Pushing the Boundaries – One photographer wannabe to another

Hey there! Today we’re talking to Stacey Trombley about PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES and Photography!!!!!!!!!

Hi Stacey! Your main character is a photographer.

Mine too! Are you a photographer in real life?

Actually, I am not a photographer but once upon a time I wanted to be. In middle school and into high school photography was something I loved! I took pictures of sunsets and what little nature I could find in my little suburban neighborhood. We had a digital camera, which was pretty modern at the time, but it was huge and saved pictures onto floppy disks (do teens even know what those are anymore? I’m making myself feel old!) but it had a screen that showed me the pictures after I took them which was awesome!

Ha! I remember floppies, but not inside cameras. I think I got into photography for the same reason: I loved seeing the pictures right away, and you didn’t have to wait to develop before you know if you captured the image or not. 🙂

I really wanted to take a photography class in high school, which was an option at first… the high school I went to my freshman year did offer one (my older sister took the class. I was super jealous) but I ended up moving to a different school district the year before I could take it (you needed a basic art credit before you could take the photography class). My new school, though better in many other ways, did not have a photography class. And so my dream died.

Oh! That’s so sad!

It’s okay. I had the option to take photography in college but I had developed other interests (production media) and it just never seemed to fit into my schedule so I never perused it.

So, in a way, photography is my lost hobby. My lost dream.

Another big sad face! How do you think all of this effected PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES?

Perhaps I’m living vicariously through Myra, who is perusing an art college scholarship through her photography. But in the end I found a new outlet for my creative side when I started writing and I can’t imagine anything being better than this so maybe it was simply meant to be!

Omigosh, me too! I still love my camera, but there are not too many things I like to do more than sinking into my own world. Thanks so much for stopping by!


About Pushing the Boundaries

Pushing the BoundariesMyra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.


About Stacey Trombley:

Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband, new baby boy and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. Any chance she has she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

 


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Sometimes you just need to go OVER THE EDGE

Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann (Audiobook) [Adult Content Warning]

This is a Navy Seal novel. I picked it up because the last Seal novel I read was exciting enough to hold my interest, and I wanted something with some action. Never in a million years did I expect that this book might be in contention for the best of the year, or that it might be one of the best books I’ve ever read. In this novel, a SEAL team is called in to save the passengers on a hijacked plane. But this is more than an explosive rescue story. We see the SEAL team, and the passengers, and the FBI agents before the hijacking. We see who they are outside of “hero mode”. Then we get to see them as real people through the entire operation, with real, everyday problems that they need to deal with on top of having the lives of a few hundred people in their hands. In an interesting and well-done twist, we also get to see into the lives of a Jewish family escaping German occupation of Denmark, a country you don’t hear too much about when you think of the Holocaust. Interesting, that it is this part of the story that had me in tears at the end. There are several romances running through this novel, and not all of them end well. ROMANCE READER WARNING -NOT EVERYONE GETS A HAPPY ENDING. Showing the true danger Navy SEALS face every day, not everything goes as planned.

This is what will sit with me for a long while. This novel was published in 2001, just 14 days before 911. The themes within are startlingly timeless, as we are facing the same threats today. Five enthusiastic stars for Over the Edge. I can’t even subtract a star for one side-character’s overuse of the F-bomb. Just be ready for it. Ignore it if that bothers you. This book is worth every minute.

 


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Authory habits and fun facts with Terri Rochenski

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Today we’re talking to author Terri Rochenski about authorly habits and fun facts.   Hi Terri!

Hi!

.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000So, let’s get down to it, then.

What’s you’re writing pet peeve?

They’re, Their, There and all those lovelies that social media-lites so often get wrong. 😉

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Ewwwe. I hate those, too. I always hesitate and double check, then I lose my train of thought.
What weird thing do you do when you write?

 I usually write a story by hand the first time with good old paper and pen. Doing so keeps me from backspacing and editing while I go.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Really? I can’t write freehand fast enough. I’d never get anything done. Ha! What’s your writing nemesis?

Hmm. Probably the writing itself! I’m a sucker for research, outlines, timelines, character studies…I love the details behind the projects. Sitting down and actually writing what’s in my mind is sometimes a chore.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000I’m the opposite. I’d rather write. That’s probably why I like science fiction… I can make it up rather than doing the work. (Yup, I’m lazy) What book world would you like to live in, why, and what you learned from it as an author?

Any of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I adore Martin’s writing (even if he is a little long-winded) and adore the world he created. I’ve always wondered what life in the middle ages was really like.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Me Too!

Wouldn’t you love to go back to that time???

I’ve daydreamed of time travel, too. I would love to know how Martin keeps his HUGE cast of characters and the timelines in focus and spot on. THAT kind of organization skill could benefit anyone!


jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000What book world gives you nightmares?

 

Oh, what a good question!!! I’d have to go with Sarah J. Maas and her Throne of Glass series. Excellent stories, unbelievable world and characters—and a few spooky ones that would scare the living daylights out of me in real life…witches on dragons. *shudder* I’d love to learn how she think tanks, where her influences for the series came from.


jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000What’s the funniest thing that ever happened at a book signing?

 

I had an elderly gentleman shamelessly flirt with me while hand-in-hand with his smiling wife.

jennifer-eaton-portrait-1-img_4000Ha! Too funny!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri!

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About Eye of the Soul

17156372
Escape.

That should be Hyla’s first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason.

Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King’s warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents.

Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost.

Forever.

Shoot me to Goodreads for links to buy it now!


About the author:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.


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Did someone say aliens? A review of INFINITE SEA by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Audiobook) This is book two of The 5th Wave. This is post-apocalyptic novel dealing with the survivors of an alien apocalypse. I have to admit, I really liked this book a lot. Probably even more than the first book.

We are left with one group of humans at the end of The 5th Wave. In book two, this group gets split up so we experience two different stories. The Cassie/Ben timeline continues, and is very exciting as they question every move they make. Stakes are increased when the aliens start doing the unthinkable to children five years old and younger.

The second half of this book deals with the character Ringer, who splits off from the group in search of a safe refuge before winter comes. Ringer was not a favorite character of mine in book one, but she really came alive in this book. I love the inter-dynamic between her and her captor. And there is a twist in here that… well, yeah. It’s a good one.

It is interesting that the author tries to deal with all the open questions readers had about the aliens from the first book. At times it seemed like Yancey was scooting around issues that really didn’t make sense, and that he had no answers for. But I have to give him credit for at least admitting over and over that a lot of what the aliens were doing made no sense, and that they should have just [spoiler removed]. I’m interested to see if some of these questions are answered in upcoming books.

My only niggle on this book is slight. It has one of those end-in-the-middle-of-a-chapter endings. Nothing at all gets resolved. We get some changes happening for one character, but all the open plotlines at the beginning of the story are still open at the end. I would have liked to have SOMETHING sewn up… but that won’t stop me from buying the next book. I do recommend this one.


 

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The best of the 52 books I read this year

Book Twist

Wowzers! I am blown away that I actually read 52 books this year!

That is a new record for me, that I admittedly owe to listening to audiobooks in the car. There were 18 ebooks, 28 audiobooks, and five paperbacks in the mix (plus a four that I didn’t finish)

I actually read more books than I was able to review, so I’m only going to show 41 in this year’s ranking… especially because one of the books I just finished (Illuminae by Amy Kauffman) might be the best book I’ve ever read, but since it is fresh in my mind, and I frequently think a book is the best ever after reading it, I’m going to judge that one with next year’s books.

So here we are… of the 41 books I’ve reviewed this year, my ranking from most enjoyable to “not the best for me”. Click on any book cover to read the review.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 


If you have any questions about a book, please feel free to ask!


 2016 most enjoyed at the top. Not for me at the bottom of the list

(Note: Being at the bottom does not mean it’s bad. It just means that I didn’t enjoy it as much as something else. Sometimes it is a bad match of reader to book.) Looking over this list, There weren’t too many I didn’t like. (Those would be the last four) Ranking was really hard this year.

Seven books in contention for number one

(I kept changing these around for one reason or another. I couldn’t name one of them the best, so these are the cream of the crop)

         

And some more awesome reads this year. Most enjoyed at the top:

 17455815                             

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 


Books I read, but have not reviewed yet:

   22895264 6635813  17455817  498139  1222403 23395680 Lost Girls 30687917

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Being Scared Isn’t Always Fun

You guyyzzzzzz! I just started reading Lost Girls by  Merrie Destefano and I’m totally loving it! So I’m thrilled to host Merrie today about being scared. Here we go!


Being Scared Isn’t Always Fun

By Merrie Destefano


I read Altered States by Paddy Cheyefsky when I was in my early twenties and I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that terrified me more. To most people, it’s a science fiction/horror story where the premise is, what if someone combined sensory deprivation research with psychoactive/experimental drugs and it caused a biological devolution. I think this is the book that scared me off altered reality for the rest of my life! 224994It’s been a long time since I read the book, but what I remember is that, as a result of the research he was doing, the main character—Jessup—began to change into a primitive man, probably a very distant ancestor of man.

But wait, there’s more… Jessup kept doing the same experimental research and ended up going back further in time until he became some sort of primordial goo. (Oh, help, just rip my skin off, this is so scary!) And if that wasn’t terrifying enough, let’s just take that premise One Horrible Step Further… Emily, the main character’s ex-wife, reaches into the maelstrom of what’s left of Jessup, takes him by the hand and … Wait for it … She starts to get pulled into the primordial goo too.

At this point, I’m not just ripping off my skin. I’m pulling out my hair and stabbing myself in the eyes with a fork. Make it stop, just make it stop.

Yikes!

I should probably explain that at that point in my life I suffered from acute panic attacks that had not gotten under control. They’re much better now, thankfully. But this book felt like a trip to Hell. Most people would say ‘a trip to Hell and back’ except I don’t remember this book as having a good ending. In my memory, this was what would happen for the rest of their lives. Jessup would slip into the primordial goo, Emily would have to go into that horrible-never-should-have-been-invented-world and pull him out. But every time she did, she got pulled into it too.

I guess I’ve learned to be able to write things I’m afraid of from this. But I’ve also learned that I don’t have to expose myself to ideas/stories/movies that make me feel like my skin has been ripped off. I do my best to stay away from altered reality (I’m talking about YOU Inception and Doctor Strange.) I need my happy ending to survive. Yes, you can take me to Hell in a movie/book, but you best bring me back in the end.

Soooo, ummmm, I guess I can expect a happy ending in Lost Girls? Cause I’m kinda creeped out right now, I’m not gonna lie.


LOST GIRLS BOOK BLURB:

29939399Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry.

Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: She’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad: sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves. The rush of the fight, the thrill of the win―something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

Release Date: 1/3/17

Shoot me to Goodreads to find out more and see purchase links


Author Bio:

Born in the Midwest, magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

Facebook: Instagram: Goodreads: Newsletter:


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What is going on out there? A Review of THE LYING PLANET by Carol Riggs

The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs (Ebook) This is going to sound like a bad review, but stick with me… it’s not. The Lying Planet is Science Fiction/dystopian story. It takes place on a world that has been colonized, but years ago the colonies started fighting and destroying each other, leaving a poisonous dust in the air so everyone needs to take pills so they don’t die. There is more to the story, but I can’t go into much more detail without a huge spoiler.

Now, I am kind of a weird reader. When I go to the movies, I LOVE a good hard-sci-fi story. I eat it up. But when I read sci-fi, I like it a little tamer. There is one particular sci-fi troupe that always makes me roll my eyes. Unfortunately, that Trope is in this book, and it is an essential element of the Lie in the Lying Planet. I had a little trouble getting past that, which made some of the other elements, that I might have been willing to suspend my disbelief about, even harder to swallow. But I trudged on anyway, because the author has a nice, smooth writing style that is easy to read. I was genuinely interested in how the main character was going to get out of his predicament.

This is an easy read, with no intense feels that will leave you haunted at night. Even though the characters are older, this might be a decent read for a middle grader who is a little more mature and doesn’t want to read about little kids anymore. (I think I might give it to my 13 year old and see what he thinks)

Anyway, despite having that trope that I don’t care for, I did end up enjoying this book. And also – a big plus in this world of series – this reads like a standalone. That is really a nice change. If you are open to all types of sci-fi and not looking for deep emotional impact, this story is a great match for you. This is a nice, light read about saving a world that only a week ago, you didn’t know needed saving.


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Happy Boxing Day! Boxing day? What the stink is boxing day?

Happy Boxing day!

Boxing day means a lot of different things, all depending on where you are.

Happy Boxing Day jpg

In the USA, we don’t really call it boxing day, but it is the day you take back all those boxes to the store… the day you get rid of the presents you didn’t want (Yes, I am looking at YOU Mr. Scrooge!)

Ha!  The day after Christmas was the most fun for me when I worked in retail. I loved working the return tables.  The lines were always out the door, and the day just flew by (yeah, I’m weird that way)

I’ve heard that in Europe, Boxing Day is the day that servants get to celebrate Christmas with their families. It is an old tradition handed down from long ago. Since servants had to serve their families on Christmas Day, they took the day after off to have their own Christmas.  They called it “Boxing Day” because they frequently took home a box from their employer that either contained a present, or leftovers or other goodies from Christmas for their own Christmas take-two on December 26th.  Sounds like fun to me!

Anyone else out there celebrate Boxing Day? What does it mean to you?



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Living under the domes – A review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (eBook) This novel takes place in a dystopian future where mankind lives in domes because the sky is filled with ether, a cloudy gas that rains fire down on the planet intermittently, destroying everything below.

When Aria witnesses a crime committed by the leader’s son, she is thrown out into the outside world and left to die. But there are people out here, and she teams up with an outsider. He needs to get information on a child that was taken by the inside dwellers, and she needs to get home. They work together to make this happen.

I enjoyed this book overall. There was a long time in the middle where the two characters just seemed to be walking. And walking. And walking. I wished a little more happened here, but once the characters got to know each other, and more characters were introduced, the story got more interesting.

The main story does tie up nicely at the end, but the MC is sent out on another adventure, which is okay since this is a book one. I appreciate a book where there actually is an ending, and you don’t have to get the next book to find out what happens. I guess I’d give this book three stars. It was good, but I am not scrambling to get my hands on book two like I have for many books I’ve read this year.


 

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Evolution of a Reader into An Author with @SharonLHughson

Education Concept. Read Books Sign.I’ve been reading since before I attended kindergarten. I’ve been devouring books, sometimes at the rate of one or two per day, since I was twelve.

84119That’s the year my parents got divorced. I moved to Narnia. Such a happier place, especially when the two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve were ruling.

In case you wonder, THE HORSE AND HIS BOY is my favorite from the seven-book Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read that one at least ten times.

So_what_started_me_off_as_a_writerIt was reading that spawned my overactive imagination. What then? I wrote my first book when I was nine. In a green spiral notebook. I still have a similar notebook for every novel-length project.

What was my first book? THE HORSE KILLER, which reminds me of the books the horse crazy girl I was loved to read. gabby-balloonI checked out every horse book in the school library and the public library during my third and fourth grade years.

The story I wrote was about a vet who kills barrel racing horses so that his son’s horse will win the big competition. My young heroine figures it all out and stops him in his tracks with the help of her well-trained (but retired from barrel racing) horse.

The rest, some old guy said, is history. Now I’m an author of a novel, two nonfiction books, and five short stories in anthologies.

In The Beginning_CoverIN THE BEGINNING is my debut in the young adult publishing world. It’s a world I’ve dreamed of appearing in for about four decades (did I just give my age away?) so I’m thrilled to share it with you.

If you like dystopian or post-apocalyptic reads, you’ll enjoy this collection of eight short stories. Each one is perfect for a quick reality break.

The Demon was Me introduces readers to Oregon after The Greatest War and the Great Nuclear Winter that followed it. Who knew atomic explosions would ignite seismic and volcanic reactions worldwide? You can bet no one knew there were demons trapped in beneath the earth’s crust and released through a huge chasm that swallowed the Rocky Mountains.
You can buy the Kindle format here. Or if you want to hold a paper book in your hands, pick up a copy here.


In The Beginning_CoverAbout IN THE BEGINNING

Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.
Stories include: Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements, Babylon by Nicole Crucial, Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays, The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson, The Deluge by Marti Johnson, Condemned by Elle O’Neill, First Wife by Lora Palmer and Emmaculate by Christina Raus.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Demon was Me”:

The ghastly black fog overtook me. Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.

“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you resist something as ethereal as air?

Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister. It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A foreign power clutched at my mind.
I screamed. I rolled to my side and squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.

Another dark wave of laughter echoed through my skull. Convulsions gripped me.

Against my will, my limbs flailed in every direction. A spike pressed into my mind. I cradled my throbbing head. My body, a tumbleweed in the wind, spun on the ground.


About Sharon Hughson

RFR-160111-Cent4F1-16476676_GPRNurtured through a troubled teen-hood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. She has published romance and women’s fiction, but her dream is to write young adult fantasy, a genre she credits for keeping her alive during her parents’ turbulent divorce and the chaotic readjustments that followed.
To find her teenage voice, Sharon taps into a lifetime of experience working with young people in both church and public school. She resides in Oregon with her husband and three cats, where she spends her non-writing hours substitute teaching, reading, playing piano, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking her family’s memories.