Wednesday, December 30, 2015

GOODBYE 2015, HELLO 2016

In just a few days, this year will be ended and a new year will begin.
 
 
Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If so, want to share?

I don't make resolutions, as such,  but I do set goals.
 
I haven't written any yet, but I'm thinking  about them.
 
Something about better time management.
 
Also more "me" time. Like to read, to exercise more, and take more walks.
 
To play the piano more often and not to stress, especially over things I cannot control.
 
These are some ideas I'm considering.
 
 
HAVE A HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Traditions

I love the holidays! My mother used to go all out on Christmas. Some of my fond memories include tons of presents underneath the Christmas tree. No matter how tight things were, Mom always made sure to make Christmas special for all seven of us kids.
Me and Mom during a 1960s Christmas

Swedish Roll Image: Photo courtesy of http://meaningfulmama.com
Swedish Roll Image: Photo courtesy of http://meaningfulmama.com
One big thing I remember though had to be how Mom stressed the importance of sharing with others out in the community that were less fortunate than us. One of the things she shared was her famous Swedish Tea Roll. The preparation would usually be an all-day event with her making the dough and letting it rise before rolling it out and adding all the yummy things like walnuts, cherries, and topping with icing.
Mom cooking up a storm
Mom cooking up a storm
Our neighbors across the street would also share some homemade tamales:
Mexican hot chocolate Image: http://www.restaurantgirl.com/
Mexican hot chocolate Image: http://www.restaurantgirl.com/
One year one of my friends from Mexico City had me over to help her made a batch of homemade tamales. It’s an all-day event but so worth it at the end!
We also had Mexican hot chocolate, pan dulce, sweet bread, and conchas too. 








Not only do we celebrate with food but our church has some lovely events that we enjoying attending every year. One is a choir production called Sing Noel.
Rick Denos of Mission Viejo and Brianna Hobbins of Trabuco Canyon hold the "baby Jesus", Claire Himber, in this year's Follow the Star event held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.  Photography by Kathleen Himber.
Rick Denos of Mission Viejo and Brianna Hobbins of Trabuco Canyon hold the “baby Jesus”, Claire Himber, in this year’s Follow the Star event held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Photography by Kathleen Himber.
Another one is a live nativity scene that is held in the back of our church meeting house. It’s usually cold (well, for So. California that is!) but I just love sitting outside and having the story behind the nativity reenacted.
Here’s a little backgrounder to our holiday tradition:http://www.smstake.church/blog/2015/12/8/history-of-follow-the-star
What are some of your holiday traditions? CROSSED-OUT-COVER
Kim Baccellia is the author of the YA paranormal Crossed Out.

Originally posted at  http://lachesispublishing.com/?p=6781

Friday, December 18, 2015

Puerto Rico - Land of Enchantment!

After way too many years, I finally went back to my roots - Puerto Rico!


I'd brought up the idea last year about doing a trip there to visit family and it be three generations of us girls. (My Mom, my daughter, and me!) Since we're all getting older, I figured this might be the last chance for something like this. And I wanted my daughter to learn more about where we all came from.

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean. It's small, only 100 X 50 miles, but chock full of culture and exotic foods and more! Better yet, you don't need a passport to go there. Puerto Rico (meaning Rich Port) is a property of the US - so while it might seem foreign, it's still part of the old US of A!

We spent a little over a week there, staying with my uncle. We drove all over the place. And like usual, I took a ton of pictures! heh heh. I'll share a few with you and also links to the albums in case you want to see more. (Albums have a slideshow feature!)


View from my uncle's porch. So awesome! He lives outside the city of Caguas


This is the beach at Luquillo. The colors of the water are gorgeous!


El Morro is an old Spanish fort in San Juan. A huge fort! Lots of history here.


San Juan has a section where all the roads are as they were in the past. Built from the weights carried in the ships as ballast once they came to port to fill up with goods from the island.


El Yunque (The Forest) is a protected rain forest. You will have never seen so much GREEN! :)


Have several more albums - Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park, Camuy Caves, Guajataca, Ponce, and Other.

Hope you get a chance to visit the island someday!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent/Countdown Calendars

I vaguely remember Advent calendars while growing up. These were calendars counting down the days to Christmas, and each day you would open the flap for that day and see the picture inside.

When Doctor Who returned to television, the BBC started in 2006 having Advent calendars counting down to the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. The name was later changed to Adventure calendars and had a variety of wallpaper downloads, interviews, puzzles, sneak peeks, and other advance info appearing each day. The previous years can still be viewed. The countdown is slightly confused this year, as the season (2015 series) hasn't ended yet. So this year the beginning of the Adventure calendar has interviews and advance promo pictures of the season finale. It can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/16TJvP8hHBBVWyfxlJw9BP8/doctor-who-adventure-calendar-2015.

Diane Duane has a new release in her Young Wizards series coming out in February, but she has a self-published book out now. Her Advent calendar has snippets of dialog not used in one of the seasonal short stories. It can be found at http://www.youngwizards.com/interim-errantry/2015/12/01/how-lovely-are-thy-branches-advent-calendar/.

This sounds like a great idea for advance publicity for a book launch, so I'll keep that in mind for the future. Meanwhile, I'm just going to enjoy two great countdown calendars.

And one more Advent calendar, this time for cat lovers. Georgia Dunn, the artist who created the Breaking Cat News webcomic, has an Advent calendar of the Breaking Cat News crew in various holiday garb on her Facebook page.

Have you come across any interesting means of counting down via a calendar or similar structure?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CHICKEN SOUP AND A GIVEAWAY!

December has arrived. This year is almost over. Where did the months go? To end on a note of fun, here's a forthcoming book that promises fun stories, sad stories, and a lot of others in between.

 
Of course, I love cats. I have two and Tiger, my tabby, has a story in this anthology.
If you're a dog lover, Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Very Good, Very Bad Dog is due out the same time as the cat book. Both anthologies will be released Feb. 9, 2016. I'm looking forward to reading the tales of our fur babies.
 
Here's my Tiger. I wonder what he'll think when I read him his story. I hope Patches isn't jealous.
 
 
Patches says she's the best Christmas gift.
 
 
Also, the publisher and I are having a giveaway at Good Reads for an unproofed print review copy of my YA Novel Under a Purple Moon, due out March 15, 2016. I'm making corrections now. There are a few. How did the editor and I miss them? Here's the link.
 
Happy Reading.
 


Friday, November 6, 2015

Promotion items

Swag, promo, giveaways, freebies - most authors have some items they give away in order to promote their books. Science fiction and fantasy conventions often have freebie tables provided for this purpose as well as promoting conventions. When I first started thinking about promo items I took a long look at what was on freebie tables - and what quickly vanished off them. From what I could see, standard swag items from science fiction and fantasy authors were usually bookmarks, postcards, pens and pencils. What I heard from some science fiction authors was that promo was a waste of time - that one should only concentrate on writing good books because that was what would sell your books. Meanwhile I looked at the freebie tables and noticed what grabbed my attention, and what items made me follow up to look up a book. One thing I knew from my own experience was that promo items can remind you days later (when you're away from the convention and the dealers room) of a particular author or book that you wanted to track down.

Promo items differ from genre to genre. I heard a lot of suggestions from the romance authors at my publisher of promo items I never saw at a science fiction convention. When I started attending EPICon, which was a convention run by EPIC, an organization of electronically published authors of all genres, I saw a demonstration of what other genre considered great promo. Emery boards, balloons, fans, bags of candy, flashlights, rubber ducks, ribbons for convention badges, book cover buttons, notepads, stress balls and many more. Since these were advertising ebooks, there were also CDs and mini-cds with sample chapters and, in later years, free flashdrives in a variety of shapes. As an example of what is popular recently among romance authors, my friend J. Kathleen Cheney wrote a swag summary of her experience at Romantic Times in Dallas.

I've tried various items, but the ones I've stuck with over the years have been pens, bookmarks and postcards.

Not only do those work for freebie tables, but they also help fill up the space when I have an author table and they help draw people to the table. There seems to be something about free pens.

The pens are also useful when I'm not at a convention. My local bookstore isn't interested in bookmarks, but will take and give away my pens. My local post office is also happy to get pens. Black ink pens were the ones they preferred so that is what they all are.

Although pens themselves aren't something featured in my books (as a flashlight was when I tried using that as promo), I do try to have the colors reflect something in my books. The Crystal Throne pens are the colors of magic in that universe, while the silver pen for Agents and Adepts reflects a magic wand in one story. The stripes on the Michael and the Elf pen is similar to the stripes in the elf's cap on the cover of the book and the colors on the Talking to Trees pen call to mind those of a fall forest (well, they do to me).

Where does an author find promo material? You can often make and print out your own bookmarks, but after a while you'll start to want more professional looking material. There are several companies - all with varying price ranges and quality. Once you get on one company's mailing list, you'll start getting catalogs and samples from many more. I use Overnight Prints for my bookmarks and postcards and National Pen for my pens. I also have labels (book title and URL) that I get from Colorful Images that I put on the back of all my paper correspondence (especially my bills). Ask any group of authors and you'll get several more recommendations (feel free to add in the comments).

There is as well the more expensive form of promo. Tee shirts, mugs, messenger bags, baseball caps, etc. A few years ago, these were often freebie items. More often now these are considered a reward for your fans or patrons.

What type of promo do you give away? What types of swag do you pick up at conventions?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's here, the cover for my forthcoming YA novel, UNDER A PURPLE MOON. Have you ever seen a purple moon? If not before, you have now.

This is beautiful.
 

No Love in the Garden of Eden...


Eden Rose has learned to deal with her mother’s criticism that she can do nothing right. What she can’t deal with are the arguments between her parents. To escape their angry words, she finds refuge in an old abandoned house. She always returns home, hoping her mother will love her one day, even though Eden’s not sure what the word love means.



Three other teens with problems also hang out at the Old House. Meeting Murphy, Toby, and Josh changes Eden’s world, and she begins to have faith in herself. Perhaps she can do something right, after all.



Thanks to the boys, she begins to understand the meaning of love. But will it be enough to save her broken home life?



Release date - March 15, 2016

$17.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 270 pages

Freedom Fox Press - Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Fiction/Young Adult - General (JUV000000) / Girls & Women (JUV014000)

Print ISBN 9781939844132 eBook ISBN 9781939844149

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Author Bio:

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories little voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers and clouds. She’s sometimes known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why.

Friday, October 23, 2015

FanDays 2015

Running late on my post. DOH!
All my plans went kaput when I popped off my tire trying a new way to go home in the middle of a giant storm. Yeah....
Been one of those months...

While I missed about half of FanDays due to work, I still made it in time to get a few pics. Yay!


My daughter had not made one of these triple layer flowers in forever. Someone saw it on the banner and asked for one. I think they are super cool!


Look at the awesome detail on her headdress. Fascinating!


Her weaponry and the buddy with her also had it going on!


Hawkwoman! Lots of nice detial.


See what I mean? Came out great!


The armor looks awesome!


Master Splinter and Raphael! Master Splinter is in the original comic style. Poor thing.


Talking of originals - here's the Penguin! Qack qack qack. (He looked awesome!)


A young Poison Ivy was hanging around too. Her necklace is super cool!


Pic my daughter sent me that Friday. She had my back while I was slaving at the day job. My bro came too, so he had her back. :)

Hope you have a great Wednesday!
While I missed about half of FanDays due to work, I still made it in time to get a few pics. Yay!


My daughter had not made one of these triple layer flowers in forever. Someone saw it on the banner and asked for one. I think they are super cool!


Look at the awesome detail on her headdress. Fascinating!


Her weaponry and the buddy with her also had it going on!


Hawkwoman! Lots of nice detial.


See what I mean? Came out great!


The armor looks awesome!


Master Splinter and Raphael! Master Splinter is in the original comic style. Poor thing.


Talking of originals - here's the Penguin! Qack qack qack. (He looked awesome!)


A young Poison Ivy was hanging around too. Her necklace is super cool!


Pic my daughter sent me that Friday. She had my back while I was slaving at the day job. My bro came too, so he had her back. :)

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Secondary Characters

I moderated an interesting panel discussion at Archon 39 this past weekend. "When Your Secondary Characters Demand Their Own Stories", with panelists Jacqueline Carey, Adrian J. Matthews, Cindy A. Matthews, Henry Melton and myself, started with examples of just those times. At first, these seemed to point out the differences between "plotters" - those who plot out their stories beforehand - and "pantsers" - those who write by the seat of their pants with no initial plan. "Pantsers" had characters who seemed to wander into a story while "plotters" didn't allow their characters to stray outside their predetermined roles.

But, as the discussion went on, it turned out that there wasn't that much difference between the two sliding scales of writing. What mattered was the character. Some background characters could appear, speak their lines or carry a spear, and vanish in the next paragraph. A secondary character could stay in the shadow of the main character, never moving out of the role of the main character's best friend or supporting team. But then there are those, that due to either being so well developed or with such an interesting backstory, that somehow catch enough interest (either the author's or readers') that people demand that more be told. Cindy Matthews found it happened with just one throwaway line spoken by a character. Henry Melton noticed one secondary character had become so interesting that he realized that the story should be about that character, the father of the main character, rather than the son.

Several of my short stories in Agents and Adepts are due to my own "secondary characters want their own story" issue. While looking for a publisher for my first book, The Crystal Throne, I found my Fleet Ones, a race of talking horselike beings in that book, rather pushy in that regard. Renw's story of how he teamed up with an elf to become a scout was something I had to explore, as well as how Elin left the herd to learn magic. Elin even pushed his way into Talking to Trees.

Is this something you can plan? The panelists were divided on that. In order to make a story interesting, you have to have interesting characters. One way to make a character interesting is to mention details, such as what the character likes or dislikes, mannerisms, etc. The more details we know about the character, the better. The problem comes with knowing so much about the character that she or he takes over the story. The panelists did agree that, if a character doesn't fit a story, no matter how interesting he or she is, for the sake of the story it might be best to move him or her to another file to save for another story.

Patricia Wrede covers this dilemma well in her tips on writing about secondary characters.

What secondary characters are you aware of that have gone on to their stories?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP AND BASEBALL

Welcome October, one of my favorite months. So much is going on, such excitement in the air. Today I'm cross posting from my other blog http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com. If you haven't heard of INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP, take a look. You're all welcome to join.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Awesome Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of IWSG. His awesome co-hosts for today are TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Am I insecure? Doesn't that just go along with being a writer? We wait and hope for a contract. When we get it (yes, I have a contract for my YA contemporary novel, yay), we worry about getting the edits just right. We worry if anyone will read it once it's published. I say "we", maybe it's only me. So ...

I'm taking a lesson from my favorite baseball team -- go Rangers. They started the season so badly most people gave up on them from the beginning. I didn't even watch their games that much. But the team members worked together. The coaches worked with them, and in spite of one injury after another that sidelined some players for the season and others for many games, they never gave up. They worked hard. Every win was a victory. A loss made them more determined to make it to the playoffs.

Well, they did. They won their division, and it went down to the last game of the regular season. They never gave up. How far they'll go in the playoffs no one knows. But they achieved their goal.

I hope to be like the Rangers. Bring on those edits. I'm ready. And the rough sketch I saw of the cover is fabulous. My family will read the story. What more could a writer ask for?

So don't be insecure. Never give up.

Happy Writing!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Webcomics

I've found several new (as in "new to me") webcomics recently, so I decided this month to blog about the webcomics I follow and see if readers might recommend a few more.

First up is Girl Genius, a "gaslamp" (their term) comic set in a world where creative "sparks" are very inventive. Updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There's also a Facebook group. It's been nominated and won several Hugo awards. Several of the collected issues are available in paper.

Freefall is set on a colony planet with humans, robots, a wolf engineer and a humanoid squid. Updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Schlock Mercenary is about a group of space mercenaries. It's been nominated for a Hugo several times. Past issues are also available in paper form. Updated daily.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn I found on Gocomics under its previous title Heavenly Nostrils. A delightful story of a young girl who becomes friends with a unicorn. It's now available in newspapers and past issues were collected into two books, Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Unicorn on a Roll. Updated daily.

Unshelved is the activities of a group of library workers. Updated Monday through Friday and collected issues are available in paper.

Blind Springs is about spirits and the politics of those attempting to control magic. Updated Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Breaking Cat News about three cats reporting on their world, has been picked up by Gocomics, which is going through the back issues. The artist has a Facebook page.

PS 238 is an elementary school for metahumans hidden beneath a regular school. Amazon has both the collected and the individual issues available in paper, so trying to find the collected issues can be interesting (I've found the term 'paperback' worked). This one I recommend starting from the very beginning, as the setup for the school is very interesting.

How to Be a Werewolf is yes, about werewolves. It just started this year.

The following comics have stopped, though the back issues are still online.

Digger by Ursula Vernon is for an older audience than her Dragonbreath series. The completed version won the Hugo award and is the tale of a wandering wombat and the beings she encounters. The collected issues are available in paper.

Gronk is the story of a small monster adopted by a woman and her dog. The fourth book should be out soon.

There are other comics I follow at Gocomics, but those are ones I followed in the newspaper before I started reading the online version of my newspaper. The universes of these webcomics are such much more interesting.

What are some webcomics you enjoy?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

THE STORY OF A STORY

Are you a fast writer? Do you turn out one story after another, maybe several in one year? I know writers that do. Wish I could, but I'm slow. I mean really slooow. Take for instance the story I'm shopping around at the moment.

The story started out entitled SURVIVORS' CLUB. It's about four teens that help each other survive school and their families.

I started it in December of 2009. Yes, that was quite a while ago. Worked on it and worked on it.

My critique group read some of the chapters. Thank you, Cheryl, Beth, and Gail for your welcome comments and advice. Thank you, Kai, from another group for hanging in there with me and reading the whole thing, more than once.

So, month after month my characters led me along, sometimes telling me what to do, other times giving me silence and letting me figure out where they were going myself.

I typed. I revised. And finally decided I needed an expert eye to look the story over. I sent it to an editor for a critique. She went over the manuscript thoroughly. Boy, did she. Which is what I wanted her to do. Be honest. Be truthful. She evaluated each character, told me their strong points and also their weak points. She pointed out problems with the plot. The story I thought was perfect and ready to be submitted needed some adjustments.

In 2014, I started over. The characters were the same. I couldn't get rid of them because I really liked them. Each character's ARC was improved. Each one actually made a discovery about him/herself this time.

And, the title even changed. The old one just didn't seem right anymore. So SURVIVORS' CLUB became UNDER A PURPLE MOON.

I sent the story to a couple of publishers. One wasn't interested; the other one never replied.

I would not give up, because I really liked the story now. So I queried another publisher. They asked to see sample chapters. YAY! Of course, I knew that didn't mean a lot. But then, they wanted to see the whole thing. I took a breath. One step closer, but still facing reality.

They liked the whole story, but had a couple of suggestions. Ones that made good sense. I went back through the story, made a few changes, and sent the new version to them. Now, in September, 2015, six years after I started the story, I wait to see if it will be published. If they like it, wonderful. If not, I like it and will keep trying. Will let you know either way.


How about you? Are you a slow writer or a fast writer?

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

TOP FIVE HAUNTED SITES IN SACRAMENTO

I’ve always been fascinated with a good ghost story. Growing up I heard lots of stories from my grandfather that had supernatural elements. I decided to combine these two elements when I used North Sacramento, California as the setting for my YA paranormal Crossed Out. Plus, one of the areas, the Sacramento tunnels, only recently has been opened to the public.
So here’s a few haunting sites I thought I’d share:
  1. Photo courtesy of Autumn Baccellia Ibahim
    Photo courtesy of Autumn Baccellia Ibahim
    Sacramento City Cemetery: My Grandpa Baccellia’s father was an Italian immigrant who owned a saloon in Old Town Sacramento. His father died of consumption in the early part of the 1900s. His body originally was buried in the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery along with some founding fathers of the town.
I do know that some of the dead were ‘relocated’ to another site in the ’50s to make room for more urban
Photo courtesy of Autumn Baccellia Ibahim
Photo courtesy of Autumn Baccellia Ibahim
development. Some of the relatives of the dead, couldn’t be found so they ended up putting them in a few places with only one tombstone to acknowledge that they existed. I can’t help but think if my body had been moved and no one remembered me, I wouldn’t be too happy. There’ve been sightings of ghosts and other ‘unexplained things’ there. I can’t help but wonder why! But it has great potential for a horror novel!
  1. Old Town Underground tunnels:
Spooky underground ghost town, buried underneath Sacramento.
Spooky underground ghost town, buried underneath Sacramento.
There’s a lot of history in these underground tunnels in Old Town. Old Sacramento was rebuilt over the original town. There are tunnels and a hidden town underneath, buried because of the rising waters of the Sacramento River. Grandpa Baccellia told me that before the Oroville Dam was built, the Sacramento River would flood the city. There were lots of cases of malaria in the early part of the 1900s.
Rumors have been circulating of what might have actually happened in these tunnels. Some say they were used for bootlegging during the Prohibition to even smuggling in opium.
The tunnels are now opened to the public! I still need to go with my sisters and check it out.
Photo courtesy Pamela Celeste Reese Photo courtesy of http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/outreach/Featured-Stories/SalmonSpawningScience/Images/AmericanRiver.JPG
Photo courtesy Pamela Celeste Reese
Photo courtesy of http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/outreach/Featured-Stories/SalmonSpawningScience/Images/AmericanRiver.JPG
3. American River
My Grandpa Baccellia used to tell us about these women all dressed in black who would walk up and down the river in the early 1900s. He said they were always so sad and mournful. Some say it’s not women but a man who haunts that site.
Here’s a little more info on that urban legend: The ghost of a man who drowned in the American River is said to haunt the banks. There’s something about water and ghosts. Urban legends are filled with them. This picture of the American River with the infamous thick Sacramento fog is certainly eerie.

  1. Photo courtesy of http://sacramento.planmygetaway.com/category/sacramento-recreation/
    Photo courtesy of http://sacramento.planmygetaway.com/category/sacramento-recreation/
    Leland Stanford Museum
In 1883, Leland Stanford and his wife lost their only son  to Typhoid fever. He was fifteen years old. Rumor has it that the spirit of their son appeared to the father to comfort him after his death. Also the spirit asked his father to put money into building a university for young men.
5. May Woolsey
In the Sacramento Historical City Cemetery is the grave of May Woolsey. In 1879 just before her thirteen birthday, she died of a possible viral infection fro the measles. She was the only child of Mary and Luther Woolsey. Her parents were so devastated by her death that they used a Spiritualist to try to contact her.
Fast forward 100 years later. When the family house was being remodeled by the newest owners, they found a closet with a false ceiling. Inside was a very old trunk packed with some of the Woolsey family’s belongings, including some of May Woolsey’s hair. Here’s where it gets interesting. Inside the truck was a letter:
Sacramento Historical Cemetery
Sacramento Historical Cemetery
Dear Momma,
I am so happy as I did write to you and say I was happy. Now Momma dear, do not weep for me. I am not dead, no, only gone before to wait your coming when you will be out of all sorrow and care and will be happy with me. Oh, what pleasure there is in the spirit life no one can tell. Only think of everlasting life and pleasure where we know no sorrow; all is sunshine, there is no cloud to darken our path as on earth; we have our choice of mission . . .
No one knows why and how that letter ended up in that trunk.
Do any of you know of places with hauntings? Do share!

Originally posted at http://lachesispublishing.com/?p=5989

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Always Ali

In honor of my new book, available next week. Here's a trailer I put together for the fourth book in my Ali Caldwell series: Always Ali! Enjoy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Assassination Classroom



Assassination Classroom is a manga written and illustrated by Yuusei Matsui (OMG! He's on Goodreads!)

The manga is currently being translated and released in the US and the first season of the anime is out on Hulu and other outlets.

It is an amazing series with the weirdest premise ever! And it challenges us as humans as well as plays with words and roles.

Premise: A powerful being has destroyed a large chunk of the moon. Having proven his power, he tells the governments of the world that he will destroy the earth. However, he is willing to wait a year before doing so, thus giving them a chance to try to figure out how to destroy him, if they give in to certain demands....

He wishes to teach a class of students... Not only that, he encourages them to try to kill him. Though he's promised not to hurt any of them for doing so.

The big yellow guy is Koro Sensei - his name was given to him by his students as he did not have one of his own and the name is a play on words - Koro coming from the work Korosu (To kill) - Sensei means Teacher.

Koro Sensei cannot be harmed by conventional weapons (the government has tried!), but he can be heart by a specially formulated plastic. (The green knives on the poster are made of it. As well as the bbs that go in the grenades and the guns) He can also travel at Mach 20, and can move so fast he can make illusions of himself appear before different people if he so desires.

A government official is there to teach the kids how to handle themselves even as Koro Sensei truly teaches them academics. He's quite good at it, too. Even tailor makes the lessons and exams for each individual student. And he encourages them at every turn for them to do what they can to kill him. The governments have enticed anyone willing to try with a 20 Billion Dollar reward. (Only high officials, the Principal of the school, and the students, know what's going on - the governments don't want a panic.)

The kids are in Class E of a very prestigious school. They are considered the losers of the student body and are housed in an old school building at the top of the mountain - no air conditioning, the butt of everyone's jokes, the 10% to be sacrificed so the 90% will excel.

Nothing is ever as it seems. Especially when the monster, Koro Sensei, seems more human than most of those around them. It is from him that the students in Class E start learning they do have worth.

Brilliant and fast, Koro Sensei also has a strange collection of quirks and issues. Chaos in a yellow package. And way too much fun!

I hope you go check it out. Let me know what you think!



Friday, August 14, 2015

Progress on a Possible YA Hugo Award

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane, has released several committee reports that will be discussed at the business meeting of the WSFS ("World Science Fiction Society") next week. Among these reports is that by the YA Hugo Committee.

Bad news first - no decision on a YA Hugo Award this year. Good news, though, the Committee recommends it be reformed for another year so that it can focus on the issues involved in having a Campbell-like YA/teen literature award.

I've blogged before about the business meeting in 2013 at LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio and the treatment there of a YA Hugo proposal. Worldcon in 2014 was in London, where there were several standing-room-only YA panels. LonCon 3 reformed a committee to investigate a YA Hugo proposal. Meanwhile the NASFiC (Detcon1) in 2014 created the Detcon1 Award for YA and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction and was able to get nominations for both categories from its supporters and attendees. The winners were listed in Locus.

Looking at the YA Hugo Committee report for this year, I'm feeling a bit more confident. The committee has definitely done its homework. The history of the YA marketing category is covered. The usual questions/arguments about the proposal are brought up and answered. How other organizations define YA for their awards are discussed, though in the section for comparisons between other YA awards by other organizations only the Newbery (which is for children) is brought up. True, the Newbery is better known than the Golden Duck Awards/Hal Clement Award and has been around longer, so that might be why that award was used.

So, yes, I am hopeful that the committee might be able to develop some award for YA/MG. It would be nice if it was a Hugo award, but even the Campbell (Not a Hugo (standard declaimer whenever the Campbell is mentioned)) is voted on by supporting and attending members of a Worldcon. And that is good.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WRITING AND MARKETING TINY STEPS

I thought this article was interesting and would like to share with you. Enjoy.

Writing and Marketing - Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results

By Karen Cioffi


"Someone is sitting in the shade today becausesomeone planted a tree a long time ago."

This Warren Buffet quote inspires me. It's simple, yet so amazingly powerful.

1. A tiny seed can create something as massive as a tree, even a sequoia tree.

Think of the giant sequoia tree in California, USA. It averages around 26 feet in diameter, weighs around 4,189,000 lbs. and reaches heights of 275 feet. According to Wikepedia, "Record trees have been measured to be 311 feet in height and over 56 feet in diameter. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old."

The seed of the sequoia tree is 0.16–0.20 inches long, 0.039 inches broad, and 0.039 inches wide.

Hard to imagine, isn't it.

Well, this can easily relate to writing, to content marketing, to business . . . to just about everything in your work and life.

Small positive actionable steps, no matter how tiny, can create massive results. You may think your writing and marketing efforts aren't moving you forward, but think of how long it takes that tiny seed to grow into that tree that gives shade.

2. What you sow today can have benefits for many tomorrows.

Time will pass whether you take action or not. If you have an idea, take action now. Don't wait for tomorrow or until you have more time or until you have more money. Take action now. The benefits may turn out to be bigger than you could possibly imagine.

You may reap the benefits of your writing or content marketing or business efforts far into your future, so take that initial step. Or, maybe it's expansion that you're thinking about, or a new strategy.

Keep in mind though that every living thing needs sun, water, and food to grow. So, when you take that step (plant that seed), be sure to give it the nurturing it needs to become what you believe it can be.

Plant that seed today!

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I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Too advanced, not enough, just right? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment – good or bad or email me at: karencioffi@ymail.com
P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT BELOW!


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