Feature and Follow #33 (favorite character archetype)

Friday, July 15, 2016

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What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:

1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.


This Week's FF: 

What is your favorite character archetype(s)?


I like badass female characters. Not necessarily the sword swinging, no shit taking,  whiskey drinking, do or die women (although let's, be honest, those are great). But women that can find their own "niche" and work it. Self-confidence, a certain independence, and common sense are badass qualities. I like when characters are taken down (in a way) by their qualities and have to relearn a better/different use for them. Resculpting. Growing. Learning to appreciate.

For male characters I'm a bit more all over the board. I like the nerdy in the streets, alpha in the sheets kind of guy. I find a lot of the male characters typically alpha in every way possible, and that's boring to me.

Book Spotlight: 99 Cent Sale for Second Chance City

Monday, July 11, 2016

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99 Cent Sale for Second Chance City

Comic books can be the death of you


Police officer Nate Hammond led a well-ordered life until a chance meeting with a girl from his past drags him into an extraordinary adventure.

Libby Parish never intended to visit her hometown again. Is the strange obsession to return related to a mysterious comic book? Or someone she left behind?

Sucked into a deadly comic book universe Nate and Libby find themselves in Second Chance City, home of the Refractor and a league of murderous adversaries. Can a knowledge of comic books, a half-hearted super-hero, misunderstood villains, science gone horribly awry, and a mysterious flashlight help them find a way home or will their second chance at happily-ever-after only end in in death?

Excerpt
The building was silent with the exception of a faint hum now emanating from the glow in the corner. Nate moved cautiously forward, shining the flashlight. “Debolt?” No one answered. “We’ll check the rest of the store…Libby?”
Libby had stepped from his side, her attention drawn elsewhere. She stood in front of the display stand filled with comic books. Her respiration sharply increased. “What is that?” she said. The eerie glow came directly from one of the books.
            Nate’s gaze widened. “I’ve no idea.” The glow began to fluctuate, pulsing with a bright green neon light.
            Libby squinted at the glare. She leaned in as if striving to discern the cover. “It’s the latest Refractor issue. Why is it doing that?” On and off, on and off, the hypnotic beat flashed.
            The light was oddly attractive. “It’s not some marketing gimmick?” Nate said.
“No way,” insisted Libby. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The tempo of the pulses increased, so did the hum. A little voice in Nate’s head bleated a warning. This isn’t normal. You should do something…do something…do something. His thoughts muddled with the incessant flash. The hand which had been resting on the gun, dropped to his side.
 Libby clutched the pencil light to her chest. As if drawn by an irresistible impulse, the other hand reached for the Refractor comic.
            Nate’s confusion vanished, shoved aside by a powerful protective urge. “Libby, don’t! It might be dangerous.” He grabbed her arm at the same time she touched the comic. For an instant, the world turned to green light.
           Then total blackness enveloped them. 


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L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can connect at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com


Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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The perfect marriage isn’t always what it seems to be.

To the townsfolk of the quaint English village, newlyweds Grace and Jack, have a perfect marriage. Grace hangs on every one of Jack’s words. He is handsome, charming, rich, and adoringly attentive, oozing kindness on visits to her mentally disabled sister at a residential facility. Grace and Jack even live in a perfectly charming home. Of course, the neighbors have noticed Grace never seems to be out in public alone and why does that charming house have bars on the windows?

Behind Closed Doors is a contemporary suspense novel about what can happen when Mr. Right turns out to be oh-so-wrong. The tension builds slowly, but never to the edge-of-your-seat level. The book should be a chilling page-turner, but the story didn’t grip me the way I’d hoped. The main problem was Grace. Before Jack, she’s spunky and strong, lovingly tending to her sister. She has a good life with a job she loves, but when when Jack arrives all her most interesting characteristics go right out the window. She easily falls under his spell, asking no questions about his odd demands like quitting her job before the wedding. Her transformation isn’t credible. Neither is how long it takes for the final confrontation between them to take place. When Grace finally figures out Jack’s evil intentions I couldn’t help but think, conk him on the head and run, lady. End of story. (I suppose that would have made for a very short book.)

The novel is written in the first person from Grace’s point of view. I have no problem with first person narration, but in a suspense story the reader is left with three options. Grace will confront Jack and be victorious. She will confront Jack and not be victorious. The author will use a cheesy Sunset Boulevard escape and Grace will be narrating the book as a ghost. Thankfully, the third option wasn’t used, but Grace’s voice still comes across as too weak. I never made a connection to her. The ending was satisfying, but while it should have been a big surprise, it wasn’t. Any reader paying attention can see it coming. I didn’t toss the book aside. The story was interesting enough to keep reading, but somewhere in the middle I suddenly realized the only reason for me to finish was to see if my theory of the ending held up. I didn’t particularly care whether Grace escaped Jack’s clutches or not.

I received a free advanced copy from the publisher.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can connect at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com


Kindle Scout: A Win for an Author is a Win for a Reader

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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Click to Nominate Rimrider
What the heck is Kindle Scout?
A few short years ago, Amazon launched a venture for new, never-before-published books where readers help decide a contract. Selected novels are published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing. The marketing part is a huge appeal. It’s the curse of most authors’ existence (I spit on you, hateful marketing gods!) Having Amazon shoulder the burden is a major plus.

If a book is approved, the author receives a preview link to check the data submitted along with the Kindle Scout campaign launch date. All campaigns last 30 days. The more nominations a book receives the more likely it will get the attention of the Kindle Scout team and be selected for publication.

Will the requirements make my head hurt?
Nope. Submissions are taken all year long and eligibility standards are simple. The manuscript must be submitted in English and be 50,000 words or more. Authors must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid Amazon account, and reside in a Kindle Scout–eligible country. Five categories are available: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult, and general Literature & Fiction.

Any downside with Kindle Scout for the author?
Isn’t there always? The author is responsible for the book’s cover art. It must look professional, be ready to go when the manuscript is submitted, and satisfy Amazon’s specifications. Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, expect to shell out money for an artist. The manuscript should also be professionally edited, free of typos and grammar errors. Paying for a good editor is a must. Kindle Scout doesn’t offer hardcovers or paperbacks, so if an author wants something to hold in his or her hot little hand, the printing cost are shouldered alone. For some, the lack of marketing decisions can be irksome. Amazon has total control. An author can’t run a 99 cent sale or post the first book in a series for free to drum up interest in the rest. Finally, the terms of the contract state the book will only be available on Amazon, so bye-bye Barnes and Noble, any other site, and all ereaders who can’t open a MOBI file.

What’s the benefit to a reader?
You’re allowed to vote for three nominations. If your choice is a winner, Amazon will send a free copy of the ebook upon publication. No muss. No fuss. The only cost was a few minutes of your time to check out the book. You also get to proudly strut around the room and brag to others about supporting indy writers.

Be honest. Do you think you really have a shot?
Let’s put it this way…Amazon labels the popular Kindle Scout nominations in the smoking hot category. Even on my best days I’ve only ever been labeled in the dorky and peculiar category. The odds of a win are minuscule, but it costs nothing to try. That being said I would greatly appreciate a vote for Rimrider by L. A. Kelley. It’s a science fiction space opera about a teenage girl who becomes a space pirate. Imagine the American Revolution with Earth as the redcoats and the colony planets as Yankee rebels and you get the idea. Intrigued? Click on the link and heartfelt thanks for taking a peek. Voting ends JULY 5.


Kindle Scout link for Rimrider: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1135KKAY4C6QF

L. A. Kelley writes adventure stories with fantasy, romance, humor and a touch of sass, and lurks at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

Feature and Follow #32 (sites I follow)

Friday, June 17, 2016

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What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:

1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.


This Week's FF: 

5 non-shopping sites you lurk around


I buy a lot of things online for both work and personal. So as I'm sitting here thinking of 5 non-shopping sites I use, I kinda laugh...because I wasn't sure if there were any! And I don't know if that's a sad reality or not... But alas I realized I'm not a complete shopaholic and that there are quite a few places I visit daily :)


In no particular order...


1. I will admit I'm a huge Buzzfeed fan. I don't necessarily go there for thought provoking articles (hah), but the variety of short topics and sometimes brainless humor is just what I need before falling asleep most nights.


2. Elephant Journal - I recently became a subscribing member so that I can have unlimited article access. I never subscribe to these kinds of things, so that's how much I love it. It's a variety of spiritual-type reading without much of the yuppy nonsense (I won't say it's completely void, but it is rare). The writing is meant to give motivation and make you think about topics without the bombardment of all of the bad news happening around the world.


3. ESPN -
I'm a total sports junkie and I can't watch all of the games (as much as I really try ;))


4. Best of Tumblr -
Another great place to go when you're in need of a good laugh...or hours worth.


5. My Fitness Pal - I'm very dedicated to health and fitness. I spend a lot of time on the phone app but also on the boards talking to fellow running junkies. It's free and it's a pretty great place to hang out if you can ignore some of the attention seekers...

Book Review: How May We Hate You by Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe

Friday, June 10, 2016

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Just in time for summer travel season comes a book to tell how the other half lives. Not the rich and famous, but the nondescript concierge who only lives to serve. Or maybe not. The authors are two ex-actors who entered hospitality management to make ends meet between gigs. Needless to say by the title of the book, neither one found their true calling at the front desk.  How May We Hate You purports to give the dirt on what really goes on in the world of hospitality management, but doesn’t quite hit the mark.   

Quibbles and bits
The book is a short, quick read filled with vignettes and little drawings. The major fault is that it doesn’t go far enough and often reads as half done. It’s not gossipy enough to be a tell-all. The authors hint they’ve witnessed famous people acting in unprofessional or embarrassing manners, but don’t give names. Then why mention it at all? If you’re going to write a book like this and expect me to believe you, sorry, I need the dirt.  Otherwise, I’m going to think you made it all up.

There’s not enough substance in the writing for it to be an exposé on the life of the concierge either.  While heavy on the snark, it’s light on the details and often comes off as merely two people crabbing about their jobs. Mind you, the stories, vignettes, and little quirky lists aren’t badly written. They range from amusing to ho hum. Many of the drawings have whimsical charm. The authors apparently have a blog which is probably why much of the writing reads like rehashed posts. If you’re in the doctor’s office it’s a good way pass the time.  At a little over 100 pages you’ll probably breeze through it before called for the appointment. I did. In general, a reader will come away with more sympathy toward those who man the front desk, a chuckle or two, but not much else.   

Scratching my head on this one
I obviously don’t understand marketing.  The physical makeup of this book consists of heavy binding, sturdy cover, and pages of high quality paper. Why? It’s not the kind of book a person keeps forever. It’s a light read that takes about an hour, more fitting for a trade paperback found in an airport gift shop. Even the ebook is expensive at just shy of ten bucks.  I don’t get it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.


L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, humor, romance, and a touch of sass. You can find her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

Book Spotlight New Release: Spirit Ridge by L. A. Kelley

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Spirit Ridge

L. A. Kelley

A dark shadow rises.

San Francisco in 1885 was a dangerous place for those who crossed Colin Doyle. To Nob Hill elite he was a successful businessman. To the underbelly of San Francisco he was The Mick, a criminal mastermind ruling from the shadows. If a buyer’s tastes ran to opium, a whore, or a politician, The Mick could name a price. No one who betrayed him ever escaped the city alive.

Until now.

Nell Bishop is a fearless investigative reporter for the San Francisco Dispatch. She’s on the run to the Arizona Territory with the one witness who can expose Doyle’s corrupt empire and stop the plan to extend his evil dominion to the West.


Marshal Sam Tanner of Spirit Ridge in the Arizona Territory fought the visions sent by his Apache blood. They always foretold a death he couldn’t prevent. Then Sam dreamed of the coyote with golden brown eyes who warned of a black shadow spreading evil across the land. Did the message call him to help the beautiful woman who stepped off the stagecoach? Can Sam and Nell elude the mysterious dark riders who dog their trail or will the next vision mean death for both of them?

Adventure, romance, humor, and the call of Apache spirits weave together a Wild West adventure where either murder or justice can come at the twitch of a trigger finger.

Excerpt
Surprise shot through Bart’s expression. “Never reckoned you smart enough to figure the truth. The Mick’s reward ain’t for fetching you alive.” His tongue flicked in and out again. “Please me, and I’ll make it quick.”
Tears sprung to Daisy’s eyes. “Sweet Jesus, help me.”
Bart’s heartless chuckle encased Nell’s heart in ice. “Ain’t no God nor man gonna help a whore.”
“Get away from her this instant!” Nell stepped into the alley, right hand hidden in the tunic, finger on the trigger.
Bart raised the gun to meet the new arrival. “Where’d you come from? Best be on your way. This ain’t no concern of yours.”
Nell strode toward them through the fog. The gaslight shone on her white wimple and the scapular under the veil.
Daisy gasped. “She’s a nun, Bart. You can’t shoot a nun.”
“Shut up,” he barked, backhanding her across the mouth. “For five thousand, I’ll shoot anyone.”
  “Get out of here, Sister,” Daisy moaned. “Please, don’t get hurt on my account. I ain’t worth it.”
“Release her.” Nell’s tone betrayed not a single tremor. “If you beg trouble, sir, let fly. I guarantee you won’t live long enough for regrets.”
Bart’s thumb pulled back to cock the trigger. “Your words don’t cut nothing. The devil claimed me as his own long ago.”
“Then perhaps,” she responded coolly, “the time has come to meet your maker and beg forgiveness in person.”
A shot rang out. Daisy shut her eyes and screamed.


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About the Author
L. A. Kelley writes adventures with fantasy, humor, romance, and a touch of sass. 
Twitter @AuthorLAKelley



Feature and Follow #31 (reasons you love a genre)

Friday, May 20, 2016

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What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:

1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.


This Week's FF: 

10 reasons you love your favorite genre...


To do this, I'd have to pick a favorite genre. My tastes have greatly evolved in the past year and now it's hard to say. So I'll go with my latest love, Fae/Mage Fantasy.


1. If it's well written, there's no such thing as young adult or adult -- which I LOVE. If something is described as young adult, I have a tendency to turn away from it faster than I should. That is unless it's recommended by a friend (usually). What I've found about the fae and magic world is that a lot of the sloppy "young" adult writing is avoided (aka inappropriate maturity and overused tropes)...or maybe I've just been lucky!

2. They almost always come as a series -- It's pretty hard to build a fantasy world and a major plot in one book. So there's always a bonus book! Though my luck usually has me waiting a year for the next installment...

3. Creativity is unlimited -- Add a little magic in the mix and you can get away with taking the story anywhere! No boundries. Just an open imagination and complex character building.

4. Complex characters -- Building off of the last 2 points, the books tend to come in series and involve a lot of world building. Which means all of the characters have layers, including the secondary characters. I've found this especially true when the fae element is added, because not only is there a magic learning curve, but a fae-world learning curve which adds a whole new level of tension and excitement.

5. Odd character pairings are somehow pulled off -- Let's be honest, you put a 100 year old and a 17 year old in a normal "contemporary romance" relationship...and things get a bit weird. You put a 2000 year old fae/mage with a 17 year old and it's somehow sweet and spicy, hitting all of the taste buds.

6. Plots can be majorly twisted without a lead up --  Because magic. It makes anything possible.

7. Just when you thought someone died -- they didn't. Because magic.

8. There's always a ton of action

9. There's usually an element of romance -- without it taking over the story.

10. The names are memorable --  although some can get a little tricky and I'll get more caught up on trying to pronounce them than I should...

Join in on this week's Penny For Your Thoughts... blog discussion!


A Penny For Your Thoughts... hosted by The Book Cove
A hop where you leave a comment or create a blog post about a given quote and
are entered to win a monthly prize.




Other Posts Of Interest:


Remember to check your follow links regularly - by Jessi - November 22nd, 2014
5 easy tips for making your blog more user friendly for blog hops - By Jessi - December 27th, 2013
CAPTCHA challenge presented by The Book Wheel and The Relentless Reader - By Jessi - August 16th, 2013

Review: Stuck-up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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(Blurb): It started out like any other morning on the train.Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.
He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.
Who did the stuck-up suit think he was...God?
Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.
I might have picked it up.
I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.
I might have held onto the mystery man's phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.
So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk's office.
I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.
I didn't expect him to text back.
I didn't expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn't expect to fall for him―all before we even met.
The two of us couldn't have been any more different.
Yet, you know what they say about opposites.
When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn't prepared for where I'd wind up when the ride was over.
All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.



Book Information:

Published: April 9th, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Length: 328p


Review:

I was looking for a light read to decompress from work with when I ran across Stuck-up Suit. The first 1/4 of the book was pretty good. It was funny, snarky, playful, and I could tell where it was going. Which was fine -- I don't mind a straightforward book.

I expected a little more of a hold-out between the two MC as the story progressed. It moved pretty quickly and I think took away from some of the tension and fun that had just started to build between the MCs. Especially since they were portrayed as being from opposite ends of the tracks.

I didn't feel like we got to really know Soraya. She was unique and exotic -- and the 50 other descriptive synonyms for that description. She had daddy issues which hindered her romantic life and much of the book walked around these issues in the background.

As the plot progressed we find out about Graham and his past and why he's the "Mr. Big Prick" that he is today. I thought Graham's story was much more interesting than Soraya's. It stole the show for the most part. It was one of the few times where I better clicked with the mind of the "stuck-up suit" than I did with the female MC whom was sort of being dragged along with the story.

The ending was pretty cliche. Not just one trope of cliche, but every rom-com-drama trope tied into one. That's where the book really lost me. The last 1/4 I felt lost it's integrity and feeling. I ended up a casual observer of this fiasco of a relationship and ended the book feeling "meh."

It wasn't horrible by any means. I kind of knew what I was getting into before starting. But I was hoping for a little more, and think a lot more could have come from this had not so many cheesy things played out in the end. That ending blurb tag of "Except our ending was one I didn't see coming" would not be my first descriptive choice...


Book Review: Dead Wake by Eric Larson

Sunday, May 15, 2016

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The best historical fiction transports a reader to a different time and place, so much so that pages come alive. The story is real. The same can be said for the best historical nonfiction. All senses are engaged; taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight. The reader not only comes away with a better understanding of historical events, but a complete picture of the world in a far-removed time. It’s the mark of a great book when you root for people to survive and forget they are long dead.

New York Times Bestseller, Dead Wake, is a vibrant telling of the last crossing of the steamship Lusitania. No stuffy compilation of facts, no dull recitation of times and dates. As Larson relates the story of the doomed ship and the passengers, readers are drawn along. It doesn’t take long to become vested in their survival. Will the young man headed to England for his engagement live? What about the little boy with measles confined to bed? His pregnant mother? The spiritualist? The book dealer with his priceless package? Larson uses a treasure trove of letters, diaries, and written reminisces to give each a unique voice.

Larson flicks the story between the major players; the passengers and crew of the Lusitania, the British Admiralty, President Woodrow Wilson, and the U-boat commander Schwieger. This is in no way confusing, but instead, reveals surprising details. Some are sweet. President Wilson wrote gushy love letters for his soon-to-be wife, Edith. Others are simply amusing. I never expected a description of life aboard a U-boat to include a dachshund with puppies who cuddled with the crew.  

Tragedy can sometimes approach a comedy of errors. The sinking of the Lusitania is no exception. Warnings of submarines sightings were ignored or never sent. People who needed vital information didn’t get it. Even simple pride played a large part. Few took seriously the German government’s warning that all ships flying the British flag were fair game. Even when they did, destroying the Lusitania was unthinkable. She was the biggest, fastest passenger ship afloat with more than enough lifeboats. Too bad safety drills weren’t mandatory. Maybe then passengers would have actually learned how to put on their life jackets.

Larson’s face-paced chapters build tension until the final moment when U-20 fires the torpedo. After that, the story turns to nail-biting anxiety as the ship quickly sinks. Heartbreaking tragedy follows when who lived and who died is revealed.

Dead Wake has no overly technical jargon or dull details. No one is painted as a villain. This is simply a great read that recreates an tragic historical event in remarkable detail. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys getting lost in another time and place, whether fictional or real. Any quibbles? Yes. Other than one map and one photograph of the Lusitania, the book contains no illustrations or pictures. The omission is disappointing.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can connect at https://www.facebook.com/l.a.kelley.author 

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