Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with The Magicians

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I know, I know. I should have read this one a long time ago. How can I not love a story involving an elite, secret college of magic? The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a contemporary fantasy held in high acclaim by many writers out there. The first line made me laugh knowing what the book's about.
Here's your teaser:
"Try the library." Profession Brzezinski closed his eyes again, like an old walrus settling down on a sunny rock. "There are so many old seek-and-finds on that room, you can't find a Goddamned thing." (page 127)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review of Defying Gravity by Cherie Reich

This post is in anticipation of my wonderful CP, Cherie Reich's book release. She's taking the path of self-publishing with her sci-fi romance, Defying Gravity. She's intelligent and brave. I have no doubt she can do this. Hopefully it will be released mid-February.

Here's the blurb:
Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.

Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan army in his quest for adventure.

When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans’ army, Alezandros and Linia’s lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerged between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.
Of course as Cherie's CP, I've been lucky enough to have read her novelette already. This is her best work yet. She's planning a blog tour and looking for people to help get the word out. If you're interested, head over to her blog and contact her. I'll be having her here in March. Don't worry. You'll get lots of warning.

Here's my review:

Defying Gravity by Cherie Reich is a rare gem in the vast sci-fi universe. It nabbed me from the beginning with two fascinating characters starting great adventures themselves. Linia is a sweet young alien with a high intelligence yet little experience outside of her lovely and safe home world of Persea. Alezandros comes from a hard life on Medusa and seeks something better for himself and his family. Linia and Alezandros are suddenly thrown together when their peoples battle and a wormhole swallows them, causing them to crash into a post-apocalyptic earth. Captured by humans, they must work together to escape, and only by reading the story will you get to find out the explosive conclusion!

Reich writes compelling characters, drawing me in further with their vivid emotions and internal conflicts. Linia and Alezandros are rich in differences, but when their romance starts to bloom, I felt that they might be able to conquer anything. The story has wonderful details of other worlds: one full of color and life, and one dreary and dying. I was kept on the edge of my seat with the intense battles and each little twist thrown my way. This story has a little something for everyone: thrilling space adventure for sci-fi fans, a horrific post-apocalyptic earth for fantasy fans, and an against-all-odds love story for romance fans. Not only would I recommend Defying Gravity to everyone, but it's one of those awesome stories I will re-read again and again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Snapshot for January 28th

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books

Bubbles are such fascinating things.
Our local children's science museum has a bubble room, and my son loves to spend
time in there because he's encouraged to get wet and messy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy writing week

It took a little longer this month to start on my revisions, but I had a good week with two awesome pantser moments.

The first was with the short story I did for Auntie Tara's short story prompt. I wanted to do something Greek and something with pirates. I think I spent too much time reading about ancient Greek pirates than I should have, but research has always been one of my favorite things. I had no idea where I was headed with the story until near the end. I love when my stories surprise me. It means it's likely to have the same effect on my readers.

My second great moment was with the new first chapter I wrote for one of my WIPs. I needed a first chapter with action rather than the conversation that originally started it. I had a vague idea of how to begin it, but after about 400 words, it all became clear. Dramatic magical attack in public and the frantic scramble to defend without letting the public see. A cool introduction to the protagonist and her sidekick, and a way to let the reader see how magic works in that world. It's a rough chapter, but it has the essentials I need. The rest of the novel has been plotted. So it should be a good steady pace from here on to the end.

To top that off, I have my idea for the A to Z Challenge. I'm really excited about it!

It's almost February. I need to think of another short story idea for next month. I would really love for it to be a shorter short this time around so I have more time to revise my novel. We've an extra writing day next month with it being a Leap Year!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Auntie Tara's Short Story Prompt for January

Auntie Tara has provided us with a challenging prompt this month. I've been thinking a lot on it. Perhaps too much. I've decided to just let my imagination have free reign, allow it use of my fingers to type, and see what comes up on the screen.

The challenge is to write a short story of 750 words or less with the following four words: evil, crowd, harp, waterfall.

I have a craving for Greek today. Here's my entry.


Ligeia's wrists were rubbed raw with her attempts to free herself. It was not for herself she tried so desperately to escape, but for her younger brother Anatolius who was out there laughing with the pirates.

The flap flipped up and a huge man entered. Despite the laughter on deck, he wore a grim expression.

“Your brother has a keen eye. A sailor he will be.” The archpirate's beard was ratty but his voice cultured.

“He'll never be one of yours. I won't-” He cut off her sharp reply by drawing a wicked blade from a sheath. She scooted back with a cry, trapping herself against the wall.

“Anatolius will stand watch as you entertain my men.” He snatched her by the arm and jerked her up. The knife cut through the rope, but his grip didn't loosen.

“No! Please, no.” Ligeia shook her head. The midnight waterfall of her hair hung limp, sticking to the sides of her face.

Ignoring her pleas, the archpirate yanked her forward and bent to retrieve something by the door. He thrust the harp at her.

“You will play. And you won't stop until I tell you.”

Ligeia hugged her father's harp to her chest and choked back a sob. These evil men hadn't thrown it into the sea.

Sunlight blinded her as she was led on deck. She heard a boy's joyful hoot and squinted her eyes to see Anatolius bouncing toward her.

“I'm going to be a proper sailor, Ligeia.” He was proud, overflowing with youthful excitement.

She managed a small smile. He was happy and unharmed. She hadn't seen him like this since her parents had passed on.

“Nikandros taught me how to watch for reefs and the flow of the tide.” Anatolius grinned up at the archpirate.

“You're too young for such a thing, little brother.” Ligeia chided.

“He's old enough.” Nikandros shooed the child. “Back up top, boy. Remember, your full attention on your job lest you sacrifice us all to Poseidon.”

Anatolius stuck his tongue out at his sister and hurried back up to take his position.

It was only then that Ligeia realized the entire crew was below. They were forced to crowd together. Only Nikandros remained on deck. He pushed her onto a stool.

“It'll be your death and ours if you stop playing.” His growl made her tremble. A hint of wine scented his breath. Nikandros' hold on her loosened and he moved as if he might leave her. He paused and lowered his voice. “Is it true? Have the gods blessed your voice?”

Ligeia stared at him, trying to understand. She felt the weight of the situation and held her harp tighter yet.

“I sing songs of family and lost love. My own heart knows these things intimately. If the gods have blessed me, it's only because they have taken so much away.”

“Sing with your heart then, woman.” With that, Nikandros jumped down and went to the main mast. He picked up a slave's chain and snapped it around his ankle. The clink of metal seemed loud over the waves.

Ligeia noticed then the entire crew had bound themselves to the ship. A moment of panic swept through her. What was going on?

She looked up at her brother. Her heart beat faster. They could escape now. There were nearing a set of islands.

“Play.” Nikandros commanded.

There were no other boats about. The tide carried them swiftly as the oarsmen sat idle. And afraid.

Ligeia recognized the fear in their faces. She swallowed hard and plucked a few of the strings. The sound reverberated strangely in the air.

“Play now.” Nikandros roared. His hands clenched in fists.

Her fingers began a familiar tune. Ligeia's sweet voice was soft at first, but she let the music take her to rise above the noise of the sea.

Another voice rang over the water. It carried a song without words and made the men below groan as if they might be ill.

Ligeia turned to the tiny islands as they drew near, singing about family lost and the ache of the heart.

A second voice joined the first and then a third. All females.

Ligeia's fingers faltered upon the strings. Glancing back up at her brother, she began to sing with every bit of her heart and soul.

The pirates had pitted her against the Sirens.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - sexual tension

One of the key elements to a good paranormal romance is creating sexual tension. This doesn't mean the act of "making love" itself. In fact, sexual tension may never lead up to that point. This is about feeling a spark of something, that irrational pull to someone, the sizzling energy that makes your stomach flip. Sometimes it feels there are no words to describe this. Yet as writers, we have to find those words.

Tip #1: Use the senses. Make it subtle. A faint whiff of spicy cologne or the twitch of a dimple in his left cheek. Her voice might sound a little hoarse when she's aroused or her lips might taste like cherry lip gloss with that first brief kiss. Sometimes a brush of her hand against his can create a great jolt of sensation. In paranormal romances, you have the possibility of using other senses as well. A flaming up of his aura or reading his mind to know he thinks she's sexy in that dress.

Tip #2: Strong internal conflict. Use a lot of emotions here. She recently lost someone she loves and can't open her heart again for fear of getting hurt, but she can't deny her powerful attraction to him. He loves his job reaping souls and has seen too many people in love torn apart, but he can't stop thinking about her.

Tip #3: The internal conflict is made worse with the external conflict. Someone is trying to hunt her down and kill her. They're on different sides of the apocalyptic battle.

Tip #4: Put the characters in situations that require them to spend a lot of time together and a lot of time close together. Fighting, spying, exploring the ducts of an evil corporation's headquarters. These situations will fire up the internal conflicts and give you ample opportunity to torment, I mean, let your characters flirt with their hidden desires.

Tip#5: Delay gratification. Okay, yes, here you're tormenting them!

Do you have any tricks you use in creating sexual tension?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Paranormalcy

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This is another book I've seen so many people rave about. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White mixes all the supernatural creatures together. I love the blurb and the title, another gorgeous cover. So far Evie annoys me a little, but I love the story itself.
Here's your teaser:
"Hey." I giggled.
"Hey?" He raised one eyebrow. Dang that one eyebrow! (page 87)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Favorite Character Blogfest

Thank you to Laura Josephsen for hosting this great blogfest. It's so much fun! Here are the rules:

1. Decide which of your characters you'd like to introduce everyone to, and choose a snippet about this character (preferably no more than 200 words) to share about this character. 

2. Between January 23-25, tell us who your favorite character you've written is and why, and post your snippet.

3. Hop around to other participants to check out their favorite characters and a bit of their story.

The lovely Melanie Billings, Acquisitions Editor at Whiskey Creek Press, has graciously offered to supply critiques as prizes! Winners will be drawn from the list of active participants after midnight on the 25th and announced on my blog on the 26th.

1st Prize: critique of first 15 pages of your manuscript, an e-book copy of my book, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School) and an ARC e-copy of my next book, Rising Book 1: Resistance (upcoming publication in February 2012).

2nd Prize: critique of first 10 pages of your manuscript and an e-book copy of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School).

3rd Prize: critique of first 5 pages of your manuscript.

Here's my entry: 

My favorite character is Magena Silver, celebrity therapist and witch. She's the protagonist in Witch' s First Rule (the first book in a paranormal romance trilogy). Magena is intelligent, sexy, and career-minded.  Imagine a 30-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones in professional clothes tailored to hug her lovely curves. She gives her clients love potions to re-ignite their passion and boost her success rating. Nothing is going to get in the way of getting what she wants. Not even love. Well, nothing gets in the way until she gives a love potion to the wrong people, her life is threatened, and she meets a gorgeous man who can feel her powerful emotions behind her cool therapist mask.

I don't want to hurt the feelings of my other characters, but Magena's been with me for a long time. I love to write strong women. Not just physical or supernatural strength, but ones with an iron will and clear mind. Magena knows what she wants and how to achieve her goals. She is determined and aggressive in all areas of her life. Underneath that strength, she's hiding herself from love. She's afraid of being seen as weak. I like writing a protagonist who seemingly has her act together, but her hidden flaws are massive. Part of the challenge for me is coming up with a story that can unveil those flaws and make her face them.

Here's a snippet from Witch's First Rule:
“Yes, I have-” Nathan cut himself off and looked at her. “He sent you blood? Whose blood?”

“You're just here to supervise. If Mr. Knox didn't tell you, you don't need to know.” Magena kept her eyes upon the road. A smirk played over her lips.

“What are you using it for? I know you're a witch. He did mention that much.”

“I'm making a potion,” she replied with a small shrug.

Nathan reached into one of his pockets and took out a tiny red vial. He held it up and asked his question again. “Whose blood is it and what sort of potion are you making?”

She smirked and made a left turn into her neighborhood. “Are you worried it's your blood?”

“F*ck, yes!” He opened the window and stuck his hand out with the vial in it. “Tell me whose blood it is or I'll drop it.”

“No, you won't.”

He shook the vial, letting it dangle from his fingers. “I'll drop it.”

Magena glanced at him, wearing the calm expression she put on her for clients. “You won't drop it because then you'll have to explain to Mr. Knox what happened to the most important component of the elixir. I don't know how easy it was for him to obtain it, but I'm sure he would not be pleased at all.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Heartfelt thanks

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Thinking Through Our Fingers for passing on to me
the Liebster Blog award.

Thank you and welcome to my new followers.
I'm at 180.
I hope to meet some wonderful new people during the upcoming blogfests.
I will hold to my promise of another giveaway at 200.

A big thank you to every one of my followers for all your support and encouragement.
I look forward to my blog time every day and it's because of you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Best feeling in the world

My little guy turned 21 months old yesterday.
Soon I'll have a two-year-old!
I'm afraid to blink lest he be gone off to university.

Yesterday, when I was feeling particularly awful, I had a coughing fit.
I was holding my son in one arm and rubbing my head and neck with my free hand.
He gave me a hug and said, "Is okay, mama. I love you."
The first time your child says "I love you" to you uncoached is the best feeling in the world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Venturing into plotter territory

I finished my first short story of the year and submitted it. It shines... as much as a supernatural story with a gory crime scene can shine. I'm happy to be on track with one thing this month.

With that out of the way, I'm concentrating on starting the revisions for Witch's First Rule (WFR). I've been re-reading it and I don't like the way it's written. Once upon a time, I thought it was genius. Oh, how naive was I. It's amazing to think that just in a matter of a few years, my writing style and standards have changed so much. It's going to take a lot of rewriting, but I have faith in the story itself.

To clear out all the clutter, I made a plot points list. Yes, you read correctly. I made a list. I actually made a couple of lists. I'm not saying I'm abandoning my pantser nature, but this plotter technique is helping me see the story in a different light. I can organize the plot, making sure there's enough action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

I'm a pantser with first drafts, but I've grown into a plotter when it comes to revisions. Perhaps I've found my true writer's path. It's only taken *mumblemumble* years.

In other news, my son is doing better. His mood is good and his cough is going away. Hooray! Yet we had to go into the clinic this morning for me. I have strep throat. I'm a good sick person, though. I will be spending the weekend reading and playing Dragon Warrior 3 on the DS. Hope you have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Free book! Free book!

Raven and The Writing Desk is a collection of short stories and poetry by three talented authors: Cherie Reich, Aubrie Dionne, and Lisa Rusczyk. They will amaze and inspire you. Plus, until the 21st, it's free on Amazon. Oh yes, you read correctly. Free!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - I love you but I can't touch you

It's always fun to have a physical obstacle between the protagonist and her love interest. Paranormal romance gives you the opportunity to be as creative as you want with what this might be.

We have the common themes: Vampire can't be with the person she loves because, in moments of passion, she loses her will power and feeds upon them. Werewolf can't bed his love because, in the heat of things, he loses control, transforms, and will bite or ravage her.

I like the more unusual obstacles. In Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series, Georgina as a succubus can't get intimate with the man she loves because she'll steal his life force. Then there's Anton Strout's Simon Canderous who has the psychic talent of psychometry, and he can't sleep with any women because he sees their whole sexual history flash in his mind's eye when he touches them.

I love digging around on the internet and reading about supernatural creatures and various psychic and otherworldly powers. There's a lot of inspiration for a great hook for a paranormal romance.

A pyrokenetic who loses control of her powers when things heat up with her love interest.
A Fury who cannot touch any man intimately or she will lose her immortal life.
A Harpy (originally they were beautiful) falls in love with a man whose soul she must carry away to the Underworld, and if she touches him, he will die.

The trick is to find a creative way to give the hero and heroine the Happily Ever After ending. Find that key whether it be a person, object or something else.

The pyrokenetic falls in love with a fire resistant demon. (Supernatural creatures)
The Fury gives in and touches the man she loves, and becomes human. She loses her immortal life, but not her mortal one. (Play on words)
The Harpy helps her love interest win a challenge to reclaim the fate of his own soul from her boss, Zeus. (Seemingly impossible challenge)

What other physical obstacles can you think of? Any good books with this theme you can recommend?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Fallen

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I know I'm a little late catching up with all the great books of last year. There's just so many to read and so little time! Fallen by Lauren Kate turned up on many people's Favorites of 2011 list. The cover itself has drawn me in, but I haven't fallen for the story yet.
Here's your teaser:
She would not cry in front of any of these horrible people. She swallowed hard, got to her feet, and took off. (page 56)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Uncanny Valley

Have any of you heard about the uncanny valley? Just look at that photo. That's Dirtgirl. A character from a children's program. When I watch Dirtgirlworld, I'm immediately transported to the uncanny valley.

It's a fascinating theory. The uncanny valley is a feeling of revulsion people get when they look upon robotic or animated human replicas that don't quite look or act human. The replicas fail to evoke an empathic response. It makes you cringe and want to burn them with fire!

I have to use this in a story somewhere.

In short story news, my writers' group meeting went well. They liked my story and had some very good suggestions for me. I hope to have my first short story to my CPs tonight and submitted to an anthology by the end of this week.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mutant immune system

There's my little guy intensely concentrating on a Curious George counting game. He can count to twenty and that's his favorite number right now. He's occupied most of my week because he's sick again. I swear, I think he's going for a record for most viruses caught in one winter. I've been puked on every day for two weeks. I must have a mutant immune system, because I don't even have a sniffle. *knocks on wood* Took him to the doctor today and the prognosis: ear infection and possible chest cold. My son is very particular about his ears and has not been a happy boy these past few days. He hasn't been taking any naps and he's been waking up in the middle of the night. That's something that hasn't happened since he was an infant. So no writing time for Mama. I did manage to get the stories for today's writers' group meeting critiqued, though. At least I did something productive.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Booking Through Thursday Interview

btt button

1. What’s your favorite time of day to read? I usually read at night after my son has gone to bed.

2. Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.) No. I usually eat cereal and watch the news before I have to get the menfolk up.

3. What’s your favorite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.) I eat cereal. Fruit Loops, most of the time. My stomach can't handle anything heavier in the mornings.

4. How many hours a day would you say you read? I try to get in one, but sometimes I don't make it.

5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago? I read less than I did ten years ago. It's hard when you have a toddler running about!

6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader? I'm a fast reader, but I don't think I speed over the text.

7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Teleportation. It would make doing errands and visiting family and friends so much easier.

8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go? Most of the time I remember to slip one into the diaper bag.

9. What KIND of book? Depends on what I'm reading at the time. I read a lot of paranormal romance.

10. How old were you when you got your first library card? Five. I'm not including school. The tiny town library was right next to my elementary school.

11. What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)  Oldest copy: Sophocles - The Theban Plays. Oldest copyright: John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. (I was a Philosophy major and I have a bunch of old texts that I bought from used book stores back in my university days.) Longest in my collection: my Stephen King books. Can't remember which one came first.

12. Do you read in bed? Yes. I love reading in bed!

13. Do you write in your books? Never.

14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be? Read everything. Don't stick to one genre. You'll surprise yourself at the gems you'll find.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - covers

A book's cover can inspire a reader to pick it up. I know better than to judge a book by its cover, but I will pick up a book to see what the story is about if I like the cover art. I will also avoid a book if it has a cover I don't like. Oh, the power one page of a book that isn't even part of the story!

Covers of paranormal romances tend to have a particular look. Usually it's a woman - human or not - in a ready to fight pose with weapon in hand. Sometimes the hero is lurking in the background, his gaze dark and/or smoldering. Example: the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Kate has her sword and is ready to fight, and Curran, in lion form, with his golden eyes burning into you.

There are the sexy ones. A woman in a lazy, come hither pose. Sometimes still holding a weapon or magic is sparkling from her fingertips. Not all of the woman's body is usually featured. Sometimes just the legs or everything by her head. Maybe even a silhouette. (Example: Poison Kissed by Erica Hayes.) It's common to have the hero on these types of covers locked in a passionate moment with the heroine. (Example: Play of Passion by Nalini Singh.) Or it could be the hero himself. Tall, muscular and dangerous. These men always look like they're flexing but relaxed at the same time. (Example: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day.)

There are the covers with symbols: torn hearts, spread wings, fragile flowers, splashes of blood, full moons. I'm sure you could name off another dozen yourself. These ones can be very stylized. (Example: Crushed Seraphim by Debra Anastasia.)

I'm not a fan of actual photographs or something that is photoshopped on covers. I like paintings, something dark and surreal. I can be attracted by any of the types of covers I listed, but I can also be repelled by the bad ones. I wish that authors could have more control over their covers if published by a big press. One of the things I love about self-publishing is that you get to create your own. Also, I hate the pressure of having to create something so important on your own!

What are some of your favorite paranormal romance covers? What sort of covers attract you to a book?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Touch of Frost

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Jennifer Estep is one of my favorite urban fantasy writers. Her Elemental Assassin series is unique and is on my top five favorite urban fantasies list. Touch of Frost is the first book in her YA Mythos Academy series. I've heard great things about it. I've only read the first page so far. Secrets always draw me in!
Here's your teaser:
But I was still cautious, still careful, around other people, just the way that my mom had taught me to be. Despite the fact that part of me really liked my gift and the power it gave me to know other people's secrets. (page 38)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Take a deep breath

Sometimes all we can do is take a deep breath and push on.

I had a bad weekend. We all have our not-so-great moments. Yet I'm trying very hard to focus on the good.
I revised my newest short story and sent it in to my writers' group to be critiqued.
I braved the crowd at the post office with a sick toddler and husband, and we processed my son's passport application without a fuss.
I received two more of our new switchplates in the mail. Doing little things around the house really helps to make it our own.
My son now sings, "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, Batman." And he adds in his own words in place of Batman. His favorite today being milk.

Now it's Monday. Everyone take a deep breath and sing: "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, milk!"

Friday, January 6, 2012

One down

I finished the first draft of my first short story of the year last night. I cheered myself and hugged my muse. I was exhausted after taking care of my husband and son, but I pushed myself to get the story finished. It's those times when you really work that you feel the best about having finished something.

I didn't know how the story would end, but it all made sense when I finally got there. Ooh, that's what happened! Now I have to go through and add in the subtle clues, hints for the reader and my protagonist. I hope the twist is as surprising for my readers as it was for me. I always worry about plot twists. Am I clever as my muse? I hope I'm doing her justice.

I have two days to revise it and send it in to be critiqued at my next writers' group meeting on the 14th. The anthology I want to send it to doesn't have a deadline, but I have to take my chances that it doesn't fill up within the next few weeks while I polish it up.

I have discovered that since I posted my goals for the world to see, I push myself more. I have an audience and I don't like to disappoint. I think I'll create a gadget for the sidebar that keeps a tally of what I've written, submitted, revised, and queried this year. Just a little extra kick for me to get everything done. Do you push yourself harder knowing you have people watching your progress?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pink stains and supernatural crime

A good and not so good start to the new year. My son has been sick. Once again, I'm thankful for our new rug steam cleaner. Just so you know, watermelon stains carpets and nothing gets out that faint pink splotch. Poor little guy has such a sensitive stomach.

He didn't sleep much at all yesterday, but today he made up for it. I have over 3000 words done on my first short story of the year. A supernatural crime story. My writers' group is meeting a week early this month, so I have to have it done by Sunday to send it in on time to be critiqued. It won't be over 6000 words. I think I can do it if my son does two more good naps this week.

I've been fussing with a blurb for one of my novels too. It's a blurb the wonderful Nicole Zoltack has critiqued for me. She mentioned something in it and totally opened up a big hole in my plot. I sat for a long while thinking about why I never thought of it. Then I realized why it never happened. It was something my protagonist would refuse to do. Whew. So while it did make sense to me, and I was thinking too much like myself at that moment, it didn't make sense in terms of the way my protagonist thinks. Making this blurb the best blurb it can be has me one step closer querying.

i can has cute kitty and donuts?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - new releases for 2012

Anticipation is the act of feeling excited, enthusiastic or anxious about an upcoming event. I'm feeling it for this year's paranormal normal releases. Here's a list of some of the ones I'm particularly looking forward to:

By A Thread by Jennifer Estep. (Feb. 28) The next book in the Elemental Assassin series. If you love dark urban fantasy with a bit of romance, you need to read these books.

Fair Game (Alpha and Omega) by Patricia Briggs. (March 6) I'm a big fan of her Mercy Thompson series, but this one has grown on me too. Great for werewolf fans.

Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane. (March 27) The fourth installment of the Downside Ghosts series. This is a dark, dark series. Even the romance is dark, but I love it just the same. There's nothing else like it out there.

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris. (May 1) Sookie Stackhouse book #12. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! I love the wit and southern charm and, mmm, Eric Northman.

Embrace of the Damned by Anya Bast. (May 1) This is a new series called the Brotherhood of the Damned. I've heard great things already and Anya is a spectacular writer.

Gunmetal Magic: A Novel in the World of Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. (July?) I love the Kate Daniels series. Curran is one of my favorite heroes. I love the title to this book, though I haven't heard a thing about it yet.

Into the Dreaming (April 24), Fever Moon - The Fear Dorcha (July 10) and ICED: A Dani O'Malley Novel (October 30) by Karen Marie Moning. All related to my favorite paranormal romance series, the Fever series.

What releases are you looking forward to this year?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Downpour

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I'm a big fan of Kat Richardson's Greywalker series. It's a dark and creepy urban fantasy with a little bit of romance. If you like books with a noir feel, this series is for you. Downpour is the sixth installment of Harper Blaine's supernatural adventures as a PI walking the border between two worlds.
Here's your teaser:
"All the people in the valley drowned and the lakes formed over their corpses. That's what this is, a valley full of blood, a lake full of death." (page 106)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A couple of anthologies to think about

One of my goals this year is to write a short story every month. No time like the present to get started. I have a few new ideas for some sci-fi stories, but right now, they're just story hooks. No plots yet. Sometimes it helps when you have a prompt to spark your imagination.

My favorite site for links to anthologies accepting submissions is Ralan.com. I've been using this site for years. It's easy to navigate, reliable, and gives you a lot of choices. Here are a few anthologies that caught my attention:

DARK FAITH 2 - 1-time print (Apex Publications). Horror/dark blended with faith. Pay: 5¢/word. Words: <4k. RT: unknown. Reprints: no. Deadline: January 31. E-subs: ONLY. Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon, Editors

EXTREME PLANETS - 1-time print/Kindle (Chaosium Inc.); sf (fic). Pay: 3¢/word +3 copies. Words: 4k-10k (<20k for pros). RT: after DL. Reprints: pros query only. Deadline: June 30. E-subs: ONLY. David Conyers, David Kernot, & Jeff Harris, Editors

FUNGI - 1-time print/eAntho (Innsmouth Free Press); all SpecFic; key element: fungus (fic). Pay: 1¢/word. Words: <5k. RT: Spring 2012. Reprints: yes. Opens: January 15 (Do not submit before!) Deadline: February 15. E-subs: ONLY. Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Orrin Grey, Editors
MORTIS OPERANDI - 1-time POD (The Harrow Press); supernatural crime (fic/art). Pay: $50 +copy. Words: 3k-6k. RT: <3 months. Reprints: no. Deadline: when filled. E-subs: ONLY. Kfir Luzzatto & Druann Pagliassotti, Editors

BUGS! - 1-time print (Pill Hill Press); all genres (fic). Pay: $10. Words: 4k-10k. RT: <3 months. Reprints: no. Deadline: when filled. E-subs: ONLINE FORM ONLY. Gerald Costlow, Editor
10 REASONS TO CROSS THE MOAT - 1-time print (Sam's Dot Publishing); sf/f (fic/poem). Pay: fic=$20; poem=$5. Words: fic=2k-9k; poem=<100 lines. RT: reject/holdover=1-2 months; final=after DL. Reprints: no. Deadline: May 1. E-subs: ONLY. Katie Hartlove & Sylvan Bree Baker, Editors

This list is as much for me as it is for you. I like to share, and I realized in my annual desk cleaning, I had too many little pieces of paper with various anthologies written on them that were lost in the jumble. I now have a clean workspace and I'm ready to write. Hm, but which one to start with?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning." ~ T.S. Eliot

May 2012 be joyful and productive for us all.