Indie-Giving Blogfest

November is a time of reflection and giving thanks to our blessings and fortunes. The Indelibles have decided to highlight that tradition by hosting a blogfest to celebrate thanks.

Right now, I’m thankful for being a published author, LOL! Time and again, I hear that while writing is a solitary endeavor, publishing is NOT. It takes a metropolitan-sized group of people to 1) identify your work as something worthy of being pubbed, 2) actually offering to publish it, 3) scrub and polish it into a glorific version of itself, 4) develop cover art, blurbs, etc, 5) help spread the word via the social networks, 6) post reviews, and 7) purchase it!

Each step has its own hurdles and learning curves and without the help of EVERY SINGLE PERSON I’ve met on the blogosphere, writing forums, social networking sites, etc, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish ANYTHING.

For that, I am THANKFUL.

To spread the Thanksgiving cheer, I will GIVE AWAY to TWO lucky commenters, an EBOOK of YOUR CHOICE! All you have to do is comment here about what makes you thankful.

YAY!

Be sure to come back on WEDNESDAY wherein I take part in the cover reveal for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s OPAL and on FRIDAY, wherein I help with a cover reveal for another fellow author. Then, next TUESDAY, November 27, I host Colin F. Barnes. He’ll be sharing info about his novel, The Techxorcist. Colin also developed Anachron Press, where several short story anthologies–ranging from horror to cyberpunk–call their home. A new Pulp Line is actively taking submissions–check it out!

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting his SEVENTH blog fest today and it’s all about–you guessed it–genre favs!

Participating bloggers are asked to share their favorite genres for movies, books, and music.

Gotta say, my tastes are pretty simple.

My favorite movies are action blockbusters (usually with a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, or magical twist)

THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy and the HARRY POTTER series are my ALL TIME favs!

My favorite book genres include paranormal and scifi–either YA or adult. I also enjoy urban fantasy.

My favorite music includes alternative rock (a la Bush, Five Finger Death Punch, Alice in Chains, Breaking Benjamin, Pearl Jam, etc), classical, and I LOVE movie soundtracks (LoTR, Harry Potter, Batman (a la Dark Knight), etc).

How about you? What are your fav genres?

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Need a character “shrink-wrapped?” Ask me! I’ll feature your question on Mental Health Monday! 🙂

Mental Health Monday Meets Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Lydia Kang and Leigh Moore are co-hosting the Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest today. The rules are simple: Post a joke that pokes fun at yourself, writing, or work.

When I was a resident, I rotated in the state facility where patients with severe and chronic mental illness stayed for months or years. We’d have case conferences with the patients, namely to discuss their treatment and progress, as well as discharge planning of how to transition them back into the community.

One patient came in for his treatment plan review. It was snack time so he had juice and cookie bits stuck in his beard. His clothes were rumpled and stained. His eyes had that wild look that comes only with psychosis. Despite months of medication adjustment and therapy, he continued to hear voices and struggled with impulse control.

We reviewed what he needed to do and our recommendations. Even though we sat in a conference room, we could still hear another patient pitching a fit about not getting enough cookies. Needless to say, it was quite distracting, though, like troopers, we carried on. At the end, we asked the patient if he had any questions.

His response:

“Yeah, could you shut that woman up? Her screaming all the time will make ya crazy!”

*cue laughter*

Yes, the irony of a psychotic patient commenting on his mental health certainly brought some humor to the day.

Is that wrong? 😉

The Nature of Magic Blogfest WINNERS!!!!

Tessa and I have tallied the votes and–drum roll please–we have WINNERS!!!!!!

First Place (winner of a $10 Amazon voucher and a chapter edit/critique from both Tessa and me):

Second Place (winner of a $10 Amazon voucher and a chapter edit/critique from either Tessa or me):

Third Place (winner of a chapter edit/critique from Tessa or me):

CONGRATS everyone–to the winners and the participants! This was a lot of fun and we couldn’t have done it without you!

I’d like to also give a special thanks to Tessa who helped me learn more techy stuff than I ever thought possible! 😉

Click HERE for a link to Tessa’s post and to see who got honorable mentions!

The Nature of Magic Blogfest Finalists!

Oh my heck, there were a LOT of great entries folks! Gotta say, Tessa and I had a hard time whittling down to the finalists, cuz we liked all of your excerpts! NICE. WORK.

As a reminder, here’s the run down of prizes you could win!

…1st choice: Chapter critique from both of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
… 2nd choice: Chapter critique from one of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
… 3rd choice: Chapter critique from one of us

Here are the Finalists:

  1. Cloak of Shadows by Raquel ByrnesEdge of Your Seat Romance
  2. Cinderella 2.1 by Morning AJ Jobbing Writer
  3. Cave of Miracles by SarahThe Wit and Wisdom of another Sarah
  4. Canvas by EliseGladiator’s Pen
  5. Eldala (excerpt) by Michelle GregoryBeautiful Chaos
Please VOTE on your favorite (poll in sidebar)! The WINNERS shall be announced on APRIL 3rd (that’s Sunday).

Because there were so many wonderful entries, we’ve also come up with a few Special Mentions
(entries that almost made it into the top 5. If you could fit that many into five spaces, we would have):

Nice job, everyone! Now get voting!!!! 😉

 

Nature of Magic Blogfest

Woot! Today is the day! The Nature of Magic Blogfest has arrived. Get your eyes ready and your brain prepared to feast on the marvels of magic.

Gotta say, Tessa and I have been anxiously awaiting everyone’s entries!

As a reminder, here’s the task:

Write or share something you’ve already written that, to you, shows the nature of magic. It can be an excerpt from your WIP, something you’ve written especially, poetry, whatever strikes your fancy. It just needs to show the nature of magic as it exists for you or for those you write about.

EDIT: Unless you’re writing poetry, try to keep the entries somewhere between 250-1000 words.

The rules:

  • Sign up on the linky list (it’s at Tessa’s blog). 
  • Choose or write a piece about the Nature of Magic and post it on your blog on March 26th. That’s a Saturday – we’ll go easy on you and say it has to be up by Sunday night (so last chance midnight on the 27th – that’s when the linky list closes, too)(mind you, that’s midnight Central European Time). Just be aware that if you’re very late your entry might be missed, so please do let us know via comments once you’ve posted
  • Check out what others think of magic and give them some comment love
  • Come back on Wednesday March 30th to see the five “finalists” (chosen by us) and vote on your favourite. Votes will be open till April 2nd, winner(s) announced April 3rd
  • The prizes:

    … 1st choice: Chapter critique from both of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
    … 2nd choice: Chapter critique from one of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
    … 3rd choice: Chapter critique from one of us
    Mind you, we’re not professional editors… think of us as thorough proof readers, lol. 

    Good luck everyone!

    Here’s my entry:

    “All we need is a spell.” I whirl to the bookshelf and select my favorite spell book bound in leather and well worn from multiple readings. The pages are sticky—that’s what I get for reading it while eating a candy apple that one time—and they crinkle beneath my fingers.

    “Don’t be silly, Anne. That stuff isn’t real.”

    I ignore her comment and flip through the pages, searching for a pact spell. It allows the members to dodge questions and keeps intruders from getting suspicious. What we’re planning must stay secret. No. Matter. What.

    The oily scent of ink mingles with the pungent leather and wafts toward my nose. I take in a deep breath of it and smile.

    “Hey, I was looking for this.” Mary finds the scarf I borrowed and checks to see if it’s still intact. Geez, I’m not that careless.

    “Yeah, sorry. I meant to give that back.”  I bat my eyelashes.

    “Uh-huh. In what century?”

    I barely hear her. The spell I want is staring me right in the face. “Here it is. Look.” I hold the book up so she can see.

    She frowns at the page. “Great. Now what?”

    “Now we chant it.” I set the book on the floor and gather my collection of pillar candles. Within seconds, I have them arranged on the rug, one for each direction on the compass and one for each element. “North, south, east, west. Earth, fire, wind, and water.”

    “It just looks like a circle. Does it really matter where you put them?” She joins me on the floor, folding her legs under her.

    “Yes. It really matters.” I glare at her and strike a long stick match. The bitter scent of sulfur tickles my throat. I light each wick, calling out each name as I go. “North, south, east, west. Earth, fire, wind, water.”

    Our puggle puppies, Polly and Cass, stare at us from their beds. They don’t like fire, even if it’s from a small candle flame.

    “You already said that.” Her tone sounds flat, like she’s already bored.

    “Shhh. It helps organize the chant.”

    Mary folds her arms. “Like you know about organizing.”

    “Don’t block yourself off. It won’t work if you don’t believe.”  I blow out the match. Smoke streams from the tip in a serpentine dance.

    “But I don’t,” she complains.

    I lean back on my heels. “You promised.”

    “Ugh, all right.” She slaps her hands on her thighs.

    “Good.” I shift directly opposite her and read from the book. “Take my hands and close your eyes.”

    We hold hands and I chant.

    “Four elements of life, I beseech you. Hear our plea.

    Let our thirteenth birthday be a great assembly.”

    “Is that really in the book?”

    I open an eye to see Mary peering at me. “Shhh. I’m personalizing it.”

    She sighs.

    “Close your eyes.” I continue.

    “Four elements of life, it is our wish, it is our plea,

    That our birthday planning stays under lock and key.

    Four elements of life, it is our wish, it is our plea,

    That our birthday is filled with magic and revelry!”

    “Now, say it with me.” I squeeze Mary’s hands.

    “I don’t remember what you said.”

    “You’re kidding.”

    She shrugs. “What?”

    I let go of her hands, snatch a notepad and pen from the desk drawer, and scribble the chant. I pass the paper to her. It smells like bubble gum.

    “Gee, thanks.” She holds it by the corner. Her eyes scan the page. “Your handwriting is terrible.”

    I frown. “We can’t be fighting while we do this. Something might go wrong.”

    She throws up her hands. “Oh, great. Now you’re telling me something bad will happen. You shouldn’t mess with this stuff anyway. It’s dangerous.” Her mouth puckers.

    “How can you be afraid of it if you don’t think it’s real?” I resist the urge to fold my own arms.

    She flicks her hair over her shoulder. “Just get on with it, okay?”

    “Say the spell with me. Repeat it three times, that’s all.” I hold out my hands and give an encouraging smile.

    Her hands are cold and clammy, though the room is warm.

    We close our eyes and chant the spell. At the end of the third round, I open my eyes and let out a long breath. “Wasn’t so bad, right?”

    “Yeah.” Mary nods. She rubs her hands together. “So, is that it?”

    “I—”

    The room goes ice cold. The beds, desk, chair, light fixtures, everything starts shaking. Our cell phones ring and the alarm clock buzzes. A gust of wind whips our hair into knots and sends a stack of loose papers swirling in circles. The candles blow out, darkening the room. Cass and Polly howl and dash under Mary’s bed.

    “Oh, crap, we did something wrong.” Mary’s voice tremors with fear. She dives for the floor.

    “Ack!” A paperback novel swoops for my head. I duck. It ricochets off my mattress and slides toward Cass. She leaps in the air, smashing into the box spring above him. Polly barks at her, then the book.

    “Stop it, Anne!” Mary swats an airborne sweater before it wraps around her face to smother her.

    “I don’t know how.” I grab her arm and drag her toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”

    We huddle by the door and Mary keeps watch for random projectiles while I jiggle the handle.

    “It’s locked.” I twist and twist, but the thing won’t turn.

    By now, the swirling wind, wonky electronics, and yelping dogs have fried my brain. I can’t think beyond, please stop, please stop, please stop.

    “Anne? Mary? Knock off that racket. I need to concentrate.” Mom’s bellowing voice is louder than the commotion in our room. “I mean it. Don’t make me come up there.”

    What’s worse, a poltergeist or Mom?

    I stand and put my hands up. “Four elements of life, hear our plea. Stop destroying our room, I beseech thee!”

    The chaos intensifies. The dogs go crazy. Mary cries.

    “Stop it, stop it, stop it!” I slam my fists against my thighs.

    The wind stops. Everything falls to the floor as gravity once again takes over. Our phones stop ringing. The alarm clock dies.

    I smooth my tangled hair—like it’s possible—and try to catch my breath. Mary is still whimpering by the door. I kneel next to her. “It’s okay. It’s over.”

    She gulps. “We’re never doing anything like that again.”

    Flake-out Friday: Blogfest Announcement

    Hey gang! I’m super stoked to announce Tessa Conte and I are co-hosting a blogfest about…drumroll please–

    The Nature of Magic!

    I know you’re all dying to share what magic means to you (or your character)? Is it all “whatever, it’s a bunch of fluff and nonsense”? Or maybe it’s “abracadabra alacazam”? Or maybe something else altogether different, unknown, and mysterious?

    Bottom line: Magic is different for everyone, and we want to know what it means to you – yes YOU! So, join our blogfest and tell us (or your character) all about it! Here’s what we want you to do:

    THE TASK:

    Write or share something you’ve already written that, to you, shows the nature of magic (in 1000 words or less). It can be an excerpt from your WIP, something you’ve written especially, poetry, whatever strikes your fancy. It just needs to show the nature of magic as it exists for you or for those you write about.

    THE RULES:

    1. Sign up on the linky list below.
    2. Choose or write a piece about the Nature of Magic and post it on your blog on March 26th. That’s a Saturday – we’ll go easy on you and say it has to be up by Sunday night (so last chance midnight on the 27th – that’s when the linky list closes, too)(mind you, that’s midnight Central European Time). Just be aware that if you’re very late your entry might be missed, so please do let us know via comments once you’ve posted.
    3. Check out what others think of magic and give them some comment love!
    4. Come back on Wednesday March 30th to see the three “finalists” (chosen by us) and vote on your favourite. Votes will be open till April 2ndwinner(s) announced April 3rd.

    We’d appreciate it if you advertised our blogfest. If you like, here’s two banners/buttons you can put up on your blog….

    THE PRIZES:

    1st choice: Chapter critique from both of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
    2nd choice: Chapter critique from one of us + $ 10 Amazon Voucher
    3rd choice: Chapter critique from one of us

    THE LINKY:

    The Nature of Magic Blogfest Linky

    ***Please do sign up and let us know what magic means to YOU! Also, it would be super nice if you’d comment once you’ve signed up. You can also sign up on Tessa’s Blog if you like, the linky’s the same!***

    It Was A Dark and Stormy Blogfest Contest…Also: a Crusade and the winner of some swag!

    Brenda Drake is hosting a first line blogfest today and tomorrow. Be sure to check out her blog for a list of participants!

    What’s up for grabs? A query critique, a 25 pages + query critique, and a 50 pages + query critique by none other than Weronika Janczuk, writer and agent with D4EO Lit Agency!

    Best of luck everyone!

    Now, my entry:

    • Working Title: ZODIAC COLLECTOR
    • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Adventure
    • First line: The Renaissance Faire wrecks my birthday every year.

    (My first sentence is mind-blowing in its awesomeness, right? LOL!)

    Alrightly, now the comments and critiques y’all give help me to perfect the line so I can enter it in the contest on Brenda’s blog on February 9th! Thanks in advance!

    Don’t forget to check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah’s psychology related post!

    Wait–I’m not finished!

    Drum roll please…And the winner of swag from Michelle McClean’s Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers is:

    DORIS!!!!!

    EDIT: Doris has claimed her prize! I’ll forward the info to Michelle so she can mail your swag!!!

    AND…

    Have you seen Rachael Harrie’s Blog Crusade?! Click here to check it out. This is the second “annual” Crusade designed to connect writers and bloggers through the interwebz. Lookin’ forward to seeing you there!

    “You’ve come a long way, Baby” Blogfest (AKA, a glimpse at a before and after)

    The big day is here! That’s right, The Writer’s Hole, “You’ve come a long way, Baby” Blogfest is TODAY!

    Hop on over to Christine’s blog to check out the other participants’ entries…should be a lot of fun AND eye-opening to see other writers’ progress over time.

    You know, it’s hard to see changes when we track them on a daily basis, but when confronted with the before and after, well, the differences are striking.

    Without further ado, here’s my before (opening excerpt from my first novel, an adult urban fantasy):

    Peter’s words circled around in her mind with such speed and intensity that it left her confused.

    She kept coming back to the same questions. Why is he persisting in this? And why now?

    She shook her head. They’d had a perfectly romantic evening—an elegant dinner complete with dancing. And then he’d ruined it by asking her to move in with him.

    Shocked by the suddenness of his request, her stomach flopped and her heart raced. Breathless, she’d sputtered a hasty reply—“Doesn’t it seem a little soon? I mean things are going so well the way they are.”

    He’d replied, “Yeah, things are going great. Which is why I think it’s time you move in with me, Brienne.”

    Her mind still reeled from his deep kiss.

    He really wants this.

    Looking at her reflection, she peered into her green eyes. How many times am I going to replay the conversation? For crying out loud, just give it a rest already, will you!

    She pursed her lips.  Moving in together is just not an option.

    Almost ready for work, she grabbed her bag, still trying to reason it out. She loved Peter—at least she thought she did—so, why couldn’t that be enough? She’d tried to tell him that as tactfully as possible, but it felt awkward and she was left unsatisfied.

    Well, how the hell do you think he feels? She asked herself.

    Fumbling with her ID badge before finally heading out the door, she paused in her rumination and looked at the one by one inch picture. A bright-eyed, idealistic clinician who’d just completed residency smiled back at her. Noticing she’d already aged since that photo was taken five years ago, she turned her attention to her name and the title beneath. Brienne Kirby, MD.

    I’ve accomplished so much. So why am I getting stuck on this? Her stomach turned again and she clenched her fists to interrupt the swelling anxiety that threatened to consume her.

    Grabbing her keys, she scratched her Persian cat, Milly, under her chin and said, “Bye honey, have a good day.”

    The cat jutted out her chin, splaying her whiskers in the process, to more thoroughly enjoy the sensation. Her big blue eyes closed with pleasure and a steady purr made Brienne reluctant to leave.

    “Maybe we can talk about Peter when I get home, huh?” She patted the cat’s head.

    Milly, disappointed that Brienne had stopped scratching, abruptly turned and walked away, her upright, fluffy white tail bobbing with each step.

    “Some help you are.” Brienne frowned. She knew better than to get sympathy from a cat.

    Yeah, so, there it is, LOL! Needs some work, eh? Gotta say it’s not as bad as I thought it would be (haven’t seen this one in over 18 months!). If I were to rewrite/revise this tale, though, I’d cut this before you could blink. Heh.

    …And here’s my after (opening scene from a middle grade adventure, still a WIP):

    The Renaissance Faire wrecks my birthday every year. A month before the actors and merchants arrive to transform the park into a 16th century towne—yes, with an “e”—Mom stops taking her lithium. Within forty-eight hours she’s higher than a prom queen accepting her crown. As the best dress-maker east of the Appalachian Trail, she thinks it’s her duty to stay awake for days, surviving on double espressos and cigarettes, to make the royal court’s costumes. She says mania makes her more productive, but all it does is turn her into a raging beast that puts Sauron, the Basilisk, and the Krakken to shame.

    “Why wait until the last minute when you have the whole year?” I hover near the doorway and yell over blaring heavy metal music. Originally the living room, Mom’s studio has the best natural lighting of the whole house. A large bay window, stretching from floor to ceiling, is the envy of every do-it-yourself crafter on the block. I dream about curling up on the seat cushion with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, but Mom doesn’t let anybody in there. No. Matter. What. Mary and I played dress up and paraded in front of the full-length mirrors lining the opposite wall when we were six. Mom spanked us so hard we couldn’t sit for hours. She wasn’t taking lithium then, either.

    Well, this piece certainly has more voice. The paragraphs are a bit on the longish side, but this is still a WIP, so it may get edited further. I dig it, though. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel much more connected and invested in the MC in this piece than I did in the “before” example.

    So there ya go. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’m going to enjoy the fact that I’ve come so far in the past 2+ years.

    Tell me, friends, what differences have you noticed in your writing over time?

    Woot! Woot! Wednesday: The Three-fer–Thanks for an award, rounding up the Sisterhood blog chain, and Snoopy was on to something here, I’m sure!

    I’d like to give a BIG thanks to the super awesome & sweet, Young Adult writer and blogger, Heather Howland, for nominating me for the Stylish Blogger Award! Thanks, Heather, you’re the best! And now I feel totally fancy! Sa-weet!!!!!!

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    Deb’s up this week sharing her writerly goals for 2011. Pop on over and check it out!

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    In case you haven’t seen it yet, Brenda Drake is hosting a first line blogfest contest on February 7th and 8th. Be sure to check out her blog for a list of participants! Oh, and sign up too!

    The deal is: Sign up, post your first line on your blog on the 7th & 8th for comments/critiques, then enter your perfected first line in the comments of Brenda’s blog on February 9th for the contest part.

    What’s up for grabs? A query critique, a 25 pages + query critique, and a 50 pages + query critique by none other than Weronika Janczuk, writer and agent with D4EO Lit Agency!

    Best of luck everyone!