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This Week in Writing

Don't forget, the blog tour is still going on. You can read all the exciting stuff here.

I've been busy this week, but not with writing. I edited stories for an anthology earlier this week. They weren't mine, they were other peoples. I got edits back for my religious zombie novella, so I've been working all week to get rid of my passive writing. That has been a chore. Stupid passive writing.

I got an email last Friday afternoon asking me to write an article for Serial Killer Magazine. This is the same company I wrote the articles for the 2010 calendar and several other articles for the magazine. I haven't done anything for them for a while because I've been busy with other stuff. I was surprised when he sent me an email. I hope to get to the project sometime next week.

No stories about my children today, but I wanted to share a blog post from Piers Anthony. In my post yesterday, I told you that I sometimes have self-confidence issues with my writing. Part of that stems from the fact that I don't have an agent and I'm not published by a major publishing house. Some people argue that you haven't really made it unless you are published the traditional way.

There are a lot of advantages to getting an agent and being published by a major house. But there are also a lot of advantages being published by an indie house. There is no love lost between Mr. Anthony and the major houses. He's been in wars with them over rights and payments. He is a huge advocate for self-publishing and indie houses. With the publishing model changing, sometimes a small publisher is more flexible in dealing with it. They definitely have a better idea of how to handle the epublishing revolution.

I don't want to go off on a tangent about who or what is better. I just want to point out that his post made me feel a lot better about the path I've chosen. I was in the same boat he was. As a horror/fantasy/sci fi writer, there are only so many agents who deal with my genre. I queried them all several different times to no avail. I branched out to some others, but still nothing. What am I supposed to do then? What options do I have?

Indie publishers were my last resort. At first, I felt like a failure, like I was settling. But as time goes on, I'm happy with my decision. Some would argue that I won't get the notoriety or make millions of dollars, but there's no guarantee an agent could get me that either. AND, there have been several self-published authors who have made millions and become best sellers, so never say never. People are reading my work, and that was exactly what I wanted in the first place. It doesn't matter who puts it out, just as long as it gets to the audience.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Self Promotion

I'm always looking for ways to get my name out there. I started this blog and have a Facebook page for such details. I try to do stuff in my community and set up readings. I've done guest blogs, and will be doing several more later this summer. I've made key chains and send my stories out for reviews. But most importantly, I keep writing.

The best way to get a following is to continue to produce work. If people like it, they'll continue to read it. Writing is an impulse for me, something I have to do to feel complete, but it's more than that. I need people to read it. If I just wanted to write and not have people read it, I'd keep a journal.

My friend Tonia had a post about this on her Facebook page, a quote from her husband. It made me chuckle, but it was absolutely true. Then, I read a blog post about having faith in your work. I struggle with my self-confidence and my writing. Some days I think it's really good, and others it's crap. But I always try to put myself out there. You don't gain anything if you don't take a chance.

Will it pay off in the long run? Only time will tell. I know I'm not going to give up or quit writing, so I hope you stick with me!

Railroad! by Tonia Brown

I have the coolest friends ever. They are talented, witty, and supportive. They send me their work to read and review. For some reason, they think my reviews are worth something. Suckers.

No, really, I'm thrilled my friends send me their stuff. It gives me a chance to experience something I might not normally get the chance to read. I mentioned a while ago that I would love to be a reviewer, but, sadly, I don't have time. I squeeze in what I can.

Tonia was kind enough to send me volume 1 of her Railroad! story. It's steampunk, and like her erotic zombie novel, it's not a genre I normally read. But she's my friend and a fantastic writer, so I went for it.

The story is great! Rodger Dodger is tired of working menial jobs, so he answers an ad to be a security guard on a train. Little does he know, it's not a normal train, and the passengers are far from run of the mill. The adventure begins during his interview, and he finds himself thrust into a world of ghosts and genetic engineering. Throw into the mix a beautiful, feisty young woman, and Rodger can't say no!

The story is full of humor and wonderful characters. If you haven't experienced Railroad! yet, I recommend you do. You can access it here. But before you do, here's a little history of the story from Ms. Brown herself!

Q) What inspired you to write this story?

The exact moment came to me when I was watching the remake of True Grit. There was a scene at the beginning with a train, and the moment I saw it neurons started firing and the idea for Railroad! just exploded into being. I've always been a big fan of westerns, and steampunk, so it seemed natural that I would marry the two eventually.

Q) How long did it take you to write?

The first book length worth of material took almost six months, mainly because I had a goof when working on the second volume and lost 20k words due to a bad flash drive.

Q) Can you talk about the story's evolution and publishing history?

I started Railroad! as a novel only, but partway into the first story arc, I decided I wanted to release it as a web based serial. I still wrote it as a novel, with three volumes to complete the first book, but release it online for free at about 2k words a week. The novella sized volumes I intend to release as ebooks as I go. Volume one is just such a novella, the first ten chapters of the story.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?

I will keep on posting Rodger Dodger's story until someone begs me to stop.

Tough Question Tuesday

Can someone please tell me what the heck is going on?

Also, please check out this blog. The blog tour is still happening!

Movie Review Monday

Season of the Witch (2011)

I don't like Nicholas Cage. That man couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag. I had no desire to see this movie. The only reason I watched it was because my dad recommended it.

I know why my dad likes it. It had some pretty graphic fight scenes, and there was a lot of action. He's like me, he doesn't like to be bogged down with a bunch of talking, especially in action/horror movies. The story line wasn't bad, either.

The film is about Behmen and Felson, two knights who fought in the Crusades but left after being ordered to murder women and children. While traveling through a town, they are arrested and given the opportunity to get back in God's and the church's grace. All they have to do is escort a witch to the monks so she can be taken care of.

At first, they refuse. They don't want anything to do with the church and its murderous ways. But that night, while in their cell, Behmen looks across the way and notices the witch. She's a young woman, so he decides to help her. He agrees to take her to the monks on the condition that she gets a fair trial. The journey ensues.

Strange things happen while they are on the trail, and people die. Like I said, the film wasn't bogged down with a bunch of talking (though there was some), and the action kept the film going. The demon could have been a little cooler and a little more menacing. Other than that, it was fine.

I can at least tell my dad that I watched the film. It wasn't horrible, and I've seen worse. It probably could have been better without Nicholas Cage, but that's just my opinion!

This Week In Writing

I finished chapter 10 of the zombie sequel. It feels soooo good to be back on a writing schedule. I didn't get a chance to work at all last week. I probably could have squeezed something in if I'd tried, but I was so tired. I can't imagine what the writing would have looked like!

I heard from the nonfiction publisher. I'm supposed to have my edits back by the middle of August. I knew he was being overly optimistic when he said the end of June. That works for me, though. It gives me time to get more done on my fiction!

I heard from the fiction publisher, too. Supposedly I'm still on schedule for Life After the Undead to come out on July 31. We shall see.

The other day, the boys were coming back from Nebraska with their grandma. Great Grandma was with them, and my mother-in-law was telling her what a great swimmer the 4 year old is. She then commented on how good he was at other sports, and Great Grandma says, "Yes, he's going to be a great athlete one day."

The 4 year old huffed and said, "I'm not going to be an athlete, I'm going to be Batman."

And he will with that attitude! I hope you all have a great weekend. Keep aiming for those stars!

Vacation After Vacation

If you're like me, you usually need a vacation after your vacation so you can catch up on all the things at home, like laundry and cleaning. This year, however, I didn't. Since the workshop was in town, I was still able to keep up with my responsibilities. It was nice. I also looked forward to going back to work. My jobs are a lot less demanding than the workshop!

It would have been nice to take a vacation after my vacation just so I could get some writing done. I was really inspired to get some stories down, but I didn't have time. I'm getting back to my schedule, though, so I am getting some things done.

I know I said my final thoughts on the workshop were yesterday, but I want to re-iterate how awesome it was. I learned so much, I met such cool people, I couldn't ask for more. It really, really makes me want to be a full time writer. One day, one day...

Final Thoughts on Launch Pad

I first heard about this workshop at the mini con that was held at the University of Wyoming. The workshop sounded like such an amazing idea and a wonderful opportunity, I had to go. It was an opportunity to learn some cool stuff and meet some wonderful people. Thankfully, Mike said it was all right.

I won't lie: I was a little nervous on the first day. Even though I was excited, I felt like the odd man out. I've been published, but it's been through indie publishers. I don't have an agent. I don't have a fancy contract. Would the others accept me? Would they look down their noses at me? I didn't know what to expect.

We went around the room the first day and introduced ourselves and our accomplishments. There were some who had more published than me (one of the participants even won a Nebula Award), and a few who didn't. Everyone had their own experience, and we were all very accepting of each other. It made me feel so much better. I actually felt like part of the group.

Along with feeling like I wouldn't belong, I was afraid I wouldn't get any story ideas. I thought I was just going to fill my head with astronomy facts, hoping someday I would be able to apply them. Man, I was wrong on so many levels! I have an idea, and I've started the initial research on it, now I just need time to write it.

The stuff I blogged about scratched the surface of what we actually covered each day. There was soooo much information, and the days were very long. By the end of the week, my brain was squishy and I could barely keep my eyes open. But it was worth it. The information was priceless, and the other participants were awesome! One of my goals was to make new friends and contacts in the business, and I accomplished that. I can't tell you how wonderful it was!

I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone. If I could do it every year, I would. My brain might explode, but I'd do it! If you're interested in finding out more, you can check out Launch Pad's site here. If it sounds like something you're interested in, I encourage you to apply. It was totally worth it!

What Not to Do

Before I get into the final day of the workshop, I would like to encourage you to check out the guest blog I did yesterday. You can access it here and here.

Day 6

On the final day, we talked about cosmology, which is the study of how old the universe is. By this point in time, I was so tired and my brain was so full, I didn't really understand what was going on. I tried to take enough notes so I could look stuff up on my own. Here are the things I remember from the lecture:
The universe is flat. There is a way to prove this mathematically, and they have.
The universe is expanding. They've discovered this by measuring the Hubble relation of galaxies. Again, it's a mathematics thing.

There were other things we talked about related to this, such as dark energy and how cosmologists believe the universe will one day experience a big rip. Luckily, we will probably be long dead before that happens.

The other thing we talked about on the last day was what not to do in science fiction. Stan Schmidt, the editor of Analog, gave us some typical scenarios he reads over and over in submissions, and we had to decide what was wrong with them.

Not all science fiction has to be 100% accurate, but it should be as close as possible. I mentioned in an earlier post that my first book, Coming from Nowhere, would probably appall Stan. I didn't use any fancy equations to calculate distances the space ships had to travel, and I didn't think about how different stars affect a planet and the creatures that live there. I used my imagination instead of astronomy and physics.

However, I didn't miss the mark completely. There were a few things in the story that might have passed muster. For example, we talked about faster than light travel. We got into math equations about it, too, and what it would take for a ship to accomplish that, but the main point was that if a ship could travel faster than light, you wouldn't see anything outside of the ship. It would be black. I got that right in my story!

I got some other things with my creatures right, too. For creatures to be intelligent, they have to be large. I accomplished that with my Xyphons and the cariensis (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should pick up my novel and read it. You can get it here). So while I had some mistakes, I did get some things right. My goal from here on out is to make sure I get more things right!

Sex in Space

Day 5

Yes, we actually talked about whether or not sex in space is possible. We also talked about galaxies and star formations and dark matter. There were a lot of physics involved in that talk, a lot of which I didn't understand, and a lot of which I'm sure you don't care about. I will get to the good stuff...

The notion of sex in space sounds so kinky. A new horizon to accomplish. There have actually been some attempts to get tourism into space with the claim that sex up there would be a new frontier to experience. After hearing that lecture, coupled with the effects of space on the human body, I'm content doing it right here on Earth.

The first obstacle you have to overcome is Newton's 3rd Law. As a refresher, that's the one that states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That means, when your partner goes to thrust, you are both going to be pushed across the room, not stopping until you run into something, perhaps painfully.

So what do you do? Well, either one of you or both of you could be tied down. Yes, that brings a whole new element to bondage, and who knows if NASA will let you bring your whip with you. Or, you could include a third in your adventures (apparently dolphins do this since a water environment isn't much different than space). That could be interesting.

The mechanics of doing it in space are definitely plausible, and there have been mixed gender crews that have gone up. There was even a husband and wife team on the shuttle. Whether or not they did anything, no one is saying. But there are some downsides to doing it.

First of all, who knows if you'll actually have the energy. Remember, when you get into space, you loose muscle and bone mass, along with fluids. With that comes certain side effects. In men, the most noticeable is a drop in testosterone levels. With the loss of bone mass, fractures might happen more easily. We had a long discussion about penile fractures. I'm not going to delve into what happens there, and, trust me, you don't really want details.

Secondly, you are in very close quarters. Will you even get the privacy you need to accomplish the task? That's not even mentioning Space Adaption Syndrome, which occurs to 2/3 of trained astronauts. It basically is motion sickness in space. How sexy do you feel when you are about to throw up or have a major headache or feel dizzy?

Then, to turn you off even more, all the fluids that are produced during intercourse have nowhere to go in space. Well, they have somewhere to go, and that is condensing in the air that you are living and working in. Can you imagine floating through beads of sweat that were created during the heat of passion? Just sweat, I don't even want to go into the other fluids! Does doing it in space still sound exciting to you?

That's just the act. After our little lecture, I definitely don't recommend getting pregnant in space, although it has happened. They've sent rats and fish up, and they have reproduced successfully. However, the female rats absorbed the fertilized eggs back into their bodies, and when the males got back to Earth and mated with Earth-bound females, the offspring had a high amount of birth defects. The radiation in space will do that to sperm.

I don't want to get into the effects of space on pregnancy and kids, that's a whole other blog post, but just know there are some serious side effects. If you are interested, post a comment and let me know, I'll get into it tomorrow!

Until then, I have a guest post coming up this afternoon and one tomorrow. You can access the first one here.

Stars Die Too

Day 4

We started out the day by going for a hike at Vedauwoo. Living so close, I've been there before, but I've never been on the particular trail we went on. It was about a 3-mile hike. The weather was perfect, if not a little hot, and I saw a chipmunk (pretty common) and a few of us saw a moose. It worried me a little because it was pretty close to the trail. I never know what a wild animal is going to do, and even moose will charge. They are actually pretty mean. Anyway, we were fine. It continued to munch away.

After the hike, we all had lunch, then we had to head back to the classroom. Mike Brotherton lectured on Supernovas, White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, Black Holes. Basically, all of these are ways in which a star can die. Most people will recognize a Supernova because it is an explosion in the sky, and who doesn't like explosions? The others occur just as a fading of the star. Of course, it's a bit more complicated with various chemical reactions, but the end result is the same.

After that, another speaker talked to us about Science Education and Science Fiction. He told us about studies that were conducted about students' perception of science and how it can be altered by movies and media. Without proper guidance, they will believe that the science in Armageddon (one example; there are several others) is true. Are the stories entertaining? Of course, but they have no basis in reality.

He showed us a video from Sir Ken Robinson. It was both amusing and educational. I pretty much agreed with everything he said because I'm a total advocate for keeping creativity in school. We shouldn't teach for the test, we need to teach so kids can figure out their world. I don't want to go off on a tangent, so I'll leave it at that.

What was the point? We're writers, not teachers, what can we do? Well, we can reach a larger audience than most teachers. Books and movies are entertainment, but that doesn't mean they can't teach something in the process. We have the ability to make learning fun, and we should strive to do that. Again, it goes back to being able to police ourselves and make sure our science is as accurate as possible.

I thought a lot about my first book, Coming from Nowhere. It's science fiction, but it is definitely not based in any real science. It was written purely for entertainment. I also have several novellas and short stories that were written in the same vein. I don't regret writing those stories, and I think they have their place. But my goal from now on is to write stories that more closely follow the real science. It is going to be a fun and interesting challenge!

Can You See Me Now?

Day 3

Yesterday was an intense day. Not only did we have our regular lectures/discussions, we went up to WIRO to see the telescope. I didn't get home until after midnight. Whew! It was a long day! So what did we talk about?

We talked about gravity. Did you know that gravity is everywhere in the universe? Really, it is. It might not be as powerful as it is on Earth, but it's there.

We talked about Newton and Kepler's theories, which led into a discussion about orbits. A lot of this stuff was physics based, which is what turned me off from astronomy as an undergraduate, so I'm not going to bore you with the details. It was fascinating learning about how orbits form and what you have to do to change them. The math part made my eyes cross, but I got the jist of the conversation.

After that, we discussed planets, both in our solar system and outside of it. The lecture focused on the different ways astronomers use to locate planets. An interesting fact: 1 in 10 planets that we have examined so far have planets. What does that mean? There are a lot more planets out there than we anticipated. Are they habitable? Maybe. The majority of them aren't earthlike, but that doesn't mean life couldn't evolve in some other way.

Then, we discussed different kinds of stars and how they are born. In a nutshell, they come from gas clouds that collapse in space.

The final lecture of the day was about world building, biology, and culture. Stan Schmidt took all the stuff we learned earlier in the day and showed us how to apply it to creating alien worlds. Surprisingly, he even made the math make sense. It was a great way to apply the in-depth information.

As I mentioned, after dinner we headed up to Jelm Mountain. I have lived in Laramie for 13 years, and I've never been up there. It was an adventure. First of all, the views were stunning! I need to go up sometime in the day.

Secondly, the telescope was so cool! We didn't get a chance to see anything because there was a lightning storm before and they didn't want to fry the components. When it was finally safe, it was really late, and most of us were very tired. They have an open house in October, so I might go back then.

On a final note, the blog tour goes on, so check it out here.

I See the Light

Day 2

Astronomy is an observation-based science, which means if an astronomer can’t see it, they can’t study it. Light is integral because it is the only way we can perceive what’s in the universe.

“But wait,” you say, “if we can only study what we see, doesn’t that severely limit our understanding of space?”

To that I say, “No.”

Light comes in different forms and wavelengths, most of which cannot be perceived by humans. The different light types are: gamma rays, x-rays, infrared, the visible spectrum (what we actually see), microwaves, and radio*.

Since we can’t perceive most light with our own eyes, we have to create telescopes to do it for us. We have infrared scopes, radio scopes, and others that help us see things in space. The specific telescope takes pictures, then sends the data back to computers on Earth. The astronomers do whatever they need to with that data, and that helps us understand more about what’s out there.

We talked about dust. You wouldn’t think it, but space is a very dirty place. The focus here was how dust sometimes gets in the way and doesn’t allow the astronomer to see what’s behind it. But using infrared, we can see right through it. Dust is also another tool to understanding the makeup of the universe.

The focus of today was light. It got pretty in depth. A lot of it I didn’t understand, and I’m sure I had a glazed look in my eye, so I’m not even going to attempt to explain it to you. We did some experiments with light and looked at different elements spectral fingerprints. It was cool.

The final speaker of the day talked about medical issues in space and the types of dangers humans face when out there. These include:
Loss of atmosphere
Exposure to toxins
Mechanical trauma
Acceleration and deceleration
Extreme temperatures
Meteoroids and space debris
Circadian rhythms and sleep
Adverse biological effects of microgravity

Each one of these topics had several more specific medical issues that could occur. They are quite numerous, so I don’t really want to get into too much detail here.

Radiation is the greatest risk in space. On Earth, our atmosphere blocks out most types of radiation, but in space, what do you have to protect you? Your ship and suit will do it to an extent, but the molecules can get through that stuff.

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go to space after hearing all that. I would be the one who got everything. I don’t travel well. Sometimes traveling in the state upsets my stomach and it takes me a day or more to recover. Can you imagine what would happen to me traveling offplanet? No, thank you!

*I was actually surprised that “radio” is a light wave. I thought for sure it was sound. It made me very curious to know how it’s translated from light into sound, and one day, when I have time, I’m going to look it up!

Launchpad Workshop

Day 1

There are so many amazing and wonderful writers in this group. I was really nervous that I wasn't going to fit in, that I would be an outsider, but (surprisingly) I'm just like the others! We are an eclectic mix, too. There are novelists, YA writers, middle grade writers, journalists, screenwriters, freelancers, comedians, etc. For lack of a better descriptor, it's exciting!

The majority of yesterday was spent talking about the size of the universe (check out this link to get an idea. It was found by a fellow student, Todd Vandemark). In many science fiction stories, the characters are seen zipping about solar systems or in between galaxies. In reality, this is impossible, especially with the science we have today. Some of the stuff is millions of light years away from each other. Millions.

It brought things into perspective. Kind of. It's really hard to imagine something that big. For our minds, it's abstract, so we don't really grasp it. How does a writer compensate for that? Well, there were several suggestions. 1) We always try to relate it back to something the reader will know. For example, if you wanted to walk from here to the sun, how long would it take? Stuff like that. 2) One of the presenters, Stanley Schmidt (who is editor of Analog magazine), said that it's okay to use fictitious science. However, it has to be used within the ideals of what we know now and it has to adhere to known rules of science. Science can evolve in your stories, but it has to do so in a logical manner.

After that, we discussed misconceptions, particularly misconceptions about the seasons and lunar phases. The main point here was that once we get an idea in our heads, it's really hard to get out, even if it's wrong. Even though we've learned throughout our education what causes the seasons and the phases of the moon, we still cling to our own notions of how it occurs.

Our goal as writers is to stop perpetuating these myths and attempt to teach the reader the real reason for these things. (There are more than just these misconceptions, but these are the examples they used.) How do we do that? First and foremost, we have to police ourselves. We have to make sure to have the best and accurate science in our work. It doesn't always mean that the reader is going to let go of their beliefs. We can only hope we open their eyes to different possibilities.

The final discussion of the day was about amateur astronomy. Jerry Oltion talked to us about the different kinds of telescopes, how to decide which was best, and all the different parts. He then talked about what we could actually see in the sky. He had some great pictures of galaxies, planets, and nebulas that he'd taken himself.

Most of the stuff he was talking about, I already knew. I've been fortunate to have a mother who's really into astronomy, so I knew the basics about telescopes. I also knew about Messier objects, and I've seen the rings of Saturn. Still, he was so passionate about astronomy, it was infectious to listen to him talk.

We were supposed to end the evening star gazing, but there were a lot of clouds. I stayed at home and absorbed all the stuff I learned. I'm looking forward to today's lectures/discussions!

The blog tour is also continuing, so please continue to check out eTreasures blog to find out what's happening!

Tour/Movie Review Monday

I think the tour is still going on, but I haven't seen any new posts lately. Since I won't be around this afternoon, just check out here to see what's happening.

Cars 2 (2011)

The menfolk decided to go fishing yesterday, so Grandma suggested we do lunch, go to a movie, then hang out for dinner. I think she was trying to rescue me from insanity. Thank goodness, it worked!

Cars 2 was very cute. The animation keeps getting better and better, and it had some really cool explosions. It was in 3D, though I would have survived if I had to watch it in 2D. I missed part of the film because the 2 year old was very wiggly. We actually had to get up at one point and change his diaper. He's still a bit young to take, but I couldn't leave him home alone. He'll get the hang of it someday.

The total run time for the movie with previews was 2 hours. It was just a bit long for the boys, and some of the content was definitely not for children. It wasn't scary or anything, but they wouldn't have understood it. I mean, what do kids know about secret agents? Plus, some cars got killed. Granted, most of the kids wouldn't have understood that either, but I was taken aback.

It was a typical Disney film full of laughs and good times, as well as a happy ending. Both adults and children will enjoy it, so I recommend seeing it. Has anyone else watched it yet?

Blog Tour/This Week in Writing

The tour continues! Today Margaret Karmazin is the featured author. You can check out her blog here.

I finished chapter 9 of the sequel. This one stalled a bit. I don't know if my mind was focused elsewhere or what, but it was a little difficult to get down. I won't know if it's any good until I go back and read it, but that won't be for a while. Must.continue.on. Like I said, my goal is to have the story done by the end of the year, so I must keep moving forward!

I'm still waiting to hear about the zombie anthology, along with edits for an article I wrote 2 weeks ago and edits for the nonfiction book. I'm not overly worried about getting those. I'm on vacation next week, so things are going on hold.

With the 4th of July on Monday, the kids got to do something new: they got to light fireworks. The law says you can't shoot them in town, but who's gonna stop you in the county? One of my spouse's friends has a house out there, so we loaded up and headed out.

Of course, we had rules. There were 3 kids there, all under the age of 6. They were excited and bouncy and screechy, but they did a great job of listening. No one got hurt, and everyone had a good time.

We never really did fireworks when I was a kid. Playing with sparklers and Black Cats was about the extent of it. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to have bottle rocket wars (yeah, that was a great idea. I don't recommend doing that!). I was surprised at how many different fireworks there are. We had bugs and tanks and trucks and a dragon thing. We also had sparklers and Black Cats and bottle rockets. I didn't light any of them. I was content to sit back and watch. I was just excited as the kids. I was bouncy, but I refrained from screeching.

It was so much fun to watch the kids ooo and aah over the fireworks. I hope you took the time to let you inner child out to ooo and aah also. If not, take a moment this weekend. Heck, even if you did, take another moment this weekend. It's good for the soul!

eTreasures Blog Tour

The blog tour has started! Things are going to get a little crazy around here, but it should be fun! Check out the latest on eTreasures Blog.

The first spotlighted author is Cindy Cromer. You can find out all about her at her website. There is even a great interview on her blog.

There will be several more authors, including me, so stay tuned!

Aside from the blog tour, I also start my "vacation" on Sunday. If you recall, I'm going to a writing workshop. I'm very excited! It should prove to be informative and fun!

"Silver Moon" by Stacey Thompson-Geer

Ms. Thompson-Geer and I live in the same town. But do you think we met there? Of course not! We met through a mutual friend, Lori Titus, who lives far away. We still haven't met in person, but we communicate through email. Isn't it such a small world?

Here is the blurb for Silver Moon:

After 130 years, you'd think I would know better than to go looking for trouble, but I just can't seem to help myself. The council wants me to catch a werewolf. I just want to paint my nails. Rose is a bitchy sarcastic vampire that ends up hunting a werewolf in, of all places, Las Vegas. She finds very quickly that things are not going to go as planned.

Rose doesn't like to follow the rules. She's very content living her own life and staying out of other vampires' ways. Unfortunately, the Vampire Council doesn't like that. They want her to be apart of the group. They figure the best way to do that is to have her hunt down a werewolf. As you can imagine, it doesn't make her very happy, but she still does it.

She meets a lot of interesting characters along the way, including another werewolf, a witch, and she is reunited with her creator.

The notion of hunting down a rogue werewolf was intriguing, and Ms. Thompson-Geer does a nice job of explaining why the vampires have to help. Normally, werewolves and vampires loath each other, so they stay away. (In Stacey's world, vampires pretty much loath all other mythical creatures). Since this particular situation is so dire, the werewolves need all the help they can get.

The pacing was strange. There was a sense of urgency to find the rogue werewolf before the silver moon, but Rose finds herself visiting her childhood home and sleeping with the other werewolf. Where is the urgency there?

The little side trips do have a point, however. It introduces the reader to some nefarious characters and a plot to turn the known world on it's head.

All in all, the story was very entertaining. It was a quick read, so if you have some time on your hands, the Kindle version is only 99 cents. It's totally worth it!

Stacey was also kind enough to answer some interview questions for me. Enjoy!

Q) What inspired you to write this novella?
I really don't know that there was a defining inspiration. I just wanted to write a Vampire that was not really good, but not as bad as she could be. I also was tired of seeing all the Vampire romance that made the old style Vampires seem soft. There is no way, if they were real, they would be soft.

Q) How long did it take you to write the novella?
I started writing it about two years ago. I finished it and submitted it to a company that did not get to open, but they did help me to edit it and make it better. That process took about a year. Once I got rights back to it, I put it up at Wicked Nights and considered the road on that one done. There are others in the works within the world and the supporting characters seen in Silver Moon.

Q) Can you talk about the story's evolution and publishing history?
I started it one day, I think it was in a summer because I wanted to write another novel. It went along well for awhile and then stalled out. I eventually finished it and contracted it with a company that didn't get a chance to open their doors. Then I just did it. I loved the story and didn't know if it would fall in with any other publisher out there.

Q) What are you trying to get across or understand as you write?
I'm not sure. I just get a story and learn about these people in them. They are all different and have dark sides to themselves I like to explore. My hero's are never just hero's. They are always battling something inside of them.

Q) Why do you write?
That's easy, because I have to. It's who I am. I get depressed when I don't write for awhile or feel like a part of me is missing. I write what I feel and where I'd like to go or know. Sometimes I write dreams into my stories. They have a real connection for me, even though they are so far from anyone's reality.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I'm working on more in this series, of course, but I also have stand alone stories in the Sci Fi market as well as some pure paranormal romance coming. (No, it does not include sparkly Vampires. :) )

Q) You run your own publishing company called Wicked Nights. Would you like to tell us about the company?
Wicked Nights has had a good run, but we recently changed the way it operates. We turned it into a co op type of option for writers. What this means is that any self published author that would like to be a part of it can be. All we require is a little pitch in some form or another and we help them to get a good book out of the deal. It's not fee based and we have a great group there. I like to call it self publishing with friends. :)

Tough Question Tuesday

What did you want to be when you grew up?

If you're like me, I'm sure you changed your mind often. I thought at one time I wanted to be a teacher, but then I realized I'd have to be around kids all the time. That cured that dream.

Then I thought I'd be a geologist, but then I realized the names of the rocks were complicated and I would have to deal with rocks. Boring!

Then, there was the idea of being a marine biologist. First of all, I'm not very good at chemistry. Secondly, I'm not particularly fond of the ocean. Double strike against me!

Finally, I decided to go into English. I love to read, I love to write, and I love to critically analyze things. It was the perfect fit!

Movie Review Monday

Before I get into the review, I have a couple of announcements. Firt of all, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! I hope you all have a fabulous day. Secondly, I heard from the publishers yesterday. Life After the Undead is scheduled for release on July 31! I would say mark your calendars, but I will remind you numerous time.

The Fighter (2010)

Sometimes I feel like I'm out of the loop when it comes to films. If it's not action, horror, science fiction, or fantasy, I probably know nothing about them. That's not to say I won't watch them, I'm fairly open when it comes to different genres. That being said, I don't remember this movie, but it was really good.

The story is about Mickey, an aspiring boxer who has several issues he has to overcome, the main one being an extremely disfunctional family. His older brother had been a boxer in his day, never making it big, and then turns into a crack whore. The story follows the struggles and triumphs of both characters.

This movie is based on a true story, and it was very interesting. My original intention was to work on other things while the movie played in the background, but I found myself sucked in. The film was definitely worth watching.

This Week in Writing

Just a note on blog posts from July 4th until September: I am participating in a couple of blog tours, so things are going to get screwy around here. I will try to post my regular blogs when I can, but it probably won't happen often. The reading should continue to be fun and interesting, so I hope you enjoy!

I finished chapter 7 of the sequel. Things are moving right along, and I actually have some motivation to write. I love it when things come together!

I'm still waiting to hear from the Code Z anthology. I sent an inquiry email the other day, and it sounds like the editor is still making decisions. I will let you know when I hear.

I expect to hear back from Scarecrow Press sometime this month. The editor originally thought he'd have edits to me by the end of June, but I thought he was being overly optimistic. I do believe I'll have something probably by the end of this month. It all depends on how busy he is. I'm both excited and nervous to get them back.

I'm going to keep plugging away on my fiction until those edits come back. I'm sure I can knock out a good chunk of the story before I'm pulled away!

Earlier this week, the family took a bike ride. When we got back, the 4 year old wanted to take a shower (it's his new thing), and the 2 year old wanted a cookie. The kids already had one, so I told him no. I got busy helping the 4 year old get into the shower, and when I turned around, the 2 year old was smiling at me with a cookie in his hand. My first thought was that my spouse let him have it.

"Where did you get that?" I asked.

He tried to hand it to me, but I told him it was all right. (I was working on the assumption that his other parent gave it to him.)

I asked my spouse, "Why did you give him a cookie? He already had one."

"I didn't give him a cookie. I've been in the bathroom this whole time," was the reply.

Turns out, the 2 year old got it himself. He pushed the chair over to the counter, climbed up, and opened the bag. He then folded the bag back up and closed the cupboard. Crafty little bugger.

Moral of the story: if you want something bad enough, don't let anyone stand in your way. Even if you have to get it yourself, it will be just as sweet.

Hope you have a fabulous 4th of July weekend!