Friday, December 28, 2012

Witch's Nocturne and Contest!

Hope everyone has been having an excellent holiday season. We did our thing, had lots of family, fun, and food, and now coasting through the next few days til 2013 is upon us. You know, eighty years from now when it's close to the year 2100, folks will be talking about the turn of the century and all those peeps who lived back then (us!), and how primitive our technology was. Funny to think about when we've already come so far.

But anyway, today's not about speculating the future, today's about mentioning a friend and fellow blogger's book release. I will actually have a series of blog posts coming out to help promote friends' new releases, and with them, a contest announcement!

*Drum roll please*

With each new post that features a new release, I will leave a clue somewhere in the text that will look like this: #clue

Only in place of the word "clue" will be the actual clue. Collect all the clues and send me the answer to be entered into a contest. A contest for what, you ask? Four winners will get an eBook of one of the books I'm helping to promote, and one grand winner will receive the tee shirt of their choice from Out of Print Clothing. Cool, huh?

So to kick off the series of amazing new releases, is EJ Wesley's second novella in his New Adult Moonsongs book series:


#Red

 After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. 

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes--with a Texas twist--by author E.J. Wesley

Witch's Nocturne is available now:

Amazon     Smashwords (ePub & PDF)

Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1, is also available:

Amazon (Free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.)

I've read both these books and they are fun, fun, fun! As novellas you can read them through in just a short time, and there's no shortage of entertainment. Cool characters + spooky plots = great reads. (more suitable for mature audiences)

You can learn more about EJ at his blog The Open Vein. He also hosts weekly NA chats on Twitter, discussing all things New Adult. He's an all around great guy to know.

Be sure to keep an eye out for clues and I'll let you know when to send in your answers for a chance to win.

Hope you're having a stellar weekend, and your New Year's Eve is sensational! Thanks for stopping by! How was your holiday? Any big plans for NYE? Have you read any of the Moonsongs books yet? Know EJ? I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Help the Elf

Hey there! I feel like I'm surfacing from the depths right now. I've been so consumed with revisions that I have barely been around. And of course, after the tragedy from last Friday, been hugging my kids tighter and appreciating the little things more.

Been an emotionally taxing week.

So what better way to cheer our spirits then a do-something-for-others blogfest! Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse are hosting, and they always have such generous spirits. Love those ladies! If you don't already know the awesome that is The Bookshelf Muse, check them out!


Have you met Pete the Elf? Well, he had too much eggnog and lost Santa's nice list. *gasp*
Lucky for him, bloggers everywhere are working to help Pete out by recognizing the nice folks out there and offering a little treat.

What nice person am I recognizing today??

YOU

Ho Ho Ho!! You're all always so supportive and encouraging, I wanted to give back to the writing community by offering my complimentary services. Do you have a query you'd liked critiqued? Or maybe the first 500 words of your story? You know ABNA is coming up, so get those manuscripts polished and ready! Or maybe you're entering the query fray for the first time and need another pair of eyes on your pitch. Whatever the reason, I'm here for YOU!

Starting today until Sunday, you can email your query, or first 500, or pitch to me at pakazo77@gmail.com, and I will give you a free critique! Why would you care about MY opinion? Well, I've seen a LOT of queries, pitches, and opening paragraphs and I know what works and what doesn't. Also, I'm part of the review committee at YALITCHAT.ORG that selects the best monthly submissions to move on to the agent panel.

Never hurts to have another pair of eyes on your work. Say you're an indie publisher? No problem! You still need a book blurb to sell your book. Need another opinion on it? Send that my way and I'll be happy to critique. And don't be scared. I'm a firm believer in the sandwich method and I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of girl. :)

But the offer only lasts til this Sunday! So take advantage and send me what you've got. My treat to you, and to Pete the Elf. :D

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quinn's Cookie Exchange

Who's Quinn you ask?? Only the main character of Angela Felsted's new book, CHASTE:


And in honor of Quinn and Chaste, I'm sharing a cookie recipe that's become a fave around our house:

PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES

These soft cookies are almost like little pieces of cake. With chopped pecans sprinkled over a sugar frosting, they also make a very pretty addition to the dessert table. :)

Yields 7 dozen

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1.5 cups brown sugar
.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3.5 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
.5 teaspoon baking powder

FROSTING

2 cups confectioners sugar
quarter cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups boiling water
2 cups chopped pecans

For dough, mix dry ingredients then gradually add in pumpkin mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Frost when cooled, add pecans before frosting fries.

YUM-O!

So there you have it. And in case you're wondering what Chaste is about, here's the short version:

When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner.Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s “fake” religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.


Wowsers! I'd have loved to read something like this when I was a teen. Having grown up in a very conservative Southern Christian family, conflicting faiths was always a huge issue. Congrats, Angela!

Find the official trailer here.

And check out Angela's blog right here. I know you'll like her if you don't already know her. And she'll be happy you stopped by! 

Thanks so much for stopping by here! I'm buried in revisions and been a bit of a blog slacker, but I'm catching up this weekend. 

WHAT'S YOUR FAVE HOLIDAY COOKIE???

Monday, December 10, 2012

Roasting a Friend


Over the next few days, bloggers around the sphere are getting creative and posting a few words on our friend, Alex J. Cavanaugh.  If you don't know Alex yet, then you're one of few, but worry not, because this is a perfect opportunity to get to know him, and learn why so many of us are tipping our virtual hats to this superstar blogger and author. In short, he's one heck of a supportive guy.

But he's also a bit of an enigma. No one knows what Alex looks like. The only picture on his blog is a silhouette. We do know some of his likes and dislikes, though, so we have a teensy weensy bit to go on.

So what does Alex look like? Who should play him in his life story? Who does Alex remind me of? So many possibilities, but after much deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that he surely must be a combination of this:



Brief Bio:

When not writing the manual on Cosbalt defense tactics, Mr. Cavanaugh uses his ninja skills to create high intensity guitar riffs for space hero Byron's action sequences. That is, unless it's a IWSG first Wednesday of the month, when he circles the blogosphere showing support for insecure writers everywhere.

Want to see how other bloggers imagine Alex? Go here. Should be a rockin' good time. :)

And while I'm still gazing at the lovely Chris Pine picture above, have you seen the trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness yet?? *swoon*



How about you? Any thoughts on Alex? Or the latest Star Trek film? What movie are you looking forward to? Please share ....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How I Got My Agent

Um, what? Yeah, you heard me. :D

If you're here for the Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG), you're in the right place, and this post may lift your spirits. Since so many have been sharing my journey to publication with me, I wanted to make sure y'all were the first to know that I've signed with Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Agency.

(Yes I think of Geordie LaForge every time I say her name. lol)

With the bold new revolution in publication options, you may be wondering why I chose to go with an agent, and to be honest, I've strongly considered over the last few months if I really needed one. But I'll tell you, that after talking to Jordy about my project, I knew it was the move I wanted to make. She "got" my story and my characters, but even more, she wanted to make it better. That's what I'm talkin' bout. 

But let's rewind a bit here, to oh, somewhere in early September during the entries for a little event called GUTGAA, (AKA Gearing Up To Get An Agent,) hosted by the fantastic Deanna Barnhart. Now, Deana hosted this event last year on a much smaller scale, and it was a lot of fun, but this year, since Deana signed with her own agent, she went all out and un-agented writers were scrambling to get in during the submission windows for a chance to catch an agent's eye. There were two windows each for email entries of queries and first 500 words. Both closed within the first MINUTE! That's how big GUTGAA was.

We even trended on Twitter, and the party with the #GUTGAA tag at the time the windows opened was a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Not everyone made it in, of course. And believe it or not, I was one of the ones who didn't make it. I hit send at the exact second and was too late. The submission had filled. But you know, I was cool with that, and there were so many new writers that I had never met who HAD gotten in, it was just fun trying and being a part of the excitement.(Which I lovingly dubbed the GUTGAA Geek Train)

Later that night, though, Deanna sent me an email that said some of the entries were duplicates which made room for a few more, and mine was one of them. Yay! After not making the second round of Cupid's contest with the same story, this was total good news, BUT I still had to get past the writer review panel to make it to the agent round, and there was quite a nice line up of agents.

Long story short, my entry, The Desiree, made it with flying colors, which was super cool and made me feel all warm and fuzzy. During the very first day of the agent round I got a request right away--the only request I'd get. A partial from Jordy Albert, who at the time was with Corvisiero Agency.

To be honest, I wasn't familiar with Jordy, so I immediately looked up her bio on the agency website and after reading it I was like, "Wow she sounds perfect for my story." No joke, it was uncanny how well her interests fit my story. So I emailed her my partial the same hour she requested it and a few days later she requested the full. That was a great sign, and I still had some partials out with other agents, so I liked the speed in which Jordy operated. I also entered Pitch Live and got two more partial requests and sent those off.

About a week later, right before I was leaving for a cross country trip, Jordy emailed me back with an R & R. (revise and resubmit) She listed the things she liked and the things she didn't and said she'd be willing to take another look if I made some changes. Okay, I was excited about the R& R because that meant she liked it enough to give it another chance, PLUS she had an awesome idea for the ending that set a lightbulb off in my head. She told me in her email that she really liked my characters, and for me, that was the clencher, because that was the most important part of my story--is having someone "get" my characters.

So I was flustered with the revisions because I wanted to get to work, but I'm on my way to the west coast with kids in tote and not a lot of time to work on my story. Plus, the time zone changes would catch up with me and I'd just want to chill and do nothing that required brain power. But in between the traveling and fun, I stared at a notebook with Jordy's notes and tried to figure out what changes I wanted to make.

And then, after returning home and slaving away on my story, I sent it off to my outstanding critique partner, Kathryn Sheridan Kupanoff, who coincidentally just signed with her agent in the same month! And she, being the rockstar she is, read the whole thing in a few days time and had my notes back to me for some final tweaks, and off it went. Into Jordy's inbox for a second time.

About a week later Jordy responded that she loved the changes and the characters were awesome. (*blushes*) That's the enthusiasm I was hoping for--the kind that every writer longs to hear. But Jordy also had some news that she was leaving the Corvisiero Agency and starting up a brand new agency with Brittany Booker (whom you may know as Cassie Mae's agent if you follow Cassie's blog)

Of course, I had a few questions about that and Jordy answered everything. We talked on the phone about her endeavors with the new agency, as well as some additional tweaks to my story. And really this is what I dig about Jordy so much--she loves the story, but still sees how it can be better. That's what I want--to put out the best story I possibly can.

Plus, Jordy is smart and down to earth, and loves the Goonies and Dr. Who. ('Nuff said.)

I didn't feel it necessary to look further, so I notified the others with my partials and that was that.

The great news for you if you're querying, is that Jordy and Brittany of The Booker Albert Literary Agency are open to queries for YA and adult stories so you can query them anytime based on their instructions on their website. I'm stoked to be working with Jordy and excited for this joint endeavor.

Meanwhile, I'm in the revision trenches and making a mess of things polishing away. Thanks to these uber awesome beta readers who read The Desiree in its earliest form and gave me such valuable feedback and encouragement:

Mary Weibel
Susan Fields
Nicole Zoltack
Robin Hall
Jay Noel

and to my Chicago expert go-to guy, Michael di Gesu, who answered all things Chicago related at anytime I asked, thanks Michael!

Thanks for stopping by to share my story and announcement! What I've learned on this journey so far, is that yes rejections suck, but it's just the process we have to endure to get that one person who really gets it, who wants to make it work. Some find that agent/editor right away, others don't, but it's never a reason to stop looking. It feels great to find someone who is enthusiastic about our work and WANTS to invest their time and efforts into it. In terms of agenting, why would you want anything less?

Monday, December 3, 2012

And You Are...


Today Tammy Theriault and Emily King are hosting And You Are ... Blog Hop in which we answer some very unique, David Spade-ish questions. (love him) Thanks for stopping by here to share mine. I'll cut right to the chase (cuz that's just how I roll ...)

1. How many speeding tickets have you had?

Wow, I have no idea. Probably 2 or 3 in my life.

2. Can you pitch a tent?

Well not as well as my hubby. (And I'll just leave it at that.)

3. What was your worse vacation ever?

Only the one I never took. Seriously, I've never had a bad vacation. You know what they say, even a bad day of vacation is better than a good day at work. ;)

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?

Oh, man, I recently treated myself to the new Sony X headphones and so glad I did. They are amazing. I use them to shut out the world while I"m writing, or to jam to some tunes when I'm not. The sound is so clear and bass so perfect. Total splurge, but I'm loving it. So worth it.

5. We're handing you the keys to what?

My new avocado ranch on Maui

6. What was the last meal cooked that made even you sick?

I've never gotten sick from a homecooked meal before. Glad to say!

7. Fill in the blank: "Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt. It's so big. She looks like _____"

She'd be a lovely person on the inside. Wah wah wah. But I'd never make a comment like that so I can't fill in the blank. Homey don't play that.

8. What was your first car?

A green Volkswagen Rabbit. My parents didn't have money to buy me a brand new car, but they sprung for an old one and it was perfect. Love them for that.

9. When your best friend falls and gets hurt, do you laugh or ask if she's okay first?

Unless she's really hurt, it's a combination laugh/inquiry. Hey falls can be funny. I laugh at my own falls. Uh, that is, if I'm not hurt. ;)

10. What is the worse song ever?

Ugh I can't stand Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss a Thing. I do like classic Aerosmith, but that song is like torture. A perfect example of why rock bands should never go pop. Bad song, bad movie. 'Nuff said.

And that's a wrap! How about you? Are you participating too? Leave a comment so I can be sure to visit yours as well. If you're not, pick a question and answer it for me in the comments. I love to hear from you! Have an excellent week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby Face

Trisha at Words & Stuff is hosting the Baby Face Blogfest today. So check mine out below, then head over to Trisha's to see everyone else's.

Tomorrow is the "And You Are..." Blog hop hosted by Tammy Theriault and there's still time to sign up. Also, don't forget IWSG posting this Wednesday, Dec. 5. Be sure to check back here for a very special announcement. ;)

And here's yours truly from way back in 1976. I was just over two years old, and apparently not thrilled with washing dishes. Not much has changed. lol


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goonies Never Say Die!

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone had a nice weekend and Thanksgiving if you celebrated. On Sunday I turned 39 so I thought today would be a great day to post on my birthday treat to myself--which actually occurred last month.

When I was 11 I saw this movie called The Goonies in the theater and I walked out a change girl. Ah, youth! Since then, I don't know if I've ever had a feeling that compared to that one.

I mean, what more can you ask for than middle class kids finding a treasure map in an attic and setting out on an adventure?? Plus, the setting in Astoria, Oregon just called to me. I loved the houses, the rocky beaches, the rain. Everything about it made me wish I lived there, and I've always wanted to visit.



Last month I finally made the trek to Oregon for a writer's retreat hosted by the lovely and talented Carol Riggs. The retreat appealed to me because I know from Carol's blog what a great writer she is, and the price was ridiculously affordable. So Hubby and I tied in a family vacation with the retreat and spent the week in beautiful Oregon.

After a little online research, I found that, to this very day, The Goonies still has a cult following that visit the famed Goon docks house in Astoria. The owners of the house encourage it, actually. How cool is that?? My 7 and 6 year old came with us and I think were a little baffled why I cared about seeing the Goonies house, even though they've seen the movie, they just weren't old enough to appreciate.

But Astoria is probably one of the prettiest, uniquest towns in the U.S.  I've ever been to (besides Sausalito), and just as I suspected, I could easily envision myself living there and writing books. So in celebration of another bucket list accomplishment and my 39th birthday, I wanted to share some pictures with you:

The sign on the way up the hill to the Goonies house.

The Goonies house. (I wanna live there)

Almost all the houses in Astoria are gorgeous and unique with so much character.


The Goon docks


Beautiful Astoria neighborhoods

Bridge to Washington State


Famous Astoria column--actual stone etchings depicting the early settlers and Native Americans on the sides.

View from the top of the column after a kazillion stairs

The rich emerald forests of Oregon just blew my mind. Trees bigger than ever. SO amazing.

Goonies beach!! If only I would've had a doubloon!


 At Heceta Head Lighthouse

Our cabin in the woods. So rustic and fun. We had no TV and kids just had fun watching the fire and sleeping in the loft.
Beautiful Silver Falls. This state park gave me lots if inspiration for stories!

Famous Voodoo Donuts in Portland. The wait for donuts was 90minutes minimum so no, I didn't buy any. That's fellow blogger, McKenzie McCann on the bench next to my daughter.


And of course Powell's City of Books. Wow you can get lost in this place. Awesome book madness!

Carol Riggs. Stop by and say hello to Carol. She's a star! We had a super workshop / critique session in the quiet Aldersgate Retreat. So restful and productive.

Thanks for sharing my trip with me. I can honestly say it was worth the cross country trek in many ways. From fulfilling a childhood fantasy (no matter how silly) to meeting a few fellow blogger/ writer friends, to enjoying the gorgeous Oregonian scenery with my family, who never missed TV or internet one single time. :)

Oh, and if you don't know already, Trisha at Words & Stuff is doing a Baby Face Blogfest on Dec. 1 where bloggers post a picture of themselves in those chubby cheek years. Sign up today!

Have you ever been to Oregon? Is there somewhere you've always wanted to visit? Are you a Goonies fan too? What's on your bucket list? Please share ...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude

While Americans across the continent are getting in touch with their thankful side, I wanted to take the opportunity to show some of my gratitude to my friends in the blogosphere.

I'm thankful for:

* genuine friends, even if all I'll ever meet is your little floating head

* all the brainiac writers who never tire of sharing their brilliance

* giveaways! (even tho some self-promotion is involved)

* making new friends via contests and all the excitement that goes along with it

* pubbed writers extending a hand to un-pubbed writers on their path to publication

* funny posts!

* bloggers who remind me of important issues and those in need of help

* uplifting posts that inspire me to never give up

* book and movie recommendations, even when they're negative reviews

* your funny, heart-warming, and gracious comments on my posts

* that you take time to read my posts

THANK YOU!

And to my fellow Americans,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Monday, November 19, 2012

My Wildest Moment

Former wild child here so this is a hard one to narrow down, BUT Krystal Wade is hosting a Wildest Moments contest for the release of her new book, Wilde's Meadow.


And she wants to know our wildest LIFE-CHANGING moment, in celebration of her third book in the Wilde series. Like I said, I've never been deprived of wild moments, but most were spontaneous whimsy that didn't actually change my life.

Which led me to this one moment I'm going to share with you, because it made me into a better, stronger person. Sorry it's long.

When I was 21 I moved back to my hometown from college town and met someone, fell in love, and began a relationship. This guy, whom I'll call Bronx (since that's where he was originally from) was the kind of guy that is what I call magnetic. His charisma, his wit, his humor, his looks, his style. Everything about him was compelling. I fell hard, and we continued a three year relationship that I wish I could say was a bed of roses.

BUT ...

It was far from it. Bronx liked to flake out on the spur of the moment. He was young, like me, but also self-absorbed, and even though the stunts he'd pull could've been from mere immaturity, they were the kind of stunts that hurt and made me question what it was I wanted and needed in a relationship. Every day.

Ah, but love is so fickle and stubborn, isn't it?? It didn't matter what Bronx did to hurt me, I always found a way to forgive and get past it. I wanted it to work. I loved him, and I loved being with him. I was willing to sacrifice some of my convictions in order to have him in my life because he was that magnetic.

He proposed to me, at Thanksgiving, many years ago, and I accepted. We were engaged and I had a diamond ring. I was ecstatic. It all appeared to be working out and I was going to get to marry my guy. Except, every time I'd mention setting a date, he'd change the subject. Or shrug. After a few months, I began to understand that the engagement ring was not a beginning of a life together, but instead, a kind of layaway plan in exchange for my loyalty. He gave me a ring to keep me around while he went off and did his own thing. I came last. Our relationship came last. There were never any wedding plans.

I was utterly confused. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and instead, I spent most evenings alone in tears. I was 23 at the time (so young when I look back at it now) and I should've been at the top of my game. I was doubting everything about myself because the guy who asked me to marry him didn't really want me around. Oh, he'd call and stop by, as if he were doing me a great favor, but there was no depth to it.

I wondered what was wrong with me. How could I be better? What should I do to fix whatever mistakes I'd made? How could I change to suit him better? I didn't understand it was him and not me that needed some adjusting. The final straw was when my birthday rolled around and he never called.  That was it. He'd been elusive for months before then, but that was the real eye-opener. I was done.

So there I was: heartbroken and with zero confidence. Something had to change, and fast. In my wildest moment(s) of clarity, I took off the ring, put it away, and booked myself a trip to Europe. My family thought I was nuts, but I didn't care. I left it all behind and flew to Italy alone where I spent two weeks touring the country and re-discovering myself. Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany ... showed me there was so much beauty in the world and to stop feeling sorry for myself. I soaked in all the art and culture and architecture and it repaired what was broken inside me.

That trip was a self-defining experience that gave me back the strength and confidence Bronx had whittled away. This was all way before that book Eat, Pray, Love came out so it had nothing to do with that... pure coincidence.

When I came home, I was refreshed and renewed and %100 completely over Bronx. I didn't hear from him again until months later when he showed up un-announced to get the ring back. Yeah, the one he told me to keep. What a sleaze.

As luck would have it, I met the man I WOULD marry about a year later and he is everything I wanted and needed in a husband. Thankfully, I never married Bronx as I'm sure it would've resulted in a divorce and ever more unhappiness. These things have a way of working out.

Thanks so much for sharing my wildest moment with me. Do you have one to share? There's still time to enter the contest and help spread the word about Krystal's book! Click on the picture above to learn more. Or tell me about something in the comments. I love hearing from you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You

Greetings and happy Friday! Today is the I Miss You blogfest, hosted by Alex, Andrew, and Matt, where bloggers around the sphere are posting about bloggers they miss, and bloggers they would miss if they weren't around anymore.


It's a great chance to let your fellow bloggers/followers know how much they mean to you. That's why this blogoshpere is so awesome. So many genuine, caring peeps. And I'd miss all of you for sure, if you weren't around. Without you, my readers and commentors, this would all be in vain. So if you're reading this right now, THANK YOU! For being here, being my friend, and sharing life's journey. :D

A lot of bloggers seem to come and go, and a few that I visited when I was brand new to the scene aren't around anymore. Let's face it, it's impossible to get around to every blog every time, and it's understandable that some followers who used to be regulars with visits and comments, no longer are from life's other demands, or because they connect better with others and time is limited.

But without a doubt, there are two bloggers who never fail to visit me and comment, even though I fall behind and it takes me a few days to return the visit sometimes .... and if they disappeared, well I might have to have a good blubbering cry over it.

And they, of course, are Alex J. Cavanaugh and Old Kitty. I have a feeling they'll be mentioned quite a bit today, and it's no mystery why they're both so popular. Both are a perfect example of what good blogging is all about, and if either of them were to stop blogging/following, I'd feel the loss for sure.

And here are two bloggers I met in the very beginning, when my blog was just a fledgling, and they've let me grow alongside them with open arms. I'd miss them terribly if they ever disappeared: Leigh T. Moore and SA Larsen. They both stay loyal to their visits, despite their growing successes.

And you know, while I'm at it, I'm just gonna point a finger at DL Hammons because his awesomesauce Write Club is leaving him little time to visit blogs, and well, I kinda miss him. But I think we can all understand how busy he his, so you're excused, Mr. Hammons. Have yall checked out Write Club yet? Do it.

You know, blogging is so much fun and such a great way to connect. I've been able to meet a few in person already, Michael Di Gesu, Jen Daiker, Becca Puglisi, and just last month I met Carol Riggs and Victoria Lindstrom and McKenzie McCann in Oregon. I can't wait to meet more of you!

When is that worldwide blogger's con happening anyway? Let's all go! Maybe we should make it a cruise and all wear roller skates. :D

The bloggers I mentioned above are just a few, but truth is, I'd miss all of you, and I do miss you when you when you're absent. I know I'm bad about visits too. Sometimes it's all I can do to keep up. But if you're reading this right now, you're important to me, so thank you.

Are you participating in this blogfest? Is there a blogger you used to visit that's disappeared? Do you think it's important to let your followers know what they mean to you? Please share ...   

Monday, November 12, 2012

Craptcha Captcha

I couldn't resist this "Captcha Awareness" Day, so if you'll oblige me with a quick post that could very well pertain to you if you use Blogger ....


Around the blogosphere, bloggers are posting in effort to reduce the amount of captcha requirements that many still use on their blogs. If you do, no biggie. We still love you. We just wanna remind you that you can disable the feature and your followers will love you all the more for it.

Let's face it, the captcha phrases are blurry and hard to read and half the time I get them wrong when I enter them. This slows my blog visits down in a big way and reduces the amount of blogs I'm able to visit. Those blogs without the captcha feature are user friendly, and that's what we want when we blog, right?

If you're not sure whether this feature is enabled on your blog, take a moment to check and be a friend to your fellow blogger by disabling. If later you find bogus comments, you can always enable again. I've had mine disabled for two years now and never had a problem.

Here's what you do:

From your Blogger Dashboard go to Settings on the bottom left

There will be a sub menu. Select Post and Comments

From there you can select NO on Show Word Verification

Then just make sure to Save.

That's it! Plain and simple and your followers will thank you! Feel free to spread the word with your own post on how to remove the captcha craptcha. You can click on the pic above to find others posting about today.

What are your thoughts on captcha? Is there a reason why you've chosen to keep it? Will you help spread the word? Any news to share? Happy Monday!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG - Wednesday


You ever wonder if the reason why writers are so insecure is because we have to take so much criticism? In the world of fiction where tastes and preferences are so completely subjective, why should we really take anything to heart? As we all know, what works for one, can make another wanna puke their guts up. And the variety of stories and films already out their are a perfect example of how diverse people truly are.

So maybe we should try to remember that a little better while we're reading a rejection or bad review. That's not to be used as an excuse for learning the most we can about craft, but more as a comfort that as long as we are always striving to improve our craft, we will eventually succeed.

We never know when our next story will become the next bestseller. But we can believe, without a doubt, that if we keep trying our hardest, we will get pretty darn close.

If you're NaNo-ing this month, I"m sending some positive creative waves your way. Or if you're like me, and just kicking down the cobblestones, feeling groovy, then cheers to that! It's the month to be thankful and I'm so thankful for all of you who take the time to read, comment, and share this journey with me.

What's happening with you? Any news to share? Want to join IWSG? Click on pic above to get to HDQ for more deets. 

 

Monday, November 5, 2012

On Being Eighteen

So last week, Cally Jackson hosted a blogfest on memories of age 18. This was in part, due to her new release of The Big Smoke, a new adult story that I've mentioned on this blog before. Although, I'm late to the blogfest, I still wanted to post because I think this new (and somewhat controversial)  genre is so important.

Writers like Cally are slipping past the gatekeepers (who insist this age category is not relevant in today's market,) and paving the way for other authors, as well as bringing age appropriate content to readers who no longer fit the young adult category. Let's face it, 18 and no longer in high school is way different than 16 and still in the confines of high school life.

I graduated high school when I was 17 and got to start my "adulthood" a little early. When I turned 18 I was already in my first year at a local college and anxious to move out and be on my own. High school was great and all, and I had a steady boyfriend, but honestly, I was ready to start a new life.

I'd grown up in the same town with the same kids and don't get me wrong, I had an excellent childhood, but I felt the call of the wild. Big time. I was stifled by my parents' rules and felt my individuality had been stunted by the same old same old. And marrying my high school sweetheart just wasn't what I wanted until I'd had a chance to be my own person. (Yeah, I know, but hearts had to be broken.)So when my best friend decided to move to another city and asked me to be her roommate, I jumped at the chance.

We started college in a new town with our own apartment and although my school was paid for, it was up to me to work and pay rent. Meanwhile, my roomie was fully sponsored by her parents, and I admit that was a little hard to digest when I struggled to make ends meet, but it was also liberating because I got to call my own shots.

Being 18 and on my own for the first time ever was like I'd won the lottery. I'll always remember it as the best and in some ways hardest time of my life. When I finally got to shed the local trends of my hometown and become my own person, I flourished. I will never regret that choice. I was making adult decisions, even though I was a fledgling adult, and assuming responsibilities I'd never had before. I found my own style and developed my own tastes and discovered others who were similar. To say I made a few mistakes along the way, would be an understatement. I made a TON. But they were all mine.

That's why I strongly support the NEW ADULT genre as a separate genre. That age group is doing things younger teens aren't, and put in situations younger teens can't be put in. On the flip side, the difference between a 25 year old and age 18-23 is widely different. At 25 I was comfortable and confident in my shoes and I was on top of the world. But at that early adult stage beforehand, it's all so brand new.

Starting life after high school is like no other time. It can be scary and exhilarating and full of uncertainty. Stories that cater to that time frame are ideal, and I would've devoured them, had they been around.

There are many NA (new adult) writers out there and the genre is finally starting to grow. Small presses are recognizing the genre more and more. And there's even a NA Lit chat that happens every Thursday night at 9.

The NA Lit chat host happens to be an awesome writer/blogger friend of mine, EJ Wesley and what he's been able to do with these chats is amazing. You should check it out! There's a link to the right on my sidebar, but you can also go here for EJ's blog and the NA Lit chat homepage. The Twitter page is right here, too.

EJ has his own NA book out, as well as Cally.
And, psssst.... there's a NA eBook on the sidebar to the right here called FLOAT that just happens to be from yours truly. ;)

What are your thoughts on  the NA genre? Write it? Read it? Have you been to any of the chats? How about your own memories of being 18? Please share ...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breaking Rules

Happy Friday! Today I'm guest blogging over at the Dojo. Please stop by and say hello. I'm discussing breaking the writing rules. Would love to hear from you! Just click on the pic below!


Monday I'll be posting on memories from age 18. Have an excellent weekend!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween & the Witches Ball

The next few days there's a Halloween bloghop going on, hosted by Jeremy Bates. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I missed the first day yesterday. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of canceled flights and passengers missing everything from honeymoons, to cruises, to bar mitzvahs. Always breaks my heart a little. Right now work is just nuts. If you're bracing for the storm, stay safe!!

Makes me super glad I got back from Oregon when I did. (I'll be sharing pics on that soon!)

Anyway, back to  the bloghop .... Click on the pic below to get to HDQ and check out the other bloggers. We're talking about Halloween and scariest book and/or monster. But first! check out my post and my costume pics below ...


So I've mentioned before that werewolves were what scared the *bleep* outta me when I was a kid. As far as scary books go, I really found Stephen King's "It" to be immensely creepy. I think because he was genius enough to use a clown. I've always hated clowns (sorry clowns!)  They're supposed to be funny, but they've always creeped me out. I never wanted them to come near me when I was a kid.

But hey, this is coming from the little girl who hated visiting Santa too. lol The thought of sitting on some strange old man's lap really repulsed me. So I think I did it maybe once as a child and refused to ever do it again. I know, I'm mental .....

Which is a perfect segue into my Halloween costume for the annual witches ball!

This year's theme was "Alter Ego." I really could've used a lot of ideas for this, but I went with funny. I give you ....


Yep, that's me! Mental Patient Miss Piggy. lol  I wore a bathrobe and slippers, and of course the Piggy get up. Okay, so why Mental Patient Miss Piggy, you ask?? Well, I'm a little bit crazy. And as  I get older, the more I realize just how crazy I am. The idea of living in an institution in my bathrobe with medicine dosage and no responsibilities but working jigsaw puzzles, really enchants me. LOL

And Miss Piggy because for one, I do love food. And for two, I've been known to have Miss Piggy rages at certain times of the month. ;) And I've just always loved how the real Miss Piggy embraced who she was. (albeit a muppet) lol

Here are some more pics of the party and costumes:

                       Martha Stewart in prison clothes, Evil Queen, Little Red Riding Hood

                                                           Gold Digger and Cat Woman

                                                                Cruella DeVille

                                               
                                                 Super WOMBan and Suzie Homemaker

                                                                      Super Mom


                                                        Super Mom and Psycho Pig

                                           
                                                        Now for the fun treats!

                                                         
                              Kitty Litter Cake (tasted yummy but hard to overlook the obvious. lol)

                                                   Mini- mummies (pigs in blankets)


                                            Jack o'lantern puking cabbage salad


                                                 Fruit cocktail floating head


                                    The sign says "Men Cooking" with body parts in the pot. lol


One of the party favors: cookie that looks like melted witch with a hat and broomstick.

These party hostesses go all out with the favors and decorations and it's always a blast. It's a group of girls that I graduated high school with twenty years ago. (Wow, I'm old) And we're just now entering a 40th year of life together. (I turn 39 next month)

Anyway, my apologies if I've been behind in blog visits. I'm still trying to catch up from vacation. Wishing everyone a spooky Halloween! Are you dressing up? Have you already? Please share your costume and/or spookiest Halloween memory or monster in the comments!