Friday, December 11, 2015

Introducing Captives by Megan Whitson Lee

When I saw that Megan Whitson Lee had a new book out, I knew I had to help out. I loved Megan's book Song from the Ashes, and I knew from the cover I'd love this one. Here's the beautiful cover for Captives:

And here's all you need to know about it to know you need to head to Amazon and buy your copy!


When seventeen-year-old Amy Timothy disappears from a rural Virginia truck stop, world-renowned cellist Blaise Timothy puts her life on hold to join the search for her sister. While conducting her own investigation into Amy’s disappearance, Blaise seeks solace in addictive and destructive relationships. 
Three years later, the search for Amy becomes a homicide investigation and catches the attention of national media and sex trafficking activists. Less than a mile from where Amy’s body is recovered, Andrew Victor attempts to manage a failing career in art, an addiction to pornography, and a family secret that links him to the murder investigation. In Washington, DC, Asha Edgewater knows first-hand the horrors of sex slavery and lends support to the Timothy family even as she comes to terms with her own past. As all three lives intersect in their search for redemption and healing, they find it is only possible through God’s grace.


Megan Whitson Lee writes inspirational fiction involving characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions, crises of faith, and moral dilemmas. She is passionate about tough, relevant topics such as sex trafficking and addictions. She is also the author of Song from the Ashes, a modern retelling of Edith Wharton’s classic novel, Age of Innocence. 

Megan has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University. She is an editor for Pelican Book Group and teaches high school English in Fairfax County, Virginia where she lives with her husband and two greyhounds.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Everyone's a Critic

When I grew up, "critic" was a job. Someone had to have some level of experience to land it. Critics worked at newspapers and magazines. They even had their own TV shows.

We knew we could trust them because, out of all of the people in the world, they were chosen to be reviewers. Whether it was true or not, there was a feeling that they had an expertise in movies, books, or whatever else they might be critiquing.

Then came the Internet. The only credential required to review something was a username and password. Goodreads, Amazon, your own blog...doesn't matter. You're officially a reviewer. Congratulations.

You can say anything you want and it's out there. Forever. Add a few fun GIFs to your review on Goodreads and other users will vote you up until you're on top. You now reign as a supreme reviewer because you can post things like this:

These reviewers could have their own agendas. Perhaps they want free books. Or maybe they want attention. Many of them, though, simply want to warn the world about bad books and become a respected authority--the person everyone comes to for good books to read.

And I fully respect those people. I'm just concerned that we seemed to have lost the filter. When I look through reviews now, I don't know if it's a family member of the author, the author's worst enemy, someone wanting to get attention, or someone who legitimately wants to leave an objective review of a author's work.

How do you feel about reviewers and critics? Do you read reviews before you read a book?

Monday, December 07, 2015

When Your Friends Just Want Your Money

Last week, the always-funny Military Wife wrote a blog post about Young Living Essential Oils. When I saw the title, I hesitated. But then I saw that the first picture was this...

...and knew I had to read. I should have known it would be amazing. Military Wife could make a recap of an insurance convention interesting.

I was telling her about my 20s, when it seemed all of my friends were constantly selling something. One friend seemed to think life was a constant Tupperware party. Every weekend she was inviting her friends to learn about Party-Lite candles or Pampered Chef or whatever the latest trend was. Everything but one of those girls' night out parties where everyone passes around naughty gifts.

She would never do that. She was one of these.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Anyway, she now sells Essential Oils on Facebook, but she does so cleverly. She isn't annoying about it like the Younique and Scentsy people are. I use both of those products, but I'll be darned if I'll buy from one of those people who turn every status update into an ad.

When I was in my 20s, I honestly began to feel a little resentful of the friends who only called when they were hosting a party. I felt like I was a customer rather than a friend. True, these parties have been an excuse for friends to get together since back in the days when women didn't work...

But now that they're hosted on Facebook, there's no shortage of people who will try to make money off you. From high school classmates you don't even remember to distant relatives to someone you met in the blogosphere, that invitation can come from anywhere. And it's great...because you don't have to take time out of your busy schedule to attend a party. However, is it me or did we lose something along the way? Instead of having an excuse to get together, gossip, have a few margaritas, and buy a few things, we're now just blasting each other with Facebook event invitations everyone ignores.

By the way, I think I just realized what was missing from all of those parties back in my 20s! My goody-two-shoes friend didn't have these...

Have you ever felt like a friend was treating you like a customer?