Friday, December 6, 2013
I'm not really here this month. I don't approve of the purchasing power of December, but I can't avoid the seasonal spirit of giving either.
Choose your battles wisely.
Friday, December 6, 2013
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2013
Hi all! How was NaNoWriMo for ya? I didn't participate, as those of you who know me well noticed. I haven't posted since the Nov IWSG, where I not-so-subtly went out on blog holiday, and I really did not expect to post again until 2014. But you know how it is with peer pressure in the form of many many many many awesome blogger friends. I missed everyone.
Thanks Alex, and his helpers Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler, and Elsie is Writing for the forum to celebrate my friends, and while you are special to my heart, today is not really your day. I know you understand :)
Today, I'd like to celebrate
courtesy of Al Diaz (Father Dragon). I know, you're all like, Reeaally!
Concisely rehashing old news to get to the new, I've been rather disappointed with both my writing and day job over the last few months, or maybe at least a year. I've had this split personality thing going on; I love my day job, I love writing. I'm obsessive about making both work, and both have me in a depressive funk more often than not. I'm 51, and blame almost everything on menopause, even if I'm not sure I've entered the phase enough to claim the meta-physical affliction. Glass half empty girl and all that rhetoric . . .
I've made $5.67 off my writing in the three years I've been submitting and getting published. The income has manifest in the last month for short story royalties. I don't need to tell y'all how much work, energy, sacrifice, etc, I've put into making this income for my writing dreams. *sighs*
You don't need to know what my day job yearly income is - most of you would laugh as I'm a public servant. And a single mom who collects no child support. Suffice it to say its considerably more than roughly $6 per year. Still not enough; but few people can claim their income is "enough."
Recently I told a certain writing Partner of mine that I would let fate determine my dedication to the writing career. My day job position has been terminated at the end of the year, and I applied for several positions outside my current county (all utilizing my Bachelor's in Social Work) and the one within my county that does basically the same job as the eliminated position at less pay, and more importantly to me, less supervisory authority. In a phrase, the removal of my super-powers. Like hanging Cryptonite around Superman's neck.
And the worst case scenario for my other affected co-workers was not all that devastating to me. I decided if I did not get hired by any of the three positions I applied I'd accept the unemployment income and dedicate a couple years to seriously perusing my writing career. Whatever fate decreed, I'd go with.
Well, $4.67 in royalties turned up the same week that three day job opportunities made offers. All less than I'm currently making, but what the hell, I'm terminated anyway so money isn't a deciding factor for me. I first accepted a position in my current county to be sure I had a job come the end of the year; but later accepted a social worker position in child welfare at considerably less money.
Well, sometimes you have to take a step back in life in order to take a step forward. I know a lot of indie-published author friends who might get this concept. Give up on the high money potential for immediate gratification. Social work is my dream job.
While I've been struggling with this decision, wondering if I made the right choice in my day life and knowing it will mostly eliminate the time I have to dedicate to writing and blogging (especially blogging), my dear friend Al Diaz honored me in his Dragon's Friends Day post and bestowed upon me the Golden Scale Award.
Al is an amazingly inspirational friend. I get more benefit from his posts than he gets from my comments, which he says makes him blush, and I'm not my usual sexual innuendo self there, lol. I have had many blogger friends speak to my heart and soul since I first signed on blogger in 2008, and they also influence my day life with confidence and perspective. The successes I've achieved in my writing life through interaction with online and offline writing groups has spilled over into my my personal and professional life at various times, and I hope I have honored and praised them in the past at the appropriate times. However coincidentally at this time in my life, Father Dragon encourages my own sentiments in accepting the Dragon Scales Award:
"An honorable promise is required in order to take it, though. Displaying the Golden Scale Award on your blogs implies that you've promised to become your own hero. It means you won't wait for any special thing to happen so you can be happy (i.e. when I get this or that I'll be happy; when I no longer suffer this or that, I'll be happy).
The Golden Scale Award is not for the things you did, but for the things you'll be doing to be happy on a daily basis. It's for the courage you promise to show when facing adversity. The determination you promise to have when standing for your dreams and for what you believe in. It's the wisdom of knowing life is sometimes way too difficult but overcoming those difficulties is the only way to grow into a better person and to learn something. We face our fears to find ourselves and our own worth."
I am getting a late start in both my professional and writing life. $$It happens. I began my dream of becoming a social worker by enrolling in college at age 38. I had many obstacles, but finally obtained my BSW. I got sidetracked by a job I was less than satisfied with, but I loved nonetheless. Now, its time to jump again for the brass ring. I'm scared and excited, hopeful and skeptic. Pass the wine purse people, I need the false courage to butt kick the bravery into a new and uncertain life.
Father Dragon Sir, you've encouraged me to follow my own path, even when I'm unsure of the outcome. I am my own hero! My life plan has not always been straight and true; but the bad parts have never been the worst that could be, my true friends have always been there for me, and looking up from the bottom of the glass has given me incentive to strive on. Action for movement sake is not good in an adventure novel, but it sure makes normal life feel like an accomplishment.
name to the linky yet as I've been too cynical lately to write something uplifting. Being empowered doesn't equate to being positive. Its been a long time since I've participated in the yearly extravaganza of over-purchasing in the month of December, but perhaps I can dredge up something from my childhood memories to suit the occasion, or maybe write a fictional story of love and laughter in the spirit of giving. I'm so much better at fiction than true life. How about you?
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Here it is again, the first Wednesday of the month. The Wednesday (hump day) dedicated to writer insecurities and accomplishments. Writers can brag or
$#%! complain or offer encouragement to the community. Thanks Alex Cavanaugh for the monthly forum. Click here for the IWSG linky list; and lets give a round of applause and encouragement to November's helpers: CD Cofflet (Spirit Called), Tina Downey (Life Is Good), Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace (Writer In Transit).
My long time insecurity has been that I only had the one story concept in me. Unlike most Writers I've met here in the blogs, writing has not been my life's dream. I had a very brief moment of wanting to be a writer as a career goal that was thoroughly dissuaded as unpractical during high school. I didn't revisit the dream until I was unemployed a good 30 years later. Within about 18 months I wrote a women's fiction trilogy (roughly 300k words).
I submitted the first novel in the trilogy, got some distressing feedback, then edited and resubmitted to different Literary Agents, got picked up by a vanity press and went through all the frustration of rejection and paid partial critiques. During this time I never had new writing concept. I finally got some free advice to join a writing group and eventually found my way into the blogs. Then my dad asked me to write him a fairy tale in true Grimm style. Bing; a new story idea. Not exactly what he asked for, but it was published in Bewildering Stories.
You know that scene in IRON MAN where Tony Stark is testing the potential flight capabilities of the as yet undeveloped super-hero suit? I kinda feel like that with my writing journey.
Making a long story short (you're welcome!) between writing prompts (offline) and blogfests (online) I have a lot of starter story ideas languishing in my word program. And I gotta say I'm impressed with myself for the variety I've come up with. I know, some of you are thinking "gosh Donna, that's pretty arrogant of you." Especially if you watched the above video and realize what a self-centered, arrogant . . dude . . Tony Stark is. I agree. But sometimes I think over-confidence is called for when taking a leap of faith. Otherwise, how does a person ever step off the edge into greatness, or outside the box and brave the unknown?
For writers, stepping off the edge is called Querying. If the author doesn't love the story and think it will succeed, how will agents/publishers/readers appreciate the auspicious concept. Yeah, I have a few short story publications. But unlike Tony Stark who acknowledged each successful step in his quest to create Iron Man and continued moving forward with each achievement, I've stagnated in my writing to continue creating new experiments that do not further my plot to become the best selling author of this century. Move over and make room Stephen King and Jodi Picoult.
I don't have Tony Stark's single minded dedication (or unlimited wealth) to create-to-finish one project at a time. I'm easily distracted by my day job, family, and - squirrel - anything on the blogs that attracts my attention. Most notably, blogfests with a 300-1000 word flash fiction deadline.
So I'm going away from my largest distraction for the next couple months. While everyone is focusing on NaNo projects, I'm going to be writing too - hopefully - on some unfinished projects. I can't have publications (or at least acceptances) in 2014 unless I complete something and submit. I can't complete a project if I'm writing blogfest entries and book reviews. I'm sslloooow at getting the story idea, writing the draft, editing, revising, editing, re-writing . . . Well, you get the idea. I put way too much time and energy into a blogfest. And then its published on my blog and I wonder if I should expand on the concept and make a short story but hey, there are several more blogfests to participate in and these days "published" can also include blog/twitter/FB/GoodReads/podcast posts.
The advent/popularity of self/indie publishing has changed definitions of "published" within the literary industry.
I need a holiday from this blogging distraction.
Good luck to you NaNo'ers, and to the blogger writing community. Kisses-hugs-sweet things- and wine to all for end of year festivities. I shall miss you all, and hope you miss me just a little. E-mail me if you have special requests or think something interesting deserves my attention. I'm sure to get bored with talking to myself, my muse, and my reluctant characters.
Oh, and score, I've won at least six free novels/short story anthologies over the last month. Congratulate me on my good fortune, and hope these books do not distract me from my own writing adventures.
Be sure to visit the IWSG linky to join the monthly bloghop or read other contributions.
Ah, forgive me Father Dragon, Sir. I do not mean to stir the hearts of your Dwarves into rebellion; I simply need to inspire myself into the epic quest of story fulfillment. Seriously, its a cool song, ya gotta agree . . .
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
My excerpt for Write..Edit...Publish October Haunting is titled DO YOU LOVE ME FOREVER and inspired by Meatloaf's PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHTS. You can play the video while you read, or maybe just the mentioned name will start your juices in the right direction,lol. No kid's Hocus Pocus Halloween for me!
The below excerpt is sexually explicit and grisly. Don't read if you are morally or religiously sensitive, but if you enjoy the Friday the 13th movies, you might like this. I'll understand if you pass by without comment.
And, its over word count at 1082. I cut it down a lot through editing :)
* * *
The itching is worse at night.
It’s hard to toss and turn into a comfortable position when the lower half of my body is missing. All positions are unbalanced. I understand why a newborn can be content wrapped in a cocoon of blankets. My nighttime caregiver, Dwayne, tucks me in tight every night before he retires to his own bed to await my screams.
Curled on my left side as I've done since I was a toddler, I almost feel my missing legs push the stumps of my thighs into my stomach, my cold feet freeze my ass. No amount of blankets warm the non-existent limbs.
The endless hours tick past as I wait. Finally I feel myself doze, and in my dream, PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHTS plays on the radio.
Then she slides into bed behind me and whispers in my ear; "Do you love me forever?"
"Yes," I breathe through chattering teeth.
I’m back in time, two years ago, and we’re parked at the boat dock at the Dam. I parked backwards with most of the bed in the water. It isn't deep enough to dive off the tailgate, but our feet sink into the water as we share a six pack and argue over the constellations. Cindy wants to skinny dip, but I’m wary of the reported trash that lurks beneath the surface. Two of my friends had suffered serious foot injuries due to broken glass and other crap dumped in the water. I’m a running back, my foot health is important to my future.
After a while we climb through the window into the cab. It’s Saturday night, and I’m bored with Cindy’s scheming for our future. I’m ready to go, but haven’t made up my mind where. Cindy has stopped talking and puts in a Meat Loaf CD. My Dad used the truck to haul the horse trailer to Napa a few days ago; this must be his music. I don’t like it, but Cindy seems to be getting into the last couple songs.
The night is balmy, barely a breeze through the open windows. Cindy is draped across my lap, her bare feet out the passenger window. Her manicured fingernails tap and scrape the zipper of my cutoffs.
“Do you really mean that,” she asks. Her breath against my stomach sends shivers from my tailbone up my spine, beginning at my groin. “You’ll love me forever?”
The promise is a lie. I've already accepted a full football scholarship to UCLA next fall. She’s destined for community college, a vocational certificate the best her attention span can hope for. If she’s smart she’ll enroll in a medical assistant program and sidetrack an intern into marriage. My mom says Cindy has the succulent hips, sweet disposition, and small minded aspirations that are made for babies; so I’m never short of condoms. I’m thinking of the cherry flavored, ribbed naturals in the glove compartment as she unbuttons my fly and nuzzles a kiss into my pubic bone.
I’m just getting into her lips around my dick as my cell phone rings. I shift around until I can retrieve my phone from my pocket, and I answer around a groan because Cindy hasn't pulled away during my distraction. I love her single-mindedness during sex.
“Frat party at Beta Phi,” Claude yells into my ear. “They've invited new applicants in a ‘get to know you’ bash. I’m here now, and the babes just keep on coming.”
Cindy’s lips speed up and her hand nudges towards my balls. I blow a couple deep breaths as her rhythm shifts, then return my attention to Claude.
“Neither of us are going to Chico next year. Why the invite?”
“The house doesn't know that yet. They do this every year; collect the list of approved applicants and then throw a party in their honor. Early recruiting, I guess. Wanna go?”
I was having problems talking and breathing. My hips are matching Cindy’s rhythm. There’s finger pressure on my prostrate and gentle stroking on my asshole. I was approaching ecstasy, and I didn't care to ask where she learned this stuff.
“I’m busy,” I panted and ended the call.
Bright lights flash across the windshield, then darkness settles once again.
“Shit; Park Rangers are coming this way,” I say to Cindy.
Whatever her answer is vibrates up my shaft. I’m one notch closer to cumming. The darkness shimmers with movement and the rumble of a V6 engine, and it’s ominously bigger than a patrol car. Or patrol SUV. I have a nano-second to think “turn on the lights” as her finger slips into my ass.
Red and white lights slash the night as my body jerks with the best orgasm I've ever had. I’m screaming, and not with pleasure. I know what’s backing into the docking slot my nearly invisible, gun powder black truck occupies. I lift my hands to honk the horn but instead grip the steering wheel as another wave of euphoria racks my body.
“Oh Fuck,” I scream, feeling a tug at my groin at the same time I register the front of my truck collapsing.
I see a huge propeller framed in the windshield, and another crunching sound and backwards wrenching fills my world.
I wake to a watery vision of Cindy’s head floating in front of my face. My dick is in her mouth, and her wildly staring eyes seem to say “what the fuck just happened!”
I look up and burp bubbles as I realize the roof of my truck is missing. I’m drowning and I know it. I burp another bubble of surprised air as my dick floats out of Cindy’s mouth and she seems to smile.
“You will love me forever,” she says, and her lips float closer to my face.
I wake screaming, my body alive with sensation and terror. Dwayne is hovering over me, a syringe in one hand, the other pressing my chest against the bed.
“You want this now,” he asks.
I nod, and instantly feel the sting of the needle.
I don’t always scream out loud with the nightmares, and I don’t always want the comfort of drugged sleep. Sometimes I’d rather feel the ghostly presence of my last lover as opposed to the isolation of my future. But tonight, the full horror is more than I can bear.
Usually a wet dream is all I can achieve; but it’s All Hallows Eve, the only night Cindy and I can ever fully be together.
As always with a flash fiction excerpt, full critique acceptable. Not sure this will ever go beyond this blogfest, but I learn from your feedback. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Click here to visit other Haunting flash fiction excerpts, or to add your own link if you want to participate.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Please welcome my guest Yolanda Renee, romantic suspense author of Murder, Madness & Love, the sequel Memories of Murder. Take it away Yolanda . . .
As with most writers, I've been at it pretty much since I first picked up a pencil. My favorite classes always involved writing, including my Master's program. Give me a writing assignment and I'm all over it! It's one reason I love flash fiction challenges.
When it comes to writing style, I'm a pantster and a plotter. An idea forms and I will sit and write for however long it takes to get it out of my head. And I'm talking about all the characters, their voices, descriptions, and even dialogue–pantster. When on a project I can be very single minded.
My first story came to me in a continuous flow, and took thirty-six hours to get down on paper. It's about a young woman who writes a novel about the mysterious disappearance of her mother. The book is to be made into a movie, and the author/antagonist is asked to be a consultant. During the filming they solve the mystery, and romance blooms between the author and the actor/detective. That story is still sitting in a file drawer. A good mystery requires intricate details, timing, and critical clues; and that's where plotting is vital.
I'm lucky that my family puts up with all my bad writing habits. Although they sometimes resent the lack of food on the table or the absence of clean towels in the linen closet, they are supportive. Of course, that may be because I'm the only one who can cook, who cares about a clean organized house, and the only one who knows how to use the washer and dryer. It's so good to be needed!
I'm also partial to a happy ending. Growing up in a very dysfunctional family will do that. My mother had seven pregnancies and five children by the time she was twenty-five. Married at the age of sixteen, her life was hell and her parenting skills reflected that. I was out and on my own at the age of seventeen, and determined that I would have that happy ending for my own life. I've had too many bad endings not to want the happy in my fantasy life!
I'm still working toward that end, and my writing reflects that. Although I've sometimes thought that my obsession with murder was a reflection of my own dark side – an overly sweet disposition hiding a true serial killer. Okay, not true; but I couldn't resist! I mean seriously wouldn't that make for an interesting blog post – mystery writer comes out as serial killer! Awesome headline, but completely false. I'm easily scared, squeamish, and highly emphatic; but somehow I manage to kill my characters with a relish that surprises even me.
I write mysteries or crime dramas because I've enjoyed mysteries since my first library card – Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and the indomitable Sir Author Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. I also read Danielle Steel, Harold Robbins, Ray Bradbury, J R R Tolkien, and all the controversial books: Soul on Ice, Valley of the Dolls, etc. One of my favorites is, Gone with the Wind, and don't even get me started on Stephen King! I was a voracious reader and still am. I love books and the places they take me and read between 100 and 200 books a year.
Combining mystery and romance was always my goal, and I tried to do justice to both. I wanted Murder, Madness & Love to be a good mystery with a romance that interfered in the investigation. I took a few details from my own life to make the romance authentic. For instance, hubby and I swear we fell in love at first sight and during our first dance. He said I love you before me, and he proposed after only three months. It took me six months to say yes, and we eloped on Valentine's Day. I used all that in the story, but I'm not sure that people today believe in love at first sight, or marriage. I wanted Steven Quaid to lose himself in his feeling for Sarah, and the fact that he does moves the story in a new direction and directly to the next book Memories of Murder.
As for the character of Sarah, I based her on my mother, and named her after the daughter I never had. Sarah is an artist, just like my mother and while mom has never killed anyone – I clearly saw her in the role of the Black Widow. She was / is a woman who attracted men – and made her husband, my dad, a very, jealous man! Sarah's personality and sophistication came directly from how I viewed her when I was growing up. I wanted to be her, despite her lack of parenting skills, she's an awesome woman and with a bit of tweaking – a great character. Just promise me that none of you will tell her!
The character of Steven Quaid is a combination of traits I found during my research of the Tlingit tribe, stoic, determined and a great dancer. I always knew I wanted an Alaskan setting and an Alaskan hero. He had to be handsome, passionate about his job, and odd in that he's the one who wants the white picket fence! His anger and passion come from his Irish and Indian background, but I've never met any one man like him. Although, if I had, I certainly wouldn't have thrown him out of bed for eating crackers! Again, don't tell my husband. These are all secrets that I'm counting on you to keep! Hubby loves telling anyone who will listen, that I killed him off in the first chapter, so I'm sure he wouldn't be surprised by these revelations.
Why did I choose the black widow theme? Because it works. The technical term is misandry – the hatred of men as a sexually defined group, but the term black widow is preferred. It only really fits if the female has murdered two or more husbands or significant others, but when money is an issue, it quickly comes to mind. The term black widow is a favorite label, especially if the man dies under curious circumstances, for instance a car accident in a new Porsche, as in Murder, Madness & Love.
Did you know that the history of misandry goes as far back as before 1600 BC? The first recorded instance was Queen Jia Xia of China who "killed three husbands, one ruler, and one son, and ruined one state and two ministers.” Another woman named "White-necked Crow," also of China, killed 36 husbands around the year 940 AD. The latest black widow killer in 2013 is 70 year old Colleen Ann Harris of California, who shot and killed her 3rd husband, and is suspected of murdering her 2nd husband also. "It is unknown how the 1st husband died."
Thanks Donna, for asking me to visit and discuss the choices I made while writing Murder, Madness & Love!
Friday, October 25, 2013
Yes, the exterior needs some tender loving care and most of the lights in the old sign were burnt out long ago, but still they come. Some come with hopes of finding the perfect treasure to place upon their mantel. Others come to rid themselves of things unwanted. But this is no ordinary shop and for those who are compelled to cross its threshold... well, I fear they may never be same.
So come. Come if you dare. Open the door, wipe your feet on the mat, and have a look around. The proprietor, Mr. Blank, is looking forward to meeting you. Just ask anyone how long he's been there and they'll say, it seems like forever...
I was immediately interested when Wendy Tyler Ryan of Lemon Twist Press announced her idea for a short story anthology project back in 2011. The idea was for authors of multiple genre’s to write their own stories to the central theme of an object either purchased from or sold to a second hand store in the town of Bottle Bay, and using the store owner by name of Mr Blank who owns a fluffy white cat called Smithy. The rest of the story was up to the author. I’d participated in a similar on-line writing project a couple years prior, and I enjoyed the variety of stories and characters that were produced in a theme driven environment.
Second Avenue Second Hand accepted ten authors and their short story concepts that ranged from horror, mystery, adventure, humor, and romance. The opening story titled WELCOME TO BOTTLE BAY by Ethan Blake is a well written, insightful introduction to the mysterious Mr Blank, Smithy the cat, and the fascinating merchandise that comprises the Second Avenue Second Hand thrift store. Whatever your need, Mr Blank has exactly what you are looking for at the right price.
I was lucky to be one of the featured authors with my story ONE MORE TIME, a horror story involving a cursed object, a vengeful spirit, and a ghastly murder that gives the reader good reason to fear the basement.
Roland Yoemans also contributed a horror story with the lead character Adam ‘rescuing’ a damsel in distress on Halloween night. In PICTURE IMPERFECT, Mr Yoemans unfolds a complex story of deception and unrequited love, using his unique style of descriptive phrases and intense dialogue to reveal the unsavory characteristics of the undead patrons. Secrets and lies are unraveled in a battle of wits, and Adam forgives Rose her deathly qualities as the couple is ushered out of the club for their own protection just as the clock strikes midnight.
Murder is also the focus of Kathie Leung’s PUT A RING ON IT. Detective Felix Cranston is suspicious of a series of seemingly accidental deaths. An omniscient narrator and well crafted transitions guide the reader through a series of superstitious events that challenge both the reader, and Bottle Bay’s detectives to question reality. In the course of his routine investigation, Cranston discovers the theft of an ornate ring from the finger a wealthy woman recently deceased. As the town huddles in fear of a serial killer amongst them, Cranston is able to link the ‘accidental deaths’ to a common factor: all had worn the stolen ring at some point prior to their deaths. To solve the case, Cranston and Lt Hoff must first convince themselves of the validity of the incredulous story surrounding the ring's travels.
Julie Smyder contributed a more light hearted investigation in her post WWII romance story BETWEEN THE LINES. Our hero Dan Whitmore has just returned to Bottle Bay and accepted a teaching position. After settling in his apartment, he visits the second hand store in search of a good book to read and discovers a bargain he cannot pass up. As he reads the printed story, he is distracted by the Latin writing between the lines and gets out his Latin dictionary to satisfy his curiosity. He discovers an adventurous romance with an unfinished ending. Curiosity leads him to the library, where he meets Librarian Polly Leopold, who has also read the story and desires to discover both the author and the hopefully happy ending. Ms Smyder effectively weaves the two developing romances together using the language and social culture of 1946 as if the story is unfolding in the present.
BRING ME BACK AN EDELWEISS by Jennifer Harding is a darker romance, set in the last two years before the ending of WWII. Written in flattering first person, our lover Paul lets the reader be their own judge of whether the Edelweiss is lucky or not. With a quick pace and economy of words, Paul describes how the love of Daisy May and a desire to impress her into marriage leads him to enlist as rumors of the ending of the war is near. The Edelweiss is a gift from his father, who states it is a lucky charm as his own father carried it through the Great War and returned with good fortune. So armed against the unveiling horrors of war, Paul describes the events that sent his luck from good to bad as he is gravely injured, imprisoned in POW camp without proper medical care for three months, and finally rescued and returned home, only to be denied back pay. Paul remains sarcastically optimistic throughout his adventures all the way until he returns home and discovers the fate of his family, and Daisy May. As Paul accepts his changed circumstances, he discovers that luck is a matter of choice, not a whim of fate.
SELMA’S CHOICE by Norah Deay Jansen is a warm-hearted story of young Selma; a runaway earning her meager keep as a singer/guitarist on the chilly streets of Bottle Bay. A mystery unfolds as she is offered a meal by Angela, an old woman with a vibrant but familiar aura. Selma dines at a modest restaurant, where more questions than answers accompany the hot mean. Ms Jansen effectively imbues the ambience with sensuous sights, smells, sounds and a healthy dose of curiosity as Angela produces a velvet bag and request for Selma to return it to Mr Blank “in payment for the key” at the second hand shop around the corner. Suspicious but intrigued, Selma accepts the task, and discovers that compromise is preferable to pride.
Stuart Sharp’s A SENSE OF ADVENTURE is a romantic comedy that extensively reaps the rewards of compromise. Acting on impulse in purchasing a unique birthday gift for her grandfather, Susan finds herself face-to-face with a self proclaimed knight in shining armor. Displaying the rakish British humor of a Monty Python misadventure, Sir Trevor at first simply requests Susan hand over the sword she recently purchased in order for him to complete his quest and become a full fledged Knight. Through persistence, Susan settles on a compromise; she will loan him the sword but will accompany him on his adventure. An unlikely romance has begun to blossom between the two when Sir Trevor finally confronts his nemesis, a middling corporate executive with a girlfriend/secretary as opposed to the prospective violence as Susan. The two women collaborate and come up with an acceptable competition, leaving the reader with the assurance that a damsel in distress is a formidable opponent - in the right arena.
Violence is unavoidable for the scantily clad Trish as she rescues her currier husband Malto from evil scientists in the speculative fiction thriller SPECIAL DELIVERY by Tyler Lambie. While her husband is off on a seemingly routine delivery in the neon city of Atraxia, Trish is at home in their woodland cottage, cooking dinner in nothing but her apron. To hurry him along, she sends a vid message to his tablet. Malto accidentally leaves the interrupted call active as he arrives at his destination, and the visual implants that link to his tablet transmit his distress signal back to Trish. Discarding the flimsy apron in favor of an overcoat, Trish rushes to rescue her sharp tongued husband as he is bound and bleeding on a stool that is about to be launched into the past. Spouting dark humor and sexual innuendo, the couple ruthlessly blast, stab and burn their way through the goons that hold Malto captive. As reinforcements arrive, Trish and Malto are left with no escape except through the pre-set time machine, where they meet the curious Mr Blank, and are faced with the uncomfortable need to sell something.
Buying and selling is exactly what scam artist Peyton is up to in CRYSTAL HEALER by Jamie Robertson. Robertson eloquently draws the reader into the desperation of his anti-hero Peyton, an intelligent man of limited means and a sickly family to feed. Peyton soothes his guilty conscious by assuring himself that his elderly victims have no need for the ancient junk he liberates and sells off to supplement his baker’s wages. His scheming takes and unexpected turn when he purchases an expensive set of healing crystals from a second hand store that is more than what it seems.
THE EPILOGUE written by editor Wendy Tyler Ryan of Lemon Twist Press, sums up what was started by Ethan Blake by assuring the reader that the curious shop of Second Avenue Second Hand is always open for one more adventure, one more possibility.
I enjoyed reading this anthology as much as I enjoyed writing my own contribution to the project. I admit some of the stories could have used a second glance by the editor, but I still give the anthology a 5 star rating. Overall the stories were well polished, incorporated the proscribed theme, and were intriguing short stories to read. I laughed, cried, and shivered in all the appropriate sections, and even got a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling at times.
If you enjoy short stories in any genre, you should definitely read Second Avenue Second Hand
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
In celebration of the release of her novel SAVING SAM, JL Campbell is hosting the WHO'S YOUR HERO blogfest. Joy requests: Write a maximum of 300 words in which you talk about someone who's encouraged or inspired you in some way. It may be a spouse, writing buddy, teacher, one of your kids or none of the above. You get the gist." She is also hosting a "word art write up that can be shared via twitter. Leading up to the release of Saving Sam, I've discounted Christine's Odyssey to $0.99, so get your copy if you haven't read it as yet."
My writing hero is a group of people known as Critique Partners. I've had loads of help along my writing/publishing journey, and the people who most deserve the credit belong to Chico Writers Group.
I joined Chico Writers Group about five years ago, after an internet search for a local writing group. That was probably the best writing advice I've ever received, and as luck would have it for this glass-half-empty-girl, my first exposure turned out to be the only place for me. I was so nervous my first meeting, and for about a year after that. Every time I offered feedback I expected the group to laugh at me, berate me for my lack of writing credentials, even toss me out.
But they let me in, valued my insights - sometimes called opinions - and took off the kid gloves when it came to critting my own submissions. Over the years the members changed, and eventually dwindled to the point we disbanded. One person especially went out of her way to get to know my writing style, and to encourage my journey with book recommendations,web sites to follow, and of course her writing insights and feedback. The group leader and I are still close friends, and we still exchange writing info and critiques.
Without this varied group, and my special friend in particular, none of my writings would be published.
Over the last few years I've also had several bloggy buddies that have become valued critique partners. Y'all know who are :) Thank you JL Campbell, for this opportunity to shout out a special group of heroes in my writing life.
A young boy's future hangs in the balance when those sworn to protect him become abusers.
A tragic domestic dispute between his parents lands eleven-year-old Samuel Simms and his siblings in the Downswell Place of Safety. The challenges come hard and fast, but the one thing Sam doesn't count on is being left behind in the children’s home. Angry and disillusioned, he gives up hope of adoption.
A ray of light comes in the form of a foster family, but everything is not what it seems in the Miller household. After a harrowing five-month stint, Sam runs away. A victim of child abuse, he's determined not to repeat his mistake and opts to remain a ward of the Jamaican government until he’s eighteen. The burden of secrecy is more than he can bear and Sam's hair-trigger temper makes him disruptive.
Under pressure from his aunt, Sam caves in and shares a tale of horror surrounding his foster parents. With his ordeal exposed, Sam must make life-changing choices. He can continue to be brainwashed by his abuser or face his nemesis in a court of law and stop a habitual predator from harming other children.
Saving Sam is a moving coming-of-age story that explores relationships, the abuse of trust and the ease with which evil can hide under the guise of Christianity and philanthropy.
JL Campbell is an award-winning writer who lives is sunny Jamaica. She's always on the lookout for story-making material and can be found lollygagging on her blogs at The Character Depot or Snippets and Splashes, and Jamaican Kid Lit.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...
Dragon's Game, Moonsongs Book 4, finds Jenny out of her rural West Texas element, searching for an evil witch in an urban Houston nightclub. After attempting to help a handsome and mysterious stranger out of a jam, she finds herself on the run from a ruthless gang who are even more dangerous than they initially appear.
Dragon's Game is approximately 14,000 words or 45 pages, and is the fourth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, speculative / urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.
(These stories contain language and content better suited for readers 17+)
~Moonsongs Series List~
Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1
Amazon - B&N - Smashwords
Witch's Nocturne, Moonsongs Book 2
Amazon - B&N - Smashwords
Dark Prelude, Moonsongs Book 3
Amazon - B&N - Smashwords
Dragon's Game, Moonsongs Book 4
COMING SOON to Amazon - B&N - Smashwords
Moonsongs, Anthology 1 (Collecting books 1, 2, & 3)
Paperback & eBook - Amazon / eBook - B&N
Praise for the Moonsongs series:
"You won't find any romantic, skinny, sparkling werewolves here. What you will find is something scary and atmospheric like King's "Cycle of the Werewolf" that will leave you wanting more." Michael Offutt, author of Slipstream
"-- a tense story with some unique elements. A very good read!" Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon Bestselling Author of CassaFire and CassaStar
"--reminds me of t.v. episodes; short, sweet, resolved in under an hour. But I’m talking good, interesting t.v.. The kind that draws you in and leaves you eagerly awaiting next week's episode." Books & Things Blog
"The writing is amazing - even in just a few short pages, you can see that right off the bat. It really engages you in the story and keeps you reading along until the end." Missy's Reads & Reviews Blog
"Blood Fugue has one of those endings that you least expect, giving it that "OMG" reaction." Insane About Books Blog
"His action scenes are thrilling, sometimes cringe-worthy. No doubt I spent the entire read curled over my computer not wanting it to end." robgirlbooks, Amazon Review
Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, there were limits on the amount and types of entertainment at my disposal. Perhaps that’s why I set my imagination free. After collecting degrees in psychology and counseling, life brought me to Missouri, Texas, and Northern California—where I currently read, write, and live. I fill my spare time playing video games, watching movies, planning for the zombie apocalypse, reading graphic novels, and playing with my dogs.
My passion for New Adult literature led me to producing the weekly New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter, and contributing to the NA Alley Blog. I’m also the author of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, speculative-rural fantasy novelettes.
BLOG – TWITTER – FACEBOOK – GOOGLE+ - LINKEDIN - GOODREADS
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated
We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.
Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?
You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply
Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.
We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.
PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.
She blogs regularly at PK HREZO: Fearless Fiction: http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PKHrezo @pkhrezo
If I could book a time travel excursion, and go anywhere in the past or future, I guess I'd travel to the past and visit a couple of rock concerts. The decision here is tough though. I'd love to attend the original Woodstock. But, I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan also. I've watched the U-tube video of the Pulse concert, and I want to attend. Hell, I'd go to ANY/ALL Pink Floyd concerts.
Shallow? Me? Just cuz I don't want to witness any historical events? Well, depends on your vision of historical.
If you've followed me for any length of time you know I love Heavy Metal Rock, and Country Rock. But I'm eclectic, and enjoy classical, especially piano and violin, and percussion in any music genre.
Learning To Fly: a high school friend long dead of his addictions, turned me on to this group, and I think it was this song that was my introduction. It fit my life at the time, and still fits my life path today. I've never taken a linear, proscribed journey. Shit happens; and Learning to Fly seems to embody that sentiment.
Visit other Butterman Time Travel blogfest participants below:
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
In celebration of the release of her novel SECRETS OF THE ASH TREE, author Siv Ottem (Been there, done that) has teamed up with the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh to Party With The Norse Gods at the well of Urd. It also happens to be Siv's birthday. Wow what a birthday present, lol.
Speaking of presents, Siv requests that we sign up on the linky and on Oct 9 "post about YOUR favorite Norse God on that date. Because it is my birthday as well as the celebration of my book release there has to be presents!" Anyone who buys the book SECRETS OF THE ASH TREE can e-mail the receipt to Siv and she will send an autographed drawing of Freya. Other prizes are available for today's most avid party-goer also. Click here to view the original blogfest post.
So who is my favorite Norse God? Well, some call him a God, some call him a demi-god, he refers to himself as simply a giant; but he is best known as The Trickster. He is Loki. "The son of two giants, LAUFEY and FARBAUTI, he was so outrageously mischievous that he even sneaked his way into becoming a God. He was the first anti-hero, quick-witting his way out of the tight corners and confrontations caused by his misdeeds. But as time wore on he became increasingly nasty." (source)
I've had a soft spot in my reading pleasure for the anti-hero since I read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in my early 20's. After reading The Lord of the Rings, and eventually The Silmarillion, I became interested in the life of the author, and his influences. I started to like the idea of Elves and Dwarves as more than cutsey fairy tale creatures, which led me deeper into the fantasy realm with authors like Tanith Lee, David Eddings, Jack Chalker, Raymond Fiest. I guess my love of the Norse Gods, and Loki in particular, lead me into the darker, more mature fantasy and sci-fi writings.
I grew up in a strict Southern Baptist home (no snake handling in our church), but as I grew up, I didn't like the hell-fire, dooms-day teachings of a merciless God that shows love for his children through punishment and adversity. I eventually turned to mythology as a way of "thinking outside the box" when it came to matters of religion, and discovered I liked the characterization of Odin, and his search for truth and justice.
Why Loki in particular? I've been surrounded by anti-hero's my whole life; siblings, bio-parents, friends, and all the characters in my favorite books. I wanted to be Peter Pan, not Wendy; I cheered for Edward in Narnia; and I adore that renegade vampire Lestat. Bring on the charisma and misguided impulsivity that ~almost~ works out!
So tell me, who is your favorite Norse God/Goddess, and why?
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Available now at Amazon, B&N, and other on-line retailers.
Siv Maria Ottem was raised in the United States and studied Journalism at a local community college in Minnesota. Her strong Norwegian roots and family ties led her to Norway where she has been living now for over 20 years. Working mostly in the travel or health industry, her passion has always been writing. Living in Norway among Trolls has inspired her to write about them and the culture surrounding them. Siv has written several short stories, including Freya's Tears which will be published in Waymans Open Doors-Monstrous Myths and Legends anthology this fall. Secrets of the Ash Trees is the first book in a three part series called Gods and Fairy Tales. She is currently working hard on her second book in this series, and hopes to have it published soon. Siv now lives with her husband in southern Norway and together they have two grown children. Siv also has two children from previous relationships that are currently living in the United States. For more information please visit her blog: http://sivmaria.blogspot.no
Happy Birthday Siv