Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Ameria's Next Author - Guest Post

Well, I have a surprise for you all. This week, I have a very special guest post by one of the contestants of America’s Next Author. Please give your attention to Dominique Goodall as she tells you what she is doing right now.

Dominique Goodall says…

For the past two weeks (and a few days) I’ve been involved in a huge competition which makes use of your skills in social media as well as writing. I used a piece which involves characters from my upcoming book, Echoes of Winter but in a different setting where magic flows and wolves can fly. (But only if they have wings, of course!)

It’s been an interesting thing to do – I’ve asked people for honest reviews and mostly the feedback has been amazing! Short stories aren’t my forte but this one seems to have appealed to people for some reason. Some people didn’t think the pacing was too fast, or that I told rather than showed the reader what was happening/in the scenery. Some people believed that this was part of a larger piece (which it isn’t, but I do plan another short ‘instalment’ to finish the story.)

Other people are fascinated by the ideas represented in the story. Two friends, close enough to call themselves sisters, are torn apart by the depression of one and her failure to care about the responsibilities she has. What made people even more interested was that these weren’t humans – these were wolves and yet they had emotions like those everyone feels.

Relying on other people to review and vote is a patchy business and yet I’ve managed to remain in the top ten for the last week and a half! I’ve had a lot of support from friends and writing groups, who often go and hit the tweet button. The reviews count as well, as I prefer honest reviews. If you love it, write that and more importantly…tell me why! If you hate it, again – I want to know why you hate it.
An author can only progress with the constructive criticism of the type I’ve received, so thank you to everyone who HAS reviewed it.

Interested in reading yourself? Does this synopsis sound like something you could enjoy?
‘When winter springs a challenging blizzard onto a pack besieged with doubt? What will happen to the wolves that have been chased from their home, have lost their Alpha male and are watching their Alpha female die? Well, if Kamduis has anything to do with it, she’ll have a lot to do with it! Read on for this tale which mentions the wolf goddess Luna, winged wolves and betrayal between two sisters who have no real bond but the love in their hearts and the song which joins them together as pack.’
If so, then take a look here!

Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the Seasons of the Wolf series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.
As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there’s nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.

She can be friended on Facebook here:
Her author page on Facebook is here:
The page for Echoes of Winter is here:
Her twitter name is:!/DomGoodall
And her blog can be found here:
And the trailer for her book is here:
There you have it folks, head on over and read the short story and let her know your thoughts on it.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Last Post

Well it’s finally here. The last posting for the Virtual Blog Tour, organised by Tasha Turner and her helpers, is finally here. It has been a long and gruelling 16 weeks but we arrived here all the better for it. Well, perhaps that would be true if I managed the last two posts, but I had to back out for those two weeks. However this post isn’t about that. This post is about the experience gained over the tour. It’s about the fun and new found friendships. Yes there were hard times and tough moments but the less said on those the better for everyone I think.

For many, this was the first tour they had ever participated in. Very few knew what to expect from it and many were left asking – What did I just get myself into?

Yes there were doubts throughout the tour, but through those doubts many realisations were made. From the start you could see the friendships forming, you could see a small community growing and each were willing to support each other through it.  From the very first task we were taught how to see things from the perspective of the reader, from the perspective of our target audience’s. Not easy I can assure you, but certainly helpful.

16 weeks, 16 posts – that’s quite a feat isn’t it? Can you imagine the amount of planning it took to build this tour? No, neither can I. But from a participant’s side it has shown me that if you work together and help each other, you make better progress through the harder parts. 17 assignments were presented to us over the weeks, 16 of them were posts for the tour and one was the short bio of ourselves that we added to each post as it was sent to our hosts for that given week.

But what was learnt from the tour? I don’t know about the other participants, what they learned could be so different from me that you may never have guessed we were all in the same tour. My own experience can be referred to as being on a rollercoaster where the highs outweighed all the lows.

When I signed up for the tour experience, I was nervous and scared. I was excited by the prospect of what could come from it. I looked forward to the experience of doing something that I had never done before. To checking off one more item on a long list of things to undertake. But let’s face it – Blog Tours didn’t stand a chance of my list before this one. That’s a good sign. It means I’m up for others in the future, depending on the context of the tour of course.

I struggled, I wavered and I threw in the towel when life became too much to cope with. Yes, I gave up but I didn’t lose anything from giving up, quite the opposite in fact. So what, I didn’t complete all 16 weeks of the tour. It doesn’t make me a failure. I’ll never see it that way. 13 half decent posts, not including this one, with hours spent on each post is what I have to show for my time on this tour. What they don’t tell you is how important those 13 posts have come to be. They don’t show you the time spent behind the scene’s trying to word it just right and still not managing to do so. They don’t show you what writers in general go through on a daily basis. Nor do they show you the dedicated level of restraint and control that professional bloggers develop as they maintain a high standard of postings for those that follow what they do.

I’m not one them, a professional blogger is not what I want to be. But blogging is necessary. So is interaction and FEEDBACK. Feedback is important. Not only does it help the blogger make better what they have, but it helps those that are reading over it to see how they too can improve upon themselves. But that’s for another time.

This tour has shown me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it – so long as you don’t become too absorbed in stress and conflict. Easier said than done and seemingly contradictive of my own predicament that saw me miss the last two posts, I’ll grant you that. However, at the same time it has made me realise that I am not alone and every fall is followed with a steady climb back up.

I didn’t survive the entire 16 weeks, but for the 13 weeks I posted faithfully and on time where possible. I posted with love and admiration for my guests and wished everyone the best. I posted because I cared and I was learning all the way through. This post marks my 14th of the tour and I’m proud to be able to join everyone for this very last post of what has been an amazing tour experience. If I were to list everything I learned over the tour then I’d need a second posting, perhaps even a third just to make sure everything was there.

I’ve learned just how important it is to tailor to your market audience and grab their attention the best you can. I’ve learned how important your pitches are, whether on Facebook, twitter or somewhere else. If it stands out – then you’ll get the hits you’ve been looking for. Short and snappy tends to work. Invite your audience in with questions; invite them to discuss your post. Invite them to ask you question. Interact with your audience and you will grow from strength to strength. I’ve learned just how supportive others can be, and I’ve learned that no matter what you do, you are never alone in your experience. You are never alone in your growth. Someone, somewhere is standing facing the same or similar to you. Never be blind to your own struggles, reach out to those around you and you will get the help you need. Always ask questions and listen to what’s being said. It is from this – asking and listening, that you will find your answers and your way forwards.

This… is what I’ve learned from this tour. 16 weeks of asking questions, 14 weeks of finding my answers. 16 weeks of understanding the support that was always there and 14 weeks of standing strong. 16 long weeks with 16 guest posts and 16 host blogs, of which only 14 weeks did I find my feet. I may not have lasted the entire tour like others have. I may have backed down due to stress for the previous two weeks. But, I did not fail. I am not a causality of the mighty pen. I am writer. I am a survivor in my own rights. I… will always be here.

Would I take part in another tour knowing what know now?

Of course I would. We learn from experience. To learn we must step into the shadows of the unknown and brave the adventure that we have never travelled before. We must boldly go, where we have gone before. Yes, we’ll hit walls. Yes, we’ll panic and cringe. But we will survive. We will live fight another day. Giving in, throwing the towel in does not make you a failure. It makes you stronger.

To Tasha Turner, her staff and fellow participants, I must thank each of you. It has been a long journey of ups and down, a journey of tears and journey of wit. But we have grown together, we have laughed together and we have struggled together. But we have had each other. So raise your glasses and let’s toast to our hosts, to our guests and our organizers. Without each other, this tour would never have been as successful as it has come to be. Some said it would never work; it would never last because it wasn’t done as other tours had been done. But each of you proved that wrong and each of you, whether you lasted the 16 weeks or not, should be proud. Take what you have learned and let it build. You are not the same person you were 16 weeks ago. Together we have grown and together have shared in an amazing experience that was worth participating in.

Without many of you, I would never have lasted as long as I did. I only wish that could I have managed those two missing assignments but real life proved to be too difficult to balance for those two weeks. I know you all understand this and I look forward to working with you all in the future. Many, many thanks to each of you!

Can you relate to what I’ve mentioned about the tour?
Have I missed an aspect that deserves some attention?
If I have, please leave a comment and let us know. Others will gain from what you have to say.
Until the next post, or tour, live life for the experience. Live for the fun of learning something new and never be too afraid to step into the unknown. 

About Jennifer Don

Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.
While she aims to work through the edits needed, updates on her progress can be found on here -
To find out more with regards to her other projects, then check out her blog here -
And should you wish to follow her on Twitter, or ask her any questions please see here -!/Voice_Of_Spirit
You can also add and follow Jennifer over on Goodreads. You will find that link here –
Jennifer will be more than happy to answer any questions you have for her. You can contact her at any of the links posted above. Or email her at

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

In My Dreams - A Review

It's time to post a post that hasn't been done on this blog for a long long time. It's time for a book review. Doing one, is like being back at school trying to remember all the key points and factors that we're meant to refer back to, but in reality do we ever do what we were taught in school? I can't remember one factor from the rest, but that doesn't matter. Personal book reviews and reviews for authors don't fall into such strict routines. They don't look for the same thing over and over again. They want honesty.... your honesty. That's all that matters.

So on to the Review. The following is something that is close to my heart. Not only is it paranormal based but it highlights aspects of the real world for many that people dismiss. In My dreams - highlights aspects of our dreams that can help us in reality albeit not based as they are within this book. It also shows an author who is acceptant of the world around them and isn't afraid to approach that bridge and stand comfortably on it. So for me that is extra bonus points for this Indie Author. You see, I've always held a special connection to those that pass before us. It's what keeps me going when I myself am not writing. The afterlife for many is unthinkable, but place it within a book and it's all the rage! Kudos to those that do! It's for this very reason also that the bulk of my work is based within this theme.

In My Dreams by Cameo Renae, is a Young Adult Paranormal Novel.

Elizabeth Hayes, better known as Liz to her friends and family, suffers a fate worse than death. She is held tightly by her dreams, dreams that are visions of foresight. Dreams that reveal events that have yet to happen. She doesn't know that they will when she has them, but from her past experiences she knows not to dismiss them.

When the life of her friends, and herself are endangered, she must remember the way out that her dreams revealed to her. But she doesn't just rely on her dreams. She has Michael to help her. Her friend since childhood, and boyfriend of 4 years would never let harm befall her if he could help it.

But what happens when Liz wakes from a dream so real? When she wakes to her phone ringing, the caller on the other end gives her some bad news that she finds very hard to accept. Another dream of hers has come to pass, and reality breaks before eyes. She now finds herself in danger and must trust her dreams even more.

In My Dreams is a heart-breaking tale bound by love and compassion, wrapped in forgiveness and sorrow. From the moment you turn that first page, you will be left grasping tightly as you yearn to know what will happen. In a world where love is stronger than you can imagine, the lives of those affected will be changed forever - and with it your perception of your own reality.

Cameo Renae has done a wonderful job in creating fluent characters that you could trust and bond with. Characters that you can connect with from the start, is a hard thing for writers to portray but Cameo managed it with apparent ease. Such ease to the reader is hard for the writer. Credit given where credit is due. This is one writer to keep your eyes open for in the future!

In My Dreams keeps you turning through the pages waiting to see what happens next. It has you firmly locked upon its pages as you pray for Liz to survive, but the question is... does she? For that answer you'll need to go and read the book to find out!

I give this one 5 out of 5!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Adding Not Subtracting

Instead of removing scene's, my guest turned it around and added scene's instead. So let's see what Tara Chevrestt has to say on this weeks topic of Deleted scene's as we near the end of our Virtual Tour.

I’ve never done deleted scenes. Really. So when I saw the “deleted scenes” topic, I griped, bellyached, thought real hard, then decided to talk about added scenes. I’ve done quite a few of those. Here’s where I started:
When I penned my first romance novel, I said, “I’m not going to have a sex scene. Nobody needs it. We all know part A goes into part B.” And so I wrote a lovely little story about two people meeting, falling in love, all that, and though I had them “doing it”, it was closed door. They entered room, shut door, kissed, said words of love, end of scene. The next scene was pillow talk.
This book got contracted with a romance publisher. I received my first edits from an editor. To the right of my ms was a little comment box. “We don’t do closed door sex. Tell us what happens here.” And even though there was a little smiley face with it, I gasped. “Noooo! I cannot write sex! My family will disown me!”
I said this to the editor. The editor asked the higher ups. They said, “No sex at all, not even implied OR the scene must be there.”
This being a contemporary romance and the characters being who they were, I needed them to have relations for the story line to reach the satisfying conclusion (yes, that’s a pun) I was aiming for. I felt between a rock and a hard place (another pun). I was deeply embarrassed and frustrated by this turn of events. A consultation with a very important person was in order.
I texted my dad. The conversation went something (not exact) like this:
Me: Dad! So I signed over this romance story I wrote, and they want me to add sex! And it’s already contracted! I’m so upset!
Dad: Why?
Me: Cause it’s SEX! How will you and mom feel about me writing that?
Dad: Sex doesn’t have to be nasty. Make it special between two people that love each other. It will be a beautiful thing then.
And later, my editor said, “It will help show their relationship evolve.”
After two hours of pulling my hair, texting my dad, emailing my editor, and ranting to my pug, I finally sat down at the computer and wrote my first sex scene.
I’ve wrote many more since then. You could say I finally broke a barrier (bad pun!) that night. The book has done decently. It’s well-liked, and readers really love the romance between the characters.
I ran into the same awkward moment when I subbed a f/f story a few months ago. The publisher liked it, said they wanted it, but added a note, “Now’s a good time to add that ménage.”
*sigh* There was a reason that ménage was missing. I didn’t want to write it! LOL
Regardless, I texted my husband, griped at my pug, sat down, and typed. And you know what? I actually enjoyed it. *grins*
You’ll see the results of my labor this October when When Hubby’s Away, the Ladies Play releases from Secret Cravings.
Meanwhile, if you wish to sample another f/f piece, The Submission is available from Evernight:

Blurb: The editor is always right... Katia Lane, a down on her luck writer, finds this out the hard way. When she submits an erotic tale to Daring Desires Publishing, one head strong woman meets another as an author/editor war ensues. There’s no room for a diva in the publishing industry...and Sylvia L. Avers means to demonstrate this to the fledging writer. When you submit a manuscript to Daring Desires, you submit more than a submit yourself.

As a BDSM conference nears, both women prepare to face off. Which one is going to be on top?

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.
Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn't allowed to be unleashed until the last year.
While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website: or their Facebook page:

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Low Down, Show Down.

It is with our pleasure that we welcome back an amazing author, friend and inspiration all rolled into one. Please everyone stand as we introduce this weeks guest.... (drum roll) ... Kim Mutch Emerson aka Author KD Emerson!

Welcome Kim, please make yourself at home as we share some knowledge with the outside world on what it is you actually do. Refreshments will be served in due course, so please state your poison now or forever hold your peace.

So without further adue, let the games begin!... Erm, I mean interview, let the interview begin!

Can you remember the moment when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Kim: I remember it was after I could talk… that’s about as close as I can come. It has always been with me.

You’re not just a writer though, and what you do helps others find their footing. So for those that don’t know, can you tell us more about and how it came to be?

Kim: is a book marketing and publishing company. It came to be out of my two great passions: writing and assisting others in realizing their dreams.

While we’re on the topic of, an amazing place may I add – can you perhaps explain to those that don’t know, where the title came from and what Koda means?

Kim: I got the name for my business from some clients that started calling me Master Koda. They said it was a combination of Kim and Yoda because I have always had the ability to powerfully manifest things into my life. I liked the name, it seemed to resonate with me, so I searched the meaning of the name Koda and found that in the Lakota language it means “friend of the people”. I strive I live up to it while being realistic and know that I will always disappoint some because I am human.

MasterKoda by the way, is not only a well-built website offering fantastic services to all authors, it is also a fast growing community on Facebook. Has the growth of MasterKoda helped you to define your own goals and destination points, whilst at the same time, keeping that level head for those who need help?

Kim: No, the FB group hasn’t defined my goals. My goals and the FB group are really two different things. I created the group for authors and others in the industry to have a safe haven and support group and it is just exactly what I hoped it would be.

Okay, let’s now go back to the writing that you so obviously love. Can you tell us why you have chosen to write in the genre that you do? 

Kim: Our world is filled with many trials and challenges. If the human race is to survive and thrive we must take responsibility for our communities and the earth itself. I have a heart for the future of the world and the future is in the hands of young adults. I write stories that cause the intelligent mind to stop and ponder.

Have any of your characters been inspired by people you know in real life? 

Kim: Of course, my characters all have traits from real people.

How much of your own lively, yet compassionate personality do you inject into that of your characters?

Kim: Bits and pieces show through in each character I suppose. .

Have you ever unwittingly written yourself into one of your own books only for someone to make that connection? 

Kim: There are times I will throw a personal experience in, but the characters themselves are not based on me.

When writing, do you have any rituals or routines that you go through in order to aid the creative flow? Please don’t say you run around with pants on your head like my muse claims I do… which by the way is entirely falsified in order of his amusement.

Kim: I wear a bowler hat when I write. It’s a long story…

Are there any Authors who have positively influenced your own goals, and those that you admire?

Kim: Many authors have influenced me, far too many to mention.

Where do you see yourself being in 10 years’ time?

Kim: In a space ship with Yoda.

What advice do you have for your fellow writers out there; those who wish to write, but don’t know where to begin?

Kim: Pick up a pen and write the first thing that pops into your mind. Don’t worry about editing it; don’t worry about “what if it’s not good enough”.  Set a timer and put the pen on the paper and write without stopping even if you repeat the same word over and over. Just move your pen and it will start to come to you.

Have you ever suffered from Writers block?  If so, how did you break the barrier in order to continue?

Kim: I have gone periods in my life when I didn’t write, but it wasn’t because of writers block. Those were times I chose not to write because of events that were happening in my life.

"Working Cover for Kim's upcoming novel, Digitus 233; a novel of
on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrills and intrigue.
Thank you Kim for your time and your honesty. One day, you'll have to tell us all about that Bowler hat of yours. But we will leave that for another time. It has been a pleasure getting to know you better and to know more about what you do when you are not writing.

You see folks, writers don't write all the time as stereotypes would have us think. They need some down time too or they would burn out, or explode from exhaustion.

Unfortunately, we have run out of time on today's interview but we may see you back here in the near future. To you my readers, the tide has turned. I now give you the floor and ask, If any of you have burning questions for Kim, what would they be? Can you open further the growing can of worms that Kim maintains to keep hidden?

Until next time, here is Kim's Bio.

Author Bio

Author, KD Emerson was born (or is that hatched) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager off to conquer the world. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. Follow her on twitter @MstrKoda or you can find her at and on Facebook at

Monday, 13 August 2012

Swamped Under The Review Pile

Normal posts are the theme of the day, but since when is anything ever normal? How do you define that word? Let's think on that some other time. Right now I want to introduce you to Aurora Martinez, as she blesses us with a guest post this week. 

Stressing Over Reviews.

By Aurora Martinez
Reviews have been an integral part of my blogging. It’s amazing to see all the fabulous writers and then to have them as you for an opinion is just flabbergasting.  I have been a bit remiss on keeping up with them, but I can say in all honesty that it was not without reason. First, I had a bad sort of luck with my “external” technology. I use that term to describe my e-reader and my phone that had an “app” to read.  Well a few weeks ago my e-reader died the deaths of a well-loved electronic that like so many other things its screen cracked.  Then in the space of a week I lost my prized Motorola Cliq 2 that was my “back-up” e-reader with my 32GB SD card inside. I felt like screaming and crying over the loss of my 2000 ebooks, but I didn’t I loaded some new programs on my laptop to assist with what I had left. It is a lot harder to follow but at least I am now reading now. In fact, I just looked at my TBR (To-Be-Read) pile and have found myself some 20 reviews behind.  My heart fell and I know that I must apologize to all my authors awaiting my thoughts.  These days are just passing too quickly and then on top of my loss of technology, real-life is happening. I went from doing absolutely nothing but blogging and reviewing to:
1     1)      Having a successful relationship
2     2)      Starting a business
3     3)      Preparing to move into a new house, that we affectionately call the Tardis (an ode to Doctor Who, it is small on the outside but large on the inside.)
4     4)      Setting a date to release my own book and
5     5)      Working harder to overcome a physical disability, through a series of stretching, pain medicines and minty muscle rubs (it will never be normal, but I am doing what I can to make things more manageable.)
Things are looking up my dear Authors and friends; I will review your books soon. I’m moving my spotlights to a weekly thing in November so that I can get caught up on reviews, as well as adding any new ones.  It has been a wild ride. I hope you can all hold on for just a few more weeks before things become a little stable. I do stress a little; you know how life really likes to throw us curve balls. With that last thought I bid you Adieu and pray that you understand my predicament.

I have always been a writer. When I first learned to write in Kindergarten, I wrote about pigs who "groo" wings and became "butterfys." I knew way back then that I would have a love affair with writing. It over took my life and has been a constant companion. Now over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing blogs, reviews, poetry and fantasy novels.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Summer's Bounty

We are now into the home stretch of our Virtual Blog Tour. The end is nigh but we are not done. This week announces week 11 has arrived and with it we have for you an amazing writer who has very willingly disclosed an excerpt of their book. 

Announcing Penelope Price! 

Summer's Bounty

by Penelope Price

            Greetings friends! This week I'm debuting an excerpt from my forthcoming novel, "Incandescence". The very first section I ever wrote, in fact! It features the teenage mage, Hannah Brighton and- well, better to read it than to read about it.

            Without further ado... "Summer's Bounty":

* * * * * * * * *

            A longer day she had never known.
            Rising from a lumpy nest upon a lumpy futon at an hour just shy of dawn, she had toiled until noon beneath a scorching July sun. She plied rake and hoe upon a brown, withered garden with nothing but a single puny break for lukewarm tea and a sad, dry sandwich of stale wheat bread and cheap bologna. Afterword, she spent several hours more trying to coax life back into rows and rows of picked-over vegetables, tubers and herbs. She had hauled a mismatched pair of five gallon buckets - one that still smelled faintly of the fast food pickles it had once contained, the other bearing patches of white paint upon its sun-faded red surface - from the creek at the bottom edge of the property until her shoulders burned and her legs refused to carry her any further.
            Exhausted, she stood now, surveying the disappointing result of her futile labour, and wiped a dirty forearms across her forehead. Flexing her shoulders, Hannah Brighton closed her eyes - changeling eyes, her mother had called them - and took a long deep breath. She exhaled slowly, lightly, her lips tightly pursed to control the flow of air. Her toes tingled in her boots and she found herself clenching her fists at her sides. With effort, she flattened them against her thighs, still gently blowing.
It seemed to last an hour, that single breath, and she began to feel light-headed. When at last she opened her eyes, Hannah felt her lips curl into a broad grin.
            "Beautiful," she whispered to herself.
            Where moments before there had been only parched, thirsty earth and rows of wilting plants, now stood a verdant garden in full vibrant blossom. Spring peas swelled enticingly in their pods, a web of delicious produce upon narrow stakes, and cucumbers of two varieties dangled in a vaguely obscene manner nearby. She could see the ruffled heads of red lettuce beside the pretty, flowering tops of potato plants. Onions and carrots sprouted with green beans, cabbage, kale, peppers, zucchini and a whole multitude of squashes. Tomatoes ripened temptingly on their vines and the fragrant bouquet of various herbs - she could identify basil and bay and thyme for sure - wafted upon a weak, hot breeze.
            Her eyes drifted in delight toward the briar thatch at the south edge of the garden; raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries and blueberries were juicy, heavy burdens upon their brambled branches. And best of all, a vast patch of crimson, heart-shaped berries that fairly exploded with the colorful little fruits that were her favorite.
            The whole scene made her wax poetic.
            Spring crops mingled with winter ones, summer plants blossoming with those typically reserved for autumn. All were gloriously ripe, a riot of color and scent that assaulted her sense and like a siren's call, beckoned the long absent birds and insects.
            She chuckled to herself, shaking her head in amazement. Hannah bent at the waist reaching down to grab both the pickle bucket, in which she had tossed her handtools and the paint bucket which was empty and thus, blessedly light. As she straighened, a heavy hand fell upon her shoulder. Her heart suddenly leaden, it dropped to her feet as her body turned to ice despite the sweltering head of the evening.
            "Such a waste of effort, my precious jewel," came the sickening, sweet voice. It slid like honey from his tongue to her ear; a taste of nectar tainted with a vile toxin that almost, but not quite, concealed the foul rot within. Her skin crawled beneath his touch.
            Lifting her chin, Hannah spoke softly. "The effort is never wasted, Alexander."
            His grip on her shoulder tightened reflexsively. His annoyance betrayed him for Alexander abhorred being disputed. Pain flared across her chest and down her arm - he had momentarily lost his hard-won control - and she knew when he lifted his hand, the imprint would remain, seared upon her flesh. She reminded herself to wear a sweater over her tank when she returned to the house. It would not do for Luke to see the blisters and be inspired to do something foolish. His temper was short these days and, God love him, he was in serious denial about the realities they were facing.
            " do not like it when you talk back to me, sweet flower." Alexander withdrew his hand. "Your continued insolence is most vexing."
            Good." She straightened her shoulders, refusing to turn and meet his gaze. "Get used to it."
            Heat flared up behind her and she winced, cursing the stubborn streak she had inherited from her father - the trait that forced her tongue.
            "You will give me what I want, pet. In time."
            She hadn't even time to form a snarky reply; he was gone. Hannah knew it before she turned, the burning warmth of him had passed. His fury, so strong as to be tangible when he was present and the tangy, sulferrous odor that accompanied it, had vanished.

* * * * * * * * * *

            And there it is... the very first words I ever put to paper when I began "Incandescence". Okay, granted, they've been through a first edit since then (and a second one is still coming) but I just couldn't wait to share this scene!
            How did I do? Too verbose? Did it leave you wanting to know more about Hannah and Alexander and magic and- well, anything at all? Any suggestions or other comments? Please, let me know in the comments below.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


About Penelope Price

Penelope Price: author, gamer, nerd. Though she has been writing since she learned to read, P.P. did not emerge from her coccoon to join the writing circuit until the year of Tangerine Tango. She is the crazy chick behind this summer's Incandescence and its sequel, Inferno and can usually be found plotting projects with her partner-in-crime, Jack Morgan of Get updates, gossip and geekery by following P.P. on Facebook (, Twitter (!/PP_TheWriter), and at her blog (

Well, how do you like that? I personally want some more to read! This is one fine young writer and certainly one to be watched as the years go on. 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Plan Ahead or Jump Straight In?

Welcome to Ravaging Thoughts. The one places where anything creative and wild can be found. This week we have a special guest with us as part of the VBT Group on Facebook. My guest is Ed Griffin and he is talking about whether he plans what he's going to write about, or whether to just dive in and pull out what he can. Let's see what he has to say. 

Plan your writing or just jump in?


I’m a planner all the way and what helps me be a planner is my writing group. We’ve been in existence for over ten years, and we call ourselves the Rainwriters, because when we were first forming, it rained for every single meeting. There are seven of us, never any more.
I think I’m just an average writer, but with the help of this group, I become a little above average. My work reflects six minds, not just one. I know some people do not do well in groups, but I couldn’t live without the Rainwriters.
First of all, I feel that I have to turn in something at every meeting. That pressure puts my butt in the chair and makes me start typing. I go over and over my submissions to the group, but they inevitably find things I missed. Like motivations that don’t work, like descriptions that are given little attention, like too many characters in the opening and so on.
Of course, I don’t take every suggestion. But when three out of the six commenting on my paper say that something doesn’t work – then it doesn’t work.
Another advantage of our group is the variety of opinions. One man never misses a wrong spelling or the mistaken use of a word. Another man sees the big picture, but doesn’t do any line editing. A woman calls attention to my lack of using the five senses in describing a scene.
Some people do well meeting with a friend in a coffee shop, others get feedback from a few trusted friends. But I think everyone needs feedback. Try as we might, we can’t see it all.
“Some people come to writers’ meetings for cheap entertainment.” You’ve heard that expression, I’m sure and sadly it’s true. So we are very careful about who comes into our group. Even though several people have asked to join, we decide on new members, not by their place on the waiting list, but by who’s good for the group. And then we have a ‘three meeting’ trial period, in which we evaluate the newcomer and they evaluate us.
Some go to writers’ groups and find they are just social groups, with very little attention given to writing. We are on the other end of that spectrum. While we are friendly to all the members of the Rainwriters, our meetings are business meetings. They start on time and end on time – two hours, no more.
Our procedure is this:

We hand out printed copies of our manuscripts at the previous meeting or leave them in dropbox for the others in the group to get. If we leave them in dropbox, we have to send a message that our next manuscript is there.
We don’t read at the meetings, unless someone has something that has to be edited right away. We do our editing in the quiet of our rooms at home. At the meeting one of us assumes the chairperson role and we start through the manuscripts. Figure it out –
120 minutes = our meeting, 2 hours
3 minutes – each writer is allowed to comment on another writer’s work
18 minutes – the total time each writer has to comment on others’ work
126 minutes – If all 7 of us used our full three minutes, that’s how long our meeting would be.

We start with one manuscript and go around the room. One member brings a little timer that sounds a bell after three minutes. When a person’s story is being discussed, that person is not supposed to argue back. The proper etiquette is to thank the other members and take or ignore the advice.
You might call this a free editing process, which it is. I don’t remember the actual quote but Jean Auel talking about writing a half million words before she joined a writers’ group. After that, her writing blossomed.
Do you belong to a writers’ group? Does it help you? How do you get feedback on your writing?

Ed Griffin teaches creative writing in the community and in a federal prison. He is passionate about prison reform, the subject of his other blog, Prison Uncensored.

Find Ed online at

Personal Blog
Writer’s Write Daily Blog

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Mouse? No, I'm a Lion!

This week I'm pleased to welcome back Amadi Kyymm as my guest blogger of week 9 of our Virtual Tour. This week she tells us what it feels like to hit a magical number in life and her thoughts upon that subject.

On Being Fifty

When I hit the big Five-Oh a lot of people (friends, co-workers) asked me “So, what's it like being fifty?” To me that question was on par with “What's it like to have six toes instead of five?” Well, I've got an extra one just in case. . . . . .

Actually at the age of 50, it felt just like it was when I was 49, only I'm older by one digit. That was 6 years ago. Now, that I am rapidly approaching my 57th year of existence, I've noticed some significant changes.

For one, I'm much more focused on goals in life. I don't have time for the stupid distractions. Hang out and shooting the breeze are a waste of time to me. Neither do I have time to party, go clubbing, and all the crazy stuff I used to do when I was younger, like get drunk or high. These things were exciting back when I was half my age, now I just shake my head chalk it all up to teenaged and young adult stupidity.

Also, back in the late 70's and early 80's it was much safer for women to go out and paint the town red. Now. . . . well, according to my NYPD co-workers, you'd have to be nuts to do that.

Plus, back 70's and 80's there was much better music. The stuff the recording industry palms off as music these days is pure trash. In my humble opinion, of course. . . . .

I've also noticed that I have a lot more freedom to be who I am. When I was younger, in order to fit in with the crowd I had to keep up with the Jone-es. It was of up most importance to wear the right clothes, have my hair done just so, and to hang out at the right places. Yeah, I lived in Clique City. Now, I look back at that and laugh because though I did the dance, I never had a partner. Meaning, I was never truly accepted even though I tried like the dickens to fit in. A fie upon them I say, I'm proud of being a GEEK, a book worm, a neebish, whatever you want to call me.

Nowadays, I couldn't care less about having brand name clothing (unless it's on sale), having my hair done (unless it's washed and trimmed), etc. As long as I'm properly groomed and dressed, I'm good to go. That can mean anything from jeans, sweatshirt, a sweat suit, t-shirt, running shoes, mocossins, or Uggs. It is tantamount for my clothing and footwear to be comfortable.

I've also discovered that I've become a straight shooter, a sort of female version of John Wayne. I've grown a lot less tolerant of Bravo Sierra (The United States Military slang for BS). It's like I can see people coming a block away, with the bucket of crap to dump on me. Like my late West Indian Mom used to say in her heavy accent. “You tink I born yesterday?” She warned me I wouldn't understand that question until I got older. Well, I did and I do.

I'm no longer the shy and quiet mouse I used to be. I find myself standing up and speaking out against wrongs and injustices at work and life in general. The expresions on folks faces are priceless. All they've known for the past 20, 30, or 40 years was a convienent doormat for them to wipe their feet upon. Now the doormat has turned into a lion. Listen to that roar, and watch out for those teeth!

I'm no longer part of the women's rat race. With the onset of Change Of Life (*cough* Menopause) my whole outlook of the opposite sex and the dating scene changed. I seriously wonder what was I thinking back then? Why was I in competition with four other women for one man who was a “creep”?

I gladly bid that nonsense adios and continued with my life. I'm perfectly happy with my family, my cats, and my writing. What more do I need? If The Creaor wants me married with or without children, He will send the guy to me. I don't need to chase him down the way cheetah chases the gazelle on the Serengeti. . . . . .

Last but not least, I have room to breathe and the freedom to write. In fact, I didn't seriously take up my pen until the age of 50.

I had been writing most of my adult life, but had stopped for twenty years because I was taking care of my Mom. But during the last two years of her life I was introduced to and started blogging. I used my blog (named “The Pot Calleth The Kettle Black”) as an outlet for my pain and frustration. It short, it became a digital shoulder to cry on.

I had no clue I was documenting my last years with Mom. Now that I look back at it, I'm glad I did it. I'm now seriously considering editing and publishing it.

To me, growing older meant cutting the fat out my life. Like all of those ridiculous things I used to cling to, and thought I couldn't live without. They're gone, never to be seen again. The things which remain, including my unencumbered writing, are definitely here to stay, and I'm enjoying it!

Do you agree with Amadi's opinions on turning 50? Do you consider her outlook to be a positive one? What is your personal opinion on growing older?


I, Amadi Kyymm (aka Nanci E. Maynard) am a humble writer. I've written, fanfiction, and written RPGs for Star Trek fandom for years. My latest adventure into fiction writing started with NaNoWriMo 2011, and I've been officially been bitten by the writing bug. I'm now working on editing and publishing my very first novel,“The Knight Riders”. I am a life long New York City resident where I reside with my two fur-kin (cats). I'm also a mild mannered woman, who works on a not so mild mannered job as an NYPD police clerical.

My mixed bag blog: Radical Scribblings
My Facebook Writer's Page:
My Twitter Handle: @WriterKyymm