Monday, September 25, 2017

Nick Wilford, Black and White

Hi Susan. Thanks for offering to host me as part of my tour. Today I’d like to share some thoughts about the world I’ve created and engage your readers in a debate, if that’s not too heavy for a Monday!

How likely is it that we will end up living in a society like Harmonia?


I don’t often get political, but with Donald Trump in power, I don’t think we can really predict anything and we can’t rule anything out either. The world I’ve built might look very attractive to a lot of people. No dirt or disease, no need to worry about dying at an untimely age or – at a more everyday level – scrubbing your floor or keeping the dust under control.


On the surface, this is a utopia, the opposite of a dystopia. But that’s it – the surface is just about as far as things go. It’s the very definition of an insular society, cut off and without any contact with the outside world. Indeed, its near neighbour is painted by the government as a netherworld-type region populated by demons. In the current world, large swathes seem to be going backwards and becoming more distrustful of other cultures instead of more open. What if someone came along who promised to close the doors completely – the ultimate expression of looking after number one?


There are other ways in which Harmonia might be seen as an extension of the society we’ve got today. With the all-consuming rise of social media, families seem to spend less time just being together and we’ve got the problem of phones at the dinner table. In Harmonia, only one child is allowed per family and each member of the group basically operates as a self-contained unit. It’s a cold society in which people simply go through the motions. Apparently fair on the surface, with passes in school exams being guaranteed, the type of job you get after leaving school is determined by how many extra study hours you log. This is another thing that leaves children to spend long hours on their pads.


Divorce rates are very low, but at the same time there is very little affection between married couples. They are simply units that ensure the propagation of the species. The sex act itself has been genetically phased out – far too messy and too many diseases at play – but of course, this removes a level of closeness.


Where do you think we’re heading as a society? Is a world like Harmonia something that you could foresee in our future?









Title: Black & White

Author: Nick Wilford

Genre: YA dystopian
Series #: 1 of 3

Release date: 18th September 2017

Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing

Blurb:


What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?


In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.


Purchase Links:
Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Add it on Goodreads


Meet the author:




Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Help Out

RWA shared some links last week where you can go and help out the libraries that were victims of the recent hurricanes. Funding libraries is likely not the first thing people or the government will think of as they rebuilt and recover. Yet, I think a lot of people may depend on the library for internet access until they get their homes up and running again. People need help first, but if you love your local library as I do, maybe you can spare them a dime also. Here is the link for the Texas libraries. And you can go here to help the Florida libraries.

While you're in the helping mood, C. Lee McKenzie could use your help voting for her book in the Go here and give the book a boost.
Readers Choice Contest. Her MG novel, Double Negative, could use your vote.

Next Monday, I'm turning my blog over to Nick Wilford next Monday. He'll talk about his book that is being released today. Black and White is the first in a dystopian series. One of my favorite genres of speculative fiction.

I have lots of good books on my shelf and on my Kindle to read, after adding Nick's today, and that's a good thing. Because TV sucks right now. I'll probably watch Scorpion when the new season starts and Once Upon a Time, but I'm not that excited about them. Supernatural had a great season ending in May, so I'll have to give that a try. But I don't even know the dates they return. Blah.

I need to pick up my word count on my current WIP. Only wrote around 2K this week. I'm only halfway through and I'd hoped to have it done this month. Not looking good at all.

I'm taking my daughter to her first story time at the library this week. It's for 0-18 months old. She's not a fan of noisy places or loud things so we'll see how it goes. How do you keep a lot of infants interested in a story? We'll see.

The leaves are turning though it's pretty warm this week. Fall is upon us this Friday. I'll have to teach that granddaughter to rake leaves.

Have you donated to the victims of the recent hurricanes? Do you love your local library? Is dystopian a genre you enjoy? Do you enjoy fall and raking leaves?






Monday, September 11, 2017

What Weekend?

Life is busy enough without getting sick for two days. The worst cold ever took me out of action from Friday evening through Saturday. All those big plans to get some outside work done and some promotional work went the way of a full box of tissues. Sinus headache, chills, well you get the picture. I haven't had a cold like that since I retired from teaching. Teachers have the luck to catch everything going around when their students give it to them. Stay home when you're sick, please.

Another 9/11 has rolled around. Even after 16 years, the day remains vivid in my memory. The week following was very tense in our little piece of the country. Three Mile Island, infamous nuclear plant, is in my home school district. There were dozens of false alarms from perceived threats. I woke a few nights to jets screaming over the house on their way from Fort Indiantown Gap to provide security coverage at the power plant. It was truly the international incident of my lifetime. Let's hope our politicians don't draw us into something worse that that horrible day.

Came across this interesting article at Publisher's Weekly. Amazon is making an attempt to stop those cheaters using KDP and stealing money from authors and readers with their practices. I'm sure those being sued by Amazon are only a few of the many jerks conning the system, but it's a start.

Prayers to those suffering all kinds of hardships and losses because of Harvey and Irma. I have a niece in Florida.  I'm waiting to hear how she and her home are doing.

I feel the need to talk about something fun. Cleaned up my flowerbeds a little bit for fall. Can't believe I'll be raking leaves soon. My granddaughter turned six months and has been sitting up and crawling for a full month and last week decided she could stand up too when the right opportunity presents itself. Obviously, a superior genetic background. And our weather has been lovely. Warm but not humid during the day and cool nights.

This past weekend was big for the Penn State football fans at our house. Two of my sons earned their degrees there, and I received my Masters from PSU. The school really is a good academic school and has lots of outstanding athletic programs. It's too bad it's reputation has been darkened by the Sandusky scandal. Those poor children who suffered are still suffering as adults because so many resent the black mark on Joe Paterno's legacy. Priorities are messed up for some people.

Can't say how much I miss having a new GoT episode the last two Sundays. Salvation has gotten better and better each week. I hope it gets renewed for next year. I'm thinking of doing a re-watch of Luther, a BBC cop show, which means it's more cerebral with less shooting to solve crimes. It's good if you're looking for something to watch. It's on Netflix.

Are the hurricanes impacting your part of the world? Do you remember vivid details of 9/11? Have you put your books on KDP? Have your earnings taken a hit like so many authors complain because of the cheaters? Do you watch any BBC shows?




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: September Already

Summer flew by and not it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. This amazing group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers to help each with advice, sharing good news and bad, but mostly for helping each other even if just to listen. You can find the complete list here.

I'm skipping the suggested question today to share my Labor Day experience. I've heard this suggest by other writers but never tried it completely. So on Monday, I unplugged. No checking email, no Twitter, no writing or even thinking about it. I read for hours. Took a walk. Did some cooking. Watched some TV with my husband and sons. Drank coffee all day long. I didn't even go in my writing office. And I woke up Tuesday refreshed and ready to dive back in. I highly recommend it. So my IWSG post is to suggest everyone try it for at least a day. Next month, I'm going to do if for an entire weekend. For me.

Random going on stuff
New computer is working pretty good. I'm still not use to the keyboard but I'm getting better. My house is really clean because I have to keep it so for my granddaughter who is crawling around like a new puppy and chewing on everything like one too. One of my sons quit his job with AT&T and I'm glad. They are not good to their employees. He starts his new job next Monday and is supplementing his income by being an Uber driving. Lots of good story material there.

I'm seeing lots of TV ads for new fall TV shows and nothing is rousing my curiosity. There's not even any show I'm really looking forward to returning. Sad. Killjoys ended on an intriguing note and I like that we know it has two more seasons to go. Looking forward the Salvation tonight.

Have you ever unplugged completely? Ever ride with Uber? Are you looking forward to any new fall TV.




Monday, August 28, 2017

The Old is New Again

So, I got my new computer and finally set it all up. I'm still getting used the keyboard and I hate the different style of mouse thingy. I'll get used to it. It's worth it to have a battery that lasts forever (in comparison) and no interruptions in internet from a wonky something or other. Yes, I'm a computer expert and know all the terms. The switch over gave me an opportunity to clear some things off my computer. Why did I have all those things sitting around on my desktop?

Hope you all got to see the eclipse last week. With your safety glasses, of course. It was really cool though I would put it in the same category of cool as Aurora borealis. I've only seen those once and it was unforgettable.

Without even a chance to get over the Game of Thrones finale, I have a dentist appointment this morning. So, I'll be getting around to blogs later today to return visits. I stop in on many blogs who have excellent content about writing, new releases, recipes, and sometimes are just amusing. I want to share them on Twitter or Facebook, but there are no share buttons to make it easy. If you have a blog, I  hope you'll make sure you have that simple add-on so your visitors can spread the word of your existence.

Watching my daughter full time has put me back on the writing schedule I used while I was still teaching. And I like it. I'm doing my writing at night again after having the entire day for my mind to figure out the next scene. I'm feeling younger and more efficient again and not only because I'm chasing an infant around who has learned to crawl before she's even 6 months old.

Also helping my writing is the complete lack of interesting TV. Thrones is over for the season and my other summer fun, Salvation, is almost done. I think the next thing I'm looking forward to is the second season of Stranger Things. The Defenders on Netflix was okay even though I'm not a fan of Iron Fist, the series or the actor. I am looking forward to The Punisher later this year.

I will not be posting next Monday on Labor Day. We'll probably be doing the family cookout and games thing.

Are you making plans for Labor Day weekend? See the eclipse? Did you watch The Defenders? Do you have share buttons on your blog?


Monday, August 21, 2017

This Day

I'm not going to link to any of the zillion articles about the solar eclipse since they are everywhere and have been for a while now. I hope you're protecting your eyes if you in the shadow of the moon today. It's a very cool thing to have happen. We'll only get to see a partial eclipse where I live, but it will still be neat.

I'm spending more and more time watching my granddaughter as the school year approaches and her parents get back to work. She's a bit of sunshine every day. She inherited her father's unfortunate cowlick on the very front and center of her head, but she also inherited his disposition. Meaning she is endlessly pleasant and smiling.

Being out and about with that dear child reminds me how easy it is to be kind. So many strangers smile and often speak to her. She adores all of them. When do we learn to not think the best of others? She doesn't care about their race, their religion, or their sexual preferences. Old, young or in between. Thin, beautiful, or not. Elliana Hope doesn't care. She loves people, and so should we all. I find myself with more patience with others just by being in the sunshiny presence of hers.

We've had so much rain, it's terrible. The wet area of my lawn is officially a swamp at a time of year when it is usually completely dry. I conceded defeat to the weeds among my flowers last week. Our area is about 10 inches above average rainfall this year.

I'm over a third of the way done with my next book. Would love to finish the first draft by the end of September. I bought a new computer, but I'm still using the old one until I get everything set up. I liked my old computer but the battery was shot. I was lucky if it lasted 20 minutes, and they no longer make the batteries for it though I could try a used one. And wow, computer batteries are really expensive.

The further along Game of Thrones goes this season, the more disappointed I am in the number of episodes. The writers claimed there wasn't enough story to make ten episodes like other seasons, but they're rushing through story so fast, I find it hard to believe they couldn't have found lots of juicy details to fill the time. I'm really enjoying the summer show, Salvation, more and more as it goes. I hope it gets a second season though I guess they could fail to stop the asteroid and all die this season.

Preseason football is underway. I seldom watch sports on TV, but I do enjoy football. And I love watching my son coach high school football. I will also get a lot of writing done while my husband commandeers the TV to watch hours and hours of the game. Don't just him, but my husband is a Raiders fan. And Penn State, of course.

Is your part of the word getting a rainy overload? Are you wishing for a little human kindness among the world's people? Have you ever priced a computer battery? Looking forward to football season? Who is your favorite team? Are you going to watch the eclipse?






Monday, August 7, 2017

The Normal

Our local chapter had an interesting meeting this past Saturday. As I mentioned before, my group, CPRW, won an award for being the top small chapter of RWA for 2017. After the business portion of the meeting, the handful of members who attended RWA's yearly conference gave a recap of the insights into the industry they gathered at the massive gathering of writers, editors, and agents. One of the interesting thing they shared was how smoothly our chapter runs compared to so many others. Each of our members had tales from other groups of how their chapters suffered from infighting and drama. Some groups are considering disbanding because of the dysfunction of their chapter. There is not one hint of that in our group. We won the 'less than 50 members' group award. And we all support and cheer for each other. There's no jealousy or ego-driven rifts in our little family. I would never have imagined other groups weren't like ours.

Tomorrow I'm taking my granddaughter to library for the first time. We're getting her library card and in three weeks we can sign her up for her first reading group. She'll be six months old so it's time. Not that we haven't already bought her dozens of books. Mostly, she wants to eat them at this time, but I'm sure she'd get over that.

"To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter."  P.T. Barnum

My publisher put together a Best of  Susan Kelley album for me. I mean an anthology of three of the first books in my space opera romance series. I'm excited to see how this does as it's something new for both of us. I'm really excited that I have enough series to make an anthology with only my work in. Though since this contains 3 full length novels, it's more like an omnibus.

Went with my daughter yesterday to use a great coupon we had for The Gap. Way too many people. Have I mentioned how glad I am that I don't have to do back-to-school shopping. I do miss searching for some cool office supplies. But I really don't need them. I buy a planner once per year and occasionally need more pens or pencils.

I've heard about Game of Thrones being the most pirated show in history but how about the leaks and hacking they have to battle all the time? I watched Les Miserables so I understand stealing because you're starving, but what is with the thieves in this world. I don't understand the mindset that it's okay to take something that belongs to someone else.

I'm looking for a new home for my other fantasy series that I received my rights back for after the small press closed. They had published the first book out of three but only for a few months. So I've narrowed down a few publishers who will look at a book that's been published before. There aren't many of them. Suggestions are appreciated if you know of any.

Are you doing any back-to-school shopping or only bemoaning the crowds like I am? Are you a fan of anthologies? Have you ever been part of a writing group that didn't get along? How old were you the first time you visited a library?







Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: August 2017 Style

The last Wednesday of the summer is upon us. Time for IWSG monthly posting. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, this dedicated groups blogs once a month to help each and share our woes and successes. Find all the participating blogs here.

This optional question this month:
What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

There are certainly more than one. When reading it's difficult to take off my writerly/editing glasses. It really bothers me when I find so many of the things we're told to not do as writers. Adverbs everywhere. Info dumps. Starting with dream sequences. And yet, these authors have big traditional publishing contracts.

In the support side of this blog hop, I've had some frustrating days in the past few months. But I talked with some people like fellow writers, my publisher, and read a few articles. The hard truth is that all writers struggle at times. Even very successful writers struggle. Part of growing as a writer is learning to push through the struggles and keep on writing. Also knowing when to take a break and let your muse call you back to it when you're recharged. I also look at my writing as a job, and sometimes the job doesn't go as smoothly as you'd like but you still go to work. So I'm hard at work on the third book in my current series.

Game of Thrones really wowed us this last episode. Lots happened and the last scene was one of the best of the show. I'm liking Salvation so far though I don't know if it's getting good reviews. Killjoys is okay this year as their story expands into the greater universe. Zoo is one crazy thing after another with some weird things going on though the entire show is pretty weird.

Getting lots of cucumbers and tomatoes from my plants. My refrigerator is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. It's a lot easier to eat healthy in the summer.

Do some pet peeves jump out at you? What summer shows are you really enjoying? Has summer sped by for you like it has for me? Do you grow your own veggies or otherwise enjoy them this time of year?


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Week of Opportunity

Where to begin? This Thursday is #IWSGPit. I hope you've polished and perfected that pitch.
There's an amazing list of participants, agents and editors.

Also, this is the last week to send your submission for the next Insecure Writer's Support Group nonfiction anthology Guide to Writing for Profit. Can't wait to get my hands on that.

C. Lee McKenzie is offering Sliding on the Edge for free:
 Scarred. Scared. Alone. Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Damaged inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled , desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known. 

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay struggles to keep the ranch going and fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past?

Find it on Amazon,   Smashwords,   Kobo,   Barnes and Noble

Michael J. Sullivan, once a guest on IWSG, has a new book release tomorrow. Age of Swords in the second book in his newest series. He's one of my favorite fantasy writers and a nice guy on top of that. If you're looking for a good epic fantasy series to indulge in, try this author.

Tomorrow is also the day my latest, Hunter's Exiled Lady, is available on Amazon. After a frustrating week finding the time to write, I'll be excited to see how this book sells. Sometimes when I get my royalty checks I want to weep.

Wow, does the trailer for the second season of Stranger Things promise another great season. I hope the show avoids a sophomore slump. Salvation, the short season summer show on CBS, is pretty good. Lots of science and intrigue along with interesting, imperfect characters. Zoo gets a little crazier every season, but it's summer so I'll take it.

Do you have your Twitter pitch ready? Know something about promotion you can share with IWSG members? Ready to pick up a free book from C. Lee McKenzie? Did you see the trailer to Stranger Things?








Monday, July 17, 2017

The Game Returns

I suspect a lot of you were glued to your TVs last night to watch the return of Game of Thrones for it's seventh season. It didn't disappoint. Loved the opening scene. Loved Jon and Sansa acting like brother and sister even though they're only cousins. I liked seeing everything coming together and the characters finally being all on the same continent. Things I'm still looking forward to is the meeting of characters like Jon and Daenerys and when can all the Starks please get together. And can Littlefinger finally get what he has coming? And isn't Jon being a wise king so far. And how about Jamie's opinion of the Greyjoy's? Don't we all agree?
"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the more enjoyable." Lousia May Alcott
Check out this interesting article about authors bullying other authors. I've seen it happen but never knew anyone personally involved. We need to support each other. Anne R. Allen speaks from experience about this. We need to support each other. In light of that, here's a new book from my CPRW friend:
Into the Fire by Vicki Smith
In Olivia Sanders' world, people like her don't survive very long. Special abilities are a threat to the corrupt government and those loyal. Olivia and those with similar abilities struggle to keep their secrets as new laws threaten them daily. Though hiding isn't enough for Olivia. A healer and firestarter, she works with the resistance to ensure the safety of the people of her sector, toiling in an unforgiving world without freedom or hope with the goal that someday they will find both.
Poisoned by someone she should never have trusted, betrayed by her godfather, the former governor, who is using disturbing methods to control the population and grow his army, Olivia is forced to seek help from Luke Jamison, the leader of the resistance. They join forces with his brother, Matt, and Jillian Derrick, a hard-as-nails woman leading a band of "undesirables" to safety.
As conditions in the sector deteriorate and the death toll climbs ever higher, Olivia and Luke, Jillian and Matt, cling to the miracle of found love while facing the horror of a future without each other.


Victoria Smith lives in Central PA with her high school sweetheart and way too many animals. She writes paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian—all with romance, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? She publishes with Liquid Silver Books and Soul Mate Publishing. Visit her at http://vickismith.blogspot.com.


 Books: 
 Twitter - @smith_victoria

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." Earnest Hemingway

Did five hours of cleaning out and packing things for Goodwill. At least two dozen coffee mugs, a dozen wine glasses, and thirty vases. When you have six children, you get a lot of 'best mom' style mugs as they're growing up. Every child bought me a coffee mug or wine glass when they were in college. So yes, I have Penn State, Gettysburg College, Boston University, and University of Pittsburgh. Now they're bringing stuff from work. LOL

Did you enjoy the first episode of Game of Thrones? Have you supported some of your author friends lately? Known anyone to get attacked by author bullies? Do gifts collect in your house? Need a coffee mug? Hardly used.

Monday, July 10, 2017

When Everything is a Chore

So much work to do? It seems I have more chores piling up all the time. Am I busier than I used to be or am I older and just don't get as much done as I'd like to every hour of the day?

A partial list of things I had to do before writing this post: Register a copyright, send a cheery card to a sick friend, update CPRW membership list, do some Twitter and Facebook scheduling(Please follow me if you're not already), direct the boys in some trash removal, and renew my Pennwriters' membership.

Thing I have to do later this week: Have dinner with a friend I haven't seen for months, call and check on an ailing sibling, babysit my granddaughter on two occasions, make a date to have lunch with another friend, keep an eye on the guys doing some work on our pool, and DO SOME ACTUAL WRITING.


I didn't include all the housework things and outdoor chores. I think I'll take a nap now. Though in all serious, I almost never take a nap.

All these things will make the week go faster until next Sunday when Game of Thrones returns. Here's an interesting article about the world of Westeros and why they've never advanced as a society. If their history goes back 10,000 years, shouldn't they be a little more civilized? In the meantime, I have some GoT soundtrack playing in the background while writing this week.

I'm also going to check out two new shows starting this week. Will is a period piece about young William Shakespeare that is on Mondays on TNT. Salvation is a short running series on CBS about an asteroid heading for Earth and the people looking to stop the extinction of all life on Earth.

This article about copyrights came to my attention. I've never known any writers personally who had to go to court to protect their work, but all writers know about piracy. And we've heard stories about famous writers like JK Rowling facing questions.

Do you register your copyrights with the government? Is it money well spent? Are you ready for another disaster show about an asteroid? Why do you think Westeros is stuck in medieval times besides that it makes a good story? Do you take naps during the day?







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: July 2017 Edition

Wow, we're more than halfway through the year. Where did the time go? And it's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time to share our insecurities and offer encouragement to each other. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh who started this wonderful group. You can join and receive all the wonderful benefits of being a member. Find other members of the group or sign up here.

What are those benefits? There are too many to name, but lots of people believe in IWSG as proven by IWSG being selected as one of The 101 Best Websites for Writers. Congrats to everyone who put in so much hard work for this to happen.

Don't forget about the #IWSGPit coming up at the end of July. Get your pitch ready.

Today's question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

It's tough to pick just one but I have learned over the years how generous writers are to each other. They help each other. They share advice and give of their time. We may write alone but it's not really a lonely job unless you want it to be.

My latest book is no available on Amazon. This if the first time I've stepped into dystopian territory. The Survivors of the Apocalypse Series is set 300 years after a plague wipes out 99% of humanity. A city of a few thousand is protected by a dome while outside in the wilderness, a small number or people live who were immune to the disease. Now the city people are running out of resources and desperation sets in. Who decides who lives and who dies? Can the outsiders be the secret to finding a Hunter's Exiled Lady opens the trilogy when two outsiders come upon a small group of people exiled from the city. Even if the exiles somehow survive the plague, they must adjust to the dangerous frontier life outside the city walls.
cure?

The little getaway for my husband and I last week was great fun. Until we got home and he discovered he'd been bitten by something, probably a spider. Doctor visits and some harsh antibiotics later and he's on the mend. July 4th was fun at the house. Burgers on the grill and the children playing games. By children I mean my grown children.

Yippee for Killjoys coming back on last week also. I also caught up on Zoo before season 3 started last week. It gets stranger and stranger. Gotta love that. And the countdown is on to the return of Game of Thrones. Yes, the science fiction and fantasy shows are my favorites.

Did you see any good fireworks for the 4th? Is your Twitter pitch ready? Do you enjoy Zoo or Killjoys? Ever have trouble with a bug bite?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hot Reads and Weather

I love the heat and hate winter. I don't enjoy the rain like some people do. But even I think we need some this week. So let it rain, a bit.

I've read some good books in between working on my outline for my next book and finishing up some line edits for the one coming out shortly. Lesser Evils by Joe Flanagan was a great read. The
main character is so human and interesting. The story is suspenseful and very dark, but the ending allows the light to shine through. I will read more by this author.

I have a stack of library books to read but that won't stop me from going to the bookstore today. In other good news, my local library has extended their hours for the summer. I guess that means that donations are up or the county powers-that-be found money in the budget to actually put toward a worthwhile thing.

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. William Shakespeare

Father's Day was great at our house. Two of our boys took their father golfing which they all enjoyed despite the heat. I prepared some of my husband's favorite dishes, corn on the cob, pasta salad, meatball sandwiches, and the other children make time to spend at least part of the day here. My husband is an excellent father and deserves all the love that came his way.

The imprint of the father, remains forever on the life of the child. - Roy Lessin 

I'm polishing up the first page of First Dragon for a workshop we're doing at my next local writer's meeting. We're having three outside professionals come in and they'll evaluate first pages with the writers being anonymous. I also made a short list of fantasy publishers I intend to query that book too. My favorite is closed to submissions until the end of July so I'll probably wait until then.

Wonder Woman was great. Really glad I went to see it. We also rented The Batman Lego movie last week. It wasn't as good as the first Lego movie, but it was okay. My husband wants to rent the second John Wick movie next. I guess I can stand some endless violence and a main character I could care less about for an evening.

I won't be posting next week as my husband and I are going away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. Finally. My next post will be for IWSG July version. The optional question for that post is: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Did you see both Lego movies? One better than the other? Summer getaway plans on your agenda? Ever attend a workshop where pages were critiqued in a group situation? Did you learn anything?



Monday, June 12, 2017

A Week of Celebration

This week in June is one of my favorite weeks all year. Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. All the children joined us as usual, reminding us how full our lives are. We're going away for a few days later this month to celebrate alone.

"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.Robert Browning

 This Wednesday, Flag Day, my one son turns 32. Now that he has his own child, I'm constantly reminded what a good baby he was and altogether a terrific child. Then next Sunday is Father's Day. That means another day with all the kids are at our house and goading my husband to play all day. Card, bean bag toss, and bocce ball. It will be fun.

Lots of my friends commented on the picture I posted on Instagram yesterday of the flowers my husband bought me. I so appreciated it, but it also reminded me of my determination to learn how to use and enjoy the app. I moved it up the list.

Another big thing on my list is finding a publisher for my second fantasy series. First Dragon, the book that led off that series, was published by a small press for about a year with almost no sales before the publisher closed its doors. The edits on the second book had been completed except for the final line edit. I need to find a publisher willing to take on a book that was out there already. The fact that the defunct publisher did so little with promotion and made no effort to help me leaves me with the hope that it wasn't because the book was bad that it didn't really sell.

Still have a lot of edits to do on that book. My publisher is used to me getting them back a little quicker than I did this time. I hope to get them done later today. After my daughter and I go see Wonder Woman.

I love reading hints and speculations about shows I'm looking forward to. Game of Thrones and Stranger Things are top on my list right now. GoT only has 7 episodes this season but I heard the last two are really long. I'm doing a re-watch from season one to the present. Currently moving closer to The Red Wedding lest I forget how terrible things have gone for the Starks in the past. Our family has a lot of fun speculating who will still be alive when the show ends. I'm also interested in the CBS show Salvation that is coming in July. A little like Armageddon.

Lots of chores to done around the homestead. I still have a few flowerbeds that need a lot of attention. My husband did some cleaning in the garage last week so I'm going to tackle the rest of it. I need to do my annual tree trimming to make mowing easier. Right now, I have two pine trees that try to know me off the mower. Inside the how, I have a stack of books for the second hand store and a box of things for Goodwill.
I always thought a yard was three feet, then I started mowing the lawn. ~C.E. Cowman

I read a good book last week. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is very different but don't be put off when you look inside. It's written as a report complied from various sources. It looks confusing but isn't at all and is a very fast read. There's very little narrative and is almost all dialogue. It's the first in a series. The characters are interesting and the setting is really cool if you love space opera. I can see this book being a movie someday.

Have you read anything interesting? Have any chores you're dreading? Do you like to read speculations about TV shows?







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: I Love June

Welcome to the June edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blog hop. This supportive group was the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. There is so much going on with this terrific group. Make sure you visit IWSG Home and see what project is coming next for members. It's exciting. It's great to see Pat Hatt and Nick Wilford moving into the administration part of the group.

The question for this month: Did you ever say "I quit?" If so, what happened to draw you back to writing?

I doubt many writers can honestly say they never thought about quitting. A little over a month ago, I considered it. And right after I signed a new contract for a book. Lots of things going on in my personal life. Things I had no control over. All the other responsibilities I had taken on nagged at me and drained my energy. So I trimmed my work load, set some priorities and kept with my writing. No magical epiphany. Sometimes writing is just forcing yourself to sit down at the keyboard and keep going.

So still here, working on some edits for that book I received the contract for. Admiring a little cover art for the first book in a dystopian romance series, Hunter's Exiled Lady. More about it later.

In other book news, in case you haven't already heard. Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStar is now available in audio book. Check it out on Amazon.

I hope you're still thinking about the #IWSGPit coming up in July. Today, if you write romance, you can practice by visiting #CarinaPitch.  Tomorrow, you can jump into Pitmad. Good luck. You have nothing to lose by jumping in.

I don't usually enjoy medical shows, but I'm looking for to The Night Shift coming back on for the summer season. Of course, Game of Thrones will be back in July. The new season of Sherlock is on Netflix already. It's really good if you haven't watched it yet.

A little science that sounds like fiction but isn't. If you haven't heard about the wasp that turns cockroaches into zombies, you can get all the facts here.

So what do you think about IWSG newest endeavor? Ready to do some Twitter pitches? Ever say 'I quit?'




Monday, May 22, 2017

What a Conference

I decided to post after all today. I made it back from the Pennwriters Conference Sunday afternoon. Like every conference, I came away with a pile of notes and lots of energy to dive back into writing and trying some new promotional ideas.

One of the speakers I enjoyed was Kathleen Shoop who shared pages and pages of information about self-publishing. I'm traditionally published by a small press, but indie-published authors know how to market. They have to if they're going to be successful. There's nothing quite so much fun as getting handouts at a conference.

On the flip side, as a board member who did a lot of work behind the scenes and some out in the open, the weekend was exhausting. And I love driving, but if you've ever driven through Pittsburgh, it's not much fun. The trip was four hours each way for me. Yawn!!! But I held strong and only bought one book while I was there.

Agent Mark Gottlieb presented a workshop on writing an elevator pitch. A way to tease your book in two or three sentences to an agent or editor. He shared some winning examples and I improved my short blurb for the dragon book I hope to find a new home for after the publisher closed.

Agent Eric Myers' workshop asked the question, 'How Far is Too Far in MG and YA?' I don't think he ever answered the question though the consensus did seem to be nothing is too far. I found it a bit disturbing.

One of the things I really enjoy about the conference is the mixture of writers. Nonfiction, short fiction, poets and novelists. Some are just starting their careers and many are multi-published. Everyone helps everyone and the mood is upbeat and supportive. One thing all the writers shared was their concern about how to use social media to promote and network. I could feel the stress of many of the writers as they searched for the answers to taming the monster of platform building.

My local writing group finished up our 50/50 yesterday also. I didn't complete my first draft like I wanted to because a lot of real life got in the way. But I'm almost done and I still had pretty good numbers for the 50 days.

On the entertainment front, I'm finally going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume II on Tuesday. My youngest son is taking me as my Mother's Day gift. I'm such a lucky mom. I'm looking forward to the season finale of The 100 on Wednesday. It's been an exciting season. Still about 2 months until Game of Thrones returns. Killjoys is returning this summer also. I really like that show with its mixture of action, suspense with some humor thrown in.

Have any summer TV shows coming on that you enjoy? Have you read any MG or YA that you think went too far? Does platform building concern you? Don't forget to check out the new post on IWSG.