Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrations and Do You Have Goals?

Many thanks to Viklit and her team for hosting Celebrate the Small Things, and Many Thanks to Misha and Beth for hosting Do You Have Goals?

I'm going to combine posts, so hopefully it all makes sense, and is short enough to read. :)

1. Progress on Champion's Destiny sputtered and nearly died, and then I started up again - new plan, refreshed perspective.

2. I wrote a grouping of poetry/fiction/vignettes and submitted them at the beginning of the month, so my "short works" Write 1 Sub 1 goal is on track. Plus, a previous submission, "Cloud Download," was published at Espresso Stories.

3. I'm working on several "short" projects like: my micro-fiction series, Ashes Burn, a free, ongoing series; plus some re-pubs of individual short stories like "Seedling," "The Bridge Snap," and "The Horse in the Well" - which are all kindle select publications which I plan to use for my Friday Freebies. (Hint: wait for them to come up free on Fridays in the months to come.)

4. I had a sale on my books this month - trying to earn some coffee money, at least. Marketing seems to be a skill that has escaped me entirely, but I'm still persevering.

5. I'm signed up for NaNoWriMo. At first, I planned on focusing on Captain Wrath (finally), but now it looks like I'll be working on dueling plots: Champion's Destiny in the mornings, and Captain Wrath in the afternoons/evenings. I will get them finished, by hook or by crook. (does anyone else actually say that?)

6. The red carpet premiere of Ghost Noir - a little indie film that both my daughters acted in this last summer and fall. (2 pics at the end of post - added late)

What are you celebrating? And, do you have goals that you're working towards this year?

#FridayFreebie Dragonfold and Other Adventures - only free on Friday

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet the Character

Last Friday, I was tagged in the Meet the Character Blog Hop by the sweet Cathrina Constantine, the ultra-talented author of multiple books including:
Cathy's Book Tallas - Dystopian, fantastical creatures, and characters with depth!
Cathy's BookWickedly They Come - Angels and Demons face off in this novel!
Click on the titles to get to the Amazon buy links. :)

Now, let's meet Clara

What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

 Clara is a teen sword master with a heavy destiny on her shoulders as the chosen Champion against evil in the world of Aramatir. She's definitely fictional.
When and where is the story set?
The world of Aramatir, which is a world similar to our medieval history but with sorcery and faith-based power that can enslave or free people, build up mighty fortresses or topple mountains. Clara is originally from the kingdom of Septily, but as Champion, she fights for all of Aramatir.
What should we know about your character?
Her internal struggles affect her ability to act as Champion. She is loyal, compassionate, and tough. Skilled as a sword master, knife thrower, and in hand-to-hand combat, she also likes music and spending time with her friends. (I want to say more, but since I'm in the midst of book 3, I might throw spoilers around if I get too far.)
What is your character's goal?
Throughout all three novels, her over-arcing goal is to protect the land and her people from the evil enslavement of the Dark Sisterhood.
What is screwing up  your character's life (main conflict in writerly speak?)
Kalidess, the Dark Sisterhood, Drinaii mercenaries and assassins, doubt, grief, and anger. (And the fact that what she doubts/feels will affect her ability to wield her sword - the focus of her powers as a Champion - a blessing and a problem at the same time)
What is the title?
Champion's Destiny is my current W.I.P. but Clara has struggled through Champion in the Darkness and Champion in Flight, books 1 and of The Champion Trilogy.

Champion in the Darkness, Champion in Flight, and all my books for kindle, for Nook, and at Smashwords are currently up for 99 cents through the end of October. This price is due, in part, to celebrate the new cover for Champion in the Darkness (the new paperback cover will be coming soon).

Champion's Destiny will follow a similar motif.
Now, I tried to find two authors who were excited about this blog hop . . . and I found one author who was interested! So, presenting Jay Noel!!!
Jay Noel, writer on fire and awesome author of Dragonfly Warrior and Shadow Warrior.

And if you're interested in joining the fun, please considered yourself tagged!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Just wanted to share a few short teasers from books I've recently read, or that I am reading . . .


"Justus felt his mouth tighten as the impossible situation began to gather around him like the tangle of a rough net, ending every opportunity for escape." - Wilder Mage by CD Coffelt

"Magical. Hmm. Mack certainly was special . . . but magical? She glanced at the cup of coffee someone had served the priest just moments before. Oh, phooey. Maybe she'd set it there out of habit in anticipation of his arrival."  - Ma Tutt's Donut Hut (A Mack the Magical Cat Mystery) by Lyn Perry.

"There's nothing more common in the spiritual life than starting out right and then going wrong . . .
And then we're stopped by something beautiful - child, friend, stranger; cloud, song, fragrance . . .
 Wrapped up in ourselves, we had forgotten entirely about God; we now see ourselves as wrapped up in the bundle of God, with Nabal reduced to nothing more than a footnote to the text of our life." - Leap Over a Wall by Eugene H. Peterson (context 1 Samuel 25)

What have you been reading lately?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Moment

Monday Moment: A moment, a tiny bite of life, writing, etc.

Writing Prompts (jolt-size):

In the rain . . .


Standing in the rain . . .

Fave pics from the weekend (between rain showers) at the Kenmore Canoe and Kayak Race:

End of the 5k race - my oldest daughter and a friend in a C2 (Canoe with 2 people)
(They took 1st place Juvie C2 - no contenders in their age and boat class)

After the 10k race - my youngest in a k1, and my hubs on the dock.
(K1 means Kayak with 1 person)
(She took 3rd place bantam K1 - that's an age and boat designation)
Both my girls dream of 2020 . . .
(It's kind of a big dream . . . but not impossible.)
What's your big dream?


Friday, October 24, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Prep for NaNo, part 3

Celebrate the Small Things:
(Brought to us by Viklit and her team of Celebrators)

1. My husband's hospital stay was less than 36 hours - yay! He's a healthy guy, but we had a scare that is requiring some further tests. With some minor medical care and his usual eat-healthy-bike-to-work lifestyle, he should be ok.

2. Lots of prayers, thoughts, hugs, and offers of help by family and friends. Thank you. When my prayers were in the speechless-shock-groan-of-the-heart category, I had some serious
prayer warriors intervening. Again, thank you.

3. Ashes Burnis on its 9th episode today. The three characters: Wend, Teresa, and King Bryant have intertwined stories. Wend's story updates on Mondays, Teresa's story updates on Wednesdays, and King Bryant's updates on Fridays.

4. And, these eyes . . .
Clyde, our "foundling-rescue" dog. And yes, he's full-grown - part pug, part beagle, part ?

Prep for NaNoWriMo, Part 3: Super Simple Outlines

 Loglines are a single sentence summary of the plot. Although a challenge to write, they guide me through the twisting "squirrel" chasing moments of mad writing for NaNoWriMo.

I would write more about loglines, but I found this amazing, incredible post on loglines by C. Lee Mckenzie.

After I write a logline for the whole book, I try to write one for each character.

 Logline for the novel:
Logline for the MC:
Logline for the antagonist:
Logline for the love interest/best friend/mentor:
When I get through my loglines, I expand to this style of outline:

Super Simple Outline:
1. Set up/Inciting Incident: What starts the story?

2. Three challenges/obstacles that the MC will face:

3. Mirror Moment: at what point will the MC see the difference between who she/he wants to be and who she/he is, and decide to change/make a difference?

4. Climax:

5. Resolution:

Slightly more extended outlines, like the Save the Cat 18 point outline, are where I head next . . .

Do you use simple loglines or outlines, or do you need the twenty page type outlines to write? Are you a plotter/pantser/hybrid?

What are you celebrating this week?

And don't forget your Friday Freebie: Dragonfold and Other Adventures for kindle readers. This is a book of fantastical stories and poems. Enjoy!

Also, the first two books in The Champion Trilogy, Champion in the Darkness and Champion in Flight, are currently 99 cents for ebook. This sale lasts until the end of October.





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Reads: Guest Post by Jeff Chapman

Leaves are changing; pumpkins are sprouting fully formed on your neighbors' porches; and there's a sharp chill in the air. It's October. Time for Halloween. Time to curl up in a cozy chair with a mug of hot chocolate (mocha for you coffee addicts) and a good book. Do you have any favorite reads for the October season? I have several.

At the top of my list is Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's vampire tale Carmilla. Published in 1871-72—twenty-six years before Dracula—Le Fanu's novella tells the story of Laura and her father, English expatriates living in Styria, and their dealings with a strange visitor, a beautiful young woman named Carmilla. Laura documents Carmilla's strange habits. Their guest rises very late, doesn't eat much, and suffers from a perpetual langour. Carmilla also has a fixation on Laura, who is simultaneously repelled and attracted to Carmilla. Many young women among the local peasantry are succumbing to a mysterious illness that visits them in the night. You can find the text for Carmilla in Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly. There's an excellent audio version read by Elizabeth Klett on LibriVox.

If Carmilla doesn't help you sleep soundly or ghosts and demons are more your thing, check out the stories of M. R. James. A medievalist scholar and university administrator, James penned several volumes of ghost stories and is credited with redefining the ghost story for the twentieth century. As you might expect, his antiquarian interests feature prominently in his stories. There's lots of digging around in dusty old manuscripts and visiting crumbling old buildings where his protagonists unearth evils that should have been left alone. A wonderfully creepy atmosphere pervades James's stories. Three of my favorites are Count Magnus, Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book, and The Ash-tree. If you can't get enough of James after reading the stories, check out A Podcast to the Curious.

Finally, we come to Roger Zellazny's brilliant novel A Night in the Lonsesome October. Zellazny combines many of the tropes of horror and Victorian detective fiction into a charming tale with a Lovecraftian twist. We meet the Count, a werewolf, Doctor Frankenstein, a mad monk, a witch who flies about on a broom, and the great detective. Zellazny tells his story from the perspective of the animal familiars of the players in this Lovecraftian game of openers and closers. The protagonist is Snuff, who is a watchdog for Jack—yes, that Jack—who oddly enough is one of the heroes. There's a chapter for each day of the month. You can find a wonderful audio version of the book here on YouTube.

Thanks to Tyrean for letting me borrow her blog space for the day. Happy reading, everyone.

Jeff Chapman is the author of Last Request: A Victorian Gothic and the upcoming Give Me Your Teeth: A Fae Tale. He writes software by day and speculative fiction when he should be sleeping. His tales range from fantasy to horror and they don’t all end badly. He lives with his wife, children, and cats in a house with more books than bookshelf space. You can find him musing about words and fiction at Regards, Jeff Blog Twitter Amazon Goodreads

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back to Life

Back to Life, Back to Reality - anyone remember that chorus . . . ?

My life is back to "normal" rhythms as my husband's heart is back to normal rhythms.

After getting out of the hospital, my husband and I celebrated with a leisurely, doctor-approved bike ride for three miles. That's like a super leisurely stroll down the block for my husband who normally rides 12-30 miles a day at high speeds.

After that in the later afternoon, I was a "dock mom" for my daughter and another new canoeist as they struggled to balance in racing canoes, learn j-strokes and c-strokes, and just get around the dock while the racing team (with my kayaking daughter) were out in the harbor doing a workout that focused on technique at partial speed.

After 48 hours of stress and concern, everything just slipped back into regular life and reality, and I feel so thankful for "regular" and "normal."

I just wanted to stop here and say . . .

THANKS! Thank you for all your encouragement in writing and life!

And here's a view from a sun-break on the dock yesterday:

My daughter canoeing with two kayakers coming in behind her at the end of practice.
Hope that "normal" life is treating you with sun breaks and moments of fresh air!
Praise God for Life!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Awesome News and Answered Prayers!

My husband gets to go home from the hospital in a few minutes!!! Woohoo! Praise Jesus for health, answered prayers, thoughts, and hugs!!!


Today's post that was meant to be: Meet the Character

But . . . life is full of unexpected interruptions.

My husband has been in the hospital since yesterday morning.

I won't be able to blog comment, because my mind is scattered like a million leaves.

Speaking of which, I saw this little bit of beauty outside the hospital yesterday:

It felt like the words I couldn't seem to say, an answer to prayer, and a small reminder of how precious each moment is all at once . . . and that still isn't capturing the moment right.
And, when I got an e-mail that said one of my stories has been published at a non-paying site this morning, I didn't even want to post a link. I still don't. I love to write, but there are moments when whether or not I'm published . . . that part doesn't matter.
What matters is taking a moment to love those we love best, to drink in the beauty around us, to praise God for each breath.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things, and Prep for NaNo, part 2


Celebrate the Small Things

1. I came down with my personal "ick" again (just after I posted that it was over - ugh), but friends and family rescued me with lots of help for all the daily life happenings in our household.

2. Feverish (literally), I wrote crazy bits of writing (still moving forward) and decided to do a few re-publish, pre-sale experiments with my flash story, "The Bridge Snap" and the beginning of a new series of stories and memoirs, "The Horse in the Well."

3. I made progress on Champion's Destiny.

4. I spent some quality time with Captain Wrath this week. I delved into some of his earlier life as plain old Ben Cranston before his life starts to spin out of control.

5. Decided to have a super sale on all my books in e-book. Everything is 99 cents: short stories, novels, etc. from now until November 1st. See my Amazon Author Page for the list.

Friday Freebie: "Seedling" is up for free grabs for kindle readers and kindle apps again this week. Click on the title to follow the link.

Prep for NaNoWriMo, part 2: Theme

Theme is the basic big idea that drives a story forward. It's usually simple and can be summed up in one to three words:



Love conquers All

Those are just some theme examples.

I didn't realize how much theme mattered until I was hopelessly lost in a convoluted plot with a dozen rabbit trails. Theme can help a writer stay focused.

What's your theme for NaNoWriMo this year? And, what are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More Tiny Reviews and News

I recently finished Shadow Warrior by Jay Noel - and wow! Beautiful writing, excellent character development, great action scenes, and gritty steampunk. Highly recommend!

I also recently finished Dahlia's Feast - three short stories by Milo James Fowler that have been on my kindle for a few months. Again, wow! Gritty but with huge character depth and world building in just a few short pages each - my kind of read.

I decided to be brave and turn on the comments for Ashes Burn. To read, go HERE!!! The fourth teeny tiny episode goes live Monday around 7a.m. Pacific Coast time.

I also decided to offer Champion in Flight for 99 cents on kindle for the rest of October. Why? I need reviews. I really need reviews. Please read and review.

My lame lack-of-reviews excuse: I wasn't feeling 100% at book release time and then had some health issues for about three months afterwards so my release process wasn't the finest . . . and I'm starting to stalk friends and relatives for reviews. Next time . . . I promise I'll just have a really slow release date so I can be completely 100% ready for everything . . . well, everything that I know about. .

Champion in Flight - 99 cents - October only.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things, Friday Freebie and Prep for NaNoWriMo, pt. 1

Celebrate the Small Things
An awesome hop started by Viklit!

1. I went to see Mt. St. Helens with my family last Saturday. This was my second visit and their first. The last time I saw it, it was less than a half dozen years after the explosion in 1980 and the area was covered in ash and flattened trees. Now, it's teeming with life. (I know this might just mean I'm old, but I'm excited to see life abundant. I was 8 going on 9 during the first explosion in 1980 and in my hometown a few hours away, we had ash on the ground.)

My pic from the visitor center - the volcano has partially "re-grown" itself in the center with lava up-thrusts through the 80s and again in 2004.
2. We went to see the Maze Runner last weekend too - although it took some stealth mode parent action since my teens wanted to be "cool" and hang out only with their friends. We dropped them off early, came back as the theater darkened, fumbled our way to our seats and enjoyed the show. Don't tell my kids I liked the movie better than the book. (that's a rarity, but true in this case)

3. Read and reviewed Milo James Fowler's novella, Girl of Great Price, and I recommend it. If you like heroic hard-boiled detective stories mixed with scifi, read this book.

4. I went live with Ashes Bun on Monday. I'm enjoying my crazy micro-fiction experiment so far. :)

Friday Freebie!
 Every Friday, I plan to offer a short story or group of stories for free for kindle readers or kindle app readers. This week, my flash fiction story, "Seedlings" is re-pubbed for kindle and free.
Dunnie has a secret: a power inside him that's gone wrong in the past. When it's time to introduce himself to a new teacher, what will he say? And, will his classmates ever accept the truth?

Prep for NaNoWriMo, part 1:

On Fridays this month, I will set out four things I do to prepare for NaNoWriMo in the hopes that this will help my fellow authors.

1. Character profiles can vary in length from a half page to a file folder of twenty pages. They can include pictures or images, music, and knowledge about the minutiae of a character's life. However, they can also become a distraction, so I try to stick with the basics and do one for my MC, one for each supporting character, and one for the antagonist.

My super basic character profile categories (bold means that these are necessities to know):
Name:                                                                                  Meaning of name?:

Basic description:

Strengths of character:



Family Background:

Her/His greatest hope/dream/heart’s desire:

Is this character a doer or a watcher? Will she/he actively engage in the story and try to make things happen? Or will things happen to her/him and drag her/him into the adventure?

Next Friday: Loglines

Do you use character profiles for your writing projects? And, what are you celebrating this week?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tiny News

Ashes Burn, my experimental micro fiction serial will start "airing" today. Each episode will be under 30 words, and the episodes will air on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays following three viewpoint characters. I'm not sure if anyone will like it, but I have 90 episodes ready, with 120 more planned. Comments are off at the site for the moment . . .

Just go to HERE to read Ashes Burn (it will take less than 30 seconds).

"Seedling" is a flash fiction story that I've re-pubbed on kindle. On most days, it will be 99 cents. On some Fridays, it will be free. This Friday, I'm starting a "Freebie Friday" feature. Each week, some story or book will go free for Friday only.

I'm going to focus on Fridays here . . . unless there's something special and awesome like IWSG or a guest poster. :) I'm just here for my tiny news update today.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things!

Many thanks to Viklit for starting this hop, and to her awesome team!

This week, I'm celebrating:

1. A story re-submission acceptance e-mail. It did say that editorial changes will be needed, but I'll take it. :)

2. I'm back into writing Champion's Destiny and even though I got a slow start the last few days, I'm determined to finish it by October 31st - at least in super rough form.

3. Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Team won the Pacific Cup in Canada! Both of my girls raced, and my oldest is gong to start canoeing with the team (although she raced in a kayak for the weekend).

The guy holding the trophy was the development coach last summer, and he's only 17 and super talented. He has a great head coach teaching him the ropes (but the head coach stood outside this picture and let him hold up the trophy).

4. My oldest (kayaking since June) went K2 with a more experienced kayaker and they took 5th place in a heated 500m race. She also took a 4th place in the 1000m for her age group . . . but feels less excited about that since there were only five competitors.

5. My youngest, who has been kayaking since March, took 1st for her age group in the 1000m - and she was way out front and shaved 30 seconds off her best time for that distance - the coach was amazed. My daughter glowed the rest of the weekend.

6. Watching kids I know outside of racing team practice (church, homeschooling, long term friends) grow in self-confidence and skill as they race. It's really cool to see a kid I knew as a baby stand up there on the podium, and another kid that used to be a super shy middle school kid stand up on the podium again and again and grin at the crowd (I think he took home at least four first place ribbons, if not more).

7. Getting in a training kayak and playing around in the training area by the lakeshore. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG Anniversary!

Woohoo!!! Happy Anniversary IWSG!!! You rock!!! Many, many, huge, ginormous thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and the might IWSG Team!!! It's the anniversary, and my post is part of the "article" I sent to the IWSG book team.

As a writer, I’ve discovered that writing, publishing, and marketing intertwine. At first glance, they seem like three separate entities, but the more that I practice all three, I have found that they are linked.

When I write to publish and market, I find that I have a firm purpose that drives my stories, poems, and novels to the finish line and beyond that through revisions. That same writing practice, especially when I add blogging into it, leads me to market my writing because I’m excited by the pursuit of the writing craft.

When I pursue publication, both by sending my work out to editors and by self-publishing, I am driven to study the craft of writing and finish writing exercises that lead me to the next story, poem, or novel. In publication, I find that I have something to market, or at least announce in an excited way to my friends, family members, and blog buddies.

When I strive to market my work, I often have a strong desire to run back to my writing cave and write more. Marketing can have a creative side that encourages my creative thought process and sends me back to my “what if?” rough drafts. Marketing also pushes my pursuit of publication, for as each piece sells, I want to experience that excitement again.

As I’ve grown as a writer, become published by others and myself, and become a marketer, I have discovered that these three parts of life as a modern writer have the same key component: persistence.

Persistence is a steadfast and firm continuance of action, purpose, or state in spite of opposition. Persistence is all about tenacious endurance, and the insistence that we, as writers, have good stories and poetry to share. Persistence pushes past insecurities.


Persistence works best when we have a cheering team. And that's what IWSG is all about!
Write On, IWSG members and fellow writers!!! You can persist past insecurities and write awesome stories, poetry, and novels.