Welcome to Day 7 of the REIMAGINING NEON Blog Tour featuring Author, Linda C. Mims! @boom_lyn @ptlperrin @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @4WillsPub @4WP11 #TheNeonHouses

GIVEAWAYS: 

(3) $10 Amazon gift cards

Please leave Linda a comment below or anywhere along the tour, for your chance to win one of her awesome giveaways!

Welcome to Day 7 of the REIMAGINING NEON Blog Tour! It’s an honor to introduce Author Linda C. Mims and her exciting, newly reimagined book, THE NEON HOUSES. I loved the characters in the original story, and I’ve preordered my copy so I can get reacquainted with them.

It takes a vivid imagination and a good deal of research to create a world that does not yet exist. Details matter, especially when they differentiate between cultures. Take food, for example.

Linda, how does food define the cultures in 2087?.

BUT WHAT ARE THEY EATING? 

The Neon Houses, set in 2087, depicts two worlds. One world shows a food desert where food is genetically modified, dehydrated, plant-based and powdered—if there’s food at all. The other world is a cornucopia of real meat, vegetables, poultry, eggs, fish, and fruit.

The main character, Noel Kennedy, has her feet planted in both worlds and is unapologetically sympathetic to the needs of the citizens in the Southland. When we first meet her, hurrying to the home of a recently murdered student, she’s leaning out of the passenger window yelling bloody murder at a thief who has just snatched a bag of groceries from an old man.

Back home at the annual barbeque she and her husband famously host, we see disks laden with platters of smoked meats, grilled vegetables, desserts, and other delectables. These dishes sail through the air, over the heads of guests who use remote controls to land a disk, or they summon human androids to take their orders. This scene is two-fold, lavishly contrasting the two societies, and setting the stage for the next murder.

Noel’s nemesis, Warren ­­­­­­­­­Simpson, is a cunning, ruthless villain who rules the land that borders the southern outskirts of her city. He is a thief and the purveyor of illegal goods. Yet, when his nephew is accused of murder, Warren discards that theory. The kid isn’t like him, and murder is the farthest thing from the kid’s nature. 

Simpson gathers his family around the dining table to plot murder, set-ups, and surveillance. During the meal, readers see dishes of roasted beef, whipped potatoes and gravy, green beans, fresh tomatoes, and warm bread spread out on a snowy tablecloth. Simpson’s wives, their children, and his young adult nephew surround him. When the food isn’t served quickly enough, his nephew makes smacking sounds and bangs his silverware on the table. Simpson cuffs him lightly. The scene is normal, almost endearing, and allows us to see the human side of the villain.

In undeniable New Chicago tradition, soy-dog stands, and taco stands dot the area near downtown. When a call comes over the radio warning Noel and her husband they’ve been spotted while scouting the primary suspect, they’re under the on-ramp of the Kennedy Expressway eating at a taco stand that’s located there. Before they hightail it, Noel takes a moment to wipe taco sauce from her husband’s mouth.

Fifty years into the future, the world has changed, but food, family, and gatherings remain the same—maybe more for my sense of normalcy than the characters’.

~~~~~

EXCERPT FROM THE NEON HOUSES:

Noel and Dickey stood at a little taco stand on Morgan and Lake and ordered the special with cola spritzes.

“I’m too old to eat this junk,” Dickey said.

“I know.” Noel laughed. “But we don’t want to go too far away, in case Harlan calls. I figure we can eat this and get back before Jessica’s date is over. I want to see his face. Hell, I want to touch him.”

“You see that car?” Dickey asked, nodding toward a vehicle that had made a U-turn and was idling on the opposite side of the street. “I’d swear it followed us from the restaurant.”

Noel nodded. “That’s Warren Simpson’s men. They’ve been following me since the day Lord Nelson’s man chased me from shantytown.

“This isn’t us, Noel, and as soon as we get out of this, we’re never doing it again. Promise?”

She smiled as she wiped taco sauce from his mouth with her napkin.

Blurb:

What would you do if you were the daughter of a cult hero who boasted a past full of exciting, colorful exploits?

Suppose the thing that made your mother a cult hero was also inside you.

Now, imagine spending your whole life trying to hide it—until you shared the heart stopping death of someone close to you.

Supposed that death brought you face to face with the gift of the neon houses.

New Chicago and its neighboring town, The Southland, are vastly different worlds in circa 2087, but Dr. Noel Kennedy is an expert at navigating both worlds. As the Deputy Chief of Schools in The Southland, Noel has perfected being a solid, middle-class citizen. Not even her husband, Fredrick Kennedy, truly understands what she is.

When Zarah Fisher, Noel’s young protégé, is murdered on a deserted street in The Southland, Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath. Though miles away, Noel feels the girl’s terror, and hears her anguished screams inside her own head because of an inheritance that has left her with extraordinary gifts.

Can Noel find justice for Zarah without risking it all?

Murder, mayhem, and suspense abound in this action packed page-turner. More than a mystery, The Neon Houses thrills the reader with scenes of a futuristic 2087. Autoplanes, body planes, and flying buses are the norm. Robots and androids cook, clean, and serve the affluent, while dystopia lurks just around the corner.

***

You are invited to connect with Linda via her social media outlets below:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Amazon Author Central

About the Author

LINDA MIMS is a writer, a dreamer, and an educator, who hails from a quiet village just south of Chicago. Her stories are mainly about urban characters who are engaged in mystery and mysticism. Her hope is that while entertaining and informing, she’s also sending the message that humans aren’t that different and all each of us want is a better world. 

~~~~~

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the AUTHOR’S TOUR PAGE on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HEREThanks for supporting this author and her work!

Welcome to Day 7 of the “SIR CHOC” Book Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC @ptlperrin

Thank you for visiting my site today, where you’ll discover my friend Robbie Cheadle and an especially sweet treat!

Robbie is giving away:

(7) Paperback copies / 1 of ea book in the series

(2) 15 Amazon gift cards

Please leave Robbie a comment anywhere along the tour for your chance to win one of these awesome prizes.

Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white. Includes five delicious recipes to make with children.

How to make a fairy out of fondant

Step 1 – Mix a quantity of flesh coloured fondant. Roll a small quantity into a ball for the head. Gently roll the lower half of the head between you fingers to narrow it. Use a small ball tool to make the eye sockets. Dab the sockets with edible sugar glue and insert two green or blue pearl delight cake decorations into the sockets to make the eyes. Use a half a straw to make the smiling mouth. Roll a tiny ball of flesh coloured fondant for the nose and attach with edible sugar glue. Leave the head to dry.

Step 2 – roll a larger oval shape for the fairy’s body. I used purple but you can use any colour you like. Insert a toothpick through the centre of the body and snip the top, leaving approximately 1 centimetre standing up.

Step 3 – Roll a long tube of flesh coloured fondant for the legs. Fold the tube in half to make two legs and slightly flatten the joined area to form a base for the fairy’s body. Slightly narrow the ankles by rolling them between your fingers. Role two triangular shaped pieces of purple fondant for the shoes and attach them to the ankles using edible sugar glue. Roll out some purple fondant using cornflour to prevent sticking and cut out a star shape for the skirt. Attach the skirt to the legs.

Step 4 – Roll out some white fondant and cut out a butterfly shape with a cutter. Gently bend in the middle and leave between a loosely folded piece of cardboard to dry into a wings shape overnight.

Step 5 – Leave the pieces to dry overnight.

Step 6 – Use edible glue to attach the body to the legs and the head to the body. Make the arms by rolling two narrow tubes of flesh coloured fondant. Flatten the shoulder slightly using your fingers. Roll the wrists between your fingers to indent them. Use your fingers to lengthen and flatten the hands. Attach the arms to the body using edible sugar glue. 

Step 7 – Roll a long purple tube and wind it in a steadily narrowing circular shape to from the fairy cap as per the picture. Attach to the head using edible sugar glue.

Step 8 – Attach the wings using edible sugar glue. Decorate with edible glitter if desired.

Robbie Cheadle is a children’s author and poet.

The Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

How to connect with Robbie Cheadle:

WEBSITE

BLOG

TSL BOOKS AUTHOR PAGE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

Where to Find Robbie Cheadle’s Books:

TSL Publications (paper back is available at a discounted price)

Lulu.com (ebook)

Amazon (paper back)

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for you chance to win one of Robbie’s amazing giveaways!

Words of Wisdom

As a Mom, I’ve shared many words of wisdom with my kids…like “Don’t run with a pencil in your mouth,” or “Look both ways before crossing the street.” As they grew, I wish I’d had some advice that could help them avoid the pitfalls of life, but I couldn’t catch up with them long enough to impart those gems, and they might have ignored me had I tried.

Kristine Kohut is the author of a fun and insightful book with a catchy title: Big Toe People. I highly recommend it! She and her husband Steve adopted two adorable boys a few years ago. I hope they read their mom’s nuggets when they’re older, and I hope our grown kids read them, too. In fact, these nuggets are for all of us! She said what’s in my heart much better than I could have.


Look, Mom! Wisdom!

Posted on February 14, 2019 by kristinekohut

Or Nine Favorite Nuggets From Fifty Years of Living

When I was in my twenties, my mom said to me more than once, “Kristine, all you seem to do is chase after fun. I pray that you get some WISDOM!”

Read More!

What to do with (gulp) Criticism…

dwarf-49807_1920I’ve had people ask me to critique their work, just as I ask my Beta readers to critique mine. For the most part, I’m happy to do it because it’s a valuable service if given and received in the right spirit. Any story born and nurtured in the writer, whether a life story or fiction, deserves to be brought to life.

I consider it an honor to be invited into that place of vulnerability in the writer’s process of giving birth to their infant work of art. It can be as frightening for me as for the writer, especially if the work is already published and I’m asked for my ‘honest opinion.’ Not all published works should have been released at that stage in their development.

If I had published my books before they went through the process of self-editing, beta-reading, professional editing and more self-editing, they would have deserved unbridled criticism, and I would have done one of two things: stopped writing altogether, or learned from the criticism. During the process, I learned, and wrote and re-wrote. If I hadn’t decided that enough is enough, I would still be re-writing.

No book is perfect. There is room for improvement in everything we do. It doesn’t detract from the value of the story we have to tell.

I ran across this article today, and thought it was something we can apply to anything we do in life. Any thoughts?

HOW TO TAKE CRITICISM AND TURN IT INTO GROWTH IN 5 STEPS

by Daniella Levy

It hurts to hear people say negative things about something you poured your heart and soul into. It hurts to recognize that you are not perfect at what you do and can always use improvement.

However, criticism–good criticism–is a very powerful raw material you can use to build yourself as an artist.

People generally react to criticism non-constructively in one of two ways: resistance (dismissing, arguing, or denying) or withering (collapsing in feelings of shame and inadequacy). Both of these reactions deny you the opportunity to learn and grow from the feedback.

To get the most out of criticism, you have to be humble enough to admit your work has faults, yet confident enough that you won’t wither. You have to push past the instinct to get defensive, and instead, get curious about how the criticism can help you improve your craft.

Let’s break it down into five steps.

Read More

What was I going to say to a group of eighth-graders? Why do I write?

semi finalist

Why do I write? A teacher friend of mine honored me by reading portions of my book Terra’s Call to her eighth-grade classes. She kept me informed about their continued interest and, in my excitement, I blurted out an offer to speak to her kids about writing. She accepted.

One reason I prefer writing to speaking is that my spoken words trip me up more often than not, and this time they trapped me in a commitment to speak to a group of kids who are, undoubtedly, going through the rigors of hormonal changes in addition to problems and issues that would fund a therapist’s villa in the Mediterranean, if they could afford a therapist. What words could I possibly say that would encourage them, engage them and keep their interest?

Why do I write? I could say it’s because I grew up without television, forced to read for entertainment and allowed to read anything I was able to understand, and much that I wasn’t ready for. How many of them would be able to relate to the world I grew up in, without electronics and in a land where I had to learn the language or flounder? Are there any military brats among them? Perhaps. Would I bore the rest with my accounts of a life lived long before they were thought of? Perhaps.

What if I turned the focus on them? Kids live inside their own skins. Life for some of them is all about self-preservation; survival. What gift could I leave them with? What do they need to know about themselves that they may or may not already know?

The speech formed in the middle of the night, in that realm of half-sleep where God sometimes speaks in a nearly-audible voice and ideas fall like rain, filling puddles with scenes and characters. This felt like a clear pool of light. Share my background. That’s a given. They won’t know anything about me. Why is this old lady talking to them about teenagers in her book?

Segue to a question that only they can answer. Each of the characters in Terra’s Call has a super power. What about the eighth-graders? What if they knew that each of them has at least two super powers? Can they guess what they are? If they would hang on until the end of my talk, I’d reveal the secret to them. Now what? I had a beginning and an end, so what comes in the middle?

I took a writing course where I learned that the active voice is better than the passive voice in most cases. With all the books I’ve read, you’d think I’d know that instinctively, and yes, the books I enjoy the most are written that way. The course defined my gut reaction in a way that I would later use in my writings. I passed that nugget along, with examples of the different voices. The speech was complete. What are the super powers that every young person in that room and in every room in every school shares? Stay with me and I’ll tell you at the end.

How do I define the drive, the need to express on my laptop what I can’t easily say? When the words come, the ideas flow and my characters play out scenes and conversations in my head, the pure magic of electric creativity shimmers through my fingertips. It’s happening, I celebrate and the keyboard clacks almost as quickly as I think. This is easy and I feel alive and vibrant.

And then, the crash. I’m stuck, held in a bog of a scene that goes nowhere and means nothing in the narrative. My feet, my mind, are held captive in viscous tar, and struggling only pulls me in deeper. Why do I write when I feel completely inadequate, even stupid with a void for a brain and my font of ideas runs dry? What do I do then?

I wait and pray. I spend time with my ever-supportive husband. I shop and visit family and go to the movies and meet with other writer friends for some quick exercises with prompts. I refill my empty tanks with life and love and laughter and people. And then, in the middle of the night, or perhaps while I’m driving or in the shower, the light comes on and my characters speak to me again, and I see them living their next scene. That’s how Terra’s Call happened. That’s how Triton’s Call is happening now.

When I entered my first contest with Terra’s Call, my first fiction work and the first book in the TetraSphere series, I had no expectations. I entered simply to try something I’d never done before. Imagine my surprise when I received an email informing me that Terra’s Call is a semifinalist in the published fiction for youth – young adult/new adult genre category of the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Awards competition. A semifinalist! I’m doing a happy dance right now. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be a finalist.

Why do I write? Because I share the same super powers those eighth graders have. You do, too. Here they are:

  1. Imagination. If you’ve ever spent a moment daydreaming; if you’ve invented anything or dreamed up a practical joke to play on someone or interviewed for a job or read a book or done something out of the ordinary, then you have it, too.
  2. The ability to choose your path. You can make good choices or bad choices. Your choices may be limited by your circumstance, or they might break you out of things that limit you. You have the ability to forge a path based on the choices you make.

Why do I write? I write because I have to.

 

Will they? Can they save the planet?

(Image by Lucee)

Has anyone else noticed how weird the weather has been lately? A hurricane in January? Hurricane force winds and thirty-foot waves battering a cruise ship in February? A heatwave followed quickly by record snowfalls in the south? What does a writer do with all that?

May I get a little excited about this? It is my first, after all. The first of its kind, at least. I’ve carried it, nurtured it, shaped it, and now I’m about to birth it, and I’m excited!

It’s happening! TERRA’S CALL, the first book of the TetraSphere series, is nearly ready for publication! My first ever fiction work! What’s it about? Here’s a little hint:

Storms and earthquakes, sudden rifts in the ground and massive mudslides; the insane weather and natural disasters are escalating, and only a handful of people know the truth – a handful of people and two alien races. Mankind’s days are numbered.

Jewel Adams has abilities that forced her into a life of solitude as a young child, with only her parents as companions.  Things change during her senior year in high school, and she discovers she’s not alone when she meets the Fletcher twins and Storm Ryder. They share more than the unusual shape and brilliant colors of their eyes. They share a destiny, but do they have what it takes to fix Earth’s problems? If they fail, the fate of two planets, including Earth, hangs in the balance. Will an ancient enmity between two star systems cause their quest to fail? Will their enhancements be enough to save the planets? Are they willing to take the chance?

 

Stay tuned for the cover reveal, release date, and maybe even a give-away or two!

 

Writers write, right? So what’s with all this other stuff?

My first book, Reflections of a Misfit, is published! It’s real! I gently lifted the first copy from the box, caressed its smooth cover, opened it carefully to see my words, my name, shining at me from the pages.

Okay, it wasn’t that great, but I whooped and hollered as if I’d won the lottery! We did it! We did it! I include my husband in the “we” because he suffered through many a bowl of soup as I buried myself in the writing. I include God in the “we” because He gave me the kick in the pants I needed to put my reflections in book form. When you read the book, you’ll understand.

There is nothing like the feeling of holding your own real book in your hands for the first time, with the possible exception of holding your newborn baby. However, much like having a baby, the work begins with the birth. How will people hear about it? Who will want to read it? What good is a book without readers?

The way I figure it, one of two things is going to happen here. My rusty old brain will loosen up and begin to regain its youthful vigor, or the overload of new information flooding my mind is about to clog it up irreparably.

I’ll go with the first, I think. So here we go, on our next adventure. I want to write. I need to learn to promote. I want to read all the books written by my new author friends I’m meeting in this process of stretching the old noggin across the canyons and hills of social media.

I’m going to have to live forever.

Thankfully, God has that covered. I hope I get to write in Heaven.