Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Muse Tried to Kill Me Today (Repost)

Seeing as how I am up to my eyebrows in edits on The Bonding in order to satisfy a vow I made, I've been unable to craft a nice mid-week post. Drafting one from scratch wasn't even an option and my four dozen or so half-written posts refused to be hurried by the blogger who had let them sit unfinished all this time.

Therefore, I dug back into my greatest-posts-ever-told vault and grabbed a light one to publish again. (This is known as the Bloggy version of a Reprint. Yay!) Maybe five-to-ten percent of the awesome GFC folks over there on the right were over there on the right when this originally published.

Please enjoy My Muse Tried to Kill Me Today. This is based on a true story.

"Not in the car!" I told her.  "We've talked about this!  I'm driving.  Fast!"

"Just jot it down, Jeff.  You got that new gadget, didn't you?  Use it."

"I can't type on virtual keyboards driving 65 miles per hour," I growled.

"Well, doesn't it have one of those thingies built into it?  You know, one of those recorder things?"

"Probably.  I don't know.  I ain't got it all figured out yet.  It's still new."

"Come on, Jeff.  You work with computers!  What's taking you so long?"

"I'm old," I quipped.  Old people like me get cranky sometimes--especially on highways doing 65mph while dodging other drivers equally distracted by muses of their own.  "Can't you just hold that thought until I get into town?  We'll hit a bunch of red lights.  I promise."

"Well what about one of those little thingies that you talk to and it plays it back for ya?  You wouldn't have to type or write anything then, just run your mouth like you usually do."

If I could have found her eyes I'd have given her a real meaningful stare about then.  But she had been spouting some mighty good stuff the whole way into work.  I needed to stay on her good side.  But still... "Where were you before I left the house this morning?  Or over the weekend for that matter?  I'd could have written everything down then."

"Oh, Jeff.  You think I ain't got nothing better to do than to memorize your schedule?  I'm a free spirit.  I'm not just a 9-to-5 girl, you know."

No, I thought to myself.  You're a pop-in-while-Jeff's-driving kind of girl.  "Well, I waited on you last night.  You stood me up.  Again."

"You know, you might try coming up with some of this stuff yourself sometime.  It's not that hard."

"Woah!  Hang on!  Some dude behind me's a sniffin' my tailpipe!"  I find twelve feet of empty space between two cars on my right and swerve into it like the crazy old coot that I am.  "You're gonna get me killed!"

"Wow, who taught you how to drive?"

My back stiffened and I quietly told her, "I'm a safe driver, thank-you, when people aren't distracting me."

"If you say so.  Are you gonna write any of this down or not?  I ain't got all day to spend with you.  One of my other clients is writing this juicy love scene in a romantic novella."  She grinned.  "He's cute too."

"Well, go check on him then.  I'll see if I can find one of those little recorder thingies after work.  Okay?"

"Okay.  I'll pop in later, Jeff.  Drive safe now!"

Alrighty folks, I'm curious.  Any of your muses ever put your well-being in jeopardy?  Care to tell us how?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Surfing

Congratulations to this year's Nebula Award winners!

Donna Hosie interviews Andrew Brown, her trilogy's cover designer

60 Rules for Short SF (and Fantasy)

Some of you fan fiction writers might find this interesting.

The Bridport Prize is hosting a competition. (Poetry, short and flash fiction categories.)

Not sure I'm willing to subscribe, but this Visual Thesaurus is definitely cool.

New Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More eBooks

One of several such graphs from the Smashwords article

Rachelle Gardner's All the Publishing Information You Ever Wanted

And for a laugh, check out the Top Ten Things You Could Say to Make Someone Think You're a Psycho Stalker

Speaking of laughter, 22 Things Happy People Do Differently

As many of you know, I purchased the Windows version of Scrivener this week. I really do like it. There are a few things I'd love to see added, but for $40, it's a bargain.

This in no way means development of my Magic Muse software is coming to an end. But seeing as how I'm putting the final polish on The Bonding and now drafting its sequel, The Awakening, it seemed a logical time to give it a shot. Besides, when the day comes that Magic Muse is release-ready, it'll likely be free.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Things That Make Me Happy

The always delightful Jo Wake of Jo On Food, My Travels and a Scent of Chocolate tagged me in this post. I'm just not fast enough to outrun folks anymore. It seems every child over two years old could render me frozen or it at will. But this is not a tag from which I'd choose to run.

This is a happy tag, literally. I'm to list Five Things That Make Me Happy.

I've chosen to bypass the obvious, most important things that I've mentioned many times before: wife, children, grandchildren, a good job, a good life, all that wonderful stuff that makes me perpetually happy.

Instead, I've decided to choose very specific things that make or made me happy. And I'll start by choosing...

1) Jo! She really made my day/week/month/year when she posted this after reading my manuscript. Happy begins to cover it.

2) My taskmaster, Al Diaz. Father Dragon, who can chide me, prod me, encourage me, and critique my writing all at the same time and still have me laughing. That, people, is a gift. Having Father Dragon as a partner in blogging, writing and friendship makes me very happy.

3) Finding a component free of charge that should work beautifully in my Magic Music writing app made me quite happy. Of course, development time is at a minimum until at least June 12. I somehow kinda sorta made this commitment and noble knights value their word as much as noble dragons do. Let's just say Night Writer has been very very busy this week and will continue to be for the next few to follow.

4) This special editor I have the pleasure of knowing has expressed an interest in my latest short story. That made me very happy. Hopefully, I'll be fortunate enough to make an announcement regarding it sometime soon. I'm also happy to have amazing critique partners with their own unique approaches to criticism offering brilliant feedback.

5) I was invited to submit a short story (still unwritten) to a competition. (Fortunately, the deadline is after June 12.) The fact that I was among those selected to vie for a very nice grand prize made me very happy. I don't have to win. Just being selected made me happy.

To those folks I referenced above, I'd like to say, thank you for making Jeff a very happy boy.

Now, I had to chase down five folks who are slower than I am--not an easy achievment. I shan't freeze them, but I shall tag them as it and humbly ask that they continue this wonderfully happy tradition.

And they are:
Elsie Park at Elsie Park
Linda Jackson at Writers Do Laundry Too
Kellie at Delightfully Ludicrous
Julie Kemp Pick at Empty Nest Insider
Gary Pennick (or Penny the Jack Russell) at Klahanie

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Surfing

The Importance of Strategic Goals and How To Reassess Your Personal Goals

Gini Koch: Why I Like Traditional Publishing (Use the "Find Posts By" dropdown to filter by contributor or interest.)

Book Contract Overview (a little dated, but a nice overview regarding what is in a typical contract. Good comments too.)

5 Things You Need to Do Before You Quit the Day Job

Rites of Submission: Cover Letters and Query Letters

Self Publishing, The Poor Way

Need a little therapeutic bubble wrap popping?

And here's a little LOTR Infographic to help you brush up on your Tolkien.

Enjoy the links! And as always, write wisely!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I am a Superhero

Batman, Batman, Batman. Everyone wants to be Batman.

But I have no such aspiration. For I am a superhero already.

I am not Batman. I am Night Writer, a one man write by night force feared by fictional villains the world over.

I am masked magnificence cloaked in creativity. I brandish no blaster. The weapon I wield is mightier than the sword. I am perilous with a pen and with it I bring chaos to an end.

It is I who protects your excursions into realms imagined. I am he who safeguards your right to delve into lands of fantasy, warp through space in starships, and live vicariously through your favorite protagonists.

I bring worlds to your doorstep and transport you through time. I write the page where your journey begins.

They call me a superhero. They call me Night Writer.

If this world no longer suits you, you're welcome in mine.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Surfing and I Survived Vegas

I survived Las Vegas
With my trip to Vegas consuming most of my week, I found little time to rummage through the nooks and crannies of the web looking for nuggets of priceless wisdom and guffaw-inducing entertainment.

However, I did find a few that I wanted to highlight for your ever-progressing self-enrichment.

I came across some great "How-To" articles on self-publishing here and here and this one with still more links.

And after last week's fun-poking at felines, here's a link to a canine post for your enjoyment. Writers and their canine doppelgangers.

Also from The Kill Zone is the Hunting Down The Muse post.

Scott Lukas Williams wrote a touching tribute: RIP Ray Harryhausen.

Here is part 1 and part 2 of Carissa Taylor's Write On Con Recap.

Mooderino was busy last week providing some welcome Synopsis Support. And along those lines, you may also want to check out Your Book In One Sentence part 1 and part 2.

You survived April's A-to-Z Challenge. Did you visit all the other participating blogs? No? Well then climb on board for the 2013 Post A-to-Z Road Trip.

And about that Vegas trip I took last week...

They say "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," but sometimes what happens is just too good or funny not to share.

I had my first chuckle within 90 seconds of paying for my hotel room. There I was, laptop bag in one hand, suitcase in the other. Before me stood a lovely, towering fountain.

No, he didn't fall into this
Upon this fancy fountain sat a fellow more than a little inebriated. I doubt I'd have noticed him at all had it not been for the splash.

A southern baptist preacher couldn't have dunked him any better.

Now, the brain requires a few brief moments to process such things before it thinks about rendering aid. In this, my brain was no exception. I stood there gawking just like everyone else. By the time the thought occurred to me, he'd already arisen from his self-administered baptism.

I stayed at the MGM Grand
With eyes as round as any I'd ever seen, he took in his surroundings while climbing back out of the fountain. He never spoke, but I'm fairly certain he realized he was drenched. I'm just not sure he understood how he came to be that way.

I would so love to know which questions were sloshing through his mind. His expression suggested so many possibilities.

The downside to the incident was the fact that the fountain was off and empty for the remainder of my stay. Perhaps it was due maintenance after the mishap or it needed a good cleaning. I somehow doubt it was the first baptism that fountain had seen.

But the trip was both productive and fun. The flights were at full capacity, but were all on time. I managed to get You Are My Sunshine stuck in my head during the return trip thanks to a spontaneous mother and daughter in-flight duet. (I have to admit though, the girl had a nice voice for being three or four years old.)

The weather was great the entire time I was there. I snapped some nice pictures. I posted some here and more on Facebook.

I ate at Gordon Ramsay's BurGR restaurant. (And that burger was way better than I expected!) I also had steak at Chef Emeril Lagasse's Cajun seafood restaurant. (I don't do fish.) Of course, everyone except me knew who these chefs were.

There really is something in Vegas for just about everyone--except for beaches, but they do have some nice pools. This last photo is from a pool area at MGM Grand.

Enjoy the links. And as always, write wisely.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Invasion of the Facebook Felines

Facebook was once a happy, tranquil place. Friends planned weekend excursions. Proud parents invited neighbors to little Johnny's birthday party. Long lost acquaintances found each other at the click of button. Grandparents gushed over pictures of grandchildren living across the country.

Distance no longer mattered. Facebook spanned neighborhoods and nations alike. The world had become a community. We thought it a great thing, instantly connecting with everyone, everywhere, all the time.

We were wrong. We'd been deceived, manipulated, baited. We were corralled like mindless cattle, woefully unaware of the plot against us.

Then she came. The queen. The mother of them all.

Where is Ripley???

She sat atop her pixel-plated throne and began the horrendous spawning that would forever change the planet.

The queen was cunning. She seduced her earliest victims, tantalizing and entertaining them with images of cuteness and playfulness. Those she seduced became zombies, propagating her offspring like a hacker's virus. And from them, the infection spread.

She had successfully established her pawhold. Facebook's millions were within her claws. Her plan was unfolding purrfectly.

Her progeny turned hideous, nasty, vicious. 

Do you feel lucky, punk? Well? Do you?

They multiplied like midnight-fed gremlins swimming the Atlantic. She birthed them one after another in relentless succession, never stopping, never slowing. They invaded everything.

Human eyes the world over stared at Facebook walls and timelines. Feline eyes stared back. No newsfeed was immune. There were no more kibbles, no more bits. There was only Friskies.

Birthday parties were forgotten. Acquaintances were lost. Grandparents scrolled past photos of their grandkids and forwarded photos of cats instead. We'd become fodder, blue-collar Meow Mix and white-collar Fancy Feast.

She reveled in victory. The queen and her offspring dined on the vanquished. She coughed up a hairball and said, "That was good."


Take heed, my human kin. Beware. It's an invasion! And they're coming to a Facebook wall near you!

Now you know how the most unsociable of creatures came to dominate the largest social network in history.

I take no responsibility for this post. It was Liesel Hill's fault. She inspired this horror. You may blame her.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Surfing and Waving From Vegas

What I Learned From Having a Literary Agent

5 Ways to Deal with Word Repetition

Self-Publishers: Do You Need Nurturing?

I found this one quite illuminating: LOL isn't funny anymore

Getting Everything Right Is Wrong

Pirates & Trolls But No White Knight by Beth Fred (on the pirating of eBooks)

Notes on Writing Fight Scenes

"Illegal" Magic Systems

And this is just a "little" thing for you science fans: A Boy And His Atom. Guinness-certified world's smallest movie, created by stop-motion photography of actual atoms arranged by IBM researchers. Magnification factor? 100 million times.

This North Carolina boy is heading to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend a LOMA/ACORD conference for work. While I love flying, I despise airports and all the hassles that come with them.  However, the upside to this trip is that I get to see Dr. Michio Kaku in person! He'll be wrapping up the conference!

Dr. Michio Kaku

Dr. Kaku's website is a great place to visit.

Wish me safe and hassle-free journeying. Time and wi-fi willing, I'll pop in and do a bit of visiting. Until then, write wisely!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Conspiracy? (A-to-Z Reflections)

I entertained the idea of participating in the A-to-Z Challenge this year. But I knew April would be a demanding month at work, so I logically decided against participating.

I was at peace.

Until a certain dragon delivered mail asking if I'd do it. I again debated the pros and cons, weighing them until the balance tipped. I replied, relaying my sincere apologies.

Now I said my A B Cs...
I was again at peace--mostly.

Until a certain ninja (or a clone of one) emailed me. He pounced with his mystical power of persuasion. I heard music in the email. A guitar, I think. This masked master of omnipresence tempted me.

Was there a conspiracy afoot? Were other tempters and temptresses out there lying in wait? It quickly became obvious that resistance was futile. I caved.

And I was no longer at peace.

I fretted over theme. I fretted over time. I fretted over Xs and Zs and Qs. I garnered curious expressions from my wife as she watched me roam aimlessly throughout the house muttering my alphabet.

I chose my theme. I chose my entries. I wrote and posted, visited and commented. I found new friends, discovered great blogs, and learned a few things in the process. I do not regret participating.

I am at peace.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Spirit of Nimue Cover Reveal


The trilogy concludes
Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, have removed the magical darkness that had fallen over the land of Logres.

But all actions have consequences.

Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, is now a sworn enemy. Natasha realises that the only way the land of Logres will truly be at peace is if the sorceress is removed forever. So with her beloved Sir Bedivere, the feisty Guinevere, and a trusty brethren of knights, Natasha plots to free Logres from the malevolence of Nimue once and for all.

Yet Arthur also has problems. Now a father to Mila, he starts to witness a terrifying change over his girlfriend, Samantha, as she struggles to contain the awakened powers of Morgana.

With dark magic coming at them from all sides, Natasha and Arthur decide to make use of the Falls of Merlin: a mystical landscape of waterfalls that connects 21st century England with the mystical world they fell into. A place that does not exist in the future.

Book #1
Book #2
And by the end, they will know why.

As Natasha finally discovers the truth about her past link to Logres a tragedy will strike at her very heart. Can Arthur get his young family back to the 21st century and still continue to be the king that Logres demands he be? What is the secret that Sir Gareth has been hiding all this time?

And who is the true owner of Excalibur?

THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE is released on Amazon on the 31 May 2013. It is the final book in THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy.

Connect with Donna Hosie at:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Theresa M Jones - Hope - Blog Tour

Hope (The Descendant Trilogy #2)

Allison now understands who she is and where she comes from, but will it be enough to save the world? She went through a dangerous journey, dragging her young daughter along for the ride, in an attempt to stop the evil Rising Leader, Damien, from opening the Seven Seals and bringing about the Apocalypse.

But she hasn’t succeeded yet. The Rising still thrives and Lilith has made it her mission to open the remaining Seals so that she and her minions can rule the Earth.

David and Allison hope that love can conquer all, but in reality, love is never enough. Will they, along with the rest of the gang back at the Compound, be able to stop the Rising?

And where is The Descendant that is prophesied to save them all?

Ways to connect with Theresa:
Theresa's Amazon Author Page

Get Power (The Descendant Trilogy #1) FREE at Amazon through May 3rd!
And here's the link to Hope at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
An excerpt from Hope:

Chapter 18- Russia

Finally I looked around. I noticed all the bodies lying around the room. Death hung heavily to every inch of the dreadful place. I could no longer see the beauty it once held. Then I saw him. Before I realized what I was doing, my legs moved faster beneath me and I weaved my way through the maze of lifeless bodies that scattered the floor.

When I came to him, I knelt down. His blue was gone, his body wasn’t moving.

“He was gone before I could get to him. He had been fighting the man they call Frank. Apparently he is a leader of sorts, as the other Rising members answered to his commands.” He explained. I barely listened.

I placed my hands to his head, and pulled it up into my lap. I was already covered in blood, so the blood that dripped from his ears and nose didn’t bother me. Tears ran down my cheeks slowly, the salt they contained mixed with the scent of blood already heavy in the air.

My body shook as the full weight of what I had lost wrenched my heartstrings and twisted them in unnatural knots. I placed my forehead against his chest and cried without cease.

I tried pulling him closer, his heavy body sagged against my legs as I attempted to pull him onto my lap. I held him in our last embrace and cried more fiercely. I was angry that he was gone. Angry that he could have been taken from me. He was so Powerful! But he was gone.

Finally Nicholas and the Guard came back in.

“The sequence was stopped. We have won.”

“Won?” I shouted at him. “How the hell can you call this winning?” My voice cracked as I screeched the words at him.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Go Ahead, Aim For the Stars

During last month's A-to-Z Challenge, I highlighted a number of authors that have inspired me over the years. Many of these authors broke new ground, tried new things and were often met with lukewarm receptions.

Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing about John Carter traveling to Mars in 1912. He described large flying ships, planetary atmospheric processing plants and Tharks, the six-limbed and not so little green Martians. When was he inducted into the EMP Museum's Science Fiction Hall of Fame? 2003. Talk about patience!

Click here to join this supportive community
And let us not forget the great Jules Gabriel Verne. In the 1860s & 1870s he was taking readers 20,000 leagues under the sea, around the world in eighty days, to the moon and even to the earth's very center. Verne had to wait until 1999 for his induction to the Hall of Fame. He was often perceived as a children's or (gasp!) genre author.

Isaac Asimov's robots with positronic brains showed up in his short stories as early as 1939. (Who knew Lt. Commander Data was so dated?) They appeared in his novels by the 1950s. Keep in mind that we didn't even have pocket calculators until the 1970s.

In the 1930s and 1940s we had C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and the rest of the Inklings discussing literature and creating hobbits, ringwraiths and vistas like Narnia, among so much more.

These writers were visionaries. They were in many ways ahead of their time. Much of what they accomplished wasn't always appreciated until years later. And they were but a few who dared to write what none had written before.

The take-away? Possibilities are limitless. Let yourself dream and break new ground.

Go ahead, aim for the stars!