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Have you ever picked up something you’ve written more than a year ago and read it again?

It was amazing.

After letting it sit for a year, I was shocked with how much I’ve forgotten. Once I got past all the terrible grammar mistakes I made prior to my editing education, (wow I really have learned a lot!), it was fascinating to read something I didn’t remember—yet I wrote!

It was so strange to actually critique and experience my MS like a reader. So many things were a surprise. I mean, I don’t have dementia. I do remember the large things, but there were many times I actually said to myself, “I can’t wait to see what happens here!”

Crazy, I know, but I do recommend it.

Also, I found I was confused at parts, even though before things made perfect sense. I found those holes and patched them up nicely.

I highly recommend writing, then letting it sit for a long time while you write something else. It is wonderful and so helpful! Still get as many betas as you can (you can NEVER have enough), but it’s always good to let your piece sit long enough so you can see it with fresh eyes.

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Seriously, I don’t think I picked a worse second profession for my figure. Right now I’m attempting to lose the baby weight (it seems “I just had a baby” doesn’t work as well after six months). So I’m now caught in this battle between sitting in my chair typing away furiously and lacing up my sneakers—that are still far-too white.

Writing is so sedentary. There are only a few ways that you can do it while being active, and believe me I’ve tried.

  • I’ve tried to bring a voice recorder on a walk (but that only works for brainstorming and plot outline)
  • I’ve tried to go for walks with friends that will listen to me babble on about my book (you can only do this once in a while, or you’ll find them suddenly very busy when you ask to go for the next walk)
  • I even made a shelf on my treadmill for my laptop (only works for light editing and you have to go at a slow pace)

I admit, I get manic when I get into my writing/editing groove and there is very little that can tear me away from my chair and laptop. It’s like there is this force pulling me between getting out into the world and holing up to delve into my imagined worlds. I feel guilty if I don’t sit and write for a few hours, and I feel guilty if I don’t get out and move. And unfortunately, with a five-year old and a six-month old, there’s really not a lot of free time there for me anyway.

Do you all feel this pull between your writing and staying active? How do you cope?

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Let me count the ways…

As a reader:

1)Great resource to find books.

Goodreads is teaming with honest, detailed, and thoughtful reviews. Just clicking on all these avid reader’s profiles and seeing all the highest-rated books makes my buy-it-now-clicking-finger trigger-happy. When you see a member loves the same books you do, you’re apt to love some of their recommended books as well. This is much better than just scanning the best seller shelves and paid-for-displays in the book stores.

2) Great lists.

There’s a whole part of the site dedicated to lists upon lists of books called listopia. Lists such as Best Books Ever, Best Books of the 21st Century, Best Books of the Decade, Best books of 2012, Best Books of January, 2012. Those are just the most popular lists, but there are so many interesting and surprising categories—and if you can’t find a category than you can make a new list! What a great way to hone in on your favorite genres.

3) Great Giveaways.

Not only can you find fantastic books at your fingertips, but you can get some of them for free! Print copies! Yes, there is usually a long list of entrants for each title, but it’s so easy to enter each drawing that odds are you’ll win a few time and again.

4) Great interaction with fellow readers.

If you want to become part of an expansive book club, Goodreads is for you. You can enjoy discussing books with others without even stepping out of your house: join book clubs, reach out to interesting members, follow hundreds of reviewers. It’s wonderful to find a site so devoted to expanding the reading experience.

5) Great connection to authors.

Many traditionally published and self-published authors have their own pages on the site. This is a great place to follow your favorite author, discuss with other fans, and even communicate with the author!

As a writer:

1) Great free exposure.

Yes, FREE! Even though there is an option to pay for advertisements on Goodreads, there are so many ways to take advantage of free promotion. No, I don’t mean spamming anyone and everyone with a pulse. I mean, get your book out there via some of the ways below and let your fans broadcast you to all of their friends. Word can get around very fast on this site through adding you to their to-read lists, and posting reviews and ratings. Anytime a member posts about your book it appears on all of their friends pages. Word can spread like wild-fire.

2) Great giveaways.

Unlike LibraryThing, that allows you to offer ebook copies for giveaway, Goodreads only allows print copies. I almost didn’t list with this giveaway since having to pay cost for each copy and shipping might eat away at my profits. But I realized that I could offer only one copy for as long as I wanted and narrow the offer to within the US to save on shipping. I gave it a try and had close to 500 entrants with my first giveaway, and gained 180 interested readers that added my book to their to-read lists. I can’t tell how many of these people actually purchased my book after the giveaway, but it at least got my book out there. Plus, the winner of my giveaway read my book immediately and posted a review. Yes, it was worth it, and I’m hosting another one right now on Goodreads here.

3) Great lists.

I would love to get my series on one of these lists! It would be a great way to advertise my book. I hope if I host enough giveaways than maybe, just maybe, a reader will nominate me for one (one of the positive lists that is, there are some pretty mean categories out there—i.e. “Books I Wish I Never Read” and “Disappointing Books”).

4) Great reader base.

There aren’t many sites devoted to just readers. Many forums I frequent are geared to writers, and even though those are invaluable for advice, they’re usually too busy peddling their own books to search for pleasure reading for themselves.

5) Great demographics.

So, after you host a giveaway, you get to see this wonderful list of entrants. You can click on these to see detailed profiles listing all sorts of personal information. This is a wonderful way to see who your book appeals to so that you can focus your promoting to the highest effectiveness.

6) Great reviews.

I’ve heard that reviews from Goodreads members are more discerning and critical that Amazon’s reviews, but that is all the more reason to try to get them! People know to trust other Goodreads members and that will go far for you if you can obtain some positive reviews. (I just got my first one: “5 of 5 stars~very interesting looking forward to the next book” *Yay!*)

7) Great book club features.

I would love to think of some thought-provoking questions that will get my readers to analyze my book further and ignite some intense discussions. I wrote this series with many layers in the hopes that readers of different analytic levels would enjoy rereading to find the details, repetitive threads, character growth, and foreshadowing I’ve hidden through-out the books. Once I can catch a breath, I’ll sit down and create a book club full of such questions that will serve as a literary treasure map for interested readers.

7) Great connection with readers.

Most importantly, this is an invaluable website to actually connect with your readers. This is the whole reason why I decided to write. I love, love, LOVE to hear about what my readers think about my book. If I could sit over each person’s shoulder as they’re reading it I would (it’s probably a good thing that I can’t). I want to hear every giggle, see every smile, and feel every teardrop fall. I’m probably even more curious to hear how I might have let down or confused my reader. It’s those comments that can improve my writing skills the most. All in all, I just love any feedback. I want to witness my reader’s experience and would love to talk with them about it.

So, if you haven’t joined up with Goodreads, you are missing out. Whether you use it as a reader, writer, or both, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy all things literary. I wish I had found this site before I started filling all my free time with writing. I wish I could read all day and jump into all the intriguing discussions. Once I get all my non-fiction reading done for the series I just might take a few months off to fill my desk with top-rated novels and dive in.

PS- And if you’re already enjoying Goodreads, please friend me!

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Oh well, holidays are over and my sequel is out for final proofreading. I’m completing my citations and bibliography page now and I’m forcing myself to finish writing my next book in the series. I say forcing since I’ve a hard time changing hats from researcher-writer- revisor- queryer-editor-designer-publisher-promoter then back to writer. I tend to get stuck in the phases.

When I was writing, I just kept writing. I actually finished the first book, the second, 2/3’s of the third, and 1/3 of the last book all in one straight streak. I couldn’t stop creating. I worried that I would never want to stop writing to get any of the books out. I made myself stop and start to rework the first book. Then I got caught up in all the other stages.

Why do I have such a hard time transitioning?

So now, I really don’t want to start researching the next life I’m delving into. I keep trying to convince myself that it’s a better idea to start reworking the lives I’ve already completed in the third book. I think a part of me feels like I haven’t written in so long that I’m afraid I can’t do it anymore. I have this great momentum in the book up until this point and then I stopped to do all the other phases and I’m scared to pick it back up again.

What if the momentum is ruined?

I think a part of me is scared to see if I can still write this series. I feel so much more comfortable to do what I’ve been doing for a year now. Plus, I have to isolate myself so much more during the writing process. I can revise, edit, design, promote all while watching Thundercats, shaking a baby toy, or keeping an eye on my son’s ninja attempts. But when I write, I need to focus and fall into the world inside me. Once the words start pouring out, it’s torture to stick a cork in to do something else.

But I don’t have a choice. I’m a full-time mother and writer, so I must try to juggle as best as I can. I realize that I just have to quiet those fears and throw myself into the writing. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle. I hope the series will keep up it’s pace and intimacy I created previously.

Who knows? Maybe all this professional editing will rub off during the first draft!

Do you have a hard time changing between all the different phases? Which phase to you enjoy the most? Which one do you dread?

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Isn’t she beautiful?

Okay, I’m going to let all my blogging writing friends in on a little secret. My husband bought this amazing machine for me for Christmas and I love it! I used to bundle up my little baby in her snowsuit and drag her out to get a latte every morning at a local chain and since I live in back-country suburbia, this bad habit would take me up to 40 minutes a day, not to mention $4.

Many times, the latte wasn’t even worth it. Since I insist on decaf (I know, seems useless, but it does give me a little charge in the morning) and I deduct that with decaf’s morning popularity that it’s been sitting on a hot burner too long.

So I saw this advertisement on a commercial and begged for my husband to get it and it has exceeded my expectations. What makes this machine so great is that it actually froths and heats the milk within the coffee pot and then blends the espresso into the pot. It is such a simple process I can set it up half-awake and the clean-up is a breeze. The latte is better than I could get at even the pricy coffee chain (we all know who I’m talking about) and there’s a recipe booklet that tells you how to make all the annoying different lattes that make you stand in line while each syrupy, whipped creamed, and cinnamon-sprinkled latte is made before yours.

Well, you can tell I’ve spent a lot of time in these chains, but no more! I can make a smooth, comforting latte whenever I want (and it’s good for everyone at home that I stick to decaf with how much I consume).

So how does this improve my writing you ask? Well, I save so much time in the morning which I can devote to writing and nothing improves writing more in these cold northern winters, than a steaming cup of something yummy to sip while you conjure up scenery and drama.

You can find this beautiful machine here. Enjoy!

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All writers have their retreats, the places they escape to for inspiration. I was thinking about the places I go in order to create, plot, and dream. Here are my most productive:

Walking…

in the woods

in the snow

across a meadow

Sitting…

watching waves

under the stars

on a swing

watching a sunrise

watching a sunset

while doing methodical things like…

washing dishes

driving

taking a shower

blow drying your hair

falling asleep

(The worst since you must get up to jot them down or you’ll forget it by morning)

dreaming

(Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight idea came from a dream)

Where are your best places for creativity?

 

 

Also, please check out Saraflower’s blog here where she reviewed my book, Infinite Sacrifice. Thanks again, Sara!

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Hello everyone!

Only two more days until my launch! *Eek!* I’m so excited! I’m planning a little giveaway on Friday, so be sure to check-in to win! I’ve finally finished the historical background page and thought I’d post it here to give my readers a chance to check out some of these interesting links before they read my book.

 

Historical Background

I’ve included some direct links that will help the reader appreciate and understand my novel better. Some elements seem unbelievable and most readers would be surprised that many of the events and details have historical basis. Since I didn’t want to interrupt the fictional reader with footnotes, I’ve included actual ancient prayers, quotes, and poems that I featured in my novel below. If the reader would like to peruse the sources I used for fictional inspiration please scroll down to the bibliography. I highly recommend each one and thank them for all of their teachings.

Infinite Sacrifice

Ancient Egyptian Life

Circumcision & priestly initiations (page 16).

Egyptian dream interpreters and also dream incubation (page 17).

Ancient prayer to ward away nightmares: “Hail to thee, Isis my mother, thou good dream which art seen by night or by day. Driven forth are all evil filthy things which Seth, the son of Nut, has made. Even as Ra is vindicated against his enemies, so I am vindicated against my enemies.” (pg 29). Naphtali Lewis, The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity. (Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1996.) 15.

Ancient book titles: “The Book of Driving Away Lions, Repulsing Crocodiles, and Repelling Reptiles; The Protection of the Hour, Protection of the Body, Spells for Repelling the Evil Eye; The Book of Capture; Knowing all the Secrets of the Laboratory; The Book of Smiting Demons; Book of Medicinal Cures for Fertility and Contraceptive Purpose.” (pg 33). Serge Sauneron (Author). David Lorton (Translator). The Priests of Ancient Egypt. (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2000) 135.

Priests rotated their shifts . (pg 34).

Serapis. The composite god, Serapis, was created later on in the Ptolemaic period, but for fictional purposes I included him in my pre-Ptolemaic novel.

Ancient Egyptian pregnancy test (pg 37).

Court System (pg 39).

Ancient Spartan Life

Spartan women (pg 56)

Spartan earthquake (pg 56)

Helots (pg 57)

Spartan Infanticide (pg 64)

Agoge (pg 67)

Spartan marriage (pg 69)

Proclamation for Spartan women to breed with helots (pg 87) – “During the archaic period, when the army was in the field for many years and it was uncertain whether the men would ever return safely, the Ephors (“Overseers,” elected magistrates) directed that the women have intercourse with helots in order to produce a new crop of children who could replace the men in case they never got home. When the army did return to Sparta, the children born of miscegenation were sent off to found the colony that became known as Tarentum.” Sarah B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 48.

Wife sharing (pg 108)

Siege of Sparta (pg 112)

Spartan women stayed to fight during the siege. (pg 113) – “A century later, anticipating an attack by Pyrrhus, Archidamia, grandmother of Agis IV, rallied the other women to oppose the men’s scheme to send them to safety in Crete. They declared they had no wish to continue living if Sparta were destroyed. They performed heavy manual labor in behalf of Sparta, assisting men in digging a trench in a single night as a defense against the elephants of Pyrrhus. Finally, they told the few soldiers who were present to go to sleep and finished the trench themselves. The next day they cheered the army on. Chilonis, wife of king Cleonymus, held a rope around her neck so she would not be taken alive.” Sarah B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 16.

Viking Life

Viking’s attacked many settlements on the Irish coast.

Christianity came to Ireland (pg 124).

Viking thralls (slaves) (pg 125).

Ansgar “Apostle to the North” pg159.

Viking dowries (pg 132).

Viking hoards (pg 133).

Hereby (pg 139).

Shield-girl (pg 143).

Town Bath (pg 144).

Angel of Death (pg 147).

Viking duels (pg 161).

Part of a Viking poem: “The halt can manage a horse, the handless a flock, the deaf be a doughty fighter, to be blind is better than to burn on a pyre: there is nothing the dead can do.” (pg 164)  Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. England: Penguin Books, 1998) 63.

Newry & Vikings .

Viking quote by King Magnus Barefoot: “Kings are made for honour, not for long life.” (pg 176) Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. (England: Penguin Books, 1998) 72.

Viking Thrall Sacrifice (pg 181)

Viking thrall sacrifice prayer although I have shortened it and changed the gender: “I see my mistress sitting in paradise, and it is beautiful and green. She calls to me. Lead me to her.” (pg 185) Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. (England: Penguin Books, 1998) 157.

Medieval London Life

The black plague arrived in London in 1348.

Surgeons at this time studied astrology and its effects on health (pg 190).

The major conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter in Aquarius. (pg 192).

Europe was hit with a great famine due to unusual weather from 1315-1322. (pg 191).

“…making smelling apples with black pepper, red and white sandal, roses, camphor, and four parts of bol armeniac.” (pg 195). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 172.

“One mixture of fig, filbert, and rue—all said to be beneficial. A bottle of little white pills of aloe, myrrh and saffron. I also have a few little pots of theriac, mithridate, bol armeniac, and terra sigillata.” (pg 197). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 173.

Surgeons would read stools, urine, blood, and spittle to check health (pg 198).

Ring-a-ring o’rosies, A pocket full of posies, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down!” (pg 231).

Massacre at Strasburg Friday, the 13th of February (pg 236).

“…the hearts of good Christians and Holy Communion wafers” (pg 241). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 139.

Pneumonic plague (pg 249)

Bibliography

Clark, R.T. Rundle. Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1960. Print.

Gottfried, Robert S. The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe. New York: The Free Press, 1985. Print.

Kelly, John. The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.

Lewis, Naphtali. The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity. Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1996. Print.

Jones, Gwyn. A History of the Vikings. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. Print.

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.

Posener, Georges. A Dictionary of Egyptian Civilization. London: Methuen and Co.. Ltd., 1962. Print.

Roesdahl, Else. The Vikings, revised edition. England: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.

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Maya continues to delve into her past lives after death, and strives to complete the tentative journey required to reunite with her loved ones in heaven.

She must relive and explore her former incarnations as the scandalous and misunderstood Lucrezia Borgia in renaissance Italy; a young stowaway on the doomed Spanish Armada fleet; and the rebellious Irish Robin Hood, Count Redmond O’Hanlon.

Her companions prove truer while her enemies grow stronger as her bygone adventures spin forth. This time she must experience the trials of loyalty and endure the hardships that only supreme devotion brings.

Expected to launch January 2012

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