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I have gone back to the beginning and the books that turned me onto reading Fantasy—The Lord of the Rings. Still so good. I read them so much as a teen and periodically throughout the years since then. I am totally enjoying them once again. It is a visit with an old friend. Treebeard is just as delightful. I wish to meet an Ent. Stephanie Burgis. January 8, at 9. Oh, that is really good to hear! But first, a reading roundup! What about you guys? What have you been reading?

Stephanie Burgis January 8, at 1. To view it, click here. I am SICK and tired of this sexism in books lately. Why is it always the heroine that has to suffer in silence?? You know when you love a woman enough to not only THINK about proposing, but then flying home to make sure you had your family ring to do so. Yes, I know the heroine asked for a divorce but look what she just went through? Yes, it was his loss too, but ultimately a woman has physical changes as well as hormonal changes during pregnancy and after. This is where your marriage vows come in - you know, in sickness and health?

Sound familiar? How about till death do us part??? Also, the fact that the heroine proceeds to be celibate for 7 years?! Are you freaking kidding me? This is a joke of a storyline. I am so disturbed by this and in disbelief. View all 15 comments. Dane's Storm is a captivating and emotional second chance romance. I'm a huge fan of Mia Sheridan's, so as soon as I heard she had a new book out, I had to grab it. This story is currently an audio exclusive, which is fine by me. I LOVE my audio books! Dane and Audra had an epic first love.

Stories of Magic, Adventure, and Romance

The kind of first love most of us don't experience. The kind that you think will never end. Audra and Dan 4. Audra and Dane thought they'd always be together, that nothing could ever tear them apart. Some things, though, seem impossible to get through. Their marriage ended much too soon, but the love never did. Since their divorce, close to ten years ago, Audra has put her heart and soul in her business. Now a technicality from when they were married is threatening to take it from her. To save her livelihood, she's willing to see Dane to get things straightened out.

Though this couple has been apart for near a decade, the love between them is still there. And so is the chemistry! When things start to fall apart again, in a big way, these two will prove that maybe this time they can lean on each other and work together like they never did before. Maybe this time, they can survive together. Audra and Dane's story is written in dual POV and goes back and forth, from past to present.

I feel like with a story like this, it is so important that we got both of the characters POV. I loved both Audra and Dane. I didn't blame either of them for things falling apart their first time around. Loss can make people do crazy things and coping with such difficult things when your young can seem impossible.

I was sad to see what had occurred in their past, but so happy these two found their way back to each other. So rarely do people truly get a second chance at their first love. If you're looking for a beautiful, emotional, and sizzling story of love, loss, and second chances, be sure to pick up Dane's Storm The story is told in alternating POVs that transition from past to present seamlessly. I thought both narrators, Erin Mallon and Lance Greenfield did a terrific job.

Dane and Audra met and fell in love right before they were about to start college. From the moment Audra saw Dane sitting on a bench outside the window of her art class, she was mesmerized and never thought for one second that someone like Dane could ever spare her a passing glance, but they end up falling fast and hard. They feel a strong pull towards one another and soon enough an incredible passion ignites and Audra winds up pregnant.

Their marriage ends in divorce. Now we are thrust into the present, which is almost ten years later and Audra is trying to launch her business which she has been saving every penny she has to make it a success. She owns a building that Dane gifted to her while they were married and she plans to run her floral shop while renting out the other spaces in the building to wedding-themed businesses. Apparently, she signed a prenuptial agreement and has no legal claim to the building.

Audra has no choice but to seek Dane out. All those years ago Audra thought she was doing Dane a favor by letting him go. She believed that she was holding him back from a life that he desired but that was so far from the truth. He promises to help sort everything out with his grandmother. They head back to Colorado on his private plane and soon the couple is facing the most precarious situation of their lives that force them to rely on each other for survival. Once their defenses are forced to the wayside in order to survive, will they be able to let go of the past and fight for the future they were always destined to have together?

Here are my overall ratings: Heroes: 5 Heroine: 4 Plot: 5 Angst: 4. View all 8 comments. Sep 20, Jen rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary-romance , favorites , kindle-own , september , best-of , second-chance-romance. I loved this book!!! They had so much to work through regarding such a devastating loss for them, and the emotional baggage they carried inside was heartbreaking I will say this though, when it came time for her to step up and be strong; she was an amazing heroine!!

So very stron I loved this book!!! So very strong and I was very impressed by her. Dane was too, and his determination to protect Audra and survive was amazing! This book is a must read! I highly recommend it. I have been finding it hard to come across books lately that make me feel passionate about them I am pleased to say this one definitely did the trick, and it will be one of my best reads for !

View all 31 comments. Nope nope So much nope! Oh, she was celibate for 7 years, by the way. View all 14 comments. View 1 comment. Sep 26, Ivy H rated it really liked it Shelves: hero-is-heroine-s-only-lover , fucked-up-relatives , virginal-heroine , heroine-celibate-during-separation , beautiful-heroine , second-chance-romance , hero-not-celibate-during-separation , sexy-hot-hero , made-me-cry. A well written, painful, complicated but gripping love story about a second chance romance that almost didn't happen. I wasn't sure I should read this novel because reviews have been so erratic - either full of scathing commentary or fan girl fawning.

I'm neither a hater nor a fan girl of any author! But, I've enjoyed some of this author's books in the past and I decided to read this and make up my own mind. The author touches on complex issues like: Teenage marriage; Unplanned pr 3. The author touches on complex issues like: Teenage marriage; Unplanned pregnancy; A stillborn baby; A grieving teenaged heroine who might also be suffering from post partum depression; A 21 yr old H who has to cope with the loss of his first born son while dealing simultaneously with his depressed wife who is pushing him away, and, also having to go to college part time and learn all about his family's business empire.

I don't know how many 21 yr old guys are able to handle all this stuff and attend college at the same time. The young couple were in a difficult, painful point in their marriage. The heroine Audra kept pushing Dane away because she was grieving for her dead child and he wasn't able to get through to her. Eventually, she demanded a divorce and he had no choice even though he begged her to not go through with it but to accede to her desires.

It's all well and good to think that he's the grand H so he should've prevented the divorce and bridged the growing gap between him and his wife.

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But the fact is that when a person pushes you away, there is nothing you can do to stop it. I speak from experience: when my dad died a few years ago, I had a total meltdown because I'm an only child and he was my world even though I had a husband. I was 26 but felt like a little lost kid.

My grieving moodiness went on for almost a year, during which time I totally distanced myself from my other relatives. Those relatives are actually wonderful people but the sad, resentful, angry and childish jealous part of me couldn't handle seeing other persons enjoy their happy family when my dad was dead. My relatives tried hard to get me to see them or talk on the 'phone but I wasn't budging. It took a while before I could be my old self again.

I loved them but I just was not in the frame of mind to accept anybody's comfort. That's why I empathize with the H and don't blame him for the breakdown in his marriage. I don't think there was anything he could've done to stop Audra from pushing him away. The heroine herself kinda admitted to that. Her grief, anger, resentment and apathy had begun to consume her. And, she also refused to discuss the way his nasty grandmother had been treating her.

Maybe a therapist would've helped. Who knows? It didn't work for me because my shrink annoyed the F out of me with his condescending prattle. I soon got tired of him and the damned Valdoxan medication too.

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The point I'm making is that in this novel, I didn't see any MC as the "bad guy". Both Dane and Audra were in a horrible situation and sometimes love just isn't enough to help salvage a marriage. They had even been faithful to each other , during their marriage, and Dane hadn't been a manwhore before he'd married Audra.

He didn't even become a manwhore after the divorce. He did get into a relationship with an OW called Winnie, but he was never engaged to her. He wasn't in love with Winnie; it appeared as if he had just been trying to move on with his life. Of course I wish that he hadn't but in real life people do try to move on because what are the options? To wait for an ex-wife who'd demanded a divorce and wanted nothing to do with him? That would've been ideal from a romantic perspective but life doesn't work that way. Many of us have relatives and friends who have gotten divorced and most of us will admit that what we wish most is for them to move on and find someone new to love.

Dane attempted to move on with Winnie but his heart wasn't in it. I never asked her to marry me. Do you want to know why? Dane's Storm Kindle Location Kindle Edition.

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I was only considering the possibility of marrying Winnie because it seemed like she expected it. She was going to hear this. Fuck, Audra. I just. To lay eyes on you after all those years. You were laughing, and I watched as he walked you to your car and you got in and drove away. Dane's Storm Kindle Locations This novel is heart-wrenching because I wanted to kick both MC's during the flashback scenes when I saw how they were heading for disaster and eventual divorce.

I also wanted to hug them because I felt their pain and I almost cried during certain scenes. The author's narrative style captured their emotional suffering so poignantly. This is how I imagined the H, Dane: This is how I imagined the heroine, Audra: The parts of the story where the MC's are in the mountains struggling to survive after the plane crash were very difficult to enjoy, because I'm not a fan of the survivalist trope, except if it's a horror or thriller novel.

I also hated the part where they were attacked by wolves and a couple of the animals died. Yes, I am an animal lover so I always wince a lot during such scenes, even when the animals are attacking and dangerous. Dane and Audra suffered a lot in those mountains after that plane crash! But, the MC's physical suffering did break the invisible walls that they'd installed between them. In fact, it was the heroine who took a longer time to open up about what she'd experienced after the stillbirth of their son.

What lifted this story for me, personally, was the was the H's almost superhuman effort to save Audra's life.

Winter of Second Chances

The man was struggling with a festering leg injury, and the onset of septicemia, yet he still forced himself to use his very last bit of energy to drag her to safety. I believed he truly loved her and she was the love of his life. His relationship with Winnie had been a lacklustre attempt to move on and he admitted that. Safety: There is no cheating, in my opinion because they'd been faithful while they were married.

The H was never a manwhore but he did get involved with another woman after the divorce so he wasn't celibate during this time. He also never proposed to the OW or gave her any ring. His lack of celibacy didn't bother me because I think people are entitled to try and move on after a legal divorce. I certainly will not be living in celibate Hopeland if if ever get divorced, because I'm young and think my life is worth more than waiting like a faithful Penelope for my ex husband.

The heroine, on the other hand, was celibate and couldn't move on. Like hunger. Like alcoholism. Like death. Those kinds of struggles often spark a significant change and accomplishment in life. My advice: Surround yourself with mountains of information that you can mine later in the writing process.

I suspect that many first drafts of biographies resemble history textbooks.

Read Aloud for 2nd Grade: "Maggie's Second Chance" A Story with Dr. Lori

Rather, it would be a story about his life and the impact he had—and continues to have—on others. I needed to review and study the high points of his life so I could tell his story in a panorama with the broadest of strokes and unify it with a theme. The idea: opening doors…doors that had been opened for him and the many more he continues to open for others. My advice: Identify a theme and connect as much as you can back to that theme. To help transport the reader back in time, I incorporated some headlines of the day. The goal here was to set the context for the next section.

Dane's Storm

This is where his recollections and anecdotes support each of the 13 tips. The final section is all about tributes. Readers will find eulogies, testimonials and various articles and posts about Jim and his accomplishments. Lesson 4.

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Capture and connect moments. Jim was a storyteller. And, thankfully, he was a consistent storyteller. His stories were usually grand on their own telling.

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No fish-story treatment was needed or occurred over his lifetime. What we did together during his final weeks was search for and capture the meaning of those stories…the feelings, the emotions and, most importantly, the lessons. Memories of those events also belong to friends, family members, co-workers…none of whom asked to be in the book. Lesson 5. Write with your heart. You might as well care deeply for your subject, either positively or negatively. Your emotional connection to the subject will bleed through.

I wanted readers to come away knowing what Jim dreamed about, struggled with and was successful with. My advice: Devoting your energy and resources to a project like this should be for the joy of it.

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Some readers will need more than text, so the print version of Opening Doors features more than photos. Those are the top five lessons I learned writing my first biography. Please take a moment to share your thoughts below. His books are about hope, second chances and outcasts overcoming obstacles. Lentz made his mark as a corporate-marketing executive before becoming a full-time storyteller. He resides in Southern California with his high-school-sweetheart wife and family. To learn more, please visit www. Laura Drake. In fact, famous authors have come up with outrageous answers, so they don't have to go into it.

Think I'm kidding? Then I just work up stories around those ideas. I've always been fascinated by this subject. At the same time, I'm reluctant to talk about it. Because I don't know. After all, if you're not in control of the ideas, they could just stop coming, and then where would you be? It's probably my biggest fear as a writer. Every new idea I have for a book is golden, because I wasn't at all convinced I'd get another. Stephen King said once sorry, I can't find the exact quote that it's like there's this invisible stream over our heads, and writers tap into it, and the idea flows to them.

Someone also said an idea is like a buried stone you trip over, and you think, "What is that'? Michelangelo had another version: Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Wherever they come from, our job is not only to recognize ideas, but to get GOOD ones. Who hasn't had their interest piqued by an interesting tidbit, only to realize that it's not enough for a full-blown story?

And the goal is to discover this before you write the whole book, right? I don't pretend to know where ideas come from, but I do know where I'm more likely to get them. I don't mean a physical location—I mean my state of mind. My best ideas came when I was bored. I got my very first plot idea on the back of my husband's motorcycle I hadn't started riding my own yet.

We lived in Southern California, and it's hard to get anywhere without going through desert. Nothing against deserts, but after hours, your mind wanders, plays, and begins to put disparate things together. That's the state of mind we avoid in our busy everyday lives, but for me, it's where ideas live. I've talked to a lot of artists—painters, writers, musicians—many of whom have had great ideas on trains. The only explanation I have is all that stuff is coming at you while you're relaxed, so somehow it kicks you into hyperspace in terms of brain function. Neil Gaiman told his daughter's class of seven-year-olds: "You get ideas from daydreaming.

You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it. Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun.

Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up. Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream…I fell asleep on the plane, and dreamt about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed the remains to her pig and bound his novel in human skin. I said to myself, "I have to write this story. But I wrote the first forty or fifty pages right on the landing here, between the ground floor and the first floor of the hotel.

One night, I was lying in bed and I was very tired, and I was just sort of channel surfing on television. And, I was going through, flipping through images of reality television where there were these young people competing for a million dollars or a bachelor or whatever. And then I was flipping and I was seeing footage from the Iraq War. Where do you think ideas come from? What is your state of mind when ideas come to you? Mark your calendars! The next in the series, Home at Chestnut Creek releases the very next day - and contains a full book by Carolyn Brown!

Two books for the price of one! Keep up with the chaos -- sign up for Laura's newsletter! One of the greatest benefits of being an MFA candidate is the opportunity I have to work closely with incredible professionals who help me hone my craft.