Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Five for September 4, 2015

1. Work is going at a steady pace for my new project. There is a lot of talking going on. I keep reminding myself that it is the base for a nine part series, so I have to make it solid. It's going to be one of those cases if the characters keep yammering at each other, I'm going to send the bad guys to them!

2. I had a fantastic time co-hosting the IWSG. I visited over 120 blogs. What a surprise they gave us! It's a wonderful opportunity. I'm going to try to think of a story idea for the contest. Who else is entering?

3. No short story news this week. This is the first week in a while I haven't received a rejection. I still have six stories in submission. I need to send out a few more, but I haven't found the right venues for them yet.

4. It's the long Labor Day weekend. Yay! We don't have any plans except a playdate tonight and maybe going to the apple orchard at some point. It's going to be super hot, though. Might have to refill the backyard kiddie pool.

5. Join me on Monday for my big news! My newsletter subscribers have already heard. If you want to be the first to hear all the exciting stuff, please subscribe by typing your email address in that widget on my sidebar. You'll get a free ebook!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG for September 2015 - co-hosting, the surprise, and nerves!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month is my first time co-hosting. I'm a little nervous, but I have awesome co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, and Heather Gardner!

Plus, IWSG has a surprise for us. It's completely awesome. Read on down through this post to find out what it is!

This month I'm nervous about several things. Not just about co-hosting! I finished a project and I've submitted it to my publisher. Will they like it? It's different than the trilogy I already have with them. What will I do if they don't want it? That means querying other venues. Yikes!

I've also started a new project. One that's ambitious even for me. A serial with nine parts. I tell myself that I will outline for this story, but my muse just wants to write. She has consistently snubbed any outline I've tried to write in the past no matter how general I make them. So I end up pantsing. Which works most of the time for me, but with a nine part serial? That needs planning. Big time planning makes me anxious.

Are you nervous about anything this month?

Now the reveal.... 

The IWSG Short Story Contest 2015

After the success of last year’s IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, we decided to create another book. This time it’s a short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in the anthology.

Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

Word count: 5000-6000

Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That’s right, we’ve decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st, 2015.

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges:
·         Laura Maisano - Senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian fiction
·         Russell Connor – Author and owner of Dark Filament Publishing Startup
·         Candace Havens  - Author and Editorial Director for the Covet, Edge and Select lines at Entangled Publishing
·         Dawn Frederick – Literary agent and the founder of Red Sofa Literary
·         Alice Speilburg – Founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency
·         Michelle Johnson – Founder of Inklings Literary Agency and Writers' Center and Bookstore owner
·         Kendare Blake - Author
·         Lydia Moëd - Associate agent at The Rights Factory

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. The winners will also receive an exclusive badge to display on their blog.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mini Reviews For Stories That Wowed Me

(Any excuse to use this picture of Dean Winchester!)

I've been reading a lot great books lately, and I want to share them all with you. But how to do that without a super long post? Mini reviews. Let's hope I can do these awesome tales justice with a few sentences.

"Dragon's Destiny" by Alex J. Cavanaugh
This short story is the sequel to Alex's latest fantastic space opera novel, Dragon of the Stars. I loved seeing what happened with Aden and the Kargrandes. The drama was in the emotions of the characters rather than big action sequences, and Alex pulled it off beautifully. You can get this tale free from Alex as a gift to his fans.

A kick-ass teaser novella for Alexia's upcoming urban fantasy novel. It's fast-paced, dark, hilarious, and full of action. It features a supernatural bounty hunter, Zyan Star who is now one of my new favorite UF heroines!
A marvelous short paranormal tale that grabbed me right from the beginning. The tension is tight throughout and everyone is a suspect. Such fun in that Jolie hates being a ghost and the detective working her murder case is the only one who can see her.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five for August 28, 2015

1. On Tuesday, I wrote END on my newest trilogy. Yay! Three wonderfully fun paranormal novelettes which I'll be submitting to my publisher. This was a spur of the moment project, and one I did in a month. I think I was a little excited about having full weekdays to myself!

2. And on Tuesday, I started planning my next series. The more I think about it, the bigger it's growing. My muse is still on the full-time writer high and is getting mighty ambitious. This project will be a serial paranormal romance in nine parts. Nine novellas. I thought I was crazy when I did the 13th Floor series and that was six parts. I will remember my lesson learned from that, though: have the books written before you start publishing them!

3. Next week I'll be co-hosting the IWSG for the first time. I'm a little nervous. But I can't wait to hear the big surprise they have for us!

4. I've been enjoying a taste of autumn this week. Most mornings I was snug in a sweatshirt, flannel pajama bottoms, and slippers. But the heat is coming back again. Blah. Did you see Untethered Realms' good-bye to summer post yet? We are not hot weather folks.

5. I have some BIG news for you. I'm not quite sure when I can announce it, but it's so exciting! I will be celebrating with ice cream this weekend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - dream inspiration

(My author picture processed through the Google Deep Dream Generator.)

A lot of my inspiration for stories comes from dreams. And I don't mean the Google Deep Dream Generator there. Though, I hear a lot of people saying those pictures are causing nightmares. I just think it's fascinating.

I'm a vivid dreamer. I dream in full color and I know I'm dreaming. I can change my actions and wake up if I want. Yet I usually go with the flow and see what happens.

Lately I've been having more disturbing dreams than usual. Ones where I'm finding myself in dire circumstances and faced with immense decisions. Most of the time, these are supernatural situations.
My life has had big changes lately. My son started kindergarten and I'm getting a chance at being a full time writer. It's a lot of pressure. And it seems my subconscious agrees by giving me all these intense dreams.

Of course, as an author, my first thought is: how do I use this in my writing? Dreams help us see things differently. The everyday world can become mundane, but things become more wonderful, silly, and/or frightening in dreams. They can change our perspective and that might be just what your muse needs if stuck on a story or in need of an idea for a new one.

I don't keep a dream journal. I remember my dreams most of the time, but it's a good idea to scribble down even a few things you recall from your dreams as prompts or ideas for later.

Do you find inspiration in your dreams?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mayhem in the Air will blow you away!

Another fantastic collection of short stories from the talented authors of Untethered Realms.
Coming this Halloween.

Isn't the cover gorgeous? Erin Dameron-Hill is a super graphic artist.
And wait until you read the stories. I'm honored to be included with these brilliant writers.

UR will be touring in November to promote this anthology. Join us for exclusive excerpts and a chance to win a $40 gift card!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Five for August 21, 2015

1. I've had an awesome week of writing. I finished the second novelette in my newest series and I'm a few chapters in to the third and final. This trilogy came together in a flash and it's been so much fun to write. Two of my critique partners have read the first book and loved it. Yes!

2. I had one short story rejection this week and submitted two more elsewhere. I keep a record of my submissions in a little notebook, but I think maybe I should keep a spreadsheet on the computer. That poor notebook is looking a mess!

3. My Google searches this week have included what does it feel like to be possessed by a good spirit (for my current project) and the Inuit god of icebergs and glaciers named Nootaikok (for a future project). Sometimes it's dangerous to do searches on these things because they can be so fascinating that I end up reading more and more pages rather than writing.

4. With my son now in public school, I worry about all the germs and such he can pick up. Ours is also one of the states that have been warned to be on the look-out for mutated head lice. Mutant lice. My brain is coming up with all sorts of disturbing images! There's got to be a story in there somewhere.

5. The weather has cooled down and I'm getting excited at the approach of autumn. It'll be time to go to the apple orchard and then the pumpkin patch. I love those fall trips! This weekend, we'll hopefully get out for a walk in the woods. Have a great weekend!