Saturday, May 31, 2014

I can't talk about Israel before I talk about HONDURAS

I'm currently in Israel, but I can't discuss this adventure until I talk about my trip to Honduras:

In March, I traveled to Honduras.  That was months ago, I know.  Still, I'm going to give it a blog post.

I went to Honduras with Public Health Brigades, a branch of Global Brigades.  We were stationed in El Ojochal, a rural village in the coastal Valle region, which is wedged between El Salvador and Nicaragua.

I expected heat.  Mugginess.  I'd been taking malaria medicine, and I'd stocked up on unscented soap so as not to attract swarms of mosquitos that could potentially carry malaria or dengue fever.  I expected dirt.  Grime.  To be escorted through the airport by armed guards.  (Tegucigalpa has one of the highest homicide rates in the world).

I wasn't prepared for this:

This is the interior of one of the homes we were working on.  It was a two room hut with dirt floors and large gaps in the walls, which allowed the chickens to enter and exit as they pleased.  The first picture shows a stove in the corner of the kitchen.  As part of our project, we built a brick stove with a chimney to help prevent respiratory problems.  It also requires less wood.  The second photo shows the sleeping area.  This family slept in hammocks, as did most families in El Ojochal.

Here we see the exterior of a typical home (at least, typical for the area in which we were working).  These photos are from Amapala.

I knew that Honduras was not a wealthy country by any means.  Still, I was struck by the abject poverty I saw all around me.  Everywhere I looked, I saw a decrepit hut, a malnourished child, a pile of trash littering the landscape.  It was bad.

At the same time, I was struck by the way life goes on.  I met some amazing people who were eager to share their culture with me.  We bonded over traditional Honduran folk music, food, and breathtaking vistas.

It's important to visit places like Honduras, which serve as reminders that there are severe problems in the world.  However, too often these places are seen for their problems alone.  Yes, the people I met wanted me to take and share photos so that others could see their harsh realities, but when we talked, they wanted to tell me about the beauty of their country.  It's important to remember that, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Blitz! WONDERFULLY WICKED, by C.J. Burright

Wonderfully Wicked
Release Date: 05/13/14

Summary from Goodreads:
A dreamcaster with the ability to channel creatures from her nightmares, headstrong and cynical Kalila Montgomery longs for a peaceful, picket-fence life…until the man literally of her dreams kidnaps her. Survival quickly becomes her number one goal, yet a growing attraction to the man in her nightmares is impossible to ignore. While she fears he will kill her, other, more terrifying enemies surround her, and Kalila succumbs to his scheme to escape. She may be his one hope for freedom…A deadly combination of power, cunning, and cold-hearted charm, Lydon v'al Endrian fears nothing. Feels nothing.

Chained to a brotherhood of men with the supernatural ability to invade dreams, he hunts dreamcasters to be harvested for their dreams and killed. His target: Kalila Montgomery. But Kalila awakens an undeniable dark desire and a longing for a freedom long-lost. To gain everything he craves, Lydon must seduce Kalila before his plot is discovered…a hopeless challenge which, if failed, will earn him a death-sentence. Caught up in a dangerous world of secrets and obsession, doubt and betrayal, Kalila and Lydon face the nightmare of their lives, where love will either deliver them—or destroy them both.

Available from:

“I took great effort to see you.” His tone hinted the act made him deserving. “You sleep; I’ll keep watch. And my vow of yesterday stands. I won’t molest you.”
To her annoyance, her pulse danced a country jig. Whatever efforts he took on her behalf were of questionable nature, not romantic. She made a rude noise in case he held any such illusions.
“Keep watch for what? No one besides you could reach my window and my door’s bolted.”
Lydon laced his hands behind his head, his lips twitching as though fighting a smile. “Then I’ll watch you. Like before.”
Horror prickled over her in a rushing tide. She leapt up. “You watched me sleep? Not skulked around in my bedroom to attack me?” She groaned, imagining him watching her drool, snore, or grind her teeth.
He laughed, low and warm. “You’re so lovely when you dream, Lils. An angel.” He patted the empty spot beside him.
Her traitorous body, defenseless against him, obeyed. The red, silken comforter hissed beneath her knees while she climbed onto the opposite side of the giant bed. The lone lamp by the bed cast a mystical glow over Lydon, catching golden highlights in his light hair, the silver shards in his eyes. “Watching people sleep is creepy.”
He shrugged. “Not people, just you. Besides, I am creepy.”
Definitely not creepy. Kalila settled into a cross-legged position and fixed him with a no-nonsense look. “Since it seems you have nothing better to do than lie there like a sloth, be useful and fess up. Why am I being treated as some freaking porcelain doll in a glass case? How can my nightmares benefit the V’alkara? Can the V’alkara really take my dreams away? None of you seem sick—and no, mental doesn’t count—so what’s wrong? And when will you take us home?”
Lydon jiggled one black boot. What she thought might be disapproval flickered in his eyes. “I won’t waste our alone time answering inquiries. I have other plans.”
She swallowed hard. Maybe she’d misjudged him. Maybe he was so confident in his assassin abilities—and her helplessness—he felt sneakiness was unnecessary.
He sat up in a blink of an eye, moving with inhuman speed. One large hand was planted next to her knee. His breath fanned her chin. The scent of the outdoors and a tinge of smoke drifted from his clothes. His voice whispered spider-soft.
“Do you care to know what other less attractive names some call me?” The world seemed to shrink to Lydon and the force of his gaze. “Angel of Ruin. Living Nightmare. Scourge.” His eyes gleamed, darkened. “As you might guess from such monikers, peace in my life is rare. I’ll relish any fragments of it I happen to stumble across for as long as possible.”
His fingers trailed her cheek to cup her chin. In the span of a heartbeat, his face changed. From beautiful man to skeletal beast then back to beautiful man. A chill coiled around her soul, deep and cold as a winter storm. Who—what—was this guy?
“Do you feel it too?”
Kalila’s heartbeat rumbled in her ears, kicked at her throat. Her fingers jerked with a fierce need to touch him. Instead, she fisted the blanket. Admit nothing to the enemy. Yet the urge to nestle her cheek into his palm and purr grappled with reason. She had to take control before she did something stupid.

About the Author
CJ blames her love for reading and all things Medieval on her father, who plied her often with fantasy novels ranging from Sir Lloyd Alexander to Piers Anthony.  Her love for romance, however, lies completely at the feet of her best friend Michelle, who dared to give her a romance novel for her birthday.  She smiled, politely said thank you, and tossed it in the corner, where it gathered dust.  In a moment of desperation, when only the revolting romance remained in her almost-always toppling stack of awaiting books, she sucked it up and read the romance.  Doomed. 

She started writing fantasy and paranormal romance for the cathartic experience, decided she liked it, and after two overlong, horribly written novels joined RWA and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter.  Best classes and critique groups ever.  Double doomed.  Now, writing is a necessity, not just a hobby.

In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading or actually working, CJ might be found in the dojang (4th Dan Black Belt, baby), rooting on the Mariners (who will some day win the World Series), working out (P90X, anyone?), gardening (a little dirt never hurt anyone), or playing Music of the Night on the piano (without mask or cape). She lives in Oregon with her fabulous husband and daughter. Not to mention her minions, a herd of cats.

WONDERFULLY WICKED is CJ's Burright's first novel.

Author Links:
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to Seduce a Band Geek (How To #2)
Release Date: 05/06/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Sierra Livingston’s got it bad for her sister’s best friend, Levi Mason—the boy who carries his drumsticks in his pocket, marches with the school’s band, and taps his feet to whatever beat runs through his head. Sierra racks her brain for ways to impress the sexy drummer, but the short skirts and bursting cleavage don’t seem to cut it.

When Sierra gets paired with Levi’s sister, Brea, for a mentorship program, they strike a deal. In exchange for Sierra keeping her mouth shut about Brea ditching the program, Brea lets Sierra dig for more info on Levi to help get the guy of her dreams.

But when Sierra discovers Levi no longer plays the drums, his family has moved into a trailer, and he’s traded in his Range Rover for a baby blue moped, Sierra’s not sure if she can go through with violating his privacy. She’ll have to find the courage to ask him straight out—if he’s willing to let her in—and explore other ways to seduce the school’s band geek.

And here's an excerpt:

Will you come here?” he asks, taking my wrist and guiding me—omigosh—on his lap. He slides back to make room for me, but now I’m like, straddling him. Legs over legs, one of his arms holding me steady, the other coming up and cupping my neck. I rest my hands on his waist, not sure where to put them because, holy crap, what is going on? I like it, whatever it is, but he still looks like someone’s twisting a knife in his gut.

Levi, you’re kind of scaring me.”

He gives me this weird smile thingy, only half his mouth twitching up at the corner. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to scare you.”

Then what’s wrong? Is everything okay?”

He shakes his head, keeping his eyes locked on mine. My lips part slightly as I wait for him to spill. But he doesn’t. He drops his gaze to my mouth, and my breathing picks up.

I need to kiss you.”

Available from:
Amazon * Kobo

Link to book one:
(cover linked to Goodreads)

Available from:

About the Author
Amazon multi-category and international bestselling author of HOW TO DATE A NERD, HOW TO SEDUCE A BAND GEEK and HOW TO HOOK A BOOKWORM

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. Her angel children and perfect husband fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Cassie Mae is an bestselling author of the teen contemporary romance novel REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, which she self-published. In addition to publishing with Swoon Romance, she is published by Random House Flirt.

Author Links:
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1 ebook of How to Seduce a Band Geek & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
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