Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cover Reveal! ~ Cheating Death by Jen Naumann

This is just so exciting that I needed to post it. I enjoy cover reveals a lot. I am weird that way....

So, here's ther reveal for one of my daughter's favorite author's coming soon:
I met Jen by accident on Twitter, and she's now one of my favorite tweeps. She's fun to get to know, and according to daughter; her books are awesome!

You can find all the information for Jen's book Here.  You can find out more about Jen Naumann Here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the Mend

Quick post just to let everyone know I am on the mend. The blog should be up and running again soon, provided I have a bunch of interesting things to say. I realized I have a McGuffin post to write, so there's that to look forward to. Tell your friends. Follow the blog. McGuffin Muffins for everyone shall be had!
Hope everyone is doing well. I'll be back in full force soon!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Not Dead, Merely Sleeping

I seem to have given the impression that I am shutting down my blog. Not so. I am simply taking a break and possibly moving this blog to another hosting site. I haven't decided about that yet.

The blog will live on in one form or another. I just need a little break to get some things back in order and recover from this cold that hit me like a brick.

If it seems like the blog is taking forever to return, then take that as a good thing. It means I am writing my ten little digits off. And *that* means that there will be something wonderful for you to read in the near future. 

Thanks to all who are concerned. I will come back to the surface soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blog Temporarily Going on Hiatus


I am setting up a new website, and I am not sure if I will be keeping this blog or not. I might be moving everything over once the new website is live, and right now moving everything is not my idea of fun.

So, I am taking a break. No blogging, no website maintenance, no Twitter...just email and Pinterest (because it's therapy) for awhile. My brain has had enough, so I am going to switch directions and do some other hobbies for awhile, and hopefully rediscover my joy in writing.
 We will see how long the "forced vacation" lasts. Usually when I forcefully shut out my muse for awhile, she seriously rebels and physically kicks me in the head to let her in again.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fantastic Fiction - Fave Site Spotlight

I will be showing off a few of the links from my Favorite's List, which is different from my Clickable's list. My faves tend to get lost over in the side bar over there --->. So, I thought I would do some low maintenance promos of those links while I focus more on my book.

I hit walls while doing the research on my book, and planning outlines, so I keep nimble with blogging. In the meantime, I hope that my subconscious will work out the snarl, and I can get back to writing my book. Until then, please enjoy some spotlights of my favorite links.

Today's Fave Site Spotlight is Fantastic Fiction. It is maintained by a small family run company in Lancashire, U.K.

I *Love* this site. It is the clearest reference guide to so many of my favorite authors' books, past and present. If the list is not complete for an author, you can get a jumping off point for where to look for the rest of the books. The site is a remarkable reference for earlier books, which are sometimes super difficult to track down. Most books are linked to Amazon and other electronic sites, if the books are still available. Out of print books are listed as such.

Scotland Yard Helmet - it goes along with Jillian Stone's books, trust me.

Here is an example of  author Jillian Stone's section on Fantastic Fiction. Here's Jillian Stone's awesome personal website.

Fantastic Fiction may not have a fancy set up, but it's my go to place for discovering most, if not all, of an author's past and current works. I highly recommend putting this site in your browser toolbar. You can read more about Fantastic Fiction here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Little Free Library Project and a Giveaway From Me!

One of the coolest things I keep meaning to mention is the Little Free Library project. You purchase the kit, or plans, or build your own little book house and set it up in your front yard where people can see it. Fill it with books you want to share, and people exchange a book, or get a book, if they don't happen to have one with them.
I'll have one in my yard someday, especially since I just reminded myself of the neato project. There are dozens of photos and suggestions on the Little Free Library website. It is also a charity project promoting literacy and giving books to kids in need in underdeveloped countries.

Do you have a Little Free Library in your yard or neighborhood? What kind of eclectic tastes do your neighbors have, if so? I would love to hear about your experiences with free book exchanges.  

Leave me a comment with your favorite genre. In the spirit of free books, I'll send one lucky commenter a book that I select from my personal library. Please include your email in your comment so I can inform the winner. Thanks! Looking forward to hearing about your favorite genres!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Do Not Disturb

I wish I could say Do Not Disturb and have it actually work within my household. Being a parent, you have to make a choice. You either open up your heart and soul and become seriously skillful at multitasking (a skill I have not mastered), or you do a balancing act, sneaking away for any moment of alone time you can find.

I chose the former. I didn't close my door ever, and now it is a bit late to start until I can train my 3 yo to understand why I am closing the door. Most of the time, my choice does have its rewards. My 3yo is delightful even when she's driving me crazy, usually. My husband and 11yo are extremely understanding, usually.

My point of rambling about this is that I am going to be writing. I mean really concentrating on writing. Seriously, unforgivably concentrating on writing. I have my family that I need to balance with that, and that is enough. So, my blog will be in hibernation mode for awhile.

I've come to terms with my blog going quiet for an indeterminate amount of time. I have plans to go to London to do some research. I really hope those plans work out, and I will try to send a few notes from abroad when I go. I have a book teaser trailer in the works that I plan to toss out for my future readers, and that will come out when it is ready. I have so many plans.


There will be wonderful treasures to discover soon!
While you wait, feel free to explore the archives of my blog for nuggets of pure writing gold, or at least pure writing fool's gold. 


Friday, February 8, 2013

Flirting My Work in Progress

Here's a little secret. I am working on a book trailer. It's a teaser, just like a movie trailer teaser.  It's something to get my future readers interested as well as keep me motivated. It means, no promises, but whets the appetite to find out more.

So, with that tantalizing teaser about a teaser, why not follow my blog? I occasionally rant about things. I strive to get comments, and I am a tease, but tease is so negative. Let's call it flirting.

I'll "flirt" my W.I.P. at you. Here's my character inspiration for my main female character to start things off.
Hi, future readers, why not visit this link?

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Since I am feeling so down today, I am doing a bonus post. Woo hoo! Images have the power to lift me out of my funk sometimes, which is why Pinerest is a wonderful therapy, if addictive.

Below is an album of joy and fun. Some of the pictures I have taken myself  and some of them are character inspirations for my current Work in Progress, and some of them I just love. I hope these help to lift a few more spirits today. My Pinterest page has better descriptions for each photo, since blogger was being stubborn and messing up my captions.


Thursday Turdsday

Bleh...that's about all I have to say today, loyal readers. I really hope this vitamin D supplement I started taking does something miraculous.

The winter blahs have hit me hard. They always do this time of year. Usually, I just roll with it and curl up in a ball til spring, but this year I wanted to get things accomplished early.
winter blahs
I am not succeeding in my task so far. I try to stay away from venting and blogging about negative things, but goodness, I have to write about *something*, especially since my current Work in Progress is fighting with me.

mason jar madness
I don't like writing about my lack of accomplishments. I feel compelled to only announce my victories. If you get to know me, however, you'll discover that I have a pretty full jar of negative reactions to things around me. I try to keep it sealed up. I try to keep the buzzing Mason jar of emotions shoved to the back of the cupboard. Again, I don't usually succeed.

So there you have it. I am in a pit. Not quite the Pit of Despair, and fortunately, I don't have any hunchbacks or six fingered men pulling my arms out of my sockets. I hope you'll stick with me. Sunshine will make things all better!

How about you? Need a place to vent those winter blahs? Please feel free to vent away in the comments below. You might even find a good old fashioned complaint of yours in one of my future novels.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Arm Chair Traveling for Research

Today I will be your tour guide. Please locate your favorite chair and buckle your seat belts. You will find emergency exits to your right and left. Lavatories are located behind your vehicle. Please extinguish all background noises, and find your reading glasses. I hope you enjoy your trip!

I always find that a book is more interesting if it includes travel or an exotic main location. Doing research for far away places can be difficult if you have never been there, or you lack the funds to visit every location.

Here are a few tips I use for my Arm Chair Traveling Research: 

Travel to your local library and escape into the travel book section.

Find out if the library has the books for the location you need, and check out every travel book, history book, or even fiction books about the location you need.

Find maps of your chosen location. Maps will give you directional orientation when you're trying to get your characters from that small village on the coast to the metropolis in the middle of the country. Maps are also good quick references for place names, streets, landmarks, etc. Libraries, the Internet, used bookstores, even thrift stores are good sources for street maps, country maps, etc.

Learn a foreign language. 
You don't have to spend 1000s of hours to learn the local language of your location. Pick up a phrase book, even if it is outdated, and strategically toss a few native phrases into your story. Chances are your readers don't know the language, and it will add flavor. If your readers do know the language, then the phrases will be common enough that you won't offend. 

Language dictionaries are also excellent research tools. A word scattered here and there throughout the dialogue adds just enough spice to allow your readers to escape with you. I can't go on enough about the usefulness of phrase books and language dictionaries. They have provided me with countless names, flavor for dialogue, or even bases for made up languages that I've needed for some fantasy stories. For dictionaries right now, I have German, Japanese, Spanish, an old Greek phrase book and an ancient Italian. I really need to add some more.

Used bookstores are excellent sources for travel magazines, books, language dictionaries, etc. If you need to keep your books so you can dogear them, take notes, or just keep for future research, used bookstores are your jackpot.

Watch travel shows.
Even if the show is not about the location of your current story, take notes for future stories. Libraries are good sources for travel shows as well, and you'll probably be able to check out the episodes for your chosen location.

Southshore Marina, Milwaukee, WI
Go for a walk. 
Take your camera and take pictures of things locally that are similar to your exotic location. For example, I am writing a story that takes place near the ocean. I live near Lake Michigan which has several marinas and is large enough to seem like an ocean. Photos of the beaches, marinas, boats, etc., help with the descriptions and mood setting. Add temperatures and weather accurate for your exotic locale, and *boom* you've just transported your readers to a beach in Greece.

 Watch movies. 
Choose drama, comedy, historical; whatever works and takes place in your chosen setting.  It gives you the fictional flavor to contrast against the travel shows, and might even inspire some McGuffins for your story along the way.

Never heard of a McGuffin? Watch for a future blog post where I will attempt to explain a McGuffin. 

Do you use other methods when you just can't afford that Mediterranean cruise, or that resort on the French Riviera? Maybe it's just a country estate ala Downton Abbey. Whatever you use to do your arm chair travel research, I would love to hear about it!   Please leave a comment below and pass on the travel tips. Thanks!