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Happy Book Birthday to Bethany Crandell and her debut SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS!

Bethany and I have been friends for I don't know how long. I adore her and I love her funny, quirky books--yes, I'm so lucky to be one of her beta readers. I got to read SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS before it was published by Running Press, and I immediately fell in love with the characters and the story. For my review, click here (it's on my Wordpress blog. Don't ask me why I have two blogs. I think I may have been sleep-deprived--wait, I'm always sleep-deprived. Never mind. :D )

Anyway, this is Bethany. I call her Shakira-goat. Heh. Isn't she lovely?


And this is her book:


And this is basically how I was while reading her book:


So, do yourself a favor and get thee to a bookstore, or an online bookstore and buy her book! Because everybody needs a little bit of laughter in their lives, right?

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Add it on Goodreads

And if you see Bethany, whether in real life or on Twitter, or on Facebook, or while visiting her blog, tell her hello and congrats for making her dream happen. :)


BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Winter's Regret, An Anthology published by Elephant's Bookshelf Press

So this one is dear to my heart because...I have a short story included in this anthology!


Blurb:

To be human is to have regrets, to question decisions, even to doubt our own abilities and capacities. Whether it’s because of a path not taken or a decision made for selfish or – perhaps worse – unselfish reasons, we all have had moments and decisions we regret. We might regret not recognizing an opportunity. In the end, the choices we make help shape our future.

The final anthology in Elephant’s Bookshelf Press’s “Seasons Series,” Winter’s Regret includes stories from P.S. Carrillo, Liz Coley, Sakura Q. Eries, Morgan George, Michelle Hauck, Kelly Heinen, Amanda Hill, Precy Larkins, Robert Wayne McCoy, Mindy McGinnis, A.T. O’Connor, Jeff O’Handley, Paul Parisi, Matt Sinclair, A.M. Supinger, Charlee Vale, and Cat Woods.

To learn more about Elephant's Bookshelf Press, visit their website and blog.

My review:

There are 18 stories in this anthology, which means you get 18 chances to explore different voices, worlds, and characters. The common theme is regret, but each story showcases its own interpretation of regret, and it was fun to see how varied our perspectives can be. In Perfection by Mindy McGinnis, for instance, regret rears up its ugly head years later when the mother misses the time she could have spent with her children. In Do Dead Psychics Smoke Cigarettes by Robert McCoy, there's a sci-fi-ish twist at the end that I wasn't expecting, and the main character's regret comes a day too late.

The starter story, Second-Chance Sunday by Liz Coley, explores the main character's inner demons and the dark irony of second chances in life. When Stars Align by A.T. O'Connor is any young woman's nightmare. Adrift by Matt Sinclair is about a couple's marriage and the little things, little decisions, that make a difference in their relationship. One Way Out by M. Arthur Stone was deceptive--I had to read it twice to understand what was going on. It's not what it seems at first glance, and it will leave your heart pounding.

Anguish by Kelly Heinen is something that parents fear. An Unexpected Reunion by Jeff O'Handley tells of a man carrying the burden of his past on his shoulders. The Rose by Amanda Hill is one teen boy's bumbling mistake. A Life on Fire by Morgan George is of a man watching his life go up in flames, and the decision that he must make afterward. Navigator by Paul Parisi is of a careless act the main character would soon regret. Through the Fence by Cat Woods is a moment of bravery...or not. One Hundred Nights by Sakura Q. Eries is a story of What-If.

Los Sufridos by P.S. Carrillo opens up the possibility of a place where one can leave their regrets behind. Island of Blood and Horns by A.M. Supinger has unicorns! Though it is not of the fluffy-happy-rainbow-type variety. A Gift of Roses by Charlee Vale explores love and immortality. The Unfinished Task by Michelle Hauck is of a young woman's sacrifice to save what she loves.

Rimorso is my brain-child. This story took shape while I was looking at pictures of Venice, Italy. I've always wanted to travel, and Italy is one of those places that has such an allure you can't help but be drawn to it. In Rimorso, an unusual young woman wishes for love and finds it in an unusual way. But some wishes born of greed have deadly consequences. I love this story so much, and I truly enjoyed writing it. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

These are well-written stories. Some aim to entertain, while others seek to dig deeper into the human psyche and prompt the readers to ask questions. I'm honored to have my story be included in this anthology.

****
Winter's Regret is available for purchase now:


There's also a Goodreads giveaway happening right now. Click here to enter!


BOOK SPOTLIGHT: UNHINGED (Book 2 of the SPLINTERED series) by A.G. Howard


My review of SPLINTERED can be found here.
 
Book: YA Fantasy
This cover is AWESOME!! I LOVE this book!!
 
Blurb from Goodreads:
 
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
 
My Thoughts:
 
UNHINGED by A.G. Howard is a worthy sequel to the Tim Burton-esque Alice in Wonderland spinoff that was SPLINTERED. I enjoyed SPLINTERED immensely, but I think I will have to say that UNHINGED is even better. More Morpheus, see? And I'm a fan of the mothboy. J

In UNHINGED, the netherlings of Wonderland takes their battle to the human realm, which meant that despite Alyssa's wish to separate her two worlds she still can't escape her responsibility as Wonderland's Crowned Queen. Morpheus's manipulations, while irritating to Alyssa, reveal how much he cares for his home and for Alyssa. Jeb, though he's lost his memories of Wonderland, still plays a big role in Alyssa's life and Wonderland's fate. I honestly can't decide who to root for: Morpheus or Jeb? They both have noble hearts and good intentions.

I especially loved the backstory of Alyssa's mom and dad. There's something so sweet and sad about their love story. I can't wait to see how much it'll factor into the third book, ENSNARED. I'm basically dying waiting for next year.

Ms. Howard's writing is just as lovely as ever. Descriptive, sensorial, and lovely. It's a feast of words. This series is a definite must read!

A Not-So-Pleasant Confession

It's Sunday night, the kids are in bed, and I am trying to work on my WIP. "Trying" is the operative word here. I must confess, I'm failing at "trying".

I must confess that at this point, at this moment, right now while I'm writing this post, I'm absolutely convinced that I fail at this writer thing. My head is in a sad place. My heart is in an even sadder place.

Tomorrow might bring in a new perspective, a new zest for words and writing and ideas, but for now, I'm wallowing in useless self-pity.

The voices in my head are having a conversation:

(While working on WIP) What is this? You blockhead! If you say this, then your main character is basically a floopity-floop [not a real word, I know] because why would she want to go with this guy if she suspects him of doing this [some bad thing I can't reveal]?

*highlights*
*furiously scribble notes in the margin*
*slash and burn*

(A few pages later) What? What? And you call yourself a writer? Shame on you, woman!

*highlights*
*furiously scribble notes in the margin*
*slash and burn*

What do you mean you have no idea what's going to happen now?
Me: *shrugs*
What do you mean you're changing the last chapters?
Me: *cries*


Sigh.

When I snagged my agent, I was pregnant with baby #3. My older kids were old enough not to need me at every second, every minute of their day, so I had TIME to write, write, write and edit whenever I wanted to. I was feeling good. I was confident.

Then, baby #3 came. Sleepless nights, hormonal crying jags, zombie brain. Suddenly, there was too much work to do, and having three kids is NOT the same as having two kids. Baby #3 got sick a lot in his first year. The older kids had school and extracurricular activities (still do). Last year, I only managed to read ten books. TEN BOOKS IN ONE YEAR is PATHETIC! And the writing, well, it suffered. By the time the kids were tucked in bed, including baby boy who is a horrible sleeper by the way, my brain was so fried I'd stare at my computer until I'd fall asleep on my keyboard.

It's getting easier now. Baby boy is turning 2 this year. When he's awake, writing is impossible because this boy is always risking his life at every turn. Swinging from oven door handles, diving off tables, somersaulting on the stair landing, and the classic: jumping on the bed. He naps for two hours when I'm lucky, 10 minutes when I'm not. He's the sweetest, most adorable little monkey ever, but please go to sleep honey, because Mommy needs to write.

But such is life.

I really only have myself to blame, you know. The words won't get on the paper if I don't make it happen. So here I am, trying--and always trying--because ONE DAY I will GET IT RIGHT.






I'm Not Very Good At Dusting Cobwebs

I didn't make resolutions at the beginning of the year because I didn't want to go on guilt trips every time I fail something--like keeping the house clean, for instance. Trying to keep the house squeaky clean every week is an impossibility, a recipe for madness and depression. With three kids, ages 10, almost-6, and 1 and 1/2, I'm lucky when I get to scrub the toilet without any interruptions. (side note: Ten years ago, I would never have thought the day would come I'd consider myself LUCKY scrubbing toilets. O_o )

Anyway, I didn't make a resolution to "blog every day", or "blog every week", or "revive my blog from the dead" because my life is one big ball of crazy right now. I just couldn't commit to it knowing I'd probably fail within a couple of days.

So...I'm not very good at dusting cobwebs.

But here I am, anyway. Trying.

I might go back to posting Book Spotlights. Those were fun, and I've been reading a lot of books lately. [I'm on Goodreads, if you want to be friends.]

I might occasionally post about newsworthy stuff, or random thoughts, or about my writing. Either way, just wanted to say to the world that I'M STILL HERE. Still slogging away like the rest of you wonderful people, working to make my dream come true.

Welp, my kiddos are screaming at each other, and the little one just started dancing on top of the table. Time for this mama to go.





Precy Larkins's books on Goodreads
Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been Winter's Regret: What Might Have Been
reviews: 2
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)

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Precy's bookshelf: read

Whispering Minds
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Night of Cake & Puppets
The Fault in Our Stars
The Return of the King
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Last Olympian
The Hundred: Fall of the Wents
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Hunger Games
Wonder
The Founders' Code
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Two Towers
The Book Thief
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lost Hero
Divergent
The Battle of the Labyrinth


Precy Larkins's favorite books »