Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Halloween Creep 2K19 (#IWSG September 2019)


Fall is in the air, kids are back to school. I'm not going to talk about stories I haven't finished yet, because it seems like every time I start talking about my progress it immediately stops. Nor will I complain about how I haven't written as much as I wanted to, because I've done enough whining.

Let's take a pass this month, m'kay?

TRICK OR TREAT READS!


It's the most wonderful time of the year! So what if it's only September 4th? Halloween is just around the corner! And as usual, I will be joining many other authors GIVING AWAY FREE BOOKS LIKE CANDY!

Once again, the lovely and talented Miss Patricia Lynne/Josephine will be hosting Trick-or-Treat reads, an awesome blog hop where anyone can join to give or get free books on October 31! 

Authors, sign up to give out free books! Find new readers and get your books into appreciate hands!

Readers, all you have to do is go through the list on Halloween and grab any freebies that you're interested in!

The list of participating blogs/authors is below. Authors sign up any time between now and October 31. 

Be sure to check out Patricia's blog as well, for full details and just because she's an awesome person.

SEPTEMBER IWSG QUESTION

If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

Honestly I can write anywhere, and I do. But part of me wouldn't mind writing back home in Newfoundland, mostly because I may or may not be working on a story set there...


Hope everyone had a great summer! Be sure to check out Trick or Treat Reads!

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stranger Things Have Happened (#IWSG August 2019)

Summer rolls lazily on. I've been struggling with a lack of energy, the brief flurry of productivity I had the beginning of last month is long gone.

I'm not sure if I'm depressed or just bored, but I've had so much trouble getting down to writing. My head is constantly swimming with ideas, but I can't get any of them down on paper. It's been busy sure, but I've written during busy periods before. In fact some of my most productive times are during times when life gets hectic. Anxious energy I guess. But I have none of that energy now. Hell I took a week off work, put the kids in summer camp and daycare, and spent the whole week sleeping and binge-watching all three seasons of Stranger Things. I don't think I wrote a single word that week, despite having, theoretically, lots of free time.

I have a couple of deadlines coming up at the end of the month, so I really hope I can get back on track.

How about everyone else? Is your summer going as planned?

August 7 question - Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?
I have a good example for this one, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret: every one of my acceptances were on the first submission of that particular story. As a corollary to that, I've never had a story accepted beyond the first submission, either.

In other words, if a story isn't accepted the first time, it doesn't get accepted. It's a weird sort of pattern. I'm genuinely surprised every time something gets accepted, because I've had a few stories that have been rejected a lot.

That's all for now. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Serious Collector (Of Rejections) #IWSG July 2019

Me collecting rejection letters...

Writing has been picking up the last month. I haven't made any progress on my main manuscript, because I've been focusing on submitting short stories to several anthologies and journals. I wrote and submitted one story last week at the very last possible minute to their deadline - it was very rushed and I probably should have given up, but the story is so particular to their theme that I doubt I will be able to place it anywhere else, so I pushed through to get it in. I've also received a bunch of rejections lately on older stories, which is fine (I'm inching closer to my coveted 100 rejections). Only one of them was a bummer, as it was a story I really enjoy and a collection I thought it fit perfectly - plus there were names involved that I quite like, so it would have been cool to be part of it. To be honest though the rejections are nowhere near as disappointing as not finishing something I set out to do.

I've got at least three more short stories to finish and submit over the next couple of months, and then I can get back to and hopefully finish my current novel. We don't have any big summer plans so I have my fingers crossed I can get some work done (and not waste too much time playing Pokemon GO).

Yeah, that's not going to happen.

It would be really nice to not get bored of something and actually finish it for once. In the last two years I believe I've started 4 different manuscripts and got between 1/4 and 1/2 through before giving up on them. Hopefully one of them will stick one of these days.

How about you? Any good writing coming up this Summer?

July 3 Question: 
What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Most of my characters are awkward losers, so what does that say about me? There has definitely been some of my insecurities written into my characters, though I have the most fun when I write characters who say the things I wish I could say/had said. To really let the asshole side of my personality out, which I generally try to keep in check. I suppose that's wish-fulfilment writing, in an odd sort of way.

Anyway, that's all for now. Keep writin', keep livin', keep catchin' Pokemon.

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gotta Catch'em All... except you don't have to, not really (#IWSG June 2019)


I'll keep today's post short.

Last month I kinda went on a rant. Life was stressful and I was a bit freaked out. I threatened to quit writing altogether, which I know is not ever going to actually happen, unless I'm somehow struck blind and deaf and lose both my hands in some sort of freak accident. But it's hard sometimes.

So the last month I have been writing, quietly, not making a big deal about it. I finally put aside the manuscript that I've been struggling with for almost 9 months and started writing something new and fun, and I've written something like 20,000 words in the last month. No pressure, no real plan, just playing around. After putting it aside, I also FINALLY thought about how to fix the previous story, so maybe I'll go back to that one eventually, too.

My wife is doing much better. Life has settled into a bit of smoother routine. The weather's nicer so I'm getting out to jog more often. All in all, things are looking up, and I'm (cautiously) optimistic. Until the next crisis brings it all crashing back down, anyway.

Also, I've been playing a lot of Pokemon GO. Like A LOT of Pokemon GO.

Maybe it's these cute little guys that's been making me feel better.


JUNE QUESTION:
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm sure we've answer this one before, but without a doubt my favourite genre to both read and write is humour. There's enough drama and darkness in the real world, so I really seek out entertainment that makes me chuckle.

The best part of humour is that it's a very broad "genre." You can add humour to just about anything - fantasy, mystery, romance, self-help, college applications, grocery lists, police statements, religious texts, prehistoric cave drawings - and it only makes it better. Anything worth doing is worth not taking seriously, so let yourself enjoy life and have a laugh (or two).

STRANGELY FUNNY VI IS OUT IN PAPERBACK


Speaking of mixing genres and having a good laugh, make sure you check out Strangely Funny VI, now available in paperback (as well as for Kindle). It features my story, "Eyewear of the Damned." It will be horrify and amuse you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

GUEST POST: LEAVES OF FALL by Patricia Lynne

The prolific and talented Patricia Lynne has another book out this week (LEAVES OF FALL, check it out here), so of course I have to tell you about it. To help with that, Patricia is also going to school you about trees in general, which is pretty awesome. I love random, odd trivia, so let's get right to this...

Five Incredible Fact about Trees

It's only apt that since trees are a major character in Leaves of Fall that I share just how incredible they are in real life (despite not being able to shape shift into human form.) Here are five incredible facts about trees.


1: Trees can tell if deer are trying to eat them. Due to their ability to detect deer saliva, trees defend themselves by producing excess acids that cause their buds to taste bitter so that the deer will lose interest and leave them alone. (source)

2:

3: One of the most dangerous trees in the world is the manchineel tree found in Florida and the Caribbean. Its sap is so poisonous and acidic that merest contact with human skin causes a breakout of blisters, and blindness can occur if it touches a person's eyes. (source)

4:


5: Trees that live in cold climates stop growing during fall in anticipation of the first frost. Trees that had been embryos during cold winters stop growing a few weeks earlier than the rest of the forest. (source)

Blurb:

Armory was born into a post-apocalyptic world torn apart by war between man and nature. Trees are the enemy. But when she’s kidnapped by nomads and taken far from her home, a tree nymph is the one who comes to her rescue.

Birch promises he can get Armory home. He says not all trees wanted a war. Armory has no choice to trust him if she wants to see her family again.

Together, they trek across the ruins of America, meeting both human and trees who want nothing more than the fighting to stop. But the hatred between the two may be too deep to heal. Armory isn’t sure her friendship with Birch will be enough to convince the human race to take a chance on peace. Birch has a plan, though. He’s just not sure he’ll survive.



Snag on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Smashwords for $2.99. (or 99cents if the pre-order price hasn't changed yet. ^_~)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Patricia Lynne is the author of Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head and began learning all she could about writing. That was the start of it, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Find Patricia around the web.
Website - http://www.patricialynne.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/plynne_writes
Facebook -  https://www.facebook.com/plynnewrites/
Patreon -  https://www.patreon.com/patricialynne07
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/635444.Patricia_Lynne
Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01EM6YLAW
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/patricialynne

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

BIG RED Author Damien Larkin Interview!

Big Red by Damien Larkin was officially released yesterday from Dancing Lemur Press. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy a few months ago and I thought it was AWESOME - you can check out my review here.

To celebrate the release of Big Red, I asked Damien to come by to answer a few questions. I hope you'll stick around  to check out his answers...

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There’s A LOT going on in Big Red. Military sci-fi, alternate history, Twilight Zone-style plot twists: Where did the inspiration for all of this come from?

The seeds of Big Red started with a really vivid dream (which very loosely forms the basis of the first two chapters). I dreamt about a group of highly traumatised soldiers on a return voyage from Mars and after waking up, the images stayed with me. I started thinking it out and played around with the idea. Once I had the world built in my head, I put pen to paper (or rather, fingertips to keyboard)!

I’m a bit of a history buff, so I wanted to create a chain of events set decades before the story told in Big Red to give a better understanding as to what was happening to the characters. While researching, I came across an article about the 1952 Washington UFO Incident and used that as a springboard for the backstory.

As for the plot twists, I’m a bit of a fan of Derren Brown, so I wanted to throw in some misdirection to keep people hooked and guessing about what was really going on.


I was second guessing everything right up to the very end. You definitely had me hooked. Any chance we’ll see more stories set in the world/universe of Big Red?

I’m in the process of exploring an anthology with some colleagues in the British Irish Writing Community. I’ve sketched out a short story from Noid’s perspective running parallel to the events of the last two chapters in Big Red, which would give some insight into the events of Operation Salient on Mars.

I’m also nearly done with the first draft of Big Red 2. Having gotten so immersed in that world again during the editing process, I felt compelled to let the next phase of the story pour out into a Word document. It still needs a lot of work, but it answers a lot of questions the characters hinted at and opens up the universe of Big Red a bit more…

Of course, whether Big Red 2 ever sees the light of day is based on book sales and general interest, so we’ll see! After a few recent blog posts on my website about the backstory of Big Red, I’ve also sketched out ideas for a prequel story covering the events of 1952 – 1954 but it’ll be a while before I fully work that one out.

Even the suggestion we could get a sequel is pretty exciting! You seem to be pretty deep into sci-fi, is it your favourite genre?

Definitely. Ender’s Game was the first book I read cover to cover and after that I was addicted. I used to go to the local library every week and come home with stacks of sci-fi books.

Is there any genre you won't write?

I never say never when it comes to writing. There are genres I couldn’t imagine myself writing in, but at the same time, I do love a challenge and pushing myself to try new things.

Do you have any odd writing habits? 

When I get frustrated with my writing, I stare out of my window at a nearby tree and try to make it explode using only the power of my mind. It hasn’t exploded yet, but I did see it shake once. Although that could have been the wind…

That's not odd. I'm sure we all do that from time to time.
How did you get connected with Dancing Lemur Press? What made you decide to submit your work to them?

I took part in the IWSG Pitch on Twitter and ended up getting three likes from three different publishers for my tweet about Big Red. I did my due diligence and submitted to two publishers.

What struck me first was the submission guidelines for Dancing Lemur Press. They asked for things which I hadn’t seen in many guidelines before like outlining a marketing plan and contact details for your editor. I had both already, but it gave me the impression they weren’t interested in time-wasters and likewise, they wouldn’t waste my time.

In the end, it ranks as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I learned more about writing and the business end of writing in the first four weeks than I had in the previous year of research.

There submission guidelines are certainly unique. How was the process of having your book published?

It was a combination of daunting and fun. I enjoyed the editing process a lot. It was a great opportunity to go through the story with a fine-tooth comb and get a better idea of what writing mistakes I was continually making. At the same time, it involved me reading and re-reading the story over and over again until everything turned blurry. Factor in a job and two young children and there were definitely some moments of exhaustion and mental fatigue.

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for the world to see Big Red in print and sitting in bookshops worldwide.

I'm sure it will prove worth it. What's your favourite book, and why?

1984 by George Orwell. It’s a powerful tale of individualism vs authoritarianism. The world building is amazing and the story itself continues to be relevant decades after it was first published.

Yeah I think a lot of people would agree with you on its relevance in our current world. What are you working on now? 

I’m roughly a third of the way through a dystopian sci-fi thriller about a world ravaged by a drug that gives users temporary telepathic powers. I still have a good bit of work to do on it, but I’m hoping to get it polished and ready for submissions by the end of summer.

Very cool. And now to change the speed completely, I have a very serious and important question: Who is your favourite professional wrestler?

Mick Foley without a doubt! Whether you know him as Mankind, Dude Love or Cactus Jack he knew how to put on a show!

That is an excellent choice. He's also a very successful, bestselling author! Okay, one last question, for bonus points: Who is your favourite Canadian Prime Minister?

I don’t know too much about Canadian politics, but I do remember reading about Pierre Trudeau. He seemed like a bit of a badass, plus John Lennon really liked him!

That's really the best answer. I would also accept Jean Chretien, and maybe Lester B. Pearson, if you backed up your response with specific examples.

This will make a lot more sense after you read the book.


Big Red
By Damien Larkin

We have always been here...

Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...


BUY THE BOOK



THE AUTHOR

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

Website: https://www.damienlarkinbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DamienLarkinAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Damo_Dangerman
Instagram: https://instagram.com/damo_danger_larkin

Trust me. I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

What Am I Doing? (#IWSG May 2019)

In a moment I'm going to get into a bunch of great writing-related stuff that's going on, and I think it's important to share that and be proud of my successes. First, though, I just wanted to share some insecurities and some doubts I've had lately due to alot of outside forces. Any writing successes have been very much despite everything else going on in my life, certainly not because of it.


About two weeks ago, my wife went in for surgery. It was a fairly minor procedure, and not the one that we had been waiting for since last year. The surgery went well, and she came home the same day, but after a few days we noticed that she did not seem to be recovering as quickly as she should have been. In fact, it soon became apparent that she was actually getting worse, not better.

We ended up in the emergency room on Friday, and after nine hours and a couple of ultrasounds that found nothing, they sent us home with some more pain meds and instructions to wait a little longer for her to heal. Then on Sunday night/Monday morning, the pain became excruciating and she began showing signs of liver failure (turning yellow, the whole nine yards), so we rushed back to the emergency room at 3:00am.

After another twelve hours in the ER, they did another emergency surgery on Monday afternoon and finally fixed the issue. It's two days later now and she's finally on the mend, and should be coming home today.

So the good news is that everything seems to have worked out, but the bad news it's been an incredibly stressful couple of weeks (and especially the last few days). And this was just one event in my wife's ongoing health and chronic pain issues. On top of that, both of my kids have recently been seeing a lot of doctors for various health issues, not to mention all the other everyday regular stresses like the water heater dying last week, the cat getting sick and needing to go to the vet, the car making weird noises and threatening to break down any minute, etc, etc, etc. And did I also mention that my boss asked me on Friday (before we had to rush to the ER) if I was interested in a promotion? It's the same job I did temporarily last year, which is more money but also A LOT more work.

So with all that in mind, I have to ask: When the fuck am I supposed to have time to write?

I want to, I really do. In addition to several releases I've got a number of other stories and a manuscript out on submission, plus a couple of other stories about ready to go out. I've got two novels I'm finally making progress on and feeling excited about, plus a dozen other things I'm itching to start working on.

And yet I'm considering just giving it all up.

It's too stressful. I've got so much already going on with my life, that adding writing and all of its related tasks is just too much. I'm excited and I want to work on my projects, but I'm constantly disappointed when I don't get to them. And worrying about them while dealing with all the other worries in life just compounds the stress.

I don't know. Writing is very important to me, and I feel like I need some kind of creative outlet in my life, but I don't know if I can cut back. If I write something, I'm going to want to put it out, so I'm going to need to do the submissions or the self-publishing and the social media and everything that relates to it. And then I'm going to think of other projects I want to work on. Part of me thinks the only way to do it would be quit writing cold turkey, and just step away from it for now. But that's just scary to even consider, so I don't know what to do.

Anyway. That's enough complaining for today. On to the good stuff.

#

Most of you should be familiar with the release of the latest Dancing Lemur Press / IWSG anthology, MASQUERADE: ODDLY SUITED. You're going to see it talked about plenty I'm sure as you visit sites on the IWSG blog hop today. Welp, in case you didn't know, Masquerade features a short story by little old me, and you can buy it RIGHT HERE.


I just wanted to thank all my fellow contributors to this anthology, some of whom have been absolutely working their butts off promoting and organizing this book launch (you know who you are). I was not always able to give as much attention to the build up as I would have liked due to outside factors going on in my life, so it was great to have so many talented, dedicated people taking good care of our shared project.

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While you may be familiar with Masquerade, you may have missed the OTHER anthology that just came out from Mystery & Horror, LLC, which also features a story by yours truly: STRANGELY FUNNY VI!

Buy this guy RIGHT HERE

This is the third year in a row my work has been featured in Strangely Funny. It's a series of comic horror and supernatural tales, and the stories are both creepy and hilarious. It's exactly my cup of tea. Here's the blurb: 

"My name’s not Clarence, and this ain’t Bedford Falls. I’m more like a pixie on probation and you’re my punishment.” – Dial M for Marvin by Robert Allen Lupton

Welcome to the seventh book (yes, seventh) in the Strangely Funny series. Tales of paranormal comedy await you. Meet one vampire who has found a unique method of sheltering from the sunlight, and another one seeking a tan. See what they’re serving at the Devil’s table below. Discover a new definition for ‘dream lover’. And if you can’t figure out what a ‘Skunknado’ is, we’ll show you. 

STRANGELY FUNNY is currently available for Amazon Kindle, but the paperback will be out any day now. Pick your copy right here

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Finally, to help celebrate all the new book goodies, I'm also giving away one of my old stories FREE on Amazon Kindle as well. WEREBEAR VS. LANDOPUS book 1: TENTACLES UNDER A FULL MOON is free on Amazon until Saturday, May 4th, so go check it out right now! It's a creepy, funny, disturbing little story, and if you like there are two more available in the series with more (hopefully) to come.


This is a serious story. 

A serious, grimly dark short story of hilarious misery.

SUGGESTED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES: Contains coarse language, violence and candid descriptions of the genitalia of various fantasy races.

In a peaceful land of lush prosperity, an ancient eight-tentacled evil has risen to wreck unfathomable havoc. A simple, unassuming warrior named Huckle gathers together the bravest and most dysfunctional band of heroes in the kingdom to battle the beast, but they are fated only for the direst of suffering and failure.

The only way to defeat a monster of this magnitude is with an even more horrifying monster... 

Huckle goes to hell and back and back again in this tragic tale of terrestrial cephalopods, ursine lycanthropes and explosive volcano drake diarrhea.

Dark fantasy will never be the same.

With a forward by R.S. Matheny and Philip Overby, hosts of the Grim Tidings Podcast

#

That was a long post today, so I'm going to call it right here. For anyone who made it all the way to the end, thank you for sticking around. I'll do my best to reply to comments and visit other sites in the blog hope, but please forgive me if I'm a bit behind.

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK

###

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MASQUERADE: ODDLY SUITED Release Day!


Today's the day!

After months of build-up, today is the day you will finally be able to get your sweaty little hands on the latest Dancing Lemur / Insecure Writers Support Group anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited. This little gem features 10 (count'em, ten!) young adult romance stories, one of which by yours truly. Here's the blurb once again:


Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Masquerade: Oddly Suited is available at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo you know, pretty much anywhere you get your books! Make sure you pick up your copy today, and if we ever meet in person I promise I'll chew on your copy!


And if you're not into gently gnawed paperbacks (though I cannot fathom why), you could also sign up for a chance to win a FIFTY ($50!) DOLLAR Gift Card from Amazon! And those are US Dollars! All you have to do is click on the Rafflecopter below, and leave a comment to get started. You can get additional chances to win by spreading the word about Masquerade: Oddly Suited through social media, but you were going to do that anyway, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And last but not least, now is also the time to UNMASK my little teaser story. For the last two weeks, the contributing authors of the anthology have been sharing little secretive snippets of each others' fiction, without revealing exactly whose story they were teasing. In case you weren't following or hand't guessed, my story was teased yesterday at http://publishness.blogspot.com/, and here is my character's portrait, UNMASKED:


The wonderful portrait of Madison Reid, the main character of my story, was provided by Elizabeth Mueller, another of the contributers. Be sure to check out more from Elizabeth at her website:  https://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

MASQUERADE BALL SCHEDULE

To check out all the revealed stories, check out the tour schedule below:

Thur. April 18th: L.G. Keltner https://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/

Fri. April 19th: Jennifer Lane http://jenniferlanebooks.blogspot.com

Sat. April 20th: Deborah Solice https://thefabulistdotblog.wordpress.com/

Mon. April 22nd: CD Gallant-King http://www.cdgallantking.ca/

Tues. April 23rd: Elizabeth Mueller https://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

Wed. April 24th: Chelsea Marie Ballard https://www.facebook.com/masqueradeoddlysuited

Thurs. April 25th: Carrie-Ann Brownian http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com

Fri. April 26th: Myles Christensen http://www.myleschristensen.com

Sat. April 27th: Anstice Brown https://dustingthesoul.com

Mon. April 29th: Angela Brown http://publishness.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

STRANGELY FUNNY VI Release!

Hey look, a new book!

While everyone had their eyes set on Masquerade: Oddly Suited, the OTHER anthology featuring my work this month, STRANGELY FUNNY VI, crept up and jumped us out of nowhere, just like a good boogeyman is supposed to do.

Strangely Funny VI features twenty (20!) new tales paranormal comedy. I haven't read everything in the new batch yet, but with stories with titles like "How a Vampire Gets a Tan" by Paul Wartenberg and "Skunknado" by B. David Spicer, I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

The Kindle version is available now, with paperback coming soon! It's only 4 bucks! Check it out!


THE BLURB

"My name’s not Clarence, and this ain’t Bedford Falls. I’m more like a pixie on probation and you’re my punishment.” – Dial M for Marvin by Robert Allen Lupton

Welcome to the seventh book (yes, seventh) in the Strangely Funny series. Tales of paranormal comedy await you. Meet one vampire who has found a unique method of sheltering from the sunlight, and another one seeking a tan. See what they’re serving at the Devil’s table below. Discover a new definition for ‘dream lover’. And if you can’t figure out what a ‘Skunknado’ is, we’ll show you. 

BOOK DETAILS

Print Length: 220 pages
Publisher: Mystery and Horror, LLC (April 21, 2019)
Publication Date: April 21, 2019
ASIN: B07QZQCRQY
Kindle Price: $3.99 USD

BUY LINKS




Also be sure to check out the publisher, MYSTERY & HORROR, LLC:




Monday, April 22, 2019

Masquerade Ball Blog Hop Day 4: Remember Me


The release day for Masquerade: Oddly Suited is just over a week away! In the Easter Tradition of Masked Balls, the contributors to the anthology have gotten together to host a special mystery bloghop leading up to the book's release on April 30th.

(What, you don't have Masked Balls for Easter where you come from? Where I'm from we dress up in hoods and burst into strangers' homes wielding improvised weapons for Christmas. You just don't know how to celebrate your holidays.)

Today I'm hosting one of my fellow authors. He or she will share a teaser from their story in the upcoming anthology, but you have to guess which author/story it is. Each author will "unmask" his or her own character and story on April 30th. Got it? Are you still coming down off the sugar high from chocolate bunnies yesterday? 

Welcome to the Masquerade Ball Bloghop!
Art by Elizabeth Mueller


Remember Me
by ???

Excruciating pain rippled through me, sucking the air from my lungs as I lay on the ground. My vision and sight vanished. They returned the moment I was able to draw in blessed air. I gasped, tears burning down my cheeks.

I became aware of strong arms lifting me from the hard ground, pressing me to a strong body wearing stiff clothes textured with rough lace and jewels.

The sound came to me as though I’d slipped far beneath the surface of water. “Wilmot, fetch the royal physician. Hudde, you oaf of a lout, did I not say the beast was not ready for a lady?” The speaker’s deep voice resonated from his chest to my ear.

Muffled conversation reached me followed by a shrieking sound that reminded me of a cat. It called a few more times until I realized it belonged to that of a peacock.

“Lady Iva.” The voice gentled. “How fare you?”

I cleared my throat, my body still in shock from the fall. After gathering my wits and blinking against the brilliance of what I discovered as sunlight, my eyes came to a sharp focus on a face carved out of translucent alabaster—his cheekbones high, nose narrow, lips full. His dark brows furrowed and long lashes swept into an upward curve. At first, I believed it to be a statue until he blinked his liquid gaze of amber.

I gasped, lifted a trembling hand, and grazed my fingertips along the strong angle of his smooth jaw. He closed his eyes and brought my hand to his warm lips. The simple touch sent a jolt of heat down to my toes. My body then remembered itself and I could move.

“Are you well?” His musical voice strummed a familiar chord deep inside me and I couldn’t place where I’d seen him before.

“I am now,” I whispered, wiggling my toes.

His smile cleared the clouds from the sky and stole my breath. He loosened his hold from around me until my feet touched the ground. His arm stayed fast as he redirected his breathtaking gaze.

“Because of you, Hudde, Lady Iveta had lost herself. Thankfully she is well now.” He spoke to someone who moved nearby. I followed his gaze and found a scruffy man with a bowed head. He wore a simple brown shirt tied with a leather belt over loose-fitting leggings and leather boots.

“Please forgive me, my Prince Dominic,” Hudde said.

Prince Dominic?

I didn’t want to see stress marring his face, so I said, “I found it enticing to keep myself from riding such a fine horse, my prince, and so I ask your forgiveness on behalf of Hudde. I had stolen away while he busied himself in the stables.” I didn’t know where that explanation came from but it felt right.

The hard glint in the prince’s eyes softened, his brow smoothed. “My lady’s heart is as wild as the open sea.”

I nodded, staring into his hypnotic gaze.

The prince held his free hand high. “Hudde, prepare us my carriage.” He lowered his eyes to me, his tone lively. “Would the Lady Iva care to visit the headlands?” A wistful expression clouded his eyes. “’Tis as timeless as can be.”

Hudde bowed deeper and scurried off to do his bidding.

When we were alone, Prince Dominic’s gaze deepened as a shadow formed at his brow. “There will be a time when we will not be together and I would that you never forget me, my love.”

I stared up at him in awe. How could I forget someone like him?

His worry smoothed over and he brought my head to his lips with a sigh. “My heart and your heart are bound together by the sands of time. Please remember that always.”

I pulled from him with a sad smile, confused by his melancholy. “I will remember you always.”

ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS GUEST AUTHOR

I have enjoyed writing for as long as I remember. I started out with short stories in elementary school, expanded to angst poetry the first part of high school, then explored epic novel-writing my senior year. I can write 50k words under a week if the kids cooperate. The best part of writing for me is when the characters come to life on their own--better than going to the movies! I love my writerly friends.

Can you guess who our guest author is?


MASQUERADE BALL SCHEDULE


Thur. April 18th: L.G. Keltner https://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/

Fri. April 19th: Jennifer Lane http://jenniferlanebooks.blogspot.com

Sat. April 20th: Deborah Solice https://thefabulistdotblog.wordpress.com/

Mon. April 22nd: CD Gallant-King http://www.cdgallantking.ca/

Tues. April 23rd: Elizabeth Mueller https://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

Wed. April 24th: Chelsea Marie Ballard https://www.facebook.com/masqueradeoddlysuited

Thurs. April 25th: Carrie-Ann Brownian http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com

Fri. April 26th: Myles Christensen http://www.myleschristensen.com

Sat. April 27th: Anstice Brown https://dustingthesoul.com

Mon. April 29th: Angela Brown http://publishness.blogspot.com/

Tues. Apr 30th: Book Release and The Unmasking (Just follow links above)!


BONUS CONTENT!

In case you're looking for a little extra helping of the Masquerade: Oddly Suited contributors today, be sure to swing by Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog to check out a short piece where ALL of the authors discuss their favourite romantic movies! Can you guess what mine is? Be sure to visit Alex's post today to find out.



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Pencils Down! (#IWSG April 2019)


I am currently smack-dab in the middle of the busiest time of year at my day job, so I will keep this brief.

Usually, during March/April, I moan and beat myself up for not getting any writing done. I often work through lunch breaks, have to take work home with me, and if I'm not working I'm usually exhausted, so there's not much hope of getting any words in. This year I decided up front in mid-March that I wasn't even going to try to write for the next few weeks. Sure it's scary to willingly stop writing for any amount of time, but what is the point agonizing over word counts when I know I'm not going to meet them? I don't have any particular deadline to meet, so the only person I was hurting by failing to meet expectations was myself.

It's been a huge weight off my shoulders, and one less stress to worry about during what is inevitably a very stressful time. And you know what? I've actually sneaked in a few words here and there, too, because there was no pressure to do so.

So far, this has actually been a positive experiment.

MASQUERADE: ODDLY SUITED

There is one thing I have to mention though, and that's the upcoming IWSG/Dancing Lemur Press anthology that is scheduled to release at the end of THIS MONTH! There will be plenty of events and blog posts and other fun over the next few weeks, but the big one I have to direct you to right now is a Rafflecopter we're running to give away a FIFTY DOLLAR ($50) AMAZON GIFT CARD! (And that's US Dollars, too!) All you have to do to sign-up is spread the word about our great little book on social media, so why not throw your name in the hat and help us out at the same time?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, be sure to drop in on the full blog tour we're running across the interwebz to help promote the Masquerade Anthology. Full schedule is below:


APRIL 3 IWSG QUESTION:
If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

This one's easy. I've got five chapters at the beginning of my current WIP that I know I have to go back and re-write but I have been avoiding. Pick any one of those and I'll be happy.

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FOREST OF GHOSTS by J.H. Moncrieff REVIEW


Take a hike through the most haunted forest in the world…

I haven’t read the previous installments in the GhostWriters series, however I loved Moncrieff’s book “The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave,” so when offered an advance proof of “Forest of Ghosts” in exchange for an honest review, I happily jumped at the chance.

Forest of Ghosts is a fast, creepy tour through the darker side of modern Transylvania. The author has first-hand knowledge of many of the settings in the story, and the descriptions are vibrant and detailed. Creeps and weirdness abound as our hero, Jackson Stone, attends a writers retreat where other guests disappear and the owner of the hotel harbours a dark secret. Moncrieff expertly weaves a tale of mystery and suspense, and she takes her time to make her characters and plot logical and sensical for the modern day. Being more of a “supernatural mystery” than a true horror story, Moncrieff’s characters make sensible choices and there is internal logic to everything that happens - the danger and suspense is built into the setting and are not merely plot contrivances, which is a refreshing touch.

The main character Jackson is relatable - sure he's seen ghosts and spooks before, but he still has reasonable questions and doubts about the weirdness around him. He's also a guy who will stand up for what he believes in even if it's uncomfortable or difficult, which makes him easy to cheer for, and you can believe his struggles to do the right thing and help people.

All in all a fun read that I breezed through in just two sittings, which is impressive for me; I’m generally a pretty slow reader. That says something about the smoothness and accessibility of the author’s prose! Definite recommend for fans of supernatural mysteries, suspense and ghost stories. Now I have to go back and read the previous volumes...

FOREST OF GHOSTS officially drops this Friday, March 22. 

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J.H. Moncrieff's City of Ghosts won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense.

Her work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

She won Harlequin's search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

When not writing, she loves exploring the world's most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

To get free ebooks and a new spooky story every week, go to http://bit.ly/MoncrieffLibrary.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I MADE A LIST! (#IWSG March 2019)


I've been having trouble focusing largely. I just have so many projects I want to work on, and no where near enough time to write them all. I made a list for myself to try and keep track of exactly what I was working on, and to try and prioritize some of it.

In just the last week or so, I've worked on, thought about, or should have worked on:

  • six blog posts/interviews/reviews
  • edits for one of the anthologies I'm a part of
  • my main WIP, to which by added somewhere between 5000-7000 words in February, which is pretty good for me lately
  • three separate short stories, two of which are complete but need major revisions, and I started a new third one for some reason
  • revisions for a completed manuscript I've been submitting to a few places
  • outlines or tinkering on three other novels that are bouncing around in my head
  • another special project that could take considerable time and I don't even want to mention because it will probably never happen
I should have started with some easy stuff.

That's a lot of stuff. Can you imagine how much work I would get done on a single project if I concentrated on one thing? I just can't seem to focus. Some things are driven by deadlines (such as blog posts and edits), and I do make a point of dedicating at least a couple of hours a week to my main WIP. But for everything else, whenever I get a few free minutes or an idea pops in my head, I open up a document on my phone or laptop and add a few lines to whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. It's good because I am getting lots of ideas and I'm feeling creative, but it's also frustrating because I'm not going anything done. 

After I made my "to do" lists I broke it down basically into two columns: stuff that is deadline-dependent, and stuff that is open-ended. That way I can schedule the deadline-stuff, and when there's nothing pressing there I can work on the other list. That one is harder to prioritize, though I think I'm going to try and stick to my one novel WIP and one short story (the one that needs the least work) for now. 

Though of course, if another idea pops into my head, it would be foolish not to write it down...

And I really should get that other manuscript out, I just need to do a few revisions and fix my synopsis...

See? I just can't do. 

Please send help.

Pictured: Me, reading my writing to-do-list right through the commercial break.

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Hey, I also have a post on the IWSG Anthology Blog today, talking about my story in the upcoming Masquerade: Oddly Suited. Be sure to stop by and check it out.


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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

February '19 Audiobook Reviews

Here we go again! I've been tearing through audiobooks so far this year, let's see if I can keep it up. I started last year hard and fast too, and burned out quickly, but here's hoping I can top my record for books read/listened to in 2019.

Heir to the Empire - 20th Anniversary Edition by Timothy Zahn (read by Marc Thompson)

I think I've talked before about how important "Heir to the Empire" was to my Star Wars fandom in my teens. This book, and the West End Games Role-playing game, kept Star Wars vibrant and alive for me in those dark years between Return of the Jedi and (ugh) The Phantom Menace. Not only was it the first "Star Wars" we got in ten years after Jedi, Heir to the Empire was a really good book. Or at least I remember that it was, though it had been some 25 years since I'd read it.

I remembered it very well - I could recite some lines and even full paragraphs exactly along with the narrator as I listened. But it was a lot more... juvenile than I remember it being. I'm not saying that as a major critique, it's just very obviously targeted at young adult audiences, which I guess I didn't notice at the time since I was, at the time, a young adult myself. The language is very "secondary-school," for lack of a better word, which really stands out when it's read aloud in an audiobook.

That being said, the plot is very well thought out (a hell of alot more than most Star Wars movies, to be honest) with genuinely shocking twists and turns throughout the book and the trilogy. The villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn, is without a doubt Zahn's greatest contribution to the Star Wars universe (that and the name Coruscant for the capital planet). Thrawn is a well-developed, Sherlock-Holmes-esque character, who uses his considerable intellect for evil, yet you can't help be drawn to him because he's just so darn interesting. His plots and schemes are ridiculously elaborate and yet well-thought-out and logical, far more than the simple "and now the bad guys ambush the heroes" we usually get in the movies.

So yeah, the book is still pretty good, but I cringed at the audiobook. This was the most over-the-top, over-produced audiobook I've ever listened to. It had a full soundtrack and soundscape, using all the official music and effects from the films. Every scene was highlighted by laser blasts, lightsaber hums, explosions and monster growls. Even during quiet dialogue scenes, there was always the background noise of starship engines humming in space or animals chirping on-planet. It was really unnecessary, and totally distracting at first. Maybe some people really like this kind of full presentation, but as I've said before, I really just prefer one voice telling me a story.

Marc Thompson is a good narrator, but like most male American narrators I find him a little too slick. It always sounds like the voiceover guy from movie trailers. Plus, he did all the voices (or attempted to do all the voices) as impersonations as the characters from the movies. His Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and C-3P0 were quite good, but many of the others left a lot to be desired. Luke Skywalker sounded kinda bored, Lando sounded like he was trying to seduce everyone all the time, all of the female characters were terrible (a pretty common complain when male narrators try to do female voices), and Han Solo sounded like Patrick Warburton (the voice of Joe Swanson on Family Guy, Kronk from the Emperor's New Groove, Elaine's boyfriend Puddy on Seinfeld and Lemony Snicket in the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Actually Han Solo in this sounds exactly like the Han Solo from the Lego Star Wars cartoons, but that's neither here nor there.

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith (read by Hugh Laurie)
My wife has been bugging me to read this for years, and while I have nothing against it I admit it took me far too long to get around it to. This is my first McCall-Smith book (I've never touched his much more famous No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, either), and I quite enjoyed it.

Charming is probably the best word I can come up with to describe this book. It wasn't gut-bustingly hilarious (though my wife insists the next book in the series is), but there were a couple of pretty funny moments. The opening chapter about three very un-athletic academics trying to learn how to play tennis using only a 100-year old rule book was brilliant. And then they tried to learn to swim from a textbooks, too... But most of the book is cute, witty, and leaves you with "ah, I see what you did there" moments. 

Ostensibly the book is a number of short stories about the lead character, Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, a professor of "philology" (study of the history and structure of a language - I had to look it up) whose big claim to fame is writing a 1200-page treatise on Portuguese Irregular Verbs, an incredibly comprehensive (and by all accounts, dreadfully boring and unnecessary) volume about the history and usage of... Portuguese Irregular Verbs. It's a book that all his colleagues appreciate and respect but no on in the right minds would ever want to read. Every chapter and story somehow ties back to this ridiculous book, about how von Igelfeld is trying to get others to read it, or buy it, or how he got the idea to write it, and so on. It's just the right amount of absurd for me, and if you are an academic or know any of them very well, it will entertain you on an whole other level.

My favourite part of the book, however, was definitely the narration by Hugh Laurie. My previous experience with him was reading Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, which if you recall I was pretty disappointed with (Laurie's reading that is, the book is great). He is a million times better here, taking his time and narrating with a gleeful joy that really makes what could by a dry story far more entertaining. In fact, Laurie's narration here bumps whats would probably be a three-star book for me up to an easy four.

Noir by Christopher Moore (read by Johnny Heller)
I'm a big homer for Christopher Moore. I unabashedly list him as one of my big influences as a writer (I'm not talented enough to write like Kurt Vonnegut, or British enough to write like Terry Pratchett). Hard-boiled detective stories are also my jam. Mickey Spillane is a dirty pleasure, even though his books are horrifically racist and misogynistic. So when you mash the two of them together, I just knew this was going to be a bitchin' ride.

From the opening line, "She had the kind of legs that kept her butt from resting on her shoes," I was hooked. It was full of Moore-isms like this, where he captures the style and tone of the genre he's satirizing/parodying, but twisting it to make it all his own. It was a classic story of a tough, regular Joe who gets caught up with a crazy dame and some illegal shenanigans, and then all hell (and murder) breaks loose. 

Set in post-WWII San Francisco, Moore deftly navigates the racial and social prejudices of the time, being honest about how people thought and acted in the 1940s without being too cringe-worthy for our modern sensibilities. And he touches on a lot of tough points, too. Japanese internment camps, the flourishing west-coast China Town, the Southern blacks who moved to California to build warships, the women who worked to run the country while the men were away but then were shuffled back when the war ended, even the underground but growing gay and lesbian culture. I've read other novels actually written in that period when all of those groups were treated like second-class citizens as best, and manipulative, horrific villains more often than not. The fact that Moore was able to not ignore the racism and bigotry while still making all of the characters real and well-rounded was an impressive feat.

Of course, this being Christopher Moore, there are aliens and secret government conspiracies. Honestly his noir pastiche was so good I would have been happy if he played it straight, without the supernatural elements, but you can't have a Christopher Moore book without talking animals and some kind of otherworldly creature murdering people. It's his gimmick, and bless him for it. I know I love it.

The narrator, Johnny Heller, was solid. He captured the noir/hardboiled vibe wonderfully, and he managed to pull off most of the varied cultural voices without delving too deep into racist caricatures (*cough, cough* Stephen Briggs *cough, cough*). Fun times.

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