Tag Archives: blogging

Advanced Plotting with Chris Eboch

Moonday Madness

A blog about the craft of writing

Today’s guest is multi-published author Chris Eboch. Chris is not only an accomplished fiction author, but she now teaches what she has learned. Her book Advanced Plotting will help you smooth out those bumps in the road. 

A woman heard I was a writer with 12 books published, and she said, “Why aren’t you living in Beverly Hills?”

I managed to keep a straight face. Besides the fact that I prefer New Mexico to Beverly Hills, 12 books in about as many years does not pay a living wage. It does, however, mean that I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve written historical fiction (The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery set in ancient Egypt, and The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure, both for ages nine and up), an original paperback series (the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs, also for kids), and various types of work for hire. I also recently started writing romantic suspense for adults under the name Kris Bock (Rattled is a treasure hunting adventure in the New Mexico wilderness).

Besides my published books, I have a dozen unpublished manuscripts – part of the learning process. I learn a lot from teaching other writers as well. I lead workshops, work with students through a correspondence school, and do private manuscript critiques. You can’t analyze thousands of stories and novels without learning a few things about what works and what doesn’t.

And yet, somehow, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to see the flaws in your own work. But I’ve found a method to help. I call it the Plot Outline Exercise, and I discuss it at length in my book Advanced Plotting. The short summary is, you make an outline of your finished manuscript, briefly describing the main action and any subplots in each chapter. Then you analyze your plot. Looking at the outline, rather than the entire manuscript, makes it easier to see the big picture without getting distracted by little details.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a lot of work to make a manuscript strong, so I ask over 40 questions, divided into sections for Conflict, Tension, Main Character, Subplots and Secondary Characters, Theme, and Fine Tuning. For example, here are the opening three from Conflict (and each of these bullet points I consider to be one question, despite the multiple question marks):

·         Put a check mark by the line if there is conflict in that chapter. For chapters where there is no conflict, can you cut those, interweave with other chapters, or add new conflict? The conflict can be physical danger, emotional stress, or both, so long as the main character (MC) is facing a challenge.

·         Where do we learn what the main conflict is? Could it be sooner? Is there some form of conflict at the beginning, even if it is not the main conflict? Does it at least relate to the main conflict? The inciting incident—the problem that gets the story going—should happen as soon as possible, but not until the moment is ripe. The reader must have enough understanding of the character and situation to make the incident meaningful. Too soon, and the reader is confused. Too late, and the reader gets bored first.

·         Where do we learn the stakes? What are they? Do you have positive stakes (what the MC will get if he succeeds), negative stakes (what the MC will suffer if he fails), or best of all, both? Could the penalty for failure be worse? Your MC should not be able to walk away without penalty.

As you answer each question, you make notes on the outline for where you need to make changes on your manuscript. Then, of course, you need to actually make the changes. Advanced Plotting has over 20 additional articles to explain how to make these changes, covering topics such as getting off to a fast start and using cliffhanger chapter endings.

As I said, it isn’t easy to do this kind of revision, but when the result is a much stronger manuscript, it’s worthwhile. Since I now outline before I start writing, I use the Plot Outline Exercise at that planning stage and catch a lot of problems early, but not every writer can – or wants to – sketch out a manuscript in detail in advance. However you write, making an outline at some point can help you see what you really have, so you can identify and fix problems.

Learn more about Chris and read excerpts of her work at www.chriseboch.com (for children’s books) or www.krisbock.com (for adult romantic suspense written under the name Kris Bock) or see her Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Eboch/e/B001JS25VE/. You can also read excerpts from Advance Plotting on her blog:http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/.

Thanks Chris! Leave a question or comment for Chris and you will be entered in today’s Halloween Treats drawing for an autographed copy of Michelle Celmer’s A Clandestine Corporate Affair. All commenters will be entered in the drawing for three grand prizes to occur on October 31st, so check back to see if you are a winner! Saturday’s winner is Gloria Richard! Congratulations Gloria, send me your address and I’ll send you the book!

7 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft, writing organization

The Ins and Outs of Historical Paranormal

Today I am thrilled to provide another Halloween Treat in the form of guest blogger Jana Denardo. Jana writes historical paranormal, a growing sub-genre and one that I find particularly interesting. Don’t forget to leave a comment for Jana to enter my month long Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of my upcoming release Little Red Riding Wolf from Passion in Print Press.

The paranormal and urban fantasy subgenres are heavy on modern day stories, but the genre has begun to grow up and down the time line. One notable series that’s moved paranormals from the current era is Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, set in the ever-popular Victorian era. Using a historical setting adds another level of difficulty to the world building and plot.

The first level, of course, is typical of any paranormal story. Who are you your paranormal entities? Are they good, evil or, like humans, both?  For me, the real consideration is what are their abilities and weaknesses. Any bobble in what you establish early on can destroy reader faith and I’ve seen it happen to the best of them. I remember a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where a vampire didn’t go to dust. They passed it off as him being so old, that he reacted differently than usual. Later in the series, they came up with another even older vampire and he dusted fairly normal. A little slip like that can make the blogs light up as fans nitpick away.
For me, the easiest way to keep their abilities straight is to keep records of how the paranormal aspects work. I’m not an outliner, and while this sometimes leads me into blind canyons that I’ll have to write around if there’s a sequel, I am a good note taker when it comes to character attributes and supernatural abilities. This way if my vampires don’t burn up when hit with holy water, I don’t have them blistering three chapters after I’ve made that announcement. It is embarrassing to get called on a mistake like that by an editor.

Still, coming up with the paranormal attributes is the fun part. You can world build and bend things to fix your story. You can take an old creature from folklore and twist it into something new and exciting. However, when adding the layer that is the historical setting, you lose the ability to bend certain historical facts. Regardless of genre, most readers who enjoy historical settings are sticklers for accuracy. The exception to this would, of course, be alternative histories and steampunk. Even with those, historical research is necessary. You can not believable create an alternative history without first knowing the actual facts.

Nothing makes me run faster than reading an author’s blog and seeing them proclaim they hate research but are going to write a historical story anyway. I’ve seen that more times than I want to think about. A quick look at Wikipedia might be enough to say, knock out a short Buffy the Vampire Slayer  fan fiction with Angelus and Darla cheering on Jack the Ripper  – might – but it is not enough, by itself, to be the foundation for a historical novel.

However, this blog entry isn’t really about how to do the research. Most of us have experience in that if only from high school history classes. I’m more concerned about considering the possibilities inherent in a historic setting. In the 1800s, the belief in vampires was stronger than it is today, so it could impact your story in a variety of ways. Prey with built-in paranoia and armed with crosses and holy water, which were often part of the household goods, could present difficulties for a vampire. Ever see a vampire hunting kit from that time? They are very interesting and would make a fun addition to a story.

Go back a hundred years earlier, and almost everyone would believe in ghosts and spirits.  This could work for or against you, depending on what your story needed in way of the characters’ belief system. Heck, even going back a mere twenty-five years could take the tension up a notch, because it would be easy to isolate the protagonist from potential aid, leaving them at the mercy of a paranormal entity by the mere fact no one had cell phones and couldn’t just place a call out.
Another concern is the morals and cultural stigmas of the time period and the country in question, or even what part of the country you are in. I came up against this when I started my 1930’s era demon hunter series. Without thinking about it, I knew I wanted a world-wide organization and pulled the characters from all over then assembled the team in my hometown of Pittsburgh. These demon hunters included Hindu and Chinese men, and all four are homosexual, which ran me smack up against the prejudices of the day (and to what degree of prejudice they faced would vary depending on where in the country they are). A minority or female protagonist would have to face very different circumstances and have even more hurdles to clear.

I could keep on going about the pitfalls of trying to cram too much research into the story, or getting caught up in the lingo of the day but we’d be here forever. The historic paranormal story may be a bit more work up front, but if you enjoy the research like I do, you won’t mind that one bit. It’s fun to play in various points of history. Thanks to Jessica for allowing me the time to talk to you all. I hope this was help. If you’d like to find my blog, I’m at http://jana-denardo.livejournal.com/ and if you’d like to read my 1930’s demon hunter series, you can find them here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_202&osCsid=8dlkb1ua7verd7mcgid4uug4o5 and they are Snowbound (which includes Temple, urban fantasy/historical) in the anthology Necking  and  A Brief Respite is hidden on my author’s page as a piece of ‘Halloween candy’

In celebration of my upcoming release from Passion in Print Press, Little Red Riding Wolf, I am running a contest for the entire month of October! Leave a comment for Jana and enter to win a copy of Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole!

Monday’s winner of my Halloween Treats contest in celebration of Little Red Riding Wolf is Kerri. Congratulations Kerri, send me your address through my contact box on my contact page and I’ll ship you your book!

13 Comments

Filed under paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite

Interview with a Synesthete

Moonday Madness

a blog on the craft of writing

Welcome to Moonday Madness on Jessica Aspen Writes. Today we have a special treat, author Brinda Berry shares how she did research for her very interesting YA novel The Waiting Booth. I’m just going to whet your whistle by saying it’s about “A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal…” and as you’ll read here Brinda has included so much more.

Interview with a Synesthete

by Brinda Berry

Find The Waiting Booth here

There are many types of research that I conducted while writing the first book in the Whispering Woods series, The Waiting Booth. In today’s technological environment, most research can be conducted in the privacy of my own home. I have a library of information at my fingertips through resources found on the internet.

In a recent writer’s group meeting I attended, one author mentioned that she missed the days of interviewing people for information. Before the widespread availability of online resources, a writer would either telephone or visit an individual face-to-face and learn about a certain occupation or experience. The writer in my group mentioned being totally charmed by the helpful nature of one such person when she did some research about cowboys. (Get your mind out of the gutter. This was all very innocent.)

People love to share their knowledge and experiences, and it may be within reason to locate those experts. On the other hand, there is an alternative. I used YouTube to find interviews that would help me develop the main character in The Waiting Booth. I had already located written resources online about a condition called synesthesia, but I wanted more. Synesthesia is a neurological condition where two or more of  the five senses are intertwined.  For example, a person with synesthesia may taste colors and see musical notes.

I haven’t met anyone with synesthesia, but my main character, Mia, is a seventeen-year-old synesthete. I wanted to have a “feel” for her point of view as the story is written in first person. So, I went to YouTube.com and typed “synesthesia” in the search bar. How many videos are online about this topic? As of 9/27/2011 at 11:54 CST, there are 14,600 results. Are they all relevant? No, of course they aren’t. Did you know there’s a band called Synesthesia? I didn’t either.  To filter those videos out of my search, I changed my search term to “synesthesia condition.” The results of that search listed 101 videos. Now, it’s a much easier task to browse the documentaries and other short clips that are more relevant to my research.

You can see by the number of views whether the video is a popular one or not. You can also determine if you think the source might be a reliable. Anyone can upload a YouTube video. The owner will be listed along with the number of videos uploaded by that person.  Another interesting aspect was reading comments to certain videos. A warning here for you- comments may be not be moderated.  Here’s a terrific example of a short video I came across today on synesthesia: http://youtu.be/KApieSGlyBk

In The Waiting Booth, I did take liberties by embellishing Mia’s condition of synesthesia with an extra ability to sense portals. The video listed above demonstrates how the synesthetes could see some things more easily than the non-synesthete, so I took that a step further. The YouTube videos gave me some great ideas on how synesthetes view the world.  There’s a chance to see the emotions that might be tied to the subject’s answers, and I would miss that in a written piece. Seeing and hearing the video interviews made a huge difference in my understanding and the development of my character.

I’ve already used YouTube again in research for the second book in the Whispering Woods series. It’s a fun way to learn about people and experiences. The biggest risk for you as a researcher is getting sidetracked. YouTube videos can be so darned entertaining.

BIO:

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.

                              Facebook       Twitter       Website and Blog

We’re still celebrating October and my upcoming novella Little Red Riding Wolf (soon to be released from Passion in Print Press) with my Halloween Treats Contest! To enter just leave a comment for Brinda and I’ll draw a winner for today’s book Enemy Lover, by Karin Harlow (drawing announced Thursday October 13th). Don’t forget we’ll be drawing for 3 grand prizes on Halloween!

Saturday’s winner is Elaine Cougler! Congratulations Elaine and send me your address through my contact page and I’ll get your book to you!


19 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft

Welcoming the Dead

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Today I’m welcoming Keridak Kae to Jessica Aspen Writes. Keridak’s new book, Protection for the Inner and Outer Self is a non-fiction guide that includes stories and techniques for psychic self-protection.

Welcome the Dead

It’s the time of year when the veil between the spirit world and our world thins.  Are you ready to welcome your guests: the spirits of loved ones, friends, pets or perhaps others?  What is your role as hostess? How do you become Martha Stewart to the un-bodied?

First, relax.  The world of the dead is not a frightening one.  The spirits that will be visiting are benign, often caring and occasionally curious.  They want to know how you are doing. They offer messages.

J R Schultz, recognized medium, shares that ghosts often return to let you know that they are okay and that you should move on with your life.  He says that time, and other things that are so important to our everyday world, don’t exist on the spiritual plane.  Their attachment to us is still strong.   They are not returning to hurt or scare us.

Nov 2nd is the Day of the Dead. In Mexico (Día de los Muertos), alters will be set with pictures, mementos and favorite foods.  Dancing in the streets, laughter and song all welcome those who have passed over to return and celebrate.  You might create your own alter.   In some homes a place is set at the table, as a welcoming gesture on this day.  Or go all the way and have a party!

Oct 31th is the day when the veil is open and the spirits freely pass from one world onto the next.  The jack-o-lantern was considered a way to scare the spirits away.  Those wanting to have their houses passed by carved the scariest faces.  It is unknown if this was a successful method, but you might consider a happy face or saving the pumpkin for pie.   Halloween can be the best night for communing with dead and talking with your loved ones.

Plan your evening.   If you are highly intuitive you probably talk with the dead on a regular basis.  In this case make the night a celebration, just as you would a birthday party.  If you are less intuitive or just wish to explore possibilities the Ouija board can be an excellent way to make contact.

Calling a specific name and asking them to come to you will let the spirit know that you are ready and open.  Place your hands on the disk and allow it to be guided across the board.  You may want to record your session: partly to say the letters or other symbols that the disk points to; partly for later recollection; and lastly to see if there are any audio messages.  A soft voice in the background, music or other sounds may happen unheard in the background, yet caught on the recording.

Dreams and meditation are another way to allow spirits to contact you.  Direct your dream by saying the person’s name as a chant before sleeping.  Keep a pen and paper handy. Upon awakening you may have impressions that will quickly fade.  You might also have the desire to write…possibly channeling the otherworld.

Candles always heighten your connection with the spirit world. Choose a white one if possible.  Add mementos, flowers, stones as you wish to create the welcome. These can be placed around the room in any aesthetic way.

Though the ghosts will not harm you other negative influences may come by and it is always best to be protected when in an open, receiving space.  

If you are concerned about unwanted guests, state out loud that only those who mean you well are welcome.  An added level of protection  is to draw a circle around yourself or sleeping area – this can be done by imagining white light, trickling salt around or taking a piece of chalk.  Smudge the room ahead of time and use a protective scent such as cinnamon or sandalwood.  The wearing costumes or masks comes from the Gaelic belief that looking like an evil spirit would please it so much it would not bother you.

Send a photo, or comment on your experiences during this highly sensitive time.   treats@intuitivesinternational.com   

For October/November I will send you a ghost cookie recipe and 2 other tasty treats recipes for your celebration.  By the way:  after you have offered goodies to your guests it is perfectly acceptable to eat the leftovers!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This articles is free use – please include her contact information when publishing in your email newsletter or blog:   Keridak Kae Silk , Author, Life Coach, Tarot Reader  is the President of IntuitivesInternational.    www.keridakkae.wordpress.com or 866-279-8666.  Protection for the Inner and Outer Self is available in e-format with the paperback version out soon. Follow @KeriSilk on twitter.

Keridak Kae  a magic, mystery and divination writer based in Wisconsin. Upcoming: Protection for Your Inner & Outer Self (10/2011); Featured short story “Across” in The Best of Milwaukee Writer’s Circle 2011.   Founder and President of Intuitives International, Keri  blurs the lines of magic and reality; manifesting her own joyful life and using her gifts to help others.   @kerisilk on twitter  –  listen to Connect, Grow, Prosper Tuesday mornings on Blog Talk Radio.

Leave a comment to be entered in Jessica Aspen’s Halloween Treats contest. Today’s book is Jacuelyn Frank’s Seduce Me in Dreams. Monday’s winner is Brinda Berry, send me your address in the contact box on my contact page and congratulations!

Update: Congratulations to Sharon Clare for winning Seduce Me in Dreams!

5 Comments

Filed under Magic, Thursdays Bite

HALLOWEEN TREATS GIVEAWAY!

Sensational Saturdays

where i blog about anything and everything

It’s here! October is here!

I wanted to do something fun on the blog for the month of October and to celebrate the acceptance of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf, (soon to be out from Passion in Print Press0and here it is! Fun giveaways for every blog post during October, the paranormal holiday month. If you post a comment your name will go into the drawing for that particular posts FREE BOOK! For instance, all the commenters on today’s blog will go into the drawing that will be announced on Monday. Monday’s drawing will be announced on Thursday. Etc, Etc, Etc.

On Halloween I will enter everyone into the drawing for the Jessica Aspen Swag Bags, with promo items and a $15 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble!

So comment away! And I want to thank everyone who tweets or comments on FB or follows my blog, so a big THANK YOU! to you all.
click HERE for contest details

Thursdays Bite Book Review

this book review is usually the last thursday of the month, but due to the second writing campaign challenge (click here for a peek) I have undertaken to post my review today instead.

Today I am reviewing another author who I had the luck of meeting at Rom Con, Kimberly Frost. Kimberly’s third book in her Southern Witch Series is entitled Halfway Hexed and is another pleasurable read from a talented author. And it’s funny! Which is one reason why it earns four out of five omegas. ΩΩΩΩ

I still haven’t read book one in the series, Would-be Witch, but I fell in love with Kimberly’s writing and her terribly troubled character Tammy Jo Trask when I opened up her second novel, Barely Bewitched. Tammy Jo grew up in small town Texas thinking she was the only one in her family without any witch powers, but in the first book she discovers she is totally wrong. She has powers, but they do not work like anyone else’s. Magic backfires around poor Tammy Jo.

Although I did catch up quickly when I read Barely Bewitched without reading book one, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of the books I’ve read, I would recommend reading Would-Be Witch first. But these books are such fun you are going to want to read all three. I won’t give away too much about the other two books (still waiting to read number one), but Tammy Jo’s adventures are hilarious and sexy. Kimberly keeps the reader guessing and engaged. I’ll share the opening lines from Halfway Hexed:

“The reason I don’t normally bother to plan my schedule is that something unexpected always seems to come up and throw it of. That Friday when I got kidnapped was a prime example.”

And she then proceeds to not tell you about the kidnapping. I was turning page after page waiting for the kidnapping, and when it happened, I was so unprepared! From the plague of frogs unleashed on the good Texas ladies who have it out for witches, to the complications of not wanting to fall in love with the one man who she can work magic around, you’ll find Halfway Hexed a fun fast paced read.

Leave a comment to be entered in today’s free book drawing for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play. To be announced on Monday, October 3rd.

9 Comments

Filed under Paranormal Book Review, Sensational Saturday's, Uncategorized

bijoux

bijoux, the little jewels I’ve reaped from the retreat

Moonday Madness

a writer oriented blog

Wine, writing and song, (okay, nobody sang, thank God) that’s what writing retreats are made of. As many of you know I attended my very first Colorado Romance Writers September Writing Retreat last weekend. As to why I didn’t write about it last week, well I was still processing.

Our estimable retreat organizers packed the weekend with workshops, hilarious games and time to write. In fact there was so much going on I was never bored and wished we could keep going for another few days. It seems like September is the month for writer’s retreats as my friends Sharon Clare and Sherry Isaac at Romance and Beyond as well as Elaine Cougler were also at their own lakefront retreat and I’ve read of others who were retreating as well.

Why do we have retreats? One of the things I learned was that everyone goes to CRW’s retreats for different purposes. Some went to connect. To make new friends, see old ones and to get that piece of the business that writers are frequently shorted on, face to face conversation. Some went to write. To have time in a beautiful mountain setting where there were no kids, no job, no pesky husbands vying for their attention. Some went not knowing what they were going for, but all went home satisfied.

Why did I go? I wasn’t sure at first. This was my first retreat and I didn’t know really what to expect. I packed my laptop and WIP, hoping to finish those stubborn last pages. I packed two bottles of wine, hoping to spend time with friends. And I packed my Ipod, just in case I wanted to shut out the noise and really work. And I did all that and more. I did do some work (I should underline the word some) on my WIP, I socialized and played games. But I also attended all three of the quality workshops.

Workshops presented by the fabulous Margie Lawson on Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors, Ann S. Brady on handling the grief of rejection, and Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing on what editors are looking for in today’s tough market. All three were so fantastic that I decided they each need their own blog. So look forward to future Moonday Madness posts detailing each one. I can’t take you on the retreat with me, but I am sure going to try!

How do you refresh your inkwell? Have you attended a retreat lately or is it still on your bucket list?

7 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Discovering Adult Playdates

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write whatever comes up

 

A few years ago I found that my contact with adults was limited to opportunities that had to do with children. I baked cupcakes for the bake sale, drove here and there for everything from the zoo to the jumpy castle birthday party, and hauled cases of juice boxes. My conversations were squeezed into ten minute increments with a child pulling on my arm “It’s time to go Mom!”

And we seemed to only talk about kids. What was going on at the school or at Girl Scouts or soccer. How the volunteering for swim team was enormous and what a relief it was that the child had decided not to do it this year. Short conversations that revolved around something that wouldn’t even be an issue in a few years. Because those kids grow up.

As my children’s world grew bigger, mine shrank. No longer did I get to walk them to school and meet adults outside on the playground. They walked themselves. Now the drama and trauma of the empty nest loomed.

I tried dialing old friends, then ones with whom I’d partied all night in college, spilled my guts to over early morning pancakes. Those people I thought I’d always be friends with. Turns out while I was busy helping my kids learn to get friends and influence people I’d lost all of my own. I was left alone with the cupcakes.

At around the same time I sold used books out of my house. A job that kept me busy and earned around $300 a week with little time except that spent scrounging around dusty thrift stores searching for treasure. An activity I loved having an excuse to do, but was once again solitary. One of the side benefits was the ton of used books on a variety of eclectic subjects. That’s how I read the 80’s classic The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide.

Why anyone would read an old paperback about a bunch of older ladies and their club is beyond me. But I loved it. I went on to Chicks Laying Nest Eggs : How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street…And How You Can Too! A more modern hip version where the ladies were hot hockey wives and they met online through emails instead of in dusty small town meeting rooms. I was hooked.

I wanted a club. One where I could talk to adults about adult subjects. And the get rich on the side benefit? Well money is always nice. I reasoned that my busy friends who never had the time anymore to get together would make the time if it was an SIE (scheduled important event). And I was not disappointed.

Under the excuse about learning about the stock market I called my friends who never had the time to go out. They came. They made time for the first meeting. We had our own cupcakes and instead of apple juice in boxes we had glowing red and white wine in glass bottles. It was an adult play date.

The Queens of Green are still meeting three years later. I’ve learned a ton of stuff about the stock market, made a little money, (yes, we are actually up-at least as of yesterday) and now I manage my own tiny investments online. But the best part is my secret tell-no-one goal has been achieved. I now have my own friends.

And the looming threat of the empty nest? Well that is a distant memory. Between my investment club, my RWA activities, and oh yeah, writing full time, I have no fears of the empty nest. I’ve prevented what could have been a catastrophe.

Have you ever had to re-make your life? What happens to those friends who you swore you’d always have contact with? What feeds your soul and keeps you from threats like the empty nest?

I want to thank Shutterstock for the free clip art. Yumm, cupcakes..

8 Comments

Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's

Announcing Big News!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

TA DA!

I’m thrilled to announce the acceptance of a contract from Passion in Print Press for my sensual novella Little Red Riding Wolf!

Little Red Riding Wolf is a tongue in cheek twisted fairy tale that won an honorable mention in RWA’s Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest this July. I had a fun time writing it and I’m thrilled that Passion in Print is picking it up. After listening to Laura Baumbach talk to CRW at our mini-con in August I came away very impressed with her dedication to publishing a quality product and even though I hadn’t planned on pitching (because The Queen’s Huntsman is still being edited again and again and my current WIP is not finished) I took a chance and pitched Little Red.

And now it will be a published e-novella! With it’s very own cover and available on the Passion in Print site for purchase!

I’m not sure exactly when it will be available, I will now have edits and all that goes with the publishing process to complete, but it is a very exciting way to come full circle this September. Last September I turned the corner at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion class and moved from being a writer to being an author. If you’ve been following my journey, I have been marching steadily down the road with the full intention of reaching publication. And now that day is here!

I’ll be posting updates on Little Red’s journey as well as my own on my News! page and I will continue to update my bio page with semi-montly snippets on my life.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this excitement!

My husband, first and foremost, for always being supportive. My IMC buddies from WooHooU! Sherry Isaac, Gloria Richard, Joan Swan, Babs Mountjoy, and of course Margie Lawson. And my mother, who insisted I had to go to Margie’s last year!

As well as everyone in CRW, but especially ML Guida and Hillary Seidl for insisiting I pitch and Lori Corsentino for switching spots with me. Lori, I never would have pitched if you weren’t such a generous soul!

And my CP Jessica R., for reading through Little Red Riding Wolf when she had just met me and writing detailed comments complete with green post-it notes. Thanks for all the critiquing!

24 Comments

Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Picture Poll

Sensational Saturday

a blog where I just write

Number 1

One of the many jobs I have currently is a volunteer position as CRW’s PRO liaison. What that really means is if anyone has questions about RWA and PRO, I get to answer them. In an attempt to make the liaison position a little more exciting myself and Ashley March (CRW’s PAL Liaison and author of Romancing the Countess) started a bi-monthly article on the website for the PRO and PAL members.

This month I listed some professional goals that even pre-published authors should have on their list if they want to be heading down the road to publishing and one of these is the headshot.

I’ve gotten the website, and the business cards. I blog the heck out of this site and I also am blogging on Paranormal Freebies, but as a prarnormal romance author I know that the head shot is something that needs to be done. But I’ve been procrastinating. It means getting a haircut, and getting makeup done. It means trying on clothes in an attmept to look professional. Needless to say I’d rather be writing.

Number 2

Last week I finally got around to getting some better pictures, and as usual it was one of those spur of the moment things. I’m posting the ones I like best and was going to try doing something that’s been tempting me on the site. A poll.

I thought I could just click on the word  POLLS in the menu and lo and behold I could create a poll, but it turns out you need to create an account with Polldaddy, and sorry folks, I’m not up to that today.

So instead we are doing it the old fashioned way. I’ve posted a few of the pictures and placed numbers in the captions. You can comment in the boxes below as to which ones you like best. Now I’m not promising what I’ll use them for, but I definitely will use the number one photo on my bio page. At least for a while. (Don’t throw me under the bus people, please!)

This first picture is one I played with, but I think it’s kind of cool! It reminds me of the aura photography, and I love the way it’s funky and old fashioned at the same time.

number 3

And the next few are a little casual, but I wanted a few casual ones.

We took a lot of pictures, but of course I’m picky about which ones go up here.

Number Four

This is why models get paid the big bucks, because it takes five hundred pictures to get one decent one!

Number 5

Number five is the best of the formal shots. I am not a big fan of formal pictures, they add ten years to my life. But this one isn’t bad. I tend to get the not-smile on my face. Someday I’ll go in and get all the fancy stuff done, the hair and make-up and all that, but for now, here I am!

Thanks for participating!

I’m going to be attending the CRW Annual September Writers Retreat, so I will check back on Monday. That will give you lots of time to get your friends to come back, laugh at me and then vote!

Thanks for your help! Click on the little cloud at the top to leave your vote in the comment box!

UPDATE:

Number Two is the winner! But I will definitely be using them all for different purposes, so thanks everyone!

20 Comments

Filed under Sensational Saturday's

First Challenge of the Third Writing Campaign

The first challenge of the Third Writing Platform-Building Campaign has been issued. To write a flash fiction story (less then or equal to 200 words) with the opening words: The door swung open. Mine ended up exactly 200 words (I could have used another hundred, easy!).  Here goes!

Homecoming

The door swung open. Mart hesitated. Nine years she’d been haunted by this old apartment.

“Who’s there?” Her dad’s formerly strong voice was querulous.

She stepped in, nearly passing out from the stink of mildew and rot.

“Why are you here?” He huddled in the same faded recliner.

“I came back to see you.”

“After what you did?”

“You don’t want me here.”

“I never wanted you. Who wants a child like you, an abomination?”

She swallowed back curdling bile. She should retreat. But she was here, and she wasn’t a coward.

“Dad, I…”

“Just go. You killed your mother, the only person I ever loved. Now look at me, living in poverty and filth. You, your powers, your gift. Get out!”

The ashtray struck her forehead, blood slid down her nose. The thrumming began. She desperately tried to push it down, before it was too late.

“I’m sorry!”

She backed up into the door, slamming her spine. Stars filled her vision.

And the thrumming grew.

“Go!” He howled out a froth of spittle.

It was too late. The thrumming crescendoed and the fire slipped out of her control. She ran, never looking back at the building bursting into flame.

To go back to the challenge home page and vote click HERE. And if you want to LIKE mine it is number 178 under the B&W picture of the tree from my header. Couldn’t load a headshot to save my life!

47 Comments

Filed under Third Writers Platform Building Campaign