Friday, September 30, 2016

GoIndieNow - Epiosode 7 LIVE!

What an awesome surprise to see The Nightmare Birds featured in GoIndieNow Episode 7! It's 37:21 in if you want to check it out, but I highly recommend watching the whole show. It's full of awesome author interviews, new releases, book reviews, and more!
Check out past episodes and learn more about GoIndieNow HERE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The 7th Question

I answer the 7th question in Simon Goodson's new interview. Check it out!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writing, Lovecraft, and Kickboxing - My Interview With Mistral Dawn

What's the easiest part of being a writer? What am I working on now? Why is H.P Lovecraft my favorite author of all time? Am I really a kickboxer? Find out the answers to these questions and more in my interview with author Mistral Dawn.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

TBT Writer - The Word Wizard

It's #TBTWriter! Time to share some writing throwbacks and awkward pics. If you’ve got a writing throwback, post it with this hashtag so everyone can read your story.

In elementary school, we were given a class assignment to write about our favorite words. They even gave us this nifty handout to fill in the blanks.

Check out that self portrait in the middle. I'm wearing a bow AND a pearl necklace. Fancy. I'm also labeled as "a word wizard." I like the sound of that!

Looking back now, the teacher who assigned this was awesome. What better way to learn how you feel about writing than to dissect words. I especially liked looking at which of these answers are still true, which I've noted beneath each prompt. Here we go...

Words that make me happy: Good, fantastic, great, nice job
These words do still certainly make me happy. :D

Strange or fun words I know: Ice skating, music, soccer
I must be going with "fun" words here.

Special words: Amie
Interesting answer. I probably wrote this because not a lot of people spell their name like me.

Places we find words: Paper, rooms, clothes, school, homes

Words I say to cheer up others: Are you o.k., I'm sorry, comets
Not sure what 'comets' means here. Maybe I meant 'comments' as in giving people feedback.

Words that scare me: Croak
This is still true! There's something about this particular word that I absolutely hate.

Words that I love to hear: Piano, music, soccer, Amie
Apparently I liked people saying my name. Not sure these are still true. I think my new answers would have to be cake, Loki (he's my puppy), and I liked your book.

I use words with care because: More people will be kind and will become our friends
I can't believe I wrote this. How adorable!

Words are important because: That's how we learn how to read and talk

These words always cause a strong reaction: Hate

I learn new words best when: I look in a dictionary
Somewhat agree. I'm more likely to look at the thesaurus in Word than go to a dictionary. 
And no TBT post would be complete without a silly picture. This one is so wonderfully 90's that I had to include it. Check out that rockin side ponytail. Oh, and if you're curious about what I'm doing, I'm weaving a lanyard. Remember those? I miss the 90's :(

Have you checked out my other TBTWriter posts yet? You might find these amusing:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Who Wants FREE Books???

Do you love magic, the supernatural, and other worlds? For a limited time I'm giving away 100 FREE e-copies of Strange Luck!

What's the catch?

There is none. Just click HERE and click 'Get Free Copy'. That's it!

If you're so inclined, you can also leave a review.

Happy reading :)

Did I mention it's FREE???

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Loki The Rock Star

Loki finished his second therapy dog session yesterday! The first was a nursing home and the second was a pediatric therapy center. It was amazing to see what he brings out in people. Some people who had really bad dementia or Alzheimer's and couldn't communicate at all actually smiled when they saw him. The nurses were overjoyed. Everywhere we went he seemed to bring a little bit of happiness to those who really needed it. So proud of my pup. :D

You can read more about how I trained my puppy to be a therapy dog here

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Science And Other Scary Words: On Writing Science Fiction - Guest Post By Belinda Crawford

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by YA sci-fi author Belinda Crawford. Coincidentally, I just started reading my first sci-fi book (yes, of all time) and am really enjoying it, so when I connected with Belinda, I wanted to know more. The thought of writing sci-fi had always seemed really intriguing...and kinda scary, so, I asked Belinda if she would share some tips on how to write science fiction. Enjoy!

Science And Other Scary Words: On Writing Science Fiction

Here’s a little secret, there’s not a lot of difference between writing science fiction and writing any other genre. Sure, there are some new words (wormhole, nanotech, mecha, thingy-ma-bob, dohickey) and a proliferation of acronyms to learn (AI, FTL, OMG, WTF) but that whole bit where you write a great story with interesting characters…That doesn't change.

It’s all about the worldbuilding

What makes a story sci-fi is not the narrative, but the world it’s set in. In general, sci-fi is any story where science enables extraordinary things to happen, much the same as magic does in fantasy. Usually it’s set in the future (or at the very least, the author’s future—A Princess of Mars was set in 1912 and written prior) and features advanced technology, such as spaceships, robots and lightsabers. There are some notable exceptions, such as the steampunk and superhero subgenres, but for the most part, the above remains true.

The key to creating a great world is making it believable, which can be daunting if you’re just getting started in sci-fi and/or aren't the kind of person who reads Scientific American.

The Science in Science Fiction

A lot of people have the misconception sci-fi must be scientifically accurate, which can be a barrier for readers and writers alike. The truth is, just because the genre has science in the name, doesn’t mean you have to include any in the narrative.

There’s a spectrum to the scientific accuracy of sci-fi, often referred to as its ‘hardness’. It starts with science fantasy, which doesn’t worry about the scientific details (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), progresses to soft sci-fi, which worries just a little (Dune), and makes its way to hard sci-fi, which worries a lot (2001: A Space Odyssey).

The ‘hardness’ of a work of sci-fi is directly proportional to it’s scientific accuracy, and one of the first things you need to consider when writing sci-fi is where you want to fit on that scale.

What Sort of Sci-fi Should You Write?

First decide what sort of story you want to tell. If you want to tell a story about space knights who roam the galaxy kicking butt and dispensing justice with glowy swords and mental powers (The Lost King), science fantasy is probably your gig. If you want to explore how planets could be terraformed for human habitation (Red Mars) then hard sci-fi might be for you.

Second, look at your bookshelf. What sort of books do you like to read? What is it about those books that you enjoy? Is it powered armour (Armored), living spaceships (Warhorse), ecological apocalypse (The Windup Girl) or alien invasion (Battlefield Earth)? Is it none of them or several of them? Whatever it is, that's what you should write.

Third, ask yourself how much you like science and research. If you really, really want to write a detailed, realistic story about a man stranded on a hostile alien planet (The Martian), but the thought of cracking open a book or seeking advice from experts makes you want to throw up, you have a problem. That’s not to say that the softer end of the spectrum doesn’t also require research, but it (and when I say ‘it’, I mean the readership) is more forgiving.

You don’t need to be a science buff, professor or nerd to write sci-fi, even hard sci-fi, but you do need to be prepared to get your hands dirty and ask for help when you need it.


So, how do you research things like faster-than-light travel, honking-big robots and astrophysics?

Google and Wikipedia are excellent first steps. Depending upon how close to the ‘soft’ end of science scale your story is, it may be all you need. If you want something more in-depth you’ll need to hunt down academic websites, books, journals or an actual expert.

Your local library, or an online one, should be your next step, and don't forget to ask the librarian if you need help. Often, if you need the advice of an expert, you can email the author of a particular book or journal article. You’ll be surprised how often people are willing to help, and quite flattered to be asked. You can also try talking to your local doctor, vet, car mechanic or any other professional whose expertise fits with what you’re trying to research.

For topics you're unlikely to find in a research book, such as cyborgs or Godzilla-sized monsters, consider TV Tropes–a website that categorises and discusses all sorts of weird and wonderful things–read other sci-fi books to see how they deal with it, or delve deep into Internet discussion boards.

Do It Your Way

Writing sci-fi is just like writing any other genre. There is no right or wrong way to do it and you don't need to be a super-duper library person, nerd or PhD of Future Sh— err, Stuff. All you need are a few characters, an interesting story and a little bit of the future, sprinkled with just as much research as you need to write a great book. How you go about doing that is up to you.

A Few More Resources
Wow! These are great resources and book recommendations, Belinda, especially for someone like me who doesn't know a thing about the sci-fi literary world. That faster-than-light travel calculator is quite nifty by the way. Maybe writing sci-fi isn't so scary after all. :) Thanks so much for sharing.


Physics makes Belinda’s brain hurt, while quadratics cause her eyes to cross and any mention of probability equations will have her running for the door. Nonetheless, she loves watching documentaries about the natural world, biology, space, history and technology (Megafactories is one of her favourite TV shows). Oh, and she writes science fiction.

Hero is the first book in The Hero Rebellion, a science fiction trilogy about a girl with a plan to get a life. There are alien steeds, AIs, illegal street racing and a conspiracy to change the world. The second book, Riven, will hit shelves on September 25 this year.

You can keep in touch with Belinda, or just pick her brains about sci-fi, via her website, Facebook or by sending her an email (she loves email).

Friday, September 9, 2016

Driving For Inspiration & The Title Reveal of Book III!

Since finishing writing The Nightmare Birds, all of my energy (creative and physical) has been completely and totally zapped. I'm one of those people who gets anxious though if they aren't always working on some big project, or several big projects. But, as luck would have it, every time I sat down to write, I just wasn't able. It was like my brain was frozen.

I HAD WRITER'S BLOCK! Something I had always heard about, but never really experienced...until now.

I knew that I needed to take some time off and recharge, and recharge I did. For a whole month. That might not sound like a lot, but for me it was agony. I read all of these articles on how to recharge to get back into the writer's chair and everything I saw said to read, read, read. And when not reading, watch, watch, watch. So for the entire month of August, I read as many YA, fantasy, and supernatural books I could get my hands on, and watched as many fantastical things I could watch hoping to recharge and be inspired. Stranger Things is freakin AWESOME by the way. That little girl seriously deserves an Oscar!

My goal was to start writing Book III in the Strange Luck series starting September 1, and when August 31 rolled around, I still had the same unsettling and blank feeling. That day I happened to go for a long drive down to Pittsburgh for a doctor's appointment and like a bolt of lightening, I got tons of ideas while driving, including a title! Suddenly my brain felt completely recharged. But why then? Why when I was driving?

To psychoanalyze myself for a moment, I think I was inspired because I was completely alone with my thoughts. I was free to think about my book, but also free not to think about it. I came home that night and wrote down all of my ideas and expanded them more and more. Overjoyed that I had gotten my writing mojo back, I suddenly remembered that's actually how I was inspired to write Strange Luck in the first place - while driving to work one day. There's just something about driving that relaxes my brain and energizes me as a writer. This is something I need to remember for the next book!

I'm pleased to report that just over a week later, I've officially finished the first chapter! It's so much fun writing these characters, especially the new ones!

And that, my friends, is how I started writing my new book - A DARLING SECRET.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Impressions - Reading By Moonlight

Ruthie Jones at Reading By Moonlight just posted her review of The Nightmare Birds and needless to say I am OVERJOYED. Reviews like this make me all warm and fuzzy inside. :D

Here are some snippets from her 5/5 star review!

"I am completely enamored by the theme of Memory in both the first book and this second book in the Strange Luck series. Memories can be both comforting and horrifying, sweetly true and devastatingly false. The Nightmare Birds takes this idea of Memory and cloaks it in mystifying darkness. I love it!"

"The writing is crisp, and the plot is fast paced. This book is hard to put down."

I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Ruthie!

You can read the full review HERE.

If you've read my book(s), I'd love to hear what you think. Shoot me an email, post in the comments, or send me a link to your review.