Tag Archives: reading

Writers of the Future book signing

photo (22)One of my favorite aspects of being a writer is all the creative and talented people I’ve been smart enough to surround myself with. Andrea Stewart is one of those people. She truly is gifted in imagination and the craft of writing speculative fiction. She is a recent first place winner of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest and had her short story published in the annual anthology. And yesterday, she and a few other winners—Stephan Sottong,Tina Gower, and Timothy Black— had a book signing at the local Barnes & Noble.

I read her short story, Dreameater, as soon as I got home last night. Wow! It’s about the relationship between a young daughter and her dysfunctional, supernatural mother. Of course after reading her other work I wasn’t surprised at how good it was. To read a review of Dreameater, check out Kody Kline’s blog20130501-095631

Andrea is one of those people that when you meet her, you just know she’s going to make it big in this industry. Her stories are unique and fantastical and totally gripping. Plus, she’s also one of the most humble and thoughtful people I’ve ever met.

You’ll also love her book, Dragon Maiden: A Short Story. Andrea Stewart, remember her name. She will be big one day!

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Who am I?

That is the question I’ve been asking myself all year. Well, all my life really but more so since my mother passed away just after Christmas. A very good friend of mine introduced me to a series of books, Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch. By reading the books, discussing the more complex points with my friend, and sitting quietly with myself, who I am is slowly coming into focus.

1. I am a creator. I create fantastical stories in my head and transfer them into books. In college I did some drawing but writing is really where my passion lies. The thrill I get when someone has an emotional reaction to my words, whether they laughed or cried or were merely entertained, is like no other feeling in the world.

a pointillism picture I did in college

a pointillism picture I did in college

I have also created three wonderful human beings—with the help of my husband, of course— which I take great care and delight into guiding them to become happy and independent adults. I help them find the answers to their questions instead of giving it to them, I encourage them to make mistakes and try new things, but I don’t push. I let them make their own decisions about their lives, to a degree. Dropping out of the fourth grade to play video games all day isn’t an option.

I also create the events in my life, whether pleasant or not, intentional or not. Because I know my thoughts manifest my reality, I focus on the positive and what I desire rather than what I don’t want. Occasionally I have to remind myself to stop worrying but the more I practice just living in the moment and being grateful for all that is in my life, the more I have to be grateful for. I know everything will work out because it always has, one way or another.

My mom's favorite flower, the iris

My mom’s favorite flower, the iris

2. I am love. I love everyone. I may not like certain people, but that does not exclude them from my loving them. How could it when we are all one? And that also means that I love myself. I’ve always liked myself—I’m funny and kind and the most loyal friend you’ll ever find—but I’ve realized that for the past decade or so I’ve haven’t been a loving person to myself. I put my happiness and desires behind everyone else. That’s what I thought a wife and mother was supposed to do. But how can I tell my children to go for their dreams and be happy when I wasn’t following my own advice. And not just in my career, but all aspects of my life. A lot of changes are coming, but if I listen to my gut and focus on my goals, it will all work out for the best.

I drew this during my Garth Brooks period

I drew this during my Garth Brooks period

3. I am a loyal friend. I was never part of a clique but I’ve always had one or two close friends at a time. For those I call a friend there is almost nothing I wouldn’t do to help out if I could, from carpooling to lending money to giving them a place to stay for a few days. I love helping those I care about. Now, a couple times my generous nature has been taken advantage of and those friends have faded from my life. But there are a few that could show up at my door, dragging a dead body behind them, and I would grab my big shovel without question a second thought. I’m pretty sure “Holy shit! What the hell happened?” would be my first reaction as I help shove the body into the trunk.

On another note, my goal for the summer is to complete The Count of Monte Cristo. A couple friends swear it’s the best book ever. It’s a very thick book but I figure if I read a couple chapters a day, I should get it done before fall. Wish me luck. What are your summer reading goals?

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Mr. Whiskers is FREE today!

Over at Amazon, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers is free today. Whoo hoo! So click on over and download it now. You know you want to.

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My first mistake of 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who downloaded a free ecopy of The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers this weekend. Ninety-three downloads put Mr. Whiskers in the number one position for free Teen Short Stories. Whoo hoo!! If you missed out, don’t worry. It’s only $0.99 at Amazon.

So, as I mentioned previously, my good friend, Kody, agreed to give up soda if I wrote an adult story. And believe me, he let me know almost every day for the first week what a major sacrifice he was making to encourage me. I don’t take the threat of whoring oneself out for a Mountain Dew lightly, so I wrote my story. Okay, it was a short story, but I wrote it. Yay me! It’s a thriller with killers and body parts and stuff. A bit of a change from the young adult genre I’m used to, comfortable with. But the concept was great, the ending superb. I knew he was going to love it. So I sent it to him for his feedback. You have no idea how nervous I was while waiting to hear back from him.

You know what he said?

It was okay.40133

I still have a bruise on my forehead from where it hit my desk in utter defeat. My voice wasn’t much different from my YA writing, he figured out the ending right away, and my POV switch was too jarring. Ugh! But you know what? That’s perfectly acceptable because at least I took a chance and dared to jump out of my comfort zone and do something different. So what if I made a ton of mistakes writing my first thriller. I’ll keep writing and researching and learn how to write a thrilling story. I’m not giving up. What I’ll do with it once it’s done, I have no idea. But that’s not the point. The point is I’m doing something different. And different is good.

 

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The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers is FREE this weekend

title (2)My short story, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, is FREE on Amazon this weekend, January 26 and 27. It’s a crazy little story about a witch who attempts to bring her boss’ dead cat back to life. It’s funny, if a little dark, so if you have a twisted sense of humor like I do, you’re going to love it. And it’s FREE!! So go forth and download it and tell all your Kindle-loving friends to download it too.

Also, I’ve dropped the ebook price of Pucker Up, the first book in my Damsels OF Distress series, to $0.99. Here’s the new, updated blurb:

Ivy always thought that breaking a curse with True Love’s Kiss was the ultimate romantic gesture in fairy tales. But when she has to plant one on a prince who’s been dead for 200 years, it’s just gross.

After the “incident”, seventeen-year-old Ivy discovers she’s a witch, and she’s not at all happy about it. An underground organization of human warriors called the Eradicators are hunting her, like they do all other creatures tainted with magic—witches and wizards, werewolves, vampires, and fae to name a few. To escape, she’s found refuge in Salmagundi; a town hidden behind magical wards to anyone who doesn’t use magic.

But she can’t relax yet. The secret she keeps about her past could get her killed if discovered. Keeping a low profile is her main goal. Too bad Garren—the most obnoxious, pretentious, and not hot guy she ever met—won’t leave her alone. No other person on the planet can get her blood racing like he can.

Now the wards are failing, putting every resident in danger of being discovered by the Eradicators.

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Thankfully, a possible solution has been found and Ivy is the key. All she has to do is awaken the wizard prince who cast the wards over 200 ye

ars ago and bring him back to Salmagundi to save the town. Only two obstacles stand in the way: his whereabouts are unknown and only True Love’s Kiss can break the curse he’s under.

That’s right. She has to kiss the dead guy.

Together with her cousin and tag-a-long Garren, she sets out on a quest to find her prince. After putting up with dragons, vampires and one too many necrophilia jokes, can she survive long enough to take one for the team and PUCKER UP?

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An interview with Kody Kline

This year, I decided to give back to all the amazing writers who play a part in helping me improve my craft and get my books published by featuring them here. First up is fellow Stonehenge member, Kody Kline. He is constantly pushing me to broaden my horizons and challenging me to step outside my comfort zone in my writing. In fact, wemade a deal that he would join me in ditching the soda drinking habit (he’s a self-professed Mt. Dew fiend) and I would write a story geared toward adults. We’re both still going strong.

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Not only is Kody a fascinating man, but a talented writer who has already indie-published a short story, The Saraithian Rising, and a book of poetry, Poetic Trash, both available on Amazon. The beauty and passion that spills off the pages of his work has quickly made Kody one of my favorite authors and I’m honored to call him my friend.
So, I sent Kody a bunch of questions to get to know him better and here are his replies:
Q1. What story are you working on right now?A –  I generally work on several stories at one time.  My main project is a fantasy trilogy, the Etherium: Rise of Fire is the first installment.  My other works consist of short stories of the scifi realm and stories that tie into the world of the Etherium.

Q2.  If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be, what would you talk about, and what would you eat? 

Nick_Cave

Nick Cave

A –  I can’t limit the answer to just one person: Nick Cave, he’s a true musician, and has influenced my life; Gary Oldman, an amazing actor; Audrey Tautou, she’s just the most adorable person ever; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, my favorite director, who makes beautiful films, and I would love to crawl in his mind; and Andrew J. Robinson, because he played my favorite antihero of all time, Elim Garak.  We would talk about anything, conversations go where they desire, not where you desire, and we would eat food.

Q3. What is your favorite book as a child and as a man and why?

A – My favorite children’s book was There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, by Dr. Seuss.  I couldn’t say why, I just loved it.  As an adult, the Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book of all time.  The story is impressive in that no part is superfluous.  Every piece is a part of an amazing puzzle, and the way it is written, well, it’s just easy to fall in love with.  The characters and world are vivid and tangible.  And not only is it a revenge tale, but the way Edmond obtains his revenge is stirring.  A masterpiece of literature, to which I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how Dumas organized the story in his head.

Q4. When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer?

A –  I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and an ability to carry my created worlds and people in my head.  The Etherium is something I’ve held for fifteen years or so.  It is hard for a pesron to look into themselves and see their weaknesses, but I went through a point in my life that was extremely difficult and faith breaking.  When I emerged on the other side, I recognized I lacked the courage to write my stories.  While reading a Philip K. Dick story, I said to myself, I can do this: and I just started– haven’t looked back.

Q5. Who are your greatest influences when it comes to how you write and/or what you write about?

A –  For fantasy, my favorite author is David and Leigh Eddings.  Their work is what I, at first, modelled my style after.  Their worlds and characters are well devised, and every time I read their stories, I still laugh, cry, and enjoy the experience.  This is what I set out to create myself.  But as I continue to evolve as a writer, I let my own voice take over, and honestly, most of my inspiration comes from the aether, dreams, and the blessed spirit.

Q6.  Why do you think Alan Rickman is one of the best actors of all time?

Alan-Rickman

Alan Rickman

A1 –  I don’t.

Did I mention he can be a smartass? Let’s try that again. A2 – haha! While I do think Rickman is a great actor, he’s not on my personal list of best ever.  Don’t get me wrong, I love his work, and will always look forward to watching one of his films.  But there are just several other actors who I find more enjoyable.  That is personal taste and what makes our world superb.

Q7.  If I challenged you to write a story that was neither science-fiction nor fantasy, what genre would you write and why?

A –  Probably a suspense, murder story.  When it comes to movies, one of my favorite genres is serial killer stories, mind trip movies, and it would be fun to see if I could make my own skin crawl, and write a character who is extremely calculating, methodical, and horrible.

Q8. Are there certain characteristics that you believe all great heros should posses, or all memorable villains?

A – Heroes should be selfless, willing to sacrifice themselves to do what is right, what is necessary.  They are humble, honest, sincere, and virtuous.  Villians, well, they are the fun ones!  No remorse, passion, and intelligence are the factors I look for in a memorable bad guy.  But I move towards Antiheroes, personally.

Q9.  I like to write stories about strong female characters who don’t need a man to rescue them. Is there a common theme or message central to all your stories?

sarcoverA –  I love strong female characters, and I think it’s a shame there are not more of them.  But, we are slowly awakening as a society.  Hopefully, this will become more prevalent.  In my fantasy world, woman are on equal footing as men, and they join the ranks of Raithian Knights.  My main character will actually fight a woman, who is both strong and sensual.  While I appreciate a strong woman, I don’t think this excludes their feminity, their grace, and their beauty, so I still pay attention to this as well.  Overall, woman are amazing…

If you’d like to learn more about Kody, visit his blog.

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FREE ebook today!

My short story, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, is free today at Amazon. So grab your brand-spankin’ new Kindle and download it today. It’s a fun little story about a witch who needs to bring her boss’s cat back to life so she won’t lose her job. Of course, everything that can go wrong, does. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.title (2)

On another note, I hope everyone is recovering well from their Christmas holiday. The past couple days have been busy, but joyful. Now, as I gaze around my mess of a house—bits of wrapping paper and cardboard, half-eaten cookies, and pieces to new games scattered all over the floor—I just want to crawl back into bed until 2013. Let someone else clean it up. That would be a much appreciated present for this worn-out mom, although my Severus Snape replica wand is pretty cool. Too bad I can’t make it work.

One of the best parts of Christmas day was surprising my teenage daughter with her new iPhone 4. We had her convinced she wasn’t getting it. Then, right before dinner, we gave it to her. I had my sister-in-law sit next to her and answer the phone when I called from another room. She hands it to her saying “It’s for you.” Confused, my daughter answers it and I ask over the line “How do you like your new phone?” She went nuts. Tears in her eyes, she practically mowed me down giving me a hug. The huge smile that lingered on her face the rest of the night was the best gift of all.

What special gift did you give or receive this Christmas?

 

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