Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 in Review

This will be my last post this year (not because of the Mayan Apocalypse). I'm hosting Christmas for the whole family on Monday, so my home is upside down as we prepare for Monday.

The year flew by. We all got one year older, perhaps one year wiser (I hope). What started like something I wanted to do (write and publish a book) turned out to be a career I want to grow.

I learned a ton, read another ton and wrote... ... too much and not enough at the same time.

It's difficult to believe that one year ago I published my first book. It seems like yesterday. I will not go back to the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year and if I accomplished what I expected, because I really feel I accomplished much more than I expected.

Total of 9 titles under two pen names (2 novels, 2 novellas, 5 short stories) and one collection. I'd like to multiply that number by three for next year. We'll see how it goes.

As you can see on the right side bar, my word count is a bit off (but not updated yet). I will be about 30,000 words short for this year which will be added to next years' count.

One of  my major goals will be to establish specific writing hours, with no internet, and follow that schedule through the week with the hope to publish the three different series I'm working on throughout the year.

Now, if you're still reading this, the world didn't end. I read somewhere it's supposed to happen at 6:11 AM EST and it should be that time right about now.

But if you're a fast reader and it's 6:10 AM, please don't panic. An old calendar is about to end, and a new one will begin - that's all.

To all of my blogger friends, readers, fans, supporters, and writers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with love, happiness, warmth and joy. May you be blessed and touched with hope for a better year and may all your wishes come true. Keep safe during the holidays and I'll see you in the New Year.

As always, I will be lurking around other blogs ;)

Cheers!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unbelievable Alex Fest! Read this!

Welcome to the “Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest.”  

Hosted by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King and Stephen Tremp, the BlogFest runs from December 10 - 12.
Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the person who was always there for you during the last year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?  If there’s one person in the Blogisfear who you want to say cheers to, who would it be? For us, it was a no-brainer: Alex “no hyperlink needed” Cavanaugh.
Alex is an awesome blogger who’s helped hundreds of us via book releases, guest posts, guest interviews and always positive comments. While we can’t have a live part-ay for the Ninja Captain, we can host a BlogFest:

While Alex is an awesome blogger, he’s also an enigma.

Here are the four questions all participating bloggers are answering today (and my answers).

In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
Without a doubt, a cross between a real Ninja, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick Dempsay, John Bon Jovi. Yes, that's four people, but that's who I see when I picture Alex.

In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.) 
Either of the three above with the exception of Ninja, because I'd love to see what he looks like ;)

In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?
A friend you can always count on, even if you haven't met.


In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar


Twas the night before Chrsitmas, when all through the house
A guitar sounded, quite louder than a mouse.
The bloggers were posting their thoughts with care, 
In hopes that Cavanaugh would comment there.

The last chord played, fading to silence
And the clicking of a keyboard echoed with violence. 
Smoke seeped from the laptop, words filled out blank space 
As the Ninja kept typing at an unbelievable pace.

With Cosbolt training under his belt, 
He supported his friends and never dwelt.
And though it took hours, and days and years, 
Alex found time for each one of his peers.

He wrote thoughtful words, sparing his time
Offering help for much less than a dime.
If there was one place Alex liked to be, 
It was helping his friends at IWSG.

For Bonus Points:
In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing J

Dear Mrs. Cavanaugh,
Thank you for sharing your hubby with all of us. He keeps us going and inspires us to be a fraction of help that he is. I wish both of you a Merry Christmas, a happy and prosperous New Year and that your innermost wishes come true. May this season bring lots of family time, joy and love.
Marta

Now hop on over to the other bloggers to see what they had to say about Alex ;)






Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group



Each first Wednesday of every month, writers post their doubts, concerns and insecurities without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Others offer assistance and guidance in the comments. Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brain child of Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh.

For a full list of participants click here and hop on over to offer your own words of encouragement and/or assistance.


For the past few months I've been writing more than I thought I ever would, but I keep feeling like it's still not enough. I write under two pen names (which I find very therapeutic as they are two different genres and styles of writing) and each time I finish a book or a short story and launch it, I feel like there's a push on my back to keep going, start another project. And I do.

So what's the problem? I spend little time promoting. Yes, building the backlist is important, but I'm not sure whether 10 or 20 extra titles these days will help to be seen in an ocean of books. I feel like a little sardine, and if you add another 20 sardines beside me, it would still be hard to find us.

As I pass my goal of the number of titles published this year (9 total - 5 are short stories), I begin to wonder how long it will take until I can keep my sales sustained to have an income to support my family. That's my goal. Sales have been steadily increasing, but it's at a 'snail's pace'.

Friends who don't understand publishing say that one day I'll "hit it big" and I can stop writing.
I felt stabbed in the heart and I asked why would I stop writing. I can see myself doing this until I no longer can. But I need to keep my options open. The kids need university tuition and that's not going to grow on one decent income (hubby's).

So, to others out there, do you have similar goals? Is there a secret to promoting?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Birthright by Lynda R Young


Birthright by Lynda R Young is a story included in the Make Believe anthology published by J. Taylor Publishing, released today December 3rd, 2012.

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
--
Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 


Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE.
--
Make Believe Excerpt from Lynda R Young's short story, Birthright:

Palms rustled overhead as Mrs. Tinder shouldered open the rickety door of Christa’s new home.

“Here we are,” the landlady said. The dark space breathed Florida’s hot air. “It’s not usually so humid here in December, but never you mind about the unseasonal heat, dear. As soon as the air-conditioning kicks in she’ll be right as rain.” Mrs. Tinder toddled over to a control panel on the wall and pressed a few buttons. A hum emanated from the walls, the lights blinked on, and the air stirred.

Busying herself around the single room cabin, Mrs. Tinder spread the drapes, straightened the cushions and opened and closed the fridge. She turned her sharp gaze on Christa. “You have family in town?”

Christa gave her a tight smile. “No, I don’t.”

“Friends, perhaps?”

She shook her head.

Mrs. Tinder’s wrinkles deepened into a frown. “You’ll be alone over Christmas?” Her pinched lips broadcast her true thoughts. No one should be alone over Christmas. It’s not right. It’s not natural.

Christa’s smile wavered. “I’ll have plenty to keep me busy.” She tapped her camera case, still hanging from one shoulder.

“Ah, a photographer.” The woman’s nod turned to a slow shake.

Christa didn’t need pity, and she didn’t need more invitations to join random family gatherings, either. To prevent further discussion, she asked, “Are there any galleries in town? Or museums?”

The woman’s face didn’t brighten. “No galleries. There’s one museum. A shack run by a man named Jack.” She grunted. “But you don’t want to go there. His displays are a load of balderdash, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“Balderdash?” Christa asked in mock surprise. “A mighty strong word.”

Looking like a school principal about to pass judgment on a wayward child, Mrs. Tinder perched on a kitchen stool and leaned on the counter.

Christa regretted the tease, realizing the woman had taken it for an invitation to continue.

“Apologies for my language, dear.” Reprimand laced Mrs. Tinder’s tone. After a pause of awkward silence, she sniffed. “Mr. Jack fancies himself the town historian, but he wouldn’t know history if he fell into a dung pile of it. He snoops into family lore, delves into lost legends, and makes up stories when he can’t find nothing of no interest. Mark me, all of it’s nonsense.”

Christa nodded, though she didn’t understand at all.

“Don’t get me wrong. Jack’s a lovely boy, but he’s strayed from the path.” Mrs. Tinder peered at Christa with an appraising eye. “Perhaps a woman like you would do a young man like Jack some good.”

Christa stiffened. Matchmaking was one of the many reasons she’d left New York for the holiday season. She hadn’t expected to find it in a small town in Florida, as well.





If you haven't done so already, pop on over to Goodreads and put Make Believe on your to-read list.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Evil-Bent: A Two Equals Novella

I am happy to announce that the fourth book in the Two Halves Series has finally been released.



Eric is an evil-bender punished by his superiors for defying them. He followed his instinct and removed a mark off a cursed witch without consulting them. With his days numbered, Eric struggles to follow his last task: an order to kill the last three demons, so that his abilities and memories can be stripped. The life as he knows it, including his love, will be taken away from him.

But an offer from the last standing warlock sways his loyalty. If Eric tries to kill him, all power will be transferred to the warlock instead. If he doesn’t, death will be Eric’s only option. What choice do you have when any choice you make is not your own?

After all, a deal with a warlock is as true as the best lie.


Evil-Bent is not available at: Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords

If you haven't done so, add to your Goodreads to-be-read list. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it:)

Excerpt:


    The demon’s fireball flew through the arctic air toward me. It sizzled, cutting the frozen space with heat that would disintegrate my body. Bracing my legs against a sheet of ice, I shot a field of energy out of my arms in defense. It swallowed the sphere, blasting another sound wave through the white plains and lifting fresh snow for a fresh tumble roll.
    You have an order to kill, I repeated the keepers’ mantra in my mind. All of Aseret’s servants shall die.
   The ongoing task to hunt the strayed creatures had kept me away from my family and friends for over a month now. My only companion was my love Mira, whose shapeshifting abilities could hide her in any situation. She has been at my side for almost three decades.
   The job became easier each time I bent their evil spirits out of this realm as I had direct power to bind the underworld demons to the hereafter, a portal no being could escape. But the temporary gift from the keepers was also my doom. Once my job was done, the power would be taken away, along with my immortality and my memories. I had no choice in the matter. My water mark forced me to kill; the keepers’ powers transferred through my soul.
    The demon smirked. From the way his palms twitched, I knew he prepared to send a new blow my way. Spheres of cold fire manifested in my hands, and I threw them at the demon’s chest, one after another. They flew at light speed with blue tails of electricity. The demon fell back, then pushed upright as if an invisible force had helped him.
    How did he do that?
    I released a shot, followed by a firmer one. The whizz of the fireballs released an electric smell of lightning.
    Somehow, he stood up again. This one was strong.
    More energy flew through my veins, its voltage shaking my body as if I’d been dipped in water with a floating toaster. The current spread across my skin in waves. Pain disguised as ecstasy stretched the fleshed spikes on my neck, extending them like a bulldog’s collar. The burning reached its maximum. To me, the next best thing to an orgasm was bending.
    An aura of power enveloped me. Purple hue hugged my body. I gathered the energy and pushed it to my front, aiming it at him. The fiery orb consumed the demon as soon as I released it.
    He had no time to yelp. His body disintegrated on contact, and the soul was sucked into a void I’d opened with the snap of my fingers, another ability the keepers had bestowed upon me. The demon’s spirit was now bound to the hereafter.
    Ashed mist floated like feathers in the light breeze, spreading the demon’s signature stench of dirty socks and rotten eggs. This monster possessed more power than I’d seen in a while. I followed the drift of his remains spreading across the skies, then falling back to Earth. My gaze connected to each wafer as it touched the snow, dissipating within the white plush.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Nice Surprise

This past Wednesday I got a nice surprise. As I was jogging with the hubby in the morning I received an email (yes, I do carry my Blackberry everywhere).

Two Halves has been picked as the Indie Book of the Day and I received an award. Apparently someone has nominated the novel for the award.


I don't know who, but if they're reading this - Thank you! I am so grateful and humbled whenever anyone reads my work, it's beyond explaining.


Anyways, here's the award:

Doesn't it look cool? I swear this feels like I just won an Olympic Medal. (yes, I know some people will roll their eyes, but really, I'm too happy have that bother me)

I don't like to brag often (like the day Two Halves reached #314 on Amazon's paid list), but I'm very proud of this, so I had to share. Knowing someone took the time to nominate the book is beyond me. It's not the 1000 or 5000 or 10000 or 50000 sales that count in moments like these. It's that 1 sale, which mattered to someone. I respect each one. It's the 1000 sales x 1, and so on,  because each one is like a gem:)

Again, thank you! I'm beyond words! (which is rare)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cover Reveal :)



I am excited to reveal the last cover in the Two Halves Series. I think this one is my favorite yet, but I'll let you be the judge. Evil-Bent: A Two Halves Novella is the last work for the series (I think). As I finish off the series, I have mixed emotions. Sad ones, because I'm leaving characters who have been with me for almost four years, and happy ones, because I'll be able to move onto a couple of new projects (very excited about those).

Eric is an evil-bender punished by his superiors for defying them. He followed his instinct and removed a mark off a cursed witch without consulting them. With his days numbered, Eric struggles to follow his last task: an order to kill the last three demons, so that his abilities and memories can be stripped. The life as he knows it, including his love, will be taken away from him.

But an offer from the last standing warlock sways his loyalty. If Eric tries to kill him, all power will be transferred to the warlock instead. If he doesn’t, he will die. What choice do you have when any choice you make is not your own?
 
After all, a deal with a warlock is as true as the best lie.

Available December 1st, 2012.
Goodreads member? Add me to your TBR list.


What do you think?

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You Blogfest

I Miss You Blogfest



Thank you to our wonderful hosts: Andrew Leon, Matthew MacNish, and Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing another blogfest!



Today is a day to share with the world the bloggers we really miss… and the ones we would really miss!


I am merely a child in the blogging community (just over a year) and I know how difficult it is to keep up with the posts, comments and your life priorities. I have cut back on my own blogging in the past six months due to work and family obligations, but I have been lurking around :)  (I always lurk)

While I don't have bloggers that I miss (because they're all still blogging) I do have a looong list of bloggers I would really miss. Here are my top 4:



1. Dean Wesley Smith - I wish I could call him a buddy :)  I'm sure most writers reading this know who Dean is. I visit his blog on a regular basis to learn from the master himself. He's always shared his knowledge and experiences with the rest of the world (and there's a lot to be shared).  A successful author published both traditionally and self, Dean is someone I would truly miss if his blog were to be no more.

2. Alex J. Cavanaugh - I don't know what kind of luck allowed me to find Alex so quickly after I started blogging. But when I think about it, since he's pretty much a blogging King (and has clones), it doesn't surprise me that he's able to connect with so many people, so quickly. I would miss Alex's movie reviews, kind heart with his promotion for all authors and always being present in my comments.


3.Annalisa Crawford - I connected with Annalisa very quickly as well. I love her down to earth attitude and support.


4. Ciara Knight - One of the most eloquent bloggers I've met. Ciara is very supportive, hard working and a talented writer.


Let's show the love and follow the list from here for this bloghop :)

Come back on Monday for my Cover Reveal!

Happy Hopping!

Who do you miss or who would you miss? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is the first Wednesday of the month and so comes time for our monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Thank you to our host Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh Every month writers post their doubts, concerns and insecurities without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Others offer assistance and guidance in the comments.

For a full list of participants click here and hop on over to offer your own words of encouragement and/or assistance.


Time: I've encountered this insecurity before. Over the next three weeks I've planned to publish everything I've wanted so that it's out in time for Christmas/January. The amount of formatting I will be doing over the next few weeks makes me wonder whether I won't run out of time. So far, everything is running smoothly. As long as I don't hit any obstacles I should be able to manage the following:

- format Two Equals for print
- format Evil-Bent: A Two Equals Novella for print and ebook
- format entire series as a book set for ebook
- edit & format 6 short stories under a different pen name for ebook
- format two bundles of short stories
- keep writing

So, you can how Time is of the essence ;) The family has been very supportive and I seem to be finishing all work as planned (at least in the past two weeks). Hopefully, I'll make it.

What are your insecurities today? Are you struggling to make it in time with your work for Christmas rush? Any suggestions on how to handle the pressure?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Family Weekend

Thankfully we didn't get flooded. Some harsh winds our way from Sandy, but nothing compared to what hit NY, NJ and others. Wow! What devastation - mother nature has a way of surprising me all the time.

For the first time in a while I had a very nice weekend.

Meaning, I was able to spend lots of time with the kiddies, hubby, parents and brother in law, and still got work done.

How? I don't really know, but everything worked out so well, I was surprised how much I got done. My wonderful editor also sent me the edits for the fourth book in the series "Evil-Bent: A Two Equals Novella", which means lots of computer time over then next few days. I've already started, and it's going better than I thought.

I'm planning to release the last book in the series beginning of December (or perhaps earlier if all goes well:)


Friday night we watched a movie "The Tall Man".  All I can say is AWESOME! I wasn't sure whether I could watch it in the first 15 minutes because it gave me the feeling of "The Lovely Bones" and I really don't like movies where children get hurt, but this one was way different than I expected.
Amazing ending, lots of emotional turns, and had me guessing for a while. Hubby still doesn't get how I can figure out an ending of such a complicated movie, but I think it goes with the territory of being a writer-it's RARE that I cannot figure out an ending early in the movie. In my opinion it was under rated.


Photo source




What did you do this weekend? Have you seen "The Tall Man"?



Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricanes

It's grey, dark and wet and it will remain like this for a week!

Blah!

Not liking this weather.

I hope everyone in Sandy's path will keep safe and warm. They're calling it the storm of the century and I'm not liking it. In fact, I'm a bit worried. The area we live in is flood prone so I'm sure there will be a lot of wet basements in the City. Plus 90 km/hr winds Monday and Tuesday - not pretty.

Thankfully, we're quite a bit higher than the river so it's unlikely that it will be bad. My bigger concern is power failure and sump pumps not working, which of course would flood us. We've been able to effectively divert the water away from the house by extending our downspouts and the pump has been quiet the past few big rain falls.

I have purchased a bit more water for the house than usual and stocked up the pantry. Got to get the hubby to prepare some flashlights and candles. Hey, you never know! We've had power outages before (not long ones) It's when you least expect it that it hits you.

I'm sure it would be a great day to write and work but I have to drive 75km this morning (one way) to see a doctor. I'm hoping to be back by noon and miss the biggest winds. Fingers crossed.

Are you in Sandy's path? Have you done anything to prepare?




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blog Fest





Woot! Woot! It's the day we break up the blogosphere and choose a book that caught our eye, tweet about it (#noticebook), FB about it, give a big shout out to another author and see if they find their book. A big thank you to our hosts, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight for organizing this event. Make sure you stop by their blog to say Hello :)





My  choice for today is Angel in the Storm, Book 2 in Lisa Grace's Angel series. I found Lisa's Books on KindleBoards and I've kept my eye out on the series for a long time now. This book is a must read for me just because of its cover. I'm planning to dive into the series over Christmas:)  It captivates and engages. Here's the Amazon Link and the blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Megan's younger brother Max has been kidnapped by Judas, an evil angel, who has sold him to a human trafficking ring working out of New Orleans. Judas is determined to destroy Max’s soul.
Framed for Max's murder, Megan, along with the help of Johnny who is a good angel, and her friends, must stay one step ahead of the police and an approaching hurricane in an attempt to save Max before it's too late.
In his ultimate quest to conquer Megan, Judas leaves a trail of death and offers her an impossible choice. Will Megan sacrifice herself for those she loves?

Lisa, if you find your book here, let us know how you found it in the comments. For a full list of participants click here.

What do you think? Does Angel in the Storm catch your eye? Would you buy this book?