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ONEBOOKAZ Book Tour Ends, The Haunting of Josh Weston Now A Kindle Edition

Winning the ONEBOOKAZ 2016 Young Adult eBook award in March 2016 kicked off a marvelous adventure of touring Arizona’s libraries with my young adult novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston.haunting-josh-weston My roadie, Bob, and I started with the Tucson Festival of Books. Seven libraries and hundreds of miles later our tour ended in Chandler, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. The librarians and their patrons were so much fun, booklovers every one!

ONEBOOKAZ is at an end and my book is the last YA novel winner. There aren’t going to be anymore ONEBOOKAZ contests and awards. It was suggested that I make available paperbacks of my book for tour signings and for book clubs and libraries to order. The ebook edition was available on the ONEBOOKAZ site for Arizonans to read for free during the tour. Now that ONEBOOKAZ is ended and the free online reading no longer available, Sonrisa Multimedia has published an electronic Kindle edition on Amazon.com of The Haunting of Josh Weston

This little Arizona ghost story has been very good to me, and the book’s fans aren’t just limited to my family and friends and other Arizonans. It was nominated for three national awards, prior to winning the ONEBOOKAZ contest. Now with the paperback and Kindle ebook editions available, I’m hearing from teens and from the growing audience of adult readers who enjoy stories about weird families living and learning together, despite the stimulating meddling of a crazy ghost or two.

Mmmmm’s ONEBOOKAZ Book Tour–Hello, YUMA!

I’ve always treasured librarians. My mother-in-law is a retired librarian, who trained her son in the dark art of cataloguing and organizing data. That’s what brought us together. I needed help organizing data for an adult education research project I was directing at UNLV and Bob stepped into my office with exactly the skillset the project (and I) required. Then and now. He’s ever my beloved patron and currently serving as a roady for my book tour of Arizona libraries.

Arizona State Library's ONEBOOKAZ Winner Table, Tempe Book Festival 4-16-16

Arizona State Library’s ONEBOOKAZ Winner Table, Tempe Book Festival 4-16-16

Last Saturday Bob the Roady and I toured to the Tempe Library for their Book Festival. What a wonderful venue for booklovers and authors to meet each other in a beautiful setting. The Arizona State Library hosted me and my OneBookAZ 2016 literary contest winning book, The Haunting of Josh Weston, at a great table downstairs outside the Teen Room. I also served on a Teen Reviewer panel and got updated on their favorite reads, as well as what they saw as the new hotness in YA books. Dystopian fantasy is still of interest, but super heroes are the next big thing for some. I say how about a cool ghost story set on a hidden ranch in northwestern Arizona?

We’re at the Yuma Library on Saturday, April 23, at 2:00. I’ll be giving a workshop on the Power of Place in Your Story, as well as signing books. See you there, I hope!

Arizona State Library’s OneBookAZ 2016 Young Adult eBook WINNER!

haunting-josh-westonThe Arizona State Library’s OneBookAZ 2016 literary contest named my young adult novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston, the winner! The eBook is live today at OneBookAZ and it looks great on the website! There’s also a free downloadable Curriculum/Study Guide for use in the classroom. The ebook is available on the OneBookAZ site and maybe read for free by Arizona readers. The paperback is available at Amazon.com and coming soon to Kindle.

Please click on the BOOKs link above for more information.

I found my bio on the OneBookAZ page a complete surprise! Race right on up there and have a look. And a laugh. Don’t really know where that version came from. Sounds like me, but it sure isn’t the one I sent them for publication and tweaked and resubmitted. I’m thinking of asking them to take it down and put up the one I sent, because it’s very  different in tone and content from the other two ladies’ very professional bios. We three winners are all retired teachers and we are the last winners, as this is the last year of the OneBookAZ literary contest.

 

 

 

A Short Fable by Suzanne Gunn

She had three cats and a dog and a lame vegan tiger named Spritz.

Spritz had been donated by a circus that could no longer afford the liability insurance.

At first the cats and dog were terrified of the great beast but over a period of weeks they grew to be a family. The biggest cat, Papa Grey, couldn’t understand why the new cat wouldn’t hunt and started to bring Spritz nice freshly caught mice. Finally Spritz ate one and immediately craved another. It had been warm and soft and rich to the palate. So much better than oatmeal and soy gruel. In his heart and mind ‘something’ clicked into a new position and he began to change inexorably into a very real tiger.

Two cats and the dog were missing when she realized that Spritz was somehow different and scary. She went outside to call Animal Control and watched through the window as the tiger sprayed his scent on her recliner. Ah, she thought, Spritz was more than a name.

The Animal Control officer was kindly. He called for assistance from the zoo and, after the tiger was gone, helped her remove the damaged furniture, wrote her a ticket for harboring a wild animal and asked her out to dinner.

“All in all,” she mused over a perfectly chilled martini, “a rather nice ending.”

BellaBoomerBlog: Planning for Retirement

Guest Blogger, Mary Corey is the author of The 100 Percent Club, a pragmatic book dealing with the labyrinth of details needed to be resolved prior, during and after the death process. As a seasoned RN who has recently retired, she offers the following thoughts about preparing for retirement.

Thoughts About Retirement

The long awaited day of retirement has arrived. You’ve carefully planned your finances and you’ve taken care of all the practicalities of your new life. You have or will shortly have a lot of company. There are about 76.4 million of us baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964 according to the 2012 census. That’s about a quarter of the US population.

Hopefully your health is still good and you’ve made friends outside your daily work life. At any rate you now find yourself blissfully not getting up at 6:00 every morning for the commute. No longer do you have to meet production quotas, put up with coworkers idiosyncrasies, or resolve endless client problems.

For the next three months it’s great to sleep in and rest knowing you never have to return to the nine to five grind. However, one of my high school friends wrote me an email stating she “had great chunks of time with nothing to do”. She is not alone.

You need a plan. This is as significant as your health and finances. Your plan will influence both. What really interests you at this point? What do you want to do with your remaining time? What did you do in the past that was meaningful? It’s a mistake to depend on children for your social life. They have their own lives.

After all these years, you probably have a good handle on your strengths and weaknesses. That’s what great about being a boomer, lots of life experience coupled with wisdom and perspective. It mayt help to sit down and write out possibilities. My neighbor, a former high school principal, tried part time work, the gym, learning Spanish and finally happily became a docent at the art museum. Other friends volunteer at the food bank. One acquaintance is helping developmentally children learn to ride horses. The point is if the initial plan doesn’t work, move on till you find an interest that does.

CHASING HORNY TOADS: Born Restless

I like to believe I was born in the perfect place, to the perfect parents at a perfect time for what I wanted to accomplish in this life. But I was restless. From that 2:00 o’clock hour on a scorching August afternoon in Northwestern Arizona when 8.3 pound me was pulled out of a 100 pound young Norma Jean, I dreamed of being somewhere else. Anywhere. Anytime. And I was in a hurry to get there.

I didn’t appear in this world with travelin’ shoes, just the lifelong urge to find some that actually fit. One early day my long, even then, feet carried three year old me out the front door and down the unpaved street. I made it several dusty, hot blocks to the first sidewalk of downtown Kingman before a pickup truck pulled up beside me.

“Where are you going, Melinda?”

I looked straight ahead and kept walking. Faster now as I was about to pass the slouchy wood building with sagging screen doors opening on the street, a creepy place where funny old men “flopped” and little girls must beware.

The pickup stopped, blocking my escape. “Melinda,” the driver repeated, climbing out of the cab, “where’s your mother?”

Blistering wind whirled dust around me in a miniature tornado. My eyes stung as I squinted at my options: floppy old men lurking on my left and right in front of me, Mrs. Oswalt, a tall mother in a cotton dress whipping around her long legs who confined her little boy in the truck where she intended to capture me.

She took my sweaty little paw and bent eye level with me. “Where are you going, honey?”

I gave up and announced, “I’m going to the Corky Pig!” I let her lead me to the pickup.

She stopped and looked down at me with a frown. “But that’s way up on Hilltop. A couple of miles from here.” She continued to mutter this refrain the whole ride home as if to make an impression upon me of the impossibility of my quest. When my mother answered the door, Mrs. Oswalt pushed me forward, releasing my hand, and repeated this horror story to her.

As long as my mother lived, when we talked about my congenital wanderlust, she would protest how she hadn’t even realized I had left my room to walk to the Corky Pig, a hole-in-the-wall barbeque place miles away from our little house. They’d taken me there one time. “And it wasn’t that good,” Mom would always laugh.

But as the Mmmmmmelinda song goes: When a girl’s born restless and has a taste for adventure, she’ll put on her big boots that are made for walkin’. That’s just what she’ll do and walk all over—for barbeque. Or to the Dairy Queen with a penny, but that’s another sunny tale.

NEW FICTION GENRE: WOMEN’S FANTASY

bitten_200When I entered the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2015 Literary Contest, I wasn’t sure which genre category my novel, BITTEN, fit. I settled on Romance/Women’s Fiction as my heroine is reunited with a long lost lover and she’s an older woman trying to regain her power after being betrayed by her husband. The Paranormal/Fantasy category would have worked as BITTEN is actually a very DIFFERENT and funny vampire story.

I shared with my fellow authors in our Editing Coop that I thought Women’s Fantasy would be a good genre descriptor for my story about a menopausal vampire who becomes more powerful than her maker. It was suggested that the word fantasy might have racier connotations than I intended. And wasn’t the word fantasy sometimes pejoratively used to describe women’s stories, issues and interests?

When I think of fantasy, I remember the old fairytales of Cinderella, Rapunzel and Scheherazade that entertained and encouraged me as a little girl growing up in a tiny town in northwestern Arizona. Nowadays, modern Disney movies such as Brave and Frozen are inspiring little girls and much older ones like me to be the stars of our own fairytales despite age, illness, or circumstance. I want Women’s Fantasy genre and my book, BITTEN, to suggest positive, even outrageous, potentials that inspire readers to live, laugh, love and dream.

But that’s just mmmmmmmmmmme.

BITTEN, A PNWA Romance Finalist!

Pacific Northwest Writers Association has announced the finalist entries in their annual literary contest.  My new paranormal romance, BITTEN, is a finalist in the Romance Category. The winners will be announced at PNWA’s annual conference, July 16-19, in Seattle, Washington.