Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm on the Cover of a Book!

OK, so it's not me. Not even my name. Actually, it's my ARTWORK!

See the KEY? I drew that when Grace Bridges of SPLASHDOWN BOOKS appealed THE LOST GENRE GUILD for an artist to draw a key for a book cover. It piqued my interest, and I gave it a shot. Minutes after sending her the image, I got an email with "Hey, awesome key!" And pretty soon, I was on my way to stardom....

OK, so not so much stardom. But I am INFINITELY HAPPY that she chose my drawing. And even more happy that the author, Caprice Hokstad, loved the drawing as well. You can read her comments on the SPLASHDOWN BOOKS blog. (I'm pretty sure I blushed the first time I read the post. And the second, and the third...)

I am now DYING to read Caprice's book, The Duke's Handmaid. Check out the first chapter on Caprice's site.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Contest Like NO OTHER...

NO OTHER is Shawna Williams' debut novel, and it releases THIS SATURDAY, MAY 1. To celebrate, she is giving away a ton of goodies in a contest on her blog. Nice stuff, like posters, notebooks, jewelry, soaps, lotions, and Amazon gift cards.

Oh, yeah, and copies of her book! (It'll be available in several formats, so you can choose.)

Visit My Father's Oldsmobile for details on the many ways to enter.

I've read her book (yep, I was a beta reader for her) and I have to tell you I loved it. Shawna and I "met" out of mutual need for beta-readers. We became friends because we loved each other's writing so much. Her characterization skills are fabulous, and she made me have to add a romance to my list of favorite books ever. That takes talent, folks!

Monday, April 26, 2010 first read on Kindle for PC

I just finished reading my first complete book on Kindle for PC. BEHOLD the DAWN by K.M. Weiland.

I've been following her blog for some time now. Seriously, you need to check it out if you haven't. She's got some great insight on the writing craft and she presents the information in such useful ways. And I've wanted for a while to read her books. My budget doesn't allow me to buy anything and everything I want the moment I want it, though. (I know--it's just not fair :P.)

Then I noticed--or maybe she'd recently added--her book in Kindle format for $2.99. Oh, yeah!

I'm not going to give you a plot blurb. You can read that on Amazon or on K.M.'s site. And you can see from the cover it's a medieval tale. Knights, wars, deception, corruption, damsels in distress--the book's got it all. And it's told in K.M.'s amazing style.

I once heard a speaker at a writers group say that if writing makes you stop and think, "How beautiful. I wish I could write like that," it's defeating its purpose by pulling you out of the story. K.M.'s writing never pulled me out of the story and yet, at the end I sighed, thinking, "How beautiful. I wish I could write like that." Her descriptive powers are magical and musical. I saw and felt everything, and still savored the words as I read them. A perfect balance.

Look's like her second book, A MAN CALLED OUTLAW, is only $2.99 on Kindle, too. Anyone venture to guess my next purchase?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I've Been "Mauled"!

OK, so it's it's not what you think :). Derek Maul is a freelance writer in my area, who has a column in the Brandon News and Tribune. He emailed me a few weeks ago--seemingly out of the blue--asking if he could interview me. It turns out, he highlights locals who are doing, as he puts it, "interesting things."

Me? Interesting?

Well, apparently, at least around here, being a homeschool mom who writes both Christian nonfiction and horror is interesting! His editor had given him a blurb he'd seen about the book The Ultimate Christian Living, which came out March 1st and has two of my personal experience stories in it. The blurb mentioned that I'm from Valrico. Little did he know that the person he was contacting also wrote "dark" fiction...moohoohahahahahaha.....

Didn't scare him away, though ;). And he decided to focus on both the book and my dark side.

Anyway, if you'd like to read the story, you can find it at

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Return to 2010

So, this is one of those late-night ramblings the header of my blog refers to. Nothing to say, honestly, but, "Man, am I wiped out!" Three days of making posters and reliving high school days is exhausting :).

You see , I spent this weekend at my BFF's house in Tennessee. It was her fortieth birthday and she decided she wanted an Eighties themed party. Wow, she went all-out! I'm talking she rented Galaga and Pacman arcade games (as in the full-size arcade machines!), had Eighties mementos spread all over the house, an MTV cake, and even set up a dance floor in her sun room, complete with strobe light. Major flashbacks. Major fun.

I may post some pictures later on, once she sends me a copy of the CD. (Yeah, she even had an official party photographer!) And I'll post something worthwhile when I regain full brain function...

Oh, speaking of lack of brain function, my BFF told me she was out the other day and heard a muzak version, sung by a woman, of Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself."

That is just SO wrong!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Work in Progress--Just One?

I see people posting on their blogs and Facebook about their WIP's. I do the same thing now and then, but I know that no one--other than a few of my closest writer friends--has a clue what my "WIP" actually is when I post.

So, here's the low-down:

I've completed Finding Angel, a YA novel of just over 100,000 words, and am shopping it around.

I'm about half-way through the sequel (somewhere around 50,000 words). The working title on this one is Seeking Unseen.

There will be a third book in the series (title undetermined) that is in the planning stages right now, but I've not officially started writing it.

A fourth book--a prequel--has developed as well. I started what I intended to be a short story, but the plot has grown to the point where it will eventually be an entire novel.

Completely unrelated to the above series is a novel I'm about 20,000 words through right now. Working title is Guilty. This one is not a YA--it's adult, paranormal....something. Not quite thriller, not quite romance. I guess I'll have to wait until it's done to truly label it. It stemmed from my short story, "Willing Blood," but is not related to that story in any true sense. Mainly, I took the same characters and put them in a whole different situation.

And I've always got short WIP's going. Short fiction is something I really enjoy writing. I love that the stories can be completely in a matter of weeks, sometimes days, and I can submit them and get them published quickly. (Although, right now I have quite a few I've been waiting a rather long time to hear back on.) I write short personal experience stories as they hit me as well, and those are nice for the same reasons--quick turnaround.

So...what about you? What are your WIP's a the moment? I know the answer for a few of you, but I'd still like to hear from everyone. Are you focusing on a novel? More than one? Got any short stories in the works?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why Writing Sometimes Feels Like American Idol

Have you ever noticed that there are distinct categories of American Idol contestants?

The talented ones tend to come in either "confident" or "nervous," but they know they're there because they can actually sing. It's in their blood, in their soul. They sing because they have to.

The ones with no talent come in three forms:

"Clueless"--They have been told by friends and family that they can sing, and while they may not be horrible, they are nowhere near ready for American Idol. Maybe not even their cousin's wedding.

"Fifteen-minutes-of-famers"--These folks come dressed in ridiculous costumes, or make up goofy songs, or both, just trying to get their face on national television. They know they're not star material, but they're having fun. Some of us find it entertaining, and some of us find it a huge waste of time. Either way, at least they're not deluding themselves.

"Cocky Cat-screechers"--The ones who come to the audition bragging to everyone within earshot that they are the best, the brightest, the most talented singers ever. These are the ones the judges rip to shreds the second they open their mouths--the ones Simon Cowell tends to compare to screeching cats.

Writers can be broken into similar categories.

There are truly talented writers. Some are quite sure of themselves, but they either don't have big egos or they know that if they expect to make it in the writing world they have to keep their egos in check. Others don't even realize just how talented they are, but they know writing is what they must do to survive.

The other categories are a litte fuzzier with writers.

I've met a few "clueless" writers--no matter how hard they try they just can't improve their craft. Maybe friends and family read their work and tell them "great job" all the time, but when it comes to the real world of getting published they are minnows in a shark pool.

There aren't too many "fifteen-minutes-of-famers" because you can't show up in costume and grab everyone's attention. But there are writers who just want the recognition without hard work. They're all about getting their name out there, but put in little time actually honing their skills or listening to critique.

And I've definitely met some "cocky cat-screechers"--writers who brag about being the next great American author, but their writing makes a true writer cringe. They're sort of like a combo of "clueless" and "famer" on steroids.

Here's the catch...

It's "easy" to see who's who from the living room couch. And even though the judges often disagree--or they love one singer this week but hate him the next--the real talent has a way of making it through.

But when you're the contestant (writer) auditioning (submitting queries and manuscripts), you often waver over which category you belong in. You ask yourself one minute, "Am I deluding myself?" and then receive a glowing acceptance letter from a magazine you've been dying to get into. The next day, you finish a story that you are so proud of, but after months of trying you can't find a home for it, and off to the trunk it goes. The questions just seem to hang over your head--"Why haven't I made it yet? Is it me?"

And writers RARELY go from audition (query an agent) to Hollywood week (full manuscript first shot) to voting (pitching to publishers) to recording (publishing) contract over the course of just a few fast-paced months. For most of us it takes audition after audition, loads of rejections, pitching till we're ready to throw the manuscript out the window, all while we're working on other projects for which we intend to put ourselves through the same torture.

Is it too late to take up singing?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bit by Bit

Today is just bits of news.

First, my story "The Gift," which appeared in the November issue of Digital Dragon Magazine , was voted into their "Best Of" anthology. The anthology will be available later this year (the exact publication date has not been determined yet), and the stories were voted on by readers. I'm happy to say that "The Gift" tied for the most number of votes! I'll keep ya'll updated as I hear more on the progress.

Second, I was interviewed a second time by the Tampa Tribune (Brandon News and Tribune section) the other day. The first time was in January because I was speaking at a local writers group. (If you'd like to read the first interview, you can find it online here.) This time, it's because of the release of The Ultimate Christian Living anthology, in which I have two stories. I'll post as soon as the new interview is up--there will be an online version of the article.

And last, I'm gonna throw in a Notebook Nugget. This is from an article my sis-in-law showed me. I wish I could remember the writer's name so I could give her credit! She was talking about striving for her dreams and how she was barraged by advice that she didn't always agree with. She said you should always ask yourself, "Do I want the life of the person who's giving me advice?"

Saturday, April 3, 2010


My latest short story is in ResAliens magazine this month! "Dude" shows my...quirky side. And my scientist side. Hope you enjoy it!

BTW, ResAliens is the very first magazine I ever heard about that takes sci-fi/fantasy with a Christian bend. I've wanted for a while to submit something to them, but it needed to be just right, and when I wrote this story I knew it was the one. I was SO happy that they agreed!

*Writer tip--get to know the 'zines out there and make sure you tailor your submissions to them. Submitting something that you know fits their "style" will increase your chances of being accepted.*

To top it off, they've also accepted a story of mine for an anthology that will be coming out hopefully in another month or so. It's titled While the Morning Stars Sing, and the story I have in there is "The Guitar."

Anyway, check 'em out. You can order a subscription to their print version, or order pdf's or individual copies of the print magazine. Their first print anthology is also available at their storefront--the link is on the homepage.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

It took a long time for the meaning of Good Friday to sink in with me. I always celebrated Easter with full understanding of its meaning, but as a kid, even growing up in a Christian home, Good Friday was basically the school holiday before Easter Sunday. A day to take advantage of beautiful weather, to play in the dirt and climb trees (yes, I was a tomboy--did you ever think otherwise?), or maybe stretch out on my reading tree in the back yard. Of course, I learned about Good Friday in Sunday School, and from my parents. But I was a kid, and my life had a pretty narrow focus.

Today, I see my own kids outside doing the same things I always did. Minus the tree-climbing, since we live in the suburbs. Today, they are drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, bombing each other with water balloons and having a grand time. Their focus is on Sunday, with egg hunts and family gatherings. Do they know *what* today is? Of course. But it's not going to stop them from being children.

These days, though, Good Friday has more meaning for me than Easter Sunday. Not that Easter isn't a miracle. I mean, the Resurrection is a BIG deal. But the miracle is less in Jesus being raised from the dead--Jesus himself raised people from the dead quite a few times in the Bible. The true miracle, for me, is that He died for us in the first place. Maybe that's why a dark side had to develop in me--so I could see that. Life because of death. Light able to glow because of darkness.

Speaking of light in the darkness...things are going well with homeschooling and life in general despite the shadow of stress I'm feeling as I wait on the responses for a multitude of short story submissions. Another flicker of light...I sold a piece of artwork this week!

And for my buddy, KM Wilsher, the light this week comes from having her first short story published. Check out "Suicidal Instinct" at The Cross and the Cosmos. I got to read this story before it was even accepted, and I knew immediately she'd find a zine to publish it! So proud of you, KM!!!