Saturday, June 30, 2012

I've been tagged by L.G.

Mmm, moist and delicious.
No, this picture has nothing to do with this post.

Here's what I need to do:
1) Post 11 things about myself.
2) Answer the 11 questions the tagger asked.
3) Create 11 new questions for people I tag.
4) Choose 11 people and tag them. No tag backs!

11 random things about myself:
1) I hadn't worn a bathing suit in over 20 years until I had to wear one when taking my son to the pool.
2) I hate the hot weather.
3) I have an Animaniacs t-shirt that is almost two decades old and I still wear it regularly.
4) I've worked as a security guard, a shoe salesperson, and a convenience store clerk.
5) My tomato and watermelon plants are flowering. They're huge this year.
6) I feel like a voyeur sometimes watching the conversations on Twitter.
7) My favorite character in the Harry Potter series is Severus Snape.
8) We're in the middle of a severe drought. There's an active burn ban. My neighborhood is dry and crunchy. Yet I can hear fireworks going off right now as I'm typing.
9) I wear my hair in a braid most of the time, but I can't braid it myself. My husband does it.
10) I like the sound of quiet typing. I find it relaxing.
11) My freckles are multiplying.

11 questions from L.G. Keltner:
1) Are you a morning person or a night person? I use to be a night person, but I'm more of an afternoon person now. I don't think I could ever be a morning person, and I'm usually in bed by ten.
2) What famous figure from history would you meet if you could, and why? Albert Einstein. Just to share a walk and have a laugh. To bask in his creativity, genius, and curiosity.
3) If you had a time machine, would you visit a specific time in history, or would you go to the future? Why? I'd love to visit various places in history. See the original seven wonders of the world. I'd love to see the future too. Surely if I had a time machine, I could do all those things!
4) Do you like your name? Why or why not? Would you consider changing it, and if so, what would you change it to? I'm not a big fan of Christine. I would have loved an unusual name, but I'm not going to change it. I love my last name. And no, I didn't pick my husband based on his last name!
5) What is your favorite kind of music? Does your music listening depend on your mood? I don't often get a chance to listen to music. I like '80's and early alternative. It does depend on my mood if I get a chance to listen to anything.
6) Do you prefer a good book or a good movie? Why? Definitely a good book. Nothing can beat a well told story. It's better than any film.
7) What is your belief system? How does it influence your outlook on life? How does it get you through your day? This is a deep question. I'm not religious, but I'm highly philosophical. I focused on ethics when I studied philosophy. I have high standards of what is good, and through my every day life, I attempt to be a good role model, because I believe that's the best way to be true to what you believe and teach it to others.
8) What kind of humor do you prefer? Which comedian or comedy show best illustrates this preference? I like sharp wit, and dark satires. One of my favorite comedies is "Modern Family." I also really love Joss Whedon's humor. If only I could be that witty!
9) What cause do you feel passionately about? Why? I've supported a lot of causes including cancer research, animal shelters, and green initiatives. Right now, it's helping other families with children get opportunities for the kids they wouldn't otherwise. All children deserve to have a fair chance in life.
10) What is your favorite quote? It can be from anywhere. Why is it your favorite? I like a lot of Albert Einstein quotes. (I bet you didn't see that coming!) Here's one I love: "The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality." I'm always questioning things, wanting to learn more. Life is about learning. 
11) What is your favorite color? What does it remind you of, and how does it make you feel? I like green. The green of the forest. It makes me feel peaceful.

11 questions for others to answer:
1) Cats or dogs?
2) Horror or comedy?
3) Paperbacks or ebooks?
4) Would you ever want to be young again without knowing what you know now?
5) Jedi or Sith?
6) Massage or jacuzzi?
7) Do you prefer to be in the spotlight, backstage, or the audience?
8) What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
9) Where's the most exotic place you've traveled?
10) If you could have a small wish come true, what would it be?
11) What's your favorite game?

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to create a portal to your site, please go ahead. Feel free to answer one, some or all the questions in the comments section. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Five for June 29th

1. I managed to get a little writing done this week on my new project. I'm not as far along as I hoped, but I've gotten past a plot hump that was frustrating me. It was just one of those cases where I had to push through and if it sounds awkward, I'll fix it in the rewrite.

2. I've been doing a lot of reading this year. The number is nearing 70 books. I wish I had more opportunity to read ebooks, though. I have a big "stack" of them on my Nook, but I rarely use it. I can't have it on around my son, because he'll want to play with it. And when he's done for his nap or for the night, I have other things I need to do on the computer. My poor Nook would be neglected if my husband hadn't scooped it up. He takes it to work with him and already has two flash drives full of game books he reads on it.

3. I'm excited that so many people loved my cover for Fearless. As is my nature, I was really nervous about it. I debated about what to put on it. It is a paranormal romance, and it definitely isn't a romantic cover. Yet I feel it does represent my story, especially with Tawa being such an important part of it.

4. My friend and fellow writer, M. Pepper Langlinais has self-published her novella, "St. Peter in Chains." You can find it on Amazon. She promises to have it in other formats soon. She's a clever writer and has a way with words few others manage. I haven't read it yet, but I have my copy. I can't wait to read it! I hope to have her on for a guest post or an interview soon. Here's the blurb: Peter Stoller is a consummate professional--as a British intelligence agent, he's at the top of his game and has never had trouble separating his work from his personal life. But when he meets cabbie Charles Toulson, his personal life takes a turn he wasn't expecting.

5. We have no plans for the weekend other than staying out of this horrid heat. My husband recently got the adult card game, Cards against Humanity. It's like Apples to Apples but kicked up a notch! We're trying to set up a time with friends to play, but it's hard to arrange a night good for everyone.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fearless Cover Reveal

I was very excited to get 50 followers
They were the first to get a peek at the cover.

I won't keep the rest of you waiting!
Ah, Tawa. You are the star!
A big thank you to the wonderful Aubrie Dionne for helping me with it.
Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and
popped in to read my A to Z Challenge story every day in April.
You guys rock!

I plan to have Fearless out at the beginning of August.
I'll let you all know later next month the exact date.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - unconventional marketing

I've been doing a lot of research on this subject. There's several articles out there that give you tips on how to market your book. I tried to find information specifically for paranormal romances, but they gave the same tips as everyone else.

Here's a quick general summary:
- create a marketing plan
- promote using all available social media
- hold giveaways and contests
- make connections and use them
- write something good
- write more books

Most important aspect: luck.

All great information, but I want to know how to hook readers who are interested in paranormal romance. They stand out from other genre fans. They're more passionate about the stories they love shown through the rise in conventions for paranormal romance authors and books. There are tons of online communities, fanfiction galore, and role-playing games.

Hey, wait. I'm a paranormal romance fan. What would hook me? Most of the time, I go by word of mouth or I search for authors similar to those I already like. That's the sort of thing that has to be built up, though.

I came up with a few unconventional ways to draw paranormal romance readers to your book:
1) Go to conventions. Not just writing conventions, but movie and gaming ones. If your book has a particular theme like pop culture or technology, drop off some business cards or postcards at those conventions too. Volunteer at conventions. Be on panels or just in a booth helping out. Leave your cards everywhere. Let people see you and know you have the same interests as they do.
2) A lot of writers have book trailers these days. Take it a step further. Make a mini series. It doesn't even have to be your story itself, but maybe something that happened in that world or a story about a secondary character in the book. Funny little instructional videos on how to slay an octopus demon or how to trick a leprechaun. Something to draw the fans into your world.
3) It's not just about marketing your book these days, it's about marketing yourself. Do something unusual. Hold a masquerade or organize a zombie walk. Attract some media attention. Be involved, be different, and then make sure to include it all on your blog!

Do you do anything unconventional to promote yourself? Do you have any other tips for marketing to a specific genre?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Women of Foxwick now available

Cherie Reich's fantastic fantasy short story collection
is now available!

Teaser Tuesday with Daughter of Smoke & Bone

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

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I've heard a lot of great things about Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, and so far, they're all true. This is one of the most unique stories I've read in a while. I love the cast of characters and the strange fairy tale that Laini weaves.
Here's your teaser:
It seemed impossible that this was the final moment of her life. She cocked her head to the side, desperately searching his features for some hint of... soul... and then, she saw it. (page 97)

Monday, June 25, 2012

My workspace

I love getting a peek into other writers' lives and seeing where they write. I thought I'd share with you my recently reclaimed office (which still remains a game and storage room too). I like having a neat workspace. I usually have a big cup of water there on the desk as I write. My thesaurus is right beside the keyboard along with a notebook for my current project. The bright colors and frog have absolutely nothing to do with what I'm writing, but it's a cute notebook!

The room is small. It's 6 x 8, but it's a nice calming moss green and right across the hall from the bathroom. The window is to my back as I write. I love to look out the window, and it can get distracting if I'm facing it.

This is the side of the room to my right as I'm sitting in my chair. The walls are covered with invaluable works of art. The artist, my son, of course! There's two old "gaming TVs" on the dresser and some geeky card games. I have the collection of anthologies I have stories in, and in the frame to the right of the lamp there, if you can see it, it's the first dollar I made selling a story. It was a drabble, and I was proud to have made a buck. The dresser is full of stationary, notebooks, manuscripts, games, games, and more games. The closet to the left of me when I sit in the chair is full of boardgames.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Six for June 23rd

1. I didn't get a chance for a Friday Five yesterday, so I added one and made it a Saturday Six. I had a good reason for it, though. Cherie Reich's Women of Foxwick is an awesome collection of fantasy short stories. You can read my review here.

2. I took the plunge. I made a Facebook fan page and opened a Twitter account. Twitter is a bit overwhelming. I managed to link it to my fan page, so that a Twitter update goes on there too. My Goodreads is linked to Twitter which then goes on to Facebook. I need to find a way to link my blog, LinkedIn, and Google+ to it now too. I'm getting dizzy just thinking about this! Anyway, yes. Please like my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

3. I haven't done much writing at all this week. I've done a lot of networking research and creation. We'll count that as productive.

4. I edited my short story for this month and sent it to The World's Greatest Fantasy Writing Contest. My critique partners and my writing group liked it. My group agreed I needed to tighten the tension at the end. So I pulled the laces tight and cut out a bunch of words. Ouch.

5. My son is becoming more clearly introverted. I'm not surprised since my husband and I are introverts, but I had hoped that our son would have it a little easier. When we go places with a lot of people, he'll tell me there's "too many people" and ask to go home. He doesn't like share space with other people either. He'll go to the emptiest spot at the library, park or pool. I know how he feels, but it's going to be rough. I've been reading up on raising an introverted child. I hope I can do right by him. I don't want to traumatize him with any social situation as I was as a child, but I don't want him to miss out. I want him to understand there's nothing wrong with being an introvert. We're cool people too.

6. No plans for the weekend. Maybe a stop at the library and a walk in the woods. Have a good weekend, folks!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of Women of Foxwick

Follow five women from Foxwick in this five-story fantasy collection by Cherie Reich.

A bard will lose her head, if she doesn't find the correct notes. A dragon seer must decide whether to betray her dragons or her fair kingdom. An assassin will journey to the Shadowlands to destroy Death. Twins are selected for the Mage Game, and a princess will journey to Valdale in search of the sorceress who can save Foxwick.

My review: 
Women of Foxwick is a collection of five fantastic tales in a world of beauty, magic, and danger. In "Lady Bard," Lyrica must play the right tune to free a prince from a curse or else both of them will lose their lives. A young and kind girl named Vesta is dragged before the fearsome Queen of Wintermill to serve her destructive will in "Dragon Seer." "Lady Death" brings us into the dark world of an assassin named Umbria and her quest to kill Death himself. The twin sisters in "Mage Game" are as close as can be, and with their amateur skills, they must fight for the possibility of a better life through a challenge issued by the king. Finally, in "Magic Seeker," a princess' compassion and mysterious aunt help her to find a sorceress who might be able to save her realm.

Cherie Reich has created a rich and wonderful fantasy world with Foxwick. The people, land, and creatures are fascinating. I love how she links a few stories together, and how this collection intricately weaves with the stories in Flashes of Foxwick. Yet these can very much be enjoyed as stand-alone stories. There's never a dull moment, and each story has its own undeniable source of tension that will insure you don't stop reading. Cherie's writing is natural, poetic, and fluid, and reminds me very much of Juilet Marillier's books.

My favorite story of the bunch is "Lady Death." It begins with a sword fight and a plea to save the King's wife and child. The only way to save the woman and baby who are beyond any mortal's help is to kill Death. Umbria, the assassin and King's sister, cannot refuse him. She travels to the Shadowlands and faces the ghosts of loved ones before she meets Death himself. There's a lot of intensity and emotion packed into this short story, and I found myself holding my breath near the end. I had no idea what was going to happen. No one can kill Death, right? You'll have to read it to find out Cherie's clever twist.

I highly recommend Women of Foxwick for those of you who love fantasy, and for excellently written strong heroines.

Women of Foxwick will be released on June 26th. That's only four days away!

Until then, you can pick up A to Z Flashes of Foxwick for FREE on Amazon.

Please visit Cherie Reich's blog and say hello!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social media and time

I've been doing some research on social media lately and how to use it to my advantage without giving up too much more of my free time. I already put a lot of time into my blog and connecting with people through here. For me, this has been the most effective tool in making connections.

I have a Facebook account, but it's my personal account. I check it twice, maybe three times a day. It's mostly for keeping in contact with friends and family, and bragging about my kid. I'm planning to make one specifically for Christine Rains the Writer. I haven't decided if it's best to create a fan page or open a new account for this purpose. Have any of you had the experience of both? And if so, what's your preference? If you use Facebook at all, how often do you check fan pages as compared to accounts?

I don't have a Twitter account. I'm going to start one when I open the new Facebook account. I was never a fan of Twitter, but I do admit that it has a large following and it would be beneficial for me. I've read in a few places that for Twitter to be an effective marketing tool, you have to tweet at least 25 times a day, but no more than 35 or else people will get annoyed. That's a lot. I don't have the time to do it either. For those of you that use Twitter, have you found it helpful in marketing yourself?

I have LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, but I rarely use them. I really like Goodreads, but I haven't done any promoting on there. I just like seeing what people are reading and their reviews. I have no interest in MySpace. My husband suggested Digg (a social news website). He works with marketing at his company and Digg is growing.

Even if I signed up with various sites, I don't have the time to maintain them. I considered a social media management site like Hootsuite. I'm afraid that it might make it all more complicated. Does anyone use any type of social media management systems? If you do, what has your experience been like?

I realize it's important to get your name out there. There are a lot of opportunities to do so on the internet, but it takes time. Time that I don't have. Time I should be writing. And the most important thing I need to be doing as a writer is writing.

I'd also like to give a big thank you to Tara Tyler for awarding me the One Lovely Blog Award. She passed it on in such a clever way too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - writing a series

Many paranormal romances these days are series. They're the most popular. The fans are hungry for them, like ravenous vampires. Goodness knows I love them. I read them and write them. Yet it's important to remember a few things when starting to write a series.

First off, does your idea need more than one book? It has to be a pretty dang big idea. Don't stretch out something that could fit into one book. You'll bore your readers. Examples: each book in the series could have different narrators, or you could follow the protagonist through vampire slaying school going year by year.

Every book must be able to stand-alone. It must have a story that is unto itself, but then make a strong connection to the overall story of the series. It can get tricky, because you want to have an amazing story within each book but you want to take away from the overall story.

Give yourself a lot of wiggle room. This is in case you carry on the series longer than expected or if you have to end it sooner than you thought.

You don't have to do all your world building in the first book. That's the nice thing about writing series. You can start small and expand on your world as you go along.

Finally, make sure you're ready for the commitment. Writing a series can take years. Are you willing to devote that much time to one world? To a couple of characters? Know yourself. Know what kind of writer you are. IF you jump from idea to idea, a series isn't for you.

Do you enjoy reading series? Do you write stand-alone novels or series?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and extra news

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

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I've been wanting to read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith for a while now. The concept is so much fun, but it's dry reading so far. It's basically about what you think it's about: Abraham Lincoln killing vampires. Everything's a vampire conspiracy in this book. I think this is one case where the movie will be better than the book.
Here's your teaser:
There was talk of shadowy madmen. Of foreign spies.
There was even talk of vampires. (page 23)

I have some extra good news for you!

Stephen Tremp is giving away his newest novel, Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan for FREE! It's the first book in the Chase Manhattan sci-fi thriller series, and it promises to start with a bang!  Click here to get your Kindle copy on Amazon. Did I mention it's free?!

Also, a wonderful short story anthology, Ocean Stories, is now available on Amazon and B&N. My horror story, "A Ticket on the Train" is one of the great tales in it. The editor is giving away five copies on Goodreads. Click here to sign up to win!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Interesting e-book market info

This is good news for those of you who have e-books or plan to have one out in the near future. Click the link to paidContent and their article, "What will the global e-book market look like by 2016?" As much as some of us love our paper books, the world is going digital.

The article basically states experts project "that e-books will make up 50% of the U.S. trade book market by 2016." The rest of the world isn't moving toward digital as fast as the U.S., but there's a slow rise in numbers. The same company also estimated that in the first quarter of this year, "around 30% of adults (in the U.S.) had at least one portable reading device."

It's getting easier to self-publish. There are more and more opportunities for writers to put themselves out there. Having a publisher is nice, but we aren't reliant on them any more.

I'll be giving it a try this year. I'm nervous, but it's exciting. What about you? Have you published an e-book and what has your experience been like? Do you plan to?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads and like-dads!
This is for doing the silly stuff
like riding on giant bees at the park!
And for holding hands to give a bit of help,
or just because.
Thank you for everything.

Thank you so very much to my husband
for being such a fantastic father.

To my dad and granddad,
I miss you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Five for June 15th

1. I had a dream the other night that I had a beard. Not a long one, but short and neatly trimmed. It was a brighter red than my hair. Everyone really loved the beard. I was also very feminine in the dream. I was model thin and wearing a red sundress. That bit takes away from the beard being the masculine part of myself interpretation, unless the masculine side of me is more feminine than I usually am. And that wouldn't be a stretch!

2. I have my writer's group meeting tomorrow. I always get nervous about it even though I've been with them for nearly a year now. They've taught me so much about critiquing. So I can suffer with being anxious because I'm better in the end for being a part of this group.

3. My sci-fi flash piece, "Red" was accepted by Pill Hill Press yesterday evening. It will be in their collection entitled DAILY FLASH 2013: 365 DAYS OF FLASH FICTION. Hmm, my dream about a red beard and a red sundress. Coincidence?

4. I haven't written anything new this week other than blog posts. Not through lack of inspiration, but lack of time. Perhaps I should cut back to only three a week (and any special news ones!) until I have more time when the school year starts.

5. Father's Day is this Sunday. I had my son make my husband a card, but my husband hasn't made up his mind what he wants to do yet. Are you doing anything special on Sunday?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review of End of Days

"Sometimes to fight for the Light, you have to do it in the dark." - Victor Standish

St. Marrok's. The most eerie high school in which you'll ever die. Some call it the high school for the damned. The damned merely laugh.

Located in the lovely, Katrina devastated French Quarter, it stands as it has always stood since the sky chariot of the Queen of the Tuatha de Danann was shot down over Roswell, New Mexico in June, 1947.

St. Marrok's is a school run by the Sidhe for all the preternatural children in America. A few mortal teenagers are invited for the amusement and education in the frailties of humans for the Sidhe.

Now, the celestial configurations are almost in alignment. The Nameless Ones are almost through the frayed barrier between their dimension and ours. The plan set into motion in 1947 by the Tuatha de Danann is finished.

Plots and counter-plots by the Sidhe, revenants, and Olympians/Asgardian factions are all coming to a head. The End of Days is at hand.

And only Alice Wentworth, a Victorian ghoul, with a rag-tag group of misfit students and human teachers stand a chance at stopping it. All it will take is their lives and all they hold dear.

My review:
Alice Wentworth isn't just another ghoul, or girl for that matter. She recently lost the one person who means most to her, the love of her life, and all she wants to do is find a noble death. Yet her new friends aren't willing to let her give up so easily, and neither is her dead love. Alice and her newly acquired sisters, Becca and Trish, are sent into St. Marrok's, a dangerous high school for preternatural beings. They have to watch what they do, where they step, even what they say. Surely it will be easy enough for these teens to gather some information while trying to make new friends and fight for their lives. It's only the End of Days, after all.

This is a huge book. Not just in size, but in immensity of plot and depth. Roland Yeomans draws you into this world with incredible little details. He doesn't bog you down with them, but he paints a vivid picture of post-Katrina New Orleans. Things like the remains of a bird smashed into a building by the force of the winds and how the waters lap at the streets. It's the perfect setting for this dark urban fantasy and all the monsters it brings.

The story is narrated by Alice Wentworth, or as I shall now call her, The Wentworth. She's a fascinating character, especially with how understated she is. She's a unique ghoul still grieving for the loss of her love, Victor Standish. Yet for love of him, she stays to help out those that he cared for, and through this, she grows as a character to become something much more. All the characters in End of Days are big characters. Legends with personalities and egos to match. It's a large cast, and sometimes that could get a bit confusing, but if you're fighting to keep your world from being destroyed by the Nameless Ones, you want to have all the most powerful beings fighting with you.

End of Days has a wonderful mix of myths. Native American lore and Celtic legends. The Sidhe and the Thunderbird. I like the friction between them and wondered how they'd ever get past it to defeat the Nameless Ones. (You'll have to read it yourself to find out!) There was a lot of edge-of-your-seat action, and there were also sweet moments. There were a few scenes I didn't feel were necessary to the plot, but they didn't drastically take away from the story's momentum. The Wentworth's narration keeps the reader focused and moving forward.

When you open/click on this book, prepare for a wild ride. As you know, it's the End of Days!

Please stop by and visit Roland Yeomans on his blog. He offers up great writing advice and has a lot of fun.

End of Days is available on Amazon.

P.S. I want blessed clothes that change according to the situation! I'd never have to force myself to go shopping again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - and action!

One of my favorite parts to write in paranormal romances is the action scene. It plays out like a movie in my head and my fingers fly over the keyboard to bring it to life. It's not that easy, though. There are some important factors you have to remember while writing action scenes.

They're fast-paced. Things are going to happen faster than your protagonist can process them, especially with beings who have supernatural speed. Use short sentences and dynamic verbs. They will convey the urgency and intensity of the situation. No big descriptions. Only key details.

Know where all the characters are at all times. Blocking is vital. Don't try to describe everything. Tighten your POV. The action must be mechanically believable and written with precision. Your reader can easily lose track of what's going on if they can't visualize where the characters are in the scene.

There's a lot of witty banter in paranormal romances. Don't let the dialogue take away from the narrative tension. The less the better.

Make sure you use the psychological tension to your full advantage. How is your protagonist feeling? The panic, surprise, and horror. How do they react to the pain? Keep the stakes high. There's also a heightening of senses when the adrenaline starts flowing. Use them to your advantage in crafting a gripping scene.

Remember that every action causes a reaction. (Newton's third law of motion!) There must always be a follow-through on every level.

Not all action scenes need be fights. There's the chase, the challenge, and the infiltration scenes.

How are you with writing action scenes? What do you do to help you write them?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Blood Bound

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

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent is a unique urban fantasy with a nice dose of romance. Some people in the world have Skills, specific psychic powers. The protagonist, Liz Warren, is a psychic tracker. She can find people with their blood or a name. It's a lot of fun so far. A lot of cool twists.
Here's your teaser:
"You don't understand. You've never been bound like I was," she insisted, and the irony stung all the way into my soul. (page 124)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

7x7 Link Award

A huge thank you to L.G. Keltner for not only honoring me with the 7x7 Link Award,
but the Versatile Blogger and Kreativ Blogger awards too.
A big thank you to C.M. Brown as well for passing on the 7x7 Link Award.
I've recently done the other two awards, but the 7x7 one is new.

For this award, I need to choose the post that best fits each category.
This will be a challenge.

Most popular piece - First Campaign Challenge

Most controversial piece - Wicked Wednesday - taboo? (I don't have anything really controversial, but this is the closest!)

Most surprisingly successful piece -  Wicked Wednesday - paranormal romance cliches

Most underrated piece - Wicked Wednesday - sexual tension

Most pride worthy piece - A to Z Challenge - A is for Abby

I'm suppose to give this away to seven people.
The first seven who comment and want may have it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Third time's a charm - Lucky 7 meme

I want to give a big thank you to the wonderful and nerdy
 L.G. Keltner for this award.
I've done it a couple times before, but hey, it's a lot of fun.
Plus, she had a different badge to go with it!

Here are the rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript
2. Go down to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines.
4. Tag 7 others. (I'm not going to tag anyone. Take it if you want it!)

This excerpt is from an older manuscript entitled LEX. It's ten years old this year. If I don't have a title, I always named my story after the protagonist. It's a dystopian romance. Lex is unlike any other heroine I've ever written. She's not hard, bitter, witty, magical, nor is she a fighter. She's very naive and thinks in strange ways. Her strength is in that innocence, because with it comes unwavering hope.

Here's the excerpt:
"All of us here outside the city live without the dust. We're able to make our own happiness without using the drug to induce it. A lot of people think Faery Dust is very bad. That's why in the Hearth yesterday the others were so insulted you asked for it. You didn't know you were asking for a bad thing, but they were offended nonetheless." Aelwyd spoke softly.

"I didn't mean to say something bad. I only want to make people happy."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Five for June 8th

1. My sci-fi flash piece was rejected. I sighed, ate some Oreos, and submitted it to another press.

2. I finished my short story for June. It's fantasy romance and it includes a battalion of undead. I've sent it out to my critique partners, and after another edit, I'll send it in to my writer's group to be critiqued at this month's meeting.

3. I tried out Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition this week. Oh, wait, not 5th. Next. D&D Next. *rolls eyes* It was fun. I like it better than 4th edition, but I prefer the earlier editions or the Pathfinder setting. It'd been a long time since I sat down and rolled dice with the guys. I miss it, but I prefer to spend what little free time I have writing instead.

4. My son has been doing excellently with his toilet training this week. That's at home, though. He's terrified of other bathrooms. He'll scream and cry if I take him into one. I'm not sure how to help him with this. He's too young yet to reason with, especially when he gets in that frightened mindset.

5. I saw a group of seniors at the park on Wednesday morning. They were taking their morning walk. Since there weren't many children at the playground, the seniors came over to investigate. They climbed to the top of the three story castle, and one of the men who had a cane went down the twisty slide. Four of the women climbed up on the rope spiderweb. It was awesome. I heard one of the ladies say her great-grandson would love to come to that park. I hope I'm still that playful when I'm that age.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group - June 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He's an inspiration to us all with his awesome blog posts and words of encouragement. Please take some time to visit some of the other bloggers participating in the IWSG. Every supportive word means a lot.

I feel a little nervous and timid popping in a day late with this. Yet I've wanted to do a post for the IWSG for a while now, and I've always used the excuse that my Wednesdays are taken up by my Wicked Wednesday posts. It's an excuse, not a valid reason.

I do that with my writing too. I find excuses not to do certain things. Like I don't finish revising something because I don't think I could find a publisher for it with the story's weirdness. Or I retire a novel because it was rejected too many times. I tell myself it's best to work on something else instead. I have several novels written, but most of them are just sitting there collecting dust. I'm old, especially for authors in my genre, and there's so much age-ism out there.

All those are excuses and they're holding me back. The real reason why I hide behind excuses: I don't think I'll ever be good enough. I know that if I work hard, revise and edit, polish up my stories, I can leave those excuses behind. It's a lot harder to actually get over that hump than it is to say it.

I'm starting small. I'm self-publishing this year. I'm giddy and scared about it. But it's a step in the right direction. I think... I hope. Right?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - paranormal romance vs. urban fantasy

Thank you for M. Pax for suggesting today's topic.

Most of the paranormal romances we read take place in our modern day world. They're alternative realities filled with magic, monsters, and supernatural beings. You can describe urban fantasy in the same manner. The two genres are similar on a lot of levels and sometimes it might be difficult to separate them.

The key difference: paranormal romance focuses on the protagonist's relationship. It's the heart of the story, so to speak. If the protagonist does not succeed in love, then they don't succeed with anything.

Urban fantasy might have romance, but it's not central to the story. It's a sub-plot, and if the protagonist wins or loses the heart of their love interest, it won't greatly affect the outcome of the story.

Here are some other general differences:

Urban fantasy - most often written in third person.
Paranormal romance - most often written in first person.

Urban fantasy - creatures like vampires and werewolves are usually more horrific and traditional.
Paranormal romance - creatures like vampires and werewolves are romanticized.

Urban fantasy - grittier style and usually a lot of violence.
Paranormal romance - lighter style and less violence as the focus is on emotions.

Urban fantasy - darker events and more tragedies.
Paranormal romance - more hope and the happily ever after ending.

Examples of urban fantasies:
The Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Twenty Palaces novels by Harry Connolly

Examples of paranormal romances:
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Anita Blake series by L.K. Hamilton

Not all paranormal romances and urban fantasies follow the rules. My favorite paranormal romances are the dark, gritty ones, and I don't require a happily ever after. I'm fascinated by relationships and how extreme situations affect them.

What are some of your favorite urban fantasies and paranormal romances? What makes you like one more than the other?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesday with Blue Diablo

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

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This one started slow, but it picked up steam quickly. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre is the first in the Corine Solomon series. A paranormal romance with a heroine who isn't your typical protagonist. She wears bright colors, flowing skirts, and wedge heels, and has scarred hands.
Here's your teaser:
The beauty of being short was that guys didn't usually notice me eating them with my eyes. Of course, most often, their disregard never changed unless they saw me handle. (page 46)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time slipping away

Just a quick post today. I don't have much free time on my hands these days. My son is napping less. Maybe it's the summer weather or he might be growing out the nap phase already. Ack! I hope it's not the latter! His nap time is the only solid period of time I get to myself each day to write. I need my writing time!

At least he starts preschool this August, and I'll get two mornings a week to write.

I'm curious to know how all the parent writers out there manage to find some time to write. Please give me your tips.

I'll never complain about the time I spend with my son, though. We have so much fun! Every smile is precious.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Booker Award

A big thank you to the lovely Theresa Paolo for this award.
I am, indeed, one of those who refuse to live in the real world!

The rules for this award:
This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)
Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. (More than five is okay) You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.
 Here are my favorite books:
1) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
2) The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.
3) The original Kushiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey.
4) The Downside Ghosts/Chess Putnam series by Stacia Kane.
5) THE STAND by Stephen King.
6) The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.
7) The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
8) The Troy Game series by Sara Douglass.
9) The Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher.
10) The Coldfire trilogy by C.S. Friedman.
I'm passing on this award to these five fabulous people:
3) Rek

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A couple of great contests

Roland Yeomans is having a fantastic contest with prizes including
an autograph from Robert Downey Jr.,
an autographed copy of Michael Whelan's book,
an autographed photo of Alexander Skarsgard!

All you have to do is write a post or an Amazon review of Roland's book,

I have his book. I need to get reading and write that review before July 4th!

In celebration of 100 followers, Allison at
is having a drawing to win any one book by
Terry Brooks.
How to pick only one?
Allison has a great blog with book and geek fun.

Friday, June 1, 2012

June anthologies, awards, and stuff

A big thank you to the awesome Chris Fries for the Stylish blogger Award and the Versatile Blogger Award. The Versatile one has been going around a lot lately. I'll not bore you with more random facts about myself. I've never gotten the Stylish blogger award before, though. For this one, I have to share the last time I dressed up.

I hate dressing up. I'm a jeans and t-shirt woman. I own only one black skirt I use for interviews, weddings, and funerals. The last time I donned the skirt was for our friends' wedding nearly 3 years ago. I was pregnant, but we hadn't told anyone yet. I hadn't gained any weight at that point, so the skirt still fit. I don't wear heels either. Flats for me. First off, I'm tall. It feels weird if I'm taller than my husband who's only two inches taller than me. Second, I'm a klutz. I sometimes can't keep my balance if I'm bare footed, never mind putting me in heels! That's a broken ankle waiting to happen.

Yup, I have no dressy style or grace. I happily pass off this award to five of you that do:
2. Amy
5. Joshua (a shout-out to a fellow geek who loves t-shirts more than I do!)

I need to get started on writing a short story for June. I'm going the fantasy route this month. Here are a few anthologies seeking submissions that interested me:

AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS - 1-time print/eBook (White Cat Publications); steampunk (fic). Pay: 5¢/word +copy. Words: 4k-6k. RT: varies. Reprints: yes (1¢/word +copy). E-subs: ONLY. Charles P. Zaglanis, Editor. Deadline: when filled.

ONCE UPON AN APOCALYPSE - 1-time print/eAntho (Chaosium); h (fic). Pay: 3¢/word. Words: 2k-4k. RT: 2-3 months. Reprints: no. E-subs: ONLY. Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Goudsward, Editors. Deadline: July 31st.

THE DARK SIDE OF THE WOMB: From Their Cradle to Your Grave - 1-time POD/eAntho (Cruentus Libri Press); h (fic). Pay: shared royalty. Words: 2½k-7½k. RT: receipt=<1 week; final=<1 week after DL. Reprints: yes. E-subs: ONLY. Kevin G. Bufton, Editor. Deadline: August 31st. (You could totally write one for this, Lily!)

SWORDS FOR SALE: An Anthology of Fantastic Mercenary Fiction - 1-time POD/eAntho (Sorcerous Press); mercenary f (fic). Pay: $20. Words: <10k. RT: <1 month. Reprints: query. E-subs: ONLY. Robert Lewis, Editor. Deadline: June 15th.

Finally, Writer's Digest is having a fun contest here: Your Story contest on Writer's Digest. Write the first sentence for the picture below (25 words or less). It's free and simple. I already entered!