Monday, December 30, 2013

The Times, They are a-Changin’

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen.
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again.
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin.
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win.
For the times they are a-changin’. - Bob Dylan

Several years ago, I established a writer’s critique blog, Unicorn Bell, with Marcy Hatch and Charity Bradford. 

We brought in two more writers, L. Blankenship (Disciple, self-pub) and Elizabeth Arundel as part of the team. 

Unicorn Bell, the product of writers, is a-changin’, making a few adjustments.

A regular schedule. Our team at UB has individual talents.
  • L. Blankenship is gifted at critiquing 1500 word submissions. 
  • Marcy is expert at First Pages and interviews.
  • I, the Huntress of Fantasy, like taming the Query Monster and all its minions including loglines and blurbs.

To give our followers time to submit their chapters, loglines, and first pages, a weekly schedule is in order. 

Blogfests and book tours. So you want to create a presence online. How to do it?

My publisher, Musa Publishing, suggests bloghops/fests. Enter as many as you can manage. Comment and participate. This gets you out there, puts your name in front of people.

So why shouldn’t Unicorn Bell conduct a regular bloghop too? Good question and now a two word answer: 
  • Charity Bradford. She intends to hold a bloghop during some of her weeks.

Book tours. Excitement is building. You have a book coming out! Now you want everyone to get the message.
  • Elizabeth Arundel takes command of book tours. 

During her week, she will post all the info you send about your book. 

Lastly, do you have any special gifts that need an outlet? Would you like to join our team and build a writing platform to impress agents and publishers?

We are taking applicants for Unicorn Bell moderators. Send requests to our email with ‘Moderator Request’ in the subject line to unicornbellsubmissions[at]gmail[dot]com.

Join us for critiquing, bloghops, and book tours. It is definitely a can of mixed nuts at Unicorn Bell, the crucible of critique.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cephalopod Coffeehouse Chat - Summer of '42

From the ArmChair Squid: 
“The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.”

Summer of '42 by Herman Raucher

Hermie is fifteen, too young to join in the war effort and too old to be counted a kid. He is one of a gang of three boys whose families take a vacation in the summer at Nantucket Island. They run with the sun and wind and dream of days when they are treated as adults.

This summer is the turning point for them. Girls, dating, and an experience that changes Hermie forever. 

Love and war touches him and the hurt from both feels nearly the same.

Summer of ’42 was the movie everyone wanted to see in 1971. I stood in a line to watch the film that stretched down the block and around the corner. 

Herman Raucher wrote the script for the movie first then wrote the book, definitely not the norm. It became a runaway best seller. Funny, realistic, it is a self-portrait of Mr. Raucher’s experience that summer, his coming-of-age. 

A few years ago, I found the book in the bargain section at a book fair. For a dollar, I got a pristine, hardback with a dust cover, a most excellent deal.

What I found so amazing about the author, was the simple, indirect words that he used when describing the sex scene. I don’t care for a play-by-play of intimate moments. I like it left to my imagination. This book is the epitome of how to convey the act without making it an instruction book on intercourse.

I didn't realize until I re-read the book for this post that I employ the same tactic when I describe physical love. 

Although I highly recommend this book, it isn't easy to find. Out of print and ignored, it lingers in places other than Amazon. I suggest the library, garage sales, and book fairs.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joy to All - Missouri

Mark Koopman's 50 States of Pray, an event of devotion and inspiration. Share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope, a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future.

For myself it is a memory.

When my daughter was about ten, we started making sugar cookies on Christmas Eve. 

While mixing, forming, baking, frosting, and oh, yes, eating those bells, Santas, stars, and reindeer, I recorded the Christmas songs from a local radio station. I enjoy listening to it every year.

But the best part comes when the kid hits the wrong button and accidentally records herself asking which button to push.

I love hearing that little girl voice again while making Christmas cookies each year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sway, a Book that I can't leave alone.

...Or be alone after I read it.

I am reading Matthew Keith's new book, Sway. It is like a combination Silence of the Lambs and American Horror Story, too good to put down and too scary to watch without peering through my fingers. (yeah, somehow I expect that to save me. Go figure).

This psychological thriller is just plain the best in its field. I don't usually read this genre. Fantasy is my meat. But then again I don't read nonfiction either and there I go reading Killing Kennedy. So how would I know whether Sway is one of the best books in this genre? 

Writing. Good, edgy writing. That's how.

Short synopsis of Sway from Amazon:

A psychological thriller/horror that explores the inner workings of a man who had some of the worst experiences possible as a child. Now, as an adult, he is revisiting his childhood demons, trying to put it all together, all the while unaware that that's what he is doing. 

Through the re-emergence of a recurring childhood nightmare, he works toward beating back the man representative of a society holding him in check. 

Is it real, the product of a doctor who chemically induces his patients into visiting the dream as a means of control, or is it nothing more than the ravings of insanity manifesting itself through a dream?

Author website 

Author Bio:

I live in Kentucky near Fort Knox with my wife, 2 children, and our dog "Elvis". Although I have been writing for the better part of a decade, I have only recently begun publishing novels.

"Sway" is my third novel, and is very different from my first two which were the first two in a trilogy, "Watchers of the Night"—a sci-fi fantasy adventure about a young man who can walk the night in his dreams. He is recruited by an agency run by the United Nations that uses people like him to gather intelligence. The first book in that trilogy, published in April 2013, won 5th place in the annual writing contest. 

My next project, currently underway and due for release in the spring, is the final installment of that trilogy, "The Fall of Astralis". After finishing the Watchers trilogy, it is my intention to head back into darker fiction and continue to test my boundaries as a writer.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ethics, Writing, and Reality

I saw a question floating around the blogosphere several weeks ago that intrigued me.

What do you want most? Reviews or buyers. To me, it is a chicken-and-the-egg question. If you have more reviews then people might be more inclined to buy your book. But others don’t read reviews and look at the blurb only.

I’d rather folks did both, buy Wilder Mage and leave a review. But if I have to choose between the two, buying the book is okey dokey. *big smiley face*

Ethics. Have you seen this? 

So, you've written a book and you think it’s the best thing ever. But the reviews are slow to come in and you decide to post a review of your own book. And of course, it’s a five-star rating.

I was a little startled when I saw this by an author. After reading one of her books that left me nauseous, I followed my policy of not giving a review. I don’t give one or two-stars to fellow writers. It doesn’t seem right even when the book is Cee Are A Pee. 

But who has the guts to give themselves a review? Presumptuous much?

What do you want more? Reviews or buyers. And would you write a review for your own book? Do you see anything wrong with it?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG - It Be Glory

IWSG—Writers, coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 

I had a topic for today’s edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group. But it was too darn depressing. And I do not need another serving of Negativity at the moment.

So today, I am posting light, happiness, and laughter. What simple thing in life gives you radiance?

For me, it is:
A Perfect Sunset

My Grandson's Laughter

Christmas lights

A golden morning

Cool looking clouds

Family and friends including my blogger pals fill my days with glory as well. 

Thank you for stopping by.

Insecure Writers Support Group: The Final Frontier.

These are the voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His continuing mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 

To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Out of Magic, Released Today. 50 States of Pray Link is open

Released today.

Out of Magic
Magic can't fix a broken life. Just ask Sable.

Prequel to Wilder Mage, a stand-alone short story about Sable’s introduction to magic.

Sable Rounds has every basic need a seventeen-year-old girl could want. Shelter, food, and an education. She is safe. Clean. Provided for. Nothing is missing. Except parental affection.

Her parents’ attitude changes on the day she speaks to a whirlwind. And it answers. 

Now they pay attention to her. They were only waiting for her magic. And the end of their obligation to raise her.

Go to Musa Publishing for the free read.

Did I mention it's free?

Mark Koopman's 50 States of Pray is an event of devotion and inspiration. 

"On Dec. 24, 2013, take a moment, (and in about 100 words), share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope, a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future."

Follow the Linky List and sign up. Sounds like a wonderful event.

Out of Magic and 50 States of Pray. Quite a combination.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Books, Musa Publishing, and Cyber Sale Monday

Today marks the beginning of Musa Publishing's Thirteen Days of Christmas. Starting with a Sale!

All books are 50% off.

Free reads also. Short stories by Musa's authors begin today.

Tuesday, December 3rd is the release date of my short story, Out of Magic. I'll post the link when it becomes available.

Blurb. Sable Rounds has every basic need a seventeen-year-old girl could want. Shelter, food, and an education. She is safe. Clean. Provided for. Nothing is missing. Except parental affection.

Her parents’ attitude changes on the day she speaks to a whirlwind. And it answers.

Now they pay attention to her. They were only waiting for her magic. And the end of their obligation to raise her.

Excerpt. “Magic,” a voice said.

A woman stood on the edge of the pasture opposite the tree. With sleek black hair and just-applied makeup, she belonged in Vogue magazine. It was as if she’d dropped out of nowhere and had not just hiked across the field. I simply stared and didn't answer.

“Magic,” she repeated. “You feel another mage. That is why your skin shivers with energy.”

Shivering? More like skin crawling. The way she was looking at me made me want to look for spiders skittering all over my body.

Spiders with great hairy legs and snapping pincers.

Stock up on books (you know you want to) and grab a free read for the next thirteen days.

Out of Magic comes out tomorrow! 

*double arm pump*

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