Monday, July 23, 2012

Congrats to the Follow My Lead Contest Winner!

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries. They were all fabulous! Judging is the hardest part of a contest. I want everyone to be a winner! I hope you will help me in congratulating Jennifer from  A Creative Exercise . Her piece moved and shook me. The image I selected for July's contest is to the right. The mood of Jennifer's piece haunted me; it led my mind to so many imaginable places. 

The 4th of July was one of better days to come for our country. Renewal. Hope. Freedom. Independence. It's obvious in Jennifer's story that Daria and her people are on the brink of new beginnings. Every time I read the piece, I'm left with hope that the Guardians will release them to go back to the lives they once knew and loved. But, is that really the best thing for Daria? *See my note below. 

Well done, Jennifer. You nailed it. :)) Bazinga! Without further's her entry.

The fireworks flashed silently in the night sky.
Daria watched from her window, the air hot and sticky on her bare arms and legs. Calvin had once asked if she ever got bored watching the same show every night. She never did. She couldn't even begin to remember how many times she had watched these lights bursting outside her window.

Calvin crept into her room. He always seemed to think he could sneak up on her, but she knew when he was there."

Hey,” she said softly.

“Hello.” He approached the window on silent feet, his movements smooth and fluid. “Are you watching the show?”

Daria responded with a shrug as a new flash of silent light burst across the sky

“The Guardians are debating whether to remove the time lock.” He said.

“Why?” Daria straightened up, no longer focused on sky. “I thought the lock protected us.”

“It does. The question is how much protection do you need?” Calvin was watching the sky, his unnaturally smooth brown face lighting up in the flashes. Even in the dim light it was obvious he wasn't human. The Guardians had stopped far short of creating a convincing likeness of a man.

“Some have decided that a thousand years is enough time. If the lock is removed, you and your people will be returned to your home. You will rebuild and live on.”

Daria tried to imagine returning to a world where days moved on to weeks and years, where she would finally grow old, and eventually die. She didn't know how she felt about the prospect.

She turned back to the world outside her window. The fireworks were over, the sky still and black. A new day had begun.


Jennifer, I encourage you to consider the idea of lengthening this into a longer story. I wonder if Calvin, even though he isn't human, loves Daria? I get the feeling they are very connected, and their relationship is deep. Ah, the possibilities are endless for the conflict that would arise with her being set free of the time lock. Does she go or stay with Calvin? I can see a YA novel centered around this premise.

I will be emailing you a copy of FIRESEED ONE by Catherine Stine. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guess Who Won Runner Up in the Greener Pastures Challenge #40?

Hot diggity dog:) I'm spinning mental cartwheels! I participated in Romantic Friday Writers, Greener Pastures, challenge #40 last week and guess what? I WON Runner Up!!!

My entry Unanchored Hearts can be read here. You can sign up to participate in RFW challenges here @ Romantic Friday Writers. Many thanks go out to Denise and Donna for hosting a spectacular writing opportunity. I look forward to the next challenge. :))

 Does anyone else adore libraries? I visit libraries in every town I travel to. If it's not on the itinerary, I sneak a peek when the family is busy doing something else.

Anyone up for a road trip to Kansas?

The Newton Public Library is located in Newton, Kansas at 720 North Oak Street, in Military Park. This public library in Kansas City is made to look like a giant bookshelf.
Open hours: Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Confessions of a Blog Award Hoarder

I'm way behind on announcing the marvelous awards I've received in the past few weeks. I feel like an award hoarder. So, if you don't mind me combining the awards, I think I'll do just that. First, I'll announce the awards, and then I'll pass them on to a few splendid blogging folk.

From the brilliant Michael Pierce and adorable Randi Lee, I received the Booker Award. Thanks, Michael and Randi for thinking I'm so "bookish". :))
Delightful Kelley Lynn from Between the Bookends awarded me the Be Inspired award. Awesomesauce back at you, Kelley Lynn! 
And the charming, yet sassy Gossip Girl awarded me The Fabulous Blog Ribbon. My dear, you're quite fabulous yourself. :)) Also, awarding me this fabulous award is the sweetheart, Randi Lee!

And, finally! Jennifer from <3donniedarkogirl<3 awarded me the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks, Jennifer. :))

See, told you I was hoarding!

Lately, there have been awards out the wazoo flowing through the blogosphere. Feel free to pass up the award if you don't have time. Trust me, I know how ya feel!! I received one months ago, and never picked it up. Now, I can't remember who awarded me. O_O 

As a habitual rule follower, I've made a difficult decision. I would not only bore my readers to tears, but also, hit an all-time high word count for my blog posts, if I didn't combine all of these awards into one. Sorry. It's not laziness; it's merely out of respect for your time and mine. (In the middle of polishing two contest pieces.)

So, THANK YOU too all my award-givers and CONGRATS to the following award-recipients! You all receive every award listed. :))

I will add details about the Booker Award, since it seems to be a newer one, at least for me. :)) **The rules for the rest of the awards can be found on each blogger who awarded me. I've used their award posts as their links.

For the Booker Award
The rules:
This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)
Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. You must award 5 bloggers, with booky blogs you adore.

My Top 5 Books (in no particular order)

Outlander by Diana Gabeldon
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
City of Masks: A Cree Black Novel by Daniel Hecht
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


The following bloggers are awarded the Booker, Be Inspired, Liebster (if you have over 200 followers this doesn't apply.), and the Fabulous Blog Ribbon awards:

Roland Yeomans
Julia King
Deana Barnhart *Be sure to wish her congrats. She got an agent!!!*
Angela Brown
Jennifer @Creative Exercise
Donelle Lacy
Angeline Trevena
Lara Lacombe
Katherine Checkley
Paige Lollie
 Lexa Cain

Several of these bloggers are new to the Insecure Writer's Group. Please hop on by and offer a bit of support. I think I should swear off accepting awards for a while. Hoarding isn't healthy. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July Follow My Lead Fiction Contest

Thank you to all the participants in  June's Follow My Lead Flash Fiction Contest!! You can read the winning stories by clicking on the link.

I'm still waiting to hear back from one of the winners. Prizes will be delivered to the winner's emails when I hear back from the last winner.

In light of July's fabulous 4th celebration, I thought it would be fun to use an image relating to the holiday. This doesn't mean the story has to be about the 4th of July.

To be honest, when I chose this particular image, celebrating was the furthest thing from my mind. In honor of each participant's creativity, there will be no prompt. Have fun!

Follow My Lead Rules:
~Flash or sketch piece must relate to image in some fashion.
~Piece must be 300 words or less.
~Any genre acceptable within the PG-13 rating, unless you'd like to leave a blog link w/story. *Must specify in comment*
~Please leave your contest piece in the comment section of this post.
~Be creative. :)))

Contest deadline is July 20th!

*Prize information below image.

There will be one winner for the July FMLFF contest! I'm thrilled to gift the winner a copy of Catherine Stine's  Fireseed One YA w/cross over appeal Sci-Fi novel!! Read all about it...

"Fireseed One is so full of startling ideas that I couldn't stop reading! Recommended for fans of science fiction, thrillers, or for anyone looking for a story full of big surprises."
-Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow, the first novel in The Sky Chasers series

"Action, adventure, love, and loss plus superb world building all adds up to an incredibly imaginative story – one that should not be missed."

-Carolyn MacCullough, author of Once a Witch and Always a Witch

"Extraordinary thriller with a fascinating setting and rich, engaging characters who feel recognizable and human."

-Katia Lief, international bestselling author of You Are Next and Soul Catcher

"Fully imagined, fast-paced, and thoroughly captivating, Catherine Stine's Fireseed One sucks you into its fascinating world on page one and doesn't let go until the very end."

-Dale Peck, award-winning author of Sprout and The Drift House series

Set in a near-future world with soaring heat, toxic waters, tricked-out gadgets, and fish that grow up on vines, Varik Teitur inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious death of his marine biologist father. When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd intruder, who knows way too much about Varik's father's work, tries to steal seed disks from the world's food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. Illustrated by the author. This YA novel has crossover appeal.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I See London, I See France, I See Candilynn's July IWSG Post

Happy 4th of July everyone & welcome to my IWSG July post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh hosts the Insecure Writers Support Group, with a monthly check-in, allowing writers from around the globe to express their writing fears, woes, joys, and triumphs. From novice writers, established authors, to everyone in between, the IWSG has it all. Need support? Join us! Insecure Writers Support Group

***Don't forget to check back by on Friday evening for my next Follow My Lead Contest!

As for my July writing insecurity, I'll let you in on a little secret.

Ladies, have you ever been caught with your skirt tucked in your panties? Gentlemen, how about realizing your zipper's wide open. Those types of fears sum up how I felt this week when I submitted (for a copy edit) my first 50 pages of a (buries head) Romantic Mystery I dug out of the closet.

As Cassie Mae so eloquently giggled on my FB page, "I see London, I see France..." ~Cassie, I laughed for hours yesterday after reading your comment! Thanks for the chuckles about my underpants showing. :))

I'm not ashamed, per say, to admit I'm writing a romantic story, it's more about the hilarious notion that I, little ole' Candy, thinks she can actually write one!!! I know. Laugh out loud, right?

In my mind, I'm comparing my wip story (now, ducking head into dark hole) to the wonderfully crafted & roll-on-the-floor-clutching-sides funny, Stephanie Plum series. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading Janet Evanovich's books, they're wildly sexy, and I get a stitch in my sides from laughing so hard. *See bottom of post.

You're right, what in the heck am I thinking? I'll never come within a thousand yards of J.E.'s kind of romance or humor.

I'm proud to say, I've signed up for Denise and Donna's Romantic Friday Writers group. Maybe I can practice dishing up a few saucy stories. :))

C'mon, IWSG members, what are your insecurities this month? Don't have any? That's fabulous! Feel free to offer up a bit of advice for your pal who thinks she can write romance!

P.S. Here are a few super-great links to help your writing along:

Every once in a while, a writer must break a few rules. Here's a great post about using your adverbs fearlessly.

From the fabulous Kristen Lamb, why make your heroes / heroines flawed:

And Kristen's, 5 Blunders to bore your readers:


If you're interested in reading the Stephanie Plum series, start with One for the Money, and then, rent the movie on DVD, which released Jan. 2012.
Quote from a Stephanie Plum novel
“Babe," Ranger said. "You're looking a little strung out. Is there anything I should know?"
"I'm on a sugar withdrawal. I've given up desert and it's all I can think about." That had been true five minutes ago. Now that Ranger was standing in front of me I was thinking a cupcake wasn't what I actually needed.
"Maybe I can help you get your mind off doughnuts," Ranger said.
My mouth dropped open, and I think some drool might have dribbled out. Janet Evanovich

Monday, July 2, 2012

WOOT! Follow My Lead Contest Winners & Stories

Oh my! I had no idea judging would be so difficult! (I'm sweating!) And fun (I'm wearing a huge grin!)! There were so many fabulous pieces, I wanted to award everyone. :))

Without further ado, here are the winners! I chose three place winners this month. 

Here's the prompt and image again. 

The streets of this restless city never slept...

1st Place: Angela Brown @ 296 words

The streets of this restless city never slept. Drunken tourists shuffled along, not a care in the world, bumping elbows into strangers. Offered beer breath laughter instead of apologies. Such lack of courtesy demanded attention, but not from me. In a flash-vision, I saw the young men seal their fate in the next bar. A brawl, preventable were it not for hot heads and alcohol-strained livers. A night in a cell would do them good

From my blue-lit balcony, I watched a couple walk arm-in-arm down the cobblestone lane, a woman who smiled mischievously up at a husband that was not hers. He leaned down to waiting lips and kissed her. An iridescent light cast a halo around his wedding band as he slipped it off his finger and into his pocket. Of the many, I chose the husband. His choice in the situation turned the tide. They parted from their kiss, no hint of remorse in his smile. I closed my eyes to let the consequences of my choice whir before me: A young brunette, veiled and saddened. Definitely not the blonde clutched in his arms before me. The widow rested her head upon the shoulder of a man with a straight back and heart pouring forth in pity and love. A little boy, too, fatherless, but not for long…and better off for it.

A smile curled my lips. He will be mourned but something good would come of his death, especially for my wasting body. Curse that river woman and her poisons. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t have slept with her husband. Now damned as the mistress of Death, taking life is how I must live. Though the streets of this restless city never sleep, it will no longer be so for one.

2nd Place: Gail @ a short 81 words, but they pack a punch! 

The streets of this city never slept nor did he. Even in the rain he watched her. Casually acting as if he had no interest but never taking his eyes off her.

So beautiful, he thought as he watched her talking to her friend in the doorway while they sheltered from the rain.

He knew her name, her age, her home address and that she lived alone. And he watched for the perfect moment. The moment she could be his forever.

3rd Place: James Anderson @ 300 words 

The Harvester

The streets of this restless city never slept. And if they did, they will do so no longer. At least not while I’m around.
I lie in wait. The voices tell me to. Gnawing at my thoughts until I concede. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.
Just out of sight, in the shadows. The darkness cools the hunger that grows within me. I salivate from afar, as you approach.
Each step closer excites my very being.
The bright lights, the happy faces of the streets behind you, they pain me. And no doubt your existence was safe, there.
A laugh. A Cheer. Bottoms up. Rest assured you will meet your end.
A short stroll down the lane, the sounds of revelry soften as they drift on the night air.
The still silence of the night fades in. A wooden rhythm of footsteps echo in your wake.
You stop to light a Marlboro Red, unaware of the eyes laid upon you.
The rattle of an overturned can in the alley alerts you to something.
Your heart races. Its abnormal beat shoots adrenaline coursing through your veins. Your senses are visibly heightened. And yet, ironically, you stare right through me, shrugging off your doom to what I can only assume is a rationalization of the rodentia variety.
It is all very curious, but I digress.
Shaking off the chill that took hold of your spine, you steady your hand to light that calming tobacco. A few puffs and you turn to face the park.
With your back turned to the shadows, I can wait no more.
How unfortunate. And here you were having such an uneventful evening.
I pull you back. Initially you resist.
We are locked in a dance—predator and prey.
Your eyes gloss over.
You are mine.

Hoots & Hollers go out to the winners! Either leave your email addresses here in the comments or email me @ so I can award you a copy of your very own End of Days by Roland Yeomans!!!

Update on Follow My Lead Contest & Burning Question on Romance

THANK YOU to all my participants in the Follow My Lead Fiction Contest!!! I had a blast reading all the entries. :) This month's contest has three winners, all receiving a copy of Roland Yeoman's End of Days. My post, including the winning pieces, will be posted tonight at 9:00 EST. I can't wait to announce the winners!

*Reminder: The next contest will begin Friday, July 6th and will run until July 20th. Stay tuned for details.

 Now, for the burning question on romance. Ever dreamed of writing romance? Well, if so, this is your moment to let it shine. This weekend, I found myself skipping around the blogosphere, visiting others. I happened upon the Romantic Friday Writers blog, where I lingered, perusing for fifteen minutes! The hosts, Denise Covey and Donna Hole have come up with a saucy way to challenge writers. Their next challenge is July 13th. Check it out!

I was inspired to drag a manuscript out of a dusty file from my computer. This particular story is one of my many shiny ideas, I began two years ago. It sizzled, and then, fizzled, as I decided romance was not the genre I wanted to write. Saturday, I reviewed the first 50 pages, and once again, fell in love with the characters and storyline. Not my usual rating of PG-13 or lower, this story contains several blushing moments. *o* It isn't your standard Harlequin Romance, that's not my style. It's fun, including a little danger, mystery, and a few steamy scenes. Here are the ingredients I used:  a dash of cayenne pepper, two sprigs of mint, a teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of condensed sweetened milk.

What am I going to do with it, you ask?

I won a 50 page copy edit in the March Madness event I participated in this past spring. Guess what? I'm sending in the pages this week! Thank you to the Romantic Friday Writer ladies for the inspiration. 

How about you? Ever desired to sneak outside of your comfort zone? Have you ever wanted to write romance and chickened out? Do you secretly read romance? Tell me, I'd love to know!