Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

THE IMMORTALITY GAME: Ted Cross

Hey peeps; please welcome my guest author Ted Cross of Cross Words, as he describes his journey as a published author, and the development of his debut spec fic novel THE IMMORTALITY GAME. I've read this fascinating novel and you'll find my review at the end of this post. Many of you may already be familiar with Ted, he's been around the blogs for a few years, when his traveling job and chess tournaments allow him the time.

Thank you Ted for guesting with me today . . . .

I came to writing later than most. Don’t get me wrong, I was good at writing in school and college, but I never seriously considered actually writing a book until I was in my mid-thirties. Chess was my big passion back then and it led to almost everything good that happened in my life.

I started college in computer engineering, but after three and a half years of that I realized that I wasn't passionate about it, and I dreaded looking forward to a life doing something I didn’t love. So I switched majors to Russian Studies. I had no idea what I could do with such a major, but since most of the best chess masters of the world were Russians at that time, I went with it. Luckily in my junior year a recruiter came to the university looking for Russian speakers willing to go work at the embassy in Moscow. It was a dream come true!

Living in Moscow during the crazy 90’s gave rise to my first big story idea. The Russian mafia was everywhere at that time, and even if those who weren't gangsters often dressed like them. Every day the newspapers told of new murders, bombings, knifings, people thrown from windows. And then I witnessed two different mafia attacks myself. The constant bombardment of mafia stories made me want to write about the topic. I had some decent scene ideas, but I couldn't quite figure out an entire story arc that made sense, so I let the story simmer in my head without doing anything with it.

Naturally I played lots of chess in Moscow, even getting to play exhibition games against world champions Gary Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, and Vladimir Kramnik. I was thrilled, so my passion for chess probably kept me from more seriously considering writing a novel. I also met and married my wife, and we've now been married for eighteen years and have two amazing teenage sons.

Moving on from Moscow, we kept moving to new embassies, always to countries where chess was big—Croatia, China, Iceland, Hungary, and twice to Azerbaijan (where we currently live). Chess began to dwindle a bit in my life, though, not by choice but because it was so difficult to find time to play in tournaments. While living in Beijing, China, I began to have some new ideas involving new twists on old science fiction tropes. I loved my ideas and hadn't seen anyone use my new twists, but again I couldn't figure out an entire story arc that worked.

Most people have now heard of Game of Thrones, the TV show based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Well I had been reading his novels since the second one came out, and I just loved them. But it was in Beijing while mulling over story ideas that I had an epiphany. I saw how Martin used many different point of view (POV) characters, alternating them between chapters, and I was struck by the idea that this could work for me.

So in 2006 I typed out my first ever chapter. It wasn't based on the mafia or sci-fi ideas at that time. I still hadn't figured out how to do anything with those ideas. My first story was based on my teenage love of roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons or Middle Earth Role Playing. I had never been happy with any of the books related to gaming. They always seemed to treat gaming like a comic book or a superhero story. For those who love Drizzt and the rest, I’m fully supportive; I just longed for a gaming related story that treated it seriously, as if George Martin were writing it. No one would write what I wanted to read, so I decided to write it myself.

I learned that writing a novel is very different from all the writing I was good at in school. It was a true learning experience that is never-ending. I am improving with each book I write, and I probably always will. I completed that first novel while living in Iceland, and the sense of accomplishment was huge for me. It made me understand that I wanted to continue doing this. Plus, I had developed such an elaborate backstory for the novel and for the characters in the novel that I was struck by a new story idea, and that is what turned into this first published book, The Immortality Game.

One of the characters in the fantasy novel was a former Russian scientist from Earth. I had unconsciously given him a backstory related to the sci-fi twists I had earlier formulated. One day it struck me that I could dump the idea of a 1990’s mafia story and incorporate that idea into the sci-fi story. Once that light bulb went off, the story came easily.

I don’t find a lot of free time to write, so each novel has taken three years to write and more to edit so far. I dream of retiring soon so I can write faster! The feedback for my new sci-fi thriller was so good, and my confidence so much higher, that I really believed it would be my breakout novel and that I would get an agent and publisher. I still think I should have been able to. But I made a mistake while querying agents. I mentioned that my book had gotten a terrific review from a HarperCollins editor after winning the review on a writing site called Authonomy. I had no idea at the time that agents had a bad perception of Authonomy. So while my first novel had gotten some positive hits from agents, even some big ones, this far superior novel was met with nothing but silence from all 45 agents that I queried. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.

I was so lucky that a smaller publisher, Breakwater Harbor Books, was interested in taking me on. I loved that I had full control over my cover art, because I wasn't enamored of the covers I saw on most trade published books, and I had definite ideas about what I wanted my cover to look like. So I hired my favorite science fiction artist, Stephan Martiniere, to do my cover art, and he was a delight to work with. He took my text samples and listened to everything I wanted considered for the cover, and he produced a fantastic cover that was everything I had wanted. It has the main character Zoya on it; it shows the pyramid and curving hotel towers of the mafia base; it has the newly-reconstructed St. Basil’s cathedral; and it shows the flurries of poppy seeds that play a part in the story.

Since publishing the book on November 24, I've learned just how difficult it is for an unknown author to draw any attention. The wave of self-published books has made buyers wary, so they are more likely to stick with well-established authors like Stephen King than they are to try out someone unproven. Or they’ll try a new author if there is a huge marketing campaign about him or her. A small publisher simply can’t do that, so I have to rely on word of mouth, the kindness of those willing to post reviews (or interviews or posts like this site is doing), and I simply have to be patient and keep on writing my next books.

My first written book, the epic fantasy, is nearly ready after all these years, and I plan to publish it in 2015. After that, I have some other stories already started, and two of them are so exciting to me that I wish I could just be done with the writing part, as I’m so eager to see how an audience will receive them
.
Thank you once again, Donna, for hosting me here! Below is the blurb for The Immortality Game, along with links where you can find me or my work. Thank you for reading!

Blurb:
Moscow, 2138. With the world only beginning to recover from the complete societal collapse of the late 21st Century, Zoya scrapes by prepping corpses for funerals and dreams of saving enough money to have a child. When her brother forces her to bring him a mysterious package, she witnesses his murder and finds herself on the run from ruthless mobsters. Frantically trying to stay alive and save her loved ones, Zoya opens the package and discovers two unusual data cards, one that allows her to fight back against the mafia and another which may hold the key to everlasting life.

Contact Ted Cross on social media at:
Blog    Goodreads    Twitter: tedacross
Facebook: Ted.Cross.Author

The Immortality Game is now available:
Amazon   Barnes&Noble   Kobo   GooglePlay
(It's on iTunes as well, though I can't link to it)

My Review:

I’m not normally a quick reader, but I was drawn into the world of The Immortality Game from the opening chapter through the ending. The futuristic setting was immediately and expertly introduced, and the female lead character, Zoya, had a good-girl appeal from the opening dialogue with her roguish brother. The world after The Dark Times is further built through the perspective of Marcus, the young son of a deceased millionaire who invented the program- cure for the “internet virus” that hackers used to topple governments and cripple the business world. The program also made possible a widespread addiction called “meshing”, which nearly destroys humanity to the point of extinction.

This story is action packed, but has a steady pace that drew me completely into the world. Although filled with cyber-speak, it doesn't take a degree or interest in science or engineering to relate to the simple terminology. If you've watch the world news or own your own computer, you’ll be familiar with slots, discs, wireless, clones, air cars, intergalactic space travel, and the concept that “there is always a war somewhere.” Mr. Cross takes exploratory technology of today, sets it in a world little more than a hundred years in the future, and adds an intense twist to world politics and everyday game playing and vice.

I enjoyed how the author took two average people who would likely never meet, and who have no extra-ordinary skills, placed them in a situation to make choices between loyalty, family, and basic morality, and used the available technology and societal rules of the time to force them to rise to the challenges. And who isn't curious about the inner workings of the Russian Mafia, and how normal citizens survive in such a hostile environment?

The Immortality Game gave me a sense of hope for the future, even while it listed the devastation of relying on the virtual pleasures of cyber-space and cyber lovers, the loss of individuality and connection with people, even the loss of life. Marcus’ deceased father integrated his genius mind into the internet and retains his basic personality while seeking the genetic compatibility of a clone body to restore his humanity, and he uses his world wide connection to protect his only son from the oblivion of  “meshing.” Zoya has hope of using the found technology to assist her in rescuing her brother, her friends, and her hope of having a child of her own. Marcus is searching for his purpose in life and a reason to remain addiction free without the protective firewalls of his father’s intervention.

I think this story would appeal to readers who enjoy “a little romance and technology” in the story without it overwhelming the concepts of intrigue and the search for immortality. I give The Immortality Game five stars and would definitely read more titles by the author Ted Cross.


Friday, December 19, 2014

DEJA VU BLOGFEST 2014



Choosing my re-post for DL Hammons and Nicole Zoltack DeJa Vu blogfest was a difficult one, although it should have been easy given the time of year. I chose my last year's holiday traditions post from the old deleted blog. I cleaned it up a little and shortened it, made it a little less depressing, hopefully . . .

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was an all day food affair that had its start several days prior. The turkey was thawed (purchased anywhere from one year to three months prior), prepped and refrigerated; stuffing ingredients collected; pies, cookies and candies baked at least two days before. And we always ate dinner by noon on Thanksgiving. I never liked eating such a big meal that early, but we had buffet food all day long, and the day after too.

Christmas season started on the Saturday following Thanksgiving every year. The tree was placed in the usual spot before the living room window; the decorations were hung in all the same places and designs every year; the same routine was followed for church and the annual mad purchasing trip to the mall to spend our allotted Christmas allowance (and collected allowances for those of us willing to save all year) on gifts for family members – mom, dad, siblings, grandparents.

Packages started arriving under the tree within a week after its installment, but of course us kids already knew what they all were. We’d started looking for hidden gifts in July - my parents started buying next year’s Christmas shortly after New Years, and by Halloween we’d already discovered all the surprises to come. Sometimes a gift went to someone other than anticipated; and there was the occasional unknown purchases in the week before, but there was rarely a surprise gift under the tree
for us to unwrap.

We unwrapped our gifts about 8pm on Christmas Eve, including the overstuffed stockings, so I never really had a belief in Santa Claus.

Although my upbringing was Southern Baptist, I've rarely entered a church during my adulthood, and
my husband's were not associated with a specific doctrine. We raised our children perpetuating the Santa myth. Neither of us could stand to look at the empty Christmas Tree all month (the tree was assembled and decorated the first Saturday after Thanksgiving) so we had presents under the tree all month. But stockings were always filled about midnight Christmas Eve (when we were sure all kids were finally soundly asleep), and the last gifts were put under the tree and labeled from Santa.

The Santa gift to each child was the most expensive, never wrapped, and usually the gift the children wanted the most, and purchased last minute to avoid the kid’s inquisitive adventures. There were also “family” gifts such as video games, music CDs, and other electronics all the kids (and parents) would share. When I divorced, the gift was often something we collaborated on and mutually paid for. Or something I purchased for the absent dad who forgot to buy for a child he no longer lived with.

But the stockings had a tradition of their own. It held the usual candy, a funky dollar tree puzzle game or slinky, and a wind up toy. As the kids grew to teens, there was always gift cards for movies and fast food, a tooth brush (seemed a good time to replace those), and some form of jewelry - even for the boys. The first year I did not hang stockings for my adult children who had moved out they all complained about the lack of a tooth brush and missed the Christmas morning wind up toy races. The races are a tradition from my first husband’s family, and so I also miss the early morning activity as it distances me from that coveted connection.

My daughter is the only one with a family of her own, and it pleases me that she is carrying on a lot of
the holiday traditions she grew up with, but also making her own traditions – influenced by her and her husband’s upbringing – and passing along something unique and special to future generations.

Tis the season for celebrating Family traditions. Where ever YOU are in the world, I hope you are thinking of your distant family and friends, remembering your past traditions, and forging new traditions for the future.

Happy Holidays everyone, however you celebrate the end of year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: CHRISTMAS COOKIES




Its Battle of the Bands time, hosted by the sexiest man alive Steven McCarthy and Far Away Series, and while I'm an inconsistent participant, I couldn't resist a bit of holiday fun. I put a lot of thought into this publication - didn't want my cynical or rock-a-billy/red neck nature to offend any true believers, so I think I settled on a compromise everyone should be able to enjoy.

I'm a Grinch when it comes to Christmas season, but there are some benefits to this time of year: COOKIES. I do believe when it comes to it, I could go a few munchie rounds with the Cookie Monster to get my share. Now, those of you who know me know that I'm not much of a cook, and even less of a baker, but I got my daughter, mom and sister to make up for my lack. And when it comes to the "home made" gifts - well, sugar cookies (no chocolate added) are my preferred gifts. UrUhm; sugar cookies any time of year.

Funnily enough, I've had occasion to bake Christmas Cookies when my now grown children were little, and my favorite ex-husband resembles the lyrics of this song. Yep, those were some good times.

This song is written and sung by the wholesome, country music icon George Strait, and originally appeared on his 1999 Christmas Album. And I'm sure some of ya'll are practically gagging on this artist's simplistic and traditional musical renditions. But please, please give this song a listen with all the intended fun of the holiday spirit.




I don't know who George's only cover rival for this song is. Never heard of him; although if you are from Oklahoma City you may have heard him as the weekday, mid-day DJ at 93.3 Jake/FM, or playing at Oklahoma's Official Country Music Show. Whatever, I think Owen Pickard (Centenial Rodeo Opry) is pretty good - at least for this song. And, I'm just grateful somebody else has covered this song on uTube, otherwise I would not have been able to feature it today.






Now, I hope you listened to at least one version all the way through; this is likely the cleanest, sweetest post you'll ever see from me, and if any one of you tells me you don't like Christmas cookies, or stealing 15 minutes of "kissin and huggin" between baking times, then you're likely more of a Grinch than I am!!

Leave your votes in the comments, and visit Stephen T McCarthy's BotB blog for a list of other participants.

And if you're not inclined to vote, at least leave me a favorite Christmas Cookie story in the comments. Nom nom, I'll just eat it all up.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

COZY AND DRY




Some days, no matter how far ahead I am, there is always just one more thing to take care of.

One more story to critique, one more book to read/review, one more round of revisions, or one last forray into the query realm. I'm almost looking forward to having the power go out so I can read a book by candle light.

Almost. No fireplace for heat, sadly.

Have a good weekend everyone. Stay warm dry and cozy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

PURPLE TREES: Ursula Wong guest post

Please join me in welcoming my guest author Ursula Wong, author of the women's fiction novel PURPLE TREES (Genretarium April 2014).

The Blurb: Lonely Lily Phelps is orphaned and in debt at seventeen. Her dark, hidden past causes her to see ghosts. This scared, naive girl must grow up fast if she is to find work, happiness, and build a future, but the weight of the past threatens everything she loves. Because of her terrible secret, Lily must protect her family form the worst danger of all – herself.

AUTHOR NOTES:

PURPLE TREES is a novel about salvation and love.

It’s about family secrets, and dealing with terrible experiences in unique ways. Lily, the main character, is a woman creeping toward madness, caused by a long-buried past tragedy. She is terrorized by life experiences that should bring joy, and does not understand why.

PURPLE TREES takes place on a Massachusetts dairy farm in the 1960s. I grew up on a dairy farm, and wrote scenes in the book of events that really happened. I hope readers get a feel for what the life-style was like. A scene where Lily goes to the barnyard to help her husband, Will, birth a calf is based on one of my husband’s first experiences on the farm. The cow pushed for a long time, and the calf finally slipped out. When it landed, it splashed afterbirth and worse onto my husband, a city boy from Brooklyn. I can still hear him squeaking as he ran to the house to clean up.

Other aspects of the story are pieced together from the experiences of many women I know.  No spoilers, but those who have read Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, or Carolyn Chute’s The Beans of Egypt, Maine will be on familiar ground when reading Purple Trees.

Purchase links:   Smashwords       Amazon

About the author Ursula Wong:

I’m a retired computer engineer with a husband, and a daughter who goes to college in California. We hope to become familiar with the Los Angeles area over the next few years. So far, we adore the beaches, but hate the traffic. I spend time writing every day, wherever I am. When we’re at home in Massachusetts, we’re involved in a number of volunteer organizations, including Habitat for Humanity.

My next novel, Amber Wolf, is about the farmers in Eastern Europe during WWII who fought against the Soviet occupation. The story brings together my ancestral heritage and my uncle’s experiences in the U.S. army in Europe during the war.

I also have a blog called Reaching Readers where I post very short stories, chronicle events, and announce new releases. For those who would like to receive the posts through email, send me a note at urslwng@gmail.com and I’ll sign you up.  You can see the collection of shorts on my website.

PURPLE TREES doesn't fall into an easy genre or category, so it’s work to find women who the book will speak to. I appreciate the chance to reach out to you through Donna Hole’s kindness and generosity in inviting me to post to her blog.

My review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story concept is simple and complex. Simple for the rural lifestyle depicted; complex for the issues of a child taxed with caring for her dying mother, then her father, and growing up with a brutal, life changing secret. It is a sad, and happy story; an otherwise  normal life plagued by an unbelievable secret. I laughed, and cried, and nodded in sympathy with the main character.

The story offers no moral conclusions; it just reports an untenable but common circumstance, and lets the reader decide if moral justice has been served in the end. I loved that the story begins in the present, with the main character, Lily, enticing her granddaughter to disclose a not-so-secret truth by way of telling her own life story. The story plot was obvious to the reader, but the author spun a masterful tale from the unreliable narrator's perspective.  I was drawn into the concept of how the two stories - the narrator Lily's past, and the granddaughter's present - were interwoven at strategic moments of the story building.

This story is not filled with action. The tension is expertly built through sympathetic characters trapped in a cycle of uncontrollable events. When it comes to story layers, Ms. Wong knows how to keep the readers interest. I was intrigued from the first sentence to the last. I highly recommend this the novel PURPLE TREES to any reader who is not afraid to dive into a story with complex moral dilemmas, and strong characters that deal with life as it is dealt.

I give this novel 5 stars, and would read more books by the author.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG

Hey Ya'll, its the first Wednesday of the month, and time Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

The last couple months I've been taking the writing life easy; revising some relics, participating in my critique group, submitting a couple queries. And taking advantage of all the bad weather to read some books. I've got a couple reviews to post here (first one on Dec 8) so my thoughts of taking the month off-line are kinda sidetracked. I wouldn't want to miss hopping around the blogs and visiting friends for IWSG though.

My biggest challenge for Nov and Dec is providing any type of negative feedback in my writers group. I get pretty cynical this time of year, and really prefer to keep my comments as positive and encouraging as possible. Good thing my daughter keeps me supplied with lots of home made snicker doodles to sweeten my moodiness.


And looky here, the IWSG GUIDE TO PUBLISHING is now available. Visit the IWSG web site for
publishing links.


Please offer your thanks to this months co-hosts: Heather Gardner, T Drecker, Eva E Solar and Patsy Collins.

Monday, November 17, 2014

BLOG BLITZ 2.0




If you have been a member of the BLOG BLITZ team, hosted by the compassionate and inspiring blogger DL Hammons, then you have experienced the joy giving blog love to brighten someone's day. Commenting on a random blog on Blitz Day has been a rewarding way of building community for me.

On the original BLOG BLITZ post, DL asks the question: what would it be like if the support, encouraging nature, and community spirit of the blogosphere were ever focused on a single blogger? Over the last year and half, 83 bloggers have experienced that mutually beneficial feeling of both giving and receiving a comment Blitz.

DL has revamped the list and encourages all those who are willing to join the team (or to rejoin the team) with the sole purpose of brightening a fellow blogger's day to add your name to the list, and proudly display the BLOG BLITZ banner on their own blog.

To DL Hammons, thank you for coordinating this encouraging event. To all those who have joined the team and commented on or nominated members for a BLOG BLITZ

 thank you for your community spirit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

REALMS FAIRE this week

Its a slow time for me; normally I'd be off on blog break between Nov 1 through January.  I still intend to be mostly absent during these couple months to spend time with family and catch up on reading and writing on my own writing projects.

If you are not participating in NaNo and find yourself some boredom time, M Pax has just the online fun you're looking for this week. I'll be hopping around the Realms Faire some to see what this is all about myself. There and games and prizes to be won; lots of free books to read during those long winter evenings and weekends.



Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Feeling Naked and BotB results



Here we are again, at the first Wednesday in November; the date to post for the monthly INSECURE WRITERS SUPPORT GROUP (sometimes known as the I Was Seeking Gary bloghop). The IWSG was founded and is hosted by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh "To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"  In your post Alex encourages authors to "Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time."

Each month our Ninja Captain generously allows a few members to co-host with him. November's co-hosts are LG Keltner, Lisa Buie-Collard, SL Hennesy, and myself.


My new start at this blog hasn't had the desired effect as a writing incentive.

I've been feeling kinda naked and undeveloped here. I miss my stuff I spent about five years collecting at the old site. I miss all the awards, the quotes, the links to my few published works. I miss my name, my blog fest writings, the guest posts and book reviews that comprised my writing life.

The last couple months I've been just hanging out at home. Its not easy for me to be without a day job (and might I add my son doesn't like me sitting home either) and it isn't just about the lack of money. I don't like being bored. I don't like domestic duties such as cooking, cleaning, doing yard work and sorting through junk.

I have time to write and blog, but am more interested in catching up on pleasure reading. I'm not so multi-talented to read a book (even beta for review), write, and critique for my writers group all at the same time. Plus, blogging and writing is what lost me my last day job. And since I'm still job hunting in the same field I have a hard time throwing all my energy into writing that I possibly can't submit if I want to keep the potential new day job.

I know this will all sort itself out and work out the way it is supposed to, but dang do I hate all this indecision. And waiting. And house cleaning.

Thats it for my insecurity this month: just feeling a bit naked and uninspired. Not a good thing during National Novel Writing Month. I hope everyone out there participating and supporting fellow authors is all revved up and excited. Good luck to y'all.

Be sure to visit as many IWSG participants on the linky as you can and brighten someone else's day.
* * *

As for the results of my Battle Of The Bands post on Nov 1 between Amos Lee and Art of Noise performing NOVEMBER RAIN:

of the 16 voters 13 voted for Amos; 1 voted for Art of Noise, and two voted for the original artists Guns and Roses, who were not in the running. A landslide in favor of Amos regardless.

See ya around the blogs :)


Monday, November 3, 2014

WHO'S YOUR HERO blogfest


Today I'm participating in Joy Campbell's WHO'S YOUR HERO? blogfest. I'm not sure my entry satisfies the criteria:

EVERYBODY has a hero/heroine. It can be real-life or a fictional hero/heroine.


Here is a list to get you thinking...
1.  The Perfect Hero
2.  The Misfit
3.  The Grizzled Old-Timer
4.  The Everyman
5.  The Anti-Hero
6.  The Prodigy
7.  The Loner Hero
8.  The Tragic Hero

I'm sure that's enough to get those creative juices
flowing. You can write a story/flash fiction, share an anecdote, write a poem... remember, you are only limited by your imagination...

Join us if you have a hero you can tell us about in 300 words.

There will be incentives, such as Amazon gift cards.


In my view, Hero’s are born, not made. I do not believe all hero’s fulfill their destiny; I think some fall aside and never realize their potential when the moment of decision comes, some use their gifts in egotistical quests for dominance over others, and some hide from their destiny.

But a few who are thrust into the position of Heroism rise to the calling and humbly bear the costs. My favorite hero’s have always had to make a choice to be THAT person. As with the superhero’s Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, Captain America, men born with the capacity to do great things but needed an inciting event to thrust the decision upon them; everyday hero’s also make a choice to heed the cause of greater good.

As a young girl, I satisfied my desire to witness heroism through the fantasy genre. Anne McCaffrey introduced me to Jaxom and Ruth in The Dragon Riders of Pern series. Jaxom was fathered by a villainous usurper, not expected to be anything but a duplicate of his father, but after being chosen by the runt dragon Ruth, the pair overcame their ddisastrousheritage with innate curiosity and a sense of integrity that consistently put them in a position to be saviors of their planet. David Eddings offered Belgarion, a farmboy born of the line of kings, gods and wizards, and when he stupidly asks the question “why me” his grandfather answers simply “who else would you trust to complete this task.”

Everyday hero’s don’t have superhuman or magical powers. Perhaps they exist to perform one task only at just the right moment and die in the attempt, or are lost in obscurity as they continue with ordinary lives. Or perhaps they make a lifetime commitment to heroism; firemen, police, soldiers, doctors and nurses.

Anyone can be a hero at any moment in their life, simply by choosing the path of empathy and integrity.

I hope you enjoyed my take on the WHO’S YOUR HERO BLOGFEST hosted by JL Campbell. Click here for the list of participants and/or to add your own name to the list and write your own post.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: NOVEMBER RAIN



After last nights dampening of the Halloween fun (at least in my neighborhood), I thought it'd be appropriate to share the power ballad song NOVEMBER RAIN for today's Battle of the Bands post. Battle of the Bands is hosted by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Series; a bi-monthly competition pitting two (or more) bands doing the same song cover against each other. Visit Mr McCarthy's BotB site for a list of participants and rules (seriously, there's one or two) for participation.

In my opinion, nothing compares with the sweeping orchestra as composed by singer/songwriter/musician Axl Rose of Guns 'N Roses, originally released on the USE YOUR ILLUSION I album in June 1992. So, there's no point in even posting any number of G'N R covers. Click here to hear/watch my favorite video for NOVEMBER RAIN if interested.

That said, it was difficult to find decent covers for the song due to poor video or sound quality, and perhaps none of the top metal bands want to compete with the masters. But I was determined that this song would be my Nov 1 show case, so after hours of searching, I did find two bands that I was willing to pit against each other. Neither of the videos seem to be professionally recorded, so the quality isn't what is normally expected.

First up is Amos Lee, performing live at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Nov 6, 2011. This got some very positive comments by viewers, including one that stated "best cover of GNR ever."





Next is a group called THE ART OF NOISE, and they are performing live at Base Rock Cafe in Karachi, Pakistan.





You be the judges. Cast your vote in the comments; and no, GNR votes do not count. This is a battle between two lesser known groups! I'll post my results with IWSG on Nov 5.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SOMETHING WICKED and WEP GHOST STORY.


  


Today I'm combining two blogfests for Halloween; 2 Krista's Something Wicked bloghop, and Write..Edit..Publish GHOST STORY. As you know, Halloween has also been named All Hallows Eve/All Saints Eve and Samhain in cultures other than the USA. I'll leave those two links and allow you to do your own research on Halloween, if you're interested. Usually for Halloween I'd write something totally creepy/bloody/puke worthy/offensive.

This year I'm going for subtlety. Don't want to be too predictable, ya know, with this new blog. For Write..Edit..Publish Ghost story, I'm submitting a different kind of ghost, more commonly associated as a muse, guardian angel, or demon; and hoping it also fits the 2 Krista's category for most suspicious (although I'm over word count at 634). My interpretation of both blogfests is a twist in mythology, Judeo-Christianity, and the occult.

Oh, and I do realize the writing is recycled from my former blog. I had a reason for this, hopefully something better than I just didn't have time to create something new (beta reading, researching agents to query my novel, re-reading old works to see what to start writing on, job hunting) but I forget what the reason is . . .
***

The Daemon Azazel tipped the flask of never-ending draught to his lips and drank deeply of Valhalla mead, ignoring the incessant knocking at his cell door. He’d experienced the temerity of Lilith for ages, sometimes partaking of her sexuality between assignments. Lilith had been indisposed on a secret mission when Azazel had failed with King Arthur, and an eon had passed Earth side as he contemplated his purpose in the universe.

“You cannot hide from me forever Azazel. I will sit here, singing your praises, until you admit me.”

“Spare me your false accolades.” Azazel waved away the wards barring entrance to his sanctuary.

Lilith flounced through the entry as if she feared his good will would end before she could enter. Azazel smiled at her attempt at deviousness. He was sure she could have blasted through his simplistic wards with barely a thought, especially since she was the one being he never seriously wanted to keep out.

Lilith was created by Samael to be a lover and guide for Adam when the youngling El set himself up as the one God and changed his name to Yahweh. Such arrogance was unheard of in the Realms, and Azazel was as surprised as most that the Elder Gods had abandoned Earth and did not intervene to stop Yahweh’s madness.

The Daemon Chieftan Samael became the voice of opposition to Yahweh’s claim to sovereignship. Although he had not openly chosen sides in the debate, Azazel silently supported Samael’s campaign to dislodge the arrogant, fledgling God.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Lilith. Last I heard you were influencing the Queen of Sheba to corrupt Solomon.”

“Yester year’s news Azzy, Joan of Arc is so much more interesting a subject. Do try to keep up.” She conjured bread, cheese and fruit on a low table and situated it between them as she sank onto a velvet divan.

Azazel grunted as he floated a juicy papaya into his hand. It was rumored among the Daemons that Yahweh himself spoke to the child, leaving an imprint that even Lilith’s considerable talents of deception could not dissuade.

“What do you want of me?”

“My master wishes only for you to continue your neutrality in the Free Will debate between himself and Yahweh. They have agreed that certain scientists will remain ‘off limits’ to both, as long as you have acknowledged your mentorship of the scientific philosophies the individuals were born to invent.”

Even in his sabbatical Azazel sensed Samael and Yahweh’s distress at the Renaissance phase of humanity. Every Daemon in the Cosmos had been alerted to the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, but as a resident of the 7th Realm of Heaven, only Azazel had known of the prodigy’s existence prior to his birth.

“What’s the catch?”

To his surprise, Lilith opened her mind to his extensive probing. As the first demon created by Samael, Lilith wielded considerable powers, in many ways rivaling Azazel’s. When she chose to mentally protect her secrets, she was extremely effective. She allowed him to witness the agreement between Samael and Yahweh; and he garnered acceptance from both entity’s.

He thought of the possibilities of infusing scientology to human beings. Minor nudging’s against the concept of heaven and hell would be all that was required. He could indulge his natural inclinations to observe to draw him back into the Earthly Realm.  And if the boy occasionally heard voices, or reported messages in his dreams? Well, it was the age of enlightenment on Earth. After much consideration, he spread cheese on a slice of bread, and washed it down with a healthy swallow from his flask.

Lilith laughed around a hunk of pineapple as he tasted goat milk instead of mead in his never-ending flask.

“Time for you to return to the haunting work you were created for Azazel.”
***
Happy Halloween everyone, thanks for reading. Be sure to visit Write..Edit..Publish, Krista McLaughlin and Krista Wayment for links to more Ghost and Wicked stories, or to submit your own writing to the linky's.

Friday, October 24, 2014

3rd Annual Spooktoberfest

My contribution to Cover Girl's, Jackie Felger and Dani Bertrand's, 3rd Annual Spooktoberfest isn't really scary, but maybe slightly creepy will qualify. I got this idea while researching for another story concept, and a little word-play later this is what came about for the five prompt words: chill, cocoon. commotion, curse and virus.

The final lines of the criteria states: Your flash fiction piece can be scary, comical, romantic, or whatever you choose, just be creative! You can use pictures to set the scene and/or a song to set the mood. The winners will be posted on HALLOWEEN, Oct. 31st!





“Melvin, where ya goin' with that ax?”

Melvin ignored his nosy neighbor and kept walking up the lane, the ax resting comfortably on his right shoulder.

“Melvin?”

Samuel caught up with Melvin in two strides, his towering shape casting a chill over Melvin that he couldn’t shiver off. Melvin looked up, feeling a strain in his neck as he searched for his giant-like friends face. The man seemed to be taller than he remembered, and a trick of fading day lit Samuel’s skin like eyes from his head to his unclad feet.

“Ye’ve made quite the commotion over your intentions in yon tavern. Are ye set fer sure on this wicked course?”

Melvin’s steps faltered as he leveled his sight on a hidden cove three leagues up the coastline. “The she-witch has stolen the souls of too many of our bairns. She must be stopped.”

The eyes that dappled Samuel’s skin seemed brighter, compelling the fearful truth from Melvin. “Many o’ young un hast died of an unnamed virus within fourteen days of birth over the last decade. Te only surviving babes have been delivered in a cocoon, a sure mark o’ the devil. The midwife smothered me son, as she’s done with all such births. I aim to rid us of this witch, and deliver the souls of our children.”

“Foolish mortals,” Samuel roared, growing with such speed that Melvin lost sight of the beings knees and ankles in a matter of seconds.

The Earth quaked and the wind roared as Samuel spread blindingly white wings. Snakes of every kind slithered from crevasses so deep the fires of Hel lapped at fertile fields.  In a voice heard by all in the land of Eire, Samuel pronounced his doom.

“The caul was my mark of protection, delivering them from Lilith’s dominion. The devil shall truly take thee now.”

****

Monday, October 20, 2014

SURVIVE AND THRIVE BLOGHOP

Today is the SURVIVE AND THRIVE bloghop, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh, L Dianne Wolf, Michael DiGesu, and Stephen Tremp.

The blogfest is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.

The topics are wide open. You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.

I've chosen the simple topic of preventing multiple childhood diseases through immunizations. Immunizing your children can - and does - prevent the spread of deadly/debilitating diseases such as polio, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, measles, diptheria, pneumococcal, hepititis A and B and yes, even the mostly harmless chicken pox that later causes painful shingles in older adults. (google any of the listed diseases to see the severity of symptoms)

During my work in social services I encountered many many parents - especially very young parents - who opted not to immunize their children for various reasons; the least common due to religious affiliation. Most cited that it was not worth the 1/whatever-hundred-thousands risk of death that taking the vaccine for diseases that have been eradicated in the US may cause.

The Canadian based VRAN.org has several articles  that state VRAN:  knows many cases of children severely damaged or dead due to vaccinations. In the 1980’s, paediatrician Robert Mendelsohn, MD voiced his concern: “There is growing suspicion that immunization against relatively harmless childhood diseases may be responsible for the dramatic increase in autoimmune diseases since mass inoculations were introduced.

This article by the CDC disagrees: Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild. On the other hand, many vaccine-preventable disease symptoms can be serious, or even deadly. Even though many of these diseases are rare in this country (USA), they still occur around the world and can be brought into the U.S., putting unvaccinated children at risk. The November 11, 2013 Boston Globe health and wellness article also reflects the CDC opinion with:
While there are rare side effects, medical researchers say the risk of not vaccinating is much greater. Other than smallpox, which has been eradicated, most diseases unseen for decades in the United States — from measles and mumps to Hepatitis B and rubella — still exist somewhere in the world. In October, the United Nations identified an outbreak of polio in Syria, where UNICEF reports that 95 percent of children had been vaccinated before the civil war started in 2011. In the past two years, hundreds of thousands of children have gone without immunizations.
“They’re only a plane ride away. And every year the number of kids getting exempted (from vaccines) grows,” said Dr. Lawrence Madoff, director of Epidemiology and Immunization for Massachusetts. “When immunization rates fall, it doesn't take long, even in a developed country, for diseases to resurge.
A recent ScientificAmerica article reports: 
Last year 10 children died in California in the worst whooping cough outbreak to sweep the state since 1947. In the first six months of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 10 measles outbreaks—the largest of which (21 cases) occurred in a Minnesota county, where many children were unvaccinated because of parental concerns about the safety of the standard MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. At least seven infants in the county who were too young to receive the MMR vaccine were infected.
These troubling statistics show that the failure to vaccinate children endangers both the health of children themselves as well as others who would not be exposed to preventable illness if the community as a whole were better protected. Equally troubling, the number of deliberately unvaccinated children has grown large enough that it may be fueling more severe outbreaks. In a recent survey of more than 1,500 parents, one quarter held the mistaken belief that vaccines can cause autism in healthy children, and more than one in 10 had refused at least one recommended vaccine.
This sad state of affairs exists because parents have been persistently and insidiously misled by information in the press and on the Internet and because the health care system has not effectively communicated the counterarguments, which are powerful. Physicians and other health experts can no longer just assume that parents will readily agree to childhood inoculations and leave any discussion about the potential risks and benefits to the last minute. They need to be more proactive, provide better information and engage parents much earlier than is usually the case.
My kids are mostly grown and I'm a grandmother now, but when I was starting my own family in the
1980's I read everything the doctors handed me on the risks and side effects of immunizing my child. I also read all the information about the risks of not taking the immunizations. There wasn't a vaccine for the chicken pox when my kids were young, and even though I don't see that one as life threatening, who knows how the virus strains have changed in the intervening years with all the influx of immigration from countries that do not typically immunize their children.

I'd advise my daughter to give it to her kids, if she had not made her own decision to immunize. I guess my personal philosophy is I'd rather my kids (and grandkids) take the minimal risk of death (or have a severe reaction) from the vaccine than get infected with a preventable disease, and possibly infect others. Immunizations save immensely more lives than they take.

Thanks for reading my contribution to the SURVIVE AND THRIVE BLOGHOP. If this post, or the idea of the bloghop itself, has inspired you to write your own post, or to visit other participants, check out the linky here.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

BALANCE: READING AND WRITING



I've gotten out of the habit of reading, and writing; and I miss both activities. When I finished my FATE trilogy and began submitting to agents/publishers, and got rejections, and a few short words of writing advice, I started collecting books on writing. Those helped me hone my writing abilities. Working with critique partners and writing book reviews also helped. Yes, oddly enough, reading for another writer with the intent of constructive feedback made it possible for me to objectively look at my own writing (occasionally at least).

With all that writing, and reading for writing, I've lost the ability to just sit down and read a book for the enjoyment of getting lost in another world. Well, over the last couple years I have read some books that pulled me right in to the story, and then writing the review was a little more difficult because I didn't keep notes of the exciting and intriguing segments of the book, and I despise writing a review that simply says 'what an awesome book, couldn't put it down' even though its totally true.

During my first week of unemployment I indulged in a book not written by any of my author friends.
Stephen King is still, and will likely forever remain, one of my most favoritist authors. I've had his novella THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE for a couple years, and finally read it. What an awesome start back into pleasure reading; I loved reacquainting with the characters from the DARK TOWER series, and even meeting new characters in this three-short stories-in-one  novella style. The head hopping was a little annoying, but not so much it pulled me out of the story. A good example of a writing no-no that was done well.

Now I'm reading Dean Koontz 77 SHADOW STREET, its harder to get into due to the large cast of characters, but I'm sticking with it because I know I usually enjoys Koontz's writing, and I am sure the story plot will pay off when all the characters are inevitably brought together to deal with the monster. The characters are interesting enough for me to keep connected to the story; but I'm sure many readers would find it hard to read all that back story and character development. For now though, I'm constantly putting it down to do other things - house cleaning, watching TV, checking on blogs.

Notice how I'm still procrastinating wring my own stories. I'm a week late in turning in my chapter re-write to the my online writer's group (at time of this writing, hopefully by the post date it will be turned in and I'm starting something else). Unlike many writers who sit down to the computer ready ready to dive back into their WiP, I need some warm up time by reading something writing related, or even writing some comments on blog posts to get my fingers a typing workout. Sometimes that leads me to write a blog post. Yay me, I'm updating my blog!!

This isn't even the post I started out to write when I logged into my blog. I started off this morning checking my e-mails, and since I'm trying to get back into writing, and reading things related to writing, I decided to read some of those Writer's Digest and Quora Digest articles I have sitting unopened in my inbox.

As writing articles tend to do, there wasn't much new from the WD articles and I didn't even click on the "read more" link. But Quora had some interesting reading.

The first eye catcher written by Marcus Geduld was on whether you should start a paragraph with "however." He summarized his grade school experience with an English teacher who taught him all sorts of rules, which he discovered he could effectively break when he became a writer by explaining: "However, when I got older, I realized that the writers's job is to infect the reader's brain. He should use any means at his disposal to make readers experience. The only rules worth remembering are ones that help that process." This brought a smile to my soda-stained lips and brightened my writing desire with a "true that!"

I should have turned immediately to writing then, but just below the article was an intriguing title  WHAT IS THE POINT OF WRITING by Ellen Vrana. She advised writers: If you are defining success as "being popular" you really shouldn't be a writer. She listed some attention seeking authors who enjoyed the light of media, and some successful but not so popular authors who are reclusive and shun the public. Both author types had one thing in common though; Writers - professional, amateur, Quorans - write because they cannot not write. They have something inside of them that has to get out: characters, a story, a tale, wisdom, knowledge, opinions, viewpoints, questions, fear, frustration, answers, love. That statement made me think a about my own ability to procrastinate at writing, so I scrolled down a bit for some extra writing inspiration.

Marc Bodnic caught my attention with WHAT NOVELS HAVE THE BEST OPENING LINES OR OPENING PARAGRAPHS. He listed many of the classics you'd predict in his top 20: Moby Dick, Pride and Predjudice, Anna Karinna, Lolita, 1984, Tale of Two Cities, you get the drift. I was looking for my favorite first liner which comes from Charlotte's Web: "Mama, where's daddy going with that ax?" I didn't find it. I never read the story Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, but I'm pretty sure that 145 word run-on sentence for a first paragraph would have turned me off the book completely. Maybe not if I lived in 1759 . .

I read a couple more, a very good flash fiction that made me laugh, and a question on whether you need to be a good reader to be a good writer, and what what you can learn by reading effectively, even fiction, and of course this brings me back to me decision of whether to read today - that fiction novel I'm having a hard time dedicating to or some writing tutorial - or whether to sit down with this first chapter re-write and finally get it off my to do list. My deadline is quickly approaching.

You see I finally opted for writing a blog post. Its over a thousand words - thanks for reading this far, if you didn't just skim to the end - and I'm considering using this post as my daily word count. LOL, I'm hearing the collective gasp even though I'm scheduling this post a week from this writing. However, one of my greatest strengths at the day job has been my ability to prioritize, and I woke up this morning with the intention of completing, editing and submitting my chapter re-write before going to bed; so that is what I will do. I'm sure.

I'll let you know how well I did in the comments when this post is up.

Do you have a writing and reading schedule? How well do you stick to it?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NOBODY KNOWS book tour, Kyra Lennon

Nobody Knows


Kyra Lennon's Nobody Knows CR Banner

Cover

Kyra Lennon's Nobody Knows Ebook Cover


Book Info


Title: Nobody Knows

Author: Kyra Lennon

Genre: NA Romance

Type: First in Series (Razes Hell Book 1)

Cover Design: Najila Qamber Design

Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography

Release Date: November 3rd 2014


55666-add-to-goodreads-button


Book Jacket


Kyra Lennon's Nobody Knows Book Jacket 



Synopsis It's not easy be

ing friends with rising rock stars - especially when you're the glue that holds them together.

Razes Hell has taken off in the charts, and Ellie can't believe her childhood friends, Drew and Jason Brooks, are on TV and drawing crowds after years spent playing in dodgy bars. From obscurity to overnight success, Ellie soon realises life in the public eye isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as dark secrets become headline news and old conflicts are re-ignited. When a fake feud meant to boost the band’s popularity threatens to rip the boys apart for real, Ellie finds herself torn – a position which only gets more uncomfortable when her loyalty to Jason collides with her blossoming relationship with Drew.

Nobody knows how deep their issues run; nobody but Ellie. With friendship, a music career and a new love on the line, can Ellie keep their tangled pasts from ruining their futures?

Pre-Order Links

AmazonUS | AmazonUK

Teasers






Meet Kyra Lennon 


Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.


Follow Kyra Lennon


Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads


Hosted By




CLP_BANNER_PIC

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: New Inspirations

Wow, time flies when you're sitting around doing nothing. Well, not totally nothing, catching up on all those domestic duties that I never had time (or inclination) to start.  For this months edition of Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by the dreamy Alex J Cavanaugh, I'd like to re-introduce myself and then pimp out our illustrious host and the IWSG website.

My insecurity this month is a fear of starting all over again. I deleted my original blog at A WRITERS LIFE IN PROGRESS early in September, in hopes of saving my day job. The intent was to quit blogging and writing as it was deemed 'inappropriate' for a social worker to be that public. Skip to later in the month after losing my day job anyways, and I'm hoping there is a way to remain in my daily profession (once I'm employed again) and still satisfy my desire to be a published (and public) author.

Maintaining balance in personal and public life will be a priority mission for me in developing this new blog.  An extremest by nature, this should prove a challenge for me in any personae. I'm taking my time getting this new home up and running, so stay tuned to see if my usual sarcasm can keep itself in check through the process. Thanks to all of you who have already shown me your support and encouragement by re-following.

For all of you who have started over with anything in your lives - career, marriage/family, relocation, hobbies, or that creative outlet of writing, music, art - I commend your courage and resilience, and hope you succeeded to your own satisfaction.


Congratulations to the IWSG Website on its one year Anniversary. In honor of the site's success, the moderators are compiling an anthology and invite all bloggers to submit their best tips in their blog post today.

The purpose of the book is to assist other writers on the journey, so we are looking for tips and instructions in the areas of writing, publishing, and marketing. It can be inspirational in nature as long as you provide a solid benefit. We’ve already received a lot of great entries–mostly in the area of writing–so looking for some good tips on publishing and marketing. Be sure to state which category, add a one line by-line, and permission for us to use it in the book.

Once you have posted on October 1, go to this page at the IWSG site and enter your link. Deadline for submissions is October 2.

I don't have any tips to contribute, but I'm sure I will appreciate all of  your submissions.

Have a good week/weekend everyone. Be sure to visit Alex's helpers: Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue.

Friday, September 19, 2014

WHO AM I

Hello;

I'm Donna. Some of you may know me by another blog name - A Writers Life In Progress.

I've had some tough choices to make lately, and if you followed me before and read my last post, you know what those were. Life has excellent lessons to teach, and sometimes I learn from those lessons, even if I don't agree with the eventual outcomes. Live and learn, right? So, here I am again. Starting over. I don't entirely remember how I built up the last blog concept, so this site may be under maintenance for a long time while I figure it out.

While I'm figuring things out, I'll be visiting my old pals and leaving comments with this new blog name BOOK LOVER,. I hope that is what happens. I'm not tech-savvy and I'm not finding all my old info on this new blogger template. Much different than when I created my first blog. Revamping is not a technical skill I've learned.  Wooh, I'm dizzy with all the changes! I may have to add my former name, and perhaps the signature that everyone has giggled about (dhole), in my first few comments on your blogs.

Before I deleted the old blog, I spent a lot of time reviewing it, reading old posts, remembering people and interests over the last five years, noting how I've grown as an author and blogger. I will miss seeing my perpetual growth, but need to live in the present.  In deleting me, I found I also deleted a lot of content from fellow bloggers, and that hurt my heart more than erasing my personal info from my blog. But as I've grown, so have all those I've consistently interacted with over the years. Change is inevitable

So occasionally I'll be resurrecting that old blog to pull up author interviews, book reviews, and such writerly stuff. I'll let y'all know when I'm reposting something and you can let me know if you want to resurrect it as posted, or make updated changes. I got all your e-mail addresses, of course.

However, if you followed me before, and are willing to follow me here, I have a request: please unfollow me at the old blog and delete me from your blog roll. Yes, I'll feel the knife in my heart (briefly). But it is necessary, as I am re-imagining myself here. A second chance, ya know!?! And, I don't want to show up in your blog roll for a few minutes, or few days, and have you confused and wondering what's up with me. Testing. . . .

To make any changes to a blog, there has to be a first post. Well, here it is, the first under my new identity. Any suggestions how to make it awesome? Let me know in the comments please.

Now I'm off to find that "customize" button and figure out how to put the parts of me that always pleased Me (without being too personal) back on my blog.

Anyone know how to put a "followers" gadget on this thing? The Google+ gadget is the closest I've found and it doesn't have a button to click on. I'm so lost .. . (found the followers gadget; thanks Dezz and Alex)