Posted in Monday blogs

The Best Day Trips Can be Booked with a Library Card

Jericho and Hicksville Library staff and patrons that went on the “Long Island by Land and Sea tour” conducted by Carole Lucca (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)

I recently took a library trip called “Long Island by Land and Sea.” While the itinerary included locations within a two hour’s drive, I and my fellow travelers visited a variety of places including the Peconic River Herb Farm and the Raphael Winery. The final stop was a lighthouse tour aboard the Peconic Star Express out of Greenport. There was also time for a bit of shopping and lunch in between.

Our tour guide on the trip was Carole Lucca of All Around Long Island Tours. I was not surprised at how informative and friendly she was because I had gone on a previous library tour that she led to the Hamptons. Some of the interesting tidbits she shared included the fact that Suffolk County has ten townships while Nassau County only has three along with two cities – Glen Cove and Long Beach. We traveled through both Brookhaven Township and Riverhead Township during the trip.  She also pointed out that Martha Clara Vineyards was owned by the Entenmann’s of the famous bakery.

The gift shop at the Peconic River Herb Farm includes a variety of gardening and souvenir merchandise
My friend and library co-worker Teresa and I in front of the Peconic River.

We arrived at the Peconic River Herb Farm in the late morning. The sun was shining, and it was the perfect temperature for a relaxing stroll around this lovely garden center. After picking up a few souvenirs in the quaint gift shop, many of us meandered down to the river where we took photos by the water.

Seating that overlooks the Raphael Winery’s vineyard.
Our group sampled four wines with cheese and bread.

A short drive away was the Raphael Winery where we were treated to tastings of four wines on their comfortable patio overlooking the grape vines. Along with our drinks, we were served bread and samples of cheese. While we partook of the refreshments, the winery’s owner, Julie Petrocelli Vergari, filled us in on the history of the winery and winemaking. She explained that Raphael was family-owned and spoke about the process of turning grapes into wine and the fact that Long Island wines have a lower alcohol level than California wines because of the lesser number of sunny days during the year. Afterward, guests were invited to shop at Raphael’s gift shop or purchase their own bottle of wine at a tour discount.

Me standing by the Peconic Star Express before our lighthouse tour.

Following our pleasant time at the winery, we headed to Greenport where we were to board the Peconic Star Express for our lighthouse tour. Before boarding the ship, we took a break for lunch. A few people including myself chose to eat at Claudio’s a well-known restaurant in town not far from the dock and then walk through the village for some shopping.

The first lighthouse we viewed was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, more commonly known as “Bug Lighthouse.” (photos by Vladimir Reyes)

The day had turned overcast when we met by the dock to start our lighthouse tour and; although it was cold on the water, passengers had an option to stay inside and just go out on deck or aboveboard for photos when we passed the lighthouses. The first lighthouse we saw was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, commonly known as Bug Light. According to our Captain, this offshore lighthouse can be toured by appointment and is automated so does not have a keeper. Our next stop was the Orient Point Lighthouse which is also unmanned and is currently for sale for around $250,000. The captain told us we were in a dangerous body of water because of the rocks in the area.

The Fire Island Lighthouse

When we arrived at the Fire Island Lighthouse near Plum Island, our captain informed us that it played a role in the first battle of the Revolutionary War. This lighthouse includes an oil house next to it and New York City rocks around it.

One of the seals swimming in the water near Race Rock Lighthouse (photo by Vladimir Reyes)

We continued on to Great Gull Island which we learned serves as a nesting area for terns. Race Rock Lighthouse, by Fishers Island,  attracts seals. We were even able to view a few as they poked their heads out of the water near the rocks. Race Rock Light is an active lighthouse noted for its foghorn that sounds 24/7. It is also automated and, like the Orient Point Lighthouse, is also up for sale. The last lighthouse we viewed was Little Gull Lighthouse. We then made our way back to Greenport where photographer  Vladimir Reyes took shots of our group. After dropping off passengers from the Jericho Library, we headed back to the parking area that serves as the drop-off for the Hicksville passengers. It was a long day but a very enjoyable one, and everyone was already talking about signing up for the next trip.

The library group after disembarking from the lighthouse tour. (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)

 

Posted in Conference, Monday blogs

A Librarian and Author’s Day at BookExpo America

It started on a clear Friday morning, the 2nd day of June, as I boarded an early train to Penn Station along with my friend and fellow Long Island author, Lisa Diaz Meyer, and her son and husband who were also on their way to BookExpo in New York City. Lisa was exhibiting her three wonderful dark-fiction collections while I was representing my library. Although, as a librarian and author I’d been to other local library and book-related conferences, this was my first time at BEA.

Lisa Diaz Meyer, my friend and fellow Long Island author, at her booth at BookExpo

Walking through the glass doors of the Javitz Center, I noticed the huge signs of publishers and booksellers such as Simon & Schuster, Ingram, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. People in business attire were walking around with coffee cups and conference schedules, their registration badges hanging around their necks identifying them as librarians, authors, editors, and others involved in the book world. Spanning four floors and including conference rooms, stages, and exhibitor booths, most of the action took place on the main level. That’s where Lisa set up her table with the other Indie authors. She had been exhibiting since Wednesday and planned to remain for BookCon which took over on the weekend.

Meeting Michael Connelly, a fellow member of International Thriller Writers, was the highlight of my day.

When I received my badge for the day, I was interested to see that it advertised Michael Connelly. As a librarian, I was familiar with the appeal of his books to thriller lovers. One of my patrons who once received books at home when she was homebound was a particular fan of his, and I always had a hard time keeping up with her request for his titles. When I learned he would be appearing at a booth that afternoon to sign copies of The Late Show, his latest release, I thought of Mrs. Nelson and knew she would love to receive her own autographed copy of this book. I made a point to attend the signing and, although the line was long, I managed to get the book, meet Michael in person, and even have a photo taken with him. It was the highlight of my day.

During BookExpo, I also attended the library programs that previewed upcoming summer and fall titles. At many of these, I was able to receive advanced reader copies of these popular forthcoming books. Since I order the fiction and mystery titles for my public library, I found these sessions very informative and knew they would help me select the most anticipated novels for my community. In addition, since we are starting an adult summer reading program this year, some of the ARC’s and exhibitor giveaways can be used as door prizes for our closing event.

Besides the signing with Michael Connelly, there were two other pleasantly unexpected events that happened to me at BookExpo. The first was discovering the Librarian’s Lounge, an oasis hidden away in the far corner of the main floor. Sponsored by Publishers Weekly and open only to librarians, this wonderful area featured food and refreshments throughout the day along with authors and book signings. In the morning, there were bagels and spreads with coffee; and, later in the day, a sweet treat of ice cream and cookies for tired librarians in need of a pick-me-up from the long day of walking around the conference center. During this afternoon break, several authors were also present to sign copies of their books.

The second nice surprise was the number of cat items for sale. At a conference for book people, I actually should’ve expected this. I picked up a black cat tote and a shirt as souvenirs and nabbed a free copy of a Grumpy Cat book.

At the close of the conference day, toting twice as many bags as I’d entered with, my friends and I headed to Penn Station for the train back to Long Island. Unfortunately, it was rush hour, no taxis were available, and the conference shuttle was nowhere in sight. We ended up walking, and I was glad I’d taken the advice of my co-workers and director and brought along a rolling suitcase and comfortable shoes. The day was still pleasant, one of the best of the season so far, so the trek to the station was an enjoyable end to a great day.

 

 

Posted in Anthology, Freebies and Special Offers, Mysteries, Solstice Publishing

New Mystery Anthology Print Edition Goodreads Giveaway

Enter to win! That’s all you have to do. Solstice Publishing is celebrating Plots & Schemes Vol. 1 becoming a best seller in Germany during its release by giving away three autographed copies of the print edition of this fabulous anthology.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/237966-plots-schemes-vol-1

All you have to do is click on the Goodreads link between May 26 and June 9 and enter. It’s that simple. Once the contest ends, Goodreads will notify us of the winners names and you will receive your copy.

 

Her child vanishes in a puff of smoke.

When Murder is on the Itinerary

An eavesdropped comment leads to an impossible scheme!

Mysterious events pull Dana into danger.

A rock star’s murder leaves Emlyn Goode questioning everything she knows about herself.

Murder most foul puts this cop to the test

One murder, one plan, two possible outcomes.

Losing your mind is scary…

If you’re not at the beach, the Tough Luck stories will take you there.

Trail Town Texas leans heavily on their sheriff

Murder, kidnapping, mysterious events, and more are our treat to you in this wonderful anthology from Solstice Publishing. Discover the talents of K.C. Sprayberry, Debbie De Louise, Donna Alice Patton, E.B. Sullivan, Susan Lynn Solomon, Johnny Gunn, K.A. Meng, Leah Hamrick, Lois Crockett, and Stephy Smith.

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072L7KZ6K

Here’s a little taste of what you’ll find inside this intriguing book!

A smile was on his face. Despite the fact that he was supposed to connect with the egg donor of this lovely child, he had no thoughts of doing that or returning the kid at the appointed time. His timing was perfect. The child—Lanie is such an idiotic name; I’ll have to come up with another one—would be five in a few days. In time, she would forget there had been his loser ex in her life. She—Sheila will regret divorcing me—had battered through his training, all he’d gone through to make her a compliant and complacent wife. She’d run away after he ordered her to get an abortion.

Good thing the bitch ignored me. I wouldn’t have this gorgeous child to raise to be like me.

Granted the child was weak now, but he would fix that, as soon as he made sure they vanished forever. No one would stop him from raising his daughter as he saw fit, and that meant keeping her away from her weakling of a mother.

Quietly, Mark Jannson, scion of the globally famous Jannson family, whose assets numbered in the billions, removed anything he considered important from his lavishly furnished thirty room mansion located in the mountains above Denver. His mother’s jewels were carefully packed into a leather satchel, to be given to his daughter, if she remained true to the Jannson name. The woman who called herself his mother had been consigned to a hovel in the southeast somewhere, once she showed her true colors by attempting to take him from his father.

“Let the bitch live in poverty the rest of her life,” he whispered.

https://youtu.be/3xUn1SZZrF8

Starting May 26, 2017, simply click on the link provided and enter. If you aren’t a member of Goodreads, you can join easily. This is a great place to discover books by new and exciting authors and be in on the fun of all sorts of entertainment!

Posted in Blog Paws, Cat Writer's Association, Conference

Five Important Things I Learned from Attending the Cat Writers and BlogPaws Conference

Before reading this, you may want to check my previous preview post about the BlogPaws/CWA conference that took place at the Sheraton Convention center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As a follow-up, I’d like to share five important things I learned from the conference.

  1. Multitasking is counter-productive.  Although I’ve suspected this for some time, Robbi Hess of All Words Matter in her seminar, “Overworked & Overwhelmed? 4-Step Process to Reinventing Your Writing & Your Routines,” stated that “multitasking is not your friend” and that the only way to get things done effectively is to focus on one task at a time. Hess also outlined a way for conference attendees to organize their goals.
  2. You’re Perfect the Way You Are. This was one of the ending remarks of Kathleen Gage’s keynote address, “The Delaney Factor: Discover How to Overcome any Obstacle and Achieve More Than You Dreamed Possible.” Gage emphasized, through personal example and those of other people who have achieved their dreams despite setbacks, that the only person we need to compete with is ourself. We are all unique with unique talents and abilities, and we should not let fear or insecurity stop us from reaching higher goals for ourselves.
  3. Content Differs by Medium. Twitter users know that they are restricted to 140 characters and that images are the primary focus of Pinterest and Instagram, but how are similar posts fashioned to reach audiences of various social media sites? Susan C. Willett, CWA member and award-winning blogger of Life with Dogs and Cats, explained with examples how this can be done in her presentation, “Telling Tales: How to Write & Craft Posts that Attract, Engage & Keep Your Audience Coming Back for More.”She also went over some important blogging facts such as keeping posts short, how and where to find ideas for posts, and the average length of a link that sets engagement (it’s longer than you think).
  4. Networking in person at conferences and events adds a dimension beyond online networking.  Although it isn’t always possible to attend in-person events because of costs or travel issues, the benefits outweigh the problems. Even if you are restricted to a local author event or book talk, meeting people in person, even those you “know” online, can forge a deeper connection. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Amy Shojai, CWA founder, CABC, and nationally known bestselling author and pet expert who writes the September Day series of novels, or “Thrillers with Bites,” as she calls them. Amy and I met for the first time years ago at one of the CWA conferences. We have been in touch online, but seeing her in person again after all these years was like reuniting with an old friend. I also enjoyed meeting Mollie Hunt, another CWA member and online friend, for the first time. Like me, Mollie writes a cozy mystery series, The Crazy Cat Lady Series. A new CWA friend, Dawn White, who I met at the conference and had not known online realized that we live very close to one another despite the fact that CWA has members all over the U.S. and several in other countries.
  5. Attending Conferences can be stressful and tiring but also a lot of fun.  While traveling and networking carry
    One of several pets I “dined” with during the conference
    Pet strollers were common sights around the convention center.

    some anxious and exhausting moments, they can also be enjoyable and fun. During the joint conference of BlogPaws and the Cat Writer’s Association, cats and dogs were seen throughout the conference center and were guests during sessions and at meals. The exhibit hall was full of booths featuring great products, information, and creative displays, some of them interactive. One of the sponsors, Red Roof Inn, a hotel chain where pets stay free, held a Sip and Paint Night where attendees painted a sunset beach scene with pets and, for those who wished, could have their paintings shipped home free of charge. The CWA kitty lounge included a feline/human astrologer, Ellen Zucker of Practical Astrologie. The CWA Happy Meower and awards banquet was a great opportunity for members to chat, grab a bite to eat and drink, and dress up in their fanciest cat clothes. Food was plentiful, and desserts beyond delicious especially one memorable Key Lime Pie. And, of course, the overflowing swag bags by the generous pet exhibit sponsors, made all the pets left at home happy when their person returned from the conference.

    The Sip & Paint event sponsored by Red Roof Inn, a chain of pet-friendly hotels, was a fun event.
    The Happy Meowr and CWA Banquet gave me a chance to strut my kitty clothes. Note the ears and shoes.
    Bug, Dr. Ken Lambrecht’s plus+ at the conference

    I had many other wonderful experiences at the BlogPaws/CWA 2017 conference. These are only some of the highlights and important concepts I learned.

  6. I was able to dress up and have my photo taken at this interactive exhibit booth.
    Key Lime Pie was just one of the luscious desserts at the conference that I didn’t care about cheating on my diet for.

    My cat Stripey sniffed the catnip toys in my suitcase when I got home and couldn’t wait for me to open it.

 

Posted in Cat Writer's Association

On the Road to BlogPaws and the Cat Writer’s Association Conference

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to attend the joint conference of the Cat Writer’s Association and BlogPaws. For those not familiar with these two great groups, let me fill you in. The Cat Writer’s Association (CWA) is a group of authors dedicated to spreading the word in all formats about felines. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “to encourage professionalism among cat writers, photographers, artists & broadcasters.” The group was founded in 1992 and is still going strong. Its first president was Amy Shojai, a nationally known, award-winning pet expert and CABC (Certified Animal Behavior Consultant) who has written numerous articles and both non-fiction and fiction pet books.

I am honored to have been a member of this association for many years and actually published my first two pieces of writing so I would be eligible for membership. Last year, I won a special award from Hartz Corporation for my entry, “Brush Your Cat for Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health,” in their annual contest.

BlogPaws is known as “the premier social media company for pets and their people.” Founded in 2009 by pet lovers and bloggers,  Their website states that, in less than 5 years, they became “the go-to resource for pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts looking to build their online presence to enhance their social networks and support animal shelters and rescues around the world.”

The conference features speakers, workshops, one-on-one sessions, table topics, and much more. Topics range from branding, copyright, social media, videography, photography, SEO, and other areas of interest to writers, bloggers, and pet enthusiasts. The keynote speakers are marketing strategist and product-creation expert Kathleen Gage and New York Times bestselling author and most re-tweeted person among digital marketers, Jay Baer.

There will be a banquet dinner on Friday night, May 19, at which CWA awards will be presented. The Nose-to-Nose Blogpaws awards event is the following night along with a final party before the conference ends on Saturday, May 20. The exhibit hall where sponsors and other vendors will display their pet-related products and services throughout the conference will also feature a cat lounge where CWA members will sell books, offer giveaways, and provide information about CWA to those visiting their table. I will be volunteering there on Thursday, May 18 from 4-5 pm and on Friday, May 19,  from 11-12. The conference hotel is also pet-friendly, and there will be a pet park as well as a rest/nap area for attendees who bring their pets. Although I’m not bringing my cats, I’ve promised them I’d bring home some kitty souvenirs.

To give you an idea of what goes on at a BlogPaws/Cat writer’s conference, here’s a video from last year’s event that I, unfortunately, couldn’t attend.

As with all conferences, the volunteers and sponsors are the ones who make things run smoothly. There will be special events hosted by Bayer, Merrick Pet Care, Pet Safe, Red Roof Inn, and VCA. Purina is also sponsoring the CWA Awards. For those who have registered for the conference, a weekly email newsletter is sent with updates and an online planner is available for them to organize their schedules. Blogpaws has also been hosting weekly twitter sessions about the conference on Tuesday nights.

For more information or to register before it’s too late, check out the conference site at http://blogpaws.com/events/2017-conference/ The complete schedule can be found here: http://blogpaws.com/events/2017-conference/agenda-and-speakers/ If you can’t make it, I’ll be posting the highlights when I return to show you what you missed. As Sneaky, the character cat from my Cobble Cove mysteries would say on his blog, “it’s going to be a pawsome event.”

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Free and On Sale May 9 and 10 the First 2 Cobble Cove Mysteries

The first of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, is free on Amazon on Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10. The second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is on sale for 99 cents. Grab a copy of both for less than a $1.

5-star review of A Stone’s Throw: “A wonderfully written cozy murder mystery! I was completely enraptured from the first page and found myself quite unable to put it down! The storyline was masterfully crafted and flowed smoothly, unveiling more and more secrets and tidbits as it progressed and kept me completely hooked the entire time.”  myBook.to/Stonesthrow

5-star review of Between a Rock and a Hard Place: “If you like a small town mystery with a twist you will enjoy this book. Cobble Cove is a cozy town and reading about its residents makes you feel like you are there and know the characters.” myBook.to/CobbleCove2

The books are also on tour with Great Escapes through May 13. Hosting blogs feature reviews, guest posts, spotlights, and interviews of my series as well as a chance to win all 3 books in a giveaway. The tour schedule is below:

May 5 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 12 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

May 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

Posted in Books, New Releases

New Release: Superior Species 2: Finding Karen by K. A. Meng

Hello, thank you for having me on your blog. I want to introduce you to my newest book in the world of Superior Species: Superior Species Book 2: Finding Karen. There is a surprise later.

Amazon link: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies2

Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen Blurb:

Ivory Ames has learned the truth about Los Roshano, New Mexico and the university she attends there, but it isn’t what she expected. Monsters exist. They’ve been running the town in secret to fill their ranks. She vows to keep her friends and herself safe from their evil clutches.

As soon as Ivory makes her pledge, her best friend is missing. The race to find Karen Bakke is on before she is killed or worse.

Teasers: 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Trailer:

https://youtu.be/miDzdFjFmfA

I made you a promise. As part of Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen release, you can obtain a FREE ebook copy of Superior Species Book 1 on Friday, May 12, 2017: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies

Superior Species Blurb:

Ivory Ames has caught the attention of four gorgeous guys. At Los Roshano University this isn’t normal, even when all the upperclassmen have perfect physiques, flawless complexions, and hypnotic looks. That’s not even the weirdest part. The town has a strict sunset curfew because of wild animals attacking.

To keep her friends and herself safe, Ivory must figure out the truth behind the town’s mysteries before it’s too late. 

Meet the Author:

K. A. Meng lives in North Dakota, in the same town she grew up. Her love for the paranormal started at a young age when she saw her first ghost.

Today, she spends her time writing paranormal romance, fantasy, and everything in-between. When life drags her away from it, she hangs out with her son and friends, goes to movies, watches TV, plays board games, walks her dogs, and reads books. She is actively involved in two writing groups and wishes to some day visit Disney World.

Find K.A. Meng:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012856366750&fref=ts

Facebook Like Page: https://www.facebook.com/KAMengAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KAMengAuthor

Blog: https://www.kamengauthor.com/blog

Website: https://www.kamengauthor.com/