Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day!

We have a snow day here in Minnesota and I am super excited. :) The weekends have been busy, so it'll be nice to have the kids home with nothing to do.
Yesterday we took them shopping to get their presents for each other. My kids, ages 8, 6, 3, and 1, drew names for each other and the older two have been talking about what they want to get each other for weeks. Today we will get to wrap them up and maybe even put them under the tree, if we decide the younger two can resist the temptation! We let them open their gifts from each other on Christmas eve, so they can really thank each other and be excited rather than those presents just getting lost in the mass chaos of Christmas morning.
I also plan to bake cookies today. It's going to be a good day. :)
I've seen a lot of people posting their favorite Christmas movies and songs, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites as well. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's a favorite because of this song:

Even a Miracle Needs a Hand
Another Christmas favorite of mine is Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. I absolutely adore it and read it to my kids every year.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 14, 2012


I realized today that I've been blogging for awhile now, and decided to check the date of my first post. Turns out, I hit my one year anniversary on December 6th!

It's been a very fun year, I've met a lot of wonderful people, and my writing has improved so much! Thank you to everyone who has followed me, encouraged me, critiqued my work, and been here to make me smile with your wonderful comments.

Thank you!

(And on an unrelated note) I wanted to share this picture of my kids. I love that they are all book lovers. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Alexfest :)

Here's my flash fiction piece for Alexfest. (Although, part of me wishes I had posted it before I read everyone else's super awesome ones! Now I'm feeling insecure.) ;) This has been such a fun blogfest. Thanks again to our hosts and a big thank you to Alex, for being the kind of guy who inspires a whole community to do a blogfest in his honor!

“Mommy, tell me again about the Cavanaugh Cosbolts!”

“I’ve told you this story a million times.”

“But it’s my favorite! Please!”

“Okay. Once upon a time there was a fleet of cosbolts filled with space ninjas. They protected our world, and others, from evil doers.”

“'Cause they’d stun them with their IWSGs!”

“Yes, they’d use their Intergalactic Warrior Stun Guns to capture them. Then they’d have to face the ninja leader. The Great Cavanaugh.”

“Who was totally awesome and had all the best ninja moves and even played guitar! Right mom?”

“That’s right.”

“Mom, I love this story.”
And finally, a great big thank you to Mrs. Cavanaugh! I can't imagine the amount of time it takes for Alex to do everything he does. Thanks for letting him! ;) He is truly our Ninja Captain and we'd be lost without him.

Monday, December 10, 2012


    It's finally Alexfest! Yay! Thank you to our awesome hosts, Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, and Stephen Tremp. You guys are awesome for thinking this up. And Alex, it's no shock that we are all so excited for a blogfest honoring (or making fun of, whatever,) you. Because you are such a wonderful force in this community. Thanks Alex for all your support!

What does Alex look like?
      I picture Alex with dark hair, maybe a little salt and pepper happening on the sides, with grey eyes filled with wisdom.

Who could play Alex in a documentary?
      An awesome writing ninja, who supports the writing community? Definitely Tom Selleck.

Who does Alex remind you of?
Alex is like the cool kid that everyone wants to be friends with. And everyone is, because he's so nice that he's friendly to everyone. Even the dorky kids. (We dorks really appreciate that, by the way.) :)

 And to prolong the fun, since Alexfest runs through the 12th, I'm going to post my flash fiction piece on Wednesday. I can't wait to check out every one's posts! I hope you're having fun Alex!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Today I have Valerie Haight joining us. Valerie has a new book coming out December 13th with Turquoise Morning Press and she's here to tell us all about it! Welcome Valerie! :)
Thank you so much, Rachel, for the awesome honor of guest blogging here today! I’m so excited to tell everyone about my debut novella, Happenstance!

Happenstance will be available from Turquoise Morning Press on December 13, 2012! I wrote this story using a corporate setting based on some of the relationship conflict I witness as an administrative assistant. I take note of the Peyton Place happenings and file them away in my scheming brain for future novels but today, we’re talking Happenstance!

Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company.  Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.

While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband isn’t there, but her co-worker Devin is.  The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade's reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade's ready to quit.

Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.

I learned to really put my MC through the wringer and Taryn was no exception. She was so much fun to write because I really played havoc on both Devin and Wade while running her through the mill at the same time! Yes, I’m awful. J My favorite two genres are suspense and romance so I couldn’t resist merging them into this story. Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.

“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”

Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”

Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”

“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”

Taryn grabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”

“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”

“Of course it would. I just came from—”

An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.


I had so much fun with this story. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Happenstance can be purchased here on December 13th!

Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my Author Page about my upcoming short story Magnolia Brides in a TMP wedding anthology out in June! Thanks again, Rachel!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Traditions

No IWSG today, (although I'll admit I am a bit insecure about ever having to organize a blog tour!) Instead, I have the lovely Kyra Lennon joining us today as part of her blog tour for her new novel Blindsided. Her character, Georgia, is going to talk to us about one of my favorite subjects, Christmas traditions. :)

Before I hand things over to Georgia, here's a synopsis of Blindsided by Kyra Lennon:

After a successful first soccer season in L.A, Jesse Shaw heads to London with his best buddy, Hunter, but his world is turned upside down when a dangerous prank threatens his career and his blossoming relationship with Hunter’s cousin, Isabelle.

Isabelle Mills lives in Notting Hill with her parents and her twin sister, Georgia. When she finds out her cousin is coming to stay, along with his famous soccer player friend, her first instinct is to hibernate until they’ve gone. However, once she meets Jesse, everything changes. He’s everything she ever wanted, but with so many obstacles in their path, can she really risk putting her heart on the line?

Hi there! This is Georgia, and Kyra let me do a short guest post today! Last week, on one of the tour stops, Kyra talked about her Christmas traditions. Well … in our house, every year at Christmas, Isabelle and I always bake gingerbread men! This year, we had Jesse to help us out. Let me tell you, he is more than just a pretty face! He has a creative streak you wouldn’t believe. Wanna see what we made? Well, here you go!

Thanks to Clare Dugmore for your exceptional creativity! :D

Mmm, they all look good! Thanks Georgia!

So, what Christmas traditions do you have? Reading a good book by the fire while drinking hot cocoa, perhaps? You can find Blindsided here, along with some other great titles by Kyra.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Coming Up

I have three awesome writers joining me here in the first week of December. I'm very excited to have all of them on my blog. So make sure to come back and check them out!

Until then, I will probably not be around much. (Well, here anyway. I still plan to be visiting other blogs as much as I can.)

I've gotten a lot of revising done on two different novellas and I'm feeling pretty good about where I am.

One of them is sent out to betas right now and I'm hoping to have the other one ready for that soon. One thing I've learned, I overuse the word 'that' a LOT. But, after a search and find, I have killed many, and plenty of wases, too. Next to go is 'just.'

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. (Or, for those of you across the pond, a great weekend.) :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cool News

My short story, Seeing Red, is going to be included in Pugalicious Press's YA steam punk anthology Real Girls Don't Rust. I am super excited about this one. :) I love YA, I love steam punk, I get to use my real name with it.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to make some steam punk jewelry for a giveaway. :)

But the really cool thing is that when I posted this news on FB by sister-in-law told me how awesome her daughter thinks it is to have a real writer in the family.

And she meant me.

I still can't call myself 'a writer.' I mean, I can here, where people understand and don't think I'm crazy. But in the real world I would never introduce myself that way. It's pretty cool that my nine-year-old niece thinks of me as a writer, and is proud of that.

I told her I had better get to work and not disappoint!

Thanks, Hannah, for the awesome pick-me-up!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Critiques Welcome

Oh who am I kidding? Critiques begged for! Please, if you have a chance, hop over to Falling For Fiction and take a look at the first page of my zombie novella, Flesh Eating Zombies and Evil Ex-Girlfriends.

A zombie picture, just for fun. :) This is from our high school spring play last year.

Any critique would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Top Commenters Award

The lovely Linda C. at Excuse Me While I Note That Down (isn't that a great title for a writer's blog?) gave me the Top Commenters Award. Thank you so much Linda! This one really means a lot to me. I want to be a good commenter. I want to get around and be supportive of everyone. (And, to be honest, I haven't been great about it lately. Sorry! Life's so crazy right now.)

I'll be passing this one along to:

Angela Cothran
Patsy Collins
Heather H.

Have a great weekend everyone! My best friend and I are 'auditioning' 2nd and 3rd graders today. (They'll all get a part.) I'm so excited to be directing with my bestie, plus both of our daughters will be in the play. Fun!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A big thank you to Alex for hosting this month after month. It is such a wonderful thing.

I'm afraid I am feeling more than normally insecure at the moment. I am currently revising two novellas to resubmit. I am terrified that I won't be able to make either one good enough. That I'm going to work on them, fret, work some more, end up sending them eventually (they aren't even close yet) then realize all the stuff I should have changed, then get a big fat no.

I know that all I can do is keep working at them until I'm happy and hope for the best. But I hate being so close, knowing I'm still so far away!

On a totally unrelated note, I had to hold back tears this morning when I saw that the marriage amendment in MN didn't pass. Happy tears. (For those who aren't in MN, which is pretty much all of you, ;) we were voting to put it into our state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.) It was wonderful to get on FB and see the happiness of the people in my life whom this affects far more than me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thank You!

The "I'm Thankful for My Readers" bloghop is being hosted by the wonderful Tara Tyler and Viklit. It's such a lovely idea, I had to join in. I'll start by thanking Tara and Viklit for hosting it! You girls rock!

I want to give a big thank you to my blog readers. (Honestly, I still can't believe I have any blog readers.)

When I started this blog I had no idea what to expect. I never could have foreseen meeting so many wonderful, supportive people. This writing community amazes me. I have learned so much since I started blogging and have been inspired over and over again.

I've met several amazing CPs and have been thrilled to get their feedback and see my writing improve with their help. To anyone who's taken the time to read and critique my writing, THANK YOU!

One would think that the time it takes to blog, and read other blogs, would take away from my writing time. But I have written so much more since I started blogging almost a year ago.

I've accomplished so much more.

I have so much more confidence that I can do this.

And it is because of you.

Thank you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Pictures, Just for Fun

This is the dress I made. :)


He was the orange ninja turtle. Ten points
if you know which one that is. ;)
She wanted to be a kitty like Hemi, our calico.

My youngest as a ballerina.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The ever awesome Patsy Collins tagged me in The Next Big Thing. Which is basically an excuse for me to tell you about what I'm working on. :) Thank you Patsy! (If you don't already follow Patsy, click on her name above and go check her out. You won't regret it!)

Right now I am working on revising a short YA novella. I recently got some very helpful feedback on it (thanks Cassie!) and am really enjoying revising it. I'm hoping to have it ready to send out in the next month or so.

What is the working title of your book?Secondary Characters

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I heard a song from a musical called (you guessed it) Secondary Characters. In the musical, two characters with smaller parts find themselves alone on stage and take the opportunity to have a little duet without the main characters. I just really liked the idea of telling a story from the POV of two people who think they're 'secondary characters.'

What genre does your book fall under?
It's a YA contemporary romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh geez, I have no idea. . . Okay, a quick google search has led me to:

Nicole Peltz as Mabel

Alex Ferris as Lance

They're not perfect, but they're good enough. (Although I'll admit I have no idea who either one of them are.)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Mabel is used to being in Amber's shadow, until she falls for Lance and decides she wants to be the heroine of her own love story. (Okay, that's not very good, but it's the best I could come up with right now.)

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully I can get it published with a small publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hmm, not long. Maybe a week or two. Keep in mind though that it's a short novella, not a novel!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have no idea. I stink at that.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?
Hmm, didn't I kind of already answer that?

What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
Well, I really like the characters. :) They're fun and a bit different, with good senses of humor. Hopefully other people will like them, too.
That's pretty much it. Have a happy Halloween everyone! I will be posting pictures of my kids in their costumes at some point soon. I made my eight-year-old daughter's costume and I'm pretty proud of it. Not because it's awesome, but simply because I am not an overly crafty person and I'm proud of myself for doing it. :) She was worried I wouldn't be able to give it enough 'pizzazz' (her word.) I accepted the challenge and I think it turned out pretty cool. She's very happy with it. :)

Okay, so I'm an idiot who forgot to tag people! Whoops! Here they are now:
Nicole from Write me a World
Elizabeth Seckman
Annalisa Crawford

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Inspiration

I have a song and a book I want to share today for a little inspiration. The song is about musicians, but I think the main point applies to writers, too. "Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart." I love that line. Because we all go through rejection and heart break in this business, but it's those who keep on dreaming, (and working their butts off), that end up succeeding.

(I am not going to admit how long it took me to figure out how to get a video on here, but I'm happy I finally got it!)

The book is a fun picture book with a lovely message.

Product Details It's about a little pup who is so happy one day he starts to float, and flies to school. Of course, when he tells his friends no one believes him. When they ask him to prove it he can't, he's lost his happy feeling. In the end, after a talk with his father, he finds it again. The last lines are: "Do dogs fly? Is it true? Some dogs don't, but some dogs do."

For some reason it totally gets to me. I love teaching kids that they can do anything if they really believe they can. If you have little kids I highly recommend this book!

Have fun weekend everyone and keep dreaming big dreams! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

In Need of Book Suggestions, and some Friday Inspiration

I have always been a pantser, but I think I may need to change my ways, at least for this next one. I have an idea that I love, but I want to do more planning to make sure I get it where I want it in the end. But I need help!

Have you read any books about plotting that you've found helpful? Or do you have any tips for me in general? Any thing would be appreciated! Thanks!

And for some Friday inspiration I'm sharing some FB statuses of some very fun teens. As a YA writer the teens I work with always inspire me. Hopefully you guys will think these are fun, too. :)

"I'm so glad I got out of the drama scene. The most drama I ever have is wondering who ate my cookies, and 95% of the time it's me who ate them."

"Dropping out, and buying plane tickets. Leaving tomorrow? (:"

"Imperfect is my middle name."

"You know you haven't been on facebook for a while when you get confused looking for the retweet button......."
"Whenever I'm crabby I take a bath and pretend I'm a mermaid. And today it's bad enough where the barbies are coming with me."
And one that's not funny, but is brave and makes me proud to know this boy.
Dear 16-year-old boys that threw eggs at me and yelled "Go kill yourself, faggot" while I was running tonight,
I am not mad at you. Actually, I feel sorry at you. I feel sorry that you actually believe that throwing eggs and calling me a faggot is going to magically turn me straight or make me feel ashamed for being who I am. I'm sorry that you haven't opened your eyes yet to a changing world, a m
You won't bring me down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Noticed: Losing Beauty

Today is the "Did I Notice Your Book' blogfest, hosted by the Amazing Alex and the Awesome Ciara. It is such a wonderful idea and I am excited to participate in it!

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I first came upon Johanna's blog. I love Greek myths and this sounds like such a fun re-imagining of a great story. I also LOVE Johanna's blog, she is so much fun and so inspiring. Alex and Ciara's blogfest today has finally gotten me to do what I've been meaning to do for a while: Buy Johanna's book. I can't wait to read it!

About the book:

Available in print and e-version on AmazonPersey is all alone.

Experience has taught her that solitude is best. At any rate, it’s better than hearing everyone’s worst secrets.

Daniel Hartnett is a lawyer who has it all. But no one really has it all. Daniel’s never experienced surprise, anticipation or what it feels like to fall in love. When Daniel meets Persey he discovers the first girl who is immune to his special talent. The only problem is someone else discovered Persey first and is hell-bent on claiming her as his own.

Haden is the king of the Underworld with a plan to make Persey his immortal queen. What Haden doesn’t plan on is Persey’s ability to compel secrets and how far the people who love Persey will go to protect her from the darkness that threatens to destroy her soul.

Doesn't that sound good? It's available on Amazon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Crimson Hunt

I am proud to be part of Victoria Smith's cover reveal today! Victoria is a lot of fun and a very talented writer. Her novel, The Crimson Hunt, will be released this November 12th. I know I, for one, am excited to read it!
Isn't that gorgeous? Congratulations Victoria! You can find Victoria on her blog. She has the first chapter up there, so go check it out! You can also add The Crimson Hunt to you TBR list on goodreads.
About the book:

College junior Ariel Richmond is working on year three of Project Normalcy.

Her house reeks of keggers past and her bestie is just a slight bit vulgar. But the thing is—they both aid in making life refreshingly uneventful.

So much for hard-earned mediocrity when Luca Grinaldi appears on the scene.

Luca’s sudden presence on campus is hard to ignore. Those bright eyes act like a beacon to unsuspecting females, and with features like his, he’s got to be moonlighting for GQ. Luca hopelessly captivates Ariel with his confidence and charisma, but the mysteries surrounding him make him nearly untouchable. And just when Ariel grows close enough to unlock his secrets, a tragic event sends her life in a downward spiral.

That steady life is no longer an option and allies quickly become scarce. The mysterious Luca seems to be the only one willing to help her—but with that trust comes the burden of his secrets. He has a dark mission of otherworldly proportions, and is willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes to see it completed.

Gone are the days of simply maintaining normalcy, and if Ariel isn’t cautious with her trust, so soon may be her future.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Winners and Awards!

Thank you to everyone who entered and shared in my excitement. :) My copy of Foreign Affairs came in yesterday and it was pretty cool. Honestly, it was kind of surreal to see something I'd written in an actual book. I don't know if it's totally sunk in yet.

And the winner is Tara Tyler! Tara, send me an email, (rachelmarybean(at) with your mailing address and I will send it out to you. :) And Patsy, who was not eligible for the print book due to the fact that I can't ship that stuff to the UK, has won an ebook of Foreign Affairs. If you could email me, too, Patsy, that would be great. Thanks!

I also received this lovely award from the talented and always charming Patsy Collins. Thanks Patsy!
The award comes with some questions. Here they are:

1. Cookies or cake?
I love both, but I'll go with cake. Rainbow chip cake with rainbow chip frosting. :)

2. Chocolate or vanilla?


3. What is your favourite sweet treat?

This is tough, I'm a major sweet tooth.One dessert I can't resist if I end up some place that has it is tiramisu.

4. When do you crave sweet things most?

When I'm happy or celebrating. Or when I'm sad. Or stressed. Or after dinner.

5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?

I had a young speech student once who tried to call me Mrs. Schieffelbein, (all the other kids just call me Rachel.) So I told him to call me Rachel. He then called me Miss Rachel. I thought it was very sweet. :) He called me that right up until he graduated, too.

I can pass this on to up to a baker's dozen, so I'll be passing it on to:

Annalisa Crawford
Angela Cothran
Angeline Trevena
Ashley Nixon
Cassie Mae
Elizabeth Seckman
Hope Roberson
Jaybird (Jaybird is just four followers away from 100, by the way! So go check her out!)
Kelley Lynn
Priscilla Burris

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another Foreign Affairs Giveaway! (Here this time)

I am very excited that Foreign Affairs is now available in print! I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy. I also want to give a copy to, well, like everyone I know. Okay, maybe not, but I am going to give a copy to one of you! It will also come with a box of English breakfast tea, because the hero in my story is British, and some chocolate. (The chocolate is not English or anything, but who doesn't like chocolate?)

All you have to do to enter is comment, easy enough. :) But since this is an anthology all about foreign men and foreign lands, I want you to tell me where you'd go if you could take a dream vacation anywhere in the world. (Or out of it. Heck, why not? The moon. Neverland. Wherever. We're talking dreams here, right?)

I'm afraid I will have to keep this limited to people in the US because of  shipping. However, I could also give an e-book version away if I have non-American people  who want to enter the contest, too. So if that's the case just let me know!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Foreign Affairs Giveaway!

Foreign Affairs is now available in print! Yay! I'm very excited to get my copy. I also plan to do a giveaway later this week, but one of the other authors is doing a giveaway right now!

Michelle Garren Flye is giving away a signed copy on her blog. So go check it out! And come back on Wednesday for another chance to win a copy here on my blog.

You can also find it on Amazon and on the TMP website.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Interview with Patsy Collins

It's Friday, which is when I said I was going to post about people who inspire me. Today I actually got to interview one of those people. Patsy Collins is one of the first people I 'met' when I started blogging. She is sweet and enthusiastic and made a nobody like me feel totally welcome in this wonderful writing community. So I am thrilled to have her on my blog today talking about her latest novel Paint Me a Picture.

Patsy can be found on her blog.

What made you decide to self-publish Paint Me a Picture?

I couldn't find anyone willing to pay me a six figure advance and do it for me! Actually I didn't ask that many people. I soon realised the high word count (103,000) and lack of obvious genre meant it would be difficult to get it published the traditional way.

This is a book I believe in though. I love the characters and had great feedback from writing friends so was convinced there'd be readers who'd enjoy it. So far those who've commented agree with me.

Was it more nerve wracking to put this one out than Escape to the Country, or about the same? (If it was me, I'd be so nervous about all the formatting and such things that you have to do to self-pub, but then, I'm not good with computers.)

I wasn't nervous up until I had to click that final button and send it out there. I hesitated. I'm normally a leap in without thinking it through type of person so that was unusual for me. The computer stuff wasn't the issue - not that I'm good with technology, it's just that I knew I could keep tweaking until I was happy. It also helped that Helen Baggott who proofread it for me, did so after I'd done the formatting so it was double checked.

Maybe the nerves were because this book is all my own work - I can't blame the publisher for anything that's not right. (Not that I'm blaming my publisher for anything in Escape to the Country) Or maybe it's because I feel a little protective of Mavis. I want people to like her. The characters in my other stories are usually quite capable of looking after themselves.

Your very talented husband designed your cover, which is beautiful by the way! Did you know right away what you wanted it to look like or did the two of you do a lot of brainstorming?

I knew I wanted the Round Tower on the cover and to have purple text. I got those! As for the rest, I made suggestions and Gary tried them just to show me how wrong I was and then did it his way, which looked much better. We then tried it on screen at the size it's shown on Amazon and Gary made a final tweak so the text showed up more clearly.

You've said you worked on this book for ten years, it must be very near and dear to you. Is this the first novel you wrote? What was it about this one that made you know you couldn't give up on it?

It is the first one I started. I've written lots of other stuff during those ten years, but kept going back to Paint Me a Picture.
Once it started to take shape, it was the characters who kept drawing me back. Also I found writing it to be absorbing. I hoped that a story that could keep me interested for ten years would keep a reader interested for the time it would take them to read it.

What will be your plans for your next novel?

I've written the first draft of another romance. This one is about a photographer (where does she get her ideas from? you must be wondering). It wasn't working, but I now know why, so I 'just' have to fix it. Oh and write a new ending and then there's that pesky rewriting and editing and stuff.

Is there anything else you want to share?

No and how did you know I had chocolate?

What? Oh, I see ... Yes! 'Not a Drop to Drink' is a collection of my short stories that will be epublished soon under the Smiling Dog imprint. It'll be available as a free download and have another beautiful cover designed by Gary.

I look forward to seeing it, Patsy! Thanks for joining us here today!

The Amazon link for Paint Me a Picture is here.
And the link for Patsy's debut novel Escape for the Country can be found here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Interview with Angeline Trevena

Okay, so I've been a very bad blogger, but I have a good excuse! (Kind of.) My computer is broken. Seriously broken. There are pictures at the end of the post. (I put them at the end instead of here because I didn't want that to be the pic to show up in Blogger instead of this awesome cover!)

I'm back today because Fear: Volume Two is released today! Yay! And it has a short story in it by Angeline Trevena.

Angeline Trevena is one awesome writer, artist, and blogger and I am thrilled to have her on my blog today. She has an amazing short story coming out in an anthology from Crooked Cat Publishing called Fear. Her story is called Charmpeak House. It's about a couple that inherits an old house, and gets more than they expected. (Ps. It's really totally awesome.)

What do you enjoy about reading/writing horror?
I've always been a big horror movie fan for as long as I can remember, but I only really got into reading and writing horror in the last few years - in fact, I only read my first Stephen King novel two years ago! The whole idea of human fear fascinates me; how some people are terrified by certain things that don't bother other people at all. I love seeing how other writers play with people's fears, and I've really enjoyed playing with them myself. Horror is a genre that pulls on so many emotions, plus it's great fun to write!

Do you ever scare yourself?
Yes - I guess that's the inevitable byproduct of having such a vivid imagination! When I was writing Charmpeak House I found myself turning all the lights on in my house!

Do you have to get into the mood to write scary things like this? (I'm picturing you in front of a glowing computer in the dark of night, rubbing your hands together and laughing an evil laugh.) ;)
Actually some of Charmpeak house was written during a thunderstorm! Like with whatever I'm writing, I only need to read back a little to get back into it. But I think it's more about getting into the characters again rather than getting in the mood for any particular genre. Plus, I think I'm sort of always in the mood for something scary!

I know you are a cat lover and cats definitely make an appearance in this story. Do cats often have candids in your writing?
Cats are always turning up in my writing. I find cats fascinating creatures and they have such great personalities. Plus, they can be pretty creepy animals so they lend themselves to horror well. I often find my cat, Neko, staring at me and I can't help but wonder what she's plotting!

Because I think writers are always curious about this, where did you hear about the call for submissions for this anthology?
Actually I think someone else in my writing group stumbled across this one. But I do hear about a lot of calls for submissions on Twitter, and also on other writers' blogs that I follow. I've always got one ear to the ground!

You have quite a few short stories published, how is writing short stories different from writing novels? What do you enjoy about writing short stories?
Again, short stories are quite a new thing for me. Through writing them I've learned about all the differences between short stories and novels - they have to be very plot driven, very focused and rely heavily on your reader filling in the gaps. They need to be clear and concise because you simply don't have the spare words to describe or explain things in detail. Telling a story in a few thousand words is a challenge, and it's a challenge I've really grown to love.

Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
I'd actually spent the best part of a month writing a totally different story for this submission, but it totally stalled and it wasn't going anywhere. So in the last week before the deadline I decided to start over. I'm currently reading Bram Stoker's Dracula and decided to move away from the fantasy horror I had been working on and go with a classic Gothic horror instead. You can't beat a big scary mansion full of creepy cats!

The link to buy the book is here.

I know I'm excited to read the rest of the stories in it.

(Oh, and here is my computer. Because of those loose & unattached wires the Internet only works about 35% of the time.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

The ever awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting another super fun blogfest. This time it's all about genre favorites.

Movies: For me I'd have to say Romantic Comedies. I love Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, and my all time favorite movie ever, The Princess Bride. I absolutely hate when movies are advertised like comedies and then turn out to be dramas! I don't like sad.

Music: I love all kinds of music, but the thing I listen to the most of is country. I know, so not cool, but I love story songs and songs about family. Where else, other than a country song, would you get lines like, "I'm going to love you. . .as long as old men sit and talk about the weather, as long as old women sit and talk about old men." Now that's forever. ;)

Books: When I was younger my favorite was fantasy. As an adult, I don't know if I have a favorite. I am learning that I love magic realism, though. I loved The Night Circus, and I adore Sarah Addison Allen.

Guilty Pleasure: Picture books. I know I'm not the target audience, (well, I kind of am now that I have kids.) But I have been collecting picture books since way before I had kids. I have zillions. Some favorites: The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum, The Duchess of Whimsy, and Press Here.

Although a wise woman once said that she didn't have a guilty pleasure because she doesn't feel guilty about what she likes. And I like that. And I don't really feel guilty for loving picture books. It's more like an odd favorite. :)

What do you think? What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Check Out This Contest! :)

Copied from Writer's Therapy:

We know how important that first line is for hooking an agent, editor, and reader. Now show us some great beginnings! We have three fabulous agents giving prizes for three talented winners of our first page contest. So what are the prizes?

Grand Prize for 3 talented winners
Query critique from agent Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger
Query critique from agent Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
1st Chapter critique from Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

Runners-up will receive awesome prizes, including more 1st chapter critiques, books, mouse pads, and more!

Click here to sign up!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday Inspiration: A day late

So I forgot to post about a person who inspires me yesterday, sorry. But the thing is, I was gone taking senior pictures for a girl who is on my speech team. I have known her since she was in seventh grade and she is one awesome girl.

In fact, I have decided that she is my inspiration this week. :)

As I've mentioned before, we live in a very small town. It's not that easy to be unique here, or anywhere really. This girl is totally fashion forward, trendy and awesome all the time. And it takes guts to be that way in a town where half the girls where jeans every day, and the other half wear pajama pants. (Yes, to school. No, I'm not kidding.)

She stands out. In a good way. In an awesome way. For as long as I've known her she has always been 100% herself. (She is also super hilarious and I can't wait to work with her again when speech starts!)

Really, she'd make a pretty cool character . . . Hmm. . .

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IWSG: The Green Eyed Monster

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who stopped by for the GUTGAA meet and greet! I am still making my way through everyone's posts. It's been great meeting new writers!

Now for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group. I want to talk a bit about jealousy. I've seen a lot of other posts out there on the subject and, well, here's mine. :)

I've had a lot of writer buddies get agents, or publishing contracts in the last month. And I can honestly say I have not been bitten by the green-eyed monster! I am so completely happy for these people! And I think there are three reasons why I have (so far) been safe from the green-eyed monster.

First, these are all amazingly talented writers. Most of them are blogging friends, and one is an actual real life, in person friend I met at a writer's conference almost three years ago. They are all writers whom I admire, and from whom I have learned a lot!

The second reason is that seeing their success gives me hope. It really does happen! For real people! Real people who work hard, learn all they can and keep on trying. It makes me feel like somewhere down the road, if I work hard and don't give up, it can happen for me, too.

The third reason is that I can see my progress. As I said, one of these newly agented writers is someone I met at a conference three years ago. At that time I knew almost nothing. I had written and queried a few picture books, (they weren't good) and I had an idea for a YA zombie story, but didn't think I had it in me to write something like that.

The woman I met was in the process of querying a YA contemporary romance. (She let me read the beginning of it after the conference and it was awesome! I loved her sense of humor!) She had, at that time, gotten some partial and full requests, but that was it. I remember being impressed. Surely she would be picked up soon.

She ended up trunking that novel and writing another. Now, three years later, she has an agent! I literally yelled, "Yay!" when I found out. :)

Okay, I said something about seeing my progress. See, three years later, I have learned so much more about writing! I have written two middle grade novels and one YA (zombie) novella, (turns out I could do it!) And now I have had several requests for partials and fulls. (Some have turned into nos and some are still out there.)

It's a process. A long process for many people. I'm okay with that. If I was still getting form rejections, not making any progress, I'd probably be ready to give up by now. But I'm doing what I can to learn, improve, and keep moving forward.

And that's why I am able to be 100% thrilled for those who I see doing well. I know they worked hard to get there, and they deserve it! And I have hope that in the years ahead, I will be able to join them. :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

 I have joined GUTGAA and I'm very excited about it! Deana Barnhart has put this together and it sounds amazing, so big BIG thanks to Deana!

I pulled the questions off of her blog for the meet and greet. I'm looking forward to 'meeting' other new writers as well.

-Where do you write?
I don't really have a 'writing space.' I have a laptop and I write all over my house, wherever I can find a few moments of quite.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
To the left of where I'm writing right now is my daughter, Maggie.

-Favorite time to write?
After the kids go to bed.

-Drink of choice while writing?

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I can't listen to music. The lyrics would throw me off. Trying to write words and listen to words at the same time just doesn't work for me.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
Honestly, a random idea just sort of popped into my head and I've been trying to fill it out since. I wish I had a better story, but that's it! :)

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
To just freakin' do it! First drafts are hard enough, they are harder if you expect everything to be perfect. Just get the words out and fix it up later. That's what revisions are for.

I am looking forward to reading other people's meet and greet posts, but today is our last day of summer vacation, so we are going to be off doing something fun! (I don't quite know what yet, but something.) So I will be visiting blogs this evening. I'll see you then! :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Genre Hopping

Sometimes I worry that what I've written makes no sense. What I mean is, I have a YA zombie novella, a Princess picture book, and a short story that's adult romance, (along with a couple other things.) These things do not go together.

What does that say about me as a writer? Does it mean that really I just haven't found my niche yet? My voice? Does it mean I have no idea what the heck I'm doing?

Well, maybe.

But then I think of M.M Kaye. (I love M.M. Kaye.)

The first book I read of hers was The Ordinary Princess. It is an early middle grade novel. I read it when I was young, (many years ago) and it was-and still is-one of my favorite books ever! Princess Amy is sweet and strong and totally herself, which I love. The book is fun and playful and I can't imagine any young girl not enjoying it.

The Ordinary Princess
She illustrated this book herself!

It wasn't until many years later that I found out that she wrote for adults, too. Mainly, actually. Her most well known book is The Far Pavillions, a historical fiction. (I would say historical romance, but it is so much more than a romance.)

The Far Pavilions

She also wrote a series of cozy mysteries. The Death In series. (As in, Death in Zansibar, Death in Kenya, etc.) I've read most of them and they are a lot of fun. They are filled with wonderful, interesting characters getting into trouble.

Death in Zanzibar

She wrote many other books as well, but these examples illustrate the point I'm trying to make. She wrote in a number of different genres, and different age groups. And she did it really well.

Now, I'm not saying I think I will be able to write different genres as well as Ms. Kaye did, but I am going to let myself write whatever I feel like writing and not worry too much right now about whether my manuscripts 'go together.'

And if you have never read any M.M. Kaye, I highly recommend her! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hello Again

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. Things have been busy. But I plan to be a better blogger! School starts next week and I will be down to just two kids at home. I'm not sure how it will go, I've been thinking I'll have more time but it occured to me yesterday that my third child might be far more dependent on me to entertain her once her brother and sister are gone. Wish me luck!

Today I am over on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for Would You Read it Wednesday. If you have a chance, hop on over and check it out! Susanna has a wonderful and fun blog.

I will be back again on Friday, posting about someone whom I admire. (Like I said I would do on Fridays, but then haven't really done. Whoops.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Theater Baby

My daughter, Maggie and I were recently in a play called The Last Boy in Blue. It was written by a local playwright about local events during the Civil War.
It was a great show and I was happy to be a part of it.
Maggie, being adorable, stole the show. :)
We had our cast party last night and she won a 'Witty' (the theater group is Wit's End Theatre)
for best new actor, under the age of one. ;)

Maggie and me backstage.

Maggie had her own dressing room.
She was quite the diva.

One picture of the guys, they did a wonderful job!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Team Plot Twists

I am so excited for the What If blog fest! I love fairy tales, so this is right up my alley. I've already read a bunch of great entries, and I know there are more coming. :) A big THANK YOU to Cassie, Morgan, Leigh, and Mark!

They are dividing up the judging as follows:
· Best Plot Twist - Cassie
· Best Love Story - Morgan
· Best Tragedy - Leigh
· Best Comic Relief - Mark

You can click on any of the links above to go sign up!
I've decided to join Team Plot Twists with my new spin on Cinderella.

The shoe was the second thing Ella noticed when she stepped into her house that night. The first was the blood pooling under her father's back. The stiletto, just a few feet away, was the same shade of red.

Her eyes had been drawn to it as she ran to her father's side. She knew right away who it belonged to, even though she'd never seen it before. It was always that way with her and shoes. One look and she knew things about the person who owned them, sometimes more than she wanted to know.

It was how she'd known that woman was pure evil the moment she had stepped into their lives last year in a pair of hideous black and white pumps. Her father hadn't seen it. He'd married her anyway. And now the life was bleeding out of him, and it was all because of her.

Tears seared down her cheeks and her chest burned with anger as she held her father's cold hands.

She would make her pay, somehow. Ella knew she couldn't go to the police with a secret-spilling red high heel. She needed real proof, and it was going to take a lot more than proving that the shoe fit.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kyra is Here and I'm Somewhere Else

I'm over at Falling For Fiction today, but I brought someone else here to entertain you. :)
I have the amazing Kyra Lennon on my blog today as part of her blog tour for Game On.
She is sharing an excerpt with us. I'll let her tell you about it.

Game On - Out Now!
This scene occurs in Chapter Two, shortly after Radleigh McCoy swore he’d stop trying to mess with Leah’s head by constantly hitting on her, and generally making her job difficult. She didn’t entirely believe him, but she wasn’t expecting this when she got called to her boss’ office!


Richard Bailey was a legend, highly regarded as one of the top U.S players of all time. In his youth, he played for the Westberg Warriors and as well as being a skilled goal scorer, he was once considered the hottie of the soccer world. Twenty-five years on his looks had faded a little. The stress of managing such a high profile team had aged him but he was still as fit, if not fitter than most of the guys he trained.

“Hi,” I said, peering into his office. “You wanted to see me.”

His head snapped up. “Leah, yes. Come in. Sorry to pull you away from work but I need to clear something up.”

I stepped inside, closing the door behind me. “What’s the problem?”

“Radleigh McCoy has made a complaint about you.”

It took a moment for the words to sink in. He made a complaint about me?

 “Don’t worry too much,” Richard said. “I had to follow this up but I know how McCoy is. If people don’t bow down to him he thinks they’re disrespecting him. I just want to hear your side. He says you’re treating him differently than the other players. That you’ve been bad-mouthing him.”

Oh, in his filthy-minded dreams!

“Bad-mouthing him? Richard, with an ego that size, do you think he’d even notice an insult?”

I hadn’t intended to blurt out exactly what was on my mind without thinking, but Richard gave an almost undetectable smile. “You’ve got the measure of him then?”

“Damn right I have. He’s got a bee in his bonnet because I answered him back in front of Bryce Warren on Saturday. Aside from that, I’ve been nothing but professional with him. Geez, if anyone should be complaining, it’s me!”

“You have a complaint to make about McCoy?” Richard asked, halting my verbal diarrhoea.

The last thing I wanted was for Richard to think I couldn’t deal with him. After all, part of the reason he hired me was because I was ‘feisty.’  Richard had unknowingly given me the perfect opportunity to report McCoy for his endless come-ons but I had no intention of letting either of them think I couldn’t cope.

I shook my head. “It’s nothing I can’t handle. He’s just been a bit … suggestive.”

“Leah, if he’s hassling you, you need to tell me because I take this kind of thing very seriously.”

“It’s nothing,” I insisted. “But if things change you’ll be the first to know.”

Especially since he’s been so petty.

 “So what happens now?” I asked. “Do I get an official warning or something?”

Richard shook his head. “Nothing official. You don’t even deserve to be here now. However, if you could be extra nice to him for a few days you’d be doing me a huge favour. I can tell him I’ve had a word with you, and everyone’s happy.”

He was playing it fast and loose with his definition of happy. Being ‘extra nice’ to McCoy sounded more like a punishment than a prize but when the alternative was a black mark against my name, I had no choice but to take it.

I excused myself, taking a few deep breaths before heading out to the pitch. Freya’s comment about McCoy playing games echoed in the depths of my mind. Less than forty-eight hours ago, he’d attempted to call a truce, yet I’d just had my arse hauled into Richard’s office over something I hadn’t even done.

Well. Game on, McCoy. Game. On.

You can find Game On at Amazon by clicking here.