected with her head.

“What the…?” Sera’s rage metamorphosed into energy, thrusting through her like a roaring and violent storm. It readied her body to respond to her attacker.  

The hunter pulled his arm back slowly until it was raised high above his head. He paused, a cocky move, meant to intimidate her.

Unwilling to fall victim to the masked assailant, Sera summoned her supernatural strength once again and pushed herself off the floor to face him. In a flash, he twisted his body and swung the bat toward her. Sera hesitated a beat too long, just enough for the demon hunter to get his wish.

She had been mere inches away from an upright stance, when the bat, in full swing, connected with her cheekbone. The impact sent Sera careening backward until she slammed up against a wall.

For seconds she teetered on the edge of the top stair.  Finally, she lost her battle with her balance and slid off the wall. To save herself, she took a leap, high into the air. But nonetheless, her body tumbled and crashed down the steps of the grand staircase.

The fall felt as if it lasted for minutes, but only seconds had passed. Conscious as she experienced her soar through the air, her body twisted and turned as it made its way to the bottom of the stairs. Without warning, her head smashed violently onto the marble foyer entrance. Everything faded to black.

About author Kristina Rienzi

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Kristina Rienzi is an American author who has been writing in some fashion for several decades. In 2014, she achieved traditional publication for her debut novel, Choosing Evil (Ensouled Trilogy, Book One), and has since independently published, Luring Shadows, Twisted, and Winter Road. Her latest novel, Breaking Evil (Ensouled Trilogy, Book Two) will be releasing soon.

Professionally, Kristina has been active in the writing community as a member of several organizations such as Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. She has also served as the New Jersey Romance Writers Literary Book Fair Chair and, most recently, the President of Sisters in Crime-New Jersey. Kristina holds a Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling and a Senior Professional Human Resources Certificate, working in both fields throughout her business career.

Personally, Kristina is married and doggie mommy to Pekingese and Shih-Tzu pups. Although a New Jersey resident, she dreams of one day moving to Hawaii and living the ‘Aloha’ way. When she is not writing, she spends her time reading, watching paranormal investigations, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers and relaxing with her loved ones, wine in hand.

You can find Kristina here:

Website: www.kristinarienzi.com

Facebook: Kristina Rienzi

Twitter: @kristinarienzi

A Thousand Wishes for You

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Happy New Year!

At the bottom of my Christmas stocking, I found a thousand wishes. Not in the true sense of Aladdin type wishes, but rather a bottle of bubble bath with the name A Thousand Wishes. The scent reminded me of a garden of grapefruits mingled with bubble gum.

But it was the name that grabbed hold of me and got me thinking.

A Thousand Wishes.

What if each of us made a thousand wishes? One thousand REAL wishes for anything.  Health. Love. Peace. Warmth. And then we made them come true by small acts of kindness. Maybe with a smile or asking someone how they are?  Just think of the magnitude of adding all this love into the world!

My Wishes for You

I wish you health.

I wish you love in your family.

I wish you peace in your mind and heart.

I wish you warmth and food and shelter.

I wish you the courage to weather the storms.

I wish you the healing power of nature, whether land or sea or mountain or desert.

I wish you a book you can’t put down.

And I wish you happiness!

 

Happy  New Year 2017.

Follow your dreams and they’ll follow you back! 

 

 

 

 

When your Favorite Book becomes a Meet & Greet

Happy Holidays!

People often ask, what is your favorite book?  Without a beat, many stories come to mind. From classics to more current books. But which would I say is at the top of my list?

Drum roll….

Hands down, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks is my all time, can’t-put-it-down book.  Have you read it? I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a beautifully written story about a couple’s love for each other and the obstacles they face —a classic girl meets boy from the other side of the tracks.

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What was it about this book for me? It was a captivating, plain and simple. Regular people find themselves in an extraordinary relationship. Allie and Noah fought for each other through tears and a whole lot of spark! Could they make their relationship work? I’ll let you read their journey to find out. Maybe it will move to the top of your holiday list!

The moment you get to tell the Author their book is your Favorite!

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Recently, Nicholas Sparks visited Union Square Barnes and Noble in NYC to sign his newest book Two by Two. I had to go! I planned for two weeks about what I could say to the author of my favorite story. Do I tell him how much The Notebook meant to me? Or that I cried when Allie said goodbye to Noah? Or that I felt the same love for my husband as he described for Noah and Allie?

Or that I had re-read it more than a half dozen times?

I was determined not to gush and spew mindless thoughts. ACK!  But when it came to my turn, I fumbled with the words, and can’t say verbatim what actually came out, but it went something like…

“The Notebook is my favorite book of all time and your writing inspires me.”

I think!

So there you have it—my favorite book! How about yours? What is your favorite story?

Behind the scenes with Author Linda J. Parisi – “The Emperor”

I am thrilled to welcome author Linda J. Parisi to my blog today! I sat down with Linda to learn more about her thrilling new story The Emperor, which is part of the Never Fear – The Tarot: Do you Really Want to Know? anthology. 13 Thirty Books asked twenty-six authors to write stories based on the Tarot, with the cards determining which stories the authors would write. Linda’s card was The Emperor.

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The Emperor

Alan Trembley thought he could survive boarding school by outsmarting the bullies. But then his roommate goes missing and Alan is determined to find out what happened to him. Sometimes being smart isn’t always a substitute for being Wise. And being a friend is the hardest choice of all to make.

 

 

Thank you Linda for joining us! We’re so excited to find out more about your new story The Emperor!

Can you tell us about how you came up with your idea for The Emperor?

I’d listened to a news story about bullying and wanted to write a piece about how that can affect people even as adults. Also, I’d been writing YA and wanted to try my hand at something just a bit younger.

What was your favorite part of The Emperor to write?

First, the ending. I always knew exactly how I wanted the story to end. Then there’s a scene (I don’t want to describe it now or that’ll spoil the fun) that has always scared me to death. And since this is a horror story….

Your characters in The Emperor are so unique and memorable. How do you go about creating characters that stick with the reader?

Easy answer: years of practice. Hard answer: digging way too deep inside and putting myself in there. You see, for a short time, I went to a boarding school too.

 I’m looking forward to reading more! What project are you working on now?

My last completed work, entitled Resistance, is a World War II Historical YA about the choices young people had to make during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Right now I’m working on a sci-fi YA about what happens to people after the world is destroyed by a virus.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors?

I could give you all the platitudes like Never Give Up or Finish the Damn Book but the fact of the matter is, publishing is not an easy business. So the only advice I can give is embrace that. Don’t fight against it. Make everything you do a victory instead of a defeat. There’s still gold to be mined from even the most scathing rejection. And you never know when a window will open.

I’d also like to give a shout out to my publisher, 13 Thirty Books, for taking on a Romance Writer and letting her try her hand at writing horror. I had a lot of fun writing this story.

About Author Linda J. Parisiheadshot-linda-parisi-1

As a research scientist during the day, Linda J. Parisi knows that the perfect formula for making sparks fly is combining conflicted, edgy heroes with heroines who never give up or give in. Awarded the New Jersey Romance Writer’s Golden Leaf Award for Best First Book for her novel, Noble Blood, and winner of the 4th Annual Stroke of Midnight Contest for her novel, The Joining: Bound by Blood, Linda is a long time member of the Romance Writers of America, member of the YA chapter of RWA, current treasurer of Liberty States Fiction Writers, as well as a Craft and Industry Instructor for Literary Powerhouse Consulting. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, John, and a family which includes Audi, a Cocker Spaniel mix who had her at woof!

You can find Linda here:

Website: Linda J. Parisi, Author

Facebook: Linda J. Parisi, Author

Where to buy: Never Fear, The Tarot: Do You Really Want to Know?