Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday

Thank you, Tim Brannan, for giving me a topic for Halloween with this idea for the Monstrous Monday Blog Fest. The purpose is to name your favorite monster. My least favorite real monster is this monster storm predicted for the east coast for the next few days. But I think Tim meant fantasy monsters not weather beasts.

I wasn't sure what to select for this with so many things to pick from. The Chupacabra is a mythical creature that has its origins in the Americas. What makes this creature especially creepy is the occasional sightings and photos that might or might not be faked. The Chupacabra is usually described as a flying creature that drinks the blood of its victims, earning it the nickname of 'goat sucker.' Size varies to rodent-sized(and who doesn't hate a rat) to something bigger than a man. It certainly seems like a demon on earth, doesn't it?

So what monster is your favorite? Ever use one in your writing? Still check under your bed? Visit The Other Side, Tim's blog, for a list of lots more bloggers having fun with Monstrous Monday. I can wait to learn about some new creatures and may learn new facts about others.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Puzzle Buddy

I might not be around much this weekend. It's a special mini stay-cation. My sister from Picayune, Mississippi is coming to visit me for the weekend. She's arriving today and staying through Sunday. I come from a big family, five girls and two boys. Of all my siblings, this sister is the most like me.

She loves to read the same kind of books as I do. She likes sports. We're pretty physically alike. We each have four kids. We do crafty type things and are good at home fix-it projects. We love our pets. We're both comfortable being alone and tend to be a bit quiet in a crowd though neither of us is shy.

One other big thing we share is our love of puzzles. For over twenty years, we've been exchanging jigsaw puzzles on our birthdays. We each search out something we hope will challenge the other. No puzzle has ever defeated one of us. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.
I want to do this one.

So if you don't hear from me this weekend, I'll be browsing through the bookstore with my sister. We'll probably have lunch out somewhere. We'll watch some movies on TV. We'll probably go watch my son coaching his high school football team. Stay up late and sleep in.  Great fun. I'll visit you all on Monday.

Weekend plans for you? Have a sibling you have fun with? Love those jigsaws?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Overused Words

Amanda Rose at Flowering Fiction recently tagged me in the "Look" challenge. This little exercise does numerous things. It's a fun way to put some excerpts out there and inspire some interest in my work, but it's also a way to check for overused words. The rules are to count the numbers of times you use the word 'look' in your WIP and then share three interesting excerpts.

First, I'll share my numbers. 36 'looks' in the first 17,000 words of The Heir of Futhark. I already changed a few of them.

Second, three excerpts.
#1 Zomelak looked each of them in the eye. Was there courage still in their race, or were they the cowards Cage had named them? “What will he do if we disobey him? Kill us?”

#2 The lessening of the ash fall allowed a clear look at the sharp rents in the land where red molten rock surged and bubbled. Not so much as a single wall of the smallest hovel or great mansion still stood in the ugly, steaming cauldron.

#3 Bayard pranced nearby, still agitated by either the scent of blood or his master’s condition. Sabell couldn’t look at the victims of the horse’s attack. His large hooves had minced the villains into bloody, broken pieces, none of the mess recognizable as people. In his frenzy of killing rage, the warhorse had trampled the robbers Cage had already killed. Gore covered Bayard hooves and halfway up his legs. Each time his movements brought him near one of the bodies, he stomped it again.

Thanks to Amanda for inviting me to join this. I'm not very good at passing these type of things on but I invite anyone to take the challenge.

What word do you tend to overuse? Do you search it out and change words when you're done with your manuscript? Did you go 'look' at Amanda's blog?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to David Powers King who passed on The Next Big Thing to me. I've put it off for a few weeks because of the super duper blog fests I've been enjoying as a participant and a visitor lately. Time to catch up with this before next week's Monstrous Monday Blogfest sponsered by Tim Brannan at The Other Side.

Now to anwer the questions about The Next Big Thing

1. What is the title of the book I'm working on?
The Heir of Futhark, Book #4  and the final installment of The Futhark Chronicles.

2. Where did the idea come from?
This ending for this series has been in the plan since I wrote the first book four years ago.

3. What genre does it fall under?
This is classic epic fiction where the hero and heroine must save mankind from an evil entity with magical abilities.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your main characters in a movie adaptation?
I want Henry Cavill as Cage Stone. I'm sure it will be a bigger role for him than Superman. And Amanda Righetti from The Mentalist will be a perfect Sabelline Shelton. She's tall and built like an athlete.

5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Cage and Sabelline search desperately for a means to defeat the god-like being they're released into the world before all mankind falls under its evil spell.

6. Will it be self-published or represented by an agent?
This is the series I reclaimed from a publisher who decided to take their business in the direction of celebrity books after they published the first two books in the series. I'll be self-publishing it.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
About seven months, which is about normal for me.

8. What other books within the same genre would you compare it to?
I would compare it to Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn in that the fantasy world isn't huge and sprawling though there is more magic in his story.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've always loved fantasy. Like most fantasy lovers, at some point I read Tolkien and the rest is history.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
If you read the first books in the Futhark saga, all the mysteries and questions will be answered in this final book. By the last page, you'll understand the history of Futhark and the direction the world is going. There's action, love and death. There's sadness and triumph though the final victory comes with great cost. I hope you all want to know how it turns out.

Thanks, David, for passing this on to me. Talking about it helps get me motivated to get those edits done.  Part of this if for me to pass this on.

Let me introduce by friends to a writer who is a newly published author. Gerry Trust has been a friend of mine for many years and I'm so happy for her success and never say quit attitude.

Stop over and see what David is up to. He's a very busy blogger and has something new up almost every day. I'm glad I found him through some blog hop or other.  Check out Gerry Trust and wish her luck.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I'm almost an empty nester. My 23 year old son is living at home, but he makes no demands beyond watching really dumb shows on TV. We won't go into that.

I expected I would have lots of writing time this school year since my youngest two are away at college. And I have found more than previous years, but not as much as I expected. I am finding more time to spend on blogging and what fun it was this past week with the Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest. Between the participants and the other blogs I visit nearly every day, I commented on over 100 blogs on Wednesday. That's a record for me. But I also received a record number of comments on my own blog and found some new followers. Thank you to everyone who stopped by.

I learned something about the blogs of writers that I follow. Almost all my bloggy friends write SF or fantasy. There's a lot of variety within those two genres like YA, romance and middle grade. Some of the blogs I visited were suspense or mystery authors and one does some poetry. I wonder, how did we all 'find' each other in the sprawling universe of the blogosphere? Heck, if I know. And I wonder how I'll ever find the time to read all those wonderful books I discovered on the blog hop.

This weekend I'm back at my WIP right after I pick my son up at Penn State and bring him home for a weekend.  I'll also get my blogposts ready for next week. I'm involved in one more blogging event this month, the Monstrous Monday on October 29th. Thanks to Tim Brannan for organizing that. You can still sign up.

What are your plans this weekend? Any blog events on your horizon?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest?

Here I am, enjoying the crazy fun of another blogfest inspired by Alex Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight. The purpose of this blogfest is to call attention to some great books that are currently flying under the radar of the usual bestseller lists like USA Today or the New York Times.

I never thought about how difficult this might be. I have so many books by authors I've met online on my eReader, on my computer, and even on my phone.  How to pick!

After much  thought, I have selected Lynn Rush, a fellow author at Crescent Moon Press. Lynn's latest release, Prelude to Darkness, is gaining lots of rave reviews. Read a blurb:

For a slave, hope is a dangerous thing.
Margaret Rousseau dreams of freedom from a life of servitude. When a mysterious woman saunters into the servants’ tavern promising the impossible, Margaret dares to hope she could win the heart of the one man she has secretly coveted since she first wore a corset...
The Prince.
Margaret desperately grasps for the opportunity to change her bleak destiny by placing faith in a woman who is not as forthcoming as she seems. Blinded to the stranger’s dark motives, Margaret surrenders herself to gain her heart’s desires.
But her choice may bring forth a darkness that could destroy all she holds dear.
Lynn has gathered six 5star reviews on Amazon for Prelude to Darkness which is part of her Wasteland Series.
Lynn also has a new book released just this week, Violet Midnight. I haven't read it yet.
Here's her website where you can find directions to a great release party and a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Who doesn't want one of those. Please follow some of these links and meet Lynn. She has no idea I'm talking about her today.
Also please visit Alex or Ciara to check out the links to all the bloggers participating in this blogfest. Did you find some books you plan to read? Do you already know Lynn?

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm thrilled to welcome Hildie McQueen, one of my fellow Crescent Moon Press authors, as a guest poster on my blog today. I'm trading places with her and posting on her blog about selecting names for fantasy characters and places. Hope you stop over at her blog.
But for your reading pleasure here, Hildie will share her advice on attending conferences. I'm very envious of the fun she's had and all the networking she managed. Please welcome Hildie McQueen!
The Conference Junkie
Conference whirlwind girl reporting from Newark, NJ Airport.  Let me tell you, it's been a wild ride that although I am glad to finally get off, would not have missed for the world.  After each conference, I leave excited and refreshed, fully charged after being surrounded by amazing uber talented authors.

My conference advice to future conference attendees (It's worth at least two cents)

#1 Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, introduce yourself, make it a goal to meet new people. This is a hard one for introverts, but it's the only way, you'll meet fellow authors and make life long friends.  If you are a shy person, pair up with an outgoing writer and ride her coattails. 

Those being said, if you are one of those life-of-the-party types, reach out to those hanging on the fringes.

#2  Be Flexible -- Don't expect everything to go as planned and do not have a strict schedule that you feel you have to stick to.  Like life, conferences have a way of taking on a life of their own.  A 50 minute session at the Georgia Romance Writers M&M conference ended up lasting over two hours when we decided to take our group to the lobby, sit on the floor and continue a super interesting exchange.  Guess what?  We ended up hanging out for the rest of the conference, made some awesome new gal pals!

#3 Be Proactive - - Carry the following with you at all times:  Business Cards, Tissues, Gum, Pens and safety pins.  Business cards (Self explanatory), Tissues, (well you'll need them, trust me on this).  Gum (in case you get sleepy or after meals/coffee), Favorite pen (to take notes, get numbers) and Safety pins (because if I'm at the conference I'm always falling apart and will yell, "anyone got a safety pin?!"  You will be my immediate hero if you do).

#4 Go to lunch or dinner away from the conference with your new group of pals.  It's where friendships are cemented, some 'ah ha' moments happen and y'all can promote outside the conference.

Lastly, one of the things I love to do is collect extra swag and when I get back home I make small bags of swag as prizes for my book club, and for my blog and Facebook giveaways!  It's a great way to pay it forward by helping fellow authors reach new readers!


Hildie McQueen's goal is to bring the unexpected into people's lives, one reader at a time.  Using sense of humor, coupled with her love of the unusual, she writes across romance genres, from paranormal to western historical, contemporary to erotic.  The recurring theme in her writing is the search and discovery between two people to find true love.

Hildie enjoys traveling, shopping, wine tasting and relaxes by scrapbooking when possible. She lives in a small town in Georgia with her super hero husband Kurt and two unruly Chihuahuas Pancho and Pepito.

Keep up with Hildie on her blog, Facebook or Twitter @HildieMcQueen


Author of The Protector Novels.  Latest Release Desperate Surrender

Wendy O'Sullivan’s life drastically changes upon discovering she is not human, and is charged with guarding the Key of Peace. To make matters more complicated, she reunites with the Protector she's dreamed of since the day he rescued her from a demon attack.

Kieran Frasier, hasn’t kissed, much less loved a woman in over three hundred years, his heart firmly encased behind thick walls. The fierce immortal defends innocents from powerful demons, but can he defend himself from diminutive Wendy, who manages to get past all his barricades?


Faced with arranged marriages to others and battling demons that will stop at nothing to capture Wendy, will they be forced to surrender their chance at true love for the greater good?


Sometimes your biggest obstacle is not who you are, but who you love.

 Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Hildie. Please, wonderful readers, take a moment to check out Hildie's work and visit me on her blog. Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Busy Week Ahead

Time is flying by. I have some fun bloggy plans for this week.

Tomorrow Hildie McQueen and I will be guesting on each others blogs. Join me on hers to read my take on how to name characters in fantasy. I'll be using examples for my epic fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles. Do you know the origin of the word, Futhark?

 You can check out her blog now to hear about her experience on the recent Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in Georgia.

Hildie will be sharing even more about her recent conference experiences on my blog on Monday. I'm very envious of my writer friends who are busy with fall conferences. Next year.

On Wednesday of this week, I'll be joining around 90 other bloggers in the Did I Notice Your Book blogfest, another great idea for Alex Cavanaugh. You can still sign up and join us. Even if you don't join us, hop around and read about some books and authors you may not have heard of but that maybe you should check out.

So lots to do besides working on my current WIP, The Heir of Futhark, fourth and final book in my series. Work, work, work, but the fun kind. Hope to see you around this week.

Are you joining Wednesday's blogfest? Have you heard of Hilde McQueen?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Time Line

I can't believe we're almost halfway through October. Where has 2012 gone? Hopefully everything doesn't end in December because I have plans for 2013.

I read a short article in a writer magazine written by an author who had left the big six publishing company she wrote for to take the self-publishing route. She had many reasons for changing the course of her career and with a lot of hard work, she made pretty good money. I'm not sure I could ever spend 10 hours per day promoting online, but it was inspiring. One of her reasons for abandoning the 'big boys' publishing game struck a cord with me.

It's not unusual with a large publisher for the actual date of putting your book on the market to be two years in the future from the time you sign their contract. Two years. That's a long time from getting an advance check until you start to earn any royalties. In that time, most authors will write two or more additional books without every know how that first book will be received.

Most indie publishers get your contracted book to market much quicker, three to twelve months at most. And of course, if you self publish, your book is for sale as quick as you can do the preparation. The time line you make is your own.

I think more writers are getting impatient with the slow machine of the traditional publishing houses. Authors are more determined than ever to take control of their careers and the products of their hard work.

Is your career following your timeline? Have you felt 2012 flew by? Plans for 2013?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Writing Nut

I am a lucky writer today. I'm guesting at The Writing Nut. Nutschell is graciously allowing me to post over on her blog. You can see a picture of my knee after surgery. It's mostly better now though jogging downhill is  somewhat uncomfortable. Check out my writing space.

Thank you, NutschellPlease hop over and join me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Writing Process

I'm busy on the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles. The Heir of Futhark will wrap up the series. Someday I might revisit the world I've created there with a series about the next generation of characters, but I have to finish this book long before that can happen. Before I talk about writing, I wanted to let you know I'll be a guest at The Writing Nut this week. So hop over there now and meet Nutschell, a very special generous person.

Writers develop their own unique ways to go about writing a book. I generally write a really rough first draft, hopefully rather quickly. Quickly for me currently is five to six months. Then I print it out and read it, making huge changes, pulling and adding scenes, writing all over it in red and blue pen until there's more colored ink than there is black. After that, I use that rough draft as an outline to write the book I intend to send to my beta readers. That's where I am right now with Heir of Futhark.

Using the outline, I can write a couple of thousand words a day. Not every sentence gets changed so some chapters go pretty quickly. When I have to add or do a lot of clean up on scenes, it slows me down. Sometimes a single sentence slows me down. I want to keep it because it says something important, but it just isn't saying it quite right.

Here's a rule I use during this rewrite. If I have to read a sentence twice to know for sure what it means, I have to change it. I don't want my reader to have to pause to understand what I meant to convey. I want the reader caught up in the story, not taken out by my confusing prose or poor sentence construction. I'm lucky in that my beta reader, Gina, is excellent at catching things that might be a bit foggy.

I'm sure that as a reader, we've all encountered a complicated part in a book that we have to slow down and reread. Perhaps a part where you're not sure which character is speaking or which head you're inside of.

Do you catch this in your own writing? Do you notice it when you're reading? Do you know Nutschell?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

Can't believe it's the first Wednesday of a new month already. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh, I always know what to write about on this day. Alex started The Insecure Writers Support Group and you can find all the links on his blog. You can always join or you can just take advantage of all those links to wonderful blogs. You're sure to meet interesting people and probably learn something.

I'd like to bring up an issue that every person using a blog or publishing a book or doing any kind of writing they intend to make public has to face. How much personal stuff do I share with everyone? My email? My picture? Pictures of my family? News about my family? Do I talk about where I live?

Will my blog be about personal issues, writing issues or a combination? Are my friends on Facebook really people I have a personal connection to, or are they a community of writing professionals? Do we share personal news or only promote our writing?

Each of us has to make our own decisions about how much of ourselves we put out there. Some people maintain more than one blog, one professional and one more personal. I've made my blog mostly about my writing, but some personal issues sneak their way into my posts. My day job, my family and my daily activities are sometimes tied into my writing news and views.

I never bring up politics on my blog and seldom ever comment on someone's blog who does. It's not the kind of debate you can host without angering someone.

So how personal is your social networking? Do you give a lot of your personal info out or keep most of it private? Do you dip your toe in the boiling water of politics or avoid it?

Monday, October 1, 2012

First Monday Health Tip

The months are slipping by, the sun setting earlier, the nights getting colder and soon we'll be spending more time indoors. Lots of people stuck together indoors means we're sharing not only enclosed, warm places where germs thrive, but we'll be breathing, coughing and sneezing on each other. Cold and flu viruses are not only varied and numerous, they're pretty hardy.

So my health advice is to stay home when you're sick. It's advice I've seldom followed over the years. Teachers get exposed to lots of sick children over the course of a school term. Kids come to school when they're not well because their parents make them, or they're responsible and don't want to fall behind, or perhaps they have an athletic event they need to be present for. Walk in nearly any classroom during the winter months and you'll hear someone coughing or sniffling. If you don't catch a few of those illnesses as a teacher, you've been very lucky or very, very careful.

Then the teacher gets sick, drags their feverish self into the classroom anyway, and spreads the cheer around a little more. When you're a teacher, it takes lots of planning to be absent. Most teachers will tell you it's easier to be there even if sick, then to try and makes plans a substitute can follow. I've been very guilty of this myself. But this year, I've faced the fact that I'm not irreplaceable. School will go on, even if I'm very ill. I'm going to keep all my coughs and sneezes at home.

So wash your hands often. Cough into your elbow. Avoid the ill folks. And maybe you'll escape some of those cold and flu viruses making their creepy rounds.

So do you take off work when you're sick or do you try to soldier on? Do you 'catch' bugs at work? Do your children or spouse bring them home to you?