Monday, April 17, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & #AtoZChallenge 2017 & Those Tomatoes!

Let me Tell You A Story about. . .my movie cast for Double Negative. For a few weeks I'll be sharing my cast and a bit about them.

Amy Schumer

Casting Nyla and Maggie was challenging. I imagined them as strong, unique females characters.  

Here's a Nyla line after one of the "mean girls" tries to embarrass her in class: 

“I would take the time to tell you exactly how inane, how deplorably bad your taste and sense of propriety are, but since you do not have the capacity for processing more than a single syllable or a single idea at a time, I won’t waste my breath.”

 Yay for Nyla!

Maggie was a joy to create. Smart, feisty, 70, and now facing a final challenge in her life. While writing this story I wondered who was saving whom. Was Maggie saving Hutch or Hutch saving Maggie? Here's Maggie as I imagined her, and one short scene where she's describing her appointment with a psychiatrist. 

“Oh, he meant well, but that last question made me snap. ‘Who’s the president?’” 
“Uh oh.” The priest leans back in his chair, his hands behind his head. “And you told him, right?”
“You bet. A tax and spend liberal who shouldn’t be licensed to drive a car let alone run a country. That’s who.” 
Heather’s rubbing her eyes.
“Of course, then I backed up because I realized this kid had voted for him.” She turns to her daughter. “I gave him the answer, Heather.”

One Reviewer Says: "I really loved Nyla and Maggie. They're very different, but both brilliant and—in Maggie’s case—hysterical, and I am literally sitting here at my computer grinning just thinking about them."

Double Negative

Here are a couple more #AtoZ Challengers that I'm enjoying from the sidelines this year. Give them a visit, and you won't be disappointed. The theme here is Materials in Mythology and Speculative Fiction, so if you're a sci-fi reader, this one's for you! And if you want some Speculative Fiction with a Telepathic twist, visit J. Lennie Dorner on his daily post from A to Z.

Tomato Report: They've been moved to the sunnier greenhouse and soaking up the rays of this April.

Quote of the Week: This meme says it all!

Do you like to read about feisty female characters regardless of their age? Are you visiting some interesting A to Z blogs this year? Are you at all passionate about garden-fresh tomatoes?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & #AtoZChallenge 2017 & Tomatoes?

Let me Tell You A Story about. . .after the fun of seeing Double Negative in print, I decided to have some more fun and create a movie cast for my characters. For a few weeks I'll be sharing my cast and bit about them. 

Brant Daugherty

The MC was easy. Brant Daugherty's the perfect Hutchison McQueen. He's a bright kid who's virtually illiterate and living in home where he's either abused or ignored. 

Here's the first time you meet Hutch.

 Kranski’s office might as well be home. I spend more time with him than I do with Dee Dee, and for good reason: the principal’s friendlier than my mom. 

Double Negative


I have Winners to Announce: 
Rachel, Cassey, Laurel, Katy, Katie, Theresa
Their books are on the way!

While I didn't take the challenge this year, I have been visiting some bloggers who did. Here's someone I just discovered and enjoyed a lot. You might want to give Chris Votey a visit. His theme is great fun. Don't miss Hilary's posts. As always they're the best and D will have you in stitches. Ducks do that!

And about those tomatoes! I'm going to start my Monday Tomato Report. I never plot my books, but each year I plot how I'm going to have the juciest, the freshest, the most amazing tomatoes on the planet. And this year, I'm going to share that progress with you.

SEEDS from Tomato Bob! 

Yes, there is a Tomato Bob, and each year I order my hybrid seeds from him. He sends me a cheery note and these delicate little packets of potential. Then in February I plant all of that potential in loamy soil and set them in the greenhouse.

Here are my little greenhouse darlings in March!

Quote of the Week: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad." Brian O'Driscoll, Irish Athlete

Does Hutch get to you with this beginning? Are you doing or following others on the A to Z Challenge? Do you wait all year for the perfect tomato? 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#IWSG Peeps. . .Why Tackle the Alphabet in April?

#YASH is still on until 4/9 NOON. Check out the hundreds of books to win!

Sign Up!
Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh

The question is optional! 

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG will be Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

Sign Up!

I can't even remember how or why I started doing the A to Z Challenge. What attracted me to it was all of the fascinating themes people chose. I learned so much that I had to repeat the experience for several years in a row. Not only did I learn from others, but I learned a lot about the theme I chose. I'm missing it this year, but I hope to be back in 2018. 

As to the second part of this question, I'd say the results were that I connected with a lot people who in turn connected me with others. 

Learning new things and connecting with others are two reasons I keep coming back for a month of alphabetizing.

How's everyone doing on the Insecure front these days? Are you doing the A to Z Challenge 2017? Why? Why not?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's #YASH Time Again!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes!  But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! 

April 4, Noon-April 9, Noon

There are FIVE contests going on: 1. BLUE Team 2. RED team 3. GOLD team 4. PINK team 5. PURPLE team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

You can enter one or all! As you can tell, I'm a part of the BLUE TEAM.

To enter, you need to know what my favorite number is. Being number 2 has never appealed to me, so I try to win all the time. Now add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the BLUE TEAM and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize! 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 9, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Today I'm so lucky to be featuring Printip Dunn. She's giving us a very special treat by letting us read the beginning of her new novel, Girl on the Verge. And her sample is great! So here's Pintip Dunn.

I am so excited to share the never-before-seen beginning of my new novel, GIRL ON THE VERGE, which releases on June 27! Hope you enjoy! Printip Dunn

A fish swims beneath the open staircase in my Khun Yai’s house. A real live fish, with its translucent fins fluttering in the water, its belly gold-scaled and bloated from regular feedings. 

If I part my knees, I can catch long glimpses of its lazy swimming through the gap in the stairs. 

Of course, I’m not supposed to part my knees. It’s not ladylike for a twelve-year-old girl, not here, not in Thailand. The land where my parents grew up; the place that’s supposed to be my home, too. That’s what the banner said when my relatives came to pick us up at the airport. “Welcome home, Kanchana.”

Never mind that I only come to Thailand every couple years. 

Never mind that I don’t look like anyone else here, with my American build and my frizzy, out-of-control hair. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone in my hometown, either, since I’m the only Asian girl in school. Never mind that the only reason we’re here now is because my father’s dead and my mom can’t keep it together. 

For a moment, pain lances through me, so sharp and severe that it might as well slice my heart in half, like in one of those video games my friends like to play. I squeeze my eyes shut, but that doesn’t keep the tears from spilling out. Neither do the glasses sliding down my nose. And so the tears drip down, down, down, past my unladylike knees, through the gap in the stairs, into the fish basin below.

The drops scare the fish, who swims away with its tail swishing in the water, no longer languid, no longer lazy. So, even this creature wants to get away from me—from my grief, from my strangeness—as quickly as possible. 

“There you are, luk lak,” Khun Yai says in Thai, coming down the stairs. She is my mother’s mother, and since we arrived, she’s used the endearment—child that I love—more often than my name. 

“You’re up early.” She pats her forehead with a handkerchief. It’s only seven a.m., and already sweat drenches my skin like I’ve taken a dip in the basin. No wonder they take two or three showers a day here.

“Couldn’t sleep. Jet lag.” 

“I’ve been up for a couple hours myself.” She eases onto the step next to me, her knees pressed together, her legs folded demurely to one side.

Immediately, I try to rearrange my body to look like hers and then give up. My legs just don’t go that way. 

“What do you want to do today?” Khun Yai asks. “More shopping?” 

“Um, no thanks.” I make a face. “Didn’t you hear those salesgirls at Siam Square yesterday? They rushed up as soon as we entered and said they didn’t have anything in my size.” My cheeks still burn when I think about their haughty expressions. 
She sighs. “The clothes there are just ridiculously small. We’ll go to the mall today. They should have something that will fit you.”

I stare at her diminutive frame and her chopstick legs. “One of the salesgirls asked how much I weighed. Another grabbed my arm and said I felt like a side pillow.”

“They didn’t mean any harm. It is just the Thai way to be blunt.” She catches my chin and tilts up my face. “You are so beautiful. I wish you could see that.”

I could say so many things. I could tell her that I’m ugly not only in Thailand but also in the United States. Even though I’m not big by American standards—far from it—I could confess how the boys call me Squinty. How those Thai salesgirls snickered at my poodle-fuzz hair. I could explain how I’m from two worlds but fit in neither.

But I don’t. Because my words will only make her sad, and there have been enough tears in our family.

Connect with this author!

NOW, because it's spring and because this is a special week on The Write Game, I'm offering up three eBooks of Double Negative and three eBooks of Sudden Secrets.

And if you haven't already joined me on my website, you can get an instant gift by signing up HERE

CONTINUE THE HUNT. . .To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author! Tobie Easton. And please let me know in your comments what you think of this hunt. Is it something you'd participate in if you wrote YA? 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Alert! Busy Week Ahead

I started blogging only on Mondays a while back to save my sanity and get a few other things done, like, write some books and talk to my friends and family more frequently. It worked. But this week I'm doing a bit extra and I'll be posting about a special event on Tuesday! So I hope you'll give me another look--NOON TOMORROW. 

From April 4, Noon to April 9, Noon

This is my second year to participate in the #YASH. It's short. It's fun and there are tons of free YA books. I'm on the BLUE TEAM! A perfect color for the book I'll be giving away (first cover, top left), don't you think?

Hope you'll check in tomorrow, enter to win, and perhaps meet some other bloggers/writers that you might not otherwise.

Meanwhile, don't forget to sign up for #ISWG Book Club on Goodreads! We're reading Chapter After Chapter, so don't miss the discussion.

Get your #IWSGPit Pitch ready. There's going to be tons of opportunity to show agents and publishers your work.

Will you enter the #YASH to win a few books? Will I see you at the #IWSG Book Club? How about the Pitch Party? 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Cookies and Milk for all #A to Z Challenge Peeps

Join Up

I can't do the A to Z this year, but here are some cookies and milk for you guys who are. Oh, and some encouraging pep talks.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sweep Up The Kitchen Time!

Yep! It's time to tidy up this here blog and get set up for April. So here's my Spring Cleaning Post.

The big news is Elephant's Child is the winner of one of Bish's eBooks! Congratulations. 

This month's Featured Follower has been Bish Denham. And what a wonderful follower Bish is. We've been playing tag with each other since I started this blog in 2007. Holy Molly, folks! That's ten years.

Well, after that shock here's a bit about Email Connect, which The Write Game's small contribution to helping authors. 

Read and review your book (Amazon and Goodreads) and mark it as “Am Reading/Read” on Goodreads.

Feature you on The Write Game two times.

Post your cover on Pinterest under Covers That Catch My Eye.

Feature you/your book on Email Connect that goes out on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Post on fb and link to your review.

Each Wednesday post tweets about your book three times throughout the day.

I'll be skipping a Featured Follower in April, but stay tuned for who the next author will be in May.

IWSG News:

The #IWSGPit is on and becoming very exciting with all of the agents and publishers signing on to participate. Put July 27 on your calendar!

If you haven't jumped into the Goodreads Book Club yet, for heaven sakes what are you waiting for? A book club for writers to read/learn about the writing craft. No promo. No review requests. Join us today.

The #AtoZ 2017

I was all set to do the #AtoZChallenge this year, when whammo, my already damaged shoulder started giving me fits. Now, it's affecting my right arm and hand, so hi ho, hi ho it's off to therapy I go. AGAIN. Since I have to keep my typing to a minimum, I'll be cheerleading this year, but the good news is I have 2018 all ready to go.

Young Adult Scavenger Hunt

#YASH/ @YAScavengerHunt is on again and I'll be posting how to enter soon. And since it's only on from Tuesday, April 4th at 12 pm Pacific Time to Sunday, April 9th at noon Pacific time, my doctor says I can do it. Hope you'll support the Blue Team and try to win some books. Take a look at the books we're giving away.

Here's to a wonderful and exciting April. I'll pop in and during the #AtoZ alphabet marathon with my pom poms and some encouragement. Have you joined #IWSG Goodreads Book Club? Will you take part in the #IWSGPit? Are you #AtoZing?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Embarrassed and Near Death, Not in that Order

Let Me Tell You A Story

Over the years I've heard or read stories about other people's lives. I've also had a few experiences that have entered into my "Let me tell you about the time" category. Some of these stories have crept into my books. Others are waiting in the wings. Here's one about the time I was sure I was going to die--either of a particularly evil stomach complaint or embarrassment.

Havana grocery shopping.

In Cuba a couple of years ago seven friends and I hired a bus and a guide for a couple of weeks to take us from Havana around the island. One morning I felt lousy, and when we hit a rough and endless road, I went from lousy to miserable. There's nothing like a Cuban backroad to churn your stomach into a slushy volcano. I took over the back seat and stretched out. At least I wouldn't die sitting up. When we did find a small town, there were no restrooms for weary tourists with engorged bladders and, in my case, a Vesuvius stomach. 

Bougainvillea and Moorish Architecture
A Never-Fail Combination

Juni, our guide who had been a professor at the university and became a guide so she could support her family (bless Castro), turned out to be one resourceful and spirited girl. She had the bus driver stop in town, found a house and negotiated with the owner until her eight tourists could use the bathroom. Yay, Juni!

Inside the house the living room was small and pink with a large TV, a couch and tons of doilies. If I didn't get into that bathroom immediately, I was going hurl all over that pink room and those doilies, so I dashed in, and barely noticing that this room was a baby blue, hurled into the porcelain bowl. Problem solved. But not quite. When I pushed the lever, nothing happened. Being mechanically inclined (cue laughter) I removed the doily and miscellaneous objects from the back of the toilet, lifted the lid and discovered. . . this water closet had no water. 

Havana Open Book Market (double entendre fun)

I stuck my head out the door, avoiding the glares from the engorged seven, and yelled, "Juni, I need a bucket of water!" Being a Cubana, she immediately translated that to mean, el baƱo no funciona and came to my rescue. 

Moral of this story: hire a university professor as a tour guide.

Did You Know. . .
The average wage for Cubans was $17/month in 2015. It rose to $25/month in 2016. 

Quote of the Week: “The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.” 
G.K. Chesterton, author

Monday, March 13, 2017

Oh Shoot! It's the Tunnel Chute & #IWSG News

Let Me Tell You A Story

Over the years I've heard or read stories about other people's lives. I've also had a few experiences that have entered into my "Let me tell you about the time" category. Some of these stories have crept into my books. Others are waiting in the wings. Here's one about the time I ran the Tunnel Chute.

This is the North Fork on a different rafting adventure. My son's to my right. My husband's down in front and almost under water. Nobody filmed my Tunnel Chute experience. My family said they were glad they missed that trip.

I'd rafted the North and South Fork of the American River, but not the Middle, so when a friend asked if I wanted to go on one of his rafting trips, I jumped at the chance. We'd had a wet year, and the river was boasting a lot of Class V rapids.

I wound up with a group of about five other rafters plus the guide who were all surfers from Santa Cruz. They were also about twenty years younger than I was and were still immortal. I didn't know that until after I stepped into the raft, so common sense had no part in my decision to go along.

When we came to the Tunnel Chute, the river guide made us hike up to the top of the gorge and "study" the rapid. He told us we had to have our paddles in when he called for them, and we had to hit the boulder on the far bank with our raft at an exact spot. If we did it right, we'd bounce back, into the rapid and be on our way down river. If we missed. . .well, let's just say, we didn't want that to happen. A lot of the others on the river that day portaged around the Chute, others capsized and swam. 

They save the Tunnel Chute for the last. It's worth the wait! 

As I stepped into the raft, I eyed the trail, thinking portaging sounded darned good, but I grabbed my paddle, said a prayer to the river god and pushed off. 

I was aft with the guide, so when we hit the rapid, and he yelled paddles in, then flew off the back of the raft, I was the only one who knew the six of us were on our own. I didn't have time to shout, "guide overboard" before our raft "folded" and I flew up and out. The river god must have heard my prayer because before I had a chance to go under water a second time, the water threw me back into my seat, paddle and all.

We shot that rapid and, of course, celebrated our success by jumping into the icy water. Why not. We were already soaked and blue. The guide met us. He swam the rapid faster than we rafted it.  

An interesting fact about the American RiverThe river is known for the 1848 discovery of gold at Coloma which started the California Gold Rush and contributed to the initial large-scale settlement of California by European immigrants. 

Quote of the Week: The danger sensation is exciting. The challenge is to find new dangers. Ayrton Senna, Brazilian Celeb.

Here's a special Announcement from #IWSG!

Not on Goodreads?
The IWSG book club is a good reason to join.
Hope to see you there

Monday, March 6, 2017

I'm Back with March's Featured Follower, Bish Denham

Did you miss me? I missed you, but I loved my break and how it re-energized me. I hiked, even in the rain! I ate extra cake because it was my birthday--I decided to have a birthday month instead of only one day. More cake that way! I learned how to be an administrator for IWSG. Very interesting and fun to do. And I remembered some more stories I want to share with you. 

And now I'm here with my Featured Follower for March, Bish Denham. Yay, Bish! Great to feature you and your books this month. 

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there and visits them regularly.

She says, "Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named them, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. Pirates plied the waters and hundred of years of slavery left its indelible mark. It was within this atmosphere of magic and wonder that I grew up. My hope is pass some of that magic and wonder on to my readers."


She has published three magical tales.

A Lizard's Tale: From the moment he hatches, Marvin P. Tinkleberry knows he is destined for greatness. For one, he has a marvelous, well-groomed tail. For another he can puff out his throat pouch in the most spectacular way. Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters. REVIEW

The Bowl and the Stone: It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike. REVIEW

Anansi and Company: How do you escape a hungry tiger? Why do ram-goats smell? What happens if you get too greedy? In this collection of ten retold Jamaican stories, Anansi the spider tricks, sings, and dances his way into and out of trouble. REVIEW

GIVEAWAY: Bish is generously giving one of her books away (digital format). To request your copy of a book of your choice, just leave a request in the comment and a way we can contact you. 

Quote of the Week: "The wonder of imagination is this: It has the power to light its own fire." John L. Mason, author

Next Week: Let Me Tell You a Story returns with Oh Shoot! It's the Tunnel Chute.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Holy Moly #IWSG Wednesday Has Arrived

Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

Taking a month away from social media is great except the return is a bit overwhelming. And does that add to the insecurities? Absolutely.

  • Will I get everything done that I'm supposed to? 
  • Will I do it by the deadline? 
  • Will I do it well? 

Do any of those questions sound familiar? Have you ever taken a month off your social media to do all that other stuff you need or want to do, or are you among the sane ones who don't do social media?

March Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I wasn't going to answer this month's IWSG question, but it so happens that did pull out an old story. I reworked it. My agent loved it, but I wasn't happy with it. There was something off about it, and I never could put my finger on what that was. My agent has let me pull it to do some more fiddling--she's very understanding--but I'm wondering if I just should have left that thing tucked inside my C-drive in the first place. It may be a story that I should have let die a nice, quiet death.

Now here's some excellent news: IWSG has some new and lovely SWAG for y'all! Stop by the site and pick out something you like and can use. AND. . . 

stay tuned for #IWSG Twitter Pitch Party! Do you have a hot idea you want to try out? This will be your chance. Want the details? Ask and you shall receive.