Thursday, September 18, 2014

What To Read Next - Sept. '14, #2

Here are some more don't miss reads!


1) The Martian, by Andy Weir

"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first."


Intense, page-turning, reflective and sometimes funny, Weir's The Martian is topnotch Science Fiction told in gripping fashion (even with all the math equations). Seriously, I cannot wait for the movie! Any Hollywood producer who doesn't see the potential here is simply daft.


2) Call Me Tuesday, by Leigh Byrne

"At eight-years-old, Tuesday Storm's childhood is forever lost when the death of her older sister, Audrey, sends her family spiraling out of control into irrevocable dysfunction. In the wake of the tragedy, Tuesday's mother, distraught and looking for a scapegoat, singles Tuesday out from her siblings to take on the blame for Audrey's death, and then targets her for unspeakable abuse. 

Suddenly the loving environment Tuesday has come to know becomes an endless nightmare of cruel "games" and twisted punishments, as she's forced to confront the dark cruelty lurking behind the beautiful face of the mother she idolizes."

 Emotionally intense, this novel gives you an inside look into mental illness and emotional abuse from the child's perspective. Tuesday's story alternates between hope and powerless despair. One word: POWERFUL.



3) Take Me With You, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

"August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go.

What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together."

No secret, I'm a Hyde fangirl. It's not always easy to find stories that are told with so much clarity and simplicity, yet still strike a profound chord. Take Me With You has my favorite Hyde characters yet.

Happy reading!
Gemi



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Isabeau Is Only 99 Cents!

Isabeau: A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer, is just 99 cents on Kindle for a limited time!

Buy now on Amazon.com

 The story of Queen Isabella, who sought revenge on her husband Edward II, and her lover Sir Roger Mortimer, who masterminded the invasion in 1326 that accomplished it.


     "As I made my way across the floor, I overheard Edward mumble above the rustle of my skirt’s fabric: “I am no man’s chattel. I swear on my life ... there will be requital.”
      With that utterance, any hope I might have held – for lasting peace, for my children’s future – crumbled into a dust so fine that even the slightest whisper of civil war would blow it away without a trace."



Happy reading,
Gemi

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What To Read Next - Sept. '14

I know! Where have I been? Never fear. I have been busy. In a good way. My ninth book is two chapters away from completion. The editor and cover artist have been penciled in. New ideas keep popping into my head and going into the story ideas file. I can't wait to get started on the next Halo book, and then to return to the new Sam McNamee series I've begun. More on that later. Meanwhile ...

I've compiled a great -- and eclectic, as always -- list of books that I want to recommend. This will take two installments, or more, so stay tuned.

1) Sand, by Hugh Howey

"The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor and bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone. And the world he left behind might be next..."

Whether or not you've read Howey's Wool series, if you like world-building and imaginative storytelling, pick up the Sand Omnibus. I'm one of those who used to say, "I don't read that genre", but great writing can definitely change your mind.


2) Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, by Denise Grover Swank

"Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all."

Rarely does a series keep my interest after three books, but even after five novels and a novella, I'm still eager for the next installment of Swank's Rose Gardener mystery series.  This is a cozy mystery series (meaning most of the violence takes place off page), with an ongoing love triangle and a good dose of humor. Rose is absolutely endearing and her visions add an interesting twist.


3) When Shadows Fall, by Paul Reid

"Still haunted by the British army’s treatment of soldiers during World War I, Lieutenant Adam Bowen returns to Dublin in 1919—and discovers a new war destroying his hometown. When his well-bred family ignores the violence between Irish revolutionaries and the British government, Adam turns his back on Britain and secretly aligns with the Irish Republican Army.
Then Adam meets golden-haired, blue-eyed Tara Reilly, and finds himself drawn to her quiet beauty..."

Artfully woven, masterfully written. This is a wartime love story you'll long remember. Adam and Tara are on opposing sides - but neither is aware of the other's secret. Can love overcome?


More to come soon. I have a book to finish writing!

Happy reading,
Gemi

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Writing Ergonomically: Treadmill, Sitting, and Standing Desks


Those of you who sit at your job all day know that being sedentary in one position for hours can lead to problems. I've dealt with high hamstring tightness, piriformis syndrome, back pain and the like for years. At first, I'd put my laptop on the floor and write on my stomach. Most of Isabeau was written in this position. But after awhile, that took its toll on my shoulders and simply wasn't comfortable after more than an hour or so.

Since my husband is an engineer, he put his practical brain on and decided to create some more ergonomic writing arrangements for me.

TREADMILL DESK



The first thing he did was make a treadmill desk (above). I got the idea from a KBoards.com thread. Here are some specifics for it:

1) It cost nothing, since he made it out of scrap lumber and we had extra polyurethane to finish it.
2) The 'desk' rests on the handrails and is kept in place by wood fixtures (blocks) on the underside. It is easy to put on and lift off of the handrails.
2) There is a 1/2" lip at the bottom of the desk surface that keeps the laptop and mouse in place.
3) Speed will vary by personal preference. I started off writing at less than 1.5 mph and worked my way up to 2.0 mph. I find that any faster than that and my typing accuracy suffers, although a lot of people do just fine at faster speeds. I do tend to write more slowly on the treadmill, so I most often use it when editing or when I can't stand to sit still any longer.


 ERGONOMIC SITTING DESK

 
The second change was to alter my posture while at the desk. Sitting for long periods made my hamstrings tight, and crouching forward to reach the keyboard rounded my back and shoulders, causing low back pain and shoulder pain on one side. (I'd lean my left elbow on the desk for support and hold my right arm back to work the mouse.) Here are the changes we made to my sitting desk:

1) Putting a footstool under my desk allowed me to stretch out my legs, decreasing hamstring tightness and the PIA of piriformis syndrome.
2) Memory foam pillow under my bum. I also put a small pillow behind my lower back for lumbar support when needed.
3) Moved the keyboard to a portable keyboard/laptop tray on my lap. No more reaching forward.
4) Mouse placed on stool to my right. No more twisting sideways.
5) Comfy chair with arms. Keeps me more upright and even, left to right.


STANDING DESK



The standing desk was our final project. The important thing here was getting the placement of the keyboard right. I write the most words per hour sitting. Second would be standing. Slowest output for me is on the treadmill. For some writers that works in reverse, though. So when hamstring or gluteal pain makes me not want to sit and a flare-up of plantar fasciitis (one of the drawbacks of being a runner) keeps me off the treadmill, I stand. Here's what we did for a standing desk:

1) Added a shelf above the desk for a second monitor. At first I considered just moving the all-in-one computer up when I needed to stand, but that sucker is heavy. I didn't want to drop it. Monitors these days are affordable. There's some doo-hickey that connects the two monitors. All I have to do is turn on the top monitor, slide the file to the right, and it pops up above.
2) Added the second monitor and hardware to connect them.
3) Added a sliding keyboard tray beneath the shelf. The height of the shelf was determined by the height of the original monitor below and the space needed for the keyboard tray.
4) Use the footstool in the horizontal position to stand on, since the shelf is up a bit high. And no, I haven't fallen off. Yet.

The stool I use is a KidKraft Nursing Stool. It can be purchased in several finishes, from Espresso, to Honey Oak, to Natural.

The bamboo desk is by Legare. They have several finishes and configurations. I have the smaller wheat finish desk in the secluded writing area and a larger espresso finish corner desk and extensions in the business office. You can order it via their web site or from Amazon. I was able to put all of their furniture together myself. No tools required!

I'm much more comfortable these days, since I have options. Feel free to share your ergonomic writing tips in the comments!

Until later,
Gemi

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sins of the Past - A Five Novel Boxed Set for 99 cents!

Recently, I was invited by Steel Magnolia Press to include The Crown in the Heather as part of a 5 novel boxed set, along with four other hugely talented authors. You can now buy Sins of the Past for only 99 cents here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Take a sweeping journey through history and across the world with this limited-edition collection of 5 full-length historical fiction novels.

For lovers of mystery, war and adventure! 150 5-star individual reviews.
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1100s - SEASON OF THE RAVEN (A Servant of the Crown Mystery) - Denise Domning

Sir Faucon de Ramis, the shire's first Crowner, must make an official declaration of the cause of a miller's death. But first he must thread the tangled relationships between the sheriff, the village of Priors Holston and the priory that once ruled it. As a simple task takes a turn to the political, what seems obvious isn't and what appears safe turns out to be more dangerous than he could imagine.
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1300s - THE CROWN IN THE HEATHER (The Bruce Trilogy) - N. Gemini Sasson

Robert the Bruce faces love, betrayal and unlikely alliances in his rebellious bid for the empty throne of Scotland. But freedom, throne and wife together are not so easily won. Keeping his crown against Edward Longshanks' son and new King of England -- even with the aid of the brilliant James Douglas -- may mean giving up what Robert loves most: his beloved Elizabeth de Burgh.
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1800s - A STORM HITS VALPARAISO - David Gaughran

The Spanish Empire holds South America firmly in its grasp. Only a ragtag force of adventurers, mercenaries and prostitutes would be fool enough to make a bid for freedom: two brothers torn apart by love; a slave running for his life; a disgraced British sailor seeking redemption; and José de San Martín, an Argentine general who deserts the Spanish Army to lead a bloody revolt against his former masters.
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1920s - SANDS OF TIME (Out of Time Series) - Monique Martin

High-spirited Elizabeth Cross and her brilliant Professor of the Occult husband, Simon, are in 1920 Cairo on a special assignment for the Council for Temporal Studies: Find a missing pocket watch and bring it back to the present. But a shadowy foe is also on the hunt ... and after far more than a watch. The price for success this time just might be their lives.
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1940s - WOLF HOOK - Michael Wallace

Sometimes in war, a good man can be on the wrong side. Jim Heydrich, the nephew of a Gestapo kingpin -- yet uncertain where his loyalties lie -- finds himself a suspect of both the Nazis and the Resistance. His harrowing experience sets the stage for this immersive mystery that follows Jim across occupied Holland and Italy ... right under the nose of the SS itself.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Want to win a signed copy of Say No More?

Just click on over to Goodreads to enter to win a signed copy of the paperback of Say No More! Giveaway ends March 28th.

Or, if you'd like to purchase your own copy of the paperback, it's now available on Amazon.com (U.S.), Amazon.co.uk (UK), Amazon.ca (Canada), and Barnes and Noble.




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Say No More by N. Gemini Sasson

Say No More

by N. Gemini Sasson

Giveaway ends March 28, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Signing - Springfield Writes Author Fair - April 26th













Hey All! I'll be at the Springfield Writes Author Fair, with signed paperbacks of all my books available. 

Hope to meet some of you there!

Date/time: Saturday, April 26th, 2014 / 1:00-4:00 PM


Location: Clark County Public Library—201 South Fountain Avenue, Springfield, Ohio


Until later,
Gemi