Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quote and The Whole Shebang

Today I have the fortune to be a guest on The Whole Shebang Site. TWS has dedicated itself to promoting not just writers but other fields of creativity like music and art. When you visit, check out their archives and meet some very interesting people. I'll be talking about reading across genres and how it helps my own writing. I would love to hear your apinion on it. See you over there where you can get a first peek at my newest book cover for The Marine's Queen.

Today is make up day Movie Quote. I would laugh at Alex Cavanaugh for forgetting the romantic quote from last week except I totally forgot it also and I had it written down. Searching for this quote made me realize how few romantic flicks we own or even watch. So I had to go back to teh movie that explains everything in life.

From The Princess Bride, Wesley: "As you wish."

Which if you watch the movie, you know those words mean 'I love you.' Is there anything more romantic than a couple that has their own secret communication? Do you have that with your significant other? Do you understand what is beneath his or her words?

Thanks Alex for running this fun quote day. Thanks, Misty, for having me at Shebang.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Always a Writer

I had my first romance novel published by New Concepts Publishing almost six years ago. I had two children in middle school and two in high school. I was coaching field hockey and all my children were playing sports year round. Did I mention I was teaching full time also? I still don’t know where I found the time to write and edit that first book.

 Since that first book, I’ve had six more romances published and three epic fantasy novels. In the course of the next few months, I will have two more fantasy novels published and a new romance novel. My youngest two children are now in college and my responsibilities at home are much, much less than they were during the hectic times that first book came out.

 If someone had asked me six years ago what my career was I would have said I was a high school teacher. I’ll be retiring in June. Will I then answer that question as ‘a retired school teacher?’ Almost every writer I know also works at a ‘day’ job. Is that their career? Many of us love our day job, but is it our career? Teaching is one of my careers, but not the first one in my heart.

 Too many writers, me included, think of that day job as our career instead of calling ourselves writers. We’re writers all the time. How do you know you’re a writer?

 *You find those strange quirks in your relatives are perfect personality traits for one of the characters in your novel.

 *You watch the news and wonder how you can fit the depravities of your fellow man into the current antagonist you’re creating.

 *At a friend’s party you’re introduced to a new, lovely Chablis and figure out a way to work it into an intimate scene between your hero and heroine.

 *You’re flipping through a magazine in the dentist’s waiting room and come across a hot guy in a cologne advertisement. Looking around to make sure no one is watching, you stealthily tear out the page and put it in your pocket. You tack it up near your desk so you can refer to it as you create the hero of your next book.

 *Some posts a picture of a classic 1890’s wedding dress. You save the picture so you can describe the dress as the one your heroine wears on her wedding day.

 *You watch hours of the History channel as they describe medieval warfare or ancient superstitions. Oh, and those angels and demons segments or how about the specials on making bread in a stone oven or ancient cooking techniques over an open fire?

 *The patch of woods behind your house take on a sinister air. And is that large hawk actually a real raptor or something else? Is it watching your family?

 Writers see possible plot twists, interesting characters, and descriptive scenery everywhere. Being a writer isn’t a hobby one works on like a weekend warrior. The job is everyone and all the time. Ideas, plans and even the word we want to use in a scene, come to us at all times. In the middle of dinner, while watching a TV show, while negotiating traffic and often during those hours on the day job.

 My challenge to you and myself is to announce bravely to the world that we are writers. We’re writers all the time not only when we sit down at the keyboard. Even when I’m teaching those rowdy teenagers, I’m a writer. When I’m throwing together dinner for my husband and me, I’m a writer. Writing is a job that never takes a rest. Even we when say we’re taking a break, our typing muscles are the only thing resting. The next time someone asks what you do, tell them you’re a writer who also works at another job.

Can you add to the list of how you know you’re a writer? Do your fellow workers at the day job know you’re a writer? Even tear one of those ads out of a magazine?

Friday, February 22, 2013

CassaStorm Cover Reveal!

In a galaxy far away ... no not that story but it's nearly as big. Today is the long awaited first look at the cover and blurb for CassaStorm by Alex Cavanaugh. I'm so honored to be part of the early excitement surrounding Alex's third book in his series that started with CassaStar, continued in CassaFire and now brings us to the 'Storm.'

I know Alex will make a big deal of thanking everyone for helping in this reveal and all those who stop by and visit. But compared to the promotion and attention he gives to others every week on his blog, this is so little to give back to him.

This blurb is going to make you want the book right now.

A storm gathers across the galaxy…
Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.
After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.
Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…
Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019
If you've been living in an Internet free zone and have never heard of Alex visit him here on his blog.
Don't you want this book now? How many places have you seen the cover so far today? If you're Alex, don't even say thanks. This is my pleasure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Level Up Blogfest

Maybe we should call this fun Wednesday. At first I wasn't sure I would fit into Jamie's Blogfest over at Mithril Wisdom. When I first read about Level Up, I thought it was only for gamers, video gamers, not me. I'm only familiar with XBox360 and PS3 and other computer based games because my boys play them. I don't even play Angry Birds. But then I realized that the games I do enjoy can be part of this too even though they're old fashioned games with only one level.

I like to think our family is pretty close even though my children are grown and scattered. When we get together, we play games. Card games and board games. We have at least seven versions of Monopoly. But my personal favorite is Quiddler. This is a fun, word game that doesn't take as long as Scrabble. I highly recommend you play it with your children. And if your kids are like mine, you have to keep a dictionary handy because you can't trust some of their inventions.

I'm looking forward to seeing some more games and if they're not my old fashion style, I'll at least have some ideas for the round of birthdays I have coming up.

One other note here. Today is the day my B&N membership card needs renewed. I have to wonder if it's worth it. What do you think? And have any of you ever played Quiddler?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writers 4 Writers

It's time for another round of writers helping other writers. Stephen Tremp started this clever program as a way for us to help each other with some promotion. This month Writers4Writers is highlight two authors.

Gwen Gardner is offering her book, Giving Up the Ghost for free on Amazon today and tomorrow. Check it out and give her some shout outs on Facebook and Twitter.

Melissa Bradley is an multipublished author and an awesome blogger. Check out her books here and give her some shoutouts all over the sphere.

Want to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Who doesn't? Visit Rebecca Trogner's blog tour lasting from today through March 18th. Someone has to win that generous prize. It might be you.

In more news around the writing world, don't forget The Level Up Blogfest sponsored by Jamie at Mithril Wisdom. Hope you all don't think I'm boring when you find out my favorite game. Still time to join.

On Friday, I'm going to be part of world-wide event, I kid you not. I'll be one of thousands participating in the cover release for Alex Cavanaugh's third book, CassaStorm.

February has been much more exciting for events than I had planned. I knew there was a lot going on in March and April, but this month took my by surprise. Have you heard of Writers4Writers? Did you sign up for Jamie's Level Up fun? Do you need an Amazon gift card?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gearing Up

Yesterday was one of those odd warm days that show up in central Pennsylvania in between cold snaps and bouts of snow. Days like this really make you long for spring and the things that go with it.

But there are many more things besides getting the yard and flowerbeds in shape the need to get in gear over the course of the next few months. If you haven't already, go sign up for A to Z and prepare yourself for the blogging event of your life.

I'm going to have three books to promote over the next few months and I'll relying on some of my online friends to help get the word out.

One of the things I'm determined to do with my blog this year is to help my fellow writers and bloggers whenever I can by spreading their good news. Last fall I had the good fortune to have the first book in my second epic fantasy series get picked up by Crescent Moon Press. I've met so may generous authors since joining the Crescent Moon family and today I'd like to introduce two of those wonderful writers and their newest releases.

Toni De Palma has a brand new YA novel out, The Devil's Triangle.  Please go visit her and check out her book. It's really a terrific book cover and the book title perfectly fits the plot.

Rebecca Trogner has a new fantasy novel out called The Last Keeper's Daughter. Her book is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, one of the most beautiful locales in the eastern states. I love the mysterious cover. Hope you'll check this one out too.

And on this February 15th I want to thank the wonderful Cate Masters for her Celebrate Amore opportunity. She had me over at her place for a quick interview and a chance to promote my latest book. I'll announce the winner of the contest I ran along with that guest post on Sunday so I hope you'll hop over there and leave a comment to get a chance to win a book and some sweet stuff.

What are you gearing up for? Any hints of spring out your way? Add any books to your TBR lists lately?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indie Life: Learn Everything

Welcome to the second month of Indie Life, a second Wednesday Monthly blogfest where writers publishing with small presses and self-publishing their writings. Each month we give and receive advice, supporting each other in this lonely life of the modern writer.

This Friday we're having an inservice day at school. The powers that be have arranged two hour sessions of lessons in technology and a lot of other school related issues. I'm not above selecting a presentation that will assist me in my second career. On Friday I'll be joining one of the art teachers in learning more about Photoshop.

With the dangers of using other people's photos on my blog or anywhere else, I asked for a new camera for Christmas. And now I'm going to learn more ways to use my amateur photos. More ways that will help me promote my book and perhaps make my own book trailers. I could hire someone to do that but I'm indie published which means a limited budget.

In today's world, especially those of us who are indies, you have to know every piece of the writing business. I'll be doing some of that on Friday.

Also helping me with learning every part of it is L. Diane Wolfe. I was fortunate enough to be one of the winners of her book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now. I've just skimmed it so far, but I already have some notes. I really believe no one can ever know everything about promotion. Check out Diane's book on her blog.

Check out the other member of Indie Life here. What part of the writing business are you confident about? What part do you feel you need to learn more about? How are you going to learn more?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love the New One

I've been so busy with editing and all the other work involved with the three books I have coming out before June that I haven't had a moment to work on any new writing. I still have a few rounds of edits to do on First Dragon for Crescent Moon Press and the final changes on The Heir of Futhark to contend with but this weekend I finally got back to the 'next' book.

The next book I'm working on is the second book in The Morbunda Saga tentatively called Born to War. I reread what I had already written and managed about 2.5K of new material this weekend. Not much, but my writing brain feels a little rusty. I haven't gone this long without working on a new book since I started writing. It is so fun to dive back in and get this story moving again.

Writing time is precious, and it's so easy to get distracted by time sinks like Pinterest and other social networking including blogging. I try to blog three times per week but that can be time consuming. It's a test of my time management skills to limit my time on blogs. I apologize if I visit fewer than I've been doing over the last three months but I have a plan.

I had forgotten the fun of writing that first draft. Even though I really like this part, it is the most challenging for me. I have a goal of having it done by the end of April. Can I do it? I'm not sure with all the blog hops and challenges I've signed up for in March and April. But that's what goals are for.

So how many blogfests are you signed up for this spring? Are you working on something new or editing a completed work? Did you get snowed in this weekend? Ready for spring instead of this endless cold and wind?

Friday, February 8, 2013

It is with great pleasure I turn my blog over to L. Diane Wolfe as she introduces her newest release on how to publish and promote your book. This is information all authors need whether you're going it alone, working with a small publisher or one of the big boys. If you don't already know L. Diane, visit her blog and introduce yourself. She's a friend worth having.
By L. Diane Wolfe
Publishing and promoting made simple!
Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:
· Traditional publishing
· Self-publishing
· Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
· Finding your target audience
· Generating reviews and media interest
· Networking and developing an online presence
· Promotional materials and appearances
Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!
Available February 5, 2012
Publishing/Marketing, 214 pages, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0
“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.”
- Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers
“A must-read for writers planning on self-publishing or any writer who wants the ultimate how-to on promoting. Tons of links, advice, and how-to, whether you're going for print or e-publication.”
- Helen Ginger, author of Angel Sometimes
My sites-
Blog - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips -
Website - Spunk On A Stick -
Short Bio-
Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association and a motivational speaker. She’s conducted seminars on book publishing and promoting for five years and assisted writers through several author services. Her other titles include “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK!” which ties her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together, and a YA series, “The Circle of Friends.” Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

L. Diane Wolfe "Spunk On A Stick"
Professional Speaker & Author
Please visit L. Diane or leave a comment here for her.  Did you order your copy of her book yet?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group

Thanks to Captain Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this fun group. The first Wednesday of every month a large group of bloggers (can't keep up with the numbers) share a short post about something they worry about or want to share to help other writers. Get the entire list over at Alex's blog.

Recently I heard the news that Barnes and Noble were going to close up to one third of their stores. Their sales numbers were way down over the recent holidays. I guess they'll keep their college affiliated stores open but if you've ever been in those, you know they're not like regular B&N stores. I'm still mourning the closing of Borders and the BAM that moved in to replace isn't soothing the grief.  What will disappear next? The local library? The book isle in Target and Walmart?

I buy lots of ebooks but I still love visiting the brick and mortar stores. I love browsing the new arrivals and searching the shelves for an author I've never read before. I like  carrying an armful of books into the cafe and skimming a few pages of each to see if I enjoy the author's voice. Will I always be able to do that?

When I started writing I dreamed of having my books filling a shelf in Borders. I have had the chance to see my books on the Barnes and Noble shelves but will my next book end up there? Will my B&N be there? Where's it going? Traditional dreams of success may have to change whether I want them to or not. I often wonder where the industry is going and the only way to measure success is in the sales report from online retailers.

Do you wonder where things are going in the industry? Do you feel confident in your ability to predict what will happen next?

Alex is also featuring movie quotes every Wednesday with a different genre highlighted. This week is Crime/Thriller quote week. I hope I'm not showing my age with this one, but is there anything more classic than Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Sudden Impact saying "Go ahead, make my day."

Please go visit Alex for more great quotes and to share your insecurities.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Monday Health Tip

I can't believe it's the first Monday again. Where did January go? But it's time to think about your health again. It's very easy to get into some bad habits and there are lots of things that encourage us to indulge those habits. The list is too long for one post but I'm going to concentrate on one that I was reminded of when we were helping my mom clean out her apartment. She had some old china stored away. It was beautiful and fragile. And small.

Most of you have heard this before. The size of our dinner plates have increased over the years and we tend to fill them up from edge to edge. The china dinner plates my mother gave to my daughter had plates that were only about 2/3rds the size of a modern plate. In controlling weight, portion size is a very important part. It's very tempting to fill our plates, never thinking of the capacity of the plate or the actual ounces of food we're piling on.

Prepackaged items are equally deceptive. Read the nutritional information on the back of that health drink or whole grain snack and very often there is more than one serving contained therein. Eat the entire bag or drink the entire bottle and you need to double the number of calories listed on that little chart.

So check out that portion size. Eating less is as important or more important than trying to avoid certain foods.

Are you careful with your portion sizes? Do you read the back of packages and make sure you eat only one serving? Do you use big dinner plates? Did you see January flying by at supersonic speed?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happenings of the Heart

What do we love? I love being a guest on blogs other than my own. Well, I'm not really a guest here so I guess I just love being a guest. And I love my friends who ask me to guest.  Today I have the good fortune to be a guest at Cate Master's blog. She's running a two week blog special called  Celebrate Amore as a preliminary celebration leading up to Valentine's Day.

Cate asked great questions during an interview. I'm thrilled to have a chance to talk about Beneath the Mountain, Book #3 in The Futhark Chronicles. Perhaps because I'm sending the fourth book off to my editor for one last read through. I hope to have The Heir of Futhark ready for the market by end of the month.

So please visit Cate today. Before the Super Bowl. I'm not saying who I'm for. I don't want to lose readers because I know how loyal some people are. Who are you cheering for tonight? Are you planning ahead for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Share the Fun

The week is wrapping up but I'll be back on Sunday with a little help from a friend.

Most writers can think of one of their colleagues who are just dazzling with promotion and impressive with their prolific creativity. For me, that person is Cate Masters. Cate seems to always have a new novel or novella being published. She writes faster than anyone I know. Where does she get all those ideas?

And not only that, but Cate is extremely generous in promoting other authors. You can see her creativity in the ideas she comes up with for promotions and blogging ideas. I'm thrilled to be included in her Celebrate Amore two week promotion where various authors will offer a bit of info about their latest book and an interview. I'm also giving away a book and some sweet stuff to commenters. I'll be Cate's guest, this Sunday, February 3rd. Hope you stop in before the Super Bowl.

I also want to offer my congratulations to David Powers King on his recent wonderful news. His YA fantasy novel, Woven, will be released in November of this year by Cedar Fort Publishing and Media.  David is also super generous with helping other authors with promotion and his blog is always interesting and informative. Please stop by and leave a good word for David and his writing partner, Michael on their success.

Next week will be busy with my first Monday health tip, Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers on Wednesday and the release of L. Diane Wolfe's newest book later in the week. A must have for published writers. An exciting start to the month.

So do you know Cate, David or L. Diane? Do you know another blogger who is super helpful? Thinking of some insecurity for next week?