Friday, February 17, 2017

Celebrating Clancy the Clown and Charlene the Star

dogs, dog in costume, clown

Hello and Happy Friday from my dog Clancy the Clown and me! We are ready to celebrate the weekend.

Doesn't he look like a stuffed animal here? :D 

Friday is the day to Celebrate the Small Things and today I'm celebrating Clancy's adorable clown costume! This costume used to be mine - I wore it to a Halloween party back in the 1990s. My mom found it in a drawer at her house and we decided to see if Clancy would wear it. He normally has a fit even from the bandanna the groomer puts on him, so I wasn't hopeful, but he not only agreed to wear the bow tie, he also went along with wearing the hat!

Clancy got some cheese for his efforts and I got a great laugh - the best I'd had in weeks. So that's why I'm celebrating my four-legged clown. :)

I'm also celebrating another adorable animal, Charlene the horse. Isn't she a beauty?

Charlene the Star was written by my friend Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, and I was lucky enough to be able to read an advanced copy of the revised edition. This is a wonderful story with great life lessons for kids and adults alike.

Charlene was born into a racing family but she doesn't want to race. Feeling embarrassed and out of place when she can't run as fast as the other horses, Charlene wants to find a place where her own gifts can shine. Without spoiling the story, I'll just say that she does. And she finds a sweet dog best friend as well.

Since it took me more than forty years to figure out that I wanted to write, I could relate to Charlene's struggle to fit in and to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I'm sure many children will recognize their own doubts and fears in Charlene's story. Congratulations to Deanie on a job well done!

The Celebrate the Small Things hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Celebrating Ohioana & A Visit From Chrys Fey

It's Friday and that means it's time to celebrate. This week I'm celebrating that I got accepted to be part of the 2017 Ohioana Book Festival, which will be held in April. This will be my third time participating in the fest and I love it. I was so thrilled when I got my acceptance confirmation and I can't wait be there again, this time with Baby Moo's Great Escape

Cow kisses! 

I'd love to bring Baby Moo himself with me, but I have a feeling he wouldn't fit too well at the table.

The Celebrate the Small Things hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

Now I want to turn the blog over to the awesome Chrys Fey, who is here as part of her Tsunami Crimes blog tour. Welcome, Chrys!

I asked Chys this question in preparation for her visit:

Have you ever lived through one of the natural disasters you have written about in your series? If so, can you share a little about the experience?

Hurricane Crimes was strongly based on my experience with Hurricane Francis and Tropical Storm Fay. Hurricane Francis was one of three hurricanes that struck Florida, one right after the other, in 2004. As a matter of fact, while writing Hurricane Crimes, I imagined Beth’s house was the house I was living in when those hurricanes hit. Unlike Beth’s house, mine survived. The only damaged was to parts of the porch and the garage door, which was knocked down.
The flooding in Hurricane Crimes was based on the floods from Tropical Storm Fay. She made landfall on Florida four times. Many places flooded. Where I was living, the streets flooded so much that it looked like my house was floating in the middle of a lake.
Thankfully, I have not experienced an earthquake or tsunami, but Book 4 (which I will be editing soon) is about wildfires, and I have experienced those. The fire in that story, which threatens Beth and Donovan’s home, is taken directly from my childhood memories. Every part of it: my best friend’s dad saying the fire looked like it was right next to my house, the moment when I see a crowd of gawkers at the end of the street and I yell at them, my dad on the roof with a hose, the firefighter who got burned, the brush truck that got stuck in the fiery woods…everything.
Even real-life random moments were used fictitiously, such as my mom coming out of the house with a bag of potatoes, and one of my cats running toward the fire. She survived, but another one of my cats, Angel, had also run toward the flames. She came home that night. Burned. She died a few days later on my twelfth birthday.
I fully believe in using our experiences in our stories, and that’s what I do.

Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.
This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson's men.
Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.
If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again.

On SALE for $2.99!


P.S. Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes are on sale for 99 Cents!

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series. She is a blogger, reader, auntie, vegetarian, and cat Lover. Get Lightning Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2.5) for FREE!


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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG & Postcards from the Past

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's also time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The Insecure Writer's Support Group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh in 2011 and has grown to include upwards of 200 members. If you'd like to join in, visit Alex's site here for a sign-up list and to see this month's co-hosts.

Several months ago the IWSG team started providing us with a new writing-related question each month. I decided to answer this month's question as it relates to one of my worst habits!

The question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

My answer: I now compare my writing to EVERYTHING I read and in my insecure mind I always come up short. No matter what I am reading, I hold a running dialogue in my head about how this is so much better than anything I could ever write, I wish I could write like this, I'll never be this good, etc. I do this even with books I don't like! In fact, I've done this with books I hate so much I don't even finish them. It's a terrible and obviously completely unhelpful habit.

I'd love to say I'm going to break myself of this habit NOW and never be insecure while reading again, but I think we all know that would be a lie. My insecurity has been turned up to 11 lately anyway, so I am sure that soon I will be reading the circular the grocery store sends out and bemoaning the fact that everything about it is better than anything I could ever write.

In other news, I have become obsessed with two Twitter accounts featuring old postcards! If you use Twitter, are you familiar with PostcardFromThePast and PostcardToAmerica? I love them and have recently been going through their tweets and brainstorming possible story ideas. I think they are such fun!

Here are just a few screenshots of some of my favorite postcards. The people who run the accounts write what was written on the back of the card above the pictures.

Some are funny:

Some just plain macabre:

And some make me so curious! I wonder what was happening in the lives of the people who wrote these cards.

The Holiday Inn card makes my brain spin in all kinds of directions. So many story possibilities! :D

I love old photos, postcards, and history, so these Twitter accounts are a goldmine for me. I am so glad I came upon them.

Happy February, all!