Tuesday, July 30, 2013


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Hellooooo Novel d'Tales friends, new friends, Hive friends, Mini-Bees and everyone!  WELCOME to my all new world - Hily's Beehive.  I decided a while back that I wanted to create a new blog that could feature more than just books.  One where I could invite co-authors without losing anything.  One where we could talk about girly stuff, geeky stuff, books, animals, or just whatever we wanted (mostly books, animals and geeky stuff... heh.).

I created Hily's Beehive with those exact thoughts in mind.  I'm so excited to share my new little world with you and I hope it can become as much fun as Novel d'Tales was.  I absolutely love writing my blog, but wanted more possibilities with the content.

With the Hive, the Mini-Bees and I can now give you diverse posts with something different each week but similar patterns (Wordless Wednesdays; full length posts on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays; guest posts) will remain.  I'm really enjoying the new format so far - but make sure you tell me if you don't like it.  We can always change to make it better!  Take a look around, enjoy the new site and WELCOME to the new Hive.  Happy Launch Day!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cher'ley Grogg: A Secret in Grandma's Trunk

I’m so glad to have this opportunity to share a little about myself and my children’s novel “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk”, which is free to download from Amazon for a limited time.   The inspiration for the book came from my grandsons. I have three grandsons and a granddaughter. My granddaughter loves to read, but the boys do not, so I decided to write a book they would love to read. I knew it’d have to have strong kids in it, strong physically and head strong too.  The characters would all have to be realistic with problems and scuffles among themselves, it would have to be fast paced and full of adventure.  Plus my grandsons like sports and girls so I needed to put that in there as well. I couldn’t leave my granddaughter without someone to relate to so I gave the brothers in the story a female cousin who could keep up with them in most things and top them in other things. In addition to the children, there are some strong, funny and interesting adult characters. This book appeals to people of all ages.
The main character in “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk”, Brandon is not quiet. He’s very outgoing and loud. He’s a leader and his outgoing boisterous personality works well for him, but not listening also gets him into a lot of trouble. Jordan his cousin is a female version of Brandon, but Jacob his brother is the opposite. He’s a quiet listener, a thinker. The 13 year olds get in a passel of trouble because of not listening, and Jacob quietly follows them.
Here’s the Blurb: A teen's life disrupts when his Great-Grandmother, a stranger comes to live with him and his family. She upsets his life so much that he stoops pretty low to get rid of her, including trying to find a way to get into the oversized trunk she has stored in his garage. Spunky Grandma keeps the key in a special place.
The kids expect treasure, but discover a terrible secret instead, which puts Grandma in danger’s way. Will she turn to her grandchildren for help or to a young ghost?
This is an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen:
Jacob looked astounded. "How in the world did you pull that off?"    
            "A girl has to have stuff." She grinned. "You know girl's stuff."      
              "No, we don't know, and we don't want to know. The important thing is you got the card." Brandon reached for the credit card.  
              "I want to know," Jacob said.    
              "Believe me, you don't want to know," Jordan laughed as she handed the card to Brandon.     
              "Hurry up. I need to get Dad's card back to him before Mom's out of the shower."
In the next chapter the kids went to play soccer. Grandma went with them. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15:
    Lilly turned to Grandma. "It doesn't matter what she thinks, she's not on our team. I don't know why the coach favors Jordan. Maybe he feels sorry for her. She's so big and clunky."        
              Grandma's eyes flashed, and her little fist doubled up.  Brandon hoped she wouldn't spit. He put his hand on Grandma's shoulder. "Let's go."                          
"I'll go, but I want her to know that Jordan sure is big.   She has a big heart, and a big personality, and she's twice the lady that girl is. She would never put someone else down to try to make herself look better."    
  "I don't need to put her down to make myself look better. I always look good."    
  Grandma turned her head and spit.
“The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” is currently free on Amazon!
Cher'ley's Books are all available on Amazon or at your local bookstore.
Join Cher'ley on her Facebook Fanpage, managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell.  Don't forget to check out her website as well!  Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yosuke Sunday: Cat Toys!?

Our dog's favorite toys are cat toys.  Not just any cat toys, but a purple mouse and a "fish" shaped fish.  He LOVES them.  He carries them around all the time, sleeps with them, plays with them... it's hilarious!  I fear the day I come home to torn up cat toys...

The picture above is the closest I could find to his toy.  Granted, his does not have ears or eyes (I removed them so he couldn't choke) and it's obviously larger than pictured... and purple.

They had cat-nip (had, because I removed it) in them too.  I think he likes cat toys simply because our cat does.  And he worships our cat.  If she does it, he will consider it.  When we first allowed them to play without supervision, he immediately started playing with her feather stick, jingle bell ball and catnip toys.  I guess he decided pretty early on he was a cat, not a dog. heh.

Don't get me wrong, he still loves his actual dog toys - braided rope, squeak ball, stuffed bear, non-stuffed fox, and various other toys.  He just seems to like the cat toys more.  Our vet said they are safe, as long as we remove the cat-nip and make sure he can't swallow them.

So, my friends... do your pets have a weird favorite toy?  Oh! The cat totally takes revenge on the dog and plays with his toys sometimes too when he won't give her toys back.  haha!  Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fire (The Hand of Kali Series Book 1) - NEW FAV SERIES!!

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Title: Fire (The Hand of Kali Series Book 1)
Author: Tee Ayer
My Rating: 5 stars!

Book Blurb:
Normal people sneak out to a party and have fun. Maya Rao ends the evening by incinerating the guy who attacks her.
Nik Lucas, sexy, new in town and totally forbidden, happens to walk in on her. Normal guys would run for the hills. Nik knows a whole lot more than he's telling.
Maya doesn't believe the gods are real, doesn't waste her time with mere mythology. But when gods, demons and hellhound's become the new normal and wielding fire becomes her new skill, she must decide what it is she really believes.
Can Maya accept that normal is something she will never be because it isn't normal to be
...the Hand of Kali.

My Review:
Another absolutely stunning novel by Tee Ayer!  Maya Rao is a reincarnated Goddess who is must use her fire skills to battle the very demons that are trying to kill her.  She can barely keep herself alive, let alone have a normal teen life.  A new mythological/paranormal, YA series I am in-love with!  This series reminds me so much of the Soul Screams series by Rachel Vincent (one of my all time fav paranormal, YA series).  With the mix of teen life, mythology, and the fight to survive, this series has something for everyone - even you guys!  I absolutely LOVE it!

Maya and Nik are perfect main characters.  Maya has the perfect amount of sass, strength and teen issues for the plot.  Nik is exactly what Maya needs, a non-Indian male that wants to protect her and be with her at all times.  I can not wait to read more of this series!  I will be counting down the days until the remaining books come out.  Definitely adding this to my fav series list!

Just read it!  You're going to love it!!

Fear spun Maya around on stricken feet. To defend her back perhaps. She just felt less vulnerable facing her attacker, where she could see his next move. He barreled straight at her. And for all her training in martial arts, she did the one thing her dad always said never to do. She ducked her head and hid her face with her hands. Hands out, as if she could fend off this vicious attacker merely with the soft skin of her palms.
Maya felt the heat before she saw it.
Byron was on fire. A living column of shimmering orange flames. She couldn't breathe. Was afraid to breathe. How did that happen? She glanced around the bathroom as panic filled her veins, her fear taking on a whole new level of hysteria. She had to put the fire out.
She turned to the faucet to fill her hands with water. And froze. In the mirror she saw the burning reflection of Byron disappear. Byron was there one moment and gone the next. Only a few burnt shards of fabric left to say he was ever there. But she remembered the last thing she'd seen before Byron became nothing: brilliant blue eyes turning a frighteningly blood-red.
And Nik, holding the doorknob, staring at the empty space on the floor behind her. 

(end of excerpt)

Pick up a copy of Fire (The Hand of Kali Series Book 1) on Amazon! I also highly recommend all of Tee Ayer's other novels as well.  She is just an incredible author all around!  Happy Review Day!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review Day: In Stone

It's Review Day!!!!!!!!

Title: In Stone
Author: Louise D. Gornall
My Rating: 4 stars

Book Blurb:
Beau Bailey is suffering from a post-break-up meltdown when she happens across a knife in her local park and takes it home. Less than a week later, the new boy in school has her trapped in an alley; he’s sprouted horns and is going to kill Beau unless she hands over the knife. Until Eighteenth-century gargoyle, Jack, shows up to save her.

Jack has woken from a century-long slumber to tell Beau that she’s unwittingly been drafted into a power struggle between two immortal races: Demons and Gargoyles. The knife is the only one in existence capable of killing immortals and they’ll tear the world apart to get it back. To draw the warring immortals away from her home, Beau goes with Jack in search of the mind-bending realm known as the Underworld, a place where they’ll hopefully be able to destroy the knife and prevent all hell from breaking loose. That is, provided they can outrun the demons chasing them.

My Review:
A fascinating YA novel about Gargoyles, Demons, the Underworld, Purgatory, high school and more.  I was hooked from the first page and loved reading this one.  With under 200 pages, this is a great summer/beach book - just long enough to get a great story but not super long.  I loved Beau - a strong, independent, courageous, female character that many young women would be inspired by.  She was very intelligent and quick thinking, yet she was also down-to-Earth.  I also liked Jack - the "main" Gargoyle that helped Beau throughout the story.  He was a perfect fit for miss Beau.

After a while, I was able to predict what was going to happen.  I'm not sure if this is because I read a ton from the YA/paranormal/romance type of genre or if it was apparent to everyone else.  I also felt like the ending was just okay.  I liked it for the most part, but was really hoping for a few more answers to my questions as well.  Overall, this novel was very good!  I definitely recommend it to those readers (age 13+) who like the paranormal, light romance, YA series.  I hope there is a sequel!

Pick up a copy of In Stone on Amazon!  Happy Review Day!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cooking with Yosuke: Homemade Dog Treats

Yosuke and I decided to make our own dog treats, again.  heh.  I love making these dog treats for him because they are cheaper than buying a box of treats AND I know exactly what it contains.  The recipes are derived from a recipe found on PetGuide.com - I simply tweeked them to fit his needs.

Peanut Butter Cookie Treats:
2 C flour (unbleached all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 C natural peanut butter (stir it before using)
1 C hot water
1 egg

**Yield depends on shape and size of treats.  We chose to make small heart and star shaped treats.  We ended up with 6 dozen treats!**

Chicken or Beef flavored Cookie Treats:
2  C. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C hot stock - chicken or beef flavored
1 egg
1 bouillon cube same flavor (optional; adds even more intense flavor of chicken or beef if you think the stock isn't strong enough or if you could only find broth)

Directions for BOTH recipes.
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour and baking powder)
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter and hot water until smooth. *Add bouillon cube now* 
4. Slowly add the dry mixture and mix well. Add a little more water or milk if the dough is too dry, or flour if it’s too wet.
5. Gather dough into a ball. Put onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4" thick.
6. Cut with a cookie cutter and place on a lightly greased or lined cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a golden brown color.  For softer treats, bake for 15 minutes and remove from pan promptly to cool.
8. Store a small number in air-tight container and freeze the remaining treats for later.

1. Let treats cool completely (usually 30 minutes to 1 hour) before freezing
2. Wrap tightly in air tight container. We put the treats in a Ziploc bag and then into a Ziploc container.
3. Place in freezer for later use.  Treats are good for up to two months as long as they are tightly sealed and temperature is maintained.

1. Take out treats from freezer.
2. Remove from packaging and place on tray in a single layer.
3. Allow treats to thaw on counter or in microwave (not on!) loosely wrapped in clear plastic wrap until room temp - usually overnight depending on the thickness and size.
4. Store and serve!

These treats last for.ev.er!  We are just now finishing up our first batch after 4 1/2 months and after giving away tons of them to friends.  Everyone's dogs LOVE them.  I've had several requests for the recipe... so here it is!

Please post pics to our Facebook if you make these treats.  We would love to hear how it went!  Share your favorite homemade treat or stuffing recipes in the comment section.  Happy Baking!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Release Party: Take Me Now

** This book is intended for adult readers only.**

Title: Take Me Now (Take Me Now, #1)
Author: Faith Sullivan
Expected release date: July 16, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Ebook available at: Kindle | Nook ($2.99) 

Book Blurb:
How do you survive the internship from hell?

Don't fall in love.

Ivy thought being a reporter-in-training at the Independent Gazette would be her dream summer job. Little did she know, interviewing Eric, a landscaper with a heart of gold, would derail her plans. It turns out Ivy's boss, Lauren, has been eying his chiseled physique for quite some time.

But at twenty-four, Eric already has a tragic past, one that he is still reeling from. Even though his ordeal turned him into some sort of local celebrity, it's been a while since he's shared his bed with anyone. When he comes to Ivy's rescue out of the blue, it's not long before the two of them start seeing each other behind Lauren's back. When they get caught, Ivy's journey toward a college degree is jeopardized and her relationship with Eric is severely put to the test.

Career versus love? In the end, a shocking turn of events provides Ivy with a revelation she never saw coming.

If only I were open to the possibility of romance, but I’m not. There’s no way I can be. There are circumstances that can’t be wished away or ignored. My heart’s not ready—not yet. And while this absolutely gorgeous girl has wandered into my life, I’m not going to act on it. It’s too soon.

I stride into my shop, gently placing her on the counter. Her feet are bleeding and she looks like she could use a drink of water. She’s covered in dust from the road but she looks adorable sitting there. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a scenario like this with a girl. I’m used to things being straightforward and laid out before me. This looks like something I could get easily lost in if I’m not careful.

We still haven’t said a word to each other, and I hate to break the silence but it can’t be avoided. “Rest here a minute. I’ll be right back.”

Her hand lingers on my upper arm, her thumb massaging by bicep. I exhale heavily, trying desperately to clear my head. Her touch is stirring things inside me I haven’t experienced in quite some time. Emotions I never thought I’d feel again. “Thank you,” she whispers, her eyes never leaving mine.

“No problem,” I try to say as casually as possible. She’s looking at me like I’m her knight in shining armor and I don’t want her to get the wrong idea. I can’t go down that road again. I just can’t. My soul still isn’t fully healed from the last time. I can’t trust myself in these kinds of situations. I need to back away as gracefully as I can.

Other New Adult contemporary romances by Faith Sullivan! 
Click covers to purchase.


Author Links: Blog | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Release Day!! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

EVO 2013 - My Third Year!

I watched EVO over the weekend with Zach.  For those of you who don't know what EVO is... it is an annual "national championship" for fighting games.  I've been watching EVO for three years (this being the third), and oh, man am I hooked!  It's like watching your favorite team win the superbowl... but it's only one person vs one person playing a video game... in front of thousands of people...and against super talented people... and against people from around the WORLD.. Imagine the pressure!

Thousands of people from around the world watch online, go to Las Vegas for the tournament or participate in the EVO tournament each year.  Just because they love games.  And it's amazing.  This is just as big as the super bowl or the world series, but so much more personal.  There are fan pages, idols, favorite announcers, players, apparel, gear, channels and careers built on/around this tournament.  It's the most incredible community of people.  They all come together just because they love one thing - fighting games - and could care less who you are or what you look like.  So. Incredible.

This year's tournament was SUPER exciting!! Some of the crowd favs lost and the crowd non-favs won, making it very entertaining to hear their reactions.  Plus, they announced a new expansion for Street Fighter IV! yay!

My fav games to watch are Persona and Street Fighter.  Zach likes to watch all of them.  He's a huge gamer in general, but fighting games are his all time favorite.  He definitely plays more than I do, but we love to compete against each other for fun.  It's even more fun when I beat him in Persona.... muahahaha!  Ahem.  You mean when I beat you? - Zach

I didn't get to watch too much of this year's tournament since I had to work.  I did catch some of the more memorable battles though!  Many of the players enter in multiple games/categories so it's exciting to see how they do in each game.

First off, they have to go through pools.  Thousands of people enter the competition just to say they did, but some are there to win it all.  Pools are tournaments where they knock each other out until they get down to the Top 8.  The Top 8 are the finalists who compete for the grand prize!

Throughout the tournaments, if you lose you get knocked into a "loser's bracket".  They run double elimination brackets to make the games as fair as possible.  The loser's bracket games are always so much more exciting to me.  I wonder if the players feel like they have to prove themselves even more when they are in that bracket.  hm..

With EVO 2013 coming now over... I hope we can go next year.  The tournament takes place in Las Vegas and you have to book your hotel super far in advance.. so fingers crossed!  Anyone else watch EVO?  Happy Gaming!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yosuke's Review: Red Harness

Yosuke (yo-skay) is my English cream mini-dachshund.  He takes up almost all of my time outside of work, and I love it.
Playing outside. So pretty!
We are trying to find the perfect harness for our little guy, but just can't find one yet.  He is almost done growing, only a teeny bit left to go.  He currently weighs 9.3 lbs.  We love to take him on walks, but hate the traditional collars (like he has on above) for walking.  They look great, but that is it.

Yosuke -- Mom says I can't wear my collar anymore for walks.  Which is good with me.  I always try to pull out of it, because it doesn't fit me well and I don't like wearing it.  The collar thing that went around my legs was NOT okay.  It slipped around too much on my back and took too long to put on and it was hard to get off.

Here is the one harness we did buy so far:
This harness is terrible!  The loop where the leash ring (D ring) and back adjustment strap goes through (on the left side of the picture) was huge.  I had to sew it shut about a 1/2 inch before it would stop sliding around.  It was such a pain to get on him too - only one clasp on the back and it always ended up on his side or belly not his back.  The red one only cost $6.99 for an xsmall at Meijer, but it wasn't even worth that.  After trying to make it work for a few weeks, we gave up and threw it out.

We liked the idea of this harness though.  Simple, easy to adjust, very inexpensive (perfect for a growing puppy), made of nylon (super durable), not bulky and tons of colors to choose from.

So now we are attempting to find one that not only he likes, but we like.  Yosuke is always too intrigued by the hamsters, conveniently located by the harness/collar isle, at the pet store to have him fitted.  So for now, the collar stays.  Any recommendations?  Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trilogy Alert!!

Your favorite preacher and serial killer is back! Charlie is still trying to recover from his first encounter with a member of The Three. He has a new job and a potential girlfriend, but before he can get too comfortable, an even darker, more powerful member of The Three has come for him. If they have their way, Charlie will suffer for interfering with their plans. As if that isn’t enough, the FBI is investigating him and a drug cartel has mistaken him for a rival. Despite the odds, Charlie will stay in the fight for his sake, and the rest of humanity.
Pick up your copy on Amazon!  Happy Release Day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

oooohhhh button!

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Send us a link to your blog or leave a comment with the title of your blog so we can add your link and button!  Happy Sharing!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Introducing the Mini-Bees!

As most of you know, I work in retail.  Since this is such a demanding job during certain times of the year, I have found a few minions writers to help out.  I have dubbed them.... The Mini-Bees.  (Mini of course being short for minions.  Muahahahaha!)  I'm here to introduce you to my three Mini-Bees today!  They are a great group of people and I know you will love them!

Zach - our second Mini-Bee to be added; Zach will be writing about everything gaming, anime, television, movie and entertainment related.  He loves to quote all of these things and is choked full of information.  I can't wait for you to get to know him!

Jason - our first ever Mini-Bee; Jason took over during my time away from Novel d'Tales last month.  He did such an incredible job that I plan to keep him around.  Jason is an author, blogger, has a wonderful loving family and works for university.

Ella - the newest edition to my hive; She will be writing posts, reviews and fun other posts throughout the year.  Ella writes for several other blogs as well as her own.  She is full of writing ideas and will truly bring some new ideas to the site.  Read Ella's first post as a Mini-Bee!

Now we need to come up with clever nicknames for each of them... hmm... AND a fun little "Mini-Bee" symbol too! Challenge Accepted!

Each Mini-Bee will post throughout the year at random.  I will still do the majority of the posting, so don't worry!!  You're still going to hear enough from me.  heh.  If you too would like to be considered for joining my Mini-Bee team, send me an email!  Happy Mini-Bee Day!

Judgement Day Anguish by Mini-Bee Ella!

“I can’t! I just can’t do it!”

For the hundredth time that day, I was trying to get my mother off my back. Homework had been due, and I hadn’t handed it in. Naturally, she sniffed a rat.

It would be easy to assume I was simply going through a lazy spell – one of many – in my school years and I couldn’t be bothered with such trivial pursuits as doing homework, but that wasn’t it. I’d spent some time working on the answers to those maths problems, and even more time worrying whether my answers were correct. I was going through a phase, all right. It was the ‘I’d rather not answer at all, then run the risk of getting it wrong and having the whole class laugh at me’ phase. Every lesson felt like Judgement Day; every teacher like the guardian to the Pearly Gates.

My self-doubt didn’t stop there. To my dismay and utter annoyance, I carried it through from childhood to adolescence and into my mature years. I learned to hide it better, but I couldn’t shake it off and I couldn’t grow out of it. Like an over-worn onesie that grew with me, this invisible second skin was welded on, not likely to ever rub off.

Why am I telling you this story? Because it is a lesson you need to learn early on in this career. Writing is one of few professions where being afraid of people’s opinions will not allow you to fully function.

When I was writing my first book, I tried to keep it secret. It didn’t work. My husband broadcast it happily to anyone who cared to listen. While he was genuinely proud, I could see the judgement in the other person’s eyes and each time, inside, I would shrink a little. Each time, the doubt I saw in other people’s eyes landed another kick to my already-shaky scaffold, the thin layer of confidence surrounding my little work-in-progress.

I kept away from human interaction as much as possible and hurried on, not even sure I had it in me to finish that novel. I was a writer, and write I did. Soon my book was finished, and the final step could no longer be avoided. I couldn’t protect myself from public judgement anymore, because to do so would have meant never being published. And if there’s one thing I hate more than being judged, it’s wasted work. I had a book; its purpose was to be read by others. That could not be achieved from the warm comfort of my one-piece suit. It was time to be brave, time to step out.

I vividly remember the moment when I sent my first query letter to an agent. I remember how I felt when the publisher asked for the entire manuscript. I remember what it felt like to sign a contract. But you know what I remember most? The day before release. The moment when my book became no longer mine – it belonged to the readers.

Release day jitters are supposed to die out after a while, but mine are still there, five books on. Each time, I worry. What will my readers think about the book? How will the new story be welcomed? Worst of all: what will they think about me, its creator?

In times like these it is important to remember that, just like we have different tastes in fashion, colours or the vehicle we drive, readers are entitled to have likes and dislikes, too. Some will like your book, some not so much, and that is perfectly normal. It is impossible to create a product which is universally adored, unless you’re in the business of manufacturing breathing air (good luck with the patent on that one).

As for what others think about you as a person, you put so much of yourself in your book, it’s hard not to identify yourself with it. But that book is not you, and you are more than that book.

Try it! Write another one. The more you write, the more this fear wanes. Judgement Day it may be, but not for you.

~MiniBee Ella~