Category Archives: Uncategorized

Playtime!

Remember running and screaming from your playground mates as they tried to touch you?

Okay, that came out sort of wrong. What I was trying to do was inspire memories of the beloved childhood game: tag. This post is sort of like tag for bloggers. There have been a few Meme’s making the rounds in the blogosphere lately and although I was tagged by a couple of savy writers for the Lucky 7 one, I don’t have a page 77 yet in my current WIP so couldn’t participate. But, when the lovely Lynnette Burrows tagged me with the 11 question game, I realized all the running and screaming was over and I am now the one to be feared on the playground….bahahaha!

The rules for 11 Questions:

1. You must post the rules. 2. Answer the questions on your blog. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged. 3. Tag eleven people and link to them. 4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Whew! I think this is burning as many calories as chasing people. *glancing at snack* I could be wrong.

Her questions, my answers:

1. What book or series can you read over and over again without getting bored?

Really, anything written by Margaret Atwood. I read her books over and over just for the pure pleasure of studying her way with words. Of course, lately the books I’ve read over and over again are my boys’ current favorites: “Stellaluna” and “Are You My Mother”.  Children’s books never get old!

2. What TV show character do you hate and why?

This one stumped me. I like all the characters in the shows I watch: Fringe, The Mentalist, Being Human, Psyche. Even the villians are likeable. Guess that says good things about the writers!

3. If you were a super hero, what is your super hero name and your special power?

I’d be the pet whisperer and I’d be able to talk to animals.

4. What is your favorite ear worm (song that gets stuck in your head)?

“Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner…that is what I’d truly like to be…” (You’re welcome)

5. If you could be any character of the opposite sex in any story, who would you be and why?

Aidan from Being HumanWhy? Because I’d be a hot, sexy vampire for eternity. Plus, bonus–I could see myself sans shirt whenever I wanted!

6. What was the worst job you’ve ever had and why?

Working in a department store. The epitome of boredom.

7. What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

The Lone Ranger. Which, I was excited to learn is being made into a movie starring Johnny Depp. My second favorite was Scooby Doo. Which kinda explains why I write mysteries and have a dog that looks like this:

8. What mode of transportation (horse, automobile, bus, train, boat, airplane, space plane, etc.) would you never want to use and why?

Any mention of transportation gets me excited (especially now that I’m working on my fear of flying) because I immediately start thinking about all the cool places I would travel to. Though, I don’t think I’d enjoy being in a submarine. Encased in metal, tight spaces, emersed in water. *shudder* Is it getting hot in here?

9. What job/occupation would you never want to try?

Working in any kind of chocolate factory. It would mean sure death from a sugar coma. Or anything to do with public speaking. Or spiders.

10. If you could tweet a warning or encouragement to one person in history, what would you tweet to whom and why?

my tweet: @aynrand For the luv of all that’s holy, don’t let them grant movie rights to your novels. Love, a concerned fan.

11. Tell us about one thing on your bucket list.

Okay. I want to spend the night in a really haunted house or hotel (or European castle…what? A girl can dream) with the Ghost Hunters team…including their ghost busting dog, Maddie.

AND…as I am late to play, I have seen most of you answer your own 11 questions already so to I’m going to be a rebel and just ask questions here for whoever stops by to answer in the comments. Answer either or both & thanks for playing!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest!

I’m a science geek at heart, so when August McLaughlin announced her Beauty of a Woman blogfest tour and invited us to participate, I had to get right down to the nitty gritty and start with the question: What exactly is the purpose of beauty?

The answer, as far as mother nature is concerned, is to attract a mate and propagate a species. There are evolutionary advantages to colorful feathers, bright petals, the right hip to waist to breast ratio.

But beyond that, I think we humans have evolved to appreciate beauty beyond just a way to choose a mate. I believe appreciating beauty is also a spiritual evolutionary advantage, a way to connect to the world around us. For example: I love my dogs, but I’ve never seen them stare at a sunset in awe. They have no need to grow flowers or hang paintings just to surround themselves with beautiful things. The sun sometimes glints off the lake in back of our house like a million diamonds and I am enraptured. My dogs only care if there’s a duck.

What do lakes and ducks have to do with the beauty of a woman? I believe this ability to appreciate beauty outside ourselves also allows us to appreciate beauty at a deeper level within each other.

When we learn to appreciate the beauty in our surroundings we learn to appreciate true beauty in a soul. The beauty of a woman has nothing to do with the size of her waist, what matters is the size of her heart. The most beautiful women I know of today are the ones who spill over with compassion and joy.

Women who treat every being they come across with empathy and dignity, who are at peace with themselves and passionate about peace.

(Aung San Suu Kyi)

Women who have a smile for all, whose eyes sparkle with loving kindness as bright as my back yard lake.

 (Karen Maezen Miller)

It has been argued that beauty and truth are one in the same. These women are the truth of beauty and the beauty in truth.

And the really fabulous news for us women, this kind of beauty doesn’t fade with age. If we feed it, it flowers, grows wings, spreads glittering seeds of light and sets the whole world aglow.

Beauty is not embodied in movie stars. It’s in every woman when we become stars, burning beyond our corporal bodies with the kind of love that is unique to each of us yet the same in all of us. Eternal love. Eternal light. Eternal beauty.

I’ll leave you with the words from the timeless words of Before the Throne of Beauty XXVI by Khalil Gibran:

“Beauty is that which attracts your soul, and that which loves to give and not to receive. When you meet Beauty, you feel that the hands deep within your inner self are stretched forth to bring her into the domain of your heart.”

* Visit August’s blog on Friday Feb. 10th to read all the contributions to this topic. Also there are prizes up for grabs! Including a Kindle!

Hurricane Season

Can you relate? I sure could over the holidays! There I was happily waddling along with all my ducks in a row when BAM! Holidays.

Each little duckling here represents some aspect of my life that was out of control: the kidlings hopped up on christmas wishes and sugar cookies; my vicious cycle of comfort food/guilt/more comfort food; no time for writing or reading (this alone can send small children and animals running for cover in our house). Well…you get the picture.

Things are calming down now. The whirlwind is over and sanity can resume (as soon as the Christmas and New Years Eve decorations come down). I really need some prevention tips, though.

How do you all keep your sanity during the holidays? Do all the festivities energize you or drain you?

Rules That Shape Us

Society has rules to keep order. Rules for our kids and pets are there to keep them safe and help integrate them into society. But what about in our own private world? Yep, even there, we have rules, boundaries we put in place to define who we are to ourselves and the world. Even if we don’t have them hanging on our refrigerator, they’re there.

Here are the top ten rules I try to live by:

1) Pay attention to the reoccurring themes in your life. These are quiet lessons being whispered to us every day in the form of an overheard conversation, a book flipped open to the right page, a photo on a passing bus. Tiny messages that accumulate like snow flakes until they are big enough to get our attention.

2) Accept change. It is part of the natural cycle, the ebb and flow of life. Sorrow will follow joy, but joy will also follow sorrow. The only thing we can control is our reaction to change.

3) Don’t lose your inner child. Allow yourself to be silly, ride roller coasters, make snow angels, chase fireflies and invisible dragons, build sandcastles, play dress-up, spin until you fall to the ground and watch the clouds whirl above you. Of course, it helps if you have an actual child doing these things with you. Do everything you can to not take life or yourself quite so seriously.

4)Widen your view of the world. It is much more expansive, far- reaching and deeper than the space we occupy. There are so many cultures, philosophies and places to explore, experience and love and–so little time.

5)Remember how to breathe. As children we breathe deeply into our bellies. As adults we breath shallow into our chest. Be conscious of your breath, use it to fill your belly, calm your emotions, quiet your mind.

6) Live well. This is not as easy as it sounds. Letting yourself rest when needed, saying no when you are overwhelmed, exercising, fueling your body’s furnace with healthy foods, creating, meditating, worshiping, laughing, learning, connecting. There is so much to taking care of your mind, body and spirit but it’s worth the investment. Give yourself a chance to reach your full potential in life.

7) If you’re going to bother doing something don’t do it half way. Delve into it, immerse yourself in the whole experience. Don’t just taste the wine– learn how to swirl, close your eyes and separate the fruit from the oak from the earth. Life will be richer and full of color.

8)  Friendships are vital. It’s the space in between people where things happen. Pay attention to this space, this is love.

9) Hold on to hope. Hope is our greatest weapon against cause and effect, against knowing what the future can and will bring, and against ourselves when we feel like giving up and giving in.

10) Live free. Not free of responsibility or relationships, but free of fear, guilt, judgment and boundaries. Let yourself off the hook and off the leash.

What about you? What rules do you use to shape your life?

Author Interview: Kimberly Mullican

I’m so excited to have author Kimberly Mullican visiting today! Here’s a little bit about Kim:

Her journey began when she discovered that like most parents, hers happen to also be compulsive liars.  Since discovering that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were fictitious characters, she found it difficult to believe her parents when they told her “there is no such thing as ghosts.”  Hiding under the blankets, jumping at things that go bump in the night led her mind to wandering through the mysteries the world keeps locked away.  Surely, if there are ghosts, other things exist as well.

Kim worked in sales for many years before losing her sanity and transitioning to writing full time. Now working on her third novel, Kim has decided to dive head first into the literary world with her breakout novel, TAKING CONTROL.

SE: Welcome, Kim!

KM: Thank you Shannon for inviting me to your blog!

SE: So, let’s talk about this book. I love the fact that it has a little bit for everyone. What inspired you to write it? Did you create the character first or the plot first?

KM: You’re not going to believe how this all came together. I had a terribly overwritten vampire book (Don’t we all? 🙂 …and it’s good, just horribly overwritten. After every single agent said, “no thanks” or nothing at all I started looking at what they WERE looking for. Strong female MC – check; gay/lesbian overtones – check; paranormal – check; Romance – well there is a little romance and sex, best of both worlds. (Don’t gasp – we all love sex, it’s okay.) The whole story started to form as I was reading what agents were looking for. The funny part is – I decided to go the Indie route instead. Who cares what the agents want really? I’m not looking for an agent. Not now anyway.

SE:  Is this the first book of a planned series?

KM: Well, when I originally wrote the book and purchased the ISBN, I did not label it as a series.  However, I have had emails from fans that asked when to expect the sequel. It may grow into a series, butI did not have that intention at the start. I have so many stories swimming around in my head that sometimes it is difficult to land on just one.

SE: Is this book set in the future where genetic engineering is the norm?

KM:  The government tried it and for the most part it was a failure.  Kat (and her twin sister) were anomalies.  Of course, they had to be special, right?

SE: How did Kat meet Grant?

KM: Grant was sent to her when she was born (left that part vague – I smell a sequel, or maybe that’s the dog???) (SE: sorry, sent her from the room)

SE: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

KM: Proud moment for me here . . . I was a successful compulsive liar as a child, so I would gather that I started writing/creating when I was very young.  I vaguely remember getting a kick out of seeing that people were believing my stories. Thankfully, I found a more productive outlet that lacks the jail time I could have otherwise been facing. (SE: Ah, you used your imagination for good not evil!)

SE:  Do you have any advice for other writers?

KM: Buy stock in your favorite alcohol! (SE: noted!)

Seriously, I think the first thing a writer needs is very thick skin.  Having someone give you a bad critique is a tough pill to swallow.  Assuming you make it through critting and editing, then you have to put yourself out there.  I haven’t received a bad review yet, but it is coming.  How do I know?  Because you can be the most delicious green apple in the world, but not everyone loves green apples.  There will be a crappy review eventually, andI’ll have to accept that.

The other thing you need is a strong belief in yourself and your ability.  There is a lot of competition out there.  Don’t expect to write one book and get rich overnight.  There are only a few Rowlings out there, and it didn’t happen overnight for her either.

Edit, edit, edit again and again.  Get as many pairs of eyes on your work as possible pre-publishing.  Do your research on what the market is doing.  This is a business, not show and tell.  You must remember at all times what you’re trying to accomplish.  I get a bit racy online sometimes.  But I don’t write children’s books, so that is okay. But that’s my personality as well. I’ll never write YA – so it’s okay for me to address an older audience –as an adult.

The last bit – be yourself.  The public can smell a fake a mile away. (SE: not the dog this time!)  Be open, assist your writing community.
Thanks again for having me Shannon and good luck with KARMA’S A BITCH.  I still love that title!

SE: Thanks, Kim! Karma may be a bitch, but you most definitely are not!

Here’s where you can pick up your very own copy of TAKING CONTROL:

TAKING CONTROL – Nook

TAKING CONTROL – Smashwords

TAKING CONTROL – KINDLE  or Paperback on Amazon

TAKING CONTROL – PAPERBACK (CreateSpace)

Summary:

Kat Trueblood, genetically engineered medium and former CIA Agent, thought she had escaped the danger and drama of her previous life. She has a stable job as a paralegal, is dating her first girlfriend, and has plenty of time to spend with her best friend and guardian – a ghost named Grant.

In denial about missing the action of her former life, Kat’s thrust head first back into it when the Russian mafia – the same guys who raped and tortured her for two weeks during active duty – targets her and her family. The CIA forces her to choose between working with the FBI to catch a serial killer who is slaughtering area drag queens or leaving her family at risk.

Distracted by discovering Grant is in love with her and her girlfriend ending up on the suspect list, Kate finds herself as the hunted instead of the hunter. Captured by the killer, she must face her inner demons in order to survive and end the serial killer’s mayhem.

The Cover is Done!

So, this is it!  The secret project I’ve been toiling away at, inspired by my visit to St. Pete. The release date is still two or three weeks away but I just had to share the amazing talent of this cover artist, India Drummond with you. Isn’t it fabutabistica!!!! It’s so amazing, I’m making up words!

If you are an indie author looking for a cover design, I highly recommend India. You can find her here: http://www.indiadrummond.com/

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries with a bit of magic…stay tuned!

Best of Friday Flash Volume One is here!

Now Available on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21851

So, what is Friday Flash, you ask?

“Friday Flash is a weekly global writing event. Writers worldwide post flash fiction, stories of 1,000 words or less, and announce them via the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter or Facebook. Friday Flash is a true community – a virtual on online writer’s colony. This collection gathers sixty-seven of the very best – from humor to horror, slice-of-life to science fiction – under one cover.”

This explains what Friday Flash is, but not what it means to the hundreds of us that have participated since its inception and the man who started it all, Jon Strother. I’ve personally participated for over a year, not as consistently as I’d like but life does tend to get in the way. Enough, though that it has made me a better writer and helped me find others along the way on the same journey. The writing life has always been an isolated one. Until projects like this come along where you spend a year with other talented, generous writers and get to see the fruits of everyone’s labor all wrapped up in a nice little volume of terrific stories.

You can read my story “Her Migration” in this anthology as well as sixty-six other fantastic stories. Don’t have time to read a novel? Grab these juicy, bite-sized bits of flash and enjoy!

Fabulous Flash Award

This cool little badge of recognition was bestowed upon me by the fabulous father of #fridayflash himself, Jon Strother. (Also a great writer!) I’m not the most prolific writer in the mass of talent out there, so getting recognized for my flash is like getting smacked in the face with a yummy lemon meringue pie–surprising, sweet, decadent and oh so satisfying!

Now to spread the love. Choosing four of my favorite flash writers is like trying to pick a favorite child, but these are people that I rush to read every week, even if I have to squeeze it in between breaking up toddler fights:

Karen Schindler –  Karen’s flash is saturated with  humor and sharp wit. And she does it every single week. I am in awe of her power. Do you remember pop-rocks? That’s your brain on her flash. Crackle, sizzle, POP! Just brilliant stuff. Go read her now! Follow her: @karenfrommentor

Mark Kerstetter – Mark is not just a writer, he’s an artist. I have a soft spot for artists who can write. I always push away from the table after finishing Mark’s flash full & happy, like I’ve had a full course meal & fed my brain.  He’s excellent at taking a non-fiction piece about an artist or writer and expanding it to create a story. Follow him:  @markerstetter

Cathy Olliffe – I admire Cathy for her ability to write real, honest to god characters. She writes with freedom and understanding and possesses this gift for description that makes me feel like I’ve slipped into the story. I can smell the pie and get wet from the tears. She makes me  uncomfortable, aware and in love with these people because they are so human. Follow her: @Matthiasville

Marc Nash –  Marc is the quintessential genius writer. His insight is sometimes blinding and always rewarding. Yes, most of the time he makes you work really hard for your supper (keep your dictionary handy) but if I had to choose a last meal, I would choose his. Follow him:  @ExisleMoll

Okay, now that I’ve made myself hungry, my work here is done. But I hope you will go have a flash fiction feast with these amazing writers!