Friday, December 18, 2015

The Game's Back On

Today, the woefully-neglected My Pet Blog belongs to author Kyra Lennon, as she reveals the changes she'd made to her 2012 release, Game On. (which is FREE today, by the way. Happy Holidays to us!)

Take it away, Kyra!


***


Game On was first published in 2012. In its time, it has been through a heck of a lot of covers, but this is definitely the final one! The reason for this particular change is that back in July this year, the rather beautiful Scott King did a photo shoot for me with the equally stunning Lucy Laming – shot by super snapper Eric Battershell. The chosen photo of Scott and Lucy will be on the cover of the final Game On book – due for release next year. Since Scott King is the perfect Radleigh McCoy, I figured it made sense to have him on the cover for Book One to match!




ALSO, the book itself has undergone a bit of a change. There have been a few updates made to the book’s content – and this includes no longer cutting away from the bedroom scenes. It was a mistake I have berated myself for ever since publication that I didn’t include a sex scene. The nature of Leah and Radleigh’s relationship almost demands the bedroom scene to be written in full. I feel like without it, I haven’t been true to the overall tone of passion in the pages of the rest of the story.
These updates, and the cover, will be live before Christmas. If you have already bought a copy of Game On – I am hoping with everything I have that Amazon will be kind enough to give you a little update button on your accounts so you can re-download. If not, I will find a way around the issue somehow! 

The paperback version of Game On will be updated also, but will take a little longer due to needing to order proof copies, etc, as will the audiobook, but that will take quite a while longer as it depends on my narrator's availability.

Please keep an eye on my Facebook page for further updates! Thank you!


Title: Game On (Game On Series #1)
Author: Kyra Lennon
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover Models: Scott King and Nadine Hart
Blurb: After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind.
Los Angeles has everything Leah ever wanted. A great job, supportive friends, and most of all, an escape from the mundane English village she grew up in. The only cloud on her horizon is soccer superstar, Radleigh McCoy. He’s arrogant, sexy - the epitome of everything Leah used to crave in a man.
But Leah is not that person anymore. After getting her heart trampled on, she knows the damage caused by guys who only have one thing on their mind. She’s determined never to go through it again, but when McCoy makes scoring with Leah his new goal, they become locked in a heated battle of wills which threatens everything she’s built for herself.
As circumstances throw them together, the chemistry between them becomes harder to ignore, and Leah is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all.

Buy Links:

Amazon US audiobook: http://amzn.to/1HevTfZ
Amazon UK audiobook: http://amzn.to/1KZnwDF
**
Find Kyra online:


Friday, December 4, 2015

Self Help 101

Today, My Pet Blog belongs to author L.G. Keltner and her brand new novella. It's a jammed-packed post with some helpful holiday survival tips, a snippet of the story itself, and giveaway at the very end. And without any further ado....take it away, L.G...


I’d like to thank M.J. Fifield for letting me stop by to promote my Christmas novella Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family.

This is the time of year that makes countless New Year’s resolutions regarding weight loss necessary. We get together with family or friends and eat until we can barely move.  Those of us who get to engage in such traditions are pretty fortunate, because not everyone is that lucky.

What do you do, however, if you’re so fortunate that you have more than one house to go to in a day, and therefore more than one large meal to consume?  I’ve been in this position before (though I try to avoid it when possible), and here are some tips to surviving it without exploding.

#1-Cut all your portions in half.  Yes, the food will tempt you, but you may need to practice self-restraint.

#2-Skip heavy drinks like eggnog.  Drinks that thick take up precious space in your stomach that you’ll need to cram food into.

#3-Skip dessert.  I know, the pie will be calling to you, but it may be a necessary sacrifice.

#4-Conversely, if you can’t bear to skip dessert, you could try showing up to one house just in time for dessert.  That way you won’t have to stuff yourself full of other things first.

#5-Ask to have food to take home instead.  Some people may understand your predicament and take pity on you.

In the end, you may still have far too much to eat.  You may need to make sure someone has a wheelbarrow available so they can wheel you out to your car.

Now I hope you’ll enjoy this snippet from Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family.

***

“So, what?  Her feelings are the only ones that matter?  Why?”  Hearing this was a bit upsetting, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was actually hurt.  Of course not.  I was unflappable.

“Because, as much as you try to play at being a brooding teenager, you’re nowhere near as good at making people miserable as your grandmother is,” my father growled.

***

Dani Finklemeier has decided to write a self-help book about how to take over the world, but she’s not sure where to start.  After all, she’s only seventeen and looking for a better way to make money than babysitting.  She buys a self-help book that promises to teach her how to write a self-help book in the hope of getting the job done.

Not that it’ll be easy to get any work done this holiday season.  Her family is staying at the house for Christmas, and fights break out almost immediately.  Dani also has to deal with the fallout from an unexpected kiss with her best friend Seth and the feelings that go along with it.  On edge around her family and unsure how to interact with the one person she’s trusted with everything in the past, she can only take what inspiration she can from the crazy circumstances surrounding her and see what happens.

One way or another, it should be an interesting holiday.

Available At:

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
CreateSpace

Add it on Goodreads

About The Author:

L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband.  Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six.  Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good.

Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.



You can typically find L.G. lurking around her blog, on Twitter, or on her Facebook page.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 30, 2015

NaNoWinForMe

I am going to lose NaNoWriMo this year.

It kind of kills me because this November is the first November in more than a decade where I haven't been working a soul-sucking, 60-hours-a-week job that severely hinders my ability to write.

Nope, it turns out that I can do that all on my very own.

But, to be fair, I did start four days late and then had to take a few days off in the middle of the month, so is it any wonder that I'm in a 14,000-word hole?

Probably not. Maybe. I don't know.

But, on the bright side (a place in which I don't spend nearly enough time, I know), I did manage to write 36,000 words in Full Circle—otherwise known as Book Three in my fantasy series, or the novel I wasn't going to start until sometime in 2016—and I may even not delete some of them when it comes time to look at it again.

Most of it, though, I think is destined for the Deleted Scene file, as it shows just how unorganized I've been with this project thus far. I attempted to plot out at least a bit of it—the broad strokes, at the very least—but I don't have the handle on the story that I need to have.

My plotting efforts

The problem is that I'm still clinging to the way that Full Circle was supposed to go, based on the way that Second Nature was supposed to end...and didn't. There was a ripple effect that I haven't seen the end of yet. Or, you know, accepted, apparently.

But it's okay. There's bound to be something worth salvaging in that 36,000 words (I have yet to scrap an entire NaNo project), even if it's ultimately decided that the story needs to go in the complete opposite direction as it's going now.

Which probably won't happen. (She says like she actually has any idea at all. Which she does not.)

But it's okay. Even if I couldn't pull out a win, I'm glad to have done it.


Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this month? If so, how'd you do?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Writing A Memoir

Today, My Pet Blog is in the hands of author Mark Koopmans and his brand new release Revival—The Donald Braswell Story.

Take it away, Mark!



Aloha,

Ending the second week of the REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story Tour, I’m delighted to stop by and bother the sweet MJ, who asked for none of this on Friday the 13th (but is a sucker for a bald guy shaking a cup and pleading for a book…(Thank you, thank you, I’ll let myself out…)

MJ asked about the challenges—and perks—of writing a memoir.

Probably the hardest part, for me, in the whole process was “learning” Donald’s voice. We held dozens of in-person, or over-the-phone interviews, but it was the hours and hours of recorded interviews that I leaned on to become skilled at Donald’s “isms.”

(During the first draft, there was a lot of email back-and-forth as I figured out, for example, that “y’all” isn’t actually used in every second sentence as spoken by native Texans!)

Another challenge was simply finding the time to get together. Both of us had “regular” jobs, so our meetings were sometimes confirmed the night before.

One reason why it was so important to me to meet (rather than an easy phone call and simpler email) was I preferred to watch Donald’s body language as he spoke. (Even if I didn’t need the info for the particular section of the book, it did show me how Donald liked to sit, stand, drive, talk, gesture, etc.

Probably the best perk of the whole project was when Donald would belt out a tune or a line to show me exactly what he meant, or how it was supposed to sound.

The man has a deep pair of lungs, people!

Ever dealt with (overcome) long-distance writing with a partner/subject?

Thanks, MJ, for having me (us!) over today and I wish everyone reading a great weekend.

On Monday, I’ll be back, and this time Yolanda Renee is interested in some general memoir tips.


Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch.

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with
depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and
immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.

Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?


Where To Find Revival—The Donald Braswell Story

Paperback:

Pen-L Publishing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

E-Book:

 ● Kindle
● Nook
● iTunes
● Kobo


About The Authors:


Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night.

Find his blog at markkoopmans.blogspot.com.


Donald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.

Find him at donaldbraswell.com.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

● GRAND PRIZE (2 winners): Donald Braswell to sing (Happy Birthday/Anniversary) via
Skype or phone call. (A unique gift idea!)
● 1ST PLACE PRIZE: Signed Donald Braswell CD/REVIVAL book combo
● 2nd, 3rd and 4th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of REVIVAL (by Donald and Mark)
● 5th, 6th and 7th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of Donald Braswell CDs
● 8th, 9th, and 10th PLACE PRIZES: Signed Donald Braswell 8x10 picture


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Come on, Get Happy

Before I get into today's sure-to-be-riveting post, I want to give a shout-out to my brother. Today is his birthday, and I hope he has the best birthday ever. He's a terrific guy, and without him, I wouldn't be telling you what I'm going to tell you in this post.

So...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAVORITE BROTHER...THE BEST BROTHER FOR WHICH A GIRL COULD EVER ASK!



Sometime before the Great Canine Stomach Surgery of 2015, I did something that I, quite honestly, thought I might never, ever, do.

I finished Second Nature.

So you might be wondering why you're only hearing about this now. Why there wasn't a post on this blog filled with some choice Happy Dance gifs like these:




Aaaaaand maybe just one more because I can never resist the urge to use it whenever it fits...



Doing posts filled with Happy Dance gifs has become my habit/tradition upon the completion of a WIP. Well, all right, so maybe 'habit/tradition' is too strong a word/phrase. I mean, I did do it that one time that I actually manged to finish a WIP—because that really has happened only one magical time—but I didn't do that post this time. So maybe it's not a habit or a tradition or anything else.

But, whatever it should be called, I didn't do it this time.

Because here's the thing...When it comes to finishing this monster novel of mine (and at 325,000 words, it really is a monster), I'm feeling more like this:


Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I'm just sad. Maybe both.

Or maybe I'm just not happy with how it turned out.

I mean, I know it's the third one. The other two may be contributing factors, but the truth is that I am not happy with how it turned out. There were some twists (well, maybe not 'twists', per say, but unplanned alterations to the original plans, at the very least) that came out that I'm not convinced (despite the best efforts of my brave, brave brother) that I...I don't even know. I just think I screwed it up.

Now, if I came on this blog and said how pleased I was with my work, you'd be running to escape the invasion of the body snatchers or whatever, because me being hyper critical of all I do (and don't do...*coughcough* exercise *coughcough*) is just what I do, along with being sarcastic and worshiping at the altar of Joss Whedon.

But I did the Happy Dance post before, so even if I maybe wasn't particularly pleased with what I had written (I honestly don't remember if I was, but I'm guessing not because I'm still me, after all), I was pleased to have done the writing. I was pleased to have finished the WIP.

This time...not so much.

And it's kind of stupid, too, to feel like this, given that the manuscript in question is still a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be done, and that I did.

Now it's sitting in a drawer (not, like, literally or anything) where it will remain until I decide to look at it again. A month, at least. Probably two. Maybe three. Maybe I'll never look at it again. 

Probably not that one.

Time away between drafts is always a good thing, I think. It allows one to look at a story with fresh eyes, and I know in the past when I have done this, it becomes much clearer what needs to be altered or cut in the next draft. It is my hope that time away will not only give me those vital fresh eyes, but will also help get me to that Happy Dance place (I don't know why I keep capitalizing 'Happy Dance', by the way. It just happens.).

I want this story to be good. Better than good, even. Or, as good as I can make it, perhaps. It contains my absolute favorite character, and I want to do her story justice.

So that's what I'm doing. Waiting. Patiently, as only I can.



So, that's gonna do it for me today. What's going on in your corner of the Internet?

Friday, October 30, 2015

One Long Week

And one long post to tell you about it.

So. My vet woes continue.

On Tuesday evening, Big (my beloved German Shepherd, for anyone maybe not aware) started acting weird. He's just kind of weird in general—all my animals are (my influence, I'm sure)—but Tuesday night it was multiplied and intensified. He was agitated and restless and couldn't lay down for more than 30 seconds before getting up to pace some more. He climbed on the couch and laid down, and then began the dry heaving.

Only it wasn't really dry heaving because an insane amount of drool was just falling out of his mouth. But anyway, he was attempting to vomit without any luck of getting anything out of his system.

After about 10 minutes of this, the decision was made to take Big to the emergency vet because everything he was doing were classic symptoms of a little thing called Bloat.

In the event that you're not familiar with Bloat, it's a disease where the dog's stomach will flip or twist or both. It's a time sensitive issue that will result in the dog's death if not treated in time.

So we bundled up Big, put him in the car and tracked down an emergency 24-hour veterinary hospital. Because I would rather they had told me nothing was wrong before laughing me out of the office than take the risk of his condition actually being Bloat.

But they didn't laugh me out of the office. They did x-rays and confirmed that his stomach had, indeed, twisted, and the only treatment options were Super Expensive Surgery or humane euthanasia.

We opted for the Super Expensive Surgery. I am so very grateful that we were in a financial position that allowed us to take the Super Expensive Surgery option. I was not ready to say good-bye to my boy. Truth be told, I will NEVER be ready to say good-bye to my boy. I understand that I will have to someday, for he will not live forever, but I wasn't prepared for it to happen on Tuesday night. So if there was a chance that this surgery could save his life, we were going to do it.

Well, we wen't going to do it. We didn't go to veterinary school, but you know what I mean.

Now, I'm sure this has been made clear upon multiple occasions on this blog, but in case it hasn't, I am the dog mom from hell. I'm the dog mom who's so involved with her dogs that she correctly diagnosed Bloat within ten minutes. Which is great if you're saving your dog's life, but is probably less great if you're, say, a vet tech at a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic and your job is to tell me to go home and leave my dog in their care. If you're curious, it went a little something like this:

Vet Tech: All right, you can go home now.
Me: Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you?
Vet Tech: Very much.
Me: Too bad—I'll be camping out in your waiting room until my dog can come home with me.
Vet Tech: That will be days.
Me: I hope the chairs are comfy. Unless, of course, you'll let me stand in the operating room and then the recovery room. Would you? I'll be real quiet and just stand in the corner, I swear.
Vet Tech: Please go home.

The Man finally got me to leave by reminding me that I had another dog and two cats who also needed my attention. So I went home and paced until the doctor who did perform the surgery called me at 1:30am to tell me that Big had made it through surgery and stood a good chance to survive the night. (Amazingly enough, this did not make me sleep better. Or at all.) Because the problem had been caught so early, there was no dead stomach. (Also, learning the phrase 'stomach death' could be applied to her dog, does not help over-involved dog moms sleep, either.) The doctor promised to call me again later in the morning to give me another update.

That update consisted of, "He's doing well, and if he continues to do so, he could probably go home on Thursday." And then, when I pressed for details, the doctor added, "You can call as many times as you want to check on him."

Challenge accepted.

The vet techs I spoke to were all very, very polite and professional and reassured me each and every single time I called that Big was still marching down that road to recovery. But I imagine that on the inside they were more like this:

Me: Hey, it's me again.
Them: No shit.
Me: How's my dog?
Them: You know, when we told you you could call as many times as you wanted, we were just being polite.
Me: TELL ME HOW MY DOG IS!

I told you, dog mom from hell. That's me. I make no effort to deny it.

It was determined that Big—after eating, normal bowel movements, and repeatedly breaking out of his recovery room and walking around as though he owned the hospital (also, my influence, I assume)—could come home Thursday afternoon. One would think, after being told that I could finally bring my dog home, that I would have been pleased with this news. Instead, I was more...suspicious.

Me: You're sending him home because he's healthy enough to do so, right? Not because I won't stop calling you?
Them: He's healthy enough, we swear.
Me: Really?
Them: Oh no! The hospital is going through a tunnel! We're losing you! *click*

So, Big came home with a foot-long surgical incision, five different medications, and a Cone of Shame the size of a satellite dish (he gets great reception.). We have to keep him calm and quiet and sequestered in a small area to help protect his stitches, which will be removed in two weeks. This means that I am, once again, restricted to working only when Big is asleep, which obviously happens, as I was able to write a blog post roughly the length of a David Foster Wallace novel. (Just don't ask how long it took to write...)

But it's okay.

Because I still have my boy.


But please, oh please, oh please—let this be the end of our vet visits for a while!

Monday, October 26, 2015

List Maker

Today, I am taking part in the Listing Fest, hosted by Bish Denham and the ninja captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Participants are asked to create a list 5-25 items long. The topic is completely up to the blogger.

After signing up, I went through several possible list topics, but ultimately decided to go with a list of...


My Definitive Ranking of Firefly Episodes

(Please note that I love each and every single episode of this show. And in the interest of time, I shall limit myself to one or maybe two favorite quotes from each episode.)


14. BUSHWACKED

Harken: You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war?'
Zoe: Fought with a lot of people in the war.
Harken: And your husband?
Zoe: Fight with him sometimes, too.

13. THE TRAIN JOB

Simon: So, what are we doing?
Kaylee: Oh, crime.
Simon: Crime! Good! Okay. Crime.

12. HEART OF GOLD

Kaylee: Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
Wash: Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
Kaylee: Because I'm pretty?
Wash: Because you're pretty.

11. TRASH



10. SAFE

Zoe: Captain will come up with a plan.
Kaylee: Well, that's good.
Zoe: Possible you're not recalling some of his previous plans.

9. ARIEL

Mal: The next time you decide to stab me in the back, have the guts to do it to my face.

8. SERENITY

(this was a double episode, so I'm giving myself two quotes here.)

Mal: I believe that woman's plannin' to shoot me again.
Jayne: Here's a little concept I've been workin' on: why don't we shoot her first?
Wash: It is her turn.

AND

Zoe: I know something ain't right.
Wash: Sweetie, we're crooks. If everything were right, we'd be in jail.

7. THE MESSAGE



6. OBJECTS IN SPACE

Wash: Little River just gets more colorful by the moment. I wonder what she'll do next.
Zoe: Either blow us all up or rub soup in her hair. It's a toss-up.
Wash: I hope she does the soup thing. It's always a hoot, and we all don't die from it.

5. SHINDIG

Mal: Help me find our man.
Kaylee: Is that him?
Mal: That's the buffet table.
Kaylee: Well, how can we be sure unless we question it?

4. WAR STORIES

Jayne: I'll be in my bunk.

(and just one more...)

River: No power in the 'verse can stop me.

3. JAYNESTOWN

Wash: We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!

2. OUR MRS. REYNOLDS



1. OUT OF GAS

Kaylee: Catalyzer on the port compression coil blew. It's where the trouble started.
Mal: Okay, I need that in captain dummy talk, Kaylee.


WHY OH WHY did Fox have to cancel this show?

All right, I have to go now. Between reliving my love for this show and last night's episode of The Walking Dead, all I want to do now is this:


See y'all next time...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Last Week Today

Last week, the Gator Girl was in the cone of Shame, Big was dealing with a medical condition of his own, and I was one the verge of running away and changing my name. This week, both dogs continue to be on the mend, but one of the cats has developed a medical condition of her own.


I didn't have to call the vet last week, though, so I at least achieved that goal. I'm thinking, however, that I'll have to call the vet this week. I'm pretty sure I have a personalized ring tone in their office now. That cash register sound—ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching!

I do have another cat, and if she develops a medical condition next week, I really will just run away. Though, I have to admit that it's been extremely considerate of my animals to limit their issues to one pet per week.

But things are supposed to come in threes, right, so this should be the end of it. Right?

Right?

In other goal-related news, I did achieve my fitness goal (walk/run/bike at least two miles per day). I only earned a cookie one day, however, so I'm going through a bit of cookie withdrawal. It's not a pretty sight. I'll keep the same goal this coming week, and try to earn more cookies.



Which leaves the writing goal.

If you'll recall, last week, I was three (five) scenes away from being finished with my never-ending WIP, Second Nature. I decided to cut the two scenes about which I wasn't sure—at least for the time being. Perhaps in rewrites, I shall decide the novel cannot survive without them. But, it can for now. That got me down to three scenes without any parenthesis.

I worked on one of the three remaining scenes, and it is technically finished—meaning there's no INSERT SOMETHING HERE notes—but I just...I don't think it was particularly finished well. There's, like, a 99.9% chance that it'll have a pretty decent revision in the revision stage.

So, here's my question...Can I count it as being finished? Can I say that it's good enough for the first draft and move on to the next scene? Or, because I have such doubts about it now, do I have to take it off of the "done" pile and throw it back into the "to be finished" side of things?

(Note: I'd really love someone to tell me I can count it as being finished because otherwise, I didn't complete a single scene last week. If you can do so sincerely, that's just an added bonus. Like whipped cream on your hot chocolate.)

The other two scenes are Big Important Scenes. One of them is that scene that many of Effigy's readers ask me about. As in, "For the love of *insert deity of choice here*, please tell me that *name removed for spoiler-avoiding purposes* is going to die in the next book!"

The answer is yes, *name removed for spoiler-avoiding purposes* will die in the next book. Well, at least *gender removed for spoiler-avoiding purposes* will die if I can figure out how the write the damn scene. And I haven't been able to do that yet.

My brother was instrumental in helping me work out the tone of the scene. I just haven't found the right words for it. Yet.

The other scene is otherwise known as THE VERY LAST ONE. I haven't figured out how to write this one yet, either. (Obviously. Duh. Geez, that was dumb.) The way Second Nature played out, my original plan for the end is now obsolete, and I require something to take its place. I've brainstormed a few new ways the last scene could go, but I don't know if any of them are right, or if I need to come up with something else.

Somehow, I feel compelled to re-use this gif:



So, that's what's going on in my neck of the swamp. What's going on in yours?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Office Space, The Sequel

In the majority of my posts for the last six months, I have spent a not-insignificant amount of time on this blog vocalizing my...not-love for various aspects of Florida. (seriously, lizards—go live in someone else's mailbox. The neighbors are tired of listening to me scream.)

So today I thought I might tell you about something here in Florida that I quite actually love. A lot. Something I wouldn't have if I hadn't (gulp) MOVED TO FLORIDA.

My office.

Our first walk-through of our house was done via Skype. Our realtor showed us one of the bedrooms and said how she thought it would be a great room for my office because it had these two great windows that would offer me inspiration. I agreed with her until she showed us the other room. It only had one window, but the closet was freaking amazing (translation: I could fit a bookshelf into it) and I laid claim to it then and there.

I totally made the right choice. Because I have the most amazing office space now. I mean, seriously, I am completely spoiled by this room.

After the movers finally showed up, my office looked like this:


I didn't have a desk, either. My old desk was one made of that pressed particle board stuff, and every mover we spoke to said the same thing: it wasn't likely that it would survive the move. I guess pressed particle board stuff has a tendency to explode. Not, like, a literal explosion or anything. It just won't survive, I guess, unless it can be broken down enough, which my desk could not be.

So anyway, the point of that little detour was that I had to get rid of my desk.

It took a while to find a suitable replacement, but I finally found one I liked at IKEA. (As an added bonus, I got to make my first trip to IKEA!) It took three days for The Man to put it together (I'm really no help in these situations), but I really like the finished product:


Next came the Big Ass Storyboard. I had to hound The Man for a while to help me put it up (I'm guessing he was still traumatized from the IKEA desk experience) but he eventually caved.


You can also see my other storyboard in the above photo because—that's right—this room is large enough with enough useable wall space that I no longer have to hang my story-plot storyboard in the dining room. (And The Man rejoiced heartily.)


Of course now, I have to use a step ladder if I want to make adjustments to that top level, but I just kind of think that makes it even cooler.

The last picture I'm going to share with you today is the last wall in the office, otherwise known as Bookshelf City...


The sad/impressive thing is that that's not even all of my books. There's still, like, 8 boxes I haven't yet unpacked. Because I need more bookshelves. Or, according to The Man, fewer books.

But I've chosen the former. I just don't need the negativity inherent in the latter.

And that's going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Life Goes On

I didn't get much done last week. The Gator Girl had a medical issue that required constant supervision. As well as the cone of shame:


So basically, my week was spent saying "Stop it. Stop it. Don't do that. Stop it. No, don't! Why? Why did you do that! Stop it!" over and over and over again. I was only ever able to write when the Gator Girl was unconscious. If you're familiar with the Belgian Malinois, you'll know that they're seldom unconscious.

Seriously. I'm pretty sure in the next Mission Impossible movie, Tom Cruise will have to keep a Malinois calm and quiet. And not just any Malinois—my Malinois, who's an OCD-ridden, anxiety-prone basketcase with a couple extra shots of crazy.

Thankfully, she's better now, and needs far less supervision...just in time for Big to develop a medical issue of his own. You know, the kind that requires one to say, "Stop it. Stop it. Don't do that. Stop it. No, don't! Leave it alone!" 500,000,000 times a day. Of course, he's deaf and can't hear you say those things, but this house has never lacked for throw pillows.

The good news is that his medical condition does require less hands-on hovering than the Gator Girl's did. Also, he sleeps a hell of a lot more than the Gator Girl (Everything does. Including sharks, I think...), so perhaps this week I can get some more work in.

I am three scenes away from being finished with this draft of Second Nature. Five, if I decide I absolutely have to have those other two scenes I was thinking of adding, but that's all. Just three (five) scenes. They're all started; I just need to finish them.

Which leads me to my goals for this week:

1. Finish those three (five) scenes.

Nothing more to be said about that.

2. Walk/run/bike at least two miles every day.

My reward system: If I hit five miles in a single day, I can have a chocolate chip cookie. If I hit ten miles in a single day, I can have a jumbo cookie, like the kind they sell in the Publix bakeries around here. If I only hit two miles, I can have the satisfaction of having done something healthy. And such satisfaction it'll be.

3. To not have to call the vet.

I have spent so much time and money there since the big move, that they'll be giving me my own parking space soon enough, and sending me a postcard from the lavish vacation I've paid for. Here's hoping that Big's current medical condition fulfills our quota for a while. (But as he still has an un-diagnosed kidney condition, that's not likely.)


Happy Monday, everyone. See y'all next time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This Is Not A Simulation...

..This is a post about Simulation, the latest release from author Tara Tyler. It's the sequel to her novel, Pop Travel, which made me terrified of potential future travel means. This time around, she's making me terrified of the future in general...and I love her for it.

Let's see what Tara has for us today, shall we?

Take it away, Tara!




Not-So-Extreme Makeovers
I'm here as the lazy housewife today and I'm talking about adding excitement to your life without doing anything drastic.

Personal appearance - a freshen up on the color and cut of your hair makes you feel like yourself again, doesn't it? Then we get home and no one notices (especially if you live in a house full of oblivious boys, like me) If you want to shake things up and get a little extra attention, add a jazz of color - that isn't in the blonde to brown family. Pink, purple, blue, green, red - I've been seeing it more and more on the kids. Some are even dipping their hair in kool-aid to achieve the color without the hassle and expense of a beauty parlor, and it works! But I see it all the time at book events and in pics on adults, too. It's very "in" and not a bad way to express yourself, if you aren't afraid to be the center of attention!

Also, trying a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow will bring compliments and comments - "There's something different about you!"

Accessorize! - new jewelry or a new purse and definitely new shoes will make you feel like a new woman. And it doesn't have to be expensive, just cute. I get compliments on my no-name stuff all the time, and that makes me feel like a million bucks!

On the home front - here are some suggestions to freshen up your home decor without remodeling or spending too much money:

  • move the furniture around - this is also good for the wear patterns on your rug.
  • paint a room or just one wall
  • one new art piece or bedspread or vase - just one thing can change the look of a whole room
  • change out photos and rearrange or use new frames
  • add green with plants, real or fake
Do you have any not-so-extreme makeover suggestions? Do tell!


Thanks for giving me a seat on your couch, MJ! I always love to come over to visit. I appreciate you offering.


SIMULATION
by Tara Tyler
Release Date: Sept 14, 2015

In 2082, androids are an essential part of daily life. Some are helpful, some would make better toasters, and some are so human-like they're creepy. Back in Atlanta, Detective Cooper's latest client has him searching for her boyfriend who she thinks was replaced by a simulation, an illegal clone android. The guy also happens to be a popular new congressman.

As if the case wasn't frustrating enough, Cooper keeps crossing paths with his ex, FBI Agent Geri Harper who's looking for the same guy. As Cooper closes in, Geri is kidnapped. But when she resurfaces in Washington and goes on a killing spree, he knows it isn't her. Now under suspicion himself, Cooper must find the real Geri to prove her innocence, not to mention hunt down the powerful villain behind it all. Never a dull moment.

SIMULATION delivers more technology, more intense action, more humor, and more, distinct new characters. Come along for the ride.


Available Now!
Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~ Kindle


Tara Tyler writes sci fi and fantasy action-adventures from her little corner of the world in Ohio as she tries to keep up with her three boys and coach husband. Always making time to write, she sometimes puts off chores and lets laundry pile up... hence, she's also the Lazy Housewife, offering advice and tips to other gals out there trying to do it all without going crazy. She and her housewife friends blog at The Really Real Housewives of America.


And don't forget the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Never-Ending Story

Last week, I had intended to blog about my current writing project, and how I'm fairly certain that I'll never reach the end of it, but ended up blogging about how Florida has taken over the #1 Spot on my Mortal Enemies List (my former boss is relieved.) instead.

And though there's still plenty of Florida material (such as my ongoing battle with the lizards over who exactly gets to live in my house), I thought today I might ramble about the writing project.

Also known as The WIP That Never Ends.



In July 2014, I published Effigy and set to work on its already-in-progress sequel, Second Nature, with the plan to release that sequel in July 2015.

When July 2015 came around, I hadn't even finished writing the first draft. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, wishing and hoping that that would be the push I needed to get myself across the finish line.

And though I ended up writing over 60,000 words in July (I guess unemployment is good for something?) the WIP still wasn't finished.

Here it is, now, the end of September and...that damn WIP still isn't finished.

I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't been truly working on it. If I had been slacking off in a hammock somewhere sipping daiquiris instead of writing, for example. Or, if I had a day job that was making ungodly demands on my life—you know, like what I used to have.

But that's not the case. I haven't been slacking off in a hammock sipping daiquiris or anything else. (Though, if I were drunk, I might be more willing to go outside.) And I don't have a day job. Nope. I'm unemployed. Because I have a job history (and a possible attitude problem) I am unemployable in this region, so writing is my full-time job.

I am a full-time writer.

This terrifies me because I've been working on the same project for over 18 months without actually finishing a draft.

I am this tortoise. Morla is me.

(I am absolutely impressed and amazed by authors who have published more than one book. Who have finished more than one book. As soon as I finish with this post, I shall go build monuments to your greatness because you are all incredible rock stars, and I bow before you.)

I keep writing scenes—whatever I'm inspired to write, to see what fits, what works, what feels right. And though I've written some stuff I like, I know it's not right for the story. But I can't figure out what is right for the story.

As my long-suffering brother said (on his way to the Protection From Writers Program, I'm sure), I'm identifying ways not to write my novel, which is still progress in its way.

It's just not particularly fast progress.

I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, because I do think that can stifle creativity, but there's always this little robot in the back of my mind saying, "Full-time job. Full-time job. This is your full-time job."

That little robot is kind of a jerk.

In the meantime, I am editing a little, brainstorming a lot (and loudly, some have said), and waiting, waiting, waiting for this elusive inspiration to strike.

I hope it comes soon because there's, like, five people waiting to read this book.

What do you do when you're waiting for inspiration to strike?

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Oh, and because no semi-Neverending Story-themed post would be complete without Falkor, there's this:




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Amaranthine

Today, I am pleased to welcome to My Pet Blog, author Murees Dupé who's currently celebrating the release of her debut novel.

Check it out...



Claire is sassy, human, and an outcast of society―who only wants to know where she belongs. 

Alex is arrogant, selfish, and an immortal warrior―who thinks he’s prepared for everything. 

Claire knows the world of immortals is where she belongs. As her guide and guardian, Alex finds it hard to resist Claire’s subtle charm. Can the two overcome their differences and embrace their passion for each other, or will the possibility of true love be lost to both forever?

Available now! Find in E-book and paperback formats:

E-book: Kindle * Nook * Ibooks * Kobo

Paperback: Amazon

About the Author

Murees Dupé was born and still lives in South Africa. When she is not thinking up new stories, she is spending time with her family, playing with her three dogs and cat, watching TV, or overindulging on desserts. To learn more about Murees, visit her website, www.mureesdupe.com

Monday, September 14, 2015

In Which I Attempt To Get Back To Work (and a Book Release)


Wow. It's been a while since I was here last.

I was supposed to have come back two weeks ago, but then I did this thing where...I didn't.

I've had that thing a lot this year. Like, pretty constantly. All right—there's nothing pretty about how constantly I've had issues doing...well, anything.

In my endless maturity, I have decided to blame Florida. I've been here five months now, and I'm just not comfortable here. It's hot. Like, crazy hot, and heat makes me miserable. The air conditioning unit is my new best friend. Not that it matters because it's not like I want to go outside anyway. I'm not exactly...comfortable with all of Florida's wildlife.

Snakes, for example. At home, I wasn't a fan of snakes, but I wasn't stand-on-a-chair-screaming afraid of them, either. But I think I have now officially crossed over to the other side.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this pop up in my feed, but a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk working away on the manuscript that will never, ever, ever be finished (another blog post for another day, perhaps) when I looked out the window and saw a snake sitting in the plant, looking at me.

My reaction is best explained in the following gifs:



and



That's right. I literally ran away from the snake. That was sitting in a plant (or whatever snakes do. I don't think they sit.). Outside.



I guess the good news is that I actually got some exercise that day. From both the vigorous running away, as well as the endless pacing in which I partook during the time in which I was attempting to figure out how to get the hell out of Florida.

But, c'mon! What was that snake doing out there? Looking for story ideas to steal? If that's the case, Sir Hiss, the joke's on you because I don't have any story ideas! I pretty sure Florida has killed those, too!

Was it scoping out the location of my top-secret Kit-Kat drawer? (Which I absolutely do NOT have.)

What was it doing?

At this point in time, you, like my significant other, may be tempted to offer reasonable, rational explanations or suggestions such as You're overreacting or Get over it or The snake was not trying to steal the contents of your not-so-top-secret Kit-Kat drawer, which you absolutely do not have.

But here's the thing...I have no sense of reason anymore. Rationality means nothing anymore. It dried up in the sun like a freakin' grape.

Raisin. That's what my brain is these days. A useless raisin that has no idea how to write a damn novel.

Of course, the same could be said about my brain even before it turned into a raisin.

But again, that's another post for another day, perhaps.

The bottom line is that I need to start doing better. Today is the day that I start doing that. I know I've said that repeatedly over the last five months, but perhaps today will be the day that I stop lying about it.



Before I go get started on that, I want to give a quick shout-out to someone who actually has her act together. Author Tara Tyler has a new book available today—Simulation. I haven't read it yet, but I'm hoping to do so soon. Can't wait to see what Cooper will be up against this time.



After Pop Travel, Geri convinced Cooper to move back to Atlanta, but for familiar reasons, things didn't work out... In Simulation, Geri is fighting her way back to full-fledged, solo agent status, but first has to deal with one more annoying sidekick on an equally annoying case. Meanwhile, Cooper takes his mind off Geri leaving him by throwing himself into his work, investigating an illegal clone android simulation operation. Sparks fly when Cooper and Geri's cases lead them down the same path. Of course Hasan wants to help them with their cases, and connives a plan to get them back together in the middle of all the chaos!

SIMULATION delivers more technology, more intense action, more humor, and more exciting new characters. Come along for the ride.

Find Simulation at:

Kindle
Goodreads Giveaway

Congrats, Tara!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trials and Joys of Drafting By Hand

Today, the spotlight is on author Misha Gericke and her newest novels. She's stopped by to tell us about...Well, I don't want give it away. It's impressive. Keep reading and find out for yourselves...

Take it away, Misha!!



The Trials and Joys of Drafting by Hand


It’s actually rather strange. Every time someone asks me about my writing method, I have to casually mention the fact that I rough draft every single novel by hand. And people freak out.

The first time I did it, my mom kept saying that she didn’t think it was wise, because I’d never be able to write any substantial amount of words by hand. At that time, I was well over 40k words in.

People don’t believe when I rattle off my word counts either. They always think I over-estimate. I don’t. In fact, I only estimate how many words I’ve written when I’m doing sprints, and I don’t want to take the time to count exactly how much I’ve written.

But count my words I do. Every single day.

So today, I thought I’d answer some frequently asked questions. Starting with…

Why?

Easy. I have a problem with being too perfectionistic with my drafts. Which means that if I type on a computer, I’m always tempted to delete something I’ve just written in order to “improve” it. I’m putting “improve” in quotes, because my off-the-cuff improvements in-draft never improve on what I’ve written. In fact, after switching to pen, I realized that a lot of stuff I would have been tempted to take out because I haven’t planned for them, turned out to actually make the story work.

Doesn’t it make your hand hurt?

A little, if I haven’t hand-drafted in a while. (Usually because of edits and rewrites.) I minimized the pain by investing in a fountain pen I only use for drafting and writing (occasionally) story notes.

But… doesn’t it mean you have to rewrite all your drafts?

Yes. All of them. And you know what? It’s awesome, because I rewrite knowing what I want, which means that I can type an average story out in about six weeks at the most. If I’m not distracted by other projects that need to be done. This also gives me a much cleaner draft to edit.

Doesn’t it impact your writing speed?

Yes, it does. I type approximately four times as fast as I write by hand. I like this, though, because it feels like I’m lingering over my words more as I write. In turn, this gives my mind the ability to see more implications of what I’ve written.

You hand write for NaNo too? Yeah, right.

Actually, I absolutely do. My record is 50k words in a bit more than three weeks. Outside NaNo, my word counts lie somewhere between 15k and 30k. More if I’m typing rewrites at the same time.

Do you always win NaNo?

No, but usually, what stops me is not related to my writing by hand. (Such as my day-job going crazy and taking all of my writing time.)

Aren’t you worried that someone will just open your notebook and read what you’ve written?

Not with my handwriting, apparently. I read it fine, but I’ve given my drafts to friends, and their eyes all screw up within five pages. So I figure I’m safe.

Any more questions? ;-)


The Vanished Knight



The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.


Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.


Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.


Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.


In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.


One with a taste for destroying her life.



The Heir’s Choice



After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past. Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.


Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.


The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It’s either her life getting messed up, or an entire country’s lives lost. Simple enough, right?


Wrong.


Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.



Bio


Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.


If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog (http://Sylmion.blogspot.com), where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.


Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):


You can follow her Tumblr (http://mishagerrick.tumblr.com)
You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1
And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick