Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's a contest you don't want to miss!

When you've dusted off the cobwebs from New Year's Eve and are sitting there, staring at a shiny new 2014 wondering what it holds in store for you, decide that this is the year. A contest, an awesome, clever query letter, polished first pages. You're going to take the next step in your publishing career.

Here's one way to get started. The Sun Vs Snow contest. Maybe you're surrounded by snow and love it, or are yearning to sunbathe. Or maybe looking at bare ground or ocean makes you wish you could build a snowman or strap on a pair of skis., Or have you declared no one will ever pull you kicking and screaming from those warm southern states?

Either way, you must visit Michelle Hauck's blog. Tomorrow, Jan 1, 2014, she'll be posting the amazing agents for this contest. Amy Trublood's site lists the wonderful mentors who've signed up to help you polish all the details of your entry.  Keep an eye on both of them for the contest details - entries accepted Jan 18th.

These are both blogs you should be following on a regular basis, and check out Michelle's book too.

Now go enjoy your New Year's Eve - responsibly of course, but with all the abandon that tell the world you will get noticed in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

15 Awesome books for $1.99 and a $100 giveaway!!!

Visit Susan Kaye Quinn's blog for details on this amazing 15 book set available for $1.99.

Or go straight to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to purchase.

Then go here for a Rafflecopter chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

These are some great authors, I've already downloaded mine and look forward to getting started on these books.

And check back here tomorrow for another writing contest post - this is one you don't want to miss.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New Contest - Get Your Query Ready by Jan 4th!

Mike Anthony of Query Kombat fame is hosting a new contest. So no resting over the Holidays - get that query ready for January 4th, 2014. (ooh, early practice typing the new year!)

Here's the link for Writer's Outworld and all the details. Good luck everyone!

For my regular readers, I know how hard it is to keep on top of every blog when you're looking for those awesome contests. So I plan to list them here. Then you can be prepared to enter - and follow the awesome blogs of your contest hosts! If you know of a writing contest I might have missed, just email and let me know.

Starting in January, I will also open my blog up to featuring book launches for fellow writers. Just drop a note to the address above and let me know if you'd like to be featured. I'll post cover art, back cover blurbs, author bios, and links for your rafflecopter prizes.

In between all this fun, I'll post when I have something important to say, so please follow my blog by email (entry field to the right) so you won't miss anything.

And Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus, enjoy a lovely new Dr. Who, and have a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's a party! A release launch party for Third Daughter

If you've been waiting for the release of Susan Kaye Quinn's Third Daughter like I have - here it is!

What happens when you mix steampunk and bollywood? 


Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn
(The Dharian Affairs Trilogy #1)
Publication date: December 13th 2013
Adult, Fantasy,
Romance, Steampunk
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she’ll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince’s proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince’s proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

Third Daughter is the first book in The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance takes place in an east-indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.
Add to your Goodreads shelf!
Here's an excerpt:

Chapter One, Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1) – steampunk fantasy romance

The cloudless night whispered sweet promises to Aniri.

Below her stone rooftop, the shadows of the forested grounds danced in the summer’s breeze, their small rustlings calling to her like a lover. The sound was the perfect cover for escape into the darkness and the warm arms she hoped to find there. No one should notice her absence. Of all the guards, handmaidens, and many silent keepers of the royal household, none would venture up to her private observatory this late in the eve. But she still had to be careful. Even this close to her birthday, the Queen would not be forgiving if she was caught.

Aniri scanned the palace grounds to make sure it was clear of any witnesses. The manicured lawns were empty: the only sign of life came from the distant embassy windows where gas lamps flickered and soft music trilled from late-reveling partygoers. Aniri pressed the leather eyecup of her aetherscope to her face, slowly turning the brass knobs to bring the party into focus. The instrument was meant for watching the rise of the twin full moons, but it worked well enough for spying on the Samirian ambassador and her assemblage of guests.

Their shiny new automaton was thick-legged and awkward, but the Samirian tinker’s design was still clever: the steam-driven mechanical wonder actually danced, albeit just one clumsy pirouette after another. When it came to a graceless stop, the guests snapped their fingers in appreciation. The faint sound of their applause drifted over the lawn, but the party continued on. With the grounds still empty, Aniri swung her aetherscope to the forest. The broken edges of the river snaked through the darkened trees, slipped under a stone bridge, and then flowed past the red sandstone walls of the Queen’s estate. A black shape darted out from under the bridge, then disappeared into the shadows between the trees.

Time to go.

She peered over the edge of the balcony. No sense in being caught by someone who snuck out for a dalliance in the dark. With the way clear, she opened the leather satchel at her feet and uncoiled the sheet she had twisted into a rope. Always check your knots, Aniri. Her father’s voice accompanied her on every climb, but she had to wonder what he would have made of this particular one. She rechecked the knots. It would cause quite a stir if she plummeted to her death while climbing down the palace wall.

The massive stone lion that guarded the parapet served as an excellent anchor. She looped the rope around it, then stood on the edge of the wall and leaned out over the blackness. Loop the rope under and between your feet, Aniri. It will carry your weight. Practical advice, but knots would impede her progress, and speed was of the essence. She lowered herself, hand over hand, bracing her feet against the wall. A mossy spot, hidden by the dark and slick with dew, sent her silk slippers pawing rapid-fire several times before she found purchase between the giant stone blocks.

Always use the proper equipment. She took a deep breath. Her father would probably disapprove of her attire. Silk nightclothes were hardly climbing wear, and she couldn’t find any plausible excuse to wear her climbing shoes to bed. Her handmaiden, Priya, was far too clever for that—and already suspicious when Aniri wanted to retire to her observatory alone. At least she had her fingerless climbing gloves, and on every climb she wore the thin, braided bracelet her father gave her. For luck. She thought he would approve.

Hand over hand, Aniri continued her descent. Halfway down, a sudden clacking broke the quiet and rose above the scrapings of her slippers on the treacherous walls. She held still against the cool stone, hands gripped tight on her rope of sheets. A lone two-wheeled surrey ambled out of the shadows of the Samirian embassy and headed toward her dark corner of the Queen’s estate. Aniri held her breath and silently cursed the full two-moon night. If the carriage came much closer, the occupants would surely see her clinging to the side of the palace like a spider on her thread.

The six-hooved beast pulling the surrey slowed as it neared the giant stone statue of Devkasera. The mother goddess of ancient Dharia loomed larger-than-life, threatening the carriage with a sword and a scroll—the powers of destruction and creation—clasped in two of her six hands. The Queen loved the ancient traditions, so the goddess held a place of respect in the middle of the palace lawns. Aniri preferred the clean streets and steam-driven inventions of modern Dharia to the unwashed feet and mystic religion of her country’s past, but that didn’t stop her from sending a silent prayer to Devkasera—for invisibility for herself or perhaps a sudden loss of sight by the persons in the carriage.

The surrey paused at the statue, then veered right and headed for the far wall that enclosed the estate. Aniri repressed a laugh—perhaps she should pray to Devkasera to bring her birthday sooner as well. Her arms ached from holding her position, but she waited until the carriage had passed through the palace gate. Beyond it, the lights of Kartavya, Dharia’s capital city, winked through the coal-smoke haze as if giving her an all-clear signal.

Her muscles rejoiced when she moved again, working her way down the last half of the wall and dropping the final two feet. From there, she scampered over the surrounding manicured hedgerows as if she had fled the palace a hundred times before. Her unbound dark hair flapped behind her, and the cool night breeze fluttered her black silk nightclothes against her skin like a thousand butterfly wings. It was the feeling of freedom breathing against her, and she had to clamp her teeth against the giggle that threatened to ruin her escape.

She slowed and picked her way through the darkened brambles of the forest grabbing at her legs. The first time, she slipped away from dinner in her normal evening attire—a midnight-black corset latched with brass clasps, a starched skirt of blood-red silk, and a sweep of silk over her shoulder for the traditional touch the Queen required. Aniri thought the dark colors would ease her escape, but she had stuck to the needled branches like a royal pincushion. The second time, she cast aside the bodice and most of the silk, keeping only her short bloomers and camisole—essentially running through the forest in her unmentionables. That had been deliciously decadent, but also very chilly. This time, her nightclothes were proving the most suitable costume yet for midnight escapades.

She smiled and slipped through the forest like a phantom, black on black, silent and stealthy. The faint trace of coal smoke gave way to the fresh scent of leaves mixed with river mist. She breathed it deep: the lushness of it always captivated her. The Queen had imported trees and beasts from the barbarians in the north to recreate the Dharian forests long ago swept away by agriculture. Fortunately, her majesty favored the gentle animals sacred to the gods. Aniri was careful not to disturb a long-tailed bandir hanging from a branch, eyes closed and peaceful. She didn’t believe the superstitions about waking one, but she couldn’t afford the screech it would let loose.

Aniri broke out of the forest and onto the wet rocks bordering the river. The footbridge ahead was a silent sentinel over the constant chatter of the river. There was no sign of movement. Was she too late? But then Devesh stepped from the shadows, showing his face to the moons as if he had nothing to hide.

She skittered over the slippery rocks and flew into his arms.

“Aniri,” he said, but she was uninterested in wasting precious moments with words. She shut him up with her lips pressed fiercely to his. He closed his dark, humor-filled eyes, and wrapped his arms around her. Being a courtesan, he was well-trained in courtly conversation, but the artistry of his lips moving slow yet urgent against hers made her forget her own name.
How hungry are you to read this? Here's all the links you need.
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.

She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.
Author Links:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Kickstarter project - a word game worth supporting!

I usually keep a couple word/letter type games open on my pc while I'm writing, like Boggle and TextTwist. Yeah, there's the risk they can be distracting, but they also help. They're mindless for the most part, but they still require the language side of my brain. So if I get stuck trying to come up with just the right word or need to smooth out a scene, a little detour helps. I think I'm playing, but in the back of my mind, the right words are forming. When I switch back to my ms, there they are, all ready to pour from my fingers to the doc.

I also use short distractions like this for editing. It's important when editing my own, or other's work that I don't get caught up in the actions when I'm looking for details. So I'll read a chapter, play a game, read a chapter.

The author of one of the blogs I follow - Flogging the Quill  - has developed a new word game, great for kids and fun for adults as well. Here's the link - wordzzle-a-nutty-and-educational-wordplay-game. Hmm, maybe we can talk him into an electronic version!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NaNo - the end. Well, not quite.

My NaNo goal was 40k words. Partially because I expect that to be the range of the total word count for this Middlegrade project, and partially because I rarely have time to write on the weekends. Not to mention Thanksgiving and the celebration of the demise of most flies so I can spend more time with the horses.

I didn't quite make 40k. I stopped writing for the month on the 25th at just under 32k. Tuesdays I meet with my in-person critique group and Wednesday we left for Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with family. Seriously, family. I didn't gamble once. I watched, watched people, enjoyed great food, and even went bowling.

In the end, this all worked out great for my book. I'm at the final setup of "All is Lost" and some simmering time (sitting in a vehicle for 12 hours) helped me come up with some great ideas.

I plan to spend December crafting the end of the story, nice and slow. And then on to my favorite part - editing!

I hope everyone out there who tried NaNo came through with a positive experience, regardless of word count. And I'm looking forward to editing your NaNo projects!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NaNo - week 2

So I signed up for NaNoWriMo with a 40k goal instead of 50k. I wanted the goal to be reasonable for my busy life and my middlegrade book felt like a mid-40k book. I rarely have time to write on the weekends because of the other half of this blog's namesake - riding.

On top of owning 6 horses, I have a horse in for training this month. She's a sweet girl, but someone had been handling her a little roughly, yanking on her mouth and possibly punishing her if she spooked or moved too fast or slow. Working with a horse that someone else has trained is a little like panstering a book.

I might have a rough plan of what I want to do with her, but if she gets stuck or says she's suddenly afraid of a crop, I make a detour and focus on this new thing. And sometimes, fixing that one thing makes everything else fall into place. And it's so cool, so unexpectedly beautiful when it does. Writing or Riding.

I'm glad I signed up for NaNo. I work well with a deadline. Maybe I should aim for that 50k! But I know it needs to be a logical goal. In the past, I've told myself my prime writing hours are from around 9am to noon, or maybe a little longer if I'm on a roll. If I didn't get BIC during those hours, I allowed myself to "write-off" writing for the day.

This month is different. I've written 500 words mid-afternoon sitting in the truck while my husband drilled post holes for a friend. I had a dentist appointment in the morning and wrote 2500 words that afternoon. I don't need a comfort zone. I need a goal! Thank you NaNoWriMo.

And for the record, as of November 13th, I am 1550 words ahead of today's goal.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo - National November Writing Month

I'd originally planned to work on book two of my MIGHTY MIKE series in November, just not officially participate in NaNoWriMo. But the excitement has gotten the best of me. Heck, NaNo is how MIGHTY MIKE AND THE INTERSTELLAR CANDY DISPENSER got its start 2 years ago. I didn't "win" because of life and all, but I wrote 20k and then finished up this past February when a critique buddy challenged me to get it done.

I've been editing since March and now its time to start writing again. So, heck yeah, I've signed up, I'm going to post my word count, attempt to post on this blog a little more often, all while enjoying gorgeous fall weather and training two client horses. Sure, there's time to write in there!

Anyone else have NaNo or any writing challenge planned?

Friday, October 11, 2013

What has technology done to my brain?

Over this past week, I've had the opportunity to spend a couple days driving. One was a ten hour trip to pick up my mom (who lives with us) from visiting my sister. The other was transporting a mule from near my home to a ranch near Aspen, CO. The second trip was a nail-biter as my rig is 38 feet long and the limit over Independence Pass is 35 feet. But it was a much shorter route and with a storm moving in (!!) I didn't figure many other people would be on that narrow, twisty road. Not the point of this story, but it was gorgeous with the bright yellow and orange aspen and a dusting of snow. I returned home the long - smart - way.

Anyhow, on the first trip, I planned to meet my mom and sister at a restaurant in Grand Junction, CO, a city I do not know and has roads twisting and angling all over. Yes, I'm a small town girl.

Another backwards thing about me? I do not own, or want to own, a smart phone. I love my flip phone. The batteries stay charged for a week, I can quickly dial when driving, and carry it when riding my horses on long trail rides alone. Normally, for long trips, hubby is along and he can GPS as needed with his phone. So I wrote my directions from MapQuest out on a pink sticky note and stuck it to the dash.

When I get into town, I glance at the post-it for the first road name and then drive blindly along --- wait for it --- expecting that dang pink piece of paper to tell me when to turn. After a bit of panic, having no idea whether I'd missed my first turn or not, I started laughing. I don't even own a smart phone or a mapping system, but I'd gotten so used to hubby's that I didn't think I needed to pay attention. God help me (and other drivers) if I have to find something in a real city like Denver. Yeah, quit laughing, I know you all live in real, real cities and would NEVER go without a mapping system. I like my pink post-it, it worked. Eventually.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dueling rain gods

In 13 years of doing the sport of endurance riding, my husband has never been rained on. Maybe a couple sprinkles when it was hot and the few drops were nice and cooling. But that's it. If we can't go to a ride, they have unseasonably weird, wet weather. But if we're there, perfect weather.

My brother-in-law is the opposite. His entire life has been spent dodging deluges, floods, blizzards. I'm quite certain he ended the 2003 drought in Colorado just by driving through the state. Because we'd just finished a trail ride as the sprinkles started, then drove 15 mile loop to get back to our house only 2 miles from the trail and ran into foot deep hail. Yep, my brother-in-law was stuck halfway up our driveway.

You can thank him for the blizzard that buried cars at Dulles a few years ago, too.

He's in the AF and just moved from VA to UT. It looks like he's sucking all that monsoon moisture north in epic proportions and then it curves around and dumps on CO. Normal weather pattern, but geez, we live in the desert and we haven't had 4 dry days in the last 30.

This past weekend, my husband and I went to WY for a 50 mile ride. We heard the storm warnings for Northern Colorado on the radio, learned DIA was closed for tornados, then my mom called and said the neighbors had measured 4" in an hour, but it was still raining! Unheard of for this area.

But up in Wyoming? We watched the pretty clouds roll by after a day of perfect weather. No rain.

Hmm, there's got to be a story in this somewhere. I wonder what would happen if these two men lived in the same area!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Living in a tinderbox!

The past week has been a little exciting. It could have been worse, but sometimes one thing prepares you for another. In our case, our practice with hauling horses and camping made an evacuation a piece of cake.

Last Tuesday, I was sitting at Panera Bread for my weekly critique group meeting. I got a text from my husband that there was a fire near the home of one of our friends. I interrupted the group to call and leave a message offering any assistance needed.

Five minutes later, my mom called wondering why I wasn't on my way home because there was a FIRE! My mom tends to exaggerate and worry, so I said we were almost done and I'd be home soon.

Then someone looked out the window and hollered. No exaggeration, this was a real FIRE. Huge smoke plume billowing over the beautiful Black Forest area north of Colorado Springs. Uh, right where we live. So I ran home and gain a little more perspective. We were about 4 miles away and the wind was blowing away. My mom packed everything she cares about. I walked around and realized there was nothing I cared about any more than the other things and figured there was nothing really to worry about. We hooked the trucks up to both horse trailers (we have 7 horses).

But we did stay up all night watching the non-stop news coverage, just in case the wind changed. The next day, the wind was predicted to change. So I packed some minimal clothes so I wouldn't be doing something unimportant if the worst happened. Then it got dark, the smoke cloud was way high, but right over us. So we packed the hay and grain for the horses. Then the smoke dropped, we couldn't see across our property and all our cell phones started going off with evacuation orders.

We threw the suitcases in the trucks, grabbed some food, loaded the horses way easier than I'd expected and started looking for a place to go. I knew one friend had said we were welcome, but I couldn't reach her. By the time we made it to her place someone else had brought their animals in, so we tried the fairgrounds. No way our crazy arabs were going to be polite to all those nice mannered quarter horses, so we decided to head back to our friend, we could just tie the horses to the trailer if need be. Cuz we do that for fun on our endurance rides.

Then other friends started asking for help evacuating a llama farm. We couldn't help because our trailers were still full and would soon have horses tied to them. So they found somewhere else for us to go to free up our rigs.

We ended up making a whole extended family of new friends (two of them had evacuated as well, with dogs instead of horses though). For us, the whole thing turned into a little vacation. We had limited internet so hubby could work, but really he just watched the news. The horses made new friends, we even went on a trail ride. And we lived in the living quarters of our horse trailer. We made plans in case our property burned. Boy, would our lives be simpler, and much easier to just move anywhere we wanted. There has to be a silver lining in everything. Has to be.

Of course the darkest point was watching the number of homes burned, tracking the addresses as they came in and finding out that some of our friends had lost everything. Not to mention, the beautiful Black Forest becoming truly blackened. So many people have had their lives turned upside down. We're trying to find places for some to live, some temporarily, some permanently. Our property (which was never closer than 1/4 mile to the flames) has room for more horses. We'll all pull together. Everyone has some strength or past experience that will help someone else get through this.

They still don't know what caused this fire, but I sure hope they find out and catch the person if it was man-made. And I'll warn anyone now - do NOT throw a cigarette butt out of your car in front of me because I will make a phone call and then I will follow you. I'll make the rest up as I go.

Be strong everyone, you will get through this. Tomorrow is Tuesday and I haven't done any writing or editing. Where's the silver lining in that? Well, I came up with a great new book idea!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Are you ready for some Query Kombat? If you haven't heard of this, check out #QueryKombat or these blogs of our wonderful hosts:
Michelle4Laughs, Writer's OutWorld, and SCWrite.

I made it into Round 1 as alternate when someone had to back out, so I'm a long shot for sure because these are some wonderful entries!

Round 1 is complete - and if I counted right - I made it through to round 2. My entry, along with my Kombatant Wishwell is here. So much wonderful feedback from the judges and other Kombatants.

I've made massive changes to my query and first 250 - which are posted below. I'd love some feedback. Better? Still needs work?

Kombat name: Interstellar Pez
Genre: MG Sci-fi/Adventure
Word count: 43k

Eleven-year-old Mike daydreams of becoming superhero Mighty Mike, but all that gets him is top billing on The List of Chumps to be Pounded after School.

His love for all things science and science fiction lands him in the middle of a Federal investigation when a badly dressed, blue creature invades his favorite hiding spot and begs for help researching human reactions to alien environments. Candies from a shiny red dispenser will test Mike’s responses to extraterrestrial conditions by triggering temporary super (and not-so-super) powers. Mike figures he’ll be able to blast his name off The List forever.

Speed, strength, and invisibility—awesome. Frog legs and belching zoo-animal noises, not so spectacular. But if Mike wants to become a real hero, he will have to save his friends—and worst enemy—from Feds who aren’t what they seem and a four-armed, snout-faced alien wielding the Interstellar Remote Control of Everything.

First 250:

Mike stuffed his spaceship doodled notes and yesterday’s quiz with a large “A++”  into his backpack. The zipper shredded the pages, but he flung the half-closed pack over his shoulder and sprinted from the classroom before the bell finished ringing. He burst through the front doors as the halls filled with fifth and sixth graders. The yellow backpack thudded against his back as he dashed toward the community park.

 Chest heaving, Mike slipped into the woods. He skidded down a bank covered with last year’s leaves and plunked onto a half-rotted log behind a massive oak tree. Dirt clods splashed into a puddle.

 Mike stared at the ripples. Hiding like a wimp sucked, but it was safer than being found by Brutus and his gang. The husky sixth-grader was the keeper of The List of Chumps to Be Pounded After School. Mike wasn’t the only target, but some days it felt like his entry was permanent. The List wasn’t limited to boys or kids either. Girls with glasses, the crossing guard, the town drunk—many felt Brutus’s twisted idea of fun. Mike’s offense was being too smart.

After the science teacher referred to him as the next Einstein, Brutus chanted Afro-Einstein for weeks. Which totally baffled Mike since his close-cropped hair didn’t look anything like Einstein’s wild tufts.

The puddle stilled into a mirror. A shadow loomed over Mike’s watery reflection. He leapt to his feet—right into the puddle—ready to sling his backpack into Brutus’ head.

Except it wasn’t Brutus.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Click here for my "The Writer's Voice" entry

And now to today's main event...

Welcome to a CYOA blog hop to celebrate the release of Eliza Tilton's YA Fantasy, Broken Forest!


If you’ve landed here during your adventure, skip to "Your story continues" below. At the bottom are two Rafflecopter giveaways.
If you’re wondering what’s going on, go here to start your own adventure!
And may The Creator bless you on your journey.

Your story continues:
Lena is right. You decide to head north. You can play after you find the flower.

Howls sound behind you, this time closer. The winter wolves hunt in packs, large white nightmares that can rip a bear in two.

“They shouldn’t be this close to us,” you say. It’s then you notice the red line across Lena’s arm.


“Lena, your arm!” You rip off a piece of your tunic and tie it around her arm.

“It must have happened when I fell.”

The wolves can smell blood from a great distance, and once they are locked onto the scent, there’s no escaping them.

You pull out your sword and prepare for an attack. There’s no running, and the tree branches are too high to climb. Lena stands beside you, bow ready.

A pair of sickly yellow eyes peer at you from the dark.

“Prepare yourself,” you say.

She nods, and notches an arrow.

Two wolves spring at you. Lena shoots hers down and you struggle against yours as the blade hacks against its furry skin.

Three more wolves appear.

“Ahh!” You swing your sword in an arc, killing the nearest wolf, then swivel your foot to face the one on your right.

Roole is already there, slamming his gargantuan mace at the wolf. He’s the largest and strongest of your companions, and he is a welcome sight.

“Thank The Creator,” Lena says, a little breathless.

“I saw you two pass the stream.” Roole wipes his mace on the grass, cleaning off the wolf’s blood.

With no more wolves, you can safely search the area. The stream connects to a small pool that funnels under the rock and along the edge of the pool, are bunches of black flowers.

Lena grasps your arm, pointing. “Look!”

While you don’t want to share the discovery, it’s the right thing to do for the village, and Roole did help save you from a pack of wolves. Now you can bring home the healing nectar to your family.

But there is that Jenzi business.

You take Lena in your arms, kissing her. Her hands wrap around your neck, and with your free hand, you snatch your pouch. Before she can realize her mistake, you’ve tagged her.

Roole looks up from the flower he’s collecting to see you splashing red across his tunic and he doesn’t look happy.


Buy Broken Forest Here or
B&N or
Kobo or

Book goodreads blurb:

Hopeless he'll never be more than the boy who didn't save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

Author BIO:
Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A weekend of writing and riding

Wow, I don't think it could have been possible to stuff more into this past weekend. The third weekend in April has always been about choice in the past because two events are scheduled at the same time - the annual Pikes Peak Writer's Conference and my first endurance event of the season.

This year, the Kenlyn endurance ride was scheduled for Sunday instead of Saturday, so I was able to attend Thurs-Sat at the writing conference (sadly missed the award banquet and keynote speaker Libba Bray :-( and Sunday sessions.)

I attended great sessions on query writing, first page impacts, author panels, world building, writing for boys and much more. I pitched to Barry Goldblatt who passed on some cold honest truths - in his experience. I'm not daunted, my current book with a working title of MIGHTY MIKE AND THE ALIEN PEZ DISPENSER will be right for someone and some boy out there will read it, enjoy it, and just maybe, think reading is a cool thing to do. I met another great agent that just might be the one and learned about a publisher that could be perfect for my book. If only they didn't only accept un-agented submissions once a year. In December. Patience is not a virtue in my world!

And after all this cerebral fun, hubby and I loaded up our horses which haven't had nearly enough conditioning in this bizarre spring weather, drove to Denver and rode 50 miles through some very interesting urban settings. Ok, not quite 50 miles riding. Our poor bodies (also sadly lacking in the spring riding conditioning department) demanded that we get off and lead a few times. Just to save our horses from our sad riding posture as much as to stretch some muscles. The horses did great and we completed in 3rd and 4th place.

On a sort of separate note, but still related to both experiences: events of the last couple weeks have left me feeling jaded and saddened about the condition of the world. I truly felt there was no hope for children to have the kind of childhood I enjoyed. But seeing all the wonderful books being written that will bring comfort, hope, challenge, and salvation to future readers reminds me not everything has changed. And during our endurance ride, we ran into many youngsters out walking, biking and exploring that were so thrilled to see our horses. The world is still exciting and fun. We all have to work to keep it that way to make sure our children have options to choose between escaping into the wonderful world in a book or experiencing nature. Or finding ways to include both.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My friend and critique partner, Eliza Tilton, will have her first book published in May 2013. It's a YA Fantasy titled Broken Forest, and her very talented husband did the cover art.

To kick this release off, YA Romantics is hosting a CYOA Blog Hop set in the Broken Forest world. One of the scenes will be hosted here, but look for a post with the starting point and enjoy creating your own adventure set in this imaginative world.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pitch Madness

No posts for three months and now two in one day! I also entered Brenda Drakes Pitch Madness. To follow, check out #PitchMadness on twitter. She has an amazing line up of support and agents who will eventually see the best entries.
Here's my 35 word pitch and 250 word first page:
Genre: Middlegrade Sci-fi/Adventure
Word Count:42k

Dedicated to all things science fiction, eleven-year-old Mike tests superpower infused alien candies in hopes of escaping bullies. He ends up in a remote control versus laser battle to save his friends—and worst enemy.

Mike crept toward the swings, one eye on Brutus, the keeper of The List of Kids to Be Pounded After School. Brutus and his two cohorts leaped and hollered on the basketball court, absorbed in the bloodiest game of basketball ever. So far, they focused on bruising themselves instead of their usual targets at Grover Cleveland Middle School. Mike peeked through the monkey bars. Still safe.

The List wasn’t a physical list, of course. It lived in the head of Nathan Simms, the biggest kid in sixth grade. Failing to call Nathan by his self-chosen nickname of Brutus guaranteed an entry on The List. Even the teachers found it easier to call him Brutus.

Mike didn’t know how he’d landed a permanent entry on The List. He wasn’t ugly, poor or stupid. Brutus didn’t say a word when Jordan—the most popular sixth grader, with skin the same coffee-color as Mike’s—spewed milk from his nose. Instead of calling Jordan booger-breath, Brutus tagged Mike with a humongous, drippy spitwad.

No one picked on Mike’s best friend Carlos either. But then Carlos was always picked first for team sports and had two older brothers. Big older brothers.

Dashing from the monkey bars to the merry-go-round, Mike stubbed his toe on a bump and nearly face-planted in the gravel. He scrambled to his feet and tried to walk casually. His eyes flicked back and forth from the uneven ground to Brutus snatching the basketball from his second-in-command Cole. Cole retaliated by elbowing his buddy in the chest.

My 2011 NaNoWriMo project is done!

It's been a while since I posted. Back in January, I thought we were about 10 days from closing on an awesome property we found in Cedar City Utah. Great house, next to BLM, a basement apartment for my mom. We'd need to do some fencing and build a barn, but it was perfect for us because it is so close to a lot of the endurance rides we want to do.

But, the property was off the grid. And after swearing that was no problem, the bank suddenly said, oh, you mean there's no electricity? Well, we can't loan on that.

We flailed around with a couple more banks, even tried one that would let us finance running electricity for a mile to the place, but that failed as well.

Since then we've been living out of boxes since we'd packed everything but the essentials. And we have to move since we've sold our current property. Luckily the buyers are able to be flexible.

A CP and friend of mine, Eliza Tilton, soon to be published with the project that we first met over, challenged me to finish a book I'd started for the 2011 NaNoWriMo. She figured we could finish our WIP's in time for WriteOnCon in March.

I was 20k in, expecting it to end around 40k. So I knew it was possible. I averaged 1000 wpd most weekdays and got it finished on Feb 28.

Throughout Feb, Eliza and my in person CP read the pages and I felt it was a pretty clean ms. So I decided to submit to a couple contests and get more feedback.

I entered the Operation Awesome Secret Agent. The secret agent is Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency and I won! She wants to see the full!!!! I'd checked out this agency in the past because Ami-Joan Paquette read a few chapters of my currently shelved YA Fantasy. This is very exciting because not only do I think they're a great agency, but they don't accept unsolicited queries. Awesome opportunity!

I still haven't moved (but getting closer - we found a 62 acre property in Colorado with a log home that needs lots of work, cuz yeah, I need more projects!)