Monday, November 16, 2009

Win A Kindle

That's right, you can win a Kindle. It's easy. Just go here Monday through Friday (except for Thanksgiving and the day after)from TODAY (November 16)until December 14. Answer the scavenger hunt question for that author for that day, and you'll be entered. My day is December 1st, just so ya know.

Find new and interesting authors and you might just win yourself a Kindle. Win/win. How great is that?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Now and Then

A few weeks ago, I admitted that I’m fighting personal demons. The truth is, for the last few months, my life has more or less come to a halt. It’s almost as if my mind refused to hide the truth anymore. Why? I think it’s because for the first time in my life I have a solid support system. I’m not alone, and I know I’m loved.

I’ve been thinking about sharing some of the journey with the world, but it’s been a hard decision to make. The thing that finally was the deciding factor is the knowledge that I’m far from the only person to have suffered long term effects of child abuse. For those others, and for the people who love them, I offer my story. My diagnosis is major depression and PTSD, both a result of trauma from abuse suffered over the years of my childhood.

Post traumatic stress disorder. I hear the words and think of soldiers in ghastly battle conditions; I think of victims of horrible crimes. But PTSD can also result from childhood abuse. There are hundreds of thousands of us scattered across the world, suffering all kids of symptoms, all kinds of feelings that keep us from fully living our lives. All because of things that happened years ago.

For me, a big part of the abuse was at the hands of medical personnel. As a result of a congenital heart defect, I spent a lot of time in the hospital. And because it was a rare condition, that hospital wasn’t a local one. Every six months to a year, a few members of my family and I took a two day road trip. This journey began when I was three years old, too young to understand what was happening. My earliest memories are tied to these trips, to that hospital. The hospital was a research facility, and the patients there were treated like the lab rats that we were. I sincerely hope things have changed over the years, but at the time I was there, parents weren’t allowed, or at least that’s what I was told. I was all alone in this lonely, terrifying place. The things they did to me were necessary, if not to save my life, at least for the research they were doing at the time. There were no soothing words, no gentle touches. There is very little I remember from all the years I went to that place that isn’t filled with terror, agony, and revulsion. I went through hell, and nobody seemed to understand. My family didn’t, the members of the small town where I lived didn’t. I not only dealt with what was being done to me on a regular basis, but with the confusion brought on by the comments about how lucky I was to be alive and to go to that “wonderful place.”

In typical childish fashion, I decided that I’d been sent to that hellhole because I’d done something wrong. For basically my entire life, I’ve held deep inside me the belief that I was such a bad person that I was tortured because of it. The thing is, I didn’t realize that’s what I felt. What was more apparent was lack of belief in myself, and a propensity for subconsciously sabotaging myself. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve begun to reach those long denied parts of myself. And it hasn’t been pretty.

I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, but I’ll do my best to keep everyone informed. And thank you, all of you, for being part of my support system. I’m very grateful.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update

As you may have noticed, I’ve pretty much disappeared. It’s hard for me to stick my head up and tell you what’s going on, but it’s time I did just that.

The sequel to Shadows of Evil has been rejected by Samhain Publishing. And no, there is no chance of resubmission. I worked with an editor for months in an attempt to produce a manuscript that would fit their needs, but in the end, it just didn’t work out. Please understand, I don’t have any hard feelings against that editor or Samhain. This was a business decision, and I understand.

Of course, this is far from the first rejection I’ve ever received. Yes, this one hurt more than most, but it was just another rejection. And while it was one of the things that contributed to my need to hide in my cave for a while, it wasn’t the only reason.

The truth is that I’ve been facing down some personal demons that I’ve been trying to shove under the carpet for quite a few years. The problem with the shoving under the carpet way of coping is that eventually the demons under there climb out and dance around waving hands and sticking out tongues and laughing at the very idea that you thought you could ignore their existence. To make matters worse, while they were under that carpet, those ugly little demons have grown to enormous proportions. Now you really have a problem on your hands. And that’s the situation I found myself in: facing down huge, ugly, terrifying personal demons. These are things that happened to me when I was very young. Things I barely remember. But things that have affected me on a daily basis for basically my entire life.

What now? Well, I have a fantastic therapist who I believe can help me defeat these overgrown bullies. As far as writing is concerned, I’ve been taking online classes, attending workshops, and reading craft and inspirational books. I’ve done some serious soul searching about what I want from my writing career, and how to get there. And yes, I’ve been looking at potential publishers for the Shadows sequel, because I believe in the book. But I also realize it still needs a lot of work.

I have no idea when I’ll have another book or story out. I am writing, I am working toward the goal of being published again, and I will try to keep you all in the loop. Please be patient as I sort out my life. And if anybody has any personal demon slaying hints and tips to share, feel free to send them my way.

Take care, and may all your demons be tiny ones.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What If Your Mother Sees That!



My husband and I participated in Earth Hour Saturday night. As I sat trying to read to the light of a flickering candle, nostalgia filled me. I grew up in a small town whose electrical supply was the tail end of a larger city’s supplier. The city was miles away, and they got priority. Every time it stormed, and it storms a lot in Tennessee, our power went out. We kept candles and an oil lamp—and trust me, they got used. I loved those times.

There was something special about those evenings when the power went off, when my grandmother and I sat at the kitchen table and talked and read. The scent of the oil, the flickering light, the closeness to another person. Sometimes my mom would join us. Sometimes we’d play Author Cards—and I learned about people like Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Sir Walter Scott, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allan Poe. Can't find the dang things anymore, and it's a shame.

I had lunch with my mom last week. I had given her a print copy of Shadows of Evil, and she gave me an amazing compliment when she said she liked it. Then she leaned closer and said, "But I think it would have been just as good without all that," she lowered her voice even more, "sex. Don’t you think so?"

I sat there, in the middle of the restaurant, wondering just how red my face was becoming. I told her that my love scenes were very mild compared to most of what’s out there. "It is?" she asked. The shocked disbelief in her voice killed my embarrassment, and send that little doubt worm burrowing through me. Oh. My. God! My mother had read my sex scenes! Should I have given her that book to read? Was my work too sexy? Maybe I should just write sweet romances. Okay, that was when my logic circuits twitched and sparked. I had tried that gig, and it was not a good fit. I tried to explain that when you have somebody’s arm ripped off in the prologue, closing the bedroom door just seems silly. Then I changed the subject.

Shadows of Evil’s print edition officially releases tomorrow. Ebooks may be the wave of the future, but holding an actual paper book in my hand—a book with my name on the cover—is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Having my mother like the book (except for the sex, of course) just made it more special.

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I gots books!



I got my author copies of Shadows of Evil today. I'm excited, I'm goofy, I can't believe it's true. My book in my hand. It's an awesome feeling.

Thank you to everybody who helped me live my dream. This is amazing!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Con Nooga, Part II

As I said yesterday, fantasy and science fiction cons are fun and exciting. I loved the Con Nooga experience, but I am a bit shy and it’s still strange to me being an author. Speaking on panels, sitting at a table and people coming up to me, signing autographs! Crazy.

The two panels I was on at were a "Writers Roundtable" and "Promotion for the Creator." At the roundtable, there were more writers than audience members, but it was interesting. It was exciting—and a little scary—to think that people might be interested in hearing what I had to say. The promotion panel was better attended. The other panelists were more experienced in this promotion stuff, and I learned as much as the audience.

I reunited with some fantastic people over the weekend. I met Christina Barber at Hallowcon last year. Though she’s probably about the age of my daughters, she took me under her wing at Hallowcon and again at Con Nooga. I appreciate her help and support. Other nice people I met at Hallowcon and saw again at Con Nooga were Mark Helwig—an amazing artist, and Joe Dickerson and Lonny Harper from Aberrant Dreams.

I met some really nice people at Con Nooga. D. A. Adams was nice enough to give me hints about how to overcome my shyness. Robert Freese had the table next to mine, and we talked a lot. He’s a nice guy with good information. Shane Moore is an amazing guy who knows more about promotion for an author than I ever will. Thank you, gentlemen.

I would also like to thank my friend Barbara for getting me involved in the con scene in the first place. You created a monster, girl!

I’m only now recovering from the weekend, but the experience was well worth a little exhaustion. I can’t wait for FantaSciCon next month. See you there!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Con Nooga, Part I

This last weekend I was an author guest at Con Nooga, which was held here in Chattanooga at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel and convention center. I didn’t realize the place was so huge. The last time I was there, they had made some old train cars into hotel rooms, and there was a moderate sized hotel building. Now, there are three hotels besides the train car rooms, plus restaurants, a full-size theatre, buildings with convention space, and more. There was actually a small bus to take people from one place to another. The town I grew up in wasn’t much bigger.

The con itself was a blast. Much fun is made of science fiction/fantasy conventions, but the truth is there aren’t nicer people in the world. Yes, there are crazy costumes. Yes, there are people being more outgoing and goofy than in their everyday lives. But that’s part of the attraction. A person can go to one of these things and become someone else for a while. Sort of the way reading an SF or fantasy novel takes you away for a while.

This was the second con I’d been to as an author. The first was Hallowcon last October. To be honest, I’d never thought of going to a con as an author, but a friend of mine encouraged me to contact the guy who does Hallowcon, and he invited me to come. I was immediately hooked. It’s a trip just attending a con, but going as an author is an even stranger—and exciting—experience. I’m a little shy, and being in the spotlight was a bit unnerving. Even with Hallowcon under my belt, Con Nooga was still kind of scary. Luckily, I met some fantastic people who encouraged me and gave me a lot of useful information.

I have no idea why I look so stuck-up in this picture, but it's the only one I have (technical difficulty with the camera. I do strange things to electronics.)
Tomorrow I’ll continue the tale. See you then!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Last Wednesday, my novella Keepers of Legend was released from The Wild Rose Press. I’m excited, thrilled, beside myself.

So why, you might ask, is this crazy woman promoting the novella today, when it was released two days ago? Well, you see, it’s like this, not only do I write well, I also am quite talented in the clumsy department. I was up early Wednesday morning, ready to immerse myself in the wonder that is a new release. I was feeling great, up early, ready to get started on this magical day. I was grooming myself, as we women are wont to do on such occasions, and this grooming involved tweezing my eyebrows. I even had a new pair of tweezers. Sharper than most, I’d caught my skin several times with the things. I love the way they work, but I knew I had to be careful with them. I wasn’t careful enough though. I managed to scratch my eye with the dang things. Pain, much tearing, inability to tolerate light—for instance the light coming from a computer screen. I felt quite foolish, and very frustrated.

My husband had to get Online and pull up The Wild Rose Press. I peeked at the wondrous sight, then went back to my dark room to continue feeling foolish and frustrated.

My eye was somewhat better yesterday, but I still could only tolerate the computer for limited amounts of time. Even today I’m still quite sensitive to light. But it’s better.

Here’s a blurb for Keepers of Legend:
Deep in the Smoky Mountains a strange creature sweeps through the air and captures the imagination. It looks like a dragon, but is it? Jessica Knight has her doubts, but can she protect the amazing animal long enough to discover the truth?

Wanna read an excerpt? You can go here.

The Dragons are awake. Now everything changes.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Retreating

Coming to you from the Hutton writers retreat. Never heard of it? Neither has anybody else. It’s actually my house. My husband is out of town for four days and I’m using the time to polish up The Manuscript That Will Not Die. Don’t get me wrong, I really love this story, but I’ve been working on it for almost a year. It’s a long story, and I’ll fill you in when I can. But for right now, I have to get back to the TMTWND (Not the real title, by the way).

The last two weeks, the Otherworld Diner employees have been posting about goals. There’s some really great stuff there. I even posted last Friday and today about writing a business plan for your writing business and using that as a guide for setting writing goals.

Back to the polish!

I’m almost halfway. Wish me luck.

Have a wonderful weekend!!