Tag Archives: Sherry Isaac

Hunting for a Dark & Delicious Read

Had to share the terrific post and book review of The Dark Huntsman,  from award winning author Sherry Isaac.

Hunting for a Dark & Delicious Read.

via Hunting for a Dark & Delicious Read.

And check out Lynn Cahoon‘s blog from yesterday. I had fun tying her Council Series in with my Tales of the Black Court.

Last but not least we are Trick or Treating through the end of the month for fabulous prizes. Click here to discover how to enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite and loads of books and terrific Halloween swag.halloween toombstones

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Trixie With A Twist, Featuring Guest Author Jessica Aspen

I’m guest blogging today on Sherry Isaac’s fabulous Trixie Belden March Madness! Hop on by and check out Sherry’s Sizzling Site and my Twist on Trixie.

Trixie With A Twist, Featuring Guest Author Jessica Aspen.

via Trixie With A Twist, Featuring Guest Author Jessica Aspen.

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Bring a Little Sunshine to Your Life

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers (and today, maybe a few readers)

Thank you Sherry Isaac!

winner of the sunshine blog awardSizzling Sherry has passed on to me the Sunshine Award, and while I’m not too sure exactly what the Sunsine Award means for a paranormal blog, I do know what it means for my Moonday Mania Writers blog. It means I answer ten questions and then I pass it on to a few more quality bloggers.

So, since I can’t pass this award back to Sherry (though I ‘d really love to) I need to pass it on to someone else. And since this is Moonday Mania, I’m going to not only choose writers, but writers who write about writing.

First of is Kristen Lamb. Kristen is the social media guru and the mastermind behind #MYWANA. She turned me on to changing up my web presence, and if I am lagging behind, it is not her fault. I’m just slow. Kristen has a fabulous blog for writers, she teaches fabulous classes and she writes books. She does it all. Find Kristen HERE and tune into her amazing knowledge, and while you’re at it, cruise through some of her old posts, she has a ton of good ones.

Second Writers in the Storm. Want some good writing articles mixed with some fun? Try Writer’s in the Storm. One of my favorite people is on their the last Friday of the month, Tiffany Lawson Inman, Tiffany brings her acting background to the editing table and serves up a killer piece of writing advice once a month. Add in their weekly Crit Group feature, Amazon advice,  and all the different interests of the group and you have a stimulating writing blog.

I invite Kristen, and Writers in the Storm to select and pass on this award to more blogs, two, four, six. Whomever and whyever they choose.

Here’s my Q&A:

  • My favourite color: Do I have to pick one? I used to say green, but the truth is I love ’em all.
  • My favorite animal: Right now, my black Lab Molly. She is so sweet and loves me now matter what.
  • My favourite number: 7. I don’t know why, but that’s the one that comes to mind. Lucky number 7.Snazzy author friends at Linger
  • My favourite drink: I now have a new favorite drink. I went out to dinner at a fab restaurant in Denver, Linger, and they served a terrific Ginger Collins. Picture a sweltering hot evening, the companionship of amazing author friends, and the cool slide of Canton Ginger Liqueur, vodka with a hint of lemon over ice. Mmmm, I think I need one now.
  • Facebook or Twitter: Twitter first,  https://twitter.com/#!/JessicaAspen, Facebook second, https://www.facebook.com/jessica.aspen
  • My passion: Writing, writing, writing
  • Prefer giving or getting presents: I’m not all that into presents, I’d rather have the present of your presence.
  • My favorite pattern: I love textures. Bumpy patterns woven into sweaters, the soft swish of silk. I love to touch.
  • My favorite day of the week: Saturday. No work and you still have Sunday left of the weekend. Or it could be Monday, if I’m not working everyone leaves the house and I get to write. Do I have to chose?
  • My favorite flower: Purple iris.

Have fun visiting Sherry, Kristen, and the authors at Writers in the Storm and spread a little sunshine when you go. What writing blogs to you love? Any that have won the sunshine award? What should a sunshine award do anyway?

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The Bride & The Bellhop

 Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

It’s Rom Con Weekend and I’m on holiday! But I wanted to leave you with a paranormal post for the weekend, so just in case you missed it hop on over to Sherry Isaac’s Sizzling blog and check out her ghost story: 

The Bride & The Bellhop.

via The Bride & The Bellhop.

I’ll be incommunicado all weekend, so don’t pull out the Ouija board. I’m not dead. Just ignoring my laptop in favor of all those fun exciting Rom Com games! Ta ta for now!

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Get WET!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

This month’s Moonday Mania’s have been about Social Media. We started the month with Don’t Should on Yourself, by Keri Silk and moved on to my neophyte blog hints, Easy tips to Make Your Blog Outstanding and Slow Down and Smell the Coffee. So, for the last Monday in March I’m going to discuss a few things I’ve learned from the best.

As many of you know, I’m a big Kristen Lamb follower. Kristen blogs, not just on Social Media, but specifically Social Media and authors. Kristen’s advice is where I am trying to get to, not where I am. If she has any big pieces of advice that you can see I’m not doing, well, it’s because I’M STILL WORKING ON IT!

We Are Not Alone, by Kristen LambWhat have I learned from Kristen Lamb? I’ve learned that the author social media world is always changing. Kristen wrote this fabulous book, We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and I consider this my baseline bible to social media. But I can’t just read the book. Why? Because the internet is not a static environment. Actually, the world is not a static environment. Since Kristen wrote the book we’ve seen the demise of My Space and the rise of Google Plus. How can a book like Kristen’s, that has info on My Space and none on Google Plus a valid resource for this year’s writer?

Because the advice that Kristen gives in the book applies, whether or not I’m on My Space, Googe Plus or the Next Big SM Hotspot. Good advice is still good advice. (For some hilarious dated advice check out Miss Gloria Richard’s foray into the past via the Loo at Buca De Bepo HERE!)

Kristen’s ideas on creating a platform that centers around your personality and genre are still sound ideas, no matter where you are implementing them. I’m still struggling with this. At first I didn’t really know what I wanted on my site. Okay, Kristen, I need to represent me and my writing, but I’m writing so many things and I’m not sure which one is going to get published. But I plunged in anyway, trying to represent some paranormal theme with the spooky woods header and my Thursdays Bite.

It works, but is it where I want to be? No, and I know it. Thanks to Kristen I’ve been searching for my identity as an author and a blogger, and I think I’m starting to hit it. So my last piece of advice is: be yourself, whoever that is. Figure it out. It may take time, and it’s okay to take the time. It’s okay to start with just the basic template and then add a header and then maybe get a header done and jazz up the site.

The point is, don’t wait till you know exactly who you are to get started. If I had waited till now to get my site and my blog up and running, I might not have as good an idea of who I am as an author. I might still be struggling with the very basics. But I’m not, I’ve moved ahead, still struggling. Still discovering who I am. And guess what?

That’s life.Stock Images - Cold feet

You change. You change as a teen to a twenty-something. The Facebook page you put up at thirty is different from the one you would do at forty. And the blog you do as a newbie pre-pubbed author will be different than the one you do as a newbie, just-pubbed author, and different again from the one you do when you are a famous know-it-all author. but if you don’t put your toe in the water, you never get wet.

So get wet! Jump in! Make your mistakes and just keep paddling till you get somewhere! ‘Cause I know you will be getting somewhere, even if it’s just back to the shore for some icy marg’s on the sand!

Have you jumped in yet? Have you changed what you started with? For someone who’s done this check out Sherry Isaac’s new site (HERE). She’s totally revamped it and it’s got SIZZLE!

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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?

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Spooky Tales of the Haunted

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Scottish Prayer

When I hear stories such as Sherry Isaac’s tale (click HERE to read) of a visit from her sister who couldn’t possibly have visited, the little hairs on my arms all stand at attention.

A good ghost story, told well has always had that effect on me. Tension grows as the story spins out. And the spooky thing about ghost stories is that when it’s over, the tension lingers. It stays with us as we gather our things and head off into the night. It creeps into the tent and slides beneath the covers. We become the haunted.

Lights turn off and on when no one is touching them. Things move. All the nerves in your spine tell you something is behind you. And you turn. And there’s nothing there, but the cat whose entire body is puffed out screaming, “Didn’t you see it!”.

I’m one of those people who loves to read tales of the haunted. I love to hear personal stories, but you won’t catch me asking for the haunted room at the inn. That I leave to the brave who actually want to see the ghosts. The spirit spelunkers who delve into that other realm searching for proof that  ghosts exist.

I don’t need proof. I’ve had it. I’ve had brushes with the supernatural on dark nights in downtown Boulder. Places where the ghosts should have been long gone, but weren’t. We were lurking in leafy streets of the residences just off of Pearl Street, by the old elementary school on a dark October night when we should have known better than to go searching out ghosts.

You too may have this happen. Historic Boulder has a ghost tour in October and it happens at night. You take a map and walk in pairs through poorly lit streets and go from historic house to historic house hearing the stories of the architects and the families that have gone before. And in addition they also tell you the tales that are not public record. The experiences of the people who still live in the houses and their encounters with the previous residents.

It was on one such tour that a friend and I waited on the porch for the previous group to vacate. And while we were there, something dark touched my shoulder, My friend felt it too and we moved over away from the spot on the porch where there was definitely a dark presence.

That presence stuck with me all through the night as we walked through the neighborhood. While we walked from door to door like overgrown trick-or-treaters, ringing door bells and receiving tricks with our treats it hung on like a heavy over coat resting on my back. Dark and heavy, not cold, but very uncomfortable.

It makes my back creep just to think of it.

Why do we court the supernatural. Why do we want to be scared, thrilled or frightened. What is it about the human race that we chase down experiences that when we have them, we don’t every desire to have again?

Have you ever experienced a haunting? Do you believe in ghosts, past or present? Leave your story of the unexplained in the comment box. I’m dying to read them.

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Filed under paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite, Uncategorized

HOW PARANORMAL SEEDS GROW, Part Two

Moonday Mania

a writer oriented blog

This morning I’m happy to welcome guest author Sherry Isaac back to Moonday Mania. Sherry is a talented author from Toranto whom I met at Margie Lawson’s house during a fabulous week of Deep Editing Immersion. Sherry is continuing her blog, How Paranormal Seeds Grow from last week and giving us insight as to where the ideas for her short stories in her new release Storyteller spring from. Welcome Sherry!

***

 I love ghost stories, stories that make me wonder where the soul begins and where its journeys leads once it leaves the body.

There are ghost stories on both sides of my family tree, none of them frightening in a white sheet and clanking chains kind of way, but stories that prickle along the spine with the knowledge that there is something more.

And I believe that there is more than one way to be haunted.

Settled in the 1850’s, Streetsville is a tiny hamlet on the banks of the Credit River, not far from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The city of Mississauga has grown up around the village, yet Streetsville retains its small town feel. A stroll down Queen Street can easily transport one to an earlier time.

A graveyard filled with crumbling stones dates back to the founding days. One plain headstone was erected in memory of a child. Isabella.

Isabella died when she was four. I have no idea who Isabella was and can’t even say why her stone impressed me. Not far away is another stone, more ornate, commemorating the life of another little girl. But it was Isabella’s stone that captured my imagination and held it fast. I doubt Houdini could have escaped.

On the summer day that I meandered through the grass, the shade, and the stone monuments, another place and time became reality. Cars and busses and trucks rolled by on another plane.

Maybe I’d watched too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie in my impressionable years, but I could not shake the image of a young girl, 15 or so, leaning from the upper window of any one of the original buildings that remained, a silent testament to the early days of the pioneer settlement. A girl who held up her skirts when she crossed the dirt road. A girl who rubbed the nose of her favourite horse. A girl who picked pussy willows on the riverbank, not far from the grave where I stood.

What might it be like to give Isabella life, if only on the page? I pictured that girl walk out of the general store with a friend, giggling over new ribbons for their hair, ribbons they would wear to a fair in a neighboring town, ribbons they hoped would catch a suitor’s eye.

When I sat down to write Isabella’s story nearly ten years later it worked out differently. Left on the back burner of my mind to simmer, Isabella’s story had taken root, its branches stretched in another direction, the blooms took on a different shape and hue. Isabella’s story was claimed by a brother I never imagined she had. His name was Alistair and he’d been instilled with the gift of storytelling.

I handed the keyboard to Alistair and let him tell the story, let him bring Isabella to life in a way I was powerless to do.

I think he did a pretty good job.

~~~

STORYTELLER

Short Story Excerpt

Sherry Isaac

Alistair crept through another crowd in another town, late the next afternoon, shoulders hunched, hands clenched like claws, a predator ready to pounce.

“I was a fool to go out on my own and without my gun, but the bite of hunger overpowered my senses. If you’ve never seen the jungle then ye cannot imagine the trees that grow so tall and thick they block can out the sun, or shield a wild panther.

“The ground was soft, I made my way forward, stalking a bird with feathers of colours so brilliant and rare not even a rainbow has seen them, unaware the giant cat was stalking me. Slowly, slowly I inched closer to my prey, my mouth watering at the thought of its succulent meat roasting on a fire. I stepped on a twig. The bird took flight, the cat roared, terror shook my spine. I looked above me, my eyes wide as I met the cat’s yellow stare.

“My bare arms made a hopeless shield. I closed my eyes, ready to become the big cat’s dinner. A gunshot rang through the air. The cat landed at my feet with a thump, so close I could smell its breath.”

Alistair straightened, his head cocked and his smile easy. “And do ye know who my rescuer was?”

“Isabella!” the children cried.

“Isabella!” their parent’s echoed.

Alistair put his hands on his hips, swayed back as if slapped. “You’ve heard this story before, then?”

“No!” The children’s voices a chorus.

“Aye, you’re right. It was my little sister who came to my aid, with more stealth than any feline hunter, and an eye sharper than an eagle’s.”

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

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Filed under Moonday mania, paranormal inspiration, writing craft

How Paranormal Seeds Grow, part one


Moonday Mania

A writer oriented blog

Please welcome guest blogger, Sherry Isaac. Sherry and I met at an amazing week up at Margie Lawson’s Immersion Master Class. I was stunned by Sherry’s writing and unsurprised at her success in the publishing world. Thanks Sherry, for being my first guest. Please check back on August 8, 2011 for part two of How Paranormal Seeds Grow.

***

Want to see a writer cringe? Ask him, or her, where their ideas come from.

I know that cringe, I’ve felt that crinkle in my nose that must, I’m sure, make me look like I’ve just caught a whiff of an overripe diaper.

It’s a tough question to answer. Snippets of conversation, a line from a song, an interesting character on the subway. Any obscure thing can be the source. Those little nuggets, snippets and images simmer in our subconscious and take on a life of their own. A plaid jacket with one ripped pocket doesn’t belong to the wearer once that jacket ignites a spark in a writer’s imagination.

For the most part, I can’t tell you at what point the seed of a story was sown in my fertile, murky little mind. Crowning Glory started with the title, a turn on the phrase. How Glory ended up on the street, a lost soul picking through food court leftovers and searching for redemption, beats the storyline out of me.

But some of my stories have a definite root. Like a genealogist with a fine tip pen and a family tree, I can track their development from conception to completion.

Stories from my life, stories that were hard to market, until I realized the common theme that threaded its way through each tale like a knotted vine. Stories with a paranormal twist.

The Visit was not an easy sell. My hometown Winnipeg in winter set the scene: The isolation of a stormy day, the house locked tight. A hooky-playing pre-teen all alone. But it didn’t quite work as a memoir, didn’t read like young adult and certainly not middle-grade. An eerie hit at coffee house readings convinced me that my odd yet ordinary experience was not so ordinary.

The premise is simple. Simple as the question at it’s core. If someone you loved touched you with their presence, would you recognize their spirit?

On a wintry day in November when I was twelve, one of my sisters came home. It was not until much later that I realized she could not have come home, it was not possible that she was ever there. She could not have come in the front door because she moved out in a fury days before we moved to a new house in Fort Rouge, an older area a short bus ride from the downtown core, but a long way from our old neighborhood. My sister and mom weren’t speaking. My sister didn’t move with us, she had never been to the new house.

She did not have a key.

Though I know all these facts, I am as certain she was in the house that day as I am certain of the floor beneath my feet, the computer screen in front of my face, the cat determined to snooze on my lap.

And I am just as certain she was not there, for there was no possible way she could have been. Every shred of evidence confirms that she was not there: logic, reason, and the physical world.

I never saw her but heard her, smelled her. Felt her presence.

Did I take literary license? A little. In the recorded version the revelation comes quickly. In real life, it took a few hours to find out where my sister was, physically, in those moments that haunted me with her spiritual presence. And a few hours more to realize what I’d experienced was unusual, impossible, out of this world. A realization that jerked my dozing mind awake and filled me with toe-tingling wonder as I lay tucked under warm blankets. Out of this world. Ordinary. All at once.

Cool-headed reason battles with what the heart believes. My sister wasn’t there. She was not in the house. She was not in the kitchen, shirking her jacket and lighting a cigarette. But part of her had come home. Part of her that breathed and moved and smelled and coughed and stopped by for a visit.

For several silent minutes on a winter afternoon, part of my sister’s spirit was with me. And then the magic was gone.

~~~

THE VISIT

Short Story Excerpt

Sherry Isaac

            I held my breath, frozen in place by fear. Fear and one too many paperback murders. A chill ran through me, deeper than the chill outside. I sat still and listened.

            A tap of boots on the mat. Whoever came in the door was polite enough not to track snow through the house. Another small grunt of effort echoed up the stairs as someone bent to unlace a pair of boots. Snap, snap, snap, small sounds amplified by our narrow stairwell.

            Boots removed, socked feet padded into the kitchen. A zipper slid down its track, a clink as it released, and a rustle of material as a jacket was shrugged off shoulders. A series of small ‘ahems’, loose phlegmy sounds as a closed throat was cleared. Another clink as the zipper hit wood, the jacket thrown over the back of a kitchen chair.

            Jenny.

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

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Filed under Moonday mania, paranormal inspiration

Goal Setting Survival

Moonday Mania

A writer oriented blog

Today’s blog is the first in a series of four about how organization has saved me. The other three parts will run in August, after Sherrry Isaac’s guest blogging.

The blogging Karma has spoken. The other day found me talking with a friend of mine about stress and how it makes her sick and how she needs to cut it out of her life. We both agreed, modern people (especially women) think we need to do everything, do it well and get it done yesterday. And it’s killing us. Some of us end up obese and some with auto-immune disorders and some with shoe shopping fetishes.

Lo and behold the very next morning my friend Sherry Isaac sends me a link to More Cowbell and Jenny Hansen’s outlook on setting a goal to add “worry free writing time” to her list of to-do’s.

What’s this? A to-do on my writing list of killer goals that makes time for me as a person? Crazy. But obviously the universe is telling me something. All my over-stretched goals don’t help me become more productive, they just make me over-worked. Can goal setting actually help us become healthier? And I’m not talking setting weight-loss goals. I mean actual professional goals. Does your mental health require you to set professional goals that encourage you to nurture yourself?

Setting goals is part of my life. I set yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. All in hopes of achieving my dream, publishing my writing. (Okay, earning some cash with said writing.) I love the process of goal setting. Purchasing new notebooks and writing things down thrills my inner organizer. But then the inner organizer runs up against the real me, the Procrastinator. And I get stressed.

There is no way I can do all of this. No way I can keep up with the day to day over-the-top goals I want to achieve. So how do I do it all? How do I become a paranormal writer extraordinaire, an amazing self-promoter and still survive?

Am I trying to become superwoman writer and achieve so much that I actually end up sabotaging myself in the process?

Jenny Hansen”s idea of adding “worry free writing time” to her to-do’s is amazing. It’s still a professional goal but it has the added benefit of not being something you can fail at. There are no word counts in worry free writing. No required three-character-sheets-by- the-end of-the-hour deadlines. No plot constrictions. It’s free. And freeing.

By adding one goal to your to do list that feeds your soul its like adding in time for meditation, exercise, or ice cream. Its something that you can relax and enjoy and get those endorphins flowing. And it is still a professional goal. Still one that you can use to drive your creativity. And one that might even improve your creativity while it lowers your heart rate. Amazing!

I’d love to hear how you free yourself within your goal setting. What kinds of goals can you think of that are within your profession, but not constrictive?

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Optimisim, writing organization