Generation X

Dominant Persuasion’s Author Spotlights – Bella Juarez

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I’ve been a fan of Bella Juarez’s for several years, having become addicted to her “Black Ops Brotherhood,” series. She was one, of a select few authors, who featured strong Latinas as heroines, in a sea of “New Adult,” early-20-somethings mania.

Bella’s characters were unique in that they were “Everywomen.” Many were middle-aged, yet in the prime of life. They were intelligent, confident, and fully embraced themselves as sexual beings…with some scorchingly sexy, strong men at their sides.

I am looking forward to the “Dominant Persuasion” Anthology, and “Out of Touch,” in particular, because it is based in my stopping grounds of the Tampa Bay area. I’m interested in how Bella handles the dynamic between a Domme and her gentleman love, who just happens to be a Dom. It should make for an erotically good time! Can’t wait!

Welcome to Sunshine Reads!

CoverOut of Order

by Bella Juarez

BIO:

BellaBella Juarez has a passion for writing and tells her stories with a high level of military suspense and erotic romance. A few years ago, Bella was an IT technician with a craving for military and espionage history and would devour anything, fact or fiction, about the subject. Today, she lives on a south Texas ranch with her family and dogs.

With stories of intrigue running through her imagination, she always dreamed of writing a novel. Finally, in 2012, she wrote and released Rapid Dominance, book 1 of the Black Ops Brotherhood Series. Since then, she has released five more novels in this series. Branching out, she’s written three erotic romance novellas all with military elements.

Her stories blend today’s headlines into thought provoking, intricate plots interwoven with razor-sharp suspense, intrigue, and scorching, white-hot romance.

Bella’s idea of a perfect day starts out…

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Exploring New Things and the Joy of Finding Like-minded People

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Over the past month, I have been learning more about myself and focusing time on things that interest me.  I have met several people who are similar situations, and equally committed to understanding and working within their circumstances.

What I was not expecting were the friendships that have evolved along this journey.   I believed I was alone in my quest, but I was not, and will not be, at least in the near future.  So, thank you for bearing with me, readers, as I promise to return.   I do have several book reviews to share with you, once I have deciphered my almost unreadable notes.

In the meantime, I leave you with the words immortalized by the great Casey Kasem, whom I grew up listening to and set the bar incredibly high for radio DJs.   He passed away last month, entirely too soon.  “America’s Top 40” will never be the same.

casey kasem rip

 

30 Days of Thanks – Day 19

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christopher motto
The Christophers, Inc. believe that each person has a unique and important purpose in life. Their motto is the ancient Chinese motto: “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

Today I was reminded of the motto of the Christopher Society, as I met to finalize some paperwork. When I thought I had reached a dead end, a good friend made a phone call to start another ball rolling, in a different direction. She did this, not out of some sense of obligation, but because she was a good friend. I am blessed to have MC in my life and look forward to the day I can thank her face-to-face for having my best interest at heart.

As I child I remember watching public service announcements, called “Christopher Closeup” that focused on inclusion, social justice, living a righteous life and being good to one another.   Founded by Father James Keller, a Catholic priest from the Maryknoll order, I was drawn to their commitment to tolerance.  While my beliefs have expanded to include Eastern religions, earth-based and pagan spiritual practices, secular and Catholic rituals, the message of The Christophers, Inc. resonates more each day.

 

 

To Do Wednesday: Re-examine Bridget Jones

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I received my copy of “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” in the mail, yesterday. I fell in love with Helen Fielding’s characters over 10 years ago and love that she progressed their story to the present day. I look forward to spending time getting reacquainted with Bridget and her zany antics, now that she is a middle-aged Mom.

Book Review and Trailer – “Moore to Lose” by Julie A. Richman

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Followers of this blog will recognize Julie Richman’s name as the author who knocked my socks off with her debut novel, Searching for Moore.   My review, on July 11th, was one of the most organic posts I have written, since starting this blog.    Julie’s words inspired a friendship between Kristen, Samantha, Cleida and I that culminated in the Searching for Moore Book Trailer, on July 23rd.    These relationships have continued to evolve and I am proud to count these women among my dear friends.

Julie and I stayed up countless nights this Summer analyzing publishing trends, discussing the merits of stand-alone books versus book series, realizing that we had worked at similar agencies at different points in our careers and bonding over her “Needing Moore” series.   I knew she was writing a follow-up book to Searching for Moore, but was conflicted.  She originally intended to write two books for the series, not three.   However, her characters, namely Mia Silver, guided her into writing a beautifully, heart-breaking second book:  Moore to Lose.   Julie received advice from many “experts” in the publishing world, who told her not to write this book.    What the “experts” failed to realize, was that when Julie’s characters spoke to her, she listened.   And wrote.

Then she shared her words with Mom Richman, Kristen, Cleida, Samantha and I.

After reading Moore to Lose I was speechless.  Breathless and hyperventilating, I cried.   I was unprepared for the myriad of emotions and memories it would trigger in me.  It was a deeply personal experience, for I have known Mia my entire life.   I have been Mia.

Moore to Lose focused on Mia’s journey. We already knew she was not the typical, innocent ingénue – she was a tough New York City girl.  This story showed us the dichotomy of the sweet teenager versus maturing young woman, in some of her early decisions. Decisions that many readers have made in their own lives – good, bad and ugly. Julie approached these events with great sensitivity, knowing how deeply the readers were invested in Mia’s happiness.

What Julie did not know was that as I was reading these incredibly difficult, gut-wrenching scenes, I was reliving events from my college days.   Events that were entirely too common for college women.  (Still are, unfortunately.)  As Mia continued on her life’s path, I revisited similar situations that my friends and I found ourselves in and our reactions to those situations.   As the story progressed, and Mia’s past caught up with her, my heart broke alongside hers.   Later, Julie placed Mia at the center of one of the most agonizingly painful events in recent history.   As Julie suffered writing those words, she crafted a grief-stricken, yet delicately fitting homage to her beloved NYC.  She should be proud of the way she honored her resplendent and resilient hometown.

Julie continued to weave the rich tapestry that became Moore to Lose by revisiting familiar secondary characters and using New York City as a vivid backdrop for the action.  In fact, NYC served as another character in the story and served as a touchstone for Mia’s voyage of self-discovery.    Julie further incorporated her trademark use of music and popular culture references as touchstones throughout the story. They helped mark the passage of time and kept Schooner with Mia, connected across the miles and years.

Moore to Lose is so much more than a “romance” novel. It is the story of a woman losing, finding, healing and honoring herself and her spirit. We fell in love with Mia in Searching for Moore. In Moore to Lose, we understand why we love her. As Mia lives her life, we live the experiences with her. Searching for Moore was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Moore to Lose took that ride, plunged it into complete darkness and added loops, spins and rolls.

Julie promised that all issues would be resolved in the third, and final, book in the Needing Moore series.  I will be anxiously waiting for that book, and highly recommend Moore to Lose, for readers who want rich characters who evoke tears, anger, joy, heartbreak, forgiveness, friendship, acceptance, and ultimately, love.

Here are the links to my reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

In the meantime, please enjoy the Moore to Lose Book Trailer. 

Etiology of a Book Trailer – “Searching for Moore,” by Julie A. Richman

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Searching for Moore by Julie A. Richman
Cover used with permission by author, Julie A. Richman.

Summer of 2013 has been the Summer of books and reviews, where I rediscovered the joy that leisure reading brought me.   My newest ventures have been writing book reviews and beta reading books for independent authors.  I am still learning how to do both, but writing reviews is definitely my favorite of the two.

Earlier this year, I read and reviewed Searching for Moore by Julie A. Richman (Book 1 in the “Needing Moore” series).    Julie’s book kept me up all night,  deeply invested in Schooner and Mia’s story and I was emotionally drained but my mind kept spinning.   That inspired my best book review to date, as words flew, organically, off my fingers, onto the keys, and onto the screen.  When I hit “publish” on the blog post, the sun was rising and I knew I had to know more about the woman who wrote Searching for Moore.  I had to talk to her.

I “met” Julie on Facebook.   There was the initial awkwardness of the clichéd OMG-when-are-you-releasing-book-2 comment.  Followed by the blubbering on of a fangirl who had too little sleep, too much coffee and not enough Schooner Moore or Mia Silver.  Finally, we started to talk.  Like lifelong friends.   Who had never met before.    The more we talked – about music, college, jobs, life experiences, relationships, etc. – Julie and I found that we had been separated at birth!    Synchronous would be the best way to describe our connection.

Our friendship brought three other women into my life.  All fans of Searching for Moore who had similar reactions to the story.   As, we began “hanging out” together on Facebook, the bond became stronger.    Sure we talked about our favorite parts of the book, but we talked about ourselves.  If someone had a bad day, there were four other women to help her through it.  If we needed a laugh or bawdy comment, we were there.

Together.

Together, we decided to create the following book trailer.   Kristen was our computer guru, taking all the pieces and creating something that represented all of us, even after the infamous crash of “Video Version 1” (shudder).   Cleida brought us Mia and Schooner and had the uncanny eye to spot the right photos of them.   Samantha was our cheerleader, keeping everyone in good spirits.  I suggested “If I Should Fall Behind,” by Bruce Springsteen as the accompanying song and critiqued the final product.     We accomplished this in about two days and presented it to Julie, on Sunday, just past midnight.

As we waited, impatiently, for Julie to view the video, so many thoughts went through our heads.  “What if Julie doesn’t like it?”  “What if the fans don’t like it?” “What if it’s not good enough?”  “What if it doesn’t capture the essence of Schooner and Mia?”  These were the longest three minutes of the entire process!

Julie loved it!

She immediately posted it on her Facebook page.  It was received warmly by other fans, who then shared it with their friends and family.    Now, I share it with you.   Please share, reblog, buy the book and fall in love with Schooner and Mia.   (Book 2, “Moore to Lose,” will be released in September 2013.)    Amazon     Barnes and Noble

After reading Searching for Moore please visit Julie’s author website for additional scenes, written in the point of view of other characters, and find her on Facebook.

Here is our labor of love for Searching for Moore  .

The 10 Reasons Why Generation-Y is Soft

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Please read this article then come back and share your thoughts – The 10 Reasons Why Generation-Y is Soft

I hoped this article, written by a member of Generation-Y, would spark a heated discussion, on his site.  Unfortunately, it created a forum for people to question his facts, but not offer any alternative thoughts.   Sadly, I suspect it will continue to degenerate into a list of “I know you are, but what am I,”  “you’re WRONG,” or “______ you” comments, so I brought the discussion over here, so we could delve into it with a little more in depth.

Source: ARMA International
Source: ARMA International

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of Generation X.  I received extensive human resources training in generational differences in the workplace, but I am a product of my generation and it certainly impacts by world view.  I identify with many of the characteristics ascribed to my generation: independent, due to being a latch key kid; suspicious and mistrusting of companies/corporations, after seeing many of my friends’ parents lose their jobs in the 1980s and 1990s; comfortable in a diverse workplace (and world), and place a great emphasis on work/life balance.  I work to live, not live to work.  I am also aware that we are not one of the larger generations (population-wise).   I graduated college in 1991 and in the mid-1990s returned to advise a couple of student organizations, at the same university, as a volunteer.

For the past eight years, I have noticed a growing disconnect with the students.   I knew I was “aging out,” or identifying more with their parents, than the students themselves.   Every year I felt as if we were growing apart, even though I tried to keep up with their cultural trends and interests.  This year, however, the gap became too great.  I knew it was time to move on, when my patience dwindled to nothing.

One of the minor reasons I stopped advising college students, was that I felt they were too “fragile.”  The women I worked with directly, learned quickly, that I never minced words.  To some, it was a rude awakening.   Some rose to the occasion immediately upon being treated as an adult.  Others did not, and discovered the “joys” of personal accountability, or cleaning up one’s messes.   I may have been the adviser, but ultimately, they were responsible for decisions made.   Time after time, I was impressed by these women, but they seemed to be the exception, not the norm.

When I read Eddie Cuffin’s article it resonated with me, because it hit upon many of the things I witnessed, not the least of which was a delayed emotional maturity.   At that moment, I knew my “honesty is the best policy”….well, brutal honesty, in my case, would not work with the newest generation and it was an opportunity for someone else to take my place.  I was also exhausted of being “misinterpreted,”  “translated” or worse, “watered-down” to make my words less harsh to delicate Generation-Y egos.   So, I moved on, but left with a sense that there was unfinished business and that I never really understood the newest 18-20-year-olds.

Generation-Y followers, do any of the ideas brought forth in this article resonate with you?  What about my Generation X and Baby Boomer followers, what have you observed?   Please share!