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Viewing Blog: So many books, so little time, Most Recent at Top
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Author of the young-adult thriller Shock Point, as well as five other mysteries and thrillers.
Statistics for So many books, so little time

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 39
1. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling match covers

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2. Llamas - 10 years later!

The local news just closed with a llama story.  It wasn't even a local story.  And the llamas didn't crash the wedding - there was a llama show next to a wedding.  Most of the local news anymore is made up of anything with interesting photos or videos. Not actual news.

For years, the word llama has made me laugh.

Almost exactly ten years ago, I posted this:
My husband is watching the 10 pm news. I've given up watching the TV news and now just listen to NPR when I'm driving or making dinner.

The announcer just said, "When we come back, learn why this llama paid a visit to a group of senior citizens." The B-roll showed a brown wooly llama, wearing a harness, nuzzling a confused eldery woman as she sat on a couch. And this was only 15 minutes into the program, when they should still be doing some hard news. They hadn't even talked about the Middle East yet.

Which reminds me...

A few months ago, my brother called me to tell me about his day. He sells farm equipment. He had gone into a barn trying to find a farmer, when he heard an unearthly groaning from a corner of the barn. It was two llamas, mating.

He told me a little more than I really wanted to know about llamas mating, esp. since he's my brother. There's something off-putting about discussing llama sex with a blood relative. Or, in this case, listening to a one-sided story.

Later, I was telling my husband about it. As I spoke, his expression went from disgust to pure horror.

It turned out he thought I said, "It was mama, mating." He thought my brother had stumbled across my mom, mating with some farmer in a barn.

Even for a girl from Southern Oregon, that would be a hair-raising story. For two weeks, if I needed a laugh, all I had to do was think of his face before I told him what my brother had actually seen.

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3. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Type reversed out of a shape

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4. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of girls floating in white dresses

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5. From Cooking Light to Brazilian Jiujitsu - thanks to the lady who invented Step Aerobics

I got asked the other day how I got into BJJ.  I'm 20-30 years older than most of the folks I roll with, and most of them are men.

So I tried to trace it back.  And then I remembered!  When I was still working at Kaiser Permanente, Cooking LIght asked readers if any of them wanted Gin Miller, the lady who created Step Aerobics, to design a workout for them.  I'm sure a lot of people volunteered, but I got super lucky and got picked!

She designed a boxing workout and Cooking LIght even sent me a pair of bright pink boxing gloves and handwraps. I liked it. It was hard! You can do it yourself!

And then my gym offered a kickboxing class, and I took it.  The instructor was a black belt in kajukenbo, and he asked if we would be interesred in learning it. It's a mixed marital art.  The "ka" stand for karate, the "ju" for judo, the "ken" for kenpo, and the "bo" stands for both Chinese and American boxing.  I made it from a white sash to orange and was a few weeks away from testing for purple.

When that instructor left the gym, I looked around and got super lucky.  I found Southwest Portland Martial Arts. I started taking kung fu, which is a cousin to kajukenbo. Still I had to start at the bottom again.

Kung fu has been great for me - sparring, forms, and even some grappling.  I have moved from white belt to orange, and am now purple. I hope to trest for blue in the next year.

As part of kung fu, we had to do some grappling: arm bars, rear naked chokes, a mount escape. Then my school started offering Brazilian jiujitsu.  (aka grappling, aka wrestling + chokes + joint locks)

I have fallen in love. In love even more than I am with kung fu. I love it even though I am not a natural, and I don't have much in my favor. I'm 57, I'm not particualrly flexible, I'm a lady, a lot of my partners outweigh me, and I am not all that good at even knowing where my body is in space, let alone other people's bodies.

I don't care.  All I care about is that it's fun.  

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6. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of silhouetted runners


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7. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of ladies on the water

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I think all these ladies must know each other. 

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8. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Get these words out of my head!




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9. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of girls on top of vehicles

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10. I have a twin!

One of these people isn't me!  But her photo was used for an event I'm doing.  Can you tell which one?  Because even I thought it was me.


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11. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Even more dueling words in head covers






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12. Haven't I see you someplace before? Another dueling cover of the creepy woods

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13. Book Tweep - there's a sucker born every minute

I got an email from an outfit called Book Tweep.

We saw your book "The Night She Disappeared" at Amazon. We would like to help you in the Promotional efforts of "The Night She Disappeared" to boost the number of sales and ranking. We will act as an extra helping hand in marketing your book so that you can get more time to write your next one. You can check our website and discuss your promotion queries and your Book Sales target. For more info just visit our website and write to us.

Hey, for only $14.99 a month you can promote your self-published book through three Twitter accounts that spew endless tweets that I doubt are ever seen and that have a suspect number of followers.

The tweets are along these lines: "Emotional struggles and deep friendships play."

Another red flag for me is the poorly written web site.

How it works?


  • The cost of our book promotion service is $14.99 per month for a single book or a series.

  • You will get one promotional tweet from our each twitter account.

  • We will tweet from 3 twitter accounts so you will get 3 promotional tweets per day.

  • In month total 90 promotional tweets per month for your book at the cost of $14.99 per month to our more than 250,000 followers/readers.

  • In addition to it we will also permanently list your book on our site(1000 to 1500 per day visitors).

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14. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling target eyes.

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15. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling covers of the Italian coast

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16. A tour! A tour! My first tour in 14 years!

This month began with the most amazing thing ever: a book tour for The Girl I Used to Be! The last time I had a tour was in 2002. As the economy crashed, independent bookstores folded, and newspapers cut back, tours faded right along with them.

I was determined to make the most of it. So I said yes to everything. Yes to speaking to kids from four different schools in a day. Yes to doing a bookstore event that same night. Yes to flying to a different city after that.

And I had a great time! But I did pick up some tips I’m going to pass along for the next person who wins the tour lottery.

The last time your clothes fit in your carryon is the day you pack it at home. Don’t overpack! If you’re willing to wear the same black polyester (and thus unwrinkle-able and basically indestructible) top in every city you visit, you can save some space in your suitcase. And you need to leave room, because every school will want to give you a coffee mug, T-shirt, and pen emblazoned with the school’s logo. I have also gotten a tea towel, “genuine sand,” a plaster hand missing fingernails like one of my characters, and reusable grocery bags.

And you’ll also end up with treats: chocolate in the shape of the Alamo, pralines so sweet they make your teeth ache, Kind bars, chocolate covered almonds, a package of Oreos, caramel toasted coconut chips, mini Kitkats, homemade cookies, Lindor balls, and occasionally fruit. Those who follow me on social media often give me potato chips. I actually carried a full bag of chips from Milwaukee to Chicago where I ate them at midnight when I finally checked into my hotel. My advice is to avoid the crab-flavored ones.

In fact, for your waistline, dump all the treats into the nearest garbage can as soon as you are out of eyesight. Otherwise you will end up in your hotel room eating a piece of really bad candy that tastes like chocolate-covered perfume, wincing, and then opening another wrapper.

All the candy did come in handy when Alaska ran out of meals on a flight from Chicago to Seattle. For breakfast, I ate a peanut butter cup that had been rattling around in my backpack. Loose. By the time I found it, half the chocolate was missing. But at least it didn’t have anything stuck to it. And I figured the peanut butter counted as protein.

If you’re ever wondering what to get an author, Starbucks cards are small and endlessly useful. Also those grocery bags, especially if they are emblazoned with something local, are a fun gift and pack flat.

My other tip would be figure out the shower while you are still sort of awake. Do you raise the handle, spin it, press it? Is there a separate piece you need to engage first? Otherwise you’ll end up after four hours sleep phoning the front desk and begging them to reveal the secret. And they in turn will send up a maintenance man, who will turn it on with ease, and look at you in your shortie PJs with barely concealed disgust.

And then after you take your shower you will realize you have no idea how to turn it OFF. Resist the urge to leave it running for four hours until housekeeping shows up.

I also stayed in a hotel hosting the a conference for the White Shrine of Jerusalem, a Masonic organization that seemed to be made up of white ladies over the age of 80 and wearing formal polyester gowns with corsages even for the 6 am breakfast buffet.

I visited more than a dozen schools and talked to over 3,000 kids. One girl who wanted to be a writer was shaking so badly it looked like she would fly apart. I held one of her hands with my left hand while I signed her book with my right. One teacher worried that her pizza lunch wouldn’t be “sophisticated enough” for me. I had a wonderful time, and even though I came down with a weird kind of strep normally only seen in cows, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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17. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling covers of falling cutouts

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18. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More covers of girls in red coats leaving

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19. Do you need a round rock?

Do you need a round rock today? I found this one while I was running.

When I was a toddler, my folks were having hard times. My dad was working at an all-news radio station that was going down the tubes (and would soon fire all the reporters and become an all-rock-and-roll station). He had chased jobs across four states, and my parents were so broke they couldn't even afford a stroller.

My grandmother came to visit and later went for a walk. She bounded back into the house, calling, "Nora, guess what?" She was so excited that my mom thought she must have figured out some way to solve their problems. Instead, she handed my mom a rock, exclaiming in amazement over how round it was.

After she left, my mom laughed until she cried (or maybe it was cried until she laughed). She carried that rock in her purse for years, and there were times there was no money in the purse, just the rock. But she always said, if all else failed, she had a round rock.

In my family, it's an honor to go through hard times and earn your round rock. So if you're in need of a round rock today, think of this one as yours.

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20. Meet the cover model for The Body in the Woods


Wow! Meet Isabelle Varga, the model pictured on the cover of The Body in the Woods. She recently contacted me to let me know that she is not only on the cover, she is also a fan. So of course I asked her a bunch of questions.

Q. How did you get into modeling?
A. I started modeling right before I turned 15. I was competing for Miss New Jersey Teen USA and a photographer who was doing my headshot for the pageant called an agency and I was signed as a model.

Q. Are you still in school?
A. I go to high school and take off when I get called to work. It was hard at first to balance modeling and school but I learned to do all of my homework in the car or on set at lunch break. I also learned to get ahead of assignments on weekends if I knew I was booked for a job that following week. My time management skills are really good from working.

Q. Do you have to be accompanied by an adult?
A. My mom always came with me to the shoots. Now that I am almost 19 I drive myself to most shoots. I am fortunate to work with the same clients so I know the team very well.

Q. How much did you know about the book before you did the shoot?
A. When I was called to shoot for your book cover I didn't know much until I got to the studio. The photographer, Jonathan Barkat, was shooting several different covers at once. I was told the name of the book at the shoot. I was not allowed to take any pictures since it was not going to be released for several months.

Q. How much of what you see on the cover is real and how much was done in Photoshop?
A. It was an awesome shoot....the dirt and ferns were real and they were piled around me and on me as I lay on the floor. They did several different poses until they found the one they liked best. The eyeshadow was real and it was super cool to see the images on the computer. I did not see the final image until it came out.

Q. How long did it take?
A. The shoot took about 7 hours because several covers for other books were shot simultaneously. Your cover probably took about 2-3 hours. It was a lot of putting the dirt and ferns on me then taking them off to move positions then covering me again.

Q. Do you like modeling? What do you plan to do after you graduate high school?
A. I absolutely love modeling. It has been an amazing experience to work with some of the best photographers and makeup artists in the world. I absolutely loved shooting your cover. The first time I saw it in Barnes and Noble was incredibly fun. All of my friends texted me when it came out. I also loved shooting a Canon commercial which aired in Tokyo. I am very fortunate to have been exposed to different cultures and amazing adults who have helped shaped me into the person I am today. I have a very strong work ethic which started when I began modeling. I was just accepted into college and I will attend Bentley University in MA in Sept. I am going to study Marketing and Media and Culture in college with a minor in management. I hope to work for a major fashion company one day in their marketing department. I also plan to compete in more pageants and hope to be Miss USA one day.

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21. Haven't I see you someplace before? Even more dueling nape covers

There is something so alluring about the nape of the neck (just begs to be kissed) and a bun (just begs to be taken down).

Looks like with The Incarnations they decided some rebranding was in order for the paperback.  When I first saw it, I was sure it had to be from the same photo shot as When The Stars go Blue, but it's just similar.




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22. aprilhenry @ 2016-05-02T12:13:00

Less than two months ago, I got this note:

April, I can't begin to explain how much of a role model you are to me. I love all of your books; especially Girl, Stolen:) Recently, my dad passed away and my house burned down. And I look to your books and you inspire me to finish and accomplish a book I have been working on. I have been writing a kidnapping novel hence you are my favorite. I never thought i would see myself as a writer, and you have showed me that you can do anything and accomplish my dreams. One day I hope to have my book published and I would LOVE to send a copy to you and get your approval. I can't begin to explain again about how much you mean to me and how skilled you are.

Thank you so much
Your #1 fan, Carlie

When I wrote back, I found out that Carlie was only 13, and that just a month earlier her dad had set their house on fire and then killed himself. This girl had lost so much, yet she was sending love to me.

I sent her back a box of all my books, signed. But I wanted to do more. Maybe a Skype visit? But her librarian, Jessie McGaffin, had other plans, as you can read about here:

http://nevadaiowajournal.com/news/bestselling-author-visits-nms.html

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23. Haven't I seen you someplace before: dueling covers of falling girl cutouts

The cover of The Assistants is a little too similar to The Girl Who Fell From the Sky for my taste.

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24. Haven't I seen you before? Yet another cover of foggy mountains

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25. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of amusement parks

Hand-drawn fonts, amusement partks - these are way too similiar for my taste, given that both The Beginning of Everything and Whisper to Me are by fairly high-profile authors.

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