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Next Big Thing Blog Hop: I’ve Been Nominated :) #WIP #writing

So, I was recently tagged by fellow author, Terri Rochenski in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop of sorts. This one is for your current WIP, so I thought it would be fun to try and answer the questions posed. On that note, you should stop by her blog and check out her post on Pool of Souls, a story I am lucky to be a beta reader for — You will love it!

So anyway, without any further ado and delay… here we go…

What is the working title of your book? 

Destiny’s Trial and Legend of the Mist

Where did the idea for the book come from?
The idea for this particular tale in what I hope to be a series, is an image file sent out by J.Taylor Publishing as a prompt for short story submissions. The picture got the mental juices going, as it was just perfect for the characters I had floating about in my head in a vague, shapeless form, and the basic premise of the story was born.
What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy (Romance)
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That is a tough question to answer at this point in the process, but I guess for Jyslin (pronounced Jice-linn) I would have to go with Olivia Wilde. For Domnu, the male lead character the choice is a bit more difficult. He would have to be somewhat dark and sarcastic, sure of himself…hmmm.. for lack of a better pick at the moment, I will have to go with Colin Farrell — while I dont love him in general, he definitely has the right “look” to pull off Domnu.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Crap… hate doing these things…
Destiny can’t be outrun, but magic opens doors.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am hoping to ply an agent with the series once completed.
How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Still working on that one. Not quite there yet, but Nano is around the corner!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, the idea with this writing thing is to try to be original, so I hope it’s not like anything else. I will give you the pitch line I use for the series, though — that should work.
The Machenwood series is The Chronicles of Narnia meets Grimm’s Fairytales.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My endless love of all things fantasy, fairy tale and Brother’s Grimm.
What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
This story is definitely NOT your mother’s fairy tale. It is a bit dark, somewhat twisted and contorted and gives a whole new twist to age old characters.
Let’s see, now the fun part… nominating other writers to participate.
The nominees are:
Can’t wait to see what sorts of things they are working on 🙂
Thanks for stopping in. 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday: Back in the Swing! #sixsunday #writing

Welcome to my little part of the world wide web and thanks so much for stopping by for Six Sentence Sunday. As those of you who follow this blog regularly know, I have been absent from the group for a while now, and am just starting to get myself back in the swing of regular postings.

In honor of my actually remembering to write my post this week, I thought I would share a little snipit from my current WIP, MACHENWOOD.

Right now, I am in the process of doing some editing and rereading of the story to this point, as I haven’t really touched the MS in over six months. It’s like a brand new tale to me 🙂 Man, I love that!

Anyway, without bending your ear further, here is my six sentences for this week.

Ana raised a brow. “A Lupine?”

“A mix of human and wolf. They live in the Dark Forest, north of the Glen.”

Ana’s stomach dropped to her toes. Magic wielding goddesses, shapeshifters, dream crystals…how would she ever find her boy?

How’s that for a little teaser? As you can probably figure out, Machenwood is, or will be, a fantasy tale.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the excerpt.

Thanks for stopping in. Please make sure to click the Six Sunday image at the top of the post or visit: and visit with the other bloggers/writers offering excerpts from their stories today. Who knows, you may just find your next favorite author.

Happy Sunday!

The Booker Award #writing #blogging #authors

Fellow published author and fellow Pen Sister, Claire Gillian has graceously nominated me for The Booker Award. HOORAY FOR ME!!!

*Insert fanfare and confetti*

This auspicious award targets literary and book-centered blogs, so I guess I technically qualify, even though I have been slow to post of late.

Thank goodness the rules for this one are simple:

1. post my top five books of all time,

2. post the Booker award icon,

3. and nominate other bloggers to do the same.

Alrighty… you asked for it.

My 5 favorite books of all time (before you give me any grief or laugh at my picks, remember… all time includes childhood)

1. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

3. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl

4. The Storm and the Splendor – Jennifer Blake

5. Love Betrayed – Patricia Rice

Obviously, the first three are from childhood. Each holds a special place for me and now count among my favorite stories of all time. The last two — each a historical romance — are two stories who shaped the author I am today. When I was in High School I ate romance novels for breakfast and sometimes read 3 or more in a week, and I was still in school and working a PT job at the time. Both authors were favorites and I have read countless books written by each of them. The two above are the ones, if forced, I would select as my favorite story written by each of them.

Now for the funnest part of this little game — Nominating others.

Here are my nominees:

Kelly Said
Lydia Sharp
Kastil Eavenshade
Jocelyn Adams
Stephanie Keyes

Selkie: What the heck is that? #atozchallenge #blogging #writing #myths

While my debut novel, Call of the Sea has not yet been released to the general public, there are a few ARC copies floating around and a few reviews have come in (all good so far – YAY). That being said, one of the comments that has come up a few times from readers are: What is a selkie? and I didn’t know what a selkie was when I started reading.

I tend to forget not everyone is as obsessed with myths and legends as I am, especially the Celtic ones. So, in an effort to clarify for those who may be interested, I decided to take the opportunity of S day to explain what a selkie is.

Let’s start with a definition:

From Wikipedia: Selkies (also known as silkies or selchies) are mythological creatures found in Faroese, Icelandic, Irish[1], and Scottish folklore. The word derives from earlier Scots selich, (from Old English seolh meaning seal).[2] Selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The legend apparently originated on the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Doesn’t help a lot, does it? I mean sure, it gives you a basic idea, but not much else. This is what I ran into when researching as well. While they are an oceanic mythical creature, much like a mermaid or siren, little has been written about the selkie myth.

The section regarding the legend does help some (also from Wiki):

Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. In other stories the human will hide the selkie’s skin, thus preventing it from returning to its seal form. A selkie can only make contact with one human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea. They are not able to make contact with that human again for seven years, unless the human is to steal their selkie’s skin and hide it or burn it.

In the Faroe Islands there are two versions of the story of the Selkie or Seal Wife. A young farmer from the town of Mikladalur on Kalsoy island goes to the beach to watch the selkies dance. He hides the skin of a beautiful selkie maid, so she can’t go back to sea, and forces her to marry him. He keeps her skin in a chest, and keeps the key with him both day and night. One day when out fishing, he discovers that he has forgotten to bring his key. When he returns home, the selkie wife has escaped back to sea, leaving their children behind. Later, when the farmer is out on a hunt, he kills both her selkie husband and two selkie sons, she promises to take revenge upon the men of Mikladalur. Some shall be drowned, some shall fall from cliffs and slopes, and this shall continue, until so many men have been lost that they will be able to link arms around the whole island of Kallsoy.

Male selkies are very handsome in their human form, and have great seductive powers over human women. They typically seek those who are dissatisfied with their life, such as married women waiting for their fishermen husbands. If a woman wishes to make contact with a selkie male, she has to go to a beach and shed seven tears into the sea.

If a man steals a female selkie’s skin she is in his power and is forced to become his wife. Female selkies are said to make excellent wives, but because their true home is the sea, they will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. If she finds her skin she will immediately return to her true home, and sometimes to her selkie husband, in the sea.

Sometimes, a selkie maiden is taken as a wife by a human man and she has several children by him. In these stories, it is one of her children who discovers her sealskin (often unwitting of its significance) and she soon returns to the sea. The selkie woman usually avoids seeing her human husband again but is sometimes shown visiting her children and playing with them in the waves.

Selkies are not always faithless lovers. One tale tells of the fisherman Cagan who married a seal-woman. Against his wife’s wishes he set sail dangerously late in the year, and was trapped battling a terrible storm, unable to return home. His wife shifted to her seal form and saved him, even though this meant she could never return to her human body and hence her happy home.

Some stories from Shetland have selkies luring islanders into the sea at midsummer, the lovelorn humans never returning to dry land.

As you can see, there is tons of room for play within the confines of this sparse information. In Call of the Sea, I took some liberties with respect to the rules. For instance, in my novel, selkies have to change form at least once a year for a full lunar cycle (full moon to full moon) to satisfy the requirements of their curse. Of course, the shedding of the skins part plays nicely into my plot, so I left that little factoid alone.

In addition, while researching references and mentions of selkies in literature, I learned that the large majority of such tales feature a female selkie, not a male one. With my gender twist on the pirate in my story being a female, it worked out perfectly to make the mythical selkie creature a male. Gender twists all around — love it.

Do you feel mythically educated now? Me either, really, but I managed to find an S topic, so I can live with that 😛

Happy Saturday, folks!

Rejection: Just Another Piece of the Writing Puzzle #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

Absolutely nobody likes rejection.Yet, for writers it is an integral and unavoidable part of the writing for submission process.

One of the first things I was told when I started looking for places to submit (by just about everyone) was you will be rejected… A LOT. They aren’t kidding, folks. The more you sub the more you open yourself up for the potential for rejection. It is just the way the jungle works.

I have found, in order to survive this inevitability in the publishing business, I needed to develop a thick skin, as well as carry around a barrel full of self confidence. The second part — that was a tricky one. I have never been the self assured type –more the hyper critical, make everyone happy all the time type–so this was something that took me a while. A few acceptances peppered in with the rejections certainly helped. 🙂

Some rejections are amazingly helpful, while others are the dreaded, standard form response –“thank you but this is not for us”– leaving a writer to try to scrape something positive out of  the months (and months) of waiting, while putting bandages on their damaged ego and trying to figure out exactly WHAT wasn’t for them. (Melodramatic much, Bec?)

So how do we deal with this as writers, if it is an inevitable part of the process?

Here are five tips to help in dealing with rejection:

1. Don’t take it personally – Just because one agent or editor doesn’t like it, or think they can sell it, doesn’t mean they all will. They are rejecting a piece of writing, not YOU.

2. Expect rejection – If you are prepared for the worst, it hurts less. Plus, if you go into the submission process understanding that you will be rejected somewhere along the line, you give yourself the opportunity to figure out what steps you will take once the rejection comes in. Again, preparing yourself…

3. Maintain your focus – There is nothing good that can come from stressing over things outside your sphere of influence. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” Concentrate on the things you can change and the things you can do with the rejection.

4. Learn from the rejection – What could you do differently? Did you pitch an agent that doesn’t rep your genre? Maybe your pitch or query was too confusing? There are always lessons to be learned from our live experiences, no matter how unpleasant they may be.

5. Understand rejection is progress – If you are learning from your rejections, each one teaches you a new lesson, making each subsequent submission (hopefully) that much stronger or well written. You are moving forward by submitting and opening yourself up to the potential for rejection. Celebrate that forward progress.

How do you handle rejection? Do you have any tips or stories to share?

G is for Gratitude: Like the Undying Kind #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

My mother should be proud of this particular posting. *waves* Hi, Mom!

Today, I wanted to take a moment to discuss a really important G word — GRATITUDE, which actually walks hand in hand with another great G word — GRACIOUSNESS.

When I started my “career” as an author, I didn’t know jack about what it meant to be a writer, how to get published, who I could get to read my work and provide feedback. I was, and in some ways still am, a babe in the woods. In my efforts to learn what I could about being published, I started surfing the net (yes, I am an IT geek through and through). I managed to find three websites that changed my writerly life.

Those sites are: Writers Digest, Duotrope Digest, and Scribophile. If you write and don’t know what these sites are, I encourage you to check each of them out.

Writer’s Digest is the first site I found that focused on writing, getting published, and the whole book business.  I became a forum regular, especially in the SCI-FI/FANTASY forums. The people there were like me, wrote the kinds of things I write… I learned a ton from all of them.

The second site I found was Duotrope Digest — a website listing an almost endless array of submission calls, anthologies, magazines, etc — all looking to publish works of fiction. If it were not for the Duotrope site, I don’t think I would have ever published a novel — as it was by submitting a short story to a publisher I found there (Wicked East Press) that I received my first story acceptance. That acceptance gave me the confidence to believe I could write something interesting, something others would actually enjoy reading — where I learned I could spin a tale that could grab an audience and actually entertain them.

The final site is Scribophile — a peer critique site for authors. You can post your works and receive feedback from your peers as well as read other authors works and provide your feedback to them. This site is what brings me around to today’s topic – Gratitude.

While on the Scribophile site, I created a group called the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens and invited every female author I had built a relationship with on the site. My motivation at the time was purely selfish. I wanted a place where all the writers I enjoyed reading and critiquing were together. I just didn’t want to hunt around if they posted new works and hope I caught them when they went up, I wanted to know when it was happening, and having them all in one group with me accomplished that. What happened with this little group far surpassed anything I could have imagined. We have become more than fellow writers or online buddies — I consider some of the women in this group to be my closest friends (I’m not one of those people who has like a million acquaintance type friends — I tend toward a few closer friends). We have worked hard side by side, sweated over our WIPs together, commiserated over rejections, and shared our lives with each other. They are my author sisters, and I do not know where I would be without them.

So, I would just like to offer my undying GRATITUDE and love to the wonderful ladies who make up the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. I love you guys. You have helped me grow and learn in ways I never thought possible and have stuck by me through good and bad, both professionally and personally.

I would like to GRACIOUSLY THANK YOU ALL FOR THAT!! ( you know who you all are :P)

I shudder to think of where I would be without you guys.

Next stop.


Funny Friday Felines: Because Funny is the Best F Word #blogging #atozchallenge #fridayfunny

FUNNY FRIDAY FELINES!! (Now those are some good F words!)

My favorite F word has always been FUNNY, so rather than try to come up with a post about what I think is funny (which I thought about trying to do before I realized just how twisted my sense of humor is), I thought I would just share with you a few Friday funnies.

These are all writer themed jokes and funny images with a FELINE theme.


Eight Great Truths: Machenwood’s Laws #AtoZchallenge #writing #blogging #machenwood

As I promised you all in yesterday’s D posting, for E day of the A to Z Challenge, we are tackling the Eight Great Truths of Machenwood.

The truths are akin to the laws of physics. They govern all the races and realms of the world, be they dark or light–good or evil.

Even Machenwood’s Pantheon must bend their will to conform to the Truths.

The Eight Truths of Machenwood:

  1. There is no light without dark.
  2. A damsel is ALWAYS in distress.
  3. You can change your form, but you can’t change your essence.
  4. True love conquers all, but passion has power.
  5. Princes are ALWAYS charming.
  6. True gold doesn’t really glitter.
  7. Destiny can’t be outrun, but magic opens doors.
  8. Over time, form will change essence.

(Number five can be noted with respect to yesterday’s post about the character, Domnu. If you recall, he is a prince of the Dark Forest, and therefore bound by Truth #5 — though at some point in history, we can assume he becomes the King, and that law no longer applies to him.)

Everything and everyone who lives in Machenwood are governed by these eight simple truths.

So many ways to torture… I mean, so many ways these eight things could wreck havoc or serve as salvation in the life of a Machenwoodian. So many plot twists, triumphs, and tragedies.

As the author of their fantastic tales, that suits me just fine. 🙂

Cinuint: What the Heck is that, Anyway? #blogging #atozchallenge #writing

I swear, I am not cheating by starting my C day post with what you probably think is some sort of strange gibberish or made up word. Cinuint is a word, just not an English one, or well, one of this world–this reality.

I did sort of borrow it from an Irish Gaelic dictionary, though, so it is a real word — just not one I spelled correctly 😛

Cinniúint= Destiny (Irish Gaelic)

This brings me to my little topic for the day.

I have always preferred to play off real languages and socities when sketching out my fantasy worlds and cultures. I enjoy twisting the common and better known into something unique, while still keeping a taste of the original. My whole Machenwood novel series is proof of that– is my twist on the well known fairy tales, legends, and myths we have all grown up with.

But, what exactly IS a Cinuint? We have established the origin, but not it’s new “revised” meaning. A Cinuint, for my purposes is a quest embarked upon by every Etherian (one of the many races of people in Machenwood) who comes of age. Their Cinuint is their “coming of age”. The reward for successful completion of their Cinuint, is a glimpse at their own destiny.

To illustrate a bit, I thought I would give you a few sentences of my WIP where this theme comes into play:

“What time does Myrna expect you at the Hall?” her mother asked as she set a skillet on the cast iron stove.

Just the mention of the High Priestesses’ name sent a fresh batch of jitters through Jyslin’s limbs. She checked the clock on the far wall. “In about thirty minutes.” Releasing a sigh, she set down her half full mug. The legs of her stool scraped across the floorboards as she pushed to her feet. “I should get going, actually. If I’m even a minute late, she’ll have my head, and I still need to collect Angus from the Keeper before heading to the temple.”

Angus, a Frost Owl, and Jyslin’s Spirit Twin would make the Cinuint journey with her. She’d been separated from Angus for her final year of instruction, and she was anxious to see him again.

Mother left the stove and gathered her daughter in her arms, squeezing tight. “No matter what happens on your Cinuint, know that your father and I love you very much. We are so proud of the young woman you’ve become.”

No matter what happens?

Why would her mother say that? Did she know something Jyslin didn’t?

I really think using variations of our own cultures and languages in creating our fantastical worlds really helps the reader connect with the characters we conjure to live in them.

What do you think?

What tricks and processes do you employ when forming your fantasy races and realms? I am always interested in how other writers tackle the same challenges.

Blogging Ain’t for Sissies #blogging #writing #atozchallenge

Blogging is one of those subjects you hear a lot of chatter about in the writing community. You should do it, you shouldn’t. You have to post every day, once a week is fine… there are as many schools of thought as there are blogs, I think.

In my experience, I find that most authors either love it or absolutely hate it. It is one of those tasks that requires a healthy dose of dedication, and an even larger amount of organization. Time management skills help as well. (especially when you’re challenging yourself to 26 posts in a month)

When I first decided to create a blog–the first big step to creating the all important online presence and “brand”, I admit I was quite a bit intimidated. What would I say? Could I possibly say anything at all someone besides me would care to read, or dare I say, find interesting? What if nobody visited or commented. I would be left with a daily reminder of what an unpopular loser I was. Just what every confidence lacking aspiring author needs, right?

If I wanted to take my writing serious, build myself a platform to grow from, I needed to start blogging — so I took the leap. And, guess what? I didn’t fall on my face at all. My blog has a fair following, and I get to enjoy comments from friends and visitors on a regular basis. It has done wonders for that ailing confidence issue, and I find it also helps exercise the writing muscles (even if it isn’t my first true love — FICTION)

It has been two years now, and I am still blogging strong, and have even added a second blog for my erotica alter ego and for concentrating on Book Reviews and promoting my fellow authors.

The point to all this rambling nonsense? *crooks a finger, urging you closer*

You never know until you try. You just may find you are tougher than you thought, or better yet, that you were born to be a blogger.

Your comments and questions are always welcome 🙂