Friday, May 29, 2015

Do You Have Goals? Celebrations? And Links for Writers!

"I've watched through his eyes. I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
Do you know the book that these first lines are from?

Last week's quote and answer: 
"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home." 
from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

It's the end of the month, and I have some celebrations and goals updates!

Many thanks to Lexa Cain, Katie, and LG Keltner for keeping this fest up and running! It's a fest that reminds us to celebrate the small things - from laundry finished to writing done.

Many thanks to Misha and Beth for reminding all of us to dream big and then put foundations under those goals!

1. Publication goals and celebrations:

For my writing classes, I prepared three private print run book publications with one book for each class. It was slightly time-consuming, but it makes my day to present students with their own work published into a book format.

My small press book deal almost took an upside down turn, but it's back on track - release date still unknown. Title: Eight if By Sea. Genre: MG Paranormal Fantasy. Extras: selkies, orcas, and a sea shanty. :) Here's a pic I've been using on my pinterest board to help me:

I re-pubbed a few of my short fiction stories at Quarter-Reads and with Kindle Select: "The Biggest Waterslide," and "When Okay is Enough" are out "there" now.

I sold a story to Imaginate which should be out in their June issue!!!

Underlying goal: To get work off my pc and into the world. (And a side one this month: to help my students know the joy of seeing their work in print.)

June Goals:  To re-pub my Summer Vacation Devotions booklets that I created way back in 2009 for my old church. Expected release date: June 25th. Pre-order available for 99 cents.

To private publish a collection of my oldest daughter's home-school writing from pre-school days to this year. She hasn't graduated yet, but she is off to a dual credit program at our local community college next year.

2. Writing and Write 1 Sub 1 goals and celebrations:

I attempted to submit five haiku for the 6th Annual Haiku Contest at Sometimes The Wheel is On Fire! Nate Wilson makes this a super fun yearly contest but I had tech issues. :(

Then, I subbed three hint fiction stories to the West Hartford Libraries Hint Fiction Contest.

And, I subbed a drabble for Boston Literary Magazine.

And, I wrote two chapters for a writing curriculum book, revised two chapters for another writing curriculum book, and inched Champion's Destiny closer to its finish.

Underlying goal: To strengthen my writing skills and finish several projects this year.

June goals:
Finish revision of Eight if by Sea - I need to add a few more thousand words of description for my editor.
Finish revision of C.D. and DW1, plus write and submit at least one story.

3. Marketing goals and celebrations:

I tried selling books at a small community vendor event that happens monthly. I sold one book. However, the other vendors told me that the best months are October, November, and December, so I will try again in the fall.

Underlying goal: To get better at this strange thing called "marketing." Making some $ from my writing would be nice, too.

June Goal: Apply for spot in book fair in July. Make action-items for the rest of the year. Guest post?

4. Exercise goal and celebrations:

I rode my bike for 20.54 miles on a flat trail last weekend! I was amazed I could go that far.

I've walked at least 20 miles this month, and biked at least 50 miles this month total. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I'm taking steps to get there.

Underlying goal: Health and fitness.

June Goal: Bike 150 miles, walk 50 miles, get yoga routine back, start swimming/kayaking. Drink more water (not while swimming/kayaking).

5. Invitational goal:

Hmm - kind of small stuff this month.
I invited family to my daughter's 8th grade graduation and my hubs and I offered to van-pool a group of home-school kids to the home-school formal - getting there involved crossing a toll bridge (expensive!) and I think it was more fun for the group to ride together.

Underlying goal: To have an invitational attitude.

June goal: Invite friends over for at least one backyard barbecue/grill session.

6. Spiritual goals: lots of prayer, some study, had fun helping the Youth Sunday School write and film their short video "So, You Think You Can Disciple?" for the youth Sunday worship that will take place in June.

Underlying goal: deeper, stronger faith and relationship with the Lord.

June goal:  Prayer, Bible Study, Cell group, look at volunteer opportunities.

Imaginate has openings for non-fiction, short fiction, poetry, and flash fiction for their fall issue. Submissions are due July 1st! This is a paying, professional market!

Every Day Fiction publishes a flash fiction story every day of the year and is open for submissions. This is a paying, professional market!

Splickety has ongoing themes for flash fiction. Lost at Sea is their next theme for submissions - due 7/10. I'n not sure if this is a paying market or not.

Brilliant Flash Fiction is hosting another contest with the theme: Equality. A cash prize is available for the winner of the contest. They are also open for ongoing submissions as a non-paying market.

EspressoStories.Com is an excellent market for hint fiction. Nonpaid, but friendly, ongoing market.

Nail Polish Stories is another excellent market for hint fiction based on nail polish color names. Non-paying, but friendly, quarterly market.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Hosting the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh: Writing Influences

Please welcome my guest, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh! 

Writing Influences – Space Opera

Science fiction (and fantasy) have always been big influences on me, from movies to show to superhero comics to books.

I tend to lean more towards the space opera side. It’s more action and adventure, sometimes with a bit of western thrown in. (Think Firefly/Serenity.) It’s less about the science and more about the characters and storyline. I’ve discovered that even people who don’t normally care for science fiction tend to enjoy space opera.

What influenced me to try my hand at space opera? Since Tyrean wanted to know my top five space opera influences, here are the movies/shows that captured my imagination as a kid:

Battlestar Galactica
Star Wars
Buck Rogers
Star Blazers
Star Trek

I’m also a big fan of trivia! Below are quotes from the above movies/shows. Can you match them up?

1 - Pilot: A message from the Gamilon ship, sir: "Earth fleet, we advise you to surrender now." What shall I tell them?

Captain: Tell them they're idiots!

Pilot: What?

Captain: I said - idiots!

Pilot: This is the Earth flagship 225. Our answer: idiots! Over.

2 - Well, I'm scheduled for execution and if I miss it I could be in a lot of trouble.

3 - I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose.

4 - Lt: Just keep it up, old buddy, you're going to get us into real trouble.
Lt: Ten thousand light years from nowhere, our planet shot to pieces, people starving, and *I'm* gonna get us in trouble?

5 - Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me.

Answers at the bottom!

Were you influenced by space opera? What were some of the movies/shows/books that influenced you as a kid?

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

Available now!
Dragon of the Stars
By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057
What Are the Kargrandes?

The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. But when the Alliance declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray and told he won’t make captain. One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?


1 – Star Blazers
2 – Buck Rogers
3 – Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan)
4 – Battlestar Galactica
5 – Star Wars

How’d you do?

Tyrean: I actually had the last one! :) 

In addition to hosting the rockin' Ninja Captain Alex, I just want to take a moment and highlight a new book by Nick Wilford:

Have you picked up copies of Dragon of the Stars and A Change of Mind and Other Stories yet?

What's influenced your writing?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things in a Huge List

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."

Time away from my blog has given me some time to write, reflect on content, and write more. I am thankful for that.

From now on, I'll post 2-4 times a month, but I'm going on a writing journey, attempting to finish the daunting set of projects that I've set before me.

However, this may mean that my posts get a little long.

One thing that I noticed in this long list of celebrations is that this is a season of change in my life. You'll see what I mean.

1. Watching Avengers: Age of Ultron! :) 

2. We finished classes for our homeschool co-operative for the year. Last papers are graded, plus high school and middle school students' grades have all been sent out.
Last lunch at our Homeschool Co-op 
(Note the girl in the hat in the center - my rebel daughter, wearing a hat which is against the "rules" on her last day ever at co-op. She's headed off to community college for her junior and senior year.)

3. We had a formal celebration of 8th grade graduation at our co-op this last month. Parents get to talk about their kids before handing them a certificate, and my husband did "the" speech for our youngest and did a great job! And, although I know this isn't a face front picture, I really like this pic my older daughter took of her sister's graduating class - nine boys, four girls, and my daughter is wearing the pink bow dress with a purse over her shoulder. 
(Wearing a bright pink bow in the middle of conservative gray, white, and black - yep, that's my kid.)

4. The home-school formal dance at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium with the theme: Under the Sea Masquerade. As usual, no one in my family took anything other than odd blurry pics of the event itself. However, we did get a few "before" pictures:
Friends getting ready together.

Tying the tie
The formal four . . . (they met two other friends at the dance)

Only current 9th graders and up were allowed to attend this year so my youngest and I stayed home, got rid of a bunch of old home-school stuff, and watched a movie.

5. Time for reflection.

6. Planning some tiny content changes on my blog. 

7. I'm celebrating first lines (or paragraphs) from books that I enjoy, and turning it into a bit of trivia. Anyone know what book the quote up top is from?
Hint: YA from the 60s made into a movie in the 80s
Answer coming next Friday

8. And, I'm celebrating the 17 athletes from the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team who made it onto Team USA for two different international competitions: Junior Worlds and Olympic Hopes.  Here's a short article about them: 17 Athletes Qualify. And no, my kids aren't going international . . . yet. (my youngest has hopes) 

9. And, I'm celebrating Ziggy Norberg, a para-canoeist from our team with an article in a local magazine:
Unbreakable Spirit article link - definitely worth a read!
BTW - para-canoe is the term used for para-athletes who kayak or who paddle outriggers because on the international circuit both kayaking and canoeing are just called canoeing.

10. And, M Pax has a new book out! If you haven't started her Backworlds series, the first one is free! But, here's number six!!!!
Available in ebook from:
iBook or main iBook
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.
The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

What are you celebrating this week? 

Next week: Alex J. Cavanaugh will be here Monday for a guest post!
And, I'll have a little something on Nick Wilford's new book.

And, on Friday, I'll post the answer to the quote trivia.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG, A to Z Reflection, and Celebrations!

“We’ve all had this experience . . . It’s Saturday night. You and your friends have decided to see a movie.” 
from Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Triple Post

A to Z brings out exceptional bloggers from all over the world. The posts, ranging all over the board in topics, are fun, inspirational, and informative to read. I came out of the challenge with a few more words in my vocabulary, some new blog buddies, and a renewed appreciation for blogging, as a whole.

I struggled with the comment - dilemma and time. I couldn't put my life on hold for A to Z. I decided, early on, to visit bloggers and comment on their blogs before I hit "reply" on my own blog. I tried really hard to visit everyone who visited me within a week of their visit. The other side of this dilemma came in my disappointment after I visited several bloggers who never gave a return visit or comment. So, I had the comment-dilemma, both from my own struggle to visit and the disappointment over the lack of return visits. You would think with that large plank in my own eye, I could handle the speck in someone else's, but it bugged me.
And then, I felt guilty about it bugging me.

On the other side of that, I had some awesome blog buddies and new blog buddies who commented all the time! Thank you. And, I had some fun with the Muffin Commando Squad, led by C. Lee. I was blow away by C. Lee's leadership, and the wonderfully supportive Commando Squad: 
Carrie ButlerYvonne VentrescaDonna McDinePatricia LynneTara Tyler, and Tammy Theriault

I really enjoyed my theme this year, celebrating other bloggers and authors. I hope others did, too.

More, Recent Celebrations:

Cherie Reich released Once Upon a Nightmare last month, and her book blog tour is coming in June!

Milo James Fowler has a novel coming out in installments at Every Day Fiction: Captain Bartholomew and the Space-Time Displacement Conundrum.

Jay Noel released the third book in his steampunk series: The Iron Warrior!

Nate Wilson is hosting his fifth annual Haiku Contest! $25 Amazon gift cards await as prizes, and the deadline is May 7th!!! (Go, right now, to his blog!)

and, Misha Gericke has some awesome news . . . that I don't want to spoil too early. Go, check out her blog!!!

And, what does this have to do with Saturday night?

Well, Saturday night (or Friday) always represents (for me) a night with friends or family, hanging out comfortably, looking for the next story to share . . . in a movie, or a conversation, or a book that we've all read.

So, are you ready to hang out with some awesome IWSG friends on a Wednesday that feels like a Saturday night?

Bonus: if you were going to go to a movie on Saturday night, what would it be?

As we head into the summer months, I'm going to be outside or hunkered down over a few writing projects. So, I'll be posting a blog schedule of upcoming posts at the beginning of each month.

Upcoming May posts: Celebrate the Small Things (only on the 22nd), Guest Post from Alex J. Cavanaugh on the 25th, and Do You Have Goals on the 29th. 

Ongoing Freebies:

"The Bridge Snap" - a flash of sweet romance and photography. Kindle Nook Kobo 
"Seedling" - a super-powered, coming-of-age flash. Kindle Nook Kobo Smashwords 
Ashes Burn Season One: Ashes Away - part 1 of an experimental, micro-epic-fantasy series following the lives of Wend, Teresa, and King Bryant. Kindle Nook Kobo Smashwords

And, if you haven't already, please sign up for my new newsletter on the right of the blog!