Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Crazy Ones

The Crazy Ones
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Guess what I just watched. Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher. This passage is from an old Apple advertising campaign and highlighted in the movie. I love it. People always ask me where do I find my inpiration. Well...from stuff like this for one. 

The film highlights the major moments in the life of Steve Jobs. It shows us the good and the bad and who Steve Jobs was at work and at home. If you are a fan of the man behind the Mac, this movie is a must see. 

passage copied from Wikipedia

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Master's Blog Tour and $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Good day everyone! Today is my stop on The Master's Book blog tour. I have not read this book yet, but it sounds wonderful. I definitely will not let this story slip by. Check the excerpt below and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Master's Book by Philip Coleman 
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing 
Genre: Upper MG or lower YA Mystery/Thriller
Age: 12+
Publication Date: March 15th, 2013
Page Count: 236

Book can be found at:
 GoodReads | Amazon

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene... 
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels. 
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once. 
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it? 
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

Back in the basement, I cleared the shelves and moved them, as usual. Not for the first time, I cringed when they made a scraping sound on the floor. I went straight to the innermost chamber and opened the airtight cabinet. It took a few minutes to get the folders out of the way.
I’d barely finished when I jumped at a noise behind me. Maeve stood there in the doorway with her arms crossed, staring.
The game was really up now. Well, at least Stephanie wouldn’t be able to blame me when the folks found out.
Maeve’s big, round eyes wandered around the narrow room. “So this is what’s behind the shelves.”
“Stay out of this, Maeve. If you say anything to the folks, you’re dead.”
“Why would I do that? I’ve known about this since last Saturday and I haven’t told Mammy and Daddy.”
I almost dropped the folder that was in my hand. “You what? How did you find out?”
“I wanted to hear what you and Stephanie were talking about, so I listened at the door of your room. Then I came down here myself the next morning and tried to unscrew the shelves, but I couldn’t move them on my own. I tried again on Monday, but I still couldn’t move them.”
All that time worrying about keeping Mam and Dad from finding out, and my nosy little sister was watching the whole time. Typical. Just bloody typical.
“So it was you who kept leaving the stool in the way?” I asked, recovering from the shock.
“Yeah, I had to stand on it to reach some of the screws. What are you doing in here now anyway? What’s in that cabinet?”
“There’s a safe at the back of it. Look, here.” I carefully arranged the folders in stacks on the floor. “It’s just that we can’t figure out the combination. We’ve tried de Meulenaer’s date of birth, but that doesn’t work.”
“How did you find that out?”
“We looked at the Internet, of course.”
“Well, maybe there was other stuff about him on the Internet that might have given you a clue.”
“Nah. There was hardly anything in English. There was something about a book he wrote, about some woman called Marie de Bourgogne.”
Maeve pulled at her ear, a habit of hers when she was thinking hard. “Well, Marie could be French for ‘Mary’. There’s a girl in my class called Mary Alcock, and Monsieur Hubert calls her ‘Marie’.”
“You mean your French teacher?”
“Who else? What’s Bourgogne though? Mary of Bourgogne?”
And then there was that “ping” in my brain. Our visit to Bruges. How could I have been so dense?
“It’s Burgundy,” I cried excitedly. “Of course. Mary of Burgundy. Remember when we visited her tomb, and Dad was talking about her?”
“Oh yeah, that’s right.” Maeve pulled on her ear again.
“It doesn’t get us any nearer to finding out the combination, all the same.”
“Well, maybe if this guy was interested enough in Mary to write a book about her, he came up with a combination that had something to do with her. What about her birthday? Have you thought of that?”
“Meh, it’s worth a try, I suppose. Come on up to my room, and we’ll have a look. We needn’t put all this stuff away, but we’d better put the shelves back.”
Back upstairs I typed “Mary of Burgundy” into Google. It recognised the name when I’d only got as far as “Mary of B—”. Maeve crouched beside me and stared at the screen as the results page loaded.
This time we got tons of stuff in English, starting with a long Wikipedia article. Luckily, her birthday was on the first line: the thirteenth of February, fourteen fifty-seven. I didn’t bother reading any more.
“Can we go now?” I said.
“Just a minute,” said Maeve, scribbling frantically on a piece of paper.
“How long does it take you to write out one date?”
She scrunched up the paper and shoved it into a pocket in the front of her skirt. We closed the screen and headed back downstairs. This time, she called out the date to me while I punched it on the number buttons of the safe, making things a bit faster.
13021457. I got the error message again. Another one of Maeve’s crackpot ideas. Still, I’d better try out all the combinations. So I went through the same rigmarole of different formats, with and without zeroes.
In a way I almost felt pleased when none of them worked. I turned back to Maeve. “So much for that notion. It wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
“Don’t give up just yet. Try the date she died.”
“Why would anyone pick the date someone died? Besides, you didn’t write it down.”
“Yes, I did. It was on the first line of the article.”
I sighed, annoyed at Mauve for thinking of checking the other important dates. “All right then. Read it out.”
“Nah, it doesn’t work,” I said when I got another error message.
“Maybe try just the year.”
I did that. I waited for the error message to pop up, but instead the safe whirred a little bit longer than before. The door popped open.
It couldn’t really be that simple, could it?

Author bio 
Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France. 

Author Sites:
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Today's stop was brought to you by Candace at CCB Book Promotions

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Inspiration For Awakened

 This article was originally posted during my blog tour last spring and appeared on Bookish Comforts book blog.

 I am often asked where my inspiration comes from. My answer is usually... everywhere. People, music, movies, something I see in nature or some times an idea organically pops into my little brain and I just run with it.

But I do have a story on how I came up with the idea for my first story in the Legends of Elyndia series and I am here today to share it with you.

The Inspiration for Awakened

Inspiration comes from many places. It can be found in nature, movies, people we meet and from the books we read. It can also come quite literally from an actual event. It was one summer day when I witnessed a gesture as innocent as a father passing a precious family heirloom to his only son that brings us to what we are talking about today, my debut novel, Awakened, book one in the Legends of Elyndia series.

A few years back my father-in-law decided that it was time to share an important gift with my husband. It was something that was passed down to him from his father and was very dear to him. He pulled out an oblong box with contents unknown to us at the time. From the box he pulled out an object wrapped delicately in a baby blue cloth and tied closed with a thick white string. After untying the string and carefully unwrapping the object, he placed it in my husband’s eagerly waiting hands. It was an antique knife with a curved blade and tattered copper sheath. When the knife was handed to my husband he held it with great respect, as it was obvious that it was very old. Not long after he held it, my husband carefully pulled the sheath from the blade and held the knife out in front of him for everyone in the room to see. As he was holding the knife I pictured a wave of powerful magic wash across the room as if the beholder just awakened an ability they never knew they had.

From that moment, I began writing a middle grade story in honor of my son. It was about a young boy that finds a magical knife and gets transported to ancient Egypt. I worked on that story and outlined it from start to finish over a three-month period. Then one day I just could not stand it any longer, and shared the story with my son. I knew for sure he would love it. After I explained the story he looked me in the eye and said…nothing. He then shrugged his shoulders and went back to his Gameboy. I asked him what he thought and he said it sounded boring and didn’t think kids would like it. So I scrapped it.

Before I started working on the middle grade book, I was working on an epic fantasy, but that story was just was not coming together for me either. So what did I do? I took a few of my favorite elements from the epic fantasy, combined them with the magical qualities I gave my knife in the middle grade story, and Awakened was born.
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