Fantastic Book!

I love reading ARCs. I love that glimpse before anyone else gets a chance to read the book. And normally it’s a good book and I get a nice little story and I leave a fun review. But then Jasmine Walt posted in her fangroup that she wanted readers for her new novella, Forsaken by Magic.

The prequel to her upcoming book, Fugitive by Magic, Forsaken lays the background of Polar ar’Tollis, who the readers of the Baine Chronicles know better as Fenris.

The book jumps right into the action with the reader joining Polar in his office as Head Mage as he attempts to finish paperwork and is accosted by Gelisia Dorax, his minister of finance. The reader is informed about their background, but Polar isn’t too sure he wants to continue their relationship. He moves onto dinner with his parents and then the action really picks up.

I don’t want to give away the entire storyline here, but most of the time an author’s work declines a bit as a series continues. This hasn’t happened with Ms. Walt. Each book by her has gotten more exciting and raised more questions so readers eagerly await the next book.

I opened Forsaken intending to read a couple of pages before bed… that didn’t happen. I was immediately sucked into Polar’s world and needed to know what happened next. I read the entire thing in one night!

For all the readers who want to know how Polar became Fenris and became Iannis’s advisor; this fills in a lot of the questions. For someone who is just stepping into the world of Nebara, it’s a great introduction.

My advice? Buy Forsaken by Magic. Preorder Fugitive by Magic, then go back and start at the beginning of the Baine Chronicles with Burned by Magic. You won’t regret it.

Free!

So I’ve been meaning all month to get this up, but it’s been a month. I’m not going to get into it now, but maybe I’ll come back later and blog all about it (although I don’t normally talk about super personal things on here).

Meanwhile, what I want to share is that my book, When the Prince didn’t Come in Time is FREE on smashwords until the end of the month! Follow the link and snag your copy today! Use the code SW100at checkout to get it free.

And when you’re done reading, hop on over to goodreads and leave a review, please!

Thanks!

Introducing Nerd Cactus

Normally I prompt new books or authors that have new books coming out, but I have two friends that are working on building a platform (not unlike me) for their books. They are in the process of editing their first book together (Killing Mercutio) and although I don’t know much about the book yet, I have been following along on their wordpress site as they write, edit, and just generally talk about things Shakespeare and literary.

Now I know what you’re saying “Shakespeare”?! Who reads Shakespeare once they aren’t forced to?! First off, you’d be surprised how many things you read, see, say, and love are based on Shakespeare. I’m not going to get into that though, I’ll let the girls tell you about it (just peruse some of their posts to find out.) Second of all, Shakespeare can be FUN! No, let me restate that, Shakespeare IS FUN! Yeah, I know… I can see/ hear all the teenagers I’ve taught screaming. Then I’d remind them that we read a graphic novel (yes, a COMIC book) for Romeo and Juliet and watched a modern movie so we didn’t miss any of the nuances. So yes, Shakespeare is FUN!

To get back to the actual point of this post… While the girls do not (yet) have anything published, they do have a strong showing in social media. You can follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Or do what I do and enjoy their posts (almost daily) on wordpress. They are Nerd Cactus in all three places.

Twitter

Facebook

Word Press Blog

Music of Our Lives

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about music and writing (THE MUSIC OF WRITING which was essentially the idea of using music as a soundtrack to a novel or short story. Or using it to listen to while writing (I pointed out that I get distracted while writing so I tend not to listen to it.)

In that post, I mentioned using a song as a basis for a story and brought up one of my own stories (Drunken Scotsman) which is one of two stories I’ve written that is based on a song. (Yes, I do have a point to this… I’m not just rambling today.)

Writers, novelists, authors, whatever you want to call yourselves, get their story ideas from the world around us. (Wow, okay that was just bad grammar… sorry.) The point being that music is a great place to get ideas and use as a jumping off point.

Which brings me to my actual point, on my wonderful, fabulous writing site, there is now a contest, which is based on MUSIC! Specifically CDs. (I’m adding a link to it here, but unfortunately you must be a registered user of the site to actually access it) Musicology Antholgy takes a CD of the author’s choice and that author then creates short stories (no more than 1500 words) around the songs and lyrics in the CD. Authors have almost two months to work on this and depending on the CD chosen that would average about 20,000 words.

The idea behind this, to use the CD as a jumping off point for the story (or stories in this case), is fantastic. Music is such a basis in many lives, causing memories when we hear a certain song or bringing that urge to break into dance moves or actual singing that having a story that goes along with a song can only bring that music more to life.

So join the site and check out the contest. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Writing Assistance

I have a lot of writer friends, both professional and amateur, both published and not yet published. Because of this, I also get a lot of links and advice from friends on writing. And a lot of places to look at and ideas to use when I’m writing. One of the newest places and best places is Facebook’s The Writer’s Circle.

This page has a little bit of everything which is one of the reasons I love it. It has book jokes, it has suggestions, interviews, prompts, inspiration. Honestly there’s a little something for every writer.

But one of the things I like the most are their “picture” hints. These are images (that can be saved) that are writing suggestions. I’ve included some of my favorites with this post, but just scroll through their album on Facebook for a ton more!

And happy writing!
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Judging Grammar

Grammar. That pesky lesson we all have to learn to pass English class. That mildly annoying form of communication that the teachers drill you on until you’re ready to scream.

But if you’re a writer, grammar can actually be your bread and butter.

My “day job” is actually two jobs. I spend three days a week tutoring reading and writing at a local technical college and then two days a week (during the school year), I substitute teach for our school district. One of the perks of this is the new and varying classrooms I get to visit. Recently it was a Language Arts room and I came across a really awesome grammar book.

I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar and its sequel More Badder Grammar is based off all the signs and grammar oops the site members have seen over the years. Its mildly amusing and a lot of fun to look through, although they’ve (if I remember correctly) mostly corrected the mistakes. If you’d like to see more grammar oops, check out the Facebook group the books are based on.

And always, watch your grammar!

(I’m not actually associated with the Facebook group, nor do I have any association with either book. I am not making any profit from this post for these books or Facebook group.)

Fiction Festival

April is almost over, but it was Poem-A-Day (Poetic Asides) month at Writer’s Digest. If that’s not your speed, author Beth Cato (you might remember that I promoted her novel The Clockwork Dagger a few months ago) is participating in #TwitterFictionFestival.

Beth’s idea is to use her posts for other authors to use as jumping off points for their own stories, she told me that she wanted to do mini stories/story prompts and poems. Whatever she decides it looks like a lot of fun!

You can see Beth’s posts at her twitter @BethCato, follow the twitter feed itself at #TwitterFictionFestival or check out the prior year at #TwitterFictionFestival Archive.

Each author will have a specific posting time between May 11-15 for their prompts/posts. So keep an eye out for your favorite author!

And make sure you check out Beth’s blog and her new novella (The Deepest Poison) in the Clockwork series! It debuts in just a couple of days.

Inspiration?

Inspiration for stories comes from everywhere. It can come from a conversation, a song, a picture, a quote, even a line from a movie.

One of my favorite lines is from the movie The Land Before Time with Petie and Ducky. To begin with they are great characters, with a great relationship in the movie. But through-out the movie as Petie attempts to learn how to fly, they continue to support each other and these two lines are (if I remember correctly) oft repeated with variations:

“Did I fly? Did I fly?”

“Nope. You falled.”

There are many ways you could go with just those two lines.

So my challenge for this post? Using either the above line (or a line from your favorite movie), write a story or poem!

Or let me know where you get your inspiration from.

Movie line from Land Before Time

Introducing Sheta Storm!

I have had the great pleasure of being friends with this author for many years. I’m pleased to announce that she is finally releasing two of her books and more will soon follow. I was able to catch up with her and get a few questions answered. Her books delve into the hot and steamy side of writing, the part that some writers just don’t want to look at and she does it beautifully. If you are looking for well-written erotica, please check out Sheta Storm.

or purchase her books on amazon:
Painted Face
The Gamers

And our Q&A:
Q: What is different about writing erotica vs writing any other type of fiction?
In any other type of fiction, you’re allowed to close the door on the sex scene if you want or need to. In erotica, you have to delve into the physical and emotional sides of sex.

Q: What’s your typical writing process for a story?
It really depends on the length of the story. If it will be a novel, I prefer to get a full outline and character sketches and a prep kit together. For shorter stories, I can write somewhat by the seat of my pants, but I usually need to figure out where I’m ending before I begin.

Q: You often use characters that aren’t typical male/female pairings, what made you decide to go in that direction?
I think the idea of that was something I’ve always struggled against in my mind and my relationships. I like going against the grain and finding my own path and exploring what I find there – and that’s the same thing I bring out in my stories.

Q: What advice would you give to an author who is looking to write in this genre?
Do your research. There is nothing worse than having someone say your facts aren’t right or that you didn’t represent a specific situation in a realistic manner. I’m not talking about how vampires don’t exist or that you wouldn’t (probably) want to be gangbanged into mental oblivion – that is the fantasy that a writer brings alive. But when someone understands nuances of a specific kink and they’re violated by the story – that’s just wrong.

Q: Do you find erotica more difficult than regular fiction (if you write regular fiction)?
Occasionally I write “regular” fiction without featuring explicit sex. But the emotional challenges of bringing intimacy and conflict together draw me in like a moth to the flame. I just can’t stay away!

Q: What made you decide to write erotica versus any other kind of fiction?
I chose erotica because I had a couple specific stories in my head that I needed to tell. They had been brewing for a while and it took a long time to get to a point where I felt I did them justice. After that, it was too fun to stop.

Q: What’s anything else you’d like to share?
Lately I find myself researching rhyme and meter and entertaining the idea of creating illustrated books for adults. If nothing else, it’s a fun hobby. I’m not sure I draw well enough to create what I see in my head, but there’s only one way to find out.

Adventure Ho!

I entered the prompt contest on Writer’s Digest this week for fun (write to their prompt, under 500 words, within a week) and thought I would post both their prompt and my answer here. It was both more fun and a bit harder than I was expecting, but it’s done even if I don’t think it’s some of my better work. Thanks to my friend, Kate, for letting me steal her name for the role of ‘best friend’. It worked out well.

The original posting is here and the prompt and story follow.

Prompt:
Your best friend knocks on your door one afternoon. You open it and he or she is dressed in a strange costume. Before you can say anything, your friend hands you a sword and says, “I need your help. Your family’s life depends on it.” Just then, your friend opens what looks to be a porthole to another dimension, grabs your hand and jumps through.

I stumbled slightly as we exited the portal, almost stabbing myself with the sword Kate had handed me. Kate waited until I had righted myself before striding off towards the towering castle.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “You can’t just yank me into Hell without any explanation…” I stifled a yelp as a tree branch tried to grab me. “Really?!”

Kate spun around, but kept walking, hacking at the branch with her own sword. “Not Hell, Hades. And I told you, your family’s in trouble. Slay the dragon; rescue the prince, blah, blah, blah.”

“Kate, I write fairy tales, I don’t live them.”

“Yeah. Well. Someone screwed up.”

“Oh, this is not going to end well,” I groaned.

She grinned evilly. “But it’ll be fun.”

“Oh, you did not just quote Buffy at me.”

Another grin was her only response and I slogged after her, muttering about how this was always more interesting to write about.

By the time we got to the actual castle, my back was killing me, my feet had stopped speaking to me, and I’d remembered why I gave up fencing all those years ago. I was also wishing for an archery set because that I had half a chance of using competently. “You said my family was in danger, but you didn’t say who or how,” I said as we paused just outside the stone building.

“Slay the dragon, rescue the prince, free the family.”

“Really, Kate? Not helpful.”

“Look. I don’t have the gig of all knowing, all seeing. I’ve only got as much information as the Powers the Be give me.”

“How about telling them to cough up information?”

“We have to go thataway?” she said, pointing in a direction.

I groaned, hefting the sword. “How about a sheath?”

Kate just headed in the direction she’d indicated.

I sighed, before following along, trying not to drag the sword.

In the end it was all anti-climactic. The dragon actually allowed us entrance when we waved our swords at him and the prince ended up being a whiny complainer that neither of us wanted to deal with. Kate and I exchanged glances before shuffling him towards the exit. It took us a little while to search the castle, but we finally found my family stashed in the upper tower.

I picked up the globe that they were encased in. “When you said my family was in trouble, this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. How do we get them free?”

“I’m pretty sure breaking it is not the answer.”

“So take it back to Earth? Can you open the portal or however you got us here?”

Kate grinned and waved her hand, the portal opened before us and she yanked me through.

I clutched the globe, attempting to not break it, or lose my breakfast, lunch, or dinner. “Now we need to get it open.”

“Drop it.”

When I followed her instructions, the globe burst open and my family was released, ending the spell.