The blog content here is not always family friendly. I OCCASIONALLY write/review in erotica, extreme violence, horror, foul language and otherwise questionable content. I will warn the readers when this content occurs.



Friday, December 30, 2011

This is not only the last post for me of the year, it is the last post for the Romantic Friday Writers club.  When I joined RFW, I didn't expect it to become a regular writing prompt.  More of an experiment to see if I could write in true romance.  I pat myself on the back for these short fiction pieces; but I doubt I could sustain the romantic feel through a full novel length story.  Its been fun stretching my writing comfort zone, and I've met some fantastic writers through the club

If you're ever in the mood for a writing adventure, or in need of a prompt to kick start your muse, pop over and view what the next/current challenge is and post your theme base romance excerpt.  You don't have to join to post, and it doesn't have to be a new writing; it could be something languishing in your shelved pile, or something you're so pleased with in a current WIP you want to share.

Challenge #28 is titled Ties That Bind, and the link will be open from 12/28 thru 1/3/12 (Ozzie time; which makes it about 1/1 US/Canada time).  The challenge is to write a flash fiction pieces in 400 words or less that follows the theme of ties that bind, but must also have an overall romance feel.  Post your excerpt to your blog, then link the post directly here.

My excerpt is 381 words, and titled Blood Bond
* * *
They were 12 years old when Justin and Jayna exchanged blood vows the first time.

Jayna was the brave one, slicing the thick flesh below their thumbs. Justin tied their wrists together with a silk ribbon, and said an arcane ritual as they clasped bloody palms. Jayna wasn’t sure if the tingling all through her skin was the result of the words, or the kiss they shared to seal the bond. Her first kiss.

Justin and his peculiar family moved within two years of their ritual. He reminded her of a miniature Dracula in training; except he ate school lunches and snacks the same as she. A pale, anemic boy with long, slick black hair and dark brooding eyes, he’d admitted he was adopted, and had never lived in any one place for more than three years. He had tales of exotic places in romanticized country estates.

Jayna was kissed by other boys in the years after Justin moved away. But none made her skin tingle, or her heart pound just so, or made her dream of far away places and simple adventures.

Justin sent her letters she occasionally answered over the years. They were full of new adventures by the sea, or in remote mountain lodges, or cities both small and large. Jayna kept the letters in a cedar wood chest, and read them often when she felt lonely or out of place. He signed every one with X’s and O’s, and she took guilty pleasure that he never mentioned a girlfriend.

Jayna was in her third year of college when New Years Eve when she realized the magic had left her life when the letters stopped. The sun had sunk into the sea, the moon a glimmering silhouette on a Cancun sea, and she whispered his name in aching memory.

Justin left no footprints in the sand as he appeared behind her.

“Finally,” she heard him say, so soft she thought at first it was only in her mind.

Taller, older, paler than she’d last seen him; she instantly felt the tingling when he tied the ribbon around her wrist and bent to kiss her. No words passed his lips as his smile revealed gleaming white fangs, and it was Justin who braved the first bite of their bonding.
* * *
As always, this is an original writing and is open to any and all critique.  Be warned that it is written specifically for RFW and unlikely be developed further.

Challenge #29 will open 1/13 and the theme is New Year's Resolutions

TECH, Tech, tech


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My netbook and I aren't getting along.  I think it hates me

I can't always post a comment on the blogs I read, or send an e-mail without editing several drafts

It's alright though; I have a techy cure.  I'm gonna wipe that piece of sh... with a backup disc.  This sucker's goin' down

Stick around; I know people.  I got access to superpowers (3 geek sons) . .

Be warned Google everything.  I will be here for RFW's Ties That Bind on 12/30; and on Jan 2 I'll be hosting an awesome interview with Literary Lab's founder Davin Malasarn (don't forget the third anthology Variations on a theme submissions close 12/31); and I'm posting my encouragement for Alex Cavanaugh's monthly Insecure Writers Support Group on Wednesday, Jan 4.  Well, the encouragment message is totally interpretive; I'm in a mood, you understand  . .



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone.

Every year on Christmas Eve, Loren Eaton hosts the Advent Ghost:

" . .a kind of virtual huddle around the Christmas Eve hearth, and we'd like you to join us. The details? Here they are:

1.) If you want to contribute, email ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com.
2.) Write a spooky piece of flash fiction exactly 100-words long -- no more, no less. Note that you don't have to write a ghost story, per se. Any genre is fine, but your final result should aim to raise gooseflesh on the back of the reader's neck.
3.) Post your story to your blog on December 24th and email the link to me. Hosting can be arranged for those who don't have their own blogs."

Oops, I sorta forgot today is Christmas Eve.  Here's my late entry:
* * *

The twinkling of colored lights beckoned the company through the dense foliage. Blue and green, red and yellow; they flashed distracting images on the night vision goggles.

“Damn,” Sergeant Nicholas mouthed as he tore off the goggles and tucked them in a deep pocket on his thigh.

Corporal Rudy grinned and aimed the infra-red light at the garishly lit house, then counted off five warm bodies all snug in their beds. Sarg Nick nodded and waived the other eight conspirators forward.

They dug in the loot bag for gas masks, adjusting straps as they crept towards the long nights work.

* * *
Loren Eaton is hosting the list with all the Advent Ghost participants on his blog.  Check them out, if you're not afraid of a Christmas ghost . .

As always at this time of year, my heart goes out to those unable to be home with their loved ones.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011 and into the new year

I think I've already checked out of the blogs for the holidays.  I have no posts, except this one, and I've debated not posting it.   Not really in the holiday spirit.  I've got some writing projects I want to finish before the year ends so I'm visiting sporatically and not thinking of a post of my own.  So I'll post this, and go off on my blog holiday, and hope everyone has exciting end of year celebrations, happy times with friends and family, and all the joy and love expected of this season.
I'm an agnostic.  I neither believe nor disbelieve in a one God or one true religion.  I believe in spirituality; Karma, if you will.  I believe that if I am a good person, and treat my fellow man how I would wish to be treated by them (regardless of their treatment of me) then I've accomplished my purpose in this life.

I don't know what the after-life holds for me, or even if it exists.  I know only how I love my family and friends today, in this life.  I do the best I can.  Questions of my soul's worth, and if there is a Heaven and/or Hell, will have to wait until I've completed this journey.

I also do not pray to the god Capitalism.  I don't spend money in December that I don't have just cuz its Christmas season.  I buy my kids gifts whenever they tell me they need/want something.  I don't tell them "I'm sorry, your birthday has passed, and you have 10 months to Christmas before I can buy you another gift."  If my finances can accomodate their "I want" then the object is purchased.  (I treat my friends and family the same, buying gifts because it pleases me not b/c I'm ordered to.)

As horrible as it sounds, December is just another month for me.  But I sure love the New Year, and all the good feelings a new beginning entails.

For those of you who treasure this holiday:  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Bless you all for sharing this blogger experience with me for  the last year.  Here's hoping for another year of Friendship, networking, and occasional bumps in the blogverse . .

(Please take my sense of humor in the spirit of frivolity it is meant.)

Have a happy holiday everyone.  I'll be back on Christmas Eve to post for Loren Eaton's shared story concept Advent Ghost :
1.) If you want to contribute, email ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com. (this is sorta the linky to say I'll join the fun.)

2.) Write a spooky piece of flash fiction exactly 100-words long -- no more, no less. Note that you don't have to write a ghost story, per se. Any genre is fine, but your final result should aim to raise gooseflesh on the back of the reader's neck.
3.) Post your story to your blog on December 24th and email the link to me. Hosting can be arranged for those who don't have their own blogs.

. . and on December 30 for Romantic Friday Writer's theme Ties That Bind. 

Please join me in posting for either or both . .

Other than those - see ya'll in 2012.

JULIE DAO's 400 Giveaway


Monday, December 19, 2011

Just popping in to announce an awesome book giveaway at Julie Dao's blog.  OMG if you're into YA and time travel, or romance and travel, or any other time travel, you'll flip for any one or more of her several books up gor grabs between now and Jan 8.

Go check it out here.

DeJa Vu Blogfest


Friday, December 16, 2011

I had about four re-posts I wanted to put up for DL Hammons Déjà vu blogfest, but finally settled on this one from May 2010 - mostly because the video was as empowering to me when I reviewed the post as it was on the date I crafted it.

As usual, this post is a bit long, so I'm not posting all the blogfest rules and criteria.  You can read them here if you don't already know them, and can sign up on the linky if it sounds interesting to you.

This was not on the original post, but I’ve broken the video down into three segments by the minutes: 0-5:50 of fear of success/greatest work behind me; 5:50 - 10:13 where does creativity come from/disembodied genius; and the last on showing up with your muse. Perhaps one or more of those sections will appeal to you if you do not have the time to watch the whole video.   I also cleaned it up a little and took out a few lines to shorten it (just a bit).

* * *
Originally titled:  ON SHOWING UP
Thursday, May 13, 2010

The other day I was visiting Christine H (The Writers Hole), who shared this video by Elizabeth Gilbert, best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love. Don't be daunted by the length of the video. Sit down, relax, and be prepared to be validated and inspired. If you don't have the time to watch the whole vid, scroll down to my own notes.

Yes; I’m afraid success, and failure, and that the one novel concept is all I have in me. Sometimes the fear of one time success is more intimidating than the fear of absolute failure. My family has such high hopes that as soon as I sell the first novel, I’ll be able to quit my day job and write for a living, and soon be a millionaire because of it.

Elizabeth's hecklers may have a point about creativity and suffering being ultimately linked. Alcoholism and addiction seem synonymous with success, and the fear of never living up to the last work of art.

I worry constantly that if my trilogy, which I've devoted so much of my soul to, ever sells, it will be the only viable work I'll ever produce. Suppose at some point I have to come to terms with the concept "my greatest success is behind me."

Elizabeth says to get over that intimidating thought construct she had to "Create a distance between me and my expectations of my writing since that freakish success." Her way of doing that was to come up with a new way of thinking about creativity, and that search led her to Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. Back then, people did not "believe creativity came from human beings...creativity was a devine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source."

To paraphrase:

Greeks: Socraties believed he had a Daemon, who spoke wisdom to him from afar.

Romans: Genius - didn’t think they (the Daemon's) were clever; but magical, divine entity living in the walls like Dobby the house elf. Artists are protected from narcissism if successful, and not your fault if you fail. During the renaissance, this idea changed, and the creative process was returned to the individual. The pressure of being a genius instead of channeling genius was too immense, and has been killing off creativity ever since.

The question becomes how to relate to our muses without losing our minds; knowing that if we don’t write it down immediately we will lose the thought, and it will seek out another writer more ready to act on the creativity. Sometimes, the muse does not show up at an opportune moment, and “we fall into a pit of dispair” and you have to tell this entity essentially: I did my part, the best I can, now its your turn to show up and do your part.

So much of her speech was empowering to me, but what I took away to use in my own writer's slump is:

(paraphrased) If you imagine that the most extraordinary aspects of your being did not come from you, but were on loan through you, it changes how you feel about your writing. And: "Don’t be afraid, don’t be daunted. Just do your job, continue to show up for your piece of it. "

"Ole to you for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up."

After writing this, and letting it sit a couple days, I stumbled upon Terry Towry's post regarding his renewed interest in his current WIP, and I thought his musings clearly reflected the message Elizabeth Gilbert was trying to impart. He says of his finished first novel: “while I'm fairly proud of how it turned out, there was not one moment during the actual writing period that I considered fun.” A sentiment I can totally get on board with for my own first novel.

Terry confesses that a few days ago he opened his novel again, and suddenly found a new love for the writing. He doesn’t state a reason for the change of heart, but I’m going to offer my own revelation, and maybe it will fit his also. Perhaps like me, he is afflicted with a Daemon instead of a genius. Or maybe putting a little emotional distance from the work and getting constructive feedback from the writer community was exactly what his muse ordered.

Roni over at Fiction Groupie also reports on the fickleness of her muse. He shows up on his own time, stays however long he feels, and disappears without so much as a next time appointment. Apparently in the last week, however, he’s been rather chatty, and once he kicked Internal Editor’s a$$ out of the way, she’s managed to add a phenomenal 12k words to her current WIP.

I wonder if I’ve hit that mark in the last 6 months?

How about you; are you happy with your progress? Do you blame your muse for not showing up for his/her part when the writing is difficult?



December 14, 2011

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto Open Heart Publishing's Jr Editor's site and discovered a "blue light special" on all volumes of An Honest Lie.  The e-book versions. *face palm*  I didn't even know the e-books were available.

Here's the details:

"All E-books are only $3.00 each, but if you desire to purchase the “Trifecta” (all three e-books) from your author’s voting portal, that author earns 250 points towards the goal of winning the contest. Think about Christmas gifts!"

Here is the sales link for you!

Or - if you really want to show me some lurve, purchase your individual volumes, or the Trifecta, at my personal voting/purchasing portal link here.

Because I have a story published in Vol 3, Justifiable Hypocrisy, I don't feel comfortable in writing a review.  However, I did write reviews for Vol 1 and Vol 2; and you will find the same high quality of interesting, chilling, humorous, and fantastical story concepts as in the first two.  Perhaps reading the stories in the three differently themed An Honest Lie Volumes will give you inspiration to submit to Vol 4, Petulant Parable.

And don't forget DL Hammons Deja Vu blogfest on Friday.  If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time to comb through your old posts and give a well loved topic another shot at exposure.



Tuesday, December 12, 2011

As the end of the year nears, I’m trying to catch up on some neglected reading. The three e-books I am reviewing below are from differing genre’s, but all have one quality in common: excellent storytelling. Bear with me while I try to do justice to the reviews.

First is Rusty Webb’s novelette A Dead God’s Wrath. The genre is a bit difficult to pin down - not sure if you’d call it a western due to the turn of the century setting, or a historical mystery, or perhaps steam punk.

The setting is beautifully woven into the narrative, and I infer early 1900 era by several vivid descriptions: “the new, yet already obsolete gas lights, “the once muddy ground was expertly paved with cobblestone”, police instead of lawmen, “waves of progress”. The unfolding mystery is as expertly drawn as the setting.

Thomas “Tom” O’Brien, our MC, is a simple man who owns a small business in town with his partner Nathaniel. One night the O’Malley brothers - the local loan sharks - arrive at Tom’s house with Nate and his wife in towe. They force Nate to confess he has borrowed money against the business, and as a object lesson to Thomas, the brothers kill Nate and kidnap Tom’s lady love, Mary, to assure he returns with the repayment money by dawn.

“Recall what I asked you to do should something horrible happen?” Mary reminds out reluctant hero just before she is carted off.

And thus starts Thomas’ adventure. As the story progresses, he meets a mystery man Charles- a colored man with facial scars that tell their own tale - who uses strange gadgets to guide Thomas through the paths he must undertake to barter the release of his lady love.

With each paragraph, a bit more of the mystery is filled in, until finally Thomas must come to his own decisions about the past the Mary and Charles has shared, the true reasoning for the murder and kidnapping, and what he will choose to believe about his own future.

I wouldn’t consider this novelette action packed, nor would I call it a sweet tale of innocence lost. But to say the mixture isn't a perfect blend of both action/naivete might be an understatement. No matter the usual genre you read in, if you like short stories that draw you into a world and leave you breathless for the next scene, then you’ll definitely love A Dead God’s Wrath. It is just different enough to satisfy any reader’s interest.

A note on the artwork: Rusty includes a number of his sketches of the characters and the setting as a bonus at the end of this novelette. He is also the artist for the cover of A Dead God’s Wrath. If you stop by his blog to visit, please encourage him to continue to develop his artwork, and to include it in his writings.

Purchasing link

About the author: Aspiring author with a closet full of manuscripts that will most likely never go anywhere. Here's to dreams!
* * *

I don’t think I can write a review for Indie Chicks that is more compelling than the product description:

This exciting anthology contains stories from twenty-five women from different parts of the world. Their ages differ, as do their backgrounds and locations, but one thing they all have in common is a spirit of independence and a determination to not only succeed, but prevail. Whether their struggles are to maintain balance between motherhood and career, escape from an abusive relationship, or to step out in faith and pursue a dream, all of these women have forged their own path.

As women, one of our most powerful "gifts" is the ability to encourage one another. This book is an effort to encourage women across the world. These twenty-five women share stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live.

In addition, each woman has included a “sneak peek” into one of her own novels.

All proceeds from this book will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation which fights breast cancer - a disease all too close to home for many of us. Our prayers and best wishes are with those who are struggling with this terrible and devastating disease. Buy a book for yourself and “gift” one to the important women in your life. Together, we can make a difference. Thank you for your support.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected when I opened this e-book. Tear-jerker type personal stories of the author’s journey towards publication, and excerpts from memoir’s and girl-power oriented novels. Neither are exactly my style.

I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of uplifting testimonials (barely a tear shed, though I assure you all tears were appropriate) and stories of strength and commitment to the fine art of writing. These women amazed me, not only with their writing journeys, but also with their choice of excerpts.

The genre’s encompass romance (including paranormal), contemporary fiction, fantasy, historical, mystery, suspense, and YA. I’m not going to tell you I read every excerpt - and I’m not talking a few paragraphs or a chapter for an excerpt; these excerpts are anywhere from three to six chapters). Some of the genre’s did not appeal to me as a reader. Not due to the quality of writing; these are all awesome writers who know how to craft a well developed, well written story concept. If you are a consistent reader/writer, then you know that not all stories appeal to all readers, regardless of the Author’s writing skills.

Several of the excerpts left me “high and dry”; gasping for breath as I turned the page and - there was no more. After a few of those cliffhanger experiences, I had to STOP myself from reading through several of the longer offerings so that I didn’t feel I’d already read the novel - regardless of where it ended. (I had to close my eyes sometimes to NOT read on as I thumbed to the next Chick.)

I skimmed through many of the actual excerpts to get to the author introductions - getting sidetracked frequently by the engaging published works. I can honestly say I’ve found myself at least ten new authors to indulge in at my leisure. And, I don’t have to put them on a TBR list. They are all right there, in my Kindle, in this handy compilation, waiting for me browse not only the stories and author bio’s, but complete with links to the actual novels. Need I say I’m in reader heaven . .

This was a marvelous concept. These Indie Chicks are all successful not only in their personal lives, but also with their writing careers. They all put the lie to the myth that inde-pubbed authors are disgruntled writers who have lost faith in the publishing industry. I think they exemplify what the writing dream is all about.

And not just for women. I think the personal stories would mimic and appeal to many male authors out there who are struggling with the same issues of day job, family, and publication aspirations.

I highly recommend this e-book to anyone who appreciates meeting interesting authors, and getting trial samples of reading material. I will be surprised if you do not find several somethings in this collection to pique you interest.

Purchasing link
Edited by Cheryl Shireman (Cyber Witch Press)
See a complete expose on The Chicks by Anne R Allen here

* * *
Author /blogger Anne R Allen is one of the Indie Chicks published in the above collection. Ghost Writers In The Sky is not showcased however.

This story is best described as a classic “whodunnit” with a touch of the grittier “hard boiled” American version of detective stories - minus the on stage violence. Perhaps, chick lit meets the cozy?

I’m not normally a fan of mystery novels - cozy or hard boiled - because the plots are usually so convoluted I feel I need to take notes to keep track of all the clues to determine which were mentioned and which were “dropped in” conveniently at the climax/resolution. I didn’t feel that sense of loss in Anne’s novel however.

As an example (and not a spoiler): our heroine Ms. Camilla Randall (Dr Manners) is given a key to an essential character’s red Ferrari to get her from a crime scene to a safe area. She gets out of the car, pushes the button to lock the vehicle, and drops the key in her purse. A perfectly natural act, one so routine it is forgettable. Later, at a point of misdirection, the key is in the purse, exactly where it needs to be. There are many such expertly integrated plot points throughout the “puzzle”.  Essential objects are moved about in such subtle, routine manner you forget you notice, until the point you need to remember.

I won't mention the Fendi shoe - you'll just have to discover that one on your own (LOL).

I never once had to flip back through pages to see if the clue was previously mentioned (and believe me, with an e-book, page flipping is no easy maneuver).  The reader is drawn into the mystery, not lead or deceived.  The misdirection is successfully accomplished, and in the end, I was doing a "Duh, of course."

I especially loved the voice of the MC, Dr Manners. Whitty, intelligent, fashionable. The story plot was a bit over dramatic, but still completely believable. The type of scenario I could see escalating out of proportion to the circumstances in my everyday life.

I did a lot of giggling, outright laughing, and head nodding in agreement, and eye-candy type drooling while reading Ghost Writers In The Sky. The characters were vividly portrayed, the dialogue so real I wanted to check gossip magazines for the fictional celebrities, the humor and action blended perfectly.

If you’re looking for pure entertainment with a nostalgic feel, and a game of follow the clues, you’ll love this novel as much as I did.

Purchasing link

About the author:  I’m the author of five comic mysteries debuting in 2011 with two publishers: Popcorn Press and Mark Williams international Digital Publishing. FOOD OF LOVE, originally published in the UK in 2003 by Babash-Ryan, made its US debut in September 2011. THE BEST REVENGE, also first published by Babash Ryan, (2005) will be relaunched by Popcorn in December. My titles with MWiDP include: THE GATSBY GAME (October 2011) GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY (October 2011) AND SHERWOOD, LIMITED (December 2011.) These titles will be available in paper from Popcorn Press in 2012. I’m also working on a self-help guide for writers with PAY IT FORWARD author Catherine Ryan Hyde. I’m on the faculty of the Central Coast Writers Conference and live near beautiful San Luis Obispo—the town Oprah called “the happiest town on earth.”



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Y'all know Michelle Davidson Argyle right?  Lady Glamis of The Innocent Flower; one third of the Literary Lab; author of the published works Cinders, Monarch, and True Colors.  Represented by Rhemalda Publishing. See this post for details, but Michelle is graciously reducing the price on all her publications to $0.99 through the month of December.

About the author (from B&N purchasing site):
"Michelle has been writing since a very young age. She graduated from Utah Valley University with a BA in English/Creative Writing in the winter of 2002. To date, she has completed five novels. Bonded will be released Fall 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing.

If she’s not writing, she’s playing with her daughter and husband or taking pictures. If it’s winter, she’s wishing it was summer. She currently resides in the Rocky Mountains.

Michelle is an avid blogger and currently runs her own blog, The Innocent Flower, as well as The Literary Lab, which she co-authors with the amazing Scott G.F. Bailey and Davin Malasarn. She is also an editor/publisher of “The Literary Lab Presents …” series of anthologies, an annual non-profit publication that donates all proceeds to charity."

You can find Michelle at her author site or her blogs:

Cinders on Kindle and Smashwords (all formats):
Ebook Description:  Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

See my review here.

Monarch on Kindle and Nook

Product Description:
Nick’s life as a CIA spy should be fulfilling, but it has only given him unhappiness — a wife who committed suicide and two daughters who resent everything he has become. Now, stuck in the Amazon on the last mission of his career, he must track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the U.S. has tried to bring down for years. If he succeeds, he’ll have the chance to start his life over again.

Just when he’s on the brink of catching Ferreira, he’s framed for a murder that turns his world upside down. His only chance of survival lies in West Virginia where Lilian Love, a woman from his past, owns the secluded Monarch Inn. He’s safe, but not for long …

True Colors:  Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (all formats)
Product Description:

In this short story collection, Michelle Davidson Argyle shares sixteen of her literary pieces written during 1999 - 2011. In the title story, "True Colors," the main character fights her vibrant personality against the true darkness lurking within her. The story builds until a row of six dead birds stop her in her tracks. In the opening story, "Thread," (also published in the 2011 collection, Stories for Sendai), a married couple's reaction to the Sendai earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011 reveals their own earth-shattering issues and what must be done to solve them.

The lizard on the cover represents the story, "The Threshold," about a young boy with an intense physical attraction to a girl he's not supposed to touch. True Colors is a collection of quiet stories exploring the hidden, but often overlooked colors we try to hide every day. Sometimes they shouldn't be hidden at all.

Also included are several poems and one prose poem picked as the staff choice award in New Mexico's Literary journal, Scribendi (2002).

Michelle (Lady Glam) says:  Happy reading! This sale is to show my appreciation to all of you, my readers. You guys are made of awesome!  So if you've been dying to read any of my books, but you haven't had the money to get them, this is pretty cheap. If you still can't afford my books, I'm doing a giveaway in my newsletter.



Friday, December 9, 2011

LOOKIE, looky; Open Heart Publishing has announced they are accepting submissions for its Fourth annual volume of the short story anthology An Honest Lie.  Next years theme: Petulant Parable. 

I gotta admit, this one stumped me for several heartbeats.  Petulant?  Parable?  Two words that don't inspire me to creativity.  More like, a spitting contest.  Come on, say it out loud without spitting.  If you do, you're probably not saying it right.

 Say it with all the venom and sarcasm the word conjures . .

Not sure what a Petulant Parable would look like?  Me neither.  So I did what any literary genius should do and I looked the words up for a dictionary definition.

PETULANT (according to Mirriam - Webster Dictionary online):
1.  insolent or rude in speech or behavior;
2.  characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor; peevish;

PARABLE:  (I didn't like the Merriam-Webster definition) according to Wikipedia a parable is "a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or (sometimes) a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters. It is a type of analogy."
So, what does all that mean when it comes to submitting to AHL4?  Still, no real clue.  But you have until March 15 to figure it out. 

From the puslisher's site:

We are accepting submissions in the areas of fiction, well written misadventures from real life, and blatant lies that are fun and entertaining..

We’re looking for …
… the ironies in life
… the serendipity of it all
… the epitome of adventure
… the power of imperviousness
… the pull of naivety
… the view from a different angle
… the mix of mood, moment, and movement
… the wretched truth
… a clever lie
… the humor inside
… the mockery of it all

We’re looking for the perspective.  The subject is up to you.

(Please keep it clean. No political commentaries, testimonials, religious manifestos, or poetry)
If you purchased any of the Vol 1, Vol 2, or Vol 3, you'll know how widely open to interpretation the themes can be.

Speaking of interpretation of themes . .

The Literary Lab Presents is still accepting submissions for Variations on a Theme until December 31.  There are two separate stories to read for you to write your submission on, so log onto the site soon if you have not already and start percollating an idea.  (The stories are seriously short and won't take more than a few minutes to read.  I waited all the way to a couple weeks ago before reading, and got my story idea nearly as soon as I finished.)

Good luck on your writing concepts . .

In case you're interested; here's some inspiration for my own concepts for both of these similar writings:

Shine Down: Simple Kind Of Man . . embeded disabled

Shine Down: 45 . . embeded disabled



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So, uhm; I'm having a bit of a positivity problem right now. 

I have a lot of good things to be sincerely grateful for but . . well; you know, those everyday things just sometimes overwhelm.

So, I'm gonna do something I don't normally like to do for this months Insecure Writers Support Group; I'll take instead of give.  My whines and complaints have nothing to do with writing or the blogging community, and I'm hoping y'all give me a pass on this episode while I partake of your support, enthusiasm, and accomplishments.

I will, however, leave you with this song as I blog hop around, and hope it speaks to you as much as it has to me over this last couple weeks.  Sometimes, all you can do is go on and get to the next phase of existence . .

Remember; the host (Alex J Cavanaugh) doesn't expect you to visit all 226 participants, that is his job. What he DOES hope is that aside from visiting your regular favorites, you might click on 3-5 participants that are new to you and ~perhaps~ find a new blogger to follow; or at least brighten some new person's day with your support, encouragement, or commiseration. This is a social networking event, afterall . .



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hmm, I had this scheduled for 9am this morning.  I wonder why it didn't post . .
I had two Christmas type posts to announce today.  I promised two people.  I remember that much, at least.

I remember Laura from Daily DoDo and Loralie (Apathy's Hero) are having the Secret Santafest from now til 12/12.  Well, not quite a blogfest . . more of service.  Laura explains it best:

Here’s how it’s going to work…

1. Though it’s not mandatory – I’d love it if you were a follower here / at Lori’s
2. Sign up on my linky-list by the 12th December – this will ask for name, blog address and email address – these are necessary for the whole thing to work, but don’t worry – we won’t pass your email on – just the blog address! The list will close promptly and we busy elves will get to it....
3. On the 13th December you will be emailed the Blog address of the person YOU are creating a gift for (just so you know - it isn't a direct pairing - just because you're creating for them doesn't mean that they're the same person creating for you!)
4. Email us your gift by the 19th December... us busy elves will start digitally boxing your presents.
5. On Christmas morning, every single person who signed up will receive their special bloggy gift.

Soud fun?  Did to me, so I've already signed up.  Go here for further details, and the e-mail address to send your "gifts" to.

Perhaps someone in the comments will tell me where that other Santa type blogfest thingy is . .




Monday, December 5, 2011

                                                         blogfest link

Madeleine Maddocks is giving us writers an opportunity to "Turn the cliché on its head, using irony and satire. Make it the subject of a Flash Fiction piece, a Poem or a Limerick.

Liberally sprinkle your entries with well placed clichés or make them the twist to your tale.

Make it the twist on the punch line to your story. Or make it a witty observation: e.g. Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes (1997) He kept touching his hair, which, as well as being dyed to within an inch of its life, was blow dried flicked and rigid with spray.

You may choose whichever idiom you like, such as 'The cat that got the cream'; 'As cool as a cucumber'; 'As good as gold', 'Kick the bucket'. Max 400 words for Flash Fiction.

* * *
My entry:  Spinning In His Grave
word count:  395

After the echoes of the scream died, the inside of Murphy’s Tavern was silent as a crypt. Darcey Danbee tread as quiet as a church mouse to the still swinging saloon doors. Standing on tip toes, he peered between the crack, squinting his bad eye for a better view of the woman who had screamed like a banshee only seconds before.

White as a ghost, widow Donaldo babbled like a baboon to a group of onlookers who clucked and strutted around like roosters in a henhouse.

“Wha’cher lookin’ at,” a voice as gritty as sandpaper said over Darcey’s shoulder.

Darcey nearly jumped out his skin, his heart pounding like a jackhammer as he looked up at the young whipper-snapper. “Crimey Sean, don’t sneak up on a man like that. You nearly gave me a heart attack.”

Sean grinned like a Cheshire cat and licked foam as white as cream from his lips. He still had his pint of ale in one hand as he nodded towards the street.

“Don’t know squat about it. You hear that banshee screech?”

“Went through me like nails on a chalkboard.” Sean took a noisy gulp, draining his glass to the dregs, then motioned for Darcey to precede him into the street.

Darcey slid through the hanging doors like a hot knife through butter, Sean close on his heels.

“I swear he was standing there as plain as the nose on my face,” widow Donaldo was saying in a cracked voice.

“We give ’em a darned fine wake,” Duncan Walsh consoled the widow. He was a tall drink of water, blond and blue eyed, built like an ox. A good sort, if a few bricks short of a load. “No reason fer ’em to be up walkin’ ’round. Right Mr. Darcey?”

Darcey scratched his grizzled chin, moving his fingers into his curly brown locks. Small and wiley as a leprechaun, people tended to consult him on superstitious matters. He’d earned a fair coin with predictions and remedies. Some even were true.

“Old Seamus didn’t attend,” Darcey drawled knowingly. “Perhaps that’s got him spinning in his grave.”

“What should we do,” widow Donaldo whinned, wringing her fingers together.

Darcey barely gave his wise answer a moment's thought. “Have another wake,” he advised.

“Of course,” the men all agreed in unison as they spun on their heels and hightailed it to Murphy’s Tavern.
* * *
Are you laughing?  I hope so; I'm not very good at humor.  Please do visit the other participants of this blogfest for more fun with clichéd phrases (and to vote for your favorite post).

This is an original writing and as such is open to any and all critique.  Keep in mind it was created specifically for this blogfest and may not be developed further. 

And don't forget:  The monthly Insecure Writers Support Group scheduled for Wednesday, Dec 7 this month.  Remember; the host (Alex J Cavanaugh) doesn't expect you to visit all 226 participants, that is his job.  What he DOES hope is that aside from visiting your regular favorites, you might click on 3-5 participants that are new to you and ~perhaps~ find a new blogger to follow; or at least brighten some new person's day with your support, encouragement, or commiseration.  This is a social networking event, afterall . .



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hey ya'll; ready to get yer blogfest on?  Want to try something uniquely different; something you could write in a New York Minute?  Well, Madeleine Maddocks (Scribble and Edit) has just the quick fix.

What say you?  Care to write a 400 word flash fiction piece so full of clichés it'll make an agent/editor/publisher's stomach curl?  Toss their cookies?  Maybe even kick the bucket?

Details of the blogfest are here.  My entry took less than an hour write, and you know, I'm slower than a seven year itch when it comes to writing (even flash).  So slap a muzzle on that inner editor and give a fella blogger some lurve by entering your favorite clichés.

Hope to see ya tomorrow.  Happy Sunday all.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Yeah; I'm still having computer problems.  But I've been anticipating the Romantic Friday Writers post for about 3 weeks now; so I'm braving the text resizing issue to post.  And comment.  Oh Yeah; I've been around tonight and sometimes I can post, sometimes not.  Fun, fun, huh?

Anyway, below is my RFW post to the picture prompt

Word count: 598
Title: Christmas Cottage

The square looking, gray SUV trundled up the recently plowed driveway. It skid a couple times, but Mathilde was sure the driver was competent, as the vehicle never veered more than a few inches between the snow banks. The headlights grew brighter the closer the SUV came, and she willed the wooden limb that took place of her arm to lift and shield her eyes.

The branch didn’t move, and neither did her frozen zipper lips as she sighed. She swiveled the icy head to her right to look at her husband George, who had somehow managed to turn his black button mouth into a frown. The red and blue scarf that circled his neck joint stood out in stiff attention in the freezing temperatures, and the black top hat sat at an angle he would have disapproved of in his corporeal life.

“Oh dear,” Mathilde mumbled as she edged her snowy head to look down the lane to the approaching vehicle.

It had grown closer to the arch that she and her long deceased husband stood vigil over on this frozen Christmas Eve. How she wished she could fluff the plastic flower in her own hat, and smoothe the yellow neckerchief that tied under her chin. She felt naked without her favorite purple, front pocketed apron; the one she stuffed her hands into when she was nervous; as she was now. She had such high hopes for this family.  They would stay.

She was sure.
The car doors all opened at once, and Mathilde cringed a bit at the sudden “clunk” in the silence. A squirrel in the Elm across from the arch squeaked a protest in his hybernation.

"Oh wow,” the petite mother exclaimed as she slid out on the sidewalk side. “Its lovelier than I ever imagined.”

A tall man in a light brown coat stepped out of the drivers side and looked up at the snow encrusted cottage. “Looks like a Christmas card your sister sent us a couple years ago.”

“Creepy,” a young boy of about 10 years said as he jumped out of the passenger side behind the man. He was wearing a blue thermal suit, the hood pulled low over his forehead.

"It looks like a gingerbread house with white frosting,” said a young girl who climbed out of the vehicle on the opposite passenger side.

Mathilde could see nothing but the child's pink clad leggings and galoshes for a moment. Then the girl stepped around the door, and her mother closed it and sidestepped away.  Mathilde got her first look at the girl child she’d visualized for an eternity.

As Mathilde felt trickles of snow melt around her inhabited body, the family raced up the shoveled walk, and as if by psychic connection, they all took positions in the snow-covered lawn to create snow-angels. They laughed, and danced with each other, and threw snowballs, and just as the kids started to whine about the cold and a desire for hot chocolate and popcorn, the man and woman came together in a bulky, awkward embrace.

“I love you, Mrs Jacobs.”

“I love you too Malcom Jacobs.”

“This is gonna work babe; you’ll see,” the handsome man said to his wife.

“Maybe,” she said skeptically.

“Five weeks in Paradise,” he answered, his arms swinging wide to encompass the surroundings. “No cell phones, no e-mails; just us and nature. What could be more perfect than this?”

“Don’t scare them off,” Mathilde told George as she witnessed his essence flowing out of the snow body.

“No Dear,” he promised.
* * *
All critique is welcome and encouraged.  This is an original posting for RFW and as such, unlikely to be developed beyond this writing prompt.   I thank the blog administrators for the opportunity to post to this auspicious occasion.  This blog hop is open to all writing genre's; and you can post your link until Sunday, 12/4; Aussie time :)

Have a good weekend guys . .

PS:  Urhm yeah, I'm an Elvis fan.  Aren't you?



Thursday, December 1, 2011

If you haven’t visited the blog of inde-Author Roland Yoemans now is your opportunity. In just under two short years, Roland has acquired over 900 followers. In the last year, he has gone from seeking traditional publication, to e-publishing about 14 of the urban fantasy novels he has written over the last 20 years.

Roland has a unique prose style and a distinctive voice. Even without including any of his myriad characters that populate his fictional world, I’m sure I’d recognize that voice in any anonymous writing.

I have read and reviewed a few of his books: Bear With Two Shadows; Rites of Passage; Adrift in the Time Passage; and Love Like Death. When I told Roland I would be reviewing the last two I’ve read - French Quarter Nocturne and The Legend of Victor Standish - he sent a LOL e-mail with his anticipation of how I will make a review of these two novels new and interesting. I admit it is becoming a bit of a challenge as all his novels use the same heroes and villains; the ultimate, common villian being DayStar - the self proclaimed Satan, by any of his well known names.

Other commonalities with Roland’s Byronic hero’s - Hibbs, former Texas Ranger Captain Samuel McCord, Blake Adamson, and finally the street gypsy Victor Standish - is they are all orphans, and carry some blood relationship to The Turquoise Woman, aka Estanatlehi (as well as many other names). With that relationship in mind, you could count the mirror shade apache Elu, though his status as hero or villain is not entirely defined.

The other thing Rolands hero’s have in common is their belief that they are unworthy of life. While all despise the human race (two leggeds) and consider them beyond redemption, still theses hero’s fight for human preservation in much the same way environmentalists fight for the protection of the animal kingdom. Well, except these champions do not feel the human race worth saving . .

I know Roland; that’s probably not the sentiment you’re attempting within humanity’s savior’s, but as I read their internalizations, I get the impression they have merely accepted their role as the defender of abused and raped women and children, and without the depravities of humanity, they would have no reason for existence . .

They are also all self taught in the arts of acupuncture, parkour, Houdini type escape, philosophy, politics and history, through many hours spent in books, or with abusive master’s who taught them through pain and deprivation.

And the villains in Roland’s world, all of which were at least fleetingly introduced in Hibbs’ debut publication; the evil Daystar/Sennacheeribe; the Ningyo Maija - sister to Capt. Sam’s estranged wife Meilori and wannabe lover of the Sidhe Fallen (one of Blake‘s lover’s, and the worst perpetrator of atrocities against his life); R’lyeh, Soyoko queen and sometimes ally of Capt. Sam; so many other heroic historical figures revealed to be monstrous undead that flit in and out of action-dialogue or transition scenes.

Despite the consistency of characters that people Roland’s world, the unique turn of witty similes, metaphores, descriptive terms that are Roland’s trademark as an author, and the single minded overall story plot - the defeat of DayStar - Each story does have a unique plot of it’s own.

- Hibbs story . . introduced a multiple number of characters with future story plots to be continued in other books/series.
- Rites . . introduced Capt Sam to Meilori, set the stage for their epic romance, and established Sam’s credentials as a hero through stories of his bravery/cowardice by verbal accounts told from friends and enemies.
- Love . . showed that there is a cost for true love, and it comes at the price of pain and sacrifice. As the symbolic Son of Man, the orphan Blake Adamson must first prove his worthiness for love by sacrificing his life for the two immortal beings who have cleaved his heart.
- Path . . continues Blakes story of divided love; and also explores Blake’s growing sexuality and the ever present questions of whether God actually exists, and Blake’s doubt that he is actually alive and not having some psychotic dream as his body lies dying in a Louisiana orphanage.

- French Quarter Nocturne tells an alternate story of the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina in 2005, and how Capt. Sam bullied, bribed, threatened and tricked the American government into cleaning up the city and giving much needed food, shelter, medical supplies, and protection to the New Orleans survivors. With the help of the Soyoko R’yleh, Sam blazes through the civic center with his colts, meting out justice to the perpetrators of rape and murder against the helpless women and children.

But of course all of Sams efforts at offering salvation to the frightened and abandoned survivors creates almost more problems than they solve. The deal with R’yleh unleashes hordes of hungry Soyoko upon the ravaged city and they are not sticking to the dead for a meal as their queen promised; the purloined assistance from the President, Govenor of Louisiana, and Mayor of New Orleans has backfired as mob-like factions of the undead swoop into the city for the promised financial gains; the spirits of the dead linger, feeding the dark hungers of the Amal and other undead that feed off human misery; and to top it all, DayStar stirs the public authorities to seek his arrestt in the opes of stopping his meddling in long term plans now come to fruition in the “calm” after the storm.

And what would a Roland Yoemans novel be without the romance? I won’t spoil chapter 10’s charm with an account of Sam and Meilori’s heart wrenching dance; but I will leave you with this awesome quote:
“Love is not a shy beast to be caught but a rare moment to be treasured. It burns within each cell, a living seed of hope. Its rays invisible to most, seen only by the searching heart . .”

This alone deserves a five star rating, IMO.

- The Legend of Victor Standish . . Is the story of 13 year old Victor Standish, a legend in his own mind; self taught in the arts of history, philosophy, mysticism, and the popular Parkour moves. His weapon of choice is the ball bearing; his target the elusive acupuncture points that cause paralysis and blindness.

For seven years Victor has traveled city to city, on rare occasions accompanied by his mother on the bus rides, bus usually he is alone. He has learned to live by his wits, and is always sure his next encounter will be the one that results in his death. New Orleans - just prior to the advent of Katrina - proves no different for the street smart orphan; until he meets Capt Samuel McCord. Victor has heard the legends of Capt. Sams valor, and magic, and is witness to the former in their first meeting. An awesome display of power . .

The mystical walk to Meilori’s at sundown is also one of the finer points of intrigue in this novel. Use of this power is not without cost to Sam, and the loved ones he is sworn to protect. Each life saving act Samuel performs on behalf of Victor, his newfound ghoul friend Alice, and the revenant priest Renfield and his nun wife Magda results in even more danger and sure death for them.

The novel progresses from one near death scene to another; rife with the poetic action dialogue and self sacrifice I’ve come to expect from each of Roland’s novels. In order to save his hero from distraction in the prophesied events of hurricane Katrina - and hints of a much larger, more devastating plot set in motion by DayStar, Victor must be killed. Sams friends (especially the mirror bound Elu) agree that Victor should go to his death willingly; and he is attempting to fulfill his promise when he meets and falls in love with the hungry ghoul Alice Wentworth.

Victor sums up his dilemma thus: “After years of scuffling alone on the streets, I had finally found a friend. A creepy friend to be sure. But a friend.” Victor and Alice consistently fight against the frenemies arrayed against Samuel, until finally, the Lady Death arrives at the jazz club Meilori’s to collect Victor in person (so to speak).
* * *
Whatever else there is to say about the world of Roland Yoemans, it is filled with passion and romance. If you have a heart for romance, and crave otherworldly action where the lovers must prove their worthiness for love through self sacrifice and tragic deeds, you will definitely love the poetic prose of author Roland Yoemans.

Visit Rolands blog (Writing in the Crosshairs) for purchasing links and more information about his Kindle novels, and for details on his Win a Kindle Fire contest.