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Is Friday the 13th lucky for you?

by Amber Kallyn

I love Friday the 13th.

Every single one is circled on my calendar, and as soon as the month hits, I’m waiting in tingling anticipation.

1) I LOVE the memes, especially all the black cats. My two at home seem to enjoy them as well, evidenced by their cat smirks as they walk by my laptop.

2) Even though I’m superstitious about some things, black cats and 13th Fridays are not two of them.

3) It’s always an awesome, lucky day for me!

What about you? Do you love Friday the 13th, or does the day make you want to stay in bed?

 

And Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!

Changes in… everything… and reconnecting with crazy people

So, long story short, there’s a person I hadn’t talked to in over 8 years.

On purpose, LOL.

But over the last couple weeks, I’ve had this feeling I needed to call her.

I fought it, believe me I did. Because when the two of us talk, or are around each other, we basically try to kill one another. Oops.

But, about a week ago I ended up picking up the phone. The conversations have gone so well, I drove the two hours (each way) to go see her yesterday – for the first time in 8 years.

And that *hugely surprisingly* went well.

some families have kodak moments others have prozac my family

Shared from http://pegitboard.com/pin/ 03056aa23aa837b508c6b305aebe1e3e

My mother is still a crackpot nut job (I come by it honestly 😉 ), but she’s stopped drinking and doing drugs, which means she’s a hell of a lot calmer, more reasonable, and now acts like a caring human being.

Whodda thunk?

I never thought I’d ever be saying this, but…

My mama is invited and will be coming to my house for Thanksgiving this year.

Here’s to hoping we won’t kill each other, LOL.

~ Happy Holidays

Are you ready for Nano? #AmWriting #NanoWriMo

 

National Novel Writing Month.

November.

Write 50,000 words in one month. Around the holidays.

That’s an average of approximately 1, 667 words per day.

I’ve attempted Nano three times, and succeeded twice. The first time, well, lets just say the results weren’t pretty. What helped me win was preparing before the month began – but then, I’m a plotter, LOL.

What I like best about Nano, though, isn’t whether I hit the word count or not, but diving into the habit of daily writing with specific goals in mind.

This year, I have a small goal. Write every day except for Sundays, and Thanksgiving. I’m not concerned with making the 50k, but I’m going to try for it 😀

With the last few months researching and building a new world and a new series, hopefully I’m prepared!

So, who’s doing Nano this year?

Have you done it before? How do you get ready for the push?

 

And if you’re interested, I’m higleyb on the Nano website if you’d like to add me as a friend

😀

~Amber Kallyn

Allison Merritt stops by with a hot demon sheriff and a Giveaway @allison_merritt

Please help me welcome the lovely Allison Merritt to the blog today. She was not only gracious enough to answer some questions, but she’s sharing her HOT! upcoming release, and giving away some goodies.

Peeps! We have a HOT DEMON SHERIFF 😀 Read on to find out more.

wystantour
Allison, thanks so much for stopping in with us. And for letting us delve into your mind. First, tell me about this hot demon. If the book became a movie, which celebrities would play the characters?

 If Wystan became a movie, I’d love to see Henry Cavill play him. Man, does he have the jawline and the muscles for being a badass demon-slaying hottie sheriff? Yes, yes, he does. And for Rhia, I’d like to pick Anne Hathaway. She’s so talented, and I think she’d really capture Rhia’s personality.

 I’ll just say YUM! at Henry Cavill and we can move on 😉

 What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?

 I got a late start on watching Game of Thrones, seriously, I’m just now on season two, but I’m so into this. It makes me want to write fantasy romance. I love movies. It’s not unusual for me to bring home a different DVD ever couple of days to watch. When I’m not on my bum, I like to walk and take photographs of nature.

 It has a great storyline, love the angst, LOL.

 What’s your favorite comfort food?

 Lemon meringue pie. I call it solid sunshine, because that’s what sunshine would taste like if you could get a mouthful—you know, if it was a thing you could taste and not get horribly burned when you ate it.

 What’s your favorite color? Do you decorate your space and/or dress in this color often?

 It’s blue. I have more blue shirts and a couple of dresses than normal. I told my husband not to let me buy any more blue clothes, but it just keeps happening somehow. It’s not my fault cute clothes come in blue. We should complain to the manufacturers.

 Yay for blue! the best color ever.

  If you could time-travel, where would you go and why?

 I have an awful hankering to meet Nikola Tesla. You know the guy invented a way to get electricity without using all that crap Edison did? I curse Edison every time I get an electric bill. Tesla seems like he was a really interesting man. Little is really known about him, but I’d sure like to talk to him.

 Why are manhole covers round?

 They were inspired by stroopwafels. Have you ever had one of those? They’re an amazing thin wafer cookie filled with caramel syrup. They’re fantastic with ice cream.

 Do you have any upcoming news you’d like to share?

 Just a couple of months ago, I submitted Eban (The Heckmasters, Book #2) to my editor and I’m pleased to announce it’s coming out in April 2015. I just got the cover. I promise, between that and the story, everyone will be blown away.

  

Fast Five:

 Coffee or Chocolate? Chocolate

 Jewelry: Precious gems or gold? Gems

 Beach or Mountains? Beach

 Early Morning or Late Night? Late night

 Fruit or Veggies? Fruit

 

About the Book:

 WystancoverTitle: Wystan (The Heckmasters)

Length: 228 pages

Pubisher: Samhain Publishing

Publication date: October 21, 2014
Buy links:

Samhain            Amazon          B&N          Google Books

 

Blurb:

Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.

 The Heckmasters, Book 1

 Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.

 Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.

 The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.

 With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.

 Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.

 

Excerpt:

 Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too  early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host  town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.

 Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the  jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.

 “Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call myself a teacher.”

 He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.

“Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”

 Her hands balled into fists that settled on her hips. The dress she wore was patched—the egg yolk yellow faded into something even more disgusting. It had little flowers dotting the material, but they looked as worn as her scuffed black boots.

 “Then what was the purpose of placing an ad in the Lancaster County Republican?”

 She spoke with the fierceness of a mama bear warning predators away from her cubs.

 Wystan reached into his shirt pocket and drew out a toothpick. “I didn’t place any ad in any Lancaster County anything.” He looked past her, expecting Eban to saunter up the street. Eban had to be the brother she’d referred to since Tell was still on the trail.

 “Someone did,” she insisted. She fished a crumpled and much-folded piece of newsprint out of the pocket hidden by the folds of her skirt. “See? Right here it says, ‘School teacher wanted for spring term at Berner Schoolhouse. Wages paid based on experience. Room and board provided. Apply in person at City Hall, Berner, New Mexico Territory.’ I’m sure my eyes don’t deceive me.”

 Wystan stared at the clipping, then back at the woman. A galaxy of freckles spattered across her nose and cheekbones, making her look younger than her eyes said she was. Full figured and sure as shittin’ a grown woman. The wariness and worry darkening her hazel eyes gave her away as one with a lot of trouble on her plate.

 “I can read.”

 She pulled the ad away from his face, folded it, and returned it to her pocket. “Where would you suggest I look for an explanation, Mr. Heckmaster?”

 Fussy little thing. “I assure you that no one in this town did. There’s been a mistake. Sorry to inconvenience you, Miss Schoolteacher. Now turn around and head home.”

 A flush colored her cheeks. “I can’t head home! I have no home to return to. My little sister and my friend are waiting at the doctor’s office for me to straighten this mess out. The ad says that room and board will be provided. I’d expected to move into a room, sir.”

 “You left them with Eban?” That explained his absence.

 “Beryl is ill, Sheriff. This is the first town we’ve seen in days and it was past time for her to get some attention.” Despair crept into her voice.

 Wystan shifted his weight and transferred the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. “Eban’s not exactly trained in human medicine.”

 The woman’s mouth opened into an O. She shook her head and seemed to regain her senses. “He’s a veterinarian? He seemed certain he could help Beryl.”

 Wystan cleared his throat. “Sure, animal doctor. I’m sorry for your misfortune, lady, but as you can see, Berner’s about run into the ground. There’s nothing here for you or your friend. Might be best to move along.”

 She seemed to deflate. “Move along.” Her lips moved, softly forming the words, but it was as though she didn’t comprehend them. “We’ll move along, right down the trail into the next town where there won’t be any teaching jobs either. Sylvie, Beryl, and I will starve to death on the side of the road with no one in the world to care.”

 

Buy links:

Samhain            Amazon          B&N          Google Books

Click on the link for the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

10624850_848959491804943_4194715946300646117_nA love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

 Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.

 

Social media links:

Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites

Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt

G+ – http://gplus.to/allisonmerritt

Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/AllisonMWrites

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/

Equinoxes and Godesses and Autumn Creativity

This weekend everyone’s talking about it being the first day of fall. And their lovely weather.Free Danish Autumn Stock Images - 870214

Sigh.

Here in Arizona, we’re still hitting over 100 degrees during the day, but I’m (im)patiently waiting for cooler temps. Send em on over 🙂 I love sitting outside and writing in the cool air. And reading on the back porch, the kids hanging out around the trees, is a blast 😀

For some reason, this time of year–fall, cooling temps and Halloween just around the corner–makes me feel more creative. I love planning new worlds, and for some reason, I get more ideas during September through October than any other time a year. 

Of course, once November hits with the holidays, I get no ideas LOL so maybe it all balances 😀

Since I’m in the middle of such world building and researching mythology and recently came across this again, I thought I’d share this tidbit (From a post in 2012)

***

In the pagan religion, the autumn equinox (the time of year when day and night are equal), is September 21st, and is the celebration of Mabon, or the first day of fall.

Mabon is named after a Welsh god who was stolen from his mom when he was barely three nights old.

If you enjoy Greek or Roman mythology, there are similarities between Mabon and Persephone, both being taken captive to the underworld during the autumn equinox, only to be rescued and allowed to come back during the spring equinox every year.

But the main theme of the celebration was that of thanksgiving.

In older ages, this was the time of the fall harvest, and the gods were thanked for the bounty of food to see the village through the oncoming cold winter.

***

 

I love fall, we don’t get the pretty leave turning or even much of a transition here (we go straight from way-too-hot, a few days of just-cool-enough, then straight to get-out-the-jackets weather) but it does mean cooler temps finally:)

So my Q4U: What’s your favorite time of year and why? And for writers, when is your most creative season?

~ Amber

Got Plot? #AmWriting #AmPlotting

Business man writing plan ABC
When I first decided to try to make a living doing this thing I love called writing, my first step was to learn as much as I could about anything writing or publishing.

One of the biggest helps  when I was starting out were the online workshop/classes hosted by RWA, among others. Authors teaching authors. This community is kind, helpful and always willing to share knowledge 😀

After a ton of blog reading, I settled on my first topic to study and improve.

Plotting.

I still enjoy the book, 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias (I have the 2003 edition, there’s a new 2012 edition now). Even Tobias states, though, that no one knows how many types of master plots there are (his guess is not 20, he only gives you an overview of different plots such as Revenge, The Quest, Adventure, Love, ect.)

Okay, I thought. *I think* I can work with that, LOL.

 

Next step, plot elements.

Free Rollercoaster Track Royalty Free Stock Photography - 6322557And this is where it got really interesting.

 

3 Act Structure

5 Act Structure

 I even heard of doing an 8 Act once.

 Spider web plotting

Storyboarding

Snowflake plotting, and on and on.

 

Yup. I read books and/or took classes on them all.

Guess how many worked perfectly for me?

ZERO

 

But it was definitely worth it. Because I took away so much information from each and every step, that I was able to form a mutt-mix bastardization method of elements from them all into my own questionable path to plotting.

Since I’m at the beginning of creating a new world and series for the first time in a couple years, I decided to revisit some of them.

It’s always interesting what new information I find, now that I have more writing under my belt.

 

So, my Q4U: How do you plot? Or, how do you pants it (no pre-story/outline writing)?

 And, how did you learn or decide on your method?

What’s your relationship with editing? #AmWriting #AmEditing

Since the swamp has been very, very loud the last few weeks from the moans and groans and screams of editing authors, let’s talk about editing.

Free Red Pen Stock Images - 7055204Some people are able to get pretty darn sparkly first drafts out. (I’m eyeing you, Wicked). Others not so much (avoids mirrors).

Some people love this time in the writing process. They revise and rewrite draft after draft until the book shines. Others… yup, not so much.

And some people have different moods based on the individual book they’re working on.

I’ll admit, when I first started writing, I didn’t like what sometimes felt tedious and time consuming, even knowing it’s a very important step. Slowly, me and editing have come to terms with each other 😉

The interesting thing I’m dealing with now, however, is reworking and editing (mostly writing fresh) an older book. The last time I worked on this story was a few years ago, but I’ve delved back into the world and still love it just as much.

The writing… MY writing… urm, has *definitely* improved, LOL.

Which is actually why most of what I’m doing these days is scraping down to the bones and starting fresh. Because–and ask any writer to go back and read something they wrote a while ago–we are all (hopefully) growing as writers. Our skills, basic craft, as well as our imagination, changes over time. And that’s an awesome thing 😀

Q4U: What’s your current relationship with editing like?

~ Amber

 

 

Back to school anyone? #AmWriting

Back to schoolYup, its that time again.

School supplies, school clothes, school schedules… (x 4 kids) LOL

It also means days that are more open. Time to get back to BICHOK.

(Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard)

And this summer, I’ve finally accompished finishing/organizing/setting up my office space (See HERE). Back to my writing goals.

So, my Q4U: Do you enjoy the hectic rush that is back to school, or does the calm later in August seem too far away? 😀

~ Amber Kallyn

What do you need in your office space? #AmWriting

Desk Area What’s your writing area like?

I have to admit that it took me longer than it should have, but finally this summer I set up my “Office Area”, LOL. First time in my life I have a dedicated space for writing 😀 even if it is in my bedroom.

One day, I’ll have a whole room.

Writing bookshelves and wallThe first picture is my desk area. It’s not full at the moment, but it will get filled up with notes and scraps and stickies soon!

The second picture is the wall right next to my desk. Pictures for inspiration, and shelves for… erm, *most* of my books on writing/time periods/civilizations for research.

I figure some things will be moved around as I settle in, and that’s okay. I’m going to love digging in 😀

 

So, my Q4U: What is at least one necessity you NEED in your office space?

Writing Masters: Stephen King

What would a series on writing masters be without Stephen King?

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOf course, I first have to recommend his book, On Writing (Amazon Link)

Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

I also, just found another book by Stephen on writing, Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing (Amazon Link)

      Haven’t read it yet, but I just bought it, woot!

 

So what links to great gems of knowledge did I find?

Google Search Link: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=stephen+king+writing+tips

 

1) Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writing (Barnes and Noble Blog, surprisingly)

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers/

My favorites are #7 (Read, read, read) and #12 (Write one word at a time). I need to be better at #9 (Turn off the TV) and #13 (Limit Distraction).

 

2) 7 Invaluable Writing Tips From Stephen King   

     http://www.policymic.com/articles/64509/7-invaluable-writing-tips-from-stephen-king

 

 3) Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully – in Ten Minutes

https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/135/King_Everything.html

 

 4) Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/why-stephen-king-spends-months-and-even-years-writing-opening-sentences/278043/

 

Some of my Favorite Writing Quotes from The Master (you can find a ton on Goodreads here)

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

“Just remember that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”  

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”  

 

And, just because it’s fun

“Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction. If not so, why do so many couples who start the evening at dinner wind up in bed?”

 

Q4U: Which Writing Masters do you get inspiration from?

 

Enjoy

~ Amber Kallyn

 

 

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