Friday, January 30, 2015

Woven, David Powers King, Michael Jensen

What a busy week. I hope you'll visit me at the A to Z Challenge Blog where I'm going to ask you how those goals are going for the year. 

I'm proud to share the exciting announcement about WOVEN by Michael Jensen and David Powers King, published by Scholastic Many of us know the path this book took and the hard work the two authors put into it so it be enjoyed by readers. I hope you'll check it out.

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
 Available now wherever books are sold

 Michael Jensen is a graduate of Brigham Young University’s prestigious music, dance, and theater program. Michael taught voice at BYU before establishing his own vocal instruction studio. In addition to being an imaginative storyteller, Michael is an accomplished composer and vocalist. He lives in Salt Lake City with his husband and their four dogs.

David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to become a writer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

It's hard to believe 2015 is 1/12th over already. And that I've had to shovel snow four times already this month. Is the year going fast for you? Tired of snow yet? Have you met David and Michael before?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another Warrior Rises

Today the second book in my Warriors of Gaviron science fiction romance series is available on Amazon and all other major retailers. The Warrior and the Governor has been having pretty good pre-sales so I can't help but hope it takes off like the first book did.

Gaviron Warrior Liam lost the love of his life when his planet fell to the alien monsters twelve years ago. All he wants in life is a chance to take the murdering raynid creatures with him in death. Governor Siva Handel will make any bargain to save what's left of her desperate colony even take in a suicidal warrior. Liam's warrior skills give Siva hope as he throws his body between her people and the raynids. But can she keep him alive long enough for them to win and for him to find a reason to survive?

Every time I have a new book release, I think of how much I appreciate the readers who take the time to write a review. It's so helpful for us 'not so famous' writers to have those honest evaluations of our books out there.

I wanted to thank a new blogging friend, Dumcho Wangdi. Last week he honored me with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Since I received this award before, I won't be passing it on but I would like thank Dumcho for thinking of me. I hope you'll visit his blog and say hello.

Along the home front, Monday started out with a bit of snow. My oldest son is a teacher and coach. I've missed him since he's moved out to his own home but whenever we get together, we usually talk about our favorite books. We both needed our cars inspected this month so it was his idea that we meet at the car dealer and then wait for the service to be done at Starbucks and the nearby bookstore together. It was a lovely mom/son time and the best part was that it was his idea. Like me, he loves his alone time so it was precious that he elected to spend some with me.

After that comforting time, I had to remind my daughter living in Boston to charge her phone, get some food into her room and stay in touch for the next two days. The three blocks to the dining hall would be a tough trek in three feet of snow and a blizzard. Mom's work is never done.

I hope lots of you signed up for Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Last year I served as a minion to Alex J. Cavanaugh. This year as one of the leaders. I need my own helpers. Please let me know by email or in the comments if you'd like to be my helper. Jeremy is making me the most incredible minion badge, I promise you will want it for on your blog sidebar.

Did you get stuck in the blizzard? Do you write reviews after enjoying a book? Joining A to Z? Willing to help me out?

Monday, January 26, 2015

SIGN-UP DAY for A to Z

2015 A to Z Challenge Announcement HTML
Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.

Blogs must be on an open platform – no Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – and comments enabled.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts or miss five days in a row will be removed.

Please note your blog name and number in all correspondences. Remember that as blogs are removed, your number will change.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. See the first few blogs on the list for examples. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:


Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
Lisa Buie-Collard, Author

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!

Friday, January 23, 2015

LV Barat: Tears of Gods and Dragons

I'm excited to have LV Barat here as my guest today. Her topic is so intriguing as she discusses the way myths have influenced not just her writing but also, you'll see how it worked its way into the work of many fantasy authors. I can imagine sitting in an hours long workshop and hearing more about this subject from this expert. You can learn more about her and her book at LV's Blog.

Influence of Mythology and Ancient Spiritual Practices in the Trilogy: “Tears of Gods and Dragons

Creative Technique
For many years, I have practiced Kundalini Yoga and Celtic shamanism.  In addition, I studied the rich mythological histories of India and Europe. In shamanic journeying, one is taught trance techniques to open the door “between the worlds”.  In the beginning of the journey, much is one’s own imagination but then things begin to happen that are not initiated by the practitioner’s own mind. A person may meet with nature spirits, elementals, an animal and/or spirit guide.

When I write, I go into a semi-trance and try to access that other world to let the impressions through. The first draft is written this way. For the second draft, I restructure the story and impose consistency in the storytelling and character development. Then I sit on the manuscript for a week or two, before returning to edit it once more.

In my first novel, “Eyeof the Hawk”, I incorporated European and Vedic myths. Hawk, the main character, is a shapeshifter.

Shapeshifting runs through myths of every culture. One method is where the shapeshifter controls the mind of an animal and guides it. The second method involves the transformation of the physical form. However, this is a misinterpretation. What the ancients actually transformed was their astral body also called the linga sarira in Tibet and India. That is the origin of the legends of witches flying on their broomsticks. The story of the werewolf is one of shapeshifting, in this case during the full Moon.

The Sacred Dragons
Dragons are also prevalent in myths around the world.  In Europe, dragons are usually guarding an object of immense power and taming the dragon is much preferable to slaying it. Snakes and dragons are interchangeable in some myths. Snakes feature prominently in Egypt and India. In Egyptian hieroglyphs, pharaohs and priests are depicted with a cobra emerging from the forehead, or the third eye center, denoting the risen serpent. In Europe, the druids were “naddreds” which means “snake priests”. In India, the naga sadhus worship Lord Shiva, he with the cobra around his neck.

What does the dragon/snake represent? It is not an outer dragon but an inner dragon. In India, the snake is called Kundalini. The serpent power lies dormant in the base chakra of the astral body. Yogis perform yoga and breathe exercises to awaken the serpent and raise it through the spinal column. Supposedly, when the serpent is awakened, there are various psychic experiences and mastery over the subtle elements: earth, water, fire and air.

In “Eye of the Hawk”, Hawk is a healer and tries to heal Lananell in the beginning of the story but he encounters a block. What Hawk feels is her serpent power locked down below her navel.

Riddles as Spiritual Instructors

Hawk is sent on a mission given to him in riddles by his mentor, Akrae. Riddles and rhymes were often used to teach matters of spirituality. In Zen Buddhism, they teach with Koans, a type of riddle or parable. In druidic Ireland, a bard would teach with rhymes and song. The riddle places a conundrum before the mind and the person is forced to think out of the box, each individual forming their impression of the meaning based on their own unique perspective. Learning through riddles activates the subconscious, so the lesson learned through the riddle will not be forgotten. Mysteries stimulate the mind and imagination, facts diminish it. Soothsayers often prophesize in riddles because that which is explained completely, ceases to exist.

LV Barat has been writing fiction and non-fiction for twenty years. Epic fantasy is her genre of choice whilst some suspenseful mystery has managed to worm its way into her opus corpus.
LV Barat lives in the Rocky Mountains, the spine of North America. An enchanted place of glistening pine needles, massive boulders, jutting gray crags, stealthy red foxes and antlered elk. 

Didn't the riddle part remind you of The Hobbit? Did you know that snakes and dragons were so often considered the same creature in some cultures? Do you use yoga to waken your inner dragon? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

National Readathon Day

This Saturday, January 24th, is National Readathon Day. The idea is to read from noon to 4 PM in whatever time zone you live in and share your experience and love of reading on social media. So pick up a favorite book or any one off your TBR pile and find a comfy chair and just read. You can find more about the sponsors of NRD at Library Journal.

"The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark."
Thomas Paine

As a writer, I'm always interested in what readers like best when they're making their book selections. Some recent stats I saw on romance readers and what tropes they like best didn't really surprise me. The most popular trope is the friends to lovers plot line. And aren't the best relationships in real life the ones where the happy couple is comprised to two best friends? Among the 55+ age group, a demography who buys a lot of books, the most popular trope is the second chance at love. And don't we all hope that exists?

Other popular tropes are enemies to lovers, sibling of a friend, tortured hero and dozens of more. Mindy Klasky lists lots of examples here. You'll recognize the same tropes used in TV shows and movies. Complex relationships in a good romance book usually involves more than one trope.

I'm posting today at the A to Z Blogging Challenge Blog and hope you'll stop by and visit me. Maybe give some advice.

I've finally decided on my theme for the A to Z Challenge and will be starting my post outlines next week. Hope you're thinking about yours. Don't forget sign ups open next Monday.

"Being willing is not enough: we just do."
Leonardo da Vinci

Are you planning on reading this Saturday? Have you heard of NRD? Do you have a favorite romantic trope in books, TV or movies?

Monday, January 19, 2015

First Drafts

I'm well into the first draft of the last book in my Warriors of Gaviron science fiction romance series. Like most first drafts I write, I think it's terrible. And this time I'm right.

It seems every sentence needs fixed. Every scene needs rewritten or deleted. Half of them don't move the story forward or add any layers of depth to my characters. My heroine come across as shallow and  not as the tough, smart person I meant her to be. Yes, lots of work to be done on this one.

"Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better."
John Updike

But even with that work looming over me, I've managed to read for a short while each day. Usually right before I go to bed at night, I read for at least 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Most writers agree that being a regular consumer of books makes you a better writer. So I'm actually reading to improve my craft and not for simple enjoyment or procrastination purposes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

"Read in order to live."
Gustave Flaubert

One week from today is one of the most exciting days of the blogging year. The sign up list for this year's A to Z Blogging Challenge will open. It's never too early to think about your theme for this mega-networking opportunity and all the new blogging friends you'll make. Mark the date, January 26th, on your to-do list. Maybe we'll set a record for first day sign ups.

And to remember why so many have work off today, a quote.

"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't forget to visit IWSG for a new post of encouragement.

So for me this week is hot tea, an hour workout every day and redoing that awful first draft.

Do you have the day off or are you self-employed like me and work on holidays? What things do you usually have to fix in a first draft? Thinking about A to Z yet? Did any of the quotes I used speak to you?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Must Do List by C. Lee McKenzie

I'm thrilled to have C. Lee Mckenzie here as my guest today. She's going to share four things she's feels are necessary for those terrific books she writes. Don't forget to stop by her blog, TheWriteGame where you'll always find an interesting post and follow her on Twitter

Since I started writing, Ive collected a few Must Dos from the Get-Go. Heres some I have on my list:
1) My first scene must pull my reader into the story.

I think I started three stories with people traveling to a destination, staring into a mirror, studying. Why? Who knows? But now I really try to have them at their destinations, already in trouble or about to be in trouble. They never stare into the mirror.  :-(

2) At the start I must create questions the reader wants answered.

This is my favorite first line, but I havent written the story for it yet.

The first thing she did was hide the knife.
Like it?

3) Right away, the reader has to know a lot about my MC, and want to know more. In Sudden Secrets heres one place I tried to give the reader some insight into my MCs problem.

Mom was desperate to move. I was desperate to move, too, but not here. All I saw was a spooky, dangerous place.

4) The last line of chapter one must pull the reader into chapter two.

Heres the one from Sudden Secrets.

As we pulled away, I glanced out. A shadow flickered across the upstairs window of the vacant house. It was only a split second, but somebody moved inside that place. I was sure of it.

Those are my most important Must Dos. What are yours? I always like adding to my list.

 Sudden Secrets

 one Secret
            Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sisters death, but the flashbacks to the accident wont go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.

one Mystery
Somethings strange about the abandoned house across the streetflashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see.
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isnt, and shes sure whoever is inside is watching her.

another Secret

In one night, Bellezas life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry.

Then Cleo happens.

Thanks for visiting, Lee. What do you think of her list? What would you add? Don't you love that name, Belleza? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Patricia Stoltey: The Joy of Being an Eclectic Reader

With great pleasure, I welcome PatriciaStoltey to my blog. We've all met bloggers who we identify with from the very first post you read. Patricia was like that for me. You'll notice when reading her blog that she is one of the most supportive bloggers of her fellow writers of anyone you'll meet. She covers a variety of topics on her blogs and has very interesting posts from her guests. I'm thrilled to have her here and believe you will feel the same when you meet her. Here's Patricia:

I love to read, and I’m a creature with a lot of interests, so I read all kinds of fiction and non-fiction. I even sample books starring vampires, zombies, and werewolves, though most of those give me nightmares so I don’t indulge too often. I hop from cozy mysteries to women’s fiction, on to thrillers and back to noir mystery, then jump to a lovely romance (like Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman) before grabbing something by Anne Lamott (I’m anxious to read Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace) or a bit of World War II history (recently finished We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth M. Norman).

Anything in print is fair game, but there is one genre I’ve neglected.  I’m ducking my head in embarrassment because I’m guest blogging here at Susan Gourley’s site, and Susan writes novels of high fantasy. Yep, that’s the one.
I was over fifty before I finally bought and read the entire Lord of the Rings collection. I loved them, of course, but still was reluctant to spend a lot of time with new fantasy authors trying to understand the complex plots lines and world building process, both very important to understanding the genre.
One popular fantasy writer, Carol Berg, lives in my town in Northern Colorado, so when I had a chance to chat with her recently about her many novels, I discovered she had a standalone called Song of the Beast, written some time ago but recently reprinted.

Hmmm. A standalone. And not a really long one, either. I can manage that, I thought.

And when I found out Song of the Beast had won a Colorado Book Award, I bought a copy from Carol on the spot.

You’ve probably guessed by now that Song of the Beast opened my eyes to the wonders of amazing fantasy novels from contemporary authors. It’s beautifully written. I fell in love with the characters. And I’ve discovered dragons. Oh, my. What magnificent creatures exist in this novel, and they are able to communicate with our main character in mysterious ways.

Is it any wonder I then scanned Susan’s list of titles to see if she had one that included dragons? Or that the novel, First Dragon, jumped right onto my Kindle with hardly a moment’s hesitation?

It’s true.

That little story leads me to the real point of this blog post. As readers and/or writers, we limit our world and our experience when we restrict ourselves to one or two favorite genres. I believe it’s important to read in the genre we write, but I think it’s equally important to read in the genres we’ll never write. There are secrets to be learned there.

And for non-writers, becoming an eclectic reader is educating oneself in the most delightful way.

Patricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries (The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders) plus her new release, a standalone suspense novel about a woman on the run (Dead Wrong). She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and the extremely demanding Katie Cat.

A Goodreads giveaway for U.S. residents for signed hardcover copies of Dead Wrong is scheduled to end January 18th.   )

You can learn more about Patricia at her website ( Visit her blog ( to check out her frequent guests, including Susan who will be there on February 26th. Patricia can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google+.

 Do you know Patricia? Are you an eclectic reader like she is? Did you enter her Goodreads giveaway? Are there genres you recently discovered that you found you like?

Monday, January 12, 2015

By the Numbers

In an earlier part of my life, I was a real math and science geek. Numbers interest me and stats about anything just beg me to read them. Like most readers, I enjoy print and ebooks. I love my Kindle Fire and read on it a lot. But I also read lots of hardback books that I usually get from the library. I've never thought the ebook surge would drown traditional books or at least wouldn't during my lifetime.

Recent numbers seem to agree with my view. In the numbers from 2014, it seems that ebook sales have leveled off some and traditional books are now holding their sales stats from the past few years. Huffington Post shares some figures that suggest Print books may once again be outselling ebooks. Publisher's Weekly also uses recent counts to propose the two forms of books can coexist and share the market.

Some of the more interesting stuff I read while researching this topic is the small percentage of Amazon's income that actually comes from book sales. Only 7% of their total revenue. Not sure what to even think about that. Then again, I've bought a number of video games and movies from Amazon and my daughter watches for their deals on Crest White Strips and gets them a lot cheaper than she can in a store even with a coupon. This same article in Forbes blames B&N and Borders as much for the decline in independent books stores as it did Amazon.

Those big stores like Borders, B&N, and BAM are struggling even after pushing half the independent booksellers in the country out of business. Why? My local B&N is usually so crowded it's difficult to browse and forget about getting a seat in the cafe. Borders already closed shop. In a few years, perhaps the indies that managed to hang on will be the last booksellers standing.

Not being self-published, I have no personal knowledge of how those sales are going but I've read enough on my friends' blogs and listened at my writers' meetings to know income for indie authors isn't making many people rich. Is it because ebooks sales have evened out?

Don't forget to take advantage of the Goodreads Giveaway chance to win a copy of Alex J. Cavanaugh's upcoming release of Dragon of the Stars.

Christine Rains' newest book, Loose Corset, is now available at all ebook retailers. You can enter a cool contest on her blog

Do you think the indie bookstores will outlast the big box stores? Do you see Amazon as the big bad wolf like discussed in the Forbes article? Did you know how little of their revenue Amazon makes on book sales even though that's how most people think of them? Do you buy anything other than books from Amazon?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cyber Coworkers by Michelle Howard

For my first guest, I'm honored to have Michelle Howard here. I first met her over a year ago through blogging. She is one of those amazing people with an inspiring amount of energy. My word count grows at a snail pace compared to hers. Here's Michelle....

I used to think that writing was a lonely profession. It had to be, right? You sit in a room or your designated space with your notebook or laptop and just tune out the world while you create magical splendor. (Or some other form of splendor) No one popped their head in your office to ask you to lunch, no one cruised through the halls laughing loudly, (unless the kids are out of school or the spouse is hungry) and no boss checked the progress of your latest project.

Boy was I wrong and glad of it. LOL. I ventured into the self-publishing side of writing about a year ago. I worked my 9-5 or 7 at the office depending on the day and came home to grind out my prize winning novel/s. During all of this, I met a new friend who wrote contemporary romances and we emailed daily. Sometimes we called one another to talk about plots or characters for hours. (Once for 3 hrs no kidding) As I continued to navigate my way as a new author I met other writers, beta readers, editors and cover artists. Suddenly, I had this whole community of ‘coworkers’. Sure not in the traditional sense but as with everything in the digital age this was the new-new.

When I’m on my laptop working it’s not unusual for an email from one of my cyber coworkers to pop up. I have the choice of chatting then or later just like when I’m in my corporate office. I receive joke emails or funny memes via my author email just like the email chains and endless what tree would you be questionnaires at my day job. As for the boss checking on my latest project…well that’s me and I try to hold myself to a word count before I’m officially done for the evening.

It took a few months into this process before I realized that writing wasn’t lonely at all. In fact, I had an internet full of coworkers and like with any job there were good days and bad days. The best part is that I never know what to expect. Just like my ‘other’ job.

So when you’re hunched over your masterpiece and chewing on the tip of an eraser while guzzling a Starbucks, remember that you’re not alone. Feel free to cyber knock on my office door any time. I’ll be glad to hear from you and I’m sure the boss won’t mind. J  

A King’s Revenge Blurb:

When you lose what you loved most…
 Tarik Sabarn, King of Desani, thought he’d lost everything when his Queen was murdered.  In the years following her death, he gave up on love and focused on ruling his Kingdom. When he meets Lea at a United Alliance meeting, he finds what was once lost.

When you find what you’d always been searching for…
Lea never imagined a random night of passion would lead to answers she’d spent years searching for. After a night with Tarik, she learns more than she bargained for and finds love. But if she’s not careful, they’ll both lose out again.

About the Author
Michelle Howard enjoys a crazy life that involves wild kids, a loud dog, and a husband who tolerates the madness.  Like many authors, she’s dreamed of writing since reading her first romance novel many years ago.  She loves paranormal and contemporary romances and is a fan of the classic romances, such as Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood.
I love to hear from fans so please reach out to me.
Buy links:

Sign up for my newsletter via my facebook page or blog


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: January '15

Thanks to our mastermind and creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group is getting stronger every month. This blog hop is to share our insecurities, support each other and network with other writers. Find the entire list on the IWSG blog or join in the fun on our Facebook page. This month is special in that we'll all be introducing ourselves all over again. With so many new members, we don't all know each other as well as we could. Find the entire list on this IWSG page.

I write high fantasy as Susan Gourley with two different series contracted and in various stages of publications. Using the pen name, Susan Kelley, I write science fiction romance with ten books published. As part of the IWSG staff, I'm proud to have been part of The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I retired from teaching high school to write full time and make my home in the country where my husband and I have raised five sons and one daughter. I mostly blog about writing with a few other tidbits thrown in for some variety.

If you're a blogger and writer, being part of IWSG is very low stress. One post per month where you can pour your heart out to those who understand. Once per month when you can ask questions and get lots of advice coming back your way.

As writers, all of us like to read. I've seen quite a few blog posts lately where writers talk about how their reading habits have changed since they started writing. Almost all have become more picky about how they use the precious hours when they squeeze in reading time. Some have narrowed their reading lists to books in the genre they're writing while others have found enjoyment in a wider range of genres. Some find they're distracted by pacing, grammatical mistakes or shallow characters more than before they took up the pen themselves.

I personally have become pickier in what I read. A book really must capture my interest in the first two or three chapters or I'll put it aside for the next one on the list. I'm pretty forgiving of a few editing errors also though shallow characters can ruin a book quicker than anything else. I have always read a variety of genres and being a writer hasn't changed that one bit.

I think being a professional of something does influence your enjoyment of other's work. If you're an excellent cook, aren't you more judgmental in a restaurant than I would be? If you are a proficient musician, you would hear mistakes in a musical production a tin ear like me wouldn't notice. Embrace the changes your writing career has made in your reading habits. And with the new year, lots of publishers and authors are offering discounted books to fill those new devices with.

Has writing made you a pickier writer? Are you an expert cook, musician, seamstress or other skill that heightens or lessens your enjoyment of the craft as done by others? Are you sharing a brief intro today?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Start the Year Right

I hope you'll visit me today over at the A to Z Blogging Challenge Home. You can share your plans for networking in 2015.

Don't forget that Wednesday is IWSG post time. After three years as a group, many members have come and gone but most stay once they get here. To help everyone get to know the new folks and for the new folks to learn more about the veteran folks, on January 7th, all the participants will introduce themselves as if they just met. If you're not yet part of IWSG, Wednesday is the day to check out the members and see if you want to be part of it.

I'm of the school of thought that I should always be working on improving my writing. My writers' groups provide opportunities but there are lots of places to learn online. Writer's Digest always has some great articles on every aspect of the writing business. Brian Klems put together this list at the end of December, 50 Articles on Writing to Help you in 2015. I'm still checking a few of them out.

Since improving organization is the #2 New Year's Resolution, I admit I try to do a little bit of that at the start of every year. My daughter helped me and we have four boxes for Goodwill and a big box of books we're taking to 2nd and Charles. My shelves look better and I have my entire TBR pile stacked together. Except for the dozens on my Kindle. I'm also making sure my children to adopt some of my physical books and over stuff their shelves. Yet I could still borrow my books back from them. How great is that for me?

I'm also setting up some blog appearances for the reissue of my first epic fantasy series. I love reading and writing fantasy and am thrilled to have these books ready to go out again. My publisher has given me a great new cover. It's darker and better suited for a dark tale.

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." Benjamin Franklin

What are you working to improve on? How big is your current TBR pile and how organized is it? What do you do with books when you have to clear out some space? Have any plans to increase your networking this year?

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Rat of 2015

Welcome to 2015, the year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac. Since you weren't born this year, perhaps you don't know if you were born in the year of the rat. 1936, 48, 60, 72,84,96, 08, every twelve years the animal designation for the year changes. If one of those is your birth year, you're ambitious and sincere and can be generous with your money. If you believe in things like Zodiac signs.

I expect 2015 to be another big year for speculative fiction in all media genre. Books, movies, TV and on social media. I like the term, speculative fiction. It's broad and covers so much including most of what I write. Super heroes are big on TV and in the movies. Fantasy continues to edge in and create more generations of lovers of Tolkien and the fantasy genre along with help from Game of Thrones on HBO. Arrow, The Flash and Shield, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, TV is filled with speculative fiction. Keep it going fans.

In the new year, I will be hosting guests on Fridays most weeks. January is already filled and I'm very excited about it. Tomorrow is the meeting of my local writing group where we'll talk about what's coming in the next year. For this group it means things like online classes, guest speakers, goal setting, the annual retreat(I've never attended that, yet) and the introduction of new officers. Fun times.

Hope you all had a safe and happy holiday but now it's back to work. Well, on Monday for most people. I'll be back to work on my WIP, the third book in my Warriors of Gaviron series. It's been fun to write, but I'll be glad to stop thinking about giant insect-like aliens who are smart and vicious. It's a joke in our family that I'm not afraid of anything, snakes, charging bulls or strangers, but bugs and spiders freak me out. How's that for using your fears in your books.

Some wisdom today from The Old Farmer's Almanac:
Humans have unique tongue prints just as they do fingerprints.
Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting (The Red Vineyard) during his lifetime.
January was named for the Roman god, Janus, protector of gates and doorways.

And don't forget to watch for the Quadrantid meteor shower in the northern sky before dawn on Sunday. And Sunday is the full wolf moon. I think we're getting snow and rain on Saturday so once again clouds will destroy my chance to witness a celestial event.

There are forty kinds of lunacy but only one kind of common sense.  African Proverb

Are you ready to get back to work in 2015? Did you know that about tongue prints? Are you watching too much police procedural TV if you did? Do like the popularity of speculative fiction across the media world? Were you born in the year of the rat?