Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's CassaFire Release Day!



I am seriously worn out from hunting down and applying for college scholarships for my kid, so I’m gonna make it easy on myself and take a cheat day.  And it just so happens that everybody’s favorite blogging buddy, Alex J. Cavanaugh, is celebrating the release of his latest book, CassaFire, by hosting the Catch Fire Blog Party. 

CassaStar was only 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…


CassaFire
by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure


“This sequel to Cavanaugh's first novel, CassaStar, delivers on the promise of its predecessor, combining military action sequences and political intrigue with strong, memorable characters. Reminiscent of the action-driven stories of Robert A. Heinlein's early fiction…” - Library Journal

“This is a book of inner and outer journeys, of inner and outer adventures, mysteries and revelations. It is also a book of friendship, relationship and equality. CassaStar is the cake. CassaFire is the cherry.” - Edi’s Book Lighthouse

“A fun filled space opera of romance and adventure, CassaFire harkens back to its 80s influences like Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 20th Century, and Star Wars. Family friendly and sure to please fans of classic space opera in the Golden Age Style.” - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author “The Worker Prince”

“…perfect for someone looking for a light space adventure with… great characters and story. Highly Recommended.” - Speculative Book Reviews

“This is the ideal novel for anyone wanting to dip their toes into Sci-Fi. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.” - Fantasy Nibbles

“The author knows how to keep things moving... a real page turner. The best space opera fiction I've read in awhile.”
- Randy Johnson Not The Baseball Pitcher

Find it on Goodreads 

Catch the blog tour:
2/22     Ray Gun Revival - Bryan Thomas Schmidt
2/27     Ciara Knight
2/28     Edi’s Book Lighthouse
2/29     Isis Rushdan
3/1       YA Author Elana Johnson
3/2       Michael Offiutt
3/5       Under the Tiki Hut
3/6       Talli Roland
3/7       Tossing it Out
3/8       Daily Write
3/9       Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

Congratulations, Alex!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge: THE DECISION


It’s time for Rachel Harries’s First Campaigner Challenge:

According to Rachel, we are supposed to write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
I accomplished all five and in my very first piece of flash fiction ever!  I hope you enjoy it:
____________

THE DECISION

Shadows crept across the wall, nature’s chronograph of all the hours they’d spent entwined in the sheets, their eyes locked in a desperate tug-of-war.  The shimmering glow of twilight erupted in brilliant hues, saturating every surface in a blaze of blushing coral, flaming orange, and cool lavender.  He ran his thumb over the amethyst shadows beneath her eyes, a testament to the endless span of time they’d been stalling, waiting.
            “Are you ready?” he asked.
            She shook her head and looked away as tears pooled up.  She sighed and turned onto her back, staring up at the ceiling.  He swiped his fingers across the ribbons of sorrow cascading over her temple.
            “This is our chance to all be together again,” he reminded her.  “You still want that, don’t you?”
            Her chin quivered and she sniffled in a ragged breath, but she nodded, almost imperceptibly. 
            “Good,” he said.  “So do I.” 
            He reached over to the nightstand, emptied the bottle of pills into his hand, and grabbed the bottle of water.  They each swallowed half the pills and laid back, their hands clasped, fingers woven tight.
            “See you on the other side,” he said. 
Then the sun disappeared and everything faded.


____________

So, how’d I do?  If you liked it, click here on Rachel’s link and vote for #96.  There are plenty of others who are participating, as well.                

Monday, February 20, 2012

Really? You Wanna Know That?


I've been tagged!

With all that blog partying last week, I was thinking I could get down to business and focus on something writerly-ish, but alas, I have been tagged by four separate people in the last week or so, and I can’t let that go without some sort of response, so this post will be dedicated to answering a few questions from each tagger:

From my very bestest friend in all the world, Lisa Regan, who, I might add, just got married on Valentine’s Day—YAY LISA!! 

1.      What is the first line of your current WIP?

(From my second novel, Parasite)  It took five men in all, each over two hundred pounds and burdened with a bulletproof vest, a gun, a taser, handcuffs, and a nightstick, but they used neither their weapons, nor their restraints, just their bare hands and a thousand pounds of brute force.   (Yeah, it needs some work, but it’s the first draft so…)

2.      Would you rather have one book published that became a classic or have multiple books that sell well but eventually go out of print?

Definitely multiple books.  I want to reach as many people as I can while I walk this earth.  What happens after I leave means little. 

3.      What was the weirdest moment of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?

Well, I just told this story for my Origins post.  The fact that I was inspired to write at all was weird enough, but that it came to me through one song on one beautiful sunny day was weirder still.  That one moment produced an entire 95,000 word manuscript.

Next, a few questions from the delightful  Donna K. Weaver at Weaving a Tale or Two:

4.      What was my favorite book in 2011?

In non-fiction, I’d have to say “The Fire in Fiction” by Donald Maass.
In fiction, it’s “Creep” by Jennifer Hillier , hands down, and not because she’s a great friend of mine, but rather because it’s one helluva fantastic read and right up my alley!

5.      Who is your favorite author?

That’s easy, Greg Iles.  I’ve read each of his contemporary thrillers, all eleven of them, at least three times. 

6.      Who is your favorite, Bill or Ted, and why? 

Another easy one, Ted, because…well, he’s Keanu Reeves…DUH!!!

From new follower, Cortney Pearson:

7.      Plotter or pantster?

This one’s not so easy.  With my first novel, The Mistaken, it was thoroughly plotted with a very detailed outline that took me over four weeks to complete.  But now that I’m working on my next project, Parasite, I’ve been pantsting quite a bit.  I do have a lot of notes, but not in outline form, so I’m kind of wingin’ it this time around.  Scary!

8.      If you could go back and do anything over again, what would it be?

This is a tough question.  If it were only about me, I’d say I’d go back to 1984 and keep my daughter, Julia, instead of giving in to my parents demands and giving her up for adoption.  Biggest regret of my life.  But she’s had a remarkable life, so for her, it was the best decision.  Me?  Yeah, not so much.

9.      What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

I, along with my husband, used to guide white water rafts down the south fork of the American River just east of Sacramento, CA.  Total freakin’ blast, man!  And often scary as hell!!

And from another new follower, Leigh Covington:

10.  If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?

Not bad for a democrat.

11.  What is your favorite quote?

“Never quit!” by Winston Churchill 

Okay, that’s eleven.  Now it’s my turn to tag someone.  There are many I would like to ask, including a few who don’t normally do this type of thing (Lynda R. YoungJulie MusilAlex J. Cavanaugh, Matthew MacNish, & Jami Gold  )  So here are a few I think would, but haven’t yet:
           
            Jennifer Hillier
            Mark Koopmans
            LG Smith
            Al Penwasser
            Mary Pax
            Julie Kemp Pick

And because this post is already way too long, instead of thinking up new ones of my own, I’d like each of these fine writers to answer the same questions I just did. 


Lastly, I’d like to thank the lovely Natalie Sharpston for bestowing me with the Kreativ Blogger Award.  In receiving this award, I’m supposed to list seven things about myself that might be interesting, but I think the eleven items above will suffice, but thank you so very much, Natalie!
           
            

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is It Getting Hot In Here? Bloghop


Today is Hope Roberson’s “Is It Getting Hot In Here?” Bloghop.  This is my third party since Friday and I’m getting pooped, but I thought this would be a nice way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, especially since this little bit of romance is about as hot as it’ll get for me today.  I don’t read many books with romance, kissing, or even sex scenes, so I picked the very last scene from my own novel, The Mistaken.  This is the only kissing scene I have without sex, so I thought it'd be safe.  This scene is where the two main characters, Tyler and Hannah, who haven’t seen each other for nearly a year, are finally reunited.  It’s a little cheesy, but it works in the grand scheme of things.  Sorry it’s a little over the 300 word suggested limit, but you can’t hurry love…

He bent closer and whispered.  “Forgive me, Hannah, please.  I can’t take back what I’ve done, but I can spend forever making up for it, if you’d just give me the chance.”  He paused and kissed me softly.  “Tell me you feel me there, Hannah, in your heart.  Please tell me you feel the same way,” he begged with his hand still resting gently against my chest.
I nodded as I gazed into his beautiful blue eyes.  “Yes, Ty.  I’ve felt you there every second of every day, and it...it hurt so bad knowing that I’d never see or talk to you again.  I’ve missed you so much.  And now that you’re here, I don’t think I could take it if you left me again.”
Ty crushed me in his arms like he couldn’t hold me tight enough, like he was trying to step right into my skin along with me.  I buried my face in his shoulder and cried, breathing deeply of the scent I could never seem to get out of my mind, thinking that the moment was better than any I had ever imagined.  And I had imagined it at least a thousand times.  I felt his shoulders quake as he cried the first happy tears I’d ever seen him shed. 
We held each other for a very long time, each afraid of ending the moment.  Finally, Ty pulled back and put his hands on my face, holding me still as he leaned in and pressed his lips against mine.  His kiss increased in urgency and depth as we each laid claim to the other.  The moment so tender and intimate, it embarrassed a couple of hikers as they passed us on the trail.
“Get a room!” one of them snickered as the other giggled.
We looked each other in the eye and held each other’s gaze without a word until Ty smiled and said, “You know, that’s a pretty good idea.”
I laughed.  “Yes.  It’s a very good idea.  Let’s go.”  I pulled back and took a step away from Ty then turned back and raised my hand out to him.  “Coming?” I asked. 
He took my hand in his and kissed it once more.  “You couldn’t keep me away!” he answered with a wide grin that reached his eyes, crinkling them at the corners like small suns brightening the world. 
He held my hand as we moved slowly down the sun-dappled trail, disappearing together into the lush green forest of pine and fern.  

This post is dedicated to my best friend who is finally tying the knot today!


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Origins Blogfest



Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m such a party girl, but I couldn’t resist this particular blogfest.  Co-hosted by DL HammonsCreepy Query Girl KatieMillsAlex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish, the Origins Blogfest is the perfect place to share how my writing dreams began.

Unlike so many of the talented writers I’ve met here in the blogosphere, my writing dream is a fairly new concept.  I’ve always loved to write, but I never once thought about making it a career or pursuing publication.  For me, it was more about helping my son in school and not appearing the idiot when I emailed friends and family. 

I’ve always loved to read, but I’ve never read something and thought, gee, I could do that.  Well, maybe after reading Twilight, but that’s another post altogether.  Anyway, my journey began rather abruptly. 


In March of 2010, I downloaded a new CD onto my iPod.  It was 30 Seconds to Mars’ This Is War CD.  On it was a song called Hurricane.  It was a breathtakingly clear and warm day here in Seattle—in other words, a minor miracle—and I decided to take my little convertible out for a spin around Lake Sammamish, ‘cause, you know, when the sun comes out, the top goes down. 

(Mine is dark blue!)

So there I am, driving with the sun in my face and my tunes blaring when this new song starts playing.  The tune really struck me, but it was the lyrics that hit me hardest.  They said:

Tell me would you kill to save a life
Tell me would you kill to prove you’re right…

Do you really want me dead or alive
To torture for my sins

It made me wonder:  What could make a man do something really bad, something completely against his nature, and could he ever find redemption, find his way back to the man he once was?  That was a pretty powerful concept for me, and, after having yet another recurring nightmare of something terrible that had once happened to me, I decided I would try to make sense of it all and answer my own question.  Hence, THE MISTAKEN was born.  Or the idea of it anyway. 

The strangest part of writing this novel is that it came to me whole, like all in one moment.  I just had to write it all down in an outline first, then type it all up.  And as I was doing all this, it was like there was someone or something possessing me, or at the very least, standing over my shoulder, whispering into my ear, telling me exactly what to write. 


I simply cannot explain it in any other way.  I mean, surely it wasn’t me.  I’ve never written much of anything.  I have no training, no idea what components go into writing a novel or creating a cohesive plot.  Yet there was, a real story, and a compelling one at that.  And it was a fast read, too, lots of action, lots of emotion, everything I like in a book. 

Now, it was so far from perfect as to be laughable, but, over time, and with the help of many, many talented critique partners, most notably Lisa L. Regan, Tara Rendall, and Jeff O’Handley, The Mistaken took on a polished gleam worthy of querying, and, I hope, even publication.  Someday.  Fingers crossed. 


So now I’ve found a new passion in writing, in creating characters and plot.  I’ve learned a great deal in the last 22 months, and I plan on putting that all to good use.  Yep, that’s right, I just started writing my second novel, tentatively title Parasite. 

Writing has changed my life in so many fantastic and unexpected ways.  It’s given me a new purpose, a dream of my very own.  And it’s brought people into my life, wonderful, talented, loving people whom I now call my friends.  That alone is worth more that gold.


So what’s your story?  How did your writing dreams begin? 

Oh, and by the way, I just won a SECOND round entry in Cupid's Literary Connection Blind Speed Dating Contest.  My entry here went up today and judging will go through Wednesday.  Feel free to comment!  I'd love to hear what you think.  Fingers crossed I make it to round 3!

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'll Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest



Today, blogging buddies Mary Pax, Nicki Elson, and Suze from Analog Breakfast are hosting the Who Was Your 80’s Crush: I’ll Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest!  Since I love me a good blogfest, I wanted to participate, so I signed right up.  Thing is, I couldn’t really recall anyone I was seriously crushin’ on in the 80’s.

Having just graduated high school in 1982, I was a young woman, and very much in love with one young(er) man.  This man eventually became my husband.  Since he was, and still is, exceptionally hot, I really didn’t care too much about any others.

My husband, Eric, as a young man - YUM!

But there was one young actor who was exactly my age and, dare I say, super cute: former teen idol, Johnny Depp.  Even better than cute, he was a rebel, a rocker with his own band, and the owner of a nightclub where all the hot, young LA movie stars hung out.  Oddly enough, his first major film role was as the boyfriend to Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street.  And, stranger still, he was a close friend of gonzo journalist/writer, Hunter S. Thompson, and eventually portrayed him in not one, but two films.  How funny is that?!     


Early in his career, and, apparently, much to his chagrin, Johnny starred in the Fox police drama, 21 Jump Street.  Now, I never even watched that show, but he did manage to turn my head whenever his name appeared in the news, which, back then, was quite often, as he was linked to some highly visible young hotties, namely Twin Peaks actress Sherilyn Fenn, supermodel Kate Moss, and Gen-X rising star Winona Ryder.  And Johnny had a wild streak that often got him into trouble with the purveyors of many a five-star hotel where he allegedly wreaked havoc and destruction. 


Yes, I love bad boys, and, back then, Johnny Depp was King of the Bad Boys.  He calmed way down after the death of his close friend and rising star, River Phoenix, just outside the front door of his West Hollywood nightclub, The Viper Room.  Johnny turned quite introspective shortly thereafter.  It wasn’t much later when Johnny moved to France to escape the ever-present camera lens of the US paparazzi.  There he met Vanessa Paradis, a beautiful French film actress with whom he has two children.  Unfortunately, this relationship has recently come to an end.


During his career, Johnny Depp made a habit of taking on strange roles, most notably, with his friend and collaborator, oddball director Tim Burton, but Johnny’s career made a mainstream comeback when he took on the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.  Now, all generations of filmgoers know Johnny Depp’s name.  He’s even hotter now than he was as a teen idol in the 80’s 


Interestingly, a new film is ready to be released based on Fox’s original show, 21 Jump Street, though the movie is more of a tongue-in-cheek homage rather than an adaptation of the former weekly series.  But what I found intriguing is this old interview where Johnny Depp was asked if he would ever consider reviving his role 20 to 30 years in the future should anyone ever decide to remake 21 Jump Street into a feature film.


The interviewer says, “Wouldn’t it be cool—remember that old guy Johnny Depp?  He’s still around somewhere.  Let’s see if we can find him and get him to drop a few pounds and he could play the father of the guy he used to play.  Would you do that?” he asks Johnny.  And Johnny replies, “Yeah, I would do it.  I’d come out of the old folks home to do that.  Sure”


Funny, huh?  Johnny is still gorgeous and he’s as hot as ever, even more so.  And I bet it’s that interviewer who is currently fat and living in some retirement complex in Florida

‘Cause it sure ain’t Johnny Depp!  Wowza! 


So, who was YOUR 80's crush?  Or, if you were too young or *gasp* not even alive yet, who would you have crushed on back then?  Or who are you crushin' on right now?  If I was a young girl, I would be crushin' on this young man, Thomas McDonell.


Doesn't he look a lot like Johnny Depp?

Oh yeah, one more thing: I won a first round entry in Cupid's Literary Connection Blind Speed Dating Contest.  My entry will go up live starting Monday, February 13th.  Please, please, go comment!  I'd love to hear what you think.  And I'm dying to make to the next round!

        

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Party Time!



A few quick reminders:  On Friday, I’ll be taking part in the Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest hosted by Mary Pax and Suze at Analog Breakfast which should be loads of crushin’ fun!

On Monday, February 13thDL HammonsCreepy Query Girl, KatieMillsAlex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish will be sponsoring the Origins Blogfest in which participants will post their own origin story, sharing where their writing dreams began.  


And, because I do love all good blogfests, I will try to participate in Hope Roberson’s Valentine’s Day “Is It Getting Hot In Here?” Bloghop.  In this one we will share one of our favorite kissing scenes from a book we've read, our own WIP, make one up, or write about one of our own memorable kisses.  Considering how long I’ve been married, this will likely be as hot as it gets for me on Valentine’s Day! 


Also, I’ve signed up for the A to Z Challenge sponsored by several of my favorite blogger friends.  I must be crazy for taking up this challenge because anyone who knows me knows I only post once a week at most.  But I’ve already made good progress and should hopefully have all 26 posts ready way before April 1st.  If you’re insane and want to make a lot of new friends, go sign up!

Lastly, I received two awards in the last week:

From my very bestest friend in the whole wide world, Lisa Regan, I received the Thumbs Up From Skunk Award since "we all feel like stinky, stinky skunks some days" and there are people who "make us feel (and smell) a lot better."


To pass the award on, I’m supposed to name one thing that I love about myself, then pass on the award to whomever I want.  Hmm…okay, here goes:  I am fiercely loyal.  If I’m on your side, I cannot be shaken off.  I will sing your praises, compliment everything about you, offer you love and encouragement, and defend you ‘til death.

So now to pass this thing on…  I’d like to share it with:  Gary and Penny at Klahanie and Jennifer Hillier at The Serial Killer Files.


And speaking of Gary and Penny at Klahanie, Penny the Jack Russell has bestowed me with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.  I have received this one before, but here are 7 brief facts about me:

-         I’m half Irish, half Italian and so cursed with a wicked temper.
-         I have dark red hair and bright green eyes.
-         I love to watch TV almost as much as I love to read.
-         I’m a sucker for a big dog, of which I have 2.
-         I miss my “home” state of California more than I can bear.
-         I drive a really cool car!
-         I just started writing my second novel, another thriller, tentatively titled Parasite.

Many thanks to Lisa, Gary, and Penny for the accolades!  I’ll see you all again on Friday for the Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

IWSG: Jealousy Among Writers



I’m posting a day early for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group held on the first Wednesday of every month.  I don’t personally have anything to complain about, but I have noticed something in the blogosphere lately and I was wondering what you all thought about it.

Last week, agent Rachelle Gardner wrote a post called Watch Out for the Green Eyed Monster where she discusses jealousy among writers.  She even expressed how she was envious when an agent friend of hers recently completed a great deal.  She was happy for her, of course, but she was also the tiniest bit jealous. 


I’ve met a great many writers here on Blogger, Wordpress, and other sources.  Most of them are like me.  They’ve written or are writing a novel and all that that encompasses, and they’re hoping and dreaming and even struggling to find and land that perfect agent, someone who believes in their writing, their project, and their beloved characters.  But there are quite a few who have recently bagged that elusive agent.  Even some who have secured a publishing contract or might be on their second or third book. 

Often, these writers make their incredible announcements via their blogs or Twitter, sharing their excitement at achieving their dream.  Most of their followers comment, expressing their joy and pride.  But as time wears on, some writers notice a lag in their comments.  Some writers have blogged about how they receive nasty emails from people, often other writers who are consumed with envy. 


NatalieWhipple at Between Fact and Fiction has struggled for many, many years, writing something like 9 or 10 novels.  A few years ago, Natalie managed to snag former agent-superstar Nathan Bransford only to lose him when he retired from agenting and the publishing business.  She landed on her feet though and acquired another agent.  After enduring something like 15 months on submission, Natalie and her agent finally gave up that particular book, but Natalie had another which was eventually scooped up by a publisher, and she was even given an option for a second book.  She is currently awaiting publication sometime in 2013.  Oh happy day, right?  Yeah, not so much.

Natalie has posted several times about how people were not always so happy for her success.  Apparently, there were quite a few who sent vicious emails, something I cannot understand myself because Natalie is just about the sweetest, kindest, most generous blogger out there, and she has shared every up and down along the way, of which there have been many.  I read a comment once that said writers who reach their dream no longer post about their struggles and therefore all the tension is removed from their blog.  I guess I can see his point, but this is not the case with Natalie.  She still posts about her struggles.  So what’s with all the jealousy?


It’s not like the other writers are taking a spot that we could have had for ourselves.  Each of our novels are so different, so unique.  I understand it’s hard not to want what they have, to achieve the same dream, but to be angry or jealous?  That I don’t get.  When I read about another writer landing an agent, sure, I say, “Boy, I wish that could be me,” but I also say, “See, there is hope.”  Because that is exactly what it gives me:  hope, that I might achieve the same thing someday. 

Of course, it all does depend on the attitude of the writer.  There is one particular writer whom many of us know.  We’ve seen her query up on QueryShark, her first page up on Suzie Townsend’s  First Page Shooter.  She had several offers and had her pick of agents, even got a book deal a few weeks later.  That’s every writer’s dream.  But this gal also has an abundance of self-worth, perhaps caused by all the attention.  But she hasn’t missed the opportunity to belittle other writers and their work on a certain popular blog, offering her opinion at their expense.  She still blogs from time to time, but she gets almost no comments any more.  She’s lost her following just when she needs it most.  I guess I can understand that a little, but still, writing is a relatively small community, and we are all greatly connected, so tearing someone down because of their success is like burning a bridge directly into the community in which you dream to be a part of.


So what do you think?  Is it difficult to see your friends and colleagues reach milestones before you do?  Or do you think of it as proof that all the hard work is worth it, that you can get there, too?  Does it give you hope or dash your dreams?