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Interviewed for Office

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 25 November 2014 · 4 views

I went with Schwarz, because I thought it my professorish duty.

But it really wasn’t. At least, I don’t think it was. But we can’t be sure.

Schwarz Tauptinker and I were shown into a rather nice, nautical looking office.

And then, we did what we were supposed to do: we sat, and waited.

Around a half-hour later (we were both getting rather cranky) this old fellow came in and sat across from us. He had so many shiny gadgets on his shirt (coat), that it was quite impossible to see the shirt. But I could tell: the shirt didn’t fit him too well. (That’s not supposed to be a rhyme.)

“So,” he said, “we need a commodore for our fleet.”

“How many ships have you in the fleet?” I asked.

The brute turned to me. “Was I talking to you? I don’t think so. In fact, now that I think about it, why are you even here?”

“‘Cause I said so!” Schwarz shouted–almost.

That jolted the brute, and he turned back to Schwarz. “We have 3 ships in our fleet. And we need a commodore. Now, be warned, you’ll be the fiftieth person we’ve interviewed for this job.”

“Don’t see why I should care,” Schwarz remarked.

And he did have a point, I’d say.

The brute sort of bristled. “That means there’s a lot of competition for this job!”

“Yeah,” Schwarz answered, “but it’s not like I have to go through all the applicants. That’s your job.”

I think Schwarz had a point again.

The brute was about to say something else, when Daddy Salami came in, dressed like an Admiral.

He stared at the brute for a second or two, before screaming out, “What ya doing here, cur-sauce-noodle-brain!”

The brute stood up and took off his shirt (or coat) with all the buttons on it. It obviously wasn’t his.

“I was…I didn’t…I didn’t mean to do it! I mean, I was just having a bit of fun!”

“Get out of here,” Salami said, “before I decide to feed you to me pet barracuda!”

The brute was gone.

“Now,” Salami said as he sat. “Welcome, Commodore Schwarz Tauptinker.”



Express Yourself Weekly: Cranberries

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 25 November 2014 · 5 views

Good morning!

Welcome back to Express Yourself Weekly, brought to us by Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books.

This week, they ask us: What is your favorite family recipe/meal?

I LOVE cranberry sauce. I can eat a whole can by myself, and I love fresh cranberry sauce, too. Last year, I was disappointed and got none, because my cousin made it and put NUTMEG in it. You don't have to do anything to cranberry sauce but crush the cranberries and put in a bowl, so I don't understand why nutmeg was used. I couldn't eat it (I hate nutmeg).

So hopefully, this year I'm not disappointed. Or maybe I'll bring my own. lol



Successful Author Talk With Vicki Leigh & Fear Of Failure

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 25 November 2014 · 9 views

Todays guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Vicki Leigh.&nbsp;Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. Vicki's debut, <a href="https://www.goodread...hen-i-fall?ac=1" target="_blank">CATCH ME WHEN I FALL</a> is available from <a href="https://curiosityquills.com/" target="_blank">Curiosity Quills Press</a>.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://static.wixstatic.com/media/44ca82_f0bd8d2e63a64e91a9a7a9cfe715a3bd.jpg_srz_193_291_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://static.wixstatic.com/media/44ca82_f0bd8d2e63a64e91a9a7a9cfe715a3bd.jpg_srz_193_291_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz" /></a></div><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>I’m in the middle. I need some sort of backbone to know where my plot is headed, but when I write, I let my characters drive the story. And, more times than not, the story changes as I write. My favorite planning tools are the 7 Point Plot and Save the Cat. Then I pants my way through each plot point!</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>Now that I have a few manuscripts under my belt, it usually only takes me about 2 months to write a first draft. Then I do my revisions, send to my first-round CPs, revise again, send to my second-round CPs, and revise one final time. Then it’s off to my agent, and I revise again! So, when all’s said and done, from the moment I type the first word to when my agent tells me we’re ready to go…it’s about 4 to 5 months.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>I only work on one project at a time. I personally believe that writers would do well to take an acting class, because you really have to become your characters when you write. And I find that if I jump from manuscript to manuscript, I lose my characters’ voices. So, if I am bombarded by an evil plot bunny -- a character or a plot line screaming to be written -- I’ll take a second to jot down the idea in a document, but then I get back to the story I’m working on and try to set the other one aside for later.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>Failure. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so failure has always been my biggest fear. Even now, when I sit down to work on something new, I have to fight the desire to give up before I begin – because it’s easier to give up than put 150% into something and see it fail. But, I remind myself that giving up, by default, is failing – because I failed to write a book. And so, that keeps me going.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books (if any) did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>Just one, thank god. I’ve heard horror stories of authors who have, like, ten or fifteen manuscripts stuffed under their beds. I have to give those authors some serious kudos for not giving up, because I totally would have. But yes, I have one that will never see the light of day. It’s super, super awful; I cringe every time I read it. It deserved every rejection it got!</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>My agent is Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. I got a “yes” out of her via a traditional query; however, I did already have a publishing contract in hand! So, a little a-typical. But Sarah did still pull me out of the slush, read my manuscript quickly, loved it, and within just a few days, we were having “The Call.” In talking to her, I knew she was the agent for me, and a few days later, I wrote her to let her know I wanted to be on Team Negovetich! ☺</i><br /><br /><b>How many queries did you send?</b><br /><br /><i>Altogether, I think I sent out twenty queries. Five resulted in full requests. Three of those ended up passing, and I respectfully pulled my manuscript from the other after I signed with Sarah.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Don’t give up. I know everyone’s heard how subjective the business is, but it’s seriously true. Just compare your own reading likes to your friends. My bet is: they’re very different. It’s the same with agents. They have their likes and dislikes, just like the rest of us. So, one agent might not enjoy your manuscript, and another will adore it.</i><br /><br /><i>Exhaust your spreadsheet of agents before you decide to shelve your novel – though, send out your queries in small waves (like, send to five agents at a time) and pay close attention to the reasons your manuscript is getting rejected. If you have five to ten agents all saying your plot line doesn’t flow, odds are you probably need to look at your plot again. Fix it, then send to your next group of five agents.</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>Because I’m with a smaller house, I got to work a little closer with my cover artist. I sent an original cover idea to both him and my marketing team (what I’d hope to see on the cover, what emotions I’d like people to feel when they saw it, etc.), and then I okayed the stock photo before he immersed it in the full design. I then saw two in-progress versions, gave my input, and then he finalized it. That being said, I still didn’t have final say – that went to the marketing team – but I was still grateful I got as much input as I did!</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>That publishers really are approachable. To be honest, when I started this process, I kind of pictured publishers as these “big bosses” that you only came in contact with a few times – kind of like a corporate CEO that you saw maybe once every few months when they wanted to check up on their investments. But they’re really not like that, at least, not from my experience. I became good friends with my editor and my marketing director, I chatted regularly with the production guy who oversaw my book from the beginning stages to print, and I was in regular communication with the managing director of my publishing house who ensured the entire process ran smoothly.</i><br /><br /><i>In reality, your publisher wants your book to succeed as much as you do. And I was happily surprised that I wasn’t just “another author” on their roster.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you? &nbsp;</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>Because I’m with a small publisher, a lot of the marketing falls on my shoulders. The unfortunate reality is: small publishers don’t make the kind of money that the big publishers do; therefore, they don’t have the budget to assign a PR person to every author. We have a small marketing team of maybe three to four people who oversee all of us authors. So, while they do some things, like call stubborn book stores on our behalf to flash their publisher cards, we authors have to do most of it. But, if I’m being honest, I’m a control freak, so I’m okay with that. ;)</i><br /><br /><i>I do have a <a href="http://www.vleighwrites.com/" target="_blank">website</a> and am on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/vleighwrites" target="_blank">Twitter,</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/vickileighwrites" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;You can also find me at <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/vleighwrites" target="_blank">Pinterest</a>, <a href="http://www.instagram.com/vleighwrites" target="_blank">Instagram</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/vickileighwrites" target="_blank">YouTube</a>, <a href="http://www.google.com/+vickileighwrite" target="_blank">G+</a> and <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/vleighwrites" target="_blank">Goodreads</a>.</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>In my opinion: before. Although it’s not necessary if you write fiction (non-fiction’s a different story), it’s still good to build up a following so that when a publisher does acquire your book, you have people already excited to read it. And while an agent will still sign you if your book is good, they do look for authors who have already established a platform, because in this day of social media and e-books, your readership is global, and it’s important to market yourself and your books on the internet.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Absolutely! Social media gives authors a chance to connect with their readers in ways that could never happen before. For me, I love when I’m able to talk to my favorite authors and feel like I know them as a person, not just a name on a book cover.</i><br /><br /><br /><br />

<a href="http://writerwriterp...icki-leigh.html" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Fall 1st Hop Critique 9

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 25 November 2014 · 7 views

I'll give a shot at some first page comments. Keep in mind that feedback on a first page is subjective by nature. What does and does not catch the eye is going to vary by person. Each writer must weigh the comments they get against their own judgement and make the changes that resonate with them.

The hop is now closed. Be sure to finish up your critiques. Writers at the beginning and ending of the list should critique each other. If you have a revision, you can ask for feedback on the #Fall1stHop hashtag. 
Query Hop coming in December so stay tuned!
The random number generator picks 35! 
Here is the first page without comments:
YA Murder Mystery
A police car blocked the main road into my school’s burnt umber brick and whitewashed doors. I raised an eyebrow at it, nibbled a nail, and tripped out of the school minibus.
For April, the spring air rose way too crisply and held grass thick with swords of dew, and I struggled with the starched collar of my uniform as moisture crept up my arms and into that annoying air pocket between jumper and shirt. I loosened my tie and shook the wrinkles from my skirt.
“Agnetha! Come on.”
I jolted. Whilst I preferred Vera not laughing at me, I winced at her whining tone. Like I cared if we were late. First lesson on Fridays was Spanish, and I was already failing.
I walked to where she stood and rested a hand on one of her wrists with a nod towards the main entrance.
As she froze to follow my now-absent gaze, I wandered ahead and kicked at the flowerbed along the front lawn path. I’d have dived into the mushrooms and roses there instead of bumbling my way to class. I snapped off one pink-faced fool and tossed it into the mud, and then lifted a mushroom, shifting earth and shoe-dirt and wilderness as I tucked the fungus behind my ear.
A hand on my shoulder, and Vera had caught up. She skipped past me, bubbling with incessant words. “What’s up with the police car?”
“You think I know?” I eyed the blue, yellow and white chequers. Police cars had a weird kind of beauty.

And with my crazy comments:
YA Murder Mystery
A police car blocked the main road into my school’s burnt umber brick and whitewashed doors. I raised an eyebrow at it, nibbled a nail, and tripped out of the school minibus. (This second sentence falls flat for me.) I stare at it as I trip out of the school minibus, nibbling on a fingernail.
For April, the spring air rose way too crisply and held grass thick with swords of dew (I think you're trying to say it's hot, but being way too fancy. And I kind of expected something more about the police car) For April, the air stifled, leaving me struggling ... and I struggled with the starched collar of my uniform as moisture crept up my arms and into that annoying air pocket between jumper and shirt. I loosened my tie and shook the wrinkles from my skirt. (I do like the rest of the paragraph but wonder if we shouldn't have something more important or some wonder from her about the police car after she shakes out her skirt.  Such as: Why were the police here?)
“Agnetha! Come on.”
I jolted. (This sounds awkward and you say the same thing in two sentences. You only need it once.) I winced at Vera's whining tone. Whilst I preferred Vera not laughing at me, I winced at her whining tone. Like I cared if we were late. The first lesson today on Fridays (feels like you're feeding us information. Does the day matter?) was Spanish, and I was already failing.
I walked to where she stood and rested a hand on one of her wrists with a nod towards the main entrance.
As she followed my froze to follow my now-absent gaze, I wandered ahead and kicked at the flowerbed along the front lawn path. I’d have If only I could dived into the mushrooms and roses there instead of bumbling my way to class. I snapped off one a pink-faced fool and tossed it into the mud, and then lifted a mushroom, shifting earth and shoe-dirt and wilderness as I tuckeding the fungus behind my ear.
A hand on my shoulder, and Vera had caught up. She Vera skipped past me, bubbling with incessant words. “What’s up with the police car?” (Wouldn't Vera have seen it too when she got off the bus? Why would she have to be told to look at it? It just doesn't seem natural. Maybe if Agnetha redirects her to look at it again. Or if Vera mentions it without having to be directed that way.)
“You think I know?” I eyed the blue, yellow and white chequers. Police cars had a weird kind of beauty. (I feel like we have a main character with a very unique perspective here. Agnetha is interesting.)

To me this passage feels a little stilted or forced, like the writing is trying too hard. It doesn't come across as natural. It's being fancy for the sake of fanciness, not to create a feeling of stiffness in the character. Getting off the school bus is something Agnetha does everyday. It should have a casual feel.

Also why direct Vera to look at the police car. Wouldn't she see it and mention it on her own?

Where the first page could be formal and stiff is about the police car. Maybe you should create a little more ominous feel to the police car. The last paragraph would be a great place to put a little creepiness.

I like this character and this passage made me curious about what happens next.

I hope this helps. 



Note to Self

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 24 November 2014 · 18 views

It's a bit early, but I've managed to squeak across that 50k NaNoWriMo finish line! The draft's not done yet, probably still another 20k to go. Hoping to have most of that wrapped up before the chaos of Christmas prep begins so I can let it simmer a bit over the holidays.

When I'm drafting, I don't fine tune as I go. Instead I leave myself notes on how to fix things later.

  • this is all telling
  • cliche alert!
  • this stinks, but the core of the scene is good
  • this isn't the right word
  • do a find search for probably & maybe
  • check to see how many days have passed
  • what colour is his hair??
  • add in some scene setting
  • does the doctor have a last name?
  • good place to add description
  • blech - fix this

Do you leave yourself notes as you go? Or do you have to stop and fix it at the time?



Deb Borys Will Be on In Print Radio

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 22 November 2014 · 27 views

Originally posted on In Print:
Lolita Ditzler and Deb Borys Award winning interviewer and In Print member Lolita Ditzler spoke with suspense writer Deb Borys about her “Street Stories” set of novels that take place in Chicago.  Deb also read…



Kim Long - Query Kombat 2014 SUCCESS STORY!

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 22 November 2014 · 34 views

 Happy happy happy again, WE'VE GOT ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY! These make our days :) This one is from Kim Long who participated in Query Kombat 2014.   


A couple years ago I decided I wanted to write a book. I always enjoyed writing, and every now and then I'd get inspired for a few weeks and work diligently at putting words onto paper, but it wasn't something I took seriously. One night I was reading Game of Thrones and thought how great it'd be if there was a book solely about Arya Stark.I've always considered Arya the most interesting (even though there's other characters I love, like Tyrion), but there's so many characters in Martin's books that we don't see enough of her. So, with this bright idea, I closed the word document containing my legal thriller and started a YA fantasy that focused on a fourteen-year-old girl. Fast forward to a year-and-a-half later. Manuscript is finished. I write my query (getting suggestions from Query Tracker folks) and send it out.


I enter it in Pitch Madness.


I enter Sun & Snow.

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

I decide to read some YA fantasy. (Now there's an idea--one I should have had much earlier, but hey, better late then never.) I learn that my original ideas aren't so original, and, overall, I'm not sure there's anything really unique or spectacular to make my YA fantasy stand out. I do a complete overhaul and decide to query one more time. I also enter a few more contests (The Writer's Voice, LIke a Virgin, etc. - same crickets as before.) But during this time, I also come to the conclusion that it's probably best to move on and write something completely different. Because the one thing I did learn over the two years was how much I really loved writing. Why hadn't I been doing this earlier? Oh that's right, I have a day job and a zillion other things to do. But I didn't want to stop, and with tons of ideas popping into my head, how could I?

So I send out my last batch of queries for the YA in late January 2014 and start an MG fantasy. The words came easier this time--much easier, as did pacing, showing vs. telling, the query letter, everything really. Apparently, that YA novel had taught me something. I finished in early May 2014 with my eye on Query Kombat. I entered before my beta readers finished it and was thrilled when Michelle picked my entry, Star Light, Star Bright, for her team. I advanced a few rounds, but the greatest part was all the incredibly positive comments I received. Overall, people loved the query letter, the idea, and the voice. I was definitely onto something!

I sent out five queries in late May and then a few more in July. I received two requests for fulls out of the first six queries I sent. Wow. I couldn't believe it! Between July and early September I sent out a few more queries (basically, whenever I read about someone who said she/he had received a rejection a year after getting a full request, I got scared and sent out a few more queries). The request rate stayed pretty constant. I had six full requests out of 22 queries.

Then in early October I got an email from an agent saying she loved the book, but thought certain parts could be more developed. She passed, but said if I felt like revising, please send it her way. At the time, I had been revising one of the parts at issue, having come to a similar conclusion. I really liked the way the revisions were going and, even though the agent had passed, I was hopeful she would like the revisions . . . and that's when Agent #2 emailed that she loved the initial manuscript and would like to offer representation. But what about the revisions I loved so much? Since I liked the changes, I quickly completed the revisions, notified the other agents of the offer, sent the new version to everyone (including the agent who had indicated she'd love to look at a revised version) and waited.

I ended up with multiple offers, and everyone I talked to was great. But Sara Crowe had been one of the first agents I queried, and when she emailed, "I LOVE this book," my heart skipped a beat. The ensuing conversation was just as amazing, and everyone says to go with your gut, so that's what I did. I'm thrilled to say I am now represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger.

Now, I know this is very long for a success story, but if I had said I wrote a book in three-and-a-half months, sent 22 queries, got six full requests, and an offer three-and-a-half months later from my dream agent, it would seem like things came very easy. They didn't. It was three years of writing, of rejection on the YA, of entering contests and not getting picked, and of getting no favorites in twitter contests. But persistence does pay off, as does knowing when it's time to try something new. My YA is still there, and there are parts of it I love and may try to rework some day, but the best thing I could have done was move onto something new. If I had any advice, that would be it--stick with it, use contests to get to know people and improve your writing, and don't get discouraged. Remember that we're in this for the long haul and for the love of the story.

Kim Long is an attorney working in the Chicagoland area who, when not lawyering or writing, spends time drawing, bicycling, and becoming way too invested in her fantasy football and baseball teams.

Without a doubt, success seems to come fast and easy.  Rick Riordan has an AMAZING blog post about this. Anyway, CONGRATS CONGRATS KIM! Check out her blog AND CONGRATULATE/FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER! Good luck with everything :)



Eggnog and Candy Canes: A Hot New Release From Blueberry Springs

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 21 November 2014 · 31 views

<p><a href="http://www.jeanoram....dyCanes36K.jpeg"><img class="size-full wp-image-954 alignleft" src="http://www.jeanoram.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/EggnogCandyCanes36K.jpeg" alt="Eggnog and Candy Canes: A Blueberry Springs Christmas Novella" width="200" height="300" /></a>Ready for the holidays?</p>
<p>I’m not, but <em>Eggnog and Candy Canes</em> is!</p>
<p>Blueberry Springs is back! And so are Katie and Nash and they are butting heads…or are they?</p>
<p><em>Eggnog and Candy Canes</em> is another standalone story in the Blueberry Springs small town romance series. It is a novella–about 120 pages, or about half the length of the other Blueberry Springs novels. It is book four so if you are reading in order as to not spoil the endings of some of the other books, read in this order…</p>
<h4>Blueberry Springs Reading Order</h4>
<p>Champagne and Lemon Drops (book 1)–Beth &amp; Oz &amp; Nash<br />Whiskey and Gumdrops (book 2)–Mandy &amp; Frankie<br />Rum and Raindrops (book 3)–Jen &amp; Rob<br />Eggnog and Candy Canes (book 4)–Katie &amp; Nash<br />Blueberry Springs Valentine’s Day short story collection (book 5–coming February 2015)–Several couples to be revealed<br />Vodka and Chocolate Drops (b00k 6–coming in 2015)–Amber &amp; Russell &amp; Scott</p>
<p>Did you see that? I slipped two new Blueberry Springs books in the reading order after <em>Eggnog and Candy Canes</em>! And the best part? The short story collection is going to be <a title="Subscribe to find out how to get these freebies!" href="http://www.jeanoram.com/signup" target="_blank">FREE for my newsletter subscribers! Have you subscribed?</a> (Click to get in on it so you don’t miss out on the free stories! PLUS, subscribers will also be getting a chance to get a free audiobook copy of <em>Champagne and Lemon Drops</em> when it comes out in December as a little thank you to my readers!)</p>
<h3>Eggnog and Candy Canes: A Blueberry Springs Christmas Novella</h3>
<p><strong><em>Because sometimes enemies make the best boyfriends!</em></strong></p>
<p>Two enemies. One snowstorm.</p>
<p>Nurse Katie Reiter’s nemesis, Dr. Nash Leham is back in Blueberry Springs and he came for one thing—Katie. Will their battles turn to stolen kisses in the midst of a Christmas storm or will Katie find her happily ever after in the arms of another?</p>
<p>A humourous enemies to lovers romance. Only $1.99 ebook or $7.99 paperback.</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on Amazon" href="http://amzn.to/10PLaB3" target="_blank">Amazon US</a></strong><br /><strong><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on Amazon UK" href="http://amzn.to/1vQqVi4" target="_blank">Amazon UK</a></strong><br /><strong><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on Barnes and Noble" href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1120651839?ean=2940046368772" target="_blank">Barnes and Noble</a></strong><br /><strong><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on iTunes" href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eggnog-and-candy-canes/id926566840?ls=1&amp;mt=11" target="_blank">iTunes</a></strong><br /><strong><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on Kobo" href="http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/eggnog-and-candy-canes" target="_blank">Kobo</a></strong><br /><a title="Eggnog and Candy Canes on Google Play and Google Books" href="https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jean_Oram_Eggnog_and_Candy_Canes?id=W2lNBQAAQBAJ&amp;hl=en" target="_blank">Google</a></p>
<h3> Eggnog and Candy Canes: A Sneak Peek</h3>
<p>Sneak peek time!! Are you ready? Check it out! Eggnog and Candy Canes is on several hot new release lists on Amazon including Women’s Fiction Humor and Holiday stories. Here’s why:</p>
<p>Chapter One</p>
<p>There was only one way to make the already dreaded holiday season worse.<br />And thanks to nurse Katie Reiter’s cousin, the staffing director of the Blueberry Springs hospital—a man Katie had believed to be on her side when he’d loaded her schedule with requested shifts blanketing December 24 to 26—it was happening.<br />Nash Leham, her arch nemesis and biggest rival for the title of the Most Organized and Detail-oriented Staff Member, was back.<br />“Hello, Katie.” Nash’s blue eyes sized her up and she felt as though they were delving into her soul in a way she’d forgotten was possible. And seeing a lot more than she allowed most to see.<br />She scooted behind the nurses’ station. “Hello, Dr. Leham,” she said curtly, before mentally slapping herself for forgetting their old game. She’d meant to be cool and aloof, calling him “Doctor,” a title that was much too formal for Blueberry Springs, instead of giving him what he wanted—authority. Although that game was from back when he’d been engaged to her best friend, now sister-in-law. Back before he’d become the jilted groom, and returned to his natural habitat—the city. And now Katie had just handed Mr. Alpha Top Dog a one-up by calling him Dr. Leham instead of Nash.<br />Maybe she could blame the holiday season for softening her edges.<br />Or maybe she needed to pull herself together.<br />“Welcome back.” She quickly rearranged files, hiding her In Style and French fashion magazines, and generally attempting to appear completely organized. Being bare-bones staff for Christmas Eve, Katie had taken the rare luxury of spreading out the files she was working on. People said that Nash had changed after Beth dumped him, but there were only so many ways a guy like him would change, and Katie was pretty sure he was still capable of his “let’s keep our patients safe by staying organized” lectures.<br />“Looking for double pay to afford that perfect life and snappy style of yours?” she asked. Okay, so she was being a bit of a you-know-what, but they hadn’t exactly gotten along in the past and she might as well remind him that she wasn’t about to fawn over him like the other nurses used to.<br />And yeah, her conscience was reminding her that they’d done good work together and that he was actually a decent guy who had tried to do well by her friend, but it hadn’t worked out. Beth was over it; Katie should be, too.<br />Except she was pretty sure that if she softened her stance in their mini war he would go in for the proverbial kill. The man had so many rules and regulations memorized, as well as that fat stick shoved so far up his hiney it was a miracle he could bend over to tie his polished Oxfords. Only a man such as Nash could make her life hell for the next few days, and she’d taken these extra holiday shifts to chill out and avoid situations that would make her head explode, thank you very much.<br />“You like my style?” Nash asked, eyes narrowed.<br />Yes. Now go away. Forever.<br />“Too pretentious.”<br />In truth, she loved the fact that Nash never wore stained, worn-out or disheveled attire. He exuded classy confidence and his blond hair was always perfect. She’d hated his old Blueberry Springs condo for only one reason: she’d wanted it to be hers. It had been a homey blend of comfort, style, and modern simplicity. In other words, it had stood for everything Katie didn’t have in her life.<br />“Above my station?” he asked.<br />“Not exactly.” She smoothed her ponytail. “Just trying to be bigger and better than everyone else. As usual.”<br />He leaned against the counter and whispered in a low, suggestive voice that sent shivers through her soul, “Maybe I am bigger and better than everyone else, Katie Reiter.”<br />Okay, that was a different side of Nash. Definitely. She needed to close her mouth and stop imagining him taking her in the little storage closet just down the hall, her name on his lips as he…<br />Oh, wow. This whole being on the rebound after being dumped by one’s long-term boyfriend was messing with her brain. That’s what it had to be. Not…lust. Not for Nash.<br />Yuck.<br />He grinned, as if knowing the effect he was having, and patted the counter’s worn surface. “I’m back for two days.”<br />“Is it day two?” she asked hopefully. The sooner he was out of here the better.<br />Nash’s serious blue eyes took her in. She smoothed her ponytail again and stood a tad taller, matching his height. Hm. She could have sworn she was taller than he was.<br />“Day one. Hour one.” He straightened his crisp, white doctor’s coat. “Filling in. Being a nice guy. All that. It is possible, you know.”<br />“How did I not know you were coming? I must have missed the hounds of hell howling to announce your imminent arrival.”<br />“Well, Miss Head Nurse, I know this is may be news to you, so I’ll break it to you gently. The gist of it is you don’t know everything.”<br />What. A. Jerk.<br />“I didn’t miss you one iota.”<br />His eyes darkened with what she could have sworn was disappointment, if it had been pretty much anyone other than Nash.<br />They stared at each other in silence and Katie wondered if he’d heard about the party she’d held when he’d finally returned to the city to resume his oh-so-amazing career somewhere not filled with backward, casual, unprofessional hicks. Old anger stirred as she thought of his consummate professional attitude and let’s-make-things-better, gung-ho persona.<br />In other words, it had been nice having him gone. Really nice.<br />“You look well,” he said. “Is Will treating you right?”<br />“Well, he dumped me, so yes. I suppose from your viewpoint, he is treating me right.” Go figure that the one time Nash deigned to ask about her life it was to poke a finger in the festering sore of being dumped when she’d been expecting an engagement ring.<br />Men. So typically unreliable.<br />Nash’s expression closed and Katie resisted the urge to ask about his own love life. Not because she wanted to know—it was Nash, after all. But because that would be a sore worth poking. It would also likely be the very definition of awkward, seeing as, one, her brother was the reason Nash wasn’t happily married to her best friend. And two, her best friend had dumped him. For her brother. Full circle. A whole big tangled ball of awkward.<br />Plus, add in the whole yay-he-left-town party thing.<br />“We have a suture in ER room three,” Nash said quietly.<br />He seemed bothered by her banter. Where was his usual spunk? His volley back over the net? That knowing smirk that used to drive her mad and make her vow to get further under his skin next time?<br />He couldn’t leave her hanging here as the big bad bitch, could he?<br />Well, he was Nash, so yes he could.<br />But maybe he really had changed. Which would mean she’d have to be nice.<br />Boo. Hiss. That wasn’t going to happen. Him playing Mr. Nice Guy was probably a game aimed at getting back at her for decorating his Beemer with streamers when he’d left town.<br />“Amy is dispensing meds, so you’re on.” He turned, glancing over his shoulder expectantly when she didn’t fall into step behind him like the perfect little nurse she was supposed to be.<br />She was starting to really despise nursing. Even more than usual.<br />“Of course,” she muttered, hanging back enough to prove that they were most definitely not walking together.<br />Approaching room three, where town gossip and newspaper reporter Liz Moss-Brady was apparently waiting for them, Nash turned, trapping Katie unexpectedly in a small, blaringly white corner. His eyes were serious and oh so blue. She froze, not knowing what to expect.<br />Hot diggedy, he smelled good. The same cologne as her brother, she’d guess, except on Nash it smelled…sexy. Definitely not an innocent scent. It was as though someone had taken all the testosterone in the world, all the sexiness and…no.<br />This was Nash. Her supervisor for the next two days.<br />She inhaled involuntarily. Yep, totally different than on her brother. On Nash, the scent was as though Daniel Craig and Ryan Gosling had morphed into one megasexy being that contained their appeal as well as the pull of a dreamy accent such as Pierce Brosnan’s and the primal ferocity of Wolverine.<br />All wrapped into one man. One scent.<br />Completely dangerous.<br />And her body had noticed. Was definitely reacting. Knees weak and jelly-like. Pulse throbbing. Clammy anticipation swinging through her nerve endings. Check, check, checkity-check. Her body was gearing up in a way that was similar to the primal “give it to me”’ call of the wild. If she were a rhesus monkey, her butt cheeks would be a shocking red right now.<br />Ew. Not a sexy thought. And now she’d never be able to inhale around her brother without feeling incredibly uncomfortable.<br />Great. Thanks a lot, Nash Leham. You big monkey bottom.<br />“Katie,” Nash said in his serious-doctor-melodrama voice. “Can we just drop it?”<br />“Drop what?” She glanced at his hands. So perfect. Clean. Strong. Deft. No wonder he was a good doctor, a good surgeon and likely a very good lover.<br />She returned her attention to his face so fast she just about gave herself vertigo. What was her problem today? Unused hormones lingering around, not realizing that having been dumped she simply didn’t need them messing with her? Because it had been two simple, carefree weeks and the hormones should just go away and never come back until she said it was safe.<br />Right now? Not safe.<br />“This.” He pointed to her chest, then his own. “Whatever invisible thing we’ve been fighting, let’s drop it and enjoy the next couple of days.”<br />Katie tried to form words.<br />He smiled as though confiding in her, and her knees weakened again. “We’re a good team, Katie. One of the best. Let’s rock it out of the park.”<br />They were a good team. Even though they were always fighting and trying to one-up and cut each other off. Well, no…that was mostly just her. Trying to take him down a notch. She couldn’t help it. She hated the fact that he always knew everything. And now he was telling her to get over it so they could be a team, because she was the one who always started it.<br />How embarrassingly immature of her—but only because he was totally calling her on it.<br />“We complement each other,” he continued. “You are incredibly organized and knowledgeable and I have always admired that.”<br />Katie sank against the wall. He was complimenting her? This wasn’t the first time he had, but it was the first time she’d actually listened and believed it to be true, not part of some overarching game. That was the difference. She’d been competing with him, but now he wanted a teammate.<br />However, you couldn’t always trust men, though. Take Will, for example. She’d bought him a five hundred dollar car stereo system, thinking she had to balance out an engagement ring. Now it turned out she was going to be one of many gracing the gift returns line in the city after the holidays. Couldn’t her ex at least hinted that he was leaning toward “I don’t” instead of “I do”?<br />“Now that there is no longer a conflict of interest between us, can we work together in harmony, Katie?”<br />She struggled to comprehend Nash’s words.<br />His coat brushed her Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer nursing scrubs. “Can we?”<br />* * *<br /><i>End of sneak peek. Copyright Jean Oram–please contact for any copying or distributing, etc. Thanks!</i></p>
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My Writing Process: Why I Write

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 November 2014 · 24 views

If I recall correctly, the first post I made to this particular blog was about the question of how I know if I'm a real writer. I've long since answered that question in my mind. Even if I hadn't recently published my first novel, I know I'm a real writer. Why? The answer is rather esoteric: because I write. 

The next logical question should probably then be why do I write? I could go in a circle and say because I'm a writer, but that would just be silly. And not in a fun way. So why do I write? For a few reasons.

First, I write because I don't think I can not write. Asking why a writer writes is like asking a runner why he or she runs, but maybe even more basically it's like asking a human why he or she breathes. How could I not? I'm unable not to write. Yes, I can hold my breath for a short time, but my body will force me to breathe at some point. In the same way, I may get busy and not write for a few days, but I can't keep it up forever. Before I know it, I'm here in front of the keyboard, neglecting some urgent task, in order to mentally and spiritually respirate. 

Second, I write because it's the one place where life makes sense. As people who actually know me are aware, my life has been pretty out of control in the last several months. My marriage of 28 years is over in every way except legally, and that part comes soon. At the age of 51, I'm in the process of moving in with my parents (only until the end of the school year or until the perfect apartment comes along, whichever comes first). But when I write, people do what I want them to. The good guy wins. The distressed person gets rescued. The bad guy pays for his crimes. The couple stays married, and not just legally. Even if real life is a bad banana with a greasy black peel, to borrow from the great Dr. Seuss, the world I create when I write is perfectly ripe. Not green anymore, but not mushy and gross. Just right. Why would I not do that?

Finally, I write because I want to make a living writing. And I definitely won't do that if I don't write--well and regularly. The more I write, the more I increase my chances that I can actually make meaningful money at it. That's not as romantic as the other two reasons, but most writers, high-minded working-on-my-art statements aside, want to be able to write full-time, and that can only happen if you're independently wealthy (I'm not--If I were, I would've been Batman a long time ago) or you get people to give you money in exchange for your writing. I'm hoping that will work out, but it definitely won't if I don't keep writing. 

So how about it--want to give me some money in exchange for my writing? Go here



One reason why I write: Fighting off guilt amid a busy life

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 20 November 2014 · 38 views

I’ve read six books in the past week. I don’t say that to brag. I also watched Maleficent and the first season of The Blacklist and, of course, new episodes of The Walking Dead, The 100 and The Originals. I’m desperately trying to not think about writing. The problem is, I’ve finished a new manuscript and I need to let some time pass before I pick it up to edit. But when I’m not actually writing, new stories and new characters come knocking on my brain. And I can’t start a new story (as tempting as it is) without finishing my last one. I can’t! (Especially when it’s a dystopian! No writing a dystopian!)


But as I’ve tried to fill up my time, this desperation and frustration have gotten me considering why I write. Because not only am I trying to distract myself, I’m also battling this sinking feeling that I’m failing to get stuff done that as an adult, wife and mother I should be getting done. I mean, yes, I’ve folded the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, worked 40+ hours at the newspaper, planned a birthday party for a soon-to-turn 5-year-old, carted around said kid, made food, spent three hours at the eye doctor. And yet…

I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished enough. Maybe that says something about my judge-y personality, or maybe it says something about being a working mother, or just a mother. Or maybe it’s that I’ve put all of these hours into watching or reading stories, and what I have to show for it is nebulous. How do you value reading fiction? Do you need to justify it to yourself? Those around you? I’ve discovered new authors this week whose work I love. I watched this beautiful movie that’s sure to inspire how I picture scenes, and the zombie show that makes me shiver. All of that feeds my creative process, I’m sure, as would getting some sleep have done. But it’s like the brainstorming process that happens in my head—there’s not really anything concrete to show for it. Does it count if there’s nothing to show for it?

My gut says yes, but when (it feels like) I’m stealing that time from all these important other things that need my attention, I feel guilty. Maybe my daughter would be reading by now if I put my focus there. Maybe my husband would be happier. Maybe my house would be cleaner and I’d be better rested and my puppy would come when I call her. Or maybe not. I have this need to create stories (dystopian or not) and maybe if I deny it or ignore it, all I’d be is a frustrated, desperate person. But how should time chasing writing pursuits rank on my list of priorities? How do we weigh that?

I’m not sure, but what I do know: When I’m writing or editing, my progress via page count is measurable and concrete. That makes me feel like I have real evidence to justify how I spent (or didn’t spend) my time. Like, the living room’s a mess, but I wrote 10 pages. I only got four hours of sleep, but I edited a chapter. That feels more like justifiable accomplishment—and I feel less guilty.



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Gina Ciocca

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 19 November 2014 · 45 views

    Inevitably when an author talks about their writing journey we always hear about querying and “the call”, but one of the things I always ask  about in interviews, and feel is incredibly important, is the critique process.   As today’s featured writer, Gina Ciocca points out, critique partners and beta readers are critical to the process of writing, “You […]



Interview on GRAB THE LAPELS

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 19 November 2014 · 32 views

I am linking to this interview about me and my writing — http://grabthelapels.weebly.com/ By the way, this is a great blog/website for finding books, reviews, articles, and other valuable info. about women authors.



Manga Review: Spice and Wolf Vol. #9

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 18 November 2014 · 39 views

Spice and Wolf is a wildly popular light novel series that has spawned off an anime, an Internet radio show, and a manga series. While its European medieval setting is typical of high fantasy, this series has  a unique bent to it. Rather than swordfights and magic, the plot focuses on economics, trade, and peddling in a way that skillfully blends adventure and romance.

Yen Press has recently released the ninth volume of the Spice and Wolf manga, and you can read on for the review. (For my reviews of previous Spice and Wolf releases, click here.)

The Review

Eve, whom we only caught a glimpse of in Volume 8, gets introduced in earnest in Volume 9, and she is, if nothing else, complicated. While shepherdess Norah and clergywoman Elsa were both interesting in their own right, their respective occupations weren’t too terribly unusual. Eve, however, is a merchant, which is such an anomaly for her gender that she dresses as a man to conduct business. On top of that, she’s former nobility. She’s no shrinking petunia though. She’s bold enough to literally sink a ship for profit and so successful she’s no shortage of people wanting to partner with her.

A complex personality indeed, and thanks to her, Lawrence gets to speak to the Jean Company regarding the strip mining book that could threaten Holo’s homeland. Of course, it’s not charity on Eve’s part. She’s involved in the Kerube dispute, acting as the Northerners’ “mercenary” in negotiations with the Southern moneylenders. While land and massive amounts of money are involved, this Spice and Wolf conflict is less an economics lesson and more a behind the scenes power struggle. Unfortunately, so many nuanced details are involved that the intrigue is difficult to follow, and I still haven’t figured out what Lawrence means when he laments to Holo that Eve is being used as a “scapegoat.”

However, everything changes when a ship just happens to catch a narwhal in the middle of the negotiations. The timing is extremely convenient, but at least it simplifies the town conflict to “the side that gets the narwhal wins.” As a result of this unexpected development, Eve finds herself needing Lawrence’s assistance and dangles the strip mining book as bait. Unfortunately, siding with her would put him at odds with his guild, a position no sane merchant would dare take. All in all, it’s a tricky situation for Kerube and Lawrence.

Fortunately, the waif Col offers some simplicity amid all the machinations and back room talk. He has yet to discover Holo’s wisewolf secret, and dialogues involving him are refreshingly straightforward. We even get the secret behind the copper coin manifests introduced in Volume 8, and Koume-sensei’s illustrations of Col’s explanation are a hundred times clearer than the all-text version in the light novel.

Extras include a world map, story thus far summary, and creators’ closing remarks.

In Summary

The search for the strip mining text embroils Lawrence in a citywide property financing dispute and a vixenish merchant’s scheme. Eve is an intriguing new addition to the cast, but it is difficult to discern the role she is playing in the Kerube marketplace conflict, which is less about economics and more about machinations driven by greed and power. Holo seems to tease Lawrence excessively regarding his interactions with the female merchant, but that aside, it is interesting to watch the maneuvers of a human woman who appears a match for even Holo’s wits.

First published at the Fandom Post.



Release Day : Arcadia (The Wonderlust Chronicles #1) by Hope Christine

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 07 November 2014 · 58 views

Ever since Sky Captain Lemise Holdif was a boy, he’s been faced with the End of Days. For decades an unknown enemy has been systematically wiping out life in the galaxy, starting with the most advanced societies. Now Arcadia, a world built from the trash of an entire galaxy, is the only planet left capable of distant space travel, and the next target. Lemise is desperate to save his home world, but his plans are interrupted when an alien visitor transports onto his ship.
Lead Specialist Paelae Madison is the last of her kind. The only survivor of the First Attack, and bent on revenge for the destruction of her people. In desperation, she teleports onto an Arcadian ship and offers aid in the coming war. Arcadia sees her as a hero, but Lemise is weary to trust a stranger who’s survived over five hundred previous battles.
Together the two fight to defeat an enemy far more advanced, and far more cunning than Arcadia has ever known. But extinction lurks around every corner, and The Enemy isn’t the only one threatening to destroy the world.

Buy Links:

Take a Peek at Arcadian Culture:

Arcadia is a junkyard planet but it collects more than just broken ships. Before it was a recognized planet, it had been a place of refuge for lost voyagers. Eventually it began to collect people like it collected trashed technology. Some were refugees, others were stranded after running out of money for their journey, and some were simply shunned from their own worlds.

With so many different people there’s a lot of borrowed pieces of culture that has been meshed together to form the Arcadian way of life. For example: they love to refurbish or repurpose technology but it is the highest crime of their court systems to help create or aide in the creation of cyborgs: part human, part technology. Don’t improve what man did not make.

The law developed from their belief that a soul cannot find the World Beyond unless the body is whole. It makes navigating the Field of Stars, a type of purgatory, difficult because a partial soul would have to wait for a whole soul to help guide them. This belief was stolen from the Monks on the planet Maldeen who had a very different lifestyle, rarely traveling into space.

Paelae is the outsider on Arcadia, she comes from a more crisp and clean way of traveling space. It’s like taking Captain Picard and putting him on the Serenity. She has a hard time adjusting to their way of life but as you read it from her perspective you begin to pick up on where all those bits and pieces of Arcadian society came from.

Lemise, who is born on Arcadia and has had little contact with other races (since most just fire at them for scavenging the graves of the dead) sees Paelae’s past life on the Imladian ships as very excessive and wasteful. In this way, as well as others, they tend to clash.

As the story progresses you can really see how Paelae’s and Lemise’s culture begin to shape who they become from a young age. 

Read an Excerpt:

Officers stumbled over each other in preparation for the day ahead. As soon as the first rays of purple sunshine peaked over the city, a line had started to form for the bathrooms, and Paelae was thrust back into the world of the living with a jolt. Sweat covered her face, and her breathing was too rapid.
Despite the cramped space, the other women gave her a reasonable berth, some eying her while checking their weapons.
Had she screamed in her sleep? The nights had grown increasingly rare when she didn’t have a nightmare.
“Hey.” Paelae sat up and tugged the clothes out of her trunk. She ran a hand over the purple and black jumpsuit provided for her; it felt wrong, wearing the colors of another people. It was the first time anyone offered her a uniform. She preferred the Imladian one; it was familiar.
“Hey.” This time she looked up, noticing that the one-word sentence had been directed to her.
A woman stood at the end of her bed, arms crossed and legs apart as if at ease. “Name’s Benni. I’m your guard.”
Of course, the woman from the ship. 
Benni was a head shorter than Paelae and bore the markings of a low rank.
“I’m Paelae,” she said and stood to greet Benni with a hard stare. “I’m your…” She searched for an appropriate word.
“Ally,” Benni finished for her. “Sky cap’s waiting outside for you.”
Paelae took the cue and began her attempt to navigate out of the barracks, jumping over beds and weaving around people until she reached the metal door. Outside, the world was tainted purple as the sun filtered through Arcadia’s atmospheric shielding, a product of too many chemical bombs. What had once been a rushed patch job to keep air on the planet had since evolved into a last line of defense worthy of acknowledgment. It was one of few things Arcadians boasted about among the planets—when the planets still existed.
Captain Lemise stood just outside the barrack doors, looking across the miles of asphalt designated for intergalactic travel. Bordering the west side of the airfield and encroaching fast upon the north, were piles of rejected technology and broken spaceships tossed out by hundreds of different races. 
That’s how Arcadia had started, as a junkyard, but then lost voyagers found a home on it, attracting others—from those shunned by their own people to travelers broken down with no funds to continue on their journey. Eventually, it became a home for those who had nowhere else to go, and scavenging became more than an act of survival; it became a trade.
Most of the north and east were surrounded by low-class, brick apartment buildings, meant for the soldiers and their families.
“You’re not in uniform.” Lemise deduced upon seeing her. “If you want on my Chasers, you wear my uniform.”
Paelae shrugged. “Bathroom line was too long to change.”
Lemise began to walk away. “Then wake up earlier.”
Paelae walked close behind with Benni in tow as the sky captain began to explain. “Miss Demitri is our chief innovation and engineering specialist; with a screwdriver and a handful of computer chips, she could change a toaster into an engine. You will work beside her under close supervision. I want a particle shield by the end of the week.”
She almost laughed. Particle shields were difficult with the right materials, but with makeshift metals and roundabout wiring, he would be lucky if it turned on in three weeks.
“In exchange, you will work beside me in the evenings,” he continued.
Lemise didn’t expand any further on her evening expectations, but Paelae suspected they would be dull at best until Lemise began to trust her better.
“Unless there are complications. Then I will jettison you out of an airlock in EWAN territory. Am I understood?”
“Yes, sir,” she said. Centuries of military training had drilled the habit into her.
He led them to a jeep, and another soldier drove them east to a warehouse that stood ten stories tall. Behind it, a mesh, wire gate separated civilian from soldiers. Paelae watched as a group of young boys tossed a ball back and forth to each other, running down a deserted street to throw it in a trash can.
They used to play a similar game on the cityship as trainees. It was one of the few bits and pieces they had smuggled from the Earthen culture, played in secret when the officers had left.
Once, General Amir had caught them midgame when he came to get Paelae for sparring lessons. Anything Earthen was not to be spoken of or remembered in any way, but she had been rebellious as all teenagers were those days. Everyone had frozen in place. The terror coursing through their bodies made them forget to even salute. Trying to run would have been devastating.
Amir had walked between them, assessing the trainees. He had been furious, but his anger hadn’t been displayed in shouting or beating; it had filled the silence that spread between moments in time.
“Madison,” he addressed with a calm, collected demeanor, turning to look at her. “Why do we not register Earth as a planet in our systems?”
She didn’t reply.
“Madison!” This time the words were forceful, bringing her back from the past. Lemise and Benni had already departed from the vehicle and waited for her.
With a sigh, she shook the memory away, letting it dissipate into the morning air and jumped out of the jeep.
Lemise led them through an open garage door. Inside, the warehouse resembled a miniature junkyard. As Paelae looked closer, she could tell that the piles had been organized to some degree. One had wire, another had chips, and a third was weaponry.
“Demitri!” Lemise called. A clatter of metal followed, and the sky captain took that as a cue. They wove in and out of large piles and then climbed over smaller ones until the ground could be seen again. A giant square of cleared floor sat under an open roof, and near the opposite end, a young woman drew up schematics on a metalwork table.
“Demitri,” Lemise called again as they walked up to her.
Demitri glanced up through layers of grease stains and smudges of dirt. Bright red hair fell in a tangled mess past her shoulders, held back by a set of goggles. Deep, blue crescents were visible beneath her eyes, as if the woman had been bruised. 
“Did you sleep here last night?” He didn’t address her as a soldier, nor did she wear a uniform. Instead, brown overalls adorned her skeletal frame, and a belt of odd tools kept it hanging up.
Demitri gave him a confused look. “No. I’ve only just arrived.”
“You were supposed to be in an hour ago,” Lemise said as the military eased back into his speech.
“I was delayed,” she said and threw her arms open. “It’s not like I don’t stay past midnight anyway. Every genius needs sleep. Is this the Imladian?”
Lemise pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “This is Madison.”
Demitri stepped around the table and snatched Paelae’s arm up, pushing back the black leather sleeve. After a moment, Demitri let out a whistle. “That’s a particle shield all right. I’ll need the big guns for those supplies.”
“One week,” Lemise said.
Demitri laughed before realizing he was serious. “Two weeks, sleep, free meals, and you throw in that glass plating I need to fix the Mirage.”
“One week, no sleep, free breakfast, and you fix the Mirage because it’s your job, not a bargaining chip.”
“Two weeks, no sleep, and lunches.”
“A week and a half, sleep, and no food.”
Demitri was about to throw in another bargain when a little girl ran out from behind a pile of piping. She held up a colored picture with evident pride, tugging on Demitri’s pants and grunting to get her attention.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and forget this happened,” Demitri said as she placed a hand on her daughter’s head. “The daycare was filled, and Pops is working cross-continent. I wouldn’t bring her unless it was my only option, I swear.”
Lemise knelt down to the girl’s level. “Hello, Demi.” He smiled.
Demi held up her picture of colorful stick figures, grunting as she pointed in stunted movements at each one.
“I see.” Lemise took her picture and gave it a further inspection. “It is a beautiful picture. Will you draw me one?”
Paelae watched in mild horror. Demi was broken. On the cityship, they considered it a mercy to chloroform such children at birth, if they made it that far without detection; and it shocked her that all those years she never thought twice about it. Never before had she encountered one on other planets, though she’d heard stories.
Lemise stood, turning back to Demitri. “Will she be okay around new faces?”
“Yeah, she’s better with it now.” Demitri cracked her knuckles in anticipation.
“A week and a half, no sleep, and lunches,” he offered.
They shook on it.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” Lemise said and left, disappearing behind piles of trash.
Demitri pulled a chair up for her daughter to continue drawing, and then lounged back in one of her own.
“You named her after yourself,” Paelae stated when the silence had extended beyond comfort.
“Of course I did. She’s a Devonian.” Demitri fiddled with the lenses on her goggles.
Paelae nodded, though she didn’t know what that meant. “Should we get started, then?”
Demitri tossed her a pencil. “Copy your arm, please.”
She looked at the writing instrument with amusement. Once, this had been the only way to transcribe thoughts, but it had been centuries since she used one. “I don’t know how to use this.”
That caught Demitri’s attention. “You don’t know how to use a pencil?”
“Not anymore, no.”
Demitri laughed. “Aliens, sometimes you get too advanced for your own good. Come here. I’ll do it.” Another pencil was pulled from the depths of her ponytail. “Please tell me you can at least use a welder.”

About the Author:
Hope Christine was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. Her youth was spent in Narnia and her teenage years in Middle-Earth. Like most, she grew up with reluctance and then attended college for multiple degrees before settling on Linguistics.
Today she studies Middle-Eastern languages and works in retail.
She’s opinionated, blunt, loves to bike, and bares an extreme hate of peaches.




On a ROLL….

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 06 November 2014 · 59 views


If you are a writer then you know that inspiration doesn’t always come at the most convenient times. We’ve all hit those moments in our writing where it’s suddenly like you are walking through a tub of goo. During these times the words come out awkwardly and all the parts of the story seem to almost fit but not really like when you are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle and some of the pieces are upside down and backwards. During those times of blockage it seems like all those “inspirational” writing quotes that flash by on twitter and Facebook come out to mock me. Images that advise things like:


(To this one I always want to say- “YEAH, it was only 500 words and will probably need a complete overhaul but, yeah, I wrote today. *eyeroll*)

Then there are the relatable ones that make me want to ask the person that made it to be my best friend:


There are lots of ways to deal with writer’s block but sometimes it just takes a “pushing through” phase. It reminds me of a 24 hour road trip I took from Chicago to Yellowstone with three little boys ages 4, 3 and 1 (don’t ask me what we were thinking). The trip seemed to fly by until we South Dakota. Suddenly we were speeding down these looooong barren roads with warning signs that read “Last Chance” because there wouldn’t be a gas station for another 50 miles.

These were the hours where Joe and I sang loudly to ska music and gave the kids ANY food that would keep them happy. It felt like we would NEVER get to our stop in Montana. Then, hours later, exhausted and almost our of gas we stopped just outside of Billings to fill up. As we pulled into the dilapidated gas station I was all up in my head, dreading changing the kids into their pjs in what was sure to be a gross gas station bathroom. But, as Joe filled the gas tank and I crossed the empty parking lot with three little boys in toe, I noticed the sun setting over the mountains just west of us and how it reflected off the rims that encircled the city. The natural beauty of that sunset stunned this girl from the flatlands of Illinois and suddenly I was grateful for the long, rocky roads of South Dakota, because they got me there, to that sunset.

Sometimes when we write we need those long, seemingly never ending roads of hunkering down in order to get to the “sunset over the mountains” pay off. It’s sticking with it through those rough moments that make it even more satisfying when love the words come easily, the story all seems to click together like it popped into your brain fully formed and the characters become as real (in your mind) as your best friend or next door neighbor.

Right now *knock on wood* I’m enjoying that “on a roll” stage in my current WIP. I feel a little weird declaring it like that, like I’m bragging or jinxing myself but I think after working so hard to get here, it’s worth celebrating. It’s a trick I learned while running. As soon as I could see a hill ahead of me I would force myself to get  excited for it and to run extra fast to get to the top because I knew for every up hill I struggled through there was ultimately a downhill following it. Well, unless you start at the top of the hill and end there too…but that messes up my analogy so I’m ignoring that option.

How are all you writers feeling right now? Are you on a roll, going slow and steady or maybe stopped off at a rest area? If you are stuck on a hill, take a moment to savor the burn because it’s making you a better writer and soon you’ll be running downhill so fast your feet (or your fingers) won’t be able to keep up with you!



Madness With a Side of IWSG

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 05 November 2014 · 35 views

It's that time again...time for NaNoWriMo!

No, that's not really what I'm going to write about, well, technically I'll mention it, but I really mean it's time for another Insecure Writers Support Group post. AND I'm on time, YAY! (Well, it may not be early like I prefer to post, but hey, it is the first Wednesday so I'm getting better.)

Before I go on, make sure you're in the know when it comes to the wonderful awesomeness that is Alex J Cavanaugh. Also check out the IWSG website.

I've been crazy busy because I started my kids in an online homeschool program, but I started NaNo. I haven't made as much progress as I would like to have at this time, but I've made progress and that's what counts for me.

That's all I'm going to say about NaNo though.

Since I haven't been writing much, I haven't thought much about insecurities or securities. I have been a little worried that I won't be able to get NaNo done. I've already started three different WIPs because I stalled on each one. I shouldn't have done that though because now I've got three ideas going and I'm not sure which one to work on. It makes me have really mixed up, weird, nonsense dreams because all my ideas are merging together when I sleep. Which doesn't help when I wake up because then I have a hard time serparating the ideas. And there's no mixing these up so they need to stay separated.

But my indecision didn't stop me from writing 1223 words last night. It may have been a combined total from two different WIPs, but it was all during the 1k1hr I was working on. Idk, maybe I should just WIP-jump for now and see where it takes me. I haven't really written anything before now in so long that maybe I need to just get back in the groove of things and one WIP will stand out against the three.

I guess that's my IWSG post for the month. Maybe I'm a little of both, maybe my crazy non-writer life is making it hard to feel insecure or secure. I think I'm just happy that I haven't completely lost my mind in general so everything else is just proof that I'm still functioning in all the madness.

Anyway, hope this post makes sense, and if not I'm sure my ramblings are to be expected anyway. Have an awesome Wednesday, maybe I'll get it together and see you again before the month is up. :)



A NaNo Lament

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 31 October 2014 · 55 views

by Jemi Fraser

'Tis the week before NaNo,
And all through the 'verse
Writers are mumbling, and cursing,
And swearing, and worse.

November is on us,
How'd it get here so fast?
The last time we checked,
Summer barely had passed!

We need time to start plotting,
We need time for a plan!
We need time to develop
Our characters...oh, man!

The outlines are bare
No settings are made,
The backstory's blank
No foundations are laid!

At From the Write Angle,
We writers are tough,
But it's that time of year,
So we're screaming, "Enough!"

NaNoWriMo is calling,
We must heed its call,
So we'll be back in December,
With more posts for you all!

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs  and tweets while searching for those HEAs.



Memory Lane

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 22 October 2014 · 110 views
writing, publishing, english

I sit, staring off into space during ninth grade English. It’s October, leaves falling and cold air nipping at me as I go through the courtyards to reach my other classes. I was young, incredibly naïve, but with a dream that still has yet to vanish. We talk about literature and I find myself becoming excited at the idea, that, maybe one day, I could rank myself up there with The Greats –J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, all of those people that seemed to grace their way up the NY Times list. But this is merely a daydream, a fantasy, and I immediately stop imagining this kind of life because, realistically, it wasn’t likely to happen. But I still imagined; still dreamed. I’d caught the writing bug, and there was no way I was going to cure myself of it—I couldn’t even if I’d wanted to. Being young, I still knew that rooted inside me was the seed of determination. That, even if the likelihood of me becoming this “legendary writer” was just a far off daydream, I still strived, still would keep going. It’s hard, when you’re 14 with this forced pressure of being good, of trying to perfect your writing, of constantly going back to the drawing board. I was so cocky, but at the same time so scared: how in the hell was I going to pull this off? Was it just an impossible feat for someone as young as myself to write something that would affect a reader in the same ways The Greats have affected me?

My teacher continues onto Shakespeare and poetry and I find myself zoning out again, reliving another daydream filled with interviews and book signings, movie deals and money. This is where I learned that you won’t get anywhere without working hard. To me, this meant constant revision, constant changes. I knew virtually nothing about what “markets” are into; I just figured that if someone liked the things I wrote, they could publish them. It was almost as if I lacked any fear, but the real answer was I lacked knowledge. I didn’t know anything about the publishing word really. All I had to go one was some vague ideas and misconceptions. I was currently finishing up my first novel that year. I was proud of that, because I’d really put work into it and created something that would be my own. But I was biased; in reality, the writing was nowhere near as good as what that same novel is today. But I loved it because I’d made it.

I used to get so annoyed, so frustrated with this whole thing. I was impatient (still am), I was confused as to why an agent wasn’t responding or that I didn’t already have a book deal. I figured this thing would be so easy. My character flaw was pride, and that had taken several blows over the course of it all. When you’re young, it’s easy to feel trapped. It’s easy to feel afraid. Easy to be manipulated by what you see or read or hear.

Then I came across AQC. And you guys really put me in check. You put a stop to my cockiness and shredded my queries to bits (for that, I’m eternally grateful; I wouldn’t have been steered in the right direction had you not) and I came to know a community that was just as driven and determined as I was. We all rejoice the good news, and lend a helping hand when things aren’t going so well.
I know I’ve come a long way since my pompous, gangly, 14 year old self, and I know I still have a lot to go from here, but I’m glad that I’ve made some friends and have made some changes along the way. I’m curious to know what the future holds for me.

One thing though, I’m still channeling my 14 year old phantom, because that was when I started to be determined, to enjoy the beginnings of an adventure through writing.

That is one thing that will never change.


Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back

Posted by oolorres in oolorres' Blog, 20 October 2014 · 72 views

Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back Oct. 20 NBA preseason, the Lakers vs. Jazz, results in 98-91 reversal opponent, ending three-game losing streak. The Lakers trailed by 22 points in the second quarter, but Bryant led the team to 31-5 wave of attacks hit the go-ahead score, and ultimately difficult to win. Bryant shot 7 of 22 contribute 26 points, five assists and four rebounds, Jeremy Lin (microblogging) and Nash injury continued truce.

Game review: Jazz end the Lakers with 22 points reversed three-game losing streak

Opening, Bryant feel bad, before three shots were wide of the basket, but the Lakers rely Price and Hill scored, the first gain an advantage. Since then, the Jazz back attack feeling, Hayward pointers and free throws to help the team go-ahead score. Bryant promptly force, consecutive field goal, the Lakers biting score. But before the end of the first, Bryant end, the Jazz took the opportunity to play a 10-5 wave of attacks, will expand the advantage to double digits, a single to lead the Lakers 32-20.

Second section, the Lakers lineup rotation poor performance, was jazz played 11-2 offensive. See the team behind as many as 21 points, Kobe Bryant can go it alone, he forced two consecutive third shot hit, three-point play and later succeeded in his marker. Under section 9 points Bryant single stimulus, the Lakers finally play some improvement, Boozer storm and free throws. Before the end of this section, the Lakers answered with a 8-2 offensive half to 38-54 behind the Jazz.

Ex situ battles, Jazz let Hayward, Favors two main early break, the Lakers continued the second last paragraph of section excellent condition. Bryant free throws, three and CIC quickly scored six points, Carlos Boozer and Johnson, who also lend a helping hand. Only 6 minutes, the Lakers finished 23-3 offensive surge, in one fell swoop to 61-57 go-ahead score. Since then, the Jazz finally found the feeling, the use of long shot and breakthroughs up points, to stabilize the situation. Three kick, jazz advantage almost gone, only the Lakers leading 72-69.

Distal, the Lakers up is a 7-0 attack wave, again ahead score. Since then, both teams refused to give the Jazz hit two three-pointers, the Lakers will rely on rookie Randall cut points, his scoring range jumper in the rapidly contributed 8 points. Call of Duty, Bryant played again, and assists Davis layup after Ellington hit third, the Lakers lead six minutes. Since then, the Jazz offense sluggish, Bryant made ​​two free throws to seal the victory. The Lakers defeated after three consecutive games, finally ushered in returning to the victory.


Exactly about Sports Gambling Traces

Posted by haiiroe in haiiroe's Blog, 16 October 2014 · 243 views

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Folks can question an individual regarding media and will also be capable of offer that in their mind. Sports gambling traces are usually constantly available in order to guess normally when you need. Way more, you can even guess although game titles remain continuous. Contact friends and family to assist you using this to enable you to determine correctly.

Which is aware, friends and family furthermore desire to guess. The harder gamble, themerrier. When possible, an individual also also can separated the particular payout between her and also head out to get a handle. That is one thing you may not arrive at carry out each day. Besides gambling, you can even make an effort to study about making the gambling a lot more successful. Folks will get trapped with all the current pleasure at times in which they cannot also look at the probabilities should they can acquire or perhaps not necessarily. Provided that they will guess, which is that for the kids. They should be mindful also, due to the fact gambling also can result in these several problems making use of their funds occasionally. Sports gambling traces are usually definitely the following to keep. They've got produced any indicate inside the lifestyles of men and women as well as the sporting activities planet at the same time. Remember to own entertaining observing the particular game titles and possess several helpful gamble together with several the best close friends. In case an individual drop, usually do not sense negative. Right now there can constantly appear an occasion which you will have to become around the shedding conclusion. Which is aware, within your subsequent guess, you may come out the winner following your extended hold out. More visit http://outletsalecheap.wordpress.com/

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