Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review of Santa is a Lady

I recently had the pleasure of reading Santa is a Lady by L J Holmes.
After Beck Cavington convinces her best friend, Angie Brightwell, to play Santa for her candy shop against Angie's better judgment, all kinds of hell breaks loose. Not only does a handsome single father bring his daughter into see Santa, the 2 year old manages to entangle her tiny fingers in Santa's beard. Yep, you guessed it, the beard comes off. The father is so angry to see Santa is a woman, he gives her and the shop owner a piece of his mind.

To make matters worse, the next day the town hellion approaches and after stomping all over Santa's lap, manages to pull of her wig. Beck blames Angie for the whole mess and the scene is witnessed by Cam. LJ Holmes weaves a magical Christmas tale. Treat yourself to a story filled with humor and emotion.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome, Christine Verstraete - 10 Tips for Better Writing

Welcome,  Christine Verstraete, author of  The Killer Valentine Ball

Bio: I grew up with my nose always in a book, so it seemed a natural progression that I wanted to be a writer. A prophetic wish, it seems, judging from my favorite baby photo as seen on my website of me with a newspaper and a pencil behind my ear. I studied journalism and continue to do freelance writing for newspapers.

I also enjoy writing all kinds of fiction, with stories appearing in several anthologies including the recent Steampunk'd from DAW Books (coming out Nov. 2).

My kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, was #1 on Kindle for Miniatures books and was a 2009 EPPIE Award finalist for best YA/children's ebook by the Epic Foundation.

You can learn more about Christine at:
Website: http://cverstraete.com/
Blog: http://candidcanine.blogspot.com/
Book page: http://museituppublishing.com/musepub/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95&Itemid=82

10 Tips to Better Writing
1. Start Small

Big projects can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them into bite-size pieces. I'm guilty of stressing over not writing the 20 pages a week I'd planned. Setting goals smaller, say three pages a day, will get almost the same results, with less stress. And if you don't get the exact amount done, don't beat yourself up. Even one paragraph or page is one more than you had before, and 500 or so words closer to your final word count.

2. Believe in Yourself
A bad review can hurt, but the pain is temporary. But that inner critic that tries to hold you back and tear down your efforts (you're a lousy writer, you'll never get anywhere, why are you wasting your time?...) can be worse. Believe in you. Think on what you've accomplished and move forward. One rejection is just that. It's not the end. Don't let rejection stalk you. Send that story or project to another publication and move on to the next one. Having at least a few stories circulating (some say 10 or 12 if you can) will prevent you from obsessing over one.

3. Learn From Others

Success comes from listening to others who have already been there. Check out the experiences of other writers in your genre. Study the works of writers you admire to see how they did it. No matter how many years you've been writing, there is always something new to learn.

4. Review Yourself

A little self-evaluation can be good to gauge where you are in your writing goals and progress. Be honest; don't be afraid to point out your shortcomings, but also decide on how to improve them. Maybe you've only been published in lower paying markets and are afraid to move to the next level. Pick a market you haven't written for; study the content, and work on a story to submit. Becoming a better writer doesn't mean treading water; test the waters in new markets.

5. Make Goals
Goals keep you from stagnating, but make them reasonable. Start with one goal, like planning to get published in a new magazine in your genre, or working on a story in a different genre or field. When that goal is accomplished, make a new goal. Keep moving forward and don't stress over how long achieving that goal may take. It isn't a race. Work at the pace you feel comfortable with.

6. Seize the Day!

Swallow your fears. Some opportunities only come once. Don't be afraid to take a chance. You never know where it will lead.

7. Don't Fear Mistakes
You'll make mistakes; you'll write less than stellar stories. We all have. It's one mistake. Even if you make the same mistake, it's not the end of the world. Learn from them. Every mistake only makes you stronger.

8. Don't Be a Victim
Self-pity leads to depression, which leads to inactivity, self-doubt and can be a vicious spiral that robs you of your energy and happiness. No matter your circumstances, there is no reason to sit still and be unproductive. Don't make excuses, do something. There are tons of free resources available. Use the Internet and computers at the library. See if there is a niche in your community where you can volunteer or provide a service. See #5.

9. Be Happy

We all can't be Rockefellers or live like them. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side will never make you satisfied. Look closer and you'll find crabgrass and weeds there, too. Enjoy your faith, friends, family, pets, and hobbies. Shut off the computer and make time to exercise and have some fun. You'll feel better and be more productive.

10. Think Positive

It takes less energy to think positive and will add more to your life and your writing.

The Killer Valentine Ball

Author: C. A. Verstraete

Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans

Word Count: 3,094

Pages: 15

ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6

Price: $0.99

Release date: October 1, 2010

Warning: Light gore


A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.


As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Muse Authors

I had the pleasure this week of meeting a couple of Muse Authors. Saturday, my hubby and I had dinner with Rebecca Ryals Russell and her husband, Mike, Marsha Moore and her husband, Steve and Barbara and Barbara Bockman. Rebecca graciously offered us the use of her cabin home for a couple of nights. We had dinner at Carraba's in Gainesville, Florida. Barbara was an added surprise, that Rebecca sprung on us. We had no idea she was coming. What a treat. We spent the time discussing Muse Publishing. We all agreed Lea Schizas was a top notch publisher.
Tonight, I had the pleasure of meeting Ginger Simpson. Hubby and I met her at Shoney's for dinner. Unfortunately, her hubby couldn't make it. Maybe we'll get to meet him next time. We think both hubbys will have a lot in common, both being truck drivers and married to a couple of nuts.
It was such a thrill meeting these authors.  I hope someday to meet more of them.