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I never get tired of being nominated for these awards. I love the colorful badges and nominating more fantastic bloggers that I follow.

Thank you so much, Writerlious, for the nomination. Erin truly has a versatile blog. She fluctuates between writing tips, agent spotlights, fun personal posts, and even flash fiction challenges! Be sure to check her out (plus, she gives away blog nominations daily if you’re looking for one…haha).

You know the drill. Here are the rules:

1.) Thank the person who nominated you. (^)

2.) Share seven things about yourself:

* I am NOT a morning person. I’m more like a reptile that crawls out and needs to warm up a bit before moving.

* I can read palms 🙂

*My first celebrity crush was on the fox from the Disney Robin Hood movie (I know…disturbing…but he is pretty cute).

* I went to the library everyday at our summer vacation house and read every book in the children’s library. (I should probably note that I was a child when I did this or it sounds pathetic.)

* I was a tomboy when I was little. Actually, I’m still slightly tomboyish.

* I was a vegetarian during college and gained 15 pounds since I ate mostly Paul Newman’s chocolate bars and organic chips. (I can’t make this one sound better…it’s definitely pathetic)

* I love using children’s parties as an excuse for dressing up in embarrassing costumes.

3.) Nominate Seven Other Versatile Bloggers (My favorite part!):

*Laura Stanfill

*Diane Carlisle

*Steve Vernon (Not the manly award you wanted, but hopefully I won’t get nominated for that:))

*Yesenia Vargas

*J. L. Mbewe

*RIEDEL FASCINATION

*RC Gale (a brand new follower—yay!—and I checked out his blog and it’s ah-mazing!)

I’ll be checking in to see who everyone nominates. I find the best blogs through these awards!

Thanks again, Erin!

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The fantabulous (and incredibly beautiful) Sara Flower, has been so kind to award me The Beautiful Blogger Award! It couldn’t have come at a better time since I was just trying to pick a nice weekly blogging topic. Thanks so much, Sara!

Without further ado, the rules are:

The Beautiful Blogger Award is for those blogs that are creative, original and add to the blogging community. You’re supposed to bestow it on seven people and here’s the “rules:” I say, no worries if you’re a rule-breaker, then just put the award on your blog.

Link to the creative, beautiful genius that bestowed it upon you. (see above) List seven random things about yourself. (see below) Send said award to seven (or how ever many you want) other creative, beautiful geniuses. (see below after the random things). Tell those lucky people that you’ve done this and give em’ the rules.

First, here are 7 random things about me:

1. I would love to travel more but I hate to fly.

2. I can’t wait to get some chickens and ducks (although, apparently my husband can!)

3. I almost exclusively wear yoga clothes and I’ve never taken a yoga class 🙂

4. I sometimes sleep with a light on to ward away a pesky ghost (it works!)

5. Great White sharks scare the bejesus out of me

6. I’m addicted to buying architectural salvage

7. I must be word-verification disabled (it usually takes me five or six times to ‘solve’ them!)

Here Are My 7 amazingly Beautiful Bloggers:

Writerlicious

Ink-Splattered

The Blank Page

Tina DC Hayes

Shea MacLeod

Logically

KSCollier/Author

Please checkout these inspiring and informative blogs. Each one offers something unique and whenever I see a new post from these beauties I read them immediately.

Thanks again, Sara!

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SE7EN

I just figured out what *tagging* is. I’m ashamed to say someone told me they tagged me before and I just said thank you to them! Apparently, when you get tagged you have to go to their blog, follow instructions, and tag other unsuspecting campaigners.

(There really is no end to my techno-lag.)

Anyway, I’ve been tagged for the Lucky Seven Meme by Sara Flower:

The Rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

This is from the third book in my reincarnation fantasy series, titled Infinite Loss.

*A little sneak peek for my readers*

I’ll let you figure out where my character has ended up while revisiting her past lives from this little sample: (Warning—my amazing editors have not slashed their machetes through this yet, so read at your own risk)

“Of course not, but when I saw her she cried, ‘I am Lakota! Otaktay’s first wife!’, and I couldn’t believe what the Great Spirit was giving me.”
I laugh and look back to see the rejoined couple but see Chase’s angry face instead. He too must realize what this means.

I turn back. “Well, then you won’t be too mad now that I saved Chayton’s life.”
He scoffs and sees Chayton up ahead, still holding his head as he rides on. “Nothing could make me happier than to have Chayton and Chase alive to watch Otaktay hand me Mika.”

I really almost cheated since this was not the most poignant moment in the following pages but rules are rules.

Now for my tagging victims (and I picked the following writers since I would love to see what they’re up too!):

Liza Carens Salerno

Cynthia

Julia King

Sally’s Scribbles

Gwen Tolios

Rana

Tina DC Hayes

You’re it!

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Yes, I have figured out how these campaigns work, and unfortunately I didn’t sign up in time to be eligible to win any places. Still, I find it so much fun and it’s so exciting to see how all the other writers handle the challenge—even though I’m not a contender.

This last challenge was a real doozy. Here are the rules taken from Rach Writes’ Blog:

Use one or some or all of these prompts

Prompt 1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2:


Prompt 3


Prompt 4


Prompt 5

 

Do one or more of the following:

1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

 

Here’s my go at it.

 

Hero

As I watch from a bridge where seagulls soar,
the sun-kissed children searching rocky shore,
a squeal spins me to a red coat flashing by,
after an orb-like ball the wind let fly.

The small boy’s parents, busy with friends,
neglect to see the ball roll off the bridge’s end.
Luring the boy after, beneath my frozen stare,
the flash of red splashes—a dreadful water pear.

Darting to the edge, I barely take a breath,
don’t calculate the jump, don’t even think of death.
The water much further, more time regretting the fall,
pieces of me scream and shatter, as I hit the liquid wall.

The spot of red floats beneath, the glue-water hard to stir,
I reach the boy and struggle, up under the bridge in a blur.
Against a rusted support, I tiredly slump and stare,
at the red river trickling, from my leg’s deep tear.

The boy lets out a panicked cry,
as the water drips from his hair to his eyes.
“You’re safe now.” I try, searching for aid,
as a flash sparks before us—a glimmering cascade.

A tunnel of living light—heaven’s hall,
a knowing tear burns…I didn’t save us after all.

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Sara Flower has written a fantastic entry and has inspired me to partake in the Flash Fiction Challenge. The Rachel Writes blog began the challenge of writing flash fiction that is exactly 200 words.

More about this fun challenge:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

* end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)

* include the word “orange” in the story

* write in the same genre you normally write

* make your story 200 words exactly!

Since I have a terrible cold and couldn’t sleep, I wrote this until 2am:

Shadows crept across the wall
The bokor’s fire reaching tall
Exposed pin-stuck sawdust dolls
Watching scattering critters crawl

Buccaneer, survived it all
In the midsts of Titan’s squalls
Heard the screaming cannon balls
Dodged a limey’s Musket ball

Yet on his Haitian port of call
The loser of last night’s brawl
Shrieked his feeble warning call
‘Leave her now or harm befall!’

Was she worth it all?
Her curvy feel, her voodoo drawl
Hips that roll, lips enthrall
Still, was she really worth this fall?

Salty shipmates carried him tall
‘Go to bokor, he heals all’
Pulled back the whore’s ruined shawl
Stuffed in his wound, a cotton ball

Bokor said, ‘Do you recall,
Who lay with you before the maul,
In dirty, straw-thrown stall?
My wayward daughter, sweet Chantale

The devil charmed her with your gall
Hell has claimed her for his all
Now I claim you as my thrall
In this jar, death’s cure all’

His eyes widened in smokey pall
Cryptic mumbo-jumbo scrawl
Zombie juice, all in all
His undead future he must forestall

He kicked the jar against the wall
Orange splatter quickly sprawls
His soul saved—his heart stalls
Everything faded, once and for all

This just goes to show everyone: don’t write poetry on cold meds!

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Sunshine Award!

I love getting these awards and thank you SO much Sara Flower, blogger and soon-to-be published author (*eek*), for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

This is how this award works.

Rules: Thank the person who gave you the award. Write a post about it. Answer the questions that come with it. Pass it along to ten other bloggers and let them know they’ve received the award.

Questions:

Favorite Color: Silver Sage (thank you Restoration Hardware for addicting me to this color)

Favorite Animal: Oh, this is so hard. I love so many. If I had to pick, I’d say Canadian Geese. I raised an orphaned one when I was little and she has a special place in my heart.

Favorite Number: 7

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Lattes (I have a whole post about this)

Facebook or Twitter: Ugh, I have to start to use these more, but I feel ancient when it comes to technological thingies (it’s a miracle I’ve figured blogging out)

My Passions: Writing, reading, animals, hiking, family, antiques, gardening, and crafty stuff.

Getting or Giving Presents: Giving. I get such a thrill out of finding the perfect present for someone.

Favorite Pattern: Wow, I’ve never thought of this before. I have to say ribbons and roses.

Favorite Day of the Week: Saturday, since my husband’s home and I actually get some writing time!

Favorite Flower: Pansies

My Nominees:

Sara Flower– I have to nominate her back since I just worship her style and her romantic/fantasy inspired posts. They have a way of transporting me to a place that is critical for everything imaginative.

Bethany Yeager– I have so much love for this amazing blogger and writer. Not only is she just the best crit partner in the world, her posts are always so fun and full of sagacious writing advice.

Yesenia– Now this aspiring writer is just about to give birth, so she gets a free pass not to respond to this award. But she has terrific insights into writing with tips and resources to help aspiring writers. Good luck with the new baby!

Brian James Freeman– I’m new to Brian’s blog, but his novellas looked so interesting, I snatched them up right away. I’m half-way through his collections of short stories titled Seven Stories and he has a wonderful voice. He has such a professional blog and I look to him as model for a successful author.

David Shutter– David’s blog is wonderful for staying on top of the latest self-publishing news and occasionally he speaks about his journey toward self-publishing. I love the title of his first sci-fi action thriller, The Doomsday Door.

Hollister Ann Grant– I owe this blogger a lot. She found my blog early on and provided such wonderful advice since she had just published herself. She has two books out right now (both so enjoyable) and I know she is busy right now writing a third. She writes fantastic guest posts and is so helpful.

Shéa MacLeod- Talk about prolific writer! This lady puts me to shame. Every time I check in on her blog it seems she’s written another amazing book. I love her blog, love her guest posts, and I love her voice.

Caitlinnicoll – Exceptional YA reviews. I don’t know how she does it, but I’m astounded by how many books this girl can read! Her blog is always fun and creative.

Brigid Kemmerer– Author of the Elemental series, who is just about to have her debut release! She provides great advice and insight into the traditionally published route. I can’t wait to get my hands on Storm, the first of her series.

Katie Mills Hilarious, hilarious blogger whose blog title, Creepy Query Girl, says it all. Every post she writes makes me laugh. Don’t miss this one, especially if you’ve been down the query rejection path.

Thanks again, Sara and be sure to check out the above blogs—they will not disappoint!

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It’s Been A Very Good Year

Happy 2012 to all my blog followers!

I’m so excited for what this new year will bring, but I have to admit I’m sad to see 2011 go.

This is the year I got some partial and full requests from agents, set out to publish my first book, created my own publishing company, started this blog, and most importantly, gave birth to my sweet little baby girl.

(I just want to eat her up!)

My debut novel had a wonderful response on my two-day free promotion and it’s been selling steadily ever since. It may be just a handful of copies a day, but I only needed an ebook a day to cover all my book start-up costs. So I’m so pleased that people are actually reading my book out there! I also got another nice review on Amazon that you can all read here.

But sometimes it’s not about what you gained in a year but what you kept. I’m happy to report that all who matter to me in this world are alive and strong and this may have been the first year in a while that I haven’t lost one of my furry little critters. I truly hope 2012 will be as great as 2011. I have my sequel to look forward to, my sister/best friend will be having her first child very soon, and I get to keep watching my five-year old and baby take in the wonders around them everyday.

Anyway, it’s important to notice when you had a fantastic year and to appreciate the year without tears, since life rarely gifts you those. I’m so appreciative to have all the blessings in my life right now and I hope 2012 brings you all as much peace and joy.

Thank you, 2011. Bring it on, 2012!

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Something’s Gotta Go

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday of severe gluttony and copious quantities of pumpkin pie! (Yes, it tastes especially delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning.)

 

So, I’m rushing to get my sequel out in early January, when all the new kindle owners are desperate to grab up inexpensive ebooks. Problem is, I have a full-time job (mama), it is my sole responsibility to decorate and shop for Christmas presents (I deck the halls hardcore), ugh, I need to send out hundreds of Christmas cards, I’m still trying to get the edits done on my ms, and I attempt to write three blogs a week.

I’m beginning to worry that I just won’t get it all done. So what’s got to go?

Well, I’ve decided I just can’t keep blogging three times a week. I need to completely focus on perfecting this book and, after it’s out to the formatter, I can revive the blog again. I will keep checking in occasionally with big news, but otherwise, I hope all you guys have a productive December and feel free to keep emailing me questions if you need some advice. (I always have time for that.)

Tata!

 

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Party Confetti

Happy Friday everyone! And this is an even happier Friday for Saraflower, the winner of a $20 Amazon gift card! This will come in handy before the giving season. The random generator has spoken, but if you didn’t win you might take your chances in another giveaway over at Shannon Whitney Messenger’s blog. It’s a terrific prize of “The Book Babe’s” critique/consult/or event attendance. Totally awesome and worthwhile, check it out. Thanks everyone, for helping me get the word out about my launch. I love you guys!

Sara, email me your address and I’ll ship off your prize 🙂

EDIT: Sorry everyone, I misread the contest. She’s giving away five 25-page critiques from “The Book Babe”. Five! Still awesome, check it out.

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Okay now back to our regularly scheduled programing. Still up most of the night, but I will forgo daytime naps and laundry to make sure to post again. Not sure about the quality of these posts due to the lack of sleep, but I will give it my best.

Before I was sleep deprived (which seems like months ago) I was in the process of revising and having my crit partner chip away at the sequel. Without giving too much away, the second book has a POV from a young boy in one reincarnation. I tried to keep that in mind as I wrote it but my terrific crit partner found a few instances where the thought or dialog seemed too mature for the child’s age. This got me thinking about how limited a character’s voice is by age. The writer is constrained by vocab, awareness, and innocence when using a younger character. In order to keep the reader engaged the writer must be extremely aware of what a certain age is conscious of. This requires a major walk down memory lane, trying to place yourself inside your younger self in order to see the imagined world through younger eyes.

For example, my crit partner (have I told you how amazing she is?) highlighted this (twelve-year-old POV):

“He put out his hands to help her down to the entrance and I can’t believe the change that’s come over him. How he seems to lose his childish ways overnight.

So I’ve changed it to this more age appropriate thought:

“He put out his hands to help her down to the entrance and I can’t believe the change that’s come over him—growing up overnight.

Another example (Andres is ten):

“Andres pulls away from his grasp. ‘I’m proud of my little belly, it’s been concave for months!'”

Changed to this:

“Andres pulls away from his grasp. ‘I’m proud of my little belly, it’s been sunken for months!'”

Yes, you are limited in some ways when choosing the POV of a young character, but there are also some benefits. I decided to use a younger character in this life for three important reasons:

#1) The reader will have immediate sympathy for a young character in trouble

#2) Since this life is centered around a historic event filled with complex battle details I can explain things more to the reader if there is a young person POV. The reader can learn along with the child.

#3) I’m no nautical battle expert so I can play a passive role where the child observes adults carrying out tasks without having a deep and skilled understanding.

It is critical though when you have a young character observing a complex historic event that you must have older characters that explain things to the younger character.

The other benefit the writer has when using a young POV is that even though you must be careful to maintain a child’s view of the world, sometimes children can see or phrase things in ways that adults can’t. Children can possess a sagacious wisdom that only comes from the innocence and the magic of childhood,  unobscured from cynicism and corruption. The writer can take advantage of this and utilize simple understandings touched with poetic observations only a child can convey.

So when deciding the age of your POV character keep these points in mind in order to make the best choice for your story.

I also want to let everyone know about my awesome crit partner’s blog contest going on until Friday. She’s celebrating her 150th follower–go Bethany! She’s giving away a couple of awesome prizes and her blog is fantastic if you aren’t already following her.

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