Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Honor Of...


I had posted on my FaceBook page the other day a question to all of my author-type friends.
Where would you be, had our Veterans not taken the risks they did and fought to give you your freedom?
Quite frankly, it unnerves me to think about it. But people these days, especially our children and teenagers, don't quite understand what it took to give us the freedom we have. My husband will go around and ask teenagers 4 specific questions:

1) What is the Constitution?
2) What is Independence Day?
3) What is the Bill of Rights?
4) What is the Revolutionary War?

Do you know that none of them can answer all four? If they get one right, we're stunned. But kids today have their noses in their computers and video games and sometimes in books. They don't teach as much about our History in the schools anymore, God forbid we offend someone. Due to the last of the Holocaust Survivors passing on, they're now trying to say that the Holocaust never happened.
Excuse me?

I'd love to hear the explanation as to how thousands of Jewish people died during that war.

Anyway, the point of this upcoming holiday is not the start of Summer. It isn't to grill on your barbecue and hold a super party complete with Red, White and Blue streamers just for a "splash of Summer color"...
Thank a Veteran, sincerely, for what they have done. Raise your flag and KNOW why you do so and explain to your children what those who have gone before us have done for us. Without them, Freedom would not exist.
::Salutes all Veterans:: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for me and this country.

The Rest...

Okay, so here is the rest of the new beginning I promised you all. After this, it moves right into my story, exactly where I wanted it to begin but just didn't figure it out 'til now. Silly me. Yes, sometimes it takes me awhile. There might still be parts where I repeat myself, but that's what I get for writing in spurts and not reading what I had already written. Go figure.

Enjoy!


Rose struggled to wake. He clawed at the air, gasping for breath while in his dream he dug his way out of a shallow grave. He sat upright, eyes wide in the darkness and sucked in several deep breaths. He still did not know the time of day or night. Had Quagha come down here to tell him he would be executed in two days time? How long ago that seemed and how many days were now left? He scrubbed a hand over his face and then over the stubble on his head. Rose winced as his hand hit the scrapes and bruises he had acquired at the same time as his baldness.
He sat in the darkness, knees pulled up to his chest, elbows resting on his knees. He held his head in his hands and slowly, gently rubbed the stubble. His wife had urged him to grow his hair long and until recently, he had kept it long and braided. It had fell to his waist. He still did not understand why the guards had felt it necessary to shave it off. Perhaps some sort of punishment, trying to shame him somehow.
After finding Quagha in the kingdom of Jenlakai, Rose had infiltrated the castle, fully intending to at least get the king and queen out of their city, their kingdom if necessary. He hadn't realized that other forces had been sent as well. Paridzule's young king had managed to buy enough D'raetus Pastiniir to take out many factions of Relavia's armies. The D'raetus Pastiniir were assassins of the highest quality and led by an Elven man named Nikkolani. They had spent days scouting the territory for Relavian Warriors and had eased Rose's mind when he found large factions already dead or dying. One less life on his conscience, he left most of the work to the assassins and made his way to the capital city of Jenlakai and from there to the castle.
In the main receiving hall, Quagha held audience as if he were already the ruler. Before him had stood a young Elf, one of Nikkolani's own. Black Rose seemed just as surprised at him being there as the Elf was to see Rose. The majority of the conversation Rose had overhead consisted of this young man going to Paridzule and killing the Queen. Quagha had figured out that the young King Kimu had something to do with the deaths of his Warriors.
When the fighting erupted in the hall, Rose did not know if he should take out the Elf along with the Relavian king or spare him. Everything happened in such a blur, pinpointing details proved difficult, especially now in this dark, dank cell.
Rose rubbed his hands over the stubble of his head once more as he recalled how his dagger had pierced the heart of Urnda Li'endrin, Quagha's aged cousin. The man simply had gotten himself caught between a rock and a hard place, the surprise on his face matching Rose's own. In a matter of moments, Rose had taken a completely innocent life. Did he agree with Quagha that he now deserved his imprisonment and sentencing? Not completely, but before Rose had even had a chance to utter a prayer to Veritru'ul, the Elf knocked him out cold.
Rose still could not wrap his mind around that fact. He knew he had help in Jenlakai taking out the Relavian Warriors. He would come across encampments filled with smoke from dying fires and the stench of the dead. Half the time, the dead were left to rot in the sun. It could only have been the work of D'raetus Pastiniir. Rose didn't know why Nikkolani had sent them, he did not want to question the aid. But why had the Elf gone after him? Rose felt certain he had specifically heard the young Elf order Urnda to go after him, but still could not figure out why. Perhaps if he got out of this situation, he'd pay Nikkolani a visit. If not, well, he'd just haunt him.
Rose heard soft footsteps coming towards him. Usually the guards were louder, not caring if they disturbed his rest. Whoever made their way towards him now seemed to want to go unheard. Rose stretched, then resumed his position. Hands on head, elbows on knees. The picture of despair. He kept his eyes open as he stared down, but did not see flickering torchlight. He heard the creak of the cell door open, then shut and still Rose did not move.
“Are you here?” a voice whispered out of the darkness. Rose floundered for a moment. Why would someone be here? Should he answer? He felt an odd sensation and knew Fizanu had given him a sign.
“I'm here.” Rose's voice cracked, his throat and mouth were dry.
“Thank the gods,” the man whispered. Rose suddenly figured out where he had heard that voice before.
“Amigal?” Amigal Benat had been Quagha's lifelong adviser. What in all hells was he doing here?
“Well, sort of,” Amigal answered. “Can you keep your voice down, but keep speaking. I need to find you in the darkness.”
“I'll do what I can,” Rose sneered, then fell silent.
After a moment of shuffling Amigal huffed. “Now, really. Is this any way to treat someone trying to come to your aid?”
“Come to my aid?” Rose wondered in a loud whisper.
“I have no time, Rose. I will explain once we are far from here. Until then, you have no choice but to trust me.” Amigal shuffled a little more and in a moment, Rose felt his hand fall on top of his head.
“Ow! Watch it,” Rose growled.
“Well, I told you to help me find you in the dark. I cannot help it if you do not cooperate.”
“Why are you doing this?” Rose asked, pulling the man's hand from his head. Amigal patted his way down to Rose's shoulder then grabbed his arm to pull him to his feet.
“Can you stand?” Amigal asked.
“I doubt it. I haven't eaten for several days, I am weakened. The water was rancid and I have sharp pains in my stomach.”
“That is not a good sign. As for why I am doing this, let's just say we have a mutual interest in keeping you alive.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snippet, Snippet!

Okay so current word count is: 1,907. And, as promised, I have a bit of the alternate beginning ready and waiting for you. So, I won't make you wait and just get right to it. Gotta love it!

The cool stone floor pressed into Black Rose's cheek. His mouth was dry from being unable to breathe through his nose. He could no longer taste blood, he supposed that was a good sign. After taking a mental note of all his aches and pains, he opened his eyes. It took a moment or two of blinking to realize he wasn't blind, darkness pressed in on him.
So Quagha Li'endrin must have tossed him down into the darkest, dirtiest pit he could find. Not to mention the stench. He could taste the foul air on his tongue since his sense of smell had been compromised.
Rose didn't want to move. Pain made him selfish as did his current surroundings. He knew he would have to sit up eventually, but for the moment the cool, damp surface felt good. Made him ache that much more, but that is how he knew he still lived. He hurt like all hells.
He closed his eyes and the past few days began to replay in his mind, like a dream that refused to let go of the waking world. At first, he could see his garden. The soil had just been turned, it lay waiting and ready for him to plant the seeds that would grow under his nurturing care. His conversation with Fizanu, the goddess of Justice. Rose had been chosen to be her Champion. She had chosen him out of all the hundreds of thousands of mortals on this world. There were times, only times mind you, he wished she hadn't. He wouldn't change his life now for anything. Okay, well maybe he would change his location at the current moment, but that was just geography.
He breathed in slowly, his ribs protesting at the expansion required to fill his lungs with air. Fizanu had told him to travel to the small kingdom of Jenlakai. The king and queen were being held against their will until they produced their only daughter to Quagha Li'endrin, king of Relavia. Quagha wanted to unite the two kingdoms in marriage; the daughter of Jenlakai to his old, ailing cousin simply for the sake of forcing them to be allies. Not exactly a faerie tale romance.
Footsteps sounded off to the right. Rose kept his eyes closed and his breathing slow and even. Perhaps if they thought him still asleep, they'd either leave him alone or say something they wouldn't otherwise say in his waking presence. Whoever approached didn't stop. The footsteps retreated, echoing off of the stone walls and fading off to his left. Must have just been a guard walking his rounds, Rose thought to himself.
Time in a place like this was difficult to figure out. Was it daytime? Nighttime? What day was this? Rose wouldn't be able to figure it out and had already seen his fair share of men who had gone mad trying to do so. His current situation reminded him of several different occasions he had been held in similar cells, just not so far underground. Exhaustion finally took over and he closed his eyes, not having to fake sleep this time.

When Rose woke, it took a moment or two to realize his surroundings yet again. He blinked, wondering what had just jarred him awake. He sat up and saw bright torchlight and squinted against the pain in his eyes.
“Ah, I see you are finally awake,” Quagha Li'endrin handed a sword back to the guard standing behind him. “I've been waiting to speak to you. You sleep like the dead. I'm thankful to the gods that you are still among the living, I wouldn't want them to spoil my fun.” Quagha's lip curled into a grotesque smile.
Rose sat, propped up on his elbows, the hard floor digging into his skin. He could barely see the Relavian king with the torch flickering behind him. Something brushed Rose's forehead and he automatically thought his hair had fallen into his face and tried to brush it out of the way. Quagha found this highly amusing and began to chuckle. Rose forgot that they had shaved his head before dragging him back to Relavia in chains.
“I'm quickly losing interest in keeping you down here in the pit, as the other guards like to call it. I merely wanted to inform you that I will soon be putting you out of your misery. In two days time, we'll be having a grand celebration here in Relavia. The main event will be your execution.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh, Yeah...

Wow... my fingers got faster than my brain again for a moment. I posted a blog titled, "Oh" with no body. Go me.

Anyway! I am extremely happy with my decision to redo the beginning of LoBR (Legend of Black Rose). It is moving along swiftly now, even if I am not. My word count is:

1,518.

Not bad considering I've been so on the fence about this for awhile that I have to get back into the swing of things. However, having Rose in a specific setting and using his thoughts and memories to tell how he got there is definitely better. See? Never ignore your instincts.

My daughter is home for her first day of Summer Vacation and she's already bored and playing video games. Sheesh! But that's pretty funny. Sadly she has to go to summer school. If she doesn't, she won't be graduating on time. You know what this means don't you? My daughter is now a Senior in high school.

::Gasps for breath, clutching her chest::
WHERE did the time GO!? I usually don't put her picture up on the internet... ::looks around suspiciously:: but I will make an exception today. She's got a FaceBook page, so it isn't like this pic isn't already out there. But here she is, dressed for her Junior Prom this year.


It just isn't fair. They grow far too fast. Sort of like our WIPs. One day they're just words on your computer and the next, they're a book in your hand, out in the world and people are judging you on how you "raised/wrote" it.

Alright, back to the grind-stone for me. I should be ready to post a good bit of it over the next couple of days. Woot! Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Word Count Update...

I have a new word count update for LoBR (Legend of Black Rose). It is 1,107. I think I was somewhere in the 800's the other day.

I've been trying to write something every day, even if it is only a sentence or two. :D

Sunshine!!!




Yes, I have had 4, count them FOUR days of sunshine! I wish I could keep counting, but in Alaska, the weather changes every five minutes. Go figure. However this is supposed to last until Thursday.


I'm stressing a little. Mostly about going to pick up my mom and son at the airport, but I'll get over that stress soon enough. They'll be here for 6 weeks. 6 weeks of which I will be packing, moving and settling in as well as fishing, camping and hopefully going on another whale watching tour. Oh yeah, I have to call that place. My mom asks EVERY time she calls. Hehe! I'm such a procrastinator. "I'll call, mom. I'll call just before you get here so I have a current price for tickets." ::Snorts:: My reasoning astounds even myself.

So I am also sitting here and giving myself a reasonable deadline to get LoBR
(Legend of Black Rose) done. By reasonable, I mean I am trying to factor in all sorts of things. First, moving, having company for 6 weeks. Chores, gardening, fishing, playing this summer and then working to get ready for winter. Possibly... POSSIBLY getting a ::gasp:: job. Yep, I might have something lined up that I don't exactly need to use my hands ALL the time. Which is well, bonus to me. Plus it's an on-call sort of thing.

So deadline, yeah, let's get back to that. Umm... I was thinking end of July, but now being a little more realistic and knowing just how much I CAN procrastinate... I'm thinking end of August. So I want LoBR done by the end of August so I can start sending out queries. Woot. I know, that was so energetic. I am not looking forward to the rejection, but I am looking forward to eventually becoming published and I can't do that without trying. Yeah, I'm going to sit here at my computer and blog all day about this cool story I've written and some agent is going to come along and ask to see a partial. ::Snorts and laughs:: Not.

So a deadline of August 31st. I estimate being done and onto querying. Again, flogging is optional if I fail to meet that deadline. Just... don't keelhaul me, okay? Painful.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Awards, Awards...

Okay, don't hate me... I've been hanging on to a couple awards. No, the reason why you might hate me is because I absolutely forgot who gave them to me. ::Blushes and hangs her head::
I need to do these things right away. I got this one from Yvonne over at Welcome to My World of Poetry.
I'd like to pass this on to:
Emily White ~ Stepping Into Fantasy
Christi Goddard ~ Torch in the Tempest
Mia ~ My Literary Jam and Toast

Now this is the one I can't remember...


That really bothers me when I can't remember. Again, I need to do these as soon as I get them! ::Sighs:: So whoever gave it to me, refresh my memory please?

I would like to pass this one on to:
Donna Hosie ~ Musings of a Penniless Writer
Alex ~ Alex J. Cavanaugh
Hart ~ Confessions of a Watery Tart

And if you happenn to be the one who gave it to me... lol yeah. Again, so sorry!

Beth over at Beth: A Work in Progress tagged me in Blog Tag. If you followed her before and lost track, she's moved to that new link.

So Tag! I'm it.

If I were a: MONTH
I would be October. Not only because of my birthday, but because of Halloween! But I'm a total Libra.

If I were a: DAY
I would be Saturday. I love sleeping in on Saturdays.

If I were a: TIME OF DAY
I would be late night. When the moon is rising and all is still under the silvery sheen.

If I were a: SEASON
I would be Spring. I love when the plants and trees are coming out of their hibernation and tint the world in their green glow!

If I were a: PLANET
I would be (and no I won't go there...) Pluto. Just hanging out up there and watching everything go by.

If I were a: DIRECTION
I would be West. When I think west, I think water.

If I were a: TREE
I would be an Elm. Strong, steadfast and offering shade.

If I were an: ANIMAL
I would be a wolf! So I could howl at the moon.

If I were a: MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
I would be a cello. I love the deep, resounding notes.

If I were a: FRUIT
I would be a strawberry.

If I were a: FOOD
I would be pizza. You are what you eat, right?

If I were a: COLOR
I would be dark green, like the deep forest.

If I were a: BOOK
I would be... hmm... Little House on the Prairie.

If I were a: SONG
I would be "Middle of the Ride" by Jimmy Eat World.

If I were a: MOVIE
I would be a historical fantasy.

If I were a: FLOWER
I would be a Lily.

If I were a: FACIAL EXPRESSION
I would be a sly smile. Being all sarcastic and stuff. ;)

Okay so I tag:

Cheri Chesley

B. Miller

Alex J. Cavanaugh

Hart

Mary McDonald

and...... Mia!

Have fun with this. I certainly did. And thanks, Beth! I love these things and love to get to know people.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Well That Was Cool...

Elana Johnson's got herself a book deal! Go congratulate the woman! She deserves it.

Now I know my instincts (and the voices in my head) were right about changing up the opening chapters of my Legend of Black Rose WIP. I feel comfortable writing it, I'm not getting stuck in the same place after revising, revising, revising...

So yeah... I'll update my progress for you here in just a moment. It won't match the little blue bar in the upper right hand corner for awhile until I get caught up.

Current word count for latest revisions is: 3,840. Yep. I have some catching up to do. Hopefully I will get some writing in this weekend. And some packing. And some preparing.

You heard right. Packing. I'll be moving July 1st. While I hate moving, I am looking forward to this move. Closer to town, cheaper rent. I won't be stuck in the winter time and have to explain to everyone I was hibernating. Like a freakin' bear.

Before that, in like nine (9) days... my mom and son come for a visit! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! No. Not excited. Not at all. My son is 6'4" and 16. Haven't seen him for a couple of years and every time I talk to him, his voice gets deeper. He's my baby. My daughter is the oldest. She's 17.

Life will be getting a little more interesting, a little more hectic, but I hope to keep on task with the writing. I promised, didn't I? And my garden. Must. Garden. My poor beans didn't make it. They got too cold. (They're for Alaska and they got too cold.) So I will be starting over. No big deal, once we move, I'll build little beds. And the vegetables will be mine! Muahahaha!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Might Think...


No, I'm not talking about the song by "The Cars"... I'm back to this emotion in writing thing. And can I just say, you guys are all about awesome.

So! Emily over at Stepping Into Fantasy left a comment about the love of family and friends. Which was going to be next, because obviously, not everyone is going to have "Squishy" in their writing or even sexual tension. But the emotion "Love" should be there somehow. Love of a family member, a best friend. A pet. Even the memory of love would be acceptable.

We all know there is a wide range of emotions to choose from. I'm not saying love has to be in every single book you write or involve every single character. But I do think if your character is lacking in emotions, it is lacking in reader connection. There are so many characters that, to me, have just fell flat on their faces because they were all about one emotion and didn't show me the myriad scope. It seemed unnatural, robotic, stiff... know what I mean?

If you've got a character that is angry ALL the TIME, people won't connect to that. Even if we just get a fleeting impression of what has made them angry or that they feel horrible being angry all the time or ... something! It makes them seem more human. How many characters can you think of that you absolutely adore? Now... think about why you adore them. Do the same with characters you couldn't connect to. Why? Now how many of those authors are successful in each instance?

I spend a lot of time thinking about emotions, actions, reactions while writing my characters. I've got a few that have a "So what?" attitude, yet I give the reader just a glimpse under the facade. That vulnerability that makes them human and makes the reader go, "Hmm... okay so what's the story with that?"

I think this about wraps up my whole emotion in writing posts. Again, I'd love to hear what you think of it all.

And on a complete side note... Those of you who have expressed an interest in the crit group but don't have the time right now, no worries. This is something you do when you are able to do it. I've posted up on my forums my two WIPs, what they are, where I am at with them. Anyone is welcome to ask for the first chapter.

I haven't posted any current progress on Legend of Black Rose simply because I gave in to my instincts (Voices in my head) and suggestions and am re-writing the first chapter. So, when that is done I can continue on my progress.

Thanks for being awesome, you guys!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On To Something Else...




Okay now that I have completely alienated like a good majority of my followers, I'll move on to something else.

First, let me just stress that we're not all going to agree on everything. That's the beauty of being human. I do not dislike you for your opinions, please do not dislike me for mine.

With that being said, I would still like to continue on this train of emotional thought in writing. How important do you think it is to have some romance in your WIP?

I'm not talking graphic sex scenes... but just a smattering of love. Ooh la la! L'Amour!

Again, this all started while talking to B. Miller. I don't mind WRITING romancy kind of stuff... but as I was telling B., I read back what I have written to my husband. It is during these readings that my husband will tell me if I'm keeping on track with the plot, characters, etc. Black Rose is his creation, a character he made to play Dungeons and Dragons with, so I definitely read back to make sure I am spot on with his quirks and traits.

When I get to what I call "Squishy" parts, I tend to change the tone of my voice to a flat monotone, I speed up and I curl my lip. In my opinion, having a bit of a love scene or romantic encounter or some such nonsense tends to give the reader hope. Hope that if this character is just bombarded with one hurdle after another, that if there is love, then there is hope for a chance at happiness. Look at Harry and Ginny. I was so happy reading Harry Potter when it got to the point of their little romance blossoming. It gave me hope that should Harry live through all of this torment, he had a chance at a happy ending.

While I may not be a huge fan of romance, I'm a fan of happiness. Love brings happiness and hope. So where do you stand on having a little romance in your writing? How do you deal with it? Do you feel like I do, that it is "squishy"? Or do you thoroughly enjoy when you get to write about it? That is, if you are not a romance author...

Again, my apologies for airing my opinions of certain books and authors. We can't all agree, but I hope I have not offended to the point where you stop following me. I'm always up for a good debate! I'm always looking to hear the other side of the coin, shall we say. While I am not always swayed, I do respect you and your opinions! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Continuing With Bad Boys...

I've got a point to all of this, really. My point of all this is simply emotions put into your characters and expressing them. I tend to focus on the bad boys (and girls) because it intrigues me so much as to what it is exactly that makes them tick. How did they get so bad? What happened to them to force them down a path of self destruction? (Or the destruction of others.) What thoughts and emotions are constantly churning inside them, if any at all?

The human psyche fascinates me to no end, I admit. This is why I like to people watch. I like characters that I know will connect with the reader on some level. I like my female characters to be strong, but still feminine enough so as not to seem more masculine than the men. I focused on Harry Potter for some references, now I'm going to switch to Twilight.

Please, don't kill me for my opinion. Direct all hate mail to my email address. I'll filter through it and cringe later.

But here goes. Why do I dislike the Twilight saga so much? Several reasons. But first, let me give you an explanation of the things I DID like:

1) I liked that the vampires were done differently. (Even if the sparkling tickled my funny bone and made me snort.) The fact that they could control their urges and fight against the nature of the beast, literally, was cool with me. Go Ms. Meyers! I'm always looking for something different in the way of Vamps, Werewolfies and Zombies. Don't even GET me started on Zombies, for pity's sake.

2) The fact that she got kids to read is always a huge plus with me. I give her kudos for that alone.

3) She had good characters. This might sound weak, but each character had their own individual personality and they shone through.

Now don't hate me because I can only come up with three pluses for Ms. Meyers.

Why I didn't like the Twilight saga: First and foremost. Bella Swan. Her negativity and self consciousness grated on my nerves to the point I wanted to reach into the book and strangle her. In my opinion, she was a weak female. Now please do not mistake my opinion of Bella as my opinion of any woman out there who connected with her. Please. I beg you. Bella, as portrayed in the books, simply had to have a man. She had to constantly be reassured by not only said man, but by everyone around her that she was indeed, a beautiful, smart girl. In my opinion, she felt as if she was nothing unless her love was beside her.

But the emotions Bella showed were true, pure and pulled you to her. I don't know any teenage girl who doesn't feel very confident in herself. While most of them may pull off an air of confidence, there is always something about themselves that nag them in the back of their mind.

I'm a woman who has gone through so much in my short life. I've dealt with the rejection of a father, two abusive marriages, a lack of childhood and a lifetime of struggling to keep my head above water. Most of my life is partly forced upon me and partly my choice. I'm strong-willed, independent and speak my mind. I will tell you the truth, even if it hurts your feelings. What do I have to gain in lying to anyone just to make them feel good? What do you gain in false knowledge?

Anyway, I digress. Because of who I am, I like strong characters. I admit I read all of the books simply because my teenage daughter started reading them. Then she dropped them because she got bored. That and the fact that suddenly, everyone she knew confessed to her that they were really a Vampire. ::Smacks her forehead::

But back to the emotion thing. Bella's emotions and feelings were out there on her sleeve, dangling off in front of anyone, whether she realized it or not. I feel that the emotional connection from the author to the reader is the absolute most important and BEST connection there can be. Edward sort of turned me off. I liked Jacob more, not just because he was the underdog, but because he showed emotion. The glimpses I got of Edward left me wanting more, more, more and I felt cheated when I didn't get it.

Do you want your readers to feel cheated? Do you want to frustrate your readers with snippets of emotion and just fill them with flowery descriptions or do you want your reader to walk away from your book feeling satisfied, mentally, emotionally, intellectually?

As much as I could sit here and rant and rave about Harry Potter, those books even had things I didn't particularly care for.

I've read David Eddings "Belgariad Series" and walked away loving the books, the characters, the humor and emotion. I've read "Memoirs of a Geisha" and felt my heart break for the girl. I've read "The Time Traveler's Wife" and didn't feel moved by it, but a little sad. "MacBeth" was powerful, stirring. I get a kick out of all the Rita Mae Brown books featuring Mary Minor Haristeen, even though they're mysteries. Now she's a girl I can connect with on lots of levels. I've read "The House of Night" series by P.C. and Kristen Cast and am enjoying the intricacies of it as well as the veering off from the norm of vampires yet again. I'm reading the "Left Behind" series and have to sort of laugh to myself when I find myself fearing for my mortal soul. I'm safe, I think, so no worries there. But I can't put those down until I know all the characters are safe for the moment.

But there's another bad boy for you. Nicolae Carpathia. The Antichrist himself. Smooth, suave and charming to those who don't know any better. But secretly laughing at everyone else's discomfort and quite honestly getting a little pissy when attention is not focused on him.

Why do bad guys behave like a two year old? What is the emotional level of your writing and do you feel that your characters encompass the majority of them all to draw in the reader and make a connection somehow?

Here's a character for you, as yet unpublished. Mary McDonald's MC in "No Good Deed". My heart broke for the man. (I pray she gets published, this is a good story!) It seems like the more good he does, the worse life treats him. The man cannot simply get a break. But she used such a wide range of emotions, but hammered you mostly with despair and fear. She used these to make you cheer for the MC that somehow, some way life would start being a little more kind to him.

What are some books you feel have strong emotional characters? What turned you on or off about these books? What books do you feel are lacking in emotion? And do you feel emotions are one of the strongest pulls aside from a "good story"?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bad Boys We Love To Hate...



Well, perhaps that should be Bad Boys We Love To Love as well. I mean really. Writing the ultimate "bad guy" is quite entertaining and OH so much FUN!

Ahem.
Well, for me it is. I guess the one thing my writing helps me with the most is my dark side. Yep. If you haven't guessed at the evil things lurking below the surface of this shiny exterior... you'd be very surprised.

No, I'm not a closet homicidal maniac. I just know everyone has a good side and a bad side. Choosing which side you show to the world is difficult for those of us who want to be good, who want to force that dark side into the closet and lock it. Then place a steel door with combination lock over the closet door. Then brick a wall up over the steel door...
You get the idea.
But bad guys are so fun to manipulate and mold and make just for the sole purpose for everyone to hate. Its so. Much. Fun! ::Watches as her followers drop quickly...::

There are a few bad characters I love to hate. And love just simply because I think some of them are misunderstood. I mean, look at Severus Snape. Pardon while I drool over Alan Rickman for just a moment. ::Coughs:: Okay! So poor Severus. Wanting to fit in, desiring to be better than those who tortured him through his angst-filled teenage years. Following Voldemort just because he truly didn't know any better. Killing Dumbledore, even though he was loyal... He was twisted up inside, I'm sure. You can't play "Double Agent" and not be all twisted up inside. Guilt at having to portray a dark side to the good guys, being hated by said good guys simply because they've already passed judgment and praying to God that the bad guys don't figure out what you're playing at.

Then there is Voldemort himself. We love to hate Voldy. We live to hate Voldy as he's just a two year old throwing a tantrum inside a grown man's body.
Is it easier to write the bad guy? Is it easier to let your dark side through to show the world, fearing that if they knew just how dark you were deep down, that they would turn away from you... revolted, disgusted?

Is it easier to always portray the good guy? Look at poor Harry (I know...so many Harry Potter references) just smacked down by life and one thing after another as if the universe was just waiting for him to be happy, fly swatter at the ready for that moment to come. Laughing maniacally when the swatter drops to flatten him out once more.
I don't know how many of you watch kids cartoons on Nickelodeon. Avatar: The Last Airbender happens to be one of my favorite shows. Ang (Dunno if I spelled that right...) is the Avatar, chased by Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation. Prince Zuko has a constant reminder of just how evil his father is in the form of a burn scar on his face. In an effort to regain his Honor, Zuko (who has been banished from the Fire Nation) sets out to find the Avatar and destroy him. In the end, Zuko ends up helping the Avatar as being bad is just not for him. But as you watch the episodes, Zuko isn't defined by Zuko. He's defined by his kingdom and everything his father and his ancestors have done. No one looks beneath the surface to figure out what kind of guy Zuko is. I find myself watching and every so often going, "Aww...poor Zuko."

I'm limiting my references here. This post is going to get super long. Because just as I've given you these examples, I want to give you some snippets from Crowning Absolution. My Li'endrin bloodline is absolutely and completely corrupted. All save one. Alabassin is like Zuko. Everyone judges him for his family and their history, yet he's the only Li'endrin in hundreds of years to break the mold, to move past the curse of their bloodline. He realized his mistake and fights so hard to go against it, but every so often feels as if he gets sucked back in.

Alabassin's father, Mandorak (Man door ack)... well... he's just plain vile. I don't know how else to describe him. He makes the majority of the bad guys out there look like momma's boys. I'll share with you what I shared with B. Miller earlier today, which got me on the topic of this post. This is a scene with Mandorak Li'endrin, not even at his worst. By the way, the woman we start with is Senweis, eldest daughter of the king Mandorak has been fighting against his whole life...:

“I wish to reinstate the original contract.” Her voice could barely be heard, she spoke so low.

“I beg your pardon? Reinstate what contract?”

“The marriage arrangement between myself and Alabassin.” Senweis put her knife and fork down on the table and turned to look at Mandorak. He could see it now, in her eyes. Her longing and desire for his only son. He saw something else as well, something that were he to look in a mirror, he would see it there in his reflection.

“The contract had not been made between you and my son. That arrangement had been drawn up to include Alabassin and your sister, Kayta.” He watched Senweis to see if his words would have any impact, incite a reaction, but it did not. “You already knew this.”

“Yes.”

“And still you came to me. Why?”

Senweis could not control her emotions, she never had a need to bottle them up. The woman wore her heart on her sleeve and Mandorak actually felt sad that she would not become the ruling force of Paridzule. It would have made his life much simpler, he could have manipulated her very easily.

“My father promised me to Alabassin, not my sister. He was mine first.” Her words cracked like a whip and sounded childish even to her own ears, yet she could not refrain herself. “Have I not shown you loyalty? Have I not earned your favor with my actions?”

“What are you talking about?” Mandorak dropped the calm demeanor, exhausted with the energy it took to maintain a composed face for the sake of politics. The look he directed at Senweis clearly told her he felt nothing but disgust and contempt at her being here.

“I am speaking of my parents,” she hissed. She pushed herself away from the table and rose. “Did you not receive the message I sent? It could not have been more obvious than if it had bitten you on your arrogant ass.”

“I received no missive from you in regards to your parents.”

“You fool.” She shook her head and leaned heavily on her hands. “The accident. The message was the accident itself. How else could I prove that I would be loyal to the Relavian king? I renounced the throne and gave my loyalty to you. I had my parents killed so that you could march in and take over and I would then be queen of the largest kingdom in all of Eir du'Brusai.”

Mandorak took a moment to digest this information. His heart quickened as his temper flared and he placed his own eating utensils onto the table and stood, knocking his chair over. He stood next to Senweis suddenly, grabbing her arm and jerking her around to face him.

“You stupid girl. What in all hells makes you think you are good enough to even lick the crap from my boots? You are not worthy to sit a Relavian throne!”

Senweis gasped as his hand closed tighter around her arm. She tried to pull free, but he pulled her closer, the raw hatred on his face made her cringe and she fought to turn away.

“You killed your parents,” Mandorak paused, the information finally sinking in. Here before him stood a young woman who had accomplished something it had taken him Ages to do. Senweis had succeeded where he had failed.

“You killed your parents,” he hissed again, picking up the knife from where she had set it near her plate. “You took the one thing away from me that I have longed to do myself. Not only do I despise you and everything your kingdom stands for, but I retch at the thought of my only son producing an heir from your poisoned loins.”

Senweis had seen him reach for the knife, saw it now as he raised it slightly, the light glinting off of the steel. Her eyes went wide and she opened her mouth, trying to scream, but no sound came out.

“You should never have come here,” he whispered into her ear as he pulled her closer and plunged the knife into her chest. Her body jerked as she fought to pull away. “You have just handed me your kingdom. If you thought I would not pass up this opportunity that you dangled before me, then I am glad to relieve you of your addled senses.”


I'll have to continue with this train of thought at a later time as this post is getting long. But before I leave, I want to know... how do you feel when you write your bad guy? What elements of your dark side do you instill in the character? Is writing the bad guy more fun than the good guy or do you hate when you have to write about him as much as I hate writing the romantic stuff? Hehe! We'll work on more of this later, but I'd like to see what you all think.


Monday, May 17, 2010

If You Have a FaceBook Page...

This is to let you know they had to change their privacy settings. Effective today, you have to manually go in and change the "Applications and Websites" setting. Here is the copy from a friend of mine's post.

"As of today, there is a NEW PRIVACY setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-Facebook websites and it is automatically set to "Allow." Go to Account>Privacy Settings >Applications and Websites >InstantPersonalization, and uncheck "Allow". BTW if your friends don't do this, they will be sharing information about you. Please copy & paste"

By the way, when I went to change this feature, the description said "Allow websites to gain all my information as soon as I get to their site."

Yeah. We all know how bad it is to keep things secure over the internet anyway. CHANGE this setting. IMMEDIATELY. (I'll wait.)

I used to work for America Online when it first came out. I was there when they celebrated their first 1 million simultaneous users. I got a pin for it. Hooray... But what bothered me, was while I worked the security department for a time, people were constantly calling in asking how to get their information off of the internet.

* You don't ever give out information if you don't know the source.
* Never open an email from someone you don't know.

Do you know, I still have to stress this to my teenager? And my husband. Only because neither is as internet savvy as I am. Understandable, really, but now with my mom new to the World Wide Web, I have to remind her as well.

So yeah... go and change that setting right away. Your privacy is very important and I can't believe FaceBook got away with allowing our information to be given like this. Thousands have already deleted their account, but the damage has already been done. And now to automatically have the "Allow" button checked???

FaceBook keeps me more connected with my family than MySpace did. (I'm a horrible letter writer, even email... go figure...) I don't want to drop it but I certainly don't want any fool to see any of my information either.

Hate to start off the week with a finger shaking post in your face. Ah well. I worry about all of my friends, so forgive the post. Have an awesome week everyone!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Verra Cool...


You guys and your comments. You just absolutely rock. :D

I'm sure I will start a critique group. I'm going to be pretty busy come the end of this month. Two reasons. I'm moving and my mother and son are coming to visit. They'll be here 6 weeks. Not to mention, when summertime REALLY comes (it is raining and cold at the moment and if I didn't know better I would say I see a few SNOW flakes. I am NOT kidding.) I'll be outside. A lot. Like, practically 24/7. I've got vegetables to tend to, fish to catch and stock up on for winter... Yep, we're busy up here in Alaska in the summer.

I do not want to spread myself too thin, however, I don't want anyone else to feel as if they are either. So I will tell ya what.

I'll start the critique group. We'll run through my website forum. I'll schedule some online chats twice a month. If you can make it... great. If you can't... no worries. For the most part, we'll let everyone know, first, what we're writing. Word count. Genre. The usual. Then people will post what they're looking for in their critique. Everyone can pick and choose and we'll do this a chapter at a time. No one has the time to read an entire ms at the moment, and changes made would be a little simpler.

We'll exchange chapters via email. Again, if you would like to participate but feel you don't have the time, things will be up there for you to pick and choose from if you do have some time. And it won't cost you any time to just offer up your chapters. At the very least, you'll get some feedback. I won't make it a requirement that you have to read X chapters a month. But the chat will help when you've got 5 or 6 people reading the same chapter.

Minor details, really. I don't want anyone to feel guilty if all they can do is submit work for critiquing. Spread the word. If you know people who have wanted a critique group, let them know what we're doing. And of course, go to the forums on my website and post an introduction of yourself and your manuscript.

www(dot)mlchesley(dot)webs(dot)com

See you there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Whaddya Say...

So I've been thinking of getting a critique group together. It is hard for me to pull one together in the town I live in, because if you are not writing about Alaska, you are not an author. ::rolls eyes:: At least that is how it FEELS sometimes. People here are not that bad, really.

At any rate, I have a website that has forums. I can even add a chat if I have to. I'd like to see who all would be willing to join up and what not.

I do already belong to an awesome critique group and am not wanting to pull away from it, but I have had several others ask me about getting one together. So I thought I would put the idea out there. Here is the link to my website forum and topic for this group. If that doesn't work, just go to

www(dot)mlchesley(dot)webs(dot)com and you'll find the Forums link.

What am I looking for? People willing to read and offer feedback chapter by chapter. Tell me what your preferences are on how often you would like to meet and if you think the forums will work or if we should open up a chat. Also state your genre reading preferences. I will read just about anything. I've even read *gulp* romance. But no erotica or sex in every other chapter sort of writing please. That is just my preference.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. I'm off to be Busy Girl! Joy of joys. Hehe!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Price You Pay...



I've been reading other blogs in the Blogosphere, trying to get an idea of what to write about. It will come as no shock, I'm certain, that my sister in law, Cheri's Motherhood blog gave me my topic for today.

What is the price you, as an author, feel you pay? Creativity is a wonderful gift. But at what cost?

Personally, I'm a classic insomniac as defined in Cheri's post. But it wouldn't be me if it didn't go to the extremes of normal. My whole life I have been an overly creative person. I didn't just develop a story, people, I developed a WORLD.

When I get sick, I play "Stump the Doctor". Yes, it is true. On more than one occasion the Dr. has had to pull out the medical text-book to define my symptoms.

My insomnia goes to the extremes as well. I cannot get my brain to shut down at night. There are times I am going over in my head, stories, bills to be paid, dinner menus. Mostly stories. But I refuse to get out of bed. Why? Because I KNOW that if I turn on my laptop and start writing, I won't go to sleep.

Sadly, I give in more often than not. I almost always end up typing away until 5 or 6 a.m. Otherwise, if I lay in bed and just let this stuff run through my mind, I still don't fall asleep til then anyway.
I'm a night owl by nature. It doesn't always affect me like this. I do get some decent sleep, but when my depression was really bad, anxiety crept in on little cat feet. It affected my work. At the time, I wasn't writing, I was in therapy. But writing has become my therapy. Blogging too.

Because my mind doesn't stop, I'm constantly changing and growing as a person. This is a good thing.

These last few weeks I have thought, "Wow, we really need to get out of this financial hole we're in. But how?" My hands are bad. I can do housework, so I did. I can't really go into details, but the bottom line is, I told myself I'd do anything to help out the family. "I just have to suck it up and do it." And I did. So I applied that to my writing and revising as well. "I just have to get over it. I just have to do it. I can't just sit here and not do anything with my writing."

So I have posted my word/revision counts. You'll notice Legend of Black Rose (LoBR) creeping up a bit. I've written 1,000 + words in the couple of days I had some spare time. I'll be busy again for a day or so. But in the meantime, I have worked on it. My query letter, I think, looks good and I am going to leave it alone.

I've also discovered that what I write is technically High Fantasy. I can't get away with just fantasy as a label anymore. I did build a world, I did go to the extremes, I can't get away with a simple label anymore.
What's the price you've paid to be so creative? What do you sacrifice as a writer? Is it worth it?

Let's see... I'm going to add Avatar to my fave movies. And bands... The Police.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

People Are Strange...


When you're a stranger...faces look ugly when you're alone...

Okay I'll stop singing the song from "Lost Boys".

But it is true. People are strange. This evening I spent two hours at a Pops Concert at my daughter's high school. It is the last concert of the year and more or less a talent show. My daughter and her friend sang "Wallflower" by Patricia Anne. They were totally awesome. It is such a sweet song.

There were lots of talented kids there tonight. What's funny is, there was a band that played a heavy metal type song. A current song, nothing too old, you know. These are teenagers we're talking about. Anyway, I look at my husband on my left, my brother in law on my right and then quickly glance around. Aside from the other teenagers, we're the only "adults" bobbing our heads to the music. Seriously.

I thought to myself, "Am I that strange?" Of course I am, but that is besides the point. My husband, my brother in law, my brother and my daughter are all "into" music. My brother in law plays guitar and taught my daughter the basics. The girl surpasses him hourly. My husband plays bass guitar. I used to play guitar when I was a kid but gave it up. I also played the trumpet and french horn in band. But you put music on... any kind of music in my case... and it stirs emotions and provokes thoughts and makes me just want to move to the beat. I think I've got some pretty good taste in music. I love just about everything as you could tell from the A-Z challenge.

My sister in law (Not Cheri) the one who's married to my brother, can't understand why he gets so wrapped up in music and movies. I'm the same way. Music and movies. Books for me too, not so much my brother. At least I don't think so. But mostly music and movies. Some TV shows, but rarely. The power of the music/movie and the energy just... affect me. I don't know how else to explain it.

I just thought it was funny though, sitting in the audience of all these parents and grandparents and siblings of these teenagers and I'm bobbing my head to the music, tapping my feet. I'll be this way when I'm 90, I'm sure of it. I'll be the hippest great-grandma out there.

Oh and I hope you all have noticed... my revision status bar for Legend of Black Rose and Crowning Absolution. And of course, thank Cheri for my new PIRATE BACKGROUND! Arrrggghhh!!! "I've got a jar of dirt. I've got a jar of dirt. And guess what's in it!" Hehe. I love Jack Sparrow. Fare thee well, me hearties and don't go doin' anythin' that'll get ye keelhauled, mate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, Monday...




Ahh, poor Monday. Nobody ever likes Mondays.

You're special, though, because on this particular Monday you get two posts from me! That's right. I've given you the super short version of our winners from our Spring Into Reading Give Away and now that the April A-Z challenge has been wrapped up, I can get back to writing stuff.

Most of you know I've been a busy girl this last week. I've been "working" but not on my writing. Soon as things slow down, I'll be back to revising. I'm going to give myself a goal here. I tend to work better under pressure. Now, I know it isn't your job to crack the whip over me to write, but every so often you can pack my bags for a Guilt Trip and ask me how I'm doing if I don't give a report.

So here's my plan... Legend of Black Rose stands at 55,600 words. Of that I have about11,991 revised. I'll put a little word count thing-a-ma-jig over on my sidebar. If that progress doesn't move, feel free to flog me. Ahem. No, not really. Ow?


My next project after that will be to finish Crowning Absolution. The current word count is 81,845 with a goal of 100,000 because it is going to be broken down possibly into three books. We'll see. Once C. A. is complete, I can begin the revising process on that as well. And I have absolutely NO idea of where to start on that query. ::Sigh::

To give myself some time to finish up my current tasks, I'll begin next Monday. May 17, 2010. Deal? Deal.

Winners! Winners! Winners!!!!

Yes, this post is super early, but we're excited, can't you tell?

Cheri has all the details over at her Blog, but I will give you the quick version of the winners:

First Prize (Fantasy Package) goes to Falen of Falen Formulates Fiction.

Second Prize (Romance Package) goes to Melissa J. Cunningham of A Writer's Reality.

And last, but certainly not least ~ Third Prize (Mystery Package) goes to Hannah Rohan.

So shoot on over to Cheri's blog for details. Winners need to email Cheri with information on where to send the books and all sorts of stuff like that.

Congrats to all the winners!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day...

This might reach some of you late. It is early afternoon here and I have spent a good part of the day just relaxing.

I've been a busy girl this week. Sadly, not on the writing aspect of it like I would have liked. Alas, I've been doing some work. Now, I am not afraid of hard work. It just doesn't like me. I have to be careful with my wrists and hands. I've told most of you that I have had two surgeries on my left hand. They were to release tendons. Not Carpal Tunnel ones, either. Nope DeQueverain's and another, just to the right of it. I also have some arthritis in the joints of my thumbs. I lost muscle mass in my left hand after surgery so my thumb on that hand feels worse.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because it makes me think of my mom. I inherited quite a bit of her allergies and ailments. I'll be turning 40 this year... *Gasp!* yes I gave away my age. Better remember that, I'll never do it again. ;) But with the longevity on my mother's side of the family... I very well may live til I am 90 just like my Aunt Loretta. My mother is in her 70's and doesn't look a day over 50.

My parents divorced when I was a kid. My memories focus around her. When I was a teenager, I lied on my first job application and even though the manager could have gotten fired for it, he hired me on. From the time my parents got divorced, it was just me, my mom and my one brother. (I have two.) My brother was a teenager and lived his own teen life. So there were lots of times it felt like me and my mom against the world. After he moved out, it was just that. Mom had to spend time in the hospital for heart issues when I was a Junior in High School so I had to quit for a full semester and work to help pay the bills.

I did go back to High School. I graduated and got my diploma. It took me awhile, but I did it.

When I got married, it was a bit of a disaster. That's putting it mildly. I was both mother and father to my two children at the time. I divorced him and was a single mom. Met hubby #2, same disaster scenario, different guy.

#3 came along. I have found my "soul-mate". I know people who use that term lightly, but with my Larry it is quite accurate. We're two separate halves of a whole.

My mom never remarried. She's taken care of herself and me this whole time. I get her. My siblings don't. But they never went through the stuff she and I went through together. So they can go ahead and live their wonderful lives, blissful of what has passed over the many years. I appreciate her the most and I tell her all the time. I don't want to wait until it is too late. And you know what? She appreciates me as well. My mom rocks and I take it as the best compliment when people tell me, "You're just like your mother."

Good. Because I wouldn't want to be any other way. I love my mom.

And to all of you other moms out there, I hope you have the best Mother's Day. You work hard for it and deserve it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hurry!...



If you haven't tallied up your total entries ... you better hurry! I may be the Procrastination Queen and tally up at the last minute, but that's my excuse...what's yours? Hehe!

So we'll be working on the drawing this weekend, Cheri and I. We'll let you know who the winners are on Monday! Woot!
I'm still Crazy Busy Girl. I hope it will end by Saturday. I want to spend Mother's Day relaxing... '...out by the school when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood...'

Ahem. Sorry. Don't know why the theme song to "Fresh Prince" just popped into my head. It does that sometimes. :D

Have a great weekend. Have a super Mother's Day for all you moms out there. (And single dads who are taking on the role of mom.)

And if you have never heard the beautiful music of Yo Yo Ma, you are missing out! Extraordinary! And a good movie to watch this weekend? Why, Beaches, of course.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy...



You guys are awesome. I keep telling you that. I also want to say Welcome! to my new followers, because you're awesome as well!

I'll be a busy, busy girl for a few days, so if you do not see a post from me, fear not... I didn't get chewed up in the Dragon Pen, I'm here in spirit!

I'm glad you all liked those Pendragon Books. I don't know what it is about those, but I must. Have. One!

I admit, I'm a stationary... erm...lover. Hehe!
So it was asked that I keep putting up music and movies that I like. Since I don't have a letter to coincide with, I will just be super random. And try not to mention ones I've already posted. Yeah, good luck.

I'll also be posting up a deadline for myself to get my revision done. I'll keep everyone posted on my progress. That will make me write! Pressure... sometimes I love pressure.

So hope everyone is having a good week so far. Have a good rest of the week!

Movie: Julie & Julia. Music: Faun. Do NOT let Faun's appearance fool you! Google them and check them out. I'll try to add a link later.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Website Wednesday...

Okay, so I cheat with my blogs and browse the internet to find really cool websites I want to promote, then schedule said blog for a later date.

I had just asked people if they knew any websites they would like to suggest to me and I stumbled across this one myself. I know, I'm weird.

Now that you realize that, yet again, here we go.

Pendragon's Book Binding.

Need I say more? I'm in love with these. And not just because I have coffers of stationery supplies... Ahem. The fact that they are hand-bound, hand-sewn and made with care by others who enjoy doing this sort of thing... well, what more can I say? Go visit the site and see for yourself!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Are You Cool or What...

You. All of you. You know who you are, the ones who follow my blog. The ones who've entered the contest Spring Into Reading! Even if you haven't entered, you're still cool.

There's lots of bloggly love floatin' around in the blogosphere lately! We're all finally catching our breath and relaxing after our April Challenge.

First, let me shamelessly plug the contest my sister in law and I are holding. Click here if you haven't checked it out already.

And another shameless plug for Jessica a.k.a. The Alliterative Allomorph. She's having an awesome contest as well!
Okay, now that those plugs are out of the way, I have some awards to pass on. Those. Are ALWAYS fun!
Okay here we go:
I got this award from Beth at Beth: A Work In Progress. Just in case you didn't know, she's moved her blog. I have to say, I'm a little overwhelmed sometimes about the nice things she says about me. Beth and a few others are just great. Even though I am a writer, sometimes I even can't find the words to express my appreciation and gratitude for you, my newfound friends. :DBeth tagged quite a few of the same people I would have tagged, so I will do my best to spread the joy. It is difficult to pick sometimes, because you all bring in the Sunshine.

Jessica ~ The Alliterative Allomorph
Melissa ~ Writing Realities
Watery Tart ~ Confessions of a Watery Tart
Elizabeth ~ Elizabeth Mueller
Samuel Park ~ Samuel Park's Daily Pep for Writers (you have NO idea how much Sunshine he puts in my life, lol!)
Mary ~ Mary McDonald Has The Write Stuff!
Gah, I have to stop or I will add my entire blog list!

Next from Creepy Query Girl (I love her, lol!) I got this:

And I'll pass that on to:

Summer
Megan Rebekah
C. Michelle Jeffries
Michelle McLean
B. Miller
C. K. Bryant

And last, but certainly not least... Talli tagged me with the 5 Questions with 5 Answers.

So here we go:

1) Where were you 5 years ago?
In Tucson, Arizona.
In an apartment (that I couldn't stand)
Volunteering at the Valley of the Moon
Hanging out at Fighter Practice (SCA stuff)
Helping my mom arrange her living room

2) Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
Published!
On N.Y. Times Best Seller List
Living in my own home here in Alaska
Traveling down in Arizona
Going to Estrella War (SCA stuff again)

3) What is (was) your to-do list today?
Sleep
Do laundry
Write
Clean out a summer rental
Pick up hubby from work

4) What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
Chocolate
Cheezits
Fresh fruit
Chocolate
Ice cream

5) What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Go to Pennsic War (SCA...lol!)
Travel the world with my kids
Set up trust funds for my whole family
Donate to several charities
Help out friends

There's more things I would do with money than just those five...but oh well! Now...who to tag, I have to tag 5 of you!

Cheri
Box o'Whine
Beth
Beth Revis
AchingHope

Alrighty folks, there you have it! Hope you are all having an awesome week. I'm feeling better, I just wish the cough would go away. Far away. To Timbuktu! Okay, maybe not that far...but it would be nice. :D

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Into Reading...


GIVE AWAY!!!!! Woohoo!

That's right! My sister in law, Cheri and I have reached 100 followers each. So, as promised, we're having our Spring Into Reading Give Away.

Okay so here is what we're going to do:

1 Entry if you have followed this blog after May 3rd.
2 Entries if you have followed this blog before May 3rd.
2 Entries if you follow both me and Cheri.
1 Entry if you Tweet or post on FaceBook.
1 Entry if you post about it in your blog.

Tally up your entries! Post them in the comments section. (Either hers or mine, no need to do both, we read each other's stuff. ;) ) Then check either of us out on Monday, May 10th to see if you have won!

How easy is that? Easy peasy, right? Right!

Okay, here are the prizes:

First place: Fantasy ~ Three books: The Sapphire Flute by Karen Hoover, The Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum (autographed) and an ARC of The Golden Spiral by Lisa Magnum (autographed). PLUS Writer's Blocks and a copy of Annette Lyon's book There, Their and They're.

Second place: Romance ~ Three books: I'll Know You by Heart by Kimberly Job (autographed), Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell (autographed) and Loyalty's Web by Joyce Dipastena (autographed). PLUS a $15 gift card (your choice within reason! :D) and a copy of Annette Lyon's book There, Their and They're.

Third Place: Mystery ~ Three books: The first three autographed books in Josi Kilpacks culinary mystery series Lemon Tart, English Trifle and Devil's Food Cake. Guaranteed to make you hungry! PLUS a copy of Annette Lyon's There, Their and They're and a pen set.

*Please Note: While Cheri and I are related, we live states apart. We'd like to give you a choice in the genre, but that's going to be difficult for us, so we apologize in advance. Look on the bright side if you don't like the genre, you have early Christmas presents. ;)

Okay! So there you have it everyone. Again, tally up your entries, post it in the comment section of either her blog or mine and we'll draw names. Check back Monday, May 10th for the winners!

An Overview...

So it is May 3rd. The A-Z challenge is over. Arlee asked us to all join in sharing what this last month, this challenge meant to us.

Wow. I honestly didn't think I could make it through the challenge. I made it even more difficult for myself by adding in my favorite bands and movies to correspond with each letter.

So Arlee asked a few questions, things to help us reflect on this last month.

First, what attracted us to this challenge? For me, it was the opportunity to take on another monthly challenge. I have participated in National Novel Writing Month. Twice now. I have two manuscripts going at once. One is almost finished in its rough draft state. The other is being revised, query at the ready to send out. But to blog every single day, except Sundays and have each day correspond to a different letter of the alphabet? Haven't done it.

I have now!

Did I feel intimidated by the challenge? At first. But with my imagination and my unlimited database for useless trivia... I fell right into it. I even added the favorite band and movie just to spice it up a bit.

Did I ever feel like quitting? No. There were days I thought, what am I going to write about? But something always came up and I had my world to draw off of as well.

In finishing this challenge, would I be apt to do more? Absolutely. This one took up the entire month of April for me, so I was unable to do blogfests and the like. I didn't want to stretch myself too thin while also working on my MS revisions. But yes, I would like to do more challenges.

Did I feel I did my best in this challenge? Yes. I feel like I did. I had tons of support from you guys, I appreciated all of your comments so much! I hope from now on that I can still entertain you as much while not doing a challenge. :D

What did I learn from the challenge? So much! More about the diversity of people. Everyone I followed seemed to have a different topic for the same letter. It was fun reading! I also learned what I want from my blog. I initially wanted to create a following for my world, but now I am thinking I am enjoying this little Writing Support Group. :D

Will you be blogging any more now than you used to? Possibly. Maybe not every day, but I do want to work on at least 4-5 times a week.

So thanks to all of you who joined in this challenge. Who supported and commented and followed. If I am not following your blog yet, by all means, leave me a comment and I will find your blog. I've been sick for the last couple of weeks. The cough as usual hangs on. So I haven't felt much like sitting on the computer for too long. I stopped commenting so much during the last week for the same reason. Doesn't mean I don't love you! Just worn out.

So what about you? I'll be over to your blogs to see what this challenge did for you!