Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sept. 30th already?

I've been working a lot of hours at the second job.  I do perk up when I get the result on a pay stub - paying bills and picking up a few splurge items at the grocery store.  My diet changes when I'm on the go, but I've been pretty good about not buying fast food since my daughter is away at college and no longer working with me part-time on weekends.

I'm actually down a couple pounds so I finally shed my NaNo weight from last year - hey, we meet in Starbucks and Starbucks at Barnes and Noble.  Fraps are delicious and full of calories.  One Starbucks was trying to help me kick the habit by slipping me a coffee-tainted Frap two separate times.  Seems cleaning the equipment is a low priority at that location (I'm the only coffee hater who writes?).  I'm torn - it's the closest write in location to where I live, and perhaps they've changed their filthy ways.

Speaking of NaNo - tomorrow, October 1st, I start plotting the sequel to Sucks.  I have some ideas, starting with the need to get them out of that house.  I have 30 days to expand on that concept.

In November, I hope to still be working two jobs, and my daughter will be home a week during that month.  Details aren't known about who is picking up, or if she's taking the train or bus into the area.  I may be the last to know.

With this amount of uncertainty about what's happening in November and how much free time I'll have, I'm still participating in National Novel Writing Month - are you?  Yes = good.  No = why not?

I'm not belittling the feat of writing 50,000 words in 30 days - not everyone can do that.  I've heard great ideas at the end of October kickoff party that had me sputtering into a shame spiral.  My stories are not going to change the world, unless you want to think if a traditional publisher touches my scribbles, it'll be set back to the Gutenberg days.

One day you're going to write a book?  How about starting November 1, 2012 - that day would be great.

The key is continuing to write, even when you think something has gone horribly wrong in your story (such as leaving the electricity on when you've flooded the city - my Neferseshotep doh!).  It's the word count, nothing but word count.  Start writing future scenes, back story, interviews with the characters after all is said and done ... keep writing.   In December, or maybe January or February, that's when you go back and start fixing it up.

I didn't finish Neferseshotep's first draft yet, and it's going to take time to straighten out the 50 thousand and something words I already wrote.  I actually had some contraction before I began adding words back in a hundred at a time, and I know it's slow-going because I still have the initial characters together and they're still in New York City.    Outline wise, I'm good, but there's some style-tweaking going on. I'm also trying to figure out where some test readers are settling into 'seen this before'/trope expectations that I'm having trouble seeing on the horizon.  This is just like ______, then I go look up the established work and scratch my head.   I do see some Narnia and Tolkien aspects, but since the characters are not united in a common goal (do some miss that half the characters don't give a rat's patootie?), is this a small scale Game of Thrones?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Author Blog-In: The Disenchanted Pet by Kate Policani

The Disenchanted Pet

By Kate Policani

Short synopsis:
Far into the future, the Earth is ruled by the ShaZha, a hyper-intelligent race of alien beings who are plagued by the violence and volatility of the human race. Supposedly intending to repair the broken societies and polluted planet, they have found the Human problem to be much more complex than they ever imagined. Zarah is a Prodigy, an obedient human, with a caring ShaZha master. Zarah wants to prove all her master’s hopes that humans can be civilized and responsible. When she is lost by her master and exposed to the other side of humanity, she must confront the possibility she might be not a valued citizen, but a pet.
I am currently writing my next book called The Stray, a second book set in the ShaZha Earth. It isn’t a sequel, but the story connects with The Disenchanted Pet
Buy The Disenchanted Pet on Amazon (Kindle and Paperback. Kindle copy free with Amazon Prime)
To buy multiple ebook formats, go to
To buy the paperback, click here:
For great reviews:
Long Synopsis:
The Disenchanted Pet is ashort Science Fiction novel that takes place in the popular “post-apocalyptic Earth” setting,  exploreing the unique problems with the Human Race and how to “fix” it.
Zarah is a young, optimistic girl, entering into the exciting world of adulthood with an idealistic perspective. But Zarah lives in the a future where Humanity is ruled by an alien race occupying Earth in order to rehabilitate and repair the planet and its people.
Reality intrudes on Zarah’s unspoiled outlook when she is attacked and separated from her SaSa, an alien guardian who is like a parent to her. Trapped within the Feral Facility, pregnant and separated from her home and new husband, she learns all the mistakes about the reality she believed in. She sees that the “Ferals”, who who aren’t serviceable within  the ShaZha’s plans, are not necessarily the monsters her Prodigy society has portrayed them to be.
Suffering through the harsh truth about her world and the errors in her ideals, she must face a future without the assurances upon which she always relied.
The Disenchanted Pet appeals to Science Fiction lovers as well as readers who have never explored the genre before. It explores the disillusionment of growing up and the harsh realities of adulthood, but with aliens.
Cover Art by Heidi Barnett and Erik Sederstrom

Monday, September 17, 2012

Author Blog In: Destructive Magic by R. Leonia Shea

The struggle for power has begun. The United Coven and Alliance is rumored to be crumbling from the inside. Magical practitioners who operate outside the powerful organization are being tracked down. The Dominion, a powerful Afro-Caribbean relic has been stolen and four people are missing. Coyote, the mythical trickster spirit, believes Dr. Arienne Cerasola is the right person to hunt down the missing artifact and restore the balance. Maybe Arienne, an unemployed archaeologist and inexperienced witch, is the person destined to save the magical worldor maybe Coyote’s belief that she has a seventy-percent chance of success is a grave miscalculation.
A cast of characters, including a crazy voudoun priestess, a scattered former archaeology professor, and the always unpredictable Coyote join Arienne on this adventure to recover a relic that poses a threat to humanity as well as the magical world.  Areinne can either sit on the sidelines and help from a distance or she can jump into the fray and live with the consequences of her decision.
Read on for the first chapter of the book!
Chapter 1

I walked through the fields and admired the sunlight slanting through the trees.  My new home was in such a peaceful and serene setting that it always made me happy.  The mailbox was installed at the end of the dirt path that I called a driveway.  I loved the morning trek to the mailbox more than I ever thought possible.
I pulled open the metal door to the mailbox and peered inside.  The package I’d been waiting for had arrived and excitement surged through me.  I pulled the small package out and jogged back to the barn where Basir and I lived.  He would still be sleeping, having given in to his nocturnal nature since our move to the new home.
At the kitchen table, I tossed the bills to the side and grabbed a pair of scissors from the metal bucket I used to hold my office supplies.  I slit the packing tape and opened the box, letting myself feel the rush of anticipation – the box contained a whole new identity for me.
The small cards were brightly colored with flowers and garden tools.  Garden Magic Landscaping Service -  Make your garden magical.  Arienne Cerasola – proprietor.  The new business cards were exactly what I had wanted.
It was a fresh start.  No more job interviews that ended in “we’ll be making our decision in a few days” (translation, “you’re not getting the job”).  I would be self-employed; no more worrying about getting fired (again).  No more finding magical items or meeting magical beings that tried to trick me.  No more worries about killing someone who was trying to kill me.  The last thought sent a shiver of remorse down my spine.
I focused on the cards again – I needed to break the habit of dwelling on the past.  My future was printed in front of me and while it wasn’t exactly a dream job, I hoped I’d be able to use my earth elemental magic to make a living that wasn’t quite as dangerous as the other magical occupation I had tried.  I might as well find some use for my witch side.  Preferably a use that wasn’t quite as risky as my last foray into the magical world.
I stuck one of the cards to the refrigerator with a magnet.  Basir would see it when he woke up.  I looked around at the unfinished space inside the barn I was trying to convert to a home and decided I could spend some time gathering wild herbs on the property.  I loved wandering through the fields and I pulled my canvas tote off the rack by the door and headed outside.
The tiny Berkshire Mountain town we had decided to settle in suited us.  It was close to the major cities, but remote enough to offer us the relaxed and private lifestyle we wanted.  Basir was thrilled with it, and I felt more comfortable than I had in a long time.  There was no need to worry about where we were going to end up next.  No more fear about the United Coven and Alliance tracking us down.  Since I wasn’t exactly practicing magic, they were ignoring me.  I wanted to keep it that way.
If they were ignoring me, then they didn’t know that I had killed one of their warlocks in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  There was an up-side of being considered completely inept – the Alliance would never think I was powerful enough to have done that.
I ran my hand through my copper colored hair and tilted my face toward the morning sun.  A few more freckles didn’t really matter to me.  I was about to become a landscaper, so I’d have an outdoorsy glow to me from now on.  I’d tan to a very pale, freckled honey shade, like I’d been when I worked as a field archaeologist – back before my magical talents started leaking out and creating disaster for me.  Jeez, I released one little demon (okay, it was a nasty demon) but I managed to contain it (by collapsing a ruin, but still – it was contained), and yet nobody wanted to hire me as a field archaeologist.  Go figure.  My Ph.D. was totally useless and I had to accept that.
I decided the past was the past and I bent to pick a few shoots of wild onions.  I would focus on the present and the future, no more lamenting things!  When my fingers closed around the onions, a whisper of magic came through the ground.  The hair stood up on my arms, and a shiver traveled the length of my spine.  I looked around at the meadow and squinted into the woods.  It had been a few months since I’d felt anything magicaland I didn’t like the sudden reappearance of it.
I bent and took a few more onions, crouching to hide my face.  I took another look around and I didn’t see anything threatening, but my senses remained on edge.  I tucked the onions into my canvas bag and walked toward the barn, keeping my stance relaxed despite the panicked little warning alarm in my head.
I bent again at a clump of clover, and pretended to pick the white flowers off the stalks.  I laid my other palm on the ground as if to steady myself and tuned into the waves of energy around me.
I felt it more clearly that time.  Something very powerful was nearby.  The hair on the back of my neck tingled, and a cold fear knotted my stomach.  If I concentrated, I could almost feelsomething watching me.  I gathered what energy I could from the ground and readied myself.  I would need power to put up any sort of fight.
I walked on, meandering toward the barn and concentrating on looking calm.  I bent every few steps as if to pluck a bloom, and laid my palm against the earth.  I could feel the magic coming through the ground, and I carefully sipped from the currents so as not to tip off whatever lurked in the woods.  If I drew in a large amount of power, it would be obvious that I was preparing for an attack.  I needed the element of surprise.
I had worked for days on a concealment spell to shield my property from view and memory.  I had woven the energy around the perimeter into a sort of magical fence that would give serious unwelcoming vibes to anyone who crossed it.  It wasn’t called an offensive/defensive barrier for nothing.
Yet something was lurking in the woods.  Something that shouldn’t have been able to cross the barrier.
I walked a little faster.
The prickling sensation on the back of my neck intensified and I quickly reviewed all of the spells I knew I had some chance of performing should I be attacked.  It was a depressingly short list.
I cast a protective bubble around myself, drawing the currents of energy out of the earth and knitting them around my body.  I channeled a little energy into the amulet I wore around my neck, just for good measure.  I wondered if there was an expiration date on amulets or if I should have recharged it somehow.
This magic thing really wasn’t working out too well, considering that I had an intruder on my magically protected property and I didn’t know if my amulet would work.  It wasn’t exactly a good time to be thinking about those details, and I made a promise to myself to try to plan better.  Yeah, right.
I could feel whatever was in the woods still watched
me.  I looked down at my arm and saw the translucent hairs on my forearms standing straight up.
I looked at my wrist, pretending to check the time.  My watch was on the kitchen table in the house.  As if remembering I had someplace to be, I hoisted the canvas bag onto my shoulder and set off back toward the barn.  My pace was a little quicker, fueled by the rising panic in my chest.
Something rustled the leaves behind me.
I didn’t turn, but I quickened my pace to a jog.  A wash of magic brushed against my skin.  Whatever followed me was way more powerful than I was.  I ran faster, spurred by the adrenaline and the prickles of fear on my skin.
Leaves crunched behind me and I felt my pursuer gaining on me.  The sounds of panting echoed in my ears, magnified by magic or fear.  The air was suddenly charged with electricity and I tried to grab it, to add it to my own reserves.  I ran even faster, pulling on the currents of energy desperately to fuel my body as well as my magic.
A scream was trapped in my throat.  I was too far from the barn.  I could only just see the roof over the next rise.  I didn’t realize I had walked that far!  I ran full out, throwing the canvas bag down and pumping my arms, trying to draw oxygen in over the knot of dread in my chest.
My own feet crunched through the tall grass, and I heard and felt something gaining on me.  The thrashing sounds behind me grew louder as if clamoring to be heard over my own ragged breathing.  I could see the siding on the barn, and make out the furniture on the patio.  I pushed my tired limbs faster.
Almost there.  Come on, Arienne!  Move it!
The sounds behind me suddenly ceased and a choked sob escaped from my throat one second before something crashed into the center of my back.
I fell, arms outstretched and slammed onto the ground.  I tumbled into a summersault and reached for the power in the earth.  I grabbed frantically at it, trying to channel it into the amulet I wore.  I rolled onto my back, eyes wide with terror and looked directly at the sharp teeth of my attacker.  Its jaws were opened as if to tear out my throat, and a scream exploded out of me.
Also available in paperback from

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Author Blog In: The Artist's Inheritance by Juli D. Revezzo

Day 2 of the groovy September 2012 Blog-In: 

(Antique Magic Book #1)
by Juli D. Revezzo
Available now at Amazon and Smashwords
Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family.

If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Book Two in the Antique Magic series forthcoming: Shadow of What She Once Was

Friday, September 14, 2012

Author Blog-In: End of the World Sucks (mine)

Oh no, she's posted this before! 

Yes, I'm participating in Kate's September blog-in also.  More authors and more books:

The End of the World Sucks by Sharon Trembley

This is a genre blender book that might be compared to Lord of the Flies meets Let the Right One In in a post-zombie apocalyptic world. Don't worry though, it's about the people even though there are elements of horror.

Zombies, a Vampire, or her fellow Man - Which is most likely to kill Vanna Ames? Who can she trust? 

After surviving a whole month past the End of the World by hiding and staying quiet, recent college graduate and fashion retail employee, Vanna, luckily finds others who have gathered together as a community for their mutual survival on a college campus. 

Although claiming to be a democratic society, tempers become frayed, decisions defy logic, and rules are broken. Further emboldened by the lack of society and law, some even gain a sense of entitlement because they are self-labeled heroes.

Now that all the rules have changed, a vampire arrives with a deal - his help for blood. An equally beneficial offer or a Faustian bargain? 

As the community's flaws grow, Vanna must decide whether to stick with her own kind in relative safety, or reject their community service nightmare, risk her life, and appeal to a vampire who claims his only interest is human blood.

And for the Author Blog In, here's an excerpt to give a better idea of Vanna's character because she is a character.  This occurs after Vanna hears gun shots early in the book and goes for a walk to find out what happened -

     When she reached a point where two rolls of chain-link were joined together with some twisted wire, Vanna saw her. If she had seen that dress before, she would have remembered.
     Muumuus were made for a woman of this size. Displaying a cheery, floral print provided no slimming effects, but proudly declared big and beautiful. Along with the turquoise, orange, and pink poly-blend tent, she also wore a pair of nude knee highs, and filthy, pink terry scuff slippers, and large, turquoise-colored plastic earrings with a matching chunky bracelet.
      The woman had fallen on her side facing the fence, and like most of the corpses, her eyes remained forever open. Vanna thought the zombies didn’t blink, so that might be why their eyes turned that spotty white color.
     Even with a visible gunshot wound to her face, Vanna could see the trivial details that further defined who this used to be. The woman’s short, not-so-natural blond hair was arranged into a crown of curlsframing her face. She also had heavy blue eye shadow still caked all the way up to her plucked, then redrawn with brown pencil, eyebrows.
     Her lower face was grimy, Vanna couldn’t confirm her expectation of coordinating lipstick to match her screaming pink nail polish, brightly visible on the tips of her dirt-caked fingers from a distance. Vanna’sconstant fearful imagination made the gunk smeared on the zombie’s lips still appear fresh, wet and red, when she knew it had been there for weeks.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Healthwise, I had a week of earache.  Better now.

After August 31st, I did not keep writing full steam ahead with Neferseshotep because there were some things bothering me in what I already wrote.  Part of what I rewrote is the excerpt I had up on the blog, so I've updated that (on the Neferseshotep tab, up on top).  More conflict - even though neither character is voicing it.   Would a good comparison be two guys giving each other fist-crushing hand shakes while exchanging pleasantries?

I plan to outline the sequel for The End of the World Sucks in October, then write it during November (National Novel Writing Month).  I have a couple of small ideas already, but I'm trying to concentrate on Neferseshotep, which may be published after the Sucks sequel because it's not as simple so editing may be more time consuming.  My Egyptian priest presents deeper problems than Vanna's quest to stay alive.

This weekend I had my first book signing at a golf outing for Summit Animal Rescue.  I was already signed up to volunteer for an indoor position, and another volunteer in the group has written a children's book about cats ... long story short ... I'll be working the sales table with magnets, t-shirts and the books for the day.  

Coincidentally, I only found out last week that one of my neighbors has also written her first book.  She is going the traditional publishing route, has a publisher, and is about to receive some cover art to look over.  I didn't get much more info than the proposed title and she's a member of the NJ chapter of Sisters in Crime.

I think it's fantastic that others are actually doing something rather than thinking - 'One day I'm going to write a book...'   I do need to get my act in gear so we can crosspost info.  I'm missing facts since I'm unable to come up with decent search results through Google.   Sorry - I was doing yard work, and unprepared for books to spring up in the conversation so didn't have 'I'm an author' business cards handy. 

Last week, I had been reading about authors paying for reviews.  From writing fan fiction for so long, I know the read -> review rate is low.  Less than one review for every hundred page views, and that includes troll reviews from sockpuppet accounts that seem to have a thing for me.   So I was thinking that four reviews on my book after only two months wasn't dreadful based on the quantity of sales because I was slightly ahead.   I was also pleased with them because they were reviews with substance.

As you can see from a previous blog post, I kept my costs low to self-publish.  I'm not at a breakeven point yet, but I'm creeping towards it. So I'm wondering if I could buy 50 5-star reviews on Amazon for $999 - what does that get me?  That's a lot more books that I would need to sell. Will 50 rave reviews sell them for me?  What are these reviews going to say, if the reviewer doesn't read the book? 

Anyone can come along and give it a poor review still.  Also, I would write an angrier review if I felt I was duped into buying a book.  The Amazon rating system might let the angry/disappointed review disappear off the page, but all anyone needs to do is click on 1 or 2 star reviews to find it. 

While downloading some free Kindle books, I succumbed to the temptation to search for my book.  One of my reviews was gone.  Since I hadn't taken a screen shot of it I have to rely on my memory, but I think it was a verified Amazon purchase.  Only having four, I did note that one was not a verified purchase, but that one's still listed. 

It might be that I have some sort of mental disorder, but I did wonder about the one review that was not an Amazon purchase.  It's not even about uncovering who it is, they can keep their anonymity.  I'm curious about how they read my book - the one Nook copy that was sold belongs to someone I know who does not have an Amazon account.  The paperback either needs to be purchased through Amazon or me, and they can't get one from me until I have a book signing.  Could someone have made a purchase through Amazon and thought so well of my book they loaned it to someone, and then that second person's so taken by it, they jumped on Amazon to leave a review?  That seems ridiculously optimistic of me.

So now that I've admitted I think about 'how'd that happen?'  over little things, I was curious what happened to that missing review.    Why would someone take the time to write a review, and then delete it a month later?  I emailed Amazon to see if it was Amazon or the customer that removed it.  Customers can do whatever they like, but if it was Amazon, I'd like to know why so I can dispute it if the reason is not sufficient.  I got a scripted reply back that Amazon can only discuss it with the reviewer.  That doesn't answer my question.

But then, I received a new four-star review.  It's a good review, and since it's four stars I have a little variety on the page.  Hooray for four stars.