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