International Thank an Author Year

WRITERI am declaring today the beginning of “International Thank an Author Year”. To my knowledge, this has not been previously declared, and I believe it is long overdue. And since Earth does not yet have an international government, I believe that I am as qualified as anyone else to declare this event.

Think about it for a moment. How many of you have a favorite book? Or an author that you absolutely adore? Have you ever learned an amazing fact by reading a book? Did you find a great recipe in a new cookbook? Has a favorite children’s book allowed you to spend quality time with a child or grandchild? Have you browsed travel books or novels with exotic locales, visiting those places in your mind? What about that special series of books, whose characters feel like your best friends? When life gets a little too crazy, do you escape between the pages for much needed relaxation?

SCREAMIf you answered YES to any of these questions, you should THANK AN AUTHOR. Without the efforts of those writers, you would have missed out on having some wonderful experiences. Just imagine how empty your life would be without books! On second thought—don’t imagine it. It is a horrifying image.

REVIEWYou may be asking, “How do I go about thanking an author?” I have several suggestions, but the most gratifying one for most authors is to WRITE A REVIEW. Just about everyone has an Amazon account, and that is probably the easiest way for anyone to leave a review. Many people also use Goodreads, or other reading-orientated sites. Many libraries also allow reviews on their websites. The advantages of writing a review are many. YOU get to tell the author how much you like the book, and even if there are some things you liked more than others. The AUTHOR gets thanked for all their hard work creating that book for your enjoyment. And POTENTIAL readers can be pointed in the right direction to find their own new favorite book.

Does the author have a website? Sign up for their newsletter. Newsletters will keep you informed of upcoming public appearances, new books coming out, and other news about the author. Authors love communicating with their fans. ONCE

Do they have a blog? Follow the blog, like, comment on, and reblog their posts so that others can get to know your favorite writers. This also lets the writer know that someone is reading what they write, and allows them to learn what topics people are most interested in.

FRIENDDo they have an author page on Facebook? “Like” their page, and invite your friends to like it too. This is a quick and easy way to show the author you are paying attention, and are interested in what they are doing. The same principle applies to Twitter. Spread the word!

Is an author appearing at a public venue for a book signing or lecture? Go see them, buy a book, get it autographed, and say “thank you” in person. You will probably be able to have you picture taken with them as well.

So go forth, fellow readers, and kick off International Thank an Author Year!THANKS

Let’s Talk About Love

Now that it is February, everyone’s mind is turning toward Valentine’s Day. Hearts, flowers, roses, boxes of chocolate, sappy greeting cards. The one day a year we are reminded and encouraged to pay special attention to the ones we love. And yes, I know many of us say we don’t need a Hallmark holiday to remind of us of what’s important, but we still participate because we enjoy it.

Before the internet gets overwhelmed with Valentine’s greetings and stories about Cupid, I want to talk about a different perspective on love. One that isn’t all hearts and flowers.

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The matriarch of our Oghma Creative Media family is known for writing romantic stories. Velda Brotherton has been writing hot and steamy stories for years. Whether the setting is the Ozark hills, the western plains, or somewhere in between, her writing is said to be sexy, dark, and gritty. She does just write romances, but those are what I want to talk about today.

Because I’m working on a couple of projects with her, I’ve had the chance to spend a little more one-on-one time with Velda, and get to know her. She’s been around a little longer than some of us have, and experienced a few more things. And no matter how arrogant we are, we’re going to have to admit that she’s bound to know more about love.

I don’t know much about Velda’s personal life, and all that she has been through, but I do know that she was married to one man for many years, and was always true to him. Think about that. One man. In today’s world of transient relationships that’s something special.

Right now Velda is working on a sequel to a book she wrote in 1985, but didn’t publish until a few years ago. This book is called Beyond the Moon, and is dear to her heart. Recently I read this book for the first time, and I was stunned by the depth of love portrayed by her characters.

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Beyond the Moon is the story of a Vietnam POW who comes home and ends up in the local VA hospital because he just can’t find his way back to the world. It is the story of an artist who recently lost her husband, and is trying to build a new life without her longtime partner. It is the story of these two people finding each other in a world that is new and strange to both of them, and learning what REAL love is. It is not always hearts and flowers. Sometimes it is tears, and nightmares, and fears of the unknown and the unknowable. It is standing beside the one you love, not because you should, but because it is the only thing your heart will let you do.

Beyond the Moon is a book I would recommend everyone read. If you’re a woman, a man, a person who’s been in love, a person who thought they were in love once, a person who’s never been in love—this book is for you.

Yes, there is romance. But above all, this is a love story.