Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heartfelt 25-Page Critique Auction Bid & Other Bloggy Stuff

I've struggled to come up with a post this week. I have lots to chat about, but since last Friday, I've felt anything I post will be in vain. Meaningless. Blah. Like the rest of the country, I can't seem to wrap my head around the recent tragedy. 

On a positive note...

Check out what one super gal, Catherine Stine , author of FIRESEED ONE is doing to assist. I also received word that Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will be organizing book donations to fill the library of Sandy Hook's new location. Details are still in the process of being worked out. Contact your regional SCBWI group to participate.

Melissa Maygrove awarded me the Addictive Blog award. Thanks, Chica! I love her Grammar Police Monday. I always learn something. :) For the Addictive Blog award, we're supposed to mention why we blog. I began blogging back in 2010 to connect with other writers and possible readers. I'm going to cheat and pass on the award to whomever comments (if y'all want it).

Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner, who've formed Partners in ParanormYA, have created a newsletter. Click HERE to sign up for it! Did you know our own Gwen also started her own business? Check out her Indie Services here.

Author Roland Yeomans tells us how to write a bestseller. Here's a lesson from his post: "You have to be the first to twist the familiar in an unfamiliar way." Don't you just love that?

Like most bloggers, I'll take next week off for the holidays. I'll return Wed. Jan. 2 for a super, great, EXCITING post for IWSG. I simply cannot wait!! *Squeals*

Wanted to share my two lovely little ladies with you...HAPPY HOLIDAY'S Y'ALL!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Amazingly Talented Kelley Lynn Reveals Cover for FRACTION OF STONE!

Today, I have something special for y'all. A blog buddy of mine (and possibly yours!) revealed her fabulous cover this week for her upcoming YA novel, FRACTION OF STONE. If you don't know Kelley Lynn, you should! To say she's talented, would be the understatement of the year. A chemical engineer by day, who also writes, plays tons of sports, participates in 1/2 marathons, travels the world, and is also a vocalist, I'm fairly certain Kelley Lynn can do it all. Enough from me, I'll let Kelley take it from here...

"Wow. I can't believe the day is here! Time for the FRACTION OF STONE cover reveal.

Before we get into that, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far. All the fine people who are helping with this cover reveal, my CPs/Betas, family and friends. And of course, thank you to Sapphire Star Publishing for helping make my dream a reality. (And also letting me have a huge say in how this cover looks.) I am so, so excited and feel so blessed.

To thank you all, there is a drawing for 2 ARCs of FRACTION OF STONE which you can enter to win at the bottom of this post! You can enter until December 14th at which point the winners will be chosen.

Okay, now that, that has been said. Here we go!"

Book information:

Fraction of Stone
 by Kelley Lynn
Release Date: March 21st, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book Description:

Wind tunnels, torrential rains and earthquakes tear apart Casden. The cause of the world’s imbalance is unknown, but the mounting occurrences suggest there’s little time before life ceases to exist.

Rydan Gale and Akara Nazreth are the only humans with the ability to wield magic. The tattoo on their necks and the discovery of an ancient book, dictate they are the key to the world’s survival.

But the greatest obstacle for saving mankind isn’t the bizarre creatures, extreme betrayals and magic-fearing men hunting them.

It’s that Akara doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. 


About the Author:

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Kelley Lynn's LinksBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

For her Rafflecopter Giveaway, please visit her blog HERE!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Here's To You, Alex!

Today, we celebrate our fearless Ninja leader. It's the Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest. If you write & blog, you know Alex. If you don't, you must. The Alexfeast, I mean fest, is hosted by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, Stephen Tremp, and David Powers King, the BlogFest runs from December 10 - 12.   

Remember, Alex, this is a celebration of YOU. You must know we all adore and admire you. You're a rock star! In 191-words (bold-faced), here's my slice of roast.

I've often imagined our Alex as a rock star. You know, like Jon Bon Jovi or Eddie Van Halen, playing lead guitar, bringing down the house.

But what does Alex really look like after he removes his rock star getup?

He's just a regular dude. Clean-cut, tall, thin build, genuine smile, well-dressed, and I'm seeing reading specs.

Sheldon Cooper.jpg
"Take me back in time!"
Who would I have play Alex in a documentary? After careful consideration, I tried to think of the one actor who for me screams lover-of-all-that-is-Sci-Fi...and he's super smart! No offense, Alex. But who doesn't love a little Sheldon C.?

*clears throat--hums tune of Soft Kitty*

Jim Parsons

Who does Alex remind me of? Unlike Sheldon C. who's not at all social, Alex reminds me of...

The guy back in high school who was everyone's best friend. Helpful, considerate, fun loving, voted "most successful in life,"  and would give you the shirt off his back. Yeah, he's that guy.

My Flash Fiction, using the required words: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, & Guitar:

Strumming his Cosbolt guitar, lead singer of Dark Ninja, strutted across the stage. He'd never felt so alive. Electricity pumped through his veins, as the crowd chanted his name, "Cavanaugh!" They'd performed at the IWSG many times before, but tonight was special. She was here. Standing in the front row, his wife winked, blowing him a kiss.

For the first time in the history of Dark Ninja, the lead guitarist appeared on stage without his make-up, without his rock-star wig. Even though the house was full, tonight wasn't for the crowd. It'd been ten years today. Tonight, he'd play for her.

And last, but not least, a kind thank you to Mrs. C.

Dear Mrs. Cavanaugh,

As I'm sure you know, Alex rocks the house of our online family! We appreciate your sacrifice of lending him out. Without Alex, there'd be no IWSG. And without IWSG, many writers wouldn't be where they are today. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG & Santa's Letter

When I was seven, I sat on Santa's lap at the mall and told him he was a phony. I blurted out to everyone, "Santa isn't real." Two days before Christmas, I received a hand-written letter from Santa telling me that if I didn't believe in him, I would receive rocks in my stocking. Although the handwriting bore an uncanny resemblance to my step-dad's, I announced to the family that I believed. I was seven. I wanted presents.

I learned a valuable lesson then. In order to achieve my desires, I need to believe. This carries over into everything I do, especially writing. If I want to succeed, I must believe with all my heart and soul that I will succeed. If I want to be an author, I have to believe I can do it. It's a simple concept. 

Your belief needs to be genuine. Tell yourself you can achieve your goals. Believe and make it happen. In honor of December's Insecure Writers Support Group post, I've written Santa a letter I'd like to share with you. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, BELIEF is universal. Santa, if you're out there, listening, I believe. 

If you're unfamiliar with the IWSG, you must check out Alex Cavanaugh's group on the link above. It has changed my writing life.

No News is Good News...right?
I'd hoped with double-crossed fingers that I'd have news to share with you all, but it'll have to wait. Maybe soon.

Blog Award
Also, I was awarded the Liebster Blog award by Laurel at Laurel's Quill. Although I'm extremely honored, this award is for bloggers with under 200 followers. I'm passing the award on to ANY of my bloggy friends who have 200 or fewer peeps. You may visit Laurel's blog to find out the details. Check out her amazing photos on her blog! Thanks Laurel for thinking my blog worthy!!

Check back on Friday for my late week post. Also, DON'T forget to check in next week, as I'll be participating in the long-awaited Alexfest. Oh boy! this will be fun!

Happy writing, y'all~

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Unleashed Creativity & A Bigfoot Sighting

Doodle from my walk
Nature has a way of unleashing my creative beast. Every time I'm out, in the elements, my creativity soars to unlimited heights. It's amazing.

This morning, I went for a walk in our woods, and allowed my inner-kid's imagination to run wild!

Visions of the elusive Bigfoot peeking out from behind trees played in my mind. I even attempted a Cliff Barackman Bigfoot call-out. No, I didn't get a response, but I was hopeful. :)

It was a hoot, and it provided tons of inspiration for my wip. Of course, the story I'm crafting is for kids, so my Bigfoot is more of a fuzzy woodland creature. Think Harry from Harry and the Henderson's. 

As a child, I was obsessed with Bigfoot. I grew up in the 70's and I was a huge fan of the famous Patterson-Grimlin video. I'm still fascinated with watching shows like Finding Bigfoot. But proving Bigfoot is real or not isn't what's important.

For me, it's believing in the mystery of the unknown. I don't need (nor want) the mystery solved. Keeping the magic alive is an important tool when writing for children. I have to delve into my memories, and harness my childhood beliefs if I want to grab my readers. I have to believe. I have to be the child. If not, disbelief will reflect in my writing, and trust me, kiddos can spot a liar-liar-pants-on-fire from a mile away.

Happy writing, y'all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 3 Keeps

This past week, I had a moment-we-all-wait-for opportunity. I have to keep it under wraps for now (Good gosh, I wouldn't want to jinx myself). BUT for those of you out there, submitting until your fingers bleed, don't give up. I'm telling y'all, stick with it. It's an up and down process, sometimes more downs than ups. I know. 

I read a post this morning from someone I respect in the kidlit writing world. This person is feeling down at the moment. With today's publishing, it's natural for writers to feel this way once in a while. But there comes the time when you have to lift yourself up (and others). Like the little engine who thought he could. And he did. Simple as that. 

Remember to pat yourself on the back for the smaller accomplishments, too. A kind rejection letter, a request for additional pages, tweaks / changes. They're all successes. Smile. :)

Whatever the outcome is (for my big moment), I'll keep going. It's what what I do. It's what all writers do.

Right about now, to say I have mixed emotions would be an understatement. (Maybe by the IWSG post time, I'll be able to share.) 

So folks, remember the 3 Keeps: Keep your chins up. Keep querying / submitting. Keep writing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Had Enough Spam Yet?

Sorry for the un-writerly related post, but anyone else recently hit with spam on their blogs (blam)? I've noticed an increase in the past two weeks and it's driving me crazy. I get ridiculous messages such as: "I appreciate, leaԁ tο i discovered just what ӏ used to be looking for. you havе endeԁ my four day long hunt! Bless you man. Have а grеаt day. Βye"

REALLY? First, I'm not a man, and my gosh, learn some grammar.

Last week, I had a comment that outsmarted Blogger that said, "I really like what you had to say here. My daughter picked up a conch shell and said daddy I can hear the ocean in it. If you liked my story visit my website." 

Spam isn't an acronym. But it could be if they added an extra "m". (Seriously pathetic attempt @ making money)

The word spam is named for the Hormel mysterious canned meat and a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch. In the sketch, the cafe's menu is filled with Spam, driving a customer bonkers. Wikipedia: Monty Python Spam

Did you know, during WWII, those who served in the war sometimes ate Spam up to three times daily? The pink canned meat was everywhere; there was no escaping it. Spam in WWII.

Internet spam facts: Wikipedia: Spam 

How do you protect yourself? Easy. Don't fall for it. Don't open it. Don't respond to it. Don't click on it. 

As for our blogs, I really wish Captcha wasn't so darn obnoxious. I'm sure most of you know, on Blogger you have to manually go in and switch it off captcha. But should we?

What about y'all? Too many spam messages lately? What are your thoughts on captcha? Can spam be harmful if you just ignore it? Anyone have advice on how to protect your blog from spammers? Be honest, do you eat the mysterious spiced ham? We won't judge. Feel free to share how you like it best. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Goatman of Greer Island - Story 3 - Done

Yesterday, I wrapped up the third story for my Middle Grade creeptacular collection. This one features the wild legend of the Lake Worth Monster, aka the Goatman of Greer Island. I first read about this story in the Weird Texas book. Here's a link to their site and the story: Weird Texas - Goatman.  Here's a sketch I did of the Goatman.

My story blurb:

The Beast Under the Bridge

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Sutter never walks across Goatman bridge; he runs. But there comes a time when a boy must conquer his childhood fears. While out fishing, Charlie decides to cast his line from the center of the bridge, even though he's secretly freaked. And for good reason. There, lurking behind him is the infamous Goatman. When Charlie whirls around and discovers the creature, he realizes he's trapped and there's nowhere to run. 

I had a blast researching this Texas legend. I discovered a half-man, half-goat creature is also known to roam in a couple other states. I was disappointed to learn I missed attending the Lake Worth Monster Bash hosted by the Fort Worth (Texas) Nature Center and Refuge by a few weeks.

The late Sallie Anne Clarke, a well-known researcher of the Lake Worth Goatman self-published a book The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island in 1969. She claims to have seen the creature three times over her years of research. Southern Fried Bigfoot, which aired on the Documentary Channel, features an interview with Sallie Anne Clarke about the encounters.

Nick Redfern, a ufologist, cryptozoologist, and author wrote a great blog post here about the Goatman.

Stephanie Erb, a local Texas author wrote a picture book, Cam the Man Hunts the Spooky Goatman .

I have two additional stories to craft for this collection, which is yet to be titled. My goal? To self-publish and travel Texas sharing the stories with middle grade readers, especially boys, about the wild legends living right here in their own state.

And next year for the Lake Worth Monster Bash, I'm so there. I wonder if Ms. Erb would mind sharing her author space. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sealy Dixon Here--Hijacking Candilynn's Blog

The name's Sealy Dixon, and I'm from the small town of Cuero, TX. While Candilynn's out reading IWSG posts, and working on her latest picture book, I'm hijacking her blog. (Don't tell her, but I wish she'd finally get enough of basking in the bright lights of publishing Little Acorn and get back to my story.) I'm ready. Just waiting on some final edits. 

Here's a tidbit of my story: Summers are generally borrrriiing at Gram's ranch, but not this one. Did you hear about the recent creature sightings in Cuero? Well then, let me be the first to tell you about the Chupa-freaking-cabra. Okay, so it's really called the Chupacabra; I was going for a dramatic effect.

Gram refuses to kill it even though the thing has eaten six of her baby calves. Yep, sucked the blood right out of them. I think she's flipped her lid, but she claims everything needs to eat. Blah, blah, blah. So anyways, the Sheriff over in DeWitt County videoed one running in front of his patrol car. I saw the tape. Creeeepppy! The thing looked completely bald, had a gigantic head, protruding fangs, and it had skin like an elephant. When it turned back and glared at the camera before scampering off the road, I thought, sheesh-louise! I would not want to stumble upon that critter in the woods.

Since I'm so amazingly techie, here's a video of the beast running from the patrol car. (No, that's not me squealing in the background.)

Some say it's a hairless coyote or a cross of a Mexican Wolf and a coyote. But whatever it is, it's freaky. I've seen what it does to livestock, and it ain't pretty.

As if this wasn't enough excitement for one summer, the neighbor boy, my old tree-climbing buddy, had to go all gorgeous on me over the past school year. I'm talking, drool-all-over-him cute. Stutter-when-I-speak, slam-dunk, hot.

Candilynn might want to change the title of my story from Chasing the Chupacabras to Chasing a Boy & the Chupacabras.

So, if you see my author lurking around your blog, tell her Sealy Dixon's looking for her. 

Thanks. ~Sealy D.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November IWSG & Plans for Little Acorn

It's time once again for Alex Cavanaugh's  Insecure Writers Support Group post. I can't begin to explain the overwhelming support this group has been for me over the past year. I've met so many fantastic writers and made tons of friends. Feeling insecure about your writing? Have a little enthusiasm to share? Either way, we'd love to have you join us!

November brings around (turkey!) one of my favorite holidays, (pie!) family gatherings, (casseroles!) and (more pie!) a time of reflection and being thankful. (Can you tell I love to eat?) In honor of November's insecure writers post, I'm thankful for all of you, my blogger buddies and IWSG members, and most of all, Alex for hosting such a terrific group! 

I'm also thankful for Caroline Lee, my fabulous illustrator for Little A. Without her and her beautiful illustrations, Little A. would still be merely words. Together, the words and images are magic.

For now, I'm still walking around in my blissful, I-recently-published-a-children's-ebook state. Plans for getting Little Acorn's Big Fall (Do you underline titles of ebooks?) uploaded onto Createspace and into printed form are next on my agenda. 

I'm quite positive we all have different views on self-publishing, but it's the route I'm taking for the printed version of Little A. Ebooks are great and serve a specific purpose, but I want to hold our book in my hands, smell the pages (I know, quirky.). 

And don't get me started on all of the library / school visits, public talks, book signings, I'm dreaming of scheduling next year! I could ramble on and on about how thrilled I am! I'm also envisioning my acorn hat I want to design. I can see it now, me sitting there, reading to kiddos, showing them my collection of acorns, with an acorn perched on my head. Then, I'll surely be known as a real nut-job. :P

I hope all of you are enjoying your writing and / or revising. Share with us in the comments, what you're thankful for in your writing life.

Happy Turkey Day Y'all...gobble, gobble!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Houston's Supernatural Batman Mystery

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! No, it's a plane! No, it's Houston's very own Batman! Imagine my shock while watching the ten o'clock news last night, when they reported about a Houston supernatural legend from the 1950's, the Batman. You can read the article HERE. Spooktacular stuff. Of course, I wasn't born until 1971, so I don't have any recollection of this story.

But now, I'm intrigued! Ah, I feel another story brewing.

The incident occurred on July 18, 1953 at 2:30 in the morning, downtown Houston area. Mrs. Hilda Walker and two other females were talking on her front porch, when they spotted an odd figure flying toward them. The creature landed in Mrs. Walker's pecan tree. The creature was described as, "... a man with wings like a bat". The figure was about six and a half feet tall and remained perched in the tree for about thirty seconds. A glowing light seemed to radiate about it. The glow faded, reported the witnesses, and then, the  batman vanished into thin air. (Author's Note: What were these women doing out at 2:30 a.m.? Just asking.)

Could the Batman be similar or possibly the same as the legendary Mothman? A fun website Unknown Creatures says that flying humanoids have been spotted since 1877 to present day. This video is from the series Monsterquest on the History Channel.

In the news segment, which you can also watch the video from the link below, KTRK had a graphic designer sketch what he believes the creature may look like. I do agree with one thing he had to say. This supernatural legend gives the city of Houston "flavor". It most definitely keeps it interesting!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spooktoberfest - A Witch's Invitation

Okay, no cyber punches for this one. I signed up for this weeks ago, before I made a deal with myself to limit entries in contests and such. Besides, it's Halloween and I adore spooky, fun stories. Jackie and Dani are co-hosting this spooktacular blogfest. I've highlighted the 5 required words. You still have another day to enter...if you dare!


A Witch's Invitation

Mesmerized by the dancing candlelight inside the jack-o-lantern, Bex knew better. Despite years of warnings from their parents, she turned up the walkway, urging the boys to follow her.

"You're gonna get us in trouble," Ryan said, whining. He made a pathetic devil.

"Knock it off," Bex said. She paused at the porch steps, waiting for Ryan and his little brother Cal. Ghosts were known to haunt this house, and a real witch lived here. 

Cal moaned with his arms outstretched, bumping into Bex's back repeatedly. "Why aren't you scared of me? Everyone is scared of zombies."

Bex winked at Cal. "Come on, let's knock." 

"My parents are going to ground me for life!" Ryan said, standing behind Bex and Cal. "Besides, I heard she boils kids in her cauldron."

Bex wheeled around. "Really? Don't be such a moron."

Cal tugged at her witch's robe. "Uh, Bex..."

"What's up--" Turing back, Bex froze. The door creaked open, cobwebs stretching across the door frame. 

"Oh, you're the most adorable trick or treaters I've ever seen!" a plump woman said. Dressed in an emerald, floor length dress, she had snarled purple hair underneath a black witch's hat and the most beautiful, twinkling eyes.

"We're probably the only trick or treaters you've ever had," Ryan said in a whisper.

 Bex rolled her eyes. She studied the woman, drawn to her eyes. "I'm Bex, and this is my friend Ryan and his little brother Cal." She heard shuffling behind her, and the woman looked over her shoulder.

Ryan backed up.

"Wait, don't you want some candy little boy?" the woman asked.

"Heck no, I'm out of here!" Ryan said, running out of the gate.

She held out her hand, beckoning them inside. Bex admired her razor-sharp black nails. "Come in my dearies."

The Time Has Come

For change.

First, let me thank everyone who has ridden the crazy train of chaos with me over the past two years on my blog. I've been all over the place, writing anything and everything I could, until I wore myself out. Kaput. I lost sight of my goals, and worse, stopped having fun. I was ready to toss the pen, ditch the keyboard, and erase the hard drive. And then what? I asked myself. Give up on your dreams? Yeah, because that would be a great example to my girls. No, I decided to pursue my original goal and write for children, and combine my slight obsession with the paranormal, supernatural, and things that lurk in the dark.

Photo from
I'm in the process of combining my two blogs, and I will be focusing on my middle grade short story collection of creepy Texas tales. So far, I've written short stories about the Caddo Creature (East Texas Bigfoot), the Chupacabra, and the Goatman of north Texas. My goal for the first collection will be five stories. I hope to finish the next two stories by the end of 2012.

I'm also in the process of revising a PB featuring a creepy, yet adorable main character.(Note added: PB is not peanut butter, paperback, or pickle barrel. It means picture book.)

Photo: Check out all of those Bigfoot sightings. Yikes.

Reading and writing stories about the paranormal reminds me of sitting on the library floor, back when I was a children's library assistant, and reading books about these subjects with the kids. The shock, awe, and fascination in their eyes was priceless. Giving them more to read, is my goal.

For the time being, my blog posts will focus on my current writings and related stories. I totally get it if some of my followers aren't interested in these subjects. All of you are more than welcome to come along for the wild ride!! Although I will continue to check in with my fellow bloggers, I will more than likely opt out of most writing contests for now. If any of you see me signing up, I give you permission to give me a cyber slap on the hand. I need to keep myself on course.

Blog Header Thank Yous

*A note about the illustration on my header: permission was granted by Justin Gerbracht for the use of his image. You can find a link to his website on the right sidebar. And a HUGE thank you goes out to Tara Tyler for creating my blog header using Justin's image. Isn't she amazing? And, did you hear? She received a publishing contract!!! CONGRATS TARA! If you click on her name, you can read all about it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Basil and Badger Pay Me a Visit

I have a soft spot for boys. Not in a creepy sort of way, I adore male protagonists. I have several stories written featuring boy protags, and the ones that don't, have a male sidekick, love interest, or hero. Today, I'd like to introduce you to two bad boys on the block, Basil and Badger.

Me: Hey guys!
Badger: Hi, Candilynn! You have a super-cool blog.
Me: *blushing* Aw, shucks, Badger. Thanks!
Basil: Hey, I was just thinking the same thing. Love the owl up there.
Me: *shuffles feet* Yes, my blog is cool, and I'm pretty cool myself, but this post is about y'all, not me. At least not for today. So, take it away, boys.

Speed Rounds with Basil and Badger

Welcome to the Quick Shoot!   

Five questions will be asked by Mystery, that require quick answers.  Here we go:

What’s your story:

Basil: Neverlove

Give us the Twitter version of your story:

Basil: Twitter?  My parents just let me start using text messaging because I was living on campus at the university.  But my story – our story, Abby’s and mine – is about rash decisions, secret lives and a forbidden love that hangs in the balance.

Badger:  Uh, Riley – my sis – is probably better at that Twitter-speak.  But the story’s about Indigo – a pretty cool chick when she’s not having an accident-moment – helping a ghost in need of figuring out how he got that way.  It’s a pretty sticky situation.

Hmmm…okay.  Not exactly 140 characters or less, but we’ll accept those answers.  Next question.  If we saw you speeding around town, would it be on two wheels or four?

Badger: Definitely two.

Basil:  I like my four wheels for now, but I’ve been secretly eyeing a few Kawasaki bikes.  Don’t tell Angela Brown.  I plan on springing that on her for the sequel.

*Badger gives Basil a fist-pound*

Badger: Gwen Gardner knows I’m all about my bike.

Okay boys, glad to see you getting along so well.  Now for the next question, what’s the first word that pops into your head when you think of story love interest?

Basil: Fruit

Badger: Coffee

Um…okay.  And the last question.  Bacon or chocolate?

Badger: Why not haggis?

Basil: I’ll try chocolate covered bacon?

With that, it is time to bring Quick Shoot to a close.  My name is Mystery, and I’m off to have a Lime-a-rita after those answers lol!!

Basil & Badger: Hey, Candilynn?
Me: Yes, boys?
Basil & Badger: So, have you read our books yet?
Me: Not yet, but I just uploaded both to my Kindle, and I can't wait to read them!
Basil: You'll like mine best.
Badger: No way, dude! She'll like mine best!
Me: Silly boys, how about I'll like both of them both the same.
Basil & Badger: Okay, that's fair.
Me: *shakes head and giggles*

Here's a quick blurb for each: Brown's Neverlove - For Abigail and Basil, there is a choice they both fear making.  Duty or love?  There can be only one. 

Gwen Gardner's Givin' Up The Ghost - Indigo Eady's life erupts into mischief and mayhem when a ghost enters her teen abnormal life demanding answers for his death.

And...where can you get them??

Gwen Gardner’s Givin’ Up The Ghost at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

                          Don't Forget the Giveaways

And there are two giveaways! Visit Partners in ParanormYA for the Big Swag Giveaway and for the Week Two Giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Acorn's Big Fall Now Published!!

I know, I know, I said my next post would be on Thursday, but I'm so excited about this, I couldn't wait! After two years of drafting, revising, revising, un-rhyming, re-drafting, revising, and revising again, Little Acorn's Big Fall has been published and is now available on uTales
Caroline's  illustration before text added

Little Acorn's Big Fall

Here's a quick recap of the experience. After two years of submitting and rewriting, I decided to research children's ebook publishers. uTales has a fabulous Facebook collaborations group, where authors and illustrators connect and collaborate. I met a lovely illustrator, Caroline Lee, and she and I began the process of working with Little Acorn's story. She worked in traditional watercolors for the illustrations, which proved to be a beautiful expression of Little A.'s adventure. I love the page where a frisky squirrel pounces on Little A. and spins him on top of its nose. Too cute! The entire process took several months of collaborating. We submitted the final project and received an email yesterday that uTales accepted the project. I still can't believe it's true. I have a published children's ebook. Wait, let me say that again. I have a published children's ebook. Wow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing Lesson From a Soccer Girl

Ashmaster's ref. gear
My fourteen-year-old daughter taught me a valuable writing lesson this week. How to embrace my vulnerability and put myself out there. She's played soccer for the past seven years, and she admits she still has a lot to learn.

Starting off in youth league soccer, she now plays on a traveling competitive team, and most recently, began training with her high school team. The junior varsity and varsity teams have not been announced yet, but since the second week of school, she's been practicing with the varsity group. Yay, Ashmaster! (Ashley's nickname)

Last week, Ashley was invited by the varsity soccer coach to begin reffing youth soccer (6-8 yr. olds). Tuesday evening, she reffed her first game. Sure she was nervous, downright terrified, I'd have to venture. Have you ever been to a youth soccer game? The parents are brutal to the poor souls in the yellow jerseys!

Ash is in yellow (look at those cross-armed parents!)
Her father and I set up our chairs, far away from all the parents to watch her in action. (I didn't want to be tempted to knock one of them out if they yelled at her.) I've never been so proud of her as I was Tuesday evening. She embraced her vulnerability, and put herself in the middle of a shark tank. She's only eighty-five lbs. and 4' 11", not much bigger than those 8 yr. olds, but she did it.

Watching her referee, I learned a valuable writing lesson. If you're passionate about something, you've got to acknowledge your insecurities, embrace your vulnerability, and put yourself out there. It's a simple concept. If you don't try, you'll never succeed.
Bravery at its finest
I'm still trying to find the guts to put myself out there, completely. My fear is that when I make a few changes, I'll lose followers here on the blog. But at some point, I need to let the fear go, and embrace my inner weirdness, my quirks that I hide from most people. It's time to be true to me, and stop worrying about what others will think. At least that's what Ashley taught me this week. Despite her fear, she went for it.

Sorry for the length of the post. I intended for this to be short & sweet. :)

I found a fabulous article in Psychology Today about creativity and fear. You can read it HERE. The author has seven helpful tips for conquering fear. I LOVE #3. :P The social media tip is great, too.

***Next week's post, a couple of interesting characters will take over my blog on the 18th. O_O 

*** Oct. 24th my blog is scheduled for its BIG change.

Be true to you, folks!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October IWSG

It's that time again! Happy Insecure Writers Support Group day! Can you believe it's already October? I hope all of you are writing or revising your hearts out. I've had my thinking hat on for two weeks now, making plans for a few changes around my blog. I hope to put these changes into effect in the next couple of weeks.

For October's IWSG post, I'd like to talk about making plans and breaking plans. It drives me nuts. I'm constantly disappointing myself, and sometimes, others are effected. Then comes the punishment phase, which is usually in a dark, musty corner of my mind, where I sit and fester for days. Not a fun place to be.

So part of my BIG change is a commitment to follow through with my writing plans. My original writing plans. The ones I promised myself I'd complete, years ago. This flitting from one shiny to the next will cease and desist. Not to sound cliche, but I'm like a kid in a freaking candy store lately. I will buckle down and see my writing plans through. And when I'm done, maybe I'll move onto something else.

IWSG members, do you suffer from the not-following-through-with-a-project syndrome? Have a magical cure?

The sweet & charming Clare Dugmore awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award. For those of you who don't follow her, click on over. Her blog had a makeover and her new header is fabulous!! 

Here are the required seven fun facts about me:

1. I hate beans. Any kind of bean. They're mushy and blah!
2. I love a good romantic comedy movie.
3. I'm obsessed with paranormal shows, especially Ghosthunters.
4. I love going to see musicals.
5. I adore the fall season. *See pic below*
6. I garden veggies year round.
7. Okay, ready for this one. It's BIG. I believe somewhere out there, is Bigfoot. Just saying.

I'm no good at passing out blog awards. So I award anyone and everyone who comments to pick up the One Lovely award and pass on the love. :))

In honor of fall, I built a scarecrow for the front porch. Yes, he enjoys cool nights and reading my copy of Sucker Literary Magazine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Have a Niche? And Change is Coming

In light of two years of blogging and two-hundred followers, I'm announcing change around here. It's coming.

 ***Thank you fellow bloggers for being so wonderful & fabulous over the past two years. Without you, this blog would be quiet. Just me, talking to myself. XOXOXO to all of you. If I haven't stopped by lately and said hello, forgive me.

My oldest daughter riding, who could teach me a thing or two about focus.
Lately, I've been all over the place. Genre hopping, beginning stories and not following them through to the end, and literally consuming how-to writing books / articles. Sure, I've accomplished a few things, but I'm spiraling out of control. It's time to pull back on the reins and slow this pony into a nice, steady trot. 

I've given a lot of thought about my writing niche. I like the word niche, but for me, niche also means platform, genre, my writing thing, my specialty, my nook & cranny, and my spot in the literary world. I'm not talking about sticking my nose in a genre corner, but a little focus would be nice. Someone told me recently that I'm darting from one thing to the other because I'm creative and that's what we do. We create. Anything. Everything. 

Example: If I see an interesting person having coffee next to me, I need want to write a story about him / her. That's fine and dandy, as long as I don't let it interfere with the bigger plan. On a daily basis, I probably have 2-4 news story ideas fall out of the sky and land in my head! Folks, let me tell you, as writers, we can't do it ALL. It's just not possible. And if you can, please show me the way. 

When I mentioned change above, don't be sad. I'm not leaving. Merely evolving in a positive manner. More on what sort of change in a later post. But remember,

Change is good. Change is growth. 

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
~George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer.
I've done a ton of reading on the subject about finding your niche / platform / genre. I'd like to share some of the information with you. 
Ronnie Dauber-What's My Niche
How to Turn a Hobby into a Niche I really resonated with this one!
Author Sarah Ketley says, Let Your Genre Choose You
Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner suggests we Pick a Genre!
Writer Know Thy Genre & Why You Should Only Pick One

Do you subscribe to the Writer Unboxed blog? Well, you should! Always great information. One from last year stands out about platforms. A guest post from Christina Katz, who wrote The Writer's Workout is fabulous. You can read it  HERE. Ms. Katz says every writer, non-fiction and fiction should build a platform. 

Also here's an older post from Writer's Toolbox from Therese Walsh about building platforms. Platforms and Opportunities

And last, but certainly not least, my WANA Mama, Kristen Lamb  is a true warrior writer. You will find many helpful blogging / writing tips on her website. THIS POST she wrote about authors having more than one blog. I found it helpful, and I've read it several times in the past month. It's one of the reasons I've come to the conclusion that I need to settle on my niche. My brand. My platform. And stick to it. 

Some say write what you know. Others say write the book you'd love to read. Why not write a novel, novella, short story, article, poem, or non-fiction book of what you know and love? Talk about passionate writing. 

Think about your favorite author. Do they have a particular niche / genre / platform? Running through my list of favs, mine do. What do you think about platforms?