• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

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?

I Survived RT 2014…#RT2014

Yeah, yeah, another Romantic Times Booklovers recap, but bear with me as I get my feet back under me from the nuthouse of May. Not only did this month (which is fading in the rearview) see me type THE END of Shadow’s Curse (coming Fall 2014), but we had SHADOW’S MOON hit the shelves! Plus, HUNTED BY THE PAST is scheduled to follow along on July 11th, so it’s been a little (okay a-frickin’-lot) crazy. When you’re a newbie author, promo items fall squarely on your shoulders, so I’m trying to wrangle a virtual book tour and post all over the web-a-verse for SHADOW’S MOON, and get a head start on HUNTED’s own twisted promo paths.

Enough of my babbling, on to the actual post–RT2014 in New Orleans, was it what I expected or not?

For those who haven’t been following, this was my first time in NOLA and my first time at a convention the size (think GODZILLA SIZED) of RT. I even did a book signing, first ever again. Yep, a whole world of firsts. Keep in mind, everyone will experience the same thing very differently, and if you’ve noticed some grumbling around the writer social sites about the organization of RT, don’t be surprised.

RT had some great points, the location was awesome. Of course, I’ve never been to the Big Easy before, so I was truly excited about that. Loved the Ghost Tour and the fantastic story telling skills of our guide. Got a love a city where a Liberal Arts major can not only earn a paycheck but have fun doing it.  LOVED Cafe du Monde, so long as you hit at 2 am or after the line rivaling the Mississippi disappears. Did a psychic reading–nope not sharing, I want to see if it all comes about or not. Tons of great architecture (sue me, I love buildings).  Jackson Square, very cool, the Mississippi-muddy, just like everyone says. People and food–fantastic! Of course, refused to suck the head of animal with beady little eyes. Made him turn away while I devoted his tail.

Regrets–wish I had more time, wanted to do a Swamp tour, Plantation tours, see a little broader views other than the French Quarter. If you have a sensitive nose (I do) be prepared for Bourbon Street. Everyone knows why it’s famous, so I’ll leave it to your imagination on why if your nose is a tad princess-y you should tread carefully.Next time, I’m going as a tourist. There’s so much history and I want it all.

RT Conference–holy moses! I knew it was big, but hadn’t quite expected what I got. The noise level at the convention hotel remained at a deafening dull roar the entire time. I think my ears are still ringing. People, real live humans, were EVERYWHERE! I had to hide in my room for a few times just to breathe before diving back in. Elevators, by the way, don’t like handling over 2600 people in a given 15 minute time slot. However, I did get plenty of aerobic exercise.

Featured authors–I had hoped to touch base with some of my past guests (Faith Hunter, Kevin Hearne, Cynthia Eden, Jennifer Estep) or even some of my fan girl type writers (Charlaine Harris, Jeanine Frost, Kresley Cole, Stephanie Tyler, Nalini Singh) but after watching them being mobbed by fans, I just couldn’t add to it. I think it’s because I’m an introvert, I hate to push myself forward if I think someone already has enough going on. The authors were just unbelievably gracious and positive, I was so impressed and no disappointments there. They were incredibly patient with their fans, truly thrilled to talk to all these readers. However, during the Book Fair (Yep, we’ll hit that big red, topic button in just a minute), I did send my Knight to get a book or two signed. He braved the crowds for me. (Sigh).

Panels–here’s where my expectations and reality began to disagree. I think I had mistakenly considered the fact the conference offered various tracks (Craft, Industry, Reader, Specialty) which meant if I stuck to those tracks where I could get something new out of it, I’d learn a well guarded secret or two. Nope. Don’t get me wrong, the panels were good. Sometimes there were a few at the same time, then it became which one do you really want to go to as a determination factor. There was a speciality course I was really, REALLY looking forward to, then on the first day, I noticed it was no longer showing up anywhere. I checked under chairs and behind walls for a cancelation notice of the course and found–nada. My OCD kicked in, and I was quite bummed. Once I stopped pouting, I picked the other course I had been considering. It went well, but still…  Then the panels on craft kept themselves fairly general, with information I’ve heard/read before, with a few  personal views thrown in. Those did help reassure me, my writing career was not plunging off the cliff into a whirling vortex of death. The industry panels–whoo baby. Talk about conflicting information. Depending on who was talking, their views on publishing/writing, crap, you’d need a Magic 8 ball to get better answers.  My overall take away–the path of publishing is not GPS comparable–forge your own trails using whatever works for you and your stories.  I did enjoy the marketing ones, mainly because the speakers were bluntly funny and didn’t hold back. LOVED them.

Big, Red, Hot Topic Button–The Book Fair on Saturday:

Yes, I’ve read various points of view on this. Yep, I was there, in the Indie room with over 200 hundred, very talented authors. Yes, our supposed table space was severely under estimated. Yep, the doors opened late. Yep, the AC failed miserably (you would too–New Orleans, largest book signing EVER((it’s making Guinness World Record)), lots and lots of people). Instead of going over all of it, here’s what happened to me. I was very nervous about this. First ever book signing. No one’s going to know who the hell I am, nor will they want my books, what if I have lipstick on my teeth? What if…what if…

You know what made my entire experience? The other authors. Talk about an awesome community. I sat next to two beautiful women, KT Grant and Katie Graykowski. Those two made my time there fun and a blast. Add in Kendall Grey and yes, I had fun. Kendall had readers who were lining up. So Katie and I did what ever we could to keep them entertained. We helped them laugh, provided free AC (via hand fans) and chocolate. We even encouraged them to check out KT’s sheep. I sold three books, but you know what, I count it as a success because:
1. I got to meet Sunny and Susan in person. These two readers were so AWESOME, they almost made me cry. Their obvious enjoyment of my books just made my day.

2. I made new friends with KT, Katie, Kendall and other writers, readers, bloggers around me. I got to listen to what they’ve done and experienced which in turn, sent home just how big the writer/reader community really is.

3. Writers are funny as hell. And completely fearless!

4. The RT staff (who volunteer) have to be hoarding patience pills, because I’m not sure I could’ve handled the crushing crowds they faced.

 

Were their downsides to the signing? Yep, there were, but the one I had the biggest concern with was the two plus hour wait in line for readers to pay for their books. Seriously? That’s a bit much. However, I know the RT people are getting tons of feedback and re-evaluating how the set up the check out process next year.
As for the division between “Traditional” and “Indie”, here’s my take: at some point in the near future, every writer will wear both hats at some point, because it circles back to what I mentioned about the industry message: the publishing path is yours to forge, just make sure you use the right tools for you.

With all that being said, will I be back next year in Dallas? Probably not, but only because I can’t afford too many conferences each year and I’ve already made promises to some friends to do the RWA one in San Diego. However, Mighty will be there. She’s pretty persuasive, so I might show, you never know.

 

Come back next week, because I have  a new author to intro! Keep an eye out, I’ll be making rounds in June and July with Shadow’s Moon and Hunted by the Past!

12 Days of Halloween w/ @Danielle_Monsch, #STONE GUARDIAN and #ToysForTots #miniiPadgiveaway #giveaway #Pararom

Today I have a very awesome friend stopping by, Danielle Monsch, the genius behind Entwined Realms’ STONE GUARDIAN, and she’s giving away an iPad Mini while helping out Toys for Tots (talk about multi-tasking). So come with me through the twelve days of Halloween and find out how you can win and help out at the same time!

12 Days of Halloween

From about mid-October until Christmas was always a magical and much anticipated time when I was young.

Probably not an uncommon statement from a kid. My mom should have been a party planner, because our house was always decked out for the season. We were the house that people do that double-take with, because looking only once wasn’t enough to take it all in.

Mom’s favorite holiday was Halloween. Since I’m a fantasy/paranormal writer, it’s safe to say that rubbed off on me, and with kids of my own, I enjoy Halloween in a completely new way, with my kids excitement about dressing up and their enjoyment in the *fun* scares.

While her favorite might have been Halloween, Mom excelled in overall holiday planning. My mom was a generous lady. She never liked cooking, but she loved to bake the holiday pies and cookies and other goodies that come with the season, and everyone who knew us came away during the holiday season with loads of culinary delights. If you ask me to name my favorite food ever, it would have to be Mom’s pumpkin pie.

It’s probably because this time was usually so joyous that one memory sits there, lumpy and misshapen and not a fit with the rest.

Don’t ask me how old I was, but I came down the stairs one night – going to get some water I think – and Mom was on the couch, staring at the Christmas tree. The packages weren’t under the tree yet, which was odd since Mom tended to put them under as soon as the tree went up (Mom is not a last minute shopper – in fact, I’m pretty sure her shopping is done in July.) Now I haven’t believed in Santa ever, so it was no question in my mind about who presents come from.

What set this memory in my mind so sharply was my mother’s face the few moments before she realized I was in the room. At the time I didn’t have the words or the emotional knowledge to name what emotions were in play. All I knew was it wasn’t good.

Several years later we were talking, and in the way of conversations everywhere, somehow that night came up, and I asked Mom what was going on.

She confided that when I saw her, the reality of our situation was none of us kids were going to get Christmas presents. It had been a bad year with lots of doctor bills and not as much work as they hoped to get. Maybe they would be able to get a practical clothing item, but certainly nothing beyond that. Then she told me that a couple days after I saw her that night, her uncle heard about our situation. Without her or my dad asking, he went out and got presents for us kids and told her that it was his early Christmas gift to her and he would not accept any money or repayment.

Mom told me she cried while she wrapped them. She told me it was the best gift she’d ever gotten.

While my childhood would never fit in a Dickinson narrative, there were a few years there where we did with minimal, so hearing after-the-fact that no presents was a possibility didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the lurch in my chest at the thought of it as a near reality. That didn’t make sense – after all, we were several years past by then, and I was a grown person who understood economic realities.

That lurch, though, was real. And as time has marched on, I think I understand the reason for it, just like now that I’m a mother I understand the look on my mother’s face that night. The holidays were a safe and sacred time. The rest of the year – okay, it’s life, and life happened. But in my memory, the holidays were apart from that, not touched with the ickiness that could happen at other times.

If I didn’t get presents that year, I think that safety and warmth that the holidays (or the thought of) always caused would have disappeared. I wouldn’t have had that protective bubble anymore that helped get me through bad times, and the loss of that would have been a greater tragedy than not getting a doll under the tree.

So while Toys for Tots was not responsible for me getting presents that year, I recognize in a deep and personal way the very good work they are doing.

Toys for Tots is my favorite holiday charity. There are many excellent charities I celebrate and give to, but this time of year my thoughts and my wishes are for the kids who are not in the best circumstances and are in danger of not having a gift under their own tree. It’s not the material item that matters (though it’s always nice to get a great gift, right?) What I never want them to lose is that safe warmth that should categorize the holidays, a warmth that sometimes might be the only thing that gets them through the rest of the year.

Which leads me to the 12 Days of Halloween!

12 Days of Halloween is my (and many other excellent authors) way of having a great time and celebrating the beginning of this wondrous time of year – with giveaways and gifts and raising money for Toys for Tots!

What is involved?

First! My novel Stone Guardian (http://www.daniellemonsch.com/dani/books/stone-guardian/) is on a very special sale. From now until Halloween, it is half-off with part of the proceeds going to Toys for Tots! So you get a book for cheaper than usual, and a chunk of the money will be going to an amazing cause! Huzzah!

StoneGuardian800

And on the other side, I’ll be sharing lots of giveaways! Ebooks (donated by many generous authors) gift cards, swag sets, a Coach (!) bag, and finally…

An iPad Mini!

apple-ipad-mini-2

Yes, you read that right – an iPad mini with a special Entwined Realms designed cover set is the grand prize.

So if you are interested, please keep up with me at twitter (www.twitter.com/Danielle_Monsch) facebook (www.facebook.com/DanielleMonschAuthor) or my blog (RomanticGeekGirl.com) with all the ways to win.

Let’s celebrate the beginning to this great time of year, have a great party, maybe win some stuff, and most important of all – support Toys for Tots and make sure they can help a lot of kids this year!

AuthorHeadshotBorn to the pothole ridden streets of Pittsburgh, PA, Danielle started writing in a time long ago, a time when there were not enough vampire stories to read and she had to write her own to fill the void. Yes, such a time of darkness did indeed exist.

Danielle writes stories full of fantastical goodness and plenty of action, but always with lots of romance (and a bit of woo-hoo!) mixed in. Vampires and Werewolves and Demons and Angels, Sword & Sorcery, Fairy Tales, Updated Mythologies and the like – if it’s out of the ordinary, it’s fair game for her stories. 

When not writing, Danielle reads comic books and watches cartoons (though she says she reads manga and watches anime, because saying it in a different language makes all the difference.) She listens to music, plays D&D, follows XKCD, watches movies with the Rifftrax on, and is mom to two amazing little girls and wife to her favorite guy in the world.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE

Greetings and salutations loyal readers of the blog,

I had planned on talking about word choice again. (the room falls silent, in anticipation. NO, BOREDOM.) So instead I’m going to share with you what I read throughout the week. These are published authors who still take the time too share what they’ve learned, and aren’t afraid to tell you they mostly learned these things the hard way.

I’ll start with Scott Kenemore. Author of such modern classics as Zen Of The Zombie and Zombie Ohio, just name a couple. Scott talks about Zombieism in all it’s forms. He shares about the brain eating business of writing and publishing books. His posts are brief, informative and fun.  You can check him out at http://scottkenemore.wordpress.com

Next the beautiful and talented Liv Rancourt. Her recent novel Forever And Ever Amen, romance with a twist.  Yesterdays post was called Alternate Endings. She wrote an interesting piece about what if I had done one thing differently, college, marriage, or job and what that might look like.It’s a great way to test your creative chops. You can read it yourself at http://livrancourt.com

Last I offer you, the way too in my head and watching what I do to the point she is a little frightening, Kristen Lamb. All week she has been causing me to look over my shoulder, trying to catch her spying on my life. I finally stopped when I mentioned her blog to a writer friend of mine and we started saying things in unison, IE “How does she know I’m struggling with sitting down and writing instead of–fill in your own mundane life tasks.

So Kristen knows how we writers think and is bold enough to say it out loud in her blog. (I’m just going to say this unfiltered, “She’s got balls”) Today her blog is titled Change–Resistance is Futile.  While she is promoting her new book Rise Of The Machines-Human Authors In A Digital World. She does it by telling us what prompted to her to write a non-fiction book. Next that she is self publishing this one and why. She admits having fears around treading new ground in the self-pub arena. She talks about mistakes she going to make and the new ones she’ll make after she learns from this first foray into self-pub. She’s a gutsy honest lady, who will tell you you’re lazy, and defend your right to be lazy for a day. Then, she will tell you to get back on that keyboard and write until your fingers bleed, because that is exactly what she would do.

If you write because you must, like most of us. You owe to yourself to check out her blog at http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com

I hope I didn’t gush too much.

I find it hard to write about writing. I can talk about the mechanics, and make jokes about my poor grammar, but at the end of the day, writing is a singular experience that is hard to share. The three writers I mentioned above have a way of making it personal. As always I’ll leave you with a quote.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  ~Sylvia Plath

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

How to help West, Texas Info from @RachelFirasek

Rose Free Stock PhotographyIt’s been a sad time lately, from Boston to Texas, MIT and mother nature.

While when shitty, horrifying crap like this happens, one good thing can come out of it. People band together! They show their love for their fellow man in any way they can.

If you’re looking into doing something to help out someone affected by the tragedies last week, I say awesome.

And if you’d like to help those in West, Texas, here are some great ways to do it!

*****

Hey guys,
I’m a member of the West Community and I wanted to give everyone an update. I actually live about 10 miles away, but my children go to school in West and my husband grew up there. We felt the blast all the way at our house. The noise was deafening, even that far away. We’re still desperately waiting for word on names of the fallen. I know that my hubby has already lost one cousin and a very good friend is in critical condition.
My kids will finish the school year at schools 30 miles away. It’s going to be a hectic next few weeks for all of our family and friends, but this is a tight community and they are already rallying.
Many author friends have contacted me to find out what can be done from the neighboring states. At this point, our resources (meaning food and goods) are overstocked. We’re having to find storage facilities for the overage–that’s a good thing, because clean up crews will be here for weeks.
What we really need is cash donations. There are many funds set up, and you can give through the Red Cross or you can donate money to the relief at Point West Bank & Trust (254) 826-5333 or State National Bank (254) 826-3741.

http://www.pointwestbank.com/default.aspx?v=da5ca2bb-31a9-4cf1-ba97-770dfcc97cf4
If you’d like to make a donation to the education program that we so desperately need, I’ve saved a flyer that the school sent us. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1x4uxGq_dFbb3pvdWR5a2Z1Yk0/edit?usp=sharing
We lost three of the four schools. The only thing left is the elementary school.
Please don’t feel obligated, but I know how wonderful my online community is, and I wanted to pass on the word. Thanks for anything you can do for these families.
Hugs to everyone!
Rachel Firasek
True Love Devastates
Twitter Website  Facebook   Goodreads   Blog

Time for a change…

Notice anything different this week?

Uh-huh, that’s right. I changed the day my posts go up on my blog.  I like Wednesdays so I moved my Saturday blog dates to Wednesdays.  Everyone needs something at that mid-point of the week, just a little sometin’ sometin’ to get them thru…

Don’t worry, if you miss it, it’ll come back around like that damn one armed Free Range Zombie of Eeries that I keep chasing out of my yard so Hellhound won’t gnaw on it’s femur.  Free Range? Really? The only Free Range those shambling corpses do is through my yard, taunting my poor Hellhound with the tease of a free bone.

No worries, I’ll send my Muse and her new sidekick over to “politely” let Eerie know his pets need to limit their range!

Onward…

We’ve had some great guest posts and I’m hoping to fill up the rest of the year with even more, so stay tuned.  On April 24th we’ll be hosting the marvelous Kelly Meding, the creative genius behind the Urban Fantasy titles of the Dreg Series and the Meta War series. Mark your calendars, you don’t want to miss out!

I’ll catch you up on what I’ve been doing.  Shadow’s Moon is still out making the rounds.  It’s managed to make a positive impression with a few notables, but no invites yet.  I’ll keep you posted.

The Knight and I decided to take an adult time out in the City of Sin.  It was fun, oh yes it was, but like they say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” so long as you manage to avoid Twitter and Facebook. The Garden Gnomes and the Prankster Duo managed to hold the shack down, so we were good.

Writing wise, I’m working on a new book complete with new character.  Interestingly enough, this is the fourth title I’ve undertaken, but I can honestly say that practice helps. Every time you sit down and put your pen to paper, your creative skills get just a smidge better.  Every blog you read, every writing class you take, every book you read, it all increased your mastery of writing.  Just don’t fall into the trap of trying to revise your old projects instead of using your new and improved skills on a new one.

I started this particular title before Shadow’s Moon, but set it aside because Xander and Warrick were a lot more pushy and demanding their time. So being the supportive creator I am, I gave them their book. Now, however, this character is making sure she has my complete, undivided attention. Re working the first draft, I’ve realized that everything I’ve learned from other authors is coming in handy. I know the whole basic plot of this book, start, middle, end, a huge accomplishment for a pantser.  Plus, my character motivation is clearer, earlier on.  Instead of stumbling around and trying to make sense, it’s clicking fairly well.

Of course, I may have just jinxed it ,but still.

So I wanted to ask you all…what technique/skill have you recently learned that is helping in your current WIP?

–Wicked

NANO- National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month!  We Evil Dwarves are proud to say we are participating this year (and November is ALMOST here).  I have prepared my blogs ahead of time with a plan, so I can spend November working on the second novel in my new series.  But, I do have some reservations.

First of all, you have to understand my writing process to understand why something like NANO could get me a little stressed, so here it is:

  1. Wake from an intriguing dream.  Write it down.  Mull it over.  Write it down again, with some of the weird that doesn’t make sense when you wake up stuff, gone.
  2. Start writing.  Understand my character and my world.  Adjust how the character changes what I originally thought.
  3. Stop writing.  Create a general outline for the remainder of the book.
  4. Start writing again.  Make it to about the halfway point in the book.
  5. Stop writing again.  Go back and edit/revise the first portion of the book.
  6. Rewrite the outline with more details, adjusting for the changes that have occurred during the writing process.
  7. Start writing again.  Write until the end of the book.
  8. Finally, the hardcore revising begins.

Okay, so I never claimed my writing process was neat and organized.  What is your process like?  Also, this is why I fear NANO so much.  I am expected to go against my obsessive writing behaviors and just write for an entire month.

I don’t know how successful I will be in this process.  Our expectation is to write 50,000 words in one month, BUT it has taken me three months to write the first 50,000 words of my current novel.

So, wish me luck!  I hope I can proudly say, come the end of November, that I accomplished my goal, but if I end up mumbling something less than 50,000 words as my accomplishment, don’t judge me too harshly.

Also, does anyone else plan to participate this year?

Storyboarding: Urban Fantasy

Okay I’m cheating this week. Instead of talking at you, I’m going to share with you.  I had the opportunity to actually sit down and enjoy a whole hour of uninterrupted time which meant I got to actually watch this entire video.  This is the first episode of Geek and Sundry’s Story Board that aired Tuesday, 8/7/12.  They got Jim Butcher (rockin’ author of the Dresden Files), Diana Rowland (on my to-read list for White Trash Zombie), Emma Bull (one of the first to be identified as an Urban Fantasy author) and Patrick Rothfuss (major master of the beard here!) all chatting about Urban Fantasy-what makes a story Urban Fantasy and how UF authors create their worlds and characters.

Whether you’re an established writer or new to the game, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

 

In case the video link doesn’t work, here’s the direct link:

Story Board Episode 1: Urban Fantasy: Threat or Menace?

–Wicked

 

Merging of Greatness…

In an effort to cut down on how much of a time suck cyberverse is, I wrangled my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor and had his alternate persona, King of Tech, merge my www.jamigray.com address to this–my most awesomest blog site ever!  Now if you type in jamigray.com you’ll come here, and you can still peruse my holy list of links on my Links page, buy my world changing books on my Books page, stalk me through the electronic world on my Blog Tour page, all in one spot!  I kneel to the genius of my hubby in the weird ways of tech, because it’s all Greek to me (and I mean that seriously!).

On top of this nifty change, I also set up an Author Fan Page on Facebook.  You can see it here http://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter .  Feel free to go over and share your love of moi and click the LIKE button.  It took time before I bowed to the requests for one of these as I was uncertain exactly how to use it.  Now that I know it’s where you post all your blog visits, book releases and general writing news, viola it is created!

So even though I finally got a tighter handle on book 3, I have yet to sit down and start again, but now that all the pressing cyber demands have been met, I’m ready to go! WOO HOO!

Now, I need your support because this upcoming week (May 14th-18th) will become a testing ground on just how thick I’ve managed to get my writing skin to as I embark on a five stop review tour of Shadow’s Edge.  Oh yes, I hear you.  Why would I subject myself to such a rack of torture? Because, I really would like people out there to give me their honest feeback–good or bad–because how else will I be able to stretch myself as a writer? And because I don’t want to inhibit any postings, I’ll be there to thank the reviewer, but I’ll lurk in the shadows to see what is said.  Fingers crossed that the reviewers find Shadow’s Edge exciting and thrilling!

If you’d like to swing over and see what’s up next week, feel free.  Here’s the schedule:

And lastly, I had to share a moment I had this weekend.  Life was getting stressful, you know how it is when everything around you seems to sit their big, heavy weight upon your shoulders and you just want to slither away into a small, hidden place?  Okay, so I had a few bad moments because, hey, we’re all human, right?  Just when the light of creativity was beginning to sputter, one of my favorite Twitter Peeps (@KindlesConsort) was chatting with another bud of mine and she gave strength to my flame through her excitement and anticipation of my writing and how much she enjoyed chatting with authors.  I couldn’t resist, I had to tell her how much her words meant and that it was because of readers like her that authors, especially me, continue to put pen to paper.  Then later that night through Facebook I received another message from another fan, Kim Hawk, who shared how much she enjoyed Shadow’s Edge and why.  Again, I was humbled by such words.  I may put my stories out there, but the reason I have the courage to continue onward is because of you, the readers, who so eagerly embrace these fantastical worlds and then share your excitement with the writers.

Long story short, authors write for you readers so take the time and drop a line to your favorite authors, big or small.  Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one that strengths their flickering creative light on a dark day, giving them the strength to pick up the pen once more and forge forward!

–Wicked

It’s Amazing What A Little Time Off Will Bring…

I came back to the Swamp on Sunday after spending the weekend with Snarky at the RWA Desert Dreams conference down in the Valley of the Sun and found the Zombie Horde had finally deserted Dreamer’s little piece of property.  I’m guessing Eerie and Mischevious have been making tracks to the Impentrable Forest considering the path of gnawed bones littering the trail.  Have to love those Piranha Hummingbirds, they clean their dinner plates!  Not to worry, the Prankster Duo has no problem attracting new Zombies, it seems to be an inborn talent of theirs.

So after rounding up the Hellhound, I was pleased to see my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor had managed to keep the Duo busy while I was away.  Seems there was a required marathon of movies involving a horned-helmeted blond with a facination for hammers, a green muscle head with a temper problem, and that dashing king of sarcasm who looks good in red and self perpetuating battery.  Something about all three, plus a red-head in latex and, if I do say so myself, a rather good looking archer gathering for their debut this weekend. The tickets have already been purchased–twice.

In the meantime, Snarky and I attended this conference.  Now you may wonder why two paranormal, urban fantasy writers would attend a gathering of those mavens of love and hard chests, but there are some really good workskhops at these things. Plus we were considering kidnapping a few agents and editors for our own amusement.  Since this time I wasn’t on pins and needles endlessly practicing my story pitch, I was able to enjoy the expierence.  For writers, conferences are like a red carpet gala–you get to meet the actual human that writes those books you wait on pins and needles for every Tuesday.  It can reduce a 41 year old to a 16 year old in like two minutes flat.  It’s so embarrassing!

Anyway, other than the massive amounts of information that I’m still processing, the biggest success I pulled from my three day stint was the eight hour brainstorming session Snarky and I indulged ourselves in.  What was funny was there was an actual brain storming session planned on Saturday night during the dinner.  We got a head start, because that’s just how we roll.  We headed over to the nearest barrista heaven, spent two and half hours there before realizing we might miss dinner, dashed back to the conference, gathered necessary sustanance, then hunkered down in our room and balcony and spent the next 6 plus hours taking everything that had been thrown at us and incorporating it into our WIPs (works in progress).

Doing things this way is a double edged sword.  I was having issues with Shadow’s Moon (Book 3 of the Kyn Kronicles) and by the end of the evening realized why (you really do need a strong villian for a good story!), and now all those pages I’ve accumlated are being moved to the cut pile–yes indeed, we are starting over.  Here’s hoping that since there’s a clearer picture of where we’re going and Xander’s stopped being so damn coy, it will go much faster.  Plus Snarky figured out her sticking point on her hush-hush project.  It’s hard to explain to a non-writer how much fun the expierence was because for some peeps the idead of talking through plot points, character motivation, series arcs, and personalities is just….blehh!  But for me–I LOVED IT! 

Plus it was the most awesomest thing in the world to meet both newbie and not-so-newbie writers and READERS! I swear the writing community just rocks.  Conferences are where no one gets upset if you space in the middle of a conversation, they understand sometimes those voices in your head just drown out those around you.  Plus where else could you chat about what exactly constitutes a psychopath versus a sociopath, or why corsets are a hell of a lot harder to get rid of than just “ripping” them off–think bones and damn tough material? There was even the most entertaining conversation regarding the staminia of the men of the Paranormal community versus the rakes of the historicals–truly riveting!

Now the goal is to make it to the Paranormal Conference next year because as lovely as the RWA crowd was–I think I’d like to expierence the wild, twisted worlds of the Paranorms for a bit.  Think of what it would do to my Muse!  She’d have others to play blade-darts with, they could go on Zombie hunts, and maybe torment a few demons along the way.   Who knows, maybe we’ll get to come back with new alligator boots next year! 

-Wicked

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