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Research Ramblings: Spartan Women Part 15

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 18 April 2014 · 0 views

As noted in my January 9, 2014 post, the lives of Spartan women were completely unlike those of their Greek sisters, and I’m finishing up my series on these differences with today’s fact:

Spartan women could drink wine as part of their daily fare.

Apparently other city states did not approve of women drinking wine although I’m not sure why. I should also note that drunkenness was severely frowned upon in Sparta. Spartan men did drink wine as part of their military regimen but in severe moderation (whatever that means). So maybe the Spartan men were simply more willing to share their wine with the women?

And that concludes this series on the Spartan women! For those interested in learning more about them, these are the sources I used in my research:

Women in Ancient Greece by Sue Blumdell

Spartan Women by Sarah B. Pomeroy

The Spartans by Paul Cartledge



Valuable Links: New Release Books for Free

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 18 April 2014 · 0 views

If you love to read and you don't want to spend a fortune on new books, I've got the link for you.

The review site Net Galley offers free ebooks to readers who will post reviews online at Goodreads, Amazon, or your own blog. All you have to do is create an account and browse the list of offered books. Request the ones you like and wait for publishers to approve you.

The more books you review, the more likely you are to be approved.

In many cases these are fresh from the presses new releases or advance copies. And you'll find some big name authors here as well as debut ones.

If you're a published author, Net Galley is the place to offer your book to increase your number of reviews. They have various packages available, but I'd recommend seeking out alternative co-ops as Net Galley is pricey. (Ask me privately and I can recommend some co-ops.)



First Five Frenzy with Dr. Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 18 April 2014 · 0 views

    If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.   The First Five Frenzy is […]



Book Talk: (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME by Kate Karyus Quinn & Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 18 April 2014 · 10 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.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://d202m5krfqbp...pt><br /><br />



Chris Henry Remembered Curtis Back in Mix

Posted by brentburnsjersey in brentburnsjersey, 18 April 2014 · 9 views

Eagles reserve corner Geoffrey Pope was in shock Thursday over the accident that befell his pal and former Bengals teammate, Chris Henry. Henry apparently fell out of the back of a moving pickup truck in Charlotte Wednesday, in the course of an argument with his fiancee. Henry died this morning.

"He and I used to go out she was constantly with him. I knew her as well," explained Pope Dale Murphy Jersey, signed by the Eagles last month off the Bengals' practice squad. Pope played the very first four games of the season for Cincinnati ahead of currently being waived and demoted. "It's just shocking. He'd accomplished so considerably to enhance his life. She was a huge portion of that. When I heard the news yesterday, I just genuinely couldn't think it ... I am nevertheless just sort of shaken up about it. All you can do is just pray for him and his family members."

Henry was arrested many instances and was suspended during the 2007 season http://www.bravessto...obby-cox-jersey.

"We was a very good guy," Pope explained. "From somebody whose locker was next to him in Cincinnati for a year and a half http://www.bravessto...e-murphy-jersey, I went against this man every single day in practice, and he was one particular of the most athletically gifted individuals I've ever witnessed. And he had a good heart. He just had a couple troubles in his past, but he definitely was on a straight street, striving to clear every thing up. Anyone who knew him personally could inform you he was a great guy."


Wide receiver Kevin Curtis, sidelined given that Week 2 with a knee injury, is expected to return this week against San Francisco, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg explained during his weekly news conference.

"There's a strategy for Kevin Curtis (this week) http://www.bravesstoreonline.com," he mentioned. "I feel he'll be successful within that program http://www.bravesstoreonline.com."

With Curtis, the Eagles will presumably dress 4 wide receivers, Jeremy Maclin very likely sidelined with a plantar fascia tear.

Mornhinweg mentioned the offense will have to be "right on prime of it" towards a 49ers defense that can make an offense appear negative.

Quintin Demps will return kickoffs, particular teams coordinator Ted Daisher explained, changing a slightly banged up Macho Harris.

Daisher also mentioned he doesn't feel DeSean Jackson will ever be taken off punts on the grounds that he's so crucial to the offense. The Eagles took Brian Westbrook off return duty when his role on offense enhanced.

"He is our playmaker," Daisher mentioned. "I think to get the ball out of his hands would be a blunder."

Defensively, coordinator Sean McDermott explained: "That (Giants) game turned into a track meet. I will not think anyone in the defensive space is extremely content with the way we played."

But he also mentioned they forced 3 turnovers, one particular for a TD.

McDermott stated guys were striving too hard to make massive plays.

"We go back to becoming who we are, we go back to fundamentals," he said.

As Andy Reid indicated Monday, the defense utilised tackling mats yesterday, the defensive backs tackling each and every other beside the stacked mats, falling onto them instead of the ground.



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Posted by nosacosis in nosacosis' Blog, 18 April 2014 · 9 views
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  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 17 April 2014 · 14 views

I was scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or some social media site when I came across a link to a list of books that promised to change my life. I had already read some on the list, while others were in my "to be read" pile at home. One, interestingly enough, I had just purchased at our school's book fair, on the recommendations of a couple of teacher friends. The title was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon. It sounded like it would combine two things I find interesting: issues with autism and related brain disorders and murder mysteries. So I moved it to the top of the pile. I am glad that I did.

There is a murder mystery to be solved, though not your usual type. The book opens with a young man named CHRISTOPHER BOONE discovering the body of a neighbor's dog, which has been gruesomely murdered with a gardening fork. Christopher seems to be a savant of some kind, with a sharply analytical mind that is almost computer-like in its precision, but struggles with integrating into, or even understanding, society. For instance, he is positively phobic about being touched, to the point that he punches a policeman who has come to investigate after the owner mistakenly assumes Christopher has killed her dog.

Christopher, over his father's objections, decides he is going to solve the mystery of the dog's killing. In doing so, he accidentally uncovers several pieces of information that completely change his view of both the world and his family. These discoveries force him into a long, terrifying trip across England in search of his mother.

The story in itself may not seem that compelling if it weren't for the fact that the whole thing is narrated by Christopher, who sees the world in a completely different way than would be considered "normal." Things that seem completely innocuous to most people are mind-numbingly frightening to him. Just the comparatively simple process of buying a train ticket and then riding on the train take every ounce of his resolve. Conversely, the young man is genius level in math and science and has a photographic memory. He sees patterns in nature that the average person just can't see. He ultimately finds that this is both his curse and his greatest blessing.

Seeing the world through the unique lens of Christopher Boone's mind is both entertaining and enlightening. I don't know if the book changed my life cataclysmically, but it definitely enriched my view of the world and of the people with whom I share it. I highly recommended this book. If you're interested in purchasing it, it is available from Amazon.



PUNCHY AURTOON: Is It Possible To…To Fly?

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 17 April 2014 · 13 views

Punchy Family, the aurtoon is a day early this week for many different reasons that really aren’t that many. Please enjoy!

We’ll see you Monday.
~ Professor VJ Duke


Produced by MicP Studios
Directed by Mic Pencilpoint
Dramatized by Professor VJ Duke & Nicholas Warren
Music by Symphonist Sepperl

Emperor Napoleon
Daniel H.
Mr. Ratherquite
Frankie S.
Schwarz Tauptinker

[Would you like to see a specific Punchy Lander in the next video? Comment below!]

Emperor Napoleon asks his dinner guests if it’s possible to fly. The answers are varied, and it’s decided that there must be a test.

Video link: http://youtu.be/lGi5-j9apaw


[If you prefer to read…]

Emperor Napoleon’s palace. Around a table…

And Napoleon is drinking…

DANIEL H: Oh my.

MR. RATHERQUITE: Should we stop him from drinking all that?

DANIEL H: Hey, Napoleon, are you going to drink all that wine? Or are you going to leave some for us?

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: Haha! Why, do you want some?

MR. RATHERQUITE: I’m glad that no ladies are here.

FRANKIE S: Oh…haha. Oh…eww…

MR RATHERQUITE: Frankie, be quiet.

FRANKIE S: No… Can I have a bone?

DANIEL H: It’s a good thing Napoleon doesn’t drink bones, otherwise there’d be none left for you.

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: What are you little boys talking about? Okay… So you may wonder why I invited you here to dinner?

DANIEL H: Maybe so I could eat—and drink some wine?

MR. RATHERQUITE: No reason to be rude, Danny.

DANIEL H: I’m Daniel.

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: Shut up both of you!

FRANKIE S: Oh…hahaha. [Frankie keeps mumbling.]

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: So, what I brought here for… So what I want to say… Fankie shut-up!

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: So…sorry about that. My question for you—and why I brought you here—is this: Is it possible to fly?

FRANKIE S: Nah. You know I tried that, and…had a contusion. And, you know, I’ve never been the same since. You know I think…

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: Okay, fine, that’s your opinion, Frankie. Anybody else?

MR. RATHERQUITE: Well, I would say it’s quite impossible for one to fly without wings. And, sir, do you have wings? No. Therefore, you can’t fly.

DANIEL H: What about plane? Do you think one of those could fly?

MR. RATHERQUITE: But that’s not an individual person flying, sir. The plane is doing all the flying.

DANIEL H: Then…if a bird is flying, its wings are doing the flying, not the bird.

MR. RATHERQUITE: You are in error because you are being pigheaded—

DANIEL H: Do you hear what he called me? Napoleon, did you hear that?

FRANKIE S: Oh yeah…oh yeah… You know—I did.

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: He’s not talking to you, Frankie! I did hear that, I did. Wow. That was really out there.

MR. RATHERQUITE: The fact is: it is quite impossible for one to fly. Period. Statement. That is the sentence.

DANIEL H: But what if they had wings. You see, you could build a set of wings for someone to fly with.


DANIEL H: I will.

High atop a mountain…

DANIEL H: Okay. Are you read for this?

SCHWARZ TAUPTINKER: Why would I not be?

MR. RATHERQUITE: Because, sir, you could die.

DANIEL H: These wings we put together will work. I hope.

FRANKIE S: Oh, but you could get a contusion.

EMPEROR NAPOLEON: Enough of this good-bye!

DANIEL H: There he goes.

MR. RATHERQUITE: He’s not flying.


FRANKIE S: He’s going to get a contusion.

DANIEL H: Oh my! Flap your wings!


FRANKIE S: Contusion…



MR. RATHERQUITE: See, Daniel? It didn’t work.

DANIEL H: It would have—if he had flapped his wings.

MR. RATHERQUITE: You, sir, are a pigheaded.



TWT: ENSNARED BY YOU Adult Historical Romance

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 17 April 2014 · 3 views


Bred to strike hard and fast, Lysander belongs to an elite guild of assassins known as The Shadows. When their latest mission goes awry, he’s betrayed by his own and left for dead. From the depths of oblivion, Lysander awakens to a ravishing angel caressing him in the most intimate of places…and to find he’s crippled and immobile. With the police hunting The Shadows, he’s trapped with no choice but to claim he has no recollection of who he is.

Spirited country miss Lady Olivia Woodward is mortified when she’s caught stroking him down there. In her defense, she was bathing him. The enigmatic hero saved her father from a harrowing assassination attempt; the least she could do is nurse him back to health. But the man defies all rules of convalescence. He’s arrogant. Exasperating. Infuriating. And gorgeous as sin. Attraction sizzles as tempers fly, clashes of ire caving to torrid, delirious pleasure.

Drawn by her tender compassion, Lysander knows every kiss is stolen, every touch forbidden. His past will resurface, and when it does, it will destroy Olivia’s trust...for he was sent to kill her father, not save him. As the police close in on unraveling his identity, The Shadows lurk in the darkness, reminding Lysander to finish his task. But they’re not the only ones after Olivia’s father. A deranged madman is on the loose and will stop at nothing to annihilate Olivia’s entire family. With the clock ticking down, Lysander must choose. His loyalty torn, will he betray his brethren and risk everything for Olivia? Or will he stand by his allegiance, and lose the only woman he’s ever loved?


The seductive sway of her hips set his teeth on edge.

The flame-haired minx pranced atop a wooden table, shimmying to the suggestive beat of the piano. Strands of silk clung to her like floating serpents in vibrant hues of orange, purple and red. Men leaned closer, straining, greedily drinking in the sight of her alabaster skin with a lusty smack of their tobacco-stained lips. The smoke-filled joint crawled with trollops, yet the blokes were mesmerized, captivated by this voluptuous, earthy gypsy.

One male was markedly less enthralled.

Lysander glared at her.

Not that she paid him any mind. She seldom did, these days.

Not a minute ago, she’d been onstage, the platform serving a good five-foot buffer from the salivating rough-and-tumble audience. Lysander had turned away to order ale from a passing tavern wench. When he glanced back, his heart stuttered. She was no longer there. He forced down his panic, scanning the dim-lit pub. He discarded the potbellied drunkards, their tattered clothing dirtied from toiling on the wharves, fresh off a hard day’s work and out to spend their coin. The whores with their smudged kohl-lined eyes and brittle smiles, one hand pleasing a man, the other dipping into his purse.

Where the bloody hell was she? He clenched his fists, about to muscle his way through the horde when he caught sight of her. His anger pulsed.

The buffer zone was lost.

Halfway across the bar, she danced on a table, toying with a man’s neckerchief. The beetle-nosed troll gazed at her adoringly, more than willing to let her unwind the linen from his neck.



Why You Should Read Your Genre: A Correction

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 16 April 2014 · 24 views

by S. L. Duncan

I know what you want to know. You come here, browsing our various posts, searching for that elusive answer to the question we all asked ourselves and whomever else would throw us an answer when first starting out.

What, above all else, can I do to improve my odds of getting published?

There are a lot of answers to this question. A lot of books written that offer pages and pages of tricks of the trade and career advice. I've paid for one or two myself. Some of them may work for you, most will not.

But I want to offer you something more simplistic: buy a book in the genre in which you wish to write, and read it.

Revolutionary, right? Okay. Maybe not. You've probably heard it before. If not from me, then from any number of other authors. I’ve been giving that answer every time I’ve sat on a literary panel because, let’s face it, that’s usually the first question you ask. But I’ve come to realize, you’ve been taking my meaning all wrong.

And that’s my fault for not being clear. When I tell you to read a book in your chosen genre, I don’t mean do it so you can learn how those authors did it.

No, no, no. 

First, I’m not even sure by reading a book, you can figure out how that author writes. I could be wrong, here, but if you read my stuff you’re not seeing the process that got me there. The crap sentences. The cut pages. The endless redlining. Don't even look at my trunk. Not to be too cliche, but the journey is everything.  It's the hours learning your craft, the dedication and sacrifice. It's the party you missed and the nights of trial and error. The wadding of paper and the full waste basket. 

Let’s suspend belief, though. Let’s say, somehow, in reading an Andrew Smith novel you figure out how to retro-engineer his writing and learn how to write just like him. His nuance. His voice and word usage and sentence structure. That’s fantastic! Congratulations. The problem is, there’s already an Andrew Smith out there, and he’s doing just fine.

So, let me clarify and restate my answer. If you want to better your chances at getting published, go read a book in the genre in which you wish to be published. Read two. No, in fact, read a shelf worth. Now, in truth, you should be reading them already. And if you have been...well, you've had the answer all along.

And here, dear friends, is why:

You should be reading books in the genre in which you wish to be published because you should love those books; be dedicated to them. Starved to read the next one from your favorite author - if you can even pick a favorite author from the stellar line up of talent sitting in your bookstore's window. Because, here's the deal: if you’re unable to find joy in the books you read, there’s no way you’ll be able to instill that sense of joy in the books you write. That’s what distinguishes good from great.  This is a business of knife-edge margins. Publishers aren’t looking for good. They want the genuine article. They want great.

It boils down to being passionate about your work and passionate about the work your peers are doing. It’s the difference in the Sunday fried chicken dinner your grandmother made and the KFC value box number two.

Put your pen down, pick up a book, and turn a few pages. Find your joy in the words on them. Then take that joy and let it inspire your own words.

If it’s natural and real and honest, you’ll know it. As will everyone else that reads your work.

S. L. Duncan writes young adult fiction, including his debut, The Revelation of Gabriel Adam, releasing August 12th, 2014 from Medallion Press. You can find him blogging on INKROCK.com and on Twitter.



The Kentucky Chance

  Posted by dclabs in dan.croutch.ca, 16 April 2014 · 14 views

Kerry had lived a successful business life.  He owned nearly a dozen car repair and restoration facilities across several states.  His business empire also included auto parts franchises in dozens more.  At 56, he was considering retirement and what to do with the time.  He hadn’t looked far to find his answer.  Kerry didn’t have any children of his own but often considered his nephew Derek like a son.  Derek’s father, Bert, and he were close both geographically and as siblings.

Derek is a very average and ordinary person whose life is about as typical as you’d expect.  A graduate of community college he spends most of his days working hours in a local computer shop.  He enjoys the work and the customers love him.  Derek had dated a few girls in his college days but nothing stuck.  The now 30 and single man spends most of his time working, and racing.  Derek, like tens of thousands others across the nation, met on weekends at various local tracks to take his car around as fast has he could.  He drives a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse, a source of pride for him.

This weekend was one like many others this summer.  Hot, humid air waved slightly from the heat of a late afternoon sun.  Sweat drenched Kerry and dripped from his forehead.  This afternoon he made his way out to the local track, looking for the flat white of his nephew’s car.  His brother had only told him about this two nights ago over a poker game.  A love of racing runs deep through their family, as  does a love for automobiles.  Derek is often considered the black sheep because of his bent towards technology.  As Kerry watched he saw that despite this, Derek hadn’t fallen far from the family pedigree.  In fact, as he watched Kerry suspected perhaps he improved upon it.  Derek showed great skill and traffic control as he weaved about the road course.  It’s obvious he knew the course well but something, Kerry couldn’t put his finger on it, something about how he drove is different, pure.

It had been three years since Kerry watched Derek drive, three years ago he made the decision about his retirement.  His wife had happily agreed to it, pleased to see her husband retiring to spend more time with the family.  Kerry exhausted the limits of his social network and managed to find a well worn race car to buy.  The old Ford NASCAR had seen it’s height 15 years before and was being sold by the racing team as they retired from the sport.  Kerry worked weekends and on off days to bring some fire back into the old girl.  He painted her flat red and stenciled a large “46″ onto the sides and roof; Derek’s favorite number.  On the day after Derek’s 30th birthday he unveiled the completed car to his brother and nephew.

Bert, for one, is elated.  He had been a NASCAR fanatic since he could hold the dinky cars in his hands.  Derek looked more confused and overwhelmed than anything.  Kerry just finished explaining he bought them a car and a team’s berth in that year’s NASCAR season.  Derek was, thanks to Kerry’s connections in the industry, to make a qualifying run at the Daytona 500 season opener.  Bert would he his crew chief while member’s of Kerry’s team filled in pit crew roles.  Bert knows the sport, tracks and venues so well that Kerry doubted he could find none better.

None better for his budget at least.

Their day at Daytona arrived as bright and warm as it had three years ago when Kerry was inspired.  He watched as their crew made last minute preps and Derek stood out looking onto the track.  Daytona is a long, high banked track giving drivers the chance to push great speeds from their cars.  Kerry exhausted most of his savings and investments into making this car, his hobby and gift to Derek, a reality.  Their car is old but still had life.  It roared and grumbled like an ancient champion, spitting fire.  He had made the appropriate modifications to the chassis to meet modern NASCAR safety requirements.  Bert approached Derek and told him the car was ready.  Derek wore a steeled look of determination on his face as he was strapped in.  His nerves are cleverly disguised but Kerry could sense them.  Their early arrival meant he could get a couple laps on the track before other teams got out.

Derek blasted out of pit lane and onto the great expanse of Daytona.  The old Ford roared and sped forward under his guide.  Kerry stood watching as his nephew takes his warmup lap, feeling the track.  He saw the tell-tale signs of his rookie driver but remained confident.  By the third lap Derek found a good line and shaved nearly 2 seconds off his time.  His fourth cut another third of a second.  Derek settled into a pace and consistently posted times near his personal best.  The track became busy with other teams.  Driver’s times began to post on the screens before Kerry.  His eyes widened as Derek’s best time dropped; first, third, fifth, 11th.  Suddenly it stopped and held at 15th.  His average time floating around the same position as well.  Kerry got excited by the potential in his practice laps and moved to watch Derek drive when the bellowing approach of a racing V8 told him Derek had pulled into the pits.  He was exiting the car and removing his helmet as the crew worked around him.

“Everything alright Derek?  Going out again for some more runs?” Kerry asked.  Derek simply shook his head as he walked past, placing his helmet on the shop table.

“That’s enough for today” he said simply before disappearing through the door.  The following two practice days followed the same.  Kerry felt he needed more time to feel the course but didn’t push his driver.  Kerry had complete faith in Derek.  Qualifications day arrived and Derek was last out.  Evening cooled slightly but the track was still warm.  Derek pushed the car and managed a top 20 time, 19th overall.  His race for position didn’t go well; last place.  His finish at Daytona was only three off last.  Kerry sensed some frustration from his driver and team as they left.

Derek continued his runs for the several weeks that followed.  His practice and qualification times showed promise but he continued to fall in near last place.  Kerry announced, after enlisting the financial help of everyone he could, he had procured a brand new V8 for their old Ford car.  It was installed during an off week, Derek was excited.  They debuted the new car in North Carolina when something strange happened.  Derek went out early on practice day, as they always did, and he posted a top time.  Then, on qualifying day, Derek’s line was true and he lapped the track a full half second faster than everyone else.  Great cheers erupted from Kerry’s pit when Derek’s pole position was posted.  Race day was grueling, a long and tiring run.  Derek started in first but quickly, very quickly fell to 38th.  His new engine, however, gave him speed he didn’t have before.  It wasn’t long before Derek had dug into a groove and fought his way to 12th.

It was clear to Kerry, and he was sure Derek as well, that the car was no faster than a 12th place car.  Derek spent the remainder of the race locked in a fierce battle with the 13th place car, trading places back and forth dozens of times.  The exchange was so dramatic and entertaining it drew the attention of the announcers and fans.  Derek was ahead the length of his hood when they crossed the finish.  This was their first top 20 and the first time Derek hadn’t been lapped.  Kerry was also approached by one of the medium tier sponsors.  They offered a moderate sum to bolster their budget in exchange for logos on the car.

After North Carolina Derek and his team were excited.  Excitement quickly faded into frustration.  In the four races that followed Derek posted three more pole qualifiers; a rare feat for a rookie.  His practice times were consistently top among the field.  His finishes, however, were not.  Derek’s 12th at North Carolina proved to be his best finish for weeks.  Kerry’s faith in Derek never diminished though.  He knew without a doubt his driver was good, he started to suspect he didn’t have the right tools for the job.  Derek’s frustration had grown to the point he told Kerry he would race twice more and then be done.  Kerry sprung into action.

Kerry met with a member of the senior management from their sponsor.  It was less a meeting and more an intrusion into a lounge where he sat by Kerry.  He cornered the man and demanded the money for a new car.

“And who are you exactly?” the executive said indignantly.

“I own Kerry Motorsports, my driver is number 46″ Kerry said impatiently.

“Oh yes, that car” responded the executive unimpressed.  “Listen, we have sponsor deals with dozens of the teams out there, better teams.  Why should you get a new car before them?  Your driver is a rookie who can’t place” the executive ranted.

“In 11 races, who has the most poles in qualifying” Kerry snapped.  The executive was quiet, then laughed.

“You’re right, your driver does.  Yet he still can’t break top 30.  How embarrassing for him!”  Kerry clenched his fists.

“Just one race, that’s all I need one for.  We’ll close shop and you can sell the car to another team including our assets if we lose.  You’ll wind up ahead,” responded Kerry.  The executive sighed and paused, looking Kerry over.

“Alright.  We have a car en route to another team later this season, maybe your driver can test the build for us.  If he loses or wrecks, payment is on you,” the man said, pointing forcefully.  Kerry could barely contain his excitement and held a trembling hand out to shake.

“When will we have it?” Derek asked once Kerry had excitedly told his team the news.

“Kentucky,” Kerry answered.  It meant they one more race to endure before then.  This time, however, the sponsors would be watching extremely closely.  Their race in Kentucky was the last in their contract with the sponsors.  Derek didn’t know it but Kerry now had everything he owned riding on this race.  First Derek had to compete in Sonoma; a road course style track.  Kerry was confident Derek would excel here.  He had, after all, spent most of his racing days on tracks like it on track day.  An old Ford NASCAR proved to be very different than the small turbo Derek was used to driving.  Two frustrating days of practice followed by an abysmal qualifier showing set up a last place finish for Derek.  He left the track after the race furious, slamming his helmet onto the table as he did so.

Kentucky dawned bright and warm to begin their practice week.  Kerry had arrived early the night before to see delivery of the car from their sponsor.  Sure enough a top tier Ford NASCAR awaited in their garage.  He admired the car with his eyes and hands, startled when his brother entered.  They admired the car together and hoped it would be the change their team needed.  Derek, early the next morning for practice, hit the track before the other teams.  His mind was preoccupied by recent performances and his driving reflected it.  Kerry watched nervously from the sponsor’s box high above the track.  He could tell Derek’s lines were off and his times weren’t the best.  Derek left the track as other drivers began to enter, talking to no one.  His second day of practice followed much in the same vein.  Kerry looked on nervously as many of their sponsor’s management gave him dirty looks.  Derek needed to wow them.  Kerry caught Derek on his exit on their third day of practice.

“Derek, what’s going on?” Kerry asked, stopping Derek with a hand on the shoulder.

“I’m just trying to finish so I can go back to normal,” Derek replied.

“Normal, what do you mean normal?”

“My old life.  I’m obviously not any good at this racing thing.  You’re wasting your money and time on this Uncle Kerry.  Let’s just finish this event and get back to our old lives.”

“You’ve got more poles than any other driver this year, you have great practice times.  The problem isn’t you, Derek, it’s the car.  I know you know that.  You can’t accelerate to keep up with the crowds even with a pole start.  I went out on a very, very thin limb to get this for you man.  Race well for me, race like you mean it,” his uncle pleaded.  Derek looked at the ground before nodding.  “Plus, I can’t afford a real driver.  You’re all I got,” Kerry and Derek enjoyed a smile.

Qualification day came and Derek was last out due to his overall rank.  Kerry was once again in the sponsor’s booth and had insisted his driver would put on a show today.  He sat anxiously and watched Derek prepare in the pit below.  Before long he accelerated off and powered onto the long, banking track.  Derek’s driving was different as soon as he started.  His lines exiting the running start into the qualifying laps were aggressive and very, very fast.  He flew across the starting line and dug in as if guided by rails.  Kerry hadn’t seen a driver so perfectly drive the course all day and he anxiously waited for is time to pop on screen once he crossed the line again.  Derek’s name appeared at the top of the list, a clear half second ahead of the pack.  Kerry jumped and pumped his fist in the air, those around him unimpressed.  Kerry stood and watched as Derek completed his second lap.  His pace wasn’t as pure as the first and his time about a third of a second slower.  Still, Kerry knew they were onto something.

Race evening came and the stadium was at capacity.  A buzz filled the air and Kerry’s whole team brimmed over with excitement.  Derek himself was having fun chatting with his father and two of the other pit crew, their laughs echoing up the pits.  Other teams hurried about with final preps as Derek’s car was pushed past them to his start at the top of pit lane.  Moods suddenly became somber and nervous once Derek climbed into the car and Kerry disappeared to the sponsor’s box.  As he rounded the final bend, the pace car veered off into the pits.  The race was on.  Kerry watched, his eyes and smile growing wide, as Derek’s car not only kept it’s place at the head of the pack, but kept pace with the others.  Then he gained.  Derek fought out ahead by a car length then dug into an aggressive line similar to his qualifying lap.  It wasn’t long and he had distanced himself from the pack.  By the 25th lap he had caught and begun lapping the rear of the pack.  When Derek pitted for the first time he had enough lead to do so without losing position.  He rounded the final bend 13 seconds ahead of second and captured his first victory in stunning style.  Kerry hollered with the people around him before shooting the doubting executive a playful look.

Derek went on to win four more times that season, placing top ten in 12 more.  He set a NASCAR record for poles qualified by a rookie.  Kerry’s sponsor didn’t renew at the end of the race but it was a short time before a better contract came their way.  Kerry was sure he’d enjoy retirement after all.



OakOak is Off the Wall. Literally

  Posted by Deb Borys in Painted Black, the novel, 16 April 2014 · 13 views

OakOak  has a very strange yet whimsical mind.  Love these. via Street Art That Plays With Its Surroundings «TwistedSifter. See more of OakOak’s  stuff at http://oakoak.canalblog.com/  



Club1506 Interview with Jenny's Vision Project

  Posted by SVP86 in Lounge 1506, 16 April 2014 · 13 views

If you haven’t heard of our next gust, you soon will. Mr. Øivind Kristian Stavik hails from Norway and is the founder of an independent recording group called Jenny’s Vision Project. They mostly have a 80s Pop/Rock sound and have had their music featured all over the world. Many musicians and vocalists perform with them and helped the JVP with their goal of producing music of the highest quality. Musicians who wish to join the worldwide project are more than welcome to; however, they must keep in that the JVP expects those who wish to join to have high standards of quality as well. After all, the JVP was inspired by a beloved woman who died of cancer. Click here to check out the full story at Club1506.



Rachel Drake Series

Posted by Orville in Orville's Blog, 16 April 2014 · 18 views

I am working on a series stories where the main character, Rachel Drake, is a co-owner of a used bookstore and a paranormal investigator.

I will add more as I go along.

I am on the last chapter of a book with the working title of Chronicles of Rachel Drake. This novel takes place on New Mexico Rt 666 and has Rachel investigating various legends and demons.

I am also finishing a novella with the working title of There Was A Chocolate Man. This story takes place in Rachel's hometown and involves a paranormal investigation and a serial killer.


Interview with Y.R. Jones - Winner of the April Fools' Query Contest!

Posted by jadah in The Query Faerie, 14 April 2014 · 38 views

Interview with Y.R. Jones - Winner of the April Fools' Query Contest!


A Tale of Questions, Answers, and Analysis

Hello, everyone! Hope you all had an awesome weekend and took a break from your query so you can get out of your writer cave, feel the sun on your face and go de-stress! Getting bombarded with criticism (constructive or no) can be stressful, and all of you guys deserve a pat on the back for putting your work out there to the public for review. Thank you again for being a part of my contest!

Miss Y.R. Jones was nice enough to take time out of her day to answer some questions for me. Without further ado, enjoy this interview with the winner:

1) Are you a pantser or a plotter?

You know, I was in denial for a long time about my Type A personality. I thought I could attempt my first ever MS writing on a whim – until it turned out garbage. So, I started writing as the true me—a plotter. It keeps me from rambling and creating scenes that don’t belong.

True dat! Plots are difficult things to control. I often wonder if other writers have as many issues with plotting as I do! It’s good to hear that I’m not alone.

2) Where did you get the idea for your novel?

Whew! (Breathe, Von) Let me see how I can make this short. I drew the idea of the MCs and the setting (college campus) from my first MS (based on events of my past). I truly believed a story was there; I just didn’t tell it well [at all] the first time. Then, I figured it needed a challenge (time travel), and the rest just came as I wrote new words.

3) How long did it take you to finish the first draft?

I’m almost done. :) But it’s taken me almost a year. I have an annoying habit of line-editing as I write, which takes me longer to churn out a first draft than it should.

I am the same way! Do you feel like you can’t move on to another scene if the first one isn’t almost perfect? I’m so jealous of people who can pump out a whole novel in three months!

4) How do you handle writer’s block?

I wait it out; I often develop writer’s block because my brain needs the break. Eventually, something in my life will inspire me again. I often tell myself, “There is no rush.” So far, it works.

5) Are you published anywhere?

Not anymore (self-publishing project gone wrong :: bangs head on keyboard :: ).

It happens. :)

6) What are your three favorite books and why?

“The Color Purple” is my #1. I’ve read it quite a few times. It gives me everything I need in one book—emotion (from sadness and pain to joy and pride), voice, and historical imagery. I draw some inspiration from “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (and no, not because it’s about time travel…lol) and Audrey Niffenegger’s ability to make me feel, see, and love her [flawed] characters. Hm, I don’t have a 3rd favorite, but I must say I love Ann Patchett’s writing style and her talent to evoke emotion. (In case you have noticed, I have a thing for emotional books. lol)

Flawed characters are the best characters, I think. It makes them so much more real.

7) What’s next for you? Have you started the querying process?

I plan to finish my first draft by the end of the month with full editing to begin immediately after. I hope to begin querying this summer, but it depends on how satisfied I am with the final product. (Note: I’m never totally satisfied.)

Good luck!

8) How do you handle harsh criticism?

Well, I prove them wrong, of course. Just kidding. Once the sting of the criticism wears off, I consider the comments with an open mind. Most of the time, the comments are spot on, and I ALWAYS aim to correct and do better. (The query and first 250 entered into this contest were actually improved due to the critiques I received from my first contest.) It may take me a while to get there (I struggle with accepting someone else’s opinion of me; who doesn’t, right?), but eventually, it gets done.

That’s a great attitude!

9) What keeps you from giving up when you’re feeling discouraged?

My children. When they start to drive me bonkers, I’m reminded that I’m not doing this just for me. They look up to me, and being their hero, I refuse to let them down.

10) Do you have a “soundtrack” for your novel?

Absolutely. Poor Ed Sheeran (his “+” album) is tired of playing on repeat, but his lyrics and rhythms allow me to connect with my MS and its characters – instead of typing just to meet a word count.

11) How was your experience in this contest? Anything you’d like to say to the other contestants?

It’s been pleasant and educational. I was able to learn from the feedback I received as well as learn from what the participants had to say about the other entries; it taught me what also appealed to readers that I didn’t include in my own query/work. I actually found myself liking stories that I, before the contest, would’ve never gravitated towards in a bookstore. The contest granted me the chance to explore outside of my genre, my comfort zone. So, thank you!

To my fellow contestants, remember that there are so many different styles of writing and a wide range of creative plots that appeal to all types of readers. Don’t let the criticism discourage you and your story. The contest was about HOW you present that story, and we all want to present our best. Keep working. Do NOT give up. Believe it or not, we ALL won from this contest, and I congratulate you all!

Great advice, Yvonne! Thank you for sharing with us! I am looking forward to reading your first three chapters. Good luck to you in the editing and querying phase.

The winning query and first 250 words:


Dear [AGENT]:

Within the cold walls of his institute, Dr. Vincent Douvrey dedicated years to his innovations but none to his devoted wife. He never said “I love you”, and until her fatal car accident, he had no desire to say “I’m sorry”. Guilt-ridden and eager to deliver that apology in person, and even more eager to receive his next accolade in science, Vincent attempts his most recent innovation—transitory time travel by liquid ingestion.

But the tonic doesn’t transport him to three years prior. Instead, he awakens almost fifteen years into the past in a University of South Florida dorm room with passé décor. Thanks to Lacunar amnesia, Vincent doesn’t remember any moment or anyone he befriended his first time as a college student. However, an even greater obstacle plagues him: how to return to the future.

Vincent turns to the campus library for guidance, but his research leads him to meet Carmen, a junior student who is not his wife. Carmen is immediately smitten by his Grenadian accent and unfamiliar charm and he by her stunning beauty and unselfishness. Their magnetic passion brews a sultry love affair. Meanwhile, the thirty-five-year old man she believes is twenty-one continues to seek a reverse transport solution.

However, Vincent’s hope of returning home to his acclaimed work dwindles, forcing him to relive his past while loving a woman he knows he doesn’t marry. But when he makes a shocking discovery as to Carmen’s true identity, Vincent hastens to find a way to return to his rightful decade to learn the truth about his repressed past and her role in his future.

LIKE YESTERDAY is commercial fiction and complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250:

Dr. Douvrey possessed a keen talent to ignore. He ignored the resounding proclamation that time travel didn’t exist. He ignored his wife who loved him more than her nursing shoes worn to its last shred of rubber. He ignored his mother who told him that he wouldn’t succeed without her international clout. But this talent was often tested by his incompetent assistant of seven years, whom he observed from his chamber as she mixed and spilled chemicals onto his laminate lab table, incinerating it layer by layer. It was only the eleventh table he had to replace because of her; one more was sure to be tainted within the year. Dim smoke smothered her face, obstructing her view of the doctor’s narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. She owned a brilliant mind, but the doctor found it challenging each new day to ignore her fumbles, destructions, and blabbering. After four long breaths and a silent prayer for strength not to kill her, Dr. Douvrey turned his back towards the window and continued to shield himself within the glass room of toxic fumes, a poor attempt to escape her recurrent interferences and to maintain his state of being alone.

The chamber upheld its purpose of providing security and safety as well as being aesthetically pleasing to his eyes. Upon each entry of the room, the doctor often admired the stainless steel upon the ceiling and parts of the walls and the extensive counter space of which he performed all testing of his formulas.

Read this interview on my blog: http://thequeryfaeri...-query-contest/
Follow me on Twitter: @theQueryFaerie

Thanks for reading!


Blog Ring of Power Interview with Author Alys Cohen

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 14 April 2014 · 19 views

Today I welcome speculative fiction author Alys Cohen. You can find the other four parts of the Blog Ring of Power interview with Alys on the following blogs, so please check them out to get the whole story! Emily LaBonte Sandra Ulbrich Almazon http://terribruce.net/ T.W. Fendley   Where do you get your story ideas? Usually something inspires […]



All the Voices

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 14 April 2014 · 10 views

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about infusing your query with your Voice. Hope you'll pop on over and check it out!

Voice is hard to describe yet it's very obvious when it's there ... and when it's not.

I like reading a wide variety of different Voices. I definitely enjoy some Voices I could never emulate or create. I remember reading Erma Bombeck's hilarious accounts of her real life when I was in elementary school. Love her stuff but it's not a style/voice I could ever write.

I like the flowing fantasy style of Tolkien, the literary loveliness of LMM Montgomery, the darkness of so many dystopian writers.

But would my Voice be able to pull off any of these? Nope.

Not yet.

Maybe some day.

What about you? Do you enjoy reading Voices that are very different from your own?



Tips For Working Sneakers for Ladies

Posted by sasany in sasany's Blog, 13 April 2014 · 27 views
West NYC x Saucony Shadow 500

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Bear in mind however that you just won't straight away get your perfect pair in the to start with try. Check out other pairs until finally you have got found the right one which you can run to with no slipping or the shoe generating wounds. Don hesitate to request the employees to help you out because they know much better than anybody else, plus you could also inquire for advices. Right here are some manufacturers you can visit acquire operating footwear: Nike, Saucony, Mizuno, Brooks and New Stability. They've specific versions dependent on the end result of one's gait examination as well as have excellent client services, so you're able to test them. You are able to still look for other brand names since you'll find lots of merchants that promote operating sneakers especially, so it will be a great deal better to go to a specialist retailer. It truly is great to investigation a lot more on merchants which have beneficial employees and therefore are greater than ready to assist you to with your operating footwear challenges Saucony Shadow 5000 Solebox. You shouldn't be hesitated paying income on working girl shoes due to the fact they're footwear that may assist your entire body while you run. If working is your passion, then it really should also be your passion to order operating sneakers that will make you are feeling fantastic whilst working. As stated above, girls need far more working shoes than me, so get up and run for all those running footwear that youe been dying to have your hands to.



My Garden, My Muse

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 11 April 2014 · 47 views

So, the past couple weeks have been a time of cogitation and clean-up. Time to prepare for the new. New season of growth. New book to write. Hello, Muses?

I'd planned to clean up the back yard, hoping the tree trimmers, who should have come two weeks ago, might have, by now, hacked down the dead secondary trunk of a huge Norway spruce. No such luck.   

So, instead of working in back, I decided to jump into a nasty but necessary job in the front yard. I have a few shrub roses which, if allowed, would grow far too huge for the bed they occupy. They're lovely and decked with wicked thorns.

Now, when I have thinking to do on a project, especially defining characters and outlining plot, I find the garden a great place to do that. If I sit indoors at the computer, I find I'm spending more time thinking about what I should be thinking about. That is, running the hamster wheel. Getting nowhere. But with the intention in mind, if I occupy myself with a manual task, my mind is busy with that and can allow the below-the-surface flow to happen. It's when I don't think about it that, often, the best thinking happens.

What do I mean? Well, those three thorny beauties are sited on a slope, making for unstable footing. Their canes had grown long, thickly entwined, and I tackled them without the bother of walking all the way back to the garage for my gloves.

So, I'm cutting back, hauling out branches, clipping them for the trash barrel, stacking them, pushing them down. I'm sure my blaspheming could be heard next door (it's okay, my neighbors are cool) as those branches lacerated my hands, while the possible antagonist(s) simmered.

I don't know. Maybe it was the satisfaction of taming the bobcats. Seeing the bushes trimmed down and my hands scratched and bleeding. But something popped about that antagonist.

By taking my mind off it, I'd allowed my mind to work on it, on its own.

Not to say who the apparent antagonist will be. What changed for me, what I realized, was that I'd been looking at it from the wrong place. Since this will follow from the book already done, which is a science-fantasy, the real bad guys are . . . well I can't really give that away, now can I? But I'll say that they use and manipulate the apparent bad guys. The active, if not actual, antagonist(s).

So, instead of my wondering which characters should go rogue, I realized that I should let the real bad guys decide. I'm sure they'd be far more ruthless than I would want to be. They might go after someone I like too much to turn evil. Bad for the character. Better for the story.

With the intention in my mind but not in my focus, doing a job I'd not planned to do, which left me scratched and bleeding, something gelled.

Somewhere, I think it was the Book of Runes, I read that one should not be the farmer who goes into his fields and pulls on the crops to make them grow faster. Just keep doing the work.

The intention is there. If it's pulled on constantly, it's not going to grow faster. Sort of like browbeating the muses. It seems the more I demand, the more they remain silent, or wait for my silence to speak.

It was by letting it go that it came around. I can hardly wait to see who those bad guys choose. I already have a good idea.
I'd love to hear how you court the Muses without browbeating them into silence. Making chocolate chip cookies? Steam-of-consiousness writing? Gardening seems to work with mine. How about yours?



Fan Art for Blueberry Springs

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 10 April 2014 · 20 views

<p>Cool things are happening!</p>
<p><strong>Quick writing update from Jean Oram:</strong> I have finished the first Summer Sisters book, <em>Love and Rumors</em>, and it is out for critiques before another editing pass by me and then going out for professional edits. This book will be released this summer. Book 2 is almost a third written and will also be out this summer as well. Wahoo!</p>
<p><strong>Have you read the Blueberry Springs series? Are you in NEED of a signed paperback of <em>Champagne and Lemon Drops</em>?</strong></p>
<p>Check this out!</p>
<h4>Party Time!</h4>
<p>This Sunday on Facebook, the woman who made the beautiful keychains and other one-of-a-kind Blueberry Springs items for my launch parties is holding a Lupus fundraiser.</p>
<div id="attachment_708" style="width: 486px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://www.jeanoram....ush).</p></div>
<p>You can help Denise spread the word about Lupus as well as with her fundraiser by joining the party on Facebook: <a title="Join the party for a chance to win!" href="https://www.facebook...2877627996/</a> or by purchasing a <a title="Beautiful Lupus t-shirt. Help the cuase and look good!" href="http://www.tfund.com/deniselupusevent" target="_blank">beautiful t-shirt here</a>.</p>
<p>Please note, I will also be donating a signed paperback of Champagne and Lemon Drops during the party! So be sure to pop by. (Open internationally.)</p>
<h4>Blueberry Springs Fan Art</h4>
<p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oQucOJv6S0Q" height="315" width="420" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe></p>
<p>This video was made for me by June Foster as a thank you for supporting Denise’s party mentioned above. Thank you June!! It’s wonderful.</p>
<div id="attachment_707" style="width: 702px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://www.jeanoram.... A.B.</p></div>
<p>Welcome to Blueberry Springs! A special thank you to Jane A. Bowen for creating this fun Blueberry Springs image. I love the population sign.</p>
<p><em><strong>Do you have Blueberry Springs fan art you’d like to share? A poem? Drawing? Image? Favourite quote? Video? Share it with me and be featured on my blog!</strong> <strong>Thanks for reading.</strong></em></p>
<p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Note:</strong> </span>For those waiting for <em>Rum and Raindrops</em> on iTunes…yeah, I broke something BIG at iTunes this time. My book is currently set at the highest priority for fixing the mystery problem…and so we wait. My apologies for breaking iTunes and creating a delay. I’ll let you know when the book is out on iTunes. Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, <a title="Rum and Raindrops" href="http://www.jeanoram....tforms</a>.</p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.jeanoram....n Oram</a>.</p>


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