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Meet An Artist Tuesday

Today's guest is Amber Harned, a great friend and fabulous baker.  She makes some of the yummiest desserts you've ever tasted.  Here's what she had to say about her creations.

Q) What inspired you to become a baker?
From a very young age, I remember helping my grandmother in the kitchen doing all sorts of things. Some of my fondest memories as a child are being alongside her in the kitchen, baking cookies or pies. Curiosity turned to creativity, and creativity turned to passion, and eventually baking became so much a part of me that I can’t imagine my life without my kitchen endeavors.

Q) What is your favorite thing about baking?
I think my favorite thing about baking would have to be the creation of something by my own hand. I have never been “artistic” in the conventional sense, but baking and cooking give me a creative outlet that are their own forms of art. I also love sharing my food with others. It’s how I show my affection. Cooking and baking for family and friends, and then getting to see the enjoyment (most of the time!) on their faces when they try something I prepared, really make me feel happy and satisfied.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about baking?
Well, it’s only natural that experimentation sometimes yields failures, so that always stinks when I am so excited to try a new recipe and it flops completely. But one of my personal pet peeves, although I have nothing to compare it to, is the issues that arise with baking at such a high altitude. Talk about a guessing game!

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
That’s a tough one… while I think it would be a blast to have a bajillion dollars, a mansion, a personal trainer, and some exotic sports car, I don’t think I would much care for all of the drama and limelight that your typical A-list celebrity has to deal with on a daily basis. I would much rather just win the lottery and be able to get all of those celebrity toys and perks for myself than have to walk a mile in any of their shoes. Most days, I kind of like just being me.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I don’t think that this question will give you nearly as disgusting of an answer as you were probably hoping for, simply because our fridge died on us around a month ago and we had to pretty much get rid of almost anything! If you had asked me a month ago, though, I am sure it would have been some random condiment or sauce that we got to try with a specific recipe and then never used again. We usually accumulate quite the collection of those kinds of things, although we are trying to stay away from them a little bit more nowadays.

Q) What does the future of baking hold for you?
Lots and lots of butter and sugar…. Seriously though, it holds a lot of potential! I love baking and cooking, and I love creating. There is no way I could ever give it up, especially when I have so many awesome people in my life to share all my goodies with. I hope to continue, slowly but surely, growing my food blog, If It Bakes You Happy, which gives me the wonderful opportunity to write in addition to the baking aspect of things, which I just love to do. In a dream world, maybe someday I will be lucky and driven enough to write and publish a cookbook.

Rodeo Review Monday

I didn't watch a movie this weekend.  We were busy doing other things.  Instead, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the rodeo finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days.  This is the second year I've gone, and I really enjoy it.  I didn't take any pictures this time, so you'll have to survive without them.

We sat on the opposite side of the stands this year, and I liked it a lot better.  We were in the shade the whole time (although it was still hot) and I thought you could see the action better.  Plus, I didn't have to worry about getting poo and dirt flung on me.  Not that I mind all that much.  It was just a concern last year.

I don't mind the bull riding and bronc riding, they obviously have their place in rodeo, but my favorite events are the steer roping and wrestling.  They are skills that are actually tied into ranching, things that have to do with cattle, so I enjoy watching the cowboys put their skills to the test.  I know some people think it's cruel and mean what they do, but if there is a sick cow in the field, they aren't going to saunter up to the house and tell the rancher they feel bad.  The rancher has to go out there and take care of them.  Same as vaccinating the babies.  They don't line up for their shots.  And they are cows, they are going to run.  Besides, the ranchers aren't hurting them.  Those things are worth a lot of money, why would you hurt them? 

There are several different events in steer roping, including steer roping, where one guy has to rope the steer around the horns, then tie up three of the steers legs in under 30 seconds.  I think maybe two out of 12 people actually accomplished their goal.  Then there's team roping, where two riders go out after the cow.  The head guy has to get it around the horns, and the rear guy has to get his rope around the cow's back legs.  Talk about needing some skill.  The head guy has to make the cow hop so the back guy can get his rope under the hooves.  This even went a little better, and more than two cowboys accomplished their goal.

Then, there is steer wrestling.  This is where a single cowboy goes out after the cow and jumps off the horse to wrestle the cow to the ground.  The horse and cow are running at full speed, or pretty darn close to it.  There's no way I'm going to jump off a horse onto a creature with horns, but on the ranch, it has to be done.  It's very exciting to watch.

At the end of the rodeo is what they call "The Wild Horse Race."  This, I think, is the most nerve-wracking event of all.  I don't enjoy watching it.  Teams of three people are given a wild horse--and I do mean wild.  These animals are so desperate to get away, they fall over backward.  So, two of the guys have to hold the horse while the third puts a saddle on it.  Once the saddle is on, they then proceed to ride it around the track.  This is incredibly dangerous.  Before the event even starts, the medical team gets all set up with their backboards because it is inevitable someone will get hurt.  And they did.  Several people went down.  Made me cringe.

All in all, it was a great day at the rodeo.  The weather was a little warm, but we were in the shade, so it was tolerable.  The cowboys made some great rides and showed off their skills.  I couldn't ask for anything more!

Screw This Week In Writing

I've got way more exciting news!

Today is my birthday, and as a present to you, I am sharing an excerpt from my story "The History of My Wishes."  At 3:00 pm Eastern (1:00 Mountain Standard time) it will be posted on MuseItUp Publishing's blog.  Check it out.

On Wednesday, my highly talented, super cool, wonderful friend Jerrod Brown had an art show in Florida.  One of his guests was another actor/extra from "The Walking Dead."  His name is Michael Koske.

I had some warning that he was going to be there, so I signed a book and sent it to Jerrod to give to him.  In return, he signed a picture for me.  Jerrod was kind enough to send photos from the show.  I've included them for your viewing pleasure.

This bottom one is my signed picture.  The inscription reads: 
"Pembroke, I only love you for your BRAINS!! *Michael Koske*"

Can you say freaking awesome!  I am so incredibly stoked.

And, if you really care, I did get quite a bit of writing done on the novelette this week.

Self-promotion Thursday

I have two stories coming out next month from Musa Publishing.  One is a collection of short stories called "The Devil Made Me Do It" and the other is a novella called "Other Options."  I've posted the pertinent information below.

Temptation is darker than you thought.

This is a collection of five different stories that explores what it would take to drive someone to deal with the Devil. Think they’re all evil? Think again. Driven by tragedy and loss, most of the characters are looking for ways to cope. When no one else can help, the Devil steps in with an irresistible offer. From mothers to husbands to college students, each character has their own reason for leaving the path of the righteous and drifting to the dark side. What would push you to make a deal with the Devil?

Eddie lost his love, but life is always full of other options.

Eddie has a great life with a loving wife and fabulous job. His work keeps him away from home for long stretches of time, but he counts down the moments until he gets to be back in his wife’s arms. He would do anything for her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel the same way, and plans on leaving Eddie for another man. Feeling crushed and betrayed, Eddie has a hard time trusting women. He knows it’s unfair; he knows not every woman is as evil as his ex-wife, but he can’t deny his feelings. As an ice miner, he’s expected to spend months at a time on his ship. Much to his chagrin, he is forced to spend it with Rie. Will being trapped on a ship with a woman help Eddie get over his fear and hatred of women and move on with his life? Are there any other options?

I'm Pretty Sure I Crossed the Line

First of all, I would like to point out that I created a Facebook page for Life Lessons from Slasher Films.  If you get the chance, go like it.  My goal is to publish some fun questions on there and keep you updated on my other progress.

Speaking of "other progress," I came to a conclusion the other day.  Well, actually, I came to it a while ago, but I voiced it out loud recently.  I'm insane.  Pure and simple.  I know a lot of my friends and family will be nodding their heads in agreement, but I'm not talking about my quirky, lovable insanity, I'm talking really insane.

If the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results," then I'm absolutely crazy.  Every year I query agents to see if they want to take on my latest book, and every year I get a slew of rejections.  Yes, yes, I know that's par for the course, but why do I continue to do it?

I write genre-specific stuff, which means there's only a few agents out there who accept my stuff.  Well, I'm sure I've queried the majority of them at least four times now.  And every time they've said no.  So, isn't it crazy to think they're going to like my next/latest project?  I know, I know, it only takes one yes to make a world of difference.  However, I can find that yes with one of the indie publishers I work with.

I know I probably sound defeated and depressed and like I'm giving up.  In a sense, I am.  After receiving my third rejection in 2 days, I decided it's not worth it to me.  I don't like feeling like I'm spinning my wheels or grasping at straws.  I'm never going to play with the big six, and that's fine.  I'm very happy being a small potato and working with small publishers. 

By the way, just because they are "small" doesn't mean they are bad or unimportant.  The publishers I work with pride themselves on putting out wonderful work and strive to give the world fabulous stories, so I'm not settling.  In fact, I would like to think I'm keeping my publishing fate in my hands. 

So, for the sake of the little bit of sanity I have left, I'm giving up trying to find myself an agent.  I will continue to write and publish my stories, but it will be on a smaller level.  *sigh*  That was incredibly freeing!  I feel like 10 pounds of stress and false expectations just fluttered away.

Meet An Author Tuesday

Today's guest is Meradeth Houston.  She'll tell you a little about herself.

I've never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

>I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot.

>I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.

>I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!

>My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology!

>If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Contact Links:


Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?

A) This inspiration for this story actually came from a song by Linkin Park, called Shadow of a Day, which kind of dates the story because that song is old! I had already created the world of the Sary for other stories, but it all came together in Colors Like Memories.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
A) The first draft only took me a few months. It was one of those times when a story is just there, in your brain, and all I needed was to sit down and get it written. (Don’t you just love it when that happens? It’s an amazing feeling!) But then I had to do revisions. That took probably a few years of starts, stops, drawers, and re-writes. Overall, I honestly have no idea!

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
A) My favorite part about writing is getting caught up in a story and letting it reveal itself to you. I’m a “panster” so I often find myself discovering things as I write them. And that’s a whole lot of fun!

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
A) Not having the time to really sit down and get to work. I’m a pretty busy person with lots always going on, and I hate that I have to really work to make sure I get to my stories every day. I often dream of having days on end with nothing else to do but write.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
A) I have never really thought about this! Hmm, I’m going to have to go with JK Rowling. Because I think it would be fun to lurk in her head for a day. This would mean I’d get to learn what her next novel’s going to be about, right? (I’m going to say yes, because I’m seriously dying to know!)

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A) As I write this, I’m living in Japan, which makes my fridge a little strange. I just got an apartment in Kyoto, so the items in my fridge that are actually mine (and not my house-mates) are jam, butter, and ground turkey. They were all purchased today. Random, right?

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A) I’m currently revising another novel set in the Sary world. It’s a companion to Colors Like Memories, set a small college town with a Sary falling for a mortal, and all the fun that goes along with that . It’s currently titled Chemistry of Fate. I’m also working on An Absence of Light, which is a sci-fi YA that I call Buffy meets the shadow-monster from Lost. It’s lots of fun.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Pembroke! It’s been a pleasure!

Movie Review Monday

Ice Age:  Continental Drift (2012)

The boys love all of these movies.  Granted, I think they've only seen the first one once, but the second and third they've seen a bazillion times and still laugh at them.  I, too, enjoy these movies, so I thought it would be fun to go to the theater.  We wanted to go to the 2D version (the 3 year old has issues keeping his glasses on), but it wasn't playing at the right time.  Oh, well.  The 3 year old would do what the 3 year old needed to do.

I missed the first few minutes because the 3 year old was thirsty, so I had to get him a drink (couldn't want one during the previews, oh, no.  He had to wait until the movie started).  I still got the gist of the film, though.  Teenage daughter doesn't like to be told what to do by her parents, says mean things to Dad, Dad gets swept away on an iceberg during the drifting of continents, daughter feels guilty, Dad has to make way back to family, adventure ensues.

The movie was pretty predictable, but it was funny.  By the fourth installment, you would think the films would get old.  I didn't feel that way.  I thought they did a nice job of keeping it fresh and entertaining.  Plus, all the references to other films was fabulous!  I didn't catch them all.  There was one part with some scary creatures, but otherwise, the movie was very kid (and adult) friendly.  I'm sure we'll be adding the DVD to our collection, then I can catch all the movie references!  If you like the Ice Age movies, I recommend this film.

Lockout (2012)

You know, I have never thought of Guy Pearce as an action star.  Really, I didn't think too much about him at all, but I have to say, I was highly impressed.  I only heard about this movie a couple of days ago when I saw a commercial for it.  It was On Demand, so we gave it a go.

It's the story of Snow, an ex-government agent who is accused of murder.  The prison facility he's being sent to in space has been taken over by the prisoners, and the president's daughter is one of the hostages.  To reduce his sentence, he's sent in to get her out.  As usual, it was pretty predictable, but it had eye candy, explosions, and fights with a somewhat decent plot, so you know it was my kind of movie. 

Guy Pearce was really hot in this film and had some great one liners.  It was the perfect movie to just sit back and enjoy and not have to think too much about.  If you're a fan of action flicks (especially old-school action flicks that involve crazy bad guys, good guys with attitude, and action without an over-arching love story), I recommend this film.

This Week In Writing

I finished a content edit I was doing, then wrote an article for a local (as in Wyoming-based) magazine.  I plan on sending that in sometime today.  The magazine is called Wyoming Elements, and, strangely enough, I became aware of it while we were in the hospital with the 3 year old.  It looks pretty interesting, and I have tons of outdoor stories to tell.  Keep your fingers crossed, and I'll let you know if they accept the article.

Other than that, I've been extremely lazy.  I slept better last night, but still didn't sleep the whole night through.  It was a human child last night.  Apparently, a train scared him.  *Sigh*  Oh, well.  I suppose I'll sleep when I'm dead.  I'm hoping to get some writing done this weekend, but if I don't, no big deal.  Maybe I'll do some edits.  Hmmmm.  The weekend is wide open!

The other night, the boys and I went to my sister's house for dinner.  As the 5 year old was climbing out of the car, I noticed a mark on his hand.

"Oh, honey," I said.  "You have something on your hand."

He turned his hand around to look at it and shrugged.  "I don't know what it is."

"Well, were you painting or using markers at day care today?"

"Oh, yeah.  I was coloring with markers.  But they weren't pregnant."

I nodded.  "That's good."

"Yeah, it'll wash off."

I helped him down out of the car.  "Permanent, honey,"  I gently corrected.  "The markers weren't permanent."

"I know."

And off he ran to find his cousins.

All I can say is thank goodness the markers weren't pregnant.  What would you do with a pregnant marker?

Have a fabulous weekend!

Prolific, Yes, But Good?

It's been a rough week so far.  Last week I had trouble sleeping because of the new job and all the other commitments I had on my plate.  This week, for whatever reason, the pets have decided night time is their time.  Now, for the cat, that makes sense.  Night time really is her time, but more often than not, I never hear her.  I'm fine with that, until she decides to me-yell at something outside the window.  And then there's the dog.  I have no idea what his freaking problem is.

Since I'm so exhausted, my mind drifts in various directions, sometimes to places that aren't always bright and cheery.  I was feeling a little guilty last night for not getting as much writing done this week as I wanted to.  Instead, I've been plopping myself in front of the TV and playing Bubble Pop (that game is so addicting!).  Then, it occurred to me that I shouldn't feel bad at all. 

I mean, I just had a nonfiction book come out, and it's still hot off the press.  Death to the Undead should be coming out some time this year.  I have a dragon story that's under consideration with a publisher, and after that's accepted, I have a middle grade book I need to shop around.  I've started a novella, and I've been working on some other things.  Really, if I want to be lazy, who's going to stop me?

After thinking about all the stuff I have out and the things scheduled for publication, I started thinking about where I am in my writing career (this is where my thoughts became dark).  I'm proud of my accomplishments, very proud, and I'm probably not going to stop writing any time soon, but I questioned why it is I can't find an agent.  Is my stuff not that good?  Yes, I write a lot, but is it subpar?  Is it unrefined and amateur?  Maybe it's the genre I write in. 

After that, I mentally slapped myself and my inner voice told me to get a grip.  I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that writing wasn't going to be my career.  Unfortunately, I don't earn enough money to make that possible.  I have to have a real job to pay the bills, and that's where most of my attention/energy needs to be focused.  At best, writing is a hobby (a very expensive, time consuming hobby).  I told myself that if I'm not having fun doing said hobby, why would I continue to do it?

So I may never make the New York Times bestseller list.  Big deal.  A lot of people don't.  The few of you wonderful and fantastic fans that read my work make it all worth it, and that makes everything all right!  Especially since writing is just a fun past time.

The World Is Shrinking

Last week, I directed your attention to a review I found for Life Lessons from Slasher Films.  Well, being the gracious and kind person I am (stop snickering, I have my moments!), I decided to send the site/reviewer an email and thank them for doing the review.  The author was kind enough to write me back, and from there, a conversation started.

The saying goes that "It's not what you know, it's who you know," and that is so very true in this world.  You never know who is going to be your biggest fan or your greatest promoter.   You never want to burn bridges.  Even when I'm angry, I always try to remain professional and courteous. 

My point is, that when it comes to the world of writing and publishing, the world is really small.  As an editor, I've come across the same author at several different houses.  I've learned that small publishers really do talk to other small publishers.  Authors talk to other authors, and reviewers probably talk to all of them.  Eventually, if my name gets out there enough, it's going to be recognizable, especially since it's so odd.  While not everyone is going to like me, my goal is to make sure I at least have a lasting and professional appearance.

Going back to the conversation with the reviewer.  He mentioned that he'd be interested in looking at my next book if it was horror.  Well, as some of you know, my next book out is Death to the Undead, which is the sequel to Life After the Undead.  I was flattered and honored that he was willing to read more of my work, so I offered to send him Life so he had an idea what was going on in Death, to which he graciously and excitedly agreed to read.

I love making these types of connections.  Again, you never know where they are going to lead.  Who would have ever thought a nonfiction book on slasher films would be the gateway to my fiction books?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed it happens on a grander scale.

Meet An Author Tuesday

Rosemary Morris was born in 1940 in Sidcup Kent. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was ‘always in a book.’

While working in a travel agency, Rosemary met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College. In 1961, Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 until 1982. After an attempted coup d’état, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. She is now a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Cassio Writers.

Apart from writing, Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.

Time spent with her five children and their families, most of whom live near her is precious.

Every free moment I have is spent writing my romantic historical novels, researching them or reading widely to keep in touch with the type of books readers enjoy.

I've read voraciously since the age of five and have always had a particular interest in history, ancient and modern - both that of my own country, England and world history.

As I enjoy reading quality romantic historical novels, I decided to have fun creating strong characters and putting them in difficult situations. When I visualise the, they speak and act according to their time and circumstance but their dilemmas are universal.

To find out more about me please visit my website; http://www.rosemarymorris.co.uk/ or visit my blog site. http://www.rosemarymorris.blogspot.com/.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
The thought of gallant soldiers in times past and their families who did not receive aid.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
The novel took a year to write – the revision much longer.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting the idea for the plot and theme and then the magical moment when I start writing it.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I’m too happy in my own skin to want to be anyone else.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
5 days ago after I made mango ice cream I put the seeds of the mangos in the fridge. I shall add them to a soup, which is popular in Gujerat, made amongst other things, yoghurt and chick pea flour.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
My next novel, False Pretences, set in the Regency era, will be published on October 27th by MuseItUp publishing. I am also working on a mediaeval novel and a novel set in Queen Anne’s reign – 1702 - 1714

Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners, duty, betrayal, despair and hope.

Sunday's Child a traditional Regency Novel. Despite quixotic Major Tarrant's experience of brutality, honour,loss and past love, experience of brutality will it be possible for him to find happiness?

False Pretences a traditional Regency Novel. Will Annabelle escape an arranged marriage and discover who her parents are?

Available from https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2, Amazon kindle,Good Reads, Kobo, and elsewhere.

Movie Review Monday

Brave (2012)

I kind of got roped into going to this movie.  My mom was in town, and she wanted to take the kids (my 2 boys and my niece and nephew).  It was my first day of work, so all I wanted to do was go home and rest.  Well, my sister decided she wasn't going to go to the movie, and my mom didn't want all four kids by herself, so I bit the bullet.  I didn't think I was going to make it through the film.  I was struggling to stay awake during the previews.  Luckily for me, there was enough action that I made it through.

I really like Disney films.  Even though most of them are stereotypical and predictable, there is something comforting in the traditional stories they tell.  They transport me back to my childhood and innocence, but they also appeal to my adult sensibilities.  It amazes me how they find that balance for that.  It also amazes me how much animation has developed over the years.  We didn't even see the movie in 3D and the graphics were outstanding.

Anyway, Brave is the story of Merida, a Scottish princess who has come of age and must decide who to marry.  Her mother has been teaching her since she was little the proper ways to act as a princess, while her father has encouraged her free spirit.  When it comes down to it, Merida doesn't want to decide, so she stumbles upon a witch and asks for a potion to change her mother and her fate.

Well, as you can imagine, the "change" doesn't happen as Merida plans, and her mom is transformed into a bear.  That's where the journey begins to make things right.

I really didn't know what to expect from this film.  The previews didn't give a lot away.  I was somewhat surprised with the story, but I also felt like I was watching a rehash of Brother Bear.  As you can imagine, it wasn't exactly the same, but even my mom mentioned she felt like there were similarities between the two movies.  (Technically, you could probably say there are similarities between all Disney movies, but that's splitting hairs.)

That being said, I still enjoyed this film.  As is typical of Disney films, the soundtrack was fantastic.  The story was predictable, but there were also some twists in it.  I don't want to ruin the movie, so I'm not going to say what they are.  If you are a fan of Disney, I'd recommend this film.  As I mentioned on Friday, the bad guy was a little scary, so if your kids are young or sensitive, it might not be the best for them.

This Week in Writing

I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to.  I've been trying to get my schedule situated with the new job.  It didn't help that I slept like crap on Monday night and am still trying to recover, but I'll get back into the swing of things.  Soon, I hope.

I've done a little editing this week, and I started a new story last weekend.  It was gnawing at my brain, so I had to get it down.  It's probably going to be a novelette by the time it's done.  I only wrote a few pages, but it's a start.  I've been thinking about it a lot, that counts, right?  I'm hoping to have a little time this weekend to work on it.

Monday night, I went to the movies with my mom, my boys, and my niece and nephew.  We saw Brave (don't worry, I'll review it on Monday).  The bad guy in the movie was pretty creepy, and he scared the 5 year old.  When he first shows up at the beginning of the film, I looked over, and the 5 year old had his knees pulled up to his chest and his hands over his eyes.  I told him he could sit with me, but he didn't want to.

As the movie went on, he forgot about the bad guy.  Then, when the film climaxed and the bad guy showed up again, he crawled onto Grandma's lap for safety.  The fight scene was pretty intense, and I was comforting my niece, who had leaned into my arm.  I'm not ruining anything by telling you this because it's a Disney film (pretty formulaic), but after the bad guy was defeated, the theater got very quiet. 

From that silence came the loudly whispered voice of the 5 year old.  "See," he said.  "I told you the good guys always win."

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Self-promotion Thursday

Life Lessons from Slasher Films is now available on Kindle.  I plan on putting in on Kindlegraph, so I will be able to sign it.  Just so you know, Kindlegraph is FREE, so don't be shy about checking it out.

Also, while going to look up some other information, I found my first review on line.  He has his varying opinions about my book, but he read it and reviewed it!  How freaking cool is that?

With a little luck, I can get my name out there more and people can start talking about my work.  They don't have to agree with me, that's not the point, but I want a place to start a discussion.  That's the best part!

Meet An Author

Dusty Crabtree has been a high school English teacher at Yukon High School since 2006, a challenge she thoroughly enjoys. She is also a youth sponsor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City and feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis.  Her passion for teens has poured into her writing as well.  She is the author of the young adult urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes, through Musa Publishing, which will soon be a series.  She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.

Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/
Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree
(also available at all major online bookstores)
View the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UP9A0Fm78 

Iris thought she could ignore the shadows...until they went after everyone she loved.

Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil. But she is the only one who can see them. She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.

Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters. First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.

As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 

The inspiration actually came from a screenplay idea I had a few years prior.  The movie would have been about a cast of intertwined characters going about their lives and making mistakes with dark, creepy shadows (demons) hovering around them, whispering to them and influencing them to do evil things.  Only the audience would see the shadows, though.  The characters would be completely oblivious.  It would have been like a Christian horror movie, if there ever was such a genre!  However, my friend was really the one who inspired me to write the book as it was her suggestion and encouragement that made me even consider the mammoth task.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 

It took me 8 months to write the first draft (although I revised heavily as I wrote).  But I pretty much kept revising until I signed with Musa Publishing another 8 months later…and of course there was editing after that…

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 

I love getting in the zone when everything is just clicking.  I love surprising myself by coming up with the perfect phrase, whether that line makes me laugh, feel intense pain for a character, cringe, or pat myself on the back for being so eloquent with words.  Haha!  I actually came up with such a disturbing phrase one time while writing that I freaked myself out and had to take a breather.  The words were perfect but terribly disturbing.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 

I don’t know if this counts as “writing” or not, but I’m going to say promoting.  It’s not really writing, but that’s why it’s my least favorite – it takes up valuable time that I’d much rather use writing.  But, I guess that’s the name of the game.  (By the way, if that was too out of bounds for that particular question, I’ll say starting new chapters.)

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?

Okay.  I have to admit something.  I was drawing a complete blank, so I did what anyone else does when they can’t think of something.  I googled it.  Guess what I found?  There’s a website that gives a quiz to see what famous person in history you are most like! 
My results? 
#2 – Julius Caesar.  Seriously?  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be stabbed in the back, so…moving on. 
#1 – Catherine the Great.  She was a pretty cool queen in Russia, so that’s not so bad.  But that made me realize that I’d like to be Queen of England for a day.  It think it would be fun to walk around and sleep in a castle, pretend to be important, and have my afternoon tea and biscuits served to me on a silver platter.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 

LOL! Wow, that is a good question!  If you count our fridge in the garage, I’d have to say a jar of maraschino cherries that I’m pretty sure was never opened.  I would guess it’s been there about 5 years, however I’m not sure of the expiration.  I think I may have checked for one once and didn’t find one, so I left it in there.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on the sequel to Shadow Eyes!  It will be a series of 4 books, and I am super excited about it.  I’m about 40% of the way done so far!  Yea!


Meet an Author will commence tomorrow.  I've been so crazy busy I forgot to send the author a reminder about the post!  Totally my bad.

Oh, man.  It's only Tuesday, and I can tell it's going to be a long week.  I'm not good with change.  I'm fairly OCD and stuck in a rut, so getting used to a new schedule takes me a little time.  I can do it, though.  I have to!

So far, the new job has been going well.  I have a lot of things to learn, but I have a long time to accomplish that.  It's way different than my other two jobs, and I have to retrain myself to be busy at work.  Because of that, my posts will probably suffer for a while.  At least until I find my groove.

On that note, I really should get to work.  I will get back into the swing of things, I swear!

Movie Review Monday

No review today.  First of all because I didn't watch a movie this weekend.  Secondly, I started a new job today, so I'm spending my time getting used to the new surroundings.  Things will get back to normal soon...

This Week in Writing

Check out the blog over at eTreasures.  It gives some insight into the Madison Lintz photo and my and the artist's reaction to it.

This week, I've been doing edits, edits, edits.  Death to the Undead came back, so I had to get that finished so, hopefully, it will come out soon.  After that, I have two content edits lined up.  On Sunday, I did get a little writing done on the new novel.  I believe I'm halfway through chapter 4.  That will go on hold for a short while so I can finish my other, more pressing, matters.

I was just thinking, I don't believe I've shared the final cover for Death to the Undead with you.  For your viewing pleasure:

The boys and I were out back the other night, and a gull flew overhead.  The 3 year old pointed it out shouting, "Sea gull!  Sea gull!"  Or his version of that.

The 5 year old started laughing and says, "Raisin!  Raisin!"

I pushed my eyebrows together and stared at him.  Raisin?  I thought.  What in the world is he talking about?

He looked at me and chuckled slightly, then says, "Just kidding.  I didn't see a raisin in the sky."

Then, it hit me, he was referring to a RAVEN!  I laughed.  It always amazes me what kids hear--or think they hear--and repeat.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Happy Holidays?

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday yesterday.  Mine wasn't bad, but having a holiday in the middle of the week doesn't really work for me.  It throws everything off.  My spouse kept thinking it was Sunday, which made me start thinking it was Sunday.  I felt like I fell behind on my chores!

Not only was I confused on the day, but I was exhausted from the festivities.  I was so happy to crawl into bed, only to be awakened a few hours later by the crack of thunder.  I like when thunder rolls, I find that relaxing, but those loud booms scare me.  They also scare the boys and make the dog crazy (only the older one; the puppy doesn't mind the loud sounds).  Needless to say, I didn't get the rest I was hoping for.

I need to take today off to recover from yesterday.  It would be nice to get some more editing done and take a looooong nap.  Oh, well.  I guess I'll survive!

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you have a safe and fabulous holiday!  Posts will resume tomorrow!

Meet an Author Tuesday

L.K. Mitchell is a fifth generation Alaskan who was born and raised on a small island in Southeast Alaska. She now lives in Sitka and Kodiak, Alaska. L.K. Mitchell is from a multi-cultural family. She is of Sáami, Suomalainen, and Irish descent (among others). She is adopted into her children's Raven clan, the T'akdéintaan, a Tlingit clan from SE Alaska. Her Tlingit name is Yéilk' Tláa, Mother-of-Cute-Little-Raven. L.K. Mitchell is a mother and grandmother and she writes middle-grade and young adult novels in addition to poetry and non-fiction. She has won several awards for her writing. She's also the co-director of a non-profit called Raven's Blanket. She facilitates writers groups for teens and adults.

Kids at school call Lance names like "brainiac" or "autie." But he's just a ten-year-old kid with Asperger's Syndrome. What would they call him if they knew he could grow wings on his back?

After returning from a vacation to the Tower of London, Lance is asked to join a clan of shape-shifting Ravens. The Ravens appoint Lance as "Keeper of Directions," which means he must learn how to decipher the prophetic "Book" that keeps the natural world in balance. But when he discovers the Ravens are in the midst of war preparations, he has second thoughts. What if he messes up and the Earth tilts on its axis and goes spinning off into space?

You can order the book from Amazon or Musa Publishing.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I was working on a poetry collection about Raven the trickster when I discovered there were ravens kept at the Tower of London. So I asked myself “What if the ravens weren’t ordinary ravens? After I asked that question I wrote thirteen pages of Keeper of Directions and no poems.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I wrote the rough draft pretty quickly, within weeks, and then it took a couple years to revise.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the resulting surprise when my imagination comes up with a great story. I love to tell stories. I come from a family of fishermen and fishermen are natural storytellers— “The fish was THIS big!”

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
My least favorite thing is to tackle the second draft. After that, revisions get easier, but it’s the second draft that always scares me. I think to myself that maybe it’s not really a novel and that I was kidding myself. Then I shake it off and get busy revising again.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I would be the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London so I could hang out with the ravens.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
The oldest thing in my fridge is probably something bottled that someone else put in my fridge that has high fructose corn syrup in it. I don’t eat anything with that in it but sometimes a visiting relative sneaks a product in my fridge and I can’t seem to toss it out. But then again, maybe the oldest thing is the limp celery in the bottom of the vegetable bin. I have good intentions when I buy celery but it never gets turned into a nice snack stuffed with peanut butter.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m working on a young adult novel about mermaids set in Alaska. I know—brrrrr! I’m also working on a collection of flash fiction stories for teens set in Alaska and outlining a sequel to Keeper of Directions, which is set among the islands in SE Alaska (I think there’s a theme here). I’m always writing either poetry or prose. It makes life interesting.

Movie Review Monday

Before I tell you about the movie I watched, I wanted to let you know that I singed up for Kindlegraph.  If you don't know what that is, it's a way for me to "sign" the Kindle versions of my books.  Right now, I only have Life After the Undead on there, but I plan on adding the others shortly.  Check it out if you get the chance!

Sherlock Holmes:  Game of Shadows (2011)

What is not to like about this movie?  It has everything:  eye candy, explosions, fight scenes, a plot, and wonderful twists.  I enjoyed it immensely.

The film picks up where the first one left off, with Holmes going after his arch enemy, Professor James Moriarty.  The banter between the two was great, and the twists were fantastic.  It was a Guy Ritchie film, so you know there were tons of surprises in it.

The one thing I could have lived without were the slow-motion scenes.  I get how they are supposed to be artsy and bring you deeper into the action, but I found them distracting.   Really, what did they do to further the storyline?  The film probably could have been cut down by half an hour if they took those out (it was over 2 hours long!), and it still would have been interesting.

The other characters were fantastic, too.  Jude Law is awesome.  He and Robert Downey Jr. have such great chemistry on screen.  I highly recommend this film.  Even if you don't know anything about Sherlock Holmes, it's still a great story with fantastic action sequences!