Saturday, June 30, 2012

So Busy...

I've been such a terrible blogger lately. I've skipped posts and slacked on visiting people and commenting. I also have a couple blog awards that I need to post about.

Unfortunately, today will not be the day for any of that. I'm not going to make up for lack of posting or visiting. I'm so sorry, I do appreciate each of my followers and the blogs I follow.

I'm so busy right now. It's crazy. Critiques, writing, revising, working on my query...Add that to regular non-writer stuff and I'm SO far behind. My plan is to get caught up on everything this weekend so I can get back on track.

Thank you for visiting me, even though I'm slacking. <3

I did post a TAG! this past Thursday if anyone missed it, go check it out. :)

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone. :D

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Jeremy Laszlo

Today I have self-published author, Jeremy Laszlo. He's a super nice guy that I met through Twitter. You can find him on his site, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Also, check out his books: The Choosing, The Chosen, The Changing, and his poetry book-Clad In Shadow.

1. When did you start writing?
I began writing stories at the young age of 6.  I have examples of my stories going back that far still in my possession today.  Though I think my writing has improved at least a little since then, I still enjoy reading those first stories whenever I happen to come across them while looking for whatever it is my wife misplaced this time.

2. What made you want to write?
To be honest I cannot nail it down to one particular event or reason that made me want to write.  I have always enjoyed a good story no matter what form it comes in.  There are many things, I suppose, that worked together to inspire me to begin writing novels of my own.  One of my high school teachers, Mrs. Messing pushed me to write often in her American literature and English literature classes, and she always gave encouraging feedback.  Many others have read examples of my poetry or short stories and have suggested that I seek publication, but until recently I don't think that I was really ready to take the publishing plunge.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
In my mid teens my drive to write a full length novel and have it published was realized, but at that particular time not only had I not found my "voice" for writing, but I was also very distracted with other teen activities.  Such as chasing the girl who is now my wife, parties, high school and college, and then the military.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
I write many genres, however at this time I only have works of Fantasy and poetry published, however even my "fantasy" novels cross the lines of genres having paranormal elements as well as dark horror elements.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Poetry has always been something that I have easily connected with and writing it has always come naturally to me.  Besides it gets the girls right?  However Fantasy is my main genre I suppose, and I have always enjoyed reading fantasy and as a base estimation I have probably read a few thousand fantasy novels.  I like the ability to create a story and the world it evolves on from the ground up.  Being in total control of the creation, making new "rules" for each world, new races to inhabit them, new creatures and monsters to battle is all like a great jigsaw puzzle to me and I love the challenge of making sure my readers have every piece so the story has no holes in it and is completely believable.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I don't have any particular rituals, does that make me odd?  Generally I just prefer it very very quiet when I write.  My brain unfortunately operates much faster than my fingers so I have to really be able to focus without distraction in order to get down everything that is flowing through my brain.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I prefer free writing, but I generally play with the story in my head for a long time working out the details before I actually start writing.  Lately I have been jotting down some rough outlines for my upcoming books, but they are very general and more than likely I wont stick to them anyway.  Not sure if that is counter productive or not, but it seems to be a process that works for me.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Absolutely.  I must have caffeine, loads of caffeine.  I am not a 100 words a day author, nor am I a 1000 words a day author.  Generally I write multiple chapters in a sitting, and as long as it is flowing into the keys I just keep on typing.  Sleep is not an option at that point so please keep the Pepsi coming.  Thank you!

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I am a straight to the netbook writer, however I write the original draft in a program called page four, then after it is complete transfer it to MS Word to send off to my editors and Beta readers.  It's the green thing to do, so I am a writer saving the earth one manuscript at a time.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
To be honest I have never taken the time to count, however I have boxes of writings I have done over the last 25 years or so.  That being said there is enough there, that with a LOT of editing could easily produce several books.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Though I am sure some have been skeptical, no one has ever voiced those opinions to me personally.  Fortunately for me my dream of writing has been widely viewed as a good path for me and I get support from all avenues.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I do use social media as it is pretty much a necessity as an indie published author.  You can find me on twitter and Facebook, and I am looking into google +, though I haven't made that leap just yet.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Most of the price points advice for indie authors who generally publish ebooks in my opinion is terrible to say the least.  All this free and 99 cent BS really irritates me.  Surwe for a promotion lasting a day or two is fine, but why is an indie authors work worth any less than a traditionally published book?  Indie authors work just as hard if not harder to get their work to their audience, and it is my opinion that if your work is quality, price it as such.

14. You have some Mythology in your book, is that something you studied at some point or just something that's been an interest for you?
Though Mythology is interesting, I have never had any really focused study on the subject.  More or less, I find religion interesting though, and the evolution of the concept of having a god or gods that have the ultimate control over the world is also intriguing.  

15. Did you always plan to go self-pub or did you attempt the traditional route (query agents/publishers)?
I did briefly attempt the traditional route to publication, but after doing some research decided that it was not the proper avenue for me at that time.  Publishing my own work independently allows me a lot more control and freedom.  I do not have a strict schedule to stick to, I get the same amount of marketing as I would have as a new author through a publishing house, and I can reach my readers much easier this way.  All in all, I would say that I chose the correct path for me, though if another door opened, I would at least peek inside before deciding to close it.

16. Do you have a critique partner (or partners)? If not, why?
I have some beta readers that read my work before publication.  They have varied backgrounds, and none of them regularly read my genre which is great, because they question everything.  Beyond that, I have just recently began working with an amazing editor, Stephanie Dagg, who is by far the most thorough "indie editor" I have met.

17. Do you still write poetry? Are you planning to have more poetry books?
I do still write poetry, and may release more collections down the road.  The truth is, the majority of the poetry I write these days is to my wife, who has always enjoyed them, and she began receiving my poetry when she was only thirteen, many years ago.

18. With a very full time job and four daughters, how do you find time to write?
Magic!  Ok, so not really magic.  Though I do drink a modern day potion to keep me alert and focused, that allows me to write late at night whilst everyone else is asleep.  It comes in many forms and flavors, but the basic ingredient for this potion is caffeine.  My name is Jeremy Laszlo, and I too am a caffeine addict.  I sacrifice a lot of sleep in order to fit in all of the things that come with being a writer, and indie author.  Anything worth doing is never easy, we all must make sacrifices.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Well aside from being at my day job around 70 hours a week, or carpentry on the side, I have a wonderful family that I like to spend my down time with.  I have an amazingly supportive wife, and four wonderful daughters who keep me very busy for now, and will create for me a PMS nightmare in the years to come.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
My advice would be to just keep writing.  Improve your craft at every available opportunity.  Seek out people to read your work who are not biased and get good useful feedback.  Find a few writers with more experience and learn from them the tricks of the trade.  My inbox is always open!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Awesomeness

Well, I skipped a Saturday wrap up last week, sorry about that. However, this week's is full of awesome!

First off, I'd like to talk about my Mention Monday post. I listed some awesome writers on that one, please if you missed it, go check it out now. Plus, my friend, Caterina Torres, is giving away several eBooks of her book, Zombie Whisperer. (Giveaway link is on my Mention Monday post).

Next I'd like to mention (lol) the amazing and famous Ninja Captain, Alex J Cavanaugh. He's so far beyond awesome and I want to say another thank you for the interview.

Also a big thank you to all of Alex's followers who came by my blog, I really appreciate it.

That pretty much sums it up I think. I've been stalled on writing for a couple of days while I work on critiques. I've also been reading a little. I'm starting to work on my query letter again. (Oh boy). And I'm revising here and there. Plus I've been chatting on AQC a lot lately, and love it. Of course, I love the site so, it makes sense. :D

That's my week all wrapped up. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have an awesome weekend.

Happy Saturday. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Alex J Cavanaugh

O.M.G. You have NO IDEA how excited I am about today's TAG! I'm giddy, yes, giddy. Because he's one of the most awesomest of awesome people I know. Yes, that's right, my TAG! today is...

The AWESOME ALEX J CAVANAUGH! (WOOT!) Now, for those who don't know this awesome man, Ninja Captain, blogger, and author...YOU MUST! Follow him on his blog, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. Read his books: CassaStar and CassaFire. (CassaStorm will be book three). He's the most awesome blogger buddy, friend, author, and person! His awesomeness can't be defined, it's nearly impossible to match, it's just...AWESOME! I could go on and on, but I won't. Let's just get into the interview.

1. When did you start writing?

Wrote some as a teenager and picked it up again a few years ago.

2. What made you want to write?

There were adventures I wanted to experience that I hadn’t read or seen in a movie yet.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)

After I re-wrote CassaStar, I decided to submit it and see what happened.

4. What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction – space opera/adventure

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?

Because it’s the one I enjoy the most. And I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle fantasy yet.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)

Only that I prefer to play music in the background.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?

I have to outline! Otherwise my story would wander off and get lost.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)

Music, water, and Hot Tamales!

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?

I’ve done both. I neither write nor type fast, but after my experience with NaNo 2010, I do better typing. (I’m currently participating in BuNo this month and typing as fast as I can.)

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)

I wrote some short stories when I was younger and one incomplete novel. I eventually rewrote that novel and it became my first published book, CassaStar. The sequel, CassaFire, came out this past February.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?

No one beside myself - I’m my own worst enemy.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?

I’m on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and I blog. That’s more than enough!

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)

I don’t think I follow any that are cringe-worthy. They always say don’t use italics to designate thought, but I use it to signify a character’s thoughts when he is speaking telepathically.

14. Where did your inspiration for CassaStar come from?

From watching a lot of science fiction movies and shows like Battlestar Galalctica, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and Star Trek

15. Have you always been a Sci-Fi lover?

For as long as I can remember!

16. What was the first video game that you bought with your own money? (Earned money from doing chores or money that was given to you as a gift)

Atari’s Adventure. (Yeah, remember that one?)

17. When did you first become interested in learning how to play the guitar? How long after that did you become a fairly good player?

I’ve played other instruments and picked up the guitar a few years ago. How long before I became a good player? Hmm, maybe next week!

18. How are you able to have your normal life, your writer life, your blogging life, and still be such an AWESOME Ninja Captain and person?

Ninja skills! That and I blog from work. I try to be awesome all the time though.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?

Playing my guitar, watching movies, reading, and spending time with my wife.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?

Just be a genuine, caring person – and be open to all possibilities!

( Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Known online as the Ninja Captain, he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He lives in the Carolinas with his wife. )

Check out his books:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thoughtful Tuesday - Fame

Today, I've decided to post random thoughts (sort of) that fall under one topic...


Yep, that's the topic. It's vague, I agree, so let me unvague it(yes, I made that one up :p  ). When I first began blogging, I followed some blogs (and still do) that have tons of followers and comments. I was like, 'Damn, I want that.' It took months for me to even get ten followers. And now I'm up to 134. I still don't get many comments, but I don't get much time to go comment on others, so I can't complain much.

I will read, follow, and comment (when I can) on any blog whether they do the same for me. It just seems like the natural thing to do. I love to support people because that's just my personality. I get off (yes, that's the phrase choice that came to mind :p ) on supporting people. That's why I do my Mention Mondays and my TAG!s, it's even why I do my book reviews on Wednesdays. Supporting others makes me feel good.

I've become such a fan of the self-pub and Indie authors because I've found so many wonderful people and books. They don't get a quarter of the recognition they deserve. There are books out there that are better than Laurell K Hamilton and James Patterson (both of these authors are two of my favorites btw) and yet they don't have half of the fanbase that LKH and JP have. But they DESERVE it.

The Indie and Self-pubbed authors don't boast and brag about their awesomeness, most of them are so humble they don't even realize it, but sadly nowhere near enough other people realize it either. LKH has an FB page and she can post a picture of her dog and get thousands of comments on it. Why? Because she's 'famous'. But does fame make her dog cuter than Author Jane Doe? No, it doesn't. Yet people treat it that way. (Yes, I chose dog pics, but it's just to give an example that demonstrates what I'm saying.)

We live in a world full of celebrities and people are all over those celebs, but I never get it. They're just people. Self-pubbers and Indies are just people too, so what about them? What does it take to get people to see their names? They write wonderfully, they interact with fans and treat them as friends, and they humbly and graciously accept compliments and they're under appreciated.

I'm rambling, sorry :/  But I do have a point...

Fame is measured by the number of people who are willing to recognize the 'celebrity.' I follow several blogs, many of them published authors, and I think they're all famous. Alex J Cavanaugh is famous in my eyes. If I met him I'd be slightly fan-girlish because he's just that awesome. I recently talked about Karen Amanda Hooper (here) and CK Bryant (here). If I met either of them, I'd be a bit fan-girlish there too. These are only three of the awesome people I've had the privilege of getting to know more. And each of them are awesome in their own way, but they're awesome in a special way too. They're my friends even though I've never met them in person (and even if they don't think of me that way :p  ). With Karen and CK, I've exchanged a few emails and Tweets, and every encounter was special to me. With Alex, it's his comments on my blog as well as replies to my comments on his, but every time, it's special. Knowing them, makes me feel like I know some famous people and they all deserve that feeling.

They are famous, even if I don't think enough people realize that. Which now brings me to the point (sorry this has been so long). It's okay to be a fan of someone whose name is EVERYWHERE, someone who has a HUGE fanbase. BUT make sure to recognize the other people who are famous, yet unrecognized. Brag about these under appreciated celebrities, tweet about them, 'like' them, follow them, talk talk talk about them. They deserve as much fame as any other celeb out there, some of them deserve it more. The unrecognized celebrities (especially in the Author industry) DESERVE to be recognized. Spread the word, tell the world, '*Insert name* is AWESOME and everyone should know.'

Now, go tell it!

Happy Thoughts :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mention Monday

It's time to mention a few people. I wasn't planning on so many, but there's just so much awesomeness! :D

So first up:

Caterina Torres

She's an awesome author and person. She was my first TAG!-read it here, and she's also my friend. Follow her Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Visit her website and blog. (She's got a short story segment and I love it :)  ). Right now, you can find her book, Zombie Whisperer, for .99 cents on Amazon. BUT she's also having a giveaway on her blog-HERE. Check it out. Enter the giveaway (20 eBook copies of her book up for grabs). And if nothing else, please spread the word. AND make sure to check her out. SHE'S AWESOME!

Next up is:

Stephen Tremp

He's an awesome author and person as well. I have yet to do a TAG! on him, though I have him on my list of people to contact (if you see the Stephen, I'd like to email you ;)  ). Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Visit his website and blog(seriously, do it!) Right now, today(June 18) and tomorrow(June 19), his book, Breakthrough is FREE! on Amazon. (Must say, I really like the cover.) Go to his blog for more info about the Breakthrough Breakout! And make sure you check him out, get the book, and please spread the word. HE'S AWESOME!

Now I have a list of some FABULOUSLY AWESOME people who are new to the social media scene. (Some of them aren't new new, but they're just now really getting into it.):

SC_Author: He's an awesome writer, who currently writes about an underwater world full of awesome sea creatures. Check him out at his blog and on Twitter.
Kendra C: She's a young writer who currently writes about people with elemental powers. Check out her blog and Twitter.
Utsav M: He's a writer of Sci-Fi, currently writing, well, I can't really sum it up short enough-but the book sounds awesome. :p Check out his blog (that is a group blog with the next person on my list) and on Twitter.
Brighton L: He's a novel and screenplay writer. Check out his blog (the group one) and follow him on Twitter.
Krysten Hill: She's an awesome writer who's current MS is about half-dragons. It's awesome and she's fantastic at world building. Find her on her blog and on Twitter.
Stephanie Adele: She's an awesome writer, but not sure what her book is about (*blush* sorry, Steph). She blogs and Tweets.

Please check out all the people I mentioned in this post. I know that's a lot of links, but each one of these people are FABULOUSLY, FANTASTICALLY, AWESOME!

(SIDE NOTE: Zombie Whisperer by Caterina Torres is not your 'typical' zombie story full of gore and decaying bodies. It's got nano technology and pretty zombies (along with a few icky ones). I'm saying this for the people who shy away from zombie books because of the gory bits. Take a chance on this one, it's different and I love it. Besides-enter the giveaway and it's free so if you don't like it, nothing lost ;)   )

Happy Mentioning :D

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

This post is for the good Dads out there who love their kids, spend time with them, support them (in every sense of the word). For the Dads who take time to cherish the gift they've been given. Happy Father's Day to them, they are MEN and they deserve this day, hell, they deserve much more than a day. I love my Dad, and can't imagine not having him in my life.

However, this post is not just for those fantastic Dads. It's for those shitty ass Dads who make babies and don't take time to even care. Those Dads who either have one kid they ignore, or ten. The Dads who don't pay child support and don't think they "owe" anything to that child that is half of them. Happy Father's Day to them too.

I know some of you may be thinking-WTF?!?! So, let me explain. The good Dads out there, don't need me to say it, although I did because they deserve it. They will have someone (or a lot of someones) telling them all day long. They are wonderful fathers, and are recognized everyday. I'm going to take the time to recognize those who are bad fathers and aren't recognized. I'm doing it because, they should be. Point them out, announce to the world, tell them Happy Father's Day-make them see they ARE fathers. Whether they like it or not, they are. We ignore these scumbag dads who ignore the life they took part in creating. WHY?

Why do we let them get off so easy? We shouldn't. There are far too many kids out there with single moms who are the only support those children have, they work their asses off and they come home to play two roles-mom and dad. It's not fair. So don't say-Why should I tell that deadbeat Happy Father's Day? Acknowledge him, force him to remember that he IS a father.

My niece and nephew's dad is the defenition of a deadbeat. He has 8 kids (counting my niece and nephew) and he doesn't support any of them. Never spends time with them, doesn't call to talk to them, or even send a birthday card. My sister works hard to give them everything they need and make up for what they miss out on because they don't have a dad. She isn't always successful, but she does her best. Thing with my niece and nephews one makes him take notice. His family puts him on a pedestal and blames the mothers of his children for why he's not a real dad. You can't do that. If you know a Dad who makes excuses for why he's crappy, take a moment today to say-Hey, Happy Father's Day. Because he needs to realize he's a father.

That is why this post is dedicated to EVERY man who has a child...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

By the way- Happy Father's Day to the MOMs out there who play both roles. I'm one of those moms, I know it gets tough, REALLY tough sometimes. Just make sure you don't ignore the "man" who made you have to play both roles. Make sure he doesn't "forget."

(Sorry for the bit of ranting that went on there.)

And again, Happy Father's Day :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Stacey Wallace Benefiel is an awesome Self-Pubbed author who's also awesome in general. Her Zellie Wells Trilogy sounds awesome (it's on my TBR list), and her other books do too. (Make sure to visit the links to the books when you're on her site :)  ). You can find Stacey on her site, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.

1. When did you start writing?
I've been writing down stories and making little books since I was in elementary school. Even before that, I was involved in theatre and making up stories.

2. What made you want to write?
I write so that I can express what I want to say, but am able to change the words and phrasing up to clearly get my point across. I'm horrible in an argument - I can be silly on the fly, like when doing improv, but if I have to express an idea, I freeze up. I wanted to write so that other people could understand all the crazy ideas and stories I have in my head.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
I was late to the game with this one. I'd had a couple of poems and short stories published in lit mags over the years, but it never occurred to me to pursue publishing beyond that. Then, when I finished Glimpse in 2005 I thought, "Well, I've gone and written a book. I wonder if anyone will publish it?" That began the seriously lame and annoying hell that is querying. (Pick me! Pick me!) I took some time off from getting rejection letters to have two children and then started the querying process again in 2009. For Christmas that year, my husband gave me a Kindle. I discovered indie authors, decided to self-publish and never looked back. Now writing to publish is my career.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
Most of what I write is paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I have YA and NA series in those genres. I also like to write humorous essays and I have a book of those out called The Toilet Business (A lifetime of crappy jobs). I've been trying my hand at writing contemporary NA and that's been going pretty well. I also write erotica under a pen name.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
I write what I like to read.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I think that I don't, but I probably do. I don't have specific times when I write - I have two little kids, so I write when I get the chance. I still manage to get something done every day. I do always write at my desk. I'm not a laptop person and I can tune out the things I'm used to hearing in my office (like Blues Clues). I always begin every manuscript already formatted for Smashwords - single spaced, .3 indent, 0 pt trailing - title, published by, copyright. That helps me later on so that I don't have to do much formatting and it also puts me in the frame of mind that what I'm working on is a real book, not just some blurbs on the page.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I don't really outline. I make notes as I go along and I'll write down ideas, but a lot of the time I don't know what's going to happen next. I am trying to loosely outline the next trilogy set in the Zellie world - I didn't do that the first time around and it is really hard to keep track of the threads that run through all of the books without some sort of plotting chart. I'm hoping it will help me be able to get the books out faster. Less time staring blankly at the screen. :)

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Nope, I'm easy. Sometimes music, sometimes ice water. Cigarettes used to be a must-have, but obviously that hasn't been the case in forever.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
Straight onto the computer. I lose half the stuff I write on paper.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I've published thirteen works in two years. There are also a couple of stories in anthologies and, gah, thirty or so starts in my Other Writing file on my computer. Plenty. My answer is plenty. :)

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Not really. I think my friends and family probably thought this was another one of my things that I would do for a year and then move on - that has totally been my M.O. in the past. I got more support from everyone the longer I stuck with it and the more money I made.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I am on all of the Social Media sites. Probably some that I didn't even know I was on. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads the most.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
I cringe when self-published authors tell other self-published authors, or those thinking of self-publishing, to hire out their e-book formatting. Dude, it's just not that hard. I am not a computer whiz and I learned, for free, how to do it all by myself.

14. How do you manage to (successfully) get anything done with little ones?
I'm not really sure how I do it. Every time I finish a story or novel, I'm amazed that I actually finished. :) It helps to write something, anything every day. It helps to be able to tune the TV out. I send the kids outside to play in the backyard when I can, but we live in Oregon and it rains a lot. They watch TV in the playroom and play with their toys that never get picked up and we all count the years until they're in elementary school. Ha!

15. Where did you get the inspiration for your Zellie Wells trilogy?
Do you remember that show Roswell? My sister and I were BIG fans, like obsessive fans. When it ended, we were bummed. My sister joked that I could probably write something like Roswell and that I should because it would take her mind off of missing the show.  So, I did. Before writing the Zellie books, I'd never written a novel. I wrote essays, plays, skits, poetry, and short stories. I didn't know what I was doing, but things turned out okay. :)

16. Would you want to have Zellie's powers?
I would totally have Zellie's powers. I think it would be awesome to be able to save lives! And, hey, if being a teenager is going to suck anyway, might as well make the most out of what you can do for good.

17. How/when did you become a member of the Indelibles?
I believe I was a second round draft pick. :) Lisa Nowak and Angela Carlie nominated me. We're in another group that Angela and I started called Pacific Northwest YA Authors. Cheri Lasota is in it too. We give talks at schools, libraries, bookstores, and we attend book fairs together. We did a tour last fall.  I know, it's a totally catchy name. :)

18. Do you have critique partners (or even just one)? If not, why?
I don't have CPs. I have a Sarah. Sarah is my best friend and a grammar/spelling nazi. She also reads a TON. We've been best friends since we were YA's and she will tell me when something sucks. She'll also tell me what she thinks I need to do to change things. So, she's a CP, but I don't get to critique anything she does. lol After Sarah reads and edits, I send my books to beta readers, make changes from their comments (if three people say the same thing, I change it) and then Sarah gets it again for final approval.  That last sentence, for instance, would probably make her crazy. :)

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I hang out with my family. I like to cook and go to the movies. I read a lot and always have a DVR full of TV to watch. I like to head to the beach several times a year. Normal, boring stuff. :)

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Zoe Winters told me that "keeping your eyes on your own paper" is the best thing a writer can do. Meaning, your journey is your journey and don't compare yourself to anyone else. I think that's great advice not just for writing, but for life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday - Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Three Stars to Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

I read the first book of this series (The Nightshade series) and loved it. So, I was hoping to love this one as well. I did, though I was little unsure if I should really give it four stars or three. Not that it wasn't a great read, just that it wasn't what I expected exactly. (BTW: The cover I used is the first cover, there is a 'new' one and I don't like it, so I'm not using it.)

Cala is an Alpha, born from the Alpha couple that lead the Nightshades. This book picks up with her waking in the Academy for the Searchers. Searchers are magical people who hunt Guardians (which is what Cala is, it's the group of people who shift into wolf form) and Keepers. And how much of any of this makes sense if you haven't read the books? Probably not much, sorry. :/

I'm going to go on and spoil it now for anyone who wants...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mention Monday - C.K. Bryant

First off, there wasn't a week wrap up this past Saturday because I didn't really have much to say. But at least it gave my Thursday TAG! w/ DC Rich some extra screen time, so that's a positive.

Anyway, today I'm shouting out someone who is particualarily full of all kinds of AWESOME! She's so sweet and an awesome writer. Her first book, BOUND, as made it into my top books of 2012 as well as top of all time. I have the second book in the series, BROKEN, on my TBR and it's a special case so it gets to move to the top of the TBR list.

I won her first book during NaNoWrimo, an online writer conference from Ninjas Write. I read it fast and loved every bit. You can check out my review of BOUND, right here. Plus, it's FREE on Amazon right now. :D

Christine is an Indie author who is a member of the Indelibles. Aside from her full books, you can read a short story by her in the In His Eyes Anthology. I should really have more to say about her because she so awesome,  but really that's all I got....She's AWESOME! There's no reason not to check her out, so, go check her out. Visit her blog, read her books, she's awesome :D

Day Dreamer (blog)
BOUND (Amazon link to book 1)
BROKEN (Link to book 2)
IN HIS EYES ANTHOLOGY (It's free too!)
The Indelibles

Check her out, spread the love. And Happy Mentioning :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday TAG! - D.C. Rich

This is Dean Rich, another friend I met thanks to the awesomeness that is AQC-surprised? :p Technically I spent so much time there as a lurker that I didn't really 'meet' him until I started interacting with blogs. Anyway, he's very awesome and I'm super excited to have him on my blog. He's a father of five, grandfather of one.  When he's not writing he's a General Manager of a National Quick Service Food Chain.  He writes fantasy, and is currently trying to make sense out of his MS that is over in word count and in dire need of major cutting and rework(lol, according to him btw ;).  Once that is figured out, he will pursue publication in one form or another.  You can find Dean over on his blog, on Twitter, his group blog and of course at AQC.

1. When did you start writing?
I started writing in grade school, on line paper that I put in a notebook.  By Middle School I was working on a novel.  In High School I was writing trilogies.   During Collage I went back to my early works and started working them “for real.”

2. What made you want to write?
A funny story when I look back on it now.  I had a friend who loved to draw pictures of space ships from the science fiction TV shows and Movies, Lost in Space, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, 2001 a Space Odyssey.  He gave his dad about 5 pages of pictures who took those pictures to work and made photo copies of them.  My friend then stapled them together and gave them to his friends.  He had a “book”.  I wanted a book too!  So I asked if I gave him some stuff, would his dad make me a book as well?

The answer came back as a yes.  So I spent days working on a “book” about a TV show.  I illustrated the different vehicles, weapons, space ships, and gave technical specs on each.  My friend took my “ms” and a few days later I had three copies that I stapled together.  I had published a “book”.

Later I realized what had happened.  I laugh about it now, but at the time it was like, so cool!

Yet, that experience whetted my appetite.  I am not very athletic, and I am very myopic, but I loved to read.  (Still do.)  Then one day an idea popped into my head and I started to write it down.  Then I recognized I wanted to write.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
When I was in Collage, I decided that the stories I had written when I was younger could be better.  I had two complete trilogies written, (in longhand on notebook paper.)  I had a Science Fiction story, and a fantasy story.  I decided the science fiction stories were original at the time I wrote them, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and Enemy Mine had come out, and my story was too similar to those.  So I decided I would go with my fantasy story.  I set out to make it the best it could be, and I wanted to publish it.  Once that was done I’d return to the science fiction trilogy.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, and I’m dabbling in suspense/action stories.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Why not?  I mean those are the best!  At least I think so.  My favorite stories were A Wrinkle In Time, The Hobbit, and Dune.  I know, that dates me, but those were the stories that got me into writing.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I did, right now I just grab a moment when I can.  I like to format the story as I go.  However I like to make it look like a book.  Page numbers, headers and footers, a dedication, a title page, even a book cover.  I guess it goes back to my first “Published ‘book’”.  I like to see what it could look like.  That motivates me to keep working on the stuff inside.

I find myself thinking about the story as I drive, take a walk, take a shower, drop off to sleep.  Then I jot the ideas down.  When I get ready to write that section I pull out the notes and tick them off as I write them into the MS.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I jump in with both feet.  Then when I get a ways into the story I start to outline.  I do have an ending in mind when I start.  It has to be a really cool ending, and then I want a fabulous start.  The middle is the hard part.  That is where the outline comes in.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Music.  I have classical, new age, and soundtracks I like to play while I write.  I don’t do lyrical songs, that distracts me, but instrumental is great.  It helps me block out other sounds and then I get into the zone and I’m good.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I started out writing longhand.  My mother then made me take a typing class, and then I moved to the typewriter.  I was so excited when the word processor came out, and I eventually got a computer.  Now I work on a laptop, which is nice.  But I like to have a notepad handy to capture those great ideas that come to mind when I am away from the compter.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
Well, lets see…  I guess I’ve about 15.  Wow, I never stopped to think about it before.  I wouldn’t show anyone most of those, bad stuff really, but it got me going.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Yes.  But no one thinks I’m wasting my time writing.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I love, love, love AgentQuery Connect.  I joined about a year ago, and my writing has improved so much.  It is there I learned about blogging and twitter, where I met you.  I don’t use facebook for writing much.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Write two hours a day.  I do not have that kind of time to devote to writing.  I have a very full schedule right now, so that is my biggest cringe-worthy advice I don’t follow.  It may be good advice, but I don’t follow it.

14. What types of models do you build?            
I started with HO scale Model Railroad.  Houses, train stations, rail cars.  Unfortunately I don’t have much room for a huge layout  (nor the time to work on a huge layout, but one can dream.)  I also build WWII aircraft, and ships.  A few years ago I got a new job and moved out of state.  I built model cars at night while watching the History channel.

My favorite model was a large scale model of the USS Constitution, under full sail.  I spent 8 hours a day for a month building it. Lots of little knots, and sails.  The Model was 2' long and about a foot and a half tall.  I had a wood base built and mounted.  My father built a mantel over the fireplace to put the ship on.  It was the best model I ever built. I painted all the wheels on all the cannons.  I also started building the Cutty Sark, I got it to the point I was going to add sails, but my two oldest sons were throwing a ball in the house, I leave you to draw the obvious conclusion to what happened.

15. Do you ever find inspiration from those models?
I like learning about the time period and what was going on at the time of the models.  Ship stories have made it into my fantasy book.

16. What about from your photography?
I like to have pictures tell a story, so I just look for something that works.  Check out my blog post  The Snapshot.

17. How did you come to be a member of the Blog Ring of Power?
Agentquery connect.  TBruce and I are both members of the Speculative Fiction Forum.  I had a brainstorm for a group blog, and she was looking to make a blog ring.  I joked with her and asked how many rings of power she had, and she loved the Blog Ring of Power name.  So it stuck and I said I’d join her on that as well.  By the way you can check out the group effort of Aliens, Dragons, and Wraiths, Oh My!

18. What makes and/or breaks a book for you?
This is the hardest question of all! Lol.

Intrigue, mystery, suspense, and something to keep me turning the pages.  I like action, but good characters as well.  Plot or character driven doesn’t matter to me, but the challenge has to be a good one.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Unfortunately these days I spend more time not writing than writing.  When I am not at work, or writing I enjoy doing things with my family.  I’ve two children left at home, and I like doing things with them and my wife.  I also enjoy photography, and model building.  Of course reading is another love of mine.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Learn your craft. Learn your genre.  Know what works.  If you are going to break a rule, know why you are going to break it.  When it is time to query know the agent, and what the agent wants.  Target your work to the agent that is looking for what you offer.  Don’t send things to the world, you waste your time and the agents.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Me? Insecure?

Well, it's that time of the month, not THAT time, jeez. I mean it's the first Wednesday and my second post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! :p For anyone who doesn't know about this group, check out the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh.

Now, to answer the question from my title...Nope, not me. I'm not insecure right now as write this. I haven't been for a few weeks now.

Revisions are going good, in fact I'm very close to being completely done with revisions.

Writing in my WIP is going good. Most days I write at the very least 1k and sometimes even more.

I've found time to work on a ton of critiques and I've been getting great feedback from my CPs.

I 'know' tons of people that have been getting such great news. Publishers and agents, dates for book releases and even some that are just really getting a lot done writing-wise. Plus, several who've entered contests, and for many of them it's their first contest and I'm excited for them getting out there. So many people are getting shit done and I'm so happy for them.

I've even been getting in tons of reading time. Which, is a writer thing because I think all writers should be avid readers.

The point is, this is my second post for IWSG and I have no insecurities to talk about. I wish I could say something and in turn have some words of wisdom or something, but I don't. Sometimes we have bad days or weeks or more, but sometimes we have good ones. Insecurities happen and so do securities. They're both normal things and they both help us to be better, aspire us to do something.

To everyone who's having a rough week, hang in there because your secure week is coming and it's well deserved and worked for. Insecurities are good for the soul, they make you strive for the securities.

Happy IWSG Wednesday :D

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mention Monday - A Few Newly Agented

Oh-yeah, that's a title we all (writers) at some point aspire to have, right? Well, most of us at least. (And note, I said at some point. I'm not talking down about Indie or Self-Pubbing). I just happen to know of quite a few people who have been having a wee bit of success over at my favorite site-AQC. What's that? You still haven't been to this awesomely wonderful site yet? Do you see what good comes from this site?!? Oh wait....I haven't really told you yet, my bad. :D

Over at that site there have been numerous people over the last few months who have either landed an agent or publishing deal. It's AWESOME!!!! And these people are such wonderful and deserving people that I thought they should have a Mention Monday spot.

I'm just going to hit on this year:

Beginning in January the amazing and awesome Lori Sjoberg (her TAG! is here if you missed it) got a two book publishing deal for her awesomely awesome reaper series. Then the wonderful S.K. Keogh signed a publication deal for her historical novel (technically she was offered the deal before Christmas, but it was January when she signed ;)   And then the freaking fantastically awesomeness that is Robert K Lewis (thrownbones over at AQC) signed a two book deal. Then came a book deal for Terri Bruce (see TAG! here) and Michelle Reed (Michelle_in_WI on AQC) (who was mentioned in Publisher's Weekly ;)  And someone who's story (especially the characters) I happen to love...someone who went through tons of rejections with numerous things being said that made the hopes of ever seeing the book in print seem like slim to none...Jayne Denker (her TAG! is here) landed an agent.

(Are you're eyes gettin' all wonky from the numerous links yet? Hope not 'cause we're not done :D  )

Don F (bigdonf on AQC) signed with a publisher. Stephanie Diaz landed an agent (her query had 26 partial/full requests (most of them fulls) and FOUR offers of representation. Then Precy Larkins (AKA Cherie) landed an agent from a query that had NINE full requests and an offer). ALBrock just landed an agent. And then the news that made me say, "I HAVE to mention all the AWESOMENESS of my fellow AQCers!!!".....The sweetheart and so smart and so wonderfully AWESOME RC Lewis landed an agent from a query that got ELEVEN fulls and FIVE offers!!!!! WOOOOOOT to all my fellow AQCers, you are all full of all kinds of AWESOME!!!
Take a moment to stop by and congratulate some of these awesome people. Some of them went through times where they were done and ready to completely throw in the towel. Some of them kept at it for 8+ years, struggling and feeling like nothing would ever happen. Some of them are young (Stephanie) and some of them are pregnant (and/or were pregnant at some point(s) and I can say that's not an easy time). Many (if not all of them) spend their days working hard at regular jobs (or attending school) and yet they still managed. They're all such wonderful people and I'm so HAPPY for them.

(Nobody else take offense please, I do know that all of my wonderful online friends work so hard for what they've accomplished and what they're working to accomplish.)

Happy Mentioning Everyone! :D

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Another Fairly Awesome Week

Well, there were some ups and downs to this week, but I prevailed enough that I'm going to call it an awesome week.

The downer to this week was when I got a call from my daughter's (the one who's five) school asking me to come in for a conference....

Just the day before that phone call, she'd come home with a red day (they either get a green, yellow, or red-in order of good, warning, bad). She got the red for throwing dirt in another little girl's face....

The Friday before that, she'd come home with a red day because she drew an A on the smart board in her classroom....

So, you can imagine how I was feeling when I got that call. I went in and she was sitting in the counselors 'waiting room' outside of her actual office. The counselor told me it'd be just a minute so I sat down and asked my daughter why she though I was there. My little angel proceeded to tell me it was because she told someone she was going to slap them (though I learned later-from her- that I'd heard her wrong and she didn't say slap, she said stab). Yep, my sweet angel. Riiight.

The conference was 'called to order' and they took me into a room with the counselor, my daughter's teacher, and another teacher. They each had a page-long list of everything she's been doing wrong. And apparently she's been a mouthy little angel everyday for the last two months (on top of the destructive, hurtful, mean, and defiant behavior). Then they went on to ask me if I have any suggestions *insert accuse me I'm one of those moms that let their kid act horrible and just get away with it* for why she's doing this. Of course, I have theories, but in reality I didn't realize she'd been being 'so bad' for all these months. They said I need to do something to fix it before next school year. *Insert 'Imagine that' or possibly a 'No shit?'* I mean, obviously she can't act up like that, I don't need someone to tell me. But I do need someone to let me know she's acting crazy so I can talk to her about it.

Now, I'll move on to my ups because from my downs it doesn't seem like I had such an awesome week, but I did.

I finished the latest pass in my revisions, and will be starting another go round sometime this weekend. I also worked on my WIP and have been making a bit of progress there. I critiqued and received crits. I also tweeted with some awesome people, had some of my tweets retweeted and favorited, and I...well, I don't know, but it was a good week.

I even got another award! :D

I received the Napping Blogger Award from Donna B McNicol (who also created this award). Make sure you stop by her blog and check her out because she's a whole lot of awesome.

1. Link back to the person who gave the award (in this case Donna, which I already did)
2. Name something you do to take time for YOU.
3. Nominate five other bloggers-especially someone you think needs a break from their routine.

So, something I do for me. I've been working on doing more for just me. Lately it's been allowing myself to take a nap (isn't that fitting :p ) and not being mad at myself when I wake up. It's a difficult thing for me to nap when I have things I could be doing instead. I also like to write - stories and poems. Sometimes I turn on some music and dance around really silly just for fun.

Now, I nominate:

1. Alex J Cavanaugh because he's full of awesomeness and I think he deserves a good nap. (Yes, it's possible he's already got the award because of his awesomeness, but I nominate him anyway.)
2. Jean Oram because she's full of awesomeness and does so much that I'm sure she could use one too. (I know she may not post awards, but I'm giving it to her anyway :p )
3. Caterina Torres because she needs an award and a good nap.
4. Eden Baylee who has been running the campaign for Joshua (Indies Unite for Joshua, I talked about it here. And if you look to the right side (and a little up) of my blog, you'll see the campaign was a great success!) and she definitely deserves a nap for her awesomeness.
5. Cherie (who's recently landed herself an agent!) which also means she deserves a good nap too.

Thanks again Donna and thanks everyone for stopping by.

Happy Napping :D