Friday, March 28, 2014

Egypt Comics & Celebrate

I'm pretty much the "Grammar Police" in my crit group because I don't have much trouble remembering the rules. However, we just saw an influx of new members. When I crit them, I'm finding it takes me five times longer than usual, and I have to look things up.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that we have new members, but dang ... does anyone know if you have to italicize "bourgeois" in narrative?  It's a French word, but has it become so well known that it doesn't need to be italicized? Some French words we don't italicize are naivete and fiance. Others must be italicized, like bon voyage and déjà vu (even though we know what they mean, French or not).  I must have spent half an hour looking online for the answer ... I still don't know.


This week I'm celebrating:
1)  Despite my grumbling above, I'm thrilled to have new members in my crit group!  Most of the old members have published books in the past year and promotion has sucked a lot of our time.  We weren't writing or critting as much as we used to, and the group was getting a little stale.  Teaching new members the ropes is exciting!
2)  I finished all of my A-Z Challenge posts!  Yippie! 
3)  I was interviewed by a fellow MuseItUp author, Stuart West, here:  Cutting Up and Cutting Souls With Lexa Cain.  Please come say "Hi!"
4)  Since I finished my A-Z posts and I'm no longer drugged with dental painkillers, I'll be going back to my WIP soon.  Yay?  I'm a little excited but a little scared too... What if I can't whip the thing into shape?  What if it just won't get better?  WHAT IF I SUCK???

Does your WIP sometimes worry you?  Do you think you may not be good enough to fix it?

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hauntings & Celebrate

The Hauntings are Coming!

This week I'm celebrating:
1)  I've been pre-writing my posts for the A-Z Challenge, and I've reached #17 (out of 26).  *happy dance*  If I keep this up I'll actually be done with them before April. Yay!
2)  I had to stop working on my WIP to do the posts, but it's good to step back sometimes.  I've thought up ways to fix things that have been niggling at me.
3)  My A-Z theme will be "Hauntings."  I'll be posting about haunted places around the world.  Who doesn't like a good ghost story?
4)  I had some dental problems last week and the dentist put me on Mucho-Mambo Meds.  (Yes, that's an official brand name ... or it would be if you were on them.)  They made me pretty loopy -- which I probably enjoyed a little too much.  Heh-heh-heh. 

Have you ever been on prescribed meds that made you loopy?  Did it bother you or did you kinda enjoy it?

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Escalation/Stephen Tremp Guest Post

I'm happy to be one of the bloggers on Stephen Tremp's Escalation Blog Tour.  Take it away, Stephen!

Wormholes. A Tough Act To Follow

Wormholes.  Just what the heck do they look like?  And what would it be like to the person traversing a portal through space and perhaps time?  Watching wormholes in classic movies like Contact and TV shows like Sliders, it would seem like I had a tough act to follow.

But I did not look at these questions as problems a writer has to overcome.  I saw them as opportunities to write some really cool stuff that kept me awake late into many nights!!!  With a little help from my editor Marvin Wilson, of course.

First, the colors.  Most shows use blues.  So I opted for the opposite; orange and yellow.  Just to be different.  Then came the experience.  How would one feel once they exited, other than being thankful for being alive?  I took off on this very thought.  Here are example from each of the three books from the Breakthrough trilogy:

In Breakthrough:  The bad guys use wormholes to assassinate powerful global figures.  In and out without a trace.  Seems like a perfect crime.  Here is Staci Bevere returning and explaining what she experienced, which ironically trumped the murder of a Massachusetts State Senator she just committed.

“That was fantastic, Nicky.  It’s the journey of a lifetime.  I’ll never get over the feeling of being in one location one moment, then being in another place the next.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt a sensation of ecstasy and elation.  I experienced what seemed like an awareness of bliss that awaits us on the other side.  It was as if I had passed through an angelic host along the way.”

Hold that thought.

In Opening:  Here is Staci expecting the same blissful event, but encountering something horribly different (This is my Readers Digest version of the event):

Staci was scared.  No, she was horror-struck—heart racing— breathing hard.  She had experienced an event completely new to her, a sense of imminent evil when she stepped through the wormhole.

Although her journey from Cambridge to Manhattan was almost instantaneous, Staci felt as if she had spent a lifetime in the tunnel.  It was as though she had passed through a caliginous catacomb of decaying bodies and malodorous swamp water.  Yet, somehow, she sensed the rotting bodies belonged to the living— if that were even conceivable .  It was a place of agony and terrible suffering.

The best way she could explain the phenomenon was that she had skirted deadly close— maybe the event horizon?— to … what?  Like a black hole opening to some demonic supernatural realm?  Whatever , it had to be the outer edges of the bowels of Hell.  The horrible feculence … and the sense of living while eternally rotting and suffering … could not be accounted for any other way.

In Escalation:  Here is Chase’s childhood friend traversing a wormhole to save the day.

I’m going to make it.  Bennie felt a rapturous euphoria like never before.  He knew he had experienced something no one else had.  The ultimate round trip thrill ride: stepping through a wormhole and crossing over into a parallel dimension.

Bennie had lost all recollection of time.  The passage could have been a brief moment.  Or hours.  Maybe a lifetime.  After taking that initial leap he’d experienced the sensation of traveling through space with only the momentum of his initial step forward.  Along the way, there was no up or down, right or left.  But he didn’t think he was spinning.  He felt upright through the journey.

He couldn’t see Carol.  Only fading colors, blending together into different hues, fluctuating from bright to dull, back and forth.  He couldn’t understand, let alone interpret and describe, his surroundings.  Time and space raced by, silently, and far too fast for his mind to comprehend.

But he could feel his hand squeezed tight around Carol’s.  Warm.  Soft.  He sensed she tightened her grip.  And he was not going to let go.  Up ahead, a light.  Growing.  Turning blue.  Is that the sky?  The trip … it’s … it’s over.  We’re arriving on the other side.  Bennie felt a bliss he hoped he’d never forget.

He skidded to a halt in arid dusty sands.  Carol ran into his back.  He almost gave way.  But he held his own, keeping her from knocking them both face first in the sand.

This is how I describe wormholes from the characters POV to the reader.  Of course, there are many more instances of traversing wormholes in the Breakthrough series.

If you enjoyed this post, stop by Stephen’s Blog for more information on the Breakthrough series.  To download Escalation: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan >CLICK HERE<.

Stephen Tremp lives with his wife and two daughters in Mission Viejo, CA.  He has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management.  Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Writing Process & Celebrate

Oh no!!

I have no book features to hide behind this week. I must actually write something for a blog post!
Luckily, my friend, Jeff Chapman has tagged me in the Writing Process Blog Hop where they give me the questions to answer.  (Whew.  Close one.)

1)  What am I working on?  A thriller with a theme of medical ethics.
2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?  My books are all set in Egypt with realistic details about the people and the culture.
3)  Why do I write what I do?  I've always loved reading  horror/thrillers. They keep me glued to the page because their stakes are the highest -- life and death.
4)  How does your writing process work?  It's different with every book.  I don't believe in hard and fast rules. A writer should be open to doing whatever works best for them.  :)

Here are the two Fabulous people I'm passing the Writing  Process Blog Hop onto:

TF Walsh writes fantasy, romance and paranormal stories for both adults and young adult. CLOAKED IN FUR, a paranormal suspense, is her debut novel from Crimson Romance.  Buy it here:   AMAZON    B&N    iTUNES    KOBO    ALL ROMANCE    GOOGLE BOOKS    ADAM'S MEDIA

Kate Larkindale is the author of 8 YA contemporary novels (5 of which other people might one day be allowed to see) and one terrible historical romance. Her debut, An Unstill Life, is available now.  


This week I'm celebrating:
1)  I've written 4 posts for the A-Z.  I know I need to get cracking, but at least it's a start!
2)  I added another 5k to my WIP -- before coming to a dead stop.  I confess I'm a world-class procrastinator.  Like a child that doesn't want to clean its room, I'm great at finding anything to do other than write, like:
  • Facebook?  You betcha.  Never met a LOLCat I didn't like.
  • Email stalking?  Yup.  I'm not expecting anything important, but even the spam begins to look interesting when I'm supposed to be writing.
  • Forum Posting?  Oh, yeah.  When procrastinating, I turn into a non-stop Yakity-yak Monster and get disappointed when peeps don't reply at the supersonic speed with which I can post crap in my forums.
  • TV.  'Nuff said.
  • Household Chores?  The bane of my existence.  Yet suddenly vacuuming, mopping, and even scrubbing the toilet jump to the top of my To-Do list.
Does anyone else need to join Procrastinator's Anonymous?  What do you do when you should be writing?


This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Radio Hope & Celebrate

Today, I'm happy to have Sean McLachlan's guest post about Egypt and its connection to his new book, Radio Hope!  Take it away, Sean!

Image from Dennis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons
Ancient Egypt and the Apocalypse
By Sean McLachlan

Don’t worry about the title, I’m not about to start talking about how aliens built the pyramids and left a secret hieroglyphic code predicting the end of the world.  If you want New Age archaeology, watch cable TV.

Instead I’m going to tell you about the first time my mind was blown and how that indirectly affected my writing a post-apocalyptic novel twenty-four years later.  For some reason the Discovery Channel didn’t want to do a documentary about that.

Back when I was twenty-year-old archaeology student, I visited Egypt. I spent a wonderful month traveling up the Nile seeing every ancient site I could along the way.  The most impressive by far was the temple complex at Karnak.  At its heart is the Grand Hypostyle Hallway in the Precinct of Amun-Ra.  It’s a forest of towering columns all covered in hieroglyphics.  I sat in there the entire morning, awed, watching the light and shadows move over the ancient writing.

I’ve been to hundreds of archaeological and historical sites since then, but that place has always remained vivid in my memory.  Its grandeur, its mystery, its sheer size, all made a permanent impression.

In my post-apocalyptic novel Radio Hope, the action takes place barely a century after the fall of civilization, and yet that civilization seems almost as remote to my characters as ancient Egypt seems to us.  Only the very old had grandparents who remembered when cars sped down highways and the skies were full of airplanes.  Only a few settlements have electricity and virtually no one has seen a functioning computer.  In fact, most younger people think all the stories of a global communication network that brought libraries and movies into people’s homes are just fairy tales.  Sure, the Old Times were great, but the people were only human, not miracle workers.

And yet, there’s something magical about the ruins from the Old Times.  In this new toxic world the largest “city” has only three thousand people, while the ruins of the Old Times looked like they could house tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands.  Stories that the bigger cities had populations in the millions are exaggerations, of course.

And what will the great-grandchildren of my characters think?  By then all the computers will be dead, the photovoltaic panels degraded, the old magazines all faded away.  How much more mythical will those old ruins seem then?  If they wander through the rubble of London or Los Angeles, will they even recognize that human beings had built these great cities?

Maybe they’ll think up aliens to explain it all.  It will be a post-apocalyptic version of New Age archaeology.  At least there won’t be TV shows about it.

Sean McLachlan is an archaeologist turned writer who is the author of several books of fiction and history. Check him out on his blog Midlist Writer.

In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . .
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son.
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump.
The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command.
One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.



This week I'm celebrating:

1) I only wrote 2k on my WIP this week *facepalm* but 2k is better than nothing, right?  And there's always next week to try, try again.
2) I finished a guest blog post for Tara Chevrestt's blog Book Babe.  She does a special feature every week on a strong heroine from a book. So if you have a book with a strong heroine, TARA WANTS YOU to write a piece about her.  For more details, go here: Book Babe: Seeking Strong is Sexy Heroines for 2014.
3) A lovely 5-star review popped up on Amazon from Lori at Contagious Reads Reviews.  Normally, I don't crow about my reviews here, but since I just did a HUGE read-for-review giveaway on Library Thing, and Lord knows what will be coming down the pike in the next few weeks *cowers in the corner* I'm going to celebrate this great review now!

Do you think an author should read reviews on their book?  What about strong heroines -- do you write them or like them in the books you read?

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Doris Day

Doris Day, 1957 (public domain photo)
Doris Day may seem like an odd choice for an encouraging writer's post, but bear with me.

Anyone who's ever seen a Doris Day movie will never forget her.  From her thousand-watt smile to her ultra-feminine voice, she embodied sweetness and sunshine.  But contrary to her cheerful and angelic demeanor, her personal life was full of hardship and tragedy.


Doris was a child dance prodigy and performed locally in Cincinnati in her early teens.  She was well on her way to becoming an excellent professional dancer until a car she was in was struck by a train.  Her leg was crushed, as were her dreams of being a dancer.

Did she give up? No.  She began to sing.


In her early twenties, she was working as a singer and got her big break when she was hired by Les Brown, a very famous bandleader of the time. Shortly after, she fell in love with and married his trombone player, Al Jorden.  It wasn't a happy marriage.  In her book,  Doris Day: Her Own Story,  she says he abused her and was so angry when she got pregnant that he repeatedly beat her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage. 

Did she give up?  No.  She had the baby, divorced Jorden, and two years later recorded her first big hit, "Sentimental Journey."


Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart in "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
While singing at a Hollywood party, Doris was "discovered," offered a screen test, and immediately cast in "Romance on the High Seas" (1948).  In 1951, she married her agent, Marty Melcher and had a stellar film career, earning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award and receiving millions in film and recording deals.  But when Melcher died in 1968, Doris discovered he'd mishandled her money, leaving her broke, deeply in debt, and with a contract commitment that forced her to do a TV series -- and she didn't even like TV.

Did she give up?  No.  The need to clear her debts convinced Doris to go ahead with "The Doris Day Show," which was a huge success and ran from 1968-1973 and won her another Golden Globe award.

Doris Day and Rock Hudson in "Pillow Talk"

If you're still with me, here's the payoff.  

Doris Day is still alive and ninety years old.  Despite her traumatic past, she survived, she rose to the challenge of learning new things, and adapted herself to the changes forced upon her.  

As writers, we all struggle with personal setbacks, frustration over our own limitations, and career disappointments.  Things rarely go as planned.  Don't be afraid of change or disappointments.  Roll with the punches, do the best you can with what you have, and you'll find success even if it's not necessarily the way you'd planned.

This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate.  To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

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