Friday, June 28, 2013

Small Things Hop: Words, Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las Pulgas

Words are the small things to celebrate every day!

Reading is a joy . . .anywhere, and for millions. Yet so many people can't:
read a prescription drug label
open a bank account
get a credit card
read street signs
complete a job application,

so today I'm celebrating WORDS because I can read and understand their message.
I'm also celebrating finally getting Sliding on the Edge out as an ebook. It has been a long haul from publisher debacle to restoration of rights to this.

Then Princess of Las Pulgas is free until July 1.

Small Things add up, don't they? What are your Small Things this week? Be sure to visit others in the hop. They have lots to Celebrate.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Miscellany Featuring Ruby's Fire and More


One thing about being a writer that I love is this: you get to hang with other writers. I'm really excited to host Catherine Stine today with her new book Ruby's Fire.

Here's what you can look forward to when you open to page one.

“Seventeen year-old Ruby and her little brother Thorn, have only known a life blighted by the extremist Fireseed Cult. The night Ruby is set to be claimed by one of its cruelest and oldest leaders, she makes a bid for freedom. With Thorn in tow, she stumbles into the world beyond, and finds an opportunity for a fresh start in Skull’s Wrath under the guidance of Nevada Pilgrim, a woman who may not be all she seems. Ruby's new life could bring her friendship, love, even fortune, but nothing comes without a price. Is Ruby's talent for elixirs keeping the roof over their heads, or do some of her associates have a more sinister and lucrative interest in them? Life outside a strange cult isn't without its dangers, and the experience leaves Ruby transformed and communing with the Fireseed more closely than she ever would have imagined. Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by an exciting cast of characters, and the romance is really well handled.”  

Now you have to want a copy, right? Here's your chance to win a signed copy (U.S. only). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're not the lucky one, here's the buy link for Ms. Stein's illustrated paperback at AMAZON. For a Kindle version, click HERE.

Hope you'll sign up for Catherine's NEWSLETTER. She has a lot to share that's worthwhile.

Other sites to connect with Catherine: GOODREADS,  B and NFB, TWITTER, BLOG,WEBSITE.

About Catherine Stine:Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend

Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
“Ruby's Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: " It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved..." ”  -YAs the Word

More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.

Reader/ Writer Miscellany

  • Want a sound sleep? Tire your eyes naturally by reading until your eyelid can't stay up. "You fall asleep more peacefully," says Joseph Emet, author of Buddah's Book of Sleep.

I could have told him that! Couldn't you?

  • There are over 1,000 books published every day in the U.S.

Oye! What does this mean for writers?

My Favorite Quote for the Day

"The secret of being boring is to say everything." Voltaire

I think that can be applied to writing, too. What do you think?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Small Things Hop

I have a couple of Small Things to celebrate this week. 

  • I finished writing a manuscript ! Yay! 
  • I had an agent ask if she could use my query in a workshop she's presenting. At first I thought she'd use it as a "here's what to avoid" sample. But no, she said it was almost perfect. Huh?  I said no to her using it, of course. Just kidding. 
  • I'm away for a few days--beautiful Tassajara beckons. A wonderful, and maybe not so small thing to celebrate. I'll be late in visiting blogs, but I'll do that when I return. Here's where I headed.

Creek Walk

Lime Point

Mine Falls

Hope you'll visit some other Small Hop Bloggers. Sign up, why don't you? 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Miscellany Featuring Writers4Writers and Other Stuff

Hats off to Writers4Writers featured author today,

 Marta Szemik.

Free on Amazon

How do you make a choice when anything you decide dooms your fate? Marked: A Two Halves Novella is a paranormal romance prequel to the Two Halves Series.


I don't usually include movies in my posts, but this is Monday Miscellany and it's summer and I've seen a few movies I feel like commenting on.

***** The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gets my high five. I loved the story and I always love Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. I laughed. I teared up. I left wanting more. That to me is a good movie.

** Lincoln not so much. And I adore Daniel Day Lewis. His performance was, of course, excellent, but the movie dragged and dragged. I got a refresher course on the passing of the 13th Amendment, so that helped keep my interest. I was really disappointed in Tommy Lee Jones and he's another favorite of mine.

My Favorite Quote for the Day 

"It is easier to run a revolution than a government." You'll never guess who said this. Ferdinand Marcos. Guess he'd know. As I recall he was always declaring martial law.

Hope you'll download Marta's book today. Chime in on my movie comments. Disagree? Agree? Any favorite quotes to share?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Character Club With Eric and Stig & Small Things Celebration!

Pssst! This is Pete Riley. I've gotten rid of C. Lee McKenzie for the day--not easy, I can tell you. She's almost as hard to ditch as my Aunt Lizzie. Anyway, the reason I wanted to be here today is that I invited two friends over. I just met them in a story called The Deliverers. They're both into a lot of exciting adventures--my kind of characters.

Eric's kind of like me. He gets into some messes, but he gets out of them, too. And Stig's a very important character in the book. The best part about him is he's an owl and he talks. Yep. A lot.

Here's what these two have to say about stuff.

Hey, Eric! Great to meet you. Don't tell anyone, but I could use another friend--one who's not scared of doing stuff. Weasel, well, he's okay, but he doesn't always go along with my plans for having "fun!" You had a major adventure. Wow! Pirates and Dwarves and Bolliwogs. Which ones scared you the most?

Eric:  Hey, Pete! It’s great to meet you, too. I’d love to be your friend, and I’m sure Stig would, too. I can always use another friend; I don’t have too many, either. You might think I’m not scared of doing stuff, but the truth is, the whole Assignment that I went on with Stig was pretty scary. I mean there was a lot of cool stuff, but I was pretty much nervous and worried the whole time. I just tried not to think about all that. We had a job to do and I just tried to do it the best I could, and hope that I didn’t mess things up too bad.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not trying to save villages and stuff like that?

Eric:  Nothing too exciting. I like to read a lot. I also like to go camping and spend time outdoors. After my dad died, I got pretty lonely. We used to spend a lot of time together. That was one of the best things about going on the Assignment, becoming friends with Stig, Kate, Hallo and the Gatekeeper. My mom got my uncle to let me play on my cousins’ hockey team. They’re really good. I really stink, but it’s kind of fun. I think I’ll stick with it and see what happens.

I got real excited when you were tramping through that dead forest. What was it like? What did you think about when you were all alone?

Eric:  Oh man, it was real creepy. There was no sound, everything was dead. It felt like the branches of the dead trees were closing in on us. We were in there a few days. After a while I started to almost get used to the place, until we saw the eyes.

What was I thinking about? Lots of stuff, most of it not good. I was worried about the pirates attacking Calendria and feeling a little bad that my plan didn’t work. I was worried about getting through the dead forest and what we were gonna find beyond it, if we got beyond it. You can probably tell that I worried about stuff a lot. I’ve kind of gotten over that since, thanks to the other Deliverers.

I see you've got Stig here with you. Hi, Stig. You should meet my alligator friend, Fanon. He talks, too, so I'll bet you'd hit it off. What's your take on being able to talk?  What's it like working with humans? Fanon kind of likes hanging with me, but he doesn't like a lot of people. They kind of scare him.

Stig:  Why hello there, my boy. It is a pleasure to meet you. This Fanon sounds like a splendid chap. You know, most people would not believe it, but alligators are quite extraordinary animals—very intelligent and resourceful. They make very good friends and will stick with you through thick and thin. Their appearance can be a trifle off-putting to be sure, but they can be very wise.

As for being able to talk, I never really gave it too much thought. You see where I come from, all owls can talk. My world is ruled by owls and there are very few people. They are not quite as advanced as the humans I’ve met on my travels—a bit neanderthalish to be quite candid.

I find that, on the whole, working with humans has been a unique and rewarding experience. Eric, Kate and Hallo have been excellent friends and companions and I’m quite looking forward to working with them in the future. I can understand Fanon’s reaction to people. I have really been quite lucky to fall in with the proper sort. Unfortunately, there are some who try to take advantage of us. I gather from what Eric says that on his world, people are becoming so numerous that they’re encroaching on the natural habitats of animals, leaving them no place to turn.

If either of you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

Eric:  Hmmm, that’s a great question. I guess the first thing would be to have my dad back alive. My second wish would be to be able to visit Stig, Kate and Hallo any time I wanted, instead of just when we’re on an Assignment. The third would be that my mom chills out and stops worrying about me so much. She thinks I need a father in my life, which is why she’s making me hang out with my uncle and my cousins. They’re okay, but they make me try new things, which can be scary.

Stig:  Well, let me see. I do not do much wishing as a rule. I believe it is up to each of us to make our dreams come true. Still, wishes would come in handy, especially on an Assignment. I think my first wish would be the same as one of Eric’s—to be able to visit or at least communicate with Eric, Kate and Hallo between worlds whenever the mood strikes. I would also wish that groups on all worlds could settle their differences peacefully, without the need for outside intervention. Lastly, and this is purely selfish, I would love to have a pair of hands to go along with my wings. They seemed to be terribly useful things. I can grab things with my talons of course, but it’s really not the same. Still, I suppose that would look rather silly, so perhaps I should just hold the third wish in reserve in case of emergency.

I'm trying to cook up some more excitement around my town--boring, boring, boring! Are you up for another adventure. Say something in a swamp? How about you, Stig?

Eric:  That would be cool, but also kind of creepy. I heard about your last adventure in the Ornofree swamp. You and Weasel sure were brave—Fanon, too. I’d love to check out a swamp, especially one full of witches and talking alligators! Yeah, definitely.

Stig:  I would welcome the opportunity as well. Perhaps we could enlist you, Fanon and young master Wilbur to join the Deliverers on an Assignment. I’m afraid there are any number of worlds in need of some help.

Stig, you owls live a long time, so maybe you haven't thought about a "bucket list" yet, but if you have, what three things would be at the top of that list?

Stig:  Well now, let me see. I have had the privilege having the opportunity to visit over a dozen different worlds, so travel would not be on the list. I would dearly love to converse with a dragon. Besides owls, it is said that dragons are the wisest of creatures. I’d like to find out if that is true. Perhaps I’ll get a chance in an upcoming Assignment. I would also love to travel back in time. The thought of being able to see what things were like in the past has always fascinated me. Third on the list would be to spend some quality time with the Gatekeeper and find out what he does when he isn’t sending people on Assignments.

Great to meet you guys.

Eric:  You, too. It was really awesome. I can’t wait to hang out with you and Weasel. Maybe we could camp out in the swamp.

Stig: The pleasure was all mine, I can assure you. I’ll tell the gatekeeper to keep you in mind should a suitable Assignment present itself.

Pete: Wow! That sounds like fun. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for stopping by and, uh oh. Gotta go. Lee's coming up the stairs.

Be sure to visit Eric and Stig as well as the author HERE.
And check out this one, too. The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel on AMAZON.

Lee in charge again, finally. There seems to be a lot of stuff on this blog today. I didn't know about this interview, but it doesn't seem like Pete's done any damage, so I'll let it stay. Today as my celbration of small things, I'm celebrating an Award. This time it's the Liebster Award. Thanks to Jen Million. Sending hugs. It has taken me a long time to post about this award, but finally . . . here 'tis!


The Liebster Rules:
1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 5 facts about himself / herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 5 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
4. Choose 5 new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create 11 5 new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they've been nominated.
7. No tag backs.

My Questions from Jen:

1. Think of your favorite character, got it, okay what's their favorite color?
He'd love the color of the sky.

2. What's the last book you've read?
The History of the English Language. Oye! Really. 

3. What kind of music do you listen to?
It depends on my mood and I'm rather moody, so my music changes as I change.

4. Do you set writing goals for yourself? 

5. Which do you like better Dogs or Cats?

6. Are you a Rule Breaker or a Rule Maker?
I like to push the rules, but I don't feel very comfortable breaking them. I'm always worried I'll land in jail. I don't like rules enough to make any.

7. Brownies or Cupcakes?
Brownies as long as there are nuts involved.

8. Favorite Movie?
That's like asking for my favorite book. I can't answer that. But I love something that makes me laugh.

9. Name one book you can read over and over?
I read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings twice because my kids wanted to hear it aloud. I think I deserve a medal for that.

10. Name your favorite meal to eat?
Anything with fresh greens and lemon juice and olive oil  is at the top of my list.

11. Name your favorite character name? (It can be from your own works or someone else's)
That's like asking me my favorite movie or book. There are too many characters that I adore or hate or want to write or want to read. They're all my favorites. However, I have a character named Kenny Fargo that haunts me. I think he wants a book of his own. 

My 5 blogger nominees. So hard to choose only 5!

Michelle Wallace, Julie Flanders , Mark Means, Medeia Sharif, Nutschell

My Questions: And here I'm pushing the RULES a bit. I'm only asking 5 questions. That's enough, don't you think?

1. Close your eyes. Make a wish. What did you wish for?

2. If you could do one thing differently what would that be?
3. You have month to do whatever you want, wherever you want. Money's not a concern. I'm paying. :-) What would you do? Where would you do it?
4. Do you dream? If so, what's your favorite dream?
5. What's your favorite thing to do when you're not reading, writing, blogging, sleeping?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Miscellany with Special Featured Guest Jessica Bell

New Books

Adverbs & Cliches in a Nutshell
Jessica Bell

This is a wonderful "pocket-sized" writing guide for authors that gives you a quick reference for avoiding those pitfalls--over-use of adverbs and clichés. As the author points out these "subversives" weaken your prose and produce lack-luster stories; they deaden your unique voice.

What I liked about this book was it's no nonsense approach. Ms. Bell states the purpose succinctly and clearly (adverbs can be useful), and doesn't burden us with more RULES: Thou shalt never use a cliché.

She gives excellent advice and provides easy-to-use examples of 34 common adverbs and associated clichés used to express ideas or emotions. I really appreciated the example paragraphs for each of these sets. The first two paragraphs rely on adverbs and clichés. The third she calls the Unique Example, and it shows how much more exciting and vivid writing becomes, using details and your unique style.

This is a workbook and a great resource for writing teachers and writers. I love having it.

Jessica Bell
E-bookAmazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo
Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Things I learned on Vacation

Reading for pleasure is pleasurable. 
Catching fish is highly overrated.
Eating fresh fish is not.

My favorite quote for the day

"My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations." 
I don't know who said this, but I love that they did.

So please add Jessica's book to your Goodreads list, buy it, share your experience with it. Tell me what you learned or are learning while summering. And enjoy the day with acceptance and few expectations.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Small Things Hop

This is my first Small Things post since March. I've been on blogging sabbatical--a much needed blogging sabbatical! It feels good to be back and to celebrate more small things.


Today I'm going to celebrate an award! Thanks to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for this splendid Dragon Loyalty Award


  • Display the Award Certificate on your website. 
  • Announce your win with a written post and link to whoever presented your award. 
  • Present the award to 7 deserving bloggers.
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have nominated them in the post.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself
  • If you don’t have a blog but have a website, Facebook, or Twitter or other type account, post there with a link back.
Seven more things about me:
I hope this isn't making you bleary-eyed already. My apologies if it is.
  1. I’ve posted this before, but since it’s still true I thought I’d post it again. I iron my sheets. I love the feel of smooth, freshly laundered and unwrinkled white sheets. No color for me.
  2. I’m a hiker and love to take off on long hikes in the mountains. 
  3. Coffee is my beverage of choice in the morning . Wine is my beverage of choice in the evening.
  4. I love to make jam in the summer. My grandmother always did that and I grew up tasting hot fresh jam on home baked bread still hot from the oven. Yumm.
  5. When I’m writing, I like to get up before the sun and put in a few hours before the rest of the house wakes up.
  6. Writing is like being on the other side of reading for me, so I get double pleasure when I do either one.
  7. I never had an imaginary friend, but did talk to my dog as if he could understand me. In fact, he did understand me. 
I'm passing on this Award to 7 Bloggers--I could pass it on to a hundred, so the choice was hard to make.

Bish Denham (old friend), Laura Eno snarky and fun), Father Dragon (he has to have this award), Mary Pax her head's always in the stars), Empty Nest Insider (she says it like it is), Alex Cavanaugh (you can never have enough awards) ,Sheri Larson (witty and pretty). 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group

May swept by like a hawk on a mission. I'd hoped to get all kinds of things done while I took off time from blogging, and I did, but not half of what I wanted. I need to be more realistic in setting my goals, but I've know that since, like, forever. I don't think I know how to make a short list.

It was interesting not being at my computer, thinking of what to write or commenting on others' blogs. It gave me time to stare off into space a bit and shake the kinks out of my brain.

A pond staring moment.

That hawk that swept by on a mission.

I did go to one very interesting meeting where four eighteen-year-old women were awarded scholarships for letters. They read from their work, and  I was blown away by their talent and their self-assurance in front of an audience of published writers. As they talked about their work and career goals I thought, "They don't need the Insecure Writer's Support Group. How come I feel I do?"

Then I thought back to my eighteenth year and I understood why. At eighteen I knew just about everything, and what I didn't know I was sure to pick up in college. It's only after all these out of college years where failures walk arm in arm with successes, where set backs come just after major accomplishments, where life doesn't always cooperate and lead me along a straight path to my goal that I'm wise enough to understand that nothing's always firm, nothing's always set, nothing's always safe. That's not what life is. It's filled with tricky things like illness, unexpected arrivals and departures, joys one minute, woes the next, so much love, so much hate, bad timing and good. Feeling a bit insecure once in a while has come from experience and prepared me to find my footing quickly, so when I take a step just as the earth shifts and leaves me off balance, I can regain that balance. I'm ready to catch myself.

And that's all the homespun philosophy I'm capable of today. Here's to the Insecure Writers' Support Group; glad you're around.