Monday, February 27, 2012

Catch Fire Blog Party!

Congratulations to Alex J. Cavanaugh on the release of his new novel CassaFire. I'm really happy to be participating in this party, and I wish Alex the best of luck with his big release. I first discovered Alex's blog during last year's A-Z Challenge, and he is easily one of the most enthusiastic and engaging bloggers I have seen. He deserves all of his success and more, and I've no doubt that CassaFire will be as great a read as his first novel CassaStar was.

Here is everything you need to know about today's party:

The goal of the Catch Fire Party is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details:

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!

Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Watch the CassaFire trailer here

Buy CassaFire at:

Barnes and Noble


Amazon Kindle

What are you waiting for? Go buy the book now, you won't regret it.

Congratulations, Alex! :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Library Lovers' Month

February is Library Lovers' Month and, because I am a librarian, I couldn't let the month pass without a celebratory post.

The purpose of the special month is to recognize the value of libraries and to celebrate libraries of all types, including the public library in your neighborhood or the library in your child's elementary school. For me, this is simple, as I have loved libraries for as long as I can remember.

When I was a very young child and not yet in school, my parents used to take me to our local library on a regular basis. I always looked forward to the trips, and as soon as we got inside the building I would run to the children's section and the shelves dedicated to books for very young kids. I knew exactly where the books I wanted were located on the shelves, as I picked out the same books nearly every time I visited.

I always wanted the Beatrix Potter books, which featured the adorable characters of Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, and Squirrel Nutkin, among many others. The little green books were in the right corner of the bottom shelf, and I always chose one or more of them to bring home.


I loved all of the Potter books, but my favorite was Tom Kitten. Many years later when I lived on my own and adopted a kitten, I named him Thomas.

We always had tons of books at home, but for me there was something special about going to the library and picking out my own books to read. It didn't matter to me that I always picked the same ones.

Once I was in school I loved going to my school library, and I can still picture the whole place in my mind. Once again, I knew exactly where the books I loved to read were located.

This time, I favored the Freddy the Pig series, by Walter Brooks. My particular favorites were Freddy Goes to Florida and Freddy Goes to the North Pole, as I loved the adventures of Freddy and his traveling farm animal friends.


As with everything else, my love of animals was present in my book choices.

I will always love libraries and the world of books thanks to the joy they brought me as a child, and it makes me smile now when I go to my local library and see children burdened down with their own treasured books as they wait to check them out.

What about you? Were you enchanted by libraries as a child? 


Happy Library Lovers' Month and Happy Weekend to all! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest

I enjoyed Friday's '80s fest so much that I am excited to kick of the new week with another blogfest. Today is the Origins Blogfest, hosted by DL Hammons, Katie Mills, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish. Huge thanks to all four co-hosts!

I am cheating a little bit with this post, as I recently posted about my writing beginnings over at Misha Gericke's My First Book, so I don't really have much to add to that post as far as when I started seeing myself as a writer.

But, after I read about this fest, I remembered a post I wrote last summer about my own first book, which I found while helping my mom clean out my parents' attic.

To give a short recap, I wrote my first book for a contest when I was in elementary school. The book was called It's a Dogworld After All, and it was about a group of dogs sailing around the world in the then far-off year of 2001.

I ended up winning second place in the contest, and I remember being extremely proud of the book. I loved writing it, and loved imagining this future world filled with sailing dogs and their adventures.

I couldn't help but smile when I read about this blogfest and thought of my post about my writing beginnings over at Misha's site, as I realized the "beginning" I wrote about for that post was really just a continuation of something I had started way back in 1980. I wrote about dogs back then, and started taking myself seriously as a writer when I volunteered to write for an animal sanctuary now. It took me some 30 odd years to pick up the thread again, and I made quite a few drastically wrong turns, but I'm glad I've finally found myself in the right place.

Thanks again to DL, Katie, Alex, and Matthew for hosting this great fest! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

My '80s Crush

Today is the day for the I'll tumble 4 ya Blogfest, hosted by Nicki Elson from Not-So-Deep Thoughts, Suze from Analog Breakfast, and M. Pax from Wistful Nebulae. Thank you ladies for this fun trip down memory lane!

I'm a total '80s girl, so I knew I had to sign up for this blogfest as soon as I learned about it. Best of all, it's a very easy question for me to answer and, lazy blogger that I have become, I am always on the look-out for easy blog posts!

 My '80s crush was (and still is) John Cusack, primarily because of his absolutely perfect portrayal of Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. All these years later, my heart still goes pitter-pat just from watching the trailer.

Even though this movie didn't come out until 1989, it's still the one that immediately comes to mind for me when thinking of my '80s loves. And, Cusack was also great throughout the '80s in movies like Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, and Eight Men Out. The thing I have always loved about Cusack, then and now, is he has the rare combination of being both cute and funny.

While I loved Cusack in those other movies, none of them compare to Say Anything, which owns a special place in my '80s loving heart. Many times when I come upon movies that I loved or thought were very deep in the '80s, I cringe at how cheesy and embarrassingly bad they actually are. (Hello, St. Elmo's Fire!) But Say Anything has aged extremely well, and I love it as much now as I did then.

I think there are two reasons for this. One, Cameron Crowe's writing was very good. Two, and most important, Lloyd Dobler is flat-out adorable in any decade.

Even now, more than 20 years later, I can't hear Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes without a small part of me wishing that John Cusack was standing outside my window wearing a Clash t-shirt and holding up a boombox.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and thanks again to Nicki, Suze, and Mary for hosting this fest! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012


I'm so excited, as I officially finished the first draft of my Polar Night story today. I am doing the happy dance all around and will probably continue doing so all weekend. While I know I have tons of revising and editing to do, it still feels great to finish the first draft of my first ever book! :)

The draft turned out to be shorter than I'd planned, but while I was writing I made notes of things I knew I would need to go back and add, so I know the word count will go up quite a bit once I begin revising and editing. I figured adding things in would be easier than cutting things out, so I'm hoping that will turn out to be the case!

While marking this milestone on my Bylines calendar, I noticed that today is the birthday of author James Michener, who was born on February 3, 1907 and died in 1997. I've never read any of Mr. Michener's work, but I know he was a prolific author known for such works as Centennial, Chesapeake, and Tales of the South Pacific, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. When I was growing up, my mother was a big fan of his books.

I came upon this quote from Michener and I couldn't believe how appropriate it was for my position now as I set to work on revising and editing my story.

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." ~ James Michener

I hope that will turn out to be the case for me as well!  

Either way, I'm going to let the draft sit for a bit before I begin revisions, as I want to be able to look at it with fresh eyes. I've heard this tip from several writer friends I admire, and I think it is sound advice.  

I am going back to my happy dance now. Happy Friday, and Happy Weekend, to all! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I can't believe it's February already, as January went by in a blur, but it's great to have another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. As always, thanks for Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting the group and coming up with this wonderful idea in the first place!

I've been hibernating in my writing cave for the past week or so, as I'm so close to finishing the first draft of my WIP that I can taste it, and I really want to focus on that until I get it done. I'm excited about finally making it to the finish line but, given the pervasive nature of my insecurities, reaching this point has caused my internal critic to rear up and show her ugly head with even more regularity. I'm constantly thinking that I'll never actually finish and, even if I do, the draft will surely be the single worst thing anyone has ever produced in the history of the written word.

In my ongoing efforts to banish this internal hag and get back to business, I've always found it helpful to read advice from writers I admire for both their success and their writing ability. I thought for this month's meeting, I would share some of my favorite writing quotes. I find them inspiring not only because some of them show that even the most successful authors have their own battles with insecurity, but also because they help to remind me why we all throw ourselves into this writing world in spite of all the challenges that go along with it.

If you're struggling with your own internal critic or ever feeling like throwing in the writing towel, I hope these quotes will inspire you as well.


“E.L. Doctorow said once said that 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” ~ Anne Lamott

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” ~  Neil Gaiman

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ~ Stephen King

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~ Sylvia Plath

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ~ Anne Lamott

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~ Maya Angelou

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

"You fail only if you stop writing." ~ Ray Bradbury

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov

Finally, this is my favorite quote at the moment. Very simple, but it's something I always need to tell myself.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ~ Stephen King

Happy February, and here's to a great writing month for all of us. :)