Friday, May 27, 2011

Second Review by YA Bound

It has been a crazy week. Yesterday the awesome Trish Wolfe reviewed my book. She loved it. Her one complaint was that there wasnt enough romance. As criticisms go, I'll take it! I couldn't believe the awesome things Trish had to say about my book. When you've been rejected by publishing professionals it is so validating to have people tell you they loved your work. I told my husband that, while I knew I needed to reach out to bloggers and ask them to read and review my book, I was terrified to see what they had to say.

So that makes two reviews that gave me 5 out 5 stars. The first by a near 17-year-old and the other a mother of a teen. That's an awesome spectrum to please. I ran into our bedroom and woke my allergy stricken husband just to tell him. I swear, I almost cried and I do not cry.

So far I've sold 40 books and for my first month as self-published that's amazing. Everything I've read says not to expect to sell more than 10 books in your first month. I really hope this is a sign of things to come.

Now rest assured, Jensen (Shayna's love interest), does not disappear in book two. However it must be remembered that mine are not Paranormal Romance books, they are Urban Fantasy. My stories do not depend on the romance to move the story along. But Shay has been lonely as an empath, but she wars with the concept of being tied down to one person. We'll see how it plays out.

Speaking of, I really need to get back to Book 2, Air.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My First Review

So over the weekend the awesome Lady Cade Crowley read and reviewed my first book, Earth. I have to start by saying how excited I was that she had started to read it so quickly after I asked her too. Bloggers are super busy, in demand individuals so I sent my requests assuming it would be at least a month or more before I’d see my first review. But Cade got to it by Friday and finished it last night. She was cool enough to tweet me her progress because she was enjoying it. I’m sure the entire block heard me squeal in delight when I saw that first tweet. I scared my dog. But no matter.

I’ve told you that friends and family are going to tell you your work is awesome and “good” and that they “liked it, a lot!” Which is nice, really, but you wouldn’t expect any less. But Cade doesn’t know me, has no obligation or ties to me. Cade is a total stranger whose blog I happen to find and loved her “zombie rating” system and asked her if she’d like to read my book and review it. I knew there was a very good chance she wasn’t going to like the book, or would maybe find it mediocre at best but no, she liked it, she really liked it! And she wants to read the sequel! I screamed again when she finished the book.

That was my biggest fear; that people wouldn’t like the end. I find the end to be the hardest part of writing a book. You have to reach the climax with a believable outcome and I am terrified it will come across as “easy” for my characters. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s sitting through a 2 hour movie and the first 1 hour and forty minutes is awesome then the big finish comes and you’re left sitting there, staring at the screen dumbstruck and slack jawed because the ending sucked.

Now she did give some light critical comments, which I appreciate because I know that she was objective and honest. But this being my first complete novel and doing this on my own, I couldn’t have asked for a better review. Sadly I didn’t realize I hadn’t given a detailed description of what Shay and Jodi look like. I guess I was so caught up in not doing a cliché staring at herself in the mirror scene that I must’ve missed it. And seriously, I thought I described Jodi. But I guess you just learn that Shay has long auburn hair and Jodi is blond with a bob cut. Damnit. I’ll have to give book 2, Air, a skim and make sure there’s a decent description in there somewhere. Maybe, because they characters are so clear in my mind, I thought I had done it for the audience. But I will say, since my books are told first person from Shay’s POV it is difficult to have her describe herself. And that isn’t something that Shayna would care about. This is a new challenge I’ll have to tackle before I release Air.

Okay now I have to get to work on the line edits my crit partner sent me for Air and finish my last read through of Water before it’s ready for said crit partner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge: Midsummer-Moon Madness

Another nifty challenge set by Chuck Wendig. Almost didnt make it. But finally I was inspired.

Midsummer-Moon Madness

Even though I lived in the city, it was always important to me to celebrate the Summer Solstice. I needed to light the bonfires and let the smoke rush over me, keeping the evil spirits away. I couldn’t just ignore the celebration of new harvests. Mother always said, “Don’t tempt The Fates, Matilda.” But I was worried about tonight. Tonight was the full moon.

There hadn’t been a full moon on Midsummer’s Eve in five years. I gave one last swipe of mascara before tossing it into my makeup kit. I had started to shake thinking about the last time a full moon had risen on Midsummer’s Eve and I didn’t trust myself not to stab myself in the eye.

“Well Artie,” I said to my purring, smushed-face cat dozing on my bed, “we’ll just have to be on our toes tonight, right?” I adjusted the chain around my neck that my pentagram hung from. Checked my hair one last time and switched off the light.

The streets were alive with people even though it was the middle of the week. I had missed the parade because I was busy finishing up the last few orders of potions that had to be filled for tonight’s festivities.

“Mattie!” a familiar voice called. I turned to see my friend, Veronica, locking up her charm shop that acted as the ground floor of our apartment building. I waited for her to catch up with me.

“Hiya, Ronnie,” I greeted her as she rushed up to me.

“Full moon tonight,” she reminded me, handing me a purple ribbon. I held it up to examine it and found she had braided some amethyst crystals into it. I handed it back to her, holding out my wrist and she tied it for me.

“Thanks,” I said and Ronnie smiled proudly at her trinket. It was to ward off psychic attacks, her effort to combat The Madness. I shook my wrist to settle it more comfortably and continued on. We were headed for the Rolling Hills Park where the Midsummer Festival was held. We were still blocks away but we could already hear the noise of the crowd and music. The smell of smoke and food eased something tight inside of me.

“So what are your plans tonight?” Ronnie asked.

“Oh I’m just looking forward to food I don’t have to cook and the fire,” I said.

“Will you dance?”

“I expect so. You?”

“I don’t know,” she replied shyly.

“It helps you know,” I said, “helps the fire do its job.”

“You really believe in the bonfires, huh?” she looked sideways at me.
“Of course,” I nodded.

“Maybe I will dance,” she said. We didn’t speak the rest of the way, the sidewalk and streets began to crowd with people. We drifted apart once we were in the park, I knew we’d probably find each other again when the bonfire was lit.

I strolled through the grounds, taking in the salty savory smells of food. I bought a sausage roll pastry and munched on it. The drums were pounding through the air, making the ground vibrate. The sun was setting fast in the west. People were lighting torches to keep the dark away, casting long flickering shadows through the crowds and booths.

It was the screaming that I registered first. Once I stepped out of the midway into the clearing with the Great Bonfire ready to be set aflame, I saw people running for their lives. I froze instantly. The bracelet around my wrist humed with life. There was a woman frantically searching for her baby. I heard it crying to my right, its wails lost among so many other raised voices. I dashed in its direction, finding a small boy, not even two-years-old yet, hidden by a trashcan. His onesie was torn and his face paint was smeared with tears and dirt. I scooped him up in my arms and ran for the woman.

“Oh bless you!” she cried as she took her baby from me, leaving me with only a smear of blue paint on my shirt.

“What’s going on?” I all but yelled at her to be heard. She had already started to turn away, but stopped to answer me.

“It’s the madness,” she said. “They’re overcome, save yourself.” And with that she was gone. I turned to look down the midway and saw that finally the commotion was reaching the people therein. Fires were being extinguished and people were running for their lives.

I turned back to the clearing. The torches had been extinguished – by accident or by design I didn’t know – that surrounded the Great Bonfire. In the shadows I saw figures running around the mass of wood, attacking and tackling people. I heard the snap of bones and a sick sucking noise that made my stomach roil.

One of the moon-stricken raised his head from his victim’s limp body. I slapped a hand to my mouth. He was half man, half monster. The bones of his face had elongated, stretching the skin. His eyes had bled to black and glinted in the moonlight. His fingers were long and sinister with claws and blood dripped from everywhere.

I ducked behind a trashcan before he noticed me, feeling my bracelet vibrating against my wrist, nearly burning me. I risked a glance and saw there was one last torch still burning on the other side of the bonfire structure. I needed to light the Great Bonfire.

“Mattie!” I nearly screamed as Ronnie snuck up behind me.

“For the love of toads, Ronnie!” I hissed at her.

“What do we do?” she whispered desperately.

“Stop having the festival when there’s a full moon,” I grumbled, glancing around the can again. The monster had moved on, leaving the body behind.

“Mattie!” Ronnie pressed.

“I think we need to light the bonfire.”

“How? All the fires have been put out,” her voice cracked.

“Not all of them.”

“You don’t have a fire spell?” she asked.

“Not one I can launch and it takes time, time we don’t have. Do you have a spell?”

“No,” she shook her head sadly. “I just have charms.”

“Then we have to get around to the other side and get to that torch before it’s put out.” Ronnie nodded at me, hiccupping in fear but there was resolve in her eyes. We crept out of our hiding place, keeping crouched low to the ground. We dashed from trashcan to trashcan, making it half way around the circle before we had to pause again as one of the moon-struck ran into our path, pausing to throw her head back and howled at the moon. Ronnie ducked her head and covered her ears. My heart pounded in my chest, I was sure it would rip itself out if one of those things caught me.

When the monster ran off in search of another victim I waved at Ronnie to follow me. There was no where else to hide. We ran full out for the flaming torch. Ronnie screamed behind me as a moon-stricken one tackled her. I skidded and stumbled to a stop, so damn close to the torch. I spun around. Ronnie was thrashing desperately under the monster that pinned her to the ground. I ran to them, reared my right foot back and swung full force, kicking the monster in the temple. Pain shot through my leg as my foot connected but he fell to the side and Ronnie scrambled free.

I grabbed her hand and we ran. Together we grabbed the torch and wrenched it free of the ground, nearly falling over each other as we did. Normally a prayer of thanks would’ve been chanted before the Great Bonfire was lit, but there was no time for that now. We threw the flaming torch through the air. It landed half way up the structure, the bundles of tinder caught fast and within seconds the Great Bonfire was blazing, lighting the dark clearing and smoking with vengeance.

The billowing clouds of grey smoke filled the park, washing over us. I inhaled the smoke gratefully, never coughing. Among the screams of the injured and pursued a chorus of howls rent the air. Soon the howls became screams and the monsters fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Bones slid back in place, claws retracted and color came back to their eyes. They laid motionless on the ground as an eerie silence settled over the clearing. Only the snap and pop of the fire could be heard. Gradually people came back to the clearing, kicking the moon-struck, checking to see if any of them were alive. They weren’t.

A cheer rang through the park and Ronnie and I were gathered up, held above the crowd as they chanted our praises. Ronnie was crying and I realized so was I.

That night we danced. We danced until the sun rose and the bodies of the moon-struck disintegrated with the suns early light.

Monday, May 16, 2011

15 days published

My book went live on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Amazon on 5/2 (I planned on being live on 5/1 but it takes that long to get through the queues) so it’s been 15 days since I was published. And so far I’ve sold 27 copies. That’s almost 2 a day. I am not embarrassed to say that I had secretly hoped my sales would take off like a wildfire, but realistically I knew that it would be slow going. At the beginning at the very least. I suffer from IGS – that’s Instant Gratification Syndrome for those of you who haven’t been affected by this affliction. So it’s been an uphill battle not hating myself for not selling more. But I will say selling that first book on that first day to a complete stranger was awesome and worked as a wonderful tonic for my IGS.

Another exciting development is that I have had six book bloggers agree to read and review Earth. I have no idea how quick or long they may take but I am just stoked that many have agreed. Fingers crossed they like it. I know not everyone will, and that’s okay, really it is, but I’m hoping and praying. I’d like to say that I wont read their reviews just in case they aren’t flattering, but I’d just be kidding myself. I’m totally going to read them. For good or bad. But no matter what there will be nothing I can say. If the reviews are “bad” all I can say is, “Thank you for taking the time to read my work and review it.” And if the reviews are “good” all I can say is, “Thank you for taking the time to read my work and review it.” Although my “Thank you” will be a little more emphatic. Its though holding your tongue. But really, if a reviewer didn’t like my book I honestly don’t think I’d be mad. I think I’d be sad. I know you cant please every reader but I know how I am and I would just be bummed. But that’s the way it goes. So fingers crossed!

Now I would like to dive into the new challenge offered by the notorious Chuck Wendig. I’m really enjoying these flash fiction challenges. They get me out of my WIPs and its like shaking off the cobwebs. But more than that they are offering me insights to new ideas for new stories, which is super exciting. I’ve already created two new characters that I didn’t know were in my head, one a fairy and one a witch, and both are so entertaining to me! It’ll be interesting to see who this next challenge introduces me to.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thor - Movie Review No Spoilers

Let me start off by saying that I love comic books. However, growing up I didn’t really read the “traditional” comic books. Instead I was in love with ElfQuest, Death, Purgatory and Lady Death. Lighthearted stuff like that. But I did enjoy X-men (Beast and Gambit were my favorites) and Thor from the “boy realm.” But we didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid so when I bought comic books, really any book, it had to be important for me to spend that money so I only have a few comic books still in their protective sleeves hidden away.

Anything based on mythical legend will intrigue me, so of course I liked Thor. Norse Mythology is very interesting to me; I always enjoy pointing out some of the things we do in modern day holidays that we got from Norse Mythology. But when I first heard that Chris Hemsworth was casted as Thor I was dismayed. My husband remembered better what he looked like in A Perfect Getaway than I did and assured me that he thought Mr. Hemsworth could do it.

And boy was my husband right. Mr. Hemsworth looked like Thor should look. I was so pleased – as I’m sure every woman was – when we first see him shirtless. That 2 minute scene was worth the price of the ticket. With proper camera angles and the tinny tiny Natalie Portman at his side, Mr. Hemsworth pulled off the stature and the build naturally.

I knew going into this movie that it was a 2 hour movie. When the credits rolled it felt like the movie had just started. The action sequences are so well stitched together that your sense of time goes out the window. I love movies that do that. If I find myself checking my phone for the time or squirming in my seat then I know there were weak points in the plot. None exists in this movie. My husband is a self-defense instructor and I have seen him do incredible things, ala Jason Bourne, so when fight scenes show up in movies I tend to be a little more critical than most. When I watched the Asgardians fight I found myself punching my husband in the shoulder, pointing at the screen like an idiot. So needless to say they were good and realistic even though we were supposed to be watching Gods.

Along with the action there was a ton of humor I’ve come to expect from the Marvel franchise. If you haven’t seen the other Marvel movies leading up to this one, please rent them and catch up because there are a couple of inside jokes you won’t understand if you don’t. I love Kat Dennings, I think she is hilarious and I was so happy to see her shine in her supporting role. And Mr. Hemsworth pulled off the ridiculously arrogant, headstrong Thor in an entertaining way so that you didn’t slip into hating him before his transformation into just a good guy that deserves his crown. And Sir Anthony Hopkins. Dude. I can’t imagine the pressure of portraying Odin, the All Father, but if anyone could do it, it was Sir Anthony Hopkins. I have long been a fan of Mr. Hopkins (Sir Hopkins?) and I was pleased to have that admiration renewed in Thor. I have never been a big fan of Natalie Portman, I don’t know why, she’s a fine actress, she just bugs me. But I have to admit, albeit grudgingly, she played Jane Foster very well. She was endearing without being annoying.

And of course people please, please, please stay until after the credits finish rolling. I will never understand, after this many years, how so many people get up and leave a Marvel movie before the last credit rolls.

So yes, Thor was worth spending the money to see it in the theaters. Go. Go now!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday - Warning: Lots of Profanity!

The dirty little mind of Chuck Wendig said this: “Profanity is fun. Profanity is a circus of language where the clowns are all insane and the elephant just stepped on a trapeze artist and something somewhere is on fire.” And has proposed a challenge to incorporate crafty profanity in this week's Friday Flash Fiction. I hope you enjoy:

That Stupid Mother Fucker

“Dirty little numb nut bastard!” I threw my keys into the bowl on the table by the front door, slamming the door shut with a kick. “Goddamn fucking gremlin thinks he can cheat me!” I screamed at the ceiling.


“Ugh,” I sighed. “Hello baby,” I bent down and scooped up my cat, Artemis, before I tripped over him. He purred loudly in my arms becoming boneless as I buried my face in his fur, stepping out of my wet shoes, kicking them away.

“Alright, Artemis, it’s time for Mama to perform a little payback for that shit-faced dick weasel,” I whispered, feeling a sense of giddiness come over me as I walked into the kitchen. I set Artemis on the counter and poured him some cream from the fridge so he’d let me work in peace.

“So he asks me to make him a fucking spell. I make the fucking spell. I gave him the fucking spell. And what does that stupid mother fucker do?” I asked the cat as I slammed my spell pot on the stove top. “He stiffs me!” Sparks erupted from my fingertips in blue and white in my anger.

“Says he doesn’t need the spell anymore. Says I took too long to brew it. I told that maggoty piece of dog shit that it would take a week to brew! A whole fucking week of my life out the goddamn window!” I snatched a wooden spoon from the utensil holder on the counter, spinning it in my hand. “Well this is one bitchy witch he shouldn’t have fucked with!”


“Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking.” I hit the side of the pot with the spoon; the flames erupted underneath, the clang echoing in the silent kitchen. I started gathering items from of the cupboards.

“Thistle thorns, oil, peppercorns, chicory, dandelion,” I listed off the ingredients as I found them. “Do you have any idea how hard it was to get that much fucking Mistletoe? In the fucking middle of Summer?” I asked Artemis as I poured the oil into the heated pot, letting it come to a boil before adding the other ingredients.

“Double, double, boil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” I sang, stirring the pot.

“Mmmrrow,” Artemis stretched long before jumping off of the counter to curl up under the tiny kitchen table.

“Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d,” I rummaged through the cupboards again, coming back up with a small bottle, stopped with an eyedropper. When the potion bubbled with a noxious smell I tapped the pot with the spoon again, extinguishing the flames. The bubbles died away quickly. Unscrewing the stopper I dipped the eyedropper into the potion.

“Let’s see how the little fuck likes this spell.” I twisted the cap back onto the now full bottle. Holding the little bottle up to the light I shook it roughly and spoke the incantation, “By the power of the moon and the light of the stars, for every lie spoken mark his face with scars.”

I pocketed the vial and pulled on my coat, stepping into dry shoes and grabbing my umbrella. I found my keys in the bowl and grabbed my purse, “Don’t wait up for me Artie, Mama’s gonna be late.”

The cab ride was short and terrifying in the dark, rain soaked streets. I flew out of the car and into the hotel lobby. I nodded at the doorman as I passed, I had never stayed at a hotel nice enough for a doorman but this prick wouldn’t pay me for my hard work?

“Bullshit,” I muttered, earning a look from the same doorman.

“Floor, ma’am?” The elevator attendant asked as I walked on. I cringed.

“You know, you’d get better tips if you’d just called every woman ‘Miss’, stupid jackass.” The attendant blinked at me, a little frightened. “Ugh, the penthouse, please,” I added grudgingly.

“I’m sorry, you have to have a pass for the penthouse,” he replied meekly.

“Oh, right, here you go,” I said, pulling out a handful of memory dust, blowing it in his face. His features went slack, all recognition gone from his eyes. I reached past him and pushed the button for myself. I tipped him when I stepped off, slipping the dollar into his jacket pocket.

I strode up to the French doors and knocked loudly, another handful of dust in my hand so when the butler opened the door I was ready for him. Stepping past the stunned man I went straight for the wet bar and grabbed one of the crystal tumblers set with the decanter of whiskey. I pulled out my vial of truth potion and with a practiced hand I dripped three measured drops, swirling the glass to coat the rim before it dried.

“That should do the trick, you stupid mother fucker.” I set the glass back down and set the small lavender envelope on the silver serving tray.

The next morning, curled up on the couch under grandmother’s afghan, Artemis purring away on my lap and a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, I watched the news. I couldn’t help but smile as the video of the city mayor played on a loop, the pockmarks spelling out “I cheat on my wife with crab-infested-whores” covering his entire face.

The phone had been ringing all morning. My voicemail was full. But the only thing I was interested in was the knock at my door and the delivery boy who handed over my retainer fee plus interest. I sent him away with another lavender envelope with the invoice for the cost of the spell to break the hex on the poor mayor’s face. I knew there would be a second knock and another ten thousand dollars later that day. Until then the pockmarks would begin to fester and burst with puss.

“That stupid mother fucker,” I chuckled, scratching Artemis behind the ears. “Never fuckwith a bitchy witch.”


Having never indulged in any state of mind altering drugs, outside a gallon or two of alcohol, I cannot always understand their charismatic power over people. That being said, I feel the closest I can come to understanding this is through certain soul shaking, mind bending, mouthwatering artists. Tonight, musicians.

It is amazing to me, no matter what state of mind you are in, there is always at least one artist that can change everything for you. I can be as peaceful as a Hindu cow but the moment that beat pulses the floor and the words "how your dogma has abandoned you" penetrate my ears, I am empowered with a rage and a fury that only the wind knows the language of. And instantly soothed by the whispered "Gotta cut away, clear away snip away and sever this umbilical residue, keeping me from killing you..."

I am engulfed and filled to burst, a drowning victim no longer fighting the current of the crushing oblivion. I know nothing outside of this perfect moment, created just for me.

"You don't see me at all..."

(I plan to write a longer entry on the effect music has on my writing, but this is what I've got right now.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Comments on the first day published and Sunday Night's events

I managed to get through the coding of my book on Sunday and uploaded it to, and Nineteen hours later it was up on Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and another seven hours later is was up on Amazon. It was so bizarre to type in my name to the search bar of and and see my book come up in the results. I have to admit it was the coolest moment ever.

But I have to say the most amazing thing ever was getting an e-mail from Smashwords at about 9:15am, just two hours after my book went live, that someone had bought my book. I immediately asked my mom if she had bought it instead of going through B&N (she owns a Nook) only to find out she hadn’t checked her e-mail or Facebook yet and didn’t know she could buy it yet. Someone I didn’t know had already bought my book. I could have cried. I know it’s only one sale, but knowing it wasn’t a friend or family member was crazy for me. I would kiss that nameless, faceless person if I could. Even if they hate my book and put up a bad review, I would still love them for buying my book.

I am disappointed to know that of the three only Smashwords will e-mail you to tell you if a book has been sold. Now that I know that I am constantly checking my stats/sales reports like a crazy person. At this rate I’ll have to buy a new mouse by the end of the month. I am happy to report that so far I have sold three books, not including the one my mom bought. I have no idea who those three people are because none of my friends have said they bought it – though very few of my friends own e-readers and the ones that do are going through finals in Master’s programs so I don’t really expect them to buy it right now.

I have e-mailed a few book bloggers asking them to read and review my book; I plan to seek out a few more today because that is the only way I can see to get my book out there. I pray they like it, but I promise if they don’t I will bite my tongue and hold my fingers away from the keys. I’d like to be well-known for my work not my crazy lapse in judgment.
Now my awesome friend Cassie is reading book 2 and hopefully will be getting to the line edits soon so I’ll be going over book 3 so it’ll be ready for her when she’s done. Then I’ll have no excuse but to finish book 4. It’s been nearly a year in the making because I finally decided to stop procrastinating about book 1 and get it out there.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the world changing events of Sunday night. I am, and have always been, very proud to be an American. I remember very clearly where I was when I heard about the Twin Towers. I was driving my car on my way to class in my Sophomore Year of college. At the time I had no idea what the Twin Towers were, but when I got to school and every television was tuned into the horror and destruction I cried with my friends. Sunday night, when the President spoke, I sat on my couch with my husband, who I am proud to say served with the Marines, I cried again. I personally did not lose anyone on 9/11/01 but for so many that did, I know his death does not bring back your loved ones, but I hope it helps you to finally start healing.