Monday, March 25, 2013

The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

…or The Walking Dead marathon begins tonight.

How did I arrive at this juncture?

I've asked myself this question frequently over my lifetime. Like how did I become the one with deer heads hanging in my yard or known as the weird person who beats their flocked Christmas tree on the sidewalk?

Now I question my slobbering enthusiasm for Walking and how this show captured me so thoroughly.

It was after the first Walking marathon in January that I first really started watching this show. I arrived late to the party. Doodling like a kid texting rather than doing their homework then finally realizing what time it was.

At first, the storyline didn’t amaze me. Sometimes the only way to get through it was to skip the irritating parts.  But somewhere along the way, I quit hitting the FF button.

I don’t watch a lot of TV but I am loyal to the few programs that I do. Vampire Diaries is my guilty pleasure and fills my eek quota. I’d walk on broken glass to watch Justified every week. That show’s writers and plotters continually surprise me with twists in their storyline. I never know what is going to happen next.

After watching these TV shows, I go about my business until Tuesday or Thursday rolls around with another episode.

But Walking Dead. Holy Cats. It keeps me up at night. I’m thinking about it the next day and STILL can’t get a certain episode out of my head (the one with the hiker).

The characters are a part of my day now. Even the ones that I initially disliked when the show first premiered. Now I realize that a bad character has only one way to go: Up. I mourn when they die. Shocking.

Again, the marathon begins tonight with the pilot at 8 ET on AMC. It will run all episodes to the season’s finale on Sunday.

What is it about this show that controls me? Seriously, WHAT IS IT?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Funnies

...or I Got Nuthin' Else Today.

Woman Stops Grizzly Attack with 25 Cal Pistol

This is a story of self control and marksmanship with a very small caliber shooter by a woman against a fierce predator.
What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?
The Beretta Jetfire:

"While out hiking in Alberta Canada with my boyfriend, we were surprised by a huge grizzly bear charging at us from out of nowhere. She must have been protecting her cubs because she was extremely aggressive. If I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire with me I would not be here today!

"Just one shot to my boyfriend's knee cap was all it took.... The bear got him and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.

"It's one of the best pistols in my collection...."
She was arrested a short time later and charged with bear baiting.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Greystone Series and Alex Verus

Two book series. Two different authors. Great reading in different genres. 

Taylor Longford writes YA and Benedict Jacko’s world is in urban fantasy. Both authors gave me fantastic writing, suspenseful storylines, and sleepless nights of reading until two AM.

Ms. Longford continues her Greystone saga with Dare, a tale of gargoyles and their introduction to the modern life of TVs and the internet.

Enclosed in a British building, turned to stone, and unable to reach sunlight to return to their normal selves, the gargoyle brothers are discovered and sent to Colorado. Valor is the first gargoyle to touch sunlight and becomes a living, breathing young man who falls for a modern teenager.
When his brothers arrive in their stone form, they also transform and follow Valor’s transition from the days of horse and buggy to cell phones, computers, and EBay.

Valor’s brother Dare continues this storyline. His past dogs his footsteps after a severe injury curtails his existence as a gargoyle. Without any expectation of healing, Dare isn't optimist about modern life. But he finds a soul mate who thinks differently and the journey to recovery is remarkable.

Reason’s story begins after he saves a young woman from drowning. He returns to his brothers in Colorado but the young woman isn't so easy to lose. She follows him to discover who – and what – he is.

The Greystone series is a surprising treat. Well-written and always surprising, it is a page-turner. Don’t pass up this author and books.

A big Thumbs Up.


Fated by Benedict Jacka begins the saga of Alex Verus, a mage diviner living in modern Britain. His past comes knocking at his door and soon he is tossed into a jumbled mess of quests and magic.

If you like Kevin Hearne’s early books or my personal writing god, Jim Butcher (seriously, I burn incense and sacrifice small animals by his photo), you’ll love Benedict Jacka.

Cursed and Taken follows this book with the release of Chosen in August.

Don't miss this series.

Two great storylines. Two great genres. Check them out for a cool week's worth of reading.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Contests, Edits, and Book Trailers

Edits. I completed and uploaded the first edits to my book, The Magic Withheld, and I am waiting on the second round. 

Formatting problems caused a mutual stumble between my fab editor Angela Kelly and me but we beat our respective programs into submission. In all ways, the communication was great, cordial, and immediate. Can’t ask for better than that.

Book trailers. My education in the making of book trailers grew exponentially since signing with Musa Publishing. I watched many YouTube versions of books and some movie trailers as well for a general cinematic concept that appealed to me. Sites that offer royalty free photos and music became daily haunts.

I went with Fotolia for most of my photos but there are many to choose from like Dreamstime and IStockphotos.

Researching and finding music was a pleasurable experience. These sites had great tunes:

But I went with Purple Planet. Love, love, LOVED their selections. I want to write another book just so I can go shopping at their site again.

I used Windows Live Movie Maker for the chrome and pizzazz. Fun doing that too.

After I made the initial trailer, I sent it to my CPs to tell me what worked and what didn’t. Boy Howdy, did they ever lay into me! Fantastic advice too.

When I get a release date for Magic, I’ll post my trailer for everyone to see.

And finally…

Contest. It’s a query contest conducted by SC Write. This looks like a golden opportunity for me since my query thunked big time last year. I want to know, why, why, WHY!

Got any book trailer tips for me? I’d love to hear them.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Quick and Dirty Tips to Improve Your Writing

There is a lot of advice in the blogosphere for us writers. Blogs, books, webinars, virtual classrooms. It boils down to this:

Don’t look at the monitor

I realize this is a strange bit of advice but hear me out. While the creative juices are flowing during the first draft, it is natural to look at the monitor. Don’t. While typing, look at a blank piece of paper, the floor, the wall. Glance at the monitor and keyboard to make sure you aren't doing this number: dp,yjomh ;olr but otherwise, keep your brain moving. 

Don’t let the monitor play Squirrel! with your mind.

Research examples of established writing.

When I begin a new book, my mind is in two places. First, I am into the story. Second, I question myself. What interested me in this book? What is it about the first line/page/paragraph that drew me in? I analyze these sections.

Scenes that pop aren't just a source of good reading. They are also examples of good writing. I blow them up like a digital engine to see the moving parts. A play-by-play scrutiny from my writer’s eye, grammatically and emotionally. Why did the MC’s actions affect me and when? At what point did my mind’s eye lock into this scene and why?

Explore your feelings

Humans and writers (non-humans?) have depths that remain hidden. A private place that doesn’t come out to play much. If you want your writing to be real, bring those hidden places out. Give them a venue, your manuscript, your scene-stealers.


You've heard this advice many times: ‘Pick a time of day to write when distractions are few’. Blah, blah blah. This borders on fantasy land. 

Interruptions from your job and loved ones who insist on bugging you, (seriously, it’s a wonder I haven’t put a shock collar on the hubby) are a fact. It happens. Deal with it (shock collars on sale at Amazon?). 

But you do have control over the internet.

When you write, WRITE. Do not let the siren’s call of the internet pull you away.

Check no facts, spellings, alternate emotions. No email pings. No images. No videos. Write.

Give it up for a few days

Ben Franklin said 
Guests like fish begin to stink after a few days
So does our writing. Give that manuscript a rest. Let that beloved prose snooze for a few days. I guarantee the bad parts will rise to the surface.

Do you have any priceless writing tips?

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