Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

It's Friday!! And I get to do inventory. Woo. Hoo. Just kidding, I don't mind. Gives me a chance to get to hang out with my co-workers and get to know them a little better.

So on with the favorites!

Favorite authors/books:

One of my favorite books, one I really should read again, is "Watership Down". I have to encourage my daughter to read it as well. Whenever we drive home from town or go into town, we always pass by this storage place that has a very large lawn near the road. There are lots of bunnies there. Now, these are not your typical Alaskan bunny mind you. These are bunnies that someone had as pets, then something happened and the bunnies were let out into the area. So they're all sorts of colors. And darn cute!

Favorite movie:

When I did the top ten WORST movies ever in Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog hop, I had listed all the sequels done to "Highlander". However, "Highlander" the original is one of my favorite movies. Granted it was cheesy and there never really was any explanation as to how they became immortals, but I liked the movie itself. No idea why.

Favorite music:

Concrete Blonde. Good group. As Halloween nears, I keep thinking of their song, "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)". When we first moved to Alaska, my daughter was in middle school and had been dying to take guitar lessons. Well, she ended up with a built in teacher with my brother-in-law. She learned the bass guitar first and that song was one of the first ones she picked up. She then moved on to the six string and we now call her the capo queen. She likes to use the capo quite a bit in her recent works.

Fantasy art:

John Howe's "A Hobbit Dwelling". I love the hobbit houses, I want to live in one. Hehe!

And the Funny (Felt it was appropriate):

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Want This...

I used to have a yoga mat, but it slipped a little and then deteriorated. By becoming the cat's new chew toy. I certainly didn't want them chewing on something that could be potentially toxic, but this one is made with biodegradable rubber and uses a non toxic softening process.

Yoga is good for you, this mat is good for the environment. So yeah, I want one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More Musings...

Yesterday, when I posted, I was just beat. True, the chaotic mess that I call my life won't last forever, thank goodness. But it is beating me up, physically, emotionally, mentally. I can still feel the effects from my surgery and know that I am not completely, 100% myself just yet. But I can function and now have to get used to being on my feet while working. Good thing is, there are stools to sit on when it is slow. Woot!

It also didn't stop me from going over my book and doing a little more editing. I know that 62K words is a little short for a fantasy novel, but how do I lengthen it without giving away what should go into book two?

And make sure it doesn't sound like the filler that it is.

Tough call. But I know I will figure something out. I'm also revising my query, working on the synopsis, waiting to hear back from a couple of people. I'm still excited about it, even if I am so freakin' tired I can't keep my eyes open...

Again, I'll get used to the new routine. Have a great rest of the week and see you all soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Well. As of today, this will officially be my 4th day of work. One of my co-workers is on vacation and will be back next week so at the moment, my schedule is hell. It's all right, I need to get used to being on my feet for over 8 hours a day again. That is something that doesn't take me long to do as long as I have the right shoes. Which of course... I don't. But, no worries.

The only other thing going on is my mom was supposed to leave here and return home on Sunday. Unfortunately, she ended up in the hospital and they won't let her travel just yet. I keep telling her she really didn't want to go home anyway. Hehe! Nothing super serious, but it is keeping me hoppin'. I have to rearrange her flight reservations, bring her stuff she needs, work, pick up my daughter from work, come home, make dinner.... oh, was I supposed to write something? :Snorts:

No matter what, I am going to keep my writing/blogging schedule as best I can. Even if I have to schedule blogs two weeks in advance and just catch up on reading blogs when I am home. I don't want to take a super long hiatus like I did last year. It was very difficult to get back into the writing and blogging routine I had been keeping. The only time I will really take a break is when I move, which has been put on hold.

Other than that, I am enjoying my job! Hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Woot! I got a job and will be working part time evenings. Which is good for me, I'm a little night owl. As long as if I ever have to work a day shift I don't work late the previous night. Eh, it's all good. I can sleep when I'm dead, right?

Also, I got EXCELLENT feedback on my query. Thanks to everyone who was over at Matthew's blog and posted their comments and gave their support. MUCH appreciated!!

So back to the revising board with the query. Then continue to work on the other stuff.

I just wanted to post up here and let you all know that if my blogs become a little sporadic, I've got lots going on. However, I am going to do my absolute best to maintain things here and do what I can, when I can.

Have an awesome rest of the weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Foregoing The Usual Friday...

Wow! Can I just say I feel the love. Bloggy love! I needed some of that right now.

If you have not already seen it, my Query was posted up at Matthew's place. The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment (say that five times fast!). You can see it using the link. He is posting up the critique of it today.

I'm trying not to chew my nails.

Okay! So let's just get off that subject for a moment. I wanted to look back at the long, rough, winding road this poor story has taken. You all saw my post on my personal horror story. If not, you can see it here. Don't let the title fool you.

Now here I am, polishing it up, using Beta Readers ( I LOVE YOU GUYS by the way...), writing a query (gasp!) and a long synopsis (double gasp!). These are things that at one point, I didn't think I would ever be doing. I never thought I would have a blog, meet such cool, supportive people or even be asking my awesome artist buddy to do me up some artwork for this tale.

But I also have to give credit to my characters. Boy... does that sound weird. But seriously, their voices clamored in my head until I gave in and rewrote the story and didn't give it up. Do you know what its like to wake up at 3 a.m. to a whiny assassin? She usually isn't whiny. That's what woke me up.

I can't thank the people I dragged into all of this enough. The Betas, the friends and family and yes, even you blogger buddies of mine. All of you authors and writers and reviewers and critique-rs.... All of the advice, support and patience in dealing with the questions of "How do I get there?".

For every single blog I follow I have garnered some shiny tidbit of advice that I have utilized. I may not have commented or said thank you, but I did try to let you know that I listened. So thanks! Thanks to you all.

Now to just get published. Ha!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Interupt Your Daily Musings...

So, I sort of have to get this all off my chest before I explode.

Sometimes, Facebook really should not ask what is "On my mind?". First, let me rant a bit about Facebook and the changes. Even the media has articles out about the overnight changes and how much people are hating it. Personally I feel as if I am being forced back to MySpace and the high school angst it provided just to keep things simple.

Really, Facebook? Did you have to go and change YET again? Go find something to do, go outside and play. Read a book... do SOMETHING!


My rant prior to that had been about this generation of kids and how all they know how to do is get what they want and consume resources like mad without a thought to their consequences. However, if the children are this way, most of the parents are to blame.

Generation "I Deserve!" has parents that "Give You What You Want So You'll Leave Me Alone, OMG Why Did I Have Children?!" or the also popular, "Give You What You Want Because God Forbid I End Up Like My Parents!".

My facebook status simply stated: To all children of the I Deserve generation... all you really deserve is a good, swift kick in the rear.

Stop begging and pleading for what you want and do what everyone before you ever existed did. Work for it. EARN it. Become a contributing member of society, not a pain the... yeah.

If you are not old enough to work, do your chores, do your homework and basically behave. THAT is your job. Don't call up your mother at work and practically scream into the phone about how your cell phone bill hasn't gotten paid yet.

Review: The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

Hey guys! You know I do book reviews on this blog as well as rant about writing stuff. I've decided that since I do reviews over at My Chaotic Ramblings anyway, I would just start posting said reviews over there.

So here is the link to this Review! Show some bloggerly loves!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reject Me, Please...

Wow, just saw that this will be my 299th post. Awesome!

I just have to share that this past week or so, I've been feeling more and more like a "grown up" writer. I've been researching publishing companies, I've been looking on Absolute Write's: Writer's beware section. This is the place where people can give you their personal feedback and experiences with companies and or agents.

I've written my query letter. I'm working on my synopsis. My betas are reading my revisions. And the only thing I have panicked about is my query letter. But that's okay, it is going to be reviewed and critiqued. But I'm a big girl, I can handle the rejections that come my way now. A few years ago, if someone had said a bad word about my writing I would have crumbled. But now? I have quite a thick skin.

I feel like I can now validate any sort of writing advice I put up here. Things I can tell you what worked, what didn't. It is a bit of a strange feeling. An the oddest part is, I'm sort of looking forward to getting some rejections.

Monday, September 19, 2011

International Talk Like A Pirate Day...

I've got one word for you. Arrrgh!

In celebration of Talk Like A Pirate Day, I thought I would give you a couple of jokes and my pirate scene excerpt from my book. Whaddya say?

Aye Mateys! Here we go. First a couple of jokes for you:

How much does it cost a pirate to get his ears pierced? A Buccaneer! (A buck an ear...)

What is a pirates favorite kind of socks? Arrrgyle!

What is a pirates favorite letter? Arrrrggghhh!

And last but not least: A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's wheel dangling from his crotch. The bartender says, "You realize you have a ship's wheel dangling there, don't you?" to which the pirate responds, "Aye! It's drivin' me nuts!"

Yeah, I hear the groans and boos from here. Hehe! Okay, here is my excerpt. Enjoy!

Merydwen had risen high up in the cloudless sky when several of Toreg's crewmen dragged Trinara, Hedric and Nalatha, the young Nobleman's daughter, up on deck. Yorn and Kalurn had died from their wounds several days ago, their bodies thrown over the railing into the ocean without ceremony. Nalatha shrieked and cried as they dragged her towards the main mast and shackled her there. Trinara held her chin up as they shoved her and Hedric roughly, trying to incite a response.

Around them, the crew laughed and pointed in their direction, calling out insults and jibes, making rude gestures. The iron cuffs around Trinara's wrists cut into her skin. The blood trickling down her hands.

“Enough!” a man bellowed from up on the quarterdeck. “Shut it, you bunch of rum swiggin' barnacles.” Trinara recognized him as he had paid them a visit down in the brig. Now he descended the stairs, pushing his way through the crewmen on deck to stand before them.

“Toreg.” Hedric said coolly.

“I said shut it, filth.” Toreg struck Hedric hard across the face, snapping his head back against the wooden mast they had tied him to. “You will speak when I tell you to speak.”

Around them, the crew laughed maliciously and shouted their agreement. A few of them taunted Hedric and Trinara while others harassed Nalatha.

“Leave her be,” Hedric growled at the nearest pyrate. They all laughed loudly as Toreg walked around Trinara.

“They don't take orders from people like you,” Toreg snarled. He stood with his face inches from Hedric.

“But you do, don't you Toreg. How much coin did Li'endrin drop in your slimy hand to attack us? I bet you've been holding out on your crew, haven't you? Have you split that with them yet?” A few murmurs could be heard from the crew as they looked about, casting cold glances at their Captain. For the moment all of the attention turned to Hedric, the young girl forgotten.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Toreg said. He moved over to the girl and unlocked the shackles holding her to the mast. “Now then, how about a little entertainment for the crew?” Toreg pulled the girl towards him and turned her to face Hedric. She struggled trying to pull away from him, but he held her tightly against him, one arm wrapped around her chest and the other gripping her face, contorting her features.

“Let her be, Toreg.” Trinara pulled on the chains holding her in place. “She's done nothing to you.”

“Or for me for that matter. I intend to let the crew have some fun once I am finished with her. It's been quite some time since we've been able to stay long in any port. Your warships have seen to that.”

“You haven't been able to rest because you have Sorcha on your tail,” Hedric said. “Don't try to pin the blame on me.”

Toreg snorted and pushed the girl roughly towards some of the men standing off to one side and moved to unlock Trinara.

“I wouldn't unlock her if I were you.” Hedric grinned, watching Trinara carefully. “She'll grab the first thing she can use as a weapon and run you through. I've seen her use spoons before.”

“I think my crew can handle her well enough,” Toreg sneered. He unlocked one of her wrists and stepped back quickly, letting his crew surge forward.

“Ship ho!” a voice suddenly called out of the moonlit night.

“All hands, man your stations!” Toreg barked out commands and everyone on deck scattered, scrambling to follow orders. “Bearings!”

“She's right on top of us, Cap'n.”

“She?” Toreg squawked.

“It's Sorcha, Cap'n.”

Toreg ran to the railing and saw Sorcha's ship closing fast. All of her lamps were out, she had been sailing dark. The moonlight shone off of the white sails of her ship and suddenly a large fiery orb caught Toreg's attention.

“She's firing, Cap'n!” the look-out called down.

“I can see that for myself!”

The orange ball of flame grew larger as it got closer and Toreg squealed before running for cover. The burning ball of pitch flew high above the heads of the crew, slamming into the mainsail and burning its way through before falling to the deck. Soon after, ballista flew high and fast, unlit but trailing flaming rope. Even if the bolts missed their marks, the ropes landed across the rails and decks, igniting everything in their wake.

Toreg looked up and saw that each of the sails had been set alight and his ship slowed in the water, coming to a stop. The creak of the ship and the crackle of flames could be heard for just a moment, then panic set in and crew scattered in every direction. Some ran for water to douse the flames while others passed out weapons to prepare for the imminent fight.

“Cap'n,” the lookout called down, his voice hoarse from the smoke. “She's increased speed, she's heading straight for us. Cap'n brace for impact!”

Toreg snapped out orders but they went unheeded as the crew scrambled to put out the fires. The flames had almost gotten under control when suddenly everyone was knocked from their feet as Sorcha's ship rammed Toreg's. The sound of wood cracking filled the dark night and everyone tried to find something to hold on to. Nalatha, having been released by the pyrate holding her, now teetered near the port railing, arms pin-wheeling as she tried to regain her balance. Another jolt as Sorcha's ship pushed into Toreg's sent the girl over into the water.

Trinara had one hand free of the chains and as Toreg slid past, she grabbed for the keys clutched in his hand. She jerked them free with a hard, painful twist and released her other hand from the shackles.

“I'm going after Nalatha,” she shouted to Hedric, tossing him the keys. Toreg tried to scramble back up to the mast to retrieve his keys, but the ship listed hard to port. Shouts could be heard from the other ship and as Toreg and his men tried to gain their legs, Trinara sent up a silent prayer of thanks that Sorcha Lilanthroe had found them.

“Don't be stupid,” Hedric tried to tell Trinara. “She's gone overboard.”

“That doesn't mean she's dead. You just make sure Sorcha gets us both out of the water.” Trinara turned on her heel and let her momentum take her to the railing where she clumsily dove into the water to save the young Noblewoman.

On deck, Toreg shouted orders at his crew, his voice cracking with panic.

“Hard to starboard! Weigh anchor!”

“Too late,” a woman yelled over the din. “There is no where for you to go.” Sorcha leapt onto the deck, sword in hand and a grin on her face. “I have been looking forward to this day, you sad excuse for a dung heap.”

“Let's get this over with, then,” Toreg said, drawing his own sword. He shook so badly, he could not hold his sword straight. He put on a brave face, but as soon as Sorcha advanced, he yelped and ran. Sorcha gave chase, practically all over the ship. At one point, Toreg hid behind the mast where Hedric remained chained and lashed out at the woman from either side. Sorcha snarled and smacked his sword away as if swatting at an irritating fly.

“Stop playing around, you fool!” she hollered.

Someone slammed into Sorcha from behind, pushing her into Hedric. She jabbed upwards with her elbow, connecting with someone's head as Hedric kicked out with his foot, pushing the person off of the female Captain.

“Thanks,” she breathed, winking at Hedric.

“Anytime. Just get us out of here, will you?”

Toreg appeared to the left of Hedric and instead of dodging his wild swing, Sorcha grabbed his wrist and tugged hard. Toreg's face met the mast with an audible crunch and he sank to the ground.

“Cap'n!” Fromas shouted out a warning. Sorcha whirled in time to see two of Toreg's crew closing in on her, swords raised. She pulled a dagger from her boot and began to parry the blows, twisting from side to side as each of her attackers struck. She turned and brought the pommel of her cutlass down hard on top of the head of one, then twisted again, shoving her dagger between the ribs of the other.

Shouts and the clang of metal on metal surrounded her, but she focused all of her attention on yet another assailant, sending the blade of her cutlass over his throat before turning back to where Toreg still lay in an unconscious heap. She raised her blade over the still man's head. Before she could swing down, she was tackled from behind and rolled along the deck with another of Toreg's faithful. They were loyal, she had to give them that much. The man's weight crushed her to the deck and his dagger bit into the flesh of her shoulder.

Suddenly the man was lifted to his feet and the point of a sword burst from his chest, spraying Sorcha's face with blood. As the man dropped lifelessly to the ground, Hedric offered a hand to her, helping her to her feet, one hand still locked in the manacle, but free from the mast.

“Thanks,” Sorcha grinned. “Wasn't quite sure how I was going to get out of that one. Unai must love me.” Hedric just shook his head and grinned in spite of himself.

Sorcha grabbed one of the lamps that still glowed brightly on the deck and smashed it, sending oil and flames everywhere. She returned to where Toreg lay and quickly decapitated the man, holding up his head and hollering for the fighting to cease.

“To the Plains of Afterlife for all who followed this filthy cur!” she yelled, raising the head again. A cheer from her crew erupted. Fromas brought her a burlap sack and she dumped her prize into it unceremoniously. All of Toreg's remaining crew dropped their weapons to the deck with a loud clatter.

“No quarter!” Sorcha snarled.

Every last one of Toreg's men were killed on the spot. The ship burned brightly in the night as Sorcha and her men took their wounded back to her ship. Hedric grabbed Sorcha by the shoulder and spun her around.

“There are two women overboard,” he said, releasing her as he caught her glare. “We need to pick them up.”

“Since when are we a rescue vessel?” one of her men muttered, overhearing the comment.

“Since the last time we pulled someone out of the drink,” Sorcha sighed.

“What?” Hedric stared at the woman. “What are you talking about?”

“Never mind, lad. Don't worry your pretty little head about it. Let's get those girls, shall we?”

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest...

Welcome to Alex J. Cavanaugh's Worst Movies Ever! Blogfest. First, if you don't know who Alex is, get your tail over to his blog and check him out. Because, seriously...

Now, today is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrgh! So ye filthy bilge rats best be payin' attention or I'll be throwin' yer barnacled carcass into the brig!

Now that I got that out of my system, I can begin! So I just want to say this first: This is just my opinion!! Don't get butt hurt if I list a movie here that you absolutely adore. These are just movies that, IN MY OPINION.... suck. Lol!

So in no particular order, here we go (and some of them I just won't comment on...):

1) Prince of Space

2) Highlander 2: The Quickening. (All I can say is... really? They should have just stopped with the first movie. Granted I like the show... but yeah...)

3) Highlander: The Source (Please read above comment.)

4) Howard the Duck. (Yeah, I will catch hell for this...)

5) Green Slime

6) Warlock (Liked it when I was what...12?)

7) The Car (Satan has awesome wheels... XD )

8) Earth Girls Are Easy

9) Frozen (Stranded on a ski lift... well duh! But wolves?????....??)

10) What Dreams May Come

Again, this is just my opinion. Some of them I didn't comment on much because it's been ages since I even saw them. Part way through I might mention...

Frozen was horrible, but like a bad traffic accident I couldn't turn away, so my daughter and I made it into our own "Mystery Science Theater 2000"! That part was fun.

The Car was scary when I was a kid, then later just made me go "I liked that???"

Never even got far into movies like Howard the Duck or Earth Girls Are Easy... I watched What Dreams May Come just to see if it might get better. It didn't. Hence why it's on the list!

So what do you think were the worst movies ever? I'll be hopping over to find out!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In Preparation For I.T.L.P.D....

ITLPD. Come on, you know what it means. International Talk Like a Pirate Day!! My Favorite holiday, besides Halloween of course. In the course of my gearing up for it, I have a pic of my in pirate gear to share. Old pic... I need an updated one!

I'll be joining Alex's blog hop on Monday: 10 Worst Movies Ever! And I just may do it Pirate style.

In the meantime, perhaps I can share some little known facts about pirates with you.

First, pirates wore whatever they could get their greedy, filthy little hands on. These pirates you see in the movies with the cute little torn off pants or the gorgeous Captain's coat? Yeah. Most of the lesser crewmen wore dresses if that is all that was available for them to wear. Imagine being pillaged by a guy in a lacy dress, bodice untied and loose... ::Snorts:: Kidding of course. Most sailors had to be good tailors as well, what with sewing up sails and the like. But they did take the material of whatever they found to patch up what they wore or made do with whatever they could throw together.

Pirates who have a patch or peg leg or even a hook... Well, they're just bad pirates. Get out of the way when something is flying at you. Sheesh. Seriously, hooks were a bit too cliche. If they lost a hand, chances are they didn't put anything on the limb. But a leg? Well yes, they did use wooden legs. Want to teach THAT pirate a lesson? Douse his leg in termites. Ha!

Pirates would wear a gold earring so that if their body washed ashore, there would be a way to pay for his burial.

And I will ... hmm... what could I give you guys aside from lashings from the Cat o' Nine Tails to the person who can tell me what Keelhauling is.

I already know. Good luck!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

Friday... ooooh Friday. I'm supposed to have these revisions done and sent out to my Betas again. I can do it. Won't take too awful long, I'll just let them find my errors.

Kidding! Okay, maybe not so much.

Anyway, it is Friday, so here you go!
Favorite author/books:

Don't know why I forgot all about Dan Brown. It wasn't until I was posting something somewhere about him that I thought... duh, how could I forget him? I love The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Those two books rocked. I have yet to read anything else from him at the moment. My TBR pile is about to topple over and bury the cats.
I watched both of the movies and loved them as well, but as usual, the books were better.

Favorite movies:

Gran Turino. One of THE best Clint Eastwood movies I have ever seen. I love that movie and if you haven't seen it yet... WHAT is wrong with you?? I could watch it over and over again. I haven't seen much of the early Clint Eastwood stuff like Outlaw Josey Wales or Every Which Way. I have seen most of his movies and my other favorite is Unforgiven. That was a decent movie, but Gran Turino surpasses it by far.

Favorite music:

I'm torn on which of the two I should mention today. Faun or Nightwish. I absolutely love them both equally and when asked to choose on Twitter, I failed epically. Back when I had published with Publish America (don't take my word, look here and here and here) I wanted to do an audio book. Still do. I sent a message to Faun and asked if I could use their music in the background and they sent me a letter with permission. I'll have to ask again. Nightwish is just as good, in my opinion, even if different styles of music. I have a friend over in Germany who got me into Nightwish. Thanks Natalie!

Fantasy art:

This is quickly becoming my favorite. I use just the face for most of my avatars around the web now, but give her black curly hair and green eyes and she'd be my Kayta. :D

Now the Funny:

Ha ha! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't You Hate It When...

I'm on a revision high of some sort. I can tell I'm working my hardest on this book simply because of the lack of sleep, the odd dreams when I do sleep and the fact that I'll get something I need to add/change in the book and it will eat at me until I get it done.

I'm rambling, which is fine. I tend to do that anyway. But I do hate it when an idea crops up in my brain JUST as I'm falling asleep and, bad writer that I am, don't have a notebook near my bed. I stressed all night that I would forget what I wanted to do, but I was so tired I didn't want to fire up my laptop at 4 a.m.

What do you do when you get that idea during the night? Do you stagger out to the computer, hoping you don't knock your shin against the chairs and wake up the whole household? Do the pets stare at you like you're a moron for pulling a blanket around your head to cover the glare of the monitor? Or do you just ignore the voices in your head until you finally drift back to sleep?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Want This...

I absolutely would love this. It is solar powered and brings to mind catching fireflies in a jar. I remember summer nights in the midwest when I was a kid, I LOVED catching lightning bugs as we called them.

To have something like this is not only a great reminder of those days, but seems to me it would be very soothing to have around. They would be great at dinner parties! Yeah, I want this!

Coming To The End...

I've been revising my little tush off these past few days. I can only hope that my revisions have made a stronger, cleaner story.

I can't wait to be done, though. I've spent more time on my computer in the last few days than I have in a very long time.

It will be well worth it, though. I'm not worried about that. Excitement is just eating away at me. Then comes the whole query/synopsis stuff.

Book two is almost ready for the tough revisions. Book three is sort of on the back burner, but well mapped out. Lots of stuff happening, yet not convoluted to the point where people will be confused.

On a completely separate topic, I'm adding pages to my blog page. (Yeah, I finally figured out how to do that... duh) Any thoughts or ideas as to what you'd like to see up there? I'm thinking of changing the "Excerpts" page to "Favorite Character Quotes". Not just from my book, but from others as well.

Hope you all are having a good week! I'll see ya soon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unique Marketing...

So, with new followers, new people messaging me and the like, I have a bit of a story to tell. Don't worry, it does fall in line with the title. I used a unique marketing tool at one point, but the idea belonged to my friend Jenna Miller.

I have to go back about 5 years ago. I was living in Tucson, Arizona and we were making the decision to move to Alaska. The job market in Arizona took a major nose dive.

At any rate, that is also around the time I thought I was ready to publish my book and began trying to figure out how to go about it. I didn't have a blog, I didn't belong to any writerly websites. I did have a MySpace page though...

I happened across Publish America. Now before I get into gory details, let me just say I met some cool people through PA, people who knew exactly what they were getting into and made it work for them. This is also how I met Jenna.

Publish America accepted me right off the bat. I got all kinds of excited and went to work doing what they asked me to do. I thought, at first, could this be too good to be true? No rejection? Really? But the more I got wrapped up in things, the further I pushed that thought from my mind.

Then my book came out. $24.99 was the cover price (gah!) and the first cover they did made it look like a bad Harlequin romance (Yeah, I know I will catch flack for that comment, too). The girl looked nothing like my MC. Did they even read the book? Then came problem after problem. They changed the cover, they omitted an entire chapter and said it was my fault, that I had signed the statement saying it was ready to go. More and more bad things piled up. I started searching the forums to find people who had similar issues. I didn't want to be a whiner.

I met Jenna in the fantasy forums. Seemed like she and I were the only two out there who had written fantasy, but PA's website listed tons of other authors. We couldn't contact any of them. We decided to help each other any way we could. She found the entire 3,000+ comments on about Beware of Publish America. We started reading and we both just felt sick.

That mistake right there changed my writing and how I go about things today. But it helped Jenna and I. We made a group called Word Weavers. We had a MySpace page for helping other authors get their foot in the door and warned them of the dangers of not doing your research.

So what's this unique marketing tool I talked about? Author Trading Cards. You can see mine below and just to show you what a huge hit it was, here's the link to the online Trading Card Museum.

Now, I'm taking a huge risk here. I have to ask you, and it sounds REALLY weird.... DON'T BUY MY BOOK. If I make no sales, my contract ends that much sooner. I have found a legal way around my contract. What I am writing now is completely different, it isn't the same story. The title is changed and I'm using my married name as author. It can in no way be associated with what I have previously done with the exception of my characters and my contract ends in two years anyway.

So there it is. That is what happened to me, for the most part, that made me a better writer and more aware. I got super depressed about PA for a long time until I began talking to people to find a way around the contract and put this mistake behind me. However, there is a positive to PA. I wouldn't have met Jenna and the countless other authors she and I helped back then. Most of those people were super shy about writing and promoting and we helped them gain confidence. So something good came out of it all.

My name is Mel and I am a Publish America survivor. Ha ha!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Someone Is New To Blogger...

Okay, so maybe he's not THAT new, but he is back to blogging and needs some of our writerly support. You know, the kind of support that only people who've struggled with writing can give.

Bryan Tann is a paranormal author. He's working on a series of Vampire books and has a fan page on FaceBook, a blog here now and hangs out at the AbsoluteWrite water cooler.

Yeah, I hang around that water cooler as well. That's why I don't get anything done! We just sit and talk and tell jokes until the boss... wait, writers don't have bosses...

Anyway! Here is the link to Bryan's blog. Drop on by, follow if you want, say hello. Offer up some suggestions and see if there is anything you can do to help.

Hmm... I think he should join Alex's Insecure Writers Support Group. Hehe!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who Am I?...

I know a lot of you now see my signature, read my "About Me" section and all that and know my name is Mel. (Wow, I sound like the Earl show.) But it doesn't fully explain... well... me.

Why do I use the handle "Caledonia Lass"? I'm sure I have told this story before, but I've got lots of new followers and will tell it again. :)

That's a fun story in itself.

First of all, I'm half Scottish/Irish. My other half is Dutch. I have relatives on my Dutch side that have traced our family tree all the way back to the 1600's in Netherlands. My grandparents came over to America when they were young. I'm second generation Dutch on that side of my family in America. My mother is the youngest of 11 kids. I'm the youngest of 4 and the youngest of 53 grandchildren.

I'm very proud of my Dutch heritage, but know little of my Scottish/Irish heritage.

I do know that I am from the clans MacGregor, McLeod, Williams and one other I always forget. But I am drawn to my Scottish/Irish heritage. The sound of bagpipes stirs something in my blood. I want to visit Scotland in a bad, bad way. I also want to trace my family history, but don't know where to begin.

Anyway, way back when I was playing Legends of Cosrin, I became good friends with a guy who was Scottish. At the time, he was the only person I had confided in about my writing and he encouraged it to no end. I told him what I was writing, I would send him my stuff and he'd give me honest feedback. So when I came across Writing.Com, I struggled with a user name. I didn't want people to know who I was, I was super shy about my writing and confidence was severely lacking.

So I asked him, give me a user name! And he came up with Caledonia Lass. I've used it everywhere. He knew my heritage and when I asked him what the heck Caledonia meant, I immediately agreed that was the best name he could come up with that fit me perfectly. Most people know how to find me with that user name and I have no intention of ever changing it. He was one of my very best friends and when 9/11 happened, I knew where he worked and scrambled for days to get in touch. He survived, he is okay. But when the game went the wayside of better things to do with our time, I lost touch. I've kept his email but haven't gotten any responses, but that's okay. He was in my life during a time when I needed to be placed on the right path. So every book I write will always have a special dedication to him because of that.

So thanks, Herb! I wouldn't have come this far without your friendship and support!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Couple Of New Outlets...

I belong to lots of different places other than FaceBook and Twitter where I can actively post and stuff.

Stuff. Lots of stuff.

One of the places I found a very long time ago is I found it through a friend of mine who I had met when I first "published". Absolute Write had a HUGE long post about Publish America.

At first, the posts made me feel like I wanted to throw up. I couldn't believe I had not followed one of THE first rules of publishing: RESEARCH!!!! But the more I posted, the more I became a part of the community. This was the first site of mine to fall to the wayside when things got hectic for me. Because even though I was welcomed there, I still felt embarrassed for being a fool.

The other site I joined right away during my PA fiasco was WritersCafe. They're an awesome little community as well. I feel like I want to prove that I have taken advice and have become a better writer and know to do my research these days.

Not sure how many of you utilize these two sites. But if you don't, I would recommend it. There's lots of useful information, places to market, things like that. You can find me in either places listed under Caledonia Lass. That's my user name and I'm sticking to it. ;) I shared my two short stories from's writing prompt contest. I don't know what else I will share, but we'll see.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm A Bzz Agent...

I've recently joined the world of Bzz Agent. It is a website where you share your opinions about products, good or bad. They give you the things to try.

I'm currently trying for this product:These are blender bottles, they can mix just about anything from your daily protein drinks to pancake batter. Or just to use as water bottles.

During the rest of the week, there are a couple other things I would like to try, so you may see more posts.

You all know me. I'm more than happy to share my opinion.

Thanks for indulging me in this post. Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

Another Friday has arrived. I'll get right to the favorites!

Favorite authors/books:

I've mentioned Stephen King already, but now I need to mention Peter Straub. Why? Simply because of their two books they collaborated on. "The Talisman" and "Black House". "The Talisman" is what got me interested in Peter Straub's books. I still get thrills and chills when I recall "Ghost Story". Other books I've read were "Julia", "Shadowland" (Awesome book!) and "Floating Dragon". Those are the ones I can recall at the moment. I love his writing style. When I found him, I felt he was far creepier than King. Blasphemous, I know.

Favorite movies:

I recently watched "War of the Roses" again. It had been several years since I've seen it and I still like it. My favorite part is where she makes her pate and tells her ex hubby it was made out of his dog. Still a good movie after all these years!

Favorite music:

Cake! I love Cake. They're one of my most favorite bands EVER. The fact that their music is so diverse, no two songs sound alike. THAT is what I love most. I also like real cake, you know... chocolate, black forest cake...

Fantasy Art:

This is what I used to make my banner for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

And now the funny:

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Late To The Party...

Yesterday was Wednesday! (Yes, Mel, that was very good but we all know that. The calendar told us.) It was also the first posting from Alex's Insecure Writing Group.

First, let me just say, Alex. Pure Genius.

I'm finding that I want to leave a comment on everyone's post! But I was a bit late to the party.

I had plans for Wednesday, plans to get up, visit everyone's blog for the big event. But I was met with, "Need to get up early, I have plane reservations to make." That was from my mom. I don't want to see her visit end, but I dragged my butt out of bed after a bout of insomnia and went to the travel agency. I was so flipping tired, I took a nap. But it didn't end there. I've been promising her we'd go play Bingo before she left. So we went.

I won $7.50 because I had to split a $15 pot. But better than nothing at all!

By the time I got home, settled things for the night and fired up the laptop... I made it to 8 other blogs. Out of 125 people!

But that is okay, my plan got pushed back a day. So I will be visiting, commenting and following.

Now I just want to say: Awww! You guys are so cool. Thanks for the comments left by all of you wonderful, insecure writers! I haven't gotten around to leaving my own personal comment, but thanks everyone for dropping by!

I'll be seeing you soon unless of course I've already left you a comment.

Have an awesome rest of the week!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group...

Hi there, I'm an insecure writer and my name is Mel.

I know, I've already done a similar post like this, with that beginning.

So what am I insecure about in my writing? The better question would be what am I NOT insecure about in my writing. I worry and stress over the smallest things. I worry about how I am ending my sentences. Am I using a preposition? Am I changing tense again in the middle of a sentence? Because I am prone to do that very thing.

Most of all, I worry that my plot is too weak, that people will just look at it and say, "Oh for the love of God how did this manage to get published???" and throw it away.

I worry about even getting published. I'm constantly worrying and changing things to make the story stronger. I have about a half dozen or so characters I have to juggle and discovered my focus is on two of them more than the others in the first book.

So how do I fix all of this? I revise and rework those sentence structures I am so worried about. My plot may seem weak, but in all actuality, it is the basest of urges. War has been started for lesser reasons.

I know I will eventually be published. I just have to work at it and listen to the suggestions (if I get any) when rejected.

As for my characters, this first part of the story is supposed to focus on the two right now. The focus shifts later on and everyone gets their chance in the spotlight. So it works out.

The thing is, the more I worry and stress, the more I push myself to write better, cleaner stories. I have a tendency to change POV right in the middle of something and have now cleared up that little habit by sticking to the POV I am in.

Write your story, get it all out before you go back to polish it up. If you don't get it all out, sometimes you won't know where it is going to lead. Don't be afraid to make a mistake.

I've made one of the biggest mistakes I could have ever made in my writing career. Early on I didn't do my research on the publisher and I got scammed. But it has made me a better writer. I have done everything in my power to fix that mistake. I've changed the whole story, which I would never have done had I kept going the way I was going. Talk about major plot holes.... But because I changed the story, I have an even stronger one. One that I find more captivating and hope others feel the same.

The thing that making that mistake has helped me with the most? My confidence. I never would have thought I could be a blogger, get on Twitter or FaceBook and do what I do. I would never have created a website. And I certainly never thought I would have the amount of followers I have. I am so very grateful for each and every one of you, even if you don't always read my posts or leave a comment. I try very hard to read all of your posts and comment, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Be sure to check back next week. I have lots of insecurities. :D

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

Okay, so getting back to my regularly scheduled Friday post... I hope you enjoy this one.

Favorite books/authors:

I think this week I will list J. A. Jance. I absolutely adore her books and her style of writing. The fact that she's based one of her characters in Arizona had nothing to do with me liking her books. Yeah, I'm lying. I don't miss living in Arizona, but I did live there for 20 some odd years, it's hard not to miss some aspects of it. The heat, I don't miss at all.
Back to miss Jance. I've read all of her Joanna Brady mysteries. Not so much the J.P. Beaumont ones, I don't know why. I think I like the female MC over the male. Even though strong female characters are more prominent these days, they weren't around so much before and I still find it refreshing. I know, weird. That describes me to a tee.

Favorite movies:

I think you knew this one would be showing up eventually. All of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies! Yes, even this latest installment of the movies was actually pretty good. I liked the mermaids, but my husband loved the last movie simply because Kiera Knightley wasn't in it and yelling, "Fierah!" (As opposed to "Fire!" every time they shot a cannon... okay so she did get the word right ONCE out of all three movies...) I liked the story of Will and Elizabeth, don't get me wrong. But somewhere out there in the buzz of things, she sort of bit the hand that fed her by stating she refused to do another "stupid" pirate movie. Hello? Girlie, those movies MADE you.
Okay I'll get off my soapbox.

Favorite music:

ZZ Top. Yep... love those long bearded, crazy car boys. It's been a while since I have heard much of their music, but when I do I keep snapping my fingers and saying, "Dammit I have to add them to my iTunes!" Meh. I still forget and just snapped my fingers again... I'm old school, what can I say. I love all sorts of music, but I'm still a sucker for stuff I listened to when I was a kid.

Okay now for the fantasy art:

I absolutely adore the fantasy artwork of Ruth Thompson. This is one of my favorites:

Okay and now for the funny... in the spirit of Monty Python... :

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting Close...

So I'm getting close to closing in on my final word count. I'm getting excited to show my beta readers the changes I've made, the couple of additions I have put in. I'm hoping the feedback is good. I'm sure it still needs work. I think the over all flow of it has improved, though.

I'll have to give it a good once over, because as well all know, spell check doesn't catch correctly spelled words used in the wrong context. Are/our, heed/head... yeah. Those.

I am getting nervous about working on the query, the long synopsis...

Okay. Not nervous.

Scared. As. Hell.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

What do you do to calm the nerves, ease the mind while querying? Do you work on something else? Do you bite your nails? Call people names?

Tell me what you do!