Monday, February 25, 2013

Cover Reveal for Ninja Captain...

...and Blogger Extraordinaire, Alex Cavanaugh

A storm gathers across the galaxy…


Author: Alex J. Cavanaugh

Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Genre: Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Print ISBN: 9781939844002
E-book ISBN: 9781939844019

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.
Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Zombies Have Claimed Me

I am late to this zombie loving party. Blame it on the game Plants vs Zombies and Warm Bodies. Both eased me into their lair.

The Walking Dead. Michael and Marcy told me to watch it and long ago, I did see the pilot. What turned me off at the time was the stereotypical portrayal of a redneck racist who spouted crap. I reckon there is a need for drama/conflict but my lip curled after that first scene with Merle. Just don’t care for the stuff.

The Dead marathon on AMC let me watch several episodes for a bit more perspective. Not that everything was sugar cookies with sprinkles though. I nearly deleted the whole thing on my DVR several times. But now Daryl is coming along nicely. Glenn is very cool. Lori is still an idiot but whatever; as long as Carl doesn't get his brains ate, I will remain.

I haven’t seen all the past shows and the new episodes tell me that not everyone has survived. Interesting. I wonder how Dale croaked, er, tasted.

I might be a little slow. But you can bet, tonight, The Walking Dead will have my complete attention.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Here's Your Sign (that you're a Writer)

You know you’re a writer when:

-The hubby smashes his finger with a ten-pound hammer and all you can think about on the trip to the ER is how to put the screaming in a scene

-Poor grammar in famous books drives you nuts

-Reading for pleasure morphs into reading for stylistic ideas

-You talk to the voices in your head
-And they answer

-Interruptions from spouse/kids/phone/fire in the kitchen tee you off

-You've been writing since 5 am and are shocked when you realize the sun is up and it is lunchtime

-When the voices wake you in the middle of the night, the scrawl you made on the phone book by the bed needs translated

-Scribbling a chapter ending without taking your eyes off the road while driving actually makes sense.

-Human behavior in a mall is prime fodder for your wip
-People are suspicious when you stare at them in a mall

-Meals are a distraction and entirely voluntary

-Caffeine is your boon companion

-Chocolate is mandatory to complete tough scenes

-The family grows to expect non-verbal responses when you are writing

-Pen and writing material are close by at all times
-Post-its, paper napkins, used envelopes, and magazine covers are acceptable writing material

Being a writer gives you one of Life’s highest highs and lowest lows.


But you keep on truckin’ 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Drunk in Public

Blogs are a writer’s platform. On this stage, we create the persona that wins viewers, creates a loyal network, and makes a name for ourselves. Hopefully a good name.

Courtesy and an awareness of your surroundings are paramount in the posts. If a misunderstanding, harsh critiques, and rejections send you into a tailspin, your path will be just that, an endless loop going nowhere.

Complaining or public ranting is an emotional outlet for your feelings. But it is a self-inflicted and mostly fatal wound. Don’t do it. Agents, editors, and publishers can read. They watch sites like Query Tracker and AbsoluteWrite forums. If you leave a comment on their blog blasting their rejection of your query, it will get their attention. And not in a good way.

If I need to rant, my two bestest buddies, Charity and Marcy, are there for me as I am for them. Or I go kick the dog, which usually does not end well.

My point is everyone needs to let off steam. No argument. But this is not the venue. Exposing yourself in public is not cool.

First, it is rude. Second, you learn nothing. Education comes from mistakes. How you handle rejections says a lot about whether you are open for growth. Shutting down to suck your thumb and complain gets you bupkis, zip, zero.

Learn from rejections and harsh critiques. A public display paints you as an amateur.

Lastly, public fussing gets you more rejections. Might as well dump your mss and quit now, because buck-o, you have a long row to hoe if you think this business is easy on the mind. Not everyone will love your book. No matter how well you write, how intriguing your storyline, someone will hate it. Guarantee.

Rejections are in your future, whether agents, editors, critique partners, or publishers do the deed. Or your readers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fantasy Wolf

If only I spent less time photoshopping and more time writing.
Ruffian is half German, half Husky and one of the best dogs I've owned. Huge and breathtakingly beautiful, sweet tempered but absolute death on varmints, aka possums, raccoons, ground hogs, and beavers. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Pearl of Great Price

Drum Roll, if you please.

Today, my good friend, Charity Bradshaw - the one who is always ready with a virtual hug to make my day - continues her book tour on my blog. 

PhotobucketThe Magic Wakes is her debut and what a quasar it is.

Why I Chose My Small Publisher—WiDo Publishing

On February 17th I’ll be guest posting on Sharon Bayliss’ blog about how I decided to go with a small publisher in general, but today I want to talk about how I decided to go with my particular publisher.

There are many reasons why we make the decisions we do. Sometimes they are clear and logical. Other times…not so much. I tend to fall in the illogical decision making more often than my family would like. Emotions rule me and I go with that. In a way, this is how I decided to sign with my publisher.

Over the course of a year I started looking at a couple of small publishers. I found several that looked really good. I knew authors that had published with them and they had been around long enough that if there were problems they would have surfaced somewhere in the blogosphere. I grew more and more comfortable with a couple of them until I finally decided that smaller would be better for me.

WiDo was appealing for a couple of reasons.

I knew Karen Gowan before thinking about her publishing house as a blog friend. She always has great content on her blog Coming Down the Mountain. A couple of years ago she held a Lettuce Write contest in which her submissions editor Allie would pick a winner. The best part was that even if you didn’t win (which I didn’t) Allie would send you comments on the first three chapters that you submitted.

Allie liked my story and writing, even though I broke a lot of rules and she had no problems telling me she was surprised that she liked it. I loved the honesty and the suggestions she made that might make it better. She invited me to send the whole thing, but I didn’t. I spent another year finding critique partners and revising. When I was ready to query, I thought of Allie and knew I had to give it another try.

When WiDo told me they wanted to publish my novel, I was overjoyed. Finally I would get the professional help I needed (and yes there are many ways to read that last sentence), and my dream would become a reality.

We had to wait until I got cut from the ABNA contest before I could sign the contract. That was one VERY long month let me tell you. I went back and forth between “Cut me!” and “Don’t cut me!” That hope of getting in with a big publisher still had part of me in its grip, but I was also ready to move forward.

In the end, I did get cut after the round that gave me some great feedback on my writing. That had been my main purpose in entering anyway. I signed the contract with WiDo and waited for a that sinking feeling to tell me it was the wrong choice. It never came.

So I slapped on a stamp and mailed it. Once it was out of my hands everything lifted. I felt that joy that I had craved and I stopped worrying.

And I haven’t regretted that decision. My editor and I worked hard to make The Magic Wakes the best it could be. The cover art is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and because I’m with a smaller publisher I can actually talk to everyone involved in the process. It feels like a family and I don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Would I do it all over again?


Want to know more about how things played out? Check out these future blog tour posts:

· February 9th Working with My Publisher over at Mia Hayson’s blog.

· February 11th Working with My Editor over at Laurel Garver’s blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Charity's Book Tour

Banner 3
Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it. 

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.


Author photo
Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. 

She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. 

The Magic Wakes is her first novel.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Success Done Write

We don’t talk about them. The ones we’ve left behind, the people who quit. Like the family heirlooms left beside the Oregon Trail by pioneers who had too many hopes and not enough reality.

Many potential writers have fallen by the wayside when confronted by the realities. Completion of the manuscript isn't the end of work or the beginning of success. Success doesn't happen until we clench our jaw, bend into the wind, and face the facts.

People take to paper and pen, keyboard and computer, and complete a manuscript. Maybe the story has been festering, growing in their brains since grade school. The written word. Theirs. All their own. But now what? What do they do now that they’ve written the book that’ll put their name on the New York Times bestseller list and a seat beside Oprah?

Now they begin the stages of Quit Now or Gird Your Loins.

The process is familiar, the hope and rejections. Rejections of grammar, of style, words, characters. Ad nauseam.

The next stage is Denial, followed closely by its boon companion, Raging. When Justifying peeks in and Dejection elbows through the door, loads of people quit right there. Or commit the monumental error of vanity press, falling for their honeyed words, “…just another check and you’ll become a star.”

Those who go on meet up with Dejection also. But it's what happens afterwards is the key.

Believe in yourself. Reality is the whack of a baseball bat that most don’t survive. How you greet this somber, black-caped stranger ends with two different results. Either the door slams shut and life goes on. Or opens wide and Life Begins.

“Lightbulb!” – Gru, Despicable Me.

Education and knowledge clarifies the mistakes.
Encouragement from unknown acquaintances motivates us to continue. To improve.
Role models, helpers. In the fall of 2010, I met two bloggers who answered an essential requirement that I did not know I needed. Marcy, the quiet star that is about to explode into a supernova. And Charity, my pearl of great price.
Faith. Success is like running two miles. At first, it is exhilarating. Then something pinches and reality sets in. You think, “I can’t do this. Maybe I should stop. Rest. Give up.”

Everyone experiences the same feelings. The questions.

Is this too hard, can I do this, am I good enough?

The ones who snarl, gird their loins, and GROW are the ones who succeed. They call themselves Writer and I am proud to know them.

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