♥ Shutter Love Tuesdays ♥

Sorry for the delay in getting last weeks winners up. Here is a link to the TOP 10

This weeks theme is "Laughter"

Be sure to check the sidebar for up coming themes!
AND don't forget to vote for your favorite photo too! No Anonymous Voting!
Tara & Jamie will be picking the Top Ten as well as some of our FAVORITES too!
Have Fun!
Shutter Love Tuesdays Button
To see all rules for this party & our other link parties, please visit HERE! You can grab the Shutter Love Tuesdays button HERE!
To allow more time to view all the entrie
s, we will be posting the winners on Saturdays at 3 p.m.

Tara's "Laughter" Photo

Jamie's "Laughter" Photo

Don't forget to grab the blog hop so others can enter their photos too!

Make sure you vote for your favorite photo in the comment section!

♥ Shutter Love Winners ♥

Sorry for the delay in getting the winners up. It's been a rough and busy week.

Our Favorite Things Winners this week are...

#1 Winner goes to ~ Sugar Bee - Crazy Faces
#2 ~ Hannah's very first day

#3 ~ CMH Photography

#4 ~ The Great Umbrella Heist

#5 ~ Heart Strings and Hobbies

#6 ~ Live Every Moment

#7 ~ First Grade or Bust

#8 ~ Big Brother Love

#9 ~ First Day at School

#10 ~ One Moms Perfect Imperfections

Thanks again to everyone who entered their photos this week!
Please come back Tuesday for our next theme 
Remember to share this 
{Party} with friends so more can join in.
If you are a winner, go pick up your 
{Prize Button}

Tara's Signature

from the pantry: banana bread

My kiddos have been sick on and off for about a month.
We hope to get some answers when we take Naomi to the GI Dr. on Monday.
My pediatrician has told us to keep her on a pretty bland diet,
with no dairy products, so we've done the same with Micah as well.
We've had so many bananas and plain sandwiches, that I'm totally over it.

We had been buying bananas in bulk it seemed,
and then the kiddos stopped wanting to eat them.
(I can't blame them one bit.)
So, the bananas started to go bad.
What does one do with mushy bananas?
Make banana bread of course.

So, I bucked the "no dairy" diet and let the kids make and eat banana bread!
And so far they've still been okay.
But I made the banana bread baking into a lesson
a lesson in measuring, pouring, stirring and sharing!

I had four little bread pans from last Christmas and
decided to make four little loaves instead of one big one.
I asked Naomi who she would like to give the loaves of bread to,
she mentioned two of her little friends from church and their moms
and then our neighbor Pam and then she said we needed to keep one.
Well, of course! We get to delight in our baking goodness as well.

Here are some photos from our day in the kitchen,
and our random acts of kindness delivering banana bread to our friends.
It was kinda neat that our friends weren't home and we got to surprise them!

And yes, the recipe is at the end.
It's a great "from the pantry" recipe because
you probably already have all the ingredients on hand.
The bread came out super moist and extra yummy!!

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas
1 T. lemon juice
2 c flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I added more and still can't really taste it)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Spray pan with Pam and pour batter in. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Recipe taken from St. Mark Lutheran Church (Omaha, NE) 50th Anniversary Cookbook.
Recipe by Steve Barry.

On Beyond Ebooks

I'm loving the ebook revolution.

Obviously, I enjoy the money I'm making (close to $500 a day).

But it's more than that. I'm able to do things I never could have done in the traditional publishing world.

Not only can I release ebooks when they're finished (rather than waiting a year), and have much greater control over the content, cover, and title, but I can also play with the format and do new, interesting things.

With TRAPPED, I released two different versions of the novel in the same ebook download. The author's version and the uncut version. It's pretty cool to show fans all the stuff that was cut, added, and changed, and let them decide for themselves which one they prefer.

With SHAKEN, coming out in October, Amazon is also releasing a dual ebook. SHAKEN takes place during 1989, 2007, and 2010, and jumps around in time. I had a ball writing it, and showing Jack at various stages in her career while she chases the same bad guy over the course of twenty years. But along with the author's preferred version, the SHAKEN ebook will also come with a linear version. If people want to read the book chronologically, rather than go back and forth in time, they can. And even cooler, it reads well in both versions.

Eager to romp in this new digital playground, I have two more projects that will be released in September.

One is secret, and I'm not going to mention the title or the subject yet. But I will say it is a horror novel. And I will say I'm writing it with three of my peers. Those peers are F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand, and Blake Crouch.

When I was working on TRAPPED and ENDURANCE, I followed the same formula as AFRAID. In nutshell, I took a handful of characters and dropped them into a terrifying situation, then followed each of their journeys as they fought an insurmountable evil. No chapter breaks--just direct cuts from POV to POV.

It occurred to me that I could write a book in this style with other authors, and it would be a snap. Instead of me writing every character on my own, each of us could control a character, and the book will follow each storyline until they all converge. It's the exact same formula as AFRAID, TRAPPED, and ENDURANCE, except we can write it in 1/4 of the time, and it will benefit from four unique inputs.

I've worked with Paul, Jeff, and Blake on projects before. We're all having a blast putting our heads together and writing this outrageous, horrifying, over-the-top horror epic.

The thing is, this couldn't have happened in the print world. We would have had to get all of our current print publisher's approval (because of no-compete and first look clauses), had to have found a buyer, and had to have toned down some of the violence (this sucker is violent!) But doing this on our own, we have complete control, don't have to answer to anybody, and can write a novel just for the sheer joy of it. Then we can release it immediately after completion, and get the lion's share of the royalties.

I also am playing with the ebook format in another way. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure novels from the 80's?

I wrote one with Harry McGlade (from the Jack Daniels series) as the hapless hero.

At the end of each section, you decide where Harry goes next. This results in hundreds of variations, and over a dozen different endings. This interactive format is perfectly suited to ebooks, where clicking on a link and being instantly transported to it is easier than flipping through a dead tree book, looking at page numbers.

The book is ridiculously entertaining to read, and I don't think I've ever had more fun writing something. Because the humor is so offensive, I never would have been able to sell this to a traditional publisher.

But with Kindle, I can really utilize the format to do things that publishers can't, and won't, do.

It's beyond liberating. As a friend of mine said, "Joe, you're finally unbridled." Which is what it actually feels like. I can run free, do what I want, and connect with readers on my own terms. I'm not restricted by anything, including my imagination.

Ebooks are more than just putting your run-of-the-mill stories into a digital format. They can actually do more than print books, and offer artists new, exciting opportunities. And we haven't even broached on the "enriched ebook" possibilities with audio and video.

I'm thrilled to be a writer in 2010. It's too cool.

Diamond Earrings Review

Have you every wanted to know how you could get some Diamond Earrings?
Well keep reading below to find out how!!!! is giving you your very own pair of Diamond Earrings just for helping them spread the word about their site and earrings. All you pay is shipping and handling. WOW! 

Now of course these are not genuine diamonds, they wouldn't be able to give those away silly. But let me tell you when I got mine in the mail they were gorgeous. I wore them right beside my REAL earrings and no one new the difference. I went as far as to ask them which ones do you think is real. 8 times out of 10 they chose the earrings I got from That says a lot. I was very pleased with the quality and look of them too. And with sensitive ears I tend to worry how my ears will react to any earrings I buy. I had no reactions at all. I was so happy. I have a second pair of Diamond Earrings to wear! 


Just visit to get yours!

Here is what you will need to do to get yours. It's so simple you will be telling everyone about it!
  1. Go to their site (link above) and select your pair of earrings.
  2. Mention their site in your blog, facebook, twitter, myspace or anywhere on the web.
  3. Pay postage and handling of only $3.77
  4. Your earrings will be shipped out anywhere in the USA
  5. Wear your Earrings HAPPILY 

That's it! Simple Enough! Now get on over there and get your earrings. 
This is a limited time offer and will end soon.

Want to learn more? 
Just check out these FAQ's

Are they real diamonds?

No, sorry :) As much as we'd like to give away real diamonds for free, I don't think our accountant would go for it.

How can you give away earrings for free?

Instead of spending thousands on advertising promoting ourselves, we're actually compensating YOU to get the word out for us.

What do I have to do to get my free pair of earrings?

Simply mention us anywhere on the web. Whether it's your twitter, facebook or myspace page, blog, youtube, etc. We're not picky, anywhere will do.

How many pairs of earrings do you have to give away?

This is a limited time offer and may expire at any time.

Is this a scam?

No, just a unique way of getting the word out about our new online jewelry company.

What's the catch?

No catch, just mention us anywhere on the web and pay $3.77 postage and handling and you'll receive a set of beautiful simulated-diamond earrings, set in sterling silver and delivered in a felt box.

How long will it take to receive my earrings?

Please allow up to 10 business days to receive your free set of earrings.

Can I order more than one set of earrings?

Sorry, we have a limit of one order per household.

Are there any hidden or recurring charges?

No, there is only a one time payment of $3.77 for postage and handling. There are no hidden charges, further payments or "monthly membership" fees. Just a one time payment.

Do you have other diamond earrings to sell?

Right now we're simply doing the give away. Eventually we will be selling earrings and diamond earrings on the site, but for now we're simply giving out these earrings.
Hope you enjoyed this fun info and you get a pair of FREE Diamond Earrings for yourself too!
The featured product {s} in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone. Trendy Treehouse Disclaimer/Terms of use.

Doers and Waiters

"It will be interesting to see what happens."

"No one can predict what will come."

"The publishing industry is changing."

"Let's wait and see."

I've seen these comments, and variations of them, quite a bit lately, all over the interwebs.

People seem to believe things are getting shaken up. And the overwhelming majority of them respond to this call to action by waiting around to see what happens.

This is a trait of human nature. No one wants to be the first to do anything. Because it's scary being first. You could be wrong. You could look foolish. You could make a mistake. You could lose money, or burn bridges, or destroy your reputation.

Look at agent Andrew Wiley. He published ebook versions of his clients' books, presumably because Random House wouldn't negotiate higher royalty rates. In response, RH stopped dealing with Wiley. Yesterday, Wiley announced they'd come to an agreement, and RH would once again be the publisher.

Wiley acted, and on the surface, it looks like Wiley caved in and lost.

That's why most people wait. They watch, and wait, and watch, and make comments about those who are actually DOING something. Some support the doers. Some belittle the doers.

But the actual doers are few and far between.

While I understand how difficult it is for people to take chances, I also have to wonder how these waiters view themselves.

Don't they know that waiting around doesn't make you successful? That the rich, the famous, the ones that society remembers and reveres, are the doers?

In the case of the current publishing climate, most of my professional peers, and all of the Big 6 NY publishers, are playing the waiting game. Rather than jumping into these scary new waters, they're at most dipping a toe in.

No chance taking. No commitment. Just waiting until they can be sure.

But there's a problem with waiting around to be sure. By the time you are sure, it might be too late.

I believe that if you aren't failing, you aren't trying hard enough. Sitting around and letting other people decide the fate of something important to you makes zero sense.

Sure, it's scary and risky to put your money where your mouth is, and to back up your opinions with action.

But history is written by those who do. Not those who wait to see what happens.

Wiley did it. For a month. I wish he'd stuck to his guns, but I applaud him for at least giving it a try.

What about you? What have you tried lately? What have you failed at lately?

As Meister Eckhart said, “The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.”

Publishers Weakly

According to this article, well known industry mag Publishers Weekly is going to "embrace the self-publishing phenomenon" and begin listing self-published titles in a quarterly supplement.

They are books and that is what PW cares about. And we aim to inform the trade.

On the surface, it seems they're actually acknowledging this red-headed stepchild of the publishing world. They even claim they're going to review at least 25 self-pubbed books per supplement. Perhaps those indie authors who fought so long and hard for respect will finally get some recognition from the industry that spurned them.

Intrigued? Interested? Willing to give it a try?

All it takes is $149 for the processing fee.

For that fee, PW will print your title, author name, ISBN, and a brief description, in their supplement. The fee does not include a review.

We briefly considered charging for reviews, but in the end preferred to maintain our right to review what we deemed worthy. The processing fee that guarantees a listing and the chance to be reviewed accomplishes what we want: to inform the trade of what is happening in self-publishing and to present a PW selection of what has the most merit.

They used the phrase "inform the trade" two different times, as if to hammer home the point that their magazine is there to serve the industry. At the end of the article, they even say, "books are our business."

Actually, this little venture seems more like "authors are our business." If PW truly believed in the worth and merit of self-pubbed books, and that their subscribers needed to know about this "phenomenon", then shouldn't they list these titles for free? If the trade really wants a compendium of self-pubbed ISBNs, surely this list will only make them more eager to sign up for another PW subscription, right?

But instead, I can't see this as anything other than trying to separate a writer from her money. The chance of being reviewed is dangled there like a carrot on a stick, but there are no guarantees. Which seems even less appealing than Kirkus Discoveries, which began offering a paid review service for indie authors a few years ago, and endured considerable flack for it.

The part that really makes me set my jaw, however, is this paragraph:

The entire PW editorial staff will participate in a review of the titles being considered for review, and we'll likely invite a few agent friends and distributors to have a look at what we've chosen. No promises there, just letting some publishing friends take advantage of the opportunity to see the collection.

Ugh. And this article was written by George W. Slowik Jr., the president of PW.

Making indie authors pay for nothing more than a few sentences in a quarterly supplement (not even the actual magazine) is pretty pathetic. But saying that agents will see this, under the guise of making no promises that they will, is really yucky.

The $149 fee also comes with a six month subscription to the digital edition of PW, which is normally $90. No word about getting a partial refund if PW folds before the six months is over. But if they're this needy for cash, and willing to go in this direction to get it, I don't have high hopes.

Which reminds me--I haven't gotten an issue of 8-Track Tapes Weekly in quite some time...

♥ Shutter Love Tuesday ♥

First off, Sorry for posting this late. We just got back from "The Geek Squad" My computer was giving me issues with photo loading. I brought it home to back it up and have to take it back tomorrow. So this is why I am late. Even though I am taking it back for a couple days, I will have a computer to post the weeks upcoming posts. So no worries. We aren't leaving you. ;-) Now let's get to the fun pictures.

This weeks theme is "FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL"

Be sure to check the sidebar for up coming themes!
AND don't forget to vote for your favorite photo too! No Anonymous Voting!
Tara & Jamie will be picking the Top Ten as well as some of our FAVORITES too!
Have Fun!
Shutter Love Tuesdays Button
To see all rules for this party & our other link parties, please visit HERE! You can grab the Shutter Love Tuesdays button HERE!
To allow more time to view all the entrie
s, we will be posting the winners on Saturdays at 3 p.m.



Don't forget to grab the blog hop so others can enter their photos too!

Make sure you vote for your favorite photo in the comment section!