Friday, November 28, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins (Of The Literary World)

Hello all.

As you're reading this, I am at The Store working my way through an 18-hour shift (Boy, I love holiday weekends!) and doing a shot writing a haiku smiling politely and patiently every time a customer asks me if the "Everything On Sale" event extends to whatever item they're holding in their hands.

In case you were wondering, the answer is YES, THE 'EVERYTHING ON SALE' EVENT EXTENDS TO THOSE PANTS/COAT/SOCKS/SHIRT/OTHER CRAP IN YOUR DAMN HANDS.

But on My Pet Blog today, I am participating in the Seven Deadly Sins tag. Author Crystal Collier tagged me last week (Thanks, Crystal) and I finally found a moment to post it....



Greed—What is your most expensive book? Inexpensive books?

My most expensive books are probably the leather-bound Harry Potter books my mother found for me. They look great sitting on my shelves and have never been opened. I feel they're far too nice to touch. If you want to touch a Harry Potter book, I have about twenty paperbacks.

My most inexpensive books are the free e-books I download from Amazon.

Wrath—Who is the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship?

I have to go with Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series here. I absolutely loved the beginning of this series. The characters were fun, and the stories made me laugh out loud on several occasions. But from about Book 10 and up, I've been less than impressed. And I hate how the love triangle between Stephanie and Morelli and Ranger is STILL going on. Morelli, you can do better.

Gluttony—What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

There are a few series that I try to revisit at least once a year because I just adore the characters so much. They include the Harry Potter series,  Ellen Emerson White's President's Daughter series, and Sharon Kay Penman's Justin de Quincy series.

Sloth—What book have you neglected reading out of laziness?

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It's one of those classic novels I feel like I should read, but...damn, it's big. And possibly boring.

Pride—What book(s) do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I was going to make a Fifty Shades of Grey joke here, but I'm afraid people wouldn't get that it was a joke. My real answer would probably be Troilus and Creseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer. Which I read in the original Middle English because I am a huge dork who used to do things like that. Either that, or Les Miserables. In French. Because I am a huge dork who used to do things like that.

Lust—What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

I adore flawed characters. Perfect characters are boring. Imperfect characters are awesome. I like a hero/heroine who screws up on occasion, or even all of the time. For example, Harry Potter is, from time to time, a big jerk. And I love that. Because it's real.

Envy—What book would you most like to receive for a gift?

I'm happy to receive any book as a gift, but if John Green or Maggie Stiefvater wanted to send me copies of whatever they're working on now, I'd be more than happy to accept. Even if that's just a grocery list. Or, if Sharon Kay Penman wanted to send me more Justin de Quincy novels (her publisher won't release any more because they're not viewed as profitable as her other works), that would be incredibly awesome.


This is supposed to be the part where I tag other people, but I never do that. Should you decide that you'd like the participate, feel free to tag yourself, and then tell me that you did it so I can be sure to check it out.

That is going to do it for me today. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope everyone out there is having a fantastic weekend. And should you be hitting the stores today, be kind to your sale clerks. You have no idea what they might tweet about you on their lunch breaks...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scary Hoarder Nest

Before I get down to the business of me being a scary hoarder in a scary hoarder nest, I just want to say that today I am also visiting author Crystal Collier, where I take part in the Two Truths and One Lie game. Guess which statement is the lie and enter for a chance to win an EFFIGY e-book. But be forewarned...I am a pathological liar. Of course, I might be lying about that...Stop by and say Hello!

ONWARD!

As I mentioned in my last post, The Man and I are endeavoring to move south. Part of the moving process has been the cleaning out of our current house. It's been a real eye-opening experience.

Apparently, I am a scary hoarder person. 

My house has a lot of closet space—like, just an insane amount of storage. In the fifteen years I've been in this house, I've managed to fill it all. Here are some of the many, many things that have been discovered thus far:

—Five boxes of magazines. And not little boxes either.
—A surprising amount of pie plates. Especially considering that I've never made a pie.
—A surprising amount of skeeballs for someone who doesn't own a skeeball machine. Ah, misspent youth.
—A box of Beanie Babies. Including the "ultra-rare" Princess Diana Beanie Baby. Because apparently, there was such a thing, and I just had to have it.




—A kick-ass collection of Absolut Vodka ads. It was a college thing. And kind of a now thing.

And then there are the books. Books, books, books. Oh. My. Goodness. I have a lot of books. I mean, it's not like I wasn't already aware of that fact. It's just that going through the the process of sorting and packing has really driven that point home. I have a lot of books. 

I've gone through a lot of them so far, and limited myself to keeping one hardcover and one paperback version of each book. Any extras—and there are several books which fall into that category—will be and have been donated to my local library. I'm not sure what they'll do with three copies of The Mists of Avalon. but they'll think of something, I'm sure.

Thus far, I have literally packed twenty-five boxes of books. And I still have shelves I haven't even touched yet.

The running joke in my family is that I'll need two moving trucks to get me to my new home (wherever that might be). One for my books, one for everything else.

I really hope they're not right. That could be embarrassing.

That's going to do it for me today...I'm off to the day job. Have a great day, all.


Monday, October 27, 2014

In Which All Hell Breaks Loose

As you could probably infer from the title of today's post, I am a tad stressed out. Not that I'm ever totally stress-free, but I'm definitely feeling a lot more pressure than usual these days from just about every aspect of my life, Which completely makes me sound like a Drama Queen, and perhaps I am, but whatever else I am, I am Stressed. Out.

The Reasons Why—

The Store Front:

The mass employee exodus continues, which is impressive given how few of us there were before. I inadvertently added to the stress when I injured my back. The initial injury happened almost three weeks ago (and will continue to be a factor for at least a few weeks more), and I missed two solid weeks because of it.

Now, when I'm away from the Store for a single week, I always come back to a gigantic mess. But after missing two weeks, I'm not exactly sure there is a word to describe the state of the stockroom at this precise moment. Well, maybe 'clusterfuck.' That might begin to cover it. It will take me weeks to untangle it all.

I've joked a lot about how The Store cannot run without me, but now I seem to have undeniable proof. So I have gone back to work, though medically I should not have, because The Store is that damn desperate that a stock girl working at quarter capacity is better than nothing because our two busiest weekends of the entire year are fast approaching, and we will need every soul we can get.

Oh, and The Store will be opening at 5pm Thanksgiving Day. We will not close again until 9pm Friday night. I was hoping to have to work a 28-hour shift. Thanks, Corporate. You're the best.

The Home Front:

The Man and I shall be celebrating our 18th anniversary at the end of the week, and for as long as I have known him, he has wanted to abandon the New England winters for someplace warm. He does not like the cold. But ever year, I manage to keep us where we are. I love New England, and if I were to ever move, I would want to head farther north.

But, somehow, instead I will be moving south.

That's right. The Man finally got me to agree to moving south of the Mason-Dixon line. I'm not sure how that happened, but I'm guessing beer was involved. (Beer makes me think a lot of things are good ideas. I should probably never drink beer.)

So sometime after the New Year, I will be moving. This has several implications:

1. I will quit working at The Store.
2. I have to—Oh My God! I will quit working at The Store!
3. Also, I will have to pack up my entire household and move it very far away from where it is now.
4. I will quit working at The Store.

I have told The Man that I will NOT move before the New Year, and I really thought it would work out because it was bound to take a long time to actually sell our house. But instead we have a list of interested parties who want to buy it. The first viewing already happened, and the second is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The third on Friday. I suppose this is a good thing, but selling the house means I will have to move my household and quit my crappy job a lot sooner than I had planned.

Well, maybe that isn't all bad, then.

The Writing Front

Because of the previous two fronts, this particular front has been shoved so far down the To-Do List, it shouldn't even be considered a front. I believe I have quite literally have 5,000 things to do at the moment. As a result, The Big Bold Goal (Finish Lineage—a grand total of 20 scenes in various states of completion) has been completely abandoned, as have my NaNoWriMo plans. At first, when I was awarded/sentenced to a (forced) two-week vacation from The Store, I thought "Yipee! I'll be able to finish those scenes!" But without the pain meds, all I could do was cry, and with the pain meds all I could do was watch the Game Show Network and yell at Betty White for not knowing the answer was 'snowflake.' (Sorry about that Twitter feed, gang,) (Also, the answer, I'm told, wasn't even 'snowflake' and Betty White wasn't anywhere to be seen...)

I'm still writing when I can find a few spare moments (I've managed to finish three of the twenty scenes), but it'll have to be all right because that's currently all there is. There's always January.

Wait. I'll probably be moving in January.

There's always February.

Probably.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Soulless Are Coming

No, this is not a post about the management team at my day job (but, boy, do I have a story for you). No, instead on My Pet Blog, we're pleased to welcome author Crystal Collier and her latest release, SOULLESS.


Title: SOULLESS
Series: Maiden of Time
Author: Crystal Collier
Pages: 263
Pub Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
ISBN: 9781629830032

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.


BUY


What reviewers are saying:

"5 Stars." - Invincible Love of Reading Book Blog

"I LOVED it! So good. Seriously...exceeded my expectations." -Kristin Smith, advanced reviewer

"Entirely unique and chilling." Gabby @ What’s Beyond Forks

"Unputdownable." T.C. Mckee, BookFish Books

Excerpt:

“Here she stands.” The voice sounded as narrowly stretched as his skin, a hiss on the wind. “So nice to finally meet you, Alexia Dumont.”

The tang of a tomb rolled over her. She gagged. The blade’s edge scraped her neck, sharper than she remembered.

“What do you want, Amos?” Kiren’s voice was calm, despite his ridiculous position on the ground.

“They tell me you have chosen a mate.” The skull said over his shoulder while peering closely at her.

“Who tells you this?” Kiren huffed. “And more importantly, you believe them? I thought you were a man of reason.”

The death grin swept away, although he still looked to be grinning through the natural arch of rotted teeth. “Even men of reason possess faults.” He stepped closer, his face inches from Alexia’s, acrid breath stinging her eyes.

She closed them.

“I tend to trust too easily, as you are aware.” The rasp erupted in a fetid breeze across her cheek. “Lucky you do not seem to share that quality.” He turned. “Or do you?”

Kiren’s face revealed nothing, as unmoved as stone. The only indication he’d heard the accusation lay in his defiant glare. Alexia couldn’t decide if she should applaud him for courage, or berate him for looking so dispassionate while a blade raked at her jugular.

A finger of bone lifted to her cheek and trailed down to her neck, uncomfortably warm, spiraling a burning trail toward her heart.

A tremor ran through Kiren’s cheek, his mouth set.

Giveaway:

Get your free copy of book 1, MOONLESS, October 13, 20, 27, 31 or Nov 7.

Author Bio:

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her on her Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nobody Knows

Hello, everyone. I know...two posts in two days? That's unheard of for this blog, but today I am pleased and privileged to be taking part in the cover reveal for Kyra Lennon's latest release...Nobody Knows.


Title: Nobody Knows
Author: Kyra Lennon
Genre: NA Romance
Type: First in series (Razes Hell Book 1)
Cover Design: Najila Qamber Designs
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography
Release Date: November 3rd 2014


Curious to know what it's about? Here's the synposis...

It's not easy being friends with rising rock stars - especially when you're the glue that holds them together.


Razes Hell has taken off in the charts, and Ellie can't believe her childhood friends, Drew and Jason Brooks, are on TV and drawing crowds after years spent playing in dodgy bars. From obscurity to overnight success, Ellie soon realises life in the public eye isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as dark secrets become headline news and old conflicts are re-ignited. When a fake feud meant to boost the band’s popularity threatens to rip the boys apart for real, Ellie finds herself torn – a position which only gets more uncomfortable when her loyalty to Jason collides with her blossoming relationship with Drew.

Nobody knows how deep their issues run; nobody but Ellie. With friendship, a music career and a new love on the line, can Ellie keep their tangled pasts from ruining their futures?


Add it on Goodreads
Pre-order on Amazon US
Pre-order on Amazon UK

About Kyra Lennon:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.


Connect with Kyra:

Facebook
Twitter
Website
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page


Congratulations, Kyra!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Big Bold Goal & Other Fun Tales

I don't even know where to start today; there's just so much that I want to tell you about and should tell you about and even need to tell you about. I've been looking at the blank screen for a while, just watching the cursor blink at me, as I attempt to figure it all out.

But as time is as short as always, I guess I'll just ramble for a while and see what comes out.

Ready?

First up—

Today marks the end of the Shelfie Blogfest, created by author Tara Tyler and co-hosted by...

Heather M. Gardner
Christine Rains
Vikki Biram
CD Cofflet
Elizabeth Seckman
Rena Rocford

I was supposed to be a co-host as well, but I have downgraded myself to something other than co-host because I was a pretty terrible co-host. If any of the co-hosts listed above are reading this, they're probably saying to themselves, "She was a co-host? Really?" Because I truly was The Absolute Worst. (I apologize, ladies.)  I did, however, manage to contribute a prize: an EFFIGY e-book. I can't wait to see who wins...Thank you to everyone who entered.

The biggest reason for my co-hosting fail (besides my rather chronic ineptitude—by the way, I misspelled that word the first time. Ironic, no?) was probably my day job. My hours have been choking me lately. Sorry if I come off as a Drama Queen, but it's true. We suffered another mass employee exodus and have not yet replenished our ranks. There are, I believe, five employees left (including management) which is insane because we normally have 15-20 employees. This is, as you can understand, making our busy season an even more exhausting time. Everyone is getting double shifts and fewer days off, and aren't we excited about that.

We're not. In case you wondered.

With the increased hours in mind, I have whittled down this month's goals. I only set two of them. One of which is so freaking massive I have to wonder if I am setting myself up to fail. But I'm going to do it anyway. Go big or go home, right?

Here are my two goals for October (or, what's left of it)

1. FINISH LINEAGE.

Lineage is Part Two of my current WIP (Effigy's sequel). It was supposed to have been finished last year. That obviously didn't work out so well. Now my goal is to finish Lineage this month—and really, if you look at the storyboard, I'm so freaking close to finishing—so that I can use NaNoWriMo to write Reckoning, Part Three of my current WIP. And in case you weren't sure...this is the massive goal.

2. Walk, run, or bike at least 88 miles.

I logged 88 miles last October, so I shall endeavor to match it this year. Given how much time I shall spend running around at my day job, I don't imagine this shall be a challenge.

But I guess we'll see how it all plays out come November.

And on that note, I am out of time for today, but I shall be back again sometime this week to ramble on some more about other things.

Consider yourselves warned.


Friday, September 19, 2014

A Serious Question

Tomorrow, I shall be participating in my first-ever author event. As, you know, an author.

It's a book fair at the public library.

Public. As in "open to."



That's right. Tomorrow, I shall be sitting at a table in the public library with copies of my novel to sell and bookmarks to give away—an idea which terrifies me.

But I'm going to do it anyway.

Unless I contract the Bubonic Plague before then.

Which probably won't happen.

Right?

Right.

So, in case I don't contract the Bubonic Plague, I have a question to ask of you wise, more-experienced authors...

What does one wear to a book fair when one will be sitting at a table selling copies of their novel and giving away bookmarks? (provided, of course, anyone wants one.)

I'm guessing my "I can kill you with my brain" tee shirt is out. As is my new "LEAVE ME ALONE" shirt—a gift from my sister and niece (they thought I could wear it to work. Which I will.). That pretty much leaves my selection of Harry Potter, Zelda, Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica, Sherlock, Veronica Mars, and Game of Thrones tees.

Or what about one of my Care Bears, My Little Pony, Schoolhouse Rock, or Sesame Street tees.

Pause.

I am such a geek.

I also have some Red Sox or Patriots tees. My Tom Brady jersey? Or perhaps an oversized Big Papi jersey?

I don't know—what do you think? Should I perhaps go shopping for something that doesn't have a cartoon character on it?

While you're mulling over that question, let me pose another one:

Say a person approaches the table at which I am sitting with my novels and my bookmarks and asks a question or otherwise expresses interest. Is diving under the table and hiding until they go away an acceptable response?

Please say yes.

On that note, I'm out of here. I get to go to my day job on my day off.

I am so very lucky.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Oh, and if anyone out there would like an fancy Effigy bookmark of their very own, email me your address, and I'll send one out to you. (U.S. only, please)



Monday, September 15, 2014

Oh, How Shelfish Of Me (Part One)

As I mentioned last week, I'm helping out with the Shelfie Blogfest, the brainchild of author Tara Tyler. The other co-hosts, co-conspirators, and contributors are:

Heather M. Gardner
Christine Rains
Vikki Biram
CD Cofflet
Elizabeth Seckman
Rena Rocford

Here are the details:

Dates: Now through Monday, Oct 6
How To Enter: Take a picture of you and your book(s) - your favorites or your own novels. Or you can just arrange the books in a special way and take the picture - but you do get extra points for being in the photo.
Formats: Post on Twitter, Facebook, Blog - just make sure to include a link(s) to each for us.

Enter today for the chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Last week, I shared a shot of my Harry Potter shelves, and I'll be sharing some more shelfies as the week progresses. Today's featured books are some of those belonging to blogger friends:

Pop Travel by Tara Tyler

Maguire's Corner by Heather M. Gardner


Thanmir War by Loni Townsend


From the top:
Fault Line by C. Desir
The Next Door Boys by Jolene Perry
Cassa Star by Alex J. Cavanaugh
The 13th Floor Complete Collection by Christine Rains


That's going to do it for me today...Check back on Wednesday to see Part Two of Three of my Shelfie posts this week.

Have a terrific Monday, all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Goals And A Few Other Things

Considering it's the tenth, I'm a little late with this post, but that's been the theme of things of late. If possible, I seem to be getting worse at time management. Not that I was ever all that good at it before, truth be told, but it feels like I am only ever efficient when I'm at my day job these days.

Sigh.

I really wish the opposite was true.

Anyway, first up is a review of the goals I set way back in August:

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 103 miles.

I killed this goal, logging a grand total of 131.5 miles. This was aided by a ten mile hike, and a pair of 15 miles bike rides while I was on vacation in Acadia. Thanks, Acadia!

2. Make some progress on Part Two of Second Nature.

At the start of August, this WIP's word count was sitting at 222,400. Now it's currently sitting at 225,504. Technically progress. I've been feeling stuck and a tad uninspired. I created yet another plan, and we'll see if this one sticks. Here's how the old storyboard's lookin' (see if you can spot the moment where I stop knowing what the hell is happening):



3. Read more books.

Yeah, this one didn't go as well. I read two books last month, which isn't terrible, but it's much lower than my average. There's just never enough time...and I'm an insomniac.


And now for the goals I've set for September (can you stand the excitement? I know I can't...)

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 66 miles.

Apparently, I really slacked off last September, so this month's mileage goal is pretty low. Which is nice considering how much I've been slacking off on the mileage front so far this month.

2. Part Two of Second Nature still needs to be finished.

The starting September word count is 225,504. Maybe it'll be higher come October. (Crap...is it really almost October?)

3. Survive First Public Author Appearance.

That's right...I have scheduled my first public author appearance. I'll be at the Local Author Book Fair at the library on September 20th. I have books to sell and bookmarks to give away. Well, provided they arrive in time. Maybe if they don't, I can stay home.

4. Read more!

I miss reading. I need to do more of it. Maybe I'll manage that in September.

5. Plan a trip to the Ren Faire.

A while back, I promised myself that if I managed to publish EFFIGY, I could buy myself either a double bladed battle axe, or a matching pair of short swords at the Ren Faire. Well, I managed to publish the book, and now I shall buy swords. Or an axe. I haven't really decided between the two yet, but I think the swords have a slight edge. I have a character who fights with two swords, so...Yeah. Probably the swords. Or maybe the axe.

And one more announcement before I go...


I'm helping out with the Shelfie Blogfest, the brainchild of author Tara Tyler. Other co-hosts, co-conspirators, contributors are Heather M. Gardner, Christine Rains, Vikki Biram, CD Coffelt, Elizabeth Seckman, and Rena Rocford.

Dates: Now through Monday, Oct 6
How To Enter: Take a picture of you and your book(s) - your favorites or your own novels. Or you can just arrange the books in a special way and take the picture - but you do get extra points for being in the photo.
Formats: Post on Twitter, Facebook, Blog - just make sure to include a link(s) to each for us.


Enter today for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

I'm planning to do some other, better, photos later on for this blogfest, but I thought today I'd post a pic of my Harry Potter books. I am what my significant other calls a Completist, meaning I feel compelled to have complete sets of everything. Meaning I have the American, British, French, and Russian Harry Potter series. Most in paperback and hardcover. Because I am a freak. Anyway, here's a picture of my Harry Potter collection:


And that is going to do it for me today. This has been a very long post, and if you made it all the way to the end of it, I applaud you. I'll try to make the next one shorter.

Have a great day, all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cat Tales

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the Charity Cat Anthology Hop, the brain child of author Kyra Lennon.

The idea is to post a story, poem or interpretative dance (note: I could be wrong about that last one) with a cat in it, to be compiled and turned into an anthology to benefit a cat shelter.

I just so happen to be a fan of all four-legged creatures. (Eight-legged creatures...no so much) Like April Ludgate said on an episode of Parks & Recreation, I, too, believe animals should be rewarded for not being people, so participating in this hop was a no-brainer. So, of course, Kyra Lennon has permission to use this story in the anthology.

I don't write short stories very often (read: pretty much never), but fortunately, I had written one. A true story that just so happened to involve my own menagerie:

Fat Cat
Scaredy Cat
Big Brave German Shepherd (left) and Gator Girl (right)

So here now, for your reading pleasure is my short story (approximately 1800 words), The Morning of the Mouse.

§§§

The Morning of the Mouse


The day began as any other day.

The Gator Girl sat poised, bedside, waiting for any sign of movement to take as an invitation to spring onto the bed and cuddle between her parents. The Big Brave German Shepherd lay on his bed on the floor, lamenting the hard truth that he was just too damn big to get up there without the aid of a crane.

Slowly, The Man got out of bed. The Gator Girl followed him as he shuffled across the room, dragging his feet in his search for clothing. The Gator Girl did not drag her feet. The Gator Girl never had dragged her feet in her entire life. She pranced.

Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap filled the air. The sound roused the Big Brave German Shepherd, who immediately came in search of his mother. The Woman was not amused. The Woman had been up late and had been hoping for a modicum more of sleep before being forced to face the day, so The Woman laid in bed, her eyes firmly closed in order to give off the illusion of sleep. The Woman had learned long ago to fake it until she could make it.

The Man, having finally gathered his clothing, left the bedroom in search of a shower. With his departure, the Gator Girl jumped on the bed and nestled close to The Woman. The Big Brave German Shepherd lay down as well, with a thud that shook the bed. Still, The Woman did not move.

She didn’t even move when the bedroom door re-opened and The Man said, “Hey.”

The Woman chose to ignore him, as did the Big Brave German Shepherd. The Gator Girl, who never had ignored anything in her entire life, leapt off the bed with joy.

“Hey,” The Man said again.

The Woman reluctantly opened her eyes and looked at The Man.

“There’s a mouse hanging off the shower curtain,” he said.

The Woman had to think about this. She understood all the words individually, but when put together in a sentence in the order in which The Man had placed them, they lacked all meaning.

“There’s a what where?” she asked.

“There’s a mouse hanging off the shower curtain.”

The Woman thought some more. Mouse. Hanging. Shower curtain. Huh.

“The cats are freaking out,” The Man continued.

Mouse. Hanging. Shower curtain. Cats.

“Wait—you mean a real one? A real mouse?” The Woman asked, fully coming out of the illusion of sleep.

“Yes, I mean a real mouse.” His tone minutely questioned The Woman’s intelligence. “Look. You can see it from here.”

With that, The Man opened the bedroom door. Both the Gator Girl and the Big Brave German Shepherd pranced now, alight with the possibility of breakfast. The Man, however, did not allow them to pass. The Woman lifted her head from the pillow and squinted into the bathroom.

The Woman was not wearing her glasses and was still slightly groggy from sleep, or the lack thereof, but after a moment of squinting and focusing, she saw a small, dark shape at the top of the shower curtain. After a little more squinting and a little more focusing, she could see that it was, indeed, a mouse hanging off her shower curtain.

The Woman said a not-nice word. The Woman actually said several not-nice words.

She sat up and took in the sight of the little brown mouse clinging for his dear little life at the top of her shower curtain. The two cats—Scaredy Cat and Fat Cat—sat below him, tails swishing and eyes riveted to their prey.

The Woman said more not-nice words.

“What do we do?” The Man asked.

“What the hell do you mean ‘we’?” The Woman responded.

The Woman normally liked to think of herself as one of those hairy-legged, bra-burning feminist types who needed a man like a fish needed a bicycle, but the truth remained that she shaved her legs year round, appreciated a bra’s support, and was not about to deal with a big, fat squirmy mouse and his little wormy tail.

No, The Woman was going to find herself a bubble and move into it. Immediately.

“How am I going to take a shower?” The Man said then.

“Yeah,” The Woman said, now entirely accepting the fact that the hope of further sleep had dissipated upon first uttering of the sentence ‘There’s a mouse hanging on the shower curtain.’ “That’s what we need to be concerned with right now. You showering.”

“I have to go to work.”

“You’re not leaving me with that thing in there.”

“I kill the spiders,” The Man said. “It’s only fair that you deal with the mice.”

The Woman said a few more not-nice words.

“What if we got a bucket from the basement,” The Man started.

“Again with the ‘we’,” The Woman muttered.

“And, like, knocked the mouse into it,” The Man finished. “Could he climb out, do you think?”

The Woman didn’t respond. No, she was too busy imagining the absolute horror of either standing in the bathroom holding a bucket with which to catch a big fat squirmy mouse and his little wormy tail, or knocking a big fat squirmy mouse and his little wormy tail into a bucket.

“I hate nature!” she proclaimed.

The Woman actually liked nature. The Woman actually loved nature. She enjoyed spending time in the Great Outdoors. She did not, however, enjoy it when the Great Outdoors was hanging from the shower curtain in her bathroom.

“Hey, are you going out today?” The Man asked.

“How else am I going to buy a bubble in which to live?”

“I’m thinking we’re going to need some mouse traps or something because if there’s one mouse, there’s probably—”

“Don’t finish that sentence,” The Woman commanded as she climbed out of bed. “Just go close the bathroom door so I can get the dogs downstairs without interrupting the standoff.”

The Man laughed. “Could you imagine the Gator Girl with a mouse?”

“Yes,” The Woman said. “Yes, I could. Which is why, in the absence of any mouse removal solutions that don’t involve me holding a bucket, I want you to close the bathroom door.”

“The mouse could fit under a door.”

“What is wrong with you?” The Woman asked. It was possible that she had screeched the question, but she would never admit it. “Just close the damn door!”

The Man closed the damn door, and The Woman took the dogs downstairs to prepare their breakfast. While she did so, the Gator Girl puked. Twice. Because the morning hadn’t been awesome enough.

Meanwhile, The Man was pondering solutions. The cats could take care of the problem, he decided, and it would do Fat Cat some good to spend time chasing a rodent. The Woman wasn’t as convinced about the cats’ mousing abilities. Fat Cat had chased mice in the past but had only toyed with them a bit before letting them disappear back into whatever hole from which they had come. And as for Scaredy Cat—well, her name wasn’t exactly ironic. Still, The Woman had no better plan, so she kept her mouth shut and watched The Man work.

“How long do you think the mouse can hold on?” The Man asked.

“I don’t know,” was The Woman’s answer. “I don’t know how long he’s already been up there.”

“Well, he’s going to get hungry at some point.”

“Well, when faced with hunger or the two cats waiting to satisfy their own, I think the mouse just might choose hunger.”

“Right,” The Man said. “Hey, do you think I should put a ladder in here? Could the cats climb a ladder?”

The cats, in fact, could climb a ladder. The Woman had found that out one night when The Man had used a ladder to access the attic crawlspace, and Scaredy Cat had followed him up. But before Scaredy Cat could exit the crawlspace, the ladder had been taken away, leaving Scaredy Cat to cry forlornly until The Woman had found her. The Woman related this story to The Man, but he was not listening.

No, The Man was scheming.

He fetched his ladder and set it up in the bathroom for the cats’ use. Scaredy Cat was, perhaps, still traumatized from her previous experience with the ladder and, therefore, was uninterested in it now. Fat Cat didn’t comprehend its purpose, so The Man took it upon himself to teach Fat Cat to use the ladder.

The Woman would have sold her soul just then for a video camera.

But, as there was no video camera nor any deal-making demons present to help procure such a device, The Woman eventually drifted away to contend with the dogs’ other morning needs. The three of them were outside when she heard a high-pitched shriek coming from the house. She left the dogs in the yard and went back inside to investigate.

The Man met her at the top of the stairs. “Did you hear me scream?”

Against her better judgment, The Woman asked what happened.

“So, I put Fat Cat on the ladder,” The Man said, “on the second step, where it wouldn’t be as easy for her to get down, and she realized she was closer to the mouse, right? So she starts climbing up, and he falls—”

He falls. Oh joy.

“And he runs under the vanity—”

Under the vanity. Oh joy.

“And Fat Cat goes after him and was, like, battering him around, so he came out from the vanity, right? Then Fat Cat swatted him some more, but now he’s in the heater—”

In the heater. Oh joy.

“And Fat Cat has her head stuck under there,” The Man said. “You should come see it. It’s pretty funny.”

The Woman returned to the bathroom. Fat Cat, indeed, had her head wedged under the heater, her tail still swishing madly. Scaredy Cat, The Woman noted, was absent from the scene.

“He’s got nowhere to go now!” The Man said.

Satisfied at a job well done, The Man removed the ladder and went to work. The Woman reassured herself of Fat Cat’s well-being before removing herself to her office to check emails. In the middle of composing a message to a friend, The Woman heard a thud and the pitter-patter of angry four-legged mammals on the move. The sound cumulated in a loud crash, followed by silence. The Woman sighed and went to investigate...by standing at the top of the stairs and cautiously peeking around the corner.

The bathroom was empty. Fat Cat’s orange-and-white stripped tail was slinking into the bedroom. The Woman followed and watched Fat Cat curl up in the middle of the empty bed for a nap. There was no sign of the mouse, leaving The Woman with the unsettling feeling that the big fat squirmy mouse and his little wormy tail had gotten past Fat Cat and was now, once again, running free on his little mouse feet somewhere within her walls.

“I hate nature,” she whined, slowly making her way back to the stairs.

§§§

About the Author:

Armed with a long and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When not writing, she's on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire. Visit her online at mjfifield.com.

§§§

It seems weird to post my bio here, but I'm pretty sure I was supposed to. If I wasn't, I offer my apologies.

At any rate, I thank you for stopping by today. Please be sure to check out the other participants of this very worthy blog hop, and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Character Meet And Greet, Part Two

Today I am taking part in the Meet My Character bloghop. I was tagged twice, once by Heather Holden—whose web comic, Echo Effect, has become a must-read every Monday— and once by author Heather M. Gardner whose novel, Maguire's Corner, I very much enjoyed and whose sequel I am very much looking forward to reading.

I did this post once before with Effigy's main character, Haleine Coileáin, so today I thought I would feature the two main characters in Effigy's sequel, Second Nature—Cate and James. And even though I'm probably not supposed to have favorites, they're currently mine.

I often use this picture to represent these two characters,
though they don't have a romantic relationship.
It just feels like a Cate and James picture.

§§§

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historical person?

Second Nature's main characters are Catherine "Cate" Cole and James ap Seoras. They are fictional, but considering the amount of time they spend shouting at me (and each other), they certainly feel real.

2. Where and when is the story set?

While the majority of the novel takes place in the medieval-esque fantasy world introduced in Effigy, a very small part takes place in modern day Boston and Maine.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Both characters can and do use sarcasm as a weapon and/or a defense mechanism. Both have suffered huge personal losses that have colored their outlooks. Neither one is particularly fond of backing down.

Also, Cate hates boats, while James has never been on one.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Even though neither of them wanted to be, they're both embroiled in in this epic battle between good and evil, and it sees them doing things they normally would never even consider doing, all in the name of survival.

And—for a while, anyway—Cate makes it her mission in life to make James absolutely miserable. Much to his chagrin, she's pretty good at it.

5. What is the personal goal of the character(s)?

To answer this question, here's a short excerpt from the manuscript:

"What do you want to know?" he asked.
"How I get out of here," she said. "How I get home."
James nodded. "Something we have in common, that."

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and where can we read more about it?

Normally, my WIPs go through several titles before I settle upon the one that fits, but Second Nature was named long ago by a old high school/college friend, and it's been called that ever since. (Thanks, Ben!)

You can read more about this project here on this blog, as it's becoming my main focus, or on my website.

7. When can we expect this book to be published?

Well, I'd really like it to be out late 2015, but since I haven't yet finished writing it, I'd say late 2016 is probably more likely. Anyone suggesting 2017 would not be accused of crazy talk.

§§§

And on that note, I'm out of here. I have a shift at the store calling my name. It's Labor Day, after all, so it only makes sense that I'd be laboring, right? Thanks again to Heather Holden and Heather M. Gardner for giving me the opportunity to talk about my characters today.

And thank you for stopping by today. Have a great Monday, everyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back In Action

Hello, all!

I actually meant to publish this post yesterday, but it turns out that when you don't hit the little orange 'publish' button, the post doesn't publish.

Oops.

Anyway, I'm back from my short hiatus. It was good to have some time away, but the problem with taking time away is that there's always so much to cover when you get back.

First up, I want to thank all the WONDERFUL people who hosted me during my very first book blog tour:

Misha Gericke
Patricia Lynne
Marcy Hatch
Loni Townsend
E.J. Wesley
Alex J. Cavanaugh
L.G. Smith
Kyra Lennon
Christine Rains
Unicorn Bell

And I'd also like to thank everyone who took the time out to read and/or comment on my guest posts and interviews. You are all amazing, and I salute you.

On that note, it's time now to announce the winner of my very first giveaway for my very first book! Thank you (again) so much to everyone who entered. I was petrified that no one at all would enter, and I'm so happy that that wasn't the case.

So without any further delay...

The winner of an autographed (or not autographed, if you'd rather I didn't sign it) paperback copy is...

ANNALISA CRAWFORD

And the winner of an eBook verison of Effigy is...

Karen Peterson

Congratulations to you both! I'll be emailing you shortly.


Last up, I thought I might share a little summary of my Acadia National Park Adventure. So here, for your reading pleasure, is my vacation by the numbers:

Miles walked/ran/hiked/biked: 67
Mountain summit reached: 5
Books purchased: 17 (I love library book sales!)
Words written: 846 (Not a lot, I know, but a lot more than the 0 words written in previous weeks.)

There are other things I want to talk about and need to talk about, but this post is getting long and I need to go to work. I was supposed to have Monday off to get caught up on all the things that have been woefully ignored lately, but I made the mistake of stopping into The Store to check my schedule for the week and saw what my co-workers did to my stockroom in my absence. This was my reaction:



And now I need to go and fix it. It's going to take a while.

But thank you for stopping by today. See you around the blogosphere...


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last One

My summer of adventure is continuing this week from one of my favorite (if not the favorite) places in all the world—Acadia National Park. The Man and I are hiking and biking and eating quite a lot of baked goods. All right, so that last one is me and me only, and something I do at home, but there's a new pastry shop in downtown Bar Harbor, and I intend to eat everything they offer.

So you can understand that with such an agenda as this, I won't be around much this coming week.

I came out of my vacation isolation today because the world-famous Effigy Blog Tour is coming to an end. I know you are all devastated by this news, but it had to happen someday, and today is that day.

I honored to be featured over at Unicorn Bell for a fun interview. Stop by and find out what my current favorite (non-Whedon) pop culture obsession is...

And though today is the last day of the official Effigy Blog Tour, the giveaway is running a little bit longer. I think it ends next Monday. Or maybe next Sunday. At any rate, there's still time to enter, should you so desire.

But as for me, I'm out of here. Cadillac Mountain is calling my name. Talk to you soon, and thank you for stopping by!



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Joss Is Boss

Hey everyone!

I'm taking some time out of my week o' adventure with my niece, the Angel Child, to say hello and to tell you that the Effigy blog tour is visiting author Christine Rains today where I discuss some of the many, many reasons why I adore Joss Whedon.

And while that is a topic which could produce an endless amount of pages, I did limit myself to 500 words. Or maybe just a few more.

But not a lot more. It's seriously a short post. Especially when you consider that it's me talking about why I love Joss Whedon.

Anyway, be sure to stop by and check it out. There's also still time to enter the Effigy giveaway event. (see the end of this post)

Which is actually here. I'd love to stay and chat more, but today is Sugar Cube Castle Day, and I've got work to do.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Friday, August 8, 2014

What Else Is Happening

Today, the Effigy blog tour visits author Kyra Lennon where I'll be chatting about music and lyrics and Haleine Coileáin's theme song. Stop by and say hello!

And now, for a special treat, here's what else is going on in my life...


—I am completely and totally obsessed with the BBC's new show The Muskateers. I'm a sucker for a period drama anyway but add cool sword fights and banter, and I'm an absolute goner. These are two of my favorite exchanges so far:

Athos: If you had told us what you were doing, we might have been able to plan this properly.
Aramis: Yes, sorry.
Athos: No, no. Let's keep it suicidal.

and

King Louis: Did she just refuse my company?
Queen Anne: I believe she did, sire.
King Louis: Is that allowed?

I have some time off from work coming up (YAY!), and my super-cool niece, the Angel Child, is coming for a visit. We have quite the adventure planned: hiking, kayaking, rope course and zip-lining, shopping, and building castles out of sugar cubes. The possibility of dyeing our hair exotic colors was also proposed. Not sure about that one, as exotic hair colors is frowned upon at The Store. Which, in truth, kind of makes me want to do it more...

—Because of my summer break, My Pet Blog will be headed into a semi-hiatus the next two weeks or so. There are a few more stops on the world-famous Effigy Blog Tour, so obviously I'll be around for those. Everyone's been so great; I'm so thankful for all of your help and support.

I think that's probably a good note on which to end. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect (An IWSG Post)

The first Wednesday of every month is devoted to the Insecure Writer's Support Group where writers from all over voice their concerns and fears and receive encouragement and support in return. And vice versa. Click on the link above or the badge to the left for more information and a complete list of participants.

In addition to being insecure here, I'm also insecure over at L.G. Smith's blog where I talk about strong, female characters in a completely insecure way. That's right...it's Double Insecurity Day! Not quite as much fun as Double Coupon Day, but still maybe a little entertaining?

So, I know I haven't mentioned this at all, but my debut novel, Effigy, has been out for a couple of weeks now. I think things have been going well, but I'm not sure. I mean, it's not like I have anything to compare it to. All I have is this pit of constant worry where my stomach used to be. Sure, I worried before publication, but now it's reached this whole new level, and I find it terrifying to think that there's another level of worry. And probably one past that, too.

But still, I'm not very sure I'm very good at being a published author. If people ask about the book, I immediately become so tongue-tied that complete sentences are beyond me. That is, if I haven't already melted under a table or a rock or whatever's handy. Someone asked me to sign a copy of the book, and I spelled my name wrong. I was flustered, embarrassed, my hands were shaking, and the next thing I knew...wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Such a proud, proud moment.

Which is why I chose to immortalize it in this blog. And Twitter. And Facebook.

I like to think that things will get better, easier, with time, but the fact remains that I'm still me, and awkward is (apparently) in my DNA.

But at least I'll have plenty of fodder for plenty more IWSG posts.

That's going to do it for me today...I'm off to practice writing my name. Just kidding—I'm off to my uber-exciting day job.

But maybe I'll practice on my lunch break.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, August 4, 2014

August Goals

Before I get started with a riveting recitation of goals and progress, let me say that the Effigy blog tour visits the blogfather himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, today where I'll be talking about the music I write by. Stop by and check it out!

On this blog today, I am talking goals. I set some for myself last month, and did pretty well with them. Take a look:

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 102 miles.

Completed. I logged 125 miles last month.

2. Publish Effigy.

Though you're likely very tired of hearing about it, this goal was completed as well. (Enter the giveaway below! You know, if you want.)

3. Finish Part Two of Second Nature.

Nope. Not completed. I'm not surprised—this goal was a pipe dream from the start.

4. Complete guest posts for blog tour.

Not quite completed. I have one left to write, and two to send out. If you're one of the bloggers waiting for those post, I swear they're on their way. Very, very soon.

5. Read a book.

I actually read three. One was good. The others...not so much.


And now for this month's goals...

1. Walk, run, or bike at least 103 miles.

Last August I covered 102 miles, so this month I will endeavor to do more.

2. Make some progress on Part Two of Second Nature.

Last month, I ended up deleting a lot of stuff. Not exactly the progress for which I had been hoping, but what are you going to do, right? Certain scenes weren't working, and they had to go. Maybe this month I shall replace them with scenes that do work. Second Nature's word count is currently sitting at 222,400. Maybe by next month, it'll be higher.

3. Read more books.

Last month was three books. Maybe this month I could read four. Maybe more. Probably not more.

And on that note, I'm outta here. I have another sure-to-be-fun shift at the day job. See y'all on the other side, and thank you for stopping by today.


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Friday, August 1, 2014

E-Books and Interviews

Today the Effigy blog tour pays a visit to author E.J. Wesley where he asks some excellent questions, and I thoroughly embarrass myself answering them. Stop by and check it out!

Also...

The Effigy Kindle Edition is now available. It's actually been available since the beginning of the week, but I am truly terrible at remembering to tell people these things.

True story.

The ePub version continues to be delayed. But of course it is. I do hope it will be ready by the end of the giveaway.

Speaking of which...there's still plenty of time to enter. You know, if you're interested.

No pressure.


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That's going to do it for me today. Thank you again for all of your kind words and support—not just on this blog, but wherever I happen to pop up on any given day. Hope y'all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Art of Slowing Down

First up—The Effigy blog tour keeps chugging right along and pays a visit today to author Loni Townsend where I ramble on about this one time (not at band camp) where I found some major inspiration in an unexpected place (again, not band camp). Stop by and say hi!

And now, for the main event, I'm turning the floor over to author C. Lee McKenzie as part of her blog tour for her latest release, Double Negative. She's here to talk about reducing stress for writers. Since I never, ever, feel any stress whatsoever, I—yeah, I can't even finish that sentence. Since I never, ever, feel anything but stress, I stand to learn a lot from this post.

Take it away, Lee!

Slow Down Writers

The scientific community can’t say with certainty that chronic stress causes life-threatening diseases. What they can say is people who are severely stressed are often tired and, therefore, less likely to exercise. Not healthy. Some come to rely on habits like overeating (strudel anyone?), drinking (where’s the wine?) and smoking (no temptation here, thank goodness) to “feel” more relaxed.

Anyone with a job, a mortgage, or a manuscript on submission knows how wrung out they feel at the end of a work week. I know I do. And I know how easy it is to say I’m too tired to do much of anything.

When I’m really under pressure here’s what I find helps me reduce the stress of life in general and the writing world in particular. These are things that get me up from my chair and moving. . .slowly, but surely.

Anyone who knows me can guess my first stress reducing strategy. I take a hike, then these other strategies are my back up. I cook something I really like to eat, and I do it from scratch. Spanakopita takes hours of chopping, and then there’s filo to deal with. At dinner, I light some candles and dim the overheads. It’s a mandatory, “everyone-sits-at-the-table-and-talk night.”

No matter what time of year it is, I plant some seeds. If I’m totally on my type A trip, I plant green beans. They grow almost overnight. Once I bought a fountain pen and wrote a letter with it. It’s still around here somewhere in case I need it. Of course, I leave the computer, cell phone and iPad off for at least a half hour—Well, fifteen minutes. Four? And finally, or maybe during all of this, I concentrate on my breath for a few minutes. No one can stress if they have to monitor their breathing.

Here’s to a happy and healthy writing for the rest of 2014.

Double Negative (YA)
by C. Lee McKenzie
Release date: July 25, 2014

Hutchison McQueen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. 

And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.