Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Celebration of Small Things


I'm celebrating having all my A to Z Blog Challenge Posts done! Yes. All 26 are now written and scheduled. 

  • Thank you computer for not dying on me again (another reason to celebrate). 
  • Thank you bloggy friends for adding your support through tons of droopy days.
  • Thank you, Rain Gods in the Sky for sending California some wet stuff. We sorely needed it.

I won't see you Monday, but. . . guess what? April 1 arrives on Tuesday and I'll be here. See you then.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Some Books to Look For

The story of the Backworlds continues, and the story of Earth begins. 

Worlds on Edge by M. Pax

Fifth book in the Backworlds series

War is coming. A horde of merciless aliens poise just beyond the Edge. In a matter of weeks they will devour the worlds.
Racing ahead of the apocalypse, Craze returns to the Backworlds to warn them and plan a defense. Only he can’t go home. Banned from Pardeep Station, he must wage a more urgent battle. His moon is under siege, and his friends are dying.
Bad things come in threes, and the galaxy is no exception. An old enemy returns, attacking moons and defenseless globes, leaving a wake of destruction. Worse than that, they threaten to join forces with the alien horde.
Defeat seems inevitable. Craze may not be able to stop it. Yet home is worth the fight.

Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to M. Pax, and she blames Oregon for that, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, teaching the public about the stars and the galaxy. A Bachelors of Science in Journalism, she had former lives in marketing and television before settling down to write. Want to know more?


ESCALATION: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan
The author promises sci-fi, action, horror and even some romance. 

The other books in the series are Breakthrough and Opening are also available. Great reads if you're looking for betrayal, passion, lust (and who isn't?) unconditional love and hope. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

A to Z Blog Challenge Theme Reveal and Those Small Things to Celebrate

Happy A to Z Blog Challenge

Theme Reveal



Déjà vu 2013

Remember this badge from 2013? Well this year I'll be taking you back to last year's A to Z. Some of you will recognize your own posts from last year, so you're sure to guess one right.

Here's how it will work:

  • I'll post a mystery A to Z blogger's post from 2013. 
  • I'll give you a hint if I can.
  • There will be prizes each week for those who: 

    1) guess the most mystery bloggers each week.
    2) leave additional information about the post, so I can learn something more about the topic. 
    3) make me laugh or think with your comment.



My lettuce crop is coming up. 
I'm eating Fava Beans from the garden. 
My peach tree is in full blossom. 
My computer works. 
I've finished reading John Adams' bio. 
I just started the final revisions on my sequel to Alligators Overhead. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Blogger Wish List



Since many of us are getting ready for the A to Z Blog Challenge, I thought I'd rant a bit about what I wish wouldn't happen in the Blogging World.

  • I wish there was no such thing as Word Verification. I get somewhat testy after taking out the magnifying glass and deciphering the cryptic numbers and blurred letters, then seeing this message: "Your comment will be available after approval." 


  • I wish that bloggers would tidy up their profiles so that long abandoned blogs were not listed. 

  • I wish that comments like "Congrats!" and "Have a good day!" didn't appear after someone posts about their Pomeranian's abduction by aliens or their liver transplant.  Reading the post or at least gleaning the message makes the blogging exchange interesting.
So there's my wish list. Anything you'd like to add to it?


My book and I are guests at thebooksage today. I'd love it if you'd stop by, take a peek at the review and say hi to this book reviewer. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrating The Small Things. The A to Z Blog Challenge!


  • The lettuce I planted is up an inch. In a few weeks I'll be eating my own fresh crop.
  • The library asked me to do a book presentation for the middle graders. Yay!
  • Two wonderful friends called and we're getting together next week after several months of not doing that.
  • I slept late this morning because I. . . (fill in the blank)
  • I love my A to Z Blog Challenge theme for 2014. 
  • I'm ready to REVEAL my 2014 A to Z theme on March 21st.
  • This is March.
  • I'm still "with it" enough to know this is March. (Not really a small thing, but I wanted to include it.)
  • I just had the best cup of coffee in world.



Thanks to Damyanti’s amazing Team for hosting this fine event. Be sure to visit their blogs now – VidyaAnnaCsengeGuilieSamanthaJemima and Mary.

Monday, March 10, 2014

School Presentation: How and Why To Do Them


On Thursday I was at Los Altos High and had the pleasure of talking to three English classes--one senior and two sophomore sections. The kids were so wonderful that it made me nostalgic for those classroom days when I taught English.


In the 40 minutes I had, I told them a little about who I was and what I wrote, read from two of my YA novels, then gave them a 10 minute writing exercise, saving the last 5-10 minutes for Q and A.

I based the exercise on beginnings. A few weeks before I'd submitted sample beginnings of stories I'd written, they'd read them and we discussed what I call the EICE, /ice/, formula. Credit for this goes to Stein in Stein on Writing, and I keep it posted above my desk.

  • Excite the reader's curiosity about the character or relationship.
  • Introduce the setting and tone.
  • Create images for reader.
  • Evoke emotions.

They wrote, trying to follow the formula and produced some great beginnings. 

The best part of this kind of presentation is that you not only engage with young readers, you also have the chance to meet their teachers and talk to school librarians. As a result of my presentation, my books will be on Los Altos library shelves. 

I left bookmarks, business cards and some postcards with my book covers on them. The students snatched those up, so I'm hoping they'll be interested enough to follow through with a visit to my website and that they'll be curious enough about my books to read them. 

Of all the promotion I do, this is my favorite.


Are you ready for the A to Z Blog Challenge of 2014? About three weeks to kick off! Sign up. Create your theme. Then reveal it if you want on March 21!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celebrating Friday Among Other Small Things

  • My computer hasn't exploded yet today.
  • I've gradually recovered most of my data from the nuclear explosion on my C Drive last week.
  • I enjoyed the Academy Awards Ceremony with some friends.
  • My high school presentations went well. The kids were great.
  • I have my Young Writers' Workshop organized for Saturday.

That's enough to Celebrate, don't you think? What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writers' Support Group and Some Gratitude and I'm Totally Blitzed


Just a touch of Insecurity
Might detract from my Maturity.
Some days my prose soars to the sky.
Then on others it might well die.
If I could only surely say 
That the muse was here to stay,
You would never hear my childish screams,
And I would sleep in bundled dreams.

It has taken me over three months to come back to a center where I feel somewhat stable. My mom's death and my son's accident coming at the same time, threw me off in many ways. First, I didn't have time to think about my mom not being here. I was so steeped in making trips to the hospital to see my son and talking to doctors that I often forgot my mom entirely. Then one evening, when I usually called to check in with her, I picked up the phone to say hi. Only to tell myself I couldn't call her because I'd have to tell her about her grandson, and that would upset her. It a few moments before I knew that wasn't reason I couldn't call her.

  • My gratitude is that my son has improved and that doctors feel he will continue to do so. 
  • My gratitude is that I have a caring supportive family and friends. 
  • My gratitude is that I can appreciate what I have and not dwell on what I do not.

Yesterday we BLITZED Bish Denham and Nicole Olea. Are you next?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Communicate What You Mean: Her Grammarness Lives. Then There's Something Called A to Z Blog Challenge

Her Grammarness Wears This While Writing.
(Not really)

If you can't express your ideas clearly on the page, you're not communicating what you want.

At a book signing one of the people in the audience asked, "Do you pay attention to grammar when you write?"

I was with two other authors. One said sometimes. The other said never.

Guess what I said?

Actually, I think I uttered more of a loud English teacher moan before I said, "Without following the writing conventions, we can't communicate what we really mean."

Kind of pompous? Maybe, but come on writers, if you're not clear when you set down your ideas on a page, what do you expect, your readers to do--call you up and ask, "What did you mean when you wrote this?"

Personally, I don't like late night phone calls (I expect that's when I'd get these kinds of calls), so I'm willing to put in the extra care to get the grammar and, for that matter, the punctuation as correct as I can. Even then, I want a keen-eyed editor going over my prose--I messed up on this once, but never again. That's a long and embarrassing story that I shall reveal upon my deathbed, but not before.

I went exploring on the good old Internet and found a few places that are great resources for anyone trying to put ideas on a page. Here are some links, so check them out when you're not sure about your punctuation or when you have to win an argument over that lie/lay-sit/set-passed/past issue. Never again dangle those participles and never again wonder if your clauses are restrictive and need commas or non-restrictive and don't.


I caught the tail end of the #atozchallenge Tweet Chat Friday night. I met some new Tweeps and chatted afterward. As one of M.J. Joachim's Team, I like to explore what's going on. You might check out the Chat next Friday evening. It starts at 5PM. 

Here's the rest of JOCHIM'S lovely A to Z Team

Suzanne Sapsed - Suzanne’s Tribe
Sherry Ellis - Mama Diaries & Gone Gardening  
Bish Denham - Random Thoughts