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Sunday, 6 April 2008
The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House
Topic: Blog Tours

The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House is an explosive look at how racial and ethnic conflict has openly and covertly played a crucial role the past three decades in influencing, shaping and ultimately deciding who bags the world’s biggest political prize, the White House. It tells how racial politics will play an even bigger role in the 2008 presidential election and future elections.It examines Obamamania, the Hillary and Bill factor, the soaring Latino vote, the silent but potent Asian-American vote, the immigration wars, the GOP’s love-hate relationship with black and Latino America, and Bush’s effort to recast the GOP from a clubby, ole white guys party to a party of racial diversity. The first primary is January 29.Here is a sampling of questions The Ethnic Presidency asks and answers:

Will America accept a black president? Can Obama be that president?

Will America accept a woman president? Can Hillary be that president?

Will America accept a Latino president? Can Bill Richardson be that president?

Will America accept a Mormon president? Can Mitt Romney be that president?

How the GOP played the Southern Strategy through Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. to repeatedly win the White House. Can and will they abandon it in 2008?

Did blacks and Latinos elect Bush?

Have the Democrats taken the black and Latino vote for granted?

Why have Presidential candidates other than John Edwards avoided making poverty an issue?

Why immigration will be a stealth factor in the 2008 campaign. And did it help or hurt John McCain?

Will Rudolph Giuliani’s contentious relations with blacks as New York mayor hurt or help his White House bid?

For more information, visit this linkwww.amazon.com/Ethnic-Presidency-Decides-White-House/dp/1881032256or visit www.ethnicpresidency.com to order your copy.

***

Tomorrow we begin our look inside the book!


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:48 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 April 2008 4:03 AM EDT
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Saturday, 5 April 2008
A Week With Earl Hutchinson
Topic: Blog Tours

I have a real treat for you guys this week.  All week long, we will be visiting with Earl Hutchinson, a political writer with many credits to his name.  With this year's election, we are seeing history in the making.  How important is the issue of race in this year's Presidential election?  Is race even an issue?  Today, I'd like to introduce you to Earl.  Please stop by all week long for excerpts from his wonderful book, The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House.

 

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON - BIO

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author, syndicated columnist, political analyst and commentator.

He has been a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows.

He was a regular commentator on CNBC's The Dennis Miller Show.

He has been a guest on the Today Show, Dateline, The Lehrer Hour, and BET News, America's Black Forum. He is a frequent commentator for the American Urban Broadcast Network and Ed Gordon's News and Notes on NPR

He is a featured columnist for www.BlackNews.com, www.BlackAmericaWeb.com, and www.Alternet.org.

He is associate editor of New America Media
His op-ed columns appear in the Baltimore Sun,L.A. Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers.
He is the author of nine books that include:

Black and Reds: Race and Class in Conflict, 1919-1990 (Michigan State University Press, 1995)
Betrayed: A History of Presidential Failure to Protect Black Lives (Westview Press, 1996)
The Assassination of the Black Male Image (Simon & Schuster, 1996).
Beyond O.J.: Race, Sex and Class Lessons For America (Middle Passage Press)
The Crisis in Black and Black (Middle Passage Press, 1998)
The Disappearance of Black Leadership (Middle Passage Press, 2000)

For more information, visit this link

www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Presidency-Decides-White-House/dp/1881032256

or visit www.ethnicpresidency.com to order your copy.


Posted by joyceanthony at 8:57 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Getting to Know Jerri Ledford
Topic: Author Interview
Jerri Ledford the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Christian, Caring, and Determined

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Gullible.  Really. I'll believe just about anything.  Oh, and they'd tell you I'm a serious cook!  I love cooking (and eating) food.  And it's most enjoyable when I'm cooking for other people.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

God first.  He's my foundation.  And my children next.  My friends.  Everything that I care about outside of writing is people (and food) related.  Because those are the things that matter most.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Trixie is my 35 rottie-look-alike.  She's a cool, and high strung dog.  I got when she was a very small puppy, thinking she'd be 20 lbs tops.  Boy was I wrong!  But that's okay, I love her almost like one of my kids.  I told a boyfriend one time that he would go before the dog did.  He did.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

The birth of my children.  I have two.  A boy and a girl.  And those are some crazy memories.  Both instances were strange, but the end result was the kids that help make my life complete these days.  I love this guys and I am so very thankful that I was chosen to be their mom.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?


Which one?  There's the time that I tuned out in the middle of a conversation, only to be drug back into it (in a group of people) completely unaware that I was the butt of the joke.  That happens a lot.  I'm a bit of a geek/nerd.  I get picked on a lot.  Still.  You think you grow out of that stuff when you get out of school?  It doesn't happen.  Adults are just much more skilled at hiding the teasing behind other words and actions.

7.    If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I have no idea.  I'm not a corporate person, so I guess it would have to be something with food.  Probably a personal chef or a chef in an upscale restaurant.  Food is my other passion outside of God and family, that makes it my first choice for an alternate career.
 

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

She lived a good live but she's dead.  Now learn from this and go live your life well.

Jerri Ledford the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

It's terrible, but I really can't.  I've always been a writer, I've always wanted to be a writer.  I fell victim to the naysayers ("You can't be a writer, that's not a real job!" "Writers are always broke.") for a while, but I couldn't NOT write.  Even then I filled boxes with stories, poems and scribbling.  I've always been a real writer.  It just took a few years to become a published writer!

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm currently finishing up a book in the For Dummies line.  And I'm working on proposal for a secular, but non-technical book and a Christian lifestyle book.  I also have a few regular gigs like teaching technology courses online and writing technology reports that I keep up.  I'm also working on another project that I pray will become a regular gig, but I can't share too much about it until I finish the training and find out if I'm the chosen lead or not.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

My goals are two-fold.  I want to transition my writing from business technology to Christian non-fiction, and I want to get my fiction career off the ground.  Both of these goals require a gradual, but major shift in how I work.  But it seems to be coming together.  I'm working on a novel in my spare time (whatever!) and I've recently had a request for a full proposal on a Christian non-fiction book that I truly believe will sell.  So, these to me are more than just goals.  This is my future.  It's all about taking the steps to realize that future.

12.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

No.  I'm only half kidding.  I don't know what typical is.  Some days work the same, other days are all over the place.  When my machine is working well, I usually get up at six in the morning and get my daughter off to school, then I'll crawl back in bed until around 9 or 10.  I get up, work until around 3 or 4, working in household stuff and general personal recycling (showering, etc.) into short break periods. 

After 3 or 4 I spend a few hours with the kid.  She and I will have dinner, run our errands, visit with friends, go to church, whatever is going on in our life at the time, and then I go back to work between 9 and 10 when she goes to bed.  I'll work until 2 or 3 am and start it all over the next day. 

On average, I put in about 10 hours a day writing.  Unless it's crunch time, then I might put in 16.  And if I don't have anything going on I might not work more than a few hours on the details of the business like proposals or query letters. 

But keep in mind that this is a flexible schedule.  I've been known to go days without writing anything at all.  I think a writer's brain (and body) need a break just like every other profession out there.  If you're always writing, you'll eventually burn out.  I know.  I have.

13.  Why do you write?
 

Because I don't have a choice.  Even when I wasn't a "writer" (as in published and making a living solely from my writing) I wrote.  Letters, stories, poems, books, whatever.  I have more notebooks with snippets of this, that, and the other that I've written over the years.  God made me a writer.  And he won't allow me not to use the gift.  So I write.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I'm sure this is not a popular answer, but there is no single writer.  I wasn't exposed to the classics :::gasp::: like most kids were in school.  I read some, but there are many that I never have.  I have favorites (like Nathaniel Hawthorne) but only because I love their stories.  They're not so much inspirations to me, as they are examples of what works-and what doesn't-in storytelling or other types of writing.

My inspiration comes from the world around me.  LIFE is what inspires me.  I'm dangerously curious, and my brain is always in "what if" mode.  It takes the smallest detail to set off a chain of events in my brain that lead to stories, article ideas, and even non-fiction books. 

 15.  How do you define your writing?

Quick and dirty.  J  No, I'm kidding.  I don't write dirty stuff, unless you happen to be the editor that's cleaning up my work.  I'm the first to say I'm a writer, not an editor, and I thank God for editors, because I'd never be able to do their jobs.

My writing is about helping other people understand something better or do something better.  I'm a teacher.  I just don't have a classroom, I have pages and pictures.  And I try to share with others how they can do this or that better, faster, more efficiently.

Even in my fiction work, there's a story, but there's also a lesson.  It doesn't define the story...the story defines the lesson and the characters must learn it to accomplish their goals.  But it's still all about the teaching/learning formula. 

And honestly, I think all writing is about that.  All writers are teachers and storytellers.  (And remember that storytellers were the original teachers.)

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I remember this book that I read when I was 25; I loved it so much I've read it every year since then.

Jerri Ledford the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

This one's tough, because I'm in this transition period right now so the only website or blog that I have going is http://www.google-geek.com/.  And I honestly don't update it regularly.  Once I get through the last few chapters of this For Dummies book, though, I'll be rebuilding my personal site (http://www.jerriledford.com/), so I hope that in a few weeks I'll be able to point visitors in that direction with a whole new look and feel.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Email is always best: jerrilynn@gmail.com

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Do you really want to put your readers to sleep?  Okay.  Here goes:

-Web Services: Understanding Service Level Management

-The Rational Guide to Preventing Identity Theft

-The Gadget Geeks Guide to Your Sony PSP

-The Personal Cybersecurity Bible

-Cut the Cord! The Consumer's Guide to VoIP

-25 Home Automation Projects for the Evil Genius

-PC Magazine Office 2007 Solutions (As a co-author)

-Google Powered

-Google Analytics (With Mary Tyler)

-Google Analytics 2.0 (With Mary Tyler)

-Brilliant Office 2007 Pocketbook (With Rebecca Freshour)

-Brilliant Windows Vista Pocketbook (With Rebecca Freshour)

-The SEO Bible

-Google AdSense for Dummies

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

All of these are technology books.  If you want to know how something works, that's what you'll find in my books.  I explain things clearly and give you only the background necessary to help you do what you want to do.  Oh, and I try to keep it light so you're not completely bored out of your mind.

For books that I'll have upcoming in the future, expect to learn hard truths, and read great, entertaining, suspenseful stories.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I'm not sure there's much more to know.  It took a long time to get here-like almost two decades.  I nearly walked away a few times, but like I said earlier, I couldn't.  Writing is who I am.

So, I guess if I could say one thing to you it would be find who you are.  And then pursue that with all of your strength.  The rewards?  Amazing.  And I don't mean financially.  Accomplishing something that you're passionate about is a feeling that you'll never capture in any other way.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:21 AM EDT
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Monday, 31 March 2008
Cruel Past by Starr Reina--A Review
Topic: Book Review

ISBN:  1-4241-4105-2

 Cruel Past is the second book in a series that started with Cruel Whispers.  The book stands by itself, however, and readers who have not read the first book will find it easy to know what is happening.  This is categorized as simply Mystery; however, I would further categorize Cruel Past as a Psychological Thriller

From the start of this book, you will have a doubt in your mind as to who is the real criminal.  Why does Salina, the main character find it necessary to hide her identity and befriend troubled teenagers online?  What are her motives?  Is she killing these children she has gathered around her?  Is one of the troubled children to blame for the murders?  Who is the mysterious character that seems to be lurking in the area and what is his/her plans?  Is this the real murderer or is it the friendly neighbor who seems to pop up consistently?  You will never be quite sure until you reach the final pages.

This is mystery writing at its best.  You are drawn into the story quickly and it holds you captive until the final pages.  I would have like to see the characters developed a bit more, but I was able to use my imagination to fill in the blanks and this did not deter from my enjoyment of the book.

Starr Reina has taken the realities of today's world and woven them into a captivating psychological thriller that will keep you guessing to the very end.  I suggest you make a point of purchasing the first book in the series as well, as you will find yourself wanting to read more of Ms. Reina's work.


Posted by joyceanthony at 5:22 AM EDT
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Saturday, 29 March 2008
SEO:Search Engine Optimization Bible by Jerri L. Ledford--A Review
Topic: Book Review

 ISBN 978-0-470-17500-2

Over the past year, the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been popping up everywhere.  Like many others, I have made it my mission to try and learn everything I can on the subject.  With all that research and study, I honestly didn't think I'd read anything new or different when I started reading this book.  I was definitely mistaken.

Jerri Ledford starts by explaining just how search engines work.  This information helps the reader understand exactly why they need to do certain steps to get noticed and ranked by the search engines.  The knowing why helps understand the how that follows.

Ms. Ledford goes well beyond the simple keyword strategy and delves into such areas as Behavioral Targeting and Social Media.  She starts by helping you plan in advance exactly where you want to be and then takes you step-by-step through the process. 

The SEO Bible doesn't stop with the initial optimization, however.  Jerri Ledford takes the reader through the importance of keeping up the process.  She explains the importance of continuously returning to the analysis portion of the process and making sure your site remains in top form at all times.

Included in this book are interviews with top SEO marketers and a section on SEO resources that is well worth the initial cost of the book.  As if that weren't enough, Ms. Ledford has also included a section of worksheets to further aid you in the SEO process.

Beginners and experts alike will find themselves returning to this book again and again to review--and are likely to find some new tidbit each time.  There is so much included within the pages of the SEO Bible that utilizing only half the steps will show improvement in your search engine rankings.  Everything is broken down in small enough pieces to prevent the most non-technical among us from becoming overwhelmed; yet those who work with SEO every day will not feel they are wasting their time reading.

If you add just one book to your reference library this year, make it SEO-Search Engine Optimization Bible by Jerri L. Ledford.  It will quickly become your most valuable resource.


Posted by joyceanthony at 4:20 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 March 2008 4:25 AM EDT
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Friday, 28 March 2008
Getting to Know Abigail Roux
Topic: Author Interview
Abigail Roux the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being? 

Funny.  Impatient.  Content.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Crazier than hell.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing. 

Baseball.  Go Braves!  I played volleyball for years, and I coach both volleyball and softball. I consider myself passionate about imparting the knowledge I worked hard to gather.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Oh, dear.  I have five cats and two dogs. The cats, in order of how long they've been with us, are Rooskie, a.k.a. Mean Little Gray Kitty, Myrtle, a.k.a. Never Comes Home, Bambi, a.k.a. Mama's Boy and The Biter, and then there's the Little Ones. There were three of them that I rescued from a ditch one night, but Rufus has since found a home that apparently feeds better, and we're left with Rusty and Rosie, my little orange evil ones. The dogs, Gus and Sadie, are American Bulldogs. Collectively, they're called the Minions.

5.  What is your most precious memory? 

Staying up late when I was young and watching baseball games with my grandfather.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Growing up in my family, it was pretty much a given that you would be embarrassed at least once a week.  My mom used to come to school on my birthday dressed like a clown. When I finally asked her not to one year, she promised she wouldn't. Instead, she sent my aunt. One of the benefits, of course, is that it's nearly impossible to embarrass me.


7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I would be teaching in some way. Whether coaching or teaching History or instructing my husband how to properly load the dishwasher, I would be imparting knowledge in some way.

8.   In two paragraphs or less write your obituary. 

Local woman Abigail Roux was found mauled to death yesterday in her back yard. The culprit appears to be a large black panther local authorities continue to insist does not exist. The panther left a note scratched in the bark of a tree insisting that the maulings would continue until neighborhood goat farmers stopped trying to shoot him. Mrs. Roux leaves behind a grieving family who is even now arguing over inheritance, and 7 Minions.

Abigail Roux the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I'm not even sure I can call myself a ‘real' writer now!

10.  What is going on with your writing these days? 

After several years of jumping from genre to genre, I think I've finally found a niche for myself. I like writing what most readers won't see coming. I like surprises.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I just want to continue to entertain myself, and to make my family proud of me.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Get up, take the dogs outside for a walk, ponder the mysteries of the Universe, get food, sit down, start up some music, and stare at the computer screen for a while. If I'm lucky, that's around the point that the writing will start.  If not, I usually try the whole routine again.

13.  Why do you write?

Because I love it. I love creating worlds and people that not only feel real, but feel like friends and home.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why? 

Elizabeth Peters is my idol. Not only is she prolific, but her work is so inventive and enjoyable. I just adore her.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I like to think it's funny and entertaining.  I also try to slip in some parts that impart knowledge of some sort, for those unsuspecting souls who don't like to learn.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"That was just as good as the first time I read it."

Abigail Roux the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? 

http://abigail-roux.insanejournal.com/ 

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you? 

Either at the above address, or my e-mail which I regularly forget the password to!  abiroux@gmail.com

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

That website has all the books, where to find them, and anything that's coming soon.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They can expect to have fun with it.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I just want readers to enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. And that is, plainly speaking, a hell of a lot!


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008 12:55 AM EDT
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Thursday, 27 March 2008
In the Arms of the Enemy (a Review)
Topic: Book Review

ISBN 978-0-9792030-84

Purchase Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Arms-Enemy-Patricia-Guthrie/dp/0979203082/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206591734&sr=1-1

 

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

 

In the Arms of the Enemy may be Patricia Guthrie's first published novel, but reading it will reveal this is not her first attempt at writing.  The story flows as though written by a seasoned author with numerous publishing credits behind her.

I was captivated from the start with this novel, even though it is not what I consider my "normal" reading material.  Patricia Guthrie's characters capture your emotions quickly and refuse to let go until you have turned the last page.  The author's love of horses shines through brightly.

Suspense fans will not be disappointed with In the Arms of the Enemy as it kept me guessing until near the very end. The romantic elements do not overshadow the storyline, yet they are strong enough to hold the interest of seasoned romance readers.

I look forward to more works by this up-and-coming author.  She is definitely one to keep your eye on!

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:32 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Getting to Know Patricia Guthrie
Topic: Blog Tours
Patricia Guthrie The Person:

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

 Writer. Lover of animals. Musician and artist.

Impulsive and procrastinator.   

2. How do you think others would describe you?

Driven, determined, impulsive, procrastinator   

3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Horses and dogs, music, reading, Tudor England,   Cnn/Fox  History Channel, Biography Channel

Lover of true crime TV documentaries,  reading,  

4. Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Jackson is a four-year-old gray quarter horse. I've owned him a little over a year.

Alex is  thirteen-year-old blue merle collie who I rescued from the Porter County     Animal Shelter twelve years ago. He's earned his CD with the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club and has acted as a therapy dog. .

Roxanne is a eleven-year-old tri-color collie.  She's earned her CD title, trained in agility and acted as a therapy dog. 

Zuri is an eight-year-old tri-color collie who I bought from a friend who's a collie breeder. Zuri has trained in obedience and acted as a therapy dog.

All three dogs have excellent dispositions and life-long curiosities about everything, especially what I'm doing.   

5. What is your most precious memory?

When Roxanne was born, she dropped into my hand. When I first met Zuri she was protecting the runt of the litter who was smaller than all the rest. She was standing over her while they both drank from the water bowl. Singing leading and supporting roles in European Opera Houses.

I have other memories but those are the ones that come to mind.

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Too many  of them to determined which caused me to suffer the most.

7. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I'd probably still be a music teacher.  I'd probably still be riding my horse and playing with my dogs and be a member of a dog obedience club and work more with dog therapy. I might go to horse shows which I don't have time for now. I'd read a lot more. I might follow politics more than I do.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

I'm not sure I can. My journey is not finished. There's too many things yet to be added.  

Patricia Guthrie The Writer:

9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When Light Sword Publishing took me on and released In the Arms of the Enemy. Then, suddenly, I was an "author" not just a "writer." What a feeling to see your book in print. Wow.

10.    What is going on with your writing these days?

This months I've been on Nikki's blog tour, which has taken quite a bit of time. I'm enjoying this. I've been doing final edits for Waterlilies Over My Grave due out in the Fall.

11.    What are your future goals for your writing?

I'm working on a paranormal romance and another horse based story, which is trying to determine its genre. (grin)

12.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I plan out my day. What needs to be done now! I try to divide my day between marketing and the creative work. Lately, I've been leaning on the marketing, but the creative side is constantly working in my head. Of course, that organization and planning doesn't mean I always follow through. I might do half a project and discover six months later I forgot to finish the darn thing. Sigh.

13.   Why do you write?

I love to tell a good story.

14.    What writer most inspires you?  Why?

So many. Love Janet Evanovich because her Stephanie Plum is one of the most human characters I've ever met. Agatha Christie because I grew up with her mysteries. Joanna Wayne because of her atmosphere in her romantic suspense novels.

15.   How do you define your writing?

I'm a fiction writer, specializing in mystery/suspense, broken down further into paranormal and/or romantic suspense.

16.   In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She told a darn good story.

Patricia Guthrie The Details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Website:  http://www.patriciaanneguthrie.com/

Blogspot:  http://www.paguthrie.blogspot.com/

My Space:     www.myspace.com/paguthrie 

18.   Is there a place where readers can reach you?

patguth@aol.com 

19.   Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

In the Arms of the Enemy (Light Sword Publishing 2007)

Waterlilies Over My Grave (Light Sword Publishing 2008 fall)

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Love and hate, good and evil and justice for those wronged.  

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I think you can look at question 20 to get the essence. I love a good romance with conflicts, while the hero and heroine are conquering forces of evil and trying to get justice for those wronged or struggling to prevent something horrible happening to someone.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2008 1:05 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 25 March 2008
In the Arms of the Enemy (an Excerpt)
Topic: Blog Tours

As I promised yesterday, you are in for a peek inside the pages of Patricia Guthrie's latest book, In the Arms of the Enemy.  Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for an interview with Patricia and a live chat from 8-10 PM EST in my chat room ( http://pub29.bravenet.com/chat/show.php/2488831080 )

 

Prologue

 

            "Riders up."

            The robust voice of the track announcer boomed through the loudspeakers. The crowd's collective voice swelled.

Maggie McGregor scanned the crowd for Ricky Lane and didn't spot him. Typical. She couldn't remember the last time Ricky had been where he'd said he'd be. Reliability seemed to be a thing of the past for the would-be love of her life.

            A black thoroughbred with long legs danced in the paddock stall as she finished tightening the girth. She struggled with the colt--up, down and around, until the cinch buckled. 

            "Okay, Blackie. Now you're all dressed up." She scratched him behind the ears. The horse snorted and coughed hay residue on her, before turning his head to watch passersby stop and admire him.

            "Ready for me?" The jockey, decked out with the green and white silks of Scotland Stables, rubbed his hands together and grinned in anticipation.

Maggie was excited too. Black Autumn was the best horse she'd ever trained.

            Ricky still hadn't appeared.

            "Any last minute instructions?" the jockey asked. 

            Maggie shook her head. "Just keep him off the pace until you get to the far turn and make your move coming around the turn. He'll intimidate every horse that makes eye contact. Don't tire him out too early, and he'll win in the stretch."

            "You bet," he said.

              "Maggie." Ricky's voice rose from above the crowd as he maneuvered his way over. Ricky didn't stand out just because she was looking for him. He stood out because he looked drop-dead gorgeous wearing a navy blue silk suit she'd never seen, with a tie the color of the Scotland Stables racing silks. His hair glistened like corn silk in the sun. 

            Two people accompanied him; one a dark-haired beauty draped over his arm, the other an older man. For a flicker of an instant, she thought the woman appraised her with a hint of amusement behind a blasé smile. Maggie fought back an instant desire to push her away from Ricky, but decided to hide her anger. When Ricky broke eye contact, she knew she'd failed.              

            Instead of waiting for an introduction, the woman put her hand on the older man's arm and said, "I'll meet you up in the owner's box. I still have last minute things to do for the cocktail party." Shooting Maggie a dismissive smirk, the woman turned and disappeared into the crowd. Who the hell was she?

            Ricky interrupted her thoughts. "Maggie, I don't think you've met Mr. Blakely, owner of Scotland Stables." 

            She shook her head as the horse snorted and pawed behind her. "No, I don't think so," Maggie said, almost asking ‘how are you?' But, the man's face, almost ashen, suggested he didn't feel well. He seemed to be having trouble breathing.

            "George Blakely." The man held out his hand, and Maggie took an instant liking to him. He had a strong, solid, honest handshake--her father's handshake. She returned his smile, blinking in the pleasure of his presence. 

            "Nice to meet you, Maggie." Mr. Blakely's expression shifted questioningly to Ricky.

            "Maggie's my assistant, sir. She'll be leading Black Autumn onto the track for me." Ricky averted his eyes, shutting out her shock.

            I'm going to lead Black Autumn onto the track for you? 

Maggie was incensed, not only because he was denying her relationship as trainer of the horse, but also because he hadn't mentioned he was her fiancé.  

            "I'm Ricky's fiancée, Maggie McGregor," Maggie explained, shifting a glance of anger toward him. 

            "Oh!" Mr. Blakely smiled and his gray eyes lit up. "You didn't tell me you were getting married, Ricky. Congratulations."  

            Maggie waited for Ricky's reaction. He frowned and as he turned away, Maggie realized he had introduced her as nothing more than a glorified stable hand.

            Ricky clicked his tongue against his teeth. "Maggie," he said, "I'll be sitting up in the Scotland Stables' box. I'll see you after the race."

            "Nice meeting you, Maggie." Mr. Blakely turned and leaned on Ricky for support. Ricky didn't look back. He and Mr. Blakely merged into the crowd, headed toward the grandstand. 

            Maggie watched them leave. She shook back the seeds of suspicion and focused on Black Autumn. They had a race to win.

            The horses were already walking around the paddock where fans were making their picks and hurrying toward the betting windows. Her jockey lifted his knee while Maggie locked her hands, and in one swift, smooth movement, she hoisted the jockey onto a saddle not much bigger than the size of a bicycle seat. The groom handed her the lead, as Black Autumn forced Ricky from her thoughts. The colt danced over the afternoon shadows in the paddock, providing entertainment for the crowd.

            No matter how Ricky had portrayed her as ‘his assistant,' everyone around knew Maggie had trained Black Autumn. Trained every horse in the Lane Stables, for that matter. The owner of odds-on-favorite, Hennessy, called out ‘good luck' to her, as they walked down the underpass and up onto the track.

            "Ladies and gentlemen," the voiced blasted over the loud speakers, "The twentieth running of the Kalian Derby, at beautiful Kalian Downs."

            Maggie shivered with the thrill of competition. If Black Autumn won the Kalian Derby, he would become a major player in the Kentucky Derby. She was damned if Ricky Lane would ruin this for her.

            Her jockey bent over and gave her a ‘high-five.' Maggie unsnapped the lead and one of the Lane Stables' outriders escorted the horse and jockey onto the track.

            The horses paraded to the post and the crowd murmured in anticipation. 

            Hennessey's owner stood next to her on the rail. He said, "I saw the way Ricky treated you. You're too good for him. You ever want another job, come see me." He handed her a spare pair of binoculars. "Here," he said, "I thought you'd like to see what's happening at the gate."

            "Thanks." One thing Maggie loved about track people was how they'd embraced her as one of their own.  

            Maggie lowered the cord around her neck and pushed the glasses to her eyes. 

            The starting gate was the dividing line between nervous anticipation and the grueling competitive mile-and-a-quarter track. Staff wearing green jackets decorated with advertising slogans loaded skittish horses into the narrow metal slots.

            Maggie took a deep breath and surveyed the crowd. A strongly scented mixture of suntan lotion, freshly mowed grass and track dust, lingered in the air. Too soon, all would become unpleasant memories left from the raw sores of an aching heart. Let it go, Maggie. Let it go.      

            The last horse jammed into the outside post position. The back doors clanged closed behind. They were in. Her nerve ends tingled. She focused on the third stall from the inside--Black Autumn.

            Clang. The horses charged out of the starting gate.

             "And, they're off in the Kalian Derby."

            Maggie trained her eyes on Black Autumn. The colt was in an easy third as they passed the stands for the first time. Good place. 

            "Around the first turn, it's Hennessy in front by a length, followed by.... "

             Her thoughts raced, jagged, painful and as fast as any horse on the track. All those buying trips Ricky had gone on during the past four months, when he'd come back without any horses.      

            "Around the backstretch it's Hennessy followed by Sundance Kid; Black Autumn remains in third."

              Ricky had been in the barn less and less, leaving the training to her. She'd been flattered by his love and faith in her abilities.

            The horses thundered down the backstretch. Black Autumn was now striding out, propelled by his powerful hindquarters. In contrast, the other horses seemed to move in slow motion as the black colt passed Sundance Kid around the far turn.

            Ricky hardly touched her in bed, anymore, if he slept there at all. When he made love to her, he'd been distracted--going through the motions.  

            Black Autumn moved on Hennessy as he displayed the competitive spirit of all great racehorses. He eyeballed Hennessy, and for a fraction of a second they ran neck to neck. Danny flicked the crop. The horse laid back his ears and took off, making Hennessy look like he'd stopped running. Black Autumn was muscled beauty in motion as he crossed the finish line five lengths in front, to the tumultuous roar of the crowd.

            When they came back, Maggie snapped the lead back onto her victorious horse, and Black Autumn pranced around, snorted and carried on. One of the greatest things about this horse, Maggie thought, was his ego. He knew he'd won. "Great ride," she said. "Perfect."

            "I didn't do anything," the jockey said, laughing. "The horse did it all. He ran himself."

            "That's why I love you," Maggie replied. "Because you let him do it all by himself."

            They walked across the track toward the winner's circle. Well-wishers crowded in and security had to hold them back. 

            "Next Derby winner?" A TV reporter stuck a microphone into her face. Maggie smiled and was ready to respond, when Ricky came and stepped in front of her.

"It's official," the announcer called, interrupting her resentment. "The winner of the Kalian Derby is Black Autumn owned by Scotland Stables and trained by...." Maggie waited for this moment. She never grew tired of the announcers proclaiming her a winning trainer. It spoke to her of success for her twenty-four-hour days of hard work.

            "Lane Training Stables, Ricky Lane, trainer."

            Maggie stopped dead in her tracks, her mouth dropping open. She turned to snap at him, but George Blakely and the dark-haired woman were showering him with congratulations. The woman planted a kiss on Ricky's cheek.  

            For the first time, Maggie got a closer look at her. The woman was tall and model thin, wearing a plum, mini-skirted linen suit that spelled designer. A silver necklace shouting ‘money' decorated her neck, and raven hair floated down her back like a trophy. The woman shot Maggie a look that stated, ‘bye honey.' Joy became heartbreak, and in a matter of seconds, two years of training success evaporated into the warm April air.

            George Blakely took the lead from Maggie and thanked her. Numb, Maggie let go, and was suddenly shuffled into the background, an outsider looking in at the victors--Black Autumn and his jockey, George Blakely, Ricky Lane and the society beauty nobody had bothered to introduce.

            She was spiraling down into a land of pain and anger, when Ricky threw the lead back to her with instructions to take Black Autumn back to the barn.  

            Maggie stopped, ready to scream, ‘I'm the damned trainer!' But the Governor had stepped up, starting to make a speech about a great owner, trainer and racehorse.

~

             "Maggie." At the barn, Ricky Lane strolled over, George Blakely at his side. His face clouded in apprehension, and Mr. Blakely's looked disturbed and surprised. Maggie realized she must have worn her heart on her sleeve.    

            "Congratulations, Mr. Blakely," she said, trying to ignore the heat stealing into her face as she extended her hand. "Black Autumn's going to be a great horse for you."

            "Yes," he replied. "Ricky did a great job of training him, didn't he?" But, he didn't speak in a congratulatory manner. Instead, his alert eyes grew serious and focused on Ricky. Ricky's jaw hardened and he looked down at the ground and mumbled, "Thanks."  

            Mr. Blakely nodded, glancing back at Maggie, admiration replacing suspicion. He knows, she thought. He knows I trained Black Autumn. She felt relieved--wanted to cry from the unspoken support of this surprising ally. Her confidence renewed, a spontaneous grin emerged and her tense shoulders relaxed.

            "So, Ms. McGregor," the old man said, extending his hand. "Are you joining your fiancé for the cocktail party?"

            The grin evaporated. "I--"

            "No. Maggie has to tend to the horses. I'll be representing the stable," Ricky said, cutting her off. 

            "Mr. Blakely, I'm afraid I didn't know anything about it." Fury almost choked her.

            "That's a shame," the man replied, grimacing at Ricky. "You would have made an exciting addition. My son just came home from Cornell. You would have enjoyed meeting Jonathan."

            She thought Ricky flinched. Good. At least he could still get jealous.

            "Bye, Ms. McGregor. An honor meeting you." The man turned and shuffled off, stopping to speak to Hennessy's owner who glanced in Maggie's direction. Then, the two walked through the thinning crowds to the Kalian Downs' Skylight Club.

            "Maggie," Ricky said, gesturing with his hands. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the party. I wasn't planning on going myself."

            "That's why you're dressed like a Wall Street banker?" she asked, lowering her eyes, avoiding any more lies.

            "No, I'm just representing our stable, like I told Mr. Blakely. I'll meet you back here, and we'll have supper before we go home." 

            He put his arm around her, and she moved away.

            "You mad?"

            Maggie played with the ring on her finger. "I was," she said, her voice breaking. "But now, I'm just sad." She breathed disappointment and looked him in the eye. "I couldn't believe you'd discredit me, Ricky."

            "Discredit you? How?" Ricky responded, oozing with self-righteous indignation. "Lane Training Stables is my training stable. You work for me, Maggie."

            "Oh?" she replied. "What happened to our partnership, our engagement? Is that good only when you want me to train your horses? Now that they're winning, you're taking the credit?"

            He started to protest, shaking his head, pounding his fist.

            "Stop," she said, putting a halt to her future. "Ricky, it's over. I've seen this--didn't want to see this coming." She kept her temper barely under control. "But, it's pretty obvious you've found someone else."

            "You mean Erika? That was Mr. Blakely's ex-daughter-in-law. I think she's trying to get back with her husband."

            "Stop. No more lies." Maggie twisted the engagement ring a few times around her finger before it slipped off.

            "Ricky," she said, opening his hand and placing the ring inside. "I'm going home to pack. I'll be gone by the time you get there."  

            Ricky grabbed her arm. "You're not going anywhere, Maggie," he said, his eyes flaming with rage. "You'll be done in racing if you do. I'll make sure nobody hires you."

            She stared at him for a minute, in shock. This couldn't be Ricky talking. She jerked her arm away. "Then, so be it," she replied. "Give it your best shot."

            Ricky grabbed her again.

             "Let me go!"

            "Then go, Maggie, if that's what you want. I don't need you anyway." He pushed her, and she fell against the stall door.

            Maggie grappled for balance and kept her feet. They stared at each other, Maggie horrified at a darker side of Ricky she'd never seen, and Ricky seeming to realize what he'd lost, now and forever.

            She studied his gray eyes, once full of longing, now full of nothingness. 

            "Have a good life, Ricky." 

            Maggie turned and walked away, her ex-fiancé protesting until his voice faded with the distance.                      

 

Black Autumn and Ricky Lane never made it to the Kentucky Derby. Neither did George Blakely. Within a week, all three were dead.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008 2:30 PM EDT
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Monday, 24 March 2008
Visiting With Mystery Author Patricia Guthrie
Topic: Blog Tours

This week I have a real treat for everyone.  We will be visiting with author Patricia Guthrie.  Today I will present you a brief look at this wonderful lady and her latest book, In the Arms of the Enemy. Tuesday, you'll get a chance to read the first chapter of this book and Wednesday is a double treat--and interview with Patricia Guthrie and a live chat from 8-10 PM EST. Thursday will end our visit with my review of In the Arms of the Enemy.  I hope you enjoy our visit!

Patricia Guthrie lives in the south suburbs of Chicago and writes romantic suspense novels. She has been a mystery lover since her baby-sitting days when she always had an Agatha Christie novel in hand, and scared the living daylights out of herself.

So far, she has completed four novels and is working on a fifth. Pat has numerous short stories of various genres published in the Skyline Literary Magazine and has several nonfiction articles published in the Cassette, a national magazine for collie fanciers.

Backed by a Masters Degree in Music, Pat’s former life consisted of singing in opera houses in the US and Europe. Not satisfied with the insecure life of an opera singer, Pat decided to go into teaching music in Chicago. She taught at a school for emotionally disturbed children before transferring to the public school system, where she taught music in the inner city.  Recently, retired from teaching into writing full time, Pat transferred her skills from the performance arena to the computer where she now creates her own stories.

She has a lifetime love of horses and dogs who (for some reason) keep popping up either as the subject of novels or as minor characters, no matter what the topic.

Collies are a central figure in Pat’s life. She’s trained and shown them in obedience and rally obedience trials in the Midwest and Canada.  Her dogs have also earned their Herding Instinct  Certificates, trained in agility and participated in backpacking and dog-walks.  As therapy dogs they've provided love and support for the physically disabled, emotionally disturbed and adults with schizophrenia.

Horses became a central part of her world some thirty years ago (is it really that long?). She’s gone through one birth-one death, breaking, training, riding and showing; getting dumped, stepped on, bitten and frequently becoming “horse poor.”Thinking back to all the war stories, good and bad, she’s loved every minute of it.

Her novel "In the Arms of the Enemy," soon to be released with Light Sword Publishers, involves three areas Pat loves the most: mystery, romance and horses. This story is about getting justice for animals who can't protect themselves.

Pat is a member of Romance Writers of America, Chapter 89 RWA Northwest Indiana, and Sisters in Crime, and  she has participated in numerous workshops with authors like Debra Dixon, Alicia Rasley, Deborah Hale, Margie Lawson, Joanna Wayne and Sue Viders. She also gives workshops to small groups, hoping to pass along what she learns to others

Who killed a champion race horse and his
trainer?

When the system fails him, horseman Adam Blakely goes undercover to search for a killer. He thinks he knows just where to look. Only problem—he falls in love with his prime suspect. Maggie McGregor leaves the back stabbing world of horse racing determined to never train again, until a
handsome boarder moves his horse into her father’s barn. And that’s when the accidents begin—
Maggie and Adam find themselves drowning in a sea of deception and lies and uncover an insurance scam so insidious it will rock the foundations of an established horse racing empire and bring the killer too close to home. Adam and Maggie must learn to trust each other before they face extermination.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:07 AM EDT
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