Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Win a Signed Copy of Mockingjay

Maybe I should've knelt?

“And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

-Effie Trinket, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Guess what I did today.

Did you guess?

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have some idea.

Or if you can clearly see the photos above, you may actually know.

Maybe the title gave it away.

I brought my children to meet author of The Hunger Games trilogy at the Brookline library in Massachusetts. Suzanne Collins read two passages, and then signed books.

09/06 is my one-year anniversary, or blogiversary as Jackee at Winded Words calls it. And what a better way to celebrate than by giving away a stamped/signed copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins!!!!!

That’s why I drove in 103-degree (according to my car) heat to walk six blocks to the library and wait for about two hours. Because I love you, blogging friends.

Since Niamh (Words A Day ), a talented writer (so you should follow her blog) donated her winnings to ASPS, I feel like I should have another contest with a prize you can keep.

So here’s what you have to do. It’s EASY. Really.

1) Be a follower

Old = 3 points

New = 1 point

2) Earn extra points

Tweet = 1 point

Sidebar on blog = 1 point

Facebook link = 1 point

Mention in blog = 5 points

3) Tell me what you did and tally your points in the

comments section (and leave your e-mail address)

Winner will be chosen on my one-year anniversary on 09/06 at noon. Good luck!

If you haven’t read the other two (The Hunger Games and Catching Fire), go buy them in paperback. If you don’t read YA, enter anyway because these books are worth reading. If you have Mockingjay already and you win, give away your naked copy.

I’ll leave you with a link to my first post “Words to Live By”:


It’s still as true as ever.

While I haven’t entirely changed my circumstance, I’ve grown in many ways since I wrote that first post. I hope this year brings even greater changes. For the good. Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Love, Theresa xo

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend and Winner

The ASPS team for the Pan-Mass Challenge

“One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.”

~Malayan Proverb

What did you do this weekend?

My husband decided to spend it taking a three-day motorcycle course. I told him if he was going to have a midlife crisis, he should get a mistress over a motorcycle, but I couldn’t convince him. He’s always refrained from being obvious about (obviously) checking out other women, preferring to ogle bicycles, but now he fawns over motorcycles. Even more interesting, now if he sees a younger woman dressed skimpily, he’ll grumble that when our daughter gets older, he doesn’t want her dressing like that. I think we’re entering a new phase of life.

I spent Friday night frantically finishing Mockingjay like every other avid reader of YA. My reluctance meant that I didn’t feed my children until nearly 8 pm. The darn book only came on Thursday because I did an Amazon preorder. Next week, Suzanne Collins is going to be doing a book signing in Brookline so I may do a giveaway for my awesome followers.

Saturday, the kids had Taekwondo. Afterwards, I decided to take them to Harvard Square to visit the Curious George bookstore and have Vietnamese food for lunch.

Afterwards, we were passing by Bartley’s Burger Cottage, where there was a looong line. I ate there once, when my son was three. We sat in long rows, so it was a pain to get in and out, and then my son had to go to the bathroom. They didn’t have one. In New York, it’s a law that restaurants HAVE to provide a bathroom for customers. We had just moved to Massachusetts, and found out there is no such law here. Great. Based on that trauma, I haven’t returned since. If I have to go two blocks to bring my child to a public restroom, then it’s not a place I want to frequent.

Between line loiterers, I peeked at books on a cart in front of the Harvard Bookstore on the way back to the car when I heard someone say, “It’s Shaquille O’Neal.”

I turned around, and there he was, a couple of heads taller than his companions, and getting ready to cross the street. My children and I stared, mouths agape for a minute, and then continued on to the corner. When we crossed the street, we noticed Shaq sitting on a bench surrounded by admirers who were asking to take a picture with him. Most other people, unless peering into the crowd, thought it was another cluster of students touring the square, so the crowd never got out of control.

We patiently waited our turn. My daughter was shy, so she sat next to her brother instead of on the other side of the basketball player. I wish I could post the picture, but when I began this blog I made a decision not to display photos of my children. So please become my Facebook friend so you can see the picture! (I’m under “Theresa Brown Milstein”.)

Here’s a video of him around town. You can see him on the bench, but you can’t see us:


I spent Sunday morning cooking a five-hour ragu. While doing so, I realized I need to do this more often. Cooking lowers my blood pressure, centers me, gives me purpose. Cooking forces me to use my senses for something good.

Sunday afternoon, my sister visited, taking my daughter to the American Girl store for a belated birthday present. Every little girl’s dream. Sunday night, we took my son for tapas dinner for his birthday, so he could enjoy having the restaurant sing “Happy Birthday” while staring at a brass frog candelabra while the staff blew bubbles at him.

This weekend also marks the end of the Platform Contest: http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2010/08/platform-contest.html

The outpouring of support on this brought tears to my eyes. You are all AMAZING PEOPLE. Thank you for donating, getting the words out on your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, by e-mail, and word of mouth.

And thanks to Candace: The Misadventures in Candyland

and Jackee: Winded Words

and Lydia Kang: The Word is My Oyster

and The Words Crafter: The Rainy Day Wanderer

for their gift card donations.

As I near my one-year blog anniversary, I cannot think of a better way to reach that milestone than to have raised money for ASPS: http://www.cureasps.org/asps-fundriser/

(You’re still welcome to make a donation!)

I chose the winner at random at: http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html

Without further ado, the winner is:

NIAMH BOYCE from Words A Day


*** UPDATE ****

Niamh has asked that instead of gift cards, she'd like the money donated to ASPS. I'll let the donators know.

Thank you, Niamh!!!!

This blogging community has meant more to me than I can properly convey. (And I’m a writer, so that’s bad.) I look forward to getting to know you, hearing about your tribulations and triumphs, and telling you about mine in the year to come.

Love, Theresa xo

Friday, August 27, 2010

Word Painting Blogfest

Thanks to Dawn Embers: http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010 for creating this blogfest. I forgot I agreed to participate until last night!

Here’s a descriptive scene from The Mist Chasers when Adam and Eve first meet the being behind the mist:

The mist immediately shrouded me, so I could barely see or breathe, and pushed and pulled me along. I remembered when Adam said we had to trust the fog, and now I knew what he meant because I the mist had taken control of me. We were going in a different direction than the other two times. First, the fog dragged me towards the school, but then we took the path to the woods. I had the sensation of being lifted off the ground, although I moved my legs. My instinct told me this trip would take me to whoever was in charge of the fog, and my heart began to thump in my chest, while it simultaneously seemed to drop into my stomach. But there was no turning back now.

After we reached the woods and the fog wound around some trees, which made me place my hands in front of my face for protection, the fog wrapped me like a python. My shallow breath bounced back at me in warms spurts as my lungs constricted. The mist shut light out of my world. I panicked at the thought of not being able to walk, see, hear, or catch my breath, but told myself to relax. It didn’t work. Then I felt myself drop, which felt like it went on for ages. There was a muffled whoosh, as I bumped along at lightning speed. I wondered if I’d be bruised the next day, that is, if I there were going to be a next day for me. That thought, along with the speed, gave me the worst butterflies, like on a roller coaster. Have I mentioned that I HATE roller coasters? I screamed at the top of my lungs, but knew nobody could hear or help me. I pleaded in my head, Please end. Please stop. I can’t take anymore of this. When I yelled myself hoarse, I flopped into a clearing in the middle of the woods, flat on my back, knocking the air out of me.

When I could catch my breath I tried to stand but at that moment, a cloud-like substance resembling a small tornado rushed towards me. Adam landed right on top of my chest, knocking the wind out of me again. He looked as surprised as I was.

“Get off me!” I commanded. We quickly untangled ourselves and sat up.

The forest broke the boundaries of imagination. The trees spread wide enough to hide a Hummer inside of the trunks and they reached upwards so I couldn’t see the tops. I imagined the uppermost branches tickled the sky. The enormity of the trees contrasted with my stature and magnified my insignificance in the world.

I shut my eyes and inhaled the scent of wood and decay and life that had an intensity I’d never experienced. I was really breathing for the first time, and it brought tears to my eyes knowing that I’d never taken a proper breath before.

Though it had been nighttime at home, it wasn’t here, although the canopy of leaves shaded the day. I wondered if I was still in the United States or transported to another country. Perhaps I’d arrived on another planet resembling the earth before we’d contaminated it with concrete and steel. After what I’d experienced, all three scenarios were possible. More and more, what I relied on as truth had spun out of control as the mist had done to me in order to bring me to this foreign place.

Then I noticed the woman, who appeared ordinary and exceptional at the same time. She was brighter than a mere mortal so I had a difficult time looking at her, yet I was drawn in so I couldn’t turn away. She stood as still as a statue. Her dark, short, and curly hair was adorned with a ring of white daisies around it. On her glowing skin, she wore a long, flowing white dress touching the dusty ground, yet appearing immaculate. I clenched my fists to keep from fingering the fabric that was like nothing I’d seen on the Earth I knew. It shimmered, reminding me of the sun’s rays dancing upon the sea.

The woman’s long sleeves were shaped like bells when she raised her hands and crooned, “Stand, my children.”

Check out the other Word Painting Blogfest participants:

1. Dawn Embers

2. Clarissa Draper

3. Ashelynn Sanford

4. Francine Howarth

5. Kristie Cook

6. Writers Block NZ

7. Tessa

8. Theresa Milstein

9. Anastasia V. Pergakis

10. Ju Dimello

11. Raquel Byrnes, Edge of Your Seat Romance

12. Amy Saunders

13. Anne Riley

14. Lovy Boheme

15. JC Martin @ Fighter Writer

16. KM @ One Page at a Time

17. February Grace

18. Christopher S. Ledbetter

19. Damyanti

20. L' Aussie Denise

21. Erin Kane Spock

22. Ra Shelle

23. Babydoll

24. Drea Moore

25. Roland D. Yeomans

26. Summer Ross

27. elaineamsmith@ live. co. uk

28. Brenda Drake

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stepping Stone and Middle Ground

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”


Last Monday was a down day for me, as evidenced from last week’s post. Strangely, around the time I wrote it, a message was left at my house to set up an interview on Wednesday morning for a Building Substitute position. While that was good news, the fact that I was already in New York, heading south for the wedding instead of north was a tiny problem.

I called and explained the situation. It was agreed I’d interview first thing on Monday morning after I’d returned. And by “first thing”, I mean 7:30 am.

But on Tuesday, I received another call asking for me to do a phone interview on Wednesday morning, the time they originally wanted me to come in person. So Wednesday, I anxiously awaited the call. Sightseeing would have to wait until I got this out of the way. I didn’t have high hopes to make a good impression over the other candidates who got to have a face-to-face interview, but I was prepared and thought it went well.

In fact, I was so excited at finally having an interview that I blabbed about it on Facebook. Many encouraging comments ensued.

On Friday morning, as promised, the school called me. I didn’t get the job. The assistant principal offered kind words:

“We hope you’ll continue to work in the district.”

“We anticipate openings for extended term substitute positions.”

“We wish you the best of luck.”

I hoped she meant it. The Social Studies teacher is going on maternity leave at some point, so maybe they’re hoping to put me there. Maybe.

Then it hit me. I was in a house full of friends and didn’t want to announce my bad news. While washing dishes, my husband asked me, and I told him.

He gave me a hug, and told me, “You don’t want this job anyway.”

I replied, “It’s would’ve been a stepping stone.”

Of course, subbing was supposed to be a “stepping stone” and we see how well that’s worked out….

Friday was also my son’s twelfth birthday. Our friends lit a cupcake for him and we sang “Happy Birthday”. Then it was time to take him out to do the things he wanted to do. This meant visiting Iwo Jima and Arlington National Cemetery. You know, places to lift my spirits.

On the way, I tried to help my husband get to Iwo Jima. Apparently, I wasn’t being helpful, but talking over Xena, Warrior Navigator (That’s what I’ve named our GPS).

He yelled at me, and I got teary and sniffly. Didn’t he know what a bad day this was for me? Wasn’t I trying to help? Had I been that interfering?

Poor, poor me.

Visiting these two sites was good for me. It put my life in perspective. I wasn’t fighting a war, facing death, was I? Some daily substitute days feel like I’m engaging in battle, but nobody has died. Yet.

It was moving to visit John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy’s graves and view the eternal flame. Then we walked in the swampy heat to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was impressed with the soldier walking back and forth. Every move and sound he made was calculated, exact. We viewed the changing of the guard ceremony, which was even more impressive. It’s a hallowed place.

A part of me felt depressed about this ceremony. When I hear horror stories about how some soldiers haven’t gotten the help they need, I wish the living troops got the same respect as the dead soldiers. The cost of war is truly enormous. The three days in DC were a constant reminder of the consequences of war.

Afterwards, we ate in Georgetown at a restaurant called “Old Glory”. My husband and I had eaten there twice before. It was nice to go back to the pretty town. Too bad I was still feeling sorry for myself to enjoy it fully.

Though at the hotel for only ten minutes, one of my cousins called from down the corridor, “Did you hear anything about the job?” Stupid me. Facebook. I was going to have relive this defeat all weekend.

On the way to dinner, I told my husband he could’ve been nicer to me when we were trying to find the Iwo Jima monument since it was such a hard day for me. Apparently, he didn’t know it was a hard day for me. He’s said it before and he said it again – I don’t reveal when I’m depressed about something. “I have to read it on your blog,” he added.

I wanted to be defensive. Wasn’t it OBVIOUS?

Not to him. He didn’t think the job was ideal for me. I guess he thought I felt the same if I didn’t really say otherwise. Saying it was supposed to be a stepping stone and that I’m disappointed doesn’t reveal the magnitude of my feelings.

Why do I have a hard time letting live people I care about know when I’m vulnerable? I know people who wear their feelings on their sleeves. I don’t want that to be me. But I’ll need to find a middle ground.

P.S. I’ve posted an excerpt of The Mist Chasers on my second blog:


Comments welcome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Connections III

I’ve written another post on Chuck Sambuchino’s “Guide to Literary Agents” blog:

It’s about the session “The Evolving Publishing Ecosystem” I attended at the BlogHer conference on August 7th. I hope you find it useful.
Please read it. Feel free to comment and share the column. (Since I still don’t have Twitter. I know.)
Thanks! xo

I was also invited to share a previous post on BlogHer:
They added a cool picture to the piece.
It’s gotten a lot of traffic (829 reads), so I hope I get invited to do another one.

And if you didn't see it yet, I wrote a post about my trip. Read on below:

Monday, August 23, 2010


“Unforgettable, That's what you are. 

Unforgettable, Though near or far. 

Like a song of love that clings to me,”

- Nat King Cole “Unforgettable”

This past weekend, I attended my cousin’s wedding. It was his second time marrying. The first occurred three months before my marriage, sixteen years ago. At the rehearsal dinner and at the wedding, he kept thanking family and friends for their “support”, which I guess is what’s required when a family loses a member and gains another.

Families are not fixed entities. We lose members through death and divorce, and then we gain members through birth and marriage. Families are a jumble of different personalities. Some families are a jumble of religions and races. And our families extend endlessly because those who are related by marriage have other families with whom they are attached. So if we connected all the families, we’d be one giant family. I guess it’s the Six Degrees of Separation theory.

My family all stayed in the same hotel. My mother’s side of the family is big, with five children who had thirteen cousins. Throughout the weekend, when people asked, “How do you know the bride and groom?” I responded with, “I’m one of the groom’s many cousins.”

In the midst of this large family, my two children are loved and doted on as (so far) the only children. While most of my older cousins probably won’t become parents, I have younger cousins who may some day have children. But my now eight and twelve-year-old will be much older. They don’t seem to notice the absence of other children because they are given much attention and love from my aunts, uncles, and cousins. At these gatherings, I barely have to watch them. In these times, I imagine what life would be if we all lived in the same town like people used to do, and we all watched one another’s children, and participated in one another’s lives in a more obtrusive fashion.

While most of my family still lives on Long Island in New York, over the years, more and more people have scattered. This wedding was the first time in a long time that nearly everyone was together. Only my mother was absent. Even my father and his girlfriend were invited because my cousins still consider him family. My mother’s side has held onto the ex-spouses more than other families, I suspect.

We spent the weekend in the same place, flitting in and out of one another’s rooms, bumping into one another in the corridors, eating breakfast and talking over cups of coffee on the eighth-floor, drinking and socializing until 1:00 or 2:00 am. And we got to speak in a more intimate way than we usually do, and yet somehow the three days went by so quickly, it seemed that we didn’t have enough time to catch up.

My family is so big and chatty that the goodbyes take a good 20-30 minutes. This always drives the spouses who come from smaller families (and maybe don’t take so long to say their goodbyes) mad. They wear a resigned expression throughout the words and hugs and kisses.

As we part, we say:

“We should get together more often.”

“Let’s not just make the effort for weddings and funerals.”

“Let’s have a reunion next year.”

Because there’s something about not just spending 3-5 hours together for a holiday or a graduation. First, not everyone usually makes the effort to attend. Second, we hardly get to talk to anyone in depth. All of us staying in one place over the course of three days is intense. And I think families need intensity to stay connected.

So I leave these gatherings a little satisfied and a little dissatisfied because these reconnections will soon lose their strength. Most of us family members only know one another in the most superficial of ways. I think that’s why I love the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” because secretly I love that idea of family. (Though I do see a downside.) Before my grandfather died when I was two, everyone used to gather at my grandparents’ home for a big Sunday dinner. We lived near one another. Ever since then, we’re less and less connected. My grandparents’ big Italian family is now in its third generation, living in many states, married to non-Italians.

Even though we are no longer a first generation immigrant family, it doesn’t diminish the meaning of family. But it’s not the distance that separates us, but also occupation, religion, philosophy. Yet sometimes those differences help us grow.

At the reception, my cousin, brother to the groom, stood and nervously gave his wedding toast. He said something like, “People might call you lucky, but I believe you make your own luck.” Those words have repeated in my head many times since then. We can all sit and wait for things to happen, bemoaning our lot. Or we can do our best to change the course of our lives and find happiness. I don’t see this cousin very often and when we do, our conversations are brief and often superficial. But his words will be the ones I remember from this weekend for years to come.

While the music played, virtually everyone danced. One male cousin got to be center stage during “I’m Too Sexy” while another did the same for “I Like Big Butts”. (Okay, never said this is a normal family.) Everyone’s personalities shone on the dance floor and it may have been my favorite part of the weekend. When people needed a break from the noise, we spoke on the balcony overlooking the Iwo Jima memorial, The Kennedy Center, and The Capitol.

It was a beautiful night near the end of wonderful weekend, reuniting all of us.

How does your family stay connected?

What memories do you treasure?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dreams and Realities

The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,

You dreamers

Bring me all of your

Heart melodies

That I may wrap them

In a blue cloud-cloth

Away from the too-rough fingers

Of the world.

- Langston Hughes

The other day, I said, “I had a hard day.”

I heard a snort as the other person quipped, “What did you do?”

I don’t work in the summer. I’m a substitute teacher, which means I don’t get paid in the summer. This weighs on me (like Eve says in The Mist Chasers), like a pile of Hummers. I’ve applied to the few teaching positions that have popped up, but have heard NOTHING. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I get a polite e-mail that a position has been filled. I plan to spend the last two weeks trying to reinvent myself… again. I will apply for anything education/writing related that I could find.

There’s nobody more disappointed in me than me. I know how the economy is. I know I have never had my own classroom. I know there’s a gap since I student taught. I know.

That same day, the hard day, I spent a few hours with a friend. Her father has Parkinson’s and is dying of cancer. She’s going all the way home to Malaysia, possibly to see him for the last time. But she’s going alone. Her husband and children can’t come this time because they can’t afford it. Her MIT PhD husband was laid off a year ago and can’t find a new job. He’s looked in a variety of related fields. She was a stay-at-home mom, but now has a part-time job that covers a few expenses. This woman hopes something happens soon because his unemployment ends soon.

By the way, she has a PhD from MIT too. She’s gone back to school in the hope that it will help her get a job in a different field.

I told my friend I’d resigned myself to taking a class in Special Education, hoping that would make me more employable. While I told her my woes over work and going back to school and needing more money to get a bigger place, she offered advice. Our commiseration only slightly lessened the reality of the places we where we find ourselves stuck.

The day began when I opened my e-mail and had received a rejection from an agent. Each rejection stings. And the stinging lingers depending on my mood, how much I liked the agent, and how many rejections I’ve received on a particular manuscript.

You are welcome to view the query here: http://theresamilstein2.blogspot.com/2010/08/mist-chasers-query.html

My daughter left to stay a few days with my in-laws the day before. She was all hugs and tears before she left. But after I got a call from a happy girl in New York, she hadn’t called again. Not even for tuck-in time. I was relieved she was having fun but I missed her.

I sent out another query. I participated in http://WriteOnCon.com. I did laundry. I ran the dishwasher. I read. I fed my son and his friend who had slept over breakfast. I had lunch with my son.

I went through the motions, the whole time thinking about being stuck.

I hate wasting the gifts of summer days worrying.

But I can’t help it.

A couple of weeks ago I was so down, I considered applying for a car insurance job. When I mentioned it to my husband, he said, “There must be a middle ground between teaching and working in insurance.”

At this point, I feel like it’s about sacrifice. I need to do what is good for the family. It’s been too long to do what I want to do when it’s not happening. But then I thought about the two or three weeks of vacation I’d get a year. I’d have to save them all for sick days, children’s school activities, and general things that came up. And next summer I’d be without them. Whose sacrifice would it be to have a desk job?

Perhaps a Special Education assistant job would be worth checking out, if there are any more positions available. It would be steady, full-time income, and I’d be paid in summer. Sure, they could put me in any class, in any school in Cambridge, and move me any time, and my job could be to shadow one child, or to help in a classroom full of children on individualized education plans. But this job (if I can obtain one) combined with Special Ed. classes may make me more marketable.

It’s a little late for this semester, but I could adjunct. The pay is appalling but it would get me out of subbing a few days a week. That is, if these positions are any less competitive as middle and high school ones.

Anyone want to pay me to write on a regular basis? On-line? Newspapers? Magazines?

I don’t know what to do.

So I write, query, job search, apply, and wait. Rinse, repeat.

When I return home on Sunday, I will spend most of my time doing all I can to apply to everything that makes sense as a job prospect.

Then what will my blog title be?

Special Education Aide’s Saga?

Insurance Adjuster’s Issues?

Overwrought Adjunct’s Odyssey?

Freelance Writer’s Foibles?

But secretly I hope it will be:

Published Author’s Publications (Okay, that’s redundant.)

YA Author’s Yarns (Yeah, that sounds cool.)


Social Studies Teacher’s Saga

Which will I choose or which will be chosen for me?

Yesterday, my sister-in-law said I hadn't peaked yet. I hope she's right.

After today, I won’t have much access to the Internet. But I’ll catch up with all of you when I return from my trip. I’m attending a wedding in Virginia. Have a wonderful week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review and Reflection

An amazing cover, eh?

This post is going to have my first ever book review. I’ve been reluctant to do book reviews because:

1) What if I don’t like the book?

2) It doesn’t really fit with my post style/readers’ expectations.

3) I don’t know if I’m any good at it.

But when Aubrie Dionne http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com/ asked people to read and review her recently published story Malcifer, I agreed. After all, I’ve liked her other stories.

Aubrie is one of the hardest working writers I know. She doesn’t let not yet having an agent stop her from doing all she can to get her stories out there. She’s got a good blog and significant website http://www.authoraubrie.com/. She’s also prolific. As soon as she edits and submits her manuscript, she’s on to the next one with barely a breath between projects. But no matter how busy Aubrie is with writing and teaching, she always makes time to help me with anything I need in a heartbeat. With her dedication and talent, it’s just a matter of time before an agent wants to offer representation.

Still, I was hesitant. But then I thought:

1) The chances of me not liking the story are slim.

2) When it comes to my posts, I should be more flexible.

3) How bad can my review be? (Of course, I realize I’m over 225 words into this “review” and haven’t even mentioned the book.) It’s about support.

Besides, isn’t that why we blog, to support one another? Whether as writers, teachers, parents, and friends, the blogging community is a steadfast one. For proof, check out http://writeoncon.com/ - a free on-line children's writers' conference that went on the last three days.

While I’m impressed with Aubrie Dionne as a person and writer, I did not let it influence my REVIEW.

Here’s a description of the story from Gypsy Shadow Publishing:

Maylin is a lowly milkmaid in a kingdom perched by the sea. All she wants is to win the affection of a newly knighted man, and she’ll do almost anything to get his attention. When her city is threatened by a wizard army and her beloved knight stays behind to shield the villagers’ escape, she is tempted to resurrect the cursed sword, Malicifer, to save him. But rumor has it the bearer will suffer from battle-lust until death, killing everyone in his path. Can Maylin overcome the power of the curse?

Several of Aubrie’s lines lyrically paint a vivid picture. Here’s one example:

“Maylin ducked as a static cloud congealed above the masses, sparks fizzling in wisps of violet-gray smoke, the color of bruises and rotting plums.”

I enjoyed the peppering of unique similes and metaphors throughout the story.

Malcifer has all of the ingredients for a story to pull me in: a beautiful woman, a hot love interest, an element of fantasy, and plenty of action. Whatever world she creates, I get sucked in, believing it’s real and rooting for the protagonist. She weaves a couple of threads that come together partway through the story, and there are some interesting twists. This is NOT predictable.

If you haven’t read anything by Aubrie Dionne, this is a good place to start.

Here’s where you can buy Malcifer and several of her other books and short stories:


You may also be interested in her e-book Messenger in the Mist:


(The entire post is about 600 words, which means I didn’t ramble on tooooo much.)

By the way, I posted The Mist Chasers query on my other blog, if you want to check it out:


And PLEASE don’t forget about my contest to help find a cure for ASPS. Ends 08/29: