Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Six Weeks Report Card

When I was in middle and high school some thirty-five years ago (wow!) we received those dreaded report cards every six weeks. Mom had to sign them to prove sneaky little students weren't scamming the system.

It has now been six weeks since I lost my perfect-for-me wife. While I don't expect anyone to sign and return this report card, I wanted to let everyone know how I'm faring.

Overall, I think I warrant a B on my report card. I consider this to be phenomenal seeing as how I expected a D-.

Most expected my biggest challenge would be the quiet, empty house. It's not. It isn't easy, but in truth, the solitude gives me the privacy I need to grieve unrestrained. There are, however, two significant hurdles in my path.

Hurdle #1: I can't keep my mind from returning to the ICU and reliving the event (the whole day, really) that changed my life forever. This is something with which I will have to deal eventually. It's the only aspect of the grieving (or healing) process I've intentionally deferred. It sets me to borderline panic. I will get through this, but it will take a while.

Hurdle #2: Guilt. I feel guilty when I spend hours upon hours moping, mourning and weeping. I know she doesn't want that. She wants me living, loving, writing, experiencing joy and making the most of myself. However, I feel guilty when I do that too, as though I'm ignoring or forgetting or even betraying her somehow. I hope to come to terms with this one soon. It's unbelievably distracting. And guilt can quickly become an unhealthy emotion.

I give myself an A in the regrets category though. Of the few regrets I have, most are not major or significant. We were unbelievably happy and content together. We did well all the crucial things required for a joyous marriage. We also did well in avoiding (or quickly correcting) those things that can divide or even destroy an otherwise thriving marriage.

For Myra and me, love was not a state of being, but an action stemming from choice. I usually call that commitment. Commitment is something we had in abundance.

So there you have it, my report card. I'm still on hiatus (or summer break if I stick with my theme) and am unsure how long I will remain so. Prayers and well-wishes are still welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Surfing and a Hiatus

I almost didn't post this week's Sunday Surfing links. I'm still taking baby steps and haven't done any browsing lately, but a few worth sharing did come across my Facebook feed.

I ask for your patience and understanding while I try to establish a new routine. Virtually everything I've written lately is either to or about my wife. I still want to reveal covers, participate in blog tours and host others. I just don't anticipate publishing much in the way of self-written posts for a while.

I am healing, but I am also still grieving. Myra would haunt me if I abandoned writing and blogging, so this is only a hiatus, not a permanent cessation. I am most grateful for your continued prayers and support while I adapt to life without my wife.

Now, let the links begin:

Famous Self-Published Authors

Promotion: Is Ignorance Bliss?

Typesetting Your Book In Word

Social Media Secrets Part II

5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

Standard Pages for A Fiction Website

Why “Show, Don’t Tell” Is the Great Lie of Writing Workshops

Three Top Strategies to Guarantee Book Sales

The screenwriter's nitty-gritty for the better bad guy

Evolution of a Cover: MENTATS OF DUNE

A look at the latest Thor: The Dark World trailer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

KateMarie Collins Blog Tour

And let us begin with Teaser #8...

“We are in an inn, Lord Senyan, in a town by the name of Serenity. It is a mining community, on the shores of Lake Brahl. I...” Senyan raised a hand, cutting him off.

Nodding with understanding, Senyan let the curtain drop in front of the window again. “There is a ruin outside of town, about five miles or so. It was a temple at one time. Do you know where I speak of?” He didn’t look at the priest but rather began to rummage through a chest for what equipment may be there.

“Yes, Lord Senyan. I know it well.” The priest answered quickly.

Blurb for ‘Son of Corse: Book 2 of The Raven Chronicles”
By KateMarie Collins

It’s been almost two years since Arwenna banished the Demon Corse from her world. Life has been good. Idyllic, almost.

The illusion is shattered in a heartbeat during her sister’s wedding. Not only are once-dead enemies back, but they’ve stolen Arwenna’s only child, Sera.

The price Arwenna will have to pay to save her daughter is high. Can she muster the strength to make a pact that jeopardizes not just her own soul, but that of an entire world?

Solstice – KateMarie Collins
Solstice – Mark of the Successor
Amazon – Daughter of Hauk (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Mark of the Successor (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Kick the Can (Kindle eBook)
Amazon – Daughter of Hauk (Paperback)
Audio Book – Daughter of Hauk (Audio Book)

About KateMarie Collins

Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".

Twitter: @DaughterHauk

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Surfing and Deepest Gratitude

Happy Anniversary, Myra.
Please allow me to start this post by conveying my sincerest, deepest gratitude to everyone who has expressed their condolences, thoughts, prayers and sympathies to my family and me over the past two-and-a-half weeks.

You cannot know how much they have helped, especially with so many coming on the same day I had to pick up the death certificates. I'm so grateful to DL HammondsAlex Cavanaugh and Al Diaz for their respective roles in making the "Blitz" such a special blessing.

Today is August 4th, our anniversary, the 29-year milestone, and the first with us apart.

I picked up a card to celebrate just as I've always done. Within it, I spilled my heart just as I always have. I'm unable to hand it to her this year and I don't know Heaven's mailing address. I am therefore putting it on my blog. Surely Heaven has wi-fi.

Even through the ache of loss, my love for you remains.

(Click to enlarge)
Now, for the surfing.

Please note that as time progresses, I should be able to raise the quantity of links back up to their original level. I'm still taking baby steps for now. I'm way behind on my visiting, but I do plan to catch up soon.

Two Words Writers Should Avoid

"than I" and "than me"

10 Words That You've Probably Been Misusing

Author Brand in the Age of Indie (Indie Life)

More on Author Branding

Storytelling Across Platforms

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Elsie Park on Medieval Weapons & Shadows of Valor

Jeff, thank you for having me as a guest! I enjoy you blog posts and comments, and I’m honored to be here.

Shadows of Valor is my debut medieval fiction. I love historical stories. In fact, medieval weapons are fascinating to me. There are five I like very much and try to implement into my stories.
  1. Crossbow: Easier to handle than the long bow. The arrows shot from it could penetrate metal armor. Though crossbows were considered by knights to be a “cowardly” weapon because it didn’t require close-contact fighting, it was a most effective tool and one I would personally love to wield if I lived back then.

  2. Broadsword: A two-edged, 3-4 foot long sword favored by knights. It weighed between 3-5 pounds and was used in close-contact fighting. Coupled with the skill of the wielder, the sword could slice limbs or dismember heads in one stroke.

  3. Dagger: A simple weapon carried by just about everyone of every class. It was small and concealable. It’s multi-use as a weapon or tool for hunting and even eating food place it on my list of essential blades to have.

  4. Flail/morning star/mace: These three weapons are quite similar to each other, all usually having some sort of spiked ball(s) on the end of a long handle, sometimes swinging from a chain as well. I added them because they just look really COOL and they look like they could do some serious damage.

  5. Trebuchet: I LOVE this awesomely massive weapon of destruction, the ingenious device made possible through the use of a counter weight mechanism. It was used in full effect well up to the point of gun powder being introduced into Europe in the mid-13th century. My favorite movie scenes using trebuchets come from the high fantasy “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” directed by Peter Jackson. Awesome!

What is SHADOWS OF VALOR about and how did I come to write it?

Overview: Taking place in 1300 A.D. England, The Shadow (aka Sir Calan), a knight-spy working under the direction of King Edward I, hunts down and arrests smugglers who defy the law and evade paying their taxes. The Shadow’s duty is fueled by vengeance from a childhood experience against smugglers who used and murdered the innocent and poor. Dealing with society at its worst, The Shadow becomes cynical and struggles to reign in his desire to execute lethal justice before turning the perpetrators over to local authorities. He feels his soul turning black with hate in his continual fight against evil. A childhood acquaintance, Lady Elsbeth, enters his life years later, bringing light to his soul once again, but in an effort to keep his identity and duty secret, he must also deceive her. This creates distrust and uncertainty between them, not to mention her accepting another man as suitor. Smugglers infiltrate the castle and The Shadow must discover who they are before Elsbeth and others are hurt or killed.

I have always loved fantastical and historical stories about princesses, knights, pirates, Vikings, wizards, dragons, and anything adventurous in another time. I like to get lost in unknown worlds . . . places I don’t experience everyday. I chose 1300 A.D. England because I liked the clothing styles and King Edward’s wool tax that caused some people to smuggle their goods. This was a great backdrop for a story. I’ve always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when a bunch of adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought those would make a good movie or story if coupled with a good plot. But could I really write a full-length novel? I’d never done anything like that before. So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken.

Also drawn to the poems by Tolkien in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” I also wrote ballads into my story and composed the written music for them. I’ve included a medieval recipe in the book as well. My publisher gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.

Shadows of Valor will be released September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon and will be available in hard cover, paperback and e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer). I’m excited over the release of Shadows of Valor, and I hope people will love the story and my music as much as I loved writing and composing it.

Thanks again, Jeff, for hosting a wonderful blog and allowing me to take up a small part of it. Best regards and wishes to you in all your writing adventures.

Elsie Park’s contact information:

E-mail –
Elsie Park's Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @elsiepark1
Blog: Elsie Park

Shadows of Valor at:
Barnes and Noble (available for pre-order)

To schedule a book signing, appearance, or interview, contact my publicist, Kirk Cunningham: or me at