Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shots at Redemption - Blurb

My latest short story collection, Shots At Redemption, releases on June 1, 2012 from Musa Publishing. In anticipation of the event, I'm posting the back cover blurb.
And, I'll give a free copy of the book to whoever comes up with the best joke, in my sole opinion, using the phrase, "A witch, a goddess and a dragon. . ", before the June 1 release.

Blurb:


We all make mistakes. In this collection, a witch, a goddess, and a dragon take their shots at redemption in the hope of reclaiming lost love.

In "Best Dressed and Obsessed, Janelle, a graduate-level witch, chooses a magic dress to enthrall her professor. Sadly, the dress is cursed. At her graduation ball, will she kiss the man
she loves? Or kill him?

Eons ago, Zeus decreed that Odysseus leave Kalypso. In "Kalypso's Song", Odysseus is reborn as a scholar. Can Kalypso convince him to reclaim the love they were denied?

The sea dragon Ryu spares a ship crossing her domain when a human child aboard reminds her of her own lost children. Ryu finds an unlikely surrogate family in "A Sea Serpent's Tale". When her new family is attacked by another dragon, can Ryu save them?

Shots at Redemption. We want them. We need them. But, do we get them?
Coming June 1 from Musa Publishing -

Pen Names with Guest Holley Trent


Today we're visiting with Holley Trent, a fellow Musa writer. Holley blogs at http://holleytrent.com, and she's talking about a bit of craft and marketing.
***

Thanks to Nancy for letting me visit, and for the opportunity for a bit of confessing.

“Holley Trent” seems like a perfectly typical name, right?

You can’t tell much from it, though, but you probably assume I’m female (I’ve never met a man named “Holly” or “Holli” or “Hollie” or whatever permutations folks are daydreaming up nowadays).

True. I’m a girl. If you guessed that, you get a gold star (it’s scratch-and-sniff and smells like winning).

“Holley Trent” is my nom de plume. I use a pen name for a few reasons, the first of which is that I spent about ten years doing web writing. I don’t even want to know what kind of hits come up if I were to Google myself right now. What I do know is that I don’t want my romance readers
to search for my name and find some article I wrote five years ago about lace-front wigs or treatments for foot fungus. That’s not sexy.

Second, my real name is really girly and young-sounding. It’s one of those names in which there are NO sixty-year-olds alive who have it. It’s actually a pretty damn good name for a romance writer now that I think about it, but that’s about where the stereotyping ends. I’m neither as chipper as my name sounds nor as cute. My first name is something a lavender unicorn
should have. I fit more surely into the “sturdy workhorse” classification (however, if you’d like to brush my mane I won’t stop you).

Third, I’m a bad, bad girl. Some of my stories have naughty bits, and I know folks back home Google my name every now and then to see what I’m up to. How do I know? Because they find me on Facebook and then tell me everything about me they have no reason to know. Eventually, someone in the know will slip up and other people will find out that Holley Trent = Sturdy Workhorse. I’d like some time to tighten up my Facebook privacy settings before that happens (which seems to require a manual the size of a Manhattan phone book to accomplish).

Last, I have plans to write in other genres. My urban fantasy stories will probably go under my Holley Trent name, but the young adult ones will need to be separated. I don’t want some poor kid to get confused and stumble into some literary raunch.

And if you’re wondering, “Holley” is spelled that way for a reason. If you ever meet me in person, I’ll tell you why. In the meantime, you can practice spelling it by staring at the cover my debut Musa Publishing release Executive Decision. (That was a shameless plug in case you’re
wondering.)

Executive Decision. . .


Headhunting has never been so fun!


Secretary Ellen works in a headhunting office that handles most of its business by phone. When one job candidate, a marine engineer named Christian, drives to Edenton to assess the firm’s legitimacy, he recognizes Ellen from something she thought was well in her past. When the sexual magnetism between Ellen and Christian boils over on the waterfront, their tryst leaves them both feeling unsatisfied.
Christian sees Ellen as the mermaid of his fantasies and wants to build on their chance encounter, but does Ellen want to be caught in his net or will she swim off to get her satisfaction elsewhere?

Find it at Executive Decision at Musa Publishing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Contest Winner - Musa Blog Hop



A big thank you to everyone who participated in our Musa Memorial Day Blog Hop. Thank you again to all the men and women who serve and thier families who wait for them to return home.
Our Contest Winner is: . . . . . . . . . . .. C.K. Garner.
C.K. will get a free copy of one of my short story collections: Paths Less Traveled or Shots at Redemption releasing on Friday. June 1.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Musa Memorial Day Blog Hop


Welcome to the Musa Memorial Day Weekend Blog Hop!
Most of my husband's family are members or retired members of the military My Dad was in the Coast Guard. I've listened to stories of campaigns fought, rescues concluded, spent the weekend that JFK, Jr's plane went missing with Navy and Air Force pilots at a family reunion, and listened to them (accurately, as it turned out) speculate about what happened. We've worried about family members stationed overseas. Experienced the family pride when a cousin's four sons (the 4th generation) each enlisted in a different branch of the military.
I work in Washington, D.C. My rather insane commute starts on Rte 95 just south of Quantico. After a rain, our house shakes from the ordinance shock waves as the Marines practice. My trek to work takes me by the base, the Marine Museum, across a side road to pick up the George Washington Parkway by the Pentagon, past the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington Cemetery before inching over the Key Bridge into Georgetown. So, I get to contemplate our tangible reminders of the men and women of our armed forces on a fairly regular basis as a result.
For the portion of the United States that isn't in easy commuting distance to these landmarks, we take two days a year (Memorial Day and Veterans' Day) to remember the men and woman and their families who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.
While the words are inadequate - Thank you for your service.
In thanks to our troops: Musa will send a free issue of Penumbra magazine as a thank you gift to anyone serving overseas in the military. Check out the Penumbra eZine blog for more details. My fellow writers on the hop are also giving away free copies of their books, so the more sites you visit on the hop, the better your chance to win. We've also put together this blog hop. Many of writers participating are also giving away free stuff. So, please hop to as many of the sites as you can over the weekend. In that spirit, I'm giving away a copy of my short story collection: Paths Less Traveled to someone who comments on this post. Winners will be announced on Tuesday.
Paths Less Traveled:
Some women walk their own paths through the ages, even when mayhem follows. Follow two of these women as they each walk the Paths Less Traveled.
In “Lightning Strikes”, Falcon, a disinherited princess, wants to be the king’s spy. The theft of a prize stallion is her chance. But when her best friend stands accused, far more than her dreams are at risk. Falcon races to catch a thief before fatal vengeance falls on an innocent man.
Worlds away, Psyonics Corporation controls all paranormals and psychics in “Flashes of Life.” Its highest-testing but still latent psychic, Vonna accepts an assignment with the D.C. police to avoid the company’s breeding program. The company works to ensure failure in her first case – a homicide. If she can’t unlock her talents, a murderer will go free and she’ll be consigned to slavery.
The Paths Less Traveled. Strange universes. Kick-butt heroines.
Excerpt:
A blonde female officer growled as I bent to slide under the yellow police tape. Her aura flicked with the burnt amber of authority and a hint of annoyance. Her jaw snapped shut as she took in my white leather outfit and gloves, the outward sign of my other than human status. Silver surprise limed her before changing to puce and signaling her disgust. Her gaze flicked to the emblem bearing the Greek letter Psi on my chest, and then skittered away.
"A pleasure to meet you Officer Williams. I'm Vonna Sinya, the assigned Psionic . Detective Muller is waiting for me."
Williams tapped her commlink and turned her back.
"The Charlie's here," Williams whispered.
Charlie-short for charlatan.
The word burned across my skin. It’s what the insens called psychics despite the scientific proof of our existence. I drove my fingernails into my palms. The white leather gloves only transferred the barest pressure to my hand. Recently graduated from Psy Corp, the gloves were a new addition to my wardrobe.
The gloves chaffed.
Muller strode briskly toward me. "Let her pass," he said as he approached. "Ms. Sinya, nice to meet you." He looked down at his hand, and then dusted it off on his pants before extending it.
Touching a psychic was the equivalent of offering your throat to a hungry vampire. The corners of his eyes tightened making the three crow's feet under each one stand out from his skin. He wasn't as sanguine about his offer as he'd like me to believe. He knew psychics were a threat even when smothered in leather. Maybe especially then. Still, the alpha dog was offering me a place in the pack and hoping I didn't challenge his authority.
I pasted a smile on and grasped his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Please call me, Vonna."
"Rick." He lifted the tape. "First murder?"
I ducked under the line separating cops from little people. "My first crime scene."
He shifted a step back. "Why do I get the newbies?"
"Because you're willing to shake hands with us?"
The change in his mood was so rapid that his bark of laughter and bright blue slash of humor startled me. "That may be it." He walked toward the house. His pace was half the speed of his departure. "Main talent?"
A rash of heat flamed across my features. "We don't know."
Muller stopped and turned. "The Company does not let unknown psionics wander the streets, much less join active investigations. It's not like I just asked your favorite sexual position."
The Company was a pejorative term for Psy Corp. I'd heard it referred to an ancient song about owing your soul to the Company you worked for. If so, it wasn't a misnomer.
"I'm a thirty-seven."
"Excuse me?" Muller went pale in the flashing blue lights.
Despite the pit in my stomach at what might await me in the house, I smiled. "Just realize what you'd given your hand to?"
 ***
For those of you who don't win this round, Paths can be purchased at the Musa site -
Please also keep an eye out for my next short story collection, Shots at Redemption, which releases on June 1, 2012 from Musa.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and don't forget to spend some time remembering all the brave men and women who've fought for our country.

To return to the Hop main page, click this link ---> http://musapublishingbloghops.blogspot.com/

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Benedict - My Writing Buddy.


So, as some of you might have seen from my Twitter feed, Benedict, my husband’s white cat, shared my writing desk with me for many years. We lost him about two weeks ago now and this is the first I’ve been able to write about it.

My friend Sioux and I found Benedict in a crate at a puppy farm. The story we were told was that the owner of the store had been driving home when he saw the car in front of him pull to the side of a bridge, and throw something over. He climbed down the embankment and fished a bag of kittens out of the river. Only Benedict survived.  The owner was looking for a good home to take him for free. Now, I don’t know if the story was true, but we left with that scrawny white kitten. Benedict (named after the male lead in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, became my then boyfriend’s now husband’s graduation present.

For the first ten or twelve years of his life we barely saw Benedict. My Dad wanted to name him “Flash” because all you’d usually see (if anything) was a flash of white fur as he ran past. Despite being almost drowned in a bag, Ben loved hiding in any bag or box he could find. He was really good at it. In those early days, it might be a month or more between sightings. About once a year, Benedict would come out when everyone else was sleeping, demand a few pats from Matt, and then vanish back into his hidey-hole.

 But a strange thing happened about six years ago. Ben started hanging with us more often. He demanded attention. First, once a month, then once a week, and finally, every day.  While Matt complained that Ben was changing their deal, I know Matt was happy that Benedict had finally gotten over his trauma.

In the last four years, Benedict claimed the right side of my desk as his spot. I’ve had him change the language function on my computer. That was fun to correct. In February, he posted one of the blogs on this site. I had to spend two hours figuring out how to recall the post so I could finalize it.  I can’t even tell you the number of times I had to type under his belly to write. Matt laughed as I ranted at the cat to move. Being a cat, Benedict moved when he’d decided he’d had enough love. I think he spent the last few years of his life making up for the affection he’d lost by being afraid of people.

Eighteen years is a long time for a male cat. He started slowing down about two years ago. Always less than ten pounds, he dropped to about eight pounds. A twenty percent loss of body weight is a significant thing. I put a towel on his spot so he would be more comfortable. We gave him his own bowl of water on my desk so he didn’t have to compete with the other cats and the two dogs. He stopped eating dry cat food. We switched him to wet. Mystery, one of our other cats, bullied him out of the wet cat food. Benedict got fed separately so he could eat. He regained some of the weight. Not everything went smoothly though. Benedict started having litter box avoidance issues. Joy. We dealt with it.

At the end of April, Matt and I were heading out to Las Vegas for our 15th wedding anniversary and the Superstars Writing Seminar. But it was clear that Benedict wasn’t doing well. I took him to the vet three days before we left. She thought he might be having thyroid issues. So, we tested him, and did IV fluids and antibiotics. He seemed to be doing better.

Matt came home on a Sunday since he wasn’t attending the seminar. He called me on Wednesday to tell me Benedict had stopped eating and drinking the day before and was gone. So, I didn’t even get to say “bye.”

I can’t work at my desk.  His absence is too noticeable, too raw.  I know the time will come when I start writing at that desk again. But it won’t be the same. Goodbye, Ben Ben.


     








Thursday, May 17, 2012

I have a cover - Shots at Redemption


Over the weekend, my cover for Shots at Redemption, a short story collection which releases on June 1, 2012, was finalized. Thank you Kelly Shorten and Musa Publishing - http://musapublishing.com - for the amazing job.

My original suggestion for the cover was "the three Fates at their loom weaving strands from the three stories." Yet again, Kelly took the items I'd suggested as central to the each story (the ocean, ships, the Fates, and The Dress) and came up with a much better cover. The ocean plays heavily in both Kalypso's Song, and A Sea Serpent's Tale so it was a natural element. I just love the ghost ship sitting in the shaft of sunlight.
So, I think the cover is pretty darned wonderful. What do you think? Please comment and let me know.
Shots at Redemption - Even mythical beings need a chance to correct their mistakes, and reclaim lost loves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Difference Between Lightning and a Lightning Bug

Writers are supposed to pick the best descriptive word, but how do we do that when the English language - at least American English- gets squishier every day? And what if the "right" word is the wrong one?

In this age of intellectual dishonesty, courts cling to the "plain meaning" rule-i.e. that words should be taken at their common meaning-  while decreeing "or" means "and," and "shall" means "may." So, how does a writer cope with this trend?

We ignore it. while exploiting and tracking it.

Okay, I know that sounds contradictory, but hear me out. In writing for a broad audience, I need to ignore that small portion of it that thinks "exclusive" means "concurrent."

We all looked that the "translations" for archaic Old English expressions the first time we read Shakespeare. Language is fluid. It breaths, sighs, changes and dies. When a non-standard usage becomes an accepted one, I grit my teeth and use the "wrong" word. But not all characters should sound like news reporters. Non-standard usage, dialect, and picking the "wrong" word can give a depth to writing.

Outright abusing the language, as both Shakespeare's Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, and  Richard Brinsley Sheridan's Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals did, introduces a comedic element. Shakespeare has at least six characters in six different plays who are guilty of using the wrong word on a fairly regular basis. Archie Bunker from TV's All In the Family often used the wrong to great comedic effect.

Mark Twain was right: To write effectively, your word choices must be perfect, especially if you're abusing the language like Dogberry, Mrs. Malaprop, or Archie Bunker. Look at those three characters. Constable Dogberry was crass, uneducated and odious. Mrs. Malaprop thought herself well educated and refined. Archie Bunker was ignorant and bigoted but thought himself well reasoned. Their misuse of the language highlights internal inconsistencies the characters can't see and makes them beloved figures. Word choice is everything. So a lightning bug may stand in for lightning when you strike for comedy.

Writers are the last line of defense for language. And we must pick the perfect word, which sometimes is the "wrong" word.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Musa Publishing: New Release Paths Less Traveled.

Paths Less Traveled is now availble from Musa Publishing - http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=274 and Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Paths-Less-Traveled-ebook/dp/B00826ODNO/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1336746402&sr=8-7 for $2.99.

I'm blogging about the release and the inspiration behind the stories at Musa Publishing: New Release from Nancy DiMauro: Sometime finding justice means finding yourself.

Please check it out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Drawing Out The Dragons - Superstars 2012



There are dragons out there if we just believe and search for them.

Yet again, this year's Superstars Writing Seminar (http://superstarswritingseminar.com)  exceeded expectations. Presenters included: Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland/ Wolverton, Dean Wesley Smith, and James Owen. James Owen drew the dragon pictured above as part of his presentation - Drawing Out The Dragons. Each year, one presentation inspires awe. The first year, 2010, for me the title went to Brandon and how he was chosen to complete the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordon. There was no doubt that last year's title went to Tracy Hickman's story about how our writing touches our readers. You can hear that story on the Superstars website. James Owen stole the title this year.

A little about James for those of you who don't know him. He started his writing career as a comic book artist in middle school. His life has been punctuated by moments where most people would give up. He never did. At eleven he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease (read this as "the doctors didn't know what was wrong with him but he was dying.") and not expected to survive. He found the will to do so. As an adult, when it looked like success had finally found him, he was in a car accident. The doctors told him that he was lucky because he'd only injured his right hand (you know, the one he drew with), and that even though that hand would never be 100%, he'd be fine unless he needed his hand for his job. James said that he did because he was a comic book artist. In response, the doctor replied, "Not anymore."

James is a comic book artist.

He has more courage than anyone I know. I hope that if I'm ever faced with some of the choices the was I will have the internal strength to make the choices he did to stay true to what he wanted and not compromise them for the thing he needed at that moment.

Here's the thing: writing is tough. It's easy to give up or compromise.

Indie publishing (whether e-publishing or self-publishing) changed the writing market. Writers can directly interact with readers without the Big 6 traditional publishers. Whether this is a good thing or not is a different issue. What was true before the e-pub world continues to be true - No one can make you an international best seller. Only you can do that.

People will help me open the doors, but I still need to decide to walk through them. I need to live with purpose and make the tough choices. I need to ask for help and be willing to accept it. I have to make things happen for me. I will make things happen for me.

I will draw out the dragons even when everyone else can't see that's what I'm doing.

James Owen can be found at http://www.coppervaleinternational.com and http://coppervale.livejournal.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Paths Less Traveled - Excerpt

Paths Less Traveled will be available from Musa Publishing (http://musapublishing.com) and Amazon this Friday. In celebration of the imminent release, I'm posting an excerpt from Flashes of Life.

*****
A blonde female officer growled as I bent to slide under the yellow police tape. Her aura flicked with the burnt amber of authority and a hint of annoyance. Her jaw snapped shut as she took in my white leather outfit and gloves, the outward sign of my other than human status. Silver surprise limed her before changing to puce and signaling her disgust. Her gaze flicked to the emblem bearing the Greek letter Psi on my chest, and then skittered away.

"A pleasure to meet you Officer Williams. I'm Vonna Sinya, the assigned Psionic . Detective Muller is waiting for me."

Williams tapped her commlink and turned her back.

"The Charlie's here," Williams whispered.

Charlie-short for charlatan.

The word burned across my skin. It’s what the insens called psychics despite the scientific proof of our existence. I drove my fingernails into my palms. The white leather gloves only transferred the barest pressure to my hand. Recently graduated from Psy Corp, the gloves were a new addition to my wardrobe.

The gloves chaffed.

Muller strode briskly toward me. "Let her pass," he said as he approached. "Ms. Sinya, nice to meet you." He looked down at his hand, and then dusted it off on his pants before extending it.

Touching a psychic was the equivalent of offering your throat to a hungry vampire. The corners of his eyes tightened making the three crow's feet under each one stand out from his skin. He wasn't as sanguine about his offer as he'd like me to believe. He knew psychics were a threat even when smothered in leather. Maybe especially then. Still, the alpha dog was offering me a place in the pack and hoping I didn't challenge his authority.

I pasted a smile on and grasped his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Please call me, Vonna."

"Rick." He lifted the tape. "First murder?"

I ducked under the line separating cops from little people. "My first crime scene."

He shifted a step back. "Why do I get the newbies?"

"Because you're willing to shake hands with us?"

The change in his mood was so rapid that his bark of laughter and bright blue slash of humor startled me. "That may be it." He walked toward the house. His pace was half the speed of his departure. "Main talent?"

A rash of heat flamed across my features. "We don't know."

Muller stopped and turned. "The Company does not let unknown psionics wander the streets, much less join active investigations. It's not like I just asked your favorite sexual position."

The Company was a pejorative term for Psy Corp. I'd heard it referred to an ancient song about owing your soul to the Company you worked for. If so, it wasn't a misnomer.

"I'm a thirty-seven."

"Excuse me?" Muller went pale in the flashing blue lights.

Despite the pit in my stomach at what might await me in the house, I smiled. "Just realize what you'd given your hand to?"


* * * *
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Vonna's world. Please follow Vonna and Falcon on their Paths Less Traveled. Strange universes. Kick-butt heroines.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Musa Publishing: New Release from Alyson Burdette

If you're looking for a vampire of a different sort Alyson Burdette's debut paranormal romance novel -- Nightfire is for you.  For more details, check out her post.

Musa Publishing: New Release from Alyson Burdette: Hello, I’m Alyson and today is the release day for my debut novel, Nightfire. I’m so excited to get to share Nightfire with the world! ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Penumbra: HEWHO HESITATES…GETS PUBLISHEDbyMarcy RockwellT...

Please check out Marrcy's great post on the writing process.

Penumbra: HEWHO HESITATES…GETS PUBLISHEDbyMarcy Rockwell


T...
: HE WHO HESITATES…GETS PUBLISHED by Marcy Rockwell That’s not always true of course, but it’s a good rule of thumb for aspiring...