Friday, May 18, 2012

You will be redirected...

...or at least that's the plan. I've decided to move over to WordPress. I loved Blogger when I first started, but the changes they've made lately have made it hard for me to do what I want to do with my site. Also, Fantasy-Faction, where I am an editor, is a WordPress site and I've gotten used to being able to do certain things and things working certain ways.

Anyway the point of this post is to say that if you aren't redirected before you finish reading this, please click here to head to my new WordPress site. See you there!

Title image by Raceytay.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Koi Fish and Pinterest

This weekend I got a lot done. Okay, I didn't get a lot done, but I got a good amount of things done. Many of which are my favorite kind: the kind you only have to do once. But that’s not why I am here today. Today I want to tell you about koi fish and Pinterest.

It all begins with the best part of last weekend, which was when I got to go out to lunch with my husband and no children! This is related to the koi pond, but first let me just take a moment and remember what it was like to go out and eat dinner in peace and quiet.


Okay, I’m done. Moving on.

Where did we go? Well, some of you may know this, but in my pre-mom life, I worked in the restaurant industry. I was trained as a chef apprentice at my local community college. I was actually in the first year class, of their now, amazingly successful program. One of the classes they teach is the restaurant class, which is exactly what it sounds like. The students come up with a restaurant theme and menu and then open it to the public once a week during class. They all take turns at each station, including waiting tables, and learn what it's really like to work in an actual restaurant. They're only open for an hour and a half and you have to buy tickets in advance, but for $14-$18 per person you get a four to five course gourmet dinner, and you get to watch them cook it because the classroom walls are made of glass. I had a great time pointing everything out to my husband (he'd never been there before) and reminiscing about how it was 'back in the old days' (read ten-ish years ago).

As we were leaving, I called my sister who was watching the kids and asked if she needed us to come back right away. It was beautiful out and we were trying to get as much time away as we could. She said that we could stay out, because my mom and dad, my aunt, and her friend were going to take everyone to the park so no rush. Yes! More free time!

Of course, since we are boring and couldn't go too far away, we ended up stopping at the local hobbie shop and buying a new set of dice. (Party all the time, that's me.) We decided after that, we would head back to the house and enjoy the half hour or so of complete quiet before everyone returned from the park. About fifteen minutes after we arrived home, I got a phone call. It was my mom, she was laughing, and she said, and I quote, "We may have had a couple incidents."

Now we can go back to the koi pond, pictures of which, you may have seen in my Flickr feed. It’s in the middle of a flower park with trails and a gazebo. Lots of people have their weddings there, or at least get their weddings pictures taken there. The pond itself is pretty big and deep in the middle and it has a curved bridge at one end. The pond has turtles, ducks, koi fish, and a garter snake that we've seen a couple times. Every time we go, we bring crackers to feed the fish, some of which are huge!

This was the first time I didn't go with the kids. But there were five adults and only four kids (including my nephew) what could possibly go wrong?

I'm sure you can see where this is going. My youngest was the first one in the water. He slipped into the pond while standing between my dad and my aunt and got wet all the way up to his shoulders. Then kid two slipped in, though he was only wet up to his butt. The last child, my oldest, saw his twin getting pulled out of the water, looked at my aunt, smiled, and jumped into the pond.

So ten minutes after she called, three soaked to the skin toddlers in squishy sneakers, dripped through my kitchen and into the bathroom. Luckily, it was warm out and the pond was shallow at the edges. They are also lucky that I have a good sense of humor, but then I think that might be a prerequisite if you have kids.

That was Saturday, day. The rest of Saturday, I spent cleaning and posting things to Pinterest. Now I have a lot of things to do during the day, I really didn't need another one. But my cousin Amber (@wanderingknits) was 'nice' enough to show me something else to distract me from my work. Pinterest is sort of a like a bookmark site, which sounds kind of boring, but really it's amazingly addicting, because it's all visual. And to prove how addicting it is, I spent over four hours adding stuff to the boards I created. You can check out all the neat things I found here. What kind of things you ask? Well things like this:

And this:

And of course this:

I also set up a board with all the reviews Fantasy-Faction has done since we started. It's really cool to be able to see all the book covers lined up like that. It's kind of like my own virtual review library. :)

Anyway, I think I've rambled on long enough, so I believe I will wrap this up now. And possibly go play on Pinterest some more.

Happy Writing! :)

Title image by aroundtheisland.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lucky Sevens on Friday the 13th

I'm back! And I have good news! My husband Pat got a job! :D In other good news it's spring and I have the windows open. The breeze is blowing fresh air in and airing out my stuffy house. My kids are behaving themselves and it's Friday! Who could ask for anything more?

Well I probably could, but I'd be pressing my luck. A lot has gone on since I posted last. But before I get into that, let me take a moment to thank Rachel Sasseen (@stellamortis) for prompting me to get my blog back up and running. Monday Rachel tagged me and six other authors in a cool Twitter game called Lucky 7s. Here's how the game works:

Lucky Sevens

- Open the document for your current MS/WIP

- Go to page 7 or to page 77

- Go to line 7

- Copy the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them exactly as they are written. No changing or cheating!

- Tag 7 authors and let them know.
This sounded like fun, so I came to my blog to post it...and realized I hadn't posted here in four months, and I didn't really want to point people here when it was so neglected. So in-between my other projects this week I've slowly been getting my blog up to speed and now I think it's as good as it's going to get, for the moment. Getting back to the game, here are my results from page 7 of Mark of the Essence.

Solomon slammed his hand down on his wrench trying to get the last bolt to budge. But the heat in the store was making his palms sweaty and his hand slipped past the handle and slammed into the floor of the compartment. “Fate touched! That hurt!”

He rubbed his soar hand for a moment then glared at the offending wrench. He grabbed the handle and reefed on it as hard as he could, ignoring the pain from the exertion. The bolt started to budge and Solomon smiled. “Ha! That’ll teach you, you crappy malfunctioning piece of shit!”
You can (and should) read Rachel's results here. Hers are funny than mine.

What else has been going on? Oh!

In February we launched the First Annual Fantasy-Faction Anthology Writing Contest! Next year (2013), Fantasy-Faction will be publishing its first short story fantasy anthology. It will contain six to eight short stories by famous published authors + six stories by unknown authors. These six people will be our contest winners! And in addition to winning a spot in the anthology, the top three places also get a monetary prize as well! You can check out the rules and contest details here.

Speaking of contests, this month's Fantasy-Faction writing challenge is poetry.

Check it out here.

I've also officially signed up to go to Balticon and BookExpo America. I'm going to be going to NY Comic Con again this year, but I'm still waiting for the press pass option to open up.

There are a few more reviews in my review section. I'll be adding at least one more by the end of the month. I'm actually reading two books at the moment, so we'll have to see which one wins out.

There's probably more going on, but I can't think of anything else right this second. Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Writing! :)

Title image by kameronelisabeth.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Where have I been?

That's a good question. Well in November I went to PhilCon, but that's not really what I'm talking about. I have been MIA from most online activities in the recent past. This post is to apologize for that. I haven't answered email in a week, and when I did answer it, I found a couple emails stuck in my spam folder that had been there over a month. I'm behind on my reviews and still haven't finished my PhilCon article. I was late posting this month's writing challenge on Fantasy-Faction and I haven't read my Twitter feed, except in bits and pieces, in 3 or 4 days. I also haven't talked to anyone directly in almost a month (posts on the forums don't count). For all of this I'm sorry.

Some of you may know that I haven't had the best year on record. My husband was laid off in May and is still looking for work, my father-in-law passed away suddenly in August, and my kids have been sick on and off since the beginning of November. Money is tight, stress levels in the house are high, and in the late fall I redeveloped insomnia that has been keeping me up until 2 and 3 in the morning almost every night. My husband and I have also been helping my mother-in-law get a house ready for sale, all this while I'm still trying to finish my second book and shop my first.

I've been trying to work on my book, write my articles, keep my house clean, keep my kids and husband from driving each other crazy, and not really succeeding at any of it. This week I decided I needed to stop the craziness and get my life back in some semblance of order. I spent the week cleaning, organizing, and trying to help reduce the stress levels in the house. My husband was able to get one of our friends to help him with fixing up the other house and now it looks like that will be finished this weekend.

As little things get ticked off my monstrous to-do list, I can feel tiny bits of stress seeping slowly away from me. It's going to take me a little while to catch up, but damn it, I am going to catch up!

This was not meant to be a pity party post or anything like that. But ignoring people while I tried to catch up with life is not the right way to go about this and I apologize for that. From now on if my life starts getting crazy, I'm going to let people know right away and hopefully that will head off some of the craziness.

On my to-do list today is answering emails and getting everything together for my PhilCon article. If I owe you an email and you haven't heard from me by tomorrow, please poke me on Twitter. I don't think I could get through this without all the awesome friends I've made online in the last year, and once again I'm sorry I kind of disappeared without explanation. I promise I won't do it again.

Thanks for everything guys. You're the best! :)

Fine Art Photograph by TheTwoMinds

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NY Comic Con!

My article on NY Comic Con is up now on Fantasy-Faction. The con was soooo much fun! But rather than rewrite the whole article here, I'll just touch on a couple things that I didn't have room for in my main article.

Day one was press/VIP night. I ended up going with my one of my younger twin brothers Tony and my buddy Vinny.

First I helped Tony do some filming for his video game blog Third Rate Minion. It turns out that I am a terrible cameraman and am not allowed to help in the future. :) Sorry guys! I really thought the camera was on.

When we were done, I headed over to the publishing section of the con floor and met up with fellow Fantasy-Factioner Mike Shackle. :) After we hung out for awhile I got to meet Peter Brett and Myke Cole who are fast becoming two of my favorite authors. :) I even got signed copies of both their books! Speaking of books, there were so many books!

It's a shame books are so heavy (and I don't have a lot of money) or I would have bought a ton more than I did. In case you didn't know that books were heavy, they are. By the end of the weekend I thought my shoulders were going to fall off! I might need a wheelie cart or something for next year. ;)

Day two was Friday, which was also the cheapest day to buy tickets to the con, so that's when my whole family decided they wanted to go. Our group ended up being all three of my younger brothers, my husband, my cousin Amber, my brother-in-law Dan, and once again, my buddy Vinny. Here is some of the group doing their best to thwart my efforts to get a picture of them.

My husband is the one hiding behind people's heads and Vinny is the one flipping me off. And with this picture you have a pretty good idea of what all of my family and friends are like. XD

Anyway, we did a lot of walking Saturday and saw a ton of cool costumes. We also got to meet the team behind Rooster Teeth who does Red vs. Blue among other things. Plus Amber got her brother an awesome tshirt. :)

Friday was also the day I went to my first panel and (as I've been posting about everywhere) I got to hear a reading from Peter Brett's unfinished novel Daylight War! You can watch the video in my article or on Fantasy-Faction's YouTube page. :)

Day three everyone wussed out and I ended up going on my own. (My husband has warned me to add that he would have gone if he had a ticket.) ;) Luckily I ended up hanging out with Mike Shackle for the afternoon and we went to two panels and a signing together. It was a blast!

You can check out more pictures of the con on my Flickr page. But I'll leave you with this last one, who was easily the coolest steampunk outfit I saw all weekend!

Have a great day! :)