Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Writing Update: June Goals


Happy Wednesday!

May has been a pretty busy month between getting everything ready for the Once upon a Nightmare Blog Tour in June and editing the stories for Mayhem in the Air. Since I read Libbie Hawker's Take Off Your Pants!, a book about outlining, I plan to apply what I learned to my outline for Marked and hope to dive into writing soon. *crosses fingers*

For those who don't know, my wrists, the right one in particular, have been bothering me now for five months and have affected how much I can do on the computer at a time. I've been diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis and so far haven't found anything that's fixed the pain. (I'm still waiting on my new ergonomic chair/desk at work.) I'm slower now, and I've finally accepted that I can't do quite as much as I used to or want to. But it won't stop me from completing my goals, even if they take longer to accomplish. I've been mainly focusing on one goal to completion. The progress is slow but still progress.

That said, here are my June goals:
Mayhem in the Air - So far I've edited a little over half the stories in this Untethered Realms' anthology, and I have four or so more to edit. It should be a great anthology, and I hope to complete this task by early June.
Update Blog/Websites/Social Media - I have my spiffy new tagline (Feeding your inner bookworm) and know what I want to do, but I still have to modify my blog, websites, and social media with new pictures and the like. After I finish the Mayhem in the Air stories, this is my next goal.
Marked - Once I finish the blog/websites/social media updates, the plan is to modify my outline and write Marked, Liam's story.
Blog Tour - The Once upon a Nightmare Blog Tour will run from June 22 to June 26, so I'll be doing a lot of blog visiting those dates. I'm also running my first Kindle Countdown deal from June 22-28.

***2015 Stats (1/1/15-5/26/15) - 15,077 Words written and 1,121 pages edited***

What are your goals for June?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Falling for #SpecFic: Grimm / Cover Cafe Nominations / Wattpad Wednesdays: Reborn Part III and Chapter 25

I have fallen in love with NBC's Grimm. It's part detective show and part supernatural goodness. The premise is that the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales are true. Grimms stop Wesen, people who can transform into a beast, but not all Wesen are bad, of course. Or Grimms.

I came into Grimm late. When the show first premiered in 2011 our NBC station was spotty, so we often didn't watch anything on NBC. A year or two later, we purchased a new antenna and were able to get that station again, but it wasn't until the start of Season Four that I watched Grimm live, so to speak. I used Amazon Prime to watch Season One of Grimm and was into Season Two when Season Four came on TV. Last November, I purchase Season Two and Season Three and was all caught up before the end of December.

I've always been a big fan of detective shows. Add fantasy elements, and I'm so there! Plus, I love there are scary moments and humorous ones. Nick Burkhardt is a Grimm and a homicide detective, and his partner is Hank Griffin, who is a regular human. Most of Nick and Hank's cases are Wesen-related. Within the first couple episodes, I had developed a soft spot for Monroe, a lovable quirky clock repairer who happens to turn into a ferocious Blutbad (wolf). He and Rosalee (a Fuchsbau--a fox-like Wesen) are adorable. Sergeant Drew Wu (yes, I laughed when I learned Wu's first name was Drew and rhymed) has turned into a great addition to the Grimm team. Captain Sean Renard is sexy and mysterious, and I'm still not 100% certain I trust him. Nick also has an on-and-off relationship with Juliette Silverton, who works as a veterinarian. I could say many more things about Juliette based on what's gone on recently in this season, but I'll try not to spoil the show for those who haven't seen it yet. And I must not forget Bud, an eisbiber, who always makes me smile.

And the last episode of Season Four... Wow! Let's just say certain persons totally had it coming to them, even though the last one made me more than a bit sad. It still had to happen, especially since that certain someone torched the trailer.

What excites me the most about Grimm is their use of fairy tales, myths, and legends to create Wesen. The world-building is phenomenal. They make terms like Wesen, Blutbad, Fuchsbau, Hexenbiest, and more common place to us Grimmsters. I look forward to Friday nights, not because of the weekend, but because of Grimm being on.

And they've been picked up for a fifth season, which should be darker than the seasons before, although I hope they keep some of the humor too!

Have you seen Grimm? Are you a Grimmster?

A reminder: The full covers of Reborn and People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors have been nominated on Cover Cafe in the Two-Image Cover category. Voting takes place May 5-May 25, and you do have to vote in three separate categories for the vote to count. Thank you!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bookworm News


BOOKS READ
Ares' Temptation by Aubrie Dionne
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Restore by Susan Kaye Quinn
The Lost World by Michael Crichton
Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

BOOK REVIEWS
Ares' Temptation by Aubrie Dionne
A curse will turn Kaye's and Ares' worlds around in Aubrie Dionne's Ares' Temptation. When Hekate curses the God of War, only love can give him his powers back. I'm a sucker for Greek myths, and I loved seeing the softer side to Ares. Kaye is a sweet yet clumsy mortal who really needed Ares' boost of powers. The two balance each other. Grammy is a hoot, and I enjoyed the parts with her, Kaye, and Ares. The romance is light and sweet, and the action and danger in the last third of the novel was so exciting. If you enjoy sweet romances and Greek gods, then look no further than Ares' Temptation by Aubrie Dionne.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Genetically engineered dinosaurs placed in a budding theme park island, what can possibly go wrong in Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park? If you believe Ian Malcolm, life will find a way and screw up what illusions of control we think we have. What I love about Crichton's books is that the science makes the reader believe what is happening in the novel could really happen. The book makes you think. I love the nearly philosophical musings on Ian Malcolm. The dinosaurs are majestic and fearsome. The action and danger are real and immediate. Even though I have read this book several times throughout the years, it captures my imagination and takes my breath away. The book is quite different than the movie in many places, although both are spectacular. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton has remained one of my all-time favorite books since I read it the first time in the mid-1990s.

Restore by Susan Kaye Quinn
Restorative Human Medical Care Unit 7435 may only have a sentient level of fifty, but its love is unconditional in Susan Kaye Quinn's Restore. The human-like qualities of Unit 7435 pulled me into this short story. Its happiness levels are linked to how it can help its masters, legacy patient and ascender. The unfairness of this post-Singularity world brought tears to my eyes. My happiness became linked to Unit 7435's as it desperately tried to restore health to its patient master. A heartbreaking story, Susan Kaye Quinn's Restore will make you rethink AIs and robots.

The Lost World by Michael Crichton
The dinosaurs on Site B can't be contained forever in Michael Crichton's The Lost World. Although I've read this book at least two times before, I must admit the movie version had warped my memories of the book, so there were many scenes I felt like I was reading them anew. Crichton expands upon the dinosaurs and their presumed behaviors. I loved that Ian Malcolm was back, although for me, Sarah Harding quickly took over. She's intelligent and fearless, and I doubt anyone would have made it out alive if she hadn't decided to come on this adventure to Isla Sorna. Although not quite as fantastic as Jurassic Park, The Lost World by Michael Crichton is an exciting read.

By the way, I wish the movies had made use of the chameleon-type dinosaurs. They were really cool in how their skin changed to match their surroundings and would have been visually stunning in one of the movies.

Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker
Plotter or pantser, a writer can learn a thing or two about outlining in Libbie Hawker's Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. Several writer friends recommended this book, and I'm glad they did. As a plotter, I already outlined my stories into chapter beats, but what I learned here has given me the confidence that I knew what I was doing but can outline even more purposely. Hawker expounds upon a clear-cut method that works for her and gives plenty of examples. I'm looking forward to applying what I've learned in Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker in my next manuscript.

EXCERPT AND PROMO

Until he knew for certain whether he dealt with one genocidal alien or two, Lepsi couldn’t think right. His thoughts refused to stand still, stuttering and churning.

The hatch slid fully open. He sprang off the cargo ejector, sailing two kilometers into the ether. He tumbled in the black for precisely twenty-three seconds then engaged his thrusters to journey the remaining twenty kilometers over to a spacecraft-sized mass of debris. The bits clumped together forming a weird metallic planetoid.

He traced along the char marks and the mangled pieces of hull. The answers he needed wouldn’t be found in this trash, yet he was closer to them here than anywhere else, unless he joined up with the horrid alien again. His limbs shuddered and his lungs struggled for breath. He never wanted to see the cloud-like ship again. He couldn’t. He’d crack into a billion unrecoverable pieces. Just like the rubble of the Fo’wo ship around him.


In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.

The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.

The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.

The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.


Buy links: Amazon / Nook / iBook / Google Play / Smashwords / Kobo / Other

About M. Pax: Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, and one of her cats has a crush on Mr. Spock. You can find out more by visiting her website: mpaxauthor.com.

BOOKS RELEASING IN MAY
Apparent Wind by Dallas Murphy
A Perfect Man by Cecilia Dominic
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
A Good Killing by Allison Leotta
A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings
Undertow by Michael Buckley
MaƱana by William Hjortsberg
Consumption by Heather Herrman
Disintegration by Richard Thomas
Crossfades by William Todd Rose
L.A. Rotten by Jeff Klima
Ryder: Bird of Prey by Nick Pengelley
Iron Warrior by Jay Noel
Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos
Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
End of Days by Susan Ee
Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
The Shadow Cartel by Layton Green
Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck
Memphis Ribs by Gerald Duff
Yesterday is Dead by Jack Lynch
Precipice by M. Pax
Fifteen Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton
Scarlet Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Five Night Stand by Richard J. Alley
Behind the Clutter by June Saruwatari
A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson
Boundary Crossed by Melissa F. Olson
The Altar Girl by Orest Stelmach
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
This Thing Called Love by Miranda Liasson
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Field Trip by R.A. Andrade
Writers of the Future Volume 31 by David Farland
Ruins by Joshua Winning
Witch of Death by Chrys Fey
The Teller by Jonathan Stone
Traitor’s Gate by Charlie Newton
#Selfie by Cambria Hebert
Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely
A Witness Above by Andy Straka
A Killing Sky by Andy Straka
Susannah Screaming by Carolyn Weston
Hail Storme by W.L. Ripley
The Fall by John Lescroart
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Fox by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo
House of the Last Man on Earth by Robert B. Marcus, Jr. and Ryan B. Marcus
Blown by Chuck Barrett
Footsteps in the Sky by Greg Keyes
Beautiful Sacrifice by Jamie McGuire
Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
The Artisans by Julie Reece
The Telling Stone by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Rogue by Julie Kagawa
Constant Fear by Daniel Palmer
Restore by Susan Kaye Quinn
Ocean City Cover-Up by Kim Kash
Saving Grapes by J.T. Lundy
Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
Layers of Lace by Christine Rains
Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Paris Ransom by Charles Rosenberg
The Last Moriarty by Charles Veley
The Field of Blackbirds by Thomas Ryan
Dead Woods by Maria C. Poets
Gray Vengeance by Alan McDermott
Cold Fire by Dustin Stevens
Only the Brave by Mel Sherratt
Drop Dead Perfect by Rick Murcer
Trident Code by Thomas Waite

The full covers of Reborn and People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors have been nominated at Cover Cafe in their Two-Image Covers category. Voting runs from May 5-25. If you have a few minutes, then I'd really appreciate a vote. By the way, you must vote in three categories for your vote to count. Thank you!

And thank you so much to all who voted for Reborn in the 2015 RONE Awards - YA Paranormal category! I appreciate it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

#IWSG: A Year of Reborn / 2015 RONE Awards / Wattpad Wednesdays: Reborn Chapter 24

IWSG was created by the Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. To visit the IWSG participants, please click here.
In May 2014, I published my very first novel Reborn. From idea to publication, it took eight years, and I have three more stories to tell within The Fate Challenges and many more from the world of Amora.

Overall, I am pleased with the novel I published. I thought the month-long blog tour went well. Reborn has a 4.8 star rating (20 reviews) on Amazon and 4.43 star rating on Goodreads. Over 700 people have it on their to-read list on Goodreads. It was a 2015 Finalist in the Fantasy Category in the EPIC awards and is up for a 2015 RONE award.

That said, there are things I would do differently if I had the chance. I wish I had all the books in The Fate Challenges written and in some state of editing before publishing Reborn. At the rate I'm going, it'll take me to 2017 to finish the series and that might be too optimistic at the rate I'm writing these days. I wish I had broken Part I into a novella and expanded the current Part II at the woodwose section. If I had done that, then I could have the novella (current Part I) up for free to draw people toward the series. I also feel like I short-changed the woodwose part in Reborn. I do plan to make it up to them in the bonus material in The Fate Challenges Boxed Set, but it would have been nice to have known how to fix that before publishing. I also wish I had put more money into ads and put Reborn up for a low introductory price instead of publishing it right away for $2.99 to draw early sales. Lastly, I wish I had Reborn in KDP Select for at least the first 90 days. Kindle Unlimited (KU) came out a couple months after Reborn, and I noticed how sales screeched to a halt. If I had been in Select and KU, then Reborn might not have lost what little momentum it had.

Despite wishing I could do things differently, I love Reborn and The Fate Challenges and hope people will find the novel and give it a try for years to come.

As I mentioned above, Reborn is up for the 2015 RONE Awards in YA - Paranormal category. Voting will take place May 4-10 (now) on the InD'Tale Magazine website. InD'Tale Magazine had reviewed Reborn back in September and gave it four stars. You do have to log-in/sign-up to vote, but it's worth it. The site has a great monthly magazine featuring interviews, book reviews, and more. It's great for writers and readers.

Also, I received an email on Tuesday that the full covers of Reborn and People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors have been nominated on Cover Cafe in the Two-Image Cover category. Voting takes place May 5-May 25.


Click here to start at the beginning or here to go to Chapter Twenty-Four.