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Monday, June 29, 2015

Ready.Set.Write! Update

Welcome, Monday! I love these Ready.Set.Write! Updates, really keeps me on my toes (or fingers?) This is a super summer writing intensive sponsored by AlisonKatyErinElodie and Jamie! And it's a ton of fun - everyone is supportive!

How I did on last week’s goals

- MS off to betas - check!
- thoughts rotating on next WiP - check!
- catch-up on reading for reviews - check!

My goal(s) for this week

- outline WiP
- rework first 2 chapters that were already written-ish
- finish my garden table and chair refurbishing project so I can use them (has nothing to do with writing? Sure it does when I want to sit with my pencil and pad in the sun)

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I'm just going to take the 777 meme as inspiration here since this week was more of a thought rotation week, which isn't just one line, I guess. Please, forgive me. (Daniel is a 12 year old farm boy, who lives with his uncle.)

Daniel swallowed hard, his tongue rubbing over the top of his mouth--an alien tongue. "What's with my parents? They weren't really skydivers, were they? Did they die in a space ship crash? And what about you? Are you even my real uncle or are you some cockroach monster living in a human skin? Am I a cockroach monster in a human skin?" His stomach somersaulted, and he grasped his belly with both hands. "Ugh! I know! There's a monster growing inside of me, and it's about to pop right out of my gut!"
      Uncle Bob scratched his gray hair with grease stained fingers. "You've been watching too many of them movies."
            "I've been watching too many movies?" Daniel gasped for air. "You're the one who just claimed we're aliens!" 

The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)

- not falling into total relax mode and remembering to think about the next WiP

Something I love about my WiP

- having it in someone else's hands for a bit. It's so Freeing!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Happy Friday! And with this wonderful hop, it's sure to be one to celebrate. Every week, the lovely Lexa Cain sponsors this hop to help us remember that it's the small things in life that make a difference. So even if the week was a little glum, think back to those small moments that made you smile. (or even the big ones). It's too easy to concentrate on the bad.

And to make Lexa's life easier, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and me offer a helping hand.

This week, I'm celebrating:

1)Blueberries! The kids, I, my parents and a couple of my brothers and sisters hit the blueberry patch. We sweat up a storm! (And I felt a little guilty because it was my idea) BUT I now have 30+ cups of blueberries in the freezer for all sorts of upcoming treats.

2) A tractor! Last weekend at the auction, there was a small, garden tractor--something perfect for me to putt around on. So I've been putting here, and putting there. Lots of fun.

3) Gyros! In Germany, we loved to go out for Gyros and Donerkebabs, but those aren't very popular around here (and they just aren't the same when they are). My mother-in-law sent a whole can of spices for the meat, so we gave it a try. Yummy!

And that pretty much wraps up this week. What about you? What small things put a smile on your face? Go on an inner tube ride down a creek? Stop for a gigantic ice cream cone somewhere? Discover a new, summer drink that left you licking your lips?

What are you celebrating?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Flying Mutant Zombie Rats by Kat de Falla

If you're here for my Ready.Set.Write! update, please head on over here.

Book 1 of Motto Maddie BMX Portal
by Kat de Falla
Middle Grade Fantasy/Horror
ages 8+
83 pages

Summer vacation is almost here! And Pea O'Neil is stoked to try out the new local BMX track which is finally open. He and his gang of friends can ride all summer long! 

But when Pea tries a back flip, he unwittingly opens a portal to another dimension and hordes of flying mutant zombie rats are unleashed upon the city. With the help of an otherworldly talking cat sent to help prevent the demise of humankind, Pea and his friends must hunt down the hungry mutants and send them back before the portal closes. 


I had to read this just because of the title--honestly, my son's ears perked up the second he heard zombie rats. Throw in the BMX bikes, and you've got a boy book which screams to be read.

Part of me expected to find something like Captain Underpants, but this is a story driven completely on plot--and what a ride it is! 'Pea' is a great kid, who is about to live a great moment, the opening of a BMX tracks. He's got a great attitude, a huge heart and is simply a boy who's easy to root for. I really enjoyed his friends as well. They're true blue, a lot of fun and form a perfect gang, which is ready to handle anything, even Flying Mutant Zombie Rats.

There's a ton of fantasy in this story, and kids will easily be caught up in the adventure. I especially enjoyed the messages: don't give up and don't make fun of people when they fail.

There's a few gross moments (there are zombies involved, and we know what zombies like to eat!), so this may not be for the weak of heart. But on the average, boys ages eight and up will enjoy this story and be planning how to win their own battles, when a flying mutant zombie rat invasion heads their way.

And here she is. . .

Author Kat de Falla was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she learned to roller-skate, ride a banana seat bike, and love Shakespeare thanks to her high school English teacher. Four years at the UW-Madison wasn’t enough, so she returned to her beloved college town for her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is happily employed as a retail pharmacist where she fills prescriptions and chats with her patients. She is married to her soulmate, classical guitarist, Lee de Falla and raising four kids together ala the Brady Bunch.



It's Monday and time for the Ready.Set.Write! update.
For those of you who don't know, this is a summer writing intensive hosted by:

Alison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jaime Morrow

We twitter, we write, we cheer and we help each other simply get things done. Go ahead and take a peek if this might be something for you.

How I did on last week’s goals. . .
My revisions are done! I'm reading through the entire thing one more time to make sure nothing silly happened, and then it's in the hands of my betas.

My goal(s) for this week
Except for the last look over, a little writing break. There's a couple books I need to read for reviews, and I'll start reworking some things on the other MS. But no stress this week. 

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
Evil guy defeated. Task done.

The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)
Staying focused and ignoring the growing laundry pile. This last week was for writing, and I stuck to that despite that little voice in my head, which kept saying 'don't sit here all day! There's other, real work to be done!" Thanks to my hubs for not being a picky, neat person! This week, I'll have time to mop those floors.

Something I love about my WiP
The friendship between the characters - not always easy, but deep and lasting.

And what about you? How did your writing go this last week?

Before I forget (as if I could forget this!), Alex J. Cavanaugh's space opera series is now available in a box set! 


By Alex J. Cavanaugh 
ISBN 9781939844118
Price - $5.99 eBook boxed set
Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030)

The Amazon Best-Selling Series!

CassaStar - Few options remain for Byron. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth to his instructor, Bassa. As war brews on the edge of space, Bassa must make a decision that could decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission destined to stretch their abilities to the limit?

CassaFire - Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters behind him, the detection of alien ruins sends him to the planet of Tgren. Forced to train a Tgren named Athee and deal with an eager young scientist, he feels invaded. Tensions mount as the ruins reveal a potential weapon, plunging him further into the chaos. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStorm - Commanding the base on Tgren, Byron watches as a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the planet. When the war hits Tgren, it triggers nightmares in his son. The ancient alien ship begins transmitting a deadly code and the probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago returns. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Welcome, Friday! And with it comes a fantastic blog hop sponsored by the just as fantastic Lexa Cain - Celebrate the Small Things.

And to help Lexa out so she can celebrate too and not get bogged down by the hop, this is co-hosted by
L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
and me.

The purpose of this hop is to help us remember all those things this last week, which put a smile on our faces. There are big things, middle sized things, but the best are always the small things.

This week, I'm celebrating:

1) Getting the chance to help out with this great hop! Nothing better than being surrounded by positive thoughts.

2) Getting so...so...so close to finishing those revisions. One more day, that's all I need, and this baby is off to my betas.

3) Rain! Tons of rain! May sound like an odd thing to celebrate, but my air conditioner hasn't been repaired yet, so I'd rather have the cooler temperatures than sweat to death.

4) My son's birthday! He hit the big 10 this week and is feeling pretty special. His birthday present wish was a huge pile of candy, which I found so simple and especially sweet.

5) Being out-tricked by the healthcare system! Bet this one makes you stumble.

Yep, the system played a nasty trick on us the last two months, insisting that we send in more and more proof of income (As if we have anything to hide). We complied (of course) and sent exactly what they requested, and each time a letter came back saying they needed more proof. We sent, we called, we sent again. And when it was all said and done, we received a letter saying that because we weren't cooperating, we loose all subsidies and need to pay over $1000 more each month. The representative apologized but insisted that once this decision is made (even if not for valid reasons), the only way to get the cheaper rates back is to reapply, which takes several months to process.

So good-bye system and hello Christian Healthcare Ministries (which we were considering before entering this entire health care thing anyway). In the end, hubs and I have no doubt that this is a blessing in disguise.

Yes, I'm celebrating this! No complaining at all because we've battled with the healthcare from beginning on--over my hub's green card to getting all the kids covered to simply every little thing. Nothing ever felt right about it, and now, it's gone! Yippee!

So what about you? What wonderful things happened to you this week? Did a butterfly land on your head? Did you find a super fantastic new flavor of ice cream at your local grocery store? Did you catch a few rays of sunshine? Listen to some relaxing music?

What put a smile on your face this last week?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ready.Set. Write! Update

The first week of Ready.Set.Write! is done, and it's time for me to admit how that first week went.

For anyone who doesn't know, Ready.Set.Write! is a summer writing intensive sponsored by AlisonKatyErinElodie, and Jaime which allows us to cheer each other on as we battle to meet our writing goals. Go ahead and take a peek at the details here and feel free to join in on the fun.

Here's this week's update:

How I did on last week's goals. . .

"wrap up those last revisions on my middle grade manuscript" 

That was my goal, and it doesn't look like I made it. But I'm close, and in my defense, I got my first beta notes back on some of it and decided to make some changes right away because there's a couple of things which will influence the last part of my revisions.

My goal(s) for this week. . .

Same as last week. Get that MS out the door...but this time a little more improved than before.

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised. . .

"Hey! I asked you guys something," Daniel called, but Ernie and Tyra marched on ignoring him like he was nothing more than an irritating fruit fly. "Fine!" He plopped onto the ground and crossed his arms over his chest. A soggy coldness crept through the leaves, making his butt chilly and wet. He refused to shiver. "I'm not going anywhere until one of you talks to me."
"Ouch!" A pebble pelted his forehead.
"Move it along, Bim." Ernie grinned a few yards ahead, tossing another small stone up and down in his hand. "Or you'll have less respectable creatures to pout with than us."

The biggest challenge I faced this week. . .

Time. Plain and simple. There's simply too much nonsense popping up in daily life, making writing almost impossible.

Something I love about my WIP. . .

The characters. Each and every change seems to bring them more to life and add a side to their personalities I didn't know existed before. It's just fun to watch the clarity that revisions/rewrites bring.

That's it for this week! See what the next week brings.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Nemesis by Emma Adams

Joining the Alliance might be the key to seeing the worlds she's always dreamed of, but Ada's new job causes a rift to form between her and her guardian, Nell. As she struggles to come to terms with the events of the previous month, Ada is reluctant to use magic again after the damage it caused.

Kay, meanwhile, faces his first challenge as one of the Alliance’s offworld Ambassadors - helping his colleague, Markos, investigate the mysterious death of the centaurs’ king back on his homeworld of Aglaia. When they realise magic is involved, Ada is pulled into the investigation. But tensions between humans and centaurs run high, and avoiding a bloodbath will be more difficult than any of them expect. Especially when Kay discovers something about his own magic that could affect the future of the Alliance.

Against an enemy they quite literally can’t see, Ada and Kay must face up to the power that almost destroyed their lives…


Barnes and Noble


I already enjoyed Adamant, the first book in the series, and couldn't wait to get my hands on the continuation of Ada and Kay's story. I wasn't disappointed.

The world building in this series is amazing! Even in book 2, where we already have learned quite a bit in book 1, it's simply fun to explore and experience this rich realm even further and let fantasy take full flight. Science fiction fans get a great dose of creatures, magic and outer world scenes, making it hard to set this book down after that last page.

As to the characters, I've simply grown to love both of them. Ada is so full of strength and often a little to ready to dive into danger, yet her hopes of doing the right thing, make her also hesitate and sometimes reluctant in her actions--a mixture which makes her very human. And Kay is a perfect match for her. Of course, there's a bit of romance to make the heart melt, but this by no means over powers the story. There's action and adventure,  and tension and danger. I had no trouble sticking to the pages, waiting to discover what would happen at the end. 

In other words, this is a great sequel to Adamant and has me excited to read further adventures, and see what happens next.

Start the series with Adamant (Alliance, #1), reduced to 99 cents this week!

Magic. Monsters. Murder. Welcome to the Multiverse.

The Inter-World Alliance is the only force standing between Earth and the terrifying monsters of offworld. But one girl is about to shake up the balance...

Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and lives under the Alliance's radar, risking her life to help refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she's taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor's suspicious death.

Kay Walker, grandson of the Alliance's late founder, expects to spend his first week as an Alliance employee chasing monsters out of the dark Passages between worlds, not solving a murder. But when his supervisor dies in suspicious circumstances, he finds himself in charge of questioning a girl he arrested as a suspect. A girl with secrets that force him to confront his own narrow escape from magic's destruction, and threaten to make both of them into the murderer's next targets.

The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada's offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth - and the Multiverse - from a deadly enemy.

What reviewers are saying

"The world building is magical. Even though we only get a hint of what's out there, I am already in love with this world." - Lola at Lola's Reviews

"I found the book to be well written, in a pace that kept me really interested all the way through the book... this book is a great read, the beginning of a potentially brilliant and addictive series" - Jeanz Book Reviews

"Emma has created a fantastic, brilliant world in ADAMANT. The world is filled with raw and authentic characters, whether they're human or centaur or something else entirely... This book is a unique, fun read, and I'd recommend it to everyone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy." - Amazon reviewer

“Adamant is a fantastic start to a fun, adventurous and super cool series... it's original, it's got cool creatures, cool magic, mystery, rich background and history to the world, colourful characters, both supporting and main… a world so well written and brought to life you can totally lose yourself in it, and it's utterly fantastic... Can't praise it enough!” - Alisha at Reality's A Bore

Add on Goodreads 

Read the first chapter

To be notified about new releases and get access to exclusive giveaways (and a free Alliance short story, Passages): Sign up to Emma's author newsletter!

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing speculative fiction. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the ight of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions and writing fantasy novels, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an improbable number of books. Emma is currently working on the Alliance series, a multiple-universe adult fantasy featuring magic, monsters, cool gadgets and sarcasm. Her upper-YA urban fantasy Darkworld series is published by Curiosity Quills Press.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Hello, Friday!!!
It's time for another round of Celebrate the Small Things. Thanks goes to Lexa Cain, who sponsors this wonderful, weekly hop. Every week, we stop and remember all those small (and big) things which happened these past seven days that put a smile on our faces.

A special thanks also goes to her co-hosts:

L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Katie @ TheCyborgMom

This week, I'm celebrating:

1) Getting that much closer to finally having my revisions done! Just a little more, and it's out the door to all those betas. Yay!

2) A new calf! My youngest son peeked out of the window into the fog this last week and saw the new member of our herd. He's perky and bouncy and terribly cute.

3) New garden chairs! Well, new for us, but in desperate need of repair. Hubs got excited at an auction and picked up a worn table with four chairs. The glass is missing in the table, which he plans on making out of a sheet of steel (maybe with a design in the middle?) at his company (hot table in the sun--but I guess it will keep the food warm *hehehe*) and it looks like I'm refurbishing the chairs (that's what I get for picking up rocking chairs to refurbish this last winter.) The cloth for the seats came yesterday, and it's off to buy spray paint today. See if we can enjoy a bar-b-que on them some time next week.

And what about you? What put a smile on your face? An ice cream cone? A surprise invitation to lunch? Find a penny on the ground in the parking lot?
What put a smile on your face this last week?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kick-off for Ready! Set! Write!

Yay! This fun summer writing group is here again! I've honestly been waiting for this one, since it pushes writing in summer right along with the most amazing people possible.  KatyErinJaimeElodie, and Allison are hosting this fun writing program, and if you need to get some writing done (or simply love to rub shoulders with fun writers while getting some writing done), this is for you.

Every week, we'll check in to see how those writing goals are coming along, and there's some great twitter (#RSW2015) exchanges happening as well. Since today's the kick-off, here's a description of what I hope to get done.

Goals for this week. . .
This week, I want to wrap up those last revisions on middle grade manuscript THE B.I.M. - BASIC INTELLIGENCE MODEL  (why do they take so long) and get it out to the betas.

Goals for this summer. . .
I have a brand, new story idea waiting to hit those pages (a young YA/tween fairytale twist entitled FAST FOOD PRINCESS). I'd like to finish clearing up the last large plot holes in my mental outline and get the first draft written.

And that's it!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday! And time for another round of smiles and celebrations. Thanks to Lexa Cain, today is the day we sit back and remember the small (and big) things that put a smile on our faces this past week.

Thanks also goes to her amazing co-hosts:

L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Katie @ TheCyborgMom

This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) A visit from my brother and his family! They have six bubbly kids, which means tons of playtime when they get together with mine. It's fun and excitement pure.

2) Turtles! The kids have been finding them everywhere.

3) Ice Cream! This is always worth celebrating, especially now that the temperatures are beginning to go up.

And what about you? What things put a smile on your face this last week?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Good morning (afternoon or evening, depending on when you see this), and welcome to another edition of IWSG! This is an amazing writers support group started by the just amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh. Writing can be a lonely life, and it's definitely one filled with ups and downs. This group gives writers a chance to let their feelings go, say what's making them insecure, or offer support to others.
Thanks also goes to this month's co-hosts:

M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee

My post is going to be VERY short this month. Nope, I'm not feeling insecure right now. I'm simply trying to my manuscript done and out the door so I can start a new one for Ready. Set. Write! next week.

I ran across this inspirational speech yesterday. . .one most of you have probably seen, and if you haven't, head over to youtube and enjoy all the sillinesses the green screen has inspired. Great for procrastinating...OH! That's exactly what I'm not doing. Nope. Not one little bit. (Okay, maybe a tiny second or two)

Anyway, this mirrors my writing thoughts at the moment:

And how is your writing going? Feeling blue? Moving right along? Letting summer thoughts float through your brain instead? Or maybe just taking an ice cream break (gelato)?