Monday, August 31, 2015

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Barry Lyga

Hat's Off Corner Welcomes Barry Lyga

Last month I read Boy Toy by Barry Lyga and knew I'd be one of his fans from then on. I admit to some gushing in a comment on his blog, and then I did a very bold (for me) thing. I emailed him and asked him if he'd care to visit my blog. And HE SAID YES!!

So here is one of new favorite authors. Mr. Barry Lyga. And here's my REVIEW of Boy Toy if you want to see what I wrote.

Barry Lyga's Website

You're a busy dad and author, so I wanted you to know you made my month by taking time for this interview here on The Write Game.  

Let's start with one question I always like to hear the answer to: As a writer I look to others whom I enjoy reading for inspiration. Do you have a writer or writers you read for inspiration?

B.L.  I tend to be inspired by whatever it is I'm into at the moment. There are some things I read in my youth -- the comic books of Paul Levitz and Alan Moore, REPLAY by Ken Grimwood -- that have lingered and seem to inform everything I do, but in general, I don't go any particular author in search of inspiration. I read for amusement, for pleasure, for the joy of seeing someone craft with words. Inspiration is a nice side effect, when it happens.

Me: Can you talk a bit about your experience with rejection, how you handled it, what you learned from it? Any “advice” to those who are still getting the “Thank you, but no thank you” letters?

B.L. My advice is simple: Get used to it. There's this myth out there that once someone says "Yes," you'll never hear "No" again. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've been a professional novelist for ten years; I've published over a dozen books, including a New York Times bestseller, and I still get rejections. You just have be prepared for it. I generally try to assume that everything I do will be rejected. Then, if it isn't, I get a nice surprise! Whatever your coping mechanism for rejection happens to be, don't toss it out the window with glee when you get that first acceptance -- you'll need it again.

Me: Is there a story behind the story of this latest book that you wish to share? The ah-ha or lightning moment where the story inspiration struck?

B.L. For AFTER THE RED RAIN, I guess the moment was when Rob and Peter told me the basic idea of it and asked me to write it! I thought, "I bet I could write the hell out of that!" It's up to the reader to determine whether or not I did, of course!4. What’s the hardest part of being a successful, published author? (i.e. finding time to write, creating new books that are of the same caliber as your other successes).

You can get your copy NOW

Me: What’s the hardest part of being a successful, published author? (i.e. finding time to write, creating new books that are of the same caliber as your other successes).

B.L. I have trouble with this question because I don't entirely agree with the premise -- I don't think of myself as "successful." I think of myself as failing more gracefully, perhaps! For every book I've published, I can think of someway I failed it, either by missing a great moment or not pushing it out into the world hard enough. You come close with the idea of "creating new books that are of the same caliber as your other successes." I've always wanted each book of mine to be better than the one before it. Sometimes, I've managed to hit that goal, but other times not. Finding time to write is a problem only insofar as I'm now a stay-at-home dad and my first priority is my daughter. But even with that tiny, adorable, slobbering obstacle in my way, I've still managed to find time to write a new book this year. The hardest part of this life, truthfully, is the very real fact that once I've written a book, it's fate is pretty much out of my hands. The publisher, the booksellers, and the readers will determine its fate, and there's pretty much nothing I can do about it at that point. A tough lesson!

Me: "Failing more gracefully" is going to go on my bulletin board. But if your other books are as riveting as Boy Toy I'll come by and disagree with you--nicely.

Thanks again. It has been great to read your answers. Hope others will glean help from them. And here's to your latest book--After the Red Rain--just out and getting fab reviews. 


Quote of the Week: 

What do you think about Barry Lyga's answers to my questions? Hope you'll take a look at what he writes. It's refreshing and bright stuff. How about you and rejection? What's your take on that part of life?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hot August Nights Special Offer Winners, WEP Spectacular Settings, Hats Off Corner Welcomes Medeia Shariff

I sent my subscriber-peeps my Hot August Nights Special Offer and I have two winners, chosen at random. Christine Rains and Mike Boyd will each receive $10 to add books to their libraries or their Kindles, Nooks or bookshelves. Congrats. And thanks for adding your name to my Special Offers Mailing List. Stay tuned for next month's offer. 


Anyone interested in joining Denise Covey's and Yolanda Renee's WEP Hop? HERE'S where you sign up. Not too late. I've already posted my contribution, and you might like to see what others have written.


Hats Off Corner welcomes Medeia Shariff
HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books/Torquere Press
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Purchase from PrizmAmazon (vendor links will be updated on the author's site)

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle... ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape.

A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures -- blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Enter the HPITC book blast giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Quote of the Week: "Life is like a lot of jazz--it's best when you improvise." George Gershwin

And that's a wrap! Are you in the hop? Do you hop? (Just kidding.) Want to find out about that rare cassette Asma ruins? Improvise much? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WEP Spectacular Settings

Densie Covey, Yolanda Renee

I  wasn't going to do this, but I'm always going on and on about how much I love description, so I caved. For me setting is very important when I read and when I write. If it's not done well, it might as well not be in the book.

The idea of this HOP is to post description you found spectacular, and then post something of your own. (optional BTW)

This comes from Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Her setting descriptions are amazing. Here's the one I've chosen for today.


The store has been here only for a year. But already many look at it and think it was always.

I can understand why. Turn the crooked corner of Esperanza where the Oakland busses hiss to a stop and you’ll see it. Perfect-fitted between the narrow barred door to Rosa’s Weekly Hotel, still blackened from a year-ago fire, and Lee Ying’s Sewing Machine and Vacuum Cleaner Repair, with the glass cracked between the R and the e. Grease-smudge window. Looped letters that say SPICE BAZAAR faded into a dried-mud brown. Inside, walls veined with cobwebs where hang discolored pictures of the gods, their sad shadow eyes. Metal bins with the shine long gone from them, heaped with atta and Basmati rice and masoor dal. Row upon row of videomovies, all the way back to the time of black-and white. Bolts of fabric dyed in age-old colors, New Year yellow, harvest green, bride’s luck red.


I loved this setting of Divakaruni's because it did so much more than paint the picture of the shop located on a city street with the bustle of ethnic diversity. It captured a sense of the character’s dialect, the smell of her shop and the taste of the spices—all central to the story. To me, that’s great writing.

Now for my humble Spectacular Setting. You're the first to read it--besides my wonderful critique group. This is from my latest WIP. Think about desert while you read it. Oh, and a motel just outside of a town called Rattlesnake. Sound like fun? Here's what my characters see, driving along a hot, sandy road.

It sat between two gas pumps and a gift shop. Twelve motel doors, six up and six down, were painted with Japanese cherry blossoms, a failed attempt to disguise three tacked together, stucco buildings. Someone must have seen that the blossoms weren’t going to do the trick so they painted the walls and the roof pink. And it wasn’t a sandy desert pink; it was hot pink. It was like finding a huge pink whale in the middle of a desert.

Anyone interested in joining this Hop? HERE'S where you sign up.

I'll be posting on my usual Monday, so hope to see you there.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Random Me on Monday

It's hot. It's dry. I'm stressed to the max about any number of things that seem important right now, but probably won't next month. All of this is to say I could not think of anything I wanted to blog about today. Until I took a break and read a magazine. And, guess what? I found stuff I wanted to share.

Totally Random and Almost Useless Facts:

  • A group of jellyfish is called a "smack."
  • A large river hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a four-foot child.
  • The life span of a taste bud is about 10 days.
  • Dixon Ticonderoga Company produces approximately .5 billion pencils annually.
  • It took 101 days for the Pilgrims to sail from Southhampton, England to Plymouth, Mass in 1620.


I seldom do any reviews of TV anything, but I discovered a show called Psych that actually made me laugh. It's on Netflix (I gave up on TV years ago), so you've probably seen it and forgotten you did. If you missed it, give it a try. Dule Hill and James Roday are a riot together. And Corbin Bernsen is his usual "interesting" self in the role of Dad.


Quote of the Week: "Most of American life is driving somewhere, and then driving back wondering why the hell you went." John Updike

Are you ready for fall to kick in? Any random facts that you care to share? Know about Psyche?

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Green in Ireland and August Happenings

My Friend on Inish Mor
I've had enough about Leap Castle and it's dreadful history, and I'm sure my readers have as well. Ireland may be filled with ghostly places, but it's also filled with lots of beauty and laughter. The Emerald Isle has my heart, and I think my ancestors must have either been desperate or nuts to leave it.  Here are a few places I love.
Howth (rhymes with both)--a hike you can't miss.

Enniskerry--a village I want in a story.

Roscrea--one of my favorite inland places. Home of Leap Castle.

Hungry Author at The Thatch--300-year-old pub

Powerscourt--Very posh. Very beautiful.
Inish Mor--an island hike and my second time around it!

The Apre-Hike Guinness


A few things happening in August

I'm sending my second SPECIAL OFFERS NEWSLETTER next week. Hope you're on my list to have a chance at this month's offer.

WEP August Challenge. The first Challenge is SPECTACULAR SETTINGS. Are you in? If not, here's the sign-up LINK!

Eileen Schuh has corralled 12 UncommonYA authors who are donating everything from Sci-Fi to Gritty YA.  August 5-September 3 ENTER HERE. I'm offering up a choice of my eBooks. 

UncommonYA is celebrating TWO YEARS! They're popping the champagne corks and offering up books galore. ENTER today. You can stock up on your winter reading and all for free.

Quote of the Week: "If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough." Mario Andretti.

Have I interested you in visiting Ireland? Are you ready for August and all those freebies? Going fast enough?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG, AtoZ Road Trip, Win Some Books--What A Wednesday!

Alex J. Cavanaugh

I used to think that insecurity would vanish as I grew older and improved my craft. That is not the case. 

If anything, I think it has increased in size and duration--like, it's no longer gorilla big; it's gorilla ginormous, and it's there all the time. 

Photo Credit
So why? 

My theory is that the more you come to understand what you're up against in the publishing world, the more you anticipate those hurdles and know just what it takes to get over them. There's something positive about having that knowledge, but I think that knowledge also is anxiety producing, which leads to insecurity, and which leads me to write posts like this every first Wednesday of the month.

Hosts The Madlab Post & Write Game

I'm also posting on The Road Trip this summer while I take a road trip or two with Mario the Muse. He and I needed a break and new scenery. If you have time I'm featuring a few bloggers on my latest post. It could be YOU, so come take a peek.

On the road with Mario


And now for a major DRUMROLL kind of announcement. 12 UncommonYA authors have banded together and are offering. . .SURPRISE!!!! Books. Yes, indeed. Winning them is a snap. Enter here. Rafflecopter Giveaway

Do you have a theory about this thing we label as insecurity? Taking any road trips this summer? Want more books to wrap up your summer reading? 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Leap Castle's Elemental Spirit

Stand Aside. I'm Out of Here

Now that I'm home and safe from the evil spirits of Leap Castle, I think I was darned brave to have ventured up those winding stone stairs and to have stood where there's the Oubliette (the opening into which hundreds of people were tossed to their deaths--see my FIRST POST about this horror). 

Come on. Say I was. And take a look at my selfie in the Chapel. Does it look a bit misty? The rest of my pictures don't. 

Is That A Ghostly Light Around Me?

If the stories about the Elemental Spirit are true, I could have been gobbled up, never to have blogged again. 

Elementals Lurk in a lot of places.
Photo Credit

Now remember in that earlier post, I remarked that Sean Ryan, the owner, didn't tell me about the spirits he's seen, even when I asked him to tell me about things of interest in the castle. I knew the stories he wasn't sharing, but I kept wondering why. Maybe he thought I wouldn't climb to the Bloody Chapel. Maybe he thought I'd run out the door without leaving my euros because I had to go up without him (he was having a bad knee day). Who knows, but here's a link to a TRAVEL PROGRAM and listen to what he tells the interviewer. 

Come on, Sean, a little warning might have been a good thing. And next visit, I'm bringing my camera crew.

Next Week: More about Ireland, but nothing spooky.


Did everyone sign the PETITION to stop Amazon from playing Big Brother more than usual? Hope so. They are one hostile company and this is another of their decisions that points up the dangers of having only ONE choice in the marketplace. Support those Indie Bookstores and anyplace else that sells books. 


Quote of the Week: "A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular." Adlai Stevenson

Are you ready for a tour of Leap Castle? Did you sign the petition? Love that quote?