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Book Talk & Giveaway: CONTROL by Lydia Kang

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 30 January 2015 · 8 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

In the year 2150 there have been a few genetic mistakes. Most of those have been shuttled out of sight, somewhere people don't have to look at or think about them. Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens exactly like that - guys with four arms being the most standout example.

When her father is killed in a car accident that might not have been an accident after all, Zel knows she must keep her little sister Dyl safe. It's been a priority for most of her life, and with her father gone, it's entirely her responsibility. It doesn't take long for her to fail, and once Dyl has been kidnapped for the powerful secret encoded in her DNA, Zel has only her genetically altered friends and her own less-than-stellar abilities at her disposal to rescue them.

Dyl has always been the special one, something Zel knows all too well. Armed with old technology and what she believes to be her own limited capacities, along with teens that shouldn't even exist, Zel sets out on a journey through the darker corners of society to try to retrieve her sister before it's too late.

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Fast Five Friday: Authors

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 30 January 2015 · 8 views

Welcome back to another installment of Fast Five Friday! This bloghop is brought to us by the Express Yourself gals, Dani and Jackie via covergirlsdj.blogspot.com. Click the link to visit their Fast Five today and to join!

Today, they ask us to name our five favorite authors.

Mine tend to change depending on whom I discover, but a few have stuck around in my heart to be able for me to declare them favorites! In no particular order, here are my Fast Five Faves.

1. Robert Olen Butler

2. Octavia Butler (m.s.r.i.p.)

3. N.K. Jemisin

4. George R.R. Martin

5. Terri Bruce



Getting Emotion into Writing with Aaron Bradford Starr

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 30 January 2015 · 8 views

I'm happy to welcome a friend from my writing group to talk about getting emotion into your writing. Aaron does a masterful job of showing us how it's done! Thanks, Aaron!

Emotions in Writing

I felt the rush of air as the dart passed by my ear, and drew up straight, the wrench in my hand dropping into the snow. From just behind me, a mass fell at once, clouding the area with sparkling flakes as it plowed into the drifts. I took one look at the white-furred bulk, my breath coming in gasps, and then turned to where Michelle sat atop the fuselage of our downed plane.

“You cut that a bit close, didn't you?” I asked with a frown, my heart pounding within my parka, suddenly too warm. Michelle shrugged.

“You're the one who wanted to work in silence,” she pointed out. “I keep telling you they're afraid of the sound of our speech.”

Gripping the pages of the repair manual in my gloves, I gave them a shake. “Well these are pretty hard to follow,” I snapped. “What language is this, anyway?”

“Hindi,” Michelle said, “with a mix of Greek and Esperanto.”

“Who writes engine repair manuals in Esperanto?” I asked.

“Esperantans, I suppose,” she said, opening the breech of the air rifle and slipping in another bright red dart. Jacking it closed, she leaned back once more, crossing her boots. Fixing me with a stare of supreme unconcern, she sketched a yawn. “Better find that wrench before it gets dark, and you can't read any more.”

Pursing my lips, I dug around in the loose powder until I found the tool, and straightened with a sigh, my cheeks reddening under my scarf. “Alright, you win. You can fix the engine.”

With a delighted squeak, Michelle hopped from the wing, handed me the rifle, and plucked both manual and wrench from me. Humming to herself, she flipped trough the pages until she found the diagram of the engine, and began following it with her finger, nodding to herself and murmuring in Greek and what I assumed was Esperanto. I clamored up onto the wing, and leaned against the fuselage, quickly scanning the horizon. All around us, the mountains of the Himalayas glowed orange and pink with the setting sun.

“Before we crashed,” Michelle said from below, “you mentioned something about writing emotional scenes.”

I licked my lips, eyes sweeping the ridgelines for the movement of white on white. “Are you sure you can work and talk at the same time?” I asked. Beneath my goggles, my brow furrowed. She laughed and waved a dismissive hand at the engine.

“It's just an engine,” she said. “Either we talk, or I begin to sing.”

“I'll talk, I'll talk,” I muttered. With her classical training in opera, Michelle was as likely to bring down an untimely avalanche as scare away yeti.

“Good,” she answered, her voice muffled from within the engine housing. “You were talking about feelings.”

“No,” I corrected, glancing down at the open box of tranquilizer darts at my feet. The yeti on it was smiling, a night cap on his furry head. “I was talking about how people feel emotion. That's why we call them feelings. Emotions, after all, are a mental state with a physical sensation.”

“And that's what you need to record, as a writer,” she added. “The sensations associated with their emotions.”

“Yeah, exactly. Readers will feel what your characters do more often if you relate how their body reacts to their emotions, rather than simply recoding what those emotions are.” I frowned, lifting my goggles to swipe at my face, which was running with sweat. The glare was blinding, and I quickly slid them back into place, my eyes skittering around to surrounding vista, drawn by every stream of blowing snow off the drifts. “How long is this going to take to fix, anyway?”

“What, this?” Michelle asked, patting the engine housing with her head and shoulders well into the inner works. “This is no big deal. Just a few minutes more.”

I gave an involuntary bark of derisive laughter. The plane was perched atop a huge slope, teetering and groaning. Even with two running engines, it would be a miracle to get aloft again. I sighed, and glanced across to the charred stub where another engine had once hung beneath the opposite wing. I'd give anything to have two engines again.

“What about dialogue?” Michelle asked, startling me. I stammered, quickly glancing about the surroundings. How long had I been daydreaming?

“Uh, characters could become distracted,” I managed, bringing the rifle up and peering through the scope at a shifting movement in the distance. “You know, like losing their train of thought.”

Retracted?” Michelle asked, her voice echoing within the engine housing, mixed with the clicking of a ratchet wrench.

Distracted,” I snapped, more loudly than I'd intended. “And irritable. These are all things writers can do to show emotions like nervousness. How much longer?”

“Don't be such a baby,” Michelle said, beginning to wriggle from the innards of the engine. “I'm almost done here.”

About time, I thought, casting my eyes this way and that. Drawing in a quick breath, I peered at the ridgeline, through the glare of the setting sun. Raising the scope, I took a closer look, careful not to blind myself, and drew in a quick breath.

“We've got to go, right now!” I shouted, dropping the rifle to my side and leaping from the wing. Scooping the spare darts to my parka, I hauled open the door and threw both box and gun inside the plane's dark interior. Michelle looked from me to the distant edge of the ice field. A mass of movement gamboled across the flat expanse, white on white.

“Wow,” Michelle said, her voice placid. “Now that is a lot of yeti. I wonder what the plural of yeti is?”

“It's get the heck into the plane!” I shouted, jumping aboard and clamoring up the the cockpit.
Michelle followed, shutting the door and sitting as I fired up our remaining engine. After a mechanical protest, it roared to life, and Michelle gripped the controls. With a fierce grin, she nodded to me.

“Hit it!” she shouted, and I triggered the detonators.

On the slopes far above, the dynamite broke the snowpack free, and I tightened up my straps as we waited for the leading edge, my eyes locked on the approaching yetis out the side window, and Michelle rolling her shoulders and cracking her knuckles.

“So how would you get your characters to establish-” she began, and then broke off as the plane lurched forward and up, driven by the sliding snow that roared around and beneath us from up the hill. “Oh, wait, here we go!”

The plane tipped forward off the ridge, plunging down the slope, my shriek and Michelle's laughter mixing with the roar of the lone engine, and the howls of the yeti left far behind or swept along beside us.

As we gathered speed, crashing and grinding echoing through the interior, Michelle leaned over and tugged my sleeve.

“So what do you think about showing internal conflict?” she asked.

I pointed out the window to where the cliffside streaked closer. “Are you nuts?” I bellowed.

We launched over the edge, and Michelle draped a wrist across the yoke, waving her hand in my direction. “Oh, fine,” she muttered, as the plane struggled for altitude, lone remaining engine screaming. I swept off my goggles and brushed back my hood, breathing hard, sweat stinging my eyes.

“Are you crying?” she asked, incredulous.

“No I'm not crying,” I insisted, wiping my cheeks. “I'm just relieved, is all.”

Michelle shook her head. “What a big baby.”


Aaron Bradford Starr has published short stories in paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, Black Gate Online, Stupefying Stories, and Rampant Loon Press. He is a member of the writing group The Speculative Fiction Forum on Agent Query Connect. Find more about him on his blog, Imaginary Friend



Box of Rain Showcase, Part 2

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 29 January 2015 · 15 views

I  almost forgot to post a link to part two of the Showcase of Box of Rain, which is an interview of me by Author Dayna Leigh Cheser.  Here’s one question you might not have heard before, but click through … Continue reading



How to Get Free Books

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 29 January 2015 · 28 views

by +Denise Drespling

Everyone loves free stuff. I mean, really, why wouldn't you?

I read a lot of books for free. Just for fun, I looked over the list of books that I read in 2012 (find them here), just to see how many I paid for (or borrowed from a friend) and how many were free. Of the 70 books I read, 39 were free.

And I don't just get to read old books for free. Nope. New ones. Popular ones. I read Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane right after it came out. Lots of new books are available. For free!

Want to know my secret?



What did you think I was going to say? I pirate it? Pffhh. I'm only a pirate on September 19.


It seems obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many people--readers, even--don't have a library card and have never stepped foot inside their local library. This, to me, seems plain ole crazy.

Or maybe, you just don't know what the library has to offer. Let me brag a little because I love my library. Actually, I frequent two. One near work, one near home. Because I can't get enough!

Here are 16 reasons to go to the library:

  1. Books! Books!
    More books over here! Look! There's more aisles there! I'll use as many exclamation points as I can to show you all the BOOKS!!! Oh, and they will let you take them home for a while. For free.
  2. Not only books
    Want to read the New York Times, without springing for a subscription? The library has you covered! They keep a bunch of magazines around, too.
  3. Audiobooks!!
    If you have not discovered audiobooks yet, you are missing out. Perfect for your morning commute, road trip, or even to keep you entertained while doing housework. I love audiobooks, and I listen to them all the time. But, they're pricey. Even with sites like Audible.com (You even get a book FREE when you sign up!) making them affordable, why buy it when you can get it for free at the library!
  4. eBooks!
    Oh, you didn't know that, did you? You can actually borrow an eBook from the library. Some libraries will lend you the eReader, too.
  5. Overdrive
    I don't know how widely available this program is, but oh. My. Goodness. It is awesome! If audiobooks and eBooks weren't enough, how about an app that puts them right on your phone and lets you download them to your computer? This is my most favorite thing right now. I can download a new book in a matter of minutes without even leaving home or work. If your library participates, you get access thousands of eBooks and audiobooks. For free.
  6. Geographical reach
    Besides the plethora of books available in the library, you can also have books sent to the library from other libraries. It's like going to a whole bunch of libraries at once. Plus, in PA, if you have a library card from an Access PA participant, you can get a library card at any other Access PA library. To get a library card in the first place, you only need to live or work in the area. And they're FREE. (Or you can pay a small fee if you're out of the area, but like I said, if you have a card from an Access PA library, you're good anywhere.)
  7. Book clubs
    What's better than sitting around with a bunch of people who share your love for books and who have just finished reading the same book you did? I look forward to my book club all month. I love my book club! We have some brilliant, engaging discussions about books. Plus, it exposes me to awesome books I might never have read otherwise. If you are a writer, join a book club IMMEDIATELY! You need to be able to talk about books and hear what others say about them. You will learn much and have a blast while doing it.
  8. DVDs and CDs
    When it's out of the theaters, not yet on Netflix, and left RedBox long ago, chances are, you can find that DVD at the library. Some libraries have a tiny fee, but some, like the Cranberry Library, let you borrow for free and keep it 3 nights! CDs are usually available, too. Seriously. Where else can you go to borrow a CD?
  9. Computers and the internet
    If you don't have a computer, they do! If you don't have internet access, they do! And while you can't watch porn there, you can do pretty much whatever you need to do online. For free. At the library. You can even connect your laptop or mobile device to the wi-fi. Oh, and you can print. Not for free. But cheap.
  10. Stuff for kids and families
    Everything from toddler story time to teen reading groups. Want your kid to read more? Sign them up for something at the library. It's not only about books, either. Sure, Dr. Seuss Day is an awesomely fun time, but there are also movie nights, art clubs, princess parties, etc.
  11. Other random, fun events!
    Halloween Pet Parade. Need I say more? It's a real thing. And the library has it. Every year. And other things like Dinosaur and Fossil Day or the Oscar Party. There is always something.
  12. Learn stuff
    If it's not an event, it's a class! Learn about Native Americans, the new healthcare act, what your handwriting says about you, learn about computers, knitting, photography, eReaders, and just about anything people can get together to do. Somewhere, there is a library teaching about it. You can even learn a new language.
  13. Author readings/signings
    I hope, if you are a writer, you know this. Libraries are great places for readings and to meet authors.
  14. Used books
    Most libraries have a section or, in New Castle, an ENTIRE BASEMENT, of used books for sale for very cheap. If that alone wasn't awesome enough, the money all goes to the library and helps them keep the lights on and new books coming in.
  15. Your ancestors
    No, not dead bodies. But the records of them! If you're a genealogy fan, you have likely spent time in the library's research section looking up things like death records and birth records. Hey. Guess what. They'll even help you do it!
  16. A place to go
    Got an hour to kill? Want a quiet, cozy place to sit and read? What not go to the library? Most even have a kid's spot with some toys and things to entertain. Let your kid play while you sit and read. What more could you ask for?

I could go on and on. The library is so much more than books. It's a community treasure.

Go to your library. Go there so often that the librarians know you by name. And while you're there, leave a few bucks behind to keep the library going. With so much FREE stuff, they need support from all of us who take full advantage of what the library offers.


You never know what you'll see when you're there. The Cranberry Library actually has a real, live Abe Lincoln impersonator who has been known to come in wearing full costume and sit and read the paper with his black hat popping out the top. The New Castle Library has a bone fide library cat, Stacks, who is great entertainment and quite lovable.

Rainy day? Go to the library. Bored at home? Go to the library. Kids driving you crazy? Take them to the library. Want to people watch for a while? Go to the library. Want to discover and learn and laugh? GO TO THE LIBRARY!

And if you do, tell me your best library moment in the comments.

Denise Drespling is the author of short story, “Reflections,” in the Tales of Mystery, Suspense & Terror anthology (October 2014) and “10 Items or Less,” in 10: Carlow’s MFA Anniversary Anthology (April 2014). You can also find her work in these anthologies: The Dragon's Rocketship Presents: The Scribe's Journal and Winter Wishes.

Hang out with Denise at her blog, The Land of What Ifs, her BookTube channel on YouTube, or on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or Instagram.



Book Thoughts: Cracked

  Posted by Mia K Rose in Mia K Rose | Forsaken Illusion, 28 January 2015 · 6 views

Have you had a chance to read this one? If so, what was […]



Loving an Author You REALLY Disagree With

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 28 January 2015 · 33 views

Last August, I posted a review (more of a reaction) to The Goldfinch by Donna Tart called "An Indian's Reaction to the Racism in 'The Goldfinch'."


And now, I'm on page 449 of 629 of The Secret History, her debut novel.

As my review made obvious, Tartt and I have a lot to disagree about. A lot. In that review, I also dismissed the idea that The Goldfinch deserved the Pulitzer. I'd like to slightly amend my views.

I still think The Goldfinch has many, many ethical problems. But see, that's the thing. They're ethical problems. The novel still has problems of craft and execution but in my furor over the ethical nature of the novel, I exaggerated the problems in craft. And, as I'll show later, I have no right to discredit a novel's artistic merit due to its ethics, simply because ethics are subjective.

Donna Tartt's novels are among the most ambitious novels I've ever read. The ambition and scope of the two novels of hers that I've read/almost-read are on par and even exceed many classics. For that alone, reading her work is a pleasure.

But then the prose. What gorgeous prose. I can read anything by her for the prose alone! It's in the top three best prose list I have in my head (I have lists for basically everything reading-related -- best plotting, characters, etc. I'm a maniac, seriously). Pairing the prose with the scope in her novels... it's a winning combination. I haven't read The Little Friend and I'm not sure I will because of its meh reviews; if I do read it, it'll be for the prose.

Yet, I still stand by what I said in my original reaction. Not as much in The Secret History (because of the Arab scene), but in The Goldfinch there is a definite nostalgic desire for pre-'diverse-loving' America(if that's what you can call the USA right now). A longing for an age where the great cultural contributions of whites reined supreme, not denigrated by modern 'diverse contributions'. A sympathy for those who want to go back to those days exists in that novel, very Gone With the Wind in nature. A desire for an age that erased people of color, pretended their hardships and suffering did not exist because all that mattered where white people and what their problems were. I don't know why, but I saw a lot more of that in The Goldfinch than The Secret History. I can guess what Tartt's true intentions are (I did so in my review), but that's unfair because I don't know her.

Yes, I disagree the ethical sentiment in The Goldfinch. Of course I disagree with that. But I still love Tartt. I tried denying it before, but she really is a tremendous author, one of my favorites (although I still don't think The Goldfinch deserved the Pulitzer - maybe it won  there was no better contestant? Because of the amazing prose and incredible scope of that novel - and that amazing opening scene?).

And that's the thing. If I meet Tartt, I'd squee and ask her to sign my book and everything. I'd love to sit down and have dinner together, just talk for hours and not aggressively at all, simply to see what she meant. And if she does have that nostalgic desire, great. It's not for me to get angry about. In fact, I think we'd have a much greater discussion than I'd have with any author I agreed with on every subject.

There's a tremendous pull to equate love with agreement and hate with disagreement. Disagreeing with someone doesn't require hate, nor does it exclude love. A person and their ideas are separate. Hating one doesn't require hating both.

It's a problem with a lot of social activism in the media. With 'don't reply to the trolls' quickly slipping into 'don't discuss a topic with anyone who disagrees with you', I fear we're going to fall into a predicament similar to the one of the construction workers pictured below.

There are generally two sides to social activism in the media: a conservative view and a liberal view. Discussions have been growing in number and in voice, but each side is getting louder and louder as they build their half of the bridge. We assume we're going to meet in the middle, finally join and understand what the other side is saying. But I truly fear we are simply talking past one another. I fear that soon, it'll be too late, and we'll keep talking and talking in this echo chamber until we look behind our shoulders and realize...dang. Those people we hoped to change, they walked right past us, talking and arguing in another echo chamber.

There's no point hating someone for their ideas. Yes, it's a really hard thing to do and I'm struggling really hard to do it. But it's important. If we don't join into one conversation, practically speaking, very little will get done. And an additional point, it might surprise people that (gasp!) maybe there's a pro-lifer too afraid to speak in the YA author section of Twitter. Instead of generating meaningful conversation around these topics, all that's happening is bullying and unintended censorship (down with writer self-censorship!). Engage the trolls! They speak things that the rest of the population thinks in silence.

This does not necessitate compromise in the same way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not and should not have compromised with Jim Crow; a wrong idea, no matter how popular, is still a wrong idea. But we do need to start talking together, or the bridge we're trying to build will be as bad and useless as the one above.

The good thing about constructing things, though? You can always tear things down and build again.



Blazer Nike Basse Peau de Serpent GriseBlanc Femme NA203 Runnning

Posted by uytiuyoiuo in uytiuyoiuo's Blog, 27 January 2015 · 34 views
nike blazer basse femmenike

Dunk Sky Salut nike blazer femme basse Nike Dunk Sky conservant le design classique, mais également nikebù2Âblazerbù2Âfemmebù2Âbasse 243X3Q1W dans l'augmentation naturelle comme les filles amis. Il faut aussi mentionner, ce est que tout cela est couvert dans la plus élevée, il ne sera pas inattendu sur le côté. Tout en maintenant une résistance à la mode, tout en maintenant le confort. De la mode blogueur Blonde Salad, Andy Torres, le Victoria Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, une paire de feet.Regardless humaine de la référence ou l'absence 236H5947 référence, nous voyons ici Nike Sportswear égoutter une mi Blazer en matière irisée, une silhouette qui a été plutôt défaut dans attention ces derniers temps après ce est an ou deux à l'honneur. A popping blanc semelle intermédiaire, semelle de glace et métalliques lacets frais achèvent le modèle de cette femme avec ces détails supplémentaires qui font une chaussure grande. Encore une fois, je dois dire que je suis partial à la fois vers une semelle blanche et une semelle extérieure de la glace, mais qui ne est pas?
Pourtant, juste après le nombre d'années de temps, il faut que ce long directement dans chaque emplacement. Nike messieurs poussoirs d'oxygène démarrage peut être un démarrage dans lequel semble bien défini à l'intérieur les nuances fortes établies. La chaussure en particulier viendra dans un grand bleu luminescent, africain ou américain rougeâtre teinte bleue peut-être incandescent, en utilisant une marque Nike translucide privé. Il est obtenu toute semelle en plastique ce qui concerne saisir et aussi la ténacité. Il est obtenu d'oxygène exclusivement absorption des chocs de produits et amortir également avec daim de qualité autour des endroits plus élevés. Nike Kobe point messieurs baseball démarrage est un superbe démarrage recherche. Il est obtenu rainures 3E2J406H pour stimuler l'articulation et aussi la flexibilité globale. En outre, il fournit plus un plastique solide tissu en arête de poisson aide supplémentaire concernant. Un grand routine ECG fournit une faible adhérence d'observation. En outre, il dispose d'un milieu de la pi. tige plus un total semelle intermédiaire en Phylon taille.
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Pratiquement tous les magasins recettes web Nike fournit prudemment marchandises avantages ajustement ou peut-être à côté. Et fournit 6ZRICA6S sous dans les idées de marchandises de profondeur, vous trouverez là-bas leur qualité supérieure notamment en provenance premier aperçu. Septembre peut être un moment en ce qui concerne les élèves de retourner à shool, néanmoins, avec tous les frais concernant la météorologie expression frais, il est très nécessaire pour maman et papa pour se préparer pour quelques produits frais de la famille à leurs enfants en particulier. Venant de satistic disponibles sur le marché, il est réellement présent l'amélioration en ce qui concerne N2010 est un superbe an concernant Nike, avec nikeÄ÷55blazerÄ÷55roseÄ÷55blanc E3PV5P1M début de la planète pot à l'intérieur de l'équipement de Photographie sud, Nike fournit publié différents biens concernant directement dans l'industrie. Aussi, en provenance de la NBA Posted Image être en mesure de jeu vidéo de sport, Nike fournit en œuvre l'objectif: Simplement prendre des mesures. La initial qui signifie est utilisé pour être en mesure de titres de jeux de baseball.


It’s Sun versus Snow Day!!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies, 26 January 2015 · 25 views

        Yes, it’s finally here!! Today at 4 pm EST the submission window for Sun versus Snow opens. Michelle and I are very excited to be bringing you this contest again, and are looking forward to hearing all the success stories that come from the contest – *fingers crossed*.   While we […]



First and Last Lines

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 26 January 2015 · 16 views

A year or so ago, I read some advice on writing out the first and last line of every chapter in a list (if this was on your blog, please give yourself a shout out in the comments for me!).

I don't remember all the reasons, but as I'm reading through my NaNo novel, I'm keeping track of these lines in a file within my Scrivener folder and I'm finding some interesting things.
  • only a few of my first lines really stink
  • some of them are even pretty good
  • my last lines are often very short - 1-3 words
  • my characters are pretty sarcastic
  • putting the 1st and last lines together gives a great summary of the chapter's emotion
  • reading the list through gives a great sense of the story - and of the pace (which I always need help with). Much more helpful for editing than I expected
Doing this has helped me see I've grown as a writer too. I'm coming into scenes later and exiting earlier - trusting in the reader more. (Thanks to my fabulous CPs once again!!!)

Have you ever tried this? Any great first or last lines to share?



I'm a Teacher--I Can Write Anywhere

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 24 January 2015 · 25 views

Something's been going on this week that I've been looking forward to since before Christmas break. And, by the way, the fact that I, an adult, still use the term Christmas break should tip you off that I'm a teacher. But anyway, I was contacted late in the fall about having a student teacher for the first half of this semester. I enjoy having student teachers for several reasons, some of them noble and others purely selfish. The noble ones include getting to have a positive influence on a new teacher and exposing my students to a different approach and point of view. The selfish ones include the fact that, for several weeks, the bulk of the teaching and grading duties fall to someone else. Yes, I supervise her and give her input, but that's a lot less labor intensive than making my own lesson plans, carrying them out myself, and grading the results. 

For me, though, the big self-serving outcome of having a student teacher is the sheer volume of writing time afforded me right square in the middle of the day. For several weeks, I no longer have to squirrel away time early in the morning or late in the evening to wedge in a few hundred words. No, I can have my coffee, read the news, browse Facebook, check my email, and linger over a leisurely breakfast before work because on the days when Beth, my student teacher, is responsible for all the classes, I can write. Thursday was the first day she had every period and I got almost 1800 words written. Yesterday, the number was lower, but only because I did some editing and revising before I started on a new chapter. 

And one of the cool unexpected benefits of being a teacher who's a writer is that I've learned that I can write anywhere and under nearly any circumstances, many that would be so distracting that a person without my superpower (that of being able to concentrate on fifteen things at the same time--every teacher develops it or becomes something else quickly) would find simply untenable. Yesterday, after I sat in on a couple of classes to verify she was comfortable with the lesson, I went away and wrote in a quieter place, but Thursday, I was at my desk all day as she taught. I even participated, at her request, in the activity. And, as I said, I wrote almost 1800 words. Yesterday, I edited that scene and found that, aside from needing a few minor tweaks and word changes, it was pretty strong stuff. 

So I found another reason to be thankful for being a teacher. It's not only made me a better writer--it's given me confidence that, should the need ever arise, I could knock off a solid chapter in the middle of a hurricane. 

Before I sign off for another week, I want to remind you that I'll be at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library today from 2pm to 3pm, selling and signing copies of my debut novel, Harsh Prey. If you live nearby, come by and say hello. 



5 reasons why I quit reading books before the end

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 13 January 2015 · 73 views

Over the holidays, I suffered through a bout of bronchitis. The unexpected upside was that because I didn’t want to do anything else, I had tons of time to read. I got lost in a sea of self-pubs. The best ones were edgy with fascinating characters—things that would have been difficult to find through traditional publishers. There’s always a “but” though, right? Here’s mine: I probably didn’t finish three-quarters of the books I bought, for quality reasons. (Thank goodness they’re so cheap.) Here’s some of what the authors did wrong:

They wrote lots of smug dialog: I know writing dialog where everything clicks is addicting. But if every time you write any dialog, you think, “Wow, people are going to think I’m so smart!” know you’re wrong. Especially if one of your characters comments on how clever the speaker is, you’ve crossed the line into annoying. Good dialog needs to show tension and have a point that advances the plot. It can’t just be there to show off. (A book isn’t Seinfeld, which mind you, lasted just half an hour.) If you get clever, keep it short. Trust me. That (deleted expletive) gets old fast.

They delayed gratification for too long: There’s that sweet spot by when your readers need to get some payoff from hanging in there through the “will they or won’t they.” If you promise violence, at least a little blood needs to spill before the last page. Basically, if I’ve hit the seventy-five-percent mark and I’m still waiting, I feel like I’m being toyed with, not entertained. If your point is to delay, you need to find small ways to provide readers some kind of satisfaction throughout.

They wrote perfect characters: I don’t want to read about the girl who every guy falls in love with, who’s going to be the next leader and knows medical skills and can fight like a master even though she’s barely been trained. She always makes the right decision, she always gets the funny line, and yeah, her best friend’s gay and she’s the only one who will accept it. (Which I have no problem with, but cliché much?) Please, please, please, for the love of your readers, give her a drug addiction or something. Otherwise, there’s no struggle to make her feel real. Good example: Clarke from The Hundred could be so annoying in her bravery, medical training and all these guys who fall for her, BUT she’s balanced by the fact that she’s so angry, especially at herself, and that other girls’ disdain hurts her. Perfect is only OK in small doses.

They didn’t plot smart: I have little patience for a book that seems like two short works sandwiched together. In Part A, the guy and girl get together. In Part B, a bad guy appears and they beat him. The bad guy needs to show up in Chapter One to loom doom over your main characters’ heads—or at least hint at it. The problem if there’s nothing at stake from the start? You lose opportunity to build tension that keeps readers flipping pages.

They got boring: The greatest start in the world won’t keep readers going if you trail off into mediocrity. Sure, you need a good start to get people to buy your book, but if you want them to buy your next one, you need a great middle and a great ending too. If you get tired of writing your book in the middle, it’s going to show.

The best way to avoid all of these problems is to find honest beta readers or editors and pay attention to their feedback before you hit the “publish” button. If your early readers tell you every single thing you write is great, perfect, the next best seller—they care more about your feelings than your actual work. And that’s not to ding them. It’s hard to point out deficiencies. But trust me, you’ll be a better writer for working to improve your weaknesses. Be brave and unflinching in confronting your deficiencies, and your readers will benefit.



My Experiences with Formatting

Posted by D. E. Jackson in Adventures of Wolf 3, 13 January 2015 · 71 views

Good day writers! This is an exciting day for me. I’ve just finished the first part of my formatting. I couldn’t wait to blog about it. I did have step by step instructions on here, but AQ is not supporting most of it because some is in html code. So I'll have to refer you to Guido Henkel's site.

If you just want to get started without knowing the why, start on Part III for what you need to download in order to make this work. I used Notepad++ and will be using Calibre to finish it out. Both free. But he has other ideas also to look into. Then go to Part VI to start the formatting process.

Good Luck everyone!

EDIT: I was able to provide the step by step Formatting Process (according to Henkel) below in the posts! ^_^


The Professor Confronted

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 13 January 2015 · 37 views

So, this professor was walking down a street.

You know, one of those streets that has stores a bit off the sidewalk.

It was a little town. I probably should have said that first.

Anyway, I was walking along (or down) a street when I ran into a fellow and a lady. They were around the same age, I think. And much younger than the professor.

(But everyone is younger than the professor. I’ll soon be…I forget. But it’s up there.)

Anyway for seconds, they stopped me. With words, of course.

“Where you going?” the lady asked.

I should stop calling her a lady about now.

The professor didn’t answer right away. And that’s the thing to do, when confronted.

This professor just stared at her (glancing at the fellow) and raised one eyebrow.

I’ve heard this subtle moment of mine inspires fear. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I think it is.

“I asked you a question!” she said.

“Yeah,” the fellow said, “answer her.”

“Well, to be honest,” this professor said, “I was actually not on my way to see either of you two.”

They seemed shocked, dismayed, and terribly angry.

The woman–who was smoking–threw her cigarette on the ground and stamped it angrily with her heel.

Once she was done, I repeated the motion (only I was more vicious, I think) just to prove to them that I could stamp harder.

After all, I’m a warrior.

They laughed at this.

“Your weird!” the woman said.

The fellow shook his head. “Definitely weird, dude.”

The professor moved on; I didn’t have time to keep on having speaks.

I looked back once, and saw that the duo had caught another fellow.

Maybe I should have been a bit fiercer, and messed up their operation for good.

Oh well.



IWSG All About Me

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 07 January 2015 · 50 views

(Make sure you check out the IWSG website and founder of this group, Alex J Cavanaugh.)So, I already had my post written out and then I just saw I was supposed to introduce myself. But that's okay, I'll have two posts today. To see the other post, click here.

And onto some stuff about me:

I'm a mother and a writer. I also am basically a personal assistant for my mom. Plus I run errands for my dad and I work at the gym (where my kids do dance and gymnastics) twice a week.

My kids are (recently) online homeschooled and both of them are in gymnastics and hip-hop. I don't really have a life outside of my kids and parents. Aside from when I stay up late and find time to do things I want to do (mostly online games, writing, and blogging).

This year is the first year that my youngest will be competing in gymnastics so I'll be adding gymnastics meets to my schedule which should be interesting. Most of them are going to be on Sundays though so that's not too bad.

I spent a lot of last year not blogging enough and my visiting was even worse, but I'm going to do better this year. I also tend to write too much on my blog posts and struggle to write enough in my books.

And that's about it, but if you're curious about anything else, feel free to ask. :)



WRECKAGE Launch Party- Save the Date

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 06 January 2015 · 54 views

March is approaching quickly and I am busy planning a fantastic launch party for WRECKAGE. I’ve decided to pair the launch with a fundraiser for a FANTASTIC and inspiring organization: The Book Bridge (thebookbridge.com):

Screenshot 2015-01-06 11.35.01

The Book Bridge is a 501©3 charitable organization.

“Our mission is to support, motivate and inspire children in crisis situations to read through individualized access to books and other materials geared toward increasing literacy skills while also providing them with a healthy emotional outlet to stress.

We serve youth up to age 18 who are in physical, economical, emotional, or mental health crisis situations. They have little or no access to books of their interest and reading abilities.”

I’m sure you can see why I am SO excited to partner with this great organization. Right now I’m in the process of collecting some awesome raffles and getting all the plans together but I wanted to make sure you all saved the date so you can come celebrate WRECKAGE’s release and support The Book Bridge at the same time.

Screenshot 2015-01-06 11.16.48Launch party(pdf)


Besides the actual party we will also be holding a raffle to benefit The Book Bridge. You can purchase raffle tickets for a dollar or receive one ticket per new/like new book donated to The Book Bridge. When donating please take a moment to double check what items they are able to accept: thebookbridge.com/donations

I can’t wait to celebrate with you all and to help provide children with the books they deserve. And don’t worry, if you don’t live in Illinois I will be running a virtual launch party as well!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and on this blog for regular updates!

As a side note- if you have a raffle item you’d like to donate to support this fundraiser please email me at emilybleekerauthor@gmal.com



Love and Rumors will be FREE Dec 31 & Jan 1

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 29 December 2014 · 94 views

My new series, The Summer Sisters, has two new books coming out in the following months and I thought I’d do a little something nice for readers by giving away ecopies of book 1, Love and Rumors, for two days to help bring in the new year as well as celebrate the book’s brand new cover.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 through Thursday, January 1st, 2015, the ebook of Love and Rumors will be FREE. This deal will only be available on Amazon for those two days before it goes back to its regular price of $2.99. (The paperback edition is always available for $10.99–or less!)

If you don’t have a Kindle to read the free book on, no worries! You can download the Kindle app onto most devices, easy peasy! (I have it on my phone and tablet so I can read free romance ebooks for Kindle on the go.)

Click Here to go to Amazon.com & Grab Your FREE Kindle Reading App & Read ebooks on Most Devices

Love and Rumors--a free contemporary romance ebook

The new cover for Love and Rumors. (It’s so new I haven’t even changed the cover images on my website yet!)

One photographer who needs cash—fast. One movie star with an offer as tempting as his bad boy smile.

Hailey Summer needs more time. As the eldest Summer sister she’s always taken on the task of solving everyone’s problems—including finding ways to hold onto the family’s precious historic cottage. Only this time she’s stretched too far and is in danger of losing absolutely everything that matters to her from her dream photography business to her sisters’ trust to the cottage that’s been in the family for over a century. Will Hailey find the money she needs or will she have to confront a lot more than just the family members she’s kept in the dark?

When Finian Alexander closes his eyes he is haunted by his family’s destitute past and the unfulfilled promises he’s made to others. Only a fraction away from making the A-list food chain and fulfilling his promises, Finian needs help from the paparazzi to push his next ‘bad boy of Hollywood’ escapade into the limelight. Problem is he’s in the Canadian Muskokas and the only photographer he’d consider partnering with slaps him every time he deserves it—which is increasingly often as he becomes more desperate.
Will Hailey and Finian give in to the easy way out of their problems, or will discover how alike they truly are when they hit the tabloids—together?

This is the first book in the Summer Sisters beach read contemporary romance series.

Grab your copy of Love and Rumors while it’s FREE! Link: http://amzn.to/1oMKQXT

Happy New Year! All the best to you and yours in 2015.

Happy reading,


P.S. Love and Rumors & book 2, Love and Dreams, are both available in the Kindle Unlimited program for a limited time–you can snag the books on KU as well.

P.P.S. Want to see Love and Dreams‘s new cover too? Here it is:

Love and Dreams, a contemporary romance by Jean Oram

The new cover for Love and Dreams!

The post Love and Rumors will be FREE Dec 31 & Jan 1 appeared first on Jean Oram.



A Member Of the Club

Posted by generalmuj777 in generalmuj777's Blog, 29 December 2014 · 121 views

Greetings to all! I joined Agent Query today and I just wished to introduce myself to the group. For me it is indeed to pleasure to make your acquaintance. Take and be well everyone.

Best Regards
Muj Attia


Influences and Inspirations

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 21 December 2014 · 88 views
Jack Kirby and 5 more...

Influences and Inspirations Influences and Inspirations
by TerencePark on 12-20-2014 12:29

Influences. We all have them. I'm going to talk about comic books; American comic books, from the Silver Age. I was there when Jack Kirby's Fourth World came out and what an impact it had on me.

American comic books of the 60's sold in their millions. Well some of them did. The biggest in terms of circulation was Superman. The comic was widely distributed and could sell up to 1 million copies each issue. In practise it sold between 70% and 80% of that figure. A common theme that irritated more sophisticated comic book buyers was: DC would run a story with life-changing consequences that under the rules of continuity, ought to be evident in future issues. But this didn’t happen; characters were reset at the start of each new issue.
The main rival to DC was Marvel. it had a strong line of heroes. They sold well, each ranking up sales between 200k and 400k per month. Unlike DC, they were every month - many DC titles were bi-monthly, or came out, at best, 8 times per year. Supes was the big DC star. At that time he was in Superman, Action Comics, World's Finest Comics, Justice League of America, Superman's girlfriend - Lois Lane, Superman's pal - Jimmy Olsen.
Oh, bring those memories back. The big problem for the Superman family was that they fared less well, subsisting on circulations of 150k - which at that time was a trigger for cancellation. They were ripe for change. DC knew this but its culture was somnolent. It needed shock treatment to stay on terms with Marvel.

The star in Marvel's armoury was the late, great, Jack King Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg). He worked on titles like The Mighty Thor, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, Sgt Fury's Howling Commandos, and had been instrumental in bringing to life outstanding comic book characters such as Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
Kirby had great vision and was an absolute art monster. He regularly did 3 + comic books per month. that was 60 + pages of art work. Many struggled to put in a full shift of 20.

In 1970, Jack dropped a bombshell onto Stan (the Man) Lee. He was leaving. it wasn't as if Stan didn't know this was coming. Kirby had been taken for granted and Marvel weren't going to change. They had DC on its knees. Marvel comics had heroes with real life problems - a new thing at time, as under the Comics Code Authority, comics had reverted to simplistic pre-teen content, which defined DC. Marvel had found a formula that didn’t cross the Authority and yet appealed to older audiences. DC managed mouldering properties. Superman had a whole family to support - but suddenly, Jack Kirby was available. He had worked at DC in years past - on stuff such as Newsboy Legion, Manhunter, the Sandman.... There were no other real opportunities in the field for Jack - Charlton wouldn’t publish its one bi-monthly superhero title -E-Man - until 1973, Archie comics didn't do superheroes, Dark Horse, Image and other imprints were yet to be formed;Creepy and Eerie (the Horror market) wasn't where Jack was coming from and besides they were only b&w.

Jack went to DC. He was full of ideas.
The comics blazed out the news:

Marvel ran a monthly Bullpen Bulletin Board in most of their comics. it was the biggest news in comics industry but they said nothing. Jack's output was prodigious and regular pencillers had to be found to replace him. There are various accounts of the inner workings of Marvel’s Bullpen - here isn’t the place for that.

Jack brought his Fourth World Saga with him. This was an interlinked tale ‘AN EPIC FOR OUR TIMES’ of good and evil. New Genesis v Apokolips. It ran in three comic books: The New Gods, The Forever People and Mister Miracle. These ran side by side, along with a re-envisioned pal of Supes - Jimmy Olsen, who got a bunch of side-kicks - the Newsboy Legion. Kirby (& Joe Simon) created the original Newsboy Legion which was based on the child-labour used by the respective newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at the start of the Twentieth Century. These weren’t employees but rather purchased the papers from the publishers and sold them as independent agents. Yep. Child-labour. New York then.
DC were protective of the Superman look. Change meant threat and DC baulked at Jack's envisioning of Superman. He drew Supes' face, they redrew it. Jack's art style was dynamic. House artists were static. Jack's Superman looked muscular. If DC's house artists were told to bring Jack's Superman into line - well that's what they did. Re-booting heroes was - well done with care. The debates surrounding owner-creator v hired-hand were still to come.

Change brought opportunities. The insignia; for a long time, a double circle enclosing the letters DC in the top left hand corner, was revamped. For Jack Kirby’s series, the circle grew and now contained a bullet image of the main character(s) in the comic.

Below are the covers from the respective first issues of his Fourth World. Beyond tweaking for ‘color-cast’ I have left them as they are. I could clean up these images - but why? They have character as they are...

The New Gods
Main character: Orion of the New Gods
Earth name: O’Ryan

Posted Image
New Gods #1
Read: Orion Fights for Earth

Mister Miracle
Main character: Scot Free of New Genesis. He decides to become an escape artist - this is both metaphor for his escape from Apokolips and for sublimation of hope into cynicism in attempts to revive an obsolete form of entertainment. In many ways he is diametrically opposed to Orion, who, when the chips are down, resorts to smashing his way out of traps.

Posted Image
Mister-Miracle #1 cover
No Trap can Hold Him

The Forever People
The genesis of this group is quite interesting. Jack was often disturbed by groups of motorbike enthusiasts, tearing up and down the road that his California hangout overlooked. Enthusiasts? Fiends? it depends on which side of the peace and quiet debate you lie. They irritated the life out of him- and became the inspiration for his Forever People

The-Forever-People #1 cover
Big Bonus Beautiful Dreamer

and from page 10 of The New Gods: Apokolips
Ruled by the enemy of life, Darkseid. Simple but great visuals.


(if you've lived in some neighborhoods, this might look pretty familiar!)
Was it good? How can you ask? Re-reading these is a visual feast.
Final thought. Just look at that blurb.

I like grand themes but I prefer them realistic. My work is probably closer to The Road than Kirby's Fourth World content-wise.

Originally published October 24, 2014 on my Daily Telegraph blog.


A Letter to My Younger Self on the “Dear Teen Me” Blog

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 19 December 2014 · 136 views

I’ve written a “letter” to my teenage self as part of the “Dear Teen Me” blog project.  Check it out here: http://dearteenme.com/?p=8689#more-8689  


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