Friday, March 21, 2014

A to Z Sneak Preview!

Welcome to the 2014 A to Z Challenge
I'd like to thank
for hosting!

And now for this year's theme...


At the end of last year's challenge, I considered not participating in the A to Z challenge this year. But then, I got a great idea for it! My MG fantasy, BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, BEAST WORLD Book 1, comes out soon, so I’m going to share tidbits and sneak peeks about it alphabetically. (Including the titles of each post, which are some of the chapter titles in BBF!) Yes, I went crazy!

Don't worry, I don't want it to be all about me, so I’m going to give something back by sharing a piece of writing advice I’ve learned in my journey each day, too.

And then, I'll wrap up each day with some laughs at the end! And all in 300 words or less (with exceptions for special announcements)

And you might have noticed my "Jeremy's Angels" badge. I answered the call to be a minion again this year. Though poor Jeremy is injured, we angels (River Fairchild, CM Brown, and myself) are still going through with the job of helping to monitor with the help of our "Bosley" Arlee Bird!

Looking forward to my 4th year facing of the challenge! Are you in? If so, good luck!

BTW - With spring break, a book signing and a conference, I am taking a blogging break until the challenge. I will come back with pictures and updates. Yay for spring!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hootin' & Hollerin'

Celebrating! with Vikki's weekly meme.
  • My Freshman made the high school baseball team! Yay!
  • Spring Break is only a week away! That means visiting my folks and book signings in Atlanta!

  • My buddy, Marcy Hatch, got her book published, so I need to shout about it!
WEST OF PARADISE - available at amazon
Set in the Old West, this high-spirited tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder is part historical fiction, part time travel fantasy, and completely captivating.
  • Robin Houghton requested to use my blog in a book she is writing, BLOGGING FOR WRITERS! I'm flattered!
  • And saved the best for last. I got an email from Piers Anthony! Here's the story behind it: My publisher, Curiosity Quills is putting together an anthology and Mr. Anthony submitted a piece for it! When I found out, I sent an email thanking him for supporting us and for being such an inspiration to me - and he wrote back a nice email. He's 79 and still sharp as ever - reading, reviewing, and writing away! So awesome!
Speaking of Curiosity Quills, I'd like to tell you about a fellow CQ author's new book coming out... I give you an Interview with Michael Panush.

Welcome, Michael. How did you find yourself at Curiosity Quills?
It actually came a huge surprise. I just received a facebook message from them out of the blue. I had posted a whole bunch of stories online and they found those and were eager to professionally publish some. I couldn't believe it. I'd submitted my work to publishers before, and thought that was how it was done. I never heard of a publishing company seeking out a writer! At the time, the Stein and Candle Detective Agency was my biggest series, so they started publishing anthologies of that. We've had a great relationship ever since. CQ has been getting better and better, with great editors and artists who really improve my books.

Your first book had some fun Hollywood dinosaurs - how do you come up with these ideas?
It's all taking elements from history and skewing them – only slightly. For instance, the dinosaur actors in Golden Age Hollywood were inspired by the Dogville Shorts, where hapless canine actors were put in clothes and hauled around, pulled by fishing line on the silver screen. I play the same kind of game in Dead Man's Drive. Henry Ford – crazy, fascist, and anti-semite – only needs a little tweaking to turn him into an occultist, who became the basis for the villainous tycoon Reed Strickland. The sequel to Dead Man's Drive, Detour to Apocalypse, features a character based on Jack Parsons – a real life rocket scientist and kooky occultist. There's much crazy stuff in history that I only need to skew things a little to suit my stories.

Your books have so many cool things going on - how do you classify them as a genre? (I have the same problem!)
That's harder for some of my stories more than others. The Rot Rods series has paranormal elements, hardboiled crime and Noir, straight-up action, horror, and probably a dozen other things. I usually say that the Rot Rods series is an urban fantasy set in the 1950s about a hot rod-riding zombie. If that description doesn't interest a potential reader, then they're probably a lot cause.

I love the names of your characters- Wooster Stokes, Zoot Suiter, Angel Rey, and Betty Bright -very hip to the 50s! How do you pick them?
Thanks! I'm really glad that you like the names, as choosing the right name for a character matters a great to me. I try to pick names that flow naturally from the character's background. Wooster Stokes is an Okie – a redneck who settled in California during the Great Depression. He needs an appropriately old-fashioned, cowboy sort of name. Angel's a Mexican and a former Pachuco street tough, but he's got a good heart. Betty Bright grew in the suburbs, so she needs a very '1950s' girl's name and her last name shows that she's naive and hopeful. Zoot Suiter isn't actually a name – it's refers to young men, usually Mexican, who wore colorful zoot suits and were part of the Zoot Suit Riots during WWII. It is a great subculture description, though!

Could you share a quote from DEAD MAN'S DRIVE?
Sure! This excerpt is where Roscoe (the main character and a zombie) and Angel are trying to spy on some bikers in a crowded roadhouse. Roscoe has an idea of how to hear what they're saying:
     “Goddamn it,” Roscoe muttered. “That jukebox is stopping me from listening in.” He touched his ear and then smiled to himself. He had an idea. “Say Angel,” he said. “I know you never go anywhere without a pair of switchblades. Give me a shiv, will you?” 
     Angel pulled out the switchblade and snapped it open. “What exactly you need it for, man?” 
Roscoe gripped his ear and raised the blade. He slashed it down and started cutting. Putting the blade through the tough flesh caused sharp pain to race through his body and reach what was left of his brain. He winced, but kept pushing the knife down. Angel watched in mute horror until Roscoe finished and his severed ear fell limply to the table. Roscoe grinned and handed back the knife to Angel. 
     “I was right,” Angel said. “You have gone nuts.” 
     “I can sew it back on―don't worry.” Roscoe gripped the ear and then knelt down. It was strange to have the ear off and to hear his voice from two angles at once. It sounded like there was another Roscoe, speaking somewhere above him. “And it's not like it hurts my good looks any.” 
     “I thought hearing comes from those holes on the side of your head–not the ear itself.” 
     “It's called magic.” Roscoe wiggled the severed ear in Angel's direction. “It doesn't have to make sense.” 
     Then he tossed the ear across the bar. It was a light, underhanded throw. The ear landed under the table where Torrance and Mr. Roach were talking. Nobody noticed. Roscoe sat back up, covered the ear remaining on his head and did his best to listen.

What are you working on next?
My next project from CQ is El Mosaico, Volume 3: Hellfire. Like all El Mosaico stories, it's a standalone adventure about Clayton Cane – an Old West gunslinger and bounty hunter who was built from pieces of dead bodies, sewn together and animated with black magic. In this novel, Cane becomes the sheriff of a strange Texas town as he tries to leave his violent bounty hunting ways behind. It's a great read and I urge everyone to check it out!

Thanks for sharing with us, Michael. He's got such a great imagination!

What are you celebrating? Have a great weekend & Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

science, love, and a flop hop


She blinded me with...

A fool for...

Authors are coming up with some fun and creative ways to spread the news about their releases! Check it out!

http://authorstephentremp.blogspot.com/Stephen Tremp's ESCALATION blog tour started this week. This is the third installment in his Breakthrough series. Stephen is inviting everyone to promote the education of Science, and Science Fiction. My contribution to the Puntastic Pot Luck Mixture is:
 
Milky Way Microchip Cookies!
 
I love the concept of Stephen's wormhole books and his positive blog tour! Way to go!


Krista McLaughlin is having a Romance Flop Blog Hop to celebrate the release of BREATHLESS. April 1-3.

Awkward romantic moments. We’ve all had them. In the beginning of Krista's novella, Lainey has a delightful awkward first meeting with her love interest, Jon. This blog hop gives everyone a chance to share an awkward moment they’ve had with someone they had a crush on, whether you eventually married the person or never saw them again. (Or you can get creative and make one up!) And there's PRIZES!

liebster-blog-awards-2And lastly, spreading more love - Thank you, Caffe Maggieato for the Leibster Award! I answer her questions, then pass it on and pass on questions for them to answer (recipients should be newer bloggers... but there's always exceptions!) Here are the questions she gave me:

1. Which fictional character do you most identify with and why?
Cinderella - all the cleaning and wanting to go to the ball (but I'm already married to the king and have three princes!)

2. In another life, what would you be doing, if not writing?
In a fantasy life, I'd be singing.

3. Would you rather have a slow painful death by terminal disease or a quick death by accident?
I'd like to die in my sleep after a full long life.

4. Your books are a big hit. Would you rather see it as a: (pick one only) movie, TV series, computer game, or a Broadway show? Why?
POP TRAVEL = movie, Broken Branch Falls = animated movie; I write like a movie because that's how I picture them

5. Admit it, you already have a dream cast in mind. Who are they? I just did a blog hop for this here - I'll just say Bradley Cooper in PT

6. Any part(s) in your manuscript(s) you’ve been embarrassed to let your family/friends read?
nope!

7. Was there ever a book you just couldn’t finish? Why not? (Yup, stole #7 from my nominator. Shame on me.)
My first one got finished, but needs to be rewritten... someday =)

8. What is the one thing you would never, ever let your characters do?
cruelty to animals or children, I won't go there

9. What do you think is the most underrated book/movie?
Many of my fellow authors' self-pub/small pub books, like Heather M. Gardner's MAGUIRE'S CORNER

10. Do you prefer happy endings or tragic ones? Why?
happy - escape from reality

Here are my nominees (stop by and show them some love):

Krista!  ~~~ VeeDC  ~~~  Nicole  ~~~  Kimberly  ~~~  Emilyann  ~~~  Robin

and 10 questions for them to answer (but everyone is welcome to answer in the comments, too!)
1) What was your favorite subject in school?
2) Do you believe in love at first sight? (do your characters?)
3) What genre do you write and why?
4) What advice would you give new writers?
5) How long have you been blogging and what made you start?
6) Morning, afternoon, or evening writer?
7) What's the hardest part about writing for you?
8) What movie would you like to be an extra in?
9) If you could go anywhere or any when for research, where/when would you go?
10) Did you always want to be a writer?

Happy Tuesday, you guys! Spread the love!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

perfect timing

Before I get to my IWSG installment, I have TWO sweet covers to share.

SIDELINED by Kyra Lennon
an NA Contemporary Romance
To be released: March 31, 2014

Twenty-one-year-old Bree Collinson has a perfect, pampered life, but she isn't one to laze around trying shoes on all day. Unfortunately, when an idea to better herself pops into her head, her husband questions it, and wants to keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated with no one to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. She's torn between loyalty to her husband and the lure of an attractive man with the perfect family, the life she always wanted.

While Bree figures out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

SIDELINED is the third book in Kyra Lennon’s Game On series. GAME ON (Book 1) and BLINDSIDED (Book 2) are available on Amazon and Smashwords. Kyra's links:
Website ~~~ Blog ~~~ Facebook ~~~ Twitter

AND!

The butterfly will be on each cover in the series.
It symbolizes redemption, hope, and re-birth.
DESTRUCTION by Sharon Bayliss
Book one in the December People Series
Contemporary Fantasy
To be released: 4/4/14

David Vandergraff goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Being a dark wizard wasn't his choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

To make things worse, the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until David's wife admits her deep secret—she is a dark wizard, too. Now, David must comfort two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand, while keeping the rest of his family from falling apart as he deals with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be inherently evil.

Sharon's links: goodreads ~~~ facebook ~~~ newsletter ~~~ blog ~~~ TRAILER!
She'd love it if you wanted to sign up to participate in the blog tour or request an ARC.

I'm excited for these ladies! Beautiful covers!

Thanks for being there, you guys!
Now, for IWSG. Insecurity has raised its ugly head at my desk this month.

I love spreading the good news of others (if you want me to show off a cover or do a guest post or blog tour stop, feel free to email me). I'm happy for my friends and their successes (Cassie Mae is hitting it out of the park!) And I never expected to be a number one best-seller, BUT... Lately, I am feeling a little down, especially with sales slowing. I know I shouldn't fret. The facts point to this happening with the majority of books. And I know once I have more books out, I'll get more sales. Plus, I do have another coming out soon. I even feel bad complaining about it because I know some of you are probably saying, "at least you have a publisher..." I've been there. I know.

But, I can't help it. I'm a worrier. And impatient. I have events coming up, but will I sell books? It's scary to put yourself out there. I want to talk more about my book to new acquaintances, but I hesitate bringing it up. I feel like I'm bragging. I'd love to mention that I'm a writer to the kids I sub for, but they're a captive audience and it doesn't feel right. Whenever I do mention it, I get a great response, I just don't know if it's appropriate for me to say sometimes. Then, my friends always ask, how's the book going? I don't want to explain how the whole industry is a risky, slow process, so I say "good."

Though I may seem to have it all together, I often doubt myself. I usually plow through and find something to work on and that helps take my mind off it. Then, when I take a peek at my numbers, I'm frowny again. =(

Here are my posers for you:
1) To my published friends - Do you ever feel this way? How do you think your sales/rankings are? I know different genres have different numbers... sci fi is soooo broad! It's hard to compare, especially when big names are always in the top 100...
2) To my soon-to-be-published friends - What are your goals for publishing? I thought I'd be happy enough seeing my book(s) on bookshelves. And as I said, I don't intend to be a #1 best seller, but I don't want to be a flash in the pan either. I want a happy medium...

Patience! I must have patience! I'm going to go do some meditating now... (or, more likely, work on my A to Z posts! That'll cheer me up!) Thanks for listening!

OH! WAIT! Please stop by EmilyAnn's blog - I'm the featured FELLOW CREATIVE today! She's a sweetheart and I had fun answering her questions.

PS - One last thing! Please go vote for Christine Rain's THE HARBINGER, it has been nominated for a BigAl's Books & Pals Readers' Choice Award in the category of Fantasy. You can vote now through the 12th.
Thanks again!!