Friday, August 28, 2015

Do You Have Goals? End of Summer Update and Book/Story Celebrations

Do You Have Goals? is an encouraging blog hop about creating fantastic, mind-boggling goals and then taking all the small steps to make them happen. This hop is hosted by the inspiring Misha and Beth!

This is my end of summer, super detailed update (skip to the end, if needed): 

1. Publication goals and celebrations:
July goal (which became my July-August goal): putting Ashes Burn Season 3 into e-book format
Plus, I finished Dynamic Writing 1. 
Underlying Long-term goal: To get work off my pc and into the world.
September Goals: Ashes Burn 4 in ongoing episodic format at my Ashes Burn blog. Looking for confirmation from my publisher that Eight if By Sea will come out in September, and prepping C.D. for release . . . which I had originally planned for October, but will take miracles to release as planned.

2. Writing and Write 1 Sub 1 Goals and Celebrations:
July and August: Finish revisions of C.D, DW1, and partial DW2, plus write and submit at least one story.
C.D. (still underway), DW1 (finished!), and partial DW2 (in last stages). Plus, I wrote and submitted 7 new stories, and re-subbed four older stories. 
Underlying long-term goal: To strengthen my writing skills and finish several projects this year.
September Goals: Finish C.D. Finish all prep for home-school co-op start on Sept. 14th (this involves moving some writing curriculum forward, at least in handout/note format).

3. Marketing goals and celebrations:
Underlying goal: To get better at this strange thing called marketing.
July-August goals: Track down that guest post e-mail, make action-item list for the rest of the year and follow it. Go to and rock the NW Book Fair without falling over in a nervous sweat. Figure out my newsletter.
Epic Fail Area. I didn't rock the Book Fair, didn't track down that one e-mail, and have only a partial action-item list.
September goals: to prep for the Puyallup Festival of Books in October, to make that action-item list, and to request guest posts and reviews. That's it.

4. Exercise goals and celebrations:
Underlying goal: Health and fitness.
July goal: Bike 40 miles, walk 40 miles, get yoga routine back, swim and kayak at least 5 times. Drink more water. (I think this is more reasonable)
I biked 34 miles, walked 44 miles, started easy stretches, swam once, and kayaked once.
I considered this accomplished.
August: I boogie-boarded in California, hiked in Yosemite, and started walking again when I got home.
September goal: help start a new "master/40+" kayak/surfski group, walk 40 miles, bike 40 miles.

5. Invitational goal:
Underlying goal: To have an invitational attitude.
July goal: Invite friends and/or family over for dinner/hang-out time. Sadly, I don't remember if I invited or if I just had my in-laws over for dinner in a happenstance kind of way.
August - um, not really. 
September: Invite someone over to my house for something - dinner, coffee, have my kids' friends hang out, etc. 

6. Spiritual goals:
July-August goal:  Prayer, Bible Study, Cell group, look at volunteer opportunities - did these.
September: Volunteer with Youth Sunday School (regular stuff for me), help with an Alpha group, Prayer, Bible Study, and Cell Group. 


E-mail me if you have news to share! I don't always remember because I'm clueless and my family life is a super busy life. If it's not written down and plastered to something fixed, I don't remember stuff.

Garden of the Lost Souls - Twenty dark tales of flash fiction to shiver your spine by Madeline Mora-Summonte. 

I love Madeline's fiction even though these tales are truly dark and freaked me out quite a bit. She is an amazing writer.  On a 1-10 scary scale, these are a 10+, and on a 1-10 writing scale, these are a 10+. So, move over Stephen King. (Not recommended for MG readers that might stop by this post.)

Dragon's Destiny Review 

Dragon's Destiny by Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you've read Dragon of the Stars, contact Alex J. Cavanaugh about reading this wonderful short story that takes place after the novel. 

My super short review: Aden's growth as a character continues on a phenomenal arc and the story is both dramatic and sweet. Highly recommended as a companion to Dragon of the Stars. You can only read this book by checking out Alex's plan for getting Dragon's Destiny found in this post, and by contacting him directly. Go to his website link for more info.

I read like books are food, and I don't always write reviews well, but I thought I would share a few from my recent road trip:

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. You've probably already read the reviews,and maybe you read my long facebook rant when I was stuck on page 43, utterly disappointed that Scout had turned into a brat, but I have one more tiny review to add to all the hoopla.

As a writer, I encourage you to read this book after you've read To Kill a Mockingbird. I noticed horrible craft issues as well as story arc issues, but I also noticed the differences in characters from one book to another. It reminded me of why I wrote seven content drafts of Champion in the Darkness, and how much the characters changed from one draft to another. I think Go Set a Watchman is an excellent example of a nearly unedited early draft. It helps me feel a bit better as a struggling writer. I mean, if Harper Lee couldn't get it right the first time, why do I think I will? However, I recommend this as a library book read, not a store-bought read. Don't buy it if you can borrow it.
I ended up giving it 3 out of 5 stars because I think Harper Lee was struggling with how to deal with the reality of our flawed humanity and the depth of racism in our country.

More is an urban fantasy mystery by T.M. Franklin. It's action-packed with a touch of sweet romance and a good amount of mystery. My youngest, who is as voracious of a reader as I am, found it to be her favorite book on our road trip. I think she read it twice. It's fairly short, but it's a good read, and the rest of the trilogy is out so you don't have to wait for more of the More Trilogy. :)

The last book in this over-long post is my own. Call this a min-celebration with another small planned celebration to come on September 14th when I will post about the background of this book and have all the links prepared for various sites.

Dynamic Writing 1 includes 161 writing lessons for middle school students. In one year, students will write over fifty journal entries, six book summaries, two descriptive essays, two narrative essays, five short fiction stories, a process essay, a news article, a super short biography, a short research report, two quatrains, a ballad, two timed essays, and a writing resume. In addition to essay basics like thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions, students will also learn sentence variations and writing concepts. Notes for teachers and parents, as well as checklists and grade sheets are provided within the lessons, and an answer key may be found in the back of the book. With all of this, Dynamic Writing 1 is ready for use in the home or the classroom. 

The first fifteen lessons are available for kindle readers for 99 cents or for free at the new Dynamic, Every Day Writing site. These lessons serve as a tiny introduction to the series. The rest of the lessons get progressively longer and more challenging as the year moves onward.

Dynamic Writing 1 is available as a whole book in paperback and is getting split into two e-books, Dynamic Writing 1A First Semester, and Dynamic Writing 1B Second Semester.

For some reason, I am more proud of this particular project than any other that I have written. I love writing fiction, but writing this middle school writing curriculum book involved just as much sweat, tears, laughter, and time as anything else I've ever written, and I wrote it because I saw a need that I felt passionate about filling.  

I know that middle school writing curriculum isn't on everyone's TBR list, but if you could in any way help me spread the word, I would greatly appreciate it. 

In fact, if you have any ideas on how to market writing curriculum instead of fiction, I would gladly take marketing advice. Other than contacting a few review sites and planning to have a booth at a home-school curriculum fair next year, I'm not sure how to get the word out about this one.

Do you have goals? Have you finished a project lately? Do you have a book to share?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Here ye! Here ye! I'm back and I'm inviting all to participate in Realms Faire!

During the actual family road trip part of my absence, staying off the internet was fairly easy although I did randomly post images of our trip via instagram, twitter, and facebook. Posting things like that from my phone didn't take more than three minutes and felt like a good way to stay connected with friends and family near and far.

I could ramble on more about my ultra-packed family road trip but I'll try to sum it up in just fourteen phrases:
1. Rained out book festival blues.
2. Long drive(s).
3. Mega roller coasters for my daughter's 14th birthday at Magic Mountain.
Yes, they were making faces while waiting for the Batman coaster, but this is a part of our family fun.

4. A college campus visit.
5. Nationals opening ceremony involved a torch run at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista, CA.
6. Daughters both in medal-winning races!
7. Heat, humidity, and a spider bite caused some health concerns.
8. Our team won Nationals for the 4th year in a row!
They're holding up four fingers to celebrate winning four times in a row. We were at an Olympic Training venue and they lit the torch for the event! :)

9. A visit to old town San Diego.
My family's sense of humor on display.

10. Boogie-boarding at Huntington Beach.
We hardly ever take pictures while actually doing things, so this is afterwards . . .

11. Hiking with friends in Yosemite National Park.
12. A visit with friends in Nevada.
13. A doctor visit and antibiotics for that same horrible spider bite.
14. A decision to come home two days early, a beautiful drive, and some rain relief from the heat.

And, it took us a week to adjust to being at home as I started my "book journey" part of my blog absence.

My writing and revision felt like slogging through mud uphill into mountainous terrain with high humidity and I wanted to turn to the internet for any distraction it could offer, and I lurked just a little. Mostly though, I just wrote and revised and paced. (Plus, I celebrated a 19th anniversary with my husband and my birthday.)

Anyway, I'm back. And, I still ramble even when I'm trying not to ramble.

So, without any further distraction, I would like to invite all, near and far, to participate in the annual Realms Faire, started by the one and only M Pax, and co-hosted by several bloggers and blogs including: River Fairchild, Cassandra Webb, L. Diane Wolfe, Untethered Realms, Christine Rains, Julie Flanders, Cherie Reich, Misha Gericke, Mary Waibel, and VelociRaffle. Oh, and me, too.

I'll be hosting the Hero's Dilemma

Hero's beware! Here at the House of Hero's Dilemma, a new cliff-hanging adventure will dangle new heroes above the depths of destiny or despair. In 100 words or less, a hero will face a danger in story form.

Each day, the people of Realsmdom will decide the fate of these heroes in three sentences or less. If fateful endings are giving answer in poetic form, an extra entry for prizes will be awarded. For each Dilemma, the entries must by in by midnight, Pacific time. 

Daily e-book prizes will be awarded via random name-pulling from the entries. Winners will be announced regularly. Everyone is invited to participate in the comments section.

People of Realmsdom, you have the power of storytelling might to decide the fate of the would-be heroes. Will they die in glory or shame, live in victory or defeat? It is up to you.

And, after you have decided the fate of the Hero's Dilemma, try your hand at the other Realms Faire Events for more fun and prizes!

To find out more, visit Realms Faire!

All events have daily drop-in opportunities to participate and a few require some advance sign-ups like jousting. Check it out! Join the fun of the one and only online Realms Faire! You can dress up in your knightly wear or your nightly wear while participating.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On the Road (and a super fast "Do You Have Goals?" update)

A picture shot with a simple camera through the windshield of our car last summer.

Both metaphorically and literally, I'll be on the road over the next month.

On some days, I'll be right here in my house on a revision journey of epic proportions with breaks for walks, bike rides, and family. For a sneak peek at what's ahead:

This cover is for the first semester e-book and I might be tweaking it.

The Third Book in the Trilogy

On other days, I'll literally be on the road to the Junior Nationals for Flat-Water Sprint Kayaking and Canoeing near San Diego, CA. My daughters will be competing and hope to make finals and maybe even earn medals.
We'll do some touring around on the way there and back. In fact, we'll be stopping for the 7th Annual NW Book Fair in Portland, OR on July 25th, so if you live near there - come visit. :) I'll be there with my books.

During this road trip (both literal and literary), I might or might not post some pictures via instagram, facebook, or twitter, or I might just sink into a no-internet zone completely.

In any case, I won't be blog-posting for a whole four to five weeks. It's kind of scary but necessary. I don't like posting when I can't return visitor comments, and since I won't be online long enough to return comments, then I just won't post.

But, I'll be back. :)

For a quick look at Flat-water Spring Kayaking and Canoeing, I recommend this short video that was recently taken at a race in Seattle, WA. (Yes, I've shared this one before in a previous post.)

ADDED LATE - Super fast "Do You Have Goals" Update:
1. Writing and revision work is happening, slowly.
2. Short story writing submissions, and rejection/acceptance is going good. I completed my Write 1 Sub 1 goals and I've had a few acceptances for hint fiction stories. Check out: "Extra Long Cape" and "Watch Out!" - my two tiny hint fiction stories at 7x20 (twitter fiction publisher). More are coming out today and tomorrow with 7X20.
3. Life is pretty good. Exercises goals about halfway to where I want them to be: 35 miles of biking and 20 miles of walking.
4. There's more goal stuff, but not enough time to report. I'll do a "end of summer" show down at the end of August.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Interview with Misha Gerrick

Please give a warm welcome to my guest, Misha Gerrick!

First Line Quote Trivia

My favorite quote: “He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”

From: Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini


1. What movies/shows/books have influenced your writing or writing ideas? How/why?

This is hard and easy at the same time. I’ve read so many books in my lifetime, and I’d like to think every one of them had some sort of impact on me as a person. Even if I did not agree, the knowledge that I disagreed with something in a book taught me something about myself.

(Tyrean's inserted comment): I know how you feel. I've read plenty of writing books and even the ones I didn't like helped me in some way.

That said, there are five books that proved instrumental in me writing the book that would become The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. (And they might surprise the people who’ve read one or both of them.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my first ever fantasy book, (unless you count Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory, which did, in some form, find its somewhat subtle way into my The War of Six Crowns’s world.)

Then I went on to Chronicles of Narnia just as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came out. And it was re-reading Prince Caspian that Darrion appeared in my head to distract me, with his tale of another world where people can in fact travel both ways.

Except he snorted a bit at Narnia in Prince Caspian and said: “Those kids would never have made it if they ended up here.”

Needless to say, I was hooked.

The problem was that I was ill-prepared for the huge scope of my series. The Right to Write by Julia Cameron was what got me to 1) Blog (for accountability) and 2) Finish my book.

Finishing is so important! 

2. How do goals help you see projects through to the finish?

My goals, and specifically blogging about them, keep me accountable to my writing. I sometimes don’t finish the concepts I work on, but instead, I set them aside for later so I can incubate them a bit more.

Furthermore, I’m also not all that strict about my draft deadlines. I set goals, and aim for the general vicinity of those deadlines, but the point really isn’t to finish on time. It’s just to finish. And having something to aim for helps me do that.

As do goals like “write something every weekday.”

One of my favorite parts of your blog is reading your writing goals, Misha - they inspire me!

What's your favorite part of writing?

When I’m rough drafting, I love that beginning excitement when I start out. I also love picking the beautiful notebook I’m going to draft in.

Rewrites are awesome because it’s like a rough draft, but I’m typing out a better version of it with much less of a struggle.

I possibly love edits the most because as I work, I see something resembling the book I had in my head all along come out. Drafting just can’t do that.

Yes, the first draft, although fun for me, never matches the image in my head. And notebook choice, ah yes, I love beautiful notebooks. :)

Thanks so much for having me over!

Thank you for visiting, Misha!

The Vanished Knight

The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.

Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.

Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.

Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.

In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.

One with a taste for destroying her life.

The Heir’s Choice

After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.

Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.

The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?


Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.


Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.

If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog (, where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.

Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):

You can follow her Tumblr (
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Dance - Unexpected Post

So, I wasn't going to post again until the 22nd with a guest post,
but I had this Happy Dance kind of excitement and just had to share:

Coming in the Fall!