Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ah, Blogging...

Blogging is almost as fun as writing. Almost as fun as picking up a good book and reading. I say almost, because blogs are far too short to settle in to, you get to comment or not and sometimes, just sometimes, they're full of rants and jaded opinions.

But that isn't my point. I love to blog, I love to read the blogs I've been following. Mostly, the ones I don't follow are filled with those rants I've stated. Even though I cannot say I am innocent in the rant area.

The topic for my blog, as far off of the point I've gotten...was really to talk about Critique Groups.

I've heard of them, would like to be part of one, have no clue where to find or even start one. Here's what I am looking for:

1) To be able to send off chapters, get feedback and resubmit said chapters.
2) Be able to do the same. If someone needs chapters read, I'm usually very anal about finding typos. If something doesn't flow, I try to suggest ideas. I'm pretty blatantly honest and will do my best to be diplomatic.
3) Don't want to be a part of a group that expects more from me than I can or will be able to commit to. For example, large chunks of my time are spent either networking, writing or spending time with my family. I play World of Warcraft with friends in other states, it is a nightly thing... but I try not to let it get in the way of my life. Most people try to tease me about it. When my family is here in the summer-time, I do have to take time off of even my own computer. I have a patch, I'm usually fine. If it wears off, I just have to check my e-mail. :D

4) I don't want to be part of a group that will give me points per critique. I want rules that are straightforward and understandable.

5) I expect honesty, as in return, honesty is what I will be giving. If I do not like something or just cannot get into it, I will say so. I can't tell you how many times I put something down (published as well as unpublished) saying, "Good lord, what were they thinking?!" However, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and will be lots more diplomatic. Hard thing to do for someone with the tact of a brick wall. Hey, what can I say? ::Shrugs::

So if any of this suits you or you belong to a group, can you suggest a place for me? If you're looking for a group, perhaps we can start one together. Especially if you fear that I may verbally tear someone to shreds (which I really wouldn't) or make someone cry and never pick up a pen to write again. I have friends and family reading what I write. While they say they love it or hate, fix this here or there, they are a bit biased. (Love you guys, I really do!) I want the truth and yes I can handle it! No, I couldn't before, but I can now. :D I've growed up a bit.

You can find me here, find me on FaceBook, even my website. If all else fails, by all means, drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

If You Have to Network...

You all know what I do, right? Write! Wow, I so could not pass that up. :D Yes, I am a writer. I'm an avid reader and I also promote and network like a mad woman. I don't think I have done anything extremely productive (unless you count dishes and cleaning up cat yak) this whole week. I've blogged, I've networked and I glanced at my two stories. That little animated icon I had up for a few days, you know, the one with the person banging their head on the keyboard? Yeah, that was so me. Now, I'm the stealthy tiger, like Hobbes, waiting for my moment to pounce.

My sister-in-law, Cheri Chesley, has some pretty cool things in the works. She's got her stories in "Angels Round About" coming out March 1, 2010. Her book, "The Peasant Queen" has been accepted by Cedar Fort Publishing and she's got some local reviews to do for some books. She could use some followers on her blog, who couldn't? I try to tell people about the blogs I follow. I think my "Website Wednesdays" are going to be of blogs for a while. I love promoting people. Now all I need is a Smite Button. Hmmm....

So. With that being said, please subscribe to my sister-in-law's blog:

Why? 'Cause she's family! Good gods man, what other reason do you need???? :D

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Website Wednesdays

So I have decided to start doing what I call Website Wednesdays. Gives people a chance to check out websites or even blogs. (Hey, I'm a networking kinda gal. What can I say?)

Since this is Absolutely my first Website Wednesdays, I thought long and hard about which website Absolutely had to be on here. Have you gotten the hint yet? Probably not, unless you are Absolutely a writer! (I swear, all of these blogs won't be as corny as this one from now on!)

Figure it out?


Absolute Write (dot) com. Psshhh! What website did you think I would pick for a premier? Well, there are dozens of others. It could have been oh, I don't know, Pogo (dot) com or something like that. Maybe even World of Warcraft (dot) com. I am a gaming nerd after all. [:lol:]

I have absolutely digressed. (Yes, yes I will cut it out now)

Absolute Write is by far one of the best websites out there for authors. Their water cooler page is full of Preditors & Editors information. (Speaking of ... Seriously, Google Preditors & Editors) I must admit this is where I first learned of the company I had fallen into with my first publication. I *SO* should have checked them out more, but ... lesson learned.

Moving on ...

This website gives you all sorts of goodies from paying markets, non-paying markets, beta readers, but most of all support for you, the author. Whether you are just starting out or are an old hand at the writing game, this site has something listed in the forums for you. This is by far, my favorite writing community website. The forums hold everything from basic writing questions to forums specifically designated to your genre. I didn't even know what a Beta Reader was until I was surfing their forums. Glad I know now and am thankful for my Beta Readers!

Aside from information, they give you contest information and an over all sense that all writers, no matter where they are in the process, belong.

So go check them out if you've never done so, especially if you are a writer! Absolute Write (dot) com Write hard. Write true. And write on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There Once Was A Girl...

... who sat up way too late and decided to do some Google searches. While traipsing around the web, she discovered several problems with her chosen "user name".

Yes, I have had horrible thoughts of what people were thinking when they saw "Mistress of Fantasy". I have a pretty active imagination and lately the more I looked at the name, the more I wondered what exactly people thought about it. I discarded it, chose the user name for my Blog to be Caledonia Lass. A friend of mine came up with that a very long time ago. I am of Scottish descent after all.

So this blog is mostly just to let people know I've changed my user name. I'll be changing my website name as well.

I feel at a loss this past week. I feel as if I am just hanging in suspension, inside a bubble and I can't hear my Muse. I feel like I am writing nonsense blogs just to keep the writing going in hopes some idea will strike me. Good thing the title of this Blog includes Nonsense, eh?

How do people move out of the suspended bubble? What do you do to take charge of your writing again? I do not think it is actually Writer's Block. I seem to have stalled somewhere along the way. Ran out of gas. If that is Writer's Block ... well, then darn it all anyhow! I may have brought it upon myself, switching gears from writing to editing. *Sigh*

Any ideas? Anyone else feeling suspended or stranded along the road?

The Importance of Research

Please note: If you have submitted your book to Publish America and are happy with it, please do not read the rest of this post. Either that or don't harsh my opinion.

So I log into my e-mail and about have a coronary. I have an e-mail from Publish America (as I am still under contract with them) and the subject line says: "Your book is going to Tom Hanks!"

Oh, please don't let this be true.

I open the e-mail and scan it quickly. The whole thing boiled down to this: Buy copies of your book to have on hand at a 55% discount and they will donate two books to Tom Hanks. One for himself and one for whatever producer-movie-person he so chooses.

Insert sigh of relief.

Now, I try very hard not to discuss Publish America. I tend to stray very far from the subject in any conversation. I have published a book with them, however I did so without doing my research. I am not thrilled with said book. Sometimes I am even ashamed of it. Why, you ask? Several reasons. First and foremost: I did not do my research. I merely stumbled upon them late one night while looking for a home for my book. They had submission guidelines and I followed them, expecting to hear from them several months down the road. Most likely a rejection. I heard back within a couple of months and they wanted my book. Back then, I think back at how elated I felt. I'm going to be a published author!

I still consider myself a published author and over time I have met dozens of people who went the route of PA and were successful. They had done their research where I had not. They knew what they were getting into. I had no clue. Through the whole process, I saw red flags, but ignored them only to have them shoved in my face after signing the contract. My book was poorly edited on my part. My proof copy came back to me with more mistakes than I originally had and after I signed off on the corrections, I got a copy of my book sans one chapter. A whole chapter ... gone.

At first, I was determined to make the best of it. Now, I feel like I sit in a dark corner, chewing my nails, rocking back and forth, biding my time, waiting for the contract to end. I have learned a very valuable lesson in all of this. Perhaps the hardest and most difficult lesson, but I have learned it and I will never forget it. So before you submit, make sure you do your research! 'Cause your book just might go to Tom Hanks. Maybe.

Friday, February 19, 2010


If I don't take the time to brag about my kids once in awhile, I am not doing my job. :D
Honestly, I have good kids and I know it. I've been told many times, so it isn't just me bragging about them. Well, mostly.
My daughter has turned into a phenomenal song-writer/musician. I can't pinpoint her talents just to guitar, as she's played the piano and has a desire to learn the violin. The most impressive of all of this is she's unable to read music. She'll be heading to the studio tomorrow with her friend to record her first song, compliments of her uncle.

My son, who now towers over his mother, sister and more than likely his father, has turned into a really good artist. I wish I could brag lots more about him, that I have seen his work, however he lives with his father in Arizona. He is enjoying being the big brother of his three half-siblings. However, I have to go on faith that he's as talented as I've heard. I really don't doubt his skills any more than his sister's. While pregnant with my son, I was in school taking Advertising Art. I did my best work while he was snuggled in my womb.

The same can be said for my daughter, to a degree. I listened to music a lot while pregnant with her. I've told the best part of this story over on the Mommy Blog. (

I think my kids are living proof that children respond to things in the womb. I cannot wait until I get a copy of her song on CD to send out to people. While she's in the studio, I think I will seek out some art supplies to send off to my son for his birthday present.

I know, I know, what does this have to do with writing? Not a whole heck of a lot! Actually, my mother is such an avid reader (the woman can read dozens of books a week) that perhaps I am her proof. I love to write, I love to read. I'm happiest when I am creating on that front, but art takes place as my second true love. (Not including family here, lol!) No idea where the art talent came from. My sister and I possess that gene. However, the other thing that this blog has to do with writing is the fact that my kids inspire me. Always have. I would do anything for them and I learn from them constantly. My daughter breathes, eats and sleeps music. I'm the same with writing. However, I do not have the luxury of all the free time she gets to spend playing. Someday. Soon, I hope.

Currently I am in a sort of limbo with my writing. Drafting and editing. Two very different hats, yet I know the drafting aspect is the easiest of the two. I like easy. I am not afraid of editing ... sometimes. I'm more aware of what I write now. My blogs ... well, I just write to have fun on the blogs. If my grammar or sentence structure is wonky, I really don't care. It's my voice, my humor and the relaxed side of myself. Yeah, I certainly know how to kick back.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and we'll see you all on Monday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Ok, so I have had several drawings laying around the house. I finally got them fixed up enough so that I can put them online. I have yet to color them. That will come later. However, in the meantime, I can post them here. I'll be adding them to my gallery on my website as well. (

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy them!

Sort of a logo:
Resized banner

Untitled at the moment:
Revised Untitled 2

Untitled as well:
Resized Untitled

Resized Alabassin

resized Sorcha

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's!

I know that a lot of people think that Valentine's has become a holiday simply to make money. It is true. Sadly, so is Christmas. This is not the origins of these holidays and if you make sure to focus on the origins of them, you won't lose sight of the meanings.
Whether or not Valentine performed secret marriages in Rome for young lovers or helped them escape the harsh punishments of the Romans at the time or even if he himself fell in love and sent the first Valentine... Well, all of these things were done out of love for people. The undertones of the holiday included festivals for fertility as well as a cleansing of the home, since February in Rome was the official beginning of Spring.
It is far from coincidence that the majority of Christian holidays overshadow Pagan ones. That is another conversation for another time, of course. However, if you delve into the history, you will see the similarities. Love, fertility, new beginnings and life. So focus on these aspects rather than the commercialized ones. Choose what you will believe in and celebrate that without society and the media dictating it for you. Love is something wonderful, beautiful and pure. It should not be tainted by hatred or criticisms.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

- Pablo Neruda, "Love Sonnet XVII"


Friday, February 12, 2010

Gearing Up for the Weekend

So, I've laid aside my writing hat and have been transitioning to put my editing cap back on. It usually does take me a few days to clear my head, write my notes, tie up loose ends. I have actually been working on some artwork for my website. Once I get that posted, I'll share here.

Valentine's Day is Sunday. It also happens to be my wedding anniversary. This is our 7th anniversary. We've been together for ten years, though. It's nice, we still act like we're still dating. I have been blessed and am thankful for him since he also helps me with my writing. He won't take credit, though and so I've had to use the combination of our initials as my pseudonym. M. L. Chesley. It works.

The story I am going back to editing is something that came almost completely from his imagination. I just wrote it all down, added the artistic flair, that sort of thing. I'm going to polish this puppy up and hopefully start the submitting process while I go back to writing on my current story.

So what process do you take in your writing? Query first, rough draft and then editing? Or do you just write? Do you outline? Personally, I can't stick to outlines, let alone create them. I've always had trouble with those. Share your process, I'm curious to know what others do and think before they write!

Hope everyone has a good weekend and I'll see you next week!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


So I gave myself a word count goal of 100,000 words. This book (or rather these books) is currently at 80K words and still rolling along. I didn't intend for this to be broken down into a series, however, I'm liking the idea more and more.

The attention span of our society seems to dwindle faster and faster. So perhaps breaking this down into several books would be the best idea. I'm not even to the main battle yet. I have Post-It notes all over my map at the moment with notes.

I have put off editing a book that is completely finished, so while I know exactly where my current story is headed (and can pick that thread up easily) I may turn back to editing. The finished book sits at just over 50K words at the moment. I'd like to get it polished and submitted. I've had to work very hard at not being Miss Instant Gratification, but it has been quite awhile since I've looked at the MS. I never thought this current MS would keep rolling like this. However, it does take time to build up to battles, to actually move the characters about like pieces on a chess board. Then to put both armies into place, move factions around and let the battle commence! Phew! It is hard work keeping so many balls up in the air, juggling.

I've also spent a good portion of today working on my website logo. More like a personal "business" logo. It is nice to put my art skills to good use. That degree in Advertising Art still hasn't gone to complete waste! I'm pretty proud of my graphic art skills.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brainstorms + Excerpt No. 4

I love to brainstorm. I love thinking about all the "what ifs" a story can take, how to resolve issues and leave the reader wanting more. There are so many paths you can take in life, but usually, once the choice is made you have to follow that path for awhile. Some people don't even get to choose.

I think that is something else I like about being a writer. I have all these characters (I like to think) I am in control of and the choices they get to make are endless. Sometimes, even with characters, they (or I) make the wrong choice and have to correct the problem. While they are trying to make the best of a poor situation, they continue to move forward, to grow and learn.

The possibilities are endless, as are the ways to fix problems. I think it says a lot about the writer and how they face challenges in their every day, normal life. Sometimes, though, you just have to let the character fall so that they learn.

I will be nice, I will include another little excerpt in this post. There isn't much more I can tell people without giving it all away, though! So if I leave you hanging, you know why. :D

Excerpt #4:
Sorcha Lilanthroe looked forward to spending some time in Jallyra. The shore leave would be good for not only herself, but her crew as well. Things had not been as exciting out on the water since she had dropped Hedric and Trinara off of her ship. She listened to the oars splash in the water as the longboat drifted closer to the docks. She could hear music and laughter already; her mouth watered at the thought of refilling her casks of cherry wine.
“Cap'n,” Fromas, her bosun, whispered in her ear. “Looks like we 'ave a welcomin' party.” Sorcha turned in her seat and saw a man standing on the dock, watching their approach.
“Who in all hells is that?” she snarled. Light from one of the lamps on the dock cast its light on him from behind, leaving him in shadow.
“Yer guess is as good as mine,” he told her. Sorcha huffed and muttered something under her breath. She began to grow impatient waiting for the boat to pull up to the dock. As soon as they reached it, she climbed out before they could tie the boat off.
“You aren't waitin' for me, are you?” she tried her best to be coy, sauntering over to the man who stood, arms folded across his chest. “I usually don't take men from the docks to my quarters –“ she paused, as she had gotten closer and could now see who stood before her. “Ah, hell. What do you want, Rose?”
“Just a few moments of your time. Gentlemen,” he inclined his head slightly as the majority of Sorcha's crew stepped up behind her, flanking their Captain.
“How in the hells did you even find me?” she asked.
“If I gave away my secrets, I wouldn't have the pleasure of surprising you like this.” He smiled at her and she scowled. “Can we speak in private?”
A few of her crew stepped forward, not wanting to leave their Captain alone with this man. Sorcha raised a hand, calling them off.
“Down, boys. He just wants to chat. Right?” she looked at Rose seriously, one eyebrow arched.
“You have my word. All I want to do is speak with you.” Sorcha nodded and turned.
“Go on, you filthy bilge rats. You smell so horrible you're making my stomach turn. Try taking a bath more than once an Age.” Each one filed past her and gave Rose warning looks as they did so. Fromas remained behind, the last to leave.
“Are ye sure ye'll be all right?” he asked.
“I'm never sure, but we all have to die sometime, right? Get going. I will be along shortly.”
“Aye, Cap'n,” he muttered and followed the rest of the crew.
“All right. Let's hear it,” she told Rose and stood, hands on her hips.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I just want to drop a quick post. I need to get back to writing! (I'm stalling, I have a detailed scene and I am trying to quiet the clamor in my mind. It is hard keeping up with such diverse characters, especially when I cram them all in one room.)
I want to give a huge thanks to my sis-in-law, Cheri ( for posting up on her FaceBook page to follow this blog. She's the best! So, welcome to my new and latest followers!

I try to be down to earth and not offend anyone. At least I don't do that on purpose anymore. ;) Growing up is a good thing. However, I do have to warn you right now. I have a good trait and a bad trait.

The good trait: I am honest.
The bad trait: I am honest.

Why is that good and bad? Mainly because human beings, naturally, may ask for honesty but don't like it when they get it. I will be honest with people and while I may need a couple of lessons in tact or diplomacy, I cannot help but tell you exactly how I feel. My husband calls me a "Lightning rod with a bullwhip". That's about the exact truth of how someone could describe me. However, if honesty doesn't offend you and you look past to what I am actually trying to say and don't focus on just how I say it....we'll be fine.

So again, thanks Cheri! You're the best!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting Over Myself

So while I have been working on my website and adding the Wiki widget, I've had issues. I'm not used to writing about myself. In my last blog, I had a couple of comments that, yes, I would indeed have to overcome this fear and just do it. (No, I'm not a Nike ad.) So I did! While I can't say it is fun and try to make you believe it, I understand why I have to do it: Readers wanting to connect with their author. I love reading about my favorite authors and what they like to read/watch/do. So it goes without saying that eventually my readers (eee!) would want to know the same of me.

There is one other thing I have wanted to clarify for some time now. Granted people love giving themselves titles and seldom explain what it means. I've had a couple of people ask me why I call myself the "Mistress of Fantasy". That's fun to explain!

I'm not exactly sure how it came about. I just know that there are times I feel a little like a slave to my muse/genre. While I will try my hand at writing other types of stories (which I have) I always come back to fantasy. It is as if I am coming home to the one I love.

It certainly has nothing to do with bestowing a title on myself to appear more glamorous than I am. Hardly! Me? Glamorous? *Snorts* It's like I'm telling the world I'm the Elvira of the fantasy genre.

"Hi there! I'm your hostess, that gal with a wit who's quick with a quip! Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Week after week you'll find me right here on this lumpy ol' sofa showin' off my fine features....uh my film features. You know... the movies? ... Until then, unpleasant dreams."

I loved Elvira. Anyway, back on track here... So, yes, in some odd way I suppose I am fantasy's mistress. That name, however, would have dumped me into the romance genre. Mistress of Fantasy is just a fun thing for me, something to universally connect me with my MySpace page, website and blog. It also has just a little to do with my being involved in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and being titled with my occupation. Hmm... I could be Fantasy Pirate, but there again, I might get chunked into the romance genre.

*Note: I have nothing against romance authors! Most everything I write is in jest, take it with a grain of salt! Thank you. ::Hides from the onslaught of quill pens::

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I absolutely love to work on websites. I don't know why. My favorite free website to use is

So I have built a website of my own. Temporary, mind you. Meaning that someday I wish to have a site built specifically to my tastes. Might be awhile. But in the meantime, I do have this one. I like it. I've added a Wiki widget to it, then discovered I would actually have to write information about myself to fill it. Eek!

Why is it, I can never write about myself? Do other authors have this same issue? I have no problem telling people about the world I created, the things I am writing; but I can't tell them about myself. Odd.

At any rate, here's the link to my website.

I know, I can call myself "Mistress of Fantasy" but can't share a blessed thing about myself. I'm just strange that way I suppose.

Feel free to leave feedback, sign the guestbook, leave comments to the blog posts there. I'd love to hear from you all!