Wednesday, January 30, 2013

meet the beasts!

This is Day 3 of the World Building Blogfest - Religion and/or Magic

I did not incorporate any religion into BROKEN BRANCH FALLS - too complicated! But there are many touches of magic, including the creatures themselves. So here is a look at the twelve species... I give you the inhabitants of the Southeast Sector, Land Mass 4, Earth

Centaurs – equine bodies with humanoid torso and head, neutral in coloring, most intelligent beasts

Dragons – large reptilian bodies with strong scales and wings, vibrant colors from orange to purple, ability to convert brimstone to dragon fire which is five times stronger than normal fire and necessary to sustain life, above average intelligence

Elves – smallest humanoids averaging 4 feet tall, pointed ears, pastel colored skin tones, lithe and flexible, average intelligence, optimistic nature, special bond with tree they live in, the gift of an elf eyelash grants a wish

Giants – largest humanoids up to 25 feet tall, below average intelligence
Gabe Thorntry
goblin

Goblins – medium sized, average build humanoids, averaging 5 feet tall, all shades of green skin tones, large pointed ears, high intelligence

Harpies – avian bodies with humanoid torso and head, averaging 5 feet tall, shiny, metallic colored feathers (bronze, copper, silver, gold, etc) – when feathers fall out, they are used for tools or building nests, never discarded, emotion pheromones project to each other, hold special bond to trees they live in, average intelligence

Merfolk – ichthyoid bodies with humanoid torso and head, 6 feet average length, all shades of blue and green protective scales, tears have healing properties, tails can change to legs for walking on land, above average intelligence

Ogres – extra-large, muscular humanoids averaging 8 feet tall, mostly gray skin tones with hints of other colors, below average intelligence

Pixies – medium sized, average build humanoids averaging 5 feet tall, dark, colorful skin tones, pointed ears, average intelligence, their dust is explosive

Trolls – talpidae humanoids averaging 5 feet tall, hunched posture makes them look shorter, dark brown and gray skin tones, long fingers, heightened sense of smell, ornery dispositions, below average intelligence

Vampires – chiropteran humanoids averaging 6 feet tall, pale skin with black, red or white hair, nocturnal, convert blood to energy, above average intelligence, can morph into bat form

Werewolves – canidae humanoids averaging 6 feet tall, covered in fur, all shades of brown, nocturnal, special bond with trees in forest where they live, heightened sense of smell and ability to read emotions from scent, above average intelligence

So there you have it! Friday we are posting excerpts that show our world building skills. Very curious to see what other entries there are! Thanks for reading!

And don't forget to sign up for A to Z today! Get a good spot, it fills up quick!

Monday, January 28, 2013

a whole new world!

Welcome to the Build a World Workshop! I mean blog hop. It's going on all week! For details, see Sharon Bayliss - instigator!

Today we are talking about Geography and Climate.

BROKEN BRANCH FALLS is a nice little town in the Southeast Sector of Land Mass Four (which is Earth in five hundred years or so, minus humans). The climate is similar to Tennessee's Blue Ridge Mountains, with October being the best time of year to visit as it is warm, but mild. The foliage and creatures have mutated and adapted due to the legend of a cataclysmic war centuries ago that used chemical and biological warfare, leaving enormous trees, dangerous birds, magical creatures, with brilliant colors usually signifying caution. A visit through this Sector is worth the trek! I have highlighted points of interest and spots to steer clear of below.
The first place you must put on your itinerary to see while visiting the Southeast Sector is The Sea of Notion, with lovely condos on the beach, many aquatic activities, and plenty of museums and a planetarium in the nearby City of Learning. If you like to hike, the most scenic range is the Iridescent Mountains with hot spring pools for relaxing in on your way up, but you must schedule a dragon fly by to really see how the range earned its name. For a white water rafting adventure, put your boat in at Broken Branch Falls on the Steddy Rolling River. Just be sure to pull out by Trickle Stream so you don't take the unfathomable drop off at Make a Wish Falls. Echo Cliffs is a hot spot for youngsters, but if the ground trembles, take cover. The giants kids like to throw their voices too. On your journeys through the Southeast Sector, you might want to avoid The Nest, Blood Lake, the Perch, Black Dog Forest, and Treasure Trees, as their inhabitants do not take kindly to strangers. But if you study up on their cultures, you might be able to survive. 

I hope you enjoyed that quick geographic summary of BROKEN BRANCH FALLS. Now for some brief news!

I hope you have your calendars marked for the Back from the Future Fest! Coming March 1, M Pax, Nicki Elson, and Suze are hosting a hop to see what we put in a time capsule sent back from the future!
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PreviewHave I told you about the online book club I joined? I usually shy away from book clubs because, A) I'm a slow reader - no time to read, B) if I don't like a book, I can't finish it, and C) I don't know of any in my area... These could be lame excuses, but I couldn't think of any NOT to join THE PROGRESSIVE BOOKCLUB! This genius creation of M L Swift is for craft books - books on writing! And it's all here online, so even if you don't have time to join, you can read what we have to say about the books. I can't wait for the first "meeting" on February 20th where we discuss BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. So far, she's a hoot!

I hope you've written your submission for the Overcoming Adversity hop! That's next Monday and Tuesday! I have to get moving on it myself!

Did you get some writing done this weekend? What is the World like in your story? (and it doesn't have to be fantasy! Every setting needs building up!) Are you in a book club? Why or why not?

HaPPy MoNDaY!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book #1 of 2013

I finished a book! Yay, me! So I celebrate with Vikki and her weekly hop =)

I get so much from reviews! You all help me decide what to read. In small return, when I finish a book, I want to offer my two cents. In so doing, that means I liked it enough to finish it and want to recommend it to others! So here you go, from my Christmas present books, I read THE TIME KEEPER by Mitch Albom.


THE TIME KEEPER tells about the origin of time and how man has distorted its value by numbering the hours, days, and years of our life. I am a prime culprit of squeezing every minute until it cries out. I tell myself to slow down all the time – but I have to finish these important things before I can relax and enjoy some “free time.”

Mitch Albom takes three very different lives and shows the value of life in spite of time. This story is an elegant tapestry of words and emotions. I highly recommend you take the time to read it!

And I am going to share this book in a new trend I’m starting right now! If you’d like to “borrow” THE TIME KEEPER, comment below. I will write a note inside the cover and pass it on. Then I am asking that the winner do the same, sign it and pass it on. A real world blogger hop!


But that's not all!

Cruising through the blogosphere, I found a couple more books I am adding to my TBR list:

















The artwork is phenomenal! I'm not usually a YA person, but these stories have drawn me to them...check them out!
VALOR, A GREYSTONE NOVEL             and                      THE PUPPET SPELL
       by Taylor Longford                                                             by E.L. Adams

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

winter is upon us

Here in the US, it's winter. And today the high was 17. Brrrrrr!

Sensational Haiku Wednesday is au natural, traditional nature haiku... 

Winter

Deceiving sunshine,
Tranquil, cloudless, azure sky
Hides cold's lurking bite

White wisps float and dance
Bright mittens, puffy coats, scarves
Let's build a snowman!
2007

Mirrored treachery
Smooth tempting surface looks safe
Please stay off the ice!

Natural power
Dryness and sweaters don't mix
Ouch! Shocking static!


Monday, January 21, 2013

what a great weekend!

Though we didn't win a whole lot of basketball ourselves, (only 3 out of 6, yes 6 games) my hub's college fave, MSU, won an upset and so did some friends we watched in between our games...March Madness has nothing on us!

In the midst of all that, I made myself go out to a Bookfest. In the middle of an Icefest! I thought I'd see ice skating and such, but it was ice sculptors! Buildings, a throne, symbols, scenes, all carved out of ice up and down the main street. It was COOL! And the Bookfest was adorable! In the upstairs of an Irish pub, tables for two dozen authors and their books to sell.

When I came to Duffy Brown, who writes cozy mysteries, I remembered meeting her last year, at my first writer's conference - Lori Foster's Reader/Writer Get Together. Duffy was the main organizer! It was so great to see a familiar face! And she told me I should come back to the Reader/Writer conference with an Author table this time - it's free and tons of people go, more each year, though it's mostly romance...it was a great feeling.

Does anyone else have trouble getting out there, all by yourself? It is worth it!

Now for the news:
Speaking of putting yourself out there, don't be shy! Join this fun fest for new friends and old, reintroducing ourselves! Hosted by Elise, Stephen, Carolyn, and Mark on Jan 28.

Stina, the wonder woman of writing news, has found another prize - a way to lend your ebook to a friend!

Here's a writing prompt blogfest encouraging us to share our world building skills in our WIPs - because world building isn't just for fantasy! It runs Jan 28-Feb 1, and you don't have to write every day to win! Hosted by Sharon Bayliss.

Okay, you have to check this out. The PAPfest - ew gross, right? Yeah, read on, it's just to grab your attention. It's a pitchfest THIS WEEK, hosted by these talented girls! And the twist is, you pitch for your partner's WIP! Great idea and love the pic!

Mindy,  RC, and Marcy Kate
Here is a series I think you will enjoy. Suzi, the literary engineer poses a writerly question each week and gives us the answers from several writerly folks. She calls it The Big Reveal.

Congrats to Michelle and Elise who both struck milestones at 2 yrs and 1 yr of blogging, respectively. Yay! To celebrate they are creating a comic strip for us to fill in the blanks and crack each other up. Feb 18-20





Participating contests and blogfests is fantastic because not only do you meet new people, but you can win stuff! Like I just won a copy of WE ARE NOW from Neil Vogler with flash pieces by him, Sean Craven, and PT Dilloway. Goodreads Blurb: Many of its stories are set in the future with a sci fi feel yet WE ARE NOW covers many genres and has at its heart, humanity. In total the 69 pieces show that we are all human regardless of technology, time or place. Looking forward to reading and rating it!

And I had to save the best for last,

PN Cover.jpg
Julie Flanders has a COOL cover for POLAR NIGHT!

Detective Danny Fitzpatrick moves to Fairbanks, Alaska to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and freezing temperatures, Danny takes solace in a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. But when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Danny must find the missing woman to help him solve his own cold case.

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction. Suspicious of Nechayev, who is hiding a horrifying secret, Danny's obsession to find the missing women grows, putting his own life in danger. When the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.

Polar Night is a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, to be published by Ink Smith Publishing on February 7, 2013. Find Julie online at her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Whew, congratulations if you made it to the end! Hope you had a nice weekend! Reading anything good? I'd love to hear! Happy MLK Day and have a great week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

dare to plot

Today's Friday 4 U is writerly. The topic:

Outlining!

I think I am a plotter because I tend to ramble and take tangents and digress...Plotting keeps me in line. I have to plot or I will lose my way.

I recently commented on a post asking for outlining advice and thought it would be good to share and hear thoughts on it! This is my process...

Once a story idea hits and I have a general idea of it and the MC, I make notes, choose a beginning and an end, add characters, and develop back story for reference. Now I'm ready for the outline!

It's rough, no specifics, just bullet point ideas of scenes, things that could happen, choices, calamities, someone needs to die or leave suddenly at some point, a fight or break up, a tryst, etc. After I have a bunch of scenes, then I arrange them like a puzzle for a more solid outline - refer to this here, add an inference there, give a clue somewhere - and add connecting pieces as needed. Even then, when I start writing, new ideas can change my story's direction. Nothing is written in stone anymore! And pens are great for scribbling!

Even though we are all in different stages of the process, to stay alive, we must keep writing!
  • published? keep writing!
  • querying? keep writing!
  • waiting for CPs? keep writing!
I am just about done with another round of edits and ready to send it to CPs. As I wait for editing crits, I will start outlining a second book to POP TRAVEL - I've been playing with the plot and came up with a name for it, SIMULATION. This also is my Celebrate the Small Things update!

For another angle on outlining, Dr Faerie Godmother, Rena recently hosted Elizabeth Seckman who talks about her process!

So what is your process? Do you outline? And where are you in your writing? Any shiny new ideas waiting to become stories? Do tell!

Have a nice MLK weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

just visiting...

It's amazing how Jenn has been in sync with me on her Sensational Haiku Wednesday topics...this week is "revisit" - I am a visiting Cassie Mae's today with a guest post about Querying!! and I went ahead and created a facebook author page in case you'd like to visit me there! (Hard to get used to talking about yourself...)

Spectacular place,
look forward to visiting
again and again
Nov 2011 - revisiting Nov 2013

Wonderful people
Wish would visit more often
Come back for a spell!

No revisits from
sickness, sadness, maladies
all unwelcome here

Editing - going
back, revisiting mistakes
making tough choices

Monday, January 14, 2013

momentum is building!

Now that this year has gotten started, it's really picking up speed! I have so much to tell you!

Dani & Jackie are continuing their weekly Express Yourself Meme - quick prompts for helping us get to know each other every MONDAY. This week - what Craft or pure enjoyment books would you recommend to readers?

Writer friend, Nick Wofford, has a special stepson, Andrew, who wants to go to a real college. His government is protesting their petitions. To raise money for their cause, Nick is putting together an anthology and asking us to contribute a piece for it, Feb 4-5 with his Overcoming Adversity bloghop. I am so on board with this! See his site for the details of how you can help!

April is just around the corner! Not really, but the folks at the Blogging  from A to Z site are geared up and writing away. And they have some cute new badges! (see side bar) Get yours today! I am working on a theme... And if you are on the fence about taking the challenge, let me just say it's where I got my first boost of followers and I meet lots of great bloggers every year.

Some of you have seen this awesome Writer's Creed by S.A. Larsen - I love it! And Sherri promises it is the first of many Sherriisms!

In March, I heard Mark Koopmans, your favorite Irish Hawaiian, will continue his Green Hop tradition on St Patrick's Day. Mark your calendar!

"Celebrate the small things" with Vikki on Fridays! No accomplishment is too small. Vikki has started a link for us to pat each other on the back for meeting our goals, or just for trying.


I think that's enough, for now! Take your pick and welcome to blogging in 2013! Where would we be without it?!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday 4 U - new beginnings


Good January to you!
LG's beginnings fest was a big boost for me! Really enjoyed reading all the sparks!

So 2013. Today's topic is... Lazy Housewife Resolutions!

Does this happen to you? Every Nov/Dec the healthy habits I work on all year fly out the window! As we get older, it's much easier for pounds to be added than subtracted, plus three times less energy to exercise! I call that an unbalanced equation! No fair!

So when January comes, I make my same healthy resolutions like everyone else. This is going to be the year I get healthy and lose weight and yadda yadda yadda... The way to have a healthier life can be summed up in 4 steps which are stated over and over again in the articles of my fave healthy tip magazine, PREVENTION.
Eat more produce
Drink more water
Get more exercise
Get more sleep
 
Sounds easy enough, right? The trouble I have, and maybe you can relate, is how to go about this with a crazy, hectic schedule and zero motivation (other than a mirror).
 
Well, my chipper friend, M J Fifield, came up with a genius idea for executing a plan to reach lofty resolutions (though she probably doesn't realize how genius it is or that what she did is even a method!)
 
Break down huge, vague resolutions for the year into smaller, monthly goals or possibly weekly goals (like Shallee's The Healthy Writers Club)! This way you can put numbers on your goals. They aren't just abstract wishes. I know some of you already do this for writing, reporting monthly achievements. ROW80 is a group that encourages posting your weekly numbers. For me, weekly is too micro and gone in a flash! Monthly is manageable. Monthly is meeker. Monthly is marvellous!
 
So for the remainder of the month of January, I hope to:
  • Eat 3-4 healthy dinners a week & no snacks after kids to bed 
TIPS:
Eat a fruit/veg before sweets/snacks
Single serving sizes make snacking on fruits & veggies easier - you can buy carrots that way, I also cut up celery & brocolli and put them in baggies, same for berries & cantalope - works well for kids' lunches too
Smaller snack/carb portions!!
  • Drink at least one bottle of water daily
TIP:
Drink water before a meal, you feel full faster and eat less!
  • Treadmill/gym/vigorous housework 3-4 days a week
TIP:
go with a friend, schedule an appointment - it's harder to break a date
  • Go to bed by 11 pm...
When February comes around, we'll see how I did. How are you going to fulfill your resolutions? Do you have a plan? And don't quit - even if you have a bad day, there's always tomorrow! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

what was I thinking?

I've been a serious writer for four years now. Well, more ambitious than serious. And I still shake my head. Though I always loved to read, I never thought I would be a writer.

My writing roots began in my twenties. I had wild and crazy friends and we went on wild and crazy adventures. Our stories were definitely worth writing down, so I took pieces of our lives, changed names, and came up with a story. Unlike today's moronic youth who record every idiotic decision and share it on the internet for perpetuity. My only hope is that when they grow up, they show their children their mistakes as examples of what NOT to do.

Anyway! Back to my fun story! It was about eight complicated girls going out in Hotlanta for a bachelorette party. Buckhead was THE place to party and bar hop in the 90s - it has since been torn down and turned into office parks. =(

As life got more hectic, the story was filed away. But after one of my many moves (every time I got pregnant, we moved. I have three boys.), "One Last Night" resurfaced and I read it. Cracked myself up! It wasn't half bad. Why not finish it and get it published? How hard can it be? (hahahahaha)

When I thought I had finished it and changed the name to "Jacks & Jills & Jezebels," I researched publishing. An agent you say? Query letter? Okay. Looking back, what a joke I was! Character soup, head hopping, and cliches. How embarrassing! Needless to say, I got rejections or no responses. It might still be at the bottom of a slush pile somewhere...(**NOTE: Next Wednesday, I will be guest posting at Cassie Mae's and talking about query letters - will share this horrible first one, you will die! **)

But I also started my blog to put myself out there - and here we are! Best thing I ever did! I've come so far! So listen, newbies, don't give up! Learn and grow and communicate! There is always room for the perseverent!

And thus is my offering in LG Keltner's Beginnings Blogfest! Thanks for hosting, LG!

To go along with my first writing venture is a set of Sensational Wednesday Haiku - and a photograph! (well, a picture I drew of the girls from the story)

Story of a life
Incredible adventures
Sacred memories

Recorded moments
Wistful reminders of youth
And risky business

How did we survive?
No cell phones, trusting strangers
World was safer then

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kick Start 2013!

First Monday of the new year! Thank you all so much for the support and congrats. You always make me feel loved! I will try to stay on top of my goals and keep track here on the blog - as I hope you will update us on your progress too!

Even though I won't be doing all the hops, I can still tell you about them! Or the ones I hear about anyway...

Coming up Wednesday is LG Keltner's Beginnings Blogfest where we share our awkward (or not) first moments in writing. The sign up list has jumped into the hundreds.(correction, 50s - my bad, must have been looking at the wrong fest!) Should be some fun stories! (and LG won David P King's Build a Blog banner, by yours truly - it's all from her creative mind!)

January 2013 Tour
Sharon Bayliss is doing a great job at The Blog Tour Exchange! Right now they are promoting three sci fi books in a Curiosity Quills Sci Fi Tour

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Also this month My Favorite Martian blog hop - fun from space! Jan 14


My PhotoHave a wonderful, complete manuscript? Looking for an agent? Here is a fun event you should try - Cupid's Blind Speed Dating! Starts next week! Click for details!

I have to say how surprised I am that no one is bringing the love in Feb yet! I am hosting three stops on blog tours in Feb, so that is quite all right! I'm sure someone will bring some love.

Skipping to March, Captain Ninja Alex is hosting another surprise blogfest! March 18th - mark your calendars!

That's all for now...Have a great week!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Daily Reminders

I got "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom for Christmas and it has given me a new perspective on time...

I wax philosophic
in this numbered new year
for who's to say
that New Year's day
should be a time to cheer?

We make resolutions
and kiss those who are dear
but every day
we all should say
"I love you!" loud and clear!

So keep your goals handy,
display them without fear
remember each day
improve the way
we live throughout the year!

Today I also have to thank two special people for gifts I got, and not even for Christmas!

First, Brinda - who is a whiz at writing, blogging, and promoting - is also a wonderful book trailer creator! I won her fabulous prize of a book trailer! Talk about perfect timing! I can't wait to share it! Just adding a few finishing touches and waiting for my cover to put in it...Wacka Wacka! (I don't say squee)

And the Coup de Blogs!
My sweet, supportive, sassy, and spontaneous friend Heather, bestowed me with The 2012 Blog of the Year Award! Unbelievable! Such an honor!

Do you know a blog that deserves an award? Do you have special blogs that you love to read? Which blogs do you bookmark and follow? Would you like to give them an award this year?  Then the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award is for you!
The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
  • Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
  • Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
  • Please include a link back to this page and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
  • Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
  • You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
  • As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!
When you begin, you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!  There are a total of 6 stars to collect, which means you can check out your favorite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

And so, I pass this award on to...

Rhonda, extreme traveler and jokester, never lets me get away without a laugh - and she named me a top ten humorous blog! She is the funny one!

and Stina, who I mentioned yesterday, is a giver of valuable, practical writing and publishing advice! in addition to promoting other authors! (I wanted to recognize her, even though she doesn't usually accept awards)

and of course I have to give it back to Heather, whose progress reports, which are filled with humor, and Stormy posts I always look forward to!

I completely recommend you give all these blogs at least a visit, then you will feel compelled to follow!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Onward!

Bring us your insecure, your tired, your brain-dead huddled masses!

It's time for a fresh installment of IWSG - the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex and his lovely co hosts, Tyrean and Jamie!

Dear Friends As Insecure As Me,
For this month's session, I am organizing my goals for the year, as many of you may already have done...And putting these goals in a post makes them concrete, makes me more accountable to do them, and scares the crap out of me! I'll start with the easy ones...
  • Cut back on blogging to M, W, F - just one less day - and sign up for fewer blogfests (probably 1-2 a month). I love blogfests, but I have to cut back. I need more time for the following...
  • Spruce up Pop Travel - I am now in the hands of professionals and this is comforting. They will recommend edits, create a professional cover, and advise...I have no problem following directions!
  • Finish editing Broken Branch Falls and call on CPs (need to give myself a deadline or it will go on forever)
  • Read & review at least one book a month (please don't laugh! I'm so slow!)
  • This is the scary part! Plan a promotional attack for the release of Pop Travel... I have bigger plans than my wallet and courage can probably handle...
Here is where I reach out to you all - If you have recently published or are about to publish a book, I would like to do a joint book reading/signing engagement in your neck of the woods. What do you think about getting several of us together in a central location for a nice weekend event! If you are interested, email me (taratylertalks ala gmail point com) or say so with your email and location in the comments. 
As for daily, personal goals...
  • work on patience
  • slow down
  • be a better example
And finally, Sensational Haiku Wednesday fits perfectly as we look Onward!

Possibilities
Bright future ahead, hopeful
Opportunities

Don't wait for the knock
Open the door and go get!
Golden rings to take!

Bad year left behind?
Or a good year overall?
Make this one better!