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This Week in Writing

After receiving some feedback from a beta reader (hi, Mom!), I added a prologue and epilogue to my middle grade book.  There will be some more edits, I'm sure, after the other readers get back to me.

I finished the edit I was working on, and I'm waiting for it to come back so I can format it.  I'm supposed to get edits back from Death to the Undead this weekend also.  We shall see if that actually comes to pass.  Other than that, I've been lazy.  But it's been a loooong week, so I deserve a little down time.

Tuesday night, I was sitting at the table working on the computer, and the boys were outside playing football.  I assumed they were throwing it back and forth to one another, but then I heard this panicked cry from the back yard.  It was the 5 year old.  Instantly, I jumped up to see what was going on.  About that same time, the 3 year old started screaming bloody murder.

The 5 year old was babbling about how it was an accident, and my first thought was someone broke something.  I got to the door and looked out, and the 3 year old was walking up to the house with blood covering his entire face.  Seriously, he looked like an MMA fighter who had the crap beat out of him.

I freaked.  I do not handle emergency situations very well.  I get incredibly panicky, and my panic panics everyone around me. 

I picked him up, continuing to ask the 5 year old what happened, and took him to the bathroom.  My initial thought was to wipe his face with a washcloth.  When I got in there and turned on the water, I realized that was not going to happen.  There was too much blood.  I took him into my bathroom to put him in the shower.  We have a head that detaches, so I thought I'd rinse him off.  As I sat on the edge of the tub and turned on the water, I knew that probably wasn't going to work because he hates water on his face.  Instead, I start scooping it with my hand and sprinkling it over his face, which was not very effective.

This whole time, I'm telling the 5 year old to get my phone because I was sure I needed an ambulance.  Finally, I just grabbed a towel and dabbed at the 3 year old's face.  The bleeding slowed, so I knew I could get him to the hospital myself.  Which was a good thing because the 5 year old couldn't find my phone and I couldn't remember where I put it.  (It was a good lesson for me.  Now, I need to make sure I put my phone where everyone can find it in case another emergency arises.)

We piled into the car and headed up.  My spouse met me up there, and by the time we walked in, the 3 year old and I were covered in blood (mainly because the water from the shower thinned it out when I tried to rinse it away).  I thought I was going to pass out, so while we waited for the nurse, I had my head between my legs and took deep breaths.

In the end, he had two lacerations on his forehead that they closed with glue.  The 5 year old informed us that he tackled his brother and his head slammed into the ground.  What he hit, we have no idea.  I told them they weren't allowed to tackle until they had helmets.

His response:  "Well, I guess you'll have to get us helmets for Christmas then."

Later, while sitting in the ER room waiting for the doctor, we continued to talk about the incident.  I don't remember what I said, but the 5 year old's response was, "Well, Mom, I guess you'll have to make sure you watch us next time we're playing football in the back yard."

Nothing like the words of a child to humble you and make you feel like a horrible parent.  The weekend has to be better than the week!

Have a great one!

A Favor to Ask

I'm hoping (pleading and begging) that some of you fabulous readers who have read my books/stories would be willing to post some reviews on Amazon for me.  It would be the best thing eva!  (And, my birthday is next month, so you could make it an early present.)

Word of mouth is one of the components to get books noticed.  While it's accepted/recommended to send your book to reviewers, how many of you actually listen to what they say?  Probably not many.  You're more apt to listen to your friends and what they recommend.  So, your review on Amazon would be like telling all your friends about me.  I would be forever in your debt!

To make it even easier on you, I'll give you the links to my books.  Thank you so much for your support and help!  You ROCK!

Life After the Undead

The History of My Wishes

Coming from Nowhere

Meet An Author

Emma Lane lives in Western New York near Lake Erie on a few picturesque acres with her ever patient husband. They own and operate a small herbtique which keeps their days busy and interesting during the summer months. They have two brilliant grown-up children and a wonderful pair of grandchildren.

In one way or another, the entire family contributes to her stories. They are her biggest fans and she is ever thankful for it.

“I never saw a printed word I did not like.”


Beloved Soldier Returns

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
BELOVED SOLDIER RETURNS is to be released August 8 from MUSA PUBLISHING.

All around us the soldiers are returning home from war duties. Adjustment is difficult for the families of these soldiers as well as for them and especially trying when there are recovering wounds. I remember when my own husband came home. Wow! It was a big adjustment for both of us and he had no wounds to hinder his experience. I have always been sympathetic to the families who are left behind by war.

In this story Lynda, our heroine, is struggling to accept the death of a loved one lost in the Napoleonic war at the battle of Waterloo. She thinks she is dreaming when he appears, still recovering from his wound, but alive. His head wound caused amnesia and his return has been delayed for almost 3 years. He has a fascinating story to tell everyone about his experience. Gypsies kept him alive, but there is a secret he learns about his head wound.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Maybe a month. I did some research on the Roma. It was fascinating, and I lingered.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
The excitement of a new story with new characters. They are like new friends coming alive in front of your very eyes.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Editing, marketing, and every thing else besides writing. Writing is the reward for all the rest.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Lois Lane. She has all that excitement, gets to write, and has an unusual boyfriend.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
ummm. peanut butter. Not sure how old it is. Still good I think. You didn’t think it was chocolate bars, did you?

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I enjoy writing Traditional Regency and Contemporary Romantic Suspense, but I might take a break after this for awhile. Probably won’t but it’s nice to think I might take a rest and tend my garden.

Guest Post

I had some issues opening the author's Word document this morning, so I couldn't post anything.  Meet An Author will commence when I get the new information.  Until then, I have a guest blog here.  Check it out.

River Review Monday

There was no time to watch a movie this weekend.  My family was here, I had a wedding to go to, and my spouse, the kids, and I floated the river yesterday.  I thought I'd share that little adventure with you instead.

My spouse got a new raft about a year ago.  I'd been out on the old one numerous times, but the boys were a bit too small for me to go on the new one, so this was my maiden voyage.  Unlike our old raft, this one does not leak like a sieve and we don't have to bail the boat every so often.  The floor is self-bailing, and while some water gets in, it stays really dry.  I was impressed.  Also, it has a bow seat, which means I didn't have to sit on a pontoon.  You have no idea how lovely that bow seat is.  Made the whole trip for me.

Anyway, we went up to Casper to float part of the North Platte.  The area has its charm.  It's mainly sagebrush and rolling hills, with willows and other shrubs along the river bank.  We saw numerous antelope along the water's edge.  If you're not a fan of the desert, I doubt you'd enjoy this float.  And it was hot, oh, so very hot.  In the 90s.  Normally, Wyoming winds would be howling constantly through there, but not yesterday.  It was nice.  There was a breeze that came through occasionally, and that was absolutely lovely.

This was the first real float trip the boys had taken.  They'd been on the river before, but not for this long.  The float took us about 3.5 hours, and, trust me, they were ready to get out (I, too, was ready to take them out).  They started the trip fishing, which kept them occupied and excited.  Then, we stopped for lunch, about half an hour into the float.  We pulled the boat onto the bank at a public section and ate sandwiches.  The boys continued to fish, right up until the 3 year old hooked the 5 year old.

Fish hooks are sharp.  They hurt, and they are barbed.  The 3 year old caught the 5 year old on the shoulder, getting the hook buried up until the bend.  The 5 year old screamed like he was losing his eye.  Seriously, you would have thought someone shot him or stabbed him (I think the boat that drifted by at that moment thought that may have happened).  He carried on for a while, even when Daddy picked him up and put him in his lap.  Poor kid, he was crying and shaking and didn't want anyone to touch the hook.  He screamed every time my spouse tried. 

Since the hook when through his shirt, Daddy had to cut the material to get the hook out.  That was fine, until he grabbed the hook again.  I tried to get the 5 year old to take deep breaths, but he was hysterical by this point.  Finally, he held still enough for the spouse to get a hold of it and popped it right out.  There was a little blood, but I've seen the 5 year old bleed more when he got shots.  We got him cleaned up and headed down the river.  The 5 year old cursed his brother for a while.  Of course, there was no more fishing for the rest of the day.  That bummed them out, but the 5 year old said he NEVER wanted to go fishing again.  (He changed his tune after a while and said he wanted to be older before he went fishing again.)

After that incident, the float was smooth.  I thoroughly enjoy sitting at the back of the boat and doing nothing.  I dip my feet in occasionally and stare at the scenery.  Normally, I don't think about anything.  It's fantastic.  It is the ultimate in relaxation. 

This Week in Writing

Chapter 1 of Life After the Undead is posted here.  If you haven't read/heard of it, check it out.

Very little writing took place this week.  My days were filled with editing.  That's fine.  It gets my books one step closer to publication.  I'm hoping to get back to writing this weekend or the beginning of next week.  Fingers crossed.

Earlier this week, the boys and I were out on our walk.  The 3 year old was playing with some sticks, which are Ryder's favorite things.  For some reason, he thinks he's part beaver and shreds them occasionally eating the splinters and throwing them up in the middle of the night.  Anyway, The 3 year old had a stick in his hand, and Ryder ran up behind him and took it.  The 3 year old was grumpy and tired, so the world came to an end.  He screamed and cried and threw a tantrum.

Since the walks are supposed to be stress relieving for me, I ignored him.  Well, not completely ignored, I told him to find another stick.  I'm not going to fight the dog for a stick.  Ridiculous.  Again, he was tired and grumpy, so any little thing would set him off.  He continued to walk while he cried, and the 5 year old came up behind him and started patting his back.

"It's okay.  It's fine," he tells his brother.

The 3 year old took in a few shaky breaths and started to calm down.

"When I was a baby and upset, Grandma used to pat my back to make me feel better," the 5 year old says, continuing to pat his brother's back until he stopped crying.

I couldn't help but smile.  It was the sweetest thing I'd seen all day.  The boys may fight like cats and dogs, but when it comes down to it, I know they'll always be there for each other.  They can be very sweet when they want to be.  That walk was actually stress relieving.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Self-promotion Thursday

Yesterday was the first day of summer, which for Wyoming meant it was unpleasant.  It was in the 60s, then last night, it got cold enough my furnace to kick on this morning.  When I got to work, it was 50 degrees and windy.  Tomorrow, it will be in the 90s.  Gotta love Wyoming!

I wanted to highlight my slasher book today since it is now available to order.  You can purchase it from Amazon or the publisher, along with a multitude of other sites (Google "Life Lessons from Slasher Films" to find your favorite one!).  I would love to hear from anyone who gets the chance to read it!

Horror and slasher films are often dismissed for their apparent lack of sophistication and dearth of redeemable values. However, despite criticism from film snobs who turn up their noses and moralists who look down upon the genre, slasher films are more than just movies filled with gory mayhem. Such films can actually serve a purpose and offer their audiences something more than split skulls and severed heads.

In Life Lessons from Slasher Films, Jessica Robinson looks at representative works that have been scaring audiences for decades—from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal shocker, Psycho, to the cult classic Black Christmas and iconic thrillers like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Scream. In this book, Robinson examines common themes that have emerged in these films, their various sequels, and countless imitators—a maniacal and seemingly indestructible executioner, sexual encounters that invariably lead to death, increasingly gruesome ways to slaughter helpless victims, and a lone female survivor who finds a way to vanquish the killer—and looks beyond such tropes for what these films can teach us about life.

From practical advice (listen to your elders) to moral platitudes (teens never learn), each chapter considers a different “lesson” that these films teach. Robinson discusses how the events portrayed in slasher films can resonate with viewers and perhaps offer constructive advice on how to conduct our lives. A fun read for fans and scholars alike, Life Lessons from Slasher Films offers an entertaining and persuasive look at how life can imitate art, and what art can say about life.

Still Don't Think of Myself as One

This past weekend, my family and I went to my spouse's aunt and uncle's 40th anniversary/renewing of vows.  While there, I met a lot of family I'd never met before.  As is customary, they asked what I do.  Without hesitation, I told them about my two part-time jobs.  When I finished, the aunt chimed in and said, "Don't forget the most important one, you're a published author."

It took me back for a second.  Why hadn't I thought about adding that to my list of jobs?  After all, that was the most interesting and the one the family was most curious about.  I love talking about my writing, so why didn't I bring it up?

I think the biggest reason I didn't mention that "job" was because it's not really a job.  I don't make a living writing.  My evil day jobs pay my bills.  Until writing becomes profitable, it will always be a hobby.  But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing it.  Writing is also a passion.

It got me thinking about how I view and classify myself.  Perhaps one of the first steps I need to take is taking my writing seriously.  Yes, I am a published writer.  So what if it doesn't pay the bills?  It's still an accomplishment and something I enjoy doing.  There's no shame in letting people know I have books out there.  Heck, I might even find new fans along the way.  So, my new goal is to try and define myself through my work and my writing.  We shall see how it goes.

Meet An Author Tuesday

Today's author is Jared Gullage

I was born and raised in Opelika, Alabama. Though at first a slow learner in reading and writing, once I began to do so, I grew to love it. My father always told me that to be a great writer, a person must learn to form pictures with words. Since my brother was the better cartoonist and visual artist, I worked at creating stories. Role-playing and an excellent education in English throughout high school honed my skills further. Attending Auburn University, I majored in English. Throughout my life, creative writing and anything that makes it better, easier, or more worthy, has been that which appeals to me most. Often, to understand this world, I have taken my knowledge to imaginary ones to toy with. I have jokingly told my students that "writing is my default setting" and what I would do if I had to decide on one thing to do forever. Writing is much less a thing I do, but a place and time, a brief leap from the boundaries of the mundane.

Drinna, a young Kunjel girl, finds herself awake in a world her parents have only talked about, The Sea of Grass. It is a place inhabited by dangerous creatures, vicious enemies, and even poisonous grasses.

What’s worse is that she was preparing for a rite of passage where she learned to control the rage of her people. Without the guidance of her people, the rage could be both a strong ally, and a lethal enemy.

She has only her knowledge of this place to help her. She must learn to use her parents’ guidance, question long-held beliefs, and trust herself or she won’t survive.

As if this was not bad enough, someone is watching for her, chasing her, waiting for her to make a mistake in order to capture her or worse….

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
A) Drinna is the reaction to what I, as a teacher, have seen in many classes, among many teenagers. Anger. Quite a few teenagers these days have found themselves storing up within quite a great deal of rage, like my main character. I felt like I needed to address this. I was blessed in many, many ways growing up; the same cannot be said for quite a few students I've known through the ages. Drinna is a character designed to show how our anger can be both a friend to us (when appropriately used to motivate us) and can cause harm to ourselves and others. There is an appropriate use of anger and many inappropriate uses of anger. The kunjels as a race of creatures shows that anger is neither sinful nor necessarily wrong, if applied properly to our lives.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
A) This novel took my about seven drafts, the shortest of which went over thirty or so pages. However, the final copy, once it gelled, took me the better part of a year to write, so I guess all totaled it took me about a year and a half from the first attempt to put anything down on a page to when it was published in '10. At first, the novel was going to be an experiment in writing both in English and a made-up language, and then I just kept going and going and there it was. I was, again, blessed with the opportunity to write as a substitute teacher. While the students worked, I wrote. Unfortunately, as a professional educator now, I find it much harder to write. The sequel to Drinna has been a tough one to get cranked out.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
A) The ability to live in a world I create and be able to escape there from time to time. I find writing is a default method of self-soothing. If I can write about it, I can wrap my brain around it. That's another thing, I think: it is also motivation to educate myself and read further. When I learn something new, I almost always try to figure out how it compares to my own little patch of fantasy. Do my people act the same? I like to ask questions in my writing of that nature, and answer them through a story. I love to consider how tweaking one aspect of the real world ripples through the fantastic, too.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
A) Promoting it. I have discovered as I have emerged into the professional world of writing that I HATE PROMOTING MYSELF. It's not that I do not believe in my writing, or that others will enjoy it. I believe those things, but I feel like such a pimp trying to get it out there on the market and trying to advertise it as though it were the next greatest thing since Tide with Bleach. My stories are like my children, and I want them to stand out because of their merit more than their merchandising. It is a grim reality that I must face that I must learn better how to promote my books to other people if I ever expect to sell them, but I hate to do it.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
A) Jared Gullage, the world famous novelist, because that is what I eventually want. I know, that's kind of a trick answer to the question, but truthfully, I have enough trouble being me. If I were to answer the question correctly, however, I would probably say I'd like to be...J.K. Rowling maybe, or Richard Adams, or maybe J.R.R. Tolkein, or one of the British authors who have really done their homework, because I would love to be able to download some of their knowledge without having to do the hard stuff myself (wouldn't anyone, really?). I would like to be one of those people who can really be meticulous and detailed in their notetaking and have some notes all done about some of my stories. I guess what I'm saying is that I would love to be one of those above and really delve into my own works and take good notes and set some groundwork while I've got their self-discipline. Then, I'd like to write as myself.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A) Hmmm. I think it's some kind of Hawaiian jam/jelly my neice brought me from her trip to Hawaii. It was delicious, but now it's been in there so long, I think I may be scared of it now.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A) More from Trithofar, the world where Drinna comes from. I hope to work out a sequel to Drinna soon, and perhaps have it published by eTreasures. But I've got some other stuff out there from Trithofar, and I'm working on some more. I hope that there will be some more novels about it soon.

Movie Review Monday

My friend, Kim Paffenroth, is doing a book giveaway at the end of July, and one of them is my book, Life Lessons from Slasher Films.  Want a chance at winning it?  Details are here.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

We were out of town this weekend for my spouse's uncle's 40-year anniversary and renewal of vows.  Since we were in a hotel room, we didn't have a huge amount of viewing options.  It did have HBO, so that helped.

I remember seeing previews for this movie, but I never had a desire to see it. It's not really my type of film.  Honestly, I only watched part of the movie and tried to fall asleep on the other part, but I couldn't, so I ended up watching the majority of it, without my glasses on, so I couldn't really see the screen.  It wasn't bad.  Parts of it actually made me laugh.

It is the story of Cal Weaver, whose wife of 25 years tells him she wants a divorce, mainly because she cheated on him with another guy.  He is, of course, shattered by the news, and the first part of the film is him walking around in a depressed funk until he meets Jacob, who promises to make him into a new man.  From there, he turns into a womanizer who can't quite do it right and still desires to be with his wife.

There were some great twists in the film, along with a very cute message.  It was over the top, but it was a romantic comedy, it was supposed to be.  It was a nice, light movie to watch while away.  If you like romantic comedies and a good chuckle, I definitely recommend this film.

This Week in Writing

Started chapter 2 of my newest story, and I think I'm about half way through.  With the training I had to go to the last couple of days, I haven't had a chance to get anything else done.  Hopefully soon.  Not that it really matters.  I still have some other things to finish first, mainly, I need to find a home for Wucaii and get edits back from the beta readers for The Ifs.

I got edits back for my children's story earlier in the week.  I went through it last night, but I was really tired so I'm not sure my corrections make sense.  I'm going to go through it again today.  It's only 5 pages, so it won't take me long.

Other than that, I've been doing some edits for other people, but mainly being lazy.  I don't foresee that changing in the near future...  It's kind of nice!

Recently, I've started taking walks at night to help relieve some stress and to get the dogs and kids out for exercise.  The other night was not a good walk night.  When I picked the boys up from daycare, they were tired and grumpy and everything little thing turned into a crisis.  Still, I thought the walk would be all right.

At the end of our walk is a large dirt hill, which the boys love going up and down.  It doesn't matter if they're on their bikes or not, it's fun for them.  They wanted to go down the hill three times before we headed back to the house, so I told them it was fine.  After the second go down, the 5 year old looked at me with panic in his eyes and his hands on his stomach.

"I have to go to the bathroom.  I have to poop."

"Okay, well, we better hurry up and get home," I tell him.

He shakes his head.  "I can't make it."

I didn't really want him going to the bathroom out there.  We walk through a large field filled with sagebrush, so no one would really know, but still.

"Honey, we'll just have to hurry."

He burst into tears (it was a crisis).  "I don't want to poop my pants."

I had to relent.  What else could I do?

He finds a bush and squats down.  I'm silently freaking out the entire time, hoping no one walks by (they never do, but this would be the one time), but he was pretty hidden.  Then, when he finished, the dogs were kind enough to clean up after him.  I wanted to throw up.  Dogs are so disgusting.  (If you ever come to my house, don't let my dogs lick you or breathe on you.)

After that, we headed home.  You would think it was a pleasant trip, especially since he took care of business, but it wasn't.  He had tinkled on his shorts while squatting, so he cried all the way home about how his shorts were wet and uncomfortable.  As you can imagine, that walk wasn't very stress relieving.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday and Thursday

No posts today and tomorrow.  I have to go to training and have to be up at the ass-crack of dawn, so I won't have time.  See you on Friday!

Meet An Author Tuesday

Multi-genre, multi-named, Larion aka Larriane Wills writes from the past into the future. With strong characters, no matter the setting, she drags you into intricate plots in genres you didn’t think you liked before with a fast moving style that keeps you reading. Visit her at her website to keep abreast of previously published and those coming.

They thought it would be easy. One was a dude from the East, softened by easy living. The other was no more than white trash. They discovered Lon didn’t kill any easier than Chancy, and they both fought back, aided by two men those of the valley believed to be no more than legends. The Indians called them Lance and Knife. As well as the sons discovering why, so do their enemies when a family once torn apart unite to make war. 

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I have no idea. lol. Sorry, I know that's not the kind of answer you're looking for. The problem with it is so many things set off a story in my head, something I see or read trips my 'if it was this way' button and off I go. Many times that thought or kernal of an idea will be shoved to the back of my mind, I'll see or read something else, attach it and expand the two, adding more stored bits and pieces. I do know westerns have been a long time favorite of mine and in Mark of the Sire, I wanted a story centered around the family. The Vanders family ended up giving me plenty to write about, including a romance for one of the sons. I'm working--every chance I get--on the second one with the third and forth in mind, each centered around the main characters.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I never quit. Just today while going through a excerpt, I found something I would change. I'm awful about that. I have to reach a point when I tell myself, leave it alone. Generally, I work on a piece a couple of months before I consider it done enough for submission. Of course that doesn't mean it's done. When other eyes read it, they see things I haven't, being too close to notice. Editing can be an enlightening experience.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting to know the characters, fitting all the pieces together like a giant jigsaw puzzle until the story is there, flowing from beginning to end.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
That would have to be promoting. Yes, I know it's necessary, but it takes time away from writing. I keep looking for some magic formula to get the word out there and make people aware of my books, but so far it hasn't come to me. It just takes time and effort that's part of the publishing regime. Thankfully, there are people like Pembroke giving us venues to do that.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I can't think of anyone I'd like to trade places with for even one day unless it would just be to experience a different live style, see what it's really like. Oh, I know, let's be silly. How about one of those really rich broads' day at a spa. That might be something that would even last a while. A little skin peal anyone, or maybe a mud bath?

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Ummm, I know, there's a bottle of chocolate wine in there with a bit left. Let's see now, that was bought when a friend came to visit Nov. 2010. I'm not much of a drinker, you see, and even though it's chocolate, my absolutely favorite flavor, it still tastes like alcohol.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
More of the same, although for the remainder of this year, I'm switching off to my alter ego, Larriane Wills, with two science fiction releases, one in Aug, Bonds of Time, and one in Nov. The Bastards of Ran.' Starting 2013, so far, I revert back to Larion with a contemporary suspense, The Wait for Red Roses.

Buy links:
White Savage, Chase, Tarbet, Traps, and Mark of the Sire

Mourning Meadow

My links:

Movie Review Monday

Prometheus (2012)

I'm a huge Alien fan.  Huge.  I have a facehugger tattooed on the inside of my left wrist and an alien drone on my right shoulder blade (it was the first tattoo I got when I turned 18).  My idea of Heaven is to die and come back as the Alien Queen.  As you can imagine, when I first heard of Prometheus, I was stoked.

I wanted to hate this movie, I really did.  It is nothing like I expected it to be.  The scientists are complete morons and there aren't any facehuggers, chest bursters, or xenomorphs in there (well, not in the traditional sense).  The original Alien movies were so freaking awesome because they scared the crap out of me.  They are horror films that happen to take place in space. 

I remember watching Aliens vs. Predator in a movie theater in Cheyenne, and the guy sitting next to me had never seen one before.  He was losing his mind he was so scared.  And he was a tough guy with his low-riding pants and gangster attitude.  And, honestly, that movie wasn't all that spectacular (I do, however, own them because I love anything to do with the alien.  Plus, I have a Predator tattooed on my left shoulder blade!).  The same thing would happen when I watched Aliens with people who'd never seen it:  it scared the hell out of them.  It scared the hell out of me the first time I watched it.  I'm pretty sure I was in sixth grade, and we just got a new TV with surround sound.  I was convinced there was a facehugger in the closet and we were all going to die.

Promethues did not have that same vibe.  There was nothing scary about it.  Still, after taking a moment to think about it, I have to say, this movie wasn't as awful as some people make it out to be.

Like I said, there weren't any traditional facehuggers, chest bursters, or xenomorphs in the film, but there were versions of them.  The basic premise of the film is that two archaeologists have discovered a common link among ancient civilizations that show them worshipping giant humans from outer space.  They decide to find these aliens, they call them Engineers, because they are convinced they created the human race.  What they find is more sinister than they expected.

I can't help but wonder if this isn't a metaphor for the entire film.  Since the Alien movies came out, there has been speculation of where the xenomorphs came from.  It was never answered, but it added to the mystery and horror of the films.  Any good author always has the background of their characters in their mind.  They know everything about them:  where they grew up, what kind of trauma they went through, etc.  Rarely do they put that on the page, though, because it doesn't matter.  Many times, it doesn't further the story.  If they put down every little thing about their character, it would bog the story down and make it unreadable.  The past has to be there in the back of the author's mind, however, so they know why the character acts the way they act.

I felt that this was what this movie was.  It was the backstory of the xenomorphs, the thing that was always in the back of the author's mind.  It doesn't really further the story of the Alien, but it does give an idea of why they act the way they act.  One of the most recurring themes throughout the film was:  what if you met your maker and their reason for creating you wasn't as glorious/exciting as you though it was?  Would you still want to know why they did it?

I think that explains why the film was made.  It did explain where the xenomorphs came from, but I don't think it was as glorious/exciting as the audience expected.  The film was basically made because it could be made, and they are probably going to make a sequel. 

Another theme that recurred throughout the film was the idea of evolution.  If this was the backstory of the Alien, all it does is show how it evolved into the creature we know and love from the original films.  There's a reason the facehugger, etc., appear so primitive--because they are!

I don't want this post to turn into a huge thing, so I'm going to end right now.  Like I said, I wanted to hate this film, but I found myself enjoying the metaphor behind it.  With the focus on creation and evolution, it's easy to see how this movie could portray the creation and evolution of an idea and story.  Like the characters in the film, once I figured out who the creators were and why they created what they did, I was disappointed.  Sometimes, the mystery is what makes the story.

This Week in Writing

My middle grade story, The Ifs, has been sent to my beta readers.  I'm anxiously awaiting their input so I can make edits.  I'm also reading it out loud to my kids, since I wrote it for them, to see if they like it.  They're still a little young, and I don't think they get everything, but they listen to me while I read, so that's all that matters.

I started my fifth novel yesterday.  I've been thinking about querying agents for my middle grade book, which practically throws me into a panic attack, and I'm not very good at being patient.  Since I don't have edits back on my other stories, I have to do something to keep my mind off the long wait and the impending rejections.  The best thing I can do is create something new.

I won't rush this one (not that I rush the others), especially since my fourth and the middle grade haven't found a home yet.  I contemplated taking a break from writing, and I still might.  Usually when I do that, though, it's a pretty short-lived break.  I get grumpy when I'm not writing.

Earlier this week, the boys and I were watching TV in my room.  It was getting close to bed time, and they needed to settle down.  Since their regular shows weren't on (Spongebob and Batman), we were forced to watch Dora.  The episode was about Boots losing a blue ball, so they have to find it.  For whatever reason, it bounces into a volcano.

Map shows us where they need to go to find the ball, and he says that it's in the volcano, which "is a mountain that explodes."  At that time, the 3 year old was climbing onto my bed and stopped to stare at the TV.  After Map explained what a volcano was, he looks at me wide eyed and says, "Whoooaaa!  A mountain that explodes!"  Apparently, it was the coolest thing he'd learned all day.

I hope you learn something fantastic this weekend.  Have a great one!

Self-promotion Thursday

Scorned at her own wedding, The Weeping Bride has vowed to make every bride from her hometown miserable until she finds her own happiness. When the groom at a friend's wedding disappears, Melanie and Tyler must solve the mystery of the Bride to save him. Time is not on their side. Will they find him before The Weeping Bride's revenge is satiated?

For this story, the publisher approached me and asked me to write it.  I was hesitant at first, just because I'd never written a romance, let alone a paranormal romance.  I enjoyed working on it, though.  It was a fun challenge.

If the story doesn't intrigue you, I hope the cover does!

Standing Out

Lately, I've been looking at articles/books/newsletters with advice about building a platform and getting people interested in my novels.  I haven't read as much as I'd like, only because there aren't enough hours in the day, but there is a lot of advice out there.  It all seems to revolve around the same ideas:  have a web presence, do blog tours, enter contests, get reviews.

In theory, all of those things are simple enough.  I have a web presence with this blog, my Facebook page, my LinkedIn page, my Goodreads page, I'm a member of several publisher-mandated discussion boards, etc.  The only thing I don't have that they recommend you have is a Twitter account.  Maybe one day.

I do blog tours.  I have guests post on my blog, and I post on theirs.

I've entered contests.  If you notice on my picture on the right, it has the badges from the Preditors and Editors poll where I placed in the top 10.  I've also sent my book into other contests where I didn't win or make the finals.

I get reviews.  There are a couple of people I always turn to when a new book comes out because I know they'll read it and give me feedback.  I also send it out to others in the hope they'll read it and post a review (rarely happens), and I ask all my friends/family members who've read my book to post reviews on Amazon (some of you are great about doing that, others, not so much--you know who you are).

On top of that, I have book trailers made and I attend conferences where I hand out key chains and postcards with my information.  I have yet to do a writing workshop, but it's on my list.  Some day I'll have enough money to do that.  I've done radio shows.  I've had ads in papers, and I've made local appearances.

I've done all the things they say I'm supposed to do, and I think it's helped a little, but I still don't feel like I'm getting the exposure I need.  There are a bazillion books and authors out there, each one doing the same thing I'm doing and probably more.  It is very easy to get lost and drown in the sea of self-promotion.

It's depressing, yes, and there have been many a times when I wondered why I do it.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I keep telling myself that if I keep going, keep persevering, it will eventually pay off.  It has to.  Keep doing the tours, keep entering contests, keep sending your book out for reviews.  It can't hurt. 

Meet an Author Tuesday

Today's guest is Anne E. Johnson, who wrote Ebenezer's Locker.

A hundred years ago, Corbin Elementary School's building housed Dr. Ebenezer Corbin's School for Psychical Research. It seems that a couple of old spirits are still wandering the halls. It's up to Rhonda Zymler to find out what they want.

Ebenezer's Locker follows the adventures of Rhonda, a sassy sixth-grader who's having trouble finding her place and identity. Getting to know these spirits becomes Rhonda's quest. The more she digs, the more perilous her task becomes, and to complete it she must take two trips back in time. This story blends the realities of an economically-challenged modern American town with supernatural elements. What Rhonda finds not only gives her life a sense of purpose, but changes the fortunes of her entire town.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I'd just finished a historical novel (Trouble at the Scriptorium), so I wanted to try something contemporary. And I wanted to try including a touch of the supernatural for a change. I started with the idea of a girl finding something extraordinary in her locker. That's not quite what the plot turned out to be, but it was a fertile seed for the story to grow from. And I liked the idea of spirits being associated with a particular building, in this case a school.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
It's hard to give a clear answer to this, since I'm always working on more than one thing at a time. But I'd say it took about six months, all told, to write Ebenezer's Locker, including a round of edits after my beta readers saw it.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the challenge of storytelling. I love crafting language into something meaningful: it's a powerful feeling to make a story appear on a blank page. I love tapping into all my education and life experience to come up with unusual ideas.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
My least favorite thing is having to write even when I'm uninspired. Any experienced writer knows that you can't wait for the muse to stop by. You have to treat it like a desk job: write a certain amount, even if your creativity seems to be taking the day off. You can always fix your work later if it stinks. But I must admit, it's painful for me to push out words on days like that.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Oh, gosh, there are all sorts of people I'd love to be. Limiting myself only to living people, I'd like to be Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Until this spring, I taught music history and theory, but I have never conducted an orchestra. Dudamel is not only a gifted conductor, but he has also worked tirelessly to help underprivileged kids get a music education. Both of those aspects of his job must be quite a thrill!

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I know it's a bore, but I'm a very efficient food shopper and cook. It's my ridiculous, nearly obsessive, organizational skills at work (they sure help in plotting a novel!). So the only things that sit in my fridge for a long time are condiments. Go ahead, people. You may throw things at me now.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have the inkling of an idea for a sequel to Ebenezer's Locker, so that will get written at some point. In the very near future, my adult noir-inspired science fiction novel, Green Light Delivery, comes out in both print and e-book from Candlemark & Gleam on June 19. And my tween medieval mystery, Trouble at the Scriptorium, will be published as print only by Royal Fireworks Press in August. Both of those have sequels in the works, as well.

Find out all about what I'm doing on my website: http://anneejohnson.com/

Get updates about my activities by liking my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/anne.e.johnson.9

You can purchase Ebenezer's Locker from MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=317&category_id=197&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

Movie Review Monday

Game of Thrones
Season 1, Episode 1

I know, I know, I'm a little slow on the uptake.  This series has been out for a while, but time is not always a luxury I have.  Since my other shows are on hiatus for the summer, this was the perfect chance to get started on this series.  I attempted to read this book for book club a few months ago, but it is HUGE, and I didn't get through it.  Plus, there will be seven books in the series.

I had made if far enough in the book to understand what was happening in the first episode.  The ending, however, was new territory for me.  It will be a fun reveal to see what happens next.  The show wasn't bad.  I thought it was a little slow, but it's introducing characters and building itself up.  I can wade through the tedium to get to the exciting parts. 

I'm still withholding judgement on the series since I've only seen one.  I will say, though, that I'm very happy Jason Momoa is in there.  He's very yummy, and his character seems pretty cool.  The storyline with his new bride and her brother promises to be interesting too.  I'm excited for the dragons (yes, I know about the dragons.  We discussed the books at book club, remember?).

All in all, I think it will be a great series.  I usually enjoy the series HBO puts together.  I could live without the incest, but I know George R.R. Martin based his book on actual historical events, so it happened, and I'll just have to deal with it. 

This Week in Writing

I did some edits on Death to the Undead and sent them back to the publisher.  I still have no concrete release date on that story.  I was told April, then the end of May, then it was pushed back to July, and now it might come out at the end of June if we can get the edits done.  When it actually goes on sale, then I'll let you know!

I finished the first round of revisions for the middle grade book, and I plan on starting the second this weekend.  I have a content edit to do for a collection of short stories (not mine), but I can squeeze them both in.  There's no rush to have either of them done.

Last night, I turned on the TV for the boys, who thought they wanted to watch cartoons.  It was on the Spike channel, which was showing Impact Wrestling.  Immediately, the 5 year old said he wanted to watch fighting, so, naturally, I left it on that channel.

I can't tell you how long it's been since I've watched wrestling.  I used to be a HUGE fan!  I watched it back in the day when the WCW was still around.  My favorites were Big Poppa Pump and Buff Bagwell, along with a host of others.  My friends and I would rent a box every month so we could watch whatever pay-per-view was on. (After wrestling was over, we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000.)  We attended several events down in Denver.

I don't know who any of the new wrestlers are, but there was one who showed up last night that I recognized.  And, yes, I realize it is all choreographed.  However, that doesn't change the fact that the wrestlers still get hurt and it's highly entertaining.  It brought back a lot of memories.

But I digress.  While the show was on, since my children have to mimic everything they see on TV, they decided they needed to fight, too.  There is nothing more hilarious than watching a 3 year old and a 5 year old kicking each other from the "top rope" (the recliner) and smacking each other on the chest (which, yes, leads to one of them crying), except maybe watching grown men do it.

Have a great weekend!