Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hearts Under SIEGE is only 99 cents!

Hearts Under Siege coverThat's right, for just a limited time, Hearts Under SIEGE is only 99 cents!

Hearts Under SIEGE is about Molly and Brady, who have been friends since they were little.

It's about Brady and Jessica, the woman who struck him with love-at-first-sight but turned out to be his brother's fiancée. The woman he just couldn't get over.

It's about Brady and Christopher, his brother, and what Brady is willing to do to find out what happened to him when he's reported killed in an "accident."

Because they work for SIEGE, a private spy agency, and things are rarely taken at face value. When Brady and Molly start working together, he sees EVERYTHING differently. And things heat up in more ways than one. :)

The book is at 99 cents at all venues, links found here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Welcome Guest Blogger Jody Wallace and Her Latest Release, Traitor

Natalie: Welcome, please, creative genius writer and amigurumist Jody Wallace to the blog today. This is such an honor!

Jody: Thank you for having me! Would you like me to tell you about the amigurumi I'm working on right now or the book I just published?

Natalie: Oh, Jody, whatever you utter is a pearl of wisdom. Basically, talk about whatever you like and I swear I'll publish it JUST THE WAY YOU SENT IT TO ME.

Jody: Can I get that in writing?

Natalie: Duh, I just wrote it. In my question. That I totally wrote. That's completely in my personal writing voice.

Jody: Ok, that works. I guess I'd like to talk about Traitor first. It's awesome. The science fiction-based during-apocalypse world it's set in is also awesome, like Falling Skies crossed with Dominion crossed with Defiance, except a lot better and I am not going to kill off any of your favorite characters; include babies who grow from infancy to psychic supermodel in a season; or force Anthony Stewart Head to attempt an American accent.

Once upon a time, Earth was invaded by these horrible black blobs that ate people and couldn't be destroyed by conventional science. They were accompanied by flying red bat daemons that could sort of be destroyed by a lot of missiles. Luckily a squad of powerful angels turned up to save Earth, and they trained a native Chosen One to confront the evil in a final battle.

Except the Chosen One turned out to be a loser, the angels turned out to be aliens pretending to be angels so the Terrans would cooperate (they hoped), and the Earth didn't quite get saved.


Natalie: I don't think I've ever heard an idea so awesome.

Jody: I know, right? It's pretty awesome.

Natalie: It's awesome that you came to my blog today and wrote this for me. I mean, you wrote the answers. I totally and awesomely wrote these questions.

Jody: You're awesomely welcome.

Natalie: Jody, now that we know about your world, tell me how you came up with the specific idea for Traitor, which I believe is probably the most awesome book in the universe?

Jody: Oh, Natalie, you flatter me so much, but don't be silly. It's probably only the third best book in the universe. I mean, I've written over twenty books now, and at least two of them are longer than Traitor—and longer is always better, if you know what I mean.

Natalie: You're so witty. I'm laughing so hard right now.

Jody: I get that a lot.

Natalie: I wish I could be just like you.

Jody: For starters you'll need to learn to crochet penises. It's an essential component of my personality. And then you need to get very good at lying.

Natalie: Oh, dear, I don't think I can ever live up to that ideal! *sobs* I'm heartbroken now. My soul feels like a dead mouse in a hot car, shriveled, smelly and gross.

Jody: You're simply too honest to be like me, Natalie. And quite frankly—get it? Frankly? Because you're honest?—I don't think you should...


FAKE NATALIE: Jody, what the hell is this? You said you were writing me a guest post, not this crap. I didn't say those things.

Jody: But you promised!

FAKE NATALIE: Send me something else. That's stupid.

Jody: Quit being so damn honest. Do you know how hard I worked on that awesome interview?

FAKE NATALIE: About 10 minutes?

Jody: Shut up.

FAKE NATALIE: I did like your book, though.

Jody: Thanks! Tell everyone to go buy it. Here's the links:

Maelstrom Chronicles
Book Two
Jody Wallace

Release Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Entangled

Captain Nikolas EstherVorn is a traitor. Or so it was decreed after Niko disobeyed protocol while trying to save Earth from other-dimensional creatures. Stuck in a prison cell, the last thing he needs is to be in close proximity to clever, sexy Dr. Sarah CallenJoseph. Not when he's damn near ready to break out just to get to her.

Niko's desire isn't quite his own…and Sarah can prove it. He—along with the other soldiers on the disastrous mission—were drugged with some kind of toxin. Niko has no clue how the drug got into his body or why, but Sarah suspects there’s a link between the toxin and the fertility crisis of Shipborn humans.

To investigate is forbidden. But as lust becomes something deeper, binding them together in a way neither expected, Niko and Sarah must battle time—and their superiors—to uncover the secret that could save humanity...or destroy it.

About the Author: 
Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt. She currently lives in Tennessee with her family: one husband, two kids, two cats. One of her many alter egos is “The Grammar Wench,” which should give you an indication of her character. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, Asian-inspired kitchenware, gnomes, yarn, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.

Jody publishes the Maelstrom Chronicles with Entangled Publishing, an Earth-based science fiction romance series. You can find other science fiction, paranormal, and contemporary romances by Jody at www.jodywallace.com, including her horrible science fiction romance spoofs, The Adventures of Mari Shu, which make fun of the Maelstrom Chronicles, among other science fiction concepts and stories.

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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Our Squirrel Does Wicked

My husband put up a bird feeder outside our dining room window recently. We've had the usual sparrows and finches, and this week we got a pair of tufted titmice and a chickadee. (I love the less common birds, no surprise. :) )

My office window looks out at ground level right below the feeder. So I've a bunch of companions every day. A squirrel, a cardinal (sometimes his mate, too), a chipmunk or two, and three mourning doves. They forage around and under the rose bush. Oh, and I usually have at least one of the cats, too.

So yesterday morning I hear Number Two let out some kind of cry. I called to her, and she didn't respond. She made some other unintelligible exclamation, so I went into the hall. Number One then cried "Oh my God." I asked WTH and got shushed. So I went down to the dining room. And saw this:

This shouldn't be a surprise, right? Squirrels are notorious for getting into bird feeders. But this one was an astonishing feat.

We watched him hang out for a while. We called my husband out of the bedroom. He grumbled, but then also did the whole "Oh my God thing." While Squirrel stared placidly at us through the window and kept chewing.

But here's the thing. Here's where the feeder hangs. The bay window is the dining room window. The feeder (which you can barely see, because of the angle and background) is FIFTEEN FEET OFF THE GROUND.

This is the closest tree:

I'm thinking this little bastard went up the telephone pole in the front of the house, ran along the wires to the side of the roof, and then went over the roof to shimmy down the wire holding the feeder. There really isn't another way to do it. That takes intelligence and determination, right? Especially since there's tons of seed all over the ground all the time.

So after a while my husband said, "okay, tell him to get down." Number Two slapped the window with the flat of her hand. Squirrel JUMPED TO THE GROUND. Fifteen friggin' feet. Defying gravity indeed. 

He was back up there this morning. You almost have to let him take the reward for his effort, you know?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's No Fun When They Don't Play Along

Ref. last post, about needing something fun to watch? I have Part 1 of Dragon Riders of Berk that my friend Gail sent me! I keep forgetting to ask Number One if she wants to watch it with me. I think I'll just do it, starting tonight. If I'm not working until midnight again.

My husband has a lot of fun with telemarketers and wrong numbers and stuff like that. Our number is only 1 digit different from the local Domino's number, and people used to always call and ask if we were Pizza Hut, or would immediately launch into their order or request for delivery, even though we hadn't answered "properly." He'd say we were out of pizza or that we were Little Cesar's or something like that. They moved across town, out of our area, and now a) they won't deliver to us and b) we don't get calls for them anymore. That's NOT a good trade.

You know those people who call you and say they're from Geek Support and there's something really wrong with your computer and they want to help you? I kept one of those guys on the phone for 20 minutes. At one point he told me his company's address in Connecticut and I went on about how I used to live up there and asking if he'd seen certain sites. I told him I didn't want to go downstairs and boot up my computer. He passed judgment on my being in bed at that time of the morning, even though I hadn't said I was in bed, I said I was in my bedroom. That was a fun conversation. He tried so hard!

Anyway, today I got a friend request on Facebook. I always say yes. This person immediately messaged me privately. Red flag, right? It went like this:

Her:  hello
Me:  Hi. :)
Her: how you doing
Me:  Not too bad. How about you?
Her: i am good
Me:  Good. :)
Her: well i saw your name among the 20 lucky people who won $500,000,00 from the smartphone lottery i am among the lucky winners too
i have gotten my own check and i just cash my own check yesterday why havent you get your check
Me:  Oh, I did! I got my check three days ago.

She hasn't responded. So boring. *sigh*

How have YOU tried to play with someone lately? Did they play along?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Drowning in Darkness

I have never (or at least for a decade or two) gone for darkness in my entertainment. I tend to prefer light paranormal and romantic adventure over dark paranormal romances or urban fantasy or suspense. My husband can't drag me unconscious to a horror movie. And when I tried watching Daredevil on Netflix recently, I couldn't watch past the episode where the bad guy decapitated someone by bashing a car door against his head. For, like, 5 minutes.

Lately, though, I've gotten myself into some pretty dark stuff. Like iZombie. It didn't start out dark. I mean, as far as zombie fiction goes, it was cool. The heroine is focused on hiding her condition and getting along without going full-on zombie. But they couldn't leave it as "she's the only zombie who survived." No, the last episode I watched (we're still behind) ended with her finding out her hunky British rock star boyfriend, who has spiced up that screen by a LOT, has been not only been buying brains from the evil guy (normally yummy David Anders; why does he have to be evil AGAIN?!) who is abducting and murdering kids to feed his zombie customers and make tons of money...the kid they are eating is the one her ex-fiancé Major cared so much about that he got beaten up twice and lost his job. And I know what's coming for Lowell. As if THAT'S not enough, Liv's only real supporter is Ravi, her boss, who's trying to find a cure. And he got BITTEN BY A ZOMBIE RAT. I am so freaking sad for him.

So that wasn't too dark by itself. But it ended ominously. My Outlander, and I love it—except the most recent episode about killed me. We watched it right after iZombie, so I insisted we watch Modern Family to cleanse my brain. I'll watch the finale because of Jamie, but I'm NOT looking forward to it.
friend Gail has talked me into trying

Then there was Supernatural. Always kind of dark, but unique. Until this year's finale, in which Dean gives up, makes a deal to kill his brother and go somewhere unreachable for eternity, and then fails, kills Death (nooooo, Julian Richings!!!!), and has the Mark removed, thereby unleashing The Darkness—the evil that came before us, that God and his archangels battled back and trapped. The Mark was the key. So now they've unleashed this Darkness. Can you GET any bleaker?

I'd be so ready for light summer fare, if there was any. Franklin & Bash is no more, and Covert Affairs has also been canceled. Thank God for Royal Pains starting in a couple of weeks. But the other shows I watch in the summer are The Last Ship—about the only people who have survived a worldwide plague—and Falling Skies—about the only people who have survived an alien invasion. Nothing light and fun there! I have Dark Matter on the "new show" list, but anything whose trailer ends with "Because we're dangerous" is unlikely to be a laugh a minute.

So I might have to find something I can get on DVD from the library and binge-watch. Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Upcoming Books I Can't Wait For

I ended up judging two published contests (the Prism and the Daphne) at the same time, so I have 8 books to read by May 15. And I have... *counts* ...57 titles on my Kindle I haven't read yet. (OMG, I should haven't counted!) AND there are a couple dozen paperbacks on the shelf in my bedroom.

And still, I can't WAIT for a bunch of new books that aren't due to be released for weeks or even months. Here's a sampling:

Go Ahead, Make My Bouquet by Misty Simon
Release Date May 22, 2015

Okay, I confess, I got to read this one already. :) It's a great contemporary romance set in the same small town as Misty's What's Life Without Sprinkles? and Making Room at the Inn. If you've been waiting for Zoe's story with my level of impatience, you'll want to get this one on your wish list. :)

No Woman Left Behind by Julie Moffett
Release Date June 1, 2015

I've loved this adventure/mystery/romance series since the beginning. I have a theory about Lexi that I'm eager to see revealed (or not!) in the next book.

Under the Lights by Shannon Stacey
Release Date May 26, 2015

Football! It's high school rather than pro, but I'm geeking out anyway. :) Shannon has another book coming out in June, with firefighters. I've enjoyed the Kowalskis, but excited to start new stuff by her.

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones
Release Date May 19, 2015

If you haven't read the Charley Davidson series, and you're one of those who loves to binge, you're in for a treat. Snarky, brilliant, unique heroine, super-hot hero, ever-growing (but not unmanageable) mythology... The only reason I'm not thrilled that there are apparently 3 more books after this one is that means we might not get more YA or "A Lovely Drop" stories from Darynda. But I guess I'll survive. :)

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
Release Date September 29, 2015

Steampunk is something I like the idea of a lot more than I ended up enjoying in reality. I used to read a lot of historicals as well as epic fantasy, but lost my taste for both a while ago. But since I can't devour the next Dresden Files book until some undefined time that might be in 2016, I'm willing to try this to tide me over. :)

 The Bull Rider's Son by Cathy McDavid
Release Date July 1, 2015

Cathy is amazingly consistent, keeping me in family westerns at a steady pace. :) Her mouthwatering heroes keep me away from my chores, that's for sure. :)
Dakota Cowboy by Lisa Mondello
Release Date May 30, 2015

Talk about consistent! Her last Dakota book just came out last week, but I'll barely have time to miss them when the next one releases. And that's a GOOD thing. :) More westerns, but in a totally different kind of world than Cathy's books. Hmm, I'm reading a nice balance across the country, with Shannon's books in New England! :)

What books are you looking forward to?

Blue Silver is Back!

Long-time readers might remember that several years ago, I was part of a collaboration with a few other authors on a series of novellas called Blue Silver. These all take place at the same time, with the comeback of the band Blue Silver at their core. Well, it's time for another comeback! Jody Wallace, Megan Hart, and I have resurrected these stories, updated them to fit with modern technology and stuff, and re-released them. So if you missed them, now's your chance! They're just 99 cents each. You can find out more by visiting the Blue Silver page. Thanks!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Greatness in Customer Service: Hulu and, Believe It or Not, American Airlines

Okay, so I probably just had the best customer service experience ever.

Back in December, I subscribed to Hulu Plus so I could watch the end of Selfie. Once the last episode aired (so sad!), I canceled my subscription. Or so I thought.

I clicked the cancel button, and confirmed I wanted to cancel, and then they have this cute little video telling you that you don't want to cancel. Down to the right, where the eye doesn't naturally fall (trust me, I learned about the Z-pattern thing working at an ad agency), was a check box you had to click to say yeah, I still want to cancel. Until that box is checked, there's ANOTHER cancel button that's white and not real obvious.

Now, I would swear I'd gotten to the point where it told me I'd canceled and I'd get an e-mail confirmation, but I can't find an e-mail confirmation in my files, and it's quite possible that I rolled my eyes at the video and overlooked all that. I honestly don't remember.

So when I was looking carefully at the charges on my credit card today and saw a charge for Hulu Plus, I was very mad. Not least at myself for not noticing it for the last two months. I immediately went through the process I described above and made VERY sure that I completed it. I still haven't gotten an e-mail confirmation, by the way.

However, when I sent an annoyed message through their help center, I got an immediate response. Literally, 4 minutes after I posted my complaint. I acknowledged my own culpability but told them I felt their practice was tricky and misleading and it would unfortunately cause me to speak negatively about them and never go back. They told me in response that they'd forward my comments about their procedures and refund me for three months of charges.

I KNOW, RIGHT?! Who does that? Obviously, someone who wants my service again. They'll get it, as soon as some network cancels a show I love but runs the remaining episodes through Hulu. :)

The other experience was with American Airlines. I bought Number One a ticket from Boston to Ohio last weekend before her grandmother died. The services ended up being scheduled a couple of hours after her flight back on Sunday. I'd booked through Priceline, which had saved us not enough money, but some. And that always makes things trickier. My brother, who flew Delta, was told he couldn't change anything until he got to Ohio, and then after that they couldn't book him a later flight on the same day and said if he flew another day he'd have to buy a whole 'nother ticket, to the tune of somewhere around a thousand dollars.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with American while they tried to help me out. The bummer was that because of very full flights, for her to go home later Sunday, even using G inventory (presumably tech-speak for bereavement fare), we'd have had to pay $652 plus a $200 change fee. For her to fly Monday would cost $117, because the difference in fares reduced that $200 change fee. There was a $25 penalty for using Priceline, too. I had to make two separate calls but everything went incredibly smoothly. So they'll get my business again, especially since all her flights landed early.

So what great customer service have YOU gotten lately?