WARNING:

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.

CASSAFIRE release

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February 28, 2012

ATTENTION ON DECK:  All Ninja minions required to report to the Ninja Captain's blog immediately . .

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar.  See Alex’s site for details.


CassaFire by Alex J. CavanaughPrint ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Release date: February 28, 2012

CassaStar was only the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren's civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan's technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves, the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Five Star reviews on Edi’s Book Lighthouse and Fantasy Nibbles



Catch the blog tour:
2/22 - Bryan Thomas Schmidt
2/27 - Ciara Knight
2/28 - Edi’s Book Lighthouse
2/29 - Isis Rushdan
3/1 - YA Author Elana Johnson
3/2 - Michael Offiutt
3/5 - Under the Tiki Hut
3/6 - Talli Roland
3/7 - Tossing it Out
3/8 - Daily Write
3/9 - Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

The Twitter hashtag for the party is #CatchFire

SWAG alert:  anyone who comments on Alex's blog posts during that time can win a special package from his publisher: copy of CassaFire and CassaStar, a large tote bag, and a mug.


CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Purchase at:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle

Visit the author Alex J Cavanaugh for downloading details in other e-book formats.

I release you: go now to the tour, author and purchasing sites . . .

LAZY

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Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm feeling kind lazy this last week; and the feeling is getting worse as the weekend approaches.  When I'm feeling lazy I do a lot of reading.

I subscribe to eFiction Magazine on my Kindle, and I've been so busy with the blogfests earlier this month I'm only just now getting to read February's edition.  Funny how this months theme seems to fit perfectly with this weeks Romantic Friday Writers prompt, The Perfect 9.5.  I'm not submitting an excerpt to RFW this week - that lazy writing thing ya know - but I've been enjoying reading stories with the theme of flawed romantic interets and the less than ideal dating escapades that end in happily ever after.  Weird for me, as I'm not normally into fluffy romance - Chic lit - or happy endings.  At least not all the eFiction short stories have "happy endings", but close enough.

And what am I watching now?  Sleepless In Seattle.  And it just got to the part where Sam tells his son Jonah, "There's no such thing as a perfect . ." and he trails off as he watches Anne Reed make her way down the airport concourse.  My heart flutters just a bit and I sigh an "ahhh."

Is this romantic month over yet?  I'm going pink or somethin . .

Here's just the thing to pick me up, I think.  You know Jeffrey Beesler of World of the Scribe?  Well, he's just released his first novel on e-book - Spell Of Enchantment - and he's conducting a blog tour through March.  He still has a few slots open, if you're interested in signing up.  I just sent him an e-mail to claim March 17, or 18 so don't get your hopes up on those days.

And did you notice The Literary Lab revealed the cover for the 3rd anthology Variations on a Theme today?

Some of my reading this week included some great blog posts:

Sarah Pearson (Empty White Pages) reveals The Magic Appreciation Tour.
Jamie Gold; and a whole series of excellent writing posts.
MPax (Wistful Nebulae) on outlining.
Raquel Byrnes (nitewriter) on sell sheets/one sheets.  A must read if you attend writers conferences.
Stephanie M Loree (Scribler to Scribe) on Requesting a book interview.
Elizabeth Spann-Craig (Mystery Writing is Murder) on eliminating unnecessary plot complications.
DL Hammons (Cruising Altitude) motivational "be the ball."  Don't forget he's still hosting WriteClub.
Bryan Russel (The Alchemy of Writing) has a cool rebuttal to Jonathan Frazzen's attack on women (which started as a guest post on the Rejectionist).

There were a lot of blogs - many with excellent writing tips and techniques - I've read over the last week or so, but I've had some problems with word processing, so haven't been able to save them.  And being so lazy, I haven't worked too hard at discovering the problem (I know it will involve money and I'm broke).  And I haven't commented on very many of the blogs I've been reading due to my laziness and that silly new word verif thingy.  My bad as a blog reader; sorry folks.

I'm hoping to be more productive this weekend by writing two book reviews, and accompanying author interviews, fulfilling a promise for L'Aussie Denise, and polishing my Catch Fire tour post for 2/28.

But, it sure is the perfect weather for cozying up with a good book while the wind blows and the heater fights off the cold.

GUEST AUTHOR: MICHAEL OFFUTT

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today I have the honor of presenting guest author Michael Offutt (slckismet); author of the soon to be released YA sci-fi novel Slipstream (Double Dragon Publishing).  Michael sent me an advance review copy, so I don't have a cover to present, or a publishing link.  Slipstream does have a page on Good Reads however, and you can to there to add it to your reading list.

About the authorMichael Offutt is a writer of science-fiction books. Depending on when you catch him, he may also be an aspiring writer of epic fantasy, young adult fiction, or a daily non-sequitur. He has one brother, no pets, and a few roots that keep his tree of life sufficiently watered.

I asked Michael if he would share the story of the making and publishing of Slipstream.  So, take it away Michael:

It took me three years to write SLIPSTREAM. I wrote it because I spend a lot of time reconciling my feelings about God with those of science. Have you heard of the principle of God of the Gaps? It's a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken as proof of god's existence. For me, the great unknown is death. And I think that's why I struggle so much with religion. I want to believe, but I just can't.  So my novel is at its very core...a what if scenario. What if this were true? And when I set about to build the world that I wrote about, I looked to William Gibson's "Neuromancer" for inspiration.

I'm a writer with a lot of bad habits. I don't write every day unless you count a lot of blogging or blog fests. I would rather watch t.v. than write every day. I think t.v. has become more interesting than movies because of the time a series has to develop characters. There will never be a zombie movie that can top what a series like "The Walking Dead" can accomplish. I just don't see how two hours in a theater can top the fourteen hours devoted to a season of programming.

This does translate to my writing. I planned from the very beginning to have six books in my series, and I have them all roughly plotted out. I think my characters become stronger with each book as they are developed. My overall story arc is huge. But each book will bite off a segment of it, just like a television series. Hopefully it will be as fulfilling.

When I finished my book in January of 2011 I queried and collected 45 rejections from agents. I may be missing one or two that I just threw in the garbage with disgust. I got one full request and she wrote back saying "There's no way I can represent this." Meh. It was one line and she didn't elaborate. With agents you can't ask for feedback, and you're lucky to get a response period. Then I got rejected by six small pubs before Double Dragon Publishing picked me up. I feel lucky to have them as a publisher because I think my story is worth telling to someone.

I invented two types of metals. The first, corobidian, is a super-conducting metal that is extremely light making it great for armor as long as you ground it properly. The second metal I created is cibrian. It's a metal that has rainbow colors in sunlight. A blade made from cibrian will cut through just about anything except itself. All the gadgets I created stem from ideas about these two metals.

I just finished the sequel. I call it OCULUS. The coolest thing about it is that a super-collider (like CERN) is essential to the book. It took me two years to write (so a little faster), but required a ton more research. I watched hours of YouTube videos, poured over Google Earth, and followed tons of student blogs that attended Cornell. I just hope I got it right. I chose Cornell because they had the particle collider I needed for my book, they had a great hockey team for my character to play on, and it's the alma mater of the late Carl Sagan who I miss dearly. If you've never listened to his recorded address to future Martians that you can find online, I suggest that you do. You can even hear the Ithaca waterfalls.
* * *

Thanks Michael for sharing your journey.

About the bookJordan Pendragon is crazy good at fixing situations that have gone bad. It's a talent prized by his high school ice hockey team. However, when a car accident puts Jordan in the hospital, he wakes up with more than just an amazing slapshot in his toolbox. Jordan can manipulate space-time and in just a few weeks, he'll depend on it to save his life.

When earthlings detonated the first atomic bomb in 1945, something incredible happened. The detonation triggered an extinction level event on a parallel world. A computer program saved humanity and became the ruler of this place. However, its brilliant mind fragmented and became insane.

Jordan's power strands him in this nightmare universe. To get home, he becomes a professional in a sport where athletes are killed to boost network ratings. To survive, he discovers that the most broken among us can be fixed and that love is unpredictable. Near the end, he also learns a startling truth about his own birth. If he fails to fix the computer’s insanity, both Earth and this sister world are doomed.


My review:

Slipstream was a brilliantly written, YA sci-fi novel. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down. The main character Jordan Pendragon is a little difficult to appreciate at first; he is extremely intelligent and a superior athlete, with a self centered attitude and emotionless demeanor that can be a bit off-putting, despite the tragedy the story beginning. As the story progresses, however, so does Jordan's emotional growth. I attribute the early lack as the author allowing his character growth potential; and that is well done because there is distinct growth.

I have to admit I was more drawn to the alternate world of Avalon and the overall story plot than I was to the characters.  The characters were excellenty portrayed; but the world and its unique technologies and concepts carried the story.   Surgically implanted electronic and mechanical devices replaced the mystical natures of the vampire and succubi and aguments the currency and addiction aspects of the story with the ingenius discovery of Life Green; and an artificial intellegience (AI) stands in place of an all knowing God.

Each new concept introduced was fully explained by the intervention of science; and yes, it all made perfect sense.  The author's ability to describe his settings and gadgetry in minute detail made the word vivid, imaginative, and quite real.

The overall story plot progresses through a complex structure of introducing the characters, the importance of their roles in resolving the crisis the AI's split personality (a literal split in two), explaining ramifications to both world (Earth and Avalon) if the AI is not ultimately cured of its insanity, and the development of trust relationships between all the chosen hero's.  I was impressed with the story's level of intrigue.

I would have liked the story to focus more on Jordan's use of the slipstream to resolve the overall story plot, but as this is the first book in a series, I understand the focus on world building.  And of course there is romance; what hero would be complete without a love interest to make saving two worlds more than just a task to be completed.  The middle of the story has a slow down where the relationship issues between Jordan and the sexy bad boy Kolin navigate their way through tumultous issues of age, celebrity, and for Jordan, first love; but it picks up again once the romance plot is resolved.  Jordan's twin, Kathy, also finds her heart captured by the combat veteran Dylan, and his puma familiar.

Overall, this was an exceptional integration of science, social issues, romance, theology, and yes, enough action to intruge any James Bond/Dr Who enthusiast.  While I had grivances with some of the author's stylistic choices (pov and consistent use of pronouns) which are acceptable for most readers,  I highly recommend this novel with a five star rating for creativity, and I look forward to the next installment, Occulus.

You can read two other reviews by Jeff Adams (jeff and will) and Shelly (Shelly's LGBT book reviews).

ACCEPTED IN VARIATIONS

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Guess what?  My short story Tristan's Folly has been accepted in The Litary Lab's next anthology Variations On A Theme. 

Are  you excited for me ?!?  Don't worry, I'm happy enough for all of us - and the rest of the accepted authors.

Go read the announcement, there are several fabulous authors that made the cut. 


The anthology is scheduled to publish about March 15.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I got three days off - how about you?  What are your plans . .

IS IT HOT IN HERE BLOGFEST

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day everyone.  I hope you and your sweetie have a wonderful, sensual evening planned.



In the meantime; here is my entry for the IS IT GETTING HOT IN HERE blogfest, hosted by Hope Roberson and Cassie Mae.  Going through all my writings I discovered almost no kissing scenes that do not lead to sex, so I had to write one for the blog hop.  Its too long, and I didn't have a chance to edit or cut it down (although I don't remember seeing a word count to this blogfest).  But its clean :)
* * *
Back and forth they swayed to the waltz. Hip to hip, cheek to cheek. Then he signaled a turn, and Lynn stepped back and allowed Ben to lead her through the expected sequence of turns. As she settled against him again, Lynn surveyed the rest of the dancers.

They all laughed, or kissed, or smiled through animated conversation as they performed their own routines under the glitter ball. Lynn's feet expertly performed the three step pattern as Ben wove them through the crowd, dipping, forward, reverse, side step, and now another spin and change of direction.

She brushed her right hand across his back and stepped naturally into the spin as his meaty hand found her palm. Inset of a the double twirl she expected, he lowered her arm, tugged her left hand across her torso, and snuggled her against him in a cuddle wrap.

“What's wrong honey?”

Ben's warm, moist breath against her neck drew a small smile to her lips. She remembered younger days when she would have wiggled invitingly against his jeans, the dance merely foreplay for later. Now she looked around to see if the other couples were laughing at the older couple's public display.

“Nothing,” she answered, hoping the fading smile was still in her voice.

He dropped her left hand, took a jaunty half step back, and spun her til she was giggling with dizziness as the song ended. Her legs trembled a bit as he escorted her back to their darkened table, and once again she was grateful she exchanged the red strap heels for sensible pumps. She didn't want anyone to mistake her stumbling for drunkenness.

“Another Martini,” the slim young waitress queried.

Lynn shook her head and patted under her coat in the empty chair for her handbag. She could feel a sheen of sweat forming across her forehead and under her eyes and she wanted to check her makeup.

“Sure thing doll,” Ben countered. “Make mine a double, and add an extra olive to my wife's”

Lynn looked up in time to catch the wink he gave the waitress. The waitress smiled and winked back, and Lynn nearly chocked on her embarrassment.

"What,” he asked innocntly.

She located the bag and immediately pulled out her compact. Ben picked up his glass, swirled the melting ice around and raised it to his lips. It didn't hide the smirk on his thin lips.

Lynn snapped open the lid, checked her face, and aggressively rubbed the puff in the powder. “You're triple her age.” Lynn dabbed the tan powder across her forehead, dipping the mirror slightly so she could see her husband as she circled under her eyes and the creases of her nostrils.

His grin crinkled the laugh lines under his eyes. “Not even half her age I'd bet. You see the crows feet under her eyes?”

“I didn't look at her that closely.”

Lynn stuffed the compact back into her purse and debated a touch up to her lips. She liked the pinkish color the waitress wore, but such girly colors were not for mature women in the late stages of menopause. Lynn decided the dull red she'd chosen would do only wear off again on the napkin, or her glass.

“Really, Ben, we don't need one more round,” she admonished as she sat up.

She didn't have time to do more than gasp her astonishment before his hands were cupping her cheeks, pulling her face closer to his. Then his lips were against hers, his gray mustache tickling her nose, and suddenly she felt 35 again.

She leaned into his kiss with her eyes closed, her mind adrift in the all the kisses they'd shared over the years. Anniversaries, Valentines Day's, birthdays, days that were only special because they spent them in each others arms at the beach, picknicking in the meadow, or curled up on the couch watching a favorite movie. She forgot the lounge, the music, the young couples in love.

She remembered deliciousness of his kisses, and how long it'd been since they shared anything more than a peck to the lips, cheek or forehead. When he pulled back she didn't even have the breath to sigh a protest, but her lips remain upturned with a smile and despite the tears blurring her vision.

“Aw; someday I hope this is my husband and I,” their waitress said, placing the drinks in front of them.

Lynn's smile grew so big it hurt her face, but she didn't even want to wipe it off. Ben's answering grin made her blush.

“No charge,” the waitress said, patting Ben's shoulder as he reached for his wallet. “Happy Valentines Day.”

2nd Hook and Origins

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Monday, February 13, 2012

I got myself signed up for two awesome blogfests today.  The 2nd Hook, Line, and Sinker blogfest, and the group hosted Origins blogfest.  I'm starting with JWPs because it's shorter, maybe.  Or it's a bit less personal and I'm all for procrastinating when it comes to exposing my real self.

My introduction is only 395 words; quite a bit short of the 500-1000 Justin is asking for.  At what I have, I'm worried its too much backstory.  Or too much character development.  Or too little of everything :)  Beginnings are not my strong writing skills.



Justin has some Suggestive topics to consider when critiquing:
  • Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
  • Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
  • Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
  • Lastly, would I read more?
* * *
SMOKIN’ FOR MY LIFE

I decided to play it cool; pretend I was just coming up for a smoke.

I quit 15 years ago, the day my daughter Megan was born. Easy enough sacrifice, even after the divorce and Megan became a weekend visitor. Until I caught her last year with a pack of her own. My favorite brand too; Camels. Yeah, I sniffed her like a bloodhound after a fox. Not to prove her guilt mind you; just to smell the old habit.

“Want one,” Megan offered instead of a justification.

“Oh boy, yeah,” I’d replied; but didn’t take the proffered stick.

Me Dad, she kid. We talked; she crushed the butt, and promised never to smoke again. I made an effort not to catch her at it. But the aroma lingered at the back of my throat, niggling away at frayed nerves and a couple months later, I started dating women who smoked, and joined them in a smoke after sex. Then it was bumming the occasional cigarette to be friendly at the back of the squadroom. I still haven’t bought a pack of my own, but I’m up to two cigs a day.

Dang me but I was grateful for the excuse to light up now.

Dispatch got an anonymous tip of a guy on a ledge. For all I knew, he could have called in to 911 himself. Never knew about weirdoes in the city these days. I bummed a pack of from a patrolman – yahoo, Camels – and threaded my way to the stairs with the roof access. There were six left in the pack; not so few I’d refuse to share, just enough to look authentic. And four days to this company’s payday, according to preliminary canvassing.

I stepped onto the roof with all the confidence a detective can afford with Kevlar under a borrowed business suit. The jumper didn’t look up, but his weight shifted just enough to acknowledge my presence. I shook out a smoke and pretended not to notice the guy lodged in the shadow of a cooling system as I lit up.

That first drag is the best. The rest of the cigarette is just maintaining.

“Can ya spare one Mister.”

I pretended surprise as I jerked around in the direction of his voice. Game on now; but I had no clue what my plan was.
* * *
Check out the other participants for Hook, Line, and Sinker and sign up on the linky to be entered into the drawing.


Now for the Origins Blogfest, co hosted by Dl Hammons (Cruising Altitude); Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl), Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh; and Matthew McNish (theqqqe).  From DL Hamons site, this blogfest requires "you should post your own origin story. Tell us all where your writing dreams began."  There are a lot of ways to participate; check out any one of the hosts sites for specific details.

My writing journey started after I was fired from a job I was sure would make all the sacrifice of enrolling in college and getting a Social Worker degree pay off.  Cliche I know, but that's how it was.  The job came 14 months after graduation, a disappointment in that it took so long to become employed.

Long story short, I was pretty much at the lowest point in my entire life when I started my first true attempt at writing a novel.  I'll not go into the depression I suffered after being fired.   My first writing attempt since grade school didn't start out a novel; it was a 4000 word short story that needed some editing.  That editing added another 4000 words, and as I knew almost nothing about word counts for fiction stories, I was sure the story concept was too long, or too short.  So I kept writing on it for about 18 months while Life was tossing me about.  Need I report that the MC was seriously depressed and cynical?

The original plan was for 4 different stories from 4 different women's perspectives.  But as I developed the story plot, and the characters, I realized maybe I could tell the story concept from one character's POV.  So the one long story was split to two, and then three, and the first part shelved, so the two stories were complete; bu then I added another sequel.  So now it is a trilogy; with a prequel I doubt will ever be revised, edited, or submitted.  Sometimes backstory takes on a life of its own, but only for the Author.  Amy Thompson's backstory was something I had to write for me; and it allowed me to move on into the larger issues I wanted to write about.

So here I am, about seven years later, with two short story publications to keep me hopeful about my writing ability, and several blog friends that consistently encourage me with positive feedback on my original writing venture (the times I post those excerpts anyway).  Yeah, I know; the first novel (trilogy in my case) is never supposed to be published, and I'm still rather embarrassed about the concept; having so much sex, DV and substance abuse as it does.  But it is my passion. 

It took Stephen King like, 22 years to get the Dark Tower Series finished.  The man inspires hopes, dreams, aspirations.

So there it is, my two blogfest entries.  Tomorrow is the Is It Hot In Here blogfest; and don't forget this is the final weeks of voting for DL Hammon's Write Club.  Stop by here to view the six semi-finalists.   Write Club is kinda the writing blogs' versionn of reality shows like American Idol or Face Off.  So please stop by DL Hammons site these next couple weeks to vote for your favorite writing duos.

RFW - Aphrodisiac

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Saturday, February 11, 2012



Romantic Friday Writers is hosting their Valentines excerpts with the theme A Long, Cool Aphrodisac.  Now let me warn you, this submission is possibly inappropriate for the club's submission guidelines (although they've become more liberal this year).  At 399 words it is within word count; but it is graphic and definitely fits into the urban fantasy realm; meaning it is not our usual contemporary/historical romance.  It may not be clear in the excerpt that Reggie is a natural born Werewolf.

This excerpt is reworked from my WIP novella that came about while revising my short story Scent, published in An Honest Lie Vol 3.  It is not a typical romance, depending on your POV; but it makes use of the "aphrodisiac" theme . .

WOLF SCENT

Reggie discovered by accident that the sweat he produced on the back of his neck was as potent an aphrodisiac to human girls as the hormone glands between the shoulders of his wolf form was to a bitch in heat.


“Yummy. Do you smell that?”

“No,” Reggie said, nervously rubbing his neck as he worked up the courage to ask Yolanda out.

Yolanda poked her nose inside her locker, then pulled back and sniffed at the air. Reggie found the wolf-like action alluring, and he rubbed harder at his neck as other glands responded to his mating needs.

“It’s you Reggie.” She leaned in close, nuzzling her nose under his chin. “What are you wearing?”

“Just sweat,” he admitted. He had a knack for being literal.

She giggled and kissed hard him on the lips.

Startled, Reggie grabbed her arms with both hands. Her kiss became more ardent as his scent absorbed into her skin. He nipped at her exposed shoulder as he smelled her heat; the aroma of her blood triggering a need to shift.

“Wanna go to my house after school?” She asked, looking a bit dazed.

“I gotta go change - for gym,” he stammered.

He dashed off, shoving through students without seeing them. Luckily there was no one in the restroom. He tugged the door closed and slammed the deadbolt. When he turned around he was staring at himself in the mirror - shoulder length brown hair a disorganized mess, his eyebrows and ears already that of the wolf. He closed his eyes - which never changed from their yellow-brown color no matter which form he was in - and pictured himself as a human male.

Ten minutes later he had his shift fully under control and was able to finish the next two hours of classes. He transformed as soon as he was in the trees behind the school and trotted home faster than he’d ever ran. Still pumping adrenaline when he arrived, he yipped and howled out his frustrations at the back door until his sister Raquel emerged.

She took one look at his swollen genitals and the intensity he licked himself and told him to sleep in the yard. Reggie had no intention of confining himself to his room, but he had hoped she’d run with him.

“Don’t even think about leaving the property,” she ordered, then turned and went back inside.
* * *
As usual for an RFW posting, any and all critique feedback is welcomed.  Unlike usual though, this is a current WIP I intend to submit to a specific publisher.  There is continuing story before and after this scene, so bear that in mind for your feedback.  Please don't be concerned with offending me with honest feedback; I've worked with actual publishing editors :)

If you would like to post a submission, you do not have to be a member of Romantic Friday Writers, nor do you have to post to every prompt.  We'd love to have you at the last minute for any theme that inspires you.

Challenge #32 is The Perfect 9.5 and is scheduled for posting on Feb 24.

Have a great weekend everyone.

HEARING VOICES CHARACTER BLOGFEST (Part 3)

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Friday, February 10, 2012

My RFW post for The Long, Cool Aphrodisiac will be up tomorrow.  I'm also participating in Justin W. Parente's 2nd HOOK, LINE AND SINKER blogfest, and DL Hammon's ORIGINS blogfest; both posts set for Monday, 2/13.  I also signed up for Hope Roberson's Is It Hot In Here blogfest on 2/14.  Need I say what I'll be doing this weekend?



Yeehaw; made it to the final day of Cassie Mae and  Angela Cothran's I'm Hearing Voices character blogfest.  I've been a bad blogger and haven't gotten around to everyone's submissions, but I figure I can make up over the weekend.  It will be cool to read all three excerpts together anyway.

Todays final posting is Emotion Flash Fiction.  " Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words."

If you viewed my previous two posts, characters on the couch and Dialogue Introductions, you'll recognize my two MC from my women's fiction novel Not Her Mother's Fate.  I had to tweak this a lot to fit the criteria for the blogfest.  I sure most people did the same :)

* * *
As she turned on the shower, a screech of outrage startled an answering scream from Amy.

“Fuck; shut it off,” a voice yelled from behind the floral veil.

Amy slashed back the curtain, not sure who she expected to see in the bottom of her tub. “Robert?”

“Damn girl, shut it off!”

She twisted the knob quickly, then stared down at the last person she would expect to be in her bathroom at this hour of the morning. “What the hell are you doing here Robert?”

“Shit! I’ve passed out in many tubs Amy, but this is the first time I’ve ever been soaked.”

“What’s wrong with the couch? You’ve crashed on it often enough over the last three weeks to pay rent.”

“How do you know that? You’re never here.”

“I’ve seen you passed out a couple mornings when I come in. And Joy tells me every time you come over.”

“And the gifts? She gives you my gifts?”

“Yes, I got them. You really shouldn’t waste your money on me.” So far, he’d brought her flowers he picked from his mom’s garden, a key chain with Amy’s name on it, and a scarf so colorful it hurt her eyes.

“My money, I’ll spend it how I want. I keep hoping to catch you at home, maybe ask you out.”

She waited, but apparently his courage ended with his stated intentions. He looked more anxious than she felt.
* * *
Thanks for stopping by, and for offering your feedback.  Both are equally appreciated.  I can't wait to start reading the other blogfest posts and see who wins the prizes.

HEARING VOICES BLOGFEST (Part 2)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012



So here we are again at the second part of Cassie Mae and Angela Cothran's I'm Hearing Voices Character Blogfest.  Today's challenge is all about the dialogue; two characters introduce each other in 250 words or less.  No introspection, no backstory, just dialogue.

I took this challenge a step further and didn't add any dialogue or action tags either.  I'm not sure this would be practical for a sequence this long in the actual novel, but this is a "voices" blogfest (and this scene never happened in the novel), so lets see if you can identify the characters by the context and the voice.  I also didn't do a literal "introduction" type excerpt.  I wasn't entirely sure how this segment should post, but I never like to take the obvious road.  DO feel free to let me know if I satisfied the spirit of the challenge: two characters introduce each other to the reader.

If you read Monday's post - Characters on the couch - you'll recognize that I'm continuing to use two (of the three) main characters from my women's fiction novel Not Her Mothers Fate.
* * *

“Hey Amy.”
“Robert.  What are you doing here?”

“Uhm, well, I wanted to ask you out.  On a date.”

“And you thought to bring along a beer to bolster your courage?”

“Oh.”

“You were so bold as to kiss me at my birthday party, and now you’re nervous?”
“I was a little – oh alright, a lot – drunk that night. “

“And you’ll do anything on a dare, right?  Honestly, quit looking so sheepish.  Go ahead, take another swig, and tell me why I should go out with you.”

“Besides the curly red hair, and that all our mutual friends want us to hook up?”

“That in itself is reason for me not to date you Robert.   Wipe the dribbles off your chin.  Thank you.  Now, don’t you think your devout Seventh Day Adventist parents would disapprove of you dating a girl like me?”

“That’s unfair Amy.  Just cuz you don’t go to our church and you live with two partying roommates doesn’t mean they won’t warm up to you.  You’re independent and practical, like my mom.  She’ll like that you don’t draw attention to yourself with makeup or sleazy clothes.”

“So you’re looking for a mommy replacement?  Thanks Robert, but I doubt I’m the girl for you.  You need someone to save you from your own demons.  I don’t need a guy who can’t control his own urges.  When you grow up and can talk to me without a can of beer, perhaps we’ll talk again.”
* * *
Does it work?  Do you feel you know the essentials about these two characters?  That they have properly introduced each other?  Seriously; I like honest feedback :)
Visit Cassie's original blogfest post here for the linky to other participants and prize details.

I'M HEARING VOICES BLOGFEST (Part 1)

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Monday, February 6, 2012


Cassie Mae and Angela Cothran are hosting the I'm Hearing Voices Character Blogfest.  This is a three part event on 2/6, 2/8, and 2/10.  I'll let Cassie explain:

The Posts:

February 6th - Monday: Characters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers).

1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
2. What do people believe about you that is false?
3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it?

February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

* * *
I'm letting Amy Thompson (the main character from my women's fiction novel Not Her Mother's Fate) answer the five questions in her own, narrative way . . . .

   My biggest vulnerability is trust.  I am so afraid of being hurt, or betrayed, I have difficulties trusting in others.  To some extent, the others around me know this, because I do not discuss my past with anyone.  I’m pretty sure my best friend Joy would understand if I flat out told her because she has suffered some of the same abuses as I.  But again, I’m not sure I could trust even Joy with my secrets because she shares everything about herself with her boyfriends.  This might also include my secrets since she is always trying to get me to loosen up and date some of the guys that hang out. 

   As for one redeeming quality, Joy might say it is my perseverance.  Once I decide to date, or become a friend, I stick with it at all costs.  What I want most is a normal family; a man who won’t hurt me, or his children.  Someone who can make me forget the past as if it never happened.    I thought that man was Robert Crane; but that was before I met his best friend Cal.   I am willing to abandon Robert – leave him to his religion and overbearing parents – and pursue my fate with Cal.  Such a disloyal act however, might cost me Cal’s love and trust and all the future I’m striving for with him.
***
There are also prized attached to this blogfest.  Stop by Cassie or Angie's blogs for more details and the linky list.  There is still time to sign up and post your own Voices excerpts.

SNOWFEST

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Thursday, February 2, 2011

My story for roh Morgan's Snowfest blog hop.  (my Insecure Writers Support Group post is here.)

December Retreat


The cold stillness amplified every sound that wasn’t there. If he stayed still enough, Brodie was sure he'd hear something of his ghostly follower; but stopping left him vulnerable to the freezing temperatures. He poled forward a few more feet, and stopped again as that slooshing echo sounded from all sides of the forest around him.

After several minutes, the only sounds louder than Brodie's breathing were the cracking of the snow under his weight. It hadn't snowed in over a week, but the unnatural freeze had endured. Brodie brushed the fog off his tinted goggles, sidestepped and slowly turned to survey the surroundings. Again, the only sound was the breaking ice, his rapid breathing, and a slight whistling as the breeze assaulted his ears.

He strained to hear the drip of a melting icicle, a drift of falling snow, the rustle of a waking squirrel in a lofty nest. Peering at his backtrail, Brodie stepped backwards, shaking his feet to reposition the snowshoes and not caring about the increased noise. If his stalker thought he was on the move, perhaps the person, or beast, would reveal themselves. Brodie's skin crawled with the sense of being watched, but nothing besides himself moved.

“Damn,” he whispered, hurrying to turn as cautiously as possible.

He was sure his stalker was a coyote or a wolf – the stinking, dead raccoon strapped to his back must surely be attracting the appetites of any denizens that still prowled these woods – but he couldn't believe he'd been out here eight months and still hadn't encountered a single other human. It'd been two months since he saw any game not caught in his traps too. He shifted the weight of the coon to give his injured right shoulder a brief respite, then trudged in a semblance of a sprint towards the cabin 300 yards across the clearing.

A feeling of being chased overwhelmed him at the steps, and instead of stopping to slip out of the snowshoes, he stamped his way up the four steps and raced the last few feet to the front door. Fumbling with the door knob, he kept his eyes turned towards the treeline, sure that any moment he'd spy a shadowy figure or demonic eyes lurking just out of visual range.

The door suddenly opened and he crashed inside with a yelp of pain and surprise as he landed heavily on his throbbing shoulder.

“Shut it quickly Mary,” he rasped, rolling to his feet to help his wife with the heavy metal door.

The barely audible thud and beep, beep, beep as the alarm was reset calmed Brodie's taut nerves as he leaned against the door to catch his breath. Laughing at his own paranoia, he stared at the 10 inch monitor that served as a window and watched the perimeter camera perform a sweep of the front porch, then continue on its panoramic journey to reveal the emptiness between the house and the forest.

“What's out there?” Mary asked from behind him.

"Nothing,” he answered, still focused on the monitor.

The view cycled three times before Brodie was finally convinced that nothing followed him back to the cabin. Suddenly the weight of the coon was too much, and his knees buckled. He steadied himself in a crouch and slowly pulled his right arm out of the back packs strap. He sat on the floor as the burden was deftly removed, and began unlacing his snowshoes. Mary gagged as she drug the pack across the floor and into the kitchenette to the left.

“How long's this been dead,” she inquired as she patted the waterproof canvas.

“Not that long,” Brodie answered, hauling himself upright as he unzipped his parka and let it slide off his shoulders and onto the floor. “Need to get it skinned and soaking.”

“I'll do it,” she said, but didn't open the flap. She kept her face averted, messy brown hair hiding her eyes.

Brodie bit back angry words as he crossed to the wood stove in the far corner of the designated living room. Long ago he'd taught her with his fists not to question him. That life seemed so long ago to him. He hadn't hit her in months, hadn't even cussed her or raised his voice. Something had changed within him after secluding them in these woods; and now he couldn't believe he'd ever been that angry, hateful man. He hoped she'd forget in time.

“I slid down a hole,” he answered her unasked questions.

She looked up immediately, her face scrunched up with worry.

Brodie rolled his shoulders, wincing as the right one burned in pain. “Wrenched my arm trying to hold onto a tree. My side and arm is bruised too. Nothing to worry about.”
She started around the counter, but he waived her off before she made it to the table.

“That coon needs more attention than I. I'm just cold, tired and sore; nothing a hot bath won't cure.”

“I'll heat some water,” Mary stated. She hadn't stopped at the table, and when her soft fingers touched his frozen ears he was glad she'd ignored his command. Her gentle touch sent shivers down his back and warmed his heart.

That old habit of only showing how tough he was had asserted itself before he could stop it.

“The sun was out today; the tank will have hot water.” He kissed the top of her head as she started to unbutton his shirt. “No,” he whispered, pushing her hands away. “The coon, honey. I skinned it, but soon it will be inedible. Don't want to waste my effort today.”
Mary nodded and returned to the kitchen, humming a tune under her breath.

Brodie sneezed, and wiped his nose on his arm. As he looked up, he thought he saw movement in the door monitor. He glanced at Mary; her back was to him as she ran cold water in the sink to wash the coon. He hurried silently back to the door and taped the arrow key on the console to turn the camera back to the forest area he thought he saw movement.

Whatever followed him home was gone now. Or hiding. He bent down and picked up his shoes as he heard a grunt of effort from Mary. He didn't want to worry her. He sneezed again, and decided to trust the steel walls to protect them while he was in the bath.

His great grandfather had built the cabin to protect his family in case of a nuclear attack. And Brodie wasn't convinced there was an actual threat out there in the snow crusted woods. It could just be his imagination playing tricks. As long as the doors remained sealed, they'd be safe from whatever the post December world could throw at them.

Brodie glanced at Mary as he headed towards the bedroom at the rear of the house. She looking at a spot in the wall that should have a window, her hand absently caressing her belly.

The one thing he hadn't figured into their 2012 plan was baby.

***

Insecure Writers Support Group *squirrel*

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yay; I get to date things 2/1/12!  Not sounding fantastic?  Then, maybe you don't write the date 20 times a day (exaggeration; some).  I had troubles with the date all through January.  No clue why, just did.  I'm hoping writing 2/--/12 will be easier.  The video below is just for me, so if you're not into music while you read then just don't click on it.  Might help you see where I'm comiing from if you play it though . .



Just be grateful it wasn't Flight of the Bumblebee :)

I got this weird sh## going on right now where I'm too busy and too bored both.  Busy with lots and lots of ideas; bored with having to deal with them all, all the time, all at once.  I'm overstimulated.  I can't seem to do anything unless there is noise in the room; but noise distracts me in a way it never did before. 

Hense, the *squirrel* reference, courtesy of Hope Roberson; a new blogger I recently became acquainted with.   You ever just have one of those days – weeks, months.  Hope captures it perfectly for me with her SQUIRREL post. Enjoy the laugh.  Maybe you'll even commiserate, as I did.  I think she has this voodoo thing going on where she infected me . .

Ok, so this may not turn out to be the IWSG post I was planning on for today.  I've been collecting links for a SHOUT OUTS post, but again, I got distracted by several things in the blogs.  Rusty Webb (Blutonian Death Egg) says it best in his posts dated 1/23 and 1/27.  You saw his book trailers post too yesterday (1/30) right?

I don't get around the blogs as much as I'd like to.  Distractions like the day job, my own writing projects, reading on the rare occasion, reviews/critiques for fellow authors, watching the favorite TV series, interracting with the family and few friends I've managed to maintain, scoping out new publishing opportunities, and playing solitaire, leaves me precious few moments in the day to actually enjoy all the things in life that spark my interest.

Speaking of; Justified is coming on so I must abandon ya'll for Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).



Really hard to show you what I like about this program.  Its actually the snappy dialogue.  I know; today's viewer wants action, and more action.  And believe me, this show has that and more.  But, I love the characters, and the dialogue, and I'm not opposed to the "vigilante" style killing prevelant in the series.  Raylan draws his gun; somebody dies.  And I like that his childhood best friend is his current arch nemisis.  Elmore Leonard knows his western hero type, even in the modern world.  No doubt about it.  One of my friends at work has graciously decided to purchase the paper books so I can read and discuss them with her.

Oh, guess ya noticed I'm back to finish this.  My mind is stuck on roh Morgan's (Musing of a Moonlight Writer) Snowfest tomorrow (2/2).  I've been thinking about it for days, cycling several different scenarios through my write brain.  Suddenly this first line hit me in a flash, and I have this complete concept all mapped out.  I'm hoping its as good on paper (screen) as it is in my head. 

This is my first line:   "The cold stillness amplified every sound that wasn’t there."

When I'm finished here, I 'll find it and finish the story.  I've a feeling its going to be a romance - hopefully a romantic thriller.  I've never written more that 400 words with a romantic theme, so the thought of up to 1200 words is intimidating, and I'm hoping to develop the to at least 3000 words for a short story worthy of publication in Short Story America.  Eeeep! This is the influence of Romantic Friday Writers . .

In hopes of keeping this post short (yep; if you've been around a while you'll note this is short for me) and in honor of Melissa Sugar's (Have You Heard) Get Fired Up blogfest from 1/20 to 2/29.  "What do you have to do? Help a new, struggling or undiscovered blogger."



This falls perfectly with the Insecure Writers Support Group theme that our host Alex J Cavanaugh is hoping to foster (I believe so, anyway).

Ah, finally; this is where I started.  The concept of keeping it short :)  As I mentioned earlier, I have a long, long list of shout out links for posts that have inspired me over the last few weeks.  But, I'm only going to link to some new people, and save the actual Shout Outs posts for a few days.  Sorry to those blogger's I'm postponing right now.  Rest assured I'll make the post, just as I'll be soon posting my reviews Treasures of Carmelidrium (Nancy R  Williams) and Slipstream (due out in 5/2012) by Michael Offut. (Mike sent me an ARC)

Here, I'll just say you should read both novels.  They are iteresting, fast paced, unique storylines, and, have great world building concepts. Highly entertainings.

Did I digress?  Its late, I'm tired.

Hope Roberson is a new acquaintance of course.

New blogger friend Maggie reviews an old favorite book on writing.  She also has a cool write-up on listening to your characters.
Have you met Barbara JeanByrem?  Awesome new blogger to me.

Hayley N Jones (Writing, Reading and Waffling)
And finally, let me introduce you to one of my ftf crit partners Chris Parmenter.

Welcome to the blogger world new friends :)