Friday, March 29, 2013

A-Z, The Charge, & Bettie!

So in three days, bloggers around the sphere will be posting for the A-Z challenge. This will be my third year participating, and I've had a blast the last two. It's never too late to sign up. And it's not as hard as you may think. Short posts are the trend with A-Z and anything goes!

My first year I posted randomly on the letter of the day. Last year I used a theme of fave fictional characters from A-Z. This year I'm doing a combo of settings and villains. I couldn't decide which, so why not do them both, eh?

Both are equally important to a good story, and I'll be mentioning some of my faves and how they made it into my twisted little heart. <3

Speaking of settings, Sharon Bayliss is here today to lend some great info on hers. Her book, The Charge, is now out and it blends dystopia with alternate history. Check out her awesome trailer:

I asked Sharon specifically about her setting of an alternate Texas, and she's sharing some deets. Take it away, Sharon ...

Thank you to P.K. for welcoming me to her blog! I will be sharing the geography of the "other West" from the alternate world of The Charge.

In The Charge, Texas never joins the United States and instead becomes it's own nation -- a monarchy. At this time, much of the West was still under Mexican control. In the real timeline, the U.S. wins this land from Mexico in the Mexican-American War. However, in the alternate timeline, it's Texas that fights for this land and wins it, making much of the Western U.S. part of the Texas Empire.

The border of the Texas Empire is the border of Spanish Mexico created by the Adams-Onis Treaty (with the exception of Colorado – which was taken by the U.S. in the Gold War of 1858). The Empire includes all of real-world Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oklahoma’s panhandle, part of Kansas, and a small part of Wyoming. Later, The Empire also acquired Louisiana and Arkansas during the Civil War.

Cool Map insert:

So would you be living in the Empire or the U.S. in the alternate world?

If you are living in the Empire, here is a guide to which territory you're living in:

Texas Territory – Shaped like the Republic of Texas from 1836 (see map above, that's right, the Lone Star State has lost it's recognizable shape in The Charge.)

New Mexico Territory – Shaped like the southern half of the New Mexico Territory from 1850, includes Arizona, New Mexico, and the bottom part of Nevada. Yes, there is no Arizona in The Charge. Sorry guys. :)

California Territory – Same as real modern-day California.

Territory of Deseret – Modern day Utah; In 1850, the second King of Texas, signed an agreement with Mormon leader Brigham Young to create the Territory of Deseret. If you know your history, you know that this is based on very real history. In 1849, LDS leaders proposed the State of Deseret but the U.S. never recognized it.

Nevada Territory – Most of modern-day Nevada; Although it seemed that Wilde’s handing over of land to Young was a sign of relinquishing control, Wilde had cards up his sleeve. He had his reasons for only giving Young the Eastern half of the Utah Territory. He knew that the western half included substantial gold and silver deposits, and made this land into the Nevada Territory and kept it under Wilde control.

Navajo Territory – The northern half of the New Mexico Territory; The second King of Texas signed over half of the New Mexico Territory to Navajo Chief Maneulito in 1858, in a treaty intending to end Navajo/Texan fighting in the New Mexico Territory, giving Maneulito Lordship over the area. This idea was inspired by the real Navajo nation.

Louisiana & Arkansas Territories - Shaped just like the real states.

So there you go! Did you find where you would be living in the alternate timeline?

Thanks again for having me! I hope you enjoyed the alternative take on the geography of the U.S., based on real history.

Thanks so much, Sharon! And wowsers! So much historical research goes into these types of stories. You can find and learn more about Sharon on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Also click here to enter her rafflecopter giveaway!  Includes book swag, as well as Amazon and Stabucks gift cards!

And of course, you can purchase The Charge from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Also add it to your GoodReads list right here.

On a side note, there's a brand new pixie in the Pixie Patrol fairy faculty.

Introducing, Bettie Bookpage to the mix:

Keep those pages turning with Bettie at your side! Nothing worse than bothersome interruptions while trying to get a little reading in. That's why our resident voracious reader Bettie weaves her protective aura, offering the peace and quiet every bookworm needs. Bring on the adventure! Heat up the romance! Grab your book and slip away to another world because Bettie’s got your back.
You can find Bettie and all the Pixie Patrols by clicking on the icon in my sidebar, or learn more by clicking here. 
And the amazing Elizabeth Seckman is giving one away on her blogoversary! So head over and congratulate Elizabeth, and enter to win! 
Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm still trying to catch up with new followers since being blitzed, so if I haven't got to you yet, I will! I appreciate everyone who takes time to comment. Happy Easter weekend to those who celebrate! Are you doing A-Z? If so, do you have a theme? If not, do you plan on hopping around to others? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blitz Appreciation & Time Travel

Is it Wednesday already? And you say it's almost April?? Holy cow I need to get on the ball. o_O

First of all, THANK YOU so much for the awesome, supportive, feel-good day you all gave me yesterday with the first BLOG BLITZ. I was so surprised and flattered. It really did give me SUCH a great day. When I checked my blog early morning and saw 162 comments I said "huh?"

218 comments later, I now know what it's like to live a day in Alex J. Cavanaugh's shoes. lol

I'm so excited for other bloggers to share in the magic of the blitz. This is going to be such an fantastic way to meet new bloggers and offer a darn big group hug to  the ones we already know.

Thanks to DL Hammons who came up with this brilliant idea to spread the blog love. It's going to be spectacular!

If you're shaking your head you don't know what BLOG BLITZ is, check my sidebar for the picture right up top and click on it to get to HDQ and learn more. Then, come back to my previous post below and feel the love.

I had fun tweeting lots of great comments. I couldn't tweet all of them, but that doesn't mean I didn't adore each and every one. If you check the Twitter hashtag #BlogBlitz, you'll find some of the funnier snippets. Figured it was a great way to share this project with others, and if any of you want to carry on the twitter torch during future Blog Blitzes, be my guest!

Now for my regularly scheduled program....

Today, I'm guest posting over at Ellie Garrett's blog and I'm talking about time travel. Here's your chance to weigh in on the topic. Please hop over to Ellie's uber cool blog and lend your two cents!

And thanks again for stopping by today, and for all the blog love yesterday! ((HUGS)) to all!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Top Ten Best Movies

As part of the Top Ten Movie Countdown blogfest hosted by the Blogfather himself, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, I'm sharing my medley of fantasy, family, sci-fi, adventure, and romance!

Click on the pic to get to HDQ and check out all the entries. If you're a film buff like me, this should be a fun day! After my weekend at MegaCon in Orlando, I'm psyched to talk about movies today. Everything from life size Star Wars characters, including actual working R2D2 units approaching you and trying to communicate ... to the delorean complete with flux capacitor and life size daleks from Doctor Who, lots of inspiration. Not to mention all the amazing comic book and anime artists.  And you should've seen the Lego pit! They had the complete set of Lost the TV show built out of Legos.

AnyWho ....

My top ten in no particular order ...

1. ROMANCING THE STONE  -- Yep, this one has to be my fave of all time. I think I was like eleven or twelve when it came out and it was everything I love about great stories. Adventure, romance, treasure maps, jungles, clues, and the main character is an author. Probably no coincidence I often look like this today while writing in my PJs:

Joan Wilder fans unite! :D

2. JAWS-- Okay so I'm a HUGE shark fan. I don't know why, they just fascinate me and this movie is a staple. Maybe it's the 70s setting that lulls me in, or the ending with 3 unlikely fisherman stuck in a small boat with the same goal, but this film is my pacifier if I can't go to sleep. Hubby laughs 'cause I find it soothing. Yep, I'm weird like that.

3. FORREST GUMP -- Super stellar soundtrack for one, and I just love the feelgood story. Plus, Tom Hanks is brill!

4. STARDUST -- This one's a close runner up for my number one spot. It's got everything I love about a great story, plus the fun of magic!

5. TRISTAN & ISOLDE -- Probably my fave romantic film. Makes my heart flutter every time. James Franco as Tristan is pure perfection here.

6.  STAR TREK IV -- After reviewing ALL the films not too long ago, I have to say that number 4 is my fave. Such a great story and so many fun parts! The world will forever be using the phrase, "colorful metaphors."

7. LOTR -- After this trilogy I was actually depressed there wouldn't be anymore. That's how much I loved them. But lo and behold, Peter Jackson came through to do The Hobbit, which is one of my fave books of all time. I've considered sending him a thank you card. ;)

8. THE GOONIES -- My childhood fave that changed me for all time. I think my entire universe shifted after seeing this one in the theatre and it was so comforting to know there were filmmakers in existence that understood me. lol

9. BRAVEHEART -- A must watch for me every few years. Nothing gets me more psyched than a William Wallace call to action!

10. OFFICE SPACE -- Because I have to include a comedy, this one makes me laugh EVERY time and I often feel like the main character with my corporate job and the constant rut I live in while doing it.


But alas, I must stop somewhere. Here's some fun pics from MegaCon:

Jawa in the midst ...

Dalek costume (there's a little girl inside and her dad's dressed as Dr. Who behind her. )

And the attack of Roxy the rancon from Return of the Jedi. My son ain't scared he's ready to take her down.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Are you participating in the blogfest? If not, what are some of your fave movies? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indie Life

Today's the day indie writers around the blogosphere come together to share, support, and encourage. While I'm not an indie author yet, it's something I strongly support and like to keep on top of.

Here's some great news for indie authors, and those considering:

Self-pubbed title, Wait for You, hits number 1 on eBooks bestseller list for first time! 

and blogger/author Nathan Bransford plans to self-pub his how to write a novel guide.

If that's not encouraging, I don't know what is. Click on the picture above to get to the the Indelibles' blog and see more bloggers participating.

I'm taking the rest of the week off from blogging since my kids are out for Spring Break. But I'll be hopping around visiting yours.

Do you have any indie news to share? Are you on Spring Break? Thanks for stopping by!  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Un-Gifted's Gift

All day yesterday I was feeling anxious. It was conference night at my kids' school and I feared the worst. Not so much with my second grader because I knew he was doing fine, although not always showing his best work, but on target in the necessary areas.

It was my first grader my mind was reeling over.

Now, I've always known my daughter is witty and funny and a delight to be around. She makes us laugh or say, "Aw, so cute!" every day. But when it comes to study habits and academics, it's a struggle. Schoolwork for her is a have-to, not want-to. I get that. I was like that in school too. Under-achiever of the year. Every year. LOL. I never flunked out or anything, but unless the subject interested me, it wasn't worth my best effort. And homework was something done right before class started in the mornings.

Mind you, this is a terrible way to be and Hubby and I are desperately trying to instill better study habits in our kids. We want the best for them, obviously, and understand it won't always be easy getting them to understand that.

Aside from that, most of my close friends have gifted children. Even my relatives. School is easy for their kids--even understimulating--and they don't have to struggle at all. Talking about kids and school  with these friends and family is like me making a science project for the MIT science fair. Totally out of my league. Don't get me wrong, I think it's fab so many of my friends and relatives have gifted children and hope to see everyone of them highly successful! But when my little girl is struggling to spell easy words and mixing up addition with subtraction, sometimes I feel like I live on a different planet.

So when it was time for the conference with her teacher I was biting my nails. Almost certain I'd hear the words she wasn't going to move on to second grade. I already had my speech ready--I'd promise to get her a tutor and work hard all summer if she could pretty please go on to second grade.

Her teacher started with the good news, that my daughter's the best in her reading group and has come such a long way since the beginning of the year. Phew! That was a relief. I knew her reading had improved immensely and we read EVERY night. But that wasn't the part I was worried about. Her writing (go figure!) and math are where she struggles.

BUT! Her teacher said she will move onto second grade, and does think a tutor would be helpful (since she hates learning from her mom. Go figure!) and that she rushes through the work instead of taking the time. I knew that already. No news to me there. I was relieved to hear she'd make to second grade.

Marginal note here ------>  I love working with my kids and teaching them, but they don't like learning from me--they just don't see me as a teacher in that aspect, which is hard for me, but it is what it is. And while I strongly believe their school is vital to their success, neither do I want to stress out a 6 year old about it either. They have their whole lives to be stressed. I believe childhood should be about learning, as well as blossoming into likable, confident individuals. <End of soapbox rant>

Then came the news I was expecting: she's having trouble with writing and math and needs lots of work. *sweat beads on my forehead* But then! Her teacher went on to say that we shouldn't worry too too much. Huh?

I stopped to listen.

This teacher is an older lady, been teaching over 20 years, and a tiny bit intimidating. Sometimes she can sound militant and curt, but I also know she genuinely cares for her students. She had my full attention, and she looked into my eyes and said something that lifted the academically ungifted  weight right off my shoulders. She said aside from my daughter's struggles, she is a kind, happy, helpful little girl. One who goes out of her way to pat another kid on the back if they're feeling sad. She radiates joy with a genuine spirit. (I'm sure my eyes were twinkling at this point.) Teacher went on to say that, while her academic performance needs to improve, these other qualities are so much more important--that she's taught genius kids who didn't have an ounce of respect or personality, and that, as parents, we should be proud of the amazing person our daughter is.

*sniff sniff* I almost hugged that teacher right then.

While it's not the exact words every parent dreams of hearing when imagining the success of their children, it made me stop and appreciate my daughter's strengths. It reminded me that, as people, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. As writers, our stories all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Which is why we need each other. *insert People Who Need People song here*

If we were all self-sufficient and brilliant in every way we wouldn't need anyone and thus, live a lonely life. It was a perfect reminder that we all shine in our own way--and the bits that don't shine, can, after lots of polishing.

And here's someone who is gifted and shining brightly today. I'm sure her mom is extra proud!!

Jessica Mckendry's YA book is out for sale today and it's awesome! Super excited for her. Click on the gorgeous cover below to purchase.

 Exploring the nature of self-reliance and self-confidence, McKendry delivers a perceptive, nuanced portrait of the importance of teamwork and the strain it puts on individual desires and motivations. Playing with the concepts of dark and light, her novel is a complex coming of age story that encapsulates the complicated hero’s journey from student to leader. A dark tale of love and revenge, From the Ashes is a powerful reminder to think for yourself instead of blindly following what you’ve been taught to believe   

Find Jessica on her blog here. And on GoodReads here. Congrats Jess!

And to everyone else, thanks so much for stopping by! Have an excellent weekend! Do you let your strengths shine over your weaknesses? Have you, at times, overlooked your own gifts? Or your childrens'? Has a teacher helped you see the light when you least expected it? Please share ...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IWSG / Sweets Blogfest / & More!

So much going on today and around the blogosphere! To start, it's the first Wednesday of the month when writers everywhere come together for a virtual group hug through the Insecure Writer's' Support Group.

Click on the picture above to get to HDQ and see the list of participants. It's a given most writers battle with insecurity regarding their work, right? Right. Or else this group wouldn't exist. But I want you to take this moment right now (yes, now!) to stop and think about what it means to be a writer. To express oneself through word choice. To stir emotion by reaching down deep into the soul and spilling it out on paper (or blog posts.)

If you're a writer, you are truly blessed. You have a talent and skill that no one can ever take away from you. You will always have your words, your poetry, your unique way of seeing the world and people. Even God Himself chose writers to put down his message. His preferred method of reaching generations of people was through prophets who wrote down His inspired word.

We have a gift.

So leave the insecurity aside today and be proud! You are a writer. Let the world hear you ROAR!

Here's some roaring writers right here! Beth Fred and Kelly Hashway are hosting the Sweets Blogfest to share their sweet romance releases. Big congrats to Beth who just signed with her agent! So exciting!

You can learn more about Beth's and Kelly's books by clicking on the links to their names above, as well as more from the blogfest. And they want to know my fave sweet. That's a no-brainer for me .... CHOCOLATE! The darker the better. What can I say, it's like writer crack for me. I crave it. I get anxious without it. I need a fix or I'm a royal you-know-what. Oh wait, that's coffee ... but chocolate is right up there too. ;)

BTW I have a sweet romance posted over on Wattpad. I'm posting chapter by chapter of an old YA romance as I get it re-edited and it's been fun to revisit. If you're on Wattpad click over and follow me and I'll be sure to follow back!

Also, I wanted to mention two very special writers whose stories are making their way around the web. You may have heard of Chad Morris and Bridget Zinn. If not, their stories will touch your heart. Please click over to Elizabeth Seckman's blog for more deets on them. She presented them perfectly and I really hope you stop by to learn more about them.

The fabulous Krystal Wade has her YA book, Wilde's Fire, free today! Check it out by clicking here.

And on the news front, everyone over at Pixie Patrol HDQ is all a flutter over the newest pixie to join the faculty. Introducing CLEMENTINE CLOCKWORK

This steampunk pixie never minds hiking up her petticoats to get get greasy with cogs and clockwork. She simply slips on her goggles and gets busy. Smart as a whip and spunky too, Clementine proves any girl can get the job done when she sets her mind to it. 

Click the icon on my sidebar for more info on all the Pixie Patrols and their specialties. 

(Lots of clicks today, eh?) ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by on this very busy Wednesday! If you're in the U.S. mid - Atlantic region, best of luck weathering the storm! It's even cold down in FLA. Brrr .....

So are you feeling the writer pride today? Do you have a favorite sweet? Have you "liked" the Pixie Patrol Facebook page? Feel free to share anything at all! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

3-2-1 Blast Off .....

Today, the Overcoming Adversity Anthology is blasting off! You remember a few weeks back bloggers around the sphere posted real life stories, flash fiction, poems, etc. on overcoming adversity? Well they've all been put into eBook format by Nick Wilford, and being sold as a fundraiser for his stepson with cerebral palsy. Soon to be in print as well!

This is such a great thing (and genius!) to do. My piece, along with many others, are included in this anthology and it's available now at

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Also can be found on GoodReads. Be sure to mark it as "to read" with a quick click on the GoodReads name. It's such a great way to pay it forward. This isn't just another indie novel, this is a book filled with encouragement from your friends and mine, for a very worthy cause ...

This guy right here:

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of Andrew around the blogosphere today. Learn more about him and Nick Wilford at Nick's blog Scattergun Scribblings. If everyone buys from one of the links above over the next few days, we can all help put Overcoming Adversity on the map. 

Also, Sharon Bayliss' book, The Charge is out for sale now on Amazon. Sharon will be here in a few weeks to share a bit about her book. It sounds incredibly cool. 

Have you heard about Overcoming Adversity? Do you have a piece published inside? If not, is there a time you overcame adversity? I'd love for you to share it in the comments! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Back from the Future!

Happy March, bloggie friends! And welcome to the Back From the Future Bloghoop! *insert Huey Lewis theme song here*

Hosted by M Pax, Suze, and Nickie Elson. Here's what they want to know:

You're up before dawn on a Saturday when the doorbell rings. You haven't brewed your coffee so you wonder if you imagined the sound. Plonking the half-filled carafe in the sink, you go to the front door and cautiously swing it open. No one there. As you cast your eyes to the ground, you see a parcel addressed to you ... from you.

You scoop it up and haul it inside, sensing something legitimate despite the extreme oddness of the situation. Carefully, you pry it open. Inside is a shoebox -- sent from ten years in the future -- and it's filled with items you have sent yourself.

What's in it?

"What the...?" Slamming the door shut, I carry my treasure to the sofa and extract the first item: a silver cuff bracelet. Instinctively, I put it on. Perfect fit. 

Feeling energized, I reach in for the next item and hold up a golden ticket stub. It says, "Admit one: Filmfest." I set it aside, struggling to contain my curiosity and excitement. 

Looking inside the shoebox again I see only one more item. A simple postcard with a Hawaiian landscape on the front. Gazing longingly, I turn it over. It says, 

"I know things can seem uneventful at times--like you're spinning your wheels and nothing's paying off, but keep your spirits up. Ten years from now, you'll be sitting in your own box seat at the Cannes film festival, in which your very own film you produced from your successful novel is being honored. I've included the ticket stub to prove it. Keep it as a reminder to always press forward. It's worth it. "

"P.S. the bracelet is a metabolism booster quite popular with today's writers nowadays. It burns fat while you're sitting down and keeps your appetite at a minimum, as well as your body evenly caffeinated. Plus it's %100 safe and effective! Thought you could use a little head start in that direction. Don't worry, I've got your back!"

lololol ! Ah, the writer's life! And I just love Back to the Future--watched it with the kids for the first time the other day. Explaining time travel to a 6 year old can be tricky, but I think she's got the hang of it now---especially after all those Doctor Who episodes following. ;)

Click on the pic above to get to bloghop HDQ and read all the entries! Such fun!

Also, FYI for teen writers or for anyone who knows a teen writer, a writing boot camp is coming up and you should check it out! Click here for more deets. It's only $5 to attend online, and Lois over at Teen Author Boot Camp is offering a free subscription to one person who comments here, so be sure to include you're interested when you leave a comment. And don't forget to check out the links to learn more! 

Also, visit, Writers Cubed. 

Hope everyone has an outstanding weekend! I'm looking forward to reading all the posts! And BTW Happy Dr. Seuss Day! 

Are you participating in the bloghop? If not, what would future-you leave present-you? Know any teen writers who could benefit from boot camp? Please share ...