Friday, December 23, 2011

Adieu Until the New...Year That Is

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Me, Myself and I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays.  We decided to take a break until the the new year.  Conversation went like this:
Me: It's Christmas, followed by the New Year.  We should take a break from blogging, spend extra time with Chipmunk.
I: Come on...Chipmunk's a big girl.  She doesn't need you.  This is blogging we're talking about -
Myself interrupts: I'm with Me.  I, you sound selfish...thought that was supposed to be my job.
I folds arms over chest and looks away from Me and Myself: Fine...but when we get back, we're working on balancing Me's need for family, Myself's need for writing and my need for blogging.  Got it?
Me whispers to Myself:  Nod and smile...just nod and smile.

So whether you're having a:
White Christmas at home
OR:
Santa fun time where it's warm and sunny
Have a wonderful time with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.

Since we won't be back until the New Year, we just want to say one thing about ringing in 2012 with alcohol: When you start thinking that 1 plus 1 is 11, it may be time to stop sipping on the champagne.  :-P

Celebrating 2012 with a smile
***To all who've followed, lurked and laughed, commented and joked, THANK YOU...all of you, from the bottom of my heart <3***

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

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Click here to enter to win the giveaway



(photo credit)
Christmas usually involved smiling, laughter, opening gifts, playing with toys and lots and lots of eating.  Well, I have one particular memory that stands out for a different reason.  I saw angels.

You see, I was raised by a single mom, hard working woman who had to deal with an athletic oldest son, nerdy middle child (that would be me) and a nonchalant baby girl with the occasional naughty streak.

One Christmas morning, we awoke to find the tree didn't have any of the "surprise" gifts that always showed up Christmas morning.  Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.  I wondered who the heck would come by at such an early time.  Seriously, it was like 5 or 6 in the morning :-)

When my mom opened the door, a family stood there loaded with gifts, a bike and they beamed...surrounded by a halo of joy.  We didn't know them.  They didn't know us.  But we were connected by their desire to do something for another family.  None of us kiddos knew it, but mom had taken our letters to Santa and sought out help because she knew she couldn't do it on her own for once.  We were in awe.  The giving family grinned, filled with excitement and giddiness.  It was like they were high on giving.  That stuck with me.  I was probably 9 or 10 at the time, but I learned that day how the joy of giving is a GIFT itself...probably why giving is something special for me to this day

As part of the 12 Days of Christmas, I'd like to give a book to one lucky winner, a kindle edition of The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.
Click here for the blurb on this wonderful novel
So, I'm curious, what does giving mean for you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Embrace Change then Meet Me Over at Maria's


So before I dive into my Embrace-palooza, I got the pleasure of doing a guest post over at Maria Zannini's blog.  Come on over here and join me as I discuss having crafty fun with Chipmunk.  There's even something special for you.  But you have to go on over to participate.

Before you go, I have a confession.  I am not the biggest fan of change.  I know, it's inevitable.  But there was one point in my life where change was so frightening.  As part of Cherie Colyer's Launch Party for her wonderful novel, Embrace, I'd like to share a time where embracing change, for me, was scary but for the best.

You see, some of you may not know this, but there was a time when I was married.  I ripped my severely independent heart from my chest and, with trembling fingers, entrusted it to the man I loved.  Details aren't needed, but suffice it to say that things changed.  Not the kind of changes I was willing to embrace, either.  Around the time things ended, a new job opportunity opened up for me.
I moved from Small Town, Texas to sunny, metropolis San Diego, CA.  If I didn't embrace change, it was going to drown me, kicking and swinging.
So I did it.
I opened my mind and my heart to the new place I called home.  I learned what June gloom meant and what it felt like to have the ocean breeze whip cool air around you.  I tanned, on accident, really, but not much :-)  I was especially glad that embracing change allowed me, for a brief time, to participate in a writing group with some wonderful writers and published authors, most with decades of experience to share with me.  Le sigh....remembering them always warms my heart.  I found a few good friends that I keep in touch with to this day (miss you guys!!!)
I took change by the horn and embraced it with a bear hug by moving back to my small town, especially since  a lot had changed in the two years I was gone.
Now, I don't look at change and immediately frown.  I give it a chance.  And I'd like to encourage each and every one of you to give Embrace, by Cherie Colyer, a chance as well.

Including a quick jaunt over to Maria's place, check below for other great places to venture off to as part of the Launch Party!!!


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Embrace Launch Party Guest Posts!

Embrace Launch Party Posts!
Kim Winters, Kat's Eye Journal          
           
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Embrace
a novel by Cherie Colyer

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. 

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him. 

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own. 

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. 

AUTHOR INFO

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Prizes: To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Cherie is giving away an eCopy of EMBRACE and 5-Embrace Hemp Bracelets today. There are three ways to win:

1) Leave a comment here or at any of the Party Posts.
2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the Party Posts with tag #EMBRACEnovels
Example: 
Nothing could have prepared her for what she’s about to discover. #EMBRACEnovels @CherieColyer #YA avail NOW www.cheriecolyer.blogspot.com
Example: 
Celebrate the launch of EMBRACE by @CherieColyer #EMBRACEnovels #paranormal #YA avail NOW www.cheriecolyer.blogspot.com
3) Facebook (tag Cherie Colyer, author) about the Virtual Party.
Example: 
Celebrate the launch of teen paranormal thriller/romance novel EMBRACE by Cherie Colyer, author and enter for a chance to win Embrace prizes! http://www.cheriecolyer.blogspot.com

Do all three and you will have three times the chances to win! Leave a comment at each stop of the tour for a chance to win the Grand Prize.

If you haven’t already, remember to stop back by Cherie’s blog or click here to fill out the form to ensure your entry is counted.

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Change can be a difficult thing to embrace.  Is there a particular change that at first had you in doubt or fear?  Did you eventually come to embrace it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gestation periods

It takes a while to have a baby.

Loving parents, or otherwise, conceive.  Many moons later, there is a precious bundle in the world.  For us humans, that gestation period is nine to ten months, a few weeks longer if the baby is like my kiddo and in no rush to leave the warmth and comfort of a well nourishing environment.  I hear elephants take up to two years.

Oh.  My.  God.

I couldn't handle that if that was my body, but many writers have gestation periods this long, or years longer, with novels.

AMONG DRAGONS and MEN is my oldest WiP.  Been working on this project for years.  It's had a couple of working title changes but I'm liking this one best of all.  Right now, no progress to report.

However,

SEAMLESS (formerly NO COUNTRY FOR FAE FOLK) has some progress.  This is my newest baby, now at 12,800 word count for its rewrite.

UNCOMMON is only slightly older than SEAMLESS.  I've made a little progress with it, now at 3,700 word count for its rewrite.

What about you...have any WiPs that have been around for a while?  If so, how long and do you have any plans to go further with them?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And Then There Was Thursday

Yesterday was a lazy day.
Just too cute
Hence, no blog post yesterday.
I'm wishing I could afford this kind of lazy holiday
Such a wonderful dream
but the troops in my wallet are a little busy.  They let me know that there wasn't room in the budget to acquiesce to such a fantasy, but left hope for some time in the far off future.  Not sure if I like that whole "far off" part.

So now here we are at Thursday.  I'm trying to get in some of this (see pic below) so I can actually have something to report n the way of progress on Monday for my BofAN update.
If only my hands really could move this fast.
So here's something for ya, with so many holiday events going on; Hanukkah, Christmas, Season of Bah Humbug, how are you doing with your reading and your writing?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Celebrating Giants and Spreading Holiday Cheer

I had the wonderful Brooke Johnson as a guest at my blog last week.  She shared how she accomplished her dream with steampunk power.  Now YOU can enjoy the fruit of her hard labor.

The Clockwork Giant is NOW available in the following e-book formats:
Amazon 
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble
If holding the book in your hand is the bees knees (yes, people, I really want to bring this back so work with me lol!!!), order your copy from Lulu.

Also...

My demon spirits have a contest for you.
Okay...so not really demon spirits but I love Heather's blog title, which actually is My Demon Spirits.  The contest details are found at her Spreading the Holiday Cheer post.  Check them out and enter.  I bet a lot of great flash fiction can come out of this.

Speaking of spreading the holiday cheer, one small thing I do, when I have a dollar on me, is drop it in the Salvation tubs manned by the bell ringers.  It isn't much, and I don't have much myself, but there are people in situations I couldn't imagine being in.  Can you think of examples of small gestures that help to spread "peace on earth and goodwill toward men"?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do You Know Where You're Going To?

It is now December and I'm in rewrite mode with all three of my novels in progress.
NO COUNTRY FOR FAE FOLK (my NaNo-baby) - has a new beginning and new word count of 1,400 words.
UNCOMMON is also getting a bit of a change to the beginning.  Working on the POV.  I was going with two first person POV from the male and the female perspective.  I'm trying something a bit different, want to see how it works out.  Barely got a page done, but I think I like what I have.  It will help me with my NEO aspect of this and other novels I want to include in the NEO chronicles.
AMONG DRAGONS AND MEN is doing well.  I have a ways to go but I've been blessed with some query edits that have me excited to rock out the rest of this manuscript and get it all pretty and shiny for an agent.

How are you doing so far?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

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That's right folks!  I'm posting on a Saturday, which means it's for something exciting.

What's mentioned in the title for today's post is one of the things you get in the "normal" 12 Days of Christmas. But you know how we are as writers.  We tend to be unique and love giving a new spin to an old favorite, especially when blog followers and readers get to benefit.  So if you go over to Nadja Notariani's blog, you'll see there's a special "author's" version you and all your friends can participate in...and WIN!

Check out Nadja's 12 Days of Christmas Reading page to participate because the fun starts TODAY!

As a participant on the author/writer side of this FUNtastic affair, I will have a special post on 12/21/2011 sharing a story of a Christmas past that has had a profound impact on my view of giving  :-)

Friday, December 9, 2011

What does Friday REALLY Mean?

It's often quoted, though not sure who to credit, that "All good things come to an end."
For some things, I hang my head and wish it wasn't so.
Star Trek The Next Generation photo credit
HA!  Thank you reruns, dvds and other sorts of recorders so I can travel back to some simpler things.

But there are some things that, when they end, are just the beginning.

Hence, Fridays.

Hello, lover - I mean - weekend.
TGIF Kiss for you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis the Season for Giveaways

Can't you smell it in the air?  No.  Not the exhaust from the guy in front of you that needs a new everything so they can stop making smoke signals everywhere they go.  And ignore the odd body odor of the extra sweaty person next to you.  They're working on it, really.  It's a glandular dysfunction.

I'm talking about the smell of the season.  Christmas trees with their pine scents wafting from their corner of the living room as they lean ever so slightly but stay mostly upright.  Candles of peppermint and candy cane, tickling your senses and your sweet tooth.  It's the time of year where most humans actually WANT to treat others like humans just because it's the right thing to do and not for the expectation of something in return.

It's time for GIVEAWAYS!

Beth Revis has a giveaway of EPIC proportions.
Click for details
She's giving away to readers because she wants to.  And for each entry, she's making a donation to a charity. Seriously, how cool is that?

Also, Maria Zannini has organized DIY Christmas.
She's recruited some talented writers and authors to show a different side of themselves.  I happened to be one of the lucky ones chosen.  Let me tell you, I'm honored to be among these wonderful peeps.  Visit her blog December 7th thru 22nd.  Some posts will not have giveaways while others will.  Enjoy being a part of the Christmas festivities.

Don't miss out on all the fun :-)

With all the gift giving going on, have you had a chance to get all your gifts lined up for Christmas?  Or do you see a sprint through the mall on December 24th in your future?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Who's That in the Spotlight: Brooke Johnson, Steampunk Powered

***Attention ladies and gentlemen...and not-so-gentle men, I'd like to note that today starts DIY Christmas over at Maria Zannini's blog.  Please enjoy today's guest post then strut your writerly stuff on over to Maria's.***

Now, I am proud to have Brooke Johnson visiting today for an author spotlight.
Bio
Ever since she was a little girl, Brooke had a love of building long-forgotten, fantastical worlds, and as she grew up, and the worlds became more complex and the characters came to life, she found that she didn't have enough Legos to do them justice. Convinced it was her destiny to create, she delved into fantasy writing, spinning tales of princes and wizards and dragons—stories to act out during recess, illustrate in the margins of her notebooks, and live in on those long bus rides to and from school. She had an equal fascination for clocks that no one could explain, collecting timepieces of all shapes and sizes over the course of her childhood and teenage years.

Brooke's love of fantasy never wavered, neither did her passion for clocks. In college, she endeavored to conquer the genre fiction naysayers, championing her cause through the university's literary journal. She encountered Dungeons & Dragons, developed a love of Eastern mythology, and discovered steampunk, the perfect outlet for her clockwork obsession.

Now married and living in Northwest Arkansas with her husband and dog, she spends her days scrambling around the vast landscape of her imagination, the fantastical worlds of princes and wizards on one side and the towering, brass cities of automatons and engineers on the other.

Now here's Brooke to share with us about how she took the bull by the horns with steampunk power.

Before The Clockwork Giant, I had never written anything but traditional fantasy—witches, dragons, the whole sword and sorcery shebang. Fantasy has always been my passion. It was my favorite genre in both reading and writing, and until I got the idea for The Clockwork Giant, I thought I’d never write anything but.

As fate would have it, however, I discovered a new genre, one that I had always loved but never knew the official term for it—steampunk. After several friends recommended it to me, I read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. I loved it. Now, in my opinion, it isn’texactly steampunk, or what I think steampunk should be. However, it opened a whole new genre of books to me. I then searched for more steampunk books, and though I found several, they all had a dose of fantasy in them—Leviathan the exception. I didn’t want vampires, werewolves, or zombies. I wanted science.

In my mind, true steampunk was a celebration of Victorian science. No vampires. No werewolves. No magic of any kind.  Which was a strange sort of definition for me, seeing as I’d been so thoroughly absorbed into fantasy for so long. Especially since I never had the desire to read science fiction. I had read a little bit for classes and stuff, but I always found science fiction dull and too technology-oriented.

When it came to steampunk, I wanted something different. I wanted science. But I couldn’t find the steampunk novel I wanted to read. I searched for a long time, looking for something both fascinating and entertaining, something without any paranormal aspects. My desire to read a definitive steampunk novel grew, until one night, while lying awake in bed, I had an idea. I could write it. Somehow, I knew that I’d never find the novel I wanted to read. No matter how many hours I spent searching Barnes & Noble or Amazon, that story would forever elude me. No. If I wanted that book, then I’d have to write it. I am a writer after all. It made sense.

But I was afraid.

I had never written anything but fantasy. I’d only ever read one steampunk book. How could I have the audacity to write a steampunk novel? I quickly dismissed the idea, hoping that I’d find the book I wanted to read and be satisfied.

At the time, I was writing a fantasy novel, one I had been working on for over a year, one that had attracted the interest of two agents who ultimately passed, one that I had lost all enthusiasm for. I was stuck, and after a week of not writing and not wanting to write, I started to consider trying the steampunk novel.

My new, fabulous friend Darby Karchut encouraged me. She suggested it might just be the next new thing for me. If nothing else, it might get my creative juices flowing. So I then committed to research the genre, and bounced ideas around in my head.

And like all good ideas, while I was lying awake one night, it came to me.

A machine is truth.

So simple, yet profound. It evolved into the first two sentences of my book to be.

A machine is more that its moving parts. The gears, pinions, and springs, they make the machine tick, but deeper than that, a machine is truth.

From those two sentences, I discovered the world of Chroniker City, and there, I found Petra.

The rest is history.

Now that the book is ready to be devoured by the reading public, I’m glad that I took a chance on steampunk. I am just as much in love with the story now as I was when I first came up with the idea, and it opened up a plethora of writing options. I think I could write anything now. As afraid as I was to write steampunk, I conquered it. I owned it. And now, nothing scares me. Not even space operas or fantasy epics.

Have a peak at her work:

About The Clockwork Giant:

It's 1881, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Chroniker City, the global hub of technological advancement in the modern world. Based off the British coast, the city is home to the most prestigious polytechnic university worldwide, a center of mechanical ingenuity teaching everything from clockwork mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and electricity.

Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, dreams of one day becoming a member of the Guild, an elite group of inventors and innovators who envision a future fueled by technology, but her ambitions will only come to fruition if she can find a way into the illustrious university—an institution reserved for men only. When she meets Emmerich Goss, an accomplished engineer newly recruited into the Guild, Petra discovers that he needs help building a top-secret, government-sanctioned automaton, and she is just the girl to help him.

Together, they craft the clockwork giant, and as the deadline for its completion nears, Petra finds that she can love more than gears and mainsprings.

Here are some places you can find Brooke:
Facebook: Brooke Johnson
Twitter: @brookenomicon
Google+: Brooke Johnson
Goodreads: Brooke Johnson 
Website: http://brooke-johnson.com

I'm all a-giggle and can't wait for her release.  Mark your calendars for December 13th.  The Clockwork Giant will be available in Kindle, Nook and paperback.

Now, about steampunk.  Have you read a steampunk novel?  If so, please provide the title.  If you aren't sure, then guess what?  You aren't alone.  I hadn't known I was in love with it until I read Leviathan myself and realized I'd read other books like it.  Call me late to the party :-) 

Monday, December 5, 2011

And I'm Telling You

That life is fun and frenzied.  And it doesn't have to be so final.
(photo credit)

No, I'm not talking about seeking immortality through becoming a vampire, though that would be interesting, to say the least.  I'm talking about accomplishing the immortality of Jane Austen, Bram Stoker, or J.R.R. Tolkien.

None of these people are alive - that I know of.  Has anyone heard otherwise?

Anyway, they live on through their works.  Octavia Butler is no longer here but Kindred and her other books give her a lasting legacy that will go on for countless time to come.  As writers, we have a chance to create a legacy of our own by choosing NOT to give up on our dreams of becoming published authors.

So here are a few quotes to remember when giving up seems like the only way:
"Fall seven times, stand up eight." - a Japanese proverb
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly." - Robert F. Kennedy
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain." - Vivian Greene

Here's a brief visual of some new age dancing in the rain.  Please note, there's music so be careful pressing the play button :-)
Quotes about never giving up can be found in lots of places.  But perhaps there's something someone told you that stuck with you.  What is that "something"?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rest for the Weary

Some of you may be feeling like this:
Not Ali, but the fellow clearly knocked out on the mat- yeah that would be how I feel :-)
Well...pull yourself up, grab a chair, sip on some lemonade and rest.  It is an elusive thing, that "rest".  And after all that has happened - NaNowhateveryoudid, Thanksgiving, living daily life - you deserve a moment.

After taking a moment to rest and rejuvenate, what do plan to tackle next?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Merry ChristmaHanuKwanzaakkah!

NaNoWriMo has ended.  Edits, revisions, and rewrites are in the air.  Can't you smell the bloody red ink dying to be used on all those stories?

The turkey induced coma is slowly wearing off.  And the consumerism of the season left many ten pounds lighter in the wallet after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Speaking of consumerism, here's a little vid that should take you back a few years:
The joy of spending money on toys and gadgets - or gifts you know will end up being regifted back to you in a couple of years- aside, what does this holiday season mean for you?