"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 A to Z Challenge Sign Ups and Theme Reveals

It's almost time for the annual "A to Z" blogging challenge. Ten years ago, 100 bloggers made a commitment to post the alphabet daily for a month, and at its height, there were several thousand participants. 

I myself participated for quite a few years. I enjoyed the experience greatly. It became a very inspiring, motivation, and educational experience each year. I made many blogging friends that I still keep up with, and even earned a few publications due to the exposure.

While the way it is held, run, and maintained has changed over the years, the spirit of fun and friendship has not waned. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate this year. I have just taken on too much at work to commit the appropriate amount of time to blogging for a solid month. I still hope to visit many of the participants though.

Most of the repeat participants have already begun planning their posts for this April, and have begun posting theme reveals. While a theme is not a necessary requirement to participate, some feel it makes the challenge more interesting, fun, or cohesive. The theme reveal form closes on March 28 if you haven't made it over there yet. Are there any themes you would particularly care to see, or learn about in April?

This year is the TENTH ANNIVERSARY! Sign ups begin on March 1 and theme reveals began on March 18. To learn more about this challenge, or what you can expect to see this April, be sure to follow their website which is full of other useful information in addition to challenge fun: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ 

Have you ever participated in this challenge? Will you be taking part this year? What do you think of the changes?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Irish Classics, Prompts, and Party Tips

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Can't figure out how to celebrate? Try reading or watching one of the classics below, or click Here for a few writing prompts and party tips to help you celebrate a love of the Irish.








































How will you be celebrating?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Scribbler

If you haven't noticed, a new fad has swept our nation in the last couple of years: the highly coveted box subscription craze. There are now box subscriptions available for just about any obsession: flowers, food, fashion, fitness, Disney, etc.

If you don't know what these are, it's when you can pay a fee (one time, annually, or monthly) to receive shipments of "selected for you material" pertaining to your fancy. I've been curious enough about these subscriptions to watch a few videos online, but so far I had not been tempted into joining in the trend.

The OCD side of my personality doesn't like the idea of paying for something when I don't know without a doubt what I should be getting in return. The allure of the "surprise" aspect has not overridden this emotional response.  However, I finally came across one that has tempted me. Now I'm considering one called SCRIBBLER.

Touted as "The only subscription box for novelists - created by authors, for authors." The monthly box can be purchased for just $27.50 -  $29.99. So, what's in this particular box that has piqued my interest? 


The website claims the box will help novelists do the three most important things: stay motivated, improve craft, and connect with writing professionals. Inside each box - curated writerly gifts, new release novel, a revision letter from an editor, exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author.


I've watched a couple of unboxing and review videos now, and I'm very tempted. Are you? To learn more: https://www.goscribbler.com/


Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: Hero or Villain?

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

MARCH QUESTION: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

MY ANSWER: I've enjoyed both at different times. Sometimes, they have ended up being the same person: hero and villain.

Whose perspective do you like to write, or read, from the best?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Summer Suspense

I'm already dreaming of the days of summer. I'm ready for increased sunshine, fun trips, and more time with my family.

Now, I have something else to look forward to: SUMMER OF SUSPENSE.

16 Tales by 16 of Your Favorite Authors

Enjoy the best of Christian suspense in this sixteen book anthology by some of Christian Fiction's most popular mystery and suspense authors. Stories of suspense by Mary Alford, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Vannetta Chapman, Mary Ellis, Debby Giusti, Ruth Hartzler, Shaen Layle, Ruth Logan Hearne, Loree Lough, Amy Lillard, Elizabeth Ludwig, Nancy Mehl, Serena Miller, Samantha Price, and Alana Terry. All for just .99 cents!

Summer of Suspense is now available for preorder at Apple and Barnes & Noble. This anthology collection will release on August 6th. After the release week, the book price will be $9.99, so don’t miss out on this amazing read for just .99.



   
Are you looking forward to Summer? What about any of these books or authors?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A to Z Challenge Announcement

It's almost time for the annual "A to Z" blogging challenge. Most repeat participants have already begun planning their posts for this April, and will soon be posting theme reveals. Are there any themes you would particularly care to see, or learn about in April?

This year is the TENTH ANNIVERSARY! Sign ups will begin on March 1. To learn more about this challenge, or what you can expect to see this April, be sure to follow their website http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ 

Have you ever participated in this challenge? Will you be taking part this year? What do you think of the changes?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Week of Love

It's Valentine's week, and while I love flowers and chocolate my family and friends know my favorite gift is a good book.


Not sure what to get the writer in your life? Check out this list of suggested Valentines day gifts for writers or check out these Six Ways to Participate in Romance Week at Goodreads.

This year's Goodreads challenge can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1161-romance-week-2018

Want to share the theme of love with children? Check out these 10 Best Children's Books About Love.

So many of us love reading and writing. We have favorites that we return to again and again. How about you? 

What is your favorite genre? Favorite author? Favorite book from childhood? Are you doing something special this week?

Happy Valentine's!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG: Creative Outlets

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

FEBRUARY QUESTION: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

MY ANSWER: I enjoy various creative outlets at different times: Photography, Sewing (clothes and mouse ear headbands), Crochet (most often blankets, but some clothing items), Cross Stitch, Painting, Coloring, Drawing, Crafting, and Scrapbooking.

How about you? Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you enjoy?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

These Are A Few of My Favorite Weird Things

I thought I would join in the fun and play the following game. It’s called These Are A Few of My Favorite Weird Things. (For other samples see here.)


1. Favorite Movie Most People Have Never Seen

Mine is Lilies of the Field. I'm often surprised how few people have seen this. None of my friends claim to have even heard of it. It's a 1963 film adapted by James Poe from the 1962 novel of the same name by William Edmund Barrett, and stars Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Stanley Adams, and Dan Frazer. The title comes from Matthew 6:27-33, a portion of the Sermon on the Mount, and its parallel scripture from Luke 12:27-30. The movie tells the story of an African American itinerant worker who encounters a group of East German nuns, who believe he has been sent to them by God to build them a new chapel. Poitier won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Actor, the first African-American to win a Best Actor award and the second African-American to win any Oscar (the first was Hattie McDaniel who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Gone with the Wind). Poitier also won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival. The film was also nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lilia Skala), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. The film was also nominated in 1965 for the United Nations Award at the BAFTA Awards.




2. Favorite Book Nobody Else Has Read

Mine is Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught. She has been a popular author and the Amazon page for this book shows more than 200 reviews in favor of the publication. However, none of my friends seem to have read it. In this book, Leigh Kendall is relishing her stellar Broadway acting career in her marriage to Logan Manning, scion of an old New York family, when her husband finds the perfect mountain property for their dream house. But while driving upstate on a winter’s night, Leigh is run off the road in the midst of a blinding blizzard. When she awakes in the local hospital, seriously injured, the police inform her that her husband has mysteriously disappeared, and Leigh becomes the focus of their suspicions. The more she discovers about her husband and his business affairs, the less she realizes she knew about Logan Manning. Now, Leigh is heading deeper and deeper into unknown territory—where friends and enemies are impossible to distinguish, and the truth becomes the most terrifying weapon of all in this thrilling tale filled with unrelenting suspense, unforgettable characters, and powerful traces of greed, ambition, and desire.



3. Favorite Disgusting Food

SPAM Cheeseball. A friend turned me onto this years ago, but most people completely cringe away from even trying it since it includes SPAM. I only use half a can of smoked SPAM with mine, but a friend uses the whole thing and then adds pineapple and rolls it in parsley or pecans. Here is the recipe I use: Mix 2 - eight oz cream cheese, 1/2 can of smoked SPAM, 3 chopped green onions, 1 and 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. onion salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp. red pepper. Roll into a ball and chill to desired consistency. Serve with favorite crackers.



4. Favorite Thing To Do When No One Is Looking

Lay around in my pajamas.



5. Favorite Opposite-Sex Guilty Pleasure Movie

I know I'll catch a lot of crap over this one, but I absolutely love Blazing Saddles. It's offensive on so many levels, but I love this movie. It's a 1974 American satirical take on Westerns. In it, crafty railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little) becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, a frontier town about to be destroyed in order to make way for a new railroad. Initially, the people of Rock Ridge harbor a racial bias toward their new leader. However, they warm to him after realizing that Bart and his perpetually drunk gunfighter friend (Gene Wilder) are the only defense against a wave of thugs sent to rid the town of its population. Directed by Mel Brooks, who also has several small roles in the film, the movie includes a star packed cast including Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, and more.




6. Favorite Book I Wish I Had Written

Wuthering Heights. Regardless of genre, 99% of the time I prefer books with a happy ending - life can be depressing enough. I want my characters to have a chance at "happily ever after." However, one of my absolute favorite reads of all time doesn't have that. Emily Brontë's only novel, was published in 1847 under the pseudonym "Ellis Bell". Although Wuthering Heights is now a classic of English literature, contemporary reviews were deeply polarised; it was controversial because of its unusually stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. 

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr. Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece. The novel has inspired adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations, a musical, a ballet, operas, and a song by Kate Bush. 



7. Favorite Weird TV Show

Tales From the Crypt was a horror anthology television series that lasted through most of the '90s and I dedicated a lot of my high school and college years to watching a show that gave us all some serious nightmare fuel. And not just because of the Crypt Keeper. The show did campy and cheesy horror exactly the way that it should be. It was not too self-involved, and never seemed to take itself too seriously. It was the perfect combination of campiness and unsettling horror.



8. Favorite Bucket List Thing I Probably Won’t Get Around To Doing

Visit every country in the world. There are 195 countries in the world today. Unless you count EPCOT, I have only been to three so far. For now, I'll settle for having visited half of the states in America. I'm working on taking my kids to each of the 50 at least once before they graduate. Did you know many of our states are larger than some countries?


I hope you'll play too. If so, please leave me a link below so I can visit yours!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

IWSG Anthology Cover Reveal

Dancing Lemur Press has finally revealed the cover of the next IWSG anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited…


Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball? 

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard. 

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…


Who's ready for a party now?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2019 Conferences, Workshops, and Literary Festivals: Texas and Louisiana List

I will try to provide a broader national and international list at a later date, but for now here are a few of my favorites for Texas and Louisiana:


2/16 - Southwest Louisiana Book Festival in Lake Charles - https://www.swlabookfest.org/

3/9 - Jambalaya Writers Conference in Houma, Louisiana - http://mytpl.org/jwc/

3/8-17 - SXSW Film and writers festival in Austin - http://www.sxsw.com/


3/27-31 - New Orleans Literary Festival -  http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/

4/16 - "Serious Writers, Inc." is sponsoring a one day Tour Stop on April 17 in Wimberley, Texas . You can learn more at http://www.seriouswriter.com/wimberley/

5/18-19 - Austin Writer's and Illustrators  Conference - https://austin.scbwi.org/events/austin-2019-writers-illustrators-working-conference/

6/22-23 - Dallas Writer's Conference - http://dfwcon.org/

6/28-7/1 - Unconfirmed - Austin Agents and Editors Conference - http://www.writersleague.org/38/Conference

9/2019 - SCBWI - Unconfirmed so check back - Houston Writer's Guild Conference - https://houston.scbwi.org/

9/14-23 - Unconfirmed - New Orleans Story Con -  http://nolastorycon.com/

10/12 - Unconfirmed - Louisiana:Bayou Writers - A Bridge to Publication

10/24- 10/31 - Austin Film Festival -  https://austinfilmfestival.com/

10/26-27 - Austin Book Festival - https://www.texasbookfestival.org/

10/31-11/3 - New Orleans Mystery Convention - http://www.bouchercon.com/

11/9-16 - Unconfirmed - New Orleans Book Festival - https://www.everfest.com/e/new-orleans-book-festival-new-orleans-la

Please feel free to comment with any you would like to see added to this list or the national one I am working to complete. Anyone know of any in other countries besides the US? Please feel free to comment with those as well. You never know when an opportunity will arise. Right? :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

IWSG News


1) The #IWSGPit Twitter pitch is once a year now – and the next one is on January 15. Hundreds of agents and publishers will be checking the hashtag that day. For rules and a list of genre hashtags, visit the #IWSGPit page.

2) Here are the prompts for January over at the IWSG Instagram:


3) Congratulations again to the IWSG Anthology winners! I believe this publication will hit shelves in April 2019. Here are the stories and authors selected for the fourth anthology:

Oddly Suited by LG Keltner
Sea of Sorrows by AV Brown
Behind the Catcher’s Mask by Jennifer Lane
A Diver’s Ball by Angela Brown
Fearless Heart by Deborah Solice
The Dark Charade by CD Gallant-King
The Cog Prince by Elizabeth Mueller
Flower of Ronda by Myles Christensen
Remedy by Chelsea Ballard
Charleston Masquerade by Carrie-Anne Brownian 


What news do you have to share this month? Have you heard any good news lately?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Take What You Need

Last semester my high school students spent quite a bit of time discussing and writing about social issues and controversies. We debated the type of problems that influence a considerable number of individuals in a society in a potentially negative manner - anxiety, depression, suicide, cheating, equality, gender/race/ethnicity identity, substance abuse, education, etc. Their solution? A wall of positivity where students can grab uplifting quotes. This is ready for students who return tomorrow and can be refilled as needed.


The most common positive concepts the classes decided to address: love, faith, hope, peace, patience, kindness, confidence, happiness, self-control, and humility.

Which ones do you find yourself in need of addressing? What about the characters in your story? What are some of your go-to quotes when struggling?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG: Questions

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JANUARY QUESTION: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

MY ANSWER: 
FAVORITE
I loved your story, when can I expect the sequel?
What would your character do if...?
How did you become such a talented author?
Would you be willing to come read/speak with our group?

LEAST FAVORITE
Have you published anything new this week? 
Why haven't you ever published a full length book? 
If I give you my idea, can you write my book for me? 
Aren't writers just professional liars?

What questions are your favorite and least favorite? What do you wish you knew about some of your favorite authors?


Happy New Year everyone, and congratulations to the IWSG anthology contest winners!