Monday, March 28, 2011

New Release - Collective Shivers: Can You Spare a Dollar for Japan?

Without further adieu, I'd like to introduce fellow author L.K. Below.

The entire world has been affected in some way by the terrifying events caused by the Sendai earthquake this past March. News stories continue to add more about these devastating events and the tenuous circumstances in Japan.

Upon being bombarded by these news stories, romance and speculative fiction writer L.K. Below could not bear to stand idle. Rather than indulge her feeling of helplessness, she did the only thing she knew how to do: she wrote. Two weeks after the Sendai disaster, the product is a short fantasy story called Collective Shivers.

Hailed by beta readers as an “out-of-world experience,” Collective Shivers contains an earthquake, a mysterious and resilient people, and one man who suddenly doesn’t feel up to scratch. Who knew that a people so outwardly unfeeling could have touched Gunnarr in such an emotional way?

More information about this story can be found at the author’s website, . All proceeds from this book will be donated to the Red Cross foundation to help with relief efforts in Sendai and elsewhere as new tragedies unfold.

So the real question is: Can you spare a dollar for Japan?

Here's the blurb:

A disaster falls.

While Gunnarr of Maiores has never understood the Navuclur, he nonetheless is tasked with the duty of asking them for help. But no sooner does he start negotiations for a trade agreement than an earthquake hits the Navuclur capital.

Followed by another.

Gunnarr is astounded by the brisk acceptance with which the Navuclur assess the situation and start to work repairing it. Despite their habit of shielding their emotions, Gunnarr soon realizes that they are not the unfeeling people they pretend to be.

Who knew such a stoic people could have touched Gunnarr in such an emotional way?

Buy link: Collective Shivers
This is an awesome idea. I've already got my copy.
When people pull together, great things happen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Plot Bunnies Gone Awry

Help! My plot bunnies are loose.

I picture a brilliant green swath of grass at dusk. The lawn is surrounded by wondrous landscaping. Trees, shrubs and hedges of every shape and size wait patiently, the perfect escape route for wary bunnies.

The cottontails meander to and fro, three, four, and now five! Nibbling delicately on the luscious feast before them.

The moment I step onto the grass, they dart out of my reach. A few more steps forward and poof! They disappear completely. Out of reach and into the waiting camouflage.

The reality is more like this. Usually I’m doing something I can’t stop at the moment, like driving. And into my head pops the best plot thread, either for my current work or lately it’s been some totally brand new ones. This is accompanied by a great deal of frustration later because try as I might, once I‘ve parked the car, I can’t seem to remember them as clearly as they came to me. Some even escape entirely. Drats.

I’m guessing this happens to other writers too. How do you handle it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Winners Never Quit

By now, you’ve all heard that Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500. Big deal. Don’t know him, don’t care. You’re probably thinking that only idiots drive around in circles anyway, and that’s fine. But it’s not the point.

The point is, he is only twenty years old. This was only his second NASCAR cup race. And to me, one of the highlights is that he was driving for a one car team, owned by the Wood brothers. He took advantage of the opportunity that was offered to him, and found himself in the right place, at the right time on the last lap of the race. And no one can ever take that accomplishment away from him, or the team.

His car isn’t owned by someone with the last name of Hendrick, Roush, or Childress with hundreds of employees and multiple teams to pull information from at his disposal. And his last name isn’t Earnhardt, Johnson, or Gordon, so he didn’t have multiple championship experience to draw upon. And yet, he still won what is considered one of the most important races of all time.

If he’d have spent a good portion of his time worrying about the competition, most likely, he would have quit a long time ago. Because the competition is much better funded, and simply has more of everything it takes to win available to them. But he didn’t. Did he quit because forty-three other guys going two hundred miles an hour wanted the spot he was in? Not just no, hell no. Because he had the passion, the drive to win, and most of all, he believed he could.

How much different is that from where we are as writers? Well, besides the going around in circles part.

Because of all the changes happening in the publishing industry, I’ve been seeing an inordinate amount of ‘woes me, the market is too tough, maybe I’ll quit writing’ posts. If you’ve got your sights set on the big six, you’re right. The market is tight. But not impenetrable. We’re still reading about new contracts every day.

However, it’s my personal opinion FWIW, that the market for writers hasn’t been this good since Nora published Irish Thoroughbred in 1981. And most of you know that history already.

I believe it’s the changes in the publishing industry that have made this possible. If your goal is to get your stories in front of readers, there are now more options than ever. Besides the big six, there are a plethora of Indie publishers, small ePresses, and let’s not forget that it’s never been easier to self-publish. Like it or not, ereaders are changing things.

It’s true most people don’t recognize opportunity because it usually does arrive disguised as hard work. And honestly, sometimes it is grueling. But if it were easy, you wouldn’t be reading this. You’d already be successful right? The window of opportunity won’t last forever. The market will become saturated and it will be much harder to get into any of these currently wide open venues.

If your writing career isn’t where you want it to be, maybe it’s time to take a moment and reassess your goals. Maybe they need to change, maybe not. Only you can answer that question.

Here are two things that Dale Earnhardt senior knew to be true. If you want to quit, quit. Nobody will kiss your ass and beg you to stay. There are a hundred or more people waiting to take your place, and they will step on you if they have to, to get where they are going. And the most important is this –

Winners Never Quit.

Ever. We can’t. It’s the only thing that separates us from the losers.

If you have the passion to write, the drive to be published, the belief in your work, you’ve got what it takes. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Now get out there, and win.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Wish

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.

Couldn't resist sharing this great pic of Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Co Galway, Ireland
The sun is shining today. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue. It's one of those days when I'm very thankful for my life as it is. Is it perfect? Heck no. But it's mine.
Wishing all of you a simply great day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Girls and Gasoline

Excuse me, where’d I put the soapbox? Oh. Right here, next to the day job. Well, let’s get started then. Here’s the scene.

I’m at the gas pump putting gas in the car. At the pump next to me a car pulls up and out pops a teenage girl, cigarette in hand who sashays over to the little booth to pay for her gas.

The attendant says, “Ma’am, you need to put out your cigarette before you pump the gas.”

And she snarls at him, giving the eye-roll that only teens seem to be able to master in such a sneering, who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are, and why are you in my world, asshole kind of way. So she huffs and puffs and makes a big deal out of putting out her smoke. By dropping it and smashing it with her tiny little platform shoe. Can you say ignition spark three times fast?

Funny, I was thinking of another place to put her shoe. But I digress.

This has happened four times in the last couple weeks. Twice it was the attendant, once it was my partner and once me that mentioned to the lovely ladies that they needed to put away their smokes and then pump gas. And it was at my local station and out of town, in different states. That tells me something is amiss.

Who is teaching these girls about the dangers of gasoline? Does anybody remember that it’s still flammable? I tend to forget myself, familiarity and all that rot.

Without getting all rocket science-y, here’s the short version. Water vapor rises, hydrogen rises, other types of fumes rise and float away on the breeze. Read my lips here, GASOLINE DOES NOT. Gas fumes are heavier than air molecules and they actually fall. They tend to rest near the ground, about thirty inches or so. Right about where Miss Smarty Pants wants to hang her smoke.

Now would it take a particular set of circumstances to set off an explosion? Absolutely. Most of the time there’s enough air movement it’s not an issue. BUT. Do you want your daughter to be the one to find out that the temperature, humidity, and lack of air movement were optimum, at the very moment she’s standing there?

And I’m in no frickin’ hurry to get blown up with her. I’d rather she live through the snarly-face stage to the point where she’s adult enough to like people again.

Burn injuries are horrible. And that’s the truly crappy part. Once it happens, you can’t stop it, and there’s no going back. I’m sorry, or, I was an idiot, doesn’t fix it.

It’s just a guess, but I bet young women put gas in their car way more than they have sex, do drugs, drink and drive, maybe not texting, but you get the idea. Please take a moment and add this to the list.

There are lots of people who should thank you for it. I do. Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seer’s Destiny

Carnival of Illusions

Seer’s Destiny

by Aubrie Dionne

Vira’s crystal ball only shows bleak and harsh truth. Visions of her own destiny haunt her, an inevitable night where ecstasy and horror are intertwined. In her future, she is reunited with her long lost love and then viciously murdered, her limp form stained in blood. Logic screams at her to flee the carnival and challenge fate, but her heart keeps her on a steady path, longing for a last chance with the man she loves, even if it means her own demise. Can Vira change her fortune?

Buy It Here

Vira is a fortune teller at a carnival who works very hard at persuading people to accept the reality of their future instead of wishing for something else. Which is exactly what she does with the visions she has of her own life.

Bravian is the man of her dreams, who offered her a different fate years ago, and she refused. He left her and the carnival to make his own way in the world. Now he’s back.

Will Vira’s vision play out as fate foretold? Or will they find the courage to love again, and face their destiny together, no matter the odds?

Ms. Dionne’s vivid imagery paints such a grand picture of carnival, I swear I could feel the summer heat, and smell the popcorn. I could almost hear the laughter and noise of the crowd as they traverse the midway.

Vira captured me right away, she’s such a realist and that’s refreshing for a woman in her position. However, like the rest of us, she refuses to give up on her dream of love, no matter what it might cost her. She swept me into the story and before I knew it, I was cheering her on to reach her goals, and holding my breath right along with her.

Bravian stole my heart right from the first because he’s not perfect, but he’s a hero, through and through.

If you are looking for pure entertainment, this is the story is a must read. Ms. Dionne has done a brilliant job of weaving unexpected twists and turns into the plot which will keep you riveted until the very last page.

Fortunately, it’s part of a series, and I’m thrilled that there are more stories to read.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who Are These People?

Do they read? No, wait. Do they read books? No. Um, do they read analysis of book sales? As in what genre's are popular, and who is buying them? Doesn't seem like it, so why did they bother with a smarmy paragraph?

Online romance? Publisher starts e-romance imprint

Just a guess. I've probably been reading romance without embarassment longer than the author of this article has been alive.

Congrats to Avon on the new line. Really.