Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG and A is for Animals

It's April and the start of another A to Z Challenge. This is round number five for me and I'm excited to kick off my A to Z of favorite quotes. I'm also happy to start the alphabet with one of my favorite subjects. What else could I pick for A but animals?



"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms" ~ George Eliot 

This has long been one of my favorite quotes even though I'm not sure how true it is. My Clancy has no problem being critical, and letting me know just how he feels, when I keep making him sit to have his picture taken. 


And as for Nate, being a cat, passing criticisms is basically part of his DNA. ;) 

Still, the quote captures the beauty of our relationships with our animal friends and just how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

We are also doing the A to Z Challenge over at Untethered Realms. Stop by there all month for quick and fun teasers from our books!


Of course, the first Wednesday of the month means it's also IWSG day. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J Cavanaugh and gives all of us a chance to air our insecurities or lack thereof each month in a supportive and encouraging environment. If you're not already a member and would like to join in, just click here and add your name to the list!

I'm happy to be able to say that I am not really struggling with any insecurities this month. A total miracle! But I am still feeling excited about writing and blogging again and I think my months-long slump really is over, so I'm happy about that. I think April is going to be a great month. :) 

Happy April, all! 


Monday, March 23, 2015

A Change of Mind by Nick Wilford, Reviving the Blog, and The AtoZ Challenge Theme Reveal



As has been clear to anyone who has visited here, this blog has been on life support for months now. If not for the IWSG and promo posts for friends, I probably wouldn't have been blogging at all. My heart just hasn't been in it.

But a crazy thing happened this weekend. I was walking in the park with Clancy on Saturday morning and suddenly I was inspired to get back to the story I had intended to write for the second Untethered Realms anthology, Mayhem in the Air. I had abandoned any hope of finishing the story a few weeks ago as I couldn't focus on it any more than I could any other writing.

When I got home from the park all I wanted to do was write. I sat down and did just that for most of the day and I can't even say how great that felt. I finished the story yesterday morning and as soon as I did I wanted to write something else. And I wanted to blog.

I want to bring my blog back to life and I can't think of a better way to do that than by joining the AtoZ Challenge. So I just signed up yesterday and I'm so excited about it! This will be my fifth challenge and I know it will also be a great one. It's funny as I have been totally against joining the challenge this year since before the sign-up list was even posted but now I've done a complete 180. It feels so good to actually want to blog again!

When I first started this blog I listed several favorite quotes and many of them remain on the side of the page. I've always loved quotes so for this year's AtoZ my theme is going to be favorite quotes, with photos to go with them.

I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's themes and also to celebrating another crazy April with you all!

We are also going to be doing the challenge as a group over at Untethered Realms, so visit us there for quick and fun teasers from our various books and stories.


I'm also excited to be sharing the cover for Nick Wilford's upcoming release, A Change of Mind and Other Stories. Congratulations to Nick!!

Here is all the info on the book:

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Cover Design: Rebekah Romani
Release Date: May 25th 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

Bio

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Preorder Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Monday, March 16, 2015

Of Blood And Sorrow by Christine Rains


Hello, all! I hope ope everyone had a nice weekend. It's my pleasure today to share Of Blood And Sorrow, the latest release from the very talented Christine Rains. Congratulations to Christine!

OF BLOOD AND SORROW
By Christine Rains

Blurb:
Erin Driscol works the perfect job consoling fellow demons by feeding off their grief at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home.

When fledgling vampire Nicolas Reese comes to Erin for help, she learns the truth behind the legends and hides him from his sire and the vampire hunters who seek him. But when the Putzkammers begin to die one by one, Erin is caught between her act of kindness and the need to save her adopted family. Only by facing her own personal demons can she stop the slaughter and still rescue Nicolas from his dark fate.


Add it to read on Goodreads.

About the author:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She's married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he's Batman. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has several short stories and novellas published. Of Blood and Sorrow series is her first urban fantasy novel.

Please visit her website and blog 

You can also find Christine on
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Buy links:


Best of luck to Christine on another great release!! As for me, after saying I was taking a break from my writing for a while last week I got a fresh burst of inspiration. It was almost as if my story was telling me that I absolutely was not going to take a break and instead I needed to buck up and get to work. :D I'm going to take this unexpected burst and run with it, so I hope to be holed up in my writing cave for the next few weeks. Maybe I'll actually emerge with something worthwhile this time. Fingers crossed! 

Have a great week ahead! :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

A 99 Cents Sale & Changing Things Up


All of my books, including the just released Polar Day, are on sale for 99 cents this week on Amazon Kindle. You can find a link to each book, as well as the other Ink Smith books on sale, at the Amazon sale page here. If you're interested in any of my books now is a great time to check them out. :)

Also, it's no secret that I've been in a major slump and haven't been able to get any writing accomplished in months. I seem to just be constantly distracted by various things in my life and I can't focus.

So I thought instead of continually beating my head against this wall I've found myself at I'd try focusing on some different kinds of writing for a while and see if that can help me get some motivation back.

To that end, I signed up to help with the Be the Change for Animals site and write for their action alert newsletter. I thought this would be a good way for me to get back to writing about one of my original interests while also learning about causes I can write about in more depth either here on my blog or elsewhere. I'm excited to get started with the project.

I also went to a meeting last weekend of the regional chapter of Sisters in Crime and I really enjoyed it. The chapter is small and they are looking for help with writing content for their blog and website, something I said I would be glad to try. It will be a totally new experience for me to work with something like this and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at it.

So I'm hoping that trying some new things will help jump start my writing and I can get back to enjoying writing and blogging again. I also hope to take Clancy on some little day trips now that the weather seems to have finally turned a corner, as I would love to go back to the Travels With Clancy posts I used to do. I don't know how much Clancy will enjoy more trips but I know I will. I have a feeling he won't like the idea at all.



I think I got it in my head that I had to write another book immediately and when I couldn't do that I simply became discouraged and couldn't focus on writing anything at all. I realize though that I was being silly and it would make more sense to enjoy what I do have instead of worrying about what I'm going to do next. I have several book signings and conferences coming up this year and, unlike last year when I was a nervous wreck about them, I'm actually excited for them now and don't feel nervous about the panels at all. So I want to focus on enjoying those events and stop beating myself up about needing a little break from fiction writing.

But speaking of fiction writing, stop by the Untethered Realms blog tomorrow for a group post about the movies or television shows that have inspired us as writers. My entry is about a certain high school girl who battled vampires.

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend and have a great week coming up! If anyone is willing to tweet or share about my 99 cents sale I'd be very grateful!




Thursday, March 5, 2015

Butterflies and Hormones with Elizabeth Seckman

Today I'm happy to welcome the wonderful Elizabeth Seckman to the blog. Elizabeth is here with an interesting little tidbit about love and the hormones that go along with it.

But first let me just say thanks to everyone who came by for yesterday's IWSG and offered encouragement about my writing funk while also supporting Christine Rains. As always you are all the best. :)

And now for Elizabeth and her latest, Defying Reason.

Did you know? 

The butterflies in the stomach feeling caused by love (or insane nervousness- the feelings are interchangeable) are caused by the increase in adrenaline. As love grows, the adrenaline is replaced by oxytocin (not to be confused with oxycodone, that's a whole different addiction). Oxytocin is the same hormone emitted by parents as they bond with their children. 





The Blurb:

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

 
Author Bio:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach. 

FacebookBlogWebsiteBuy Link

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG & A Visit from Christine Rains


Happy IWSG day, all! It's time once again for our monthly support group hosted by the Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month's co-hosts are Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence. Thanks to Alex and his co-hosts!

If you're not already a member of the group and would like to join in, visit the IWSG sign-up list here.

This month I am grappling with the same insecurity that has been gnawing at me for the past few months. I can't seem to get anything written and I have totally lost my focus. I am determined that I will not have this same problem by the time our April meeting rolls around and the only thing for it is to sit down and write, but for now I'm turning things over to the wonderfully talented Christine Rains. Christine is here to talk about the insecurities that come along with publishing. I'm thrilled to be a stop on Christine's tour to promote her new book, the contemporary erotic romance Loose Corset.

Take it away, Christine!



The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

Working with a publisher brings with it a whole mess of new insecurities. I didn't think it would be all a breeze after being accepted, but I underestimated how much the things I can't control would get to me.

I can't see my sales stats even though I'm doing all the marketing. Is anything I'm doing working? I won't know until the next pay period, and they send out checks every quarter.

There are two more books in the Dice & Debauchery series. They're complete, but they're waiting in a queue for a new editor. I don't know where in this queue I sit. But I do know it depends on my sales how quickly I move up the line. It could be the summer when the second book is released or maybe not until the end of the year. I don't have any control over it.

Have readers asked for more? Do they like me? Could they decide to cancel my contract if I don't sell well? I don't know. And it's driving me bonkers!

There are advantages to having a publisher, but there are also ones for self-publishing. No matter which way I go, I get new gray hairs.

What are your insecurities this month?




Book Blurb:

Geek girl Morgan Reid has been to many conventions, but none that had her wishing it would never end.

Dressed as their characters from the online game Steampunk Quest, Morgan and her best friend meet the other players for the first time in real life. Morgan's attraction to the gorgeous Dean Bradley is immediate, making it difficult to breathe in her tight corset. Even after a few dice shattering orgasms, she doesn't believe this can be anything more than a con fling. But Dean is making her feel things she's only read about in books. Can Morgan let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall completely for the perfect geek guy?


About the author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She's married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he's Batman. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has several short stories and novellas published. The Dice & Debauchery series is her first contemporary erotic romance.

Please visit her website  and blog

You can also find Christine on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Purchase links:

B&N 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Midnight Sun Baseball Game & A Spotlight on Banie Lee

Source: Flickr

Hello, all! If you're in the eastern half of the US like I am you are probably dealing with lots of snow and ice and unusually cold temperatures. I actually like cold weather, but enough is enough. After being snowed in this past Saturday I was in the mood to think about baseball, the "boys of summer," and the game that is featured in my book Polar Day, the Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks, Alaska.

I first learned about the game while doing research for my book and I couldn't believe how well it fit my story. The game is played on the summer solstice and has been an annual tradition in Fairbanks since 1906. It begins at 10:30 at night and ends between 1 or 2 the next morning.

The sun sets at around 12:47 on the night of the solstice and rises again two hours later. While the sun does dip below the horizon during the game, twilight provides more than enough light for the game to go on. Artificial light has never been used or needed. Famous players who have participated in the fabled game include Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield, and Jason Giambi.

The game is hosted by the Alaska Goldpanners, who have the distinction of being the northernmost baseball club on the planet. As Jim Caple wrote in this piece for ESPN.com Page 2, the game is night baseball "in the sunlight and on top of the world."

Are you familiar with the Midnight Sun game? If you've been to Alaska, have you been to this event? The baseball fan in me would love to go someday.


Also today I'm happy to shine the spotlight on a fellow Ink Smith Publishing author, Banie Lee. Banie is the author of Sleep Drifter, which is FREE on Amazon all this week. Be sure to get yourself a copy!



Author: Banie Lee
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy
Price:  FREE for a limited time (2/23-28)

Synopsis

When fifteen-year-old Kylie and Camden meet at the Southeastern Ohio portal to the realm of Inswandi, Camden is torn. It is Camden's purpose as a Watcher to protect humans, which means keeping Jud and the Obsidians sealed within the realm of Inswandi. Yet, the Obsidians whisper to Kylie to open it while she sleepwalks. During the day, Camden's teenage group Team White Star patrols near the covert Arch compound disguised in their shifted form as deer. Unbeknownst to Camden and his team, his Inswandi ancestors take a first kiss very seriously. The Mate Mark has the same meaning as an engagement ring, and it has unexpectedly restarted on earth. The appearance of more colored circles upon one's arm could mean an eternal bond has been made. 
To add to Camden's troubles, the Watcher leaders prepare to host the annual July Jubilee. Watchers from the other seven compounds will come to the Arch for a one-week celebration. Consequently, this will leave the Arch vulnerable to uninvited guests, like Jud, a former Watcher turned Obsidian, and his followers. The shape shifting coyotes, Jud's followers, constantly pursue the team during their break from training. They want the keys to open the portal. If Camden's team fails to stop Jud in his quest to open the portal, the Obsidians will enslave humankind.


Connect with Banie Lee