Four days and counting! What happens at approximately 11:35 a.m., MDT on August 21, 2017? The first total solar eclipse visible from the United States mainland since 1979. The total eclipse is visible in 10 states Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Wow! Weather permitting, people in those states will get to watch the moon pass in front of the sun, eventually blocking out its light.
If you are planning to try to capture this historic event on your phone or camera. The experts suggest practicing a couple days before at twilight. Use a tripod, set it for multiple exposures and set it a few minutes before the time you want the photo, so you don’t accidentally move the camera. Oh, on phones, don’t use zoom, it will only make the photo grainy. Always make sure you have special glasses if you are going to watch the eclipse.
This event came to my attention in March, when my hubby and I stopped in Riverton, WY to visit a friend. At that time all the motels, and campgrounds were already reserved for this solar event. Yep, this little town in Wyoming was humming with excitement.
I live in Colorado where it will be only 90%, but that’s enough to send me on the hunt for glasses to watch the eclipse through and a filter for my hubby’s camera. Both of which quantities are dwindling. The American Astronomical Society lists retail chains where certified glasses can be found as Walmart, Lowe’s, Toys “R” Us and 7-Eleven. Look for manufactures American paper Optics, Baader Planetarium, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks, and TSE 17. Don’t go thinking your regular sunglasses, that block only 50% of the Sun’s visible light, will do the trick. Proper eclipse glasses are designed to filter out 99.99 percent, including harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays.
The partial eclipse in Colorado Springs, Colorado will start at 10:23 a.m. MDT, reach maximum at 11:47a.m., and end at 1:15 p.m.
Here is the path of the total eclipse. Thank you! NEWSWEEK MEDIA GROUP GRAPHIC DANIELE PALUMBO/@DANICT89
For more maps of eclipses from 1651 to 2150, visit the gallery at http://eclipse-maps.com. There you have it in a solar nut shell. It’ll be at least 2024 until the next North American total solar eclipse. Happy solar eclipse watching, and don’t forget your certified eclipse glasses. You don’t want to burn the back of your eyes where there are no pain sensors to alert you to the rays that can cause temporary or permanent blind spots.
Want to know more about the total Solar Eclipse 2017? Check out Space.com for all kinds of science and astronomy fun facts!
Posted in My Say What Blog and tagged 10 statesOregon, August 21 2017, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Total Solar Eclipse, Wyoming by firstname.lastname@example.org with no comments yet.
Give a warm welcome to Micki Miller, author of The Darkest Sum released on August 2, 2017!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Micki and The Darkest Sum.
Micki, tell us what inspired this particular story?
I lived most of my life in Las Vegas and I’ve seen these concrete storm drains. I stood just inside one of them. They’re dark, and creepy, and I found it easy to imagine all kinds of things going on in there. For a long time, I had a story hovering at the edge of my mind, but I could never get it to work. Then I learned the sad fact that some homeless people have made the storm drains their place to live. From that moment on, my characters went from being a part of the background of the story, to being its heart and soul.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I don’t really get anything so severe as writer’s block. I get stuck, often. When I get really stuck, I go and brush my teeth. It seems to give me a fresh start. So, if you come over and my breath is very fresh, you’ll know it’s been a tough day of writing.
Good to know Micki.
Who is your favorite character of all the books you’ve written and why?
Liz Linden in The Darkest Sum, without a doubt. She’s about as down and out as a person can be. Nobody would guess her a person with anything above a bleak future, much less a person able to save the world. But beneath her tough exterior, her heart is noble and her will is strong. Liz is far more capable than she realizes. I think that’s probably true of many of us, and I love seeing her develop and represent the possibilities.
The Darkest Sum, hmmm… sounds ominous, tell us about the story.
The embodiment of the world’s evil has but a single fear-one homeless girl.
Twenty-two-year-old Liz Linden and her nineteen-year-old brother Jacob have lived in the storm drains that run under Las Vegas for almost one year. There are many others living in the makeshift camps. She does her best to make their concrete camp into a home until she can save enough money to get them out of the tunnels and into an apartment.
Of late, her wish to get out has become desperate, as she’s come to realize something else is down there, the offspring of malice and hypocrisy. It lives, it grows, and if not stopped, it will fully exist. It is the total of all of mankind’s evils-The Darkest Sum.
How about a peek between the pages of The Darkest Sum?
The air in the tunnel was thick and dank, and as black as a shadow’s shadow. Our single flashlight was woefully inadequate. Darkness encased my brother and me while its offspring prowled the concrete corridors searching for us. I’d been fighting for survival my whole life, but never before had I so thoroughly felt it.
Over the next twenty or thirty minutes we made several turns and while I tried to keep my bearings it became more and more difficult. The water rose again.
I had an unreasonable, albeit powerful urge to turn around and run back the way we’d come. It’s possible, as Jacob had argued; it would have been suicide, but maybe not. Maybe we would have made it through and been long out of there.
As the cold water buried more of me, creeping upward faster than I was brave enough to acknowledge, that sounded more and more promising.
In all the months we’d lived down in the tunnels, I had never experienced claustrophobia. That was something for which I had neglected to be grateful. However, with us being so far in, with the water threatening to shrink the tunnel to nothing but a concrete box without air and no known way to escape, our home of almost one year might well have been a tomb.
In order to go on and not allow terror to overcome me I did what I always do when I feel close to surrendering to my circumstance. I focused on my brother. Though in all fairness, it was Jacob who’d taken control. He led the way, he held my hand, and although he was afraid too, he kept his fears from me as I had always kept mine from him. I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse.
I hadn’t a clue as to what was going on outside. Even if the rain had stopped, the water in the tunnels would continue to rise. It was the place where the town shed its’ unwanted excess.
Every so often I made a request to Jacob that we stop for a moment to rest. I didn’t need to. My legs were strong from all the walking we’d done since becoming homeless and even with the water resistance, I hadn’t yet tired. What I needed to do was to listen without the noise of our sloshing through the water.
I didn’t hear the sound of something swimming. Maybe, like us, it was walking on actual legs.
About the author:
Micki Miller has lived most of her life in the fun city of Las Vegas. For ten years she and her husband spent several months of the year traveling the country in an R.V. She was fortunate enough to see every state in this marvelous country. Then they moved to the beautiful state of Michigan, where she learned about layering clothes and boats don’t have brakes.
Micki’s Social Media haunts:
It was wonderful having you with us today, Micki. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with The Darkest Sum.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Dystopian, Micki Miller, Paranormal, Science Fiction, The Darkest Sum, Urban Fantasy by email@example.com with 26 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Deborah Camp, author of Through Her Eyes, book four in the Mind’s Eye Series. released on July 24, 2017!
Tell me Deborah, who is your favorite character and why?
While it’s true that I have to be in love with every hero I write or it just doesn’t work for me, I admit that I have a special place in my heart for Leviticus Wolfe. Here are four reasons why I’m so “gone” for this guy.
- He’s my ultimate type. I love bad boys – guys who are badass but have bleeding hearts. Levi is bad in a good way. Growing up in a challenging environment, he developed a hard shell, but somehow he has managed to remain kind and compassionate. He doesn’t go looking for a fight, but he doesn’t back down from them either. His heart is scarred, but still big and beautiful.
- He leads and never follows. Levi takes charge. When he sees something or someone he wants, he goes after it. His mission in life is to bring about order from chaos. He doesn’t like lies or turbulence in his life because that’s what was around him all the time when he was young. He doesn’t like to feel that he’s not in charge and in control – which is why being with Trudy is both thrilling and aggravating for him. When he’s with her, he’s not sure-footed or certain of the direction he’s moving toward with her.
- He knows he’s deeply flawed. Although he’s handsome, gifted, and successful, Levi knows he has deep flaws and wounds that haven’t healed. He wants to be a better man, so he’s in therapy and working to exorcise his demons. But his main flaw is that he doesn’t trust others or his own heart. His intellect – knowing he should trust Trudy and allow himself to love her with all his heart – battles his honed instincts – guarding himself from further pain that would wipe out the progress he’s made in shedding his phobias and becoming “normal.”
- He’s learning to love and be loved. Levi has never known deep, abiding love in his life and Trudy offers that to him. It frightens him because he feels unworthy of it and, yet, he wants it, desperately. Accepting such a gift will mean that he must reveal all of himself to Trudy, and when he does, he’s afraid she will decide he’s too messed up and she’ll leave him.
Do you see yourself in your characters?
My characters have pieces of me in them. For my female protagonists, I usually have to tone them down. I tend to be a little bitchy and bossy, which works out fine in my life, but comes off too strong (rude?) on the pages. Joyce, by bestie and editor, often points out places in scenes where my heroine is catty or mouthy. I like my heroines to be spirited and take up for themselves, but I want readers to like them and want to be them, so I end up revising their dialogue. That’s when an editor comes in handy. What I “hear” in my head as I write, isn’t always how others “hear” it. A good editor can point this out and save a writer from inadvertently giving the wrong impression of a character or a character’s motivation.
My main characters are how I’d like to be. Brave, witty, sexy, gracious, clever, and compassionate. I am all of these things, but not always when I want or should be! My characters usually do the right thing at the right time and say the right thing when it needs to be said. I don’t do that . . . but, oh how I wish I could! And wouldn’t it be nice if the guys in our lives said the perfect thing every time we needed to hear it?
Why do you write what you write?
I enjoy books with a touch (or more) of suspense, so I’ve added that to my novels for many years. This series goes beyond a touch. The books have edge-of-your-seat scenes in them. Then there is the paranormal aspect in the Mind’s Eye series.
When I was in high school, I met a boy who has ESP. He couldn’t play card games with us because he could “read” our minds and know what cards we had in our hands and which ones we needed. He’s a remarkable human being and the reason I became interested in the paranormal. I’ve met a lot of fakes in my time as I’ve researched psychics, but I’ve also run across a handful who are the real deals.
The psychic world is vast and a few psychics take it beyond “entertainment” and use their gifts to help detectives with cold cases or assist people in finding their lost relatives. It’s fascinating stuff and I knew that it would provide plenty of material for a series – or two or three. Readers like how Trudy and Levi have different abilities. Trudy can connect psychically with murderers while Levi can commune with deceased victims. Together, they can glean clues from the living and the dead.
I also enjoy exploring the other side of being psychic. Growing up “different” is difficult and most psychics had challenging childhoods. From being called liars by their parents to being taunted by their school mates. Levi had a horrendous childhood and Trudy is only now coming to grips with her abilities and how to control them. It all makes for complex characters in fascinating situations.
Thank you for that insight into your and your writing.
“So, tell me about your experience,” Trudy said, sitting next to Levi.“It was strange. Very strange. I was contacted – during a business meeting, mind you – by the dead son of the new contractor I was speaking with in my office. This kid – a salvage yard murder victim – popped into my head and started yelling at me. I tried to shut him out, but I couldn’t. I had to actually stop the damned meeting and tell the man that his deceased son was demanding an audience. Gonzo thought I’d lost my noodle.”
“Good Lord!” She covered her parted lips with her hand. “I’d say that was a heck of a coincidence, but . . .it seems to be so much more than that.”
“Yeah, right.” He sat back and drummed his fingers on the table for a few seconds. “Anyway, the kid – Clayton Nelson – was hitchhiking in New Orleans when a guy in a pickup stopped for him. He couldn’t see much of the man’s face because he wore a ball cap and sunglasses. He had a mustache that looked fake to me. He used the ploy of something being wrong with his truck to get the kid to look under the hood and then he knocked him out with a blow to the head. Clay came to in a basement, his wrists and ankles bound with plastic ties and chains.” He shuttered his gaze from her. “That’s where he was murdered.” A few seconds ticked by before his lashes lifted to reveal his dark blue eyes that never missed much. “You’ve been in contact with the murderer already, haven’t you?”
Her heart jolted. He was uncanny. “I was in contact with someone who’s warped. I don’t know if it was the salvage yard killer.”
“Was he murdering someone?”
“Something. A cat.”
Levi’s upper lip lifted in disgust. “Jesus.”
“Yeah. He was practicing, I think.” She shuddered and blocked out the memory.
“The kid in my head showed me a compass and pointed to the N on it.”
She gasped at the reference. “Your true north?”
“Bingo. His way of telling me that you were already part of this.”
She reached for her glass of juice. They must be destined to examine this case. How else could she explain what happened to Levi and what she’d already experienced?
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Deborah Camp, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, The mind's Eye Series, Through Her Eyes by firstname.lastname@example.org with 4 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Carla Rehse, author of Pink Lock Picks & Sequined Witch Hats ! With a title like that I simple had to read it.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, or Pink Lemonade in the crystal pitcher on the counter. It’s next to the plate of Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookies, and let’s find out a little about Carla Rehse and Pink Lock Picks & Sequined Witch Hats. I love that title!
My take on Pink Lock Picks & Sequined Witch Hats.
A magical tale with loveable characters.
Seventeen-year-old Gracie Mason has everything going for her, homecoming queen, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and a member of the student council. Due to family problems and an unrequited crush she turns to burglary as a way to win Ben’s affections.
Her first attempted break-in goes badly. She steps into a male witch’s “circle of power” and finds herself in quite a mess. On top of that she’s bonded to him for life unless she can break the bond. Gracie quickly learns that dissolving the bond with Asher, admittedly a hunk, is more complicated than she imagined. Right when it seems things can’t get any worse, witches start turning up dead. Her quest to sever the bond magically turns into a murder investigation.
This was a fun read, filled with magic, adventure, with a bit of humor mixed in. Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats is an urban fantasy set in central Texas. Author Carla Rehse’s characters are entertaining in a magical world where the unexpected takes place.
If you like YA and urban fantasy, you’ll enjoy Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats. Four stars in my book.
You can find Pink Lock Pick and Sequined Witch Hats at Amazon
Daddy told me years ago that to succeed in life I need a strong plan, the right tools, and the gumption to follow through. His words of wisdom helped me get elected homecoming queen, become co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and voted on the student council. Now I plan to use them to help me pull off my first burglary.
My plan is solid. I’ve also never backed down from a challenge, not even last year when Brittany Thomas became overly friendly with the entire football team in a sad attempt to deprive me of my crown. People say I started the rumor about the rash of STD cases spreading through the boys’ locker room faster than a brush fire. I didn’t, of course. Why start gossip when the squad of doctors from the local Health Department did it for me?
I take a deep breath as I enter the Trinity Building. At almost four o’clock on a Friday before a three-day weekend, the place is deader than a PTA meeting. It helps that today is the hottest July first on record for Central Texas and the air conditioning in this building is dismally subpar. The Trinity Corporation may claim to have the most upscale rental space in town, but one look at the gold leopard granite floor paired with peach-painted walls shows that’s a downright fib.
The only guard on duty leans back in his chair and sucks down a Sonic Route 44 Coke like his life depends on it. I wave as I pass the security desk, wearing a megawatt smile and fully confident in the strength of my lavender-scented Lavanila deodorant—vegan, of course. Deputy Dawg gives me his usual perv stare before returning to the comic book balanced on his knee.
Centex Therapy, LPC occupies most of the first floor office space. A small bell tinkles when I open the frosted glass door. What decorum the overall building lacks, the waiting room has in spades. Brown leather chairs sit on a bamboo rug and pastel paintings from local artists brighten the walls. A tall grandfather clock in the corner softly chimes four times. This late on a Friday means the room is empty of other patients. Perfect.
Jane, the receptionist, fans herself with a copy of Country Living. “Cutting it awfully close, Gracie. Go on in.”
Dr. McDozzle gives me a pained smile as I enter the room.
“Good afternoon, Miss Mason. Have a seat.” For a head shrinker, he’s incredibly formal. And a non-Texan, who hates football and sweet tea. I haven’t learned much more about him in the last month, but that’s enough to get him tarred and feathered if word got out.
The leather recliner squeaks when I sit down. “Thanks for seeing me on a Friday, Doc.” I twirl a strand of newly highlighted platinum hair around my finger. It goes wonderful with my bubblegum pink manicure. “Mr. Anderson, Daddy’s new lawyer, is now insisting I have two sessions a month with you. Of course, Mama’s lawyer says once a month is just fine, seeing how I’m such a well-adjusted high school senior and all. Almost a senior, I guess, since school’s not started.”
Dr. McDozzle straightens his glasses. “Yes, well, your parents do seem to have quite the barrage of attorneys involved in their divorce. Have you worked on the homework I gave you during our last session?”
This is such a waste of time. My parents have spent the last five years embroiled in a divorce dirtier than a greased pig-wrestling contest. Both sides of the family have more money than sense, much to the delight of every lawyer in the tri-county area. Not that I want my parents to get back together. Anytime they’re within spitting distance of each other, the tension between them gives me a migraine. Besides, if they hadn’t split up, I never would’ve met Ben.
Ben’s the son of Daddy’s ex-girlfriend. Until four months ago, they all lived together in Daddy’s condo. Ben is a sophomore at the local college and is truly hot, in a geeky, stud muffin, save-the-world, kinda way. Crushing on my almost stepbrother might seem a bit sketchy, but it’s legal—I Googled it twice.
Which means it’s time to start step one in my Get Ben Plan.
I toss my hair over my shoulder before pulling out a pink glitter notebook from my Eiffel Tower-shaped mini-purse.
“You wanted me to write down my feelings about my parents’ shared custody thing. Honestly, I don’t understand why the lawyers are so panty-twisted about me spending a week with Mama and the next with Daddy. It means I get double the wardrobe. Hello? What girl would say no to that? It’s way better than Heather’s situation. I told you about her last time, I think. The girl with the hideous frizzed-out curls but drives a cute BMW Z4 roadster? Anyway, her parents are insane.” I continue a steady stream of babble until Dr. McDozzle’s eyes glaze over.
There’s no clocks in the room, but Dr. McDozzle keeps checking his watch. I’m sure the poor man created a nice therapy plan for me, but I’ve completely derailed it. Mama always says a girl has many tools to choose from in her arsenal—perfectly curled hair, well-placed boobs, and endless chatter are my faves. Besides, Daddy’s been paying therapists a fortune for years to show the divorce court how concerned he is about me. Dr. McDozzle’s earning his car payment today.
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog, Book Reviews and tagged Carla Rehse, dead bodies, fantasy, fashion, magic, Murder, Murder Mystery, Paranormal, Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats, Romance, YA Urban Fantasy by email@example.com with 3 comments.