Friday, September 28, 2012

My Moment

From vaudeville to opera, piano bar and street corner, hotel suite and beauty pageant, From Stage Door Shadows is a backstage pass to where dreams of fame, fortune and fulfillment live and die in a heartbeat.

- Description of From Stage Door Shadows
(My piece “My Moment” is the one about beauty pageants gone wrong(er)!)

I’m proud to announce the release of From Stage Door Shadows.  Information about the writers’ parameters/inspiration for the stories is below:

Twenty-six authors trade Tiny Dancer's California-blessed lyrics for the shadowed recesses of stages large and small in From Stage Door Shadows, a speculative fiction homage to the darkness just beyond the limelight of the entertainment industry.

The stories re-introduce the women Benny Taupin wrote about and Elton John sang about: blue jean baby, LA lady, the band's seamstress, the music man's wife and the girl dancing in the sand, along with a stellar cast of musicians, singers, thespians, fans, managers, dancers, DJs, magicians, talent show contestants, stars and has-beens.

My line from Tiny Dancer was “Looking on she sings the songs”. 

But there’s more.  Free stories for a limited time!

Click this link!

Beginning Saturday morning at 9am (in Australia, which means it has already started in the US and UK!) we’ll roll out all 25 stories for free, for 48 hours, as part of our continued commitment to provide stories at multiple price points. If you stop in to read, please leave the authors a comment.

Want to add it to your list?

Purchase info!

The anthology retails for $19.99, except at The Book Depository, which is listing the book for $12.97

On the emergent site, the book is $19.99 and the ebook formats are $4.95. 

Here’s information on my mini-blog tour:

10/01 –  Chandara Writes Blog

Inspiration Part I for “My Moment”

10/08 –  Lynda Young's blog

The mental stamina of the writer

10/17 –    JC Martin's Blog


10/24 –  Len Lambert's Blog

Blog swap! 

I’ll interview about her short story in From Stage Door Shadows here, while I’ll tackle the question “What the heck is speculative fiction?” on her blog.

Another Blog Swap!

Jessica Bell will  post on her blog regarding her short story in From Stage Door Shadows, while I’ll post about Inspiration Part II for “My Moment” on her blog.  Because it’s Halloween, I’ll tackle the dark side of my story. 

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Off Track

View from a field near my new home.

“Even if you are on the right track—you will get run over if you just sit there.”

- Will Rogers

Happy Autumn.

       Lately, I’ve been feeling like my blog has been captured by promotion.  And that is because it has.  Part of the reason is that good friends have published books.  Another part is that more people are self-publishing, so more books are being published.  And the last part is I have a short story coming out in an anthology, so I’m even going to be promoting my own stuff.

My blog has gotten off track. 

       I began blogging 3 years ago with the mission to chronicle my living hell life as a substitute teacher.  Some of the posts were funny or some poor attempt thereof. Some were poignant.  If I really nailed it, the pieces were both. 

       But I didn’t write just about teaching, but also writing and sometimes snippets of my personal life.  Here and there, I might do a book review or promote someone’s work, but those were exceptions.  Then I began working full time in 2010, and blogged less.  Those once-a-week slots filled up with more and more “other”. 

       While my blog has changed, this summer was (mostly) typical. I spent it visiting family, enjoying my kids, taking my kids to camp, setting up our new house, exploring our new town, applying for jobs, and writing and submitting.  The biggest change, besides the new house, was getting the dog. 

Oh, and my husband and his dad parachuted from a plane:

       Nearly everyday these few months, I wrote nearly everyday.  I wanted to achieve more than I did, but I did pretty well.  I started a middle grade novel (I’m over 10k into it) and started overhauling on an old middle grade novel (I’m more than halfway through it).  I also edited my last YA a bunch of times.  It’s with a reader now, so I won’t do anything with it until I receive feedback.

       My teaching life is kind of like my writing life: lots of stuff goes out, but they don’t lead to lots of “YES” replies.  But I did have a poem in the July issue of Vine Leaves and my vignette from their April issue, “Left Behind”, will be included in their Best of Vine Leaves paperback on December. 

      Now I’m back at work. My aide job this year is more challenging.  I’m working with an autistic child who has a hard time following the routine.  This student needs so much support just to switch tasks, which is a new experience for me.  While I’m fond of the student and am working hard to help the child thrive, it feels far removed from what I envisioned my role as an educator to be. 

       My kids are coping with switching schools in our new town.  My son went from a tiny school to a huge one.  After several scheduling problems, which added to feeling overwhelmed, he’s getting along better.  He’s also kept in touch with old friends, which helps.  My daughter had an easier start since this summer she made a neighborhood friend who’s in her class.  But it takes time to build friendships, so it’s still a transition for her too.  It’s hard to watch them struggle. 

       Even with work, the house, and the kid’s after school activities, I’m determined to keep writing manuscripts and submit short stories. A piece I wrote last summer,  “My Moment”, is coming out in the From Stage Door Shadows anthology on 09/29, so I’ve set up a mini blog tour.  I’ve gone through trouble to make sure when I link to guest posts, they’re not just there to say, “BUY MY BOOK.”  The crowd of publication-pushers has become so large, we’re all feeling fatigued.  But I’m proud of the story and if I have a piece in a book, I think I owe it to the publishers to get the word out. 

       I’m going to try to wrestle my blog back to its roots.  Not subbing which would kill me, but less promotion and more about my struggles and your struggles.  Like when I began this blog, I’m still trying to not get derailed by what’s not working in my life, but holding on to the small successes.  I think I can, I think I can.

 This is my cat when we were packing to move.

What were your challenges and successes this summer?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writing a Series

Aubrie Dionne (author of Haven) has hijacked my blog to offer advice about writing a series.

What I learned from writing a series.

1.        Have the series arc planned before you start. I didn’t. I wrote Paradise 21 with reckless abandon and no idea if it would be a stand alone, a novella, a short story, or a novel. When I finished it, I knew more of the story had to be told, so I started writing other books. BUT, and this is a big but, it would have saved me time if I knew where I wanted the series to go. I spent countless hours thinking about this before writing Haven 6. I needed to tie in all the books and make the series arc epic, and it was hard- let me tell you. Next time, I’m writing the series arc BEFORE I start that first book. Even if it’s just a general direction or idea.

2.         Don’t include species or characters that you don’t like enough to keep around for two more books. I learned this the hard way, too.  In Paradise 21, I hatched a whole new race of flying bird creatures at the end thinking I’d never have to develop that thread. But, in Haven 6, I’m using the same planet hundreds of years later, so I had to come up with an evolved culture from those hatched on the planet in the first book. They weren’t my favorite race-I wrote them mainly to contrast with the reckless people on Old Earth-, so it took some thinking to figure out how to make them interesting in the flesh. 

3.        Stay consistent. If they refer to Earth as Old Earth in the first book, then it’s Old Earth for the next 300,000 words if you know what I mean. Make sure you know your word building and keep to it. I was constantly going back to the first book to make sure everything was called the same thing. Keep a list!

4.        Make sure the time line works. One of my CP’s pointed out that the arrival of the last ship was too early. They needed time for Aries to fly to Sahara 354, meet Striker, then find the wormhole to Refuge (otherwise known as Haven 6 to the people of the Heritage.) This particular colony ship set out at the same time as Aries’s ship, but it should take them longer to get to Haven 6 because they didn’t have the same wormhole Striker had found. When I think about it for too long, my head hurts.

Thanks again!

Aubrie Dionne
Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy
Get Swept Away to Other Worlds...

Want to win this cool prize?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

book blurb:

A product of an illegal pairing, Eridani is the only woman without a lifemate aboard the colonization ship, the Heritage, and she is determined her less than perfect DNA will not get in the way of finding love. As the ship nears it's final destination of Haven 6 after five hundred years of travel, images of the surface show evidence of intelligent life on a planet that's supposed to be uninhabited. Commander Grier assigns Eri to the exploratory team to spy on the alien society and return with information on how to defeat them.

When Eri's team lands, tribes of humans attack and Eri is saved by Striver, the descendant of a colonist and a pirate from Old Earth's colonization efforts in other parts of the galaxy. Striver helps Eri rescue her team and they are drawn to each other despite their different allegiances. While Striver battles with trusting Eri, Eri must decide whether to warn him and his people about the commander's intentions, or follow orders and complete her mission.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Identity Crisis

When Sophia L. Stone asked me to interview her about her crisis of faith, I was curious about what she had to say. I had my own questioning of religion.  When I was younger, I converted from Catholicism to Judaism.  But my decision didn’t impact my relationships with family members, friends, or writers.  I knew that Ms. Stone’s experience was more contentious. 

Here’s a review of the book:

Brought up in a religious home, Sophia believes the only way to have a forever family is by following church leaders and obediently choosing the right. She goes to the right school, marries the right man in the right place, and does the right thing by staying home to raise her children. But when she starts asking questions about grace, love, and the nature of God, she realizes her spiritual struggles could rip her family apart. “This book is an incredibly honest portrayal of one person’s struggle to find God.” ~Pastor John Bradford

How do you build relationships with people who think you are broken?

Oh, man, I wish I knew. Honestly, it depends on how important their Mormonism is to their identity. Those who are capable of accepting my brokenness without trying to fix it are much easier to have relationships with than those who work extra hard to fix me.

How has writing about your struggles helped you?

There’s a saying that writing is cheaper than therapy, and I can attest to that. There’s no time limit on how long I can type away on my keyboard when I’m having a bad day. I don’t have to worry about the paper judging me. Plus, it’s helped me to put things in perspective. 

How did your falling away from Mormonism affect your view of the religion?

Hmm, well, when I believed in Mormonism with my whole heart, I rationalized away any issues I had by saying members were human and made mistakes. I believed The Church was as close to being a perfect institution as anyone was likely to find. God had made it. He had ordered it. Who was I to question what He had formed?

Now I see all kinds of problems with the institution. Not with the hearts of members or leaders (who I believe are honest people acting on faith) but rather with group think. It shuts down a lot of voices that threaten the status quo. There’s not much tolerance for free speech where church policy and doctrine are concerned. Speaking against the leadership is taboo, and there are lots of unwritten rules about not exposing the flaws of the organization to the outside world. It’s a lot like a dysfunctional family that way. Loyalty to the church trumps personal spirituality.  

What kinds of reactions have you had from your Mormon author friends?

This has been similar to my family response—lots of condemnation, lots of avoidance, lots of judgment, and lots of gratitude. Yes, I know, it seems odd that I’d hear gratitude from LDS author friends who are faithful in the church. But apparently there are people who struggle in silence, unable to tell a soul how they feel without losing those most dear to them. That’s the reason the Disaffected Mormon Underground (DAMU) exists. It fills a palpable need.

Who should read your book?

Anyone who wants to better understand how religions indoctrinate children, how they can unite and separate families, how they can bring peace and turmoil at the same time. Anyone who wants a more personal understanding of how it feels to grow up in a legalistic religion that values trust and obedience more highly than free thought, or anyone who wants to understand Mormonism.

Please don’t misread that to mean my book is factually perfect. It’s not. It is based on my experience, and everyone’s reality is different. But I stand by my claim that people who leave Mormonism are often in an isolating place. It’s hard for an orthodox believer to understand why anyone would leave. It’s hard for those who’ve never been in a fundamentalist religion to understand why leaving one is such a big deal. To both these groups, I’d say, “Please read this!” Understanding is vital.

The book is available as both an ebook and paperback:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Generous Giveaway!


has an agent.  YaY!

To celebrate, she’s doing a generous giveaway!  There were so many donated prizes that she set up 3 giveaway categories. 

Giveaway #1: a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway #2: a Rafflecopter giveaway Grand Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

As part of the giveaway, I’ve donated a copy of the anthology From Stage Door Shadows, which will feature a short story I wrote, “My Moment”.

Enter to win until 09/27 and spread the word.  Winners will be announced on 09/28. 

Good luck!  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Recaptured Dreams

Justine is releasing a book on September 18th.  She wants to get the word out early and has great giveaway opportunities for a copy of her ebook and more.  Read on: 


Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory.

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden?

The book is currently available for preorder on Barnes and Noble, but you won’t find it on Amazon or Omnific until Sept. 18th.

Contact Justine by email:

Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads.
Recaptured Dreams on Facebook.
Friend me on Facebook
Check out her Blog.
Find her on Twitter.
Find Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads Profile

And don't forget to check out Omnific Publishing. Romance ... without the rules.

Here’s the link to the trailer:

Message from Justine:

One thing all of you need to remember is that I'm going to give a copy of the ebook at EACH blog stop! If someone leaves a comment on your blog, they are entered. At the end of every day I'll do the random number generator thing and pick a winner from your blog. I'll need the winning blogger's email address and all the prizes will be sent out at the end of the month. On top of that, I'll be hosting a contest on my blog for the entire month (remember to link back to it!). I'm going to give away a signed copy of the book, several other new releases, bookmarks, cool, random stuff, and gift cards! ALL OF YOU can enter that contest. It will work just like the others...all you have to do is a leave comment and the winner will be choosen at the end of the month once all the blog stops have been made. ;-)

Link to win more prizes: