Saturday, November 30, 2013

Guest Post: My Muse Strikes Again by Leslie Ferdinand

Partnering with my nameless writing muse, the fertility goddess has been working overtime.  There are many gods and goddesses of fertility, so choose whichever one you like best.   Without giving too much away, only one pregnancy will be in the entire four book Wicked Allure Series. That’s how I see it.  .  My mother and her muse, Jerome, may see differently.  Oh, yeah, I’m sure Jerome will.  He’s wicked and stubborn. Why did she name him Jerome?  Damn, if I know, but, at least her devil-angel has a name.  Unlike my own, who pushes ideas into my head, and then floats away and convenes afar.  While Jerome hides under the bed when our hero and heroine decide to get it on, my inspiration zips back in, showing me exactly what she’s working with.    Lately, she’s been commiserating with Venus.  Who knows why?  In Picture Perfect, there’s more than one pregnancy! Maybe, my muse’s clock is ticking, so she’s leaving me deal to deal with all these pregnant heroines.  Or, maybe, subconsciously, I’m preparing for the day when my daughters grow up and have children.
While I enjoyed being pregnant, I was put on bed rest for all three of my girls. I can only imagine what situations my muse and Jerome will create for my ladies to deal with. Discover what happens when Jerome teams with Venus and my wild little angel who entrances me with ideas. Find out who the mommies-to-be are in Picture Perfect!

About Leslie C. Ferdinand:

Leslie C. Ferdinand and her mother, Shirley H. Ferdinand, have been writing together since 1991. Leslie is divorced and the mother of three daughters. She is Shirley’s only child. Under their pen name, Christine Holden, they sold five books to Berkley/Jove between 1998 and 2001. Picture Perfect is their first Liquid Silver Books release. They are currently hard at work on their next projects.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Blog: Twenty Sentences About Author Dilys J. Carnie
1. I was born in Middlesex London.
2. At the age of two months my parents moved to Scotland where we lived for ten years.

3. I have three sisters, two of which live close by.

4. My dad was Scottish.

5. My mum was born in Bristol U.K.

6. Both my children were born on Anglesey an island on the west coast of Wales U.K.

7. I have two children, Emma 24 a school teacher and Chris 20(soon to be 21) works in the family business.

8. I trained as a hairdresser.

9. I was also a Diana nurse.

10. I owned my own organic skin care shop.

11. I love to make beauty products, messing around with different ingredients.

12. I love to read.

13. I love going to the gym and doing Pilates.

14. I’m O.C.D with cleaning and making sure that if anyone moves anything it has to go back in exactly the same place.

15. I love to sing but I’m tone deaf.

16. I cannot function without fresh coffee.

17. I’m a pescetarian, I don’t eat any meat or meat related products. I eat a little fish but no seafood. I don’t wear anything that has been killed and I try and only use products that are not tested on animals.

18. I love to dress up, have my hair and nails done.

19. I hate having dirty hands it drives me mad.

20. When I make pastry I have to wear gloves because I can’t stand the feel of flour on my hands.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manic Monday: 5 Tips for Author Time Management

Photo from Stock Xchng
One of the things that really drives me nuts as an author is having so much to do, writing, blogging, editing, and promoting that I get overwhelmed and just want to throw up my hands. I actually love doing all of the above, but figuring out when to do each of these things can be difficult. Even when I work hard to find the time, I often have problems staying on top of all my author duties. So, what does an author do when they have too much author stuff to do and not enough time?

Most of the time we actually have the time, it's just that we don't utilize the time we have in an effective manner. Here are five tips for utilizing your time so you can stay on top of your author duties.

1. Make a list of all your author tasks, both writing and non-writing such as promotion although that can also involve writing such as my article here.

2. Make a list of everything you do each day. This will help you to figure out where you have true free time. Spend an hour each day surfing the internet? Maybe you could spend a half hour and write 1000 words instead. You get the idea.

3. Figure out how much time an author task will take. For longer tasks break these into steps so you can fit steps into smaller free time slots, and break up your tasks so they still get completed but you're not trying to do too much in a smaller time slot.

4. Once you've made your list of what you do each day and you've figured out where you can carve free time out, then look at your list of author tasks again. Test it out, choose a few tasks for the week and then plug them into your free time slots on a calendar. In other words make a schedule. How you do this is up to you, but there are tons of free online scheduling and calendar options.

5. Make sure that you don't schedule too much author task to fit the free time slot you've allotted to it. Don't be afraid to break down tasks into steps that way you can schedule two steps or three steps into a smaller allotted time slot for example and then the final steps in another free time slot.

6. Finally, don't throw out your fun to do tasks. You should always schedule fun activities into your schedule as well. If all you're doing is working then this makes authors very dull indeed. Make time to play too!

I hope these time management tips help you as much as they've helped me. I find I write more and I do more promotion when I go about it this way, rather than hit or miss.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Excerpt Wednesday: The Cross Over Chronicles

Photo from RGB Stock
I thought I'd share a piece of a series I started about six months ago. I haven't done much with this since I'm still working on Heart of a Jumper my M/M/M/M romance, but this is something that I can easily work on in between since it will be shorter than a novel and come in chunks. This is my first attempt at a series.

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. This is one of those days.
            My day started with being woke at 3:00 am to my bed shaking. Yes, you read right, the bed was shaking. Not an auspicious way to start my day let me tell you.
            I opened one eye and then glared at the glowing figure standing at the foot of my bed. “Goddammit, Gabe!” I snarled. “It’s the middle of the fucking night, what now?”
            “Good evening to you too, Angel.” His voice was mellow, too mellow for 3:00 am in my opinion.
            “I repeat, what now?” The damned Ascended had woke me up the last three nights, always at 3:00 am. I had a good mind to kick his translucent ass for doing it yet again.
            I groaned and rolled over on one side before forcing myself to sit up. I pushed my hair out of my face and waited for Gabe to tell me what he needed my help with now. He wouldn’t be here unless it was important and I knew that, but I was becoming seriously sleep deprived.
            “There’s a child spirit trapped on the East Side. She won’t let any of us help her, and I’m hoping that maybe you can convince her.”
            I sat up straight. Children could be the worst to cross over, especially if they’ve been trapped for a long time, and or didn’t want to believe they’d died. “How long has she been trapped?”
            Gabe gave me a sheepish look. “She died in 1880.”
            “You’ve tried everything?”
            “Yes. We think she needs a woman’s touch.”
            “And you don’t have any female Ascended that could fit that description?”
            “You know we do.”
            “Then why aren’t you using one of them?” Yeah, I was grumpy.
            “We’ve tried but the child is not responding well.”
            “What makes you think she’s going to respond any better to me, Gabe?” There had to be a catch, a reason, Gabe was coming to me instead of one of the female Ascended.
            Gabe sighed and his glittering light dimmed just a bit. “She doesn’t believe she is dead, and no amount of proof on the part of any of the Ascended seems to be enough to convince her otherwise.”
            I took a deep breath while my exhausted mind worked things out. “So…what? You want me to convince her she’s dead? Can’t it wait until tomorrow? I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in three days.”
            “I know you’re tired Angel, I do, but this can’t wait, it comes from higher up.”
            “Shit.” I said quietly as I rubbed my eyes. Then I looked at him. “How high up?” I wanted to know if we were talking about Angels who were some of the closest to the Creator, or just his superiors, Ascended who were higher up in the chain of command.
            “The highest.”
            “So are we talking Angel high?”
            “Okay, higher, like the Creator higher or like between the Angels and the Creator higher?” There was a group for which I wasn’t even allowed to know the name of that was between the Angels and the Creator. If they wanted something you couldn’t say no because it came straight from the highest level of the afterlife.
            I watched as Gabe appeared to take a breath, keep in mind he was already dead so breathing was out, the Ascended just liked to keep up appearances. “Does it matter?” He finally asked.
            Still feeling grumpy, I muttered, “Not really. I just wanted to know.”
            “You mean you wanted me to clarify just who made the request?”
            I knew that this was probably not for me to know, especially if it came from that unnamed group I mentioned earlier. Humans like me were only allowed to know so much before the whole system sort of shut down and no one would talk anymore, and that included my personal Ascended, Gabe.
            “Fine.” I stood up in a less than smooth motion, and tipped slightly sideways before I got my feet under me. “Let me get some coffee so I can at least think.”
            I stalked into the bathroom stood in front of the sink and stared blearily at myself in the mirror. I had dark circles under my eyes and there was a pallor beneath my dark skin. In a few words, I looked like hell.
            I leaned down and turned the cold water on and then cupped my hands under the free flowing stream until my hands were overflowing before lifting them and splashing the cold water onto my face. It took a few seconds but I began to feel more alert.
            “I’m sorry, Angel.”
            I didn’t respond right away just grabbed the towel and wiped my face dry before turning to look at Gabe who had followed me into the bathroom.
            “Not your fault.” I said finally. “We all have to do what we’re asked to, and they don’t give us more than we can handle. That’s the theory anyway.” I ended wryly.
            “I hate seeing you this tired.” This wasn’t Gabe my Ascended talking, but Gabe my lover, and husband from several past lives that I now only remember bits and pieces of.
            “Yeah, well we both knew what we were getting into when we signed on for this gig.”
            “That doesn’t make it any easier for me, Angel.”
            Gabe’s countenance was sad, and I tried to cheer him up. “Hey, it’s only for another seventy years or so!” I joked.
            Unfortunately, it was clear from the fact that his eyes didn’t clear that he didn’t think my joke was that funny.
            “C’mon, Gabe, seventy or eighty years is a drop in the bucket for an Ascended. It’ll be over before you know it. And who knows with my line of work I may be back with you sooner than you think.”
            “Don’t talk like that!” He scolded me. He hated the thought of my dying even if it meant I’d be with him sooner rather than later.
            I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes at him and reminded him, “I was joking, Gabe. I have no intention of dying anytime soon. I still have too much to do on this plane of existence.”
            “Oh.” Now he looked hurt and I figured I just couldn’t win. The whole thing just made me cross again.
            “Look, Gabe, you can’t have it both ways. As long as I’m here and in a physical body then we’re never going to be anything more than Ascended and Student. You know that. You’ve always known that, and you’ve reminded me of it on more than one occasion.”
            “I don’t have to like it though.” He said softly.
            I softened. “No you don’t. I don’t like it either Gabe, but it is what it is. As I said we both knew what we were getting into, we both volunteered. You to stay behind, me to be reborn. Of course this whole ability to see and communicate with ghosts thing, I think if I knew what that was going to be like, I might’ve changed my mind.” I rolled my eyes at him before heading to the kitchen.
            “Coffee, I need gallons and gallons of coffee.” I muttered to no one in particular.
            I grabbed the coffee pot from the coffee maker and filled it with water, lifted the lid and poured the clear liquid in.
            Just as I leaned up to reach into the cabinet to get a filter, I banged my toe on the lower cabinet door. “God damn it!” I yelled, dropping the filter and lifting my foot and shaking it, hoping that and the cuss words and the shaking would somehow make the pain zinging up my ankle stop.
            I looked up to see Gabe with a little smirk on his face as though he found the whole situation humorous. Well, at least I made him feel better. 

Copyright (c) 2013 by Regina Paul. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Promo Advice Tuesday: 5 Tips for Building Your Author Brand

Photo from Morgue File
As an author, I know one of the most important things I need to do is build my brand. Building your author brand is how you get both yourself and your books well known enough that people recognize both. This isn't always an easy thing when you're a little known author in a sea of self-published and small e-pub published authors. But it's not impossible. Here are five tips for helping to build your author brand:

1. Use your name, not your book title. Many authors try to build their brand by using their book title rather than their name. The problem with this is that once you write your next book, then you're stuck with a website domain with the old title and people have no idea who you are. You end up having to re-build your brand based on your name all over again.

2. Blog, blog and blog some more! Blogs are a great way to build your brand. If you blog often enough, even twice a week is fine, then you'll get a following over time and people will remember your name, and hopefully your books!

3. Buy a domain. I can't stress this one enough. Domains are cheap, like $12.95 for a year. It's worth it and will help to build your brand. Oh, and make sure you use the name you write under, whether that's your real name or a pseudonym.

4. Attend online chats and get interviewed on online radio shows. Again, these help to build your brand. Even if you're not the sort to want to be in the spotlight, both of these are easy and you can do them from the comfort of your home. The more people hear about you, your books and your name the better.

5. Participate in Blog Hops and Blog Tours. Blog Hops and Blog Tours are another great way to build your brand, and they bring more new readers to your books. Blog Hops in particular since they are done with other authors will bring both your own readers and all the other author's readers as well, so they are a great way to maximize getting your name out there. Blog Tours bring in the regular readers of particular blogs who might not have otherwise seen you or your books. Both are a great way to build your brand and sell your books!

Remember it's all about the name. Whatever name you write under is the brand you want to build, so be sure and get your name out there wherever and whenever you can!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Manic Monday: My Experience with NaNo

Winter Wonderland from RGB stock
NaNo for those who don't know is National Novel Writing Month and November is the month where many authors including myself try to finish a novel in you guessed it, a month. I've gotten close, but I've never quite finished a novel in a month using NaNo. I love the idea of it, but staying on task when you have a day job with a lot of overtime during the holiday season makes it tough. I work in a busy hospital OR during the day and October through February tends to be our busiest time of year since most people have satisfied their deductible by this time and are trying to get any necessary surgeries out of the way before they have to start from ground zero deductible wise.

A few things that I've found to be helpful in staying on task with NaNo are the following:

1. Get up a little earlier in the morning and write 1000+ words. Or I write when I have breaks. I don't try and have great swaths of writing time. For one thing it's not realistic and for another I hate it when I have hours and hours to write and then I can't write. I do better with short bursts of writing.

2. Play some kind music softly in the background, preferably without words. Listening to music with words I understand just takes my attention away from my writing so I tend to either listen to music without words, or if it does have words, words I don't understand. That way my attention doesn't easily become focused elsewhere.

3. Just write. I don't go back and read or edit anything I've written previously. This is hard especially if you can't remember precisely where you left off. In that case, I might read a few of the previous paragraphs just to get me started, but no more.

4. I make sure I get plenty of rest. One of the things that will easily kill my ability to write effectively is not getting enough rest. I can do it once, but if it becomes consistent I make a lot more mistakes and man do my stories take weird turns when I'm sleep deprived. When I'm tired they go places I never would have taken them!

So, there you have it. What I do to stay on task during NaNo.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Manic Monday: Truer Words Were Never Spoken!

Photo from Stock Xchng
So, I usually post about writing or a tip for authors or something like that on Mondays but I thought I'd just do a personal post today. Generally speaking I usually do my posts for the entire week on Saturday or Sunday and then schedule them. It's so much easier than remembering each day to do my post. I never claimed to be the on time queen! LOL I'm working on it but I know myself very well and completely organized and on time has never been me.

So, my last couple of days have been sort of weird. Usually on Saturday and Sunday I work on freelancing, but this last Saturday because it was my birthday the hubby and I went to a local Indian Casino. Hey, I figure if I'm going to gamble and let's face it give a bit of money away I'd rather do it to my own people than say Vegas, or somewhere like that where it's a big corporation or something. We had a lot of fun and I broke even, so I didn't lose any money which is nice.

46 snuck up on me really fast! Last year for a whole year I thought I was still 44 when I was 45, so that just goes to show you how much I'm paying attention. LOL My best friend Tina had to remind me that no I was not turning 44 I was turning 45! That was a real hoot, let me tell you. I guess you know you're getting older when you stop counting huh?

Sunday would have been uneventful but I decided to get in a fight with Photoshop! Yeah, I know you can't win against a computer program, but boy was I determined. I was working on a cover for another author and I swear I could not get this one photo of a couple to cut out right no matter what I did. I used the Extract tool like three times, and I'm picky so if it doesn't look just right I won't even use it. By the third time and several  hours later I was about ready to tear my hair out by the roots! So then I went into another program and tried using layers and erasing. While it didn't look too bad, I just couldn't get around the guy's face so it looked natural, I kept seeing this one little spot where I erased too close. Argh! Finally I decided to take all the photos and see if I could put them together in some kind of semblance of something that would look pretty. I even put it back in Photoshop and used some pretty filters on it. No such luck. When I was done, I hated it! Man do I ever hate it when that happens. Sometimes the muse just doesn't strike me right, so I'm back to square one. I gave up about 11:30 pm and decided to sit on it for a day or so. I'll have to tell the author I'm not going to have it just yet, but I'd rather than than give someone an inferior product. Covers are so important to how well a book sells that when I do one I want to make sure it's right even if I redo it several times!

Then this morning dawned with the light coming in much more brightly than it usually does at the same time of day since we've turned the clocks back. I did not want to get up, my brain raced all night and so I kept waking up. LOL So I finally drag my tired ass out of bed and manage to make it out the door in time and I get all the way to the bus stop and realize I don't have my hospital ID or bus pass. . So I trot back up to my apartment, get my ID and pass since I can't get into any of the restricted areas of the hospital without my ID and go back down to the bus stop. So I catch another bus and then make it downtown in record time, connection to go up to the hospital? Yeah, it doesn't show, and neither do the next two buses. So finally it shows up at 9: 40am. I ended up having to call the boss and tell him I was going to be late. Go figure. Then I get here and we've got meetings galore, and a bunch of uncovered cases, and we're short doctors to cover them. And that dear readers is why I said of Manic Monday that truer words were never spoken! My week is starting off with a bang! 

For everyone's sake, I hope your week is lovely, quiet and uneventful! :-)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: The Fairy Prince

I'll bet you think when you see photos of stone fairies that we're all female don't you? While it's true that our females are beautiful and sometimes sweet, especially to mortal males, we aren't all female. And we don't all cater to the opposite sex either. I sure don't, and that has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion. My father wants me to marry another fae, some female from a neighboring kingdom. Never mind that females hold no allure to me. He is set in his ways and convinced that the only way to ensure our kingdom's continued dominance in the region is for me to marry this princess. 

So, I'm leaving. While I love my people, there is no way that I'm going to marry some princess and have more little fairies. The thought is EWW! Just ewww! I mean don't get me wrong, I like females fine, in fact my best friend Lunaria is female. If I absolutely had to marry a female, she is the only one I could tolerate. Of course there would be no little fairies to come out of that union because while I love her like a sister I cannot even imagine being intimate with her. 

So, like I said I'm leaving. I've already passed the sacred grove on this side of the veil. Now all I have to do is pierce the veil and enter the human world and I'm  home free. Well that's the plan anyway. If my father's soldiers catch me, I'm done for. 

I can see the veil just ahead. I can hear the traffic whizzing by, and why humans drive those noisy, air congesting things I'll never know. While I'd prefer to stay in my own realm there is no bloody way I'm marrying that princess. So, here goes nothing! 

Just as I'm about to push through the veil I can hear shouts behind me. Damn! The soldiers have discovered my plan, I must push through the veil now. Hiding my wings I force my body to grow to human size. While I want to get to the human world on the other side, I can't give away the existence of our world either. That means no wings and no magic once I get to the other side. With one more glance behind me I see the soldiers have also assumed human size and hidden their wings, clearly thinking to follow me. 

I push through the veil which feels sort of like a gel as it moves around me and find myself on the other side with a loud pop. I'm standing on a sidewalk in what looks like a small town. Good, I was worried I'd pop out in some big city with smog and air congestion. While such a place might be better for hiding, I'd wither away and die and in such a place. Fairies need to be close to nature, plants, trees that sort of thing. Without that connection we die. That's why so many of us don't enter the human world anymore. Too much air and water pollution and too few plants and trees in so many places. 

That's when I saw him. Small compared to my now six foot one frame, the human was as dark as I am blonde. Short, but willowly and slim, the human has a long black braid swinging down his back. His skin is darker than any I've ever seen before with a reddish hue. He's cutting firewood and every time the axe swings up the muscles in his arms and back bunch. Yum! Could this delicious human be the one I've been looking for?

Only one way to find out...I'm going to go and talk to him.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Regina Paul. All Rights reserved.