Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I don't make resolutions - I set goals. #amwriting #amreading #newyear

I never make New Year's resolutions. Oh I used to - the same ones everyone else did. Lose weight, exercise more, eat better, change my life in this way or that way. But resolutions always fall by the wayside by the end of the first week of January, don't they? Or by the end of January at the latest.

Nope - no more resolutions for me. Instead, I now set goals.

What is the difference between a resolution and a goal, you ask?  

Well a resolution is just that. It's like a little promise you make to yourself. And you break it. And you hate yourself for it.

But a goal - well a goal is a horse of a different color.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Peggy Sue Got Married & Back to the Future all rolled into one! Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney @pink_flask #amreading #bookreview

I received this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Living backwards is the story of a 29 year old woman who somehow manages to time travel back to three weeks before her high school graduation. 

As most of you know I am not really a fan of romance books, unless there is some other primary element. In this case, the time travel aspect - which just happens to be one of my favorite plot devises - was what drew me to this book. 

As the title of this post states - it is pretty much a combination of Peggy Sue Got Married and Back to the Future - both movies are actually even referenced in the book, as is The Butterfly Effect - only this story has been updated for present day to include references to Facebook, and of course has different characters and situations. 

The key question of time travel remains - if you can change your past how will it effect your future. What will be the ripple effect?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Interview with Marsha Cornelius and excerpt of Losing it All. #amreading @marshacornelius

A couple of years ago author Marsha Cornelius asked me to read her debut novel, H10N1. I did and I loved it. You can read that review here

Marsha is back with a new novel, Losing It All, and she has graciously consented to allow me to interview her and share an excerpt with all of us. 

Hi Marsha - it's great to see you again. Tell me - Your latest book, Losing It All, is about homeless people. How did you research the topic?

Well, I didn’t live in a car for 6 months, if that’s what you’re wondering. But over the years, I’ve had my share of interaction with the homeless. I’m not a believer in giving cash, but I’ve left bags of clothing in the park instead of the Salvation Army. I’ve bought homeless people food.

I also volunteered at a soup kitchen, and I visited the women’s shelter in Atlanta. A lot of what I saw appears in the book.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Steampunk? Or fantasy? The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill #amreading #review

I don't have a whole lot of experience with the Steampunk genre in general so this was a little bit different for me.

J.L. Mulvihill  does a good job of building a world - an alternate history of the USA in which workhouses are the norm and there is a heavy Big Brother type government. The poor are oppressed, valueless and forced into servitude.

AB'Gale, or Abby is a sixteen year old young woman who has lived a sheltered and priviledged life up until the point that her father vanishes. With the family farm in jeopardy she has no choice but to go searching for him.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My top 5 books of 2013 #amreading

Now that the year is winding down to a close, I'd thought I'd do a post listing my favorite books I've read in 2013. Each book will be hyperlinked to my review of it, so if you want to know more all it will take is a little click of  your mouse.

There have been many great reads this year and I've enjoyed them so much. I don't feel like I can give them order of enjoyment, so I'm going to list my top five books in no specific order.

  1. Running by Rhiannon Douglas - a fabulous debut by a great new fantasy author.
  2. Thumb by John Guy Collick - another great fantasy novel.
  3. Jackrabbit Junction Jitters by Ann Charles - Ann is the queen of humorous, quirky romances.
  4. The White Thread by K.B. Hoyle - actually the entire Gateway Chronicles series. Best YA fantasy series I've read in a long time.
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth - and again, actually the entire Divergent trilogy. This is more YA fantasy - this time of the post-apocalyptic variety. I know many don't agree with me on the two later books, but I loved them.
I am a harsh critic at times and it is difficult to get a 5 star review from me. These are the only books I've rated five stars this year. There were quite a few more that got 4 star reviews though.

What were your favorite books this year?

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Beacon Party Wrap-up - Winners announced! #amreading

I want to thank all the fabulous bloggers who participated in The Beacon Launch Tour, which has now officially come to a close.

If you didn't get a chance to check out their reviews/interviews/guest posts be sure to do so. Just click on the links in The Beacon Launch Tour post. And now for what you've all been waiting for...


Grand prize of $25 Amazon Gift Card AND 
signed paperback copies of The Beacon & Lifeboat: 

Karen P.A.

2nd prize winners of signed paperback copies of 
The Beacon & Lifeboat:

Erin T.
Joey R.

3rd prize winners of an ebook copy of The Beacon are:

Kriss M.
Christy C.
Mike M.
Sherry F.
Peggyanne A.

A HUGE thank you to all who entered.

If you didn't win, better luck next time - but you can still get The Beacon for only 99 cents for your Kindle or Kindle app on Amazon.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Beacon official launch day party and Amazon GC Giveaway!!! #thebeacon #launch #giveaway

It's finally here - the day I  - and I hope YOU - have been waiting for:

 The official launch of my novella, The Beacon!

The Beacon is available NOW on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats (including a Large Print version)! Click here to get your copy. It's only 99 cents and would make a great Christmas present!

To celebrate I am having a little party right here and a few of my friends will be helping with the celebration over the next two weeks. They will be sharing their reviews of The Beacon, an interview with me, and a few Guest Posts I've written. So check back here and I'll give you links in the comments on where to find them.

And what does every party need? Prizes!

You can enter here - and on the blogs for each of my participating friends - to win some great stuff!  

This is an international giveaway.
  • Grand prize is a $25 (USD) Amazon Gift Card PLUS a signed copy of both The Beacon AND Lifeboat!
  • Second prize is a signed copy of both The Beacon and Lifeboat!
  • And five third prize winners will win an ebook version of The Beacon in the format of their choice! (Prize will be distributed as a Smashwords coupon code.)

And OH! I almost forgot to tell you! 

To celebrate the launch of The Beacon
from December 1st through the 3rd (Pacific Time) you can pick up the Kindle version of Lifeboat for just $.99 (USD).
Regular price is $2.99 so get it now! (Be sure to verify price shows as $.99 before you click "buy".) Just click here to get your copy now.

So join the party

Get your copies of 
ebooks now and enter to win! 

Stop #2 on The Beacon's launch tour is now live. Stop by Jess' blog to read her review and enter to win. Click here to get there

Tour stop #3 is now live and is a special treat served up by the Cabin Goddess herself. Come visit the cabin in the woods with me and see what the Cabin Goddess has to say about The Beacon! And of course you can still sign up to win those awesome prizes. Just click here. http://www.cabingoddess.com/blog/2013/12/01/beacon-abhpshepherd-needs-psy-review-cabin-goddess-style/#comment-8381
Stop #4 on The Beacon launch tour is now live! Come by and tell Amy at Lady Reader's Bookstuff, and me, how YOU determine what is real. Don't forget you can tweet daily for extra entries. http://ladysbookstuff.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/tour-beacon-what-is-real-by-ab-shepherd.html#.UpyG3SfcBRw
Stop #5 is now LIVE. Come visit Donna, Girl Who Reads, to see what she thinks of The Beacon. And don't forget to enter to win. http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2013/12/review-beacon-by-ab-shepherd.html?showComment=1386111386770#c8028409679267707523
Stop #6 is now LIVE. Want to know what inpired The Beacon? Stop by Girl Who Reads again. She's got the in. And don't forget to tweet daily for extra chances to win! http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2013/12/ab-shepherd-my-inspiration-for-beacon.html
Stop #7 is something you haven't yet seen on the tour - an EXCERPT from The Beacon. You know you want to read it. And don't forget - even if you've already enter to win you can tweet daily for more chances! http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/the-beacon-by-p-shepherd-giveaway.html 
Stop #8 is a little bit different - at this stop I pose a moral dilemma - Would you kill someone? Come on over to Rachel's blog, read my post and tell me what YOU would do. http://racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/guest-post-giveaway-the-beacon-by-a-b-shepherd/ 
Stop #9 is now LIVE - it's another awesome review. Stop by and see what Lynn thinks of The Beacon! http://lynnareynolds.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/the-beacon-by-a-b-shepherd/ 
Stop #10 is an author interview hosted by Amanda at My Other Book Blog. She asks some interesting questions. Come see how I answer them. http://www.myotherbookblog.com/2013/12/author-interview-and-giveaway-ab.html
Stop #11 on the tour is now LIVE folks. Only one more to go. Karen Pokras Toz - an acclaimed author in her own right - has reviewed The Beacon on this stop. Be sure to take a look. And don't forget to enter to wiin. Only a few more days. http://kptoz.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/author-spotlight-ab-shepherd.html
Folks I have to apologize. Stop #12 - the last stop on The Beacon launch tour - has been cancelled. The tour host has been unwell and is unable to complete her post. I hope she feels better soon.

In the meantime please do enjoy the previous 11 stops on the tour, AND don't forget - there is one day left to get your entries in. If you missed any of the stops you can find them all listed above.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas? Bah humbug. #bahhumbug #hatechristmas

I have a true love/hate relationship with the Christmas season. First, I fully admit that I am an agnostic, although I grew up in a Christian church, and family, and have fond memories of Christian traditions regarding the Christmas season - especially the singing of Carols. I spent many years trying to find my faith, and it is just non-existent. I find more reasons to disbelieve than to believe. 

But this post isn't about my religion. It is about the Christmas season. The Christmas season celebrated by those of us who don't put the Christ in Christmas, but still see at as the season of giving. (PLEASE - don't try to convert me or bash me because I'm a non-believer.)

So, although I am an agnostic, I still celebrate the season -as much as I can tolerate anyway. I still (usually) put up a tree and a few decorations. I still give gifts to people I love. I still try to enjoy this season of giving and make effort to do nice things for strangers. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hopping on my soapbox - Mandela vs. Walker Death Shaming. #amangry #stupidpeople

I was saddened to wake up to the news yesterday that Nelson Mandela had passed away at the age of 95. He was a man who instigated great change in this world and the world was a much better place for his presence in it for 95 years.

Facebook is a wonderful place at times. People can come together and share their sorrow over such a loss to the world.

As the day went on I saw so many memes in tribute to this great man. My feed became a wall of those expressing their thanks and their sorrow.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman #bookreview #amreading

If you have ever read my review policy you might have noted that I typically don't review short stories. I've made an exception here for a couple of reasons. Well, all right. Maybe for one specific reason. My dear friend, Kriss - The Cabin Goddess, recently reviewed my new novella, The Beacon. She had a powerful reaction to it. If you missed that you can read about it here.

When she and I were discussing how she felt about The Beacon she told me that it put her in mind of this story, which she also had had a powerful reaction to. Since I had never read it I wanted to, to compare notes so to speak and to see how I felt about it.

As I was reading it today, I could have sworn I was actually reading someone's journal - which is exactly what the author had intended. At least up until the very end. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sharing the linguistc love of commas and a giveaway! by Chryse Wymer #giveaway #editing #amwriting

Well kiddies, I have a real treat for you today. Editor Chryse Wymer is sharing with all of us her love of commas - AND a giveaway of not one, but THREE Amazon gift cards

I'll admit, this is one area I struggle with. So let's see if we can learn something from Chryse. 

Welcome Chryse!

Thank you, A.B. Shepherd, for allowing me to stop on your blog and share the love—the linguistic love, that is. I am especially grateful because I know your blog is aimed at readers, and what I have to say is aimed at writers.

I am a copy editor and proofreader. Yes, indie authors, I’m looking at you in particular. But I am here to help. I'm visiting blogs to share what I know about grammar, usage, and great writing. I’ll even raffle off a few Amazon gift cards to get you started on filling up those bookshelves with the basic tools of the trade: grammar, usage and style books; thesauri; and dictionaries. Words are a writer’s most important tools, after all.