Monday, September 15, 2014

Is Self-Publishing for You? And Secrets of Honor

Today I'm over at the IWSG Website with an article about whether or not self-publishing is for you. Please pop on over. I'd love to see you there.

Today is the official Secrets of Honor release day. Yay, Carol!

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

Available on Kindle and Paperback
Thanks to Mark Noce and Sittie for the Versatile Blogger Award. As part of accepting the award, I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself: I love God, garlic, friendship, my gorgeous husband, story writing, reading, and sunlight. 

Congrats to Mark for his two book deal as well!! How awesome is that?!

A note about the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond: We've already received some fabulous submissions. Keep 'em coming! Your deadline is October 2nd. I'd like to encourage every member of the group to consider contributing to the book, even if you aren't currently published yet. What better way to get started?

Don't forget to pop on over to the IWSG Website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An Exciting IWSG Announcement

It's the IWSG Anniversary! Yay us!

Today marks three years since the very first IWSG post. Next month marks one year since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. And we’d like you to help us celebrate!
The IWSG Team is putting together an eBook that will benefit all writers: The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And we invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute.

The details:
The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing.

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.)

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly. TheIWSG@gmail.com or alexjcavanaugh@earthlink.net (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.)

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014. We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders.

Thank you for making the IWSG such a huge success!!

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A big thank you to Elizabeth Varadan for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

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Another big thank you to M Pax. On Crystal Collier's blog, I won two of Mary's ebooks, The Rifters and The Initiate. Apparently I'm the very first to receive a copy of the Initiate. It's so new, it's still smoking. I'm super excited to read both.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Bits and Bobs and Some Other Meanderings

In my last post about the prejudices within a writer, I seemed to have struck a chord. Consequently, I received many thoughtful comments. One stood out for me and I wanted to share. It was from Carol Riggs: "Readers enjoy all types of books--not everything has to mean something profound. Isn't having readers enjoy a book a profound experience in itself, w/o having to change the world and be on the NYT bestseller list? I think so!" I think so too! Thanks, Carol and everyone who took the time to leave a comment. I appreciate all of them.

I won a $10 Amazon gift voucher from C Lee McKenzie as part of her Double Negative Tour. A big thank you to Lee! If you haven't picked up your copy of her latest YA book, do so today!

I recently read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. So far this is my absolute favourite book I've read this year. Wow, the voice is amazing, the story wonderful. I loved everything about it. Clearly, I need to read more MGs if this is the kind of gem I'll find. No surprises, the book won a Newbery award.

A $25 juicer from Kmart is my new friend (for however long it will last). Yes, I'm cheap. I'd wanted a juicer for a while but they all cost ridiculous prices when I wasn't sure I'd love it. Well, it turns out, I love it. Above is a pic of my more daring blend: kale, cucumber, apple and ginger. Yum. So far, my favourite blend is the good ole orange, apple and ginger combo. Tonight I might try carrot, fennel and ginger. Have you gone juice crazy? What weird combos have you tried (made or bought)?

I also recently mentioned my computer crashed big time. Well, I'm happy to say my tech-savvy husband got it up and running like new again. My game project is back on track. Woot.

Because I'm super busy with writing along with game development, I'll be back to post again on the first Wednesday of September for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. My favourite group! In the meanwhile, happy reading and writing!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Prejudices within the Writer #IWSG

The community of writers is a special one. It’s full of insane, generous people who have chosen writing as a pastime—or perhaps writing chose them. However, we’re not immune to prejudices—mostly against ourselves.

There’s a common belief that there are classes of writing. The good, the bad and the ugly. The literary, the genre and the first draft. Like all prejudices, they only damage. Not all writing needs to change the world. Not all of it needs to dig deep to uncover truths meant to change a person’s life. And not all of it needs to be perfect at every stage.

I’m a genre writer, my favourite being anything speculative. In some circles, science fiction and fantasy lack a certain kudos that literary works hold. Romance writers seem to be on the back foot as well and let’s not talk about the poor horror writers. Not only that, it’s easy to get fooled into thinking you’ll never be good enough, never get noticed by a publisher, and certainly never hit the bestsellers lists. That only happens to the lucky people.

Well, excuse my language, but pish posh to prejudices! Don’t let yourself lose focus. When I returned to the roots of why I started writing in the first place, I was suddenly okay with being a genre writer.

Writing is a form of expression that’s crucial to my sanity. It doesn’t matter what type of stories I create. It doesn’t matter that my work won’t turn into classics for generations to come. All I need to do is cast aside the damaging prejudices that are both contagious and toxic, and write what I love.

How about you?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. To join or check it out, click HERE.

Also we, at the IWSG, have a special announcement for the IWSG anniversary coming up. Stay tuned!! (Psst, it's super exciting).

And for those of you who have joined the IWSG Facebook Group, we've turned Fridays into promo day when you can share your links to your books, blogs or whatever you'd like to promote, or simply share any great news you might have.

Note: my main computer died (thus no pics in this post). The harddrive went boom. I'm not a happy camper. Luckily I can write anywhere (yay for crappy old laptops). Unluckily, however, it means my game project is on hold. Sigh. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Championing Your Story plus Transformers Review

Today's post is over at the IWSG. It's offering tips to help you be your best champion for your stories. I'd love to see you over there.

A quick Transformer's Review:
Yep, I dragged myself out into the cold Aussie winter and checked out Transformers 4. It's a true giggle-fest and all for the wrong reasons.

Sounds and music: awesome

Acting: Hmmm

Dialogue: So bad that I laughed in places I wasn't supposed to laugh.

Special effects: the destruction of anything and everything was impressive. Big thumbs up. However there were some dodgy green screen effects that could've used some attention.

Character development: none

Plot: holier than a holy thing on a holy day.

Final word: Switch off your brain and go see it. Despite its massive flaws, I had a good time. Probably because I expected little except things-go-boom and that's exactly what I got.

Seen any good (or bad) movies recently? Don't forget to pop on over to the IWSG.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dealing with Inevitable Setbacks #IWSG

Big news: I worked out how to open and close a door. Pretty awesome, huh? Okay, so I'm not talking about a regular door. I'm talking about a door on a skyship hovering above the clouds many years from now. Sound slightly more awesome now?

As some of you know, I've been working on a Mystery Project. I can now tell you I'm diving head first into the indie games industry. It's both exciting and challenging all at once. As I've mentioned in a previous post, the learning curve is massive, even though I have a background in 3D animation.

I had hoped to show you some polished screenshots by now, but I hit a monstrous setback. Testing revealed I needed to change my processes. That meant tossing most of what I'd done so far, setting aside everything I'd learned and focusing on a whole new way of achieving my goals—like opening doors. Sigh.

When faced with setbacks like this, it's easy to wallow and whine, to think it's all too hard. The same goes for when we're faced with massive rewrites to fix our manuscripts. Or when we're faced with the possibility that we can't go any further with that particular story and it's time to put it in a drawer to clear the way for a new story.

I'm a firm believer that no writing is wasted writing. No art is wasted art. No learning is wasted learning. While initially I did feel like I'd gone backwards with my indie games project, I soon realised I'd only go backwards if I gave up.

What setbacks have you had to face lately? How have you overcome them?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month.

To join the group or find out more, click here.



Picture: One of my unfinished corridors. No texture on anything except the door so far. But the door does open. Woot!

 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Then and Now

Today The Armchair Squid, Suze, Nicki Elson and Nancy Mock are hosting the 'Then and Now' bloghop. It's about whether or not our favourite films from when we were kids have stood the test of time. I chose two. One that didn't lose it's shine and one that did.

The NeverEnding Story
Going to the movies was one of my favourite pastimes as a kid. I almost always went with my friends, but occasionally I'd go with my mum, especially if the movie was considered a kid's movie, which we secretly loved. At that time, anything kiddy was out and anything slightly geekish was even more out. The NeverEnding Story was both kiddy and geeky. So this was the first movie I ever went to see on my own.

I loved it. I suspect I loved it more because, being all adult-like, I saw it on my own. Then I went to a very un-adult birthday party where us kids played games like digging for chocolate in a pile of flour while our hands were tied behind our back. The topic of the movie came up at the party. My best friend piped up, jumping with excitement, 'I want to see that movie!' Holy Geek, Batman! It was suddenly okay to be odd. Yep, I loved that movie.

Now that I'm well and truly settled in my geekiness, the movie doesn't have the same magic it once did. I still love kid's movies, but this one leans slightly toward trying too hard. Perhaps it's the feeling I get of being told a message. The sets are still magical, the general storyline still great, but it has lost some of its lustre.

The Dark Crystal
A similar style of movie as The NeverEnding Story, The Dark Crystal is another fantasy meant for a young audience. The difference is, this one was as glorious then as it is now. It has story, humour, a feast for the eyes with lush hand-built sets, nail-biting conflicts and memorable characters. And it was done using puppets (I refuse to call them muppets). What can I say? Best animated* film of all time.

What movies have stood the test of time for you? Which movies haven't?

*Okay, so it's not technically animated, but what would you call a puppet movie?