Fall Carnival Blog Hop!


It’s October and time for pumpkins, great weather, and of course, blog hops and carnivals! This is the second year for our Fall Carnival Blog Hop. You can find the full details and other participating authors at the Desert Muses blog.


In addition to having a greater chance of winning the $80 Amazon gift card, if you sign up for my blog using the button to the right between now and October 24, I’ll offer one randomly selected e-mail list subscriber their choice of a digital copy of any of my books. The winner will be announced October 29, so stop back by and check out the Muses blog to see the list of winners of the grand prize (Amazon gift card) and each individual giveaways.

Have a great October and Halloween! Don’t step off the Carousel yet! Hop on over to Mimi Sebastian’s site here. And don’t forget to stop by the Muses blog for more details and other participating authors!

Good luck!


Clear to Lift by Anne A. Wilson


Book Cover for Clear to LiftI read Anne A. Wilson’s debut novel, Hover, when it first came out, and I loved it. Anne is a Naval Academy graduate who flew helicopters for nine years. She writes authentically and compellingly about her protagonist, Sara Denning, a helicopter pilot facing challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field.

Her second book, Clear to Lift, released in July. I’m equally excited about this book. Lt. Alison Malone flies search-and-rescue missions in the Sierra Nevada mountains, facing danger, unpredictable flying conditions, and hunky mountain guide Will Cavanaugh. If you love action, adventure, romance, and strong heroines, you’ll love these books!

Praise for Clear to Lift:

“As I read the final rescue scene in this novel, my heart was pounding and I was on the edge of my seat, literally… The writing is top notch, the story smooth, the action intense.” —Book Babe

“Action scenes, fantastic dialogue and wonderfully developed characters allow this book to soar to the top of the summer reading pile.” —Chicklit Club

Here is the full back-cover blurb:

Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, “Boomer” Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fiance in San Diego.

Alison’s defenses start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to change course?

Full of action and adventure, dangerous and heart-stopping rescues, blizzards and floods, family secrets and second chances, Clear to Lift is a thrilling woman’s journey as she finds confidence, truth, love, and herself against the majestic backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.

Picture of Anne A. WilsonAnne A. Wilson is the author of Hover and Clear to Lift. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in ocean engineering. She served nine years active duty as a navy helicopter pilot, including three years flying search and rescue, where she specialized in high altitude, technical mountain rescue. Following her military service, she worked for four years in the semiconductor industry. Currently, she and her husband own a triathlon coaching company, Camelback Coaching. Anne lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona, with her husband and two sons.


The Ducking Notebook


Rubber Ducky Sitting on a NotebookI hate duck.

It’s tough and gamey and greasy. Yet every time I see it on the menu, my first thought is, “Oh, that looks good. I should try it. Maybe it was just cooked wrong last time.” When I’m out with DH (Dear Husband, for non-writers), he reminds me that I hate duck. Each time, I’m stubbornly convinced he’s wrong; but sure enough, each time I try it, I find it to be greasy and gamey and tough. Okay, this was years ago; but even today, when I see duck on the menu, it still looks intriguing, but now at least I believe DH when he reminds me I hate it.

For me, the movie The Notebook is the film version of duck.

About six months ago, I rented The Notebook. When DH came home from work, I was sobbing my heart out, asking why the hell people thought this movie was so great. He asked me what it was about, and even describing the plot to him made me cry. It was beautiful and tragic and awful. Two weeks ago, bedridden with pneumonia, I flipped through movies and remembered everyone said The Notebook was such a great movie, forgetting that I’d already seen it. Once again, DH reminded me I hated it. Sure enough, when I skimmed through scenes of it, I remembered how sad it made me.

Next time I look for a movie to watch that everyone says is amazing, I will hopefully remember before I decide to rent it again that I hate The Ducking Notebook! While I’ve always appreciated schmaltz and a good cry, I write romances because I love a happily ever after. That ducking Notebook was the heartbreaking antithesis of a Happily Ever After! You have been warned.

And so have I.


The Wretched State of News Reporting


Newspapers from around the worldIn bygone times, newspapers printed news stories based on triple-checked, verified facts. OpEd pieces were also based on proven, validated facts, though shaped by the well-thought-out opinions of subject matter experts.

Enter the Internet and digital reporting. For a while, the standards were the same for print and online – proven, corroborated, or witnessed actualities. Then news sources like Fox News and the New York Times, always right- and left-leaning respectively, moved even further apart on the spectrum, and their OpEd pages became less well-thought-out. The increased need for content production for the plethora of digital news outlets led to increased editorial pressure and reduced editorial oversight. We began an inevitable slide into sloppy and unsubstantiated reporting.

According to The Guardian, an anonymous reporter said, “There is definitely a pressure to churn out stories, including dubious ones, in order to get clicks, because they equal money. At my former employer in particular, the pressure was on due to the limited resources. That made the environment quite horrible to work in.” (https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/apr/17/fake-news-stories-clicks-fact-checking)

What we’re left with now are “news” articles which are not fact-checked, and which may be based on bias, opinion, and fallacious inference. Some examples:

1. http://www.wealthwire.com/news/economy/2769:

One-Percenter Leaves 1% Tip
by Brittany Stepniak, Wealth Wire
February 28th, 2012

This story went viral, picked up by CNN, Huffington Post, and numerous other outlets. It made the rounds of social media, and whipped up a frenzy against the 1%-ers. In fact, the restaurant where this supposedly took place did the research the reporters failed to do, and found out the whole thing was a Photoshopped hoax.

2. http://gopthedailydose.com/2014/04/28/photo-michelle-obama-proves-hates-democracy/

PHOTO: Michelle Obama Proves She Hates Democracy
by sophia, GOP The Daily Dose
April 28, 2014

In this instance, the “reporter” doesn’t even use her last name. What are we supposed to make of her journalistic training and objective reporting style? The referenced photo shows the First Lady joining in the fun with street music and folk dancing, not angrily waving Communist flags as this report claims.

3. http://www.dailystormer.com:

Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!
by Andrew Anglin, Daily Stormer
April 28, 2016

If the headline for the article doesn’t already turn your stomach, how about this excerpt: “Unsurprisingly, the Russian kike Ioffe has made a career out of attacking Glorious Leader (EAST). She also met privately with the African dictator of America in 2014 and agreed to push Syrian war propaganda.” Is any of this even remotely true? It’s so steeped in bias it’s really hard to pull anything out of this except that Andrew Anglin is a horrible, hateful person.

And lastly, we have the world of social media, the ultimate in biased statements having little to do with facts of any sort. Where the educated meet the illiterate, the closed-minded face off against the liberal, and anonymous hacks and haters can spout their filth with zero accountability. Check out some of these, if you have the stomach for it:

1. Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Davis was fired over Tweets comparing African-Americans in Baltimore to apes: “It’s time to start using deadly force in Baltimore. When they start slaying these ignorant young people it’ll send a message.” And then, “Baltimore the last few days = real life Planet of the Apes.”


2. South Carolina Republican Todd Kincannon flings insults liberally. On Nancy Pelosi: “?The Crabby C— from the California Coast? Would you prefer Nancy the Crooked Whore? More accurate, but also more words.” On transgender persons: “I have plenty of compassion for trannies. They should all be locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.”


3. Some hate-filled anonymous douchebag on Harley Quinn Smith, daughter of Kevin Smith: “You’re ugly as shit. And that steaming horse shit of a movie, yoga hosers, should be banned. Fuck your talentless cunt of a father for trying to compare it with the matrix. You’re cancer and I sincerely hope you end up like Lindsay Lohan and dead.”

To the legitimate, serious journalists out there who fact-check and verify, keep it up! You might be a dying breed, but you’re the sole reliable source for news on this planet.

To shoddy producers of questionable Internet content, please take pride in your work. Take the extra ten minutes to verify your facts before blasting them out into cyberspace. Once out, it’s out there forever.

To the cowards who hide behind anonymous Twitter handles or fake Facebook profiles, remember the New York Times rule: If you wouldn’t be comfortable with what you write being on the front page of the New York Times in 3” high letters with your real name right there for everyone to see, don’t put it on Facebook. Similarly (and probably more importantly), if you wouldn’t say it to your mother, don’t Tweet it.


When Fiction Authors Write What They Don’t Know*


Boy Reading Book on a Stack of BooksConventional writing wisdom says that an author should write what he knows, because it lends credibility to the writing and brings it to sparking life. This is great advice. My military stories feel authentic, because I understand the language, mannerisms, and mindset of the military culture. But what happens when an author tries to write what she doesn’t know?

A storm of controversy swept through the writing community last week, focusing on a particular workshop scheduled for a particular writers conference. The crux of the matter centralized on the idea that an author should not write a disabled character because she, herself, was not disabled. I’m not going to rehash that drama, but it got me thinking about fiction writing.

Fiction is, by definition, “literature…that describes imaginary events and people.”1 Contemporary novelists write books set in 18th century England or Feudal Japan. Gays write straight men, and men write female protagonists. A wealthy Russian living in Germany finished a book set in New England about a poverty-stricken child while he was studying butterflies. Yes, I mean Vladimir Nabokov.

Franz Kafka penned a seminal work about a man who’d been transformed into some sort of ceiling-crawling insect, though he remained categorically human. William Golding was never stranded on a deserted island as a boy, but Lord of the Flies remains one of the most exceptional books ever written about human nature, morality, and a descent into barbarism. Watership Down follows the adventures of rabbits. Rabbits? Yes, and it’s a wonderful book. I highly recommend it. But Richard Adams is not, nor has ever been, a rabbit.

My point is that we write what we don’t know all the time. How do we do it? We research. We interview specialists and scholars. We observe our subjects in their native habitat to understand their particular psychology, and read what historians, biographers, and sociologists have to say. We read foreign newspapers and current magazines, and look at photographs to help us get a feel for an uncommon setting or unique fashion trend. And then we imagine.

But the far more relevant question is, “Why do we do it?”

At a fundamental level, we write to immerse ourselves fully in the astonishing diversity of the human experience. A desire to express ideas which might transform another in a meaningful way. To inspire, to educate, to amuse. As therapy. As a legacy for those who come after. An author should write words that speak to him (and others) in a story that happens to be set in Alabama or Fiji or Mars. A story she would love to read but doesn’t yet exist, so she writes it. I’m not only talking about literary classics or the Great American Novel. The same ideas and ideals apply to mysteries, romances, legal thrillers, and Westerns. To fantasy and horror and science fiction. We throw ourselves joyfully into the miasma of the Unknown to cage a small sliver of it, and then we free that sliver into the wild for others to experience.

So if you only read gothic novels written by hunchbacks with an advanced knowledge of French architecture, suspense books written by an assassin who’s suffered memory loss, or fantasies written by elves, you’re shorting yourself. Spread your wings a little, trust the author to take you on a wild ride, sit back, and enjoy.

*For the purposes of this article, ‘he,’ ’she,’ ‘his,’ and ‘her’ are used interchangeably.

1 Definition of Fiction in English:.” Fiction: Definition of Fiction in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US). N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.

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