Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Something For Writers...

Hey all! I hope you're having a good week so far.

Now, I usually don't push books on here unless I've reviewed them or someone has contacted me to join a virtual tour. Anything on my own is slightly unusual, but not unheard of. On that note, I want to share a book link with you all that has helped me SO much this weekend.

It's for this book right here:






You can find the e-book on Amazon for just .99 cents.

I read the introduction about a week ago, then put it down because it was late at night and I didn't want to get sucked in.

Then, the other night, I pulled it up again, just before bed and well, got sucked in. Ha!

I'm currently writing a short story based on the first prompt, I've figured out what to do with two other stories I've been mulling over in my brain for some time now and I haven't read this book beyond the first prompt.

I love it!

A friend of mine also downloaded it when it was on Bookbub listed as free and she's been working with the prompts just about every day. I've been handwriting the one short story and have been writing almost every day myself. It's helped me a lot. So, if you don't have it, give it a whirl. It's a good deal!

Have a good rest of your week!

Do you like writing prompts? Why or why not? Do you look for them in a book or online?

Monday, February 2, 2015

What I've Been Doing...

So I'm trying to get back into my writing groove. The whole tricking myself, or rewarding myself has been working. The other night I got an idea in my head and was watching TV, so I quick grabbed one of my many notebooks and wrote it down.

Now, I call these flash fiction pieces because they're super short and you get the idea of the story being told. It is helping me enhance my story-telling. I'm trying to get more in depth details of the surroundings as well as the people, because apparently that is something I am lacking. Which, is true, and I'm trying to change that.

The last piece I did with the pirate battle has been one of my best, so far. The one I wrote the other night is still in my notebook, but it's kind of sad, so I'll wait to share that one. So far, all of this has sparked my writing once more and I am trying to take the time to work on things.

I have a zombie story in my brain. It's basically a dystopian style, but it is definitely something I have never done before. I'm trying to figure out the tone of it all, but I think it would be a hit, especially if I can incorporate all the details I see in my mind's eye.

Wish me luck!

So what do you have waiting in the wings? What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whipping Myself Into A Routine...

I've decided that since I am spending far too much time on the internet and not enough time writing, that in order to get back into a routine, I've got to trick myself.

So I am making myself write before I do anything online, be it Facebook or gaming or whatever. It doesn't matter the amount, the length of time, or even content. I have to write before I "reward" myself with doing other stuff.

Jewelry has even been put off these days. Mainly because I don't have a good enough space to work on it. I can go back to my little T.V. tray, but at night, the lighting is not very good in the living room. So, until I get decent lamps, it's on hold. Which is all right. Writing is what I want to be doing, now that I have my computer desk. I have everything (well, almost everything) I used to have around me. My map is up on the wall, I have my index cards and index card files, I have my binders with all my notes... whoa, wait... Just realized my main binder is missing.

Crap.

I'll have to find that later.

For the most part, I have everything I need. So whether it be a blog post or flash fiction, or even some revisions, I've got to write something before I can have fun. Sounds reasonable, right? And if I was truly worried about getting into a game or something, this post would look like this:

"I'm rewarding myself for writing ANYthing so I can play Guild Wars 2. See ya."

Ha! But not only would that be cheating, I'd be cheating you out of the time you are taking to read this as well as cheating myself of some good quality writing time.

Did I mention it is also nice and quiet at my house? That's another reason for writing something. Love my granddaughter to bits, but she's hitting that age where she's learned the power of the screech. So I'll take what quiet time I can. Never realized before just how important that was to me.

The things you learn, right?

Hope you have had a good week so far and continue to have a good rest of the week.

What are some of the silly things you do to get yourself to write? Do you need noise or quiet? Music or silence?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Flash Fiction...

The long irons thundered around them and fire crackled like lightning. The screams of dying men filled the air like background music of some macabre symphony. Men fought in the water, between the two behemoth ships, unaware of the collision course. Just as two men swung into the air, cutlasses drawn, the bow of both ships connected with a resounding crack of wood that rose above the noise of the fight. More men lost their balance with the collision and were tossed mercilessly into the drink to fight for their lives as embers drifted down like fiery snow. The Captains, locked in combat on one ship, lurched at impact, but did not lose their footing.
"Now you owe me a ship, as well," Alyxsander snarled at his one time friend and crewmate.
"Me? It was your ship that ran into mine!" Rastuff growled back, incredulous.
"If you hadn't taken my gold, started a mutiny and tried to run off with my sister, we wouldn't even be here in the first place!"
The two men grappled, then pushed off of the other. Alyxsander parried a blow, then quick like a striking snake, pierced Rastuff's chest with a lunge.
Rastuff looked down at the blood that bloomed from his chest, soaking his shirt. His fingers loosened and his blade rang out one final time as it struck the deck. He crumpled to his knees, his eyes fixed on Alyxsander's face.
"She loved me," he whispered. "She came to me. I did not pursue her because you were my friend."
Alyxsander turned as pale as his former friend, eyes wide, as the man toppled to his side, dead..

~Artwork titled "Hellstorm" by Anastasia Bulgakova




Friday, January 16, 2015

Using Twitter To Your Advantage...

Even though I've been "radio-silent", I'm still reading stuff out there that is writing related. The one thing I keep seeing is using Twitter. Lots of people want to use it to help promote their writing and they should! I've blogged about this before, but I offered up a lot of info and might have overwhelmed people. I'm going to attempt to break it down even further. But this post might run long, so bear with me.

Just to be clear, Twitter isn't about who you are following, or about who is following you. That is important, because people following you will see all your Tweets. But those who are NOT following, can see them as well. How? Well, read on!

The very first thing you have to do is compose your Tweet.

Composing: You are only allowed a maximum of 140 characters. Not words. Characters. This is each letter, space and punctuation! If you are just starting to use Twitter, you're probably thinking, "How the hell can I communicate about my book with so few characters????".

The answer is: Creativity!! Trust me. It'll be fine. "But I don't want to sound like a caveman, either.". 

Well, you won't.

Here's my Tweet Trick: I write out what I want. Then I figure out a way to shorten it and then figure out which words should have a Hashtag. Then I add my book link. So, for example, I wrote out this Tweet:

Readers and Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing Dungeons and Dragons. You don't ever want to be without them.

Okay, now first of all, that is close to 140 characters. Left me with 11 characters to spare. Seriously, it will get irritating, but it will also get easier. But at the end of that Tweet, is my book link. Which was too long and made Twitter spaz out. So, I played around with the Hashtags to see if I could shorten it somehow.

First of all, you can search just about any Hashtag. Up in the upper right corner of Twitter, you'll see a SEARCH box. Your Tweet you are composing, it won't go anywhere, so go ahead, type in a search for a Hashtag word and then click on HOME to get back to what you were doing. I typed in #Dungeons and Dragons and discovered it was there, but without spaces. So it ended up looking like this:

#DungeonsandDragons

Which got rid of two characters and shortened my post by two. Now I have 13 to spare! Woohoo! But I still had to add in my book link. Well, I shortened that, too. How? Go to Bitly.com. You can shorten just about any link there to work with Twitter.

Now, after you have composed your Tweet, checked for Hashtags, shortened your book link and Twitter says, "Okay! You can Tweet this, now!", your Tweet should look like this:

#Readers and #Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing #DungeonsandDragons, you don't ever want to be without them. http://amzn.to/1dwb0ef
 

Hashtags: Hashtags (These little guys: #) are very useful when you are about to use Twitter. Just about everything you can think of has a # (hashtag). Hashtags allow you to reach a LOT of people . Especially Trending hashtags, but I'll get to those in a second. Like I said before, searching for a hashtag is easy. Type it in the search box and see what happens. If you don't see a lot of other Tweets with your hashtag of choice, don't use it. You want ones that seem to have a lot of posts. People use these hashtags in different context, but that doesn't mean they won't see it. And these people don't have to follow you, or you them, to see it. Anyone else searching for that specific hashtag can see your post.

In my Tweet, I've got three. So I've reached "Readers", "Fantasy" and "DungeonsandDragons" people. What's even cooler? I've had people I don't follow, or who don't follow me, "favorite" my Tweet (which is similar to "Liking" on Facebook) and I got the notification. If they like your Tweet, they can "ReTweet" what you've Tweeted. Which reaches people who follow them. So by adding in hashtags, you're reaching thousands more than just your followers.

Trending Hashtags: Now, Trending Hashtags are even more awesome than just a regular hashtag. To the left of your scrolling main screen of Twitter, you have "Trends". Most of these will have a hashtag, some will not. But if you are clever, and you are, because you are a writer, you can work these into your Tweets.

Right at this moment, I have a trend of "#FiveWordsToRuinADate". If I really wanted to, I could Tweet something like this:

"I'm fluent in Tolkien's Elvish might be #FiveWordsToRuinADate, but let your geek show anyway! #Read #fantasy! (booklink)"

And I did. Ha!

This is the basics of Tweeting on Twitter. If you don't want to go through all that hassle all of the time, I do recommend making a list of your best posts and keeping them handy in a Word document. Something you can just open up and copy and paste from. The Trending Hashtags will always change, so you'll have to keep making up new ones, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. You don't have to use the trending ones, but I highly suggest it, to reach more people.
 
So, now you know how to compose the Tweet, shorten the links, add hashtags and all that good fun stuff. Go forth and Tweet! Let me know how it works out for you. Also, let me know if this has helped you at all. I'd appreciate your feedback in the comments.

Got any advice? Any Tweet Tips? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm Still Here...

 Hello all my lovely fellow authors and readers and followers! I know, I've been stuck in limbo yet again, trying to get back into the old routine.

Much more difficult than I anticipated, especially with work. It's an issue, but I'm working on correcting things. Scheduling will become my friend again.

At the moment, I haven't really been writing much, or revising. I do have an editor lined up for book two and I'm excited, but I'm dealing with the whole, "Am I really good enough to be doing this?"

I'm confessing, here. I've read some pretty bad reviews of my book and I thought I had a thicker skin, but they affected me. Granted, the one review I saw that was pretty bad, the person put a link to THEIR book at the end of it all. So, I sort of blew that one off. That just made me upset, and I don't want to take their comments seriously.

But I have to stop writing for other people. This is my story and yes, "Adversarius" was my first book. It's a rewrite of something else that came out much better than the first one. So I do keep improving. And I am aware of my improvements. This current story, with "Adversarius", is my introduction into my world. It's my way of bringing people in and showing them what my characters are up against.

Yes, the plot is not the best. Yes, I have a LOT of characters to deal with. (Which I am learning to manage better.) Yes, I use typical Fantasy elements and names. I know a lot of people don't like the "hard to pronounce" names or using an apostrophe in the middle of a word to make it look like "Fantasy". Honestly, this is stuff I enjoyed reading. I'm a tabletop gamer girl gone cyber gamer. I grew up on typical fantasy and hard to pronounce names.

Yeah, I'm defending my work. I really shouldn't be, but I suppose this is a way for me to come clean with myself, and you, about why I'm slacking again. The wind is passing right through the tears of my sails. I also swear I have adult ADD. I try to finish all of my projects. Writing is one thing I just can't seem to stop doing. So even though I have been silent on the internet for awhile, it doesn't mean I've halted everything. Trying to juggle lots of projects with work and family. Something tends to give, in that respect. Sadly, it's been my writing. 

I am going to get back to it. In fact, I've signed up for a 5 week online writing course. I want to better myself as a writer. I know I will still get bad reviews, but I need to create a thicker skin, to let those reviews roll off my back. I enjoy writing, tremendously, and it is something I will fight to continue.

Thanks to all of you who stick around and still read my blog. I need to get on here more, because that does help me get into a routine and work on my writing skills. Feel free to give me a kick in the backside!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, Happy New Year...

I could go through the whole list of holiday greetings, but I'm lazy. We'll leave it at that, because I know you are all smart enough to figure out what I mean!

Holidays are good this year. I've been busy working and my schedule is a bit wonky, so haven't worked on revisions in two weeks. Once the holidays are over and things settle around here back to what we laughingly call "Normal", I can get back to it! So excited.

But I wanted to make sure that I wish you all a festive couple weeks, if you celebrate. If you don't, well, I'm sure you'll find a way to pass the time and ignore the rest of us. Still, whether you celebrate or not, be safe out there! Accidents don't care if or how you celebrate the season.

I'll see you all in the New Year! And I'll leave you with a couple funnies:



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: The Curse Merchant by J. P. Sloan...

Title: The Curse Merchant

Author: J. P. Sloan

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

File Size/Book Length: 1716kb/256 pages

ASIN: B00NLFAYCA

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble (This book was free for a time on Amazon, which is where I got my copy.)


About:

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed.

He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own.

As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

My Thoughts:

Okay, let me just say first of all, that my track record with getting free e-book listings from BookBub has not been the greatest. In fact, 90% of those books need a good editing job, or just need to be recycled.

With that being said, "The Curse Merchant" was NOT one of those books. Holy cow, I got sucked into this book from the start and didn't want to put it down.

Dorian Lake has the exact amount of snark and sarcasm that I love in characters. This book was dark, witty, funny as hell at times. Other times it made me feel something for the characters. I like when I can connect to a character(s)! Makes you feel like part of the story. That's good writing!

Dorian was a great character. I can't wait to read more. The other characters in this story were just as developed as Dorian and near the end, all I have to say is, Karma. You get what you deserve, especially if you ... well, I don't want to do spoilers in this review, so I will leave it at that. If you are looking for a good paranormal read, I highly suggest this! I'd give it more than 5 stars if it was allowed.

My Rating:

Totally 5 out of 5 Skull and Crossbones!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Awesome, Talented Sister-In-Law...


Most of you know my sister-in-law, Cheri Chesley, is a writer as well. I love having a sounding board for stuff and she loves to bounce ideas off of me.

And, not that it's a competition or anything, but she does have a lot more out there than I do.

Darn it.

I'm kidding, I love that she has so much out there. I thought I would help her with a little promotional stuff and do a cover reveal for her Christmas short story that will be available on Friday. I'll reveal THAT cover at the end of this post. You'll have to get through some other links, first.

She has her Peasant Queen series going, which include:

The Peasant Queen:

"After running away from home, Krystal is transported to a faraway kingdom where an evil tyrant is bent on taking the crown - and Krystal's hand in marriage. But when she falls in love with the rightful heir to the throne, she must make an impossible choice: sacrifice her one chance at happiness or face the destruction of an entire kingdom."






The Wild Queen:

"In the exciting prequel to The Peasant Queen, Roweena is the crown princess of Norvallen, a tiny kingdom with only one thing of value—the Healer’s Grove. The trees in this small section of forest are enchanted, giving a sap that can be mixed into potions or salves to heal almost any wound.

And it’s in high demand.

Lucien, the young king of neighboring Demarde, comes to Roweena’s father seeking an alliance, but comes away with a marriage contract for young Roweena’s hand. Furious and stubborn, this untamed beauty vows he will never conquer her. But the contract purposely gives her time to come to terms with her fate.

Before Lucien can return, Roweena’s home is attacked and her parents are murdered. The Healer’s Grove is also attacked—burned to the ground. With nothing more than her horse and the clothes on her back, Roweena goes to the only person she knows can help her. Lucien."


The Tyrant King:

 "Krystal’s peaceful life as queen of Fayterra is shattered when a stranger arrives with a connection to Jareth that threatens to change everything. Soon her loved ones are threatened, her people are under attack, and Krystal must face a devastating loss.

As the future becomes bleaker and the mystery continues to unravel, Krystal’s enemies will learn just how far she will go to defend the people she loves."



She also has a short story called Ghost Bride:

 "Arianne died on her wedding night, but her ghost can't rest in peace."






 And now she has a new short story out called A Haunting Love:


 "When her fiancĂ©, Drew, suggests having their wedding at his family home in the Highlands of Scotland, Alita only thinks about the beauty and romance awaiting her. She’s unprepared for the frosty greeting she and her sister receive from each member of his family, particularly his domineering mother.

But nothing shocks Alita more than the odd, menacing dreams she begins to have her first night at MacColum House. Over and over again she dreams of a grisly murder—with herself as the victim"

She has a children's book out as well, called Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks, which the proceeds go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah:

"Little Lizzie treasures her socks, especially the ones her mommy made. When some of her socks start to go missing, Lizzie is determined to find the culprit and get her treasures back. Author’s note: A few years ago, K.C. Rose and I got some devastating news: a sweet friend and mother had an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. Since I had just launched my first novel into the world, I decided to donate all my royalties for a period of months to the family to help them fight this horrible invader. But it wasn’t enough—we knew we could do more. That’s where the concept of the Lizzie Lilac book was born. This book is not only dedicated to our friend (who is now cancer free!!) and her family, but also to all the families who struggle with this disease. K.C. and I make no profit from sharing this story—everything we raise will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah to help them help others. Thank you for being part of our fight. ~Cheri Chesley"

Okay, finally, the one you have been waiting for! This is the cover reveal for her latest short story, which will be available on Friday!





So, see? She's pretty awesome and talented, that sister-in-law of mine. Hmm... now I just need to catch up!

Hope you are all having a good week. What new books do you have out? Please drop a link in the comments!