Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Iron Writer 12 Days of Christmas Challenge - Day 4

Continuing in The Iron Writer's 12 Days of Christmas Challenge.  Today's prompts:

Euphoria
4 Colly Birds

piano couple



My story bit for today is as follows:

Ryan reached out and touched the door and it swung open easily under her fingers.  Tinkling piano music spilled out and engulfed her, cloaking Ryan in the perfect joy of recognition.  She stepped forward onto the pink shag carpeting that lined the train car.  Sunlight spilled through the windows, curtained in rose-patterned gauze.  Porcelain birds covered every surface, posed in flight, nesting, perched calling on branches.  Those birds had been Nana’s pride and joy.  In fact, the only time Ryan remembered being scolded by her beloved grandparents was the time that she had broken one, and then lied about it.  The tears in her Papa’s eyes at the lie had been almost more than she could bear. 
At the piano, oh at the piano sat her Nana and Papa themselves, lost to Ryan now for five years when Nana finally gave in to the dementia and illness that had claimed her completely two years before.  Still, here they were, playing Heart and Soul as a duet as they always had.  Ryan cried out and they turned, smiling widely, their dark eyes twinkling as they always had. 
“So,” Nana said, exactly as she had when Ryan was a girl, “I see our girl has come for a visit.” 
Ryan ran across the room, flinging herself into their arms, breathing in the scent of Nana’s rosewater, and Papa’s pipe tobacco.  She scrubbed her face back and forth across the rough polyester of her grandfather’s cardigan, and stroked Nana’s long white hair where it spilled down her back. 

“What are you doing here?”  she asked. 

Please, wander over to the website and see the offerings that the other Irons have left.  While your there, read what this Iron Writer thing is all about and, if you think you have what it takes, sign up for a challenge.   

Twelve Days of Christmas - Days Two and Three

This is my offering from Day Two of the Iron Writer's 12 Days of Christmas Challenge.  The required elements were: 

Magic Beans
Two turtle doves
dust


She had always suffered from sehnsucht.  She had planted magic beans in hopes of a beanstalk, had opened and explored every closet and wardrobe she could find.  It had all led, predictably, to naught.  Still, though, maybe, oh maybe this time. . .  She walked up to the tracks. The wind was blowing harder now.  A veritable gale, Ryan had to work hard to not to be pushed sideways, to be sent skittering across the gravel.  Oddly, the American flag at the post office beyond the tracks was flaccid, hanging limply against the silver pole.  The ground vibrated and slowly the air itself began to moan.  Ryan thought she could see a shimmer in the crisp winter nothingness before her.  This was it, then.  It was time.  Suddenly, she found herself paralyzed, her feet rooted to the ground.  What if it were all just foolishness?  More than that, what if it weren’t?  What if she really were abandoning everything she had ever known in order to become a Rider?  And that was the best case.  There were other stories, too, tales of the wretched frostbitten souls who were caught in the wind but denied passage, doomed to be forever yanked from one time and place to another, to be bitten by the bitter wind, but never allowed inside.  What if that were to be her fate?  Ryan took a deep breath and leapt, wrenching her feet from the ground.  The wind crescendoed, the world spun around her, a nexus of color and light.  There was a thump, and all went dark.  When Ryan opened her eyes, she was sitting in an open boxcar, filled with fragrant straw.  A pair of doves greeted her with coos. 

Day Three
Anticipation
Three French Hens
old bottle
In one corner of the car a magnificent rooster with a great green plume of a tail, and three hens pecked contentedly in the straw.  Ryan’s makeshift pillow moved and she sat up, turning to look into the placid, long-lashed eyes of a massive bovine.  The cow looked back, unperturbed, and curled its prehensile tongue around a wisp of hay, pulling it into its mouth.  Next to the cow lay a donkey.  Ryan stretched out her hand and patted its soft muzzle; the creature nuzzled her in reply.  Closer examination of the boxcar revealed only a single door, latched securely against the rushing winds.  Was this it, then?  Then, Ryan spotted it, a small wooden table tucked between some bales of straw.  On it laid a silver plate, covered in filigree.  In the middle of the plate, seemingly impervious to the rocking and jostling of the massive machine, was a small bottle, stoppered with a cork, and containing a small amount of powder.  Ryan felt a tickle in her stomach and an involuntary grin split her face.  She picked up the bottle and uncorked it.  It smelled spicy, exotic. Her hands began to tremble as she turned the bottle upright onto her tongue.  There was another of the dizzying spins, not so bad this time, and when she opened her eyes a door, ornate and incongruous among the steel and livestock, had appeared. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Challenge

I have decided to join The Iron Writer's "12 Days of Christmas Challenge!"  Every day for the next, well, now 10 days (I'm a little behind), we will be given special prompts, modeled after The Iron Writer's weekly challenges, but specially made just for a little bit of Christmas cheer.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Iron Writer, where have you been?  It is only the most amazing way for writer's to prove their chops, all the while engaging in the kind of smartmouthed banter that we artist types do best.  You don't have to be an Iron to take part in this challenge, though.  Simply meander over to http://theironwriter.com/twelve-days-of-christmas-quickies-challenge  and submit in the comments section your piece of flash fiction (200 words or less!) based on the following:

Element: A partridge or a pear tree
Emotion:  Infinite Possibility
Image:
train hopper

I decided to link all of my stories together into one cohesive piece.  The first installment is below.  Enjoy, and I look forward to seeing you in the lists!

The Time Train

Ryan hunkered in the woodline next to the tracks, mentally inventorying the items in her rucksack.  The pack contained, amongst other things, five pairs of socks, four pairs of underwear, two canteens, three books of matches, “and a partridge in a pear tree,” Ryan sang softly.  It was frigid, and Ryan shivered even inside the layers in which she was cocooned.  Thick, heavy snowflakes collected in her lashes, making prisms out of the streetlamps that shone in the distance.  Still, if this worked, if the legends were true, everything – the cold, the months spent planning, even the life she left behind, would be worth it.  There were tales of a train, a train that traveled not just from state to state, but from world to world, in and out of time itself.  One every hundred years, on the solstice, it was said to travel through Decatur, flashing by the cornfields and rattling the decrepit old depot.  Ryan had dreamt about the train for as long as she could remember, would send her Barbies leaping, their matted hair flying, onto the train tracks that she’d lay across the kitchen floor.  A noise.  Was it the wind?  They said that it sounded like a tornado. They said that you didn’t try to board the train; they said you just jumped, that the wind would pull you in. They said. They said.  The wind blew harder, pulling at the strands of hair that had escaped Ryan’s woolen cap.   

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post!






Hey everyone, it's Mackenzie.  Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  It's been crazy here.  Jeanie, my social worker, took me out for burgers and shakes.  She always acts like it's some big treat, like I don't know what it means.  Its gotten to where even the smell of burgers makes my head hurts and makes me feel like I"m going to trow up.  Sure enough, it turns out that my foster family has decided that they "can't meet my needs at this time" and that they want to "pursue permanent placement with a child for whom they are a better fit," which is a bunch of buisiness-y words that mean that I had to move in with a new family.  Again.  The new foster family is okay.  I guess.  I dunno.  I spend most of my time in my room , anyway.  School is another story. 
Jeanie was gong on and on about this teacher that I was supposed to have, Mrs. Harker. How she was SO great and SO fun and how everyone loved her.  Then I get here and guess what  Mrs. Harker is gone and instead I have this. .. thing.  Her name is Miss Hunter and she is absolutely, totally horrible.  Everyone knows it.  They know that she yells and trips kids in the hallway and is like a million years old.  But they don't see what I see.  I see things like how pale she is, or how much time she spends sleeping in class.  I see the dirt on her clothes and how she never smiles and she never goes outside.  When they say she's out for blood, they don't know how right they are.  But I do.  I've dealt with them before; they're the reason I'm in this mess to begin with.  I have to do something to stop her before it's too late.  The question is what. 


or 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Help for Houseless Authors

If you spend any amount of time talking to authors, and I have had the joy to talk to a lot, you'll find that the vast majority has a horror story or two about a former publisher.  Small press publishing houses are often run by one or two individuals, and often as a side job to the one that actually pays the bills. Poor health, financial obligations, or even the stress of running a house can cause a publisher to close with little to no warning.  Or, in the worst case scenario, a publisher may just lose interest.  When this happens the writers who were signed to the publisher are left a bit out to sea.  Their titles are no longer able to be purchased or printed or, if they are, they find themselves no longer receiving adequate communication or representation.  All of a sudden, their careers are at a standstill as they find themselves having to reshop their manuscripts and scramble to meet prior obligations.  I was unfortunate enough to have this very experience this fall.  I signed with a publisher in April, and in August was informed that said publisher would no longer be releasing new titles.  In the hubbub that followed, I was forced to seriously reexamine my options.  After a great deal of thought, research, and planning, I have decided to join forces with Marian Allen and T Lee Harris to open a new publishing house that focuses on not only producing books of amazing quality but actively promoting our authors and conducting our business in  such as manner that we ensure, insomuch as we are able, that our house will be here for each other for a very long while.
The house has two imprints: Line By Lion Publications is dedicated to the children's line, and Three Fates Press will be the house for works written for adults.  We currently have a groupfunding campaign to help us with this process, and hope to have Facebook and webpages by the end of this week.  We are so very, very excited to embark on this venture, and hope that you will join us.  Keep your eye out as we update our author and event lists!
 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The New Chef in Town - His Food is Killer

Yesterday a new contender his the literary ring as Tony Jaeger released his Freshman novel, "Chef."  Read more about "Chef," and meet Tony below.



-Q: Tell me a little about your book?    

-A: Chef is about a hometown vigilante who tries to defend his family by removing criminals from the streets. When tragedy strikes, he is faced with losing everything he has sought to protect.

-Q: I'm sure you hear this a lot, but that sounds a bit like Dexter. How is it different?

-A: That is a great question. Dexter is the exploration of a sociopathic character who kills and knows it's wrong on a textbook level, but feels none of the human impact from it. Chef is the exact opposite of this; his is an intensely emotional journey. Don't get me wrong, the comparison to Dexter is completely justified.The serial-killing component is more of a framework to tell the story in, rather than the focal point of it.

-Q:I've always wondered how those of you who write these stories find inspiration. Do you picture people walking around dismembered or something?    
-A: Heh. From the moment I put the first word on the page, I've been a little afraid of how I would answer this one. This actually started out as a story about a cannibal, but as I thought more about it, and really started trying to figure out the kind of story I wanted to tell, the whole eating people thing kind of faded into the background as the real story started to reveal itself to me.

-Q:Who is your favorite character in your story?

-A: I really like Liam, Chef's best friend. I mean, he's kind of a terrible person, he's really selfish, disloyal, and the worst kind of man. For all that, though, when things get really tough, he's there for the people he loves. He's kind of like Pinky, from Pinky and the Brain, and that makes me kind of happy inside.

-Q:Great. You said you're from Salt Lake City, tell me, is floating in the lake as cool as they say?      

-A: People don't really recreate in the Great Salt Lake, and there are two reasons for that. The Lake is a sacred landmark for Utahns, those of us who are Chosen to be warriors are bathed immediately after birth in the Sacred Water, and it makes them nigh invincible in battle. The second reason people don't recreate in the Lake is that it has the most putrid water in the whole world. It's the water equivalent of a Nicholas Cage movie.

-Q:Have you ever thought about importing sharks? Cause that would make it even cooler.    

-A: To be fair, sharks make EVERYTHING cooler. Even tornados.

-Q:When and where can we find your book?        
A: Chef is available on no on Kindle, and I am working on getting it on Nook, Google Play Books, and directly through my site at CreativeWritingTime.com - I will have details of my progress up on that site, as well.

-Q:Can we find you anywhere else?

-A: I have been publishing a fair amount of work on TheIronWriter.com lately. Those are all flash fiction stories. Anywhere else? I dunno, probably down at the bar. Or a card shop, playing Magic.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jenn Nixon Mind: The Beginning Blog Tour

MIND: The Beginning Blog Tour



What:
Jenn Nixon’s Virtual Blog Tour and Give-A-Way Contest!
When:
September 2 through September 20, 2013
Where:
  Online!
Why:
New Jersey Author Jenn Nixon is pleased to announce her MIND: The Beginning Blog Tour & Give-A-Way Contest!

Join Jenn Nixon for a blog hop Virtual Tour around the internet from the comfort of your home! The Blog Tour will feature interviews and blog posts from Jenn about her new Sci-Fi Romance release, MIND: The Beginning coming September 2, 2013 from Crescent Moon Press

About MIND: The Beginning - After Dina Ranger loses telepathic contact with her brother, she breaks into his apartment and stumbles onto a special government unit responsible for monitoring the psychic population. She's offered a job where she can use her psionic gifts to help people.

Stranded on earth over a hundred years ago, Liam of Shria is searching for a metal needed to repair his ship when he finds Dina, a telepathic investigator, and narrowly saves her from an exploding alien pod. Together, they uncover a plot to rebuild an ancient weapon and discover the truth behind Dina's abilities while unlocking dangerous secrets about the alien presence on earth.

How about an excerpt?  
The woman’s phone rang for the second time in ten minutes. Someone really wanted to talk to her. Considering it was five in the morning, he assumed it was one of the two men she’d been with at the visitor’s center. Liam had an inkling she needed to answer the next call.
            “Going to have to wake her…” He crossed the motel room and shook Dina’s shoulder. She mumbled, rolled away, and stretched her legs down the bed. Come on, wake up.           
            I’m awake, get out of my head. “And stop staring at my ass.”
            “Did that earlier when I put you to bed.”
            “Oh, ha, you’re a funny alien.” She blinked, the expression on her face changing slowly as she moved to the edge of the bed and sat up. “This is all real; it’s not some psi ability.”
            “Yes, ma’am.”
            “You…look human.”
            “Frankly, so does the vast majority of intelligent evolved life out there. We’re all made up of the same bits and pieces of the universe. Those shows you humans entertain yourselves with are so far off base.” Liam smirked, thinking of all the fantastically bizarre creatures science-fiction had turned out over the years.
            “We all look the same?”
            “Not the same, similar. Various differences, skin tone, hair and eyes, appendage length, shape—”
            “Powers? You were invisible, teleported, what else can you do?”
            “A lot. Most humanoids have psionic traits in their genetics, only some develop depending on their planetary conditions and evolution. I come from one of the older, more advanced planets in the universe.”
            “Okay, information overload, let’s take it down a notch.”
            “We’re going to be interrupted shortly anyway.”
            Dina’s phone rang. Her eyes expanded wide. “You’re a precog too?”
            “No,” he replied with a chuckle. “Third phone call. That’s why I woke you. I figure it’s important.”

Wanna read more? Jenn's book is available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Mind-The-Beginning-ebook/dp/B00EVWZ6XO

One commentor from each blog will win an ebook copy of Jenn’s Romantic Suspense E-Book Lucky’s Charm, one GRAND PRIZE WINNER will also receive an E-Book Copy of Lucky’s Charm and a $15 Gift Card to any online book retailer of their choice!

Virtual Blog Tour Dates & Locations:
September 3:  lesliestalley.blogspot.com   
September 7:  maerwilson.com
September 9:  cindyyoungturner.com/blog
September 11:  www.shawnaromkey.com
September 12:  cmmichaels.blogspot.com
September 13:  www.erindanzer.com/blog
September 18:  nancysbrandt.com
September 19:  www.hunterthehorrible.com
September 20jennafern.blogspot.com

Note:




Author Jenn Nixon is a resident of New Jersey and a member of RWA and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey. Past Releases: Lucky’s Charm from Wild Child Publishing. Upcoming Releases: Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian from Hydra Publications.
Cost
Free!

Contacts:




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banned Book Month- The Boy Who Was Banned

Doo do Doo Do DOOOOOOO do dooo.  Can you name that tune in seven notes? How about seven books?  The Harry Potter series is one of the largest pop culture phenomenons, spawning board games, video games, coined phrases, and a wealth of deathly hallows tattoos.   While I don't feel that it has the same quality of effects on our society, no one can deny that it is a tasty, tasty bit of brain candy.  Who doesn't have their favorite House, or character (Rupert, if you're reading this,call me)?  The answer is a surprising amount.  The series came under attack immediately upon gaining popularity simply because of one word: witchcraft.  Ill-informed individuals believed that the witchcraft referred to in this book was synonymous with witchcraft as performed by those who practice Wicca.  While I obviously don't believe that the book ought be banned in any case, the level of misunderstanding in this conflict only served to heighten the offense.  Obviously, the protective charms cast by the crew in Hogwart's were able to withstand the attempted banning.

Writing Prompt: Cast a spell.  Write a short story in which a character casts a spell - in whatever manner you choose.

A Writing Prompt for Algernon

"Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keys was given to me for the first time as a preteen girl by a parent who was exasperated and at a loss.  I had devoured the local children's library, and had been found reading a V.C. Andrews book that I had nicked from my step-monster's bookshelf because the color looked pretty.  I needed something more than what my school had to offer, but Andrews was simply not acceptable for a child my age.  She handed me two musty smelling books out of a box in our basement, and both changed my life.  The first was "Watership Down," the second was "Flowers for Algernon."  The novel, a first person piece is written as a diary by Charlie, a mentally impaired young man who volunteers to be the subject of an experimental surgery which will increase his IQ.  We travel with him as he becomes first intelligent and then a genius before discovering the flaw in his own surgery which will lead to an inevitable regression.  We struggle with him as his social skills develop far more slowly than his intellect, as he tries to come to terms with elements of his past, deals with his sexuality, and finally as he experiences the heartwrenching return to his original state of being.  This book has been challenged for nearly as long as it has been released, with instances of drunkenness and sexuality cited as the reason. 

Your writing prompt today - We all remember the hormone soup that was our brain and body as we began to reach our sexual maturity.  Write a short story that includes that awkward and exciting time. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Banned Book Month- And we are back

Hello, everyone.  I apologize for the lack of posts. Satellite internet and storms are not a happy combination.  I'm back, though, with today's banned book- Bridge to Terebithia.  Bridge to Terebithia is a middle grade fiction novel featuring Leslie and Jess, two unlikely friends who meet in the cow pasture while Jess is practicing to become the fastest boy in his grade.  Their friendship grows as they find mutual ground in art and loneliness.  Jess is able to provide Leslie with some stability and friendship, and Leslie shows him how to open up and use his imagination as they have a series of adventures revolving around an imaginary land across a river.  Tragically, Leslie dies and Jess is left to deal with the guilt and returned loneliness.  The story ends with hope, as Jess introduced his younger sister to Terebithia.  Sadly, opponents of this book have found fault in the language (the kids say "Oh Lordy" often), and the perceived disrespect to parents.

Today's Prompt: Those wily kids.  Write a story in which kids engage in mild disobedience or adventure.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Banned Book Day 3 - The Giver

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry depicts a utopian future in which Sameness had taken the place of competition, emotion, weather, sickness, and more.  People are assigned their jobs, their spouses, and their children, and function in these roles until they are "released."  Released, we find out, is simply a euphemism for euthanized. One person is selected from each generation to be the holder of the memories of the time before Sameness.  This book emphasizes the need for calculated risk, bravery, and love.  Yet, it has been banned for everything from occult themes (the memories are transferred through a combination of touch and some sort of psychic-like connection), to lewdness (the boy stops taking the pills that repress all sexual desire), to -unbelievably- being pro-euthanasia.  Lois Lowry once spoke out about the frequent banning of her book, saying, ."I think banning books is a very, very dangerous thing. It takes away an important freedom. Any time there is an attempt to ban a book, you should fight it as hard as you can. It’s okay for a parent to say, ‘I don’t want my child to read this book.’ But it is not okay for anyone to try to make that decision for other people. The world portrayed in The Giver is a world where choice has been taken away. It is a frightening world. Let’s work hard to keep it from truly happening.”

Today's Prompt: Write a short story in which a character's ability to make decisions or choices is severely inhibited by an internal or external force


Monday, September 2, 2013

Banned Book Month Day Two - You sure look funny naked.

Another frequently challenged book is "The Dirty Cowboy" by Amy Timberlake.  While I'm not going to state that this picture book has the same societal and personal impact as A.A. Milne's works, it is a cute little story.  After discovering a tumbleweed in his britches and some bugs a-buzzin' a cowboy decides that it is time for his yearly bath.  He strips down and leaves his clothing on the banks of the river after instructing his faithful hound not to let anyone steal them. After his bath, he smells so different that the confused beast won't relinquish the cowboy's coverins.  Though the cartoon cowboy's privates are covered in every picture, this book has been banned in many places due to the nudity.

Today's prompt: Use a little nudity to make us giggle.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Banned Book Month - Winnie the Pooh

The Winnie the Pooh stories are amongst my favorites in children's literature. I grew up snuggled against my mom while she read the stories with voices so often that I know many of them by heart to this day.  I have raised my children on the same, and they love the stories the same as I.  In fact, my youngest has referred to himself as "da Pooh Beah" for a year or more.  One would think that there could be little more innocuous than a silly old bear and his Very Small friend who lives in the house of Trespassers W.  However, these stories have come under fire from two religious sects and have been banned in many places because of this.  In England, the stories have been banned because of complaints from the Muslim populations regarding Piglet.  Meanwhile, in the United States, some Christians have deemed the books inappropriate because the speaking and thinking animals are considered an affront to God.  

Your prompt for today: Write a short story featuring talking animals. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Banned Book Month

September 22-28th marks Banned Book Week this year. Banned Book Week was started to counteract the surging numbers of books that are challenged or banned. I am a firm believer that there are certain truths and realities to which children do not need to be exposed via literature, especially at the ages at which exposure commonly takes place nowadays. That is why, when I write for children, I write material that I feel is age appropriate. I also feel that there is some writing which contributes nothing positive to society and that I don't even find particularly well-done or entertaining (erhem "Twilight" and "50 Shades of Gray" come to mind). That being said, I despise the banning of books.  I think that the job of censorship falls to oneself and, in the case of children, to their parents.  After all, we know what we like and what we can handle.  (However, I do suggest that you read books, often, outside of your comfort zone. They can open you up to a world of great conversation and discussion, and occasionally a new perspective.) However, when books start being pulled off of library and bookstore shelves, we start a slippery slope in which we rob our culture of so many things of value.  Travel with me this month, and you will see what I mean.
Every day in the month of September, I will be writing a post about one of the Top 100 Challenged Books, giving a synopsis of the book and reasons that it is challenged.  I will then be posting a writing prompt encouraging you to write your own short story that contains some of the offensive elements. Post a link to your blog or website in the comments, so we can read your contributions, and please share this event.  I hope you will join me in this challenge celebrating the right to read!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Ronnie's Birthday, but you get the presents!

Hello, everyone! First of all, I want to thank K.A.! for having me on her blog today. I realize celebrating a character's birthday is not normally done, but doing something different is usually what gets us noticed. So, thank you for having me here today!

Not only is Ronnie celebrating a birthday, her novel, Into the Spiral, is just 99 cents for these three days, August 27-29 (Tuesday-Thursday). That's a steal compared to the normal price of $3.99! Go here to grab your copy today: http://www.amazon.com/Into-the-Spiral-ebook/dp/B00AA1O63Q/

School hallway About the Book:

Fifteen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Lambert wants to get out from under her older brother’s shadow. When Ronnie gets a tattoo and then is struck by lightning, she suddenly finds herself able to see and hear things in shadows that don’t appear to others. Then Ronnie meets Gavin Clearwater, the hot new guy in all of her classes and finds out he can see and hear the same things she can.
Gavin tells her about the Spiral Defenders, a group of warriors that travels through space and time to defend the planets of the Spiral. After meeting the Commander of the Spiral Defenders and realizing his intentions might not be pure, Ronnie struggles between following her destiny to become a Spiral Defender and trying to regain the life she had before being struck by lightning.

You can also check out Michelle Nicole's blog during these three days to join in the celebration and enter to win an autographed paperback of Into the Spiral, a bunch of swag, beautiful silver-plated triple spiral earrings, and a tote to carry it all in!

Happy Birthday, Ronnie! Thank you everyone for celebrating such a fun day!

~ Erin Danzer

It's Ronnie's Birthday, but YOU get the presents!

<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;">Hello, everyone! First of all, I want to thank K.A.! for having me on her blog today. I realize celebrating a character's birthday is not normally done, but doing something different is usually what gets us noticed. So, thank you for having me here today!</span></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;">Not only is Ronnie celebrating a birthday, her novel, Into the Spiral, is just 99 cents for these three days, August 27-29 (Tuesday-Thursday). That's a steal compared to the normal price of $3.99! Go here to grab your copy today:</span> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Into-the-Spiral-ebook/dp/B00AA1O63Q/">http://www.amazon.com/Into-the-Spiral-ebook/dp/B00AA1O63Q/</a></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://www.erindanzer.com/the-spiral-defenders-series/into-the-spiral-1/school-hallway-2/" rel="attachment wp-att-646"><img class="size-medium wp-image-646 alignleft" style="margin: 5px;" alt="School hallway" src="http://www.erindanzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/intothespiralcover-web-200x300.jpg" width="200" height="300" /></a> <span style="color: #000000;">About the Book:</span></p>

<div id="postBodyPS"><em><span style="color: #000000;">Fifteen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Lambert wants to get out from under her older brother’s shadow. When Ronnie gets a tattoo and then is struck by lightning, she suddenly finds herself able to see and hear things in shadows that don’t appear to others. Then Ronnie meets Gavin Clearwater, the hot new guy in all of her classes and finds out he can see and hear the same things she can.</span></em></div>
<div><em><span style="color: #000000;">Gavin tells her about the Spiral Defenders, a group of warriors that travels through space and time to defend the planets of the Spiral. After meeting the Commander of the Spiral Defenders and realizing his intentions might not be pure, Ronnie struggles between following her destiny to become a Spiral Defender and trying to regain the life she had before being struck by lightning.</span></em></div>
<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;">You can also check out Michelle Nicole's <a href="http://authormichellenicole.blogspot.com" target="_blank">blog</a> during these three days to join in the celebration and enter to win an autographed paperback of Into the Spiral, a bunch of swag, beautiful silver-plated triple spiral earrings, and a tote to carry it all in!</span></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;">Happy Birthday, Ronnie! Thank you everyone for celebrating such a fun day!</span></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;">~ Erin Danzer</span></p>

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#6WSC

My lovely friend Marian Allen occasionally hosts The Six Word Story Challenge, in which we are given a topic and invited to write a story in six words or less.  The directions are taken from her  website, my story is below.

Write a tiny little story in only six words (not counting the title).

Growth

Everything starts small — a seed becomes a plant, an egg becomes an ostrich, a look becomes a quarrel, a slight becomes a war.
The most wonderful things, the most terrible things, the most powerful things, the most vulnerable things — all begin small and grow. Or they might begin big and grow smaller, which is a very funny thing to say, when you think about it!
Here’s a Six Word Story by Ernest Hemingway.
SixWordStory
Such an impact and unseen images in only six words…

Pruning
Not all growth is good.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Excerpt from H.M.S Irene

I've been chattering quite a bit on Facebook, twitter, and the rest about the kraken story I am attempting.  I have to admit, it's a bit of a challenge; a steampunk themed tale including a kraken and based on the horrible prideful mentalities that lead to such tragedies as the events surrounding the downed Blackhawks in Mogadishu and the sinking of the Titanic, all taking place on a submersible modeled after the Hunley. This story was intended to be a part of, Brink, my upcoming collection of short stories that take place on the edge of an event horizon (You can read more here and here).  I'm not sure if that's where it's supposed to live, though.  We will see.  At any rate, I think it's been way too long since I've posted some writing on here.  So, here's a bit of my newest short story: HMS Irene.  I hope you enjoy. 

HMS Irene
      The docks were crowded, as was the air above, thick with everything from dirigibles to their humble cousins the balloon.  Waitresses clad in skin tight mockeries of sailor's uniforms circled the crowd with plates of delicacies, squid featured heavily, much to the delight of the crowd.  Even the band was there, majestic and miserable in their full dress regalia, and almost able to mask the din of the factories up the street.  Lieutenant Dominique Brusad eyed their sweaty, flushed faces with a combination of empathy and jealousy.  Dressed in her deep water gear, Dominique was sweating as much as they.  They, however, would get to return to base once this was over.  If it ever did get over.  Dominique glanced surreptitiously at the intricate dials and gears that made up the face of her watch, a gift from her mother and father when she graduation from the Academy. What was taking so long?
     On board the HMS Irene three large men were crammed into the cabin of the submersible.  Their shoulders were hunched and their proud, out thrust chests nearly brushed one another, medal on metal as it were.  The cabin had been designed to hold only two, and two navigators at that.  Navigators were selected partially because of their petite frames, elected officials and Generals were not.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How to Sell Your Stuff

I have spent many hours lately trying to sell my book.  I have spent a similar number of hours listening to (or reading about) writers who are disgruntled at their lack of sales.  I've heard one million excuses.  "People just weren't buying."  "I had a bad spot."  "Such and such just hates the lit track."  Okay.  Maybe.  We do not live in a bubble and are therefore affected by extenuating circumstances.  That being said, I've also seen a lot of mistakes made by people whose living depends on the whims of others.  We are, none of us, selling anything someone NEEDS after all.  I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I will admit my sales have been above average.  Also,  I grew up watching my Dad as he made sales for the carbonated beverage company for which he worked for many years as well as traveling to various specialty shows with my mother.  I'd like to take a moment to share what I've learned, and what is working very well for me.

This is a 3 tier process.  The first tier is called "Grooming."

1:  Groom yourself.  Try to look nice.  I've been given a bit of flack because I wear costumes.  I don't recommend that for everyone, however I can't tell you how many salespeople are talking to me with woolly teeth or holey clothes or body odor like a wall. Take a shower, brush your teeth. and wear something nice,

2. Make your table or booth look nice.  This does not take much money.  Clean up your trash, make sure banners and signs are hung straight.  Make sure the table is not too crowded and that the items are lined up neatly.  A bunch of fresh flowers can make all of the difference in the world.

Once you have done that, its time to move on to tier 2, "Presence."  Remember, you are likely one attraction among many.  You have to show that you are present and engaged. So. . .

1. Stand up.  There is nothing attractive or eye-catching about a bunch of people slouching in chairs behind a table.  You look uninvolved and uninterested.  It is difficult to make eye contact.  It looks sloppy.  I understand that some people have physical limitations that prohibit this.  In that case, do what you need to do for your health.  But, if you are able, stand up.  I don't even take chairs to shows.  And I do it in 5 inch heels. It may hurt, but it works.  So, as I tell my children, get off of your boom-boom and DO something.

2.  Stop talking to each other; talk to the visitors instead.  Listen, I get it.  We are geeks.  Social interaction is not our favorite thing nor, for many of us, our strong point.  Also, we are spending time with like-minded people who we actually know and may not see as much as we like.  They are also people who are not likely to buy your book.  Also, regardless of your intention, what you are doing is rude.  Rude does not make people want to buy something from you.  So, face front and talk to the people who have money to potentially spend on you.  Chat with your friends later.

3. Get the "marks" attention.  Again, there is a lot going on all around us.  Many people are going to avoid eye contact because either they are afraid that we are going to try to sell us something and they will feel weird saying "no" (and let's be honest, we are, and we are going to try to make that 'no' a 'yes'), or they feel awkward talking to people they don't know.   We have to overcome that.  I've heard of people using a bicycle horn.  I'm sure that works.  I chose a different tack, though.  I choose freebies.  I have vampire fangs and glow sticks that I give out for free.  Once they have approached me and taken their gift, I start talking about their book.  You can get little gifts that emphasize some of the themes in your book for very little money and they are, frankly, invaluable.  NOTE:  Business cards are not freebies. No. Don't argue.  They're not.  Postcards of you or your book might be if they are a) well done and b) are actually postcards that someone could theoretically mail.  Pens are also a bad idea.  Promo pens rarely function unless they are from pharmaceutical companies who can afford the REALLY nice pens.

So, you're looking spiffy.  There are people at your table.  Now, you move onto tier 3 - The Pitch.

1.  You have to be excited about what you are selling.  More than that, you have to be able to emote or convey that excitement.  I'm going to use books as an example because, well, I sell books. If someone asks about your fabulous new Yeti book and you don't make eye contact and mutter something like, "Well, I wrote this 'cause it's about yetis but it's not really about yetis I just thought yetis would help me sell books but I guess nobody likes yetis anymore 'cause I haven't sold hardly anything but anyway, um, it's not really about yetis it's about this um main character named um McIntyre who is a drummer for an Irish rock band and um yeah," you are likely not going to sell any books.  After all, this is YOUR baby.  If you don't think your baby is pretty, no one else is going to.  Have a pitch.  Practice it so you can say it in your sleep.  Make it exciting and fun.  Then, when the nerves or the exhaustion kick in, the excited pitch is etched permanently into your memory.

2.  Finally, sweeten the deal.  Everyone wants to believe that they are getting something for nothing.  So, find another freebie that you will kick in if someone buys your books.  Passes to a local event, CDs, a code to access special items on your website, any little something to help the deal get sweeter.  Again, with a little bit of research this can be done cheaply and will help you make a good deal of money.

3.  No matter the answer, say "thank you."  These people gave you their time and attention; they are supporting the events that support you, so chirp a cheery "thank you" as they meander away.

So, here are my tips.  I hope they help!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Challenge!

I have had the good fortune to make a new friend recently; an amazingly talented gentleman by the name of Thomas.  Thomas is, among other things, a freelance photographer and an aspiring writer.  His work can be found at _www.tljonline.com.  Recently, I challenged him to post some pictures from one of his shoots on Facebook, and we would each use said picture as inspiration for a short story.  Both stories as well as the picture are below.  Please take a moment to read them and then leave a comment stating which is your favorite.  Thanks!





Now for the stories.

Irvati

     Brother Geordino ranked as one of the lower scribes in the monastery and he was comfortable with that. He lacked ambition, he did not feel a higher calling, and he saw no reason to put extra effort behind any of the tasks assigned to him by Father Pascale. His superiors had tried to motivate him, punish him, even plead with him that his work was for God and not just the monastery, but it had no effect. Brother Geordino was happy with who he was and there was no point in changing.His latest task – a necessary chore, but assigned to him as punishment – was to transcribe one of the smaller tomes given to the monks by the local landowner upon his death. The estate had been sizable, but most of the old duke’s library had been copies of copies and nothing that required the monk’s attentions beyond cataloguing and storage. A few, however, were one-of-a-kind esoteric texts with dubious authors and histories. So-called spell books and questionable bestiaries of impossible creatures filled a small trunk which was given to Geordino for safekeeping. When the other monks realized he simply was not making any progress, harsher measures were taken. 
     The trunk now sat behind the young monk. It was the only thing in this room beside his chamber pot, a 
small cot, the desk at which he wrote and the chair upon which he sat. All other distractions had been removed. All other activities as well. Brother Geordino was left locked in this tower room with a narrow window overlooking the courtyard and a single door barred from the outside. At the base of the door was a swinging flap of wood on hinges – an ingenious design by the always eager blacksmith, Brother Hamilton. The chamber pot was pushed out, cleaned, and returned to him. Twice a day, meals were pushed through on a small covered tray. The other monks would see this as horrible, perhaps cruel, punishment. Geordino felt it was a fair arrangement. All he was required to do was write what he saw in the old book, and all his needs were cared for. They would release him when he was done – so Brother Geordino took his time.
     To make the task last as long as possible, the young monk would often bow his black-haired head over 
the other cracked and fading books in the trunk left in his room. While the sounds of life rose from the courtyard, he would be silently sliding his fingers over old parchment pages and sometimes mouthing the words of the secular and sometimes heretical texts. Knowledge was knowledge, and so the monks had often copied and stored documents and tomes that were even sacrilegious – a sort of ‘know thy enemy’ mentality. It was not that the information was a transgression, it was the fact that it was new that pulled at Brother Geordino’s attention. It was highly likely that these books were one-of-a-kind original writings; and the authors had to have been mad. 
     Visions of leopards with wings, vines that encircled the globe, and clouds that crashed into mountains with the weight and solidity of granite, swirled from the old scratchmark handwriting. And the handwriting was different from book to book, which took some effort for Brother Geordino to decipher. Besides the complete strangeness of the creatures and places described in the stories, there was nothing to connect these books one to another. Nothing except one name, and it may have been the name of a person or an animal or simply a power. It was treated with the reverence and casual understanding one would use for ‘sunshine’. None of the various authors described or explained the name, but it was mentioned at odd intervals as though to give credence to all else.
     “Irvati.”
      It was always used without real context, as though expecting any reader would automatically know full-well what or who ‘Irvati’ was, and it was obviously something to be held in awe. But without any explanation or background, Geordino ignored it in favor of the more imaginative (if just as inexplicable) descriptions of madness.
     Gradually, between idle daydreaming, lazily reading the other stories and attempting to pronounce the ridiculous nonsense from ‘spell books’, Brother Geordino made progress in his assignment. The chickenscratch writing made the transcription tedious, and, though he was content to take his time with the work, he was as carefully exacting as his he had been trained. Each word, indeed each strange spelling of each unusual word, was transcribed with care onto fresh and sturdier paper in a heavy book of standard size. When completed, it would fit on a shelf with other copied texts and there be safe for more learned scholars to study and interpret. And this one would take some studying, Brother Geordino decided. When actually at work, one’s mind often did not focus on the words or meanings of the copy – all attention to detail was on the letters themselves and ensuring that penmanship was exact (though he sometimes took liberty in illustrating the margins or capitals at the beginning of chapters). Once every few days he would allow himself to read back through what he had transcribed and found it made no sense. It was difficult to even remember the sequence of events in the book, such was the strangeness.His puzzlement was interrupted as another tray of food scratched across the stone floor and the swinging hatch fell back into place on the door with a squeak of hinges. Brother Geordino looked at the metal dome through half-lidded eyes, barely seeing it. He was no longer even curious what meal would be hidden beneath. He realized he was bored, and it took some effort for him to care enough about the food to push his chair back and rise from his position at the desk. His robes whispered against his ankles and he took the few steps to the tray, cradled it on one hand and lifted the cover. Soup. Perhaps broth would be a more apt description. Some stale bread beside the old bowl. 
     As the young monk sat back down and lifted his spoon to dip into the almost clear liquid, some thought 
bubbled up in the back of his mind. For a moment he paused there, spoon in hand like a lost man would 
hold a candle in a strange and dark room. The thought was troubling Brother Geordino, but he couldn’t 
place just what it was. There was something familiar, but bothersome. He almost shrugged and let it go, but then his mind grasped hold of the concerning doubt. He had eaten soup earlier today. And yesterday. The bread, too. Not the same soup, perhaps. Certainly not the same bread. This was not some idle feeling of déjà-vu. He had been eating soup for quite a while, now, and it had never really occurred to him to think anything of it. How long ago had it been that he’d been given a chicken bone with greasy meat on it? How long before that was the roast pork? And the greens? Surely just last week – but no, he remembered soup then.
     His brow furrowed, but after a moment it ceased to bother him. He finally allowed the shrug and began 
to slurp at his meal. He forgot about his concern until the next morning.
     Upon awaking, Brother Geordino performed his usual toilet and pushed the chamber pot out through the hatch and into the hall, followed by the tray with its empty soup bowl. He felt no compunction to get back to the book just yet, so returned to his cot and leaned his back against the cool stone wall. Resting uncomfortably under his backside, he felt one of the other tomes he had been idly flipping through in the days before. He reached for it, now, and opened it to the middle and started to lose himself in the description of a city covered in dust. It would help distract him from the morning sounds of the other monks performing their chores in the courtyard below.Three pages later, he paused with his finger against the word ‘Irvati’ and frowned. Something was bothering him again. He remembered the evening prior and felt his frown deepen. These lapses in his comfortable routine were starting to irritate him in ways he’d never experienced before. Almost against his will, he tried to chase down what the bother was this time. It had nothing to do with food, for his meal would not arrive for some hours. It wasn’t the book, because he had read this one before, many 
times in fact, and it had never given him anything but pleasure and amusement in its strangeness. Geordino rolled his eyes and let out a loud sigh that echoed in the silence.That’s when it felt like someone punched him just below the ribs. It was utterly silent in his room. Of course it normally was silent IN his room, but there was not even the sound of movement outside. No clang of metal from Brother Hamilton’s forge, no muttered conversation of monks passing below his tower. Even the bustle from the small stables and chicken roost was missing. Ridiculously, Geordino feared he had gone deaf and loudly cleared his throat just to hear some sound in the stillness. That sound, too, echoed and seemed to hang on the early morning dust.
     This was no longer the niggling doubt of memory. The monk threw down the book and jumped to his feet. Even now he expected all the familiar noises of the monastery to come back like hearing does after the deafening peal of thunder. This silence was so total as to make his chest feel tight – or maybe it was the fear. He moved toward the door, hesitated, then knocked. The was usually one of the brothers near enough to come answer through the heavy wood. He had long ago stopped asking for news or gossip – he hadn’t cared then, but thought it polite. They brought him ink on a regular basis, so he had no other needs beyond the chamber pot and tray of food. Now, though, he needed to hear the slap of sandals and a hushed voice on the other side.
     There was nothing.
     Geordino stepped back from the door, lips pursed. He realized he was trying to hold back a – what? A 
cry for help? A scream? Steeling himself against such a ridiculous notion, he returned to the door and brought his fist up. Using the heel of his hand, he gave it a few good hits. As soon as he did, the door rattled gently, then slowly creaked on its hinges. Dust fell from the lock. Looking closer, he realized that wasn’t the case at all. The dust that fell WAS the lock. It had been rusted through and apparently crumbled at the strike of his hand. Beyond that was the truly odd sight, however. Sitting in a chair in the hall, currently catching a sunbeam from the rising sun peeking over the window, was an old man in a monk’s robe. His arm hung down by his side. When he started to approach, Brother Geordino gagged. The hand that was visible below the sleeve was decrepit and bony. Skeletal. Leaning down to see beneath the hood, he realized that the face of the old man matched. It was not an old man – it was an ancient corpse with its chin resting on its sunken chest, mummified from the passage of time. Geordino gave the cadaver a wide berth and hastily went down the stairs at the end of the hall. He did not cry out. Somehow he knew what he’d find.
     In each room, in most halls, and in the courtyard, there were the corpses of his brothers. They were all mummified, and they were all comfortable. Most were in chairs, though a few looked like they had slumped against a wall and slid to the floor. A couple of the monks were still in their cots. The chicken roost was full of dust. The pigs and cow were unspeakable mounds of leather and bone, half buried in the rock and rubble that had been the front wall of the monastery. Now the main gate was a heap of broken down stone.
     The monastery was in ruins. 
     Brother Geordino’s shoulders slumped. He did not feel fear or confusion. Of course he did not understand, but yet he felt like this was as it should be. This was what had to happen. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, a piece of himself screamed that he had done this, that it was his fault, and that it wasn’t normal at all. But like the guttering flame of an untended candle, that quiet voice soon winked out. The monk turned away from the remains of the monastery gate and began slowly plodding back to his tower. There was nothing left to do but write. He didn’t feel like doing anything else, anyway. When he returned to his room, he thoughtlessly closed the door behind him again. The chair screeched offensively as he pulled it back from the desk and sat down. He brought the pen to paper and began transcribing the book once more. When he was done, he would begin on the next. And then the next. There was nothing else to do, and he was comfortable. He didn’t feel like doing anything else.A tray slid through the hatch in his door, causing the hinges to squeak. It was followed by a clean chamber pot.
     Brother Geordino began to write.

Hob Nail
     It was an old, old, town; weary, battle-worn, decrepit. Fissures chased each other up and down the streets.  The houses bore broken shutters and flaking paint, cinder blocks instead of stairs. Once prosperous, the town had let time take its toll, had borne the helplessness of disease, the evils of man, and the battering of winds by growing bitter and hard.  Its fury sustained it.The old woman was the same.  Her mouth frowned around a set of mail-order dentures, smoking an endless stream of foul-smelling cigarettes that she rolled herself out of pipe tobacco, tamping the threads with cracked and yellowed nail.  She wore a series of stained and shapeless shifts from which her crepey arms protruded. Day and night, rain or shine she sat on her porch and rocked.  She rocked and stared through slitted, beady eyes at the old courthouse that lay across the street.
     The courthouse It had been abandoned decades before.  Every now and then someone would petition the city to knock it down, but still it stood, it's silent bell tower pointing an accusing finger at the heavens. In the evenings folks would pay to take tours, to see if they could find the ghost that was said to be haunting the crumbling halls.  One day a couple; young, fresh-faced, their nervous laughter trilling up and down the street walked up to the edifice. They pulled on the doors.  Nothing.  Undeterred, the young man jumped and grabbed a barred window, sputtering and pawing at his face as the rust flaked into his eyes.  After a brief, whispered conversation they crossed the street to where the crone sat looking.
"Excuse me, Ma'am," the young man said, "do you know the story of the ghost they say haunts over there," he gestured over his shoulder.  The old woman blew smoke in a thin stream, squinting through the haze.    
     "Ayuh," she said at last, "I knows it."
     The girl giggled again, shrilly, and the young man murmured something in her ear.
     "Would you mind telling us?" he asked.
     The old woman closed her eyes and her chin sunk into her chest.  The ash on her cigarette grew long and the couple was just about to leave when suddenly she looked up.
     "Why'nt you set down," she said.  She lit another cigarette and began.
     "The woman was named Elzabeth McLemore, 'n she was the daughter of one of the sharecroppers way out'n the middle of nowhere.  Nothin' but scrub pines and red clay on either side.  Her family had horses, 'n evver now and then the farrier would travel out that way to see if there was anythin' they needed.  Elzabeth grew into a fine lookin' woman. Cherokee blood runs strong in these parts and it showed in her.  She had long black hair that fell near to her waist, 'n black eyes that flashed.  The farriers wife died and soon he went lookin' for another and it was Elzabeth that he decided he wanted.  They got married an' he was as happy as could be but everbody in town knew that she was just miserable.  She hated livin' in town, said there was too many people about.  She missed her family and she faulted her husband for the hours he spent in the smithy. She took to spending time down there with him, not visitn' just staring off into space.  Folks said she was part addled.  Then she had her baby and it got even worse.
     The little girl was as purty as her Mama and as charmin' as her Daddy, but Elzabeth just pure hated the sight of her.  She wouldn't hold her, would hardly feed her, an' it got worse as the girl got older.  Her Mama passed stories, and carted that child to ever' preacher and doctor in town, sayin' that the girl was sick, or maybe possessed.  She said that the girl got the shakes sometimes that just wouldn't stop, that she talked words that no one could understand.  She swore the girl was evil, said her eyes glowed sometimes at night. Nobody took much stock in what she said,though. Some folks just figgured it was part of her strangeness, others thought that she was jealous.  'Cause her husband, he was just ate up with that little girl.  Took her with her everywhere he went and called her Hob Nail 'cause she was so short 'n sturdy. Strong.  That girl, as pretty and pampered as she was, was as strong as some grown men.  Lord but he was proud 'a that little girl, always kep' her dressed in the finest clothes an' would bring her dolls 'n such.  Soon Elzabeth wouldn't even look at the girl, shied away from her when the girl came up for a hug.  Still, what she did, folks never expected it."
     The women grew silent again for a long while, staring at the courthouse spire.  Suddenly she startled, looked wide eyed at the young couple as if she had forgotten who they were.  Her nostrils flared and her slipper clad feet scrabbled against the wood on the porch.  Then she calmed, began again.
     "The farrier came home one day after a long coupl'a days on the road.  As he started down the street, he noticed that there was no smoke comin' from his house or from the smithy.  That was passin' odd, 'cause the nights had started to grow cold.  He came to the top of the hill, that'n right there that runs through town, and saw there were no lanterns burnin' neither.  He started to ride faster.  He got to the house and sure enough it was dark, cold.  He went out to the forge 'n that was the same.  It was so dark by then that he didn't see Elzabeth 'til he nearly tripped over her.  She lay on the floor, covered in blood, her black eyes huge.  Her hands had been burned, so bad that they weren't nothin' but a melted mess.  Her daughter, though, little Hob Nail, was nowhere to be seen and Elzabeth wasn't talkin'.  Well her Daddy called out a search party and they spent days ridin' up and down the hills, knockin' on doors, while Elzabeth just sat and stared, her hands wrapped an' covered with a poultice.  It were three days before anyone thought to look in the big ol' fire pit in the forge, and that's when they found 'em.  The little girl's doll; her favorite one that her Daddy has brought her from two counties over, and a little leather shoe.  Somehow, they'd gotten kicked to the side an' the fire had spared them before it had burned itself out.  'N that's when they knew.  They knew what that woman had done.
      She was taken to the prison and set to be hanged; the first woman in Jackson County ever to be put in jail, let alone set to be executed. There were those who disagreed, who said that since they never found the body that somethin' else coulda happened.  Still, the law was the law and soon the time was a comin'.  A buncha men set to building some gallows out back.  It made ever'one in town a little scairt, listenin' to the hammerin and knowing what it was for.  They never got around to the deed, though.  One night someone or mebbe someones, they never knew who, broke into the jail.  They took to Elzabeth with a horse whip until she was done.  They said the jailer 'near passed out when he saw her and that the cell was covered in vomit from everyone who went in there to help bring her out.  Eventually they got her body out, but her spirit, that lives there still, screaming while the whip comes down over and over again.  Some folks think it's 'cause she's sorry for what she did, others think it's cause she wants folks to know she didn't do it at all."
     For the first time in over an hour, the young man spoke up, his voice rusty and cracked with disuse.  "What do you think?" he asked.
     The old woman looked up and for an instant they could have sworn her eyes flashed green.  "Those old stories," she said, eyeing the bell tower, "I reckon you can't never tell." 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Upcoming Events

As one might expect, these next few months are going to be busy for someone promoting their vampire novel.  Please consider coming to visit me at any of the following venues.

Blog Interview - www.jennixonauthor.com - TOMORROW
Michigan Pirate Festival, Grand Haven, MI, Friday, August 9-Sunday, August 11
Dark Carnival Film Festival, Columbus, IN, Friday, August 30.
The Princess Bride Experience, Louisville, KY, Saturday, August 31.
Lorain County Zombie Outbreak, Lorain Co. OH, Saturday, September 7th.
The BucCornEar Festival, Helmburg IN, Friday, September 20-Saturday, September 21st.
Archon - St. Louis, MO, October 4-6
Trafalgar Branch, Johnson County Library - Thursday, October 10.
Columbus Branch, Bartholemew County Library - Friday, October 11, 6pm.
Boo At the Zoo - Mesker Park Zoo, Evansville, IN, October 19th-21st.
Goblins, Ghouls, and Goodies, - Community Center, Hope, IN, October 26th.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, TN - October 31st.
North Carolina Comic-Con, Durham, NC - Saturday, November 9th.

I'll look forward to seeing you there!  Don't forget, if you'd like to see me somewhere, send me an email at k.a.davur@gmail.com.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tasty Reads Blog Hop

As you know, I spent last weekend with some amazing writers.  One of them, a woman on whom I have developed this strange fangirl crush, is named Marian Allen and is the author of the Sage series.  She tagged me to be a part of the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop.  To participate I am to post the answers to some "tasty" questions, an excerpt from my book, and a recipe.  So, without further ado. . .
Here is the blog hop general blurb:
Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop! Each participant invites a number of others to answer five questions about a recent or forthcoming release, and a recipe that fits with it. Links to the participants I have invited may be found in a while, just above the extract and recipe. Their contributions should be in place soon after this, so check out their blogs over the next few days.
Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?
Yes I am a snacker.  I'm pretty much a snacker all of the time as I haven't had time to actually sit down for an entire meal in nearly seven years.  I am a salty snacker unless it is after 7pm in which case it is nearly always some kind of fruit or sugar laden, tasty, and nutritionally bereft cereal.  There is always something caffeinated nearby as well. 
2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? And are they real pants or jammies?
Oh gracious, outline.  When you have an outline it doesn't matter if the excitement, if your "muse" is present or not, you just have to follow the dots.  I am not a fan of "blue leg syndrome" so I am most likely in some sort of skirt. 
3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?
I will follow the recipe the first time, alter it a bit the second, and do it entirely by feel from that point on.  I LOVE to cook, and so can make anything from cookies to curries.  I once made and served a seven course meal to fourteen people entirely by myself.  I don't care to ever do that again.
4) What is next for you after this book?
Yikes.  I have fourteen book related events scheduled between now and November.  In between those I will be finishing my collection of short stories called "Brink" that take place on a planet on the edge of an event horizon.  I will also be working on a dystopian zombie novel and the sequel to "Hunter the Horrible." 
5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?
Negative 23.  I write children's novels and I'm very into letting kids remain kids.  So there's precious little violence and NO sex.  Even my vampires are the unsexy kind.
Here is an excerpt from my recently released, bestselling children's novel, Hunter the Horrible. 
Now for my recipe:
Laura's Garlic Roast (Great for keeping vampires away!)
Ingredients:  One beef roast 2-3lbs
                      12 cloves garlic
                       2 Tablespoons fresh parley, chopped
                       1 teaspoon black peppercorns
                        4 cups beef broth
                        4 Tablespoons olive oil
                        Splash of red wine
                         Salt to taste
Directions:  Place garlic, parsley, and peppercorns in a small skillet and cover with water.  Boil until the garlic and peppercorns are soft and most of the water has evaporated.  Pound into a mush.  Place roast into a large dish and pat dry.  Spread mush over the roast, cover and let rest for at least two hours.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle salt over roast and drizzle with oil.  Sear in oven for 30 minutes.  Add broth and wine and cover.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue to roast until appropriate doneness is achieved.  Carve against the grain and enjoy!
Here is an excerpt containing one of my favorite members of the adorkable Hunter crew, Peyton.  Peyton intended to stop while he was behind; he really did. He had given it his best shot, and all that he’d gotten was in trouble. The sight of Miss Hunter enraged had been fearsome enough that he didn’t care to make her angry again anytime soon. Besides, it was miserable being right up against the radiator, which had been stuck on high since the beginning of the school year and constantly belched out really hot air that smelled like burning hair. He probably could have stayed quiet, and therefore kept from making the situation worse, if only he could have held still. Sadly, something on Peyton always had to be moving. That afternoon, it was his feet. He swung his dingy, tattered sneakers back and forth, kicking the dusty radiator every now and then. He liked the sound it made, a deep, satisfying thunk that sent dust motes flying up into the air. Before long, every now and then became every swing. Thunk thunk – pause – thunk thunk – pause. Soon after that, Peyton began accompanying himself by knocking his knuckles on the desk. Thunk thunk – knockknock – thunk thunk – knockknock. Suddenly, Peyton had an idea. KnockKnock. Knock knock. Knock knock jokes! They were what he was best at, next to juggling. He had books and books full of them on his bookshelf at home. In fact, they were pretty much the only books on his bookshelf at home. Surely, that would make Miss Hunter smile, maybe even make her laugh. Peyton searched his memory for the perfect knock knock joke, and when he’d found it, leaned back from his desk triumphantly. Miss Hunter sat at her desk, grading papers with a thick red marker. “Oh Miss Hunter,” Peyton called out. “Knock, knock.” Miss Hunter didn’t answer. She also didn’t smile. After a moment, Peyton tried a second time. It was possible that she simply hadn’t heard him. “Knock Kno-ock,” he said in a sing song voice. She didn’t even look up. Well, the third time was the charm, that’s what they always said. So, Peyton tried once again. This time he “Knock knocked” with a couple of raps on his desk for emphasis. When several more seconds ticked by and Miss Hunter continued to say nothing, Peyton decided to go on as if she had replied appropriately. “Interrupting cow,” Peyton yelled, already starting to laugh. This was going to be great. He went straight for the punch line. “Moooooooo,” He bellowed. Nobody laughed. In fact, some kids were glancing nervously back and forth from teacher to student. Clearly, they didn’t get it. Peyton decided to help them. He leapt to his feet and then fell to his hands and knees. “Get it?” he said, laughing wildly, “Interrupting cow – mooooo!” He pawed at the ground with his hands, mooing over and over. “See, ‘cause you say who’s there and he interrupts. Mooo! Mooooo! MOOOOOOO!” At this point, Peyton lost all control. He ran around on all fours, bellowing and kicking out his back legs. He reared back and charged DeAnna’s desk so hard that it fell to one side. He snatched one of Clara’s unicorn drawings off the side of her desk and began chewing noisily. Suddenly, a sharp pain burst forth from the side of his head. Miss Hunter had his ear clamped between her bony, wrinkled forefinger and thumb and was lifting him to his feet. She bent over and put her face inches from his. It would have been a perfect time to examine her teeth, if Peyton had been clearheaded enough to think of it. Instead, he felt his eyes lock with hers: bloodshot whites, with irises so dark they were nearly black.“To the Principal’s office,” She hissed through clenched teeth. “And if you make so much as a peep on your way there you will wish you were in a graveyard without a stake.’
  
Here is the list of people who have participated to date, so far as I am aware: