Friday, January 13, 2017

Food and Towels!

Morning, all!

Two of the most fun things about Disney Cruises are the food and towels!

Food is a given. Not only does it taste good, but they make pretty too. And every night when you return to your stateroom, a neat towel figure has been placed on your bed to amuse.


Mmmm yummy creme brulee!


Cheesecake!



A crab?


A bunny! So adorable!


Couldn't you just frame this one? :)


A frog!


I think it's a monkey or orangutan. What do you think?


A lovely elephant!


One night at dinner, they did the napkins like little suits. Adorable!


A ghostly pirate, perhaps? Or creature from the deep?


Funky, isn't it?


Pluto relaxing while his master's away?


Aren't they all just adorable? Which is your favorite? I can't choose!

Have a great Friday!










Friday, December 30, 2016

Wrapping Up the Old Year, Planning for the New Year

The week in between Christmas and New Years is often a mixture of events, last minute things, and utter chaos.

For some of us, the excitement of the Doctor Who Christmas Special is starting to die down while the expectation of the Sherlock New Years Special is starting to rev up. For others, it's a time to travel, visiting family and friends plus a dash of anxiety about the weather and traffic.

It can also be a good time for introspection.

I've posted in the past that the day after New Years is usually my time to get my records in order for income tax time. It's also my time to update my webpage for what conventions and other appearances (young writers conferences, signings, and such) that I have scheduled so far in the next year, as well as think about what conventions I usually attend that maybe I should skip.

It's probably not news that conventions to small press authors are a means of promotion. (There are posts in this blog about it as well as book signings and other means.) Authors with traditional publishers have many ways of getting the word out about their books, established long ago by those publishing houses. Small presses have their own ways as well, and one of them is counting on their authors to promote themselves. Interviews in local newspapers, in blog posts, on podcasts are all good ways of getting the word about about yourself and your books. So are appearances at conventions. Participating on panels and having your book for sale at a dealer or an author table or a book signing is a plus on your promotion side. But when sales are down at a convention or the programming committee makes odd scheduling decisions, it's time to re-evaluate that convention.

And it's also time to consider which convention would work for a possible book launch party. Yes, the good news is that I've signed contracts with Zumaya Publications to re-release The Crystal Throne, Talking to Trees and a new expanded version of Agents & Adepts (now tentatively Agents, Adepts & Apprentices) with 22 stories (previously 16). Gloria Oliver and Christine Norris are also Zumaya authors so I know I'll be in good company. Expect to see blog posts about the new covers and publication release dates in 2017.

And now back to sorting receipts and rewatching the Sherlock trailer. And preparing for a young writers conference next week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BOOKS AND STOCKINGS AND HATS AND CATS

I'm cross posting this from my other blog at https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we survived the crazy shoppers and we've had our naps, it's time to start thinking about, yes, you got it, Christmas.

How about a hatful of books for the young readers you know.
 
 
 
Or maybe a stocking full for those cold snowy days to keep the kids entertained.
 
 
 
For more
 
 Visit me at AMAZON  BARNES  & NOBLE
 
 
and see what you like. Books make great gifts for older readers too.
 
Or, if you'd like a signed paperback of any of my books email me at Beverlysmcclure (at) aol (dot) com. Free shipping too, my gift to you.
 
Now I'll stop advertising. I think all the ads I read this past weekend have gone to my head.
 
It's taken awhile to write this because Tiger keeps interrupting me to play ball. Then Patches gets jealous and gives him her look that says she's gonna get him when he's not looking. Cats are so sweet.
 
 
Tiger wants to know who that kitty in the mirror is.
 
 
Doesn't Patches look like a terror? She does pick on Tiger.
She pretends like she just wants to sleep.
 
Happy Reading to You All!
 


Friday, November 4, 2016

Sherlock Holmes in High School

A guest post by my friend Tammy Garrison about her new YA book:

***********

As a kid, I picked up a hefty volume called The Boy’s Sherlock Holmes from a grade school that was closing, and was liquidating its library. It looked like something I would be interested in, despite being obviously labeled as being ‘for boys.’ But that was the way of most things I liked; Batman, Star Wars, hockey, you name it. I know now that this was not my experience alone, that girls and women felt alienated from geek culture, and before the Internet, there wasn’t an easy way for a teen of limited means to meet up with like minds.

I didn’t pick up this book just because it was ‘for boys.’ I had a genuine interest. I’d spent my fair share of Sundays watching old Rathbone movies, not to mention various cartoon incarnations of Sherlock Holmes that I had a fair idea of what I was getting myself into. But going back even further, my first and formative introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes was a CBS movie of the week entitled The Return of Sherlock Holmes that aired when I was seven years old. It took place in the modern day, and Watson was a woman. It was an accessible gateway for a grade schooler who always had to be He-Man when we played after school.

The stories held my fickle attention from cover to cover, but there was really one thing missing from most of those tales: women. I was hardly a child feminist, in fact I had grown up in a confusing era where Barbie could be an astronaut, but women were still continually implied to be lesser than men, and the male experience to be superior to the things women were supposed to like and do and be.

Most girls just accepted that we’d never be Luke Skywalker, that regardless of how cool his lightsaber was, we’d be better off liking Princess Leia with her many hair and costume changes. I just barely managed to hold onto my dream of being Batman, regardless of my youthful crush on Tim Drake’s Robin, and the existence of Batgirl. I didn’t want to be the lesser spin-off character. I wanted to be The Main Guy. Since, y’know. Guys were more important than girls.

Everything comes back around again, and at a low point in my adult life, battling severe and debilitating mental health issues and the crushing self-esteem blow of unemployment, I sat down on a warm and sunny November 1st, at the start of National Novel Writing Month with only one goal in mind: to write the most self-soothing, self-serving thing I could possibly produce. If the world didn’t care about me, then I didn’t care about the world.

I decided to write not the story that I wanted to read, but the story that I had needed growing up, and still needed now: the story of a girl Sherlock Holmes, brilliant but alienated, surviving the ins and outs of high school with her best friend, a Watson who was athletic and smart, but maybe less noticeable than she thought she should be.

Over thirty days, I came up with a story that was exactly what I needed in high school to tell me that I was ok the way I was, that my interests weren’t wrong or weird and that, in fact, there is nothing lesser about girls and that they can do anything, even be self-involved detectives. It became a bit like shojo manga, but without the love interest, since one of my peeves is every young adult story needing to have some sort of romantic plot, preferably the dreaded triangle. It was all of the elements I wanted in a story involving one of my childhood heroes, and I was absolutely certain no one would ever read it.

It took me forever to edit it and get through two more drafts. Years, even. Due to this terrible fear that I was somehow wrong for writing it, and anyway, who would publish an alternate universe Sherlock Holmes story where Sherlock Holmes is a teenage girl in modern America?

Eventually you get sick of looking at a story. You want to murder it, or burn every copy and chastise yourself for ever wanting to write the thing. That is the point where you send it to others. After the usual rounds of reading, typo fixing and comments, I decided to pull the trigger and fire it off to MX Publishing, a house I was familiar with, due to the number of pastiches I had read over the years. Crazily enough, they also decided that shojo teenage Sherlock Holmes was something they wanted to add to their catalog.

And that, my friends, is how the story of an awkward girl who grew into an awkward adult who wrote the book she needed to read.

The Twisted Blackmailer: Watson & Holmes Book 1 is available directly from the publisher: http://www.mxpublishing.com/brand/Tammy+Garrison

Or from Amazon as a paperback and Kindle book: https://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Blackmailer-Watson-Holmes-Book/dp/1787050246

The e-book is available now, and the paperback is available December 9th.

From the back of the book:

Nothing's ever easy when Sherlock Holmes is involved. Joanna Watson needs sports and academic scholarships if she is going to make it all the way to med school. That means keeping out of trouble, and her school record squeaky clean. But upon befriending the mysterious New Girl, Joanna has her perfect record ruined, skips school for the first time in her life, and finds a blackmailer aiming a gun in her direction. All she knows is that she's going to get grounded... if they get out of this alive.

For more information
http://tammygarrison.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4050764.Tammy_Garrison

Friday, September 23, 2016

Disney 2016 Sneak Peek!

Greetings!

Life has been...chaotic! Busy! Piling up! Making me way behind! Mostly due to the day job. But just a few weeks ago, hubby and I went on vacation. We departed for the Mediterranean for a week.

It was my first trip ever to Europe. Had been looking forward to it for over a year! With only a week and four ports of call, there wasn't time to see everything. We barely touched the surface. I think we left from vacation more exhausted than when we went! lol.

Where did we go? Let me show you.




I took a jillion pictures. It's how I roll. But due to unexpected circumstances and some bad luck, I lost 600+ of them. *cry* Even now, with how busy life has been, I've only been able to upload some.

But don't worry, I won't flood you with them. :) Figured I'd share just a few to wet your appetite. :P


The sunsets out here were amazing!


Some awesome skies too!


Coming into Livorno.


Doesn't it scream Europe? Taken on our way to the boat for the National Park of Cinque Terre.


Seeing this made me homesick for Puerto Rico. The island's architecture and forts were built and influenced by the Spaniards who came there, so I really shouldn't have been surprised. :)


Isn't this gorgeous? One of my few surviving pics of Rome. *sniff*

 All of them are not up on my site yet, but if you want to see more, come on by and check out what's up my gallery so far. :)

I want to go back!!!!





Friday, September 9, 2016

Still Trekking After Fifty Years

Thursday, September 8, 2016, was the anniversary of the day the first episode of Star Trek aired. I watched that episode ("The Man Trap") with my father, who was the other science fiction fan in my family. I was 12 years old, and my dad was the reason I got into science fiction. I had already been reading his collection of science fiction and fantasy books that I found on the bookshelves in our basement.

Dad had brought home our first color television set just the week before. I don't know if the two events are related (as a twelve-year-old I didn't pay attention to commercials until after Star Trek started), but I did save the TV Guide pages. When I look at those and at the promo commercials for Star Trek in general on Youtube now and see "In Color" as a main mention, I strongly suspect that those might have influenced my dad's buying decision.

Star Trek made a huge impression on me. The multicultural bridge crew, the fact that both men and women were part of the crew, and the overall positive view of the future spoke to me. Imagining ourselves as part of the Star Trek universe joined the spy stories and Western stories my friends and I made up and played in our backyards. One of the early science fiction stories I wrote as a teen has a definite Star Trek influence, as I had abandoned the idea of chemical rockets for engines similar to those in that universe.

I've been a fan of Star Trek for years, loving the books, the animated series (43rd anniversary of that series), the films and the various spin-offs as they came along. Though I did lose interest partway through Star Trek: Enterprise and I decided after the 2009 film that I didn't need to follow that alternate universe.

With that background in mind, I'm excited to announce that I'm part of this collection of new essays about Star Trek. My essay is about first season episode "The Devil In The Dark", which has my favorite alien in the entire series. Outside In Boldly Goes will be 352 pages, paperback, $19.95, available in late October 2016.

Outside In Boldly Goes can be pre-ordered at ATB Publishing and the link can be found on this page with the table of contents.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

INK RIPPLES AND BANNED BOOKS

September, one of my favorite months. The beginning of Autumn. School begins. New sports and activities begin. A busy month. It's also a new Ink Ripples. The topic for this month is Banned Books.




Ink Ripples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. They're all authors, but you don't have to be to participate. You can also post whenever is convenient for you, not necessarily on Monday.
 
The idea of InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. You can blog about the topic any day of the month. Or you can share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #InkRipples. Just be sure to link back to Kai, Mary, or Katie.
 
The topic for September is Banned Books. I imagine there are a lot of thoughts about this. Banned books? I've really paid little attention to this idea of banned books, but now I'm finding the subject interesting. Who decides to ban a certain book? Why? So, I went to the ALA Web site to find some answers. If you've never been there, this is a good time to pay a visit. They have lots of information, along with activities for Banned Books Week, September 25-October 1, 2016. Go here.
 
You can also use any of the banners on your post.
 
What do you think about banned books?
 
The topics for the rest of September are:
 
October:    Masks
November: Heritage
December: Cookies
 
Happy Reading!