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Embracing the Cloud: Streamlining Small Business IT

  Posted by dclabs in dan.croutch.ca, 24 July 2014 · 11 views

It’s all up in the clouds.

When it comes to the way small and medium businesses run their IT infrastructure, it sure should be.  One of the biggest challenges the owners of a small business face is bringing the latest and greatest of IT tech to their staff without the costs that come with it.  Increasingly there is a need for a full fledged suite of tools which, under normal circumstances, can be quite cost prohibitive.  While non-profits enjoy heavy discounting on server software and licensing, paying full price is dear.  There are some great open source options, many with active and reliable communities for support, but you wind up relying on a sparse few – and expensive – contractors when things really do go wrong.  Cloud computing offers small and medium businesses a full gamete of IT tools at a very reasonable monthly cost.  From web hosting to SharePoint, your options are varied and price points competitive.  Sometimes the monthly cost can seem a bit of a hard swallow, particularly if you have more staff, but keep in mind a (good) systems admin will cost nearly $4,000 a month in salary – maybe more.

In the interest of fairness, perhaps we should deal with some potential drawbacks of cloud services.  You never actually own the software.  When you terminate your contract with the provider all the software goes with it.  Going the self-hosted solution does mean that, at the end of the day, the software you buy is yours forever.  There’s the issue of your content lives in another physical location.  If you deal with private or sensitive information it may be worth consulting with a lawyer to see if this violates privacy laws.  It also means if their location is compromised, your data is vulnerable.  While you do lose a sense of control with your data off-site, in truth they can provide much better security and storage than you ever could.  Also, cost of ownership may be less over time.  That said, I’m not actually sure it is.  Cloud services have low up-front costs but, as you use them, those monthly costs can add up.  In many cases, however, when you compare an apples to apples situation – upgrades and staffing costs included – cloud services still come out on top.  Of the clouds.  Heh.

Is it for me?

Given everything I just said up there, the answer here isn’t always yes.  As with anything IT, especially large infrastructure related projects, make sure you spec out your needs first.  Sometimes you may actually be to small to get any value out of cloud services.  There are few things that should rule out cloud solutions for you, however, and the vast majority of small and medium businesses will find great value in some form of cloud services.  A question you should be asking instead is; “what solutions do I need from the cloud?”  Are you looking for email services?  Perhaps you need a content management and employee collaboration tool.  Maybe you have a need for a virtual hosted machine for your site.  Cloud based services give you the advantage to pick and choose the offerings that are best for your company.  For example, many hosts, like myhosting.com, offer a slew of MS based hosting solutions.  You could run an entire Exchange, MSSQL and SharePoint environment for your office.  Microsoft offers similar packages which include both web based and hard copy version of their Office suite.  Google also has productivity, email and shared storage solutions for business, free in some cases.

In essence, the question isn’t “is cloud computing for me?”, it’s “what solution is right for me?”.  Don’t short change this part of the decision, make sure you spend the time, and money, required to select the best solution for you.  This may be the first, and only, time you deal with an IT consultant.

Reduced hardware costs

Buying servers is expensive.  Running servers is expensive.  Maintaining servers is expensive.  Those who have relied on rebuilt desktops to run a small office have no idea the true cost of server ownership.  Simply buying the box and sticking it in the corner won’t do, either.  Servers need to be cooled.  In our current world of 7 9s (99.99999%) up-time you will need redundancy.  Every server needs a sister server in case it fails.  Hardware costs double simply to ensure proper redundancy.  Sure, visualization can help mitigate a lot of these numbers, but servers with the horsepower to host a VM (Virtual Machine) farm are big ticket items.  You still need two of ‘em.  We haven’t even checked off network connectivity either.  Suddenly the prospect of bringing in “just a server” really isn’t anymore.

Cloud services make all of this unnecessary.  Hosting providers make all of these hard decisions for you.  Risk and responsibilities associated with server ownership are carried by the provider.  Your monthly subscription costs likely won’t exceed the cost of buying/maintaining your hardware over the short term.

Sleeping easy

It’s said in the IT world that one copy of data is no copies.  Maintaining a good backup regimen is timely and expensive.  Ensuring you have the storage on hand and the expertise to properly execute takes intentional action.  On top of that any backups which remain on-site are destined to be swept up in any unfortunate events which may render them useless.  Using cloud services for your IT infrastructure lets you rest at ease.  Providers ensure that proper backups exist of all your important data.  Many even have solutions that allow your staff to access their files from a variety of smartphones, tablets or any internet-connected computer.  If the unfortunate happens to your head office you could be partially operational within hours.  This kind of disaster recovery is paramount and worth its weight in gold.

Expertise on a dime

As mentioned before, sys admins are expensive.  I should know, I am one.  Our salaries, if you should have a dedicated member on staff, account for $4,000 a month easily.  The more systems you have, the higher this staff will be.  Once you get into specialized software like ECM and Email you’re looking at even more.  Bringing in consultants can cost upwards of $120 an hour.  If you’re planning on having your own servers in house it’s worth doing right.

Cloud services, on the other hand, include all this cost in their subscription fees.  You get access to specialists for specific tools and server needs for nickles and dimes.  Many include phone and 24/7 support, which is a blessing to any small company.  Wading through the tedious process of hiring and retaining a sys admin is no longer your job and because you share them with dozens of other companies, you pay less.  Expertise alone is also a huge value add.

One stop shop

Our world is a world of convenience.  We desire what we want, now, and all from the same place.  Businesses like WalMart have driven the consumer market towards an all in one shopping solution.  The days of specialty stores are becoming fewer and fewer.  Cloud services providers have begun to offer solutions along these lines as well.  Yes, you can still get cloud systems from companies like Microsoft which specialize in their suite of software.  You can also, however, get hosting plans from third parties that include many of the Microsoft software coupled with many other important IT solutions.  Look for hosting providers that bundle website services with storage, email and productivity plans.  They still provide the quality of expertise you get from a “specialist” host but give you greater choice.  Better choice often means better value and lower overall cost.

Latest model

Keeping with trends is expensive enough.  Try keeping your server, software and solutions up to the latest and greatest versions.  Upgrading as frequently as every three years across your whole organization can be expensive.  Any gains you make over time from outright buying software/hardware are quickly lost when you consider this fact alone.  Cloud services providers work hard to ensure their hardware is running the latest spec, cooled the best and running the fastest.  Top tier providers may often be running hardware which isn’t even available to the general market, not to mention a small or medium business.  Providers also update their software much more frequently than a traditional IT department would.  Migrating from one version to another is done in a snap and usually at minimal cost increase to you.  Employees will enjoy working with the latest productivity tools available and your company will benefit from the reputation of being cutting edge.


Small and medium businesses are popping up all over the place.  Many business types, like literary agencies or medical offices, are naturally small businesses with medium to large scale needs.  Cloud services offer a cost effective and easy way for companies to get the best IT solutions on the market for a fraction of the cost.  It lets them run their business with all the same IT solutions of a large multinational corporation.  Likely the biggest benefit in doing so is there are no real technical prerequisites.  Service providers have staff ready to help you through configuration, setup and day to day use.

Do you run a small business?  You should move to the cloud.



Secrets from The Contest Slush (Pile)

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 24 July 2014 · 13 views

Over the last two years, I’ve been asked to be a reader/judge in four online writing contests. Each time I’m asked to read the slush, I’m overwhelmed by the honor to read writers’ work. Just recently, I was asked to be a “Pyrotechnic” (my reader name due to the contest’s proximity to the Fourth of July holiday) for Michelle […]



6 Things I Learned From Hosting Contests

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 24 July 2014 · 17 views

I'm a guest over at the awesome Operation Awesome! Head over to their blog to read my complete post.

First up, my credentials, so you know I'm not just pulling this out of thin air. I've co-hosted "Query Kombat" twice and "Nightmare on Query Street," hosted "The Writer's Tank" and twice hosted "Become an Agent," and I was a slush reader in "In With the New." So, yes, I've went through...dang, nearing a thousand queries and first 250 words.

When going through the slush to pick entries for the contest, we usually have a hashtag that we slush-readers use on Twitter. On this hashtag (different for each contest) we tweet our thoughts as we go through the slush, but I've never done a blog post on the subject.

1. It is SO, SO, SO subjective.

Maybe you need to be a slush-reader to truly understand this, but picking entries (and, to an extent, requesting material) is so subjective. We're not trying to make you feel better by saying this, we're not babying you: IT IS THE TRUTH. Very rarely do I ever feel 'satisfied' when I make my final picks. Most of the time I'm torn apart because there were so many others I wanted to pick but because of the limit on entries, I couldn't.

The same is true for agents. They can, technically, request a ton of material, but that means they'll fall behind on their own clients' work. No human can read five manuscripts a day. Agents must be picky for their clients' sake and their own sake.

2. In picking entries, it came down to "I MUST MUST MUST have this entry on my team."

This is related to point #1. Ultimately, especially with "In With the New" where I could pick only 4 entries from a slush of 191, I picked the entries that I just had to have on my team. Subjectivity played a huge deal.

This must be true for agents as well, and I've seen many echo the same sentiment: they must be dying to request. You've got to force them to request. Otherwise, if they find any reason to pass, they will. Of course, different agents act differently, but I've heard this sentiment many times and as a contest host, I do the same thing.

3. Follow submission guidelines. Please.

I automatically passed on an entry that forgot its header of Title, Word Count, Genre. I didn't even read the entry. I passed on one that had 200 sample words instead of the required 250.

Do yourself a favor and follow agent guidelines. They're there for a reason, and it's annoying and frustrating when submissions don't follow guidelines. It doesn't help you, either; it's an automatic pass.

Want to see the last three? Head over to Operation Awesome's blog to read the full article!



Daddy Olmes: The Blue Carbuncle (Punchy AurToon)

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 24 July 2014 · 8 views

Daddy Olmes: The Blue Carbuncle (Punchy AurToon)
Produced by MicP Studios
Directed by Mic Pencilpoint
Dramatized by Professor VJ Duke
Music by Symphonist Sepperl

Daddy Salami as Daddy Olmes
Daniel H.
Barkoush Ladan
Frankie S.
Schwarz Tauptinker

Inspector Daddy Olmes is back, to solve yet another baffling case. This time, it involves searching for a stolen blue carbuncle.

Dedicated to FEF (FictionFan) on her birthday!



List of Maybes from In With The New

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 24 July 2014 · 19 views

My four yes picks were:

Skateboard Kate
The Book of Adam
Rowdy Days of Dom Sanders
Lily Washington Presidential P.I.

Here are the entries I labelled as maybe. Some entries got passed over simply because it wasn't what our agents were looking for. Others, because they'd been in contests before. I also had to keep in mind taking a balance of entries and passed over some age categories in favor of others.

Asleep Ever After
Girl Number 8
Dreams the Insanity
The Hopping Dead
The Conspirator’s Club
The Troll Diaries
The Download
Blood of Esta
Attie and the Monster Book
The Wildness in Mellie Feye
Endless Midnight
The Iguana King
The Black Dragon’s Mate
Storm Chaser
Snow Globe

There were so many more entries that I could have labeled but passed over because my number of entries was growing so large.

As they say in Galaxy Quest: Never Give Up. Never Surrender! 



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Posted by williezhang2014 in Nike roshe run femme, 24 July 2014 · 37 views
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My Picks and Maybes for the NEW AGENT CONTEST

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 23 July 2014 · 40 views

  My picks were: Eponine — Melanie Stanford Hoodlum — Mia Siegert Remembering Diana — Rena Olsen Side Show — Corey Daniel My (final — I waffled a lot) “maybes” were: The Driver’s Wife — Susan Keogh The Swan — T.A. Brock Serafina Ballerina Beats the Blues — Sarah Floyd Dreams the Insanity — Jacqueline […]



YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday: Which Bookverse?

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 23 July 2014 · 19 views

This week's topic: What book universe do you wish you could live in?
Wow, so many ideas popped into my mind as exciting choices.
At the top of my list was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with its enchanted castle and all the magic capable of doing just about anything. Still, as I thought about it, it's probably a world I'd much rather experience through a book (and movies) than actually live in on a daily basis.
Another bookverse I've gotten into lately is the Lunar Chronicles, a sci-fi fairy tale series. So far, I've read CINDER and SCARLET. Again, with a world under the threat of war, I'm not sure I'd want to actually experience that one, either--though I highly recommend checking out the books!

I've also been enjoying Tamora Pierce's series based in the fantasy world of Tortall--the Protector of the Small series about a feisty girl who becomes a Lady Knight, and the Beka Cooper series about a girl who becomes a police officer and her adventures pursuing criminals along with her mentors/partners. 
The ACROSS THE UNIVERSE series will always have a place in my heart, and I love, love, love the idea of a voyage to a new planet in another solar system. If that voyage didn't have a power-hungry dictator, a psychopath murdering the frozens, phydus, and pterodactyls, I'd be more excited to actually go on that journey to Centauri-Earth.

Honestly? With all the sci-fi and fantasy I read, it's much more fun to read about adventures and danger. Actually having to go through it? Probably not so much.
I think I'm torn between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, just to experience that world, or living in the world of the DIVERGENT series as an Amity.   
What bookverse would you choose?





When My Characters Hurt, I Hurt

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 23 July 2014 · 27 views

I haven't written anything since Saturday. This is Wednesday. I took Sunday off because I just usually take Sundays off. But then I read and fiddled on the interwebs Monday and yesterday during the time when I wasn't opening and grading assignments for summer school kids. I had plenty of time and nearly opened my writing program several times, but just couldn't do it. Was it because I was lazy? No. I mean, I do have a tendency toward laziness, but not when it comes to writing. Was it because I had nothing to write about? Absolutely not. I have the big picture of the entire book put together. I know who the bad guys are and who did what to whom and what's going to happen all the way to the ending. As is generally true at this point in the writing, I know who dies, who goes on, who's sad, and who's happy at the end.

The problem is that I'm starting down a path that I dread. Something unthinkably terrible is about to happen to Harry and Dee, my main characters. More specifically, the physical part will happen to Dee, but it will affect both of them in ways that will change each of them individually forever and also alter their relationship in substantive and nearly disastrous ways. I've dropped some hints about it, but things start toward an inevitable conclusion at the end of the chapter I'm working on right now. In the long run, they'll be a stronger couple, but this whole book is going to be nightmarish for them.

I could change the storyline, I suppose, but that just doesn't work. In my mind, this thing is already happening. I could no sooner change this event than a real person could go to the doctor, find out he/she has cancer, and say, "Oh, shoot, better rewrite this and get rid of the cancer storyline." Maybe other authors feel this way--I don't know. These people are real to me and their world, though it's only in my head and, eventually, in the book, is as complete and real to me as if it were physically tangible. So when I decided that this awful thing had happened to Dee, I simply couldn't go back. It was already true.

So I've done the next best thing, the thing I tend to do in real life when facing something negative. I put it off, I do other things, I pretend for a little while that it's not really happening. But, just like in real life, reality will eventually catch up to me and I will have to face the truth. How long will that be? I'm not sure. Maybe soon. I'm teetering toward the conclusion that it's time to get it over with so I can sleep.

I have no idea if any of this makes sense to anyone but me. Maybe other writers have faced this? If you're a writer and can relate, please let me know. If you're not a writer, but understand, let me know that too.

I think I'll do some reading...



Building Partnerships

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 23 July 2014 · 2 views

By Matt Sinclair

As writers, we tend to write what we know. For most of my life and my entire professional career, I’ve been involved with the nonprofit sector as an active volunteer, a paid employee, and a professional journalist, and – in an unexpected way – as a publisher.

While I’m working to build a successful and profitable publishing company, Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, like many of the writers who have been published through it, has always had a little bit of “nonprofit” feel to it. Although it has been true for the anthologies, the more obvious example is our novel Battery Brothers by Steven Carman, the proceeds of which will go the Sunshine Foundation, which was the first organization to focus solely on providing seriously ill children with their wishes, such as providing a trip to Disney or setting up a visit from a celebrity.

The partnership works for both sides: Sunshine Foundation has helped spread the word about Battery Brothers in its newsletters and on its Website. We can include their logo on the EBP Website and to link to them. The organization will receive the proceeds from sales of the book. We had everything outlined in a contract between us.

But even if you haven’t spent your career in the nonprofit sector, it’s possible for just about any writer to build that type of partnership. As with any new relationship, you need to develop it; it might not happen immediately and it might not happen at all or in the way you initially hoped. Still, the potential for mutual benefit is there and worth pursuing.

How do you do it? Each organization is different, so sometimes the best contact person is in the public affairs or media office, but it could also be someone in the fundraising or development department. In my opinion, a writer’s initial goal should be to ensure that the story maintains believability. Could a person with diabetes run a marathon, for example? It’s possible, but a group like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or the American Diabetes Association can help you understand the conditions in which it’s most likely, or possible challenges that might add tension to your story. A call to the organization can open the door to someone who’s willing to talk to you.

It’s best when there’s a clear connection. For example, if you have a significant character who suffers from a specific disease, it’s always a good idea to do your research so the depiction is accurate. There is likely an organization that provides services or funds research that can help you. This type of relationship works best because you both have something to gain: you get accurate information and they have the opportunity to educate people. Be sure to thank the organization in an acknowledgements section of your finished work.

But even if there’s not a clear connection, you might be able to work something out. The key is communicating with the organization. Perhaps a character in your story has been beaten or abandoned. There are numerous human service organizations that help people in those situations, and they might be willing to highlight your book in a newsletter. It might only require a polite request.

As an important caveat: don’t simply use an organization’s name and say that the organization will receive a portion of the proceeds if you don’t have an actual agreement. Most organizations don’t like it when their name is used without permission; some will file suit.

The key is building a relationship, a partnership. There’s no telling where good relationships can take you.

Matt Sinclair, a New York City-based journalist and fiction writer, is also president and chief elephant officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, which recently published Battery Brothers, a YA novel by Steven Carman about a pair of brothers playing high school baseball and about overcoming crippling adversity. Matt also blogs at the Elephant's Bookshelf and is on Twitter @elephantguy68.



je demande que vous acceptez

Posted by jjenny814 in jjenny814's Blog, 22 July 2014 · 25 views
new balance 1500 homme

Non, Monsieur le Président, je nage. Ils se trouvent dans le bateau, on peut nager entre les vagues. "" Le bateau offshore un quart de miles, vous connaissez ? « Herbert a dit. "Je suis une personne être un new balance 1500 homme nageur expert, Herbert. "Je vous dire, que c'est la vie en danger. « Dit l'ingénieur. « Take it easy, » répondit le Ayrton. "M. Smith, je demande que vous acceptez ma demande, et je pense que c'est peut-être mon nouvel homme une chance. "" Aller de l'avant et Ayrton. "Les ingénieurs ont répondu qu'il était convaincu que si vous rejetez sa demande, redresser les criminels se sentira profondément triste. "Je vais aller avec vous. « Ladite pencroft. "Juste ne pas confiance en moi ! «

Ayrton dit instantanément. Puis il soupira timidement: "Oh, Oh ! « « Ne fais pas ça ! Ne fais pas ça ! « Loud avec encourageant Smith dit, » ne vous méprenez, Ayrton, pencroft n'était pas méfier vous. Vous comprenez mal son sens. "Oui," sailor dit, "J'ai juste offrir le Ayrton aux petites îles. Même si la possibilité est très faible, mais il pourrait new balance 1300 homme avoir été à terre. Dans ce cas, l'alerte s'arrête à lui, deux personnes ne s'élèvent à beaucoup. Depuis, il a proposé de formeSeul, je l'attendais sur la petite île, le laisser seul sur le bateau. "Perfectionné plus tard, Ayrton était prêt à aller. Son plan est risqué, mais la nuit était très sombre, ou il y a une possibilité de réussite.


More Character Profiles: Brodie

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 22 July 2014 · 18 views

Full Name Brodie, the Scholar
Nickname: n/a
  1. Age:19
  2. Gender: female
  3. Date of Birth: Year 1901, 3rd Month, 20th Day
  4. Hair color/style: course, dark brown hair, shoulder length; wears in braided pigtails
  5. Eye color: golden brown
  6. Accent (if any): none
  7. Height: 5'9
  8. Weight: 134 lbs
  9. Tattoos: an eagle soaring across her shoulders
  10. Piercings: none
  11. Scars: none
Personality Overview:
  1. Fears: being alone
  2. Childhood: she was spoiled as a child but was also very sweet and loving.
  3. Adolescence: she was a little more focused and knew what she wanted out of life no matter what her family wanted for her.
  1.  Books or Favorite music artists: She loves the history books, just hates writing them.
  2. Authors: Marka of Adamant City
  3. What are some of their pet peeves? She doesn't like being told what to do or people with short tempers.
  4. What sort of gifts do they like? She won't admit it, but she likes flowers.
  5. What is their favorite time of day? just before sunrise, when the birds wake up.
  6. Where do they like to spend their time? Brodie likes to take walks or go jogging.
  7. Favorite food? Favorite drink? Hot drinks, soft drinks, or alcohol? stew, black cherry seltzer. She likes cold drinks.
  8. Favorite animal? the eagle
  9. Do they have any pets? Do they want any? Technically her messenger eagle.
  10. What relaxes them? sparring or walking
  11. Do they have any bad habits? She's judgmental and can hold a grudge.
  12. What are some things that they don’t like? (least favorite food/drink, weather/season, etc). She doesn't like overly hot weather or food that's too spicy.
Resources and abilities:

  1. Where did they learn their abilities? Brodie's sisters taught her the histories and geography once their mother passed. She was battle-trained by Commanding Watchmen.
  2. Where does your character live? Why did they choose it, and how did they acquire it? How do they handle intruders (graciously? violently?)? (see Cyan's profile for current location). Laris used to live in Royalos Castle in the midst of Royalos, a walled kingdom city. Sprityn Guards watch the walls of the both the castle and the city.
  3. What are some of your character’s more notable merits and flaws (including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.)? How did they develop? How has this helped or hindered them in the past? Brodie is very bright and cares a lot for people, but she's also too headstrong for her own good which gets her into many arguments.
  4. Do they speak more than one language? She speaks Sprityn, Crystalline, Luup-beti, and knows the Treesprite Sign Language.
Relationships and history:
  1. What is their family history like? How does it affect them? How do they feel about their family? How does their family feel about them? Brodie's father, a 1st Lt. Watchman, died in battle when she was 8. Her mother, from the line of scholars, died when she was 11, so her eldest sister raised her. She loves her siblings, but when she decided to join The Watch, she had a falling out with her eldest sister, and her distant family looked down on her. She doesn't care about them, but wishes her eldest sister would support her decisions.
  2. What were they like as a child? What was their favorite toy? Favorite game? Playmates? Brodie was a hyper child, always following her sisters and playing with her eagle. She liked to play with wooden swords and guns, playing Watchman with the neighbors' children.
  3. What did they want to be when they grew up? Brodie always wanted to join The Watch.
  4. Describe their best and worst memories from childhood. Best memory: Watching her sister paint her first mural. Worst memory: When their mother died.
  5. Do they, or have they in the past, had a mentor? What was their relationship with this person, and how has it changed since then? Brodie often listened to her grandfather's words of wisdom. Even after she joined The Watch, he never stopped giving her advice or sending her letters.
  6. What sort of education have they had? Do they want more? Brodie has the top education as a Scholar.
  7. Who is their closest friend, and why? What do they like to do with this person? Brodie's closest friend is her brother Donovan, and they send letters to each other back and forth, go surfing when they have a day off.



Debut Author Jen Malone On Submission.... & The Waiting Part

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 22 July 2014 · 27 views

If there's one thing that many aspiring writers have few clues about, it's the submission process. There are good reasons for that; authors aren't exactly encouraged to talk in detail about our own submission experiences, and - just like agent hunting - everyone's story is different.<br /><br />I managed to cobble together a few non-specific questions that some debut authors have agreed to answer (bless them). And so I bring you the submission interview series - Submission Hell - It's True. Yes, it's the SHIT.<br /><br />Today's guest for the SHIT is Jen Malone, author of <a href="http://www.jenmalone...e one yes!!</i>




  Posted by Stephanie Diaz in Stephanie Diaz, 21 July 2014 · 26 views

I spent all of my childhood reading and loving stories, scribbling down my own in the journals that are still stuffed in my closet. Later, I frantically typed them into word documents.


Ever since I was six, it was my dream to walk into a bookstore and find a story I'd written on the shelf.

And now it's actually coming true. Like. For real.


It's pretty scary. And awesome. Also I can't quite believe it.

I'm so grateful to all the people who helped me along the way: those who supported me and cheered me on, and those who inspired me even if they didn't know it.


I hope some of you readers will pick it up and enjoy it, and maybe even love it. I'll never be able to explain how much this book meant to me while I was writing it. It was a promise of better things to come, and it kept me going through a lot of scary moments. I'm so grateful I got to tell this story and continue telling it in the sequels. I hope you'll stick with Clementine to see where she ends up.

If you'd like to buy Extraction, you can find lots of purchase links here.

If you do buy it, or check it out from the library, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your support means the world. <3




Manhwa Review: Goong Vol. #15

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 21 July 2014 · 26 views

What if modern Korea was a constitutional monarchy similar to England’s? That’s the backdrop for Goong: the Palace, a manhwa that got turned into a wildly popular drama and musical.

Set in an alternate world where the Korean monarchy still exists, the story follows Chae-Kyung Shin, an strong-willed commoner who attends the same high school as Shin Lee, the crown prince. After accidentally witnessing Shin proposing to his girlfriend Hyo-rin and being rejected, Chae-Kyung unexpectedly learns that she will marry Shin and become crown princess due to a promise between the former king and her grandfather.

Yen Press has just released Volume 15 of the series, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of previous volumes go here.)

Back Cover Blurb

As Shin and Chae-Kyung try to pick up the pieces of their marriage in the wake of learning the truth behind their divorce, Yul is far from content to hang his head in defeat. Postponing his plans to study abroad, he positions himself near Chae-Kyung by taking classes at her school and even resorts to teaming up with the heartbroken Hyo-Rin to blackmail the former crown princess. But when Shin happens upon evidence of his cousin’s newfound treachery, will Yul’s plotting blow up in his face?!

The Review

Those who have been dying to see Yul’s mom get her just deserts will be somewhat gratified in Volume 15. Although Daewang-Daebi retains her position, she’s lost everything else, including the consideration of the King and Queen Mother. She gnashes her teeth so much it’s a miracle she has any left as she’s ousted from the royal inner circle. Of course, like any K-drama villainess, she’s not accepting her fate meekly, and she’s already laying the groundwork for a new scheme to get revenge.

Like mother, like child, and Yul is wreaking his own particular havoc upon the former royal couple. Having lost all chance at winning Chae-Kyung over, he’s out to make everyone miserable, too. Stalking Chae-Kyung isn’t enough; now he’s openly threatening her. With him resorting to extremes and terrorizing Chae-Kyung, it’s difficult to feel sympathy for him any longer. On the other hand, Shin and Chae-Kyung’s separation becomes more poignant, with Chae-Kyung suffering on Shin’s behalf and Shin throwing caution to the wind to bring her back.

In typical K-drama irony, Yul’s scheme to drive the desperate pair apart ends up pushing them together. Shin/Chae-Kyung fans will be gratified by a number of sigh-worthy moments, including one where Chae-Kyung is naked in the tub. However, though Park creates great melodrama, she’s always quick to dispel the pathos. Eunuch Kong’s appearances are fortunately kept to a minimum, but the way Park constantly shatters the romance with her particular brand of bawdy humor gets a bit old.

Included as extras in this volume are Words from the Creator from the Korean Volumes 21 and 22 and a three-page manga about creator Park meeting the Goong actors.

In Summary

Yul and his mother may have gotten caught by the royal family, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to roll over and play dead. Rather, Yul’s resolved to ruin everyone else’s happiness even if it means hurting Chae-Kyung. Ironically, his efforts result in Shin and Chae-Kyung running off together. A romantic getaway it’s not, but the amount of longing and angst should delight any Shin/Chae-Kyung fan.

First published at the Fandom Post.



The Beginning

Posted by MelGrinder89 in Writing woes and wants, 21 July 2014 · 25 views

The last time I was at the beginning, the very beginning of writing a book, was about six years ago when I first started working on Dark Fantasy. (Terrible title I've been told, and others have told me it fits, but only time will tell if it will stick.) I wrote the first draft, then spent weeks, writing down all the ideas that popped in my head. The lore, back stories, outlining, ideas of what I wanted to happen and ideas of what could happen, creating the creatures and the world they lived in. Months I spent doing this, months. However, almost six years later, I have some edits left to do, then I'm done. I will literally be unable to do anything else with the story besides finish it.
Now, I've started something entirely new. Still fantasy, but this is going to require more research than it will thoughts coming directly from my imagination. Dark Fantasy was strictly that, it was dark, and it was fantasy. There was nothing about it that I really needed to do research on. (Though now that I think about it, I might was to do a little research for it. :/)
For this new story, Legends, it's about angels, corrupted priests, and scattered segments of History. So I will HAVE to do research for this story.
Something new for this person right here, never had to do that before. But if I want to get this story right, I will have to.
Okay, now I've vented, I have a long road of research and stuff ahead of me, so I better get to it!


Double Negative by C. Lee Mckenzie

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 21 July 2014 · 14 views

The lovely and talented C. Lee McKenzie has a new book coming out!

Double Negative

Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. Hes a member of Larkston Highs loser clique, the boy whos on his way to nowhereunless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesnt work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person whos in on his secrethe can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years shes saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimers disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.

Doesn't that sound awesome? Can't wait!!

Amazon (available this Friday July 25th!!)

If you haven't met Lee yet, here's where you can find her:
Website     Blog      Facebook

Want to enter to win? Of course you do!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just for fun, I tossed 3 Favourite  questions at Lee

Favorite beverage: That’s a time sensitive question. Coffee AM. Wine PM.

Favorite season: Summer. I get to eat fresh tomatoes.

Favorite high school course: Don’t laugh, but I loved geometry. Something about those theorums

(I totally get the theorum addiction - I love Math!)

How about you? Love Math too? Or those fresh tomatoes? Hoping Maggie can reach Hutch in time?



Big Announcement!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 20 July 2014 · 31 views

If you haven’t heard my news already then get ready to put on your happy face! My women’s fiction, FRAGMENTS, has been picked up by Lake Union Publishing and will be published in February of 2015! Lake Union is an imprint of Amazon Publishing and here is the link to their web site because I know you all want to check them out and see how cool they are: http://www.apub.com/imprint-detail?imprint=13

Signing my contract electronically. What will they think of next??

Signing my contract electronically. What will they think of next??

If you would like to read the whole story then pull up a chair. I couldn’t talk about it for almost six weeks so now I’m ready to spill.

So lets start at the beginning. Well, maybe not the beginning. Let’s start the day after I signed with my super agent, Marlene Stringer (http://www.stringerlit.com) back in February. We spend two months getting FRAGMENTS ready to be submitted to publishers. This included some editing and a lot of changes to the title (I think we went through 20 or 30 possibilities before settling on FRAGMENTS which I LOVE). There were a few other timing issues in there but the submission packet was finally ready by the second week in April and went out to a hand full of editors for a first round of submissions.

I can be a pretty patient person (when I try very very hard). When the kids flushed a rock the size of my fist down the toilet, I learned how to remove the toilet and reinstall it as well as what a “wax ring” does in that whole situation. But waiting to hear back from editors was a kind of nervousness I’ve never really experienced before. There was no googling a diagram of this situation so I could learn how to fix it. All I could DO was wait.

After three weeks Marlene emailed me to say that one of the publishers had “shown interest” and she’d update the other publishers. Then there was more waiting…and a lot of  questioning everything I’d ever written. It took a little while for me to stop obsessing about submissions and start focusing that nervous energy on my new project. Once I started writing my new WIP I almost forgot how nervous I was about everything else.

Nearly five weeks later I received the email I’d been dreaming about. I was at scout camp with my boys doing fun stuff like this:


I’d stopped checking my email obsessively two weeks earlier so it wasn’t until some time after lunch that I happened to glance at my email. My heart jumped. It was an email from Marlene with a subject line of: Need to speak–news

I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, completely aware that news is just as often bad as it is good, but when we finally got in touch Marlene told me that I had an offer from Lake Union Publishing!! We had a few other details to go over but before we hung up Marlene said something that will stick with me forever. She said, “Emily, you know what this means don’t you? This means you are going to be a published author.”


So, while Marlene worked out some of the details of the deal I was a good little author and kept my mouth shut. It took five weeks to get a deal finalized but now I can yell it from the rooftops! It’s super liberating but more than anything I’m ready to get to work. It will be a busy few months but with the guidance of an amazing editor and a team of professionals from Amazon I know we are going to put out a the best book possible and I’m so excited to share it with you all!



Readercon Recap

  Posted by TBruce in Terri Bruce's Blog, 19 July 2014 · 26 views

Back from Readercon (July 10-13 in Burlington, MA), trailing swag and books from my suitcase, my brain bubbling with story ideas, as usual (this post is a bit late - it should have gone up Monday).

The Readercon name badges were super fancy this year (usually they're just plain white).

readercon2014 badge



But as Li Ning in the same phrase slogan

Posted by teardieti3292 in teardieti3292's Blog, 17 July 2014 · 36 views

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