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.