Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"FIRE EATER" at Smashwords and Amazon!

Decided it was time to add to my self-pubbing ventures by publishing "Fire Eater" at Smashwords and at Amazon's Kindle Store. The story is a fantasy novelette at 8,300 words, so not too long a read, but still meaty, nonetheless. I have a particular fondness for this story, because it marked my first publishing success. Nothing like that first acceptance letter that reduces a grown girl to tears. It appeared in the now-defunct Midnight Times in 2007 (I think it was 2007), then good ol' Martin Davey told me he couldn't believe I sold that story for free. So when the rights reverted to me, I tried selling it again. This time Kaleidotrope bought it, of which I am exceptionally proud. However, since the story was a reprint, I still received not one dime for it, even if my payment was three copies of the magazine, the equivalent of $15, which I would've spent on copies anyway.

Good thing about Kaleidotrope is that it receives reviews. I was able to track down three. The links to them are:
Kimberly Todd Wade (quotes from Ms. Wade's wonderful review earned a place on the cover!)
Rich Horton (excited about this Locus writer mentioning "Fire Eater" from among a year's worth of Kaleidotrope stories)

So a year and a half later, it's time to shove the story out there again. This time it's available at Smashwords and in a day or so at the Kindle Store (will provide link when it's available). For the readers of my blogs, here is the coupon code for a free purchase of "Fire Eater" from Smashwords: SV94M

The code is valid through January 31.


EDIT: Amazon has given its approval already. So here's the link to the story in the Kindle Store: FIRE EATER FOR YOUR KINDLE

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Contests and Progress Report, 12-14-2011

Project: Blood of the Falcon
Pages Cut: 18+
Pages Revised: 16
New Scenes: 3 (pretty sure I made up those 18 pages cut with new stuff. Oh, well.)
Good Things that Happened: Fairies deliver messages really fast. Better than texting!
Bad Things that Happened: Poison ends all hope for peace

In addition, LegendFire's biannual Legends Contest (can you call it biannual if you only had it once this year?) launched yesterday. Lots of participants have already signed up, so I'm happy. Our prompt is "Redemption" which ought to work well for Fiction and Poetry but will likely be tough for our Non-Fic writers. I haven't got a clue about what to write. Well, maybe a clue. As far as Non-Fic goes, all I can think of is writing my testimony. Not sure a contest at LF is the best place to submit that. Or maybe it is the best place. But I seriously doubt one's testimony is a proper contest entry. Ah, well.

Preparing for a road trip this weekend to visit friends who moved away in October. They just got into an apartment of their own this week, so things may be nice and chaotic when we get there. Hmm...hope the weather holds.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Xmas Tree Success!

Here are the results of my Christmas tree decorating weekend. The pic is a little blurry and grainy b/c I was too lazy to get the tripod out for the snapshot. 

Our Gingerbread Xmas Tree, 2011

I started collecting gingerbread men soon after I was married, so slowly the tree decor has shifted toward cookies and other holiday food for a theme. This tree does make one wish for real holiday cookies and candy, so it's rather dangerous to look at for long. Teehee.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Lights...

The paint on the living room wall is dry at last, and so we (I) finally got the Christmas tree set up, no matter that it's nearly mid-December already. Not much better than a mug of egg nog and Christmas music blaring and a tree to be decorated. Bad thing is, I'm at a standstill. I don't have enough strands of lights. Four strands, you'd think, would be plenty for a seven-foot tree. I can't figure it out. I know I had plenty of lights last year. I don't even think I used all four strands. Weird. Now I have all the Christmas decor strung out across the living room, but a tree that refuses to accept any of it until there are lights all the way to the tippy top. I'd run to the store for more, but it's 9 p.m. (and my mug of egg nog is empty. Don't want a D.U.I, do I!). And there's no way I'm unwinding all those lights to retry. That's the part that takes the patience of a saint, and a saint I ain't. Hmm...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Progress Report, 11-28-11, and Ebook Pricing

My methods of revising Falcons are changing enough that it's becoming more tricky to accurately count up my progress in terms of pages or word count. Cutting, keeping, tossing, rewording. Very little is as it once was. Book One is also undergoing a title change. Rising this, Rising that. I'm seeing it everywhere. Don't want the thing to be lost in a Rising sea. So here goes:

Project: Blood of the Falcon
Pages Cut: 4 3/4
Pages Revised: 2 1/2
New Pages: 5 3/4
Good Things that Happened: The Black Falcon accepts a new shield
Bad Things that Happened: Kelyn fears a bit of vengeance

That aside, the subject of ebook pricing has come up in recent discussions. I was wondering about the range of opinions concerning the $0.99 craze. A good thing? A bad thing? Does it help budding writers and the ebook market in the long run? What might be the cons of pricing books so low? Any analysts in the house? Helpful links?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spammers and Pen Pals

It's been over a month since I've blogged about anything! Since the last couple of weeks of October, a great deal of my free time has been combating spammers. LegendFire has been invaded, and I've been turning over options to keep them out. The trolls in the basement seem to have eaten their fill and are fast asleep, which lets the rest of the spammers through. My Anti-Spammer Sword of Doom is well-honed, yes, but my sword arm is getting tired. Even the Forum Leaders with their Anti-Spammer Laser Pistols are getting miffed by the influx of these creeps. Despite all our magical wards, these spammers must be wearing amulets that let them pass through. We're going to have to consider thickening the outer wall. Anything to make it comfortable and inviting for the members. If they only knew ...

On a more positive note, some of my usual blogging time has been used to resume correspondence with someone who might as well be called a writing pen pal. Though pens are no longer used to write letters, it seems. I "met" Martin through Hatrack several years ago, and while he was helpful in pointing me in new directions for my writing, it's been most rewarding to discuss writing and publishing with him on a more detailed level than I can with most of the members at LF. Our recent discussions have provided some writing-related material to blog about, so if these spammers are soon under control, I'll have some new things to post.

In the meantime, the study on Acts concluded last week. It was a great success. One of our members who has been a Christ-follower for only a few years confirmed my hopes when she said that she hugely appreciated this study b/c the Bible stopped being a collection of random, helter-skelter verses and finally became a whole, a story, a history told from beginning to end. I was thrilled. Reading Acts years ago also helped my husband come to the same conclusion, and he was raised with those random verses being shoveled down his throat. I remember, when Acts changed his view of God's Word, everything changed. His outlook, our marriage, his relationship with God and his coworkers. It was amazing.

So now, a break, in which I shall begin reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, and dive back into writing. I'm ecstatic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Progress Report, 10-15-11, and Losing Friends

I finally made it to the novel's last Part. And I've divided into two less intimidating sections. I have only 5 months until my deadline, which means that the last read through/proofreading will likely be rushed, which makes me unhappy. So here goes:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 2.5
Pages Cut: 6.5
New Scenes: 3 --- 11 3/4 pages of new stuff!
Bad Things that Happened: sneaky schemes of murder are hatched
Good Things that Happened: A prince is born

In other news, I'm grieving this week because our circle of friends is losing not one couple, but two. Two couples are moving out of state on the same weekend! Losing one was almost too much for me to contemplate, but two? My husband's mountain biking buddies are moving to Denver, which is their dream come true. The other couple, from our LifeGroup, is employed to build those enormous windmill farms, so they go where the business is. In truth, we got to keep them longer than we hoped, but now they are moving to far southern Texas, near South Padre, which is an absolutely gorgeous island on the Gulf. They'll adjust; we'll adjust. But I'm not sure others realize how traumatically this might affect me. I think it comes from moving so often as a child. All through Elementary School, we moved every two to three years, and I would make maybe a single friend each time. I don't even remember their names, and doubtless, I'm no more than a blip in their memory. I hung out more with my sister's friends b/c there was less of a heart-attachment involved. I wasn't leaving my friends, I was leaving hers. No biggie.

Seriously, the past year-and-a-half is the first time I've had friends as an adult (I was 32). I'm settled at last in a place I mean to stay, so I opened up and let myself become attached to people. Then they move away. I'll have to work very hard to keep from convincing myself, "What's the point? Why bother?" Good thing is, our circle is still intact, just smaller. We get to watch one of our remaining couples become parents for the second time next spring. And they mean to officially open up the LifeGroup for new participants, so new couples will try us out and hopefully be a good fit. We're a crazy lot. We love to have fun while we explore the Word of God. Serious? Us? Ha, rarely. But we're all sad this week.

So here's to learning how to cope...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our FREE Halloween Antho is HERE!

I'm excited beyond words to bring you the links where you can download a free copy of Past the Patch. Brian, the editor was kind enough to call "The Witch of Mistletoe Lane" -- my efforts for the collection -- "the shining gem of this piece." *dumbfounded gape* I have not read the collection myself, as of yet, so I cannot vouch for the other stories inside. Be aware that these authors come from many genres and backgrounds. It will be an eclectic read, that's for sure. So, friends and family, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy.

Here are the links:




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Past the Patch, A Free Halloween Anthology!

On Tuesday, October 11, Dark Red Press releases its Halloween anthology, Past the Patch, edited by Brian Fatah Steele, author of horrifying tales like In Bleed Country and Fragments of Ruin. This new anthology features 13 all-new tales of Halloween from 13 different authors, writing in a variety of genres, from horror to literary. Best of all the anthology is free! FREE! It can't get better than that. You will be able to find it for download at Smashwords, Scribd, and Goodreads. Once those links become available, I will happily post them for your convenience.

The list of contributing authors, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Sarah E. Adkins
Jonathan Dukestein
Court Ellyn
Matthew J. Leverton
Jack Lloyd
Jack X. McCallum
H. H. Shullith
John Claude Smith
John J. Smith
Brian Fatah Steele
C. L. Stegall
J. T. Warren
Robert S. Wilson

Friday, October 7, 2011

Progress Report, 10-7-11, and Gleaning Good Stuff From Negative Comments

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 0
Pages Cut: 2
New Scenes: 2 --- 9 pages of new stuff! This particular section has allowed me to apply what I've learned about Show vs. Tell
Bad Things that Happened: A bridge comes tumbling down
Good Things that Happened: Nobody was on it

When Daniel Pool of Larks Fiction Magazine reviewed my novella Mists of Blackfen Bog at the Examiner, one of the few criticism he had about it concerned the "Interlude" that I included near the end. It's a linking scene, summarizing the passage of time while including the important details, between the rising action and the conclusion. He called this a "hiccup." Now, I'm indifferent about the matter. I can't agree or disagree with his opinion, but I see his point. How does that relate to my novel Falcons Rising and the revisions it's suffering through? Don't tell, but I had an "Interlude" there as well, in which I summarized not the events of a few days, but the highlights taking place over a couple of years. The reader does not need to know every event that occurs during those couple of years, but some important things do happen. How to handle this information has proven a problem in the past couple of weeks.

My conclusion is to choose the major pieces of information and show them in full detail, while tossing in the tidbits of other important info, as my POV character learns of it, letters, hearsay, battle reports, etc. If "telling" must done (and it must b/c there's just too much info), then let it be done through the characters themselves, their words, their thoughts, rather than a very, very ... very ... distant omniscient narration. It's been tough trying to decide how to present the information in a more interesting way without belaboring the issue and drawing out the book to ridiculous lengths. But I think the reader will appreciate the results, if not the immense effort involved.

So, if nothing else, it's good to read the negative comments as well as the good, in the hopes that one's future endeavors benefit. Have you received a less than favorable comment that helped strengthen your writing later?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Falcons Promo

A bit of promo art, anyone?

Well, ideally, I'm not lying about the date. Okay, okay, it's not a date, it's a season, which gives me lots of leeway. Friend Virginia is getting very, very upset that this project isn't finished yet. She only got to read the first half of this novel, and she's anxiously awaiting the rewrites for the rest. I can't let my new head cold get in the way. Rewrites must go on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I can breathe now...

I had to wait until I had a moment to breathe before I could spend decent time posting. Things have calmed down a bit. I gave up on the LeFiWriMo project, which helped immensely. The writing frenzy was a good learning experience, however. I learned that I'm writing more in a day than I thought I was. All these years I felt as if I wasn't doing enough, not accomplishing enough in my day-to-day tasks. Now I know that's not the case. Seriously, when you write rough drafts longhand for years, you go by the number of pages you've filled with your increasingly horrible scrawl, rather than word count. Now I know I can type 2000 words a day without much effort at all -- as long as the story itself is flowing clearly. So, I will now be typing all my rough drafts. I know, I know. Welcome to the modern era, lady!

In the meantime, colleague Brian Fatah Steele contacted me, along with several self-published writers he's acquainted with, and asked us to be part of an anthology he's putting together. When he said it was to have a Halloween theme, initially I was intimidated. Brian is a horror writer. I canNOT write horror, so I was relieved when he said my story could be of a different genre. Now I'm intimidated because the results are on the almost-too-long end, and barely of any speculative genre at all (which is a first for me!). Literary Americana with a smidgeon of fantastical happenings. I hope it fits. If not, oh, well. I had a wonderful time writing it, and feel that the story has something to say about small town life, about decency to neighbors. Best of all, my very honest husband loved it. *whew*

So if all goes well, be looking for a new Halloween antho this October. I won't release the details until I have permission.

My verse during busy times:

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Which is powerfully interpreted as "Stop striving and know that I am God."


Sunday, September 11, 2011

No More, Please!

I'm starting to freak out. Last post I said that my plate was full. Now I think LegendFire's ezine layout person has quit on us. She and I had a very . . . strange . . . disagreement. Or misunderstanding. I'm not sure what it was. Typing private messages back and forth over a period of weeks manages to conceal the body language and tone of voice that would confirm exactly what transpired. She proposed layout changes to make the ezine look more professional. I said great! Send me your ideas. Then, come to find out, she expected me to have the vision for something she proposed. ???

We have four days till Issue 7 is supposed to be released, I sent the content to her three days ago, and I've not heard a word from her. Which isn't odd in itself. There are often many, many days between my PMs to her and her replies, and because of her busy student schedule we've never once gotten the ezine released on its release date,even after we rearranged the release schedule to accomodate. So I could be worrying for nothing. Or I could be putting up with too much crap.

In her last message to me, she said that she would drop the project then. Does that mean she's dropping the project of standardizing and professionalizing the ezine? Or does that mean she's dropping the ezine altogether? I don't know! So now I'm chewing my nails, waiting to see if she sends me a copy of the zine to be checked for final edits or if I have to scramble around and take up yet another project that someone drops.

There's no way I can afford publishing software. Getting to know something like Scribus, which is free, will take time that I do not have. So, yeah, I'm freaking out. If this falls through, I'm tempted yet again to urge the ezine staff to drop the whole thing. I will shout, I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!! Two years ago, some member proposed the idea, thinking, "Ah wouldn't it be great if we still received a newsletter every month." I turned around and asked that member (in slightly more PC language), "So you mean to take this project on, huh, b/c I do not have time to hold your hand and do all the unseen things it would involve." The member with the great idea says, "Uh, I didn't mean me." No, really? Yeah, I know exactly who you meant. I considered the matter dropped, until weeks later someone decides, "Hey, this would be a great idea! Not a newsletter though, but a quarterly ezine!"

I hold up my hands and say, "Fine, y'all industrious folks who have time, have at it. I can't take this on too."

Slowly but surely, I inherited one task for the ezine, then another. Every quarter, I have to spend time hunting up members to write articles, which often feels like begging for someone to step up and take action. In the meantime, the member who first proposed the idea is no longer even a member, due to busyness that took them away. No, really? Then our original editor got busy editing in the real world and vanished, so I'm now the ezine editor too. Somewhere in there, we learned that hardly anyone was receiving the bloody thing in their email inboxes, so I had to involve my husband to try to figure out LF's bulk email settings and server issues, just so folks will receive the product of our efforts. It was so bad that some members didn't know we HAD an ezine the first whole year it was out. *shoot me now*

So, after all this B.S. I have the eerie feeling that our layout lady has dropped us. She only ever showed up once a quarter to do the layouts anyway, which means she's probably looking for any excuse at all to sever ties with LF, and I do believe this was her excuse.

Do I take up yet more slack? Or bury the ezine? I just don't know. Looks like I have four days to wait and see what happens. Then, the old red dragon may rear her ugly head.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Me, A Teacher?

I don't think I can pile anymore on my plate. This is going to be one insane month. LeFiWriMo starts tonight at one minute past midnight. So in addition to writing 850 or so words a day on Cataclysm, I need to be making progress on the novel project. In addition, two new developments are spicing things up.

Suddenly, I'm a teacher. My nephew, who is being home schooled, started 1st Grade this year, and I get to teach Art Appreciation. Luckily the text is very simple. But after fifteen minutes or so of looking at art, we also get to make some. I'm sure we'll have paint and glue and tissue paper strung out everywhere in no time. I'm honored that my sister would consider involving me in Seth's education already. I figured I'd be needed for High School Lit or something, but 1st Grade Art Appreciation is going to be awesome. Better, class starts on my birthday.

On top of those preparations that I'll be making, I'm also preparing study guides for our LifeGroup. That is, our church group of young married couples. There are about 14 of us, and we've decided to dig into the Book of Acts. Lots of history and culture and amazing happenings to read about. I know how much preparation my mother has to do to prepare for her Bible studies, and I'm finding out why. This is weighty stuff. Art Appreciation is one thing, but presenting God's Word to adults in a meaningful form is quite another. My mother always tells me, "As teacher, you'll get far more out of it than they will." That doesn't mean we're bad teachers; it means that we must be prepared, whereas the students may give the text only a cursory glance.

Needless to say, my gaming hobby is about to suffer. My evenings will be filled with writing and studying and cleaning up paint spills, I'm sure, rather than seeking treasure and dodging fireballs. Does this mean it's time to grow up at last? Hehe, whatever. It feels good, if a bit overwhelming.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LeFiWriMo Begins Today!

LegendFire's version of NaNoWriMo begins today. Instead of a month to prepare, we have one week (though most members who will participate have been planning already). Instead of 50,000 words, we have a goal of 25,000 words. Back in March we held the same event, but none of our members were able to complete the challenge, so we're holding the event again, in the hopes that someone, this time will meet the goal.

Because of the novel project that I've been slavi
ng away on for a year now, I didn't have anything prepared for the March event. But there's a new idea spinning. I've been brainstorming on it since June, characters, structure ideas, dialog, etc. So I'm allowing myself to take time away from Falcons Rising to participate this time around. For want of a title on the LeFi project, for future reference we'll call it simply Cataclysm. Technically, since I only have to write about 850 words a day to meet the goal, I'm hoping to work on both Cataclysm and Falcons every day, but that's being very optimistic. I'm so behind on Falcons revisions anyway. What's one more month, eh? Blah.


Friday, August 19, 2011

One . . . Step . . . Closer

Ugh! Today was one super-long day. I realized how large my living room is when we hauled out the furniture a couple of months ago for renovations. It's even larger when one is scrubbing, Cinderella-style, with a sponge and bucket, washing up a mess you made on purpose. Yes, at last, we finished our stone wall with amazing chemicals, power tools, and painstaking labor. This week I got to prep the concrete floor, and today I got up early, turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows, so (hopefully) I could be finished by the time the temperature reached 100, dressed up like an explorer to Mars and started spraying acid all over my floor. Two coats of Golden Wheat, two coats of English Red in spotty, decorative patterns, and accents of Green Lawn (which is sorta turquoise-ish) in small puddles here and there.

My acne does not like rubber masks in humid heat. My lungs don't like it when I take the rubber mask off. What's a girl to do? Because I'm a (somewhat more) practical adult now, I chose practicality over vanity and left the mask on until I removed myself from the icky acid fumes. This evening my sister came over and she, my husband, and I scrubbed and mopped and sloshed all the acid into buckets, then celebrated with spaghetti and (well-deserved) screw drivers.

The floor still looks weird because the acid stain that soaked into the concrete looks powdery, with little color. So all day tomorrow I get to do the fun stuff, which is roll down the sealer. The color will pop, the floor will look perpetually wet, and I get to move my furniture back into my living room. It will feel good to have my house back in order. The only step left is picking out a color for the walls. Once, the idea of painting all that wall space sounded intimidating. Tonight, it sounds like small potatoes.

Once the sealer is dry, I'll try to remember to take pics and post before and after shots.

For now, I'm exhausted in the best way possible. After a day of hard work and much accomplishment. I mean, somehow I even managed to make progress on the novel project. Cool!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Plot vs. Character - Which Side Do You Cheer For?


Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 5
Pages Cut: 3.5
New Scenes: 3 --- 10 pages of new stuff. I love diving more deeply into old characters. I know them so well that elaborating on unexplored facets of their lives is easy and enjoyable.
Bad Things that Happened: The White Falcon discovers that his hero is just a man
Good Things that Happened: Arryk is free of his brother's torment -- for a little while


Character-driven vs. Plot-driven

To any good story, well-rounded characters are a necessity, but so is a plot. What's the difference between these two and what defines a story as one or the other? Can a story be both?

A character-driven story, as
described by speculative writer D. Lynn Frazier on her website, is a story in which "the character moves the story forward through action and choices. She initiates the events of the story and causes the events to happen. Each scene is instigated by the characters within it." Whereas plot-driven, also called Quest-driven or Action-driven is a story in which "the events ... move the story forward and cause the character to react to those events. Characters are secondary to the plot. They act in accordance with the plot and do not create events or situations on their own."

When I first started writing, not only did I not know what these terms meant, I didn't know these terms existed. I just wrote. Only later did I find out that the stories I was writing had to somehow fit into one definition or the other for purposes of pitching my ms to agents, editors, and the like. Or, in the least, I had to choose one or the other as the best definition for my work.

Many years later, I can happily say that I prefer to write character-driven fiction. If I get insanely bored while writing a story, often I will find that I've diverged somewhere into Plot-driven storytelling and left the characters behind. As much of an introvert as I am, it's the dynamics between people that keep me interested in what I'm writing.

Now, do my characters drive every event in every story? Certainly not. If events beyond my characters' control fail to happen, that's just unrealistic. Where was it that I read this? -- that the initial catalyst that gets the ball rolling may come outside your main characters, but after that, the story is driven by their reaction to that event. So a well-told story can certainly contain elements of both.

What do you think? Which do you prefer to read and/or write? Can you think of any examples of widely loved fiction that might be defined as both character-driven and plot-driven?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Day Full of Blessings

Seventy-nine degrees, rain. The first time the temperature has been below 100 since June. The oppression of heat breaks for the nonce. Yesterday, when the first gust front came through and the rain began, James and I meandered around outside and ate our first purple grapes from our own vines, then we started experimenting with our new distiller. It's a gorgeous hand-made copper contraption straight out of the Middle Ages and came all the way from Portugal. One might think we were going to try making our own liquor, but we have different plans. I'm not allowed to mention it by name yet.

All week, I took a break from the novel project and thoroughly enjoyed typing up the opening pages of a new project. I won't make too much of it, b/c I've started things like this before and not finished them. On the other hand, these characters and their situation are clicking better than any I've written for a long time, so I'm hopeful that I'll actually get to write "The End" on it one day. I usually hate writing rough drafts, but so far I've not felt bogged down by details or lack of direction. We'll see...

Point is, the blessings keep coming. Such prolonged happiness is a gift.

The only cloud has been my husband's grandfather. It's heartbreaking to see the patriarch so strong and able one day and an old man the next. It puts human frailty and mortality on the table for us all to examine. Hamlet scrutinized a skull. I've been watching a man come to terms with his age. The difference between men and babies being fussed over is that babies have yet to gain a sense of dignity that must be swallowed. A bitter draught.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Progress Report, 8-1-11, and Writing Amid Sorrow

What a tough weekend this was.
Crying with friends who had every reason to think they were having a miscarriage, only to learn today that the baby is alive and kickin' so we have the glorious opportunity to celebrate and thank God for mighty miracles. And each life is rare and precious. Now learning that my husband's grandfather is in the hospital with heart issues. *whew* Life is a roller coaster, all right.

As for writing, things are good:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: n/a
Pages Cut: 4
New Scenes: 1 - the last 4 pages of the "ship" chapter make way for almost 19 pages of new material! I'm far happier with the content now. There actually is content instead of useless words with no conflict to speak of. But, like I said last time: Ugh! I loathe writing rough drafts. It hurts.
Bad Things that Happened: Athna's plan goes awry
Good Things that Happened: my, but don't those ships look stately. In other words, I'm not tellin'.

It's difficult to press on with a project when circumstances put it into perspective and make it seem like one of the least significant items on the list, but there it is.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review of Skins for Kindle

Has anyone else seen these adorable protective covers for the Kindle?
These products by DecalGirl come in the most imaginative and gorgeous designs. This winter I ordered three DecalGirl covers to protect my new phone and absolutely love them. They are cheerfully colored, interchangeable, and made of hard plastic that will truly protect my phone from my klutziness and occasional foul temper. More, those little jewels only cost about $7.

When we acquired our Kindle this spring, I was excited, especially when we got to take it on its first road trip. As I was tossing the Kindle into my computer bag, I thought, "Ooo, that's going to get scratched or squished or otherwise mutilated." I looked up protective covers for it, but it was too late to receive anything I ordered before we left town. Still, I was thrilled to see that DecalGirl had some cutesie covers available and put several on my wish list. "$20?" I thought. "That's pretty steep, especially since the cover won't be much bigger than the cover for my phone. Gee, they're robbing people here. But I'm sure it will be worth it."

So, this last week I decided I better finally order one before I managed to drop this costly device on my new stained concrete floor. I chose the one pictured above b/c it's not too floofy and the Kindle is technically my husband's and I wasn't about to ask him to carry around cherry blossoms or something. I eagerly awaited the item in the mail and stopped by the post office just today to pick it up. In my box, what I found, to my consternation, was a flat envelope. "What is this? There's nothing in it?" I said (yes, I frequently talk to myself, especially when miffed).

I had to open it then and there to see if someone at the Amazon warehouse forgot to put the actual item in the envelope. Imagine my horror when I saw that, indeed, the item was present, and that I had paid $20 for a sticker. Yes! $20 gets you an adhesive vinyl sticker to stick to the back and front of your device.

I have just attached the thing to the back and find that the item does not want to stick at first and must be gently massaged to convince it that it wants to be there. But it does look smashing with the gray version of the device.

On the other hand, this "protective" skin can only possibly protect this expensive device from scratches and general wear. It will stand no chance if I happen to drop it on the stained concrete floor.

So I suppose, in summery, my greatest complaint is not that I failed to read the fine print, nor that this "protector" is in fact nothing more than a sticker, or that it should be advertised as merely decoration, but that this sticker is so abominably, ridiculously priced, especially when compared to the seven-dollar, fully protective covers for the phones. What gives? Demand, no doubt. Frivolous, but cute, and the Kindle is so in vogue; therefore, more people such as myself will no doubt run to snatch up these adorable, useless things and waste more of our money.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Progress Report, 7-21-11, and Tough Going

I should wait to post this tomorrow,
but today is one of those days when the words and I aren't getting along. So I've jotted down some dialog in the hopes that the scene will fall together more easily tomorrow. Therefore, I'm posting the week's progress a day early. I failed to post any kind of update last week, because I wrote so little that there was just no point. Not sure what happened there, but that means I am still working on the two chapters that deal heavily with ships, sailors, and battles at sea. I'm getting a bit seasick at this point and will be happy when I can move on. More, I'm not exactly sure where these two chapters will fall. The chronology is clear, but the placement at present seems ... ungraceful, if that makes sense. I dunno. So here goes:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 8
Pages Cut: 3 2/3
New Scenes: 1 (the whole last half the second chapter will be all new material. The old version was boring. Went off in a completely new direction. Can I finish it tomorrow? Unlikely. So here's to next week on the open sea as well. Progress is going so slowly b/c I'm practically writing a new rough draft for a story that is a decade old. Ugh! I loathe writing rough drafts. It hurts.)
Bad Things that Happened: Two ships colliding never ends well.
Good Things that Happened: Athna is rescued by a pirate. Wait, how is that good?

But enough negativity. Progress is progress and every word is one step closer to completing the project. There's no way I'm gonna make my deadline. But isn't that a common story? Oh, wait, positive thinking ... positive ... positive ...

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm An Amazon Author!

I'm excited to announce that "Mists of Blackfen Bog" is finally available at Amazon. It only took a couple of weeks longer than what I anticipated. Figuring out formatting solutions in Word is not the easiest, but reverse engineering skills come in handy.

Digital copies for the Kindle may be found HERE. The print edition is found HERE.

I'm very excited about the print version. It's an adorable little volume that one can cuddle with. Really, it's no bigger than the Kindle itself, but just snugglier.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Progress And An Award!

Progress is everywhere. Slowly but surely, the wall we've called Jackson has begun looking like stone again. We hope to knock even more paint away today. We shall conquer! In the meantime, the novel project is inching forward as well. A slow mighty galleon with all her sails unfurled flees time who chases her. That's a pathetic metaphor, but can anyone tell I've been researching old ships for this segment?


Pages Revised -
Pages Cut -
New Scenes -
Items Researched - Naval battles, 18th Century. Only problem is, my novel takes place before a gun powder age, so adaptations in weapons is lots of fun. Primary resource: Patrick O'Brien's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World, by Richard O'Neill, editor. Next step: read a Jack Aubrey novel.
Bad Things That Happened - sails on fire is never good
Good Things That Happened -
Athna's lure worked

In other news, Monica Mansfield of
Storytelling & Me graciously bestowed upon me this blogger award! Cool!
Seven things about myself:
1. I collect prints of Waterhouse and Leighton art.

2. I've never read a Twilight novel or an Eragon novel, nor do I intend to.
3. I love the American Girl dolls.

4. I used to want to be an airplane pilot.

5. I'm terrified to venture into water where I cannot see what's under my feet.
6. I'm prone to acne, despite being 30-something. :(

7. The last name of my penname is a combination of my middle initial and my father's name.

Now to pass it on. I bestow the Irresistably Sweet Blog Award to:

1. (Anyone else having trouble with their followers not appearing on their page? When the follower service is functioning again, I will choose award winners.)




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Mists" on Sale at Smashwords

Smashwords is having their Summer/Winter Promotional Sale this month, and "Mists of Blackfen Bog" is enrolled to participate. So until July 31, the fantasy novella can be purchased for only 99 cents. Just follow this >LINK< to the novella's purchase page and use the following coupon code at checkout: SSW50 (that last digit is a zero, not an "O" by the way. Kinda hard to tell.)

Because I can't stand sounding like a commercial, here's some art to contemplate:

(anyone know the name or artist of this peaceful work?)

Japanese Traditional Art-16
by MoonyKitten

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Mists" Reviewed at the Examiner!

I was flattered, but a bit nervous, when I received a note from Larks Fiction editor Daniel Pool, that he had read and reviewed "Mists of Blackfen Bog." I was tickled pink by his reaction and his opinion of my novella. I'm not sure I believe the list of intimidating writers he compared my writing to, but I will take it and run with it. Check out the review here:
Mists of Blackfen Won't Bog You Down.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beauty and Relaxation - Road Trip Travelogue II

The rest of the road trip was phenomenal. The best my husband and I have ever taken. Once work was wrapped up in Boulder, we took the scenic route west to Breckenridge and stayed in a gorgeous, renovated old lodge at the base of Mount Quandary. We managed to hit the place just before high season, so our room rates were unbeatable.

Our first stop was Mount Evans. My husband has this crazy goal of mountaineering up several (if not all) of the fourteeners in Colorado, and Mount Evans is the only one that is conquered by driving up to the top. So I can say that I, too, in all my physical weenie-ness, have conquered a fourteener. I'm actually prouder that I did not faint on the narrow broken road that winds along the cliffsides to get there. What is it with people who don't put guard rails on the sides of roads? In any case, it's amazing how short the breath is at that altitude, but the view is truly spectacular:
(my husband standing on top of the world)

The best part for me, though, was that we got to see mountain goats. Up close. Like six feet away. Growing up, my father (who should've been a mountain man in the early 19th Century) had taught me to look for animals, and it became a fun game on trips to be the first one to spot the pronghorn, the deer, etc. It was a rare treat when we got to see elk or goats through binoculars. I kept bemoaning the fact that I had forgotten our binoculars and wondered if I would get to see a goat at all. Well, atop Mt. Evans there is a privy, for all the people who survive the drive without pissing their pants. Before we begin the terrifying drive back down, we decide to make a pit-stop, and what do I see resting in the shade of the privy building? A herd of young goats! I gasp, unable to believe my eyes. No binoculars needed. These adorable little guys are not six feet away. I grab my camera (that, of course, keeps shutting down due to low batteries!) and snap as many pics as I can:

Mountain Goat: Mt. Evans

I was surprised by how small these critters are. They're smaller than my dog. Of course, she is a Great Pyrenees, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Anyway, the trip already felt like a success, so on we drove, reaching the lodge that evening. The next day, we decided on the hike we wanted to take. It's called the Blue Lakes trail, which is extremely easy, the "trail" actually being a grated road that winds along the side of Mount Quandary to the glacial lake. And what do you suppose we got to see? Yep, more goats! A herd of them was lounging around on the trail and snuffling up some kind of mineral that must be in the sand or gravel there. These were full grown and wilder than the Evans goats. Our approach made them a bit nervous, but I grabbed my camera and started filming. (Yes, I acted like the star-struck idiots that I always cuss. Seriously, people come to Oklahoma and sneak up on buffaloes with their cameras snapping. So stupid.) I was prepared to dive up on some dude's truck if the goats decided to charge me, b/c their horns are dagger sharp and I had just heard a story about a hiker who was gored in the leg by an aggressive male. He died of blood loss before he could be rescued. So, while I was cautious, I should never have gotten so close. The goats eventually got tired of me gawking and moved on up the slope so James and I could pass. We watched the marmots and pikas hop around on the rocks for a while, then drove into Breckenridge for a beer and gift shopping. Lovely.

(View from Lodge. Fog the morning we left for home)

We spent the rest of the time exploring mountain roads and looking at all the ridiculously expensive houses and wishing we could afford one. Then we packed up and started home. The only disappointment we suffered on that drive was a failed side jaunt. When I was 12 or so, my family had taken a similar trip, and my dad was thrilled to show us the Royal Gorge, that scarily deep river gorge with a scarily high bridge across it. I longed for my husband to see it, so we planned our route just so we could stop by. Well, twenty years later, there is no "stopping by." Money-grubbers have turned the view into a theme park. It costs $25 friggin' bucks to see the view. They expect folks to stay all day and ride the roller coasters and eat the fried food while they're at it. I was extremely disappointed, so we continued on, cursing this greedy person and that greedy person who would capitalize on a view. But what's new?

Anyway, we made it home in one grueling shot. I think I lost my marbles somewhere between Pueblo and Amarillo, but I found them again eventually.

In conclusion, this trip was more joyful and relaxing than I could've hoped for. Once I forget the stiffness that comes with sitting so long in a vehicle, I'm sure I'll be ready for the next one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Adventure and Havoc - Road Trip Travelogue

Because I do have good internet connection at our hotel, I decided I might as well update my journals on the progress of our road trip instead of puking out all the details in one long post when I get home.

I love the line from
Pitch Black: "a long time for something to go wrong." That's been the pattern of our trips through Colorado lately. Last time we were delayed in passes and on interstates because of ice and traffic jams. This time because of wild fire. So here goes:

My husband and I left our house at 5:30 am yesterday (was that just yesterday?) and decided that we would stop at the Capulin Volcano attraction in NE New Mexico, something we had always wanted to do. We're both secretly geology nerds. Driving up that narrow road that some fool decided not to put rails on to keep drivers from driving over the edge freaked me out, but we made it safely to the parking area near the top. The place, surprisingly, was packed. Lots of geology nerds out there, I guess. We hiked down into the crater and all around the rim, which was amazing. The view all around is spectacular. One can see all the other volcanoes in the area and the lava flows barely covered in short yellow grass. We could even see all the way back to Oklahoma, on the very far eastern horizon.

After that wonderful experience,
we decided to take a road we had never driven before and were greatly rewarded with scenic views. We even got to see the valley where Folsom man was discovered. Or is it where the Folsom points were discovered? Whatever. I'm an archeology nerd. That's no secret. We wound down off the most gorgeous plateau I've ever seen and finally arrived at Raton, where we would cross into Colorado. Be while we were driving through that plateau, we noticed an odd bit of traffic coming out of Raton. It just struck us as wrong somehow, and sure enough, we learned that the interstate over Raton Pass had just closed because of a wild fire that had flared up near the roadway. We drove far enough to see it, and I tell you, the sight of trees suddenly exploding into flame is startling and terrifying.

Just as startling was the realization that, yes, we had to turn back. Back up the plateau we drove, back past the Folsom man valley, following the slow caravan of all the other travelers who had the same route in mind. Ahem, but my husband and I are adventurers when it comes to road trips and we had just purchased a very detailed map. Thank God for small blessings. Between Folsom-man valley and the town of Folsom (which is almost all the way back to the volcano and where the caravan would at last book it north), there was a dotted line of a road that crossed into Colorado. We had rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee for this trip (another blessing), so we decided to go for it. This rough, rock-strewn road cut across one ranch or another, through country that most folks don't get to see, and it took us to the highway ahead of the crowd. Yee-haw!

While the adventure was fun, we arrived at our hotel 15 hours after leaving home. We were exhausted and went to Chile's for cocktails. Well deserved. Here's to hoping the rest of the trip goes more smoothly.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Trip, Baby!

My husband and I are going on a road trip all next week. We're headed to Denver. It starts out as work-related, but after all the work stuff is wrapped up, we plan to go exploring through some mountains. It's nearly 100 degrees in OK, but CO is apparently still getting snow up high. I had a hell of a time trying to decide what to pack. Flipflops? Fuzzy boots? I packed both. Yes, there is a bag just for my shoes. But what's a girl to do? I'm a lowlander, and I have no idea what supplies I will need. Better to go over-prepared than under-prepared.

This is the first trip I will have taken since getting the Kindle, which is exciting, b/c it's already saved me tons of room. I hope to read Preeminent Hollows by Brian Fatah Steele. Hopefully it won't give me nightmares, as I'm likely to have nightmares sleeping in a strange place anyway. While my husband is at his work sessions, I'll be in the hotel room either working on the novel project or editing/critiquing the story of a LegendFire member. I love trying to work on my writing in strange hotel rooms. Getting away from all the responsibilities I have at home usually makes for interesting and productive writing.

Then, once we get to the exploring part, we're driving to Mt. Quandary. My husband attempted to hike up it a couple of years ago, but it was blowing snow and he was sick with bronchitis or something. Not good for a lowlander to have sick lungs at that altitude. So we mean to hike around a bit, though I have no illusions about making it to the top. It will be nice just to stretch the legs and take in the scenery.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Random Happiness

I just feel happy today, so I think I'll post random good stuff.

It's very encouraging when one's
small success inspires others to take a step in the same direction. Once I posted on LegendFire that "A Mournful Rustling" had been accepted by Dead Robots' Society, another of our members hopped on board and readied a story to submit to them. Another mentioned doing the same. I hope she does. I hope submissions stay open so they both have time to revise and send their work in. It's my greatest joy to know that all the time and learning and painful decisions (and often biting my tongue) that go into administrating and moderating a writing community may help some folks achieve their dreams.

Renovations: inching forward. Experimentation with chemicals plus sandblasting, we hope, will finally remove white paint from natural stone. At least, we think it's paint. It may actually be some alien substance engineered to drive earthlings mad. It's war now. There's no turning back. We shall conquer!

Reading: On Guard by William Craig. Apologetics. Defending one's faith with reason. Yikes. Apparently it can be done. Chapter three was a wicked piece of brain work. Cosmological defense of the existence of God. Or an introduction to it. Some of the points I can grasp; others, not even close. The last pages require knowledge of subatomic particles, believe it or not. Well, I thought, if that is what's required for me to defend my faith, I'm doomed. On the other hand, the average Joe on the street who asks me, "How can you believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful invisible God who lets all these terrible things happen to us?" probably won't know the ins and outs of subatomic particles either to be able to argue that aspect with me. So I gave up trying to understand what the heck chapter three was about. I hope chapter four is more on my level. I doubt it, but we'll see.

Also reading some free material from Smashwords that I've downloaded onto the Kindle. Some of it is really worth reading. Some of it ... well, I really wish the authors had submitted the material to LegendFire for crits. They went to all the trouble of formatting manuscripts for publication, even perfected SPaG, but, well, the story I'm reading right now started out too late, with a hook like five pages in, instead of five sentences in, and I'm not sure I'll finish it or not. Shame that.

Novel project: Typing in the revisions made to another fat section of paper. I'm making the story stronger, I'm sure of it now. But all the small changes are adding up to make big ones farther down the road. Snowballs and avalanches!

Hmmm ... better stop now and go work on my floor ... or walls ... or ceiling ... or something.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm actually getting to write in the middle of these renovations, which is a pleasant surprise. I suppose it's because we've hit a snag in our progress. The ceiling is almost painted (hubby working on the high peak right now, actually), and this weekend would've been perfect timing to strip the white paint off the stone fireplace (stone fireplace that is almost as long as the entire living room, by the way), but machinery is machinery and it breaks or malfunctions or ... or ... or. So the present state of living room is:

- Gorgeous ceiling, check
- Ladders galore, check
- Paint supplies strewn everywhere, check
- Bare concrete floor, check
- Fireplace stones that are still as white as ever, check (by the way, what idiot paints natural stone in an attempt to hide it?)
- Walls that are still sage green, check
- Furniture still piled into dining room, check (makes for a great maze for three curious cats)
- White concrete dust on all surfaces, check (I've cleaned my kitchen surfaces at least, so they are usable again)

The only positives of all this are (1) I no longer have to climb onto very tall ladders with a paint brush in one hand and a bowl of paint in the other, (2) I'm getting to type revisions on the novel, and (3) I appear to have adjusted to the chaos and am no longer suffering from anxiety at having my house in shambles.

I have only to remind myself that I still have a house that is intact (see post below). So its state is irrelevant. Also, if I become too frustrated with the snail's pace and the topsy-turvy condition of my living space, I can always go punch away at my new punching bag. It's pink. It came with pink kickboxing gloves and pink handwraps. Whacked around on it for about five minutes earlier today, and I feel marvelous. Every girl needs one. :D


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deadly Skies

We were surrounded again yesterday. The last two days have kept us on our toes, no mistake. The air has been so soupy and unstable that in between white clouds, the sky was just a different shade of white. My sister came down with her two kids so she and I could paint the ceiling, and she told me we had better keep an eye on the weather because conditions were even more ripe for storms than they were the day before. The residents of Joplin, Missouri, can attest to how deadly Monday's storms were. Well into our task we decided to check the weather, and storms were already firing up in the western part of the state, near where my parents live. We painted a bit more, then decided to interrupt the kids' movie and check the weather station. We were glued for the next five or so hours as tornadoes ripped through the landscapes we knew so well. The first tornado grew to a beast a full half-mile wide. (first picture). At one point, it looked like the entire storm cloud was sitting on the ground, spinning. We could tell when the tornado passed directly north of our house because the wind suddenly gusted past, sucking up into the storm. Yes, I had gathered pillows, flashlights, etc and chunked them into the closet, in case we had to duck, but the storms missed us by many miles ... this time.

Three separate storms grew into a solid line, and shortly after, tornadoes spawned in the town where I attended college and swept by to our southeast. While that one was still on the ground and beelining it for OKC, yet another popped down south of OKC. (middle picture) The news chopper was able to film amazing video of the Goldsby tornado that left us drop-jawed. Zooming in, they were able to show houses being pulled apart, trees stripped from the ground, and a deep ditch being dug through red fields. At one point the base of the tornado was earth-red with flashes of white as roof tin spun around and around.

Massive tornado, northwest of my house, early in the day.

That evening, tornado southeast of my house, near Goldsby, OK. The tornado was weakening at this point but still ripping through farms and houses.

The results. Trees stripped bare. Hmmm ... and, yes, that car has been impaled Vlad-style on the tree. The car was being stored in a garage "to protect it from hail," said the news anchor. Irony. Guess where the garage is now. Dramatic as this picture is, it avoids the human story. The death toll is rising today; one little girl still hasn't been found.

Here I am renovating my house and so many are suddenly homeless today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"A Mournful Rustling" Accepted!

Oh, my gosh, I can't believe it! I was sure this story was bound for a rejection, simply b/c nothing I've ever written for a specific venue has in the end been accepted by that venue. A first time for everything, I guess.

So, the details:
My short story "A Mournful Rustling" will appear in
Dead Robots' Society's anthology Explorers: Beyond the Horizon. I have no idea when, but it will be released sometime this year. I hope.

The cool thing about this is that the original deadline for submissions was December 31, so I made sure I had that story revised and submitted by then. Then the editors decided they didn't have enough submissions that they liked, so they extended the deadline to June 1. Ack! Rush around, then have to wait six more months just to receive a rejection? Gee, thanks. But, lo, and behold. I'm having a crappy day, check my email, and there's an acceptance lurking in there. *smack* I can't believe it.

A huge thanks to the members of LegendFire who critiqued this one for me. You're necessary.

I'm gonna go pinch myself now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two Pens Better Than One? - Collaborative Writing

It's an interesting and risky concept, two creative (and egotistical?) people tossed together and expected to cooperate and come up with a story that halfway makes sense. At LegendFire we have an interesting contest going on, the first of its kind that we've ever hosted. People registered as either poets or fiction writers, then we were anonymously paired up by the contest hostess. Now my writing partner and I are supposed to invent the opening 200 words of a story and poetry has to be involved. I'm the poet, he's the fiction writer. He's in Australia, I'm in the US. The entry is due on Monday (Tuesday for him), and we have yet to work out a plot. Much less the poem to go with it.

I'm not freaking out yet, but this is going to be interesting.

So, I'm curious, what were the oddest or least comfortable circumstances that you had to write under?


Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm the Proud Owner of a Kindle!

Well, I officially crossed over today. It's happened at last. I now own an e-reader. It only happened because my husband's five-year anniversary for working at his present company rolled around and he got to choose his ... prize (which makes it about the most hard-won, expensive Kindle ever). None of the other options made much sense (a watch when he doesn't wear one, a briefcase when he carries a backpack, and so on), so he chose the Kindle. Though it's really his, he knows who will use it more. He's so sweet.

So now I am excited to be able to buy all the ebooks LegendFire members have written, as well as those by authors I've met at blogger and Goodreads and Smashwords. Reading them via PDF on my computer is no fun when I want to curl up in my chair and read. Now, the Kindle is not warm and fuzzy pages, but at least it's book-sized and portable. So we're good to go.

Seriously, the most expensive Kindle, ever. I had better appreciate it and get years of good use out of it. Now, where do I begin? ...


Also, in compliance with my new posting schedule, instead of updating the novel progress daily, I'm now updating weekly:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 12
Pages Cut: 6.5
New Scenes: 1 (4.5 pgs)
Bad Things that Happened: Ogres stink like roadkill that's been on a hot road in summer for many days.
Good Things that Happened: Alliances are forged. Well, that might be really bad for our heroes.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Five For the Fair

Friday was a big day. Some months ago we learned that a new set of friends enjoyed going to Renaissance Fairs, whereupon my husband and I admitted that we, too, attended when we could. So we made plans to load up together and drive to the local Ren Fair this month. Unfortunately, the house and yard projects started stacking up -- like they do most years when we plan on going to the fair. So we approached our friends and asked if they would rather help us save the pennies. They agreed, and so my husband and I hosted our own Ren Faire at our house. We didn't get to watch the falconry shows or the jousts, but we also missed the muddy, smelly bathrooms and the ill-fitting costumes that some women insist on wearing.

We did not miss out on the food. The point of the fair is the food, after all. We managed to find those enormous turkey legs, wrapped them in foil and baked them until the juices dripped. Aaaah... Chili cheese fries, bratwurst with sauerkraut steamed for hours in bacon grease completed the main feast. Then we changed out of o
ur hot and very uncomfortable costumes (amazing how they shrink as one eats), and hiked down to our creek, where we had a beach set up. Our friends have an adorable little girl named Piper. She worked up her courage and splashed in that creek for hours, ice cold though that water is. In the meantime, her parents and we broke out the bottle of chilled, spiced mead. Aaaah (again) ...

Then dessert started calling us. So we eventually returned to the house and made chocolate fried pies and funnel cakes piled with powdered sugar. Ah, gluttony!

Henna tattoos (yes, I love to give henna tattoos) and an evening by a fire pit finished off the day. Nothing went wrong. It was a perfect day. One of those rare memories that will warm the heart for a long time to come.

Other high points:
* Catching a tadpole and feeling its skin
* Piper's Kool-aid moustache
* Petting bunnies with long black ears
* My husband in a kilt
* Photographs to commemorate. Piper's mother happens to be a professional photographer who has an eye for capturing the moment:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My First Interview!

I'm pleased to announce that
Jeff Chapman of The Midnight Diner approached me this week and asked for an interview about "Mists of Blackfen Bog." I was astonished and thrilled. So, of course, I accepted. He sent me several thought-provoking questions that really struck at the heart of the story, and I loved getting to answer them. The interview is now posted on his blog, along with a review of the novella. Please hop on over and check it out, HERE.

Thank you, Jeff, for this amazing opportunity.

On the other hand, it's Cinco De Mayo and this is the first time I've posted this month! Part of my absence is purposeful. Last week, I came to the difficult conclusion that I've got to back away from the social media to get some writing done. Both my social life and my online life have picked up in tempo, which means the writing has suffered. And a dragon with a panic attack is not a good sight. So I've determined that Thursdays and possibly Mondays are my days to post in my blogs, and only on those weekdays do I get to drop by LegendFire as often as I want and cruise all the other blogs and websites that are of interest. All other weekdays are reserved for writing exclusively. Three out of seven days still sounds like too little time to devote to the novel project, but that's all I can promise myself. There's still a big stack of paper waiting to be touched. But the panic attack is over, and discipline is back on the table.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scribd Disappoints...

Well, I have officially lost my patience with Scribd. So here' s a review:

The site is unbelievably slow and tedious when loading every single page and function. Even those that ought to be fresh in the memory b/c I was just there. Clicking the back arrow, at the least, should load the last page almost instantly, but this is not the case. I'm not sure if this is a common, everyday occurrence, or if Scribd is experiencing prolonged trouble, but since joining earlier this week, I have experienced the issue every time I've tried to navigate the site. As a result, I actually uploaded the same document twice. Oops! But even though I have decided to delete them both, they still show up in my uploads thingy in the sidebar. What's that about? I've deleted these docs. They are no longer available. Why show them there? I don't get it, nor do I like it.

The rest of the layout is pleasing to the eye, the functions easy to find. But only bother with this place if you've got time to waste, or a book in hand to read while you wait for the pages to load. As a result, I seriously doubt I'll have much to do with the site in the future. Which is sad to say, b/c I fully expected it to be a good venue to promote and sell copies of "Mists" and my upcoming novels. Not so sure it's worth the hassle after all.

You see, I was supposed to write today, but it's almost 3 pm and I just gave up the struggle at Scribd and not a new word has been written. Did I waste my time? I feel like the day is wasted, but I guess it depends on your perspective. Wait while pages load to be able to sell copies there in the long run, or find a site that functions as it should and sell them there instead. Hmmm...

Edit: A new day, a new dose of patience, and I figured out how to make a properly sized PDF and uploaded it to Scribd. While the site is still slow, everything went remarkably well. "Mists" is now available HERE for $1.25. So it's still a better deal to go through Smashwords and use the coupon code below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Progress Report, 4-25-11, and Promo Art

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 6
Pages Cut: 3 1/2
New Scenes: 0
Bad things that happened: Kelyn takes the blame
Good things that happened:
When you fall off a horse ...

Best of all, we finished Part 4 today and tomorrow begin Part 5. In "Part 5: Interlude" we get to all the characters who were neglected during the tight flow of action in "Part 4: Slaenhyll" which will be a nice change of pace for the next few weeks. And because I cut more than half of today's content and rearranged the rest, I finished revising abnormally early. So now we get to work on book covers.

Some time ago, I confessed that I was painting a cover for my novel. I'm not sure I like the results, so now I'm experimenting with other options. The maps for the interior are finished as of Monday, which is a plus. Now just the cover remains.

Speaking of cool art stuff, I have got to post the promo art
that Brian Fatah Steele worked up for "Mists of Blackfen Bog."

He really does amazing work, and I'm honored that he took the time to put this together for me.

Now, the coupon for downloading this ghost story is still valid for a couple of weeks. I'll post it again, b/c the conveyor belt is moving it too far down the line: TR89N

Remember, type that code into checkout at Smashwords for 50% off the regular price. You'll pay only $.99 for the novella.

Note how awesome that looks in the sidebar! Woohoo!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Progress Report, 4-25-11, and Rain

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 4
Pages Cut: 1 1/2
New Scenes: 1
Bad things that happened: Kieryn goes missing
Good things that happened: ale about a roaring fire, mmm

It feels so good to be back to writing. This last week wore me out, but all that creativity being bottled up isn't a bad thing. I'm hoping for a good run of rewrites this week as a result.

Most importantly, we finally have had a good rain. The last time we had rain like this was last August. We had trace amounts in October, then nothing. Two snows don't count if the snow is as dry as mountain snow and leaves dry powdery ground behind. We've suffered devastating and deadly wildfires. Our farmers have lost their wheat, most won't bother with cotton this year, and the cattle are going to have a tough time with dry ponds, and the hundred degree heat hasn't hit yet. But we've had rain this weekend. A blessing on Easter. Please, God, send more. My creek isn't even rising yet, so parched is the ground.