Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Eva Flowers!!

Your name was selected in a random drawing this morning, so you are the winner of the free electronic copy of Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery!!


Watch for an email from me this week! And thanks for following the blog and participating in the Hop.

Also, be sure to bookmark our new site: http://rebeccahartwriting.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We've Moved: Please bookmark the new location!

After wishing and hoping Blogger would get it's act together and fix issues with posting and comments, by both bloggers and visitors, I've made the move over to wordpress.

Please visit and follow us at the new location.

http://rebeccahartwriting.wordpress.com/

I will be deleting this site completely at the end of October, so please stop by the new site and join me there. Hope to see you :)

Rebecca

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spook-a-licious Blog Tour

SPOOK-A-LICIOUS:


WHERE BOO-KS DEVOUR YOU

BLOG HOP TOUR (OCT 17-24)

Tour Rules:


1) HAVE FUN!!!

2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!

3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, October 17, at Midnight (Arizona Time)  THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 24, at Midnight (Arizona Time) Winners will be drawn and posted October 25th!

4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS & BOOK PAGES! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!!

5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR & BOOK PAGE IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!

6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN? WHOO! HOO!! HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOO!

***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

ENTER TO WIN:

Free electronic copy of Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery

What do I need to do?

1. Like me on Facebook
2. Follow this blog (click the Follow button to the right)
3. Follow me on Twitter @rebelhart69
4. Comment below and tell me what your favorite Halloween costume was growing up!

Good Luck!!

Be sure to stop by the other great blogs and say hello! Happy Halloween!




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Lizzie (another from my dusty notebook) #sixsunday


This week I dipped back into the old notebook and pulled out six sentences from a story I had started about a nanny who is forced to figure out what to do with her young change afer her parents are killed in a car wreck.

Always love to hear what you think.  Enjoy :)

Lizzie came downstairs, a barely restrained whirlwind of lace and bows, begging Nancy to help tie the laces on her new shoes. 'I know how,' her little voice vowed. She'd only recently been taught, but in her impish excitement to be off on their adventure had forgotten.

With a shake of her head and a teasing 'tsk tsk', Nancy fastened the laces with a secure double knot and stood, looking down at Lizzie's flushed face. "Shall we be off young lady? Or maybe you'd rather stay inside today?"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just Keep Swimming...er...Writing

One of my favorite Disney movies is Finding Nemo. My favorite character from the movie? Dory, of course. She is one of those characters that may appear a bit thick, but the gems of wisdom she shares...are just that, pure gems. Her motto: Just keep swimming is a great metaphor for life -- and writing.

Any writer that intends to stay in the business for any length of time needs a tough skin. There is so much rejection and hard work involved in being successful, you really have to have a never give in attitude. You have to believe in yourself, even when everyone around you may doubt and question. That is what Dory has in spades. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome if you just keep working at it...just keep swimming.

For each setback and rejection I receive I remind myself of Dory's words.

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. What do we do? we swim, swim."

I firmly believe if you do, you'll eventually make it to the other side of the waterway and reach those goals you have set for yourself. No matter how big they may be.

Just keep swimming  writing. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Penance (from the dusty pages of an old notebook) #sixsunday

 My Sunday Six is from a short story I wrote quite a while ago, named Penance.

     I wonder why we tell young girls such outlandish stories about chivalry and brave knights. The imagination takes them and creates unrealistic dreams of men coming to rescue them from the mundane life of "normal" people. They are so young and impressionable, they can’t help but be sucked in by the lies. We tell them about things like the honor of men. Now, that is a laugh; not to mention an oxymoron. Men and honor should not be allowed in the same sentence, let alone the premise of a story meant only to blind us from the truth.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review: The Glass Man by Jocelyn Adams

The Glass Man (A Lila Gray Novel, #1)The Glass Man by Jocelyn Adams


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What a fantastic ride!

Lila Gray is snarky, sarcastic and ballsy. A winning combination for any leading lady to my thinking. A lover of both fairy tales and fantasy, The Glass Man delivered in spades. Ms. Adams gives us a wonderfully detailed glimpse into her dystopian world while still holding true to the established lore surrounding the fae and their societal structures.

Lila's "hunter" and nemesis, Parthalan is sexy, dark and devious. *licks lips* I guy you really hate to love. While his pain loving sidekick, Rourke is the perfect blend of powerful foe and twisted lunatic. I think he just might be my favorite character in the novel, aside from Lila, of course.

Toss in Lila's love interest, Liam--a brooding farmer with a secret--and let the sparks fly.

I try not to toss in story details when I write my reviews to avoid spoiling anything for the readers. You will just have to get this one for yourself to see how it all comes together. Suffice to say, I loved this novel and highy recommend it for anyone. It is a must read for any lover of fantasy or romance.

About the only negative I could mention was the fact that it came to an end. If I didn't know there were at least two more Lila Gray novels to come from Jocelyn Adams, I might just be upset about that.

Author Info:
Jocelyn Adams website: http://www.joceadams.com/
Twitter: @JocelynAdams
Publisher: http://jtaylorpublishing.com/

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: The Pirate and the Selkie (WIP)

I have been working on this one this week, so thought I would post my Sunday Six from the current chapter in progress.

Happy Sunday!

Daniel cringed at her pet name. Skip was short for Skipper--everything Ellie did or said had something to do with sailing--but Daniel still didn’t care for it. Whenever she used it, he had to remind himself why he couldn’t just change form and tell her his real name. The look on her round face when she’d seen him sitting at the breakfast table with her father told him everything he needed to know. She hated Daniel.

Not one to give in so easily, he propelled himself forward until he stood between her and the waves.
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: Mile 81 by Stephen King

Mile 81Mile 81 by Stephen King


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At $5.99 for the ebook download, I really expected a novel instead of a short story. I can't even call it a novella -- it was that short.

The story was interesting and I did enjoy the read, but I have to say it was missing some of the dark sparks I expect from Mr. King. Not so much a disappointment for me, as just *meh, it was okay*

Hoping the novel due out in November has more of what I read Stephen King novels for, originality and dark twist you dont see coming.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: Fated Encounter by J.A. Belfield

Fated Encounter (A Holloway Pack Mini)Fated Encounter by J.A. Belfield


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


http://bexbooknook.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/fatedencounter/




View all my reviews

Six Sentence Sunday: The Pirate and the Selkie (WIP)

Here is this week's six for Six Sentence Sunday.  Comments always welcome. :)

Enjoy!


Ellie glanced over her shoulder, made a quick distance calculation. Her gaze swung up the rigging. She yanked on the steerage, eyes glued to the sails. Right on cue, the sheets of white canvas caught wind and snapped to attention. The ship sliced through the waves in a tight arc until The Surf Runner faced The Siren’s Call.

She steeled herself for another pass.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Acceptance News: Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction

I share the bad news when it comes, so I thought I should also share the good news as well. Only fair, right?

I received an email yesterday that one of my flash (less than 500 words) stories, Parades,  has been accepted for inclusion in Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) being published by Pill Hill Press. This is a "for the love" collection, so no monetary payment or free copy, but it will be released in paperback and ebook formats somewhere around Nov. 2011.

I will keep you all posted as things progress and let you all know where you can get copies when it is actually published.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Announcement: I've Launched a Book Review Blog


Many of you know I have a pen name that I use when writing more "adult oriented" stories. Since I have this blog, and what I consider a respectable following,  I thought a long time about how I would go about creating and marketing a platform for my alter ego. I didn't want a mirror of this site, and I definitely needed to do something to allow me to market those works without worrying over the possibility of offending someone of a more delicate nature on this site.

So, what I came up with is Bex Book Nook - a book review blog and resting place for Ms. R. Brennan (my more fun, more outrageous alter ego) I have done a few reviews on this site, and the first one I posted there is a re post of the review I did on this site, but that is where the commonalities will end.

My reviews will be posted there when I complete them. This site shall remain my WIP writing as a lifestyle/career site -- with the occasional story about what silly thing my family or friends did thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing some of my followers over there. Not only to see what sort of person lies behind the soft spoken, sweet persona I usually portray to the world, but also for some blunt reviews of all sorts of fantastic new books.  :P

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Teaser: The Pirate and the Selkie (WIP)

Today's Tuesday teaser is from my current WIP, The Pirate and the Selkie.

Enjoy :)

     Captain Harris frowned and shook his head. “That is the biggest pile of pig shit I have ever seen shoveled, boy.” He turned hard eyes on Nelson. “Get the hell to work.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So I'm a Terrible Person

As the summer draws to a close, I find that my time is ever so slowly, becoming my own once more. The girls started school this week, and despite the nasty beating we are taking in the Northeast from Mother Nature, all is right in the world.

Okay, maybe not so much.

Despite having a bit more "me" time, I have noticed that I'm still falling behind on my TO DO lists. My critique lists on my favorite writing site keeps getting longer and the stories in my notebook (the ideas for stories, that is) become more and more plentiful. I enjoy supporting my fellow writers and I definitely love writing, yet the lists still grow. I am reading more books in general, which is great, but I still feel like I am behind in everything. I feel like I am letting people down that count on me--people that need my support and encouragement. Coupling this with the daily life pressures of a depreciation on my lovely house to the point I don't have enough equity anymore to refinance it and drop 2% on my interest rate, and the flurry of recent story rejections... I am one depressed little puppy lately.

I know we all have funks and issues that take us from writing and the writing community sometimes, and I am sure I am being far too hard on myself, but it got me thinking.

What do you do to keep yourself focused and on track? What cheers you up when life is kicking your ass? What inspires you to stay with it and keep on trucking?

Inquiring minds -- like me -- are dying to know.  And, I could really use some ideas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Cutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical Skullduggery

Cutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical SkullduggeryCutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical Skullduggery by Jessica A. Weiss



My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Welp... I have to be honest here, right? Even though I have a story (and a damned good one if I do say so myself) in this book, I really wasn't all that impressed with the anthology. While some stories were good and held my interest (and that shouldnt be hard since I LOVE PIRATES), for the most part, the stories read pretty flat to me.

I will try to go through and select the stories I really enjoyed -- like a winners and losers type of thing, but at this point I have downgraded my rating from a 4 to a 3. I mean I can't dislike a book that contains something I wrote...


View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Teaser: From WIP The Pirate and the Selkie

Things have been moving along nicely with my historical fantasy/romance I gave a working title of The Pirate and The Selkie.

To celebrate the completion of another chapter in Daniel and Ellie's saga, I decided to take this week's Tuesday Teaser from this novel/la in progress.  Enjoy :)


Her mother nodded. “We discussed it before he sailed. After you almost drowned.”

The hitch of emotion in her mother’s voice stabbed Ellie with guilt. “Do I have to go?”

“Yes, Ellie, you do.” Momma’s tone turned serious, telling her there would be no arguing.

Ellie’s shoulders slumped under the weight of resignation. She let out a sigh, lowered her head and gave the only response she could.

“Yes, Momma.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Children and Technology: The Truth About Social Media?

I had a conversation with my 11 year old daughter, Shelby about Hurricane Irene last night at dinner. What she had to say made me giggle, and showed me that while the information age is great for spreading information, sometimes we need to make sure the info picked up by our children is accurate.

Here is a snipit of that informative chat:

Me: Wow, 10 inches of rain is no joke.

Shelby: They even had to evacuate New Jersey, the whole thing. That's alot of people.

Me: No sweetie, not all of New Jersey, just the Jersey Shore.

Shelby: (with a big smile): Oh, that's okay. They are all in Italy right now, anyway.

So there you have it. My daughter, the holder of all important news. *giggle*

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Little White Lies by Aimee Laine

Little White Lies (Mimics of Rune, #1)Little White Lies by Aimee Laine


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I took this one with me to Cape Cod this month and have to say that I wasn't disappointed. I found the writer's style easy to read and the characters three dimensional and endearing.

I have to admit, I did have some trouble in the early going -- I had trouble following what was happening from a backstory perspective. I felt for the first quarter of the book that I had missed something or that sunstroke had attacked me on the beach and that was why I wasn't following the plot. I think some of the secrets in the book were a little more vague than I would have preferred. Coupled with not understanding the mechanics of what living as a mimic is like, well, I felt a little lost.

The author's voice and the personality of the characters I was introduced to is what kept me reading. By the time I hit the halfway point in the book, I was hooked. Charley is spunky and sweet, while Wyatt is just perfectly dreamy :P (dating myself with that reference). The secondary characters really fill the plot out nicely.

When we get to it, the romance isn't corny, but feels genuine, and I found myself rooting for love in a way a cynic like me hasn't for some time. The covert operations kept me reading and turning the page, and while I had an idea who the bad guy was earlier in the story, I didn't quite have the full story. The surprises were a nice bonus.

An enjoyable summer read.

View all my reviews

Six Sentence Sunday: From Current WIP: The Pirate and the Selkie

Now that my erotic short is complete and submitted, for better or worse, my attentions have returned to pirates (as usual). My six sentences this week comes from my novel/la in progress, The Pirate and the Selkie.

Enjoy :)


Excitement coursed through her. Nothing exciting ever happened on the barren dunes where their house sat.

“Do we have to go to the mercantile, Momma?” Ellie’s voice lit with hope. Mr. Jameson was always nice to her, giving her candy from his bottomless right front pocket every time he saw her. She often wondered if the storeowner kept them just for her, or if the other children also benefited from his magical pocket.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's All This About Platform: Do I really need one?

Over the past few weeks, I have heard everyone from fellow writers, to agents, to publishers touting the importance of having a writer's platform. My first question was, "What the hell is a platform? Do I have one and not know it?"

It turns out I do, but I didn't figure that one out until after I looked up what it was. Let me de-mystify it for you. A platform is merely a presence. A place and way to reach your readers--your audience. In today's high tech world, there are a myriad of ways to accomplish this, and it doesn't matter if you have your book sold, or you are still writing it. The sooner you build your name and take steps toward networking and advertising yourself and your writing, the better off you will be when it comes time to start querying agents or if you self-publish, getting the word out about your book.

Here is a list of 5 things you can do as a writer to start building your platform now:

1. Start a blog or website (or both) about your writing and/or anything else you might find of interest to talk about. Once you create it, post regularly -- at least once a week.  You can post about anything, really. Just remember that it is your blog, so it should be about you or show a visitor a glimpse into who you are.

          1a. Update your content regularly. This way visitors know and can see that the site is active and updated.

2. Attend readings, signings and book launches. What better way to network and get to know other writers in your area?

3. Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I know they are time eaters, and for many, way more work than fun, but once you get used to using them, they are  not quite as evil as they appear. Besides, they are a great social networking tool and heck, you might as well take full advantage of the resources available.

4. Join writing sites and follow/support other writer blogs. The more you put yourself out there and show you are willing to help others promote, the more you will be promoted by others. While I don't subscribe to things like giving good reviews to friends merely because they are friends, I do believe in a certain amount of you wash my back and I'll was yours. We all have been new to this at one point or another. And you know what they say about karma.

5. Attend writer's conferences and retreats when possible. While I have yet to do this one, it is on my list. I am just waiting to have a complete novel to really go out and push when I am at one. These are great places to meet other writers, agents, publishers and all sorts of people "in the biz". Networking is really never a bad thing, is it? Kinda like no publicity is bad publicity.

Long gone are the days where an author left the hard work, selling themselves and their work to agents and publishers. In this modern publishing age, it is up to us-- the ones that sweat over the work-- to really push it, and ourselves to the forefront.  It all goes back to my personal favorite line-- and something I truly believe.

If you dont believe in yourself, nobody else will.

Good luck and happy writing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog Reaches 5,000 Hits!!

Wow! While it took a bit more than a year to get there, I have just noticed the blog now has over 5,000 hits.

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for stopping by and supporting the blogging effort.

You guys really rock!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Enslaved

Just a small teaser from the erotic short I just completed earlier this week. Hoping to have it subbed out in the next day or so. No worries, the excerpt is completely G rated :)


A small upright canister vacuum hummed into the room. It circled and veered in their direction laden with a tray of brie and fruit. The mechanical waiter jerked to a halt before Marley, scattering a few loose grapes at her feet.

Her eyes widened.

“Not hungry?” the professor asked.

A chuckle burst past her lips. She reached a tentative hand forward and took a strawberry from the tray. “How cute is that? It looks like a miniature version of R2D2. Did you build it?”

“Yes. Milo was my first robot, actually. He’s been with me almost twenty years.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Character Interview: Jem Stonehouse -- Darkness and Light by J.A. Belfield


As I promised earlier this week, we have a special guest on the blog today. I managed to fenagle a visit from Jem Stonehouse -- one of the illustrious main characters from J.A. Belfield's new novel, Darkness and Light and I am quite excited about it. *wiggles*

So without further ado, please welcome Jem Stonehouse to the blog.



First off, Jem, how are you adjusting to pack life? All happy and blissful?


Adjusting to living with the pack was made easy by them, and yeah I’m happy. As happy as I’ve ever been. But blissful? You forget I have to live with Ethan.

*laughing*  Fair enough. Let’s dive right in with the questions then, shall we?

Sure.

When did you first realize that there may be something quite different about you? Was that before or after the dreams started?

Define different. You mean, like dreaming about werewolves chasing me from the age of seven? I’d always dreamed of them, they just didn’t resonate with me until Sean’s presence showed up.

Though the sniffing issue being a problem for others’ did tip me off that that wasn’t quite normal.

*chuckling* After Peter’s first “attack” on you, why didn’t you leave him? What prompted you to stay and stick it out?

Commitment and loyalty are important to me. It would have been hypocritical of me if I didn’t practice them myself.

What did you think the first moment you saw Sean in the diner? Was there a feeling of the familiar?

The instant I laid eyes on him, some bizarre tingle hit the back of my skull. Although it was the most … weird situation, the sense of déjà vu was too powerful for me to disbelieve him when he said he was Sean. Besides, no one else could have known that name would trigger a reaction, besides me, Poppy and Jess.

If you had only one word to describe Sean, what would it be? What about Ethan (who happens to be my my personal favorite)?

Sean … um … one word? Seriously? Then, I guess it would have to be … elixir.


Ethan, on the other hand … I’d have to peg him as mighty. As in mighty strong … mighty mouth … you get the picture.

How do you feel about Josh’s apparent crush on you? Does it bother Sean?

Josh has a crush on me? Where on earth did you get that idea? Of course he doesn’t—I’m way too old for him.

Have you really accepted Nathan’s “fairy tale” at this point or is it still sinking in?

There’s still some part of my subconscious that pauses and asks: is this all real? Is this all possible? Because I’m really not all that special. I’m just me.

What is next for the pack? Any big plans? Wedding bells perhaps, or maybe a pup? Would it be considered a pup or is that being rude?

Goodness me, it’s a little early to be thinking about bambinos. And as for wedding plans? I’d have to be proposed to first. And who knows what goes on inside Sean’s mind?

If you have to pick one trait of Sean’s that you love the most, what would it be? The one you like the least?

His protectiveness is his trait I love the most, whilst his possessiveness is the trait I like the least, which results in a real pickle because I doubt Sean could ever provide one without the other—to him, they’re probably both seen as the same thing: an incessant need to keep his mate safe.

What is your favorite part about being a werewolf? (Besides Sean)

Cue sigh here.


The total and utter feeling of freedom. The power in my limbs. The connection with nature that comes as standard. The way every instinct instills itself in my brain as though they were just waiting for the command to arrive from dormancy. The equality and unity amongst the pack.


Need I go on?

What part of the werewolf life has been the hardest to adjust to?

Oh … I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to say the changes—because although the hunt awaits me on the other side, I still have to go through hell first to get there.

What’s your favorite color? Sean’s favorite color?

Chocolate brown is mine. And you’d only have to take a look around Sean’s bedroom to figure out he has a fondness for sapphire blue.

If you were a tree, which would you be and why?

I’d like to say oak because of its regal-ness and the way they mature and have such ownership of pride with age. But I’m probably more of a silver birch—put me amongst all the others in the forest and I stick out like a sore thumb.

Any regrets about your decision to join the pack (or Sean)?

None! Whatsoever! How could have I have when I feel as though I’ve finally come home?

I am sure there are lots of ladies out there interested in finding their own “Sean”. Any advise you can give the readers with respect to finding their soul mates?

Quit looking for him. He’ll find you just as soon as the time’s right. After all, fate refuses to be manipulated—surely you know that?


See this post for my July review of Darkness and Light: REVIEW

J.A Belfield's debut novel, Darkness and Light (J. Taylor Publishing 2011) is available in print and ebook from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. For more from the Halloway pack, check out Instinct and Fated Encounter -- two new novellas by J. A. Belfield (Coming soon. Also from J. Taylor Publishing)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Manic Monday: The Return of the List

Summer is quickly coming to a close, and with that, comes the new school year--and a whole new brand of mommy busy. Monday is the beginning of a new week, and a chance to get better on setting goals and sticking with them.

So... A lot of personal irons in the fire.

1. Still working on Ellie and Daniel's Tale, as well as Machenwood. I would really like to get focused on these--if the muse would cooperate--so I have something to start serious querying with. Both are suitable stories for publication - one fantasy, one more fantastical  (paranormal?) romance.
2. Currently writing an erotic short with the hopes of an anthology submission in the next week, at most. This is justly occupying the lion's share of writing time.
3. Have about four short story submissions out, so I am forever hovering over my email in the hope of a gem of good news from those.
4. Back to school shopping for two daughters. (I don't even want to talk about it.)
5. Gearing up for a Labor Day Weekend Halloween celebration at our seasonal campsite. Halloween comes early in my world, making it even harder to find appropriate costumes and decor. Not to mention actual time, were I inclined to actually make the costumes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Funnies

Once again, I find a great cartoon from the mind of inkygirl.com that really just tickles me. Thought I should share. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Turning off the Negative

If you are an aspiring author/writer (still not sure which one I am), you HAVE to develop a thick skin. Between opening yourself for critique from other writers, to beta readers, to actually submitting your work (babies) for potential rejection by agents and publishers, I'm not sure you have alot of choice. At least not if you plan to stay in this "business" and not want to burn your typewriter (like anyone uses them anymore) in some sort of "I quit" ceremony before you ponder the worthless track your life is taking. 

Okay, maybe that is a bit over dramatic, but you get the idea.

Recently, a member of my favorite writing group (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pens - on Scribophile and Goodreads) posted that she had let some family and friends beta read one of her stories only to be berated and beat down for the language she used, the type of story, and even some of the plot points. All because they didn't feel that her subject matter was appropriately christian or suitable for young readers. This particular writer actually began to question her ability to write based on their comments. She began to buy into the hype-- believe her own press, as it were.

This bothered me and actually inspired this little post.

The one thing I have learned in the past year of "serious writing" is this. You have to believe in yourself, what you are doing and your writing. Family means well, as do friends -- but they don't understand writing, publishing or what sort of creativity or work goes into the process. Sure, they mean well, and probably have your best interest at heart. But writing can be a lonely business. Stick with it, do what you think is right and hang the comments and not so gentle suggestions.

If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will either.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Upcoming Character Interview: Jem Stonehouse of Darkness and Light



Hello Readers and Review Followers:

I just wanted to take a quick second to announce that I will be doing a character interview next week with Jem Stonehouse, one of the main characters in the recently released novel, Darkness and Light by JA Belfield.

I am in the process of compiling my questions for Ms. Stonehouse and thought I would throw out the announcement (to see if any readers have taken my recommendation and read the book -- just kidding!) and see if any of you had questions you wanted me to ask Jem when I sit down with her to ask my own burning questions.

Back from Vacation! Cape Cod is for PIRATES!

I am sorry for the lack of postings over the last week or so. I managed to somehow fenagle a week of vacation and took a trip with my boyfriend to Cape Cod. Such an amazing place for writing inspiration and I highly recommend it. Lots of surf, seagulls, ships and sand. Everything a writer needs to get going on her WIP (a pirate tale).

I thought I would share a couple of pics with you all. Maybe they will help inspire your stories the way the trip has some of mine.

Enjoy!

This is my "I'm a mermaid!" pose.

The view from my beach towel. Stunning, right?


My lunch buddy. He even ate bread from my hands :)


My favorite gift shop - The Pirate Cove (shocking, right?) - where anything and everything piratey can be had.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In a Nutshell: How I Feel About the Heat Lately in NY

I got this one at the office this week, but it suits how I have been feeling about the weather around here lately.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inspired By The Success of Others? I am!

As some of you may know, I frequent, and even recommend the site, Scribophile for writers interested in networking and getting feedback on work from other writers. If you find you are searching for a good critique site, that is the one to use (in my humble opinion).

Anyway, some time ago, I started a writer's circle on the site called "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pens" and invited some female writers I knew and had critiqued before to join. My motive at the time was purely selfish, as I found it hard to keep track of new works posted for these writers that I enjoyed reading and interacting with.

What started for my own selfish organizational gain has become one of my greatest writing inspirations. As it turns out, 3 of the members of our little circle are enjoying the hustle and bustle of debut novels being published. The first two of them are now out in print and e-book, while the third is due for release in October 2011.

Shout out here for: Darkness and Light (Review below) by J.A Belfield, Little White Lies (reading now, review to come) by Aimee Laine and The Glass Man by Jocelyn Adams (coming in October). -- [all three books are being released by J. Taylor Publishing]

At first, seeing the three of them go though the process of doing book blurbs, getting galley copies, cover art, book trailers, etc made me spike with jealousy. Having short stories published is one thing -- but a whole book. Something with just one author's name. WOW.

My first reaction -- I wanna play, too!  But you have to complete a novel to submit one, and I haven't managed that yet.

But the thing that I have learned, above all, from their wonderful and exciting news is this.

Each and every one of their successes inspires me to do more, try harder, and put my nose to the grindstone. If they can do it, if the dream can come true for people I know and ones I call friends, people with jobs, kids and busy lives like mine -- then it is possible for me as well.

Besides, what better than having good books written by your friends for your summer and fall reading lists? Not much, that I can tell ya.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: Darkness and Light by J.A Belfield

Darkness & Light (A Holloway Pack Story, #1)Darkness & Light by J.A. Belfield


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I finished this novel up over the long weekend, and I have to say I really enjoyed an hour or so each morning getting into Jem's head and travelling with her as she comes to terms with who she is. As she comes to believe in Nathan's fairy tale, so do we as the reader.

Just a really engaging story and a refreshing break from the glut of vampire tales out there.

Heartwarming, fiery, and romantic. One heck of a trifecta there.

4.5 of 5 stars (just cant use half stars here).


View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Independence Day Everyone!! (almost)

Getting ready to enjoy a long weekend with the family for the holidays, but also had so much I wanted to share before I went. Unfortunately, time is not my friend any more than Mr Murphy is. So I will say that I am happy and blessed to report the girls both did well in school over the past year. Casey, my oldest daughter, gave me a drawing I wanted to share. Some may see a familiar theme to the cover of a certain new book, Darkness and Light by J.A. Belfield (guest appearance on blog to come in August). That is actually purely coincidental. I named the piece Casey's Dragon.



Nice right? That's my girl :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day. (even though this post really had nothing to do with the actual celebration of the holiday despite what I named the post) To those of you that visit my blog from outside the US - have a fabulous day from the USA.

I'll marshmallow toast you all from camp. If I ever replace my broken digital camera, I might even share pics one day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Working, Writing and Blogging - What's a girl to do?


I've noticed lately I have more unproductive days than productive ones. Or maybe what I mean is more days I feel unproductive. The fact is, no matter how you look at it, I get ALOT done in a week. I just haven't felt that way lately. When I don't have time to write, I get a bit cranky. (quitting smoking last week might have something to do with it, too)

I work a full time job as the lead IT Support Specialist (resident geek) for an office of about 250 people. With two daughters still at home (my son lives on his own) and in school (for at least another week), there are always events, games, practices, concerts and any number of other activities to cart the girls to, watch or plan in some fashion. In the summer, I also try to play for a women's softball team (emphasis on try as I tend to miss more games than make it to). Busy, right? The ever present balancing act between the writing and the rest of my life can be tenuous at best, especially in the summer months.

So what is my point here? Simply this. You have to forgive yourself for being busy. Don't let the worry that you haven't written a word in a week get to you. Know that if you are anything at all like me, the urge to write is inherent, and no matter how busy you are or how many entries are on your calendar, eventually the urge and need to write will return and you will get back to it. Eventually the muse comes back and settles himself on a nearby beanbag chair to torment you with delicious stories.

Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the softball game :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz

Seven Day LoanSeven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Not exactly what I expected going in. More of a romance element than I thought and not quite as dark. (Yes Im am a kinkster oddity)


Short and very sweet. Quite enjoyed it.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Winning Blogiversary Contest Entries

WINNER

Three Weeks


Tomorrow is my anniversary.


Five years.

With Louie.

Bastard’s gonna get it.

Bastard’s had it coming to him for three whole weeks.

Thankfully, I’m a woman of patience. I can bide my time.

Until tomorrow.

# # #

Louie rolls over with a grunt, flinging the duvet aside so he’s not the only one to experience the biting morning chill.

The pretence of drowsiness comes easy as I watch him through lowered lashes. All women have it mastered. There’s only so long the headache excuse works for, after all.

“You iron my shirt, Belinda?” He doesn’t look at me.

Happy Anniversary, Darl’, I mouth. “It’s on the wicker chair.” Where I’ve placed it every day for the past eighteen-hundred days, moron.

“Humph.” The firm flesh of his butt tautens and relaxes with each step across the room.

I’ve always loved that arse. Shame it’ll never cross the room again after today.

Maybe I should hack it off. Keep the best bit about him as a souvenir.

I snort at the idea, not realising I’ve done it out loud until he turns and frowns at me.

“What’s so funny?”

My smile is lazy, but I doubt it reaches my eyes. “Nothing, babe.”

He stares at me a moment longer and goes back to his task of spiffy dressing.

On goes his tie, snapped around his neck like a dominatrix’s whip. I could think of a few good uses for that myself—none of them sensual. I successfully suppress my next burst of amusement.

Today will be good.

# # #

Until three weeks ago, my daily routine never altered. Out of bed, once Louie’s departed. Make the house look spanking. Head out to the shops to buy dinner—fresh, just as Louie likes it. The afternoons are my own—those I spend in the park with a book.

It’s amazing what one can learn from books.

Even more amazing is the people one can meet in parks.

# # #

I glance at the clock.

Eleven-thirty.

Almost time.

My body is tremulous with anticipation, the promise of a new beginning feeding me like a drug.

# # #

The supermarket heaves with lower-classed bums too lazy to get out of bed at a reasonable hour. I should be irritated by them—would be if not for my inner excitement and the potential mass of witnesses. The trolley wheels squeak at the aisle corners, and I almost collide with a stroller as I work out my mobile.

Eleven-fifty.

Ten minutes until Louie takes his lunch-break.

# # #

Ham on wholemeal sub, with horrid bitter-tasting lettuce, has been his favourite for as long as I’ve known him. He used to let me make his sandwiches … until he decided I didn’t do them right.

‘Not enough lettuce, Bel,’ he said. ‘Damn, woman, it isn’t that difficult to judge.’

So I relinquished the task of preparing his lunch to him.

I was happy about that.

Really.

Until he went and forgot his fruit three weeks ago.

‘Got to have fruit, Bel. It’s what keeps a man regular.’ He always puffs out his chest when he says it. Proud of his looks, is Louie.

I grabbed a banana that day, and walked to his office, figured I’d make my regular visit to the park on my way back.

Everything would have been sweet and good, if …, actually, everything would have been catastrophic if I hadn’t heard the sexual grunts before I reached for the door to his office.

To be sure, I peeped through the gap in the drawn blinds.

The view inside hit me with nausea-induced dizziness.

Him … on his desk … with another woman.

Not his secretary, as one might expect. A client.

As sad as it sounds, I’m relieved about that.

As mad as it sounds, I still want to cut her throat.

# # #

My thumb against the key illuminates my mobile.

Twelve-fifty-seven.

My lips curve up.

Three weeks is a long time—for rage to boil, for ideas to fester, for plans to be made.

Three minutes seems longer when I’m waiting for revenge.

I know he won’t be late. Louie’s never late for his lunch-break. I know, because for the last twenty days I’ve gone back, to be sure I didn’t make a mistake, to remind myself why I have every freakin’ right to be this goddamned pissed.

I steady my breathing, which in turns regulates my pulse, and the alarm I set on my phone sends vibrations tingling through my forearm.

Closing my eyes, I picture his teeth wrapping around his sandwich. Imagine the work of his chewing jaw. Mentally urge him to make that first swallow.

How can the wife get the blame when everyone who knows us knows Louie makes his own sandwiches? She can’t, right?

Replacing the bitter lettuce in the salad bag had been easy.

Finding something to replace it with had been easy, too.

It truly is amazing the kind of people one can meet in the park.

Take another bite, Louie.

In my mind, he’s almost finished. He’s taking the last bite. Then his ‘guest’ will arrive. I give them five minutes.

Five minutes to hit the desktop—it never takes them more than two.

Five minutes for the toxicity to work its charms—just like the nice old granny assured me.

Five minutes to wipe the smug smile off my face, move my rear around the aisles again, and look like a normal person.

Then I hit dial.

I know he won’t answer. He wouldn’t, anyway, not whilst he’s busy—but he certainly won’t answer today.

Paralysis is the first symptom—paralysis from the brain down.

The dial tone hums a mantra of patience in my ear. Eight rings later, the answering machine picks up.

I listen to his voice one last time. Listen to his false cheer, and the charm that’s never really existed beneath the façade. Listen to the offer to leave a message.

At the beep, I smile. “Hey, Louie. Happy anniversary, darl’.”



2nd Place:
Blink


Lloyd’s wife straightened his bow tie. “I can’t believe it’s been forty years,” Sarah said with a smile.


“I know.” Lloyd chuckled and thought of the day he started in the mail room of Keltronics. “Seems like only last year I accidentally delivered Henry Boyd’s dismissal slip to him instead of his boss. Never lived that one down.” He took a comb from the dresser and slid it through his short, graying hair.

Sarah smoothed hands down the skirt of her old blue gown. “Do you really think it’s okay for Randall to come? They’ll be serving spirits.”

Snickering, Lloyd drew up behind her and kissed her bare shoulder. “Our son is twenty-five, not exactly a boy anymore.” The realization made his heart lurch. “This will be one of few opportunities he’ll have to taste liquor, with the short supply.”

She nodded. “I suppose you’re right.”

Lloyd reached into his pocket and withdrew a chain with a small stone on the end. He looped it around her neck. “This will be a night to remember. I thought you should have something to remember it by.”

Quick blinks allowed only a single tear to escape Sarah’s eyes as she whirled and embraced him. “I love you, Lloyd Camby.”

“And I, you, Mrs. Camby.” He kissed her temple and took her hand. “Now come, we can’t be late.”

***

Lloyd held Sarah close as they walked along Kensington Street, one of the few that remained passable after the war left only a few pockets of surviving humanity. The devastation had happened before Lloyd came into the world, during the time of his grandparents.

Resources grew scarce, so vehicles had been abandoned many years before. Houses near Keltronics, the only source of employment left, were coveted.

Lloyd gazed up at the hazy, green sky. He didn’t know what lay beyond the invisible dome Keltronics had erected to keep their city safe from radiation and whatever mutations might still exist beyond the border, but it didn’t matter. His only concern existed for the woman on his arm, and the fine young man they’d produced.

Sarah pointed to the tall building that housed Keltronics. “They put up a banner for you.”

A digital sign stretched across the top of the doors: Happy 40th Anniversary, Lloyd.” It scrolled, flashed and disappeared before starting the cycle over again.

He gave Sarah a squeeze. “How did time slip away so fast?”

She set her head on his shoulder as they carried on. “They’ve been good years, haven’t they?”

Lloyd stopped her at the foot of the stairs and swung her to face him. “Yes, every one.” He pressed his lips to hers, his arms holding her body close. Before emotion could overtake him, he ascended the steps with her in tow.

Floodlights splashed light up the stone, giving it a cheerful presence. Keltronics generated enough electricity to run the whole world had it still been intact, a project Lloyd had improved upon with his Engineering training at the local university.

Once through the doors, the chatting of hundreds of attendees greeted them. Another sign restated the anniversary message. Age had never bothered Lloyd, but watching the reminder blink at him settled tightness through his chest.

“Dad!” Randall bounded up to Lloyd and gave him a few pats on the back. “Happy anniversary.”

Lloyd forgot all but the dark brown eyes of his son, a reflection of his own. “You look fine in that suit. Doesn’t he, Sarah?”

“Oh yes.” She straightened his collar. “Very fine.”

Randall pulled at the thread-bare material.

The owner of Keltronics, Mr. Valentine, spoke over a microphone at the front. “Since our guest of honor has arrived, let us begin the festivities.”

Sarah slipped her fingers into Lloyd’s as they walked to the front. Each step tightened a noose around his throat.

Blink-blink: forty.


Blink-blink: forty.

He’d worked forty years, and turned fifty-five that day. How had his son become a grown man? When had the fine wrinkles at the corners of Sarah’s eyes appeared?

“Let’s make a toast before the ceremony.” Mr. Valentine thrust up a glass of red wine, while a young girl handed similar glasses into Lloyd and Sarah. “Here’s to Lloyd, without whom we never would have stabilized the power grid.”

“Here, here!” The crowd shouted.

Lloyd turned to Sarah, clinked his glass against hers and committed her copper eyes to memory. “I must go now, love.”

Her smile cracked and tears leaked from her eyes. “I know you asked me to be strong, but I can’t.”

“You know the rules. Any man who produces a child will make way for another’s child to take his place, as Ben did for Randall. Accept a new husband with my blessing, so Randall can take over our home.”

“But why?” Her sob burst out. “Why must it be this way?”

“With our limited resources, the human race will be lucky to survive another generation. I’ll do what I must to ensure a future for our son.”

Sobbing, she nodded and stepped back into their son’s arms.

Although Randall’s chin quivered, he steadied himself. “Dad….”

“Don’t let her watch, son.”

Mr. Valentine appeared beside Lloyd and gestured to a doorway. “This way, Lloyd.”

Lloyd held his composure by sheer will as he entered the theatre where his co-workers had begun taking their seats.

“Kneel center stage.” Mr. Valentine indicated a padded area.

Lloyd complied as he watched Randall and Sarah sit down in the front row.

Mr. Valentine fitted a metal collar around Lloyd’s neck, where needles would soon spear his flesh and inject the killing agent.

A hush fell over the crowd, all teary eyes on him. Lloyd gazed at his family, his heart aching. Do it for them. A new sense of calm settled over his soul. He smiled at Sarah, and she nodded encouragement.

A priest appeared to his right. “We are gathered this day to witness the passing of Lloyd Camby.”

Mr. Valentine squeezed Lloyd’s shoulder. “It’s time.”



Monday, June 6, 2011

And the Winner Is: Blogiversary Contest Results

After careful consideration while staring at a camp fire this weekend, I have chosen a winner of the Blogiversary contest I announced a little over a month ago. Before I announce the winner, I would like to thank everyone who entered. I really enjoyed all of the stories that were submitted. I am hoping to be able to offer more of these sorts of events and writing exercises in the future.

The winner receives a signed copy of Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery and their story will be posted along with the 2nd place entry on the blog tomorrow morning. (I was just going to post them here with the announcement, but the stories deserve their own headline and word of mouth advertising.)

Without further ado, here are the results:

WINNER: Three Weeks by J.A. Belfield

2nd Place: Blink by Jocelyn Adams
Honorable Mention: The Anniversary by R.C Kinkead

Congratulations, Julie. Looks like I will be sending another package across the pond.

Thanks again to everyone for making my first blog contest a success!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blogiversary Contest Update

I have started to read through the entries for the contest and the first thing I have to say is WOW, you guys are a dark bunch :P

I should have all the entries read by tonight. I will post the results and winning entries with my Monday Morning check-in.  Good luck and thank you to those that entered. Your support of my blog and the contest are appreciated.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Keep Your Chin Up and Submit, Submit, Submit!


Instead of the usual Monday morning check-in, I decided I would visit a topic that I struggle with on a regular basis. The submission process.

When I decided to take the plunge and submit some writing for publication, I really had no clue what to do, how to do it, or what to expect.  But like any good hacker -- I mucked along and read submission guidelines, then crossed my fingers and hit the send button.  After I  got my first rejection (and yes my first reply was indeed a rejection) I thought -- Okay, this has got to be the hardest part of the process.

I was so wrong.

The hardest thing for me to deal with has been the wait between sending my babies in for consideration and hearing back on whether or not these children were acceptable for the general reading public. As anyone who submits work for publication can attest, this reply can take anywhere from a few days (my shortest turn around time was six days - from Pill Hill Press) to a third of a calendar year (as I am seeing with one of my current submissions - 120 days and counting). After a while, you just learn that it is what it is, and part of the "work" of being a writer is having the patience to wait for your response -- good or bad.

Recently, I had subbed in a story for an anthology. While many sites taking electronic submissions now offer a auto reply stating they received your story, so many more do not. This particular site, did/does not. I sent in my story prior to the deadline and settled myself in for the long wait to come. It wasn't until others i knew sent submissions started to hear back that I thought something must be up. Where was my letter? My acceptance or rejection. I dropped an email to the submissions address to query them regarding my submission.

I found out yesterday, it was indeed lost in the Internet nether world and had not been received, but since the deadline had passed, that they would unfortunately have to pass. I did receive the standard -- but please submit again in the future.

Suffice to say, for about 24 hours - I was devastated. My confidence screamed at me that the story is good enough to be included and if they had received and read it, I would have gotten an acceptance like some of my friends had. But all that didn't get my story read or published. Only I could do that.


So here I am today - fresh story in hand and looking for a home. And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to my point for today.

If you are a writer, there will be setbacks. There will be disappointments and there will be rejections. Have faith in yourself and your stories. Persistence and confidence in yourself will be the keys to your success. The publication that missed out on my story -- well, they missed out.

Like every good story, eventually it will find the right home. As it is my baby, it is my job to find out where that home is. And the only way I know to do that is...

SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT... If that doesn't work -- SUBMIT again!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Humor

Just a little giggle to get you through your Thursday. Enjoy!
Thanks to Inkygirl.com for the giggles!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: The Blood That Bonds by Christopher Buecheler

The Blood That BondsThe Blood That Bonds by Christopher Buecheler


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I checked this one out, I did so mostly because it had a cool looking cover and I was into reading some horror type works. I didnt know going in what sort of tale I was getting into. Once I realized it was a vampire story, I was a bit worried, as they are not usually my kind of thing.

But I have to say that I really and thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters, especially the MC, Two were vibrant and the writing active and engaging. I even feel in love with the male leead and otehr prominent characters in this one.

The beginning of the book really drew me in and got my sympathy for Two going right off the bat. Heroin addict and prostitute in a bad situation -- easy to root for an underdog like that.

As the story progresses, we get a more detailed look at the vampire family that Two has been brought into -- Her Master (maker) Thereon is easy to fall for, as are the other siblings in the clan.

There were parts of this one that actually made me cry (so not going to spoil anything) and I haven't read a book that could do that in a long time.

Will definitely be checking out the next in this series. I believe it is called Blood Hunt.

I highly recommend this one if you enjoy vamp tales. However, I would say this is NOTHING like the Twighlight vamps -- so if that is what you are looking for -- th is may not be the book for you.


View all my reviews

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Mother's Day Present: Shelby Glasses - Part 2

As my regular blog followers can attest, I have a rather unique 10year old daughter named Shelby. For Mother's Day this year, she didn't make me a homemade card like she usually does. Instead, she found a song to send me for Mother's Day. According to Shelby -- this is what I mean to her. (I can tell you right now -- the below video is classic Shelby).

Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: MARKED by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked (House of Night, #1)Marked by P.C. Cast


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have to admit that I set this book aside in the first chapter and told myself I couldn't read it--that it was too YA to be something I would really get into and enjoy. However, my sixteen year old daughter had read the first three books in this series and was set on having a novel we could discuss and both enjoy. So at her prodding and questioning, I picked it back up.

I am glad I did. Once I got past a chapter of "K-babble" I was really able to submerge in the story and found it impossible not to root for the MC, Zoey.

Thoroughly enjoyed the read and I plan to get started on Book #2: Betrayed, this week.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 7, 2011

NOW AVAILABLE: Cutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical Skullduggery

This collection of pirate adventures is now available in paperback (e-book formats coming soon). The anthology features one of my short stories,  titled Lost Hope. I have not yet received my contributor copy, so havent read the other included stories, but I am really looking forward to it.

Details:

Arrgh, you scallywags. Rip open these pages to find yerself lost in the world of pirates and their misdeeds. Join them as they travel to misty islands of fortune, sail the seven seas for mysterious items, kill those that betrayed them, and lay siege to monasteries. This collection of new work brings you 18 short stories and a new novella by M.S. Gardner. But beware...if ye escape Davy Jones' Locker, ye may still face the plank.

Here is a small excerpt from my story, LOST HOPE:

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean -- August 1649

     Sailors shouted to each other, their feet scuffling across the deck as their swords clashed in battle. The air in the lady hole reeked of gunpowder and death. Thankfully, the cannonballs, which had been smashing into the ship’s hull with regular, deafening precision, had stopped. A young couple huddled together in the dark. The man wrapped his arms around the woman, who feverishly rocked a swaddled bundle. She cast a wide-eyed glance at her husband as the infant wailed its dismay at the top of her lungs.

     “If you don’t hush her, Margaret, they'll find us,” the man said.

     The woman rocked faster. “I’m trying.”

     The door to the tiny compartment screeched open. The couple squinted toward the portal. A tall shadow filled the doorway, backlit by bright sunlight. Green eyes glowed from the dark form, its thick voice echoed through the tiny closet.

     “What do we have here? Looks like a family of bilge rats.”

     Untangling himself from his wife, the man stepped out first, blocking access to his family. “Please, sir. I’m a man of means. Allow me to pay safe passage for my family.

     The woman released a startled scream as her husband dropped to the deck with a sickening thud. Blood gushed from the wide slice across his throat; his unseeing eyes stared at the azure sky.

     Rough hands pulled the hysterical woman from her hiding spot, and dragged her, kicking, onto the deck. Tears streaked down her pale cheeks. She closed her eyes and rocked the crying child, her voice cracking as she whispered repeatedly, “though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.”

     One of the deckhand stepped forward and placed a hand on his captain’s arm. “Cap’n, let me and Joe take the baby back to The Albatross. Elsa’s been waitin’ a long time for a child of ‘er own. ‘Sides, the wee one shouldn’t be witness ta this.”

     Nicor’s eyes narrowed as his gaze fell to the hand on his sleeve. Catching the look, Matthews quickly released the Captain’s arm.

     Nicor’s lips curled into a dark smile. He nodded. “Aye, Pops, take the baby to her new mother while I get acquainted with this lovely prize.” The captain’s gaze swept back to the woman huddled on the deck.


     The sailor squatted and tried to pull the crying bundle from the rocking woman. At his touch, the woman jerked away, locking her bleak eyes on him. “Please, keep her safe for me.”

     Pops nodded. “Aye, miss, ye have me word.”

     The woman let out a sigh and released her hold.

     Pops rose, nodded to his captain, and took the whimpering child away. As he crossed the deck with the baby, the woman drew a hidden dagger from beneath her skirts and plunged it into Nicor’s heartless chest.

     The pirate captain’s rich laughter filled the air as he pulled the useless weapon from his body. He glared at the wide-eyed woman. “Ah, biscuit, you are really going to wish you hadn’t done that.”

     Pops nodded to his brother, who held a rope at the rail. Cradling the child close to his heart, he took the rope and swung across the space between the two ships. Pops Matthews landed deftly on the deck of The Albatross as the strangled cries of the woman’s tortured death filled the salt-kissed air.


How to Purchase this Anthology:

Pill Hill Press Affiliate Book Shop

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Staying The Course

In my relatively short time as a "serious writer" I have learned a few things, forgotten some others, and mucked my way through numerous rejections and a few golden acceptances. Each step in the writing process has been educational and exciting. But I am a year in at this point, and I have found myself in a bit of a rut.

As summer approaches, so does the busy time of year for me-- the time when both my daughters start softball for the summer, get ready for summer camp adventures, SAT's (for my older daughter), open up the seasonal campsite, mow the lawn, do my gardening *takes a deep breath*  This is just the stuff I know about as it is on my schedule. Incidentals -- well I just squeeze em in when and wherever I can.

I have managed to schedule myself fairly well with respect to my blogging on a regular schedule and staying up to date on social networking efforts. I have also made a concerted effort to read more. (As a single parent trying to find time to write, adding this one has been particularly difficult -- who has the time?)

What has fallen off for me over the past month or so, is my writing time. Each day that goes by that I haven't taken the laptop out to write some words is a day that I go to bed feeling I have wasted. I need my FT job, but it too gets in the way of my writing -- the thing I want to be doing with myself.

When I get this way, there are a few tried and true methods I have used to get past them.

1. Take a walk -- I realize time walking is not time writing. However I get some of my best ideas while walking and thinking.

2. Listen to music -- The greatest of inspirers (is that even a word) for me. Both of my recent acceptances have been stories conjured during a session of tunage (and family stresses tuneout).

3. Read a book -- Now I know I mentioned above that I barely had time for this.  However, I have noticed that in doing this, even for an hour a day, I have opened up some creative veins I had thought long dry. I guess I am one that is inspired by others. Either that or I read stuff and realize that I can do just as well.  Either way, it helps spark the synapses enough to get me itching to write something.

What are some of the things you all do to get the creative juices flowing? Do you have a set writing routine that gets you "in the mood"?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Humor: I Couldn't Resist (Happy Tuesday)

A friend of mine sent this to me by email this morning and it really tickled my funny bone.  Thought I would share.

Take that Mr. Trump.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Blogiversary Contest

So, rather than the usual Monday morning check-in (for those of you following that, it is pretty much the same as it was last week), I thought I would announce the small contest I have put together to celebrate the anniversary of my blog. This will be a writing contest (shocked right?).
The details are listed below.

GENRE: Open
LENGTH: FLASH (less than 1k words)
THEME: Anniversaries
DEADLINE FOR ENTRY: May 26, 2011 (Midnight EST)
PRIZE: 1st place will receive a FREE print copy of Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery (signed by one of the featured authors -- that being me)

First and second place entries will be "published" on this blog and will have their story advertised by me on my website, and twitter (so hopefully it should get some readers) All rights remain with the author and they are free to submit or post elsewhere at their discretion.

Entries can be mailed to rebecca(at)rebeccahartwriting(dot)com

Looking forward to reading some interesting entries.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary

I just noticed today while surfing the net that April 19th marked the one year anniversary of this blog. One year since I started to take writing seriously enough to start submitting work and opening myself up to possible rejection.

In looking back, I have to say I have grown immeasurably as a writer over the past year, learned a ton, and reached a few milestones as well. I think I will offer some sort of contest to celebrate this auspicious occassion. I'll need a bit to think on this, but will give you all some info in the next few days.

In the meantime, Happy Anniversary to The Machenwood Chronicles and Other Tales!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Morning Check-in

Welp -- Monday came and went with no check in post from me this week.  The picture to the left illustrates what my week has been like.

Because I promised myself I would stick to this. Here is my TO DO List for this week:

1. Still waiting on replies for submissions already out. Waiting on replies from Boulevard Magazine (still) and have also subbed pieces to Pulp Empire's Pirates anthology and some shorts to Vestal Magazine and Short Story America.

2. Work on Machenwood - This one is serious for me this week. I have pushed aside some muse tickles for other stories. I WILL finish this one. It is now the front burner piece.

3. Continue social networking efforts. - This is just an ongoing process. So far, so good. Up to 75 followers on twitter and my blog follow list is growing in slow increments.

4. Catch up on critiques and reading lists on Scribophile and Writer's Digest. With work being such a bear this week, with training a new hire and all that, I have fallen behind on this particular activity.

5. This weekend I will be looking at travel trailers as I need to pick one up for this summer. I managed to get a seasonal campsite at one of the local campgrounds, so will hopefully spend a good amount of time this summer enjoying the outdoors with the family.

All this is in addition to the usual stuff, like laundry, cleaning up after my daughters, and the always present mom-taxi duties.

Most of the others in my writing circles are also parents-- maybe not single ones, but still -- busy to be sure. Yet we manage to juggle work, family, and writing, (some I know are even tackling the debut of first novels)- not to mention keeping up with each other and critiquing their work when possible. How do we do it all and remain sane? (wait...was I sane before?)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: On Writing by Stephen King

On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Absolutely fantastic --full of helpful tips and ideas. All of this offered in a nicely comedic presentation full of personal experiences. A great book for anyone who ever considers writing as a career.




View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Get Rejected

Yesterday I subbed out a flash piece I wrote called "Leaving Eric". The story is about a woman named Brenda telling us how she left her boyfriend/husband Eric.

I happened to be browsing Duotrope and came across a Husband and Wives theme and I thought, "Meh, that might work." I checked it out, and Woohoo! -- accepting flash length works. "I'm in!"

Today I got what has to be the BEST rejection a writer could ever receive. I have included it below. I would happily of included the name of the kind editor, but I do not know what sort of etiquette would apply to a situation of that sort.

Anyway, here is what I got in my email. (A 1 day response -- love the no waiting thing *cough* Boulevard Mag *cough*)

Hi, Rebecca, I just wanted to let you know that I really liked your submission, “Leaving Eric” - the end was satisfying and clever in a macabre sort of way - but unfortunately I’m not going to be able to take it for the “Husbands and Wives” themed issue. It was sure a “finalist” (actually there are two folders we put submissions after initial reading, “Sorry” and “Hotlist,” and yours made it to “Hotlist”), but it just didn’t work for the mix I’ve chosen. But if it’s any consolation I wanted to tell you how much I admired your writing and hope you’ll continue to submit to NAME WITHHELD.


Thank you, Editor. You really made my day. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Check-In

Here we are at yet another Monday. It is amazing to me how quickly the week goes by sometimes.

This is my To Do list for this week:

1. Still waiting to hear from Boulevard magazine. Duotrope says I should be hearing in the next week or so -- at least based on the average response time. Man, I hope so. I feel like they have had it forever.

2. Posted the final version of Ellie's tale to my crit group. So once the feedback comes in, I will be subbing that out for the anthology call for submissions and crossing my fingers.

3. Machenwood. With the short story basically complete, it is time for Ana and Ric to get some attention.

4. Take a look at Duotrope for upcoming themes that I find interesting.

5. Continue working on social networking.

6. Subbed my flash piece - "Leaving Eric" out -- (to Pedestal magazine's Husband and Wives issue) so I have another pub to wait for a reply from.

Not a bad list this week. It looks like I may actually accomplish some of these writing goals. One foot in front of the other.

On a side note -- WELCOME BACK SPRING!!