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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow Friday--Book Crushes

Increase Blog Followers, gain Book Blog Followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers — but you have to know — the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.
trans Feature & Follow #123
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

So I have two blogs. In my book, two blogs deserve two answers. Be sure to check out my other one. For this one, I should stick to someone in a historical fiction story, but I can't help it. Most of my crushes come from fantasy novels. :D

I'm currently obsessed with The Song of Fire and Ice series (which kind of counts because it IS medieval). My major crush from that has to be John Snow. And I must say, the HBO series cast him VERY well. :D 

How about you? Who's YOUR to-die-for crush?

Thoughts for Thursday--13

Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quotes I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. 

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is quotes about gratitude! Perhaps this is a week too late, but with the holiday season upon us, it's very relevant! 

People complain about the bad things that happen to 'em that they don't deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things. --Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction. --Harry A. Ironside

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. --Johannes A. Gaertner

Gratitude is the memory of the heart. --Massieu

I was angry because I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet. --Anonymous

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite quote on gratitude?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Downton Abbey, Season 2 Review

So I heard about Downton Abbey long before I actually saw it. Everything I read suggested that I would love this show. It's a historical drama (pre-WWI) set in a country estate of England. The drama is very Jane Austen-esque. The story is great. The actors, superb. I just knew it would be my kind of thing.

I didn't get my hands on the 1st season DVDs (via Redbox, btw) until the 2nd season had already begun. My sister and I watched the entire first season in three days (not as hard as it sounds considering there's only about ten episodes per season) and LOVED it.

That was more than six months ago. Fast forward to Black Friday, 2012. That same sister found Season 2 on sale for a RIDICULOUSLY reasonable price and bought it. This one we watched in two nights flat.

I could not get enough of this show! As great as the first season was, the second season was infinitely better! Who would have thought that possible?

As anyone who watched it can attest (*minor season 1 spoiler*) season 1 ended with the announcement that England was at war. This is WWI. So, season 2 deals with the Great War and how it affects the inhabitants of Downton Abbey.

I loved the way this was handled. It's historical fiction at its best! Of course all the characters had their personal conflicts, but they were also all affected on a larger scale by their country's war. Each character had slightly different experiences and, therefore, a slightly different take on the conflict and what it meant for their lives. This was a superb way to show many (seriously like fifteen) views of the war.

And amazingly, you totally identified with and related to them all. Even one-time villains got the audience's sympathy.

And let me just say: I COULDN'T STOP CRYING!!!

Okay, maybe that's not shocking. I'm a bit of a crier. But still! This was tremendously tragic in the best sort of way--you know, the way that makes it so you can't stop crying but you also can't stop watching it? And when it ends you shake your fists at PBS in general for producing such an addicting show that only airs ten episodes a year.

If you liked season 1, you'll LOVE season 2. I guarantee it! If this sounds at all like your kind of thing, and you haven't watched these yet...do it. Trust me. Really.

Downton Abbey will appeal to you if: you like drama, historical fiction, period pieces, stuff about WWI, Jane  Austen, Downton Abbey Season 1, tragic love stories, or literary fiction in general.

I don't really do stars, but if I did I'd give it 5. Or, you know, whatever my highest rating is. This kind of storytelling is simply exquisite.

Happy Wednesday! :D

Friday, November 23, 2012

Persistence of Vision Art Competition + Giveaway Winner

Good Morning and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Mine was full of family, food (WAY too much!) and shopping. I got lots of fun new toys and a surprising amount of Christmas shopping done. Yea me! How was yours?

So I know this blog isn't generally for my fantasy but is dedicated to historical fiction and crime drama, but my debut novel, Persistence of Vision, will be out nation-wide on January 29th, so I'm doing a competition to promote it and would appreciate all the help I can get!

Announcing the Persistence of Vision Art Competition!!!

To promote my debut novel, I'm having an art competition. I don't have many images for my book. Really just the cover image--which is awesome, but you can only look at it so much. So, I've decided to get artists and art students involved.

Here's how it works:

1) You decide you want to participate, so you email me. In your email, you include the following info:

  • Your name and information, including social networking links
  • How many entries you want to do (entry fees are $5 for one entry, $10 for two or more--up to as many as you'd like!)
  • How you want to pay (cash, check, money order and paypal all accepted)

2) Either I send you paypal invoice or you send me some other type of payment

3) Once I have your entry fees, I send you a free e-copy of the book. It's downloaded from the publisher's website in whatever format you prefer.

4) You read the book and create images from the story

5) You send them to me and I post them online. Readers will vote on the best ones and there will be prizes, including a grand, cash prize!!!

Other details: 
  • You can create the images using any medium you want--paint, sketch, digital, photography, etc. Feel free to think outside the box. If you have any questions, just email me. My response time is generally less than 24 hours.
  • You can create any image you want from the story--characters, bad guys, scenes you liked, landscapes, etc. I'd love to see a few people produce images of what they think the time travel in the novel looks like! :D
  • I will start accepting entries January 1st, so get your book now to get started! I will allow 60 days for entries, so the last day to submit will likely be the final day in February. I'll post and email participants with any changes. After that, I will allow 90 days of voting.


The number of prizes depend on the number of entries submitted. If I only get 10 entries, I'll probably just do one grand prize. However if I get dozens or hundreds, I'll probably break the entries into categories and do a prize for each one. So, the more entrants, the greater the chances of winning prizes.

I CAN promise two things:

1) There will be a cash prize. For each book I sell, I'll put a small percentage of the profits into an account and that will be the amount of the cash prize. The more books I sell, the larger the prize. The cash will be split between winners (again depending on if there are one or several) and a portion of it will become a prize for one lucky voter.

2) There will also be other prizes for voters including swag, gift cards, and autographed copies!

Below is a widget that shows where the cash prize is at in dollar amounts. Right now, it's at $25.00, but I hope to soon see an increase. I will probably only be able to update it weekly, but visit the tab at the top of the blog to see it grow!!!

Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Kathy S., winner of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen by Michelle Morgan. She's been notified and the books are on their way to her! Congrats Kathy! I hope you enjoy them!

Happy Monday, Everyone! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Post

So this is my first ever Thanksgiving Post. I didn't start blogging seriously until May of this year, so I've never written one before. I'm so excited!

I'd like to speak about Thanksgiving in a personal way for a minute. Then I'll share a Thanksgiving story I published two years ago in Brian Jaffe's Thanksgiving anthology, Thanksgiving Tales. It's actually a true story of one my family's traditions, and the first thing I published outside of school.

As I sit here writing this, I have much to be thankful for. Of course there is my wonderful, supportive family and friends who are my biggest cheerleaders and best fans. And all of my awesome blogger buddies. But this year I have a lot to be grateful for on the writing front. I've wanted to publish a book since I was just a little girl, and this year my debut novel is being published. It won't be out nationwide until January, but I've already ordered books and am distributing them prior to the official release date, so my dream has been realized and I am living it even as I sit here typing.

Also, my last day of work is the day before Thanksgiving. That's not by choice. I'm being laid off. I know that doesn't sound like something to be grateful for, but it might just be the best thing that ever happened to me. Because I'm being laid off, I'm receiving severance which will allow me to pay my bills until I get my feet under me. I intend to hit a LOT of vendor fairs and sell, sell, sell! I don't know what the future holds, but I believe I'm being given the opportunity to transition to a full-time author and support myself with my writing. I am SO grateful for that opportunity and for all I've learned over the past year about this business, this industry, and this art.

So here's my Thanksgiving story, and here's to many more years of giving thanks for the art of story-telling! (RMQ below!)

Hill vs. Hill vs. Hill
My Awesome Family--Yup, there's 14 of us!
“Hey, watch out,” I call, wiggling my index finger in the general direction of the disaster that’s about to happen.  From across a football field-sized space, however, I have little hope of being heard.  As I watch, my thirteen-year-old brother Tim is thrown up against the chain link fence that encloses the field and then smashed into it by his two older brothers, one of which weighs more than two hundred pounds.
            I run the width of the field to make sure he’s all right.  By the time I get there, he is laying on his back, facing the sky, body limp and limbs lifeless.  It reminds me of the Farside joke about the boneless chicken farm.  I would be worried except that he is laughing hysterically.  Despite being pancaked into a chain link fence—and having the grid marks all over his right cheek to prove it--he’s managed to hold on to the football.  When he finds the strength to stand, he holds it over his head victoriously and his team—consisting of our entire immediate family—cheers.
            My uncle and cousins, who make up the other team, are muttering variations of “Aw, man!” and “Chump,” under their breaths, though not very quietly.
            It’s the annual Hill vs. Hill Thanksgiving football game.  A large fenced field almost directly next door to my parents’ house is the stage for the extravagant game.  Our family of twelve kids and my Uncle Bryson’s family of nine—seven children—grew up together.  Needless to say, our family get-togethers can be quite the circus.
            On the next pass, my brother Nick throws a pass my way.  It’s impeccable.  He throws it with dead-on accuracy and I’m in the perfect spot to catch it.  I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest athlete, but I certainly know how to catch a football.  I would have, too…if my cousin’s fiancĂ©e—who is two feet taller than I am—hadn’t come out of nowhere, lifted his arms slightly to reach a height I can’t touch jumping, and plucked the football nonchalantly from the air.
            And suddenly, I’m the bad guy! 
            “Oh come on, Liesel, jump for those!”
            “Aw, man!  Why’d you let him get the interception?”
            “Someone needs to grow some longer arms…”
            “Hey,” I holler, “it’s not my fault I’m vertically challenged.  It’s Mom’s fault.  And Grandpa Conger’s!”
            No one’s listening anymore, so I shrug and take my place for defense.
            Nick, great quarterback though he is, was perhaps my parents’—and by extension our family’s—greatest trial.  He dropped out of school in junior high and put my parents through several hellish years of bad choices, cops, courts, runaway lists, frustration, and heartache.  My parents never stopped loving him, but they had to let him go and let him learn the hard lessons of life on his own.  He was picked up on light drug charges and petty theft, and spent several years in and out of juvy. 
What he saw and experienced there scared him enough to finally start getting his life together.  He was now living with his girlfriend and several other disreputable persons, but he had a steady job, had gotten himself and his girlfriend clean, and was expecting a baby—my parents’ first grandchild—by her.
Despite the worry, heartache, and occasional resentment we all felt while he was doing his teenaged rebellion thing, we were all so glad to see him finally on a path of progression, rather than regression, that the previous feelings and experiences were all but forgotten.
            The last five years or so has been hard on the entire family.  We've had our fair share of trials, as every family does.  Financial difficulties plagued everyone, with the economy in ruin and then there were the run-of-the-mill broken hearts, car accidents, and other dramas that plagues everyday life.
            This year, for the first time in a long while, things are looking up.  Everyone is finally comfortable with their living situation, my brother is finally starting to turn his life around, everyone seems to be making ends meet, and even the economy is improving.
            Even if there were still a lot of drama, though, it wouldn't matter.  Our annual football game is a time when we can all kick back, have some fun, and leave the world behind us. 
            When we get the ball again—it doesn't take long as they score in embarrassingly record time—we all huddle up to discuss the play.
            “Nice cuddle…I mean huddle,” my teenaged cousins yell.  We ignore them. 
            “Everyone understand what they’re going to do?” My dad is asking.
            “So,” eleven-year old Bob says, “I’m just going to go up through there, right?”  As he asks, he turns and points his finger, showing the other team exactly what our play was going to be.
            My dad rolls his eyes and begins reworking the play while my uncle falls into a fit of hyena hysterics twenty feet away.
            In the years following, Bob will get into trouble at school a lot.  Nothing out of the way of normal teenaged brain damage and rebellion, but he, along with his older brother Tim, will have his turn putting his family through the ringer.  The incident that took the cake was when the two of them snuck out of the house, stole my dad’s car, and went joy riding at three o’clock in the morning.  The cops brought them home.
            Now, however, they laugh and wrestle and horseplay around with their brothers and cousins, without a care in the world.
            When us girl cousins get tired of the boys hogging the ball, we sometimes just walk up and down the field, talking and visiting and catching up.  Despite growing up together and being close when we were little, we are all adults now and have our own lives and friends.  Consequently, we rarely see each other except at family holidays and reunions.
            My sister McKensie and her husband, Roy, have driven from Vegas for the day.  Mckensie was the first to get married, which made her the guinea pig.  It took the entire family, especially the brothers, quite a while to accept Roy into the clan.  Even now it’s a work in progress, but progressing we are.
            My sister, Tina, and I room together at college, and neither of us have ever been the rebellious type.  However, we’re both over twenty-five and unmarried, to my mother’s everlasting shame.  Today, though, we visit with our sisters and cousins.
            When the game is finished—they win, but we’ll never admit that—we all head toward the house.  My Grandma Adams is waiting on the porch with her wide, warm eyes, easy smile, and big teddy bear hugs.
            During dinner, dessert, and afterward, there will be lively conversation—dominated by my two loud-mouthed brothers, who really should have been entertainers rather than salesmen—the same old jokes and reminiscences told, and a great deal of fun.
            The year before David, the oldest boy, almost made a disastrous marriage—like Jane Austin disastrous—but was saved in the nick of time.  Now, happily, he’s married to a charming girl that the entire family is in love with.
            For us, Thanksgiving has never been about food, though that is a happy bonus.  It’s never been about pilgrims or Indians or turkey.  We sometimes go around in a circle and say what we’re thankful for, but even that is a secondary concern.
            For us, Thanksgiving is about family.  It’s about catching up and always knowing the people who are the most important.  It’s about knowing that we have a strong, permanent, trustworthy, foolproof security system in our family that will never fail us.  No matter what drama is going on in our lives, it’s never brought to the Thanksgiving table.  My memories of Thanksgiving will always be warm, funny, unbelievably full, and happy.

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)!

Don't know what this is? Click on the tab at the top of the page.

Last week's RMQ was: "Life is a cookie." This was said by Alan Arkin in the film America's Sweethearts. No one guessed this one.

Today's RMQ is:

"Oh dear. You really are an uptight bastard, aren't you? You can drop the thousand-yard stare. I've seen it all before, and I'm not impressed."

Sorry for the cuss word, but this is actually a very humorous line in the film. One point for character, one for actor, one for movie title. Good luck! :D

Monday, November 19, 2012

Medieval Tidbit #6 -- Divine Right of Kings

Announcements and Events:

  • I did my first signing on Friday in the building I work in. It's a corporate building that isn't even very fully, but I've worked there for awhile and my co-workers are very supportive of my writing efforts. I signed and sold about 45 books over the space of an eight-hour work day. Squee!
  • On December 14-15, I'll be signing and selling books at the South Towne Expo Center's event, Big Bodacious Christmas Boutique. That's in South Jordan, Utah, so if you're close enough! Come see me! I'd love to meet some of my followers and blogger buddies in person! :D

Now onto today's post!

Did you know...

That in the middle ages and even throughout much of the Renaissance, monarchs of most of the world believed in something called the Divine Right of Kings. This meant that they believed God chose who would sit on the throne. Therefore, if they obtained the throne, it was because God willed it.

But they took it even farther than that. They believed that anything they wanted to do was just because any thought they had was put in their heads by God.

To us today, this seems like an awesome excuse to drink, whore, oppress and power-trip your way through life. And don't get me wrong: it often was. But it was also something the monarchs genuinely believed.

In fact, this belief is the origin of the royal "we." Monarch often referred to themselves (while in public and at court) in the plural, which was indicative of them speaking for and "with" God.

King Henry VIII was a prime example of this. My sister is an amateur Tutor historian. She's read plenty of primary source material for the time period, including Henry's journals, a surprising number of which have survived. When you read his own words, it becomes clear how conflicted he was. His reason was often (I'd say usually) flawed, but it was because he was told from his infancy that a king's thoughts are the will of God, so he had a hard time reconciling what he knew to be ethical with other, more selfish thoughts he truly believed were god-sent.

I can't help but think that many medieval rulers had this problem. It affected the choices they made. And, because they were monarchs, their choices affected entire countries, and therefore the course of human history.

And we think our problems are stressful!!!

How do you think a belief like this would affect a person?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Follow Friday--Movies into Books

Increase Blog Followers, gain Book Blog Followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers — but you have to know — the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.
trans Feature & Follow #123
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Q: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

I'm very into epic historical movies, so I think things like Braveheart and Gladiator would make excellent books. I would also like to see re-telling type movies like the recent Robin Hood movie that Russel Crowe was in as a book. I love both epic movies and epic books so I'm all about stories like that! :D

How about you? What movie do YOU think would make a great book?

Thoughts for Thursday--13

Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quotes I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. 

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is quotes by Dr. Seuss!

"Unless some like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all read you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"
"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!"

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

"Today I will behave like this is the day I will be remembered."
"I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!"

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss quote or book?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Skyfall Movie Review + RMQ


What can I say about Skyfall? I LOVED it!

Before going in, I kept hearing great things about it. Like that it was beyond awesome. Better than Casino Royale, even! (*eyebrows arch in skepticism*) and that it was the best Bond movie ever made.

All this praise worried me a bit. If a movie is really good, but not awesome, and lots of other people rave about it, a person's expectation can get jacked way up and then they end up being disappointed. Not so with Skyfall. It was everything they said and more!

In fact, I don't know how much I can add to the discussion, but here goes: very exciting. There's quite a roster of England's best actors at their finest: Dame Judi Dench is awesome as always playing M, Bond's boss who is both heroic and lovable in a touch-me-and-I'll-castrate-you sort of way. Ralph Fiennes (one of my personal faves) plays a supporting but nonetheless important role. He does a great job of  proving both an ally and a stumbling block to Bond. Javier Bardem shines as a twisted bad-guy to rival No Country For Old Men's Chigger. And the ridiculously handsome Daniel Craig plays Bond to perfection, jumping onto trains and front-flipping over heavy equipment, but pausing to straighten his cuff-links before continuing the pursuit.

(The movie is hysterical, by the way. Plenty of puns, references to Bond films of by-gone eras, and tongue-in-cheek humor. Another reason to love it!) :D

The opening sequence was a typically fast-paced Bond-chasing-an-obviously-out-of-his-league-bad-guy thing. I especially enjoyed Naomie Harris's portrayal of Eve, a female agent that bandies words with Bond and gives as good as she gets. We get a peek into Bond's childhood, which is unheard of for a Bond film, but it's handled very tastefully: enough to sate our curiosity and make us love Bond all more, but not so much as to be over-the-top or sentimental.

The essential question the film asks is whether physical, in-person assassins are needed anymore in a world of digital crime and terrorism from the shadows. Of course, for the sake of Bond, the film argues that yes, he is necessary. I think this question could be applied to all stories and entertainment. Is any of it relevant in our world anymore? The answer is yes. We need our James Bonds and our Marvel superheroes more than ever. We need them to fight our epic battles, give us hope for the future and of course, to entertain us.

And as far as I'm concerned, Bond can order his shaken martinis for as long as he cares to. Fight on, Mr. Bond. Fight on!

Did anyone else see Skyfall? What did you think of it?

***Also check out my Prometheus review on my other blog. And if you haven't yet, make sure to check out my historical fiction giveaway!***

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)!

Don't know what this is? Check out the tab at the top of the blog.

Yesterday's RMQ was: "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies...Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them you have hanged. You have taken my soul, leave me my name!"

These immortal lines were said in the film The Crucible (adapted from the play) by Daniel Day-Lewis, playing John Proctor. Hannah Milton guessed this one. Great job, Hannah! Three points to you! :D

Today's RMQ is:

"Life is a cookie."

One point for film, one for actor, one for character. Good luck and Happy Wednesday! :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday--Books for Deserted Islands + RMQ

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Question: 10 Books You'd Want to Have on a Deserted Island.

Because I haven't read them but should:

10. The Prince by Machiavelli--Have wanted to read this one for years.

9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand--Know the story, but ought to officially read the book!

Because it's been so long and I want to read them again:

8. The Work and the Glory series by Gerald N. Lund--great historical fiction!

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker--Didn't get around to it this last Halloween.

6. The Once and Future King by T.H. White--'Cause you need a little folklore!

5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens--Can't go wrong with Dickens

Because they're just all-around awesome and I've read them dozens of times, and want to read them hundreds more:

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte--I don't need to explain this one, right? The fabulousness of Jane Eyre is universally know? Good to know we're all on the same page.

3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo--Okay, I've only read this one once. Still trying to finish it actually but loving it! :D

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad--I read this one at least once a year.

1. Bible/Book of Mormon--Even if you aren't a religious person, the Old Testament is fantastic! Modern soap operas can't hold a candle to it! :D Okay, the Book of Mormon is me totally waxing religious on you. But hey, I'm religious. Deal with it! :D

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Check out the tab at the top of the page.


Last week's RMQ was: "You're not very pretty. And you're not very bright. I'm so glad we had this talk."

This was a humorous quote said by Fiona, the "evil step mother" in A Cinderella Story. She was played by Jennifer Coolidge. This film is a bit corny, perhaps, but very funny and entertaining nonetheless. No one got this one on the blog, but someone guessed it on twitter. Tamara of Shelf Addiction guessed it. Great job, Tamara! :D

Today's RMQ:

"Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies...Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them you have hanged. You have taken my soul, leave me my name!"

One point for film, one for actor, one for character. Good luck, and Happy Tuesday! :D 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blog Tour Soon and Free Short Story with Thanks! :D

Happy Monday, Everyone! For anyone who missed it, something exciting happened on Friday evening. I was bundling my niece up to go over to my dad's house for dinner (we had a storm over the weekend:

) when a thud sounded outside followed by a knock. Curious, I opened my apartment door and found:

boxes from my publisher, Tate Publishing, Inc.! Yea! My books had arrived!

So I opened one, took a picture to bombard all the contacts in my phone with, then had to run out the door. (I was late and the main dish was already getting cold in the back seat.)

This blog is dedicated to my historical and crime fiction, while Persistence of Vision is a dystopian fantasy, but I'll probably plug it anyway from time to time. Indulge me! :D

So, my first batch of books is here. I already have a launch party at work planned, and I'll be selling them at the South Towne Expo Center (Utah) in December. 

So, I wanted to share my excitement and let everyone know that I'll be planning a blog tour soon. If you'd like to participate or do a review, feel free to contact me at lkhillbooks@gmail.com. I'll be sending out formal invites/requests by email in a couple of weeks but if anyone wants to get a jump on things...Just sayin.' :D

The second thing I wanted to do today is courtesy of my other publisher, Jolly Fish Press. My publicist suggested that, now that Creative Frighting is over, we put our stories on our blogs. I realized I never mentioned the results or thanked the voters. So, this is me giving a belated thanks to all those that participated.

For those who don't know, Creative Frighting was a short Halloween story competition put on by Jolly Fish Press. They had each of their authors write a short story and then promote the contest. Readers read them and voted for their favorite, in exchange for a chance to win an Amazon giftcard.

I didn't win, but that's okay. Teri Harman's awesome story, The Wheel of Wasted Souls took first place, and deservedly so. Though they wouldn't tell us who got the next most votes and so on, they told us that everyone got a lot, so thanks to all who voted, especially for me. :D

If you didn't get around to reading my story, here it is. Enjoy! And Happy Monday! :D

Wormwood Manor

I enter the kitchen on silent feet. Everyone else is already there. Betsy sits at the table, sniffling, while Mrs. Bramson rubs her shoulder in a comforting fashion.
Across from Betsy sits the groundskeeper, Mr. Tate, and his son Peter. On Betsy's other side is Jane, who is about Betsy's same age. The housekeeper, the two grounds men, the two young maids, and I are the only ones who've stayed on for the winter this year.
"Dear girl," Mrs. Bramson addresses Betsy, "you mustn't believe such things."
"What is happening here?" I intone quietly.
Betsy doesn't raise her eyes. "I took a fright is all, Mr. Ellison."

"From…gossip I heard in town.""From what?"
I try not to sneer. "Gossip gave you a fright?"
"It were the nature of the gossip, sir."
"And of what nature was it?"
Mrs. Bramson answers. "People in town say the servants of Pembroke Manor have disappeared."
I frown. "Disappeared? Where could they have gone?"
"No one knows," Betsy murmurs. "The postman tried to deliver a letter, but the house was dark. He knew something was wrong, so he went for help. The house is empty and the cellar is locked."
"Locked?" I cough.
Betsy nods. "No one can find the key to get in."
"Perhaps the servants are in there," I suggest.
Betsy shakes her head. "The postman knocked on the cellar door and called out. No one answered. There weren't nothing in the house that would saw through the door. It's thick wood like ours, see. They plan to wait until tomorrow to break through it." Betsy studies her hands again. "Everyone in town thinks the servants are dead."
"Rubbish!" They all jump and I moderate my voice. "Foolish girl," I say quietly. "Such stories are the product of idle hands. There must be some explanation."
"Mr. Ellison is right," Mrs. Bramson sets bowls of steaming stew on the table.
"Dark stories always circulate during the winter months, Betsy. You mustn't take them to heart."
As we eat, I tell everyone about an open window I found on the second floor, and instruct Peter and Jane to make a sweep of the house before dark.
"Yes, Mr. Ellison," they say in unison.
"Speaking of the cellar," Mr. Tate says, "have you the key to the wine cellar, Mr. Ellison?"
"I have not," I reply. "Why would I?"
Mr. Tate shrugs. "Just thought I would ask. It's gone missing, sir."
"Missing?" I look around at everyone. Mrs. Bramson stares back at me thoughtfully, but the three younger servants keep their eyes down. I look back at Mr. Tate. "Who was last in possession of it?"
"I was, I believe," he answers. "I remember leaving it on the peg by the door, but it's not there, and no one else has used it. I must have misplaced it. My apologies, sir. I'll find it again."
After dinner I go to the east wing to finish some dusting. After a while, I hear a noise in the outer room. Someone's walking around out there, but they don't announce themselves.
I head for the door, but before I reach it, a dark silhouette glides by, and I stop. I can't tell who it was. Going to the door, I hold up my candle, but see nothing.
Mrs. Bramson's soft voice comes to me from the opposite direction. A moment later, she appears. "Mr. Ellison? Were you calling me?"
"Who else is with you, Mrs. Bramson? Where is everyone?"
"No one is with me, Mr. Ellison. I've come to fetch you."
"Someone else was just here."
"That's impossible, sir. We're the only two in this wing."
I swivel my head toward her. "How can you be sure?"
"Because everyone else is with Betsy."
Fighting off a sense of foreboding, I follow Mrs. Bramson through the corridors. When we arrive at Betsy's room, everyone is indeed there. Jane sits on the bed, holding Betsy's hand, while Mr. Tate and Peter peer in with creased brows from the doorway.
Betsy lies in bed. Rivulets of sweat slide down her face, but she shivers violently under the covers. I feel her forehead and find it hotter than the flame of my candle.
"Shall I fetch the doctor, Mr. Ellison?" Peter asks, voice tinged with anxiety.
"I hate to send you out on such a dark night, Peter."
"Mr. Ellison."
I turn at Mrs. Bramson's stern tone.
"The doctor must be got."
I look down at Betsy and know she's right.
"Very well. Can you make it on your own, Peter?"
"I'm sure I can, Mr. Ellison. I'll be gone and back in an hour. Two at most." He puts on his winter coat and thick books, and his father and I see him to the door.
We move Betsy into one of the family's guest rooms so she can be near a fire. Jane and Mrs. Bramson bring hot water from the kitchen, massage Betsy's feet to warm her, wipe the sweat from her brow, and pile blankets on top of her. Mr. Tate stokes the fire and asks the women if they need him to fetch anything.
I take up a vigil by the window, pulling the sheet off a high-backed chair so I can perch there. After a time, I realize it's been a long while since I've seen my groundskeeper.
"Where is Mr. Tate?"
Mrs. Bramson glances around. "He was here a moment ago."
When he still hasn't returned ten minutes later, I go to look for him. I explore each wing of the house, walking down the corridors with my candle and calling out his name, but get no response.
I finally end up at the top of the main staircase. As I begin my descent, I stick my hand into my pocket and feel something metallic. But I am not in the habit of keeping objects in my pockets. I wonder what it is, but before I can pull it out, I look up and freeze.
The heavy, mahogany front door stands wide open.
I hurry the rest of the way down, my foreboding deepening. Even if Mr. Tate went out to meet someone, he would use the servant's entrance. When Peter returned with the doctor, he too would use that entrance, not only because it was the servant's entrance but because it is closer to Betsy's room.
I shut and lock the door. I've searched the entire house, so I head back to Betsy's room. Both women are disturbed that I haven't located Mr. Tate.
Minutes pass in silence, except for Betsy's ragged breathing. Then Jane speaks.
"Mr. Ellison, perhaps Mr. Tate went down to the wine cellar."
I arch an eyebrow. "Why would he go there?"
Jane looks uncomfortable. "He never did find the key, but just before Betsy got sick, he said something about knowing where to look for it."
It made sense, I supposed. But why wouldn't Mr. Tate come tell me? He had no reason to go down there and the key to the door is missing anyway.
"I'll go see if he's down there."
"Oh, please, Mr. Ellison," Jane hops to her feet, "let me go. I have to get more water from the kitchen anyway. I'll do a loop and see if he's there."
"Very well."
Minutes pass and Jane doesn't return. Mrs. Bramson glances repeatedly toward the door, but I don't allow myself to worry. Jane will return soon. And probably with Mr. Tate.
When Jane has been gone for more than twenty minutes, Mrs. Bramson gets to her feet. "Perhaps she needs help," she says.
A feminine shriek rings out from some part of the house I can't identify. I leap to my feet as all the color drains from Mrs. Bramson's face. Picking up my candle, I hurry out of the room. She follows me. At the end of the hall, I stop and turn to her. "Stay here, Mrs. Bramson."
Her lips press into a thin line, but she turns back to Betsy's room and I move toward the wine cellar.
I shine my candle down every intersecting hallway I come to, and even open a few doors, but the house is ghostly silent.
Finally I make my way down the stairs to the cellar. They are narrow so I have to take them slowly. I see only what the light field of my candle reveals. Everything else is blackness.
The cellar door comes into view. There's no sign of Mr. Tate or Jane. Not sure what else to do, I try the cellar door. As anticipated, it's locked.
"Mr. Tate? Jane?" I expect my voice to echo in the dank passage, but it doesn't. It sounds hollow, muted somehow.
Then I see it.
The barest movement from under the cellar door. I freeze, and stoop down to peer at the bottom of it. When my nose is inches from the threshold, I see it again: light and movement.
I gasp, but I don't understand. If Mr. Tate and Jane are in there, how did they get in? Why don't they call out? Did Mr. Tate find the key?
I bang on the door. "Mr. Tate? Jane? Are you in there?"
At first there is only silence. Then I fancy I can hear a soft hissing sound. I straighten and back away from the door, watching the light at the bottom. Suddenly I know without a doubt that it's not Jane or Mr. Tate in there. It's something else.
The shadow moves again—something walking back and forth behind the door. Panic spreads through my being. I turn on my heel and flee, feeling every instant as though something is coming up the stairs after me. I run faster than I have in years, across the kitchen, through the dark corridors, past windows encrusted with snow.
I skid into Betsy's room. She still lies on the bed. Her breathing has become so ragged it sounds painful. There is no one else in the room.
"Mrs. Bramson?"
No answer.
I look around frantically, but where could she have gone? She had all the blankets and medicine in this room. The fire is burning brightly. She's set up a swing-arm and a suspended kettle of water is boiling merrily.
I retrace my steps with the candle all the way to the kitchen, but find nothing.
Something catches my eye: a small dark puddle on the table. I cross the room and dip my finger in the substance. In the light of my candle, it has a deep red hue. I raise it to my nostrils. It has a metallic scent.
A soft creak brings my head around. The door to the cellar is ajar and creaking on its hinges. Had I left that open? I might have in my haste to get back to Betsy's room.
The noise comes from the stairway.
Thud, thud, thud, thud. The sounds descend the stairs, as though something is being dragged. I should throw the door open. But I can't. I stand gazing at the cellar door while my arms hang limp with fear.
A feminine voice shrieks from the cellar, and I would swear on my late wife's grave that it came from behind that cellar door. Dropping my candle, I run.
I slam the door to Betsy's room and lock it.
Hunkering down beside Betsy's bed, I tremble. I sit for what must be two hours. Where was Peter with the doctor?
I turn to find Betsy's eyes fastened on the wall above my head. They're fixed and glazed. I reach up, press the girl's eyelids shut, and pull the sheet over her face. I feel the metallic object in my pocket again, resting coldly against my hip. I wonder what it is, but I don't care enough to look.
I'm not tired, but suddenly I awaken and realize I've been dozing. Something is not right. My heart pounds. I feel as though someone is in the room with me. I turn my head slowly to the right…and cry out, vaulting from my chair and stumbling away until my back comes up against the icy window pane.
Betsy is staring at me.
Her chest does not move. She makes no noise, no motion. Her vacant eyes gaze at me in a silent growl of rage. Blood seems to have congealed behind the whites, and she looks like a demon.
I cannot stay in this room. I turn my back to Demon Betsy and survey the yard below. The largest wolf I've ever seen drags something—prey of some kind—leaving blood-filled grooves in its wake.
It lays its prey down below the window, as if for me to inspect. When it moves away, I gaze down upon something. I suppose I've known for some time now that Peter never got out; that he never made it to the doctor; that no one is coming.
I turn my back on Peter's corpse, and head for the cellar.
I walk calmly through the house, and descend the cellar stairs with relative swiftness this time. I pause outside the door, wondering how I'll get in. I haven't thought about Betsy's story about Pembroke Manor, the missing servants and the locked door since dinner, but I think of them now, wondering what it all means.
A light glows brightly from under the cellar door. It looks like flames, and I remember there's an old coal stove in the wine cellar. It hasn't been used in years.
Then I remember the metallic object in my pocket. I reach in and pull out the key. I marvel at it, wondering how it got there. It never leaves the peg beside the door, and I haven't been down here for a year. Shaking my head, I put the key in the lock, turn it, and push the door inward.
I gasp and recoil. The room looks like rot. It smells like betrayal. It sounds like loneliness. My eyes fall on the bodies. They're everywhere, in pieces. Blood spatters the walls and lifeless eyes stare at me from everywhere.
Something stands in front of the furnace. It looks like a man, though something tells me this creature is not human. It shovels something into the stove: coal shaped like human limbs. He turns his head to look at me.
Two miniature coal stoves blaze where his eyes should be. His mouth cracks open in a toothy smile. Between the two rows of blazing white, pointed teeth, there is an oblivion of darkness waiting to swallow all that passes into it.
I cower against the wall as the creature stands over me. Its breathing is ragged, just like Betsy's was before she died. He reaches out. The instant his fingers touch my throat, I scream. The last thing I'm aware of is a ripping sound, like fabric being torn. As I slip into oblivion, I'm uncertain whether the creature is shredding my body or my soul.

What did you think of it?
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