Laughter and Free Stuff

I was supposed to write a writing post of some kind, but things happened. Not sure what. Life, writing… just normal things.

Anyhow, a quick alert. This weekend, I’m going to be redoing my blog and switching from wordpress.com to paid hosting. I’m hoping it will go smoothly but computers… we’ll see. So if you see weird things happening or you can’t find me or anything strange like that, that is what is happening.

In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite writing humor bits from Pinterest.

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Secondly, FREE STUFF. I’ve talked about Kingdom Pen, but I’ve not talked about their Theme Mastery Course yet. I was part of a beta testing group and it is the most amazing course ever. I learned more about writing during this course than any other course I’ve taken. I’ll tell you more about it when it is officially launched, but first, we have a free mini course on Theme Mastery. You can watch the first video HERE and sign up to get a few more. Get it now!!!! It is amazing. And it’s free. You can’t get much better than that. Click here or the picture below to check it out.

mini course

Caption Challenge Winner

As I said last time, this is the final caption challenge for awhile. I posting the winners from last week, but I’ll not be posting a new challenge. (I do run six-word-stories on Instagram, for those of you who are interested, but I’ll not be doing it regularly on my blog.)

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Caption Challenge winner is: Kate Flournoy

Six-Word-Story winner is… also Kate Flournoy

Two brothers, two bullets, one grave.

Congratulations, Kate! And thank you, everyone, who has been a part of these challenges. I’ve had a fun time running them, and I hope you’ve had a fun time taking part of them. And now I bid you all a very fond farewell. Except it’s not really a farewell because I’m still here and will be doing other things. 😉

Rose of the Oath: Cover Reveal and Sign-ups

As many of you know, I’m rewriting Rose of Prophecy. This new Beauty and the Beast retelling is Rose of the Oath and I am excited to be able to share a blurb and the cover with you, as well as an exciting schedule and some signups.

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They were coming. They never stopped coming.

A wolf howled, the call rising to an eerie pitch before dropping, hurtling downward. The echo barely faded when another howl replied. Always… Always, forever, and yet again, they would come.

His breath slipped between his teeth and he finally lifted his gaze from the crimson rose as the wind hurtled off, whistling through the narrow pass that led outward. Out into the forest. Out into Aslaria.

And so he waited.

Meanwhile, war clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins.

With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.

Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.

Rose of the Oath will be published June 22nd. Technically it will be published before that, because I need to publish it and then price match it down to free. But June 22-24th is when I’m going to have a blog explosion, which will amount to a condensed blog tour containing reviews, quotes (maybe) and a link to get the novella for free.

For those of you who would like an early copy to review Rose of the Oath, that will be sent out at the end of May. You will have nearly a month to read the novella and then review it on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or your blog as I launch the book.

You can sign up for one or both of these things (review reading and blog explosion) below!

Click HERE to sign up for the Rose of the Oath blog explosion and ARCs

Caption Challenge: May #1

First the winner of the last challenge, then I have some slightly sad news.

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Caption Challenge winner is: Esther

“And if you think about it, they weren’t lying. There’s nowhere that’s safer than the grave.”

Six word story:

Six-Word-Story: Quinton of Boron

“A girl, a protector, a hope.”

Congratulations, guys! Now for the news. This next caption challenge is going to be the last one, at least for awhile. I’ll post the winner next week, but not a new challenge. I’ll be redesigning my website and changing something around. I will still have the monthly prompts, but I’ll be stopping the weekly ones. Here is your last caption challenge:

final prompt

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption which should only be a few sentences long. The other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). I’ll post the winner next week.

Beyond the Parchment: Part 9

Welcome to the next installment of my serial story, Beyond the Parchment

So far we learned that a dysfunctional portal, invented by a weary writer, May Ann, actually begins to work, bringing characters to our world. And herself into their world.

Anyway, you can read the first parts of the story here. You could just read the short blurbs about them, of course, but you’ll probably miss some important details. The blurbs are there for those of you who have read the story and are trying to keep track of all the names, more than anything else. You’re welcome. *bows*

Part 1: It Just had to be Lord Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the Second: in which a writer, May Ann, wakes up to find a portal she’d designed in her book has become operational and two brothers, Jerinthreo and Daraton have come through and engaged in a bitter fight.

Part 2: All brothers fight sometimes, right?: May Ann tries to keep the brothers from killing each other. Grabs Jerin and pulls him into a secret passage, only to discover she has Daraton instead (they are identical twins). Break out of the passage into May Ann’s kitchen only to discover Varizan, a villain May Ann created, waiting for them.

Part 3: My kitchen will never be the same: Another fight between Daraton and Varizan breaks out in May Ann’s kitchen and May Ann saves Daraton’s life by shoving them both through the portal (which so happens to be the fridge).

Part 4: I am never doing that again: May Ann and Daraton arrive in Braceaon, Daraton is wounded and Varizan’s soldiers have taken over Daraton’s former home. May Ann helps Daraton away and they find Ethred, a lady both Jerin and Daraton seem to respect, and her daughter, Adella, who happens to be Lord Daraton’s wife.

Part 5: Well, that complicates things:: May Ann confers with Ethred and Adella and discovers they are both wordsmiths, chosen from their generations to record what happens in other realms (with some creative license). With Daraton resting, May Ann finally tries to get some sleep. But her eyes have barely closed when she finds herself wide awake. And captive in her own world.

Part 6: Why can’t this just be a dream: May Ann is a Varizan’s prisoner in this world. She (and he) realize that she is now in both worlds, though only awake in one. Varizan cryptically questions her, wanting to use her power as a wordsmith, then knocks her out.

Part 7: Not my prefered mode of travel: May Ann meets Thrayton, Varizan’s second-in-command and discovers that, to get a cure for Daraton, she must fall asleep and confront Varizan. But when she wakes up in our world, she discovers Jerin has escaped.

Part 8: Terrors of the Modern Word: Varizan sends May Ann after Jerin, promising a cure for Daraton if she’ll bring him back. She tracks him to a local Dollar General, confronts him as he examines a batman hoodie, then her brother appears, wondering what is going on. Except she fall asleep before she can explain the situation…

Beyond the Parchment(7)

Truth and War

The wordsmith just had to fall asleep and leave him with the mildly troublesome task of convincing some stranger of the truth, did she? Jerin crossed his arms with a scowl.

“May? May Ann?” Her brother was on his knees, cradling her shoulders with one arm and pressing the back of his hand against her cheek and forehead.

Jerin snorted. “You’re not going to wake her. Not yet.”

“What…?” The young man glared up at him. “Who…? It doesn’t even matter. Why haven’t you called someone yet?”

“Called someone?”

“The hospital, I don’t know. She needs help!”

“Oh, that.” Of course he’d think of healers. Jerin’s jaw tightened. “She’ll be fine. She’s woken the last few times.”

“Last few…? How many…?” The brother stared at him.

Jerin grimaced. This was ridiculous. They’d be here until dawn. “We need to go. Now.” He stooped. “Here, I’ll take—”

The brother’s hand flashed and his knuckles slammed against the side of Jerin’s face. “Keep your hands off!”

Of all the ungrateful… Jerin’s breath hissed through his teeth and he slowly turned toward the younger man. “Do you have any idea who I am?”

“Do I look like I care? What have you done to my sister?”

He was still worried about her? Right… Jerin rubbed his cheek. His free hand clenched about the hilt of his last dagger. Daraton… How soon did Varizan expect May Ann to drag him back? It had only been a night, but a night was enough. Varizan’s poison… The brother was still glaring at him. It wasn’t that hard to understand, was it? He exhaled a long sigh. “There is a portal between our world and hers. There is a rogue ambassador of some sort in your house. Poisoned daggers and all. I suggest you stay away. Your sister, however, I need to take back with me. Once Varizan tells us the cure—”

“Varizan?” the brother sputtered. “If this is about her writing…”

“This is about my brother!”

He shook his head. “My sister is still laying here, asleep, for no reason, and if you for one minute think I am even going to—”

“Is everything fine here?” A new voice asked.

Jerin’s gaze jerked to a figure at the end of the aisle. She pressed her hands against a red apron and her gaze darted between him, the other one, and the Wordsmith. “What—”

“We’re fine,” Jerin growled.

Her lips compressed and she raised her eyebrows, just like that one aunt he stayed with for half a day before borrowing a horse and tearing off across the plains. His hand curled the dagger and he flipped it between his fingers. “We are fine, thank you very much.”

She opened her mouth, then spun away. The brother stared after her. “Did you just…” The words froze on his tongue as he turned back.

Jerin crouched before him, his dagger resting an inch from the young man’s neck. Jerin inclined his head. “How quick are communications in this world?”

The brother blinked. “You are seriously threatening me with a dagger?”

“Varizan took my sword. How soon will that guardian have guards here?”

“Guardian…” his brow furrowed.

He was as hopeless as the rest. One would think the brother of a Wordsmith would get some of the general terms. Jerin gritted his teeth. “Get the Wordsmith and get up. We need to get out of here.”

The brother stumbled to his feet, heaving the girl in his arms. At least he understood that reference. For a long moment, he met the brother’s eyes. They stared back, probing and sifting beneath the furrowed brows. A muscle twitched in his jaw. “Put that dagger away and grab something to make you less conspicuous, would you?” He spun on his heel, then glanced over his shoulder. “Well, come on!”

Of all the spear shattering… He should have drawn the dagger to start with. Jerin swept several items from the shelves and strode after the brother. He flipped one coin to the red-aproned guardian as they passed. It was more than anything is this place was worth but he could come back for change later. She stared after them, something flat and black pressed against her ear. On the other hand, maybe he’d not come back. She’d the eyes of a dragon, that one.

He blinked. They were back at the unwalled courtyard surrounding the building. Gray sliced the night on the eastern horizon.

The brother yanked open the door of a tiny humped transport the color of lurid flames. Jerin raised one eyebrow, then yanked off his cloak and unbuckled the worthless sword’s belt. Where was it…? He held up the black shirt—coat. Whatever it was. Too short for a tunic, but it had a hood. And it was black except for the winged design on the front. If it was what people in this realm wore… He slid it over his head.

Someone made a strangled sound and he found the brother staring at him.

“What?”

“I… nothing. I think I prefer the cloak.”

Jerin scowled and tugged up the hood. “You were the one who—”

“You’re fine.” The brother rounded the vehicle and yanked open a door. “Get in.”

“If you think for a minute I’m—”

“You need May Ann, don’t you?” The brother raised an eyebrow. “Well, you aren’t getting her. At least not without a much more detailed explanation. So you can go face your poisoned daggers or you can come with me.”

Jerin gripped his dagger. “My brother is dying.”

“And my sister is split between this realm and another!”

Jerin blinked once. “You believe me.”

The man grimaced then sighed. “It just so happens that I work with a group who studies portals. Or we would, if we could ever get to them fast enough. We tracked a disturbance late last night and…” he bit his lip and glanced toward the vehicle where May Ann lay asleep. “Anyway,” he held out one hand. “The name is Leinad, if you missed it earlier.”

“Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the second.” Jerin watched the man warily as he clasped his arm.

Leinad nodded but didn’t loosen his grip. “Now get in the car. We have major work to do.”

 

I squeeze my eyes tight, my head in my hands. How many hours until dawn back home? No, it’s probably dawn already. Then I’ve two hours to bring Jerin to Varizan, assuming he’s inclined to go. And assuming he and Leinad haven’t killed each other…

“You all right?” Adella sinks down on the stone step beside me and hands me a warm cup. Tea, probably. What is it with these people and their tea?

I stare in the distance. Too much… it’s too much, and I’ve only been up for half an hour. First Adella and Thrayton shaking me awake, then a confusion of flames and clashing steel. Varizan has an army; who would have imagined that? Well, enough of an army. Even Thrayton couldn’t save the manor house. It is still blazing hotter by the minute. I lean against the stable door. Soldiers mill on all sides, but Thrayton has managed to convince them Varizan is on some secret mission and will be back any minute instead of being held captive lord or another. Varizan a captive… I snort out a laugh, then glance at Adella. She is staring vacantly at the flaming mansion.

I touch her army. “Hey.”

She flinches. “It’s going to be too late, isn’t it? Even if you get Jerinthreo… If Varizan gives you the cure… They’re still going to kill him, aren’t they?”

I bite my lip. Who knows what Varizan is after? “Only if they find him.”

She presses her fist to her lips. “I need to get back. I need… but they’ll follow me if I leave. They’ll find him and…”

“Shhh.” I reach out tentatively and clasp her hand. “Enough time once we have the cure. Thrayton will help. Maybe.” I glance sideways at the man standing several paces away, one hand on the hilt of his sword, the other flipping Varizan’s dagger.

Adella exhales softly. “We need that cure. Soon.”

I nod and rub my eyes. “Do you have any more of that dreamflower… whatever it is? I need to get back to sleep.”

May Prompt Challenge

First the winner’s of last month’s prompt:

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There were so many good entries for this and I finally decided to settle on a tie between to entries…

Annie Louise Twitchell

Evan stared at the writing on the wall. Written in something he desperately hoped wasn’t blood, the words echoed the thoughts that constantly rattled around his mind.

You could have saved her.

You could have saved them.

You could have saved him.

But he was too late. He was always too late. And now his father was gone, just like everyone else. Just like his mother. Just like his adopted siblings, his stepmother, his half siblings, his best friend… Everyone was gone.

And he was alone again.

Alone.

Again.

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You could have saved him.

The letters appeared slowly crookedly on the wall, as though written by an invisible hand. Faster than usual. Almost accusatory.

I dropped my bent dagger onto the table and spread my hands. “As always, Wally, the question is if I really should have saved him?”

A second as the letters faded away, then new ones took their place.

He’s your friend.

“He’s a blasted idiot is what he is,” I muttered. “A horrible friend.”

Still, the only one you’ve got.

“Oh go pointing that out, why don’t you?”

And you just let him go. Sacrificed him so you could go

“You know, why am I taking friendship advice from a wall in the first place?” I spat. “You can just…”

He’s still alive. Save him and you might have someone other than a wall who can stand the sound of your voice.

I kicked at the table and stormed out of the room so I didn’t have to look at that infernal wall anymore, telling me how to live my life.

One day I’d get that thing painted over.

But right now I had something else to do. A friend to save.

 

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Picture from source

 

You have 100-250 words to write a short story/scene that goes with this picture. You have until May 31st to submit your scene in the comments below. I’ll announce the winner in June.  Anyone can enter, but keep your entries clean. No swearing, no gore or sensuality. Have fun!

 

April Highlights: A Wedding, Spring, and Kingdom Pen

My Life

Lots of fun things this month. Spring is here. I’m wearing short sleeves. And I’ve climbed to the top of my tree for the first time this year – with bare feet. Why do people climb with bare feet in books? It hurts! Well, not that bad, but still… And yes, I do have a tree. At least I call it my tree because I was the only one who could climb to the top when we first moved to this house and the name stuck.

Secondly, remember that wedding I mentioned in my last update? Well, I drove down without a problem. The bypass around Indy was interesting, but nothing too crazy. The wedding itself was great fun. I got to meet friends I’ve worked with on Kingdom Pen. Several of the staff members the left, but the rest of us chatted into the evening as we tore down decorations (or sat on stacked chairs, watching others work). We ended up in my car, driving around hairpin bends, in the dark, around 10:00, singing Hamilton at the top of our lungs on the way to McDonald’s to get some ‘real food’. It was great fun.

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Kingdom Pen Staff members

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Because who doesn’t see an empty trash can and decide to climb inside…

Also, some of you might remember me mentioning a brother who was enlisting in the Marines and had to get a waiver for his feet. Well, he got it and he is now sworn in. He’ll be heading off to bootcamp this summer or fall. Yes, I know it doesn’t have much to do with me or writing but #proudsistermoment

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Writing

WIPs:

  • Scarlet Rose – correcting/rewriting: 8,387 words/seven chapters
  • Fidelyon: 22,251 words/8 chapters rewritten
  • Rose of the Night: send to an editor
  • Rose of the Oath: final corrections

Goals:

  • Send Rose of the Oath to an editor
  • Publish Rose of the Night
  • Redesign my website (toward the end of this month… if you see weird things happening around the 20th, that is what is going on)
  • Write part 3 of Scarlet Rose
  • Fidelyon… as much as I can get done; another 10-15 chapters

Google Searches:

  • Viney herbal plants Yes, Google, I’m being very specific. Lend a hand, would you?
  • Words that mean black Stygian works
  • Symptoms of a punctured lung Hmmmm, pain? Dizziness, painful breathing…
  • How to tend a punctured lung I’m sure Silvara will figure something out…

Other Writing:

My Life

I discovered Everfound this last month and have fallen in love with their songs. This is one of my favorites:

How have you all been? Have you ever climbed a tree in bare feet? What is your favorite Everfound song, if you listen to them? What sort of goals do you have for this month?

April Highlights: A Wedding, Spring, and Kingdom Pen

Caption Challenge: April #4

First the winner’s of last week’s challenge:

writing prompts

Caption Challenge winner is: Kate Flournoy

‘Leave that to those of us who walk in the shadows. It’s what we’re here for after all… my lady.’

Six word story:

Six-Word-Story: Hannah Gaudette

“His words. Her actions. Final judgement.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage:

fiction prompt

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption which should only be a few sentences long. The other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). I’ll post the winner in two weeks, as well as the next caption challenge!

16 Things Every Author Wants

Every writer has dreams, and not just the ‘get my book made into the next big movie’ dream but the more down to earth dreams. The ones where we want a turret room in a castle with surround sound music or a telepathic device to record our dreams. So, just for fun, I decided to compile a list of the things (with variations) that every writer would love:

  • A castle, built into a mountainside with a lake and green valley spreading below. And excellent wifi. Of course.
  • A tower room, the walls coated with weapons, flags, and maps from my world and books.
  • Then, of course, I’d want a writing room. A long room, where I could pace. The walls would be covered with pictures of characters, character profiles, great plotlines, interconnected with silk string, and small computer screens interspersed between them for quick research.Self-Publishing
  • On the topic of research, I’d want a research room too, with a wall of screens where I could open a hundred different tabs and scroll through a dozen pages at once.
  • All of these grand rooms branch off my main writing room. A simple desk and computer in the middle of a cozy room. Candles on the walls, as well as scribbled notes. Oh, and the aforementioned surround sound music.
  • There would be a library too, of course, with several great chairs, a fireplace, a window seat, and books covering the walls. This would also be my bedroom.
  • Moving from the topic of lodging to technology, a dream recorder would be great for ideas.
  • As well as a thought recorder.
  • And a telepathic keyboard that writes out a scene just as we imagine it instead of making us labor word through word.
  • A visual storyboard would be nice too. One that would play our story in color, with dramatic music in the background.
  • Food. A stash of chocolate would be grand, as well as ice cream and cheesecake. Yogurt too, since one ought to eat something healthy. And fruit. Like strawberries and blueberries.
  • Some writers would also include coffee. Or tea. I’d prefer hot chocolate and pink lemonade.
  • Then there are the baths. Hot tubs and showers and whirlpools for brainstorming.
  • Also an endless supply of pens and paper. Notebooks and notecards. Envelopes and bookmarks.
  • And… costumes. Ranger costumes. Futuristic dress. Swords and bows and guns and daggers. Because sharp and shiny things should be acquired at every chance one gets.
  • Finally, one needs other writers. Just a few. Good friends, all with their own chambers and a central meeting room for when they want to interact with others.

If you could choose one thing from this list, what would it be? What sorts of things would you add to this list?