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A Walk In The Woods

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 20 February 2017 · 8 views

I've got a lot going on, and that's fine - I like it that way.

But it's 70 degrees in Ohio (in February, mind you) and my laundry is hanging on the line so yesterday it was hard to stay inside and work. Everything I do is tied to the computer. Writing, editing, blogging - and the new podcast I'm starting to go along with this blog - require me to sit inside and stare at a screen.

Sometimes it's not fun. Yesterday was one of those times.

I thought I'd go into the woods. It's not a stress thing, or a cathartic thing, or a break for freedom. It was simply hanging out the laundry and saw the woods and thought I might like to be in it. So I went.

If you look you can see spot awesome things in the woods. And if you don't you're likely to miss a lot. I was taking my time yesterday, standing still even, when I spotted a drop (an antler that a deer has shed). Drops are hard to see, as they blend in so perfectly with the forest floor. I grabbed it to have an entire skull follow, shedding a few years worth of the leaf covering that had been hiding.

So I have a new friend. A dead friend, but a friend. He's in my office now, providing a wonderful focal point for me to zone out on when that's what work calls for.


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Where Do I Get My Story Ideas?

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 18 February 2017 · 21 views

I like to answer questions about my writing. I much prefer that to the actual readings. I just realized that as I typed it, but it's true. I don't know if it's the interactivity of it or that I'm not confident that I do a good job of reading, but I do know that I like to talk about the process I go through in my writing. And that's true despite the fact that, no matter how many times I do events, I get the same few questions every time. Once in awhile, someone will surprise me, but mostly it's some combination of the same three or four questions. So I thought I would do a short series of posts in which I answer those queries. 

One thing that is almost always asked, especially at events that aren't with other authors, is where I get my story ideas. The first time I was asked that, I have to admit that I was taken aback to realize I didn't have any idea. And the reason for that is that when I first started writing Harsh Prey, my first book, it was more about the characters than the story itself. I had two people who loved each other deeply, but one of them wasn't sure if she could deal with the violent job of the other. It was almost like I had a snapshot and I built the whole story out from that still frame. It's not almost like that, actually. It's exactly like that. I had no idea where the story was going. At the beginning, I asked myself, what if she's been gone to decide if she can deal with his being a detective and she calls, only to have the violence of his job intervene? And that seemed to work, so I had to ask why the violence happened. The answer was what propelled the story. But regardless of what happened in the detective half of the books, they were, and always will be, more than half about that relationship between Harry and Dee, and now Jenn and Emma Grace too. The Shalan Adventures are, for good or bad, stories about a loving family and the things they go through together. It's almost incidental that he's a gumshoe. 
The second Shalan story, Kisses and Lies, was loosely inspired by an event in the life of the young lady upon whom I based the leggy blonde at the beginning of the book. She had gotten married--in fact, I had performed the wedding--and found that her new husband changed immediately afterward. It was nowhere near as violent as it was in my fictionalized version, but it was, as usual, this series of what-ifs. What if he had been hiding something darker? What if it got violent? What if there were a family dynamic that added a level of depth? And the story grew from there.

The next two, In the Shadow and Dawn of Grace, are really one giant story arc broken into two books. The arc actually begins at the end of Kisse and Lies when Harry finds out that Dee is pregnant. That story was always going to be primarily about them losing that baby and then getting it back. I made the story of Jenn to parallel that. The Jenn part was again inspired loosely by real life events, though no one incident in particular. I'm just exposed to and touched by stories of abuse against young people because of my job as a high school teacher. And when I started writing In the Shadow, I just chose a young lady who was my student and made her the face I saw when I imagined the story in my mind. This young lady wasn't just my student. She was one of my adopted kids, the gang who eat lunch in my room and stay after school to watch movies while I make pancakes and come see me after they graduate when they come home from college. So when I pictured someone doing terrible things to her, it helped me tap into the rage that drove Harry to do what he did at the end of the book. 

As for my current work in progress, it grew out of a scene from a classic book. I read it as part of the AP reading last summer. It was about a young lady taken in by someone purporting to be her father, but he turns out to be a very bad man. Over the course of the week of the reading, I started building a story on that concept that had nothing to do with the original book at all, but that evolved from that situation. What if a teenager had no family and suddenly someone came along saying he was her long-lost father and he wanted to take her in? So that made me ask the next question, which was how did she come to have no one? Was she always an orphan or did she have a family that she lost somehow? And what if, like in the original book, he wasn't really her father? Why would he be interested in taking her in? I knew he had to have some ulterior motive, but I really didn't want it to be anything sexual. I'd had enough of that dark realm and wanted his motivations to be evil in a completely different way. So the story built from there. 

So I guess the answer to the question of where I get my story ideas is that I start with a character or a group of characters and a beginning point--a snapshot in time--and I start asking what if. What if this happened? What if he or she reacted in that way? And once I've asked and answered enough of those what-ifs, I have a book. Piece of cake. Mmm, cake. I better wrap this up and have some breakfast. 

Next week: Where Do My Characters Come From?


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Happy Valentine’s Day! 4 Sweet Romance Reads!

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 14 February 2017 · 46 views

free books from Jean Oram


Happy Valentine’s Day sweet reader!


I’m sure you’ve already claimed your copy of Sweet Treats which has three short stories of love and friendship during a Valentine’s Day event in Blueberry Springs–but if you haven’t, quick! Get on my newsletter list and get it free before it’s gone! Very, very soon I’ll be switching it up and offering a whole NEW story for free. So grab Sweet Treats while you can at: www.jeanoram.com/FREEBOOK




Already have Sweet Treats and you’re looking for a way to warm your heart this Valentine’s Day? How about these four sweet romances from my author friends?


The shop on main sweet romance by Kay CorrellThe Shop on Main by Kay Correll


Sometimes doing the right thing backfires…spectacularly.

The first book in a sweet, heartwarming small town romance series. Three friends navigate the heartaches and triumphs of love and life in the small Southern town of Comfort Crossing, Mississippi.

Check Kay’s book out for free!
Kindle
iBooks
Kobo
Google
Nook


Cute Cowboy River's end Ranch sweet romance by Pamela KelleyCute Cowboy by Pamela Kelley


Brand new release!

If you like cowboys, sweet romances, musicians, and opposites attracting then you’ll want to check out this new one from the River’s End Ranch series.

Pick up this new release for a special price of $0.99 from Pamela:
Kindle


 

 

The Adventurous One the billionaire bride pact sweet romance series by Jeanette lewisThe Adventurous One by Jeanette Lewis


What’s your catnip? Do you love marriage pacts? Small towns? Broken hearts and old secrets? Friends to lovers? Check it out–it’s oh-so tempting!

Check out Jeanette’s book for $2.99:
Kindle


 

 

 

 

The honeymoon prize sweet romance free by Melissa mcClone


The Honeymoon Prize by Melissa McClone

Like friends to lover stories? How about friends to husband and wife? Two friends say “I do” to help each other out of jams, but will a honeymoon turn their marriage of convenience into something real?

FREE until the end of February

Claim your copy of Melissa’s book for free:
Kindle
iBooks
Kobo
Google
Nook


 

Happy reading and happy Valentine’s Day!

The post Happy Valentine’s Day! 4 Sweet Romance Reads! appeared first on Jean Oram.


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2017 Sun vs. Snow – What it takes to put on this show!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 13 February 2017 · 43 views

        Well, once again, we’ve blown through another year of Sun versus Snow. As usual, it was crazy, a little nerve-racking, but ALWAYS fun.   I put together this post after last year’s contest, and went ahead and updated this year, because I believe it’s important for every writer to understand what […]

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I Wish You Love

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 13 February 2017 · 51 views

It's Valentine's Week! 

Okay, that's totally not a thing, but it should be!

While Valentine's Day is certainly about Romantic Love (sending all my love to my hubby!!), it's also about Love in general.

Love is an essential part of life. Without it, life would be dull, sad, and lonely. 
The world is often scary and overwhelming so it's good to remember we're often surrounded by all kinds of love.

So, my wish for you all is...

I hope you feel love
for your family
your friends
your job
yourself

I hope you find joy
In giving & receiving
I hope the little things
Make up the best part of your days

I hope you feel loved
I hope you are romanced
I hope you do some romancing of your own!

I hope love fills you up 
I hope it gives you strength and joy
I hope love surrounds you
And allows you to grow & risk

I wish you love

Enjoy the week!


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Habitually Almost Quitting

Posted by Brian in Montana in BrainBlog, 16 January 2017 · 49 views

Lots of smokers could probably be described as habitual almost quitters. I could say that about myself when it comes to writing. I don't have the same frustrations a lot of people do. I'm not trying to make a living at this (haven't quit my day job yet, although some day I hope to), so I don't worry too much about rejections and the sort. What makes me "almost" quit on a habitual basis are the people closest to me. I enjoy 3-day weekends, so generally my habit is to get up early - Friday through Sunday, go into the big walk-in closet with my laptop, and start working on whatever it is I've been writting, an article or a story or whatever. I find that what often happens is, I'm really starting to hit my stride when my three kids start crawling out of their beds. They're good, polite, intelligent little farts, but the first thing they want to do is come into the closet and sit and talk to me while I'm writing. I have a one-track mind and need to have quiet when I'm writing. So, I sit there and hope that my wife will get up and get them some breakfast started or something - that never happens. Then another kid comes in, then another, then its very crowded in the walk-in closet and they all start talking to each other as well as me. At that point it, I'm starting to snap at my kids, who really haven't done anything wrong, they're just being kids. Then it becomes clear my wife isn't getting up any time soon, so I shut down what I'm working on and go make them breakfast.

And I'm mad, and frustrated, and feel guilty for barking at my kids, and then I just want to throw up my hands and quit writing. I need to get up at 0400 in order to actually get anything significant done, and like most other red-blooded Americans, I'm generally too tired for that. I usually get up before 6:00, but that hardly cuts it a lot of weekends.

I'm not going to quite. This is part of who I am and I've had a little success at it, so I know better than to actually say I'm going to quit. It's just that being a writter and an introverted loner in a family of five comes with some minefields. I guess that's the point. Life is complicated and it can be hard to carve out time for our interests. "We" meaning "me" of course. If you don't seem to struggle with this, you have my envy. But I'd be lying if I said I would trade my family for anything. I wouldn't. It's just the juggling act can be tiring.

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Knowing When To Move On

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 07 January 2017 · 56 views

There comes a time in life when you have to realize whether you’re made to be something or not. I would not do well as a mathematician, because math is not my best subject. I would not thrive as an artist, because my artistic skills range between stick figures and terrible squares. Where I do feel is my passion—my heart and soul, my entire being—is writing.

Perhaps it’s me finally channeling my younger self when I come to terms with what I want to do in life—including how I plan on getting there—but I’ve come to realize this: I’m tired of sitting and waiting for something to happen, tired of trying to figure out if I was doing something wrong, whether I was really cut out for this area, my area of writing.

I’m tired of waiting. I want this thing bad enough to where I’m willing to get my work out there in the most quality, authentic way possible, which is why, in about a week and a half, my first YA Fantasy novel—the same one whose query I’ve been work-shopping on here—is going to be released via Amazon (and many other areas) in both paperback and Kindle format.

I’m not saying that pursuing traditional publishing is just waiting, because I know that that’s how traditional publishing works. But I’m just tired of waiting. I want to get my work out there, and promote it, and I want people to read it and enjoy it, like I enjoyed writing it.

I can’t thank you guys enough for the constant feedback and help you’ve given me. I might not be on here as often because I’ll be busy with writing, promoting, school, etc. I just wanted to get on here and make this statement. I love you all, and I wish you the best in your lives and writing endeavors.

Until I post again,

Jordan The Ninja

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Roter Laserpointer kaufen shop

Posted by assiduous in Sehr Starker laserpointer, 06 January 2017 · 54 views
Laserpointer, Laserpointer kaufen and 2 more...


5 in 1 Leistungsstarke grun Laser Pointer mit 5 Sterne Caps, vier Kappen können vier Arten von Mustern und die fünfte eine Schutzkappe zu schaffen.
Kaleidoskopische Morphing Lichteffekte, Morphing der Sterne änderte sich durch die Sternkappe. Wunderbar und schön, einfach zu bedienen. Perfekt für Parties und kleine Shows.
Starker laser de Feature:
1. 5-in-1 200mW 532nm leistungsfähige grüne laserpointer
2. Rollen der Parttern, um den Laser-pointer zu ändern
3. Fünf Arten der parttern Köpfe, die erstaunliche Laser-pointer erzeugen
4. Dynamischer flüssiger Himmel, belebte bewegte Sterne
5. Deutlich sichtbar im Sonnenschein und in der Dunkelheit, zeigen Sternenlicht Spezialeffekte über 8000 Metern
6. Siegelkopfentwurf verhindert Stäube vom Eintreten

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7. Einfach zu bedienen, müssen nur die Taste drücken, dann können Sie sehen markante grüne Sterne Licht
8. Witterungsbeständig, aber nicht in Wasser tauchen
9. Kompakt und beweglicher Entwurf, geringes Gewicht, einfach zu tragen
Laserklasse 3b Spezifikation:
Produktname: 3in1 Laserpoinnter
Erster Knopf: roter Laser
Zweite Tastenklick: Weißes LED-Licht - Blaues UV-Licht
Kompakte Größe, mit einem Karabiner tragbar zu nehmen
Angetrieben durch 3 x LR44 Batterien (eingeschlossen)
Max. Leistung: 5mW
Gewicht: 16g
Farbe: Random


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Cover Reveal! Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 05 January 2017 · 44 views



Today I'd like to welcome fellow Clean Reads author Mallory McCartney with a cover reveal of her upcoming release, BLACK DAWN. Isn't the cover gorgeous? The book will be available 2.14.17!


Here's a brief blurb of the story: 

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life that is until two mysterious, and dare I say handsome soldiers show up at her apartment doorstep and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Coming from the magical and ravaged world of Kiero, Emory is brought back not realizing that both men are darkly woven in her past. Discovering she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line Emory is thrown into Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.  With both lives clashing Emory uncovers hidden secrets from her past, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows.



Tag Line: “The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen.”




Author Bio: Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Connect with Mallory on her Social Media links:


Twitter: @MalMcCartney 
Instagram: @authormalmccartney 



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Cowboy Sanctuary - Kindle Scout Winner

Posted by Michelle Hughes in Michelle Hughes' Blog, 26 December 2016 · 82 views
Kindle Scout, Publishing and 1 more...

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What a great early Christmas present! My newest book, Cowboy Sanctuary, was chosen for a publishing contract with Kindle Scout! Thank you so much to every single person who voted for this book in the campaign!!! You'll be receiving this book for free when it's polished by the Kindle Press Team! I'm looking forward to working with their editors, promoters, and team and hope you're ready to share this journey with me! I was awarded a $1500 advance as well.

If you'd like to keep up with this journey and learn more about my book, please visit www.authormichellehughes.com a website dedicated to Cowboy Sanctuary! Thank you all so much and I look forward to sharing this experience as I discover what happens next! To find out more about the Kindle Scout Program, please visit here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/


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THE SECRET DIARY of LYDIA BENNET Release

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 24 October 2016 · 77 views



Title: THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET
Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Martina:
I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.



a Rafflecopter giveaway




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My Telegraph (obit)

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 01 September 2016 · 199 views
Writing Groups, My Telegraph and 1 more...

My Telegraph was a blogging and commenting platform hosted on the Daily Telegraph servers (the DT is a national UK paper published daily). It was a free service with an interface that used aspects of Wordpress and Disqus and was provided as is. There were some 20,000 + registered usernames. Many of these participated in the user groups and back in 2010 with my first draft to my first novel handy, I was ready to engage. I headed straight for Creative Writing. It quickly became apparent that the group was headed for oblivion — it's members needed organising so I re-jigged its competition. In 2012, the DT began promoting a new group, the Short Story Club. We had no idea what would happen when it was introduced — how it would run and whether it would replace Creative Writing... in the end, with the inputs of author Louise Doughty, it became a success. There was a back story, however. The DT promoted this new group but the landing page was hard to navigate and there was no supporting infrastructure, this left those wishing to take part not knowing what to do — and there were thousands of them. For several months it was chaos — hundreds of joiners each week, many of whom leaked over to the Creative Writers Group — we helped where we could — some stayed. It took a while to sort things out.

*


Late on in 2015, the Daily Telegraph began changing its main site. Commenting disappeared from some articles. By Easter 2016, virtually all of DT had moved to a new look and feel. The blogging platform, My Telegraph, remained untouched. It was legacy and obviously low priority, a system ready for the chop. This was a hidden community that could have been much more user groups such as Rugby, Finance, Book Club, Job and Careers, Expat, Corduroy Mansions, The Archers Messageboard, Politics,Travel, Technology... there was much potential but these groups just withered for lack of attention. The DT didn't respond to questions about the future of the platform. Users speculated and began to make plans. It was only a matter of time before the plug was pulled, which happened June 2016. Usernames, blogs, groups and platform all disappeared, lost in the final dark of: no servers, no data. History. Ah yes, I forgot History. The link is of course dead.

*

As a social site, users were prone to petty acts of spite – they had vendettas and ganged up on each other. Doubtless this helped convince DT of the wisdom of closing it. The community became a net diaspora and survives on Facebook and WordPress. There is a closed group at https://www.facebook...12280382310342/ and several WordPress presences.

For old time’s sake, here’s a memory:


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More info on DT's My Telegraph.

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Once Upon a Typewriter

Posted by thebookworm in thebookworm's Blog, 15 August 2016 · 152 views
Preface, typewriter, preteen

Once Upon a Typewriter

Once Upon a Typewriter:


It was a lovely sunny day, on a quiet street tucked away from the world, where Delilah came across a shed, abandoned by time. She cautiously approached the shed and was surprised to find all of the trinkets and treasures before her eyes.

Page 1 (with illustrations)


As soon as Delilah placed her hand on the dusty old typewriter, she knew she had to have it. “Was it stealing?” she thought to herself or was it hers to keep? Delilah decided to that she couldn’t possibly part with her new found treasure. After exploring the run down structure for some other forgotten treasure, she headed home, typewriter in tow.

Page 2 (with illustrations)


Delilah darted through the living room, up the stairs to her room, slamming the door with excitement. She gently placed the typewriter on her desk, clearing space for the new toy. Some of the keys on the typewriter had faded over time, so Delilah would have to do some research on how to properly clean and repair this new gadget.

Page 3 (with illustrations)


As soon as the new typewriter was polished and good as new, Delilah was finally ready to write her very first story. Sitting quietly at her desk, gazing out the window of their old farmhouse, Delilah could see a shadow cast by the full moon that gently touched the trees, yet appeared to be a castle, it was such a lovely illusion. Snapping to it, Delilah knew the topic of the new book!

Page 4 (with illustrations)


“I know!” Delilah gleefully gasped as her fingers started to dance over the keys, as if the story was flowing out of her, with an unstoppable driving force. Starting on page 4, she was so enveloped in her writing that Delilah failed to notice her surroundings changing. She could not believe her eyes when she finally realized what happened. Delilah was IN her story!!

Page 5 (with illustrations)


“What is going on?” Delilah quietly thought to herself, “This MUST be a dream”, panic set in and she felt lost. “Ok, pull yourself together” she shouted to herself. This was all so real. Delilah slumped down on a rock, overlooking a beautiful valley full of flowers, just like in her story. It was just as Delilah had imagined it would be.

Page 6 (with illustrations)


After the initial shock of what just happened passed over her, like a fog lifting. Delilah had a plan but first she would need to find the typewriter that was responsible for this phenomenon. Walking through the tall grass over-shadowed by a massive castle that seemed to reach up past the clouds, Delilah could see something glistening in the warm summer sun, could it be? Was it the typewriter? Running through the field, Delilah eventually came upon the typewriter and typed herself home.

Page 7 (with illustrations)


Book 1 of many!



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Summer Reading Prize Pack Giveaway

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 01 August 2016 · 129 views

Happy Summer! I have very fond memories of lazy summer days reading on the porch or under a tree. It was a favorite past-time for this introvert bookworm. So, since it’s summer and I just announced my next middle grade duology last week, how about a summer reading giveaway? And since my books have that creepy fairy […]

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Internet Fixed

Posted by LWFlouisa in LWFlouisa's Blog, 26 July 2016 · 208 views

So now I can do research full time now. Sometimes the Internet is still a little slow.

Just finished Hemato Tomato: Bloodlust. Not sure how I feel about the finished product. I still feel like the story is only half way told, so I may end up writing 10,000 more words on this.

This was my first experiment in Historical Futurism, where historical characters play a role in science fiction setting with plots that cross over between science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance in a very that makes you feel really strange.

It's like suddenly meeting Charlotte Corday at your local Star-bucks without any implication for time travel, and the reader is just suppose to take the plausibility of the romance for granted. They are stalked by magic wielding robot police, and the you have a grand ole adventure.

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

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Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 224 views



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9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 139 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Hopscotch
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.

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BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 214 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:

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The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.

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This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


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Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 177 views



Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,

Utsav



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