Interviews and Reviews

Sunday, February 28, 2010
This should be my last big promotional blog over The Stillburrow Crush for the next couple of months. I don't know about you guys, but I'm exhausted...and not just because I've been talking non-stop about my debut novel for the past couple of weeks, but because someone (ahem--Lydia) has her days and night mixed up and sleep just hasn't been on the agenda for me (uggg).

But on to the good news. First of all, I've been interviewed again. This time, the heroine of my book is talking at Nancy J. Parra's blog, This Writer's Life. So, be sure to stop by and say hey!

Also, I've found my first review about my book. They said a few words about Stillburrow over at Bookworm Nation. So, if you want to see what someone else honestly has to say about my story, that's the place to look!

I'm still throwing a prize-drawing contest until Wednesday, so go to my contest page if you'd like a chance to win a free copy of my story.

And finally, I'm shutting up for a while about my book. I'll return to "normal" posting on my next blog. Thank you for bearing with me!

"The Stillburrow Crush" is released TODAY!!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

What are you still doing, hanging around here?

GO, GO to the main page of The Wild Rose Press and order your own copy (in PRINT or eBOOK) already!!!!

Or you could find The Stillburrow Crush at or Barnes and Noble.

So.... GO!

Oh, and Thanks!

Luke Carter Interview

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Today, we’re here with Luke Carter, hero in my debut novel The Stillburrow
Luke Carter: Hey, before we start, I just wanted to thank you for finally letting me get a chance to talk—
Linda Kage: Wait. What do you mean, FINALLY? I allowed you plenty of dialogue in The Stillburrow Crush.

Carter: Yeah, but the entire story was written in first person point of view from Carrie’s perspective. No one got to see what I was thinking at all. I’m just saying… I’m grateful I’ve finally got a chance to speak my mind.

Kage: Well, okay then. Let’s hear what’s on Luke’s mind. Tell us a little something about yourself.

Carter: What? Right now?

Kage: (eyes rolling) You’re the one who was all fired to begin the interview, bud.

Carter: OK, fine. I’m ready. Uh… Hi, everyone. I’m Luke Carter. I’m a senior at SEC. That’s short for Stillburrow Education Center, though I’m not sure why they have such a fancy name for a little nothing school in a little nothing town. Sure, the grade school and high school are connected in one building, so it wouldn’t be right to exclusively call it Stillburrow High or Stillburrow Grade School. But SEC? Can you say lame? Whenever we have a game and all the cheerleaders start yelling, “Go SEC,” you just want to cringe with embarrassment. Which brings me around to football. I’m on the team… as the quarterback. We had an awesome season. Even beat Valley this year, which hasn’t happened for a long time. I was siked. But other than that, my dad’s the bank president. Mom’s a homemaker. And I’m a fairly decent student. My favorite subject is trig.

Kage: Trigonometry, huh? Wow. I would’ve guessed English.

Carter: (frowning) Really? Why?

Kage: Well, because you’re such a good poet.

Carter: (Eyes growing the size of saucers) SHHHH! Will you keep your voice down! (Hunching his shoulders and glancing around to make sure no one else heard). No one’s supposed to know about that.

Kage: About what? The fact that you like to write poetry?

Carter: WILL YOU KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN? Please? That’s private.
Kage: (Cringing). Uh, I hate to break it to you, bud. But anyone who reads "The Stillburrow Crush" is going to know your little secret.
Carter: WHAT! You put that in the book? How could you put my most private—

Kage: Hey, don’t yell at me. This is Carrie’s story. You need to take your problem up with her? SHE was the narrator.

Carter: (Scowling). Oh, don’t think I won’t.

Kage: (Grins a little smugly) You two sure like to argue, don’t you?

Carter: (not quite able to perfect an innocent, I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about smile) What?

Kage: Don’t give me that look. I know you. You LIKE picking fights with Carrie.

Carter: (Shrugs. Guilty grin slips through) What can I say? I like her witty, smart-aleck personality.

Kage: And why is that?

Carter: (Snorts) What are you, Dr. Phil, all the sudden?

Kage: Just curious.

Carter: OK, fine. Don’t you dare tell her this, but I admire that bold quality about her. I’m… I don’t know. I’m jealous, I guess. She’s just so… free. She doesn’t worry about what other people think; she just says what’s on her mind.

Kage: And you wish you were more like that?

Carter: (Shrugs) Well, yeah. Sure. I mean, as the captain of the football team, you’re expected to be the popular jock. Everyone’s always watching you, scrutinizing every little move you make. It’s impossible to act like yourself. Be yourself.

Kage: You mean, like the sensitive poet you really want to be.

Carter: Seriously, can we NOT talk about that?

Kage: (Laughs) OK, fine. I’ll let it go for now.

Carter: Thank you.

Kage: Let’s keep talking about Carrie.

Carter: (Frowns with suspicious, narrowed eyes) What about her?

Kage: Hey, I’m a major romance enthusiast. I want to know how you two hooked up?

Carter: Well, gee. You wrote the story, Ms. Kage. If you don’t know…

Kage: (Rolls eyes) And you say Carrie’s the smart aleck. We’re FINALLY in your mind now, Luke. Remember? I want to hear it from your point of view.

Carter: Oh... Well, honestly, I have no idea how that happened. Carrie just… happens to people. It’s hard to explain. She’s kind of like a train wreck. One minute, you’re chugging along, minding your own business, following the tracks laid out for you. Then, suddenly, everything’s derailed and one huge mess with Carrie standing right in the middle of it.

Kage: I suppose you don’t want her to know you said that about her either, huh?

Carter: Na, I don’t mind if you tell her that. I like to tell her she’s a disaster magnet all the time. Just read her story to discover all the problems she finds herself getting involved in. I mean, how many people can say they were suspended, grounded, grew a crush, kissed that crush, and aced trigonometry all for the first time within a one month time frame? Not to mention that whole mess with her brother and Abby Eggrow. Carrie’s been a busy girl lately. And ever since she interviewed me for the school paper, I got sucked into the catastrophe right along with her.

Kage: You got sucked into it, or you were drawn in because you like her?

Carter: Sucked in. Drawn in. Does it really matter?

Kage: Major romance enthusiast here, remember? YES, it matters.

Carter: OK, fine. I was drawn in. But Carrie’s just so... animated, you know. I couldn’t help but go back for more torture. Arguing with her’s fun. She’s addictive.

Kage: Awww. My romance enthusiast heart just with pitter pat. That was a sweet, wonderful line.

Carter: (Blushes) Geesh, it wasn’t that big a deal. You already know I like her.

Kage: But you said it so romantically. That must be why you’re such a good—

Carter: If you say poet again, this interview is over.

Kage: (Evil grin). Actually, I was just about ready to wrap things up. You could probably only go downhill from the “addictive” quote. Is there any last minute comment you’d like to make, so everyone can get a better insight into your personality?

Carter: UH…. Now, dang it. You got me all flustered. I can’t think straight. You’re too much like Carrie in that respect, you know? Talk a poor guy into knots.

Kage: Well, I did invent her.

Carter: Yeah, you did. I’d really like that thank you for that too. Without Carrie around, my life would’ve proceeded with its dull boring, “expected” path. I’m glad you threw her on my tracks to shake things up. She’s become my inspiration.

Kage: (Sighs dreamily) Now, there’s my perfect finale. Ladies and gents: Luke Carter, hero of my young adult romance story, The Stillburrow Crush.

If you’ve grown “addicted” to him, here’s where you can find more: The Stillburrow Crush releases tomorrow from The Wild Rose Press. He might not get to give his point of view, but I must say Carrie gives a pretty actuate depiction of him.

Thanks for stopping by to check out his interview.

TWO Days Left

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stillburrow Blog Tour Schedule

January 27, 2010 - Interview at Bookworm Nation

February 11, 2010 - Interview at Tales of the Ravenous Teen Reader

February 16, 2010 - Interview at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

February 22, 2010 - Interview at The Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press

February 23, 2010 - Guest Post at The Book Butterfly

February 28, 2010 - Interview at This Writer's Life

With only TWO days to go on the countdown until my FIRST book (The Stillburrow Crush) is released, I was starting to run dry with ideas on what to post, so today, I'll give you the history of my story's creation. I always like to read a book's background and how its story came to be on other author's websites, so maybe this will work (cross your fingers).

In August 2000, I started my junior year at Pittsburg State University as a transfer student, aspiring to get an English Degree with an emphasis in Creative Fiction Writing (which I got, yay!). It was during my senior year in January of 2002, I signed up for the advanced fiction writing class. There, one of my assignments was to write a short story a minimum of seven pages long. And so, Carrie was created... way back in January of 2002.

The short scene I wrote was similar to Carrie's scene in The Stillburrow Crush with her and Luke on the swing set in the park. But at the end of my seven pages (okay, I know I went over seven pages), Luke died in a car crash. The End.



But that was the kind of stuff you wrote about for literary writing assignments, right? Well, I thought so.

Anyway, I met with the professor and let her read over the rough draft before I turned in the final. She had so many comments and pointed out so many things I needed to fix, I ended up writing another short story and turning that in for my final grade instead.

But of course, Carrie and Luke stuck with me. And being the romantic I am, I just didn't like the fact he had to die. But someone's gotta die or there's no juicy drama, right? I don't know. But it sounded good. So, I created another character to kill off, and then a few more characters to tie the story together... then I had to add, like, a billion more scenes to make it my happily-ever-after romance that actually went with the dramatic demise of this other person.

Before I knew it, I had a full-length story.

I revised and gave it to my sister to read, who gave it to another sister, who passed it on to my mother. Soon, people from church were calling. "I just read some of your story!" Yikes. So, I revised a little more, showed it to my old college professor (I'd graduated by this point), who gave me lots of good advice, and sent me back to revise some more.

About a year after finishing it, I sent off the my first submission. I had no idea where to look for young adult romance publishers, so I sent my mansucript off to popular childrens book publishers whose names I knew. I received a handful of rejections, which brought me to putting the story aside for about three years, where I polished on it some more and tried one other publisher, who sent me back another rejection. At that point, I packed up the story with the idea of retiring it for good to the bottom of my closet.

Another two years passed. In that time, I joined Romance Writers of America and attended a few local writing groups. I learned more about where and how to submit my stories, and bunches more on revising. I'd also finished an arm load of adult romance stories.

With all this new-found knowledge on the Romance Publishing world, I set forth and sent off a submission for one of my adult romances (I'd pretty much forgotten about Stillburrow by this point). But the main characters of my adult story were in college, so being that they were as young as they were, the acquiring editor said she wanted to send my submission to the young adult department first since they were looking for more stories... which made a little bell in my head go ding, ding, ding.

Someone was looking for more... young adult romance stories?

Hey, I had a dusty old young adult romance sitting around somewhere in my house.

So, after the college romance story I submitted was sent back to me with a rejection, I dug up The Stillburrow Crush, polished on it some, and sent her in. That was in August of 2008. Eighty-eight days later, I had an offer for a contract.

Now, Fifteen months after that, we are only TWO days away from seeing the real thing. It's been a long, but rewarding journey. And I'll be happy to finally share one of my stories with the world. I hope you enjoy reading it at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

"The Stillburrow Crush" Video and Appreciation

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
If, for some odd reason, you haven't seen the video to The Stillburrow Crush then... this one's for you! The book comes out in THREE DAYS from The Wild Rose Press!!! I can't wait.

But don't go yet! I just gotta yell out my thanks to everyone who helped make this book possible.

Sandra Ruth : Sister by chance, friend by choice. She has patiently (and probably painfully at times) read every single piece of writing I've ever shown her, starting way back when I was ten and began to spin my fictitious tales. I'll never forget the last day of my junior year of high school (she was only weeks pregnant with her firstborn). We hopped in the car as soon as classes let out and drove about eight hours to Taylorville, Illinois because for some reason I'd set the first novel I wrote there, and she thought my manuscript would be more authentic if I actually visited the place. Even though her morning sickness started halfway through the trip, my big sister stuck by my side so I could experience this writing research. I'll never be able to thank her enough for her unending support. This book is definitely for her.

To my hubby, my parents, and the rest of my family (especially Cindy, Jamie, Nancy, Kayla, and Mom, who actually sat down and read The Stillburrow Crush when it was unvarnished and raw; and all you others who probably did, though I don't know about it). Thank you for always being there for me and letting me know you'll ALWAYS be there for me.

A big thank you to Susan Yates : Seriously, guys, no first-time author could find an editor as amazing as this lady. She's been patient, supportive, even down-right flattering at times. The Wild Rose Press found a gem when they hired her on.

To my all the teachers who've given me an extra boost in my English classes (from first grade through college): Mrs. Coltrane, Mrs. Lomshek, Mrs. Elrod, Mr. Cooper, Mrs. Tilley, Mr. Parsons, Ms. Washburn, and Dr. Degrave (an special extra thanks to Dr. Degrave for reading through The Stillburrow Crush in it's earliest days to give me a critique).

To the ladies at PPL, who also read through The Stillburrow Crush before it was what it is now, Thank you to: Helen, Cindy, Jean, Tiffany, Sue, Susie, Gail and anyone else who read it that I don't know about! I'll always remember your support.

And last but certainly not least : my writing pals, critique partners, and blogger buddies. You've all provided support that no one else could because you KNOW what it's like to struggle through the writing world. You've made this struggle of mine tolerable and even fun. Thank you so much.

Okay, okay. My awards acceptance speech is over--couldn't you just picture me up on stage, decked out in some glamour gown and hugging an Emmy close to my chest, while giving that speech.
You may now go on your merry way! See you tomorrow.

A Puzzling Countdown

Monday, February 22, 2010
There are FOUR days left until my first book, The Stillburrow Crush, is released by The Wild Rose Press. So, while you wait, here's a puzzle to play. I created it a while back and posted it on my blog, so some of you have no doubt seen this before. But, hopefully, it's been long enough you can't remember where all the pieces go!!

See you tomorrow!!

Click to Mix and Solve

Stillburrow Contest

Sunday, February 21, 2010
For day FIVE on my Stillburrow Crush Countdown (only five days until my book is released. eeek!), we're starting the ten-day contest. Over on the contest page of my website (, I'm throwing my biggest contest yet. For FIVE days before the release date and FIVE days after, the contest will be open for people to drop their name into the proverbial raffle bin in the hopes of being one of the big winners... and I'm going to have FIVE lucky champions (are you catching onto my "five"theme going on--wink, wink).

1 winner will be awarded a $20.00 gift certificate to,
1 winner will receive a SIGNED (by me!) print copy of The Stillburrow Crush, and
3 winners will win the e-book version of The Stillburrow Crush.

So, don't waste time. Head over to my
website and sign up today... or, you know, sometime within the next ten days.

Good Luck!

Carrie's Yearbook

Saturday, February 20, 2010
Only SIX days until The Stillburrow Crush is here and available to the public. This morning on my countdown, I've stolen my heroine--Carrie's--yearbook from her junior year (which happens to be the year her story takes place), and I copied down a few quotes people wrote in the autographs section.

Don't worry, I put the yearbook back when I was done... she'll never know it was gone!

And now, here are what fellow classmates had to say to her after her junior year at Stillburrow.

I loved your prom dress. You and Luke looked cute together.
--Brenda Newell

You're pretty cool, Paxton.
--Rick Getty

I used to think you were weird. Now, I KNOW you are. But in a good way!
--Nathan Bates

Thank you for the quote you wrote on my leg cast. It made my day.
--Jill Anderson

A hot brother AND a hot boyfriend. I so wish I was you.
--Liz Curry

Timmy was here!
--Tim Newell

I'm impressed with how well you raised your trigonometry grade.
--Mr. Underhill

I'll never forget how Luke stood up to Egghead for you.
--E. T.

I still think YOU wrote those poems.
--Jordan Burke

Nice article about Appomattox Court House you wrote in the school paper. I think I'll use it in my history class next year.
--Mr. Decker

Thank you for the best year of my life. Love, Luke.
P.S. But Bates is right, you ARE weird!!

Begin Reading "The Stillburrow Crush" Now

Friday, February 19, 2010
And now for your reading pleasure, I've provided a never-posted-before excerpt of the beginning of my debut novel,

The Stillburrow Crush, which comes out in one week's time (February 26, 2010) from The Wild Rose Press

. Enjoy...


Want to read more??? Good news! Next week, The Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press Blog will let you read the first THREE chapters completely. So, make sure you check out that blog as well for Stillburrow Crush treats. They'll also throwing a contest to win a copy of my book, plus will interview me some time next week as well.

See you tomorrow.

Find your way around Stillburrow

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There's only eight days left until my first book comes out in online stores across the world. Can you believe it? I'm still in shock myself!

But before the big moment arrives, I think everyone should prepare themselves. I've already given you a rundown of basically what will happen (on countdown day #10) plus shown you two short scenes (countdown day #9). So, you're all geared up to start on page one. But maybe a map of Stillburrow will help guide you around once you begin reading.

Lucky you, I happen to have a map handy of my fictional setting. It's also available on my website on my Bookshelf page, just so you know.

See you again tomorrow for yet another extra special treat.

The Stillburrow Crush - Lydia Approved

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We're on day nine of the countdown to The Stillburrow Crush's release, and the party is just getting started. Yesterday our pre-ordered copies arrived at my place, and as you can see above, my seven-day old just can't put the story down...oh, yeah, it's that good (LOL)!

Anyway, on DAY 10, I gave you a glimpse of what the plot is about. So, today, how about a sneak peek at an actual scene. This excerpt has been up on my website for months and months, so it's possible you already read it. IF not, now's your chance to enjoy.

“They really ought to tear that place down. Just look at that sagging roof.”

Luke gave a soft laugh behind me. “That would involve change.”

“What do you mean?”

“Haven’t you ever noticed this town’s stuck in a time capsule? It’s like we’ve never heard of the term progress. I mean, there’s hardly any cell phone towers around and forget about high speed internet.”

“High speed what?” I asked, glancing back to give him a puzzled look.

He opened his mouth to explain, when it dawned on him I was joking. “You always have to be a smart aleck, don’t you?”

We shared a smile.

I looked into his face and relished these minutes where I could ogle him selfishly. I knew I should give him the information he wanted from me now, but I could only stare. It took me a moment to notice his expression, though.

His gaze had been roaming my face but had paused on my left ear. When he snorted out a surprised laugh, I frowned.

He pointed a finger toward my hair. “Uh, I think the wind messed it up some.”

I patted my head, my face flaming.

“Here,” Luke said, and flipped down his visor,lighting up the mirror underneath. I looked up and groaned. Not only had the wind caught a hold of my hair and ripped it half out of its ponytail, it had also knotted and twisted it into a healthy-sized rat’s nest.

I tried to ignore the fact that Luke was sitting next to me—and already knew exactly what the disaster looked like—and ripped the holder out of my hair. I combed through the mess with my fingers but there were knots everywhere. When I caught him staring again, I glared.

“What?” I demanded. But he continued to gawk. I patted at my hair and wondered what he could possibly be thinking about the mess.

“I’ve never seen it all down before,” he said.

Startled, I glanced back in the mirror. I’d seen it down millions of times. I just didn’t leave the house with it loose. There was too much of it to let it run wild. I tried to see it how Luke must see it. It was curly—so curly it bobbed. Tight little curls framed my face like a border full of personality. From the corner of my eye, I saw Luke lift his hand toward one spiraling lock. But when I turned to him, he lowered his fingers and shifted his attention out the window. I stared at his profile for a second, breathing hard.

“It’s pretty,” he said, more to the windshield than to me.

I wanted him to lift his hand again. I wanted him to touch my hair. “I think yours is prettier.”

He laughed. “Guys do not have pretty hair.”

“Well, yours is.” I reached over and touched his hair. I thought maybe if I touched his, he might get the guts to touch mine. But at contact, I gasped. “It’s so soft.” I ran my fingers through the part that always curled around a cowlick when it got wet. I scooted over, leaning across the console between us.


His voice sounded strained so I looked down. I hadn’t realized I’d moved so close. But when I gazed into his face, we were only a breath apart. I was positioned a little above him so I could reach his hair. He lifted his face up to stare at me. His eyes were a blazing blue.

That’s when he touched my hair. He drew his fingers through the curls to cup my head. Then he tilted his chin to the side and pulled me down. I was shocked when our mouths connected. He was kissing me.

Oh my God, Luke Carter was kissing me.

But, wait, I'm not done yet!! The Wild Rose Press has a different excerpt up on their site. Here's a sneak peek at that!


A bead of muddy sweat trickled out of his hairline and down his temple, mixing with blood before moving on. Fascinated, I watched it drool a crooked path down his cheek and neck and then into the collar of his jersey.

As if catching my entranced stare, he lifted the hand that held his helmet and wiped the sweat away with the back of his palm. “What do you want to know?”

I cleared my throat and dropped my eyes. “Umm, well…” I yanked a notebook from the inside pocket of my trench coat. The wind caught a few sheets, making the lined pages flail and thrash like they were drowning in the ocean or something. I tried to get a hold of them and rein them in but only succeeded in wrinkling most of the pad.

“Sorry,” I muttered, and dug deep into my outer pocket, frantically searching for my pen. I couldn’t find the irritating thing there, and switched hands on the notebook to search the other pocket. I didn’t dare look up. I could feel him watching and it made my cheeks hot.

He coughed, trying to get my attention, and my head flew up—long bangs falling into my eyes. He motioned toward my right ear with his index finger. I frowned, wondering if there was a twig or something in my hair and reached up, patting the area. And the pen, which had been securely tucked behind my ear, stabbed me.


So, there you go... A two-fer. Hope you liked them! If you're too impatient to wait for the ebook's release, the PRINT edition is available to buy now at THE WILD ROSE PRESS!

I checked on Sunday and, YAY, the print version for The Stillburrow Crush IS available to buy there. I know a lot of you wanted to be informed when Amazon had it, so CLICK HERE if that is your burying preference.

Also, be sure to check out my BLOG TOUR to the right, to see where I'm being interviewed.
Thank you so much for dropping in. Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Day EIGHT of Stillburrow's Countdown!

Stillburrow Countdown

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My first book EVER is released soon, so of course I must have a countdown, right? Right. Start saving your money now because in TEN DAYS, the e-book will be available at The Wild Rose Press to purchase and keep forever and ever for your reading pleasure.

**One happy correction: It looks like the ebook will be selling for $5.50 instead of the $6.00 like I originally thought.
**And a happier correction: The PRINT edition is already available to order at THIS LINK from The Wild Rose Press. Cool, huh? Anyway...

The story is a young adult romance about:

Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn't the most popular girl in her small town of Stillburrow. But that's never concerned her before. Her life revolves around her writing and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper.

But when she gets assigned to interview the football team's beloved quarterback, she takes one look into Luke Carter's blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she doesn't like her lowly rank so much. Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes her in return. But there's no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a nobody like Carrie Paxton.

Is there?

Every day until the big kick off, I'll have a little something special here to celebrate The Stillburrow Crush's grand opening. Today, I'm giving away postcards that look like the image above. They make awesome bookmarks.

If you'd like one, please email me at Linda (at)Linda Kage (dot) com and give me a snail mail address in which to send you an original limited-time offer of "The Stillburrow Crush" postcard (you might want to say "postcard" in the title line of the email, so I don't mistake you for spam)!!!

And with that... I'll see you tomorrow for more!!

BABY: Happy Valentines Day to me!

Sunday, February 14, 2010
HERE is the official hospital announcement for my daughter (WOW, I really have a daughter). It's complete with date, size and name.

I would like to thank everyone who posted their well-wishes and support my way. I wish I could write a personal note to each and every one of you. But I'm a bit lacking in energy at the moment. So, a mass THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone.

Lydia and I are doing great. The pediatrician claimed she was perfectly healthy, and as long as I remember to take my pain meds, I feel pretty dang good myself! So far, this journey into motherhood has been the most wonderful, frustrating, blessed, frightening, exhausting, rewarding experience of my life. So, I'm going to cut this post short and get back to spoiling my new baby girl.

Don't forget: The Stillburrow Crush COUNTDOWN starts right here in two days.
Happy Valentines Day.

Friday Forwards - # 2

Friday, February 12, 2010
A few weeks ago, I started my Friday Forwards (my sharing with you of funny emails I get forwarded to me). So, here we go again!

3-year-old Reese : 'Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.'
A little boy was overheard praying: 'Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am.'
After the christening of his baby brother in church, Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, 'That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys.'
One particular four-year-old prayed, 'And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.'
A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, 'And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?' One bright little girl replied, 'Because people are sleeping.'
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin (5), and Ryan (3). The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. 'If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.' Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, ' Ryan , you be Jesus !'
A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. 'Daddy, what happened to him?' the son asked. 'He died and went to Heaven,' the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, 'Did God throw him back down?'
A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, 'Would you like to say the blessing?' 'I wouldn't know what to say,' the girl replied. 'Just say what you hear Mommy say,' the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, 'Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?'
Like I mentioned on the last "Friday Forwards," if anyone ever finds out where these forwards originate, let me know so I can credit the source. And if you have some great jokes you receive on your emails, please feel free to forward them to me at Linda(at)Linda Kage(dot)com and I'll make sure they get posted (but they have to be clean--public forum here, remember!!).

Interview at The Ravenous Reader

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Next stop on the Stillburrow Crush Blog Tour: Tales of the Ravenous Reader.

Over at The Ravenous Reader Blog, I'm being interviewed today for my book, The Stillburrow Crush. Feel free to pop over sometime and say hi.

Books, Babies, and Contest Winners

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
My baby is in the breech positions so I'm scheduled to have a c-section tomorrow (squeeeee!), meaning you probably won't hear from me personally for a couple of weeks (but don't worry: I still have blogs scheduled to post in my absence).


My book, The Stillburrow Crush, is now available for pre-order from the publisher's website, The Wild Rose Press. I keep checking Amazon, but it still hasn't shown up there yet.


And the winner chosen from the Nancy J. Parra Interview post is:

Sheila Deeth

Congratulations, Sheila! You won a new paperback copy of Nancy's book, Dream Man. Boy, are you lucky. What a keeper!

But if you did not win Nancy's story, never fear, there's another contest presently running to win...what do you know...MY book!!! Over at the Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press Blog, the blog goddess Blaize is throwing a fun contest. She says:

Got a crush story you want to share with us? E-mail it to me at blaizerose (dot) cr (at) gmail (dot) com. We'll be posting crush stories on the blog all this month and asking readers to vote on them. Whoever's crush story gets the most votes will win a copy of The Stillburrow Crush.

So, head over there and gives up your crush story. Want to read my entry (it's so embarrasing)? HERE it is!

Lessons Learned...The Rejection Way - #3

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Perfect Main Character

In January, I decided to start a series of posts called “Lessons Learned the Rejection Way,” hoping I might be able to help other writers by tossing out a few of the reason I’ve received rejections in the past...and, okay, maybe in the not-so-past as well.

Today, I’m focusing on characters, the main character to be precise.

You have to a find a happy medium for your character when you create them. They have to be perfect…but not too perfect, strong…but not too strong, soft…but not too soft. In other words, they have to be likable enough a reader will cheer for them to succeed.

One heroine I created was a woman who’d been stuck raising her four younger sisters when she was nineteen. I was so careful to make her dominant and willful, someone who took care of business. Well, I guess I overdid it a little, because the rejection that came back said something like, “The heroine isn’t very likable. She’s bossy and treats her sisters like children, though they are grown women now.”

The next heroine I turned in to that same publisher was struggling between still wanting to be a good daughter to the father she adored, yet falling for a man she knew her dad despised. But that rejection went more like, “The heroine isn’t very likable. She’s too weak and lacks interior motive.”

Ironic, huh? I wrote overboard on one woman and, uh, under board (for lack of a better term) on another. Sigh. I’m not sure when I passed that happy medium. But, both responses definitely opened my eyes. Readers—and publishers too—want a likable protagonist, someone strong that can stand up to the forces raging against them, but someone likable that the reader will cheer for, but also someone fallible they can actually relate to.

So, how is your main character coming along? Does he/she have plenty of struggles to face, and is she/he facing them in a way that a majority of readers will approve of? Would you like this character if you knew them personally, or would you think her/him too shallow, too stupid to live, too mean, too silly, too perfect?

Yet one more thing to consider when submitting your manuscript to an editor or agent. Good Luck!

DREAM MAN by Nancy J. Parra

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Dream Man by Nancy J. Parra was released January 8, 2010 from The Wild Rose Press.

It's about :

Dr. Eva Stanford only wants to help her patient sleep through the night. Little does she know that the old woman holds the secret to a thirty-year-old mystery that threatened the political life of a presidential candidate and Eva's own family.

FBI Agent Nate Cancaid has a reoccurring dream of a woman with dark hair and blue eyes whose murder he is unable to prevent. When the blue eyed doctor enters his office, he feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

It's bad enough when Eva's patient claims that Eva and Nate are her married assistants, but coincidences grow too complicated for her scientific mind when some of the clues come straight out of Nate's dreams. Can Eva keep from losing her heart to a man of intuition or has fate already dealt her a losing hand?

I was honored to read an early copy, and personally, I loved it. Since I'm a romantic suspense fan, I was definitely in my element. Parra jumped into the story feet first with tension spiking from the first line of the prologue.

I think I've read all her published romance stories and so far, this is my favorite. It's got everything: Romance, murder, deceit, love, plot twists, unexplained paranormal mysteries, and surprises galore. Some of my favorite lines from Dream Man are...
“I think a man has a right to know when his wife is seeing other men.”

“I believe I need to be escorted. Safety reasons, of course.”

“Then tell me how you want me to act”

He would turn into a cave man. My woman. Stop looking or I kill.

“You could come over here and act like my lover instead.”

“I’ll just have to go commando until I get them.” She thought she heard him fall over and smiled to herself.

The first moment the hero and heroine meet...oooh. My romance-loving heart just went pitter pat with the warm fuzzies. Eva and Nate have some serious chemistry going on, let me tell you!

But actually...I don't think I will tell you (Na, na, na, na, na, na). I think I'll just let you find out about it for yourself! Check out if you'd like to read an excerpt.

OR Buy your own ebook or print copy from The Wild Rose Press or Amazon.Com or Barnes and Noble.

Before that, though, stay a minute and enjoy this very unique interview--or should I say interviews--I've had with not only Nancy J. Parra herself, but also a few characters from Dream Man as well! Then leave a comment, and you'll be eligible to win some fun & crafty Dream Man door prizes!!!

Interview #1 With Author of Dream Man : Nancy J. Parra

What is Dream Man about?

A dream doctor’s patient gives her the clues to unravel a thirty year old mystery. A mystery that may end with the doctor’s death, unless the FBI agent in charge can prevent fate from playing out.

Do you have any collections? What?

Yes, I collect old cookie jars. There’s something cool and homey about them.

What food can you absolutely not stand to eat?

Squash. Lol. I like vegetables and usually have a full garden, but squash makes me gag every time.

What is the last play you saw?

Wicked. Loved it!

What are you listening to right now?

Matchbox Twenty – I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell… :)

Interview #2 With Heroine of Dream Man : Dr. Eva Stanford

Who is your favorite character in Dream Man?

Nate Cancaid, of course. God, I love that man.

Have you ever met a celebrity? Who and where?

Does President Obama count? My family is into politics.

When you wake up, what is the first thing you think?

I think, oh, God, what does Mom want now?

Do you play an instrument? What?

Piano, of course, it’s a prerequisite in my social set.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I’m a black belt in tae Kwando

What's the worst advice you've ever taken?

Always act like a lady—no matter what.

What's your biggest pet peeve?

Men who need to always be right.

Interview #3 With Hero of Dream Man : FBI Agent Nate Cancaid

Who is your favorite character in Dream Man?

Eva is my favorite. The woman is everything I dreamed of—literally.

What is something that annoys you?

When people—okay, women—don’t listen to me and get themselves into trouble.

Have you ever crawled through a window?

Sure, but I’m not saying whose.

Do you play an instrument? What?

Yeah, harmonica.

Name four things you always have with you.

My gun, my badge, a lock pick and a condom. I believe in being prepared.

What's your favorite season of the year? Why?

Are you kidding me? Fall- football, baseball, hockey and basketball all at the same time.

Interview #4 With Supporting Character of Dream Man : Mafia Uncle Sal Palmese

Regrets—If you could’ve done something different in Dream Man, what would it have been?

Gotten rid of the old broad when I had a chance. That way no one would’ve had to go after my goddaughter.

What country do you most want to visit? Why?

Italy. Enough said.

Name four things you always have with you.

My gun, a knife, a pair of latex gloves and an alibi.

Have you ever met a celebrity? Who and where?

Does Joey “The Clown” Lambardo count?

What is something you wish you were better at?

Geesus, keeping “the family” secrets.

What is something that annoys you?

Nosey FBI agents who don’t leave well enough alone.

Interview # 5 With Supporting Character of Dream Man: Mrs. Patterson

Do you like your role in Dream Man? What is it and why do you like it?

I do like my role. Of course, I slept through most of it. But without my medical condition, Dr. Stanford would have never met Agent Cancaid. They make a lovely couple. Don’t you think?

Do you believe in extraterrestrials? Why or why not?

My dead husband, God rest his soul, swore he saw a flying saucer once while he was out on a call. I believe him. He was a very honest man.

What is something you wish you were better at?

Sleeping through the night. All this sleep walking is making me tired.

What TV show are you following this season?

I like that new show, Glee. I love to hear those kids sing. My goodness, no one was that good a singer in my high school.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie?

*laughs* Someone pretty and famous- like Meryl Streep.

Where were you last week at this time?

I was in my trailer in California, but then I started sleepwalking and my son brought me to Kansas City to keep an eye on me. Dr. Stanford is nice, but I’m not all that sure I’m safer here. Someone threatened my life just last night.

The Stillburrow Crush -- Preorder Now!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm so happy to announce that my first book, THE STILLBURROW CRUSH, is NOW available to order in PRINT from The Wild Rose Press.

So, if you're not into ebooks or you just can't wait until the official release, please feel free to go ahead and order a copy today (that's exactly what I did)!! HERE is the link.

So far, it's only for sale at the publisher's website, but it WILL be available within a few weeks at many major online retailers and distributors such as...
Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Ingram Book Company

To celebrate, I redecorated my website. What do you think??

Sold Book Three!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I've signed a contract with the epublisher, Champagne Books, for my THIRD book!! Wow, this is turning into a phenomenon.

Book three is an adult contemporary romance, even a little more racy than my second--which is The Trouble with Tomboys--but it will still be fun to read (it was a blast to write, anyway). I haven't even been in contact with my editor yet, so I don't know much, but here's what I DO know:

Publisher - Champagne Books
Release Date - November 2010
Format - eBook and Print
Genre - Contemporary Adult Romance

Hopefully you know me well enough by now to be assured that once I receive more information (like a blurb, trailer, excerpt, and all that good stuff), I will most definitely let you know.

Anyway, I just HAD to share my exciting news. More on Hot Commodity later!

If you missed my baby update, it posted yesterday. Check it out to learn how the little one is doing.

Otherwise, I'll see you guys Thursday. Make sure to come back for a very special interview I'm having with author, Nancy J. Parra. Cheers!

Baby -- Any Time Now!

Monday, February 1, 2010
LYDIA MARIE - 37 Weeks Sonogram

Linda Kay - 1 week old

I got a 3-D sonogram taken of my baby. WOW. With both her hands and feet up by her head and covering a good portion of her face, it was extremely difficult for the doctor to capture this image. He assured me her nose was fine, it merely got cut off in the picture when he focused in to get the other features of her face. I say it's wonderful, clear enough to tell who she looks like anyway! That's definitely MY nose and mouth, don't you think? I don't have a baby picture handy of my hubby (I'm going to have to get my hands on one though), but I do believe those might be the shape of her daddy's eyes. Awww.

Anyway, she is still in breech position, so the word c-section is being heavily discussed. If she still hasn't turned by my next appointment, we'll be scheduling which day she'll be born. The idea of picking out her birthday is kind of exciting. Of course, if I go into labor before that, she'll be picking her own b-day.

She's estimated to be six pounds and five ounces already. I've gained a total of thirty-three pounds all together...not wonderful news, but it's still perfectly average, which I can deal with. After getting to see my baby's face, I'd still be glowing if I'd gained sixty pounds. I just can't wait to meet her in person.

She is now considered FULL TERM!!! That just blows my mind. She's all cooked up and ready to serve...just a few more finishing touches to go before the ol' oven timer goes off, and I deliver Baby À la carte.

I ended up getting FIVE baby showers thrown for her, given by family, friends, church, my workplace, and hubby's workplace. The last one is set to finish this afternoon. Whew. After the first shower, I bought a brand new 50-card set of blank Thank You notes to fill out, but I've already written my way through the entire box. I'm telling you, this is one popular baby; her nursery is thoroughly complete with blankets, diapers, baby clothes, and body washes galore. It's nice to know she's already got this kind of love coming her way, but I say she totally deserves it (sorry, is my proud mama grin showing through?).

Anyway, I think that's all I have to report. Both baby and me seem to be healthy and doing just fine. The doctor says I'm beginning to drop, but I haven't dilated yet.

If I do get a c-section scheduled, I'll let you know. See you all tomorrow with more news, but this news will have to do with actual writing and books!