Thursday, October 31, 2013

Short Story Blog Hop Halloween-Misty Hill

Misty Hill

Martha was doing her best to keeping her excitement in check. Setting things in order in the new house her finace, Jacob had built by hand, she scurried around putting away the items the women of the community had given her to make her house a home.
“Won’t this look fine?” She said to herself, humming a tune in between her spoken thoughts.  She began hanging a curtain on the kitchen window, wondering how life would be like in just a few short days. Would she enjoy keeping house as much as she thought she would? Was she really ready to take this all on? Shaking her head and the confusing thoughts along with it, she began to focus on the task at hand.
“Hello!? Martha you in here?” Said a male voice from the other room.
“In here!” She was able to squeak out as she stretched with all her might to hang the curtain.
“Here, let me help you with that.” He rushed over and quickly took over, leaving Martha to stand and watch.
“Thank you Paul. You’re too kind. I’m glad I will be able to call you my brother soon.” He turned to her and smiled, though he seemed a little uneasy.
“Has Jacob showed you around the whole place?” He asked, his voice slightly shaking.
“I believe so.” She turned to the counter and began taking the cups from the basket to be placed on the shelf.
“What about the pantry? I helped him with it myself.” He took a step closer, closing in the gap between them. Martha, a polite girl, kept her head down and slowly took a step back to keep things proper between them. She had always known in the back of her mind that Paul cared for her just as much as Jacob. There were things about Paul though that she found lacking. He always seemed nervous and uneasy, and failed to stand up to the bigger boys when they were in school. Although he lacked the charm his brother had, Martha always felt sorry for him and tried her best to be nice to him.
“He showed me where it was at. I haven’t started putting things away down there yet though.” She hoped this would satisfy him.
“Here, let’s go now.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her behind him, Martha was too shocked to say anything. He walked fairly fast, and she was just able to keep up and not blunder down the cellar stairs.
“There’s no candle down here, I can’t see anything.” She was finally able to say after she had caught her breath.
“We don’t need a candle Martha.”


“So this is the place huh? Looks pretty scary.” Ryan said as he rubbed his hands together for warmth. Looking out on this old cabin in the middle of nowhere was getting him excited. While most would just see a creepy old cabin, and maybe muse about what settlers lived there and how they lived, Ryan saw a prime location for a haunting.
“It’s just an old cabin. Plenty around these parts. The locals say this one’s special though. A young women died in there at the hands of her brother-in-law. According to the county record he was never found.  Previous owners say they could hear a women weeping, and crying for help. Scrapes on the cellar door.”  John, Ryan’s partner always loved the particulars. He had an eye for detail that Ryan knew he could never have himself. Honestly, Ryan didn’t care what happened to the spirit that lived in this run down cabin, all he cared about was if they could catch it on tape.
“Let’s get this equipment set up.” He told John as he began walking closer to the site.
When night had finally arrived the two men, all bundled up because of the cold, turned on their EMP equipment and began walking around the cabin. John had the video camera with the heat sensors on so they could catch this ghost on tape.
After finding no readings on the main floor, the two slowly walked down the cellar steps. “Gosh its cold down here!” Ryan muttered.
“Hello? Is anyone here? We are not here to harm you. If you could just show us a sign. We know what happened to you.” The calm voice of John rang out.
The cellar door snapped shut.
“Holy-“ Ryan was caught short though by a quiet hush sound.
“Was that you?” He said, looking in what he thought was John’s direction.
“Me what?” John said.
“Let’s get out of here. I’m starting to freak out.” John said, as he made his way up the steps. As he turned around he could see Ryan’s heat signature on his camera..and another one right beside it.


It’s always the same. They come to look. To see the spirit on Misty Hill. I’ve been here for years, trapped and waiting. Why did no help come? Why did my beloved Jacob not save me? Martha looked at the two living beings, with their fancy machines she had seen countless times. It felt like a torment. A reminder that she was not of that world anymore and never would be again. No, her life was cut short, and as she lay dying her only thought was that she was never going to get to share he life with her loving Jacob. That he would marry someone else. If only she could stay and be with him. Well, her wish was granted, and here she was, a mere ghost, a whisper of what she was, only able to frighten and never get the answers she wanted. 

Thanks for reading my story!! You can check out other bloggers Halloween Stories here:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just A Little Update...

On this lovely little blog I try to bring you a variety of things. Most recently has been doing more book reviews and author interviews. I have them scheduled for every week until about mid-January...and that's how I want it. At least for now!

The classes I'm taking next semester are going to be pretty daunting plus I will be working then to. I want to make sure I can stay on top of everything and committing to the extra (yet delightful) reading is not something I'm sure I can deliver. So I will be taking a break from requests for now. I plan to begin taking review requests again after the end of next semester (think May).

This will also give me time to read books I've had on my shelves for a while yet haven't gotten too, with no time frame on when I have to finish them. So while I'm a little sad I'm putting accepting reviews on hold, I feel like I'm doing the responsible thing.

Tomorrow's post is a short story I wrote myself. I had so much fun doing it and it makes me want to try to post a short story at least once a month. So we might just be seeing some of those in the future!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Interview with Author Devin K. Smyth

As a huge science fiction fan, I was so grateful and eager to be able to ask Devin some questions about writing in this genre. His book, The Contaminants, is very creative and paints the Earth in new ways after humanity has destroyed it.

1. How did you come up with this story?

The inspiration for the story was the fact that the U.S. military’s nuclear arsenal has the capacity to annihilate the earth several times over—so what if that actually happened? THE CONTAMINANTS is my speculation on that possibility.

(He's right. I've been watching a documentary (you should watch it too!) titled The Untold History of the United States and we built SO many bombs during the Cold War.)

2. Have you written anything else?

My other title that's currently available on Amazon is THE EMERGENCE. It's the story of a sixth-grade boy struggling for survival when his hometown becomes ground zero for a mysterious cloud formation that eventually envelopes the earth and causes all surface water to evaporate. In the November-December timeframe, I plan to release BADILI, a supernatural thriller set during the early 1800s that follows the story of a 13-year-old slave who discovers a power that could free her and her family—but at a cost that may be too high to accept.

3. There are a lot of interesting gadgets and animals in this story. How did you come up with such creative things?

Most of the gadgets and creatures are simply wish fulfillment, things that I would like to see available or alive in real life. When I have what I think is an interesting idea or insight, I record it even if I'm not sure how I'll use it—or if I ever will.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

The hardest thing about writing the book was ensuring the science didn't slow down the story. Some of the concepts in the book are technical at times, so I wanted to make sure they flowed well within the action of the plot.

5. What advice would you give to beginning science fiction authors?

To my mind, plausibility should be the goal of science and speculative fiction. The ideas within the story should come within the realm of science even if the ideas aren't possible at this time. With all the advances being made daily, what may seem like fiction now could be a reality soon.

I think Devin touched on some great points here. It's one of the things I love about Science Fiction- you take new concepts and pair them with realism. Science Fiction novels have the ability to warn the present-day readers of what could come if we don't take action. In some ways, they could even be seen as political books. The characters are faced with real moral dilemmas that we can avoid if we choose to take action.
In The Contaminants, America gets too greedy and decides to destroy the world simply because they have found a way to rebuild it even after atomic bombs destroy it.

If you are not a science fiction fan, that's fine, but I would suggest picking up a classic sci-fi book, like 1984, and start to see this genre as more then just spaceships and laser guns. I see this genre as peoples ideas into the future of our world. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review of The Contaminants by Devin K. Smyth

About the Book:

When America attempts to "purify" earth to maintain its own dominance, it sparks a worldwide nuclear holocaust. Teen friends Jessil and Soraj are among the few survivors. They escaped on a cruiser that now orbits the planet and is designed to help regenerate the earth's ecosystem. Soraj’s father leads the regeneration process and is hopeful that he can salvage a region in North America for the cruiser’s return.

But when Jessil discovers a message indicating her own father may have survived the holocaust back on earth, she’s determined to rescue him immediately with Soraj's aid. Can they succeed even though the planet they return to is very different from the one they left—and that their success could mean failure for the regeneration process?

My Review:

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book was pretty darn awesome. Very..very creative! It did take me a bit to get used to the way it was written. It was written in first person narrative, but the way the characters talked was if they are telling you what they are doing seconds after doing it. Although it's a bit different, it's still easy to read and get into. 

This book is very creative, like I said. It's a true science fiction novel and I LOVE IT! The gadgets they use to what becomes of the Earth are all believable. I honestly can't imagine any science fiction fan not enjoying this book on some level. It's not a long book so it makes for easy, light reading. The action flows and has a good pace.

I will say, towards the end of the book, I didn't like Jessil as much.  Her and Soraj are the narrations, each chapter switching to the others point of view. I liked Soraj the best, his academic way of speaking and bravery. 

Overall, I'm glad I read this book. As a science fiction fan I was not let down and got to experience a world while yet different from our own, it gave a glimpse into what our future could hold if we don't make some changes now. 

Goodreads  /  Amazon 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review of Fractured Legacy by Skye Callahan

Kaylyn Anderson's fascination with abandoned places and dark creatures kindled her work as a paranormal investigator. But when dreams begin to distort reality, she questions what is real and pulls away from everyone she trusts. The opportunity to investigate the Teague Hotel--a long-abandoned landmark that has always piqued her curiosity--provides a chance to redeem herself. Unraveling the hotel's secrets won't be easy, but Kaylyn soon finds herself the target of a dark entity that has been trapped in the building for decades. 

If Kaylyn stands any chance of defeating the spirit, she'll have to accept that her fears are real and convince fellow investigators that she hasn't lost her mind.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book was the bomb! I couldn't put it down! I loved every minute of reading it. The characters were well developed and the tension between Kaylyn and her new boss-perfect! 

The flow of this book was pretty fast. There was no information that felt unneeded or dragged out. The main thing I loved about this book though-freakin' tons of dialog!!! I write lots of dialog in my own work so reading another book with lots of it gave me confidence in my own writing, as well as reminding me how much I love reading it! 

The right amount of details are given in this book. I know just enough to paint a picture in my mind. This was one book where there was no need for me to skip around and jump from exciting part to exciting part. I read every single word. 

I think anyone with the ability to read would enjoy this book.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

My First Desk Job!

Life is a rollercoaster. We all know this. My life is no exception! I leave my I-know-how-everything-works job in the mental health field for the ever high paying job as a postal worker...and then blow it. Even though that career path didn't work out, I was able to transfer to a different part of my school and go online....full time.
Now I have found a new job! With us having to postpone our cross country move another semester I felt I might as well get a job. So now not only will I be going to school full time but working full time as well. Lot's of people do this so I'm hoping I can join their club and be awesome in both areas. Here's to hoping!

These are going to be my new best friend
This new job though, is quite different than any job I've had before. I'm going to have my own...desk! Well, technically it's a two person desk and I'll probably have to share with someone but the point is I will be at a desk.
How have I been working for so long and not have a desk job before?! I'm almost thirty for crying in the mud!!

As much as I loved working with special needs and everything, I'm glad to be doing something new. I still plan to continue working with organizations, such as Kind Tree, but in a volunteer capacity.

With National Novel Writing Month coming up next month I'm going to have to dig deep! I'm glad I have all of you to help me and encourage me!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post by Andrew Linke: How Close should the Camera be?

How close should the camera be?

Do me a favor and close your eyes.

Okay, maybe that was a bad idea. Now you can’t read this post.

So, do me a favor and imagine that your eyes are closed. I want you to picture the scene that I describe, rather than the glowing screen of whatever internet-connected device you are reading.

The scene opens with the wide vista of a camera sweeping over jagged, snow-capped mountains beneath an azure sky before dropping down in a slow pan that reveals the rolling green landscape below. Only as the view hurtles down the mountainside, skimming across boulders and darting between the twisted trunks of scrub pines, does it begin to creep upwards to reveal the horror of what lies at the center of the valley. It is revealed first in the plumes of black smoke, rising up in roiling pillars that spread out as they ascend, turning the sky dark ahead. The view draws closer beneath the darkening sky until it sweeps over the waving field of grass and, rising up over a low hill, reveals the battle raging beneath the cloud of smoke.

Got it? Now blink a few times until your mind’s eye is cleared.

Take a look at this now.

A wizard named Reynard raised his arms and twirled his fingers in a complicated pattern, drawing forth a crackling webwork of purple lightning from the aether. He squinted in the dim light of a sun that hardly pierced the cloud of smoke hanging above the battlefield. It took a moment for him to spot the bright flash of his enemy’s red hair through the melee of clanging swords, shivered spears, and heaving bodies, but then Reynard spotted her. He muttered the release command and allowed a grin to creep across his face as the ray of electricity shot out to strike the commander.

I don’t know if fantasy is your thing, but allow me to implant one more vision in your mind before you give up. Hopefully you’re starting to see the progression here.

Cynthia rammed her sword through the neck of the daemon, unleashing a torrent of black, sulfurous smoke as the monster’s head flew from its body. The scent of its death brought to mind the day when she had fled her family home, tears streaking her soot-stained face, pursued by the same beasts that had murdered her family. Cynthia blinked, pushed back the sweaty mop of her short red hair with the back of her scarred forearm, then scanned the battlefield for her next target. A flash of purple light caught her eye and she squinted through the smoke and dim light. Before she could shout a warning to her troops, a crackling sphere of arcane energy blasted through the melee and slammed into her. Everything went black.

Still with me? Good.

When you’re writing a scene, a chapter, a whole novel, you have a lot of important decisions to make. One of the most important is what “narrative mode” you will use. Don’t worry. I might be an English major, teacher, and story geek, but I’m not going to get too wordy here. The essential thing you need to understand is that when you’re writing a story, you are the person who holds the camera on the scene. You are not only the writer. You are the director. You are the camera operator. You are the inner monologue within the mind of each and every character.

It’s a big responsibility, but you can handle it if you’re careful.

All three of the scenes above were written in the third person point of view, but all of them have a distinctly different feel.

In the first scene, the narrative never enters the mind of the characters. It remains aloof and describes the scene from a distance, giving your reader a broad image of the setting and helping them understand the context of the battle. This can be very useful in small doses, just as the wide establishing shot can be useful in a big-budget hollywood epic. Unfortunately, as many summer popcorn flops have taught us, such grand perspectives can quickly grow boring as the human conflict is reduced to nothing more than a pile of ants crawling over one another.

In the second scene, the narrative pulls closer and drops down to the level of the individual, like a camera framing the villain as he prepares to attack the action hero. This is a great point of view for describing the actions of minor characters. You need to make your stories personal and bring your characters to life, but you also don’t want to overwhelm your reader by stuffing them inside the brain of every single character. This point of view is also useful when you’re describing a tense scene and don’t want to bog down the action with constant flashbacks to your main character’s childhood.

The third scene is about as personal as you can get in the third person. It’s like that moment in a movie when the action slows, the camera drifts from the violence to the face of the star, and a subtle whisper of dialogue from an earlier scene plays over the swelling score. If done correctly, this point of view connects your readers to the characters on an emotional level and makes them understand who they are and why they act. But please, for the love of literature, don’t over do this. If you use this point of view too often, or for too many characters, or keep the musing going for too long, the effect will be like one of those bad direct-to-video movies that always cuts back to a soft-lit memory scene at the most awkward moment.

Alright, I can hear you asking, “But, Andrew, what point of view should I use?”

The answer is, “All of them, in the right pieces.”

Like a perfectly directed movie, your story should walk a balance between wide establishing shots, more narrow frames of supporting characters, and perfectly timed closeups for your major characters. It isn’t easy to hit that balance, but if you pay careful attention to both the books and movies that you enjoy you will begin noticing how each scene is constructed. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview with Author Andrew Linke!!

I enjoyed Andrew's book immensely so I was very excited to hear his answers to my questions! I love learning about other writers and what their process is.

1. This book has a lot of historical details, how long did you have to research for it?

I do a little bit of research for my adventure novels ahead of time, just enough to select a relic that is worth tracking down and a few locations that will provide for awesome backdrops. That research takes many forms. Obviously I spend a lot of time reading history websites, digging through books I have around the house, and skimming Wikipedia articles. For the Eye of Odin I also found a website that had a virtual tour of Neuschwanstein Castle. I spent many hours over multiple evenings clicking through the tour, researching the paintings in the castle, and reading the legends associated with those paintings. Once I have those elements, I start writing the story. Even more research comes as I am working on the story. For example, when I was researching locations for The Staff of Moses I spent a Saturday afternoon crawling across the Egyptian desert in Google earth, tracing the routes that my characters would follow and identifying places where the events of the novel could conceivably happen.

2. What sparked the idea for this book?

I love adventure movies like the Indiana Jones series, but I have never quite found a series of adventure novels that spoke to me in the same way (if anyone has recommendations, please let me know on Google+), so I decided to try my hand at writing some. After I wrote The Staff of Moses last year I decided that I wanted to step away from the established (and sometimes touchy with readers) world of Biblical relics, so I turned my thoughts to the mythology of ancient Europe. Paging through some of my books of mythology, or it might have been some Wikipedia articles, I came across an illustration of one-eyed Odin. That got me thinking about the idea of what sort of powers that piece of magical anatomy might possess if someone were to track it down. The story went from there. It changed a lot as I went along (Loki and Odin didn't even exist as present-day characters until I was about 1/4 of the way through my first draft), so I did have to revise my outline several times as I wrote.

3. Do you plan to write a sequel? 

Absolutely. My "beta readers" were begging for a story related to American legends after they finished this story, but I can't promise that I will provide that. I don't want to give away everything at the moment (especially since my characters tend to take the plot in unexpected directions as I write) but I can say that the next Oliver Lucas adventure will begin in New Orleans and involve stolen gems, the Acadian expulsion, French history, and a really cool temple in India. I've already got about 1/4 of the novel outlined and expect to start writing it after I release my science fiction novel Burning in the Void (the first week of November) and publish the first short story in a new fantasy series (on Halloween).

4. Why did you decide to publish it yourself?

That was actually a very difficult decision. On one hand I am petrified that by self-publishing I will poison traditional publishers against my stories, at least those that I have already released. If an established publisher approached me tomorrow with a contract that would allow me to pursue my writing full time, I would absolutely take them up on that offer. That said, from what I have observed in the indie community and comments from well-known authors, it seems as if it is just as hard to get noticed by a publisher as it is to build a successful indie career. So, for the moment, I am just trying to produce as much great work as I can and do my best to get it in front of readers.

5. Which character was the most fun to write?

Oliver Lucas. I don't feel like I know him completely yet, but I love exploring his depths. He is truly a good person at heart, but he is also a pragmatic man of the world who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. Over the next few novels I expect to push Oliver to his limit physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Looking forward four to five novels I know where his story is going to take him, but I can't honestly say that I know whether he will end up as a hero or anti-hero by the end of the final novel. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review of Eye of Odin by Andrew Linke

About the Book:

A long-lost document... 
When Oliver Lucas captures the research journal of a rival treasure hunter, he uncovers the key to a historical riddle that has eluded him for over a decade. Excited at the prospect of finally unraveling this mystery, Oliver sets off for Germany, where a simple business meeting quickly turns deadly. 

Clues hidden in Wagner's operas... 
Pursued by a supernatural killer, Oliver journeys to the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle to capture a mysterious document from the personal collection of Richard Wagner. Little does Oliver expect that his search will bring him face to face with the man once known as Odin, who offers Oliver his assistance in exchange for a dangerous favor. 

A conspiracy as old as mankind... 
Betrayed by a colleague and hunted by supernatural powers, Oliver finds himself trapped in the middle of a struggle between humanity, ancient gods, and a secretive order of angelic beings tasked with guarding a deadly relic.

My Review:

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I wasn't sure what to think about this book before I read it. I had no idea if I would like it or not honestly. After the first chapter though, I was hooked. This book has an Indiana Jones feel to it, as well as a Davinci Code.

You follow Oliver on this incredible journey and learn about Norse gods and secret orders. It was a great ride/read and I loved every minute of it! I don't read adventure novels much but it has as much excitement as a great fantasy novel, which I do read a lot.

This book was hard to put down and I can't really imagine anyone not enjoying it. I thought it was pleasantly well written and well thought out. I wasn't able to see every twist coming which was refreshing. There is a lot of descriptions in this book, but not to the point where it wears down the story. Plus..if you live for the action like me, you can easily skip over it and get to the good stuff.

Goodreads   Amazon

About the Author:

Andrew Linke is the author of the Oliver Lucas Adventures series of novels, as well as other tales of fantasy and science fiction.

A voracious consumer of stories, Andrew is eager to create his own tales and share them with the world. He believes in the power of stories to transport, and transform, their readers in new and exciting ways. Whether they are told in the form of spoken tales around a campfire, leather-bound novels, audiobooks, films, or videogames, Andrew believes that stories have the power to move people by letting them experience life from the perspective of someone else.

Andrew currently works as a middle-school English teacher in Virginia. In the past he has worked with church youth groups, made pottery, and spent seven summers working at a Boy Scout camp. When not working, he enjoys gardening and playing strategy games with close friends and family.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Very Superstitious with Guest Post by Jennifer Knight

Title: Very Superstitious
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-4-7
ISBN eBook: 978-1-939765-75-8
Author: Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight,
Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis
The stories are based on urban legends, myths, tribal tales and superstitions from around the world.  A charity anthology to benefit SPCA International with stories by Shannon Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis.


Jennifer Knight

Hi. I’m Jen. I am twenty-two years old and live in Miami, Florida with my family. I’m a lifelong lover of books, romance and anything even vaguely supernatural. Except zombies. Zombies scare me.

I started writing in college after trying and failing to find a major. It was all I really knew how to do and since school was going nowhere, I threw myself into it. I wrote my first book in a matter of months and watched it go up in flames.

Smoldering, but still determined to make this writing thing work, I moved on to something completely different. Werewolves! Love them. Who doesn’t? I wrote the first draft of Blood on the Moon in about two months, during which I locked myself in my room and thought about teeth and moons and kissing.

I must have done something right, because Running Press bought my book and now you’re here reading this. I guess that means you liked the book. Yay! If I had a cookie, I’d totally give it to you. You deserve it.

Anyway, now that Blood on the Moon is done, I’m writing the sequel. And also some other stuff that hopefully you’ll see one day.

Guest Post by Jennifer Knight

Five years ago, finding time to write was never an issue. Of course, then I only had one child. Now I have three and carving out time to write can be a real challenge. Between playing chauffeur to the older two and covering diaper duty for the little one, it seems there’s never a dull moment anymore.
But I have to write. I have to. Without it, I am cranky, stressed and anxious. And that makes me a bad mom, right?
This is my rationalization. Because sometimes I have no other choice than to enlist the help of my number one babysitter: The iPad.
Shameful, I know. But when you work from home, sometimes that’s the way it’s gotta be. Happily, I can say iPad time is the exception when I need to get things done. Most of the time, I write during that magical time of the day when the older two are away at school and number three is sleeping.
Ah, silence. Blissful silence. Anyone with little kids in the house knows exactly how precious silence is. And as a writer, you really need silence and peace in the house to concentrate. At least, I do.
I like to create a zen place. A nook where I am alone and it’s probably dark (I’m a vampire at heart), warm and there’s soft music playing. Ideally, I have earbuds in because I like to drown out any distracting noises. And in my house there are a lot of those.
When I get lucky enough to have the husband babysit while I work, there are always distractions that will inevitably pull me out of my happy writing place. Someone stubbed a toe. Someone wants juice. Why isn’t he getting the juice? Now that one’s screaming . . . and oh great! Now the baby’s been roused!
I’ve experimented with leaving the house to write. Peace, I thought. I need peace and quiet. Where does one find that? Library. It went well at first. And then some creepy guy kept talking to me, and wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had to bail. I had my ear buds in and everything, which is the universal signal for please don’t talk to me. Some people won’t take a hint, I guess.
So that never worked out. Like I said, though, I have a fabulous husband who babysits. And I take full advantage of naptimes and bedtimes and any time when things are silent. It’s difficult, I won’t lie. But it’s important. Not just for my sanity, but for my kids to see. Hard work pays off.
Now, off to steal a few more minutes of sweet silence interrupted only by the gentle tapping of my keyboard. Totally kidding, that’s the baby crying again . . .

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

A story is a Quilt

I'm a reader and a writer and I freakin' love stories, obviously.

I still remember in my creative writing class several years ago when the teacher showed us a general plot outline for a fantasy novel. I was blown away! I love fantasy novels and when I saw that general outline-I realized that most of the stories are the same. 

This got me to thinking....why do I keep reading them then? Is this why I always am able to figure out what comes next?

I'm sure there are lots of theories as to why we humans keep coming back to stories we already know, but I think it can just boil down to that we enjoy the familiar.

Granted, not all fantasy stories follow the general plot line, but there are themes in them that most all of them have.

When I first come up with a story idea it's usually just one plot point, or general idea. I have to brainstorm more ideas to add to it. My ideas are shaped by all the stories (tv, books, movies, verbal, etc) I've ever known.

For example, my story I'm working on now has influence from several other stories/characters.

General idea- People who can travel to other worlds through portals located on the worlds.

There are lots of science fiction stories out there that have this theme. Stargate, like I mentioned in yesterdays post being one of them.

Here's how I make it my own though:

The portals are like stepping stones. Each world only has two portals, each leading to another world. My characters will have to travel "back" to their original world by going through the portals that lead back to it.

I think of stories as a patchwork, like a quilt being sewn together with creativity as the string, but using scraps from other stories.

Think about's why when you read something it reminds you of something you've previously read. The stories share some themes or ideas, yet they are different.

Like a Ven diagram. There can be some overlap, but in the end the new story is a new creation. A rewording of ideas.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Writer Discouraged-Never!

I've had a lot going on, with the whole getting married and going to Vegas. I've been home about a week now and have finally gotten caught up on everything and back into my routine. Though I have developed my addiction to the Sims again. So distracting!

I've also taken to going for walks, and while on those said walks I think about my novel. I haven't worked on it since before we left for Vegas so I'm feeling a little guilty.

Also though...I got discouraged. I had this thought that my novel wasn't original enough. It made me second guess myself. It took me a while to overcome this and just say:

"Joy Denaze! You get your head in the game! You want to be an author right? (Right.) Then just write the damn story! If changes need to be made make them during the edit time."

(Yes I talk to myself..and answer back. This should not be very surprising I would think.)  :)

My self pep talk worked! I'm ready to begin writing again and where I left off. My writing goal for this month is to write a chapter a week. That to me, seems very doable.
© Aelita | Dreamstime Stock Photos &
Stock Free Images

Here's what got me down though.

The characters in my novel travel to other planets/worlds. They do so through a device that they have. (It's a watch like thing but after seeing all those commercials for that new phone/watch I think I might change it somehow.) They don't use a spaceship, it's more like Stargate. But there is no gate see, just a "portal" that the device detects. They just press a button and wham! They are in the other world....just like when you walk through the Stargate, well...expect there is no tunnel or anything. So I guess it's more like teleportation but its not. would think as a writer I would be better at explaining it! Since they travel to other planets/worlds not using a spaceship, it made me feel that it was to Stargate-ish.

Do you think my mode of transporting my characters is to close to something else that has already been made?

Tomorrow I'm going to post on how stories are just collections and pieces of other stories. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog Tour for Semmant

 Heres a bit about the book:

A brilliant scientist creates a brilliant robot. Working together, they beat the stock market. But which one will survive the battle for love?

When Bogdan Bogdanov, a troubled cybernetics genius, creates Semmant, a robot living inside a computer, he feels on top of the world. Semmant takes on the capital markets and makes money with the ruthless efficiency of a machine. Bogdan grows richer by the day, but when he falls deeply for the irresistible Lidia, Semmant’s artificial mind faces a new challenge. The robot becomes involved in a genuine human drama and is forced to confront the cruelty of real life.  He discovers the eternal joy of what it means to have free will, but it takes him to a destination no one could have predicted.

This is a tale of lust and affection, an erotically charged story of betrayal and murder. It explores the scope of human feelings from a truly unique point of view. Universal chaos and the strict laws of society; precise mathematical rules and the elusive nature of love: all interact and clash, working together and against one another. Tragedy looms, but free will fights back – bringing hope that lasts forever.

Heres what I think:
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book turned out to be quite different than I thought it would be. The first few chapters were all narration and full of detail. As people who read my blog regularly know, I'm a huge fan of dialog so this was kind of a letdown for me. I was able to push through though and thats where the story started to come to life. 

Semmant didn't play as big of a role as I thought he would (hes the AI) but we are taken into the world of his creator, Bogdan. His life is crazy and he has a wide range of emotions. His love life is colorful to say the least. This book has adult themes so keep that in mind when reading it. Bogdan wasn't a charter I was able to relate to much so seeing him spiral downward didn't bother me, rather, I expected it. 

If you like books that are more mental and psychological then you might enjoy this book. Even though it isn't very long it isn't an easy read, so make sure you're prepared to give it some time. 

About the Author: 
Vadim Babenko left two “dream” jobs – cutting-edge scientist and high-flying entrepreneur – in order to pursue his lifelong goal to write full-time. Born in the Soviet Union, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology, Russia’s equivalent to MIT. As a scientist at the Soviet Academy of Sciences he became a recognized leader in the area of artificial intelligence. Then he moved to the U.S. and co-founded a high-tech company just outside of Washington, D.C. The business soon skyrocketed, and the next ambitious goal, an IPO on the stock exchange, was realized. But at this peak of success, Vadim dropped everything to set out on the path of a writer and has never looked back. He moved to Europe and, during the next eight years, published five books, including two novels, The Black Pelican and A Simple Soul, which were nominated for Russia’s most prestigious literary awards. His third novel, Semmant, initially written in Russian and then translated with the author’s active participation, is published exclusively in English.

Find out more at

Friday, October 11, 2013

First Post on The Peasants Revolt Blog!

I wear many hats, and one of them is writing a monthly column for the The Peasants Revolt blog!

Please check out my first post there!!


Monday will be my first book review over there as well. Loved the book I reviewed so don't forget to check it out!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Tour Review for Endless by Amanda Gray

 Today the Blog Tour for Endless stops here! 

First before I give my review I'd like to share a bit about this book:

Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumbles on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought.

Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock -- and the Order -- the trio discovers a link that joins them in life -- and beyond death.

Publication date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-5-4
ISBN eBook: 978-1-939765-76-5
Author: Amanda Gray

So here's what I think! *I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book kept my attention the whole way though. I thought the characters were well developed and relatable. I liked how the main character had a simple name, Jenny. In most stories now a days the characters have these fancy foo foo names and it bugs me because nobody in real life is named that! Not so here! 

The story is set up so that a second book could be added, which I liked. I would totally read a sequel to this book.I like books that even though they are fiction, have some realism in them as well. When Nikolai was introduced I had lots of questions about him and was frustrated that Jenny didn't seem to notice what I was. She did eventually though and that helped me as a reader. (Like why he could speak English if he was from Russia) The only thing that bothered me was I liked Ben more than Nikolai. The love Jenny and Nikolai shared felt pushed on them, if that makes sense. It didn't really develop because they had loved one another before. 

Overall I liked this book and I feel young women and adult women could enjoy it as well. I don't think any man would and based on the cover alone I doubt many would even consider it. It is a easy, quick enjoyable read, great for traveling and reading on the go! 

Since this review is part of a blog tour there is a giveaway!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a bit about Amanda Gray, the author of this great book! 
Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I got Married!!!!

30th floor view!
So I have been away from the blog for the past few days, but we had the lovely author Susan Sloate step in and help! If you haven't read the posts she wrote you should simply scroll down and check it out!!

So, as promised, I have some pictures from my trip! I went to Las Vegas to get married!!

We stayed at the Palms, which is just a little off the strip. They upgraded our room and we ended up on the 30th floor!! We had the most spectacular view of the strip! At night it was just gorgeous! The hotel was very modern and fancy. We didn't drink anything there because the drinks were just too expensive!

We did have a drink every day we were there though, one day at 11am! lol We drank cocktails mostly and my goodness were they yummy!!
Our modern room

Just a small fraction of the strip

We did a lot of walking and ate some very yummy food! I was so happy when we got to go to the Gordon Ramsay Pub at the Caesar's Palace. His food was by far the best! My parents took us there after we got married.

Getting married in Vegas was really easy. We just had to find the licence place, which didn't take us too long, and show up to our wedding! The chapel I ended up picking was small and a little off the road, but it was so lovely! Everyone was so nice and helpful and it was short and sweet.

Mr. and Mrs. Hancock

Friday, October 4, 2013

Entering the Twilight Zone: Guest post by Susan Sloate

Entering the Twilight Zone:
A Writer’s Strange Confession
By Susan Sloate

     Cue the creepy music …
     Here’s today’s question for all you writers:
     Have you ever written something as fiction that later actually happens?
     I have.
     I’m not talking about small things here, like writing that you get a letter from your aunt and presto! the next day you get a letter from your aunt. I’m talking about stuff that’s bigger, that’s unpredictable. And while it’s pretty cool at first (I admit it), when you stop to think about it, it’s also a little … freaky.
     I also know that this phenomenon has happened to a lot of writers. My writer friends all confess to some version of it. I think I even have an inkling of how it happens.
     There’s a famous example of this (I’ll tell you my own story later). A writer named Morgan Robertson published a novella about the world’s greatest ocean liner, which on a voyage in April in the North Atlantic struck an iceberg on the starboard side and sank, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland. There were not enough lifeboats for all the passengers, and more than half of those on board died.
     Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s the story of the Titanic. Heck, that’s not fiction; it’s history.
     Except it’s not. The title of the novella is Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan. And here’s the kicker: it was published in 1898, more than 14 years BEFORE the Titanic set out on its maiden voyage, and years before it was even designed, let alone built. Yet Robertson eerily forecast the name (Titan/Titanic), the exact spot of the sinking, the iceberg, the lifeboat issue, almost the exact speed at which the ship was traveling, and the fact that the voyage took place in April in the North Atlantic and the ship struck the iceberg on the starboard side.
     No one’s ever figured out how he did it. As a writer, I’m sure he wasn’t trying. He was just… writing the story that came to him. It’s what we all do.
     Now while you’re considering that, let me tell you about mine.
     When I was fifteen I began writing my first stage play. I had first seen Jerry Lewis on TV when I was about nine, and I just loved him. (Still do.) But I didn’t know for some time that he had ever been part of a team, and when I found out Dean Martin was the other half, it shocked me, because their careers had taken such divergent paths afterward. Still, I decided to write a play that began with the breakup of a similar comedy duo, followed them through the years and ended at a charity telethon (modeled after you-know-what). It took me some time, and I finally wrote the last scenes in July 1976. So I set the first scene onstage at a New York nightclub, where the duo did a song and dance that ended their engagement at the nightclub and their partnership. The entire third act took place at the telethon, where the penultimate scene showed the two reuniting onstage. I was very proud of myself for finishing it.
     Six weeks later came the Labor Day telethon, a staple of our holiday weekend. And lo and behold! There was Dean Martin, walking onstage with Frank Sinatra (who engineered the whole thing), greeting a truly stunned Jerry Lewis with a hug. It’s a beautiful moment; you can watch it on YouTube.
     But… I wrote it before it happened, virtually the way it happened.
     And that first scene I told you about, the nightclub scene where they ended their partnership? I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s actually the way Martin & Lewis broke up—their last engagement was at the Copacabana in New York, the most famous nightclub of its time. I had no way of knowing. But somehow, I just knew.
     It’s happened to me on other writing projects, too, and believe me, I’m not usually psychic. But I’ve thought about this a lot, and here’s my explanation, because I don’t believe in coincidence, and I do believe in the energy connecting us all.
     When writers truly get plugged in on a project, we not only plug into our own creativity and our passion for the project; on some level we plug into the universe, too, on our own crystal-clear frequency. We pick up invisible threads of information floating out there, which we call inspiration but might also be old stories still hanging around, or new events about to unfold. When we’re in the flow with our writing, we somehow have access to all of that information, and it just comes to us, as easily as a bee to a flower. But I also think we only access it at moments when we’re really plugged in, through our writing. (You could say this is related to Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious.) But I contend that until you’re on a deeply creative plane, you won’t be able to access it. You won’t get it if you’re rushing or if you actually try to access it. You’ll get it when you and the universe are aligned through your work.
     So the next time you’re writing (cue creepy music here), be careful what you’re writing about. Because it may turn out not be just a story. Your thoughts really can become reality… and do you really want that vampire strolling down Fifth Avenue?

     Think about it.