Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Catch Fire Party!


Fire (n):  1 a (1) : the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat (2) : one of the four elements of the alchemists b (1) : burning passion : ardor (2) : liveliness of imagination : inspiration

I am honored to be one of the hosts for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of Cassa Fire!

The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/


by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars...


Oscar: Trademark : one of a group of statuettes awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion-picture production and performance.

Jut some of my thoughts on the stars and the events, not necessarily the winners:

Billy Crystal: Loved him back, but couldn't get used to the extra cheeks.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Gorgeous! Wished for that body.

Rooney Mara: You are the one to look for in the future.

Chris Rock: The hair must go - sorry just does not suit you. 

Sandra Bullock: Such a pretty natural face does not need botox.

Christopher Plummer: Congratulations! Beautiful speech.

Cirque du Soleil: Amazing talent. Just WOW!

Emma Stone: You rock!

J.Lo: Interesting dress. Wondered what would happen if the tape gave out (actually the hubby wondered)

Live Music for the show: very well done! Impressed.

On a side note, saw a commercial for Titanic in 3D coming to theaters on  April 4th. I remember seeing this movie twice in a theater, once at 1am in the morning because the tickets were sold out. Looking forward to this touching movie again.

Did you watch the Oscars? What was your favorite part? Worst? Best? Funniest? Saddest? Overdone? Underdone?

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm pooped...


Pooped (v): 1. to cause to become out of breath or fatigued; exhaust: Climbing that mountain pooped the whole group.

All right, you can all stop laughing now and read my brilliant post :) Not!

I just thought it'd be an appropriate title for how I feel. I'm not sad, angry or in a bad mood. Just simply pooped. Not tired, but pooped.

You know, the kind of pooped when you feel there should be 48 hours in a day instead of 24 so I could get all my writing done, comment on a few blogs I missed the couple of days, perhaps take care of the kids (kidding).

It would be appropriate to insert a photo here of a poop, but that would be just too gross.
(I just read this post to my kids and they couldn't stop laughing either. Somehow "poop" is the magic laughing word.)

Perhaps "poop" should be the new LOL or ROTFL? Or, perhaps it could be a good word for the letter "P" for the A-Z Challenge. It'd be interesting to see what people come up with, after all, there are different definitions of "poop" (click above) such as : a superstructure at the stern of a vessel. Can you believe it?

Ok, so now that I've pooped you out by reading this post, I need to go and .... (you finish this sentence!)

Have a great weekend everyone!

p.s. And that's what happens to blogging when you're pooped. I'm sure this post will one day come back to haunt me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marked early release!


Mark (n): 1. a visible impression or trace on something, as a line, cut, dent, stain, or bruise: a small mark on his arm.

Note: If you don't like hearing about KDP Select, skip to the bottom of this post to the bold underlined text :) I won't be upset. This is a topic discussed by many authors.

A little earlier than planned, Marked is now available exclusively on Amazon. Yes, I've done what I said I didn't agree with before, but anyone who knows me also knows I don't do things without research first.  I enrolled Marked into Amazon's KDP Select program, which  makes Marked available exclusively at Amazon for 90 days (I still cringe at the word exclusive). My reasons for doing this will be posted in a month with other data as it comes available, along with the positives (which I can see already) and negatives (which I can also see already).

Why will I post it? Because I do believe in sharing information with other authors. We all know how difficult it is to get your books noticed among the millions. Mine are nothing more than two grains of sand in a desert. So how do you sift through that sand to get particular two grains? Well, the short of it (or long) can be found here. And if you read through that post you'll know exactly which point I'm at in the strategy.

Has it worked? I don't know yet. So far there have been over 6000 free downloads boosting Marked to #58 in the Free Kindle Store,#1 in Fiction/Genre Fiction (don't know how Amazon assigns those). From my research, being in the top 100 is a magic number as the mysterious algorithms of Amazon begin their work. I'm not someone who watches the rankings, because really, they're just numbers, but when these numbers mean Amazon gives you a kick in promotion and advertising your book in their email blasts, they do become important.

It was interesting watching the rankings. At some point I just stared, because each time I refreshed the screen, the numbers changed and changed and changed. 200 downloads in 15 minutes, 600 in 1 hour. Yes, that's what the big sellers are selling - yes selling, not giving away, because although the freebies count towards the ranking, they're still freebies - not sold (as many people in the program refer to them). Now, I'm ready to watch the ranking plummet (which I expected), but it was still cool seeing what I saw the past two days.

Could I have let Amazon price matched to $0 and not enrolled - yes, but that's where you loose control of your free days because who knows when they would match it (and it's breaking your TOC with them). I have my suspicions on that too and why it is that they will price match a price reduction above $0 very quickly and at $0 who knows when. The whole point of the free days in KDP Select is to raise the ranking and your visibility, but more on that soon. (And that's just my opinion)

Most of what I will post about in 30, 60 and 90 day intervals is from research, observation of what worked for others, and weighing the pros and cons, understanding that each result is different. Since Marked was ready 1 month in advance, this played a big role in my deciding to enroll it in KDP Select, thus if things don't work out the way I'd planned, I'm technically loosing 2 months only. Note: I would not have done it if I had only 1 book available. In fact, building a bigger back list (meaning writing a lot) is my number one priority.

This new way of publishing is an experiment. Sometimes we need to take a chance and that's just what I'm doing. Believe me, I've taken a chance at other promotional activities (while always writing), but they did not work. Perhaps with a little luck this will be the right step in the direction of building new fan base.

For now, if I have any advice to other authors is keep writing and keep your options open. The more you have out there, (edited, good cover and blurb) the better in the long run. This industry is changing so fast, who knows what it will be in 6 months or a year. So be ready with more books.

Whatever happens with KDP Select I will dissect the information, to learn for my future releases, because I will not stop writing.

For those of you who skipped here from the top:

Feel free to spread the word (tweet, post etc). Marked is now available in ebook format here.

I'm working hard to two books at the same time. It's going pretty well and I'm very happy with the story lines. One is the sequel to Two Halves, the other, a new dystopian novel which should be available before the end of the year.

Honestly, this post got longer than I expected. It felt odd writing about this and I don't know why. I think it's just one of those days where you're dealing with other issues than writing and publishing and the emotions show in the work. Makes me wonder if being in the right mood transfers onto the written pages more than I thought. Perhaps it's a good topic for another post. But I do hope some will find the information helpful.

Warning: Marked has Adult Content including sex scenes written in an artistic and less graphic manner.

And, have you joined the A-Z Challenge yet?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Here it is...


Spectrology (n): the study of ghosts, phantoms, or apparitions.

I finally have a blurb for Marked: A Two Halves Novella.  I can't even explain how much I enjoyed writing this one. It was easy, which I cannot often say about writing and my other pieces I'm currently working on. It took a life of its own as Xander told his story. 

The novella digs further into where a few unique characters from the novel come from. It's written from a male POV. The only place I struggled with were the intimate scenes as they were very spicy. And, I decided to keep them that way. Nothing else made sense and making them PG didn't make sense either, simply because that's who Xander was.
Warning: Adult Content

Xander is a shapeshifter, a watcher, a demon. Stuck in an oblivion between good and evil, he impatiently waits to be marked—with the sphere that will identify him as a servant of the underworld; or with the water mark, serving the keepers of humans, vampires, and warlocks. His twin sister, in love with a man bearing the water mark, wants Xander to follow the path of the good. But Xander is in love with a black witch, minion of the underworld. All he has to do to join her forever . . . is kill. After all, there's something good about being bad.

What do you think? And, Have you signed up for the A-Z Challenge yet?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Featured Blog and Big Thanks...


Purl: verb (used with object), verb (used without object) 1. to knit with a reverse stitch. 2. to finish with loops or a looped edging.

Today's featured blog is:

Annalisa Crawford. Annalisa just published Cat and the Dreamer and has been extremely supportive with my blog. Congratulations Annalisa! 

I'm still in shock right now. This week, I surpassed the 100 followers threshold. I'm in awe that so many people want to listen to my ramblings about my writing, publishing and sometimes personal life. I'm sure this was a result of two blog hops earlier this week which were absolutely awesome and so much fun! I do hope you guys stick around for a while. I hope I did my job and followed you as well. If I have not, leave a comment. I try to follow all bloggers who follow me:)

To all of you Thank you! A Big Thank You!

Now, so that everyone has a good weekend, I found this photo on Derek Hough's twitter, then found its source. I thought it was very funny, so I'm sharing it with all of you:) (source)

Then, someone else took this idea and spun in into this: (source)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is it getting hot in here?


Luscious (adj): 1.highly pleasing to the taste or smell: luscious peaches. 2.richly satisfying to the senses or the mind: the luscious style of his poetry. 3. richly adorned; luxurious: luscious furnishings. 4. arousing physical, or sexual, desire; voluptuous: a luscious figure. 5. sweet to excess; cloying.
There's a reason for this word today! It's Valentine's Day! Today I'm joining a romantic group of blog hoppers to share a kissing scene. The full list of participants can be found here.

The following kissing scene is taken from a dream sequence in my novel "Two Halves".  This scene continues when the pair dancing at a night club. Hope you enjoy!
"He took my finger to his lips and kissed it, then kissed a second one, and a third one. He continued kissing them until I wanted his lips to kiss more than the fingers. The music was fast, but we moved to our own beat, following the rhythm of our hearts. The floor was empty. We were the only ones in the club. He took my face between his palms—where it belonged. I tangled my fingers into his soft hair. He gently placed his mouth over my swollen upper lip; I did the same to his lower lip. Our kiss was gentle, and I wondered what feelings a fiercer exchange would bring. How blissful could the pleasure of fully kissing William be? I arched my back toward him, signalling for more. His hands glided up my body and held me tight, his contours pressed full-length against mine. All the contours I longed for."
Now hop over to the other participants to read their kissing scenes ;)
Do you have special plans for tonight with your other half?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest


Origin (n): 1. something from which anything arises or is derived; source; fountainhead: to follow a stream to its origin.

Today I'm participating int the Origins Blogfest. The brain child of DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude, Co-sponsors: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl and Matthew MacNish at The QQQE.

Click on any of the above for the Linky List and check out the origin or other writer's dreams (I don't know why I couldn't find the code).

As for me, I've told this story before and I still get the goose bumps thinking about it. Especially since this weekend was a very special weekend. Why? Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out on DVD and my family watched it twice. 
It may seem like mad to some, but the Twilight Saga is very special to me. Why?

In March 2009 I just moved to a new city due to hubby's work. It was our first week at the new house and he rented Twilight the movie. I said "What's that?" (Yes, I lived under a rock.) He said "You like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I read there are vampires in this one so I thought you'd like it."

Then, he poured me a glass of wine and went to put the kids to bed. I watched the movie by myself, loved it, saw that it was based on a book and ran to the computer to find out more. That's when I found Stephenie Meyer's website. I read her biography and how she got to write her novels. I could see myself right there in her shoes *sighs with daydreaming eyes*. I decided I would write a novel too.

The funny part is, just like Ms. Meyer, I had a dream. The first paragraph of Chapter 1 of Two Halves was that dream. I didn't see the characters, but I saw myself as a half breed vampire, who couldn't scar, yet she foresaw it happening. (Yes, Twilight had a huge impact on the dream) I went with that idea for the book.

Twilight changed who I am. I still get the same tingling excitement each time I watch the movies and I want to write. I need to write.

Three years later, Two Halves is published, will be followed by a Novella this spring and a sequel. 

On January 21st, for the first time I called myself an author when asked what I do for a living by a new hairdresser.  It was one of my proudest moments.

What is the origin of your writing?

Have you joined the A-Z Challenge?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

I am happy to announce the 5 winners of a signed paperback copy of Two Halves.  Ready?

Thank you to everyone who signed up for the newsletter and participated in the giveaway.

Chosen randomly in no particular order:

1. Kara D.
2. Kristy M. from Helena, MT
3. Susan S. from New Buffalo, MI
4. Kris F. from Dupont. WA
5. Sandra F. from Kingston, PE

You will receive an email from me shortly, with a confirmation.
Congratulations and I hope you enjoy the adventure:)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Characters in Trouble & Featured Blog


Infamy (n): 1. Evil fame or reputation. 2. The condition of being infamous. 3. An evil or criminal act that is publicly known.

Today's featured Blog is: Roland D. Yeomans,.
Please visit Roland at Writing in the Crosshairs. He has a special gift on his site for everyone :)

Then come back here.

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for one of five signed copies of Two Halves. I must say that the turn out has been amazing. I am so happy to have heard from so may people who love reading. I may have to do a special surprise next week. All winners will be announced tomorrow (Saturday) and emailed.

Now, onto my troubled characters. Last weekend I started a new WIP. It's been going so well, I think a bit too well, because I got the characters into so much trouble right off the bat, I will have quite a challenge getting them out.

I believe I created conflict immediately because I've known these characters for a while now. They're already developed. I know their quirks, characteristics, reactions, likes, dislikes, abilities etc., it was natural for the story to flow. And of course, I made the worst thing that could happen to them possible.  Now, on to saving them. It's awesome!

Do you like getting your characters in trouble?
Have you signed up for the A-Z Challenge yet?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Author/Writer Resources


Gerontology (n): The scientific study of the biological, psychological, and sociological phenomena associated with old age and aging.

Some interesting things about this past weekend which made it seem like a long weekend, and it wasn't. Then we'll go into Author/Writer Resources.

- got a flat tire on the highway
- celebrated two birthdays in the family
- started a new writing project which is going very well and became my current WIP
- answered A LOT of emails regarding the giveaway (which is great!)
- autographed 6 books (2 of the people I knew) - these were my first autographs. If anyone has a suggestion what to put in besides your name, let me know :)
- watched Johnny English (hubby almost fell of the couch laughing at one point)

On the top bar I've created a new page called "Resources". There, you will find links which helped me  research writing, publishing, querying etc. These links will be updated periodically. There are a lot of them that are not up yet and I hope to have the page complete within the next couple of weeks.

If you have suggestions or comments regarding these, send me an email.
I hope you find the links as helpful as I have. If there is any advice I can give to anyone, is read, research, question and explore.

Have you signed up for the A-Z April Challenge yet?
(you will see this sentence at the end of each post this month)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Writing Ideas...

Struggling to find a great writing idea? 

Visit my guest post today at the wonderful Ciara Knight's blog where I share a secret to finding those ideas. 

Where do you find your ideas? What inspires you?

And something funny for the weekend from my oldest one who's learning about mushrooms in school:

"Mommy, what did the mushroom girl say to the mushroom boy?"
"You're a fun guy!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Lethargic (adj): 1. of, pertaining to, or affected with lethargy;  drowsy; sluggish.

Before moving to an insecurity I discovered a few minutes ago, just a quick note to say that the Giveaway or 5 signed copies of "Two Halves" begins today and runs until Feb 10th. Fill in the form on the sidebar to enter and/or see full details above (or click here). 

*  *  * 
Purpose of Insecure Writer's Support Group: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

We post on the first Wednesday each month and if you'd like to join, you can do so here.
Yes, you heard me correctly at the beginning of the post. I discovered a new insecurity a few minutes ago. I know this post will not be published until Wednesday morning, but I'm sitting here, on Tuesday night when I should be sleeping. 


Because my memory is failing and I think it may be first of the many signs of Alzheimer's (yes, there is family history of the disease which makes it even scarier). It was only Monday that I posted the activities for February and one of them included the first Wednesday of the month. Well, here I am on Tuesday evening, finishing a nice shower, getting ready to put on my PJs and hop into my overcrowded bed (kids like to fall asleep there). 

Then, it hits me: the first Wednesday of the month is tomorrow! Now, don't get me wrong, I like blogging. I love writing and hearing the clicking of the keyboard under my fingers. There's nothing better than connecting with others in the blogosphere to hear their stories, share accomplishments and sometimes failures. But when I realized I could have done this earlier in the day because I had time (which does not happen often), it bothers me that I didn't. 

I feel better now, the clicking has soothed my own annoyance. But the insecurity of forgetting something within a few hours of planning it, is awful.

In fact, sometimes that's my greatest fear - forgetting to pick up the kids from school, or failing to put on shirt after changing in a fitting room of a boutique (wait, that actually happened, but I'm not sharing more than this-for now).

A failing memory is not pleasant, and speaking from a writer's perspective without undermining the disease, it's an insecurity I'm dealing with this month. There are so many plots, characters, descriptions, settings, etc we need to remember while writing, that...

... wait, what was I saying?