Monday, December 26, 2011

Connections


This has been an incredibly busy, but wonderful week for me. On Monday my husband and I put an offer on a house, but since it is a short sale, it may take a few weeks to hear if our offer was accepted. After that, it could take from 6 to 8 months for the loan to close, so we have a little time.

It was also Christmas week and aside from getting to spend time with the man I love, I got to fulfill a childhood dream. On Wednesday of this past week, I had a book launch and signing for my first published book.

I was and still am so excited and giddy that I feel a bit ridiculous. I could not stop smiling. I even think I have been smiling in my sleep, and have been prone to break out into the Snoopy dance without warning. 

The community was so supportive of me and I, probably more than anyone, was surprised that I sold out of book in two and a half hours. But that is not the best part.

The best part was meeting new people and hearing the reasons why they were purchasing the book. My favorite was the lady who heard the interview I had done earlier that morning. The host asked me how I came to tell the story of Commando shape-shifters. My answer was simple. I credit or blame (depending upon how you look at it) my granny, James Eva Britton.

Granny was the one that taught me to sing and play the piano. She was also the one that kept me when I was a little girl and told me all kinds of stories about ghosts, grave robbers, and the woman who lived down the street that could turn into a cougar.

At the book signing, this was this wonderful lady who purchased the book for her granddaughter because like my grandmother, this woman had kept her granddaughter since she was an infant. I thought that was awesome, and it made me realize that we never truly know who we will connect with or why.

As one of the characters in my book, Mika Elkhart, always says -- we are all connected by the Universe. It is only when we listen with our hearts, as well as our minds, that we can truly experience that connection. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The realization hit me

I am not sure it has been a blessing or a curse, but I have been so busy here of late that I have not had time to stop and think. Football season is always crazy for me, especially when it overlaps with basketball. If any of you follow my husband Ricky on his blog, Adventures in Hatterland, you know that he accepted a position at Stetson University and we will be moving.

In the midst of this, I signed my contract with Fantasy Island Book Publishing, and hopefully The Last Guardian will be in print before the Christmas holidays. If not, then it will be shortly there after. Now comes the fun part. I have started getting ready for book signings, working on marketing strategies, and in the middle of all this, I need to write the second book in the series. (The voices never seem to stop.)

Yesterday morning I woke with 1000 things running through my head about what I needed to do for work and what I wanted to do for the book signing. As I was running down my list, I felt a mental slap to my forehead, and I realized I have done it. I set a goal, followed a dream and did it. It was such an AH-HA moment for me. I am now a published writer with a book coming out soon! If I was one of those girls that squealed, I probably would. Maybe, when I finally get to hold that print copy in my hands, I just might.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The music of my life

I'm not sure if I am like other writers or not. I suppose we are all different with our methods and how we get into the “zone”. The easiest way for me to find that zone is through music, and I realized I can tell you what music I was listening to when I wrote each chapter.

In my book, The Last Guardian, there are four main male characters. Each character has his own playlist and style of music that I listen to when writing their scenes. The lists include music I feel goes best with each character and what they like.

The main character of book one is Mika Elkhart. He is of Lakota heritage, and while you might think he would listen to R. Carlos Nakai, which he does on occasion. However, if you pulled up Mika's playlist, you would find he likes 80's hair bands. His favorite: Guns n' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle.

The oldest of the four characters is Fergus Wolfe. Fergus has fought moving into the modern era, and strongly believes feels there is no merit to anything that is considered current. He would rather spend his time listening to composers from the Baroque period. Often you will find him practicing the Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite when he is alone.

Saint Wolfe is the younger brother of Fergus. He loves opera and finds it rather frustrating that out of all his talents, singing is not one of them. However, that does not stop him from humming around the house. Saint's favorite: Largo al Factum, from the Barber of Seville.

Finally, that leaves Ghost, who is basically all over the charts when it comes to his musical tastes. The first song on his playlist happens to be To Hard to Handle by the Black Crows. I think that says a lot about him.

By no means are these the only songs on each characters list, and as time goes by I am sure I will add more.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We all have one...







now show me yours! Your story that is.

My publisher Fantasy Island Book Publishing is sponsoring a short story contest for the Halloween season. So if you got a scary story hiding somewhere in the darkened corners of your laptop, why not send it to us?

For details just click FIBP Scare Our Pants Off.

Happy writing!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interview with Fergus Wolfe


A while back I decided to do a series of Q & A's with the men of Delta Pack. I began with Mika Elkhart since he was the main character in The Last Guardian, but now I think I will take a step back and begin with the Alpha and leader of the pack, Fergus Wolfe.

Question:
Where and when were you born?
Fergus Wolfe: I was born about 1720, give or take 20 years, in the Irish countryside.

Question: That would make you approximately 300 years old.
Fergus Wolfe: Yes. About that.

Question: What brought you to the Theriontrope Foundation and Haven?
Fergus Wolfe: I came to the Theriontrope Foundation upon the death of my parents. I took my brother Aidan, who we call Saint, when he was only a few days old and hiked to the nearest village where there was a Theriontrope Overseer.

Question: How long did that take?
Fergus Wolfe: The journey took about three days. The hardest part of the journey was I was in my 20’s, which is still considered a child in the shifter world. I had only begun to shift form a few month before and had very little control over my abilities.

I could make better time as a wolf, but ran the risk of getting killed. You see, since the 13th Century there had been a blanket edict throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland that all wolves were to be exterminated, but obviously I made it because here I am.

Question: Why did you not turn to your pack for help?
Fergus Wolfe: I had no pack to turn to because, did I not tell you? My brother and I are the only survivors of our species. English wolves were hunted to extinction. My father was presumably the last. He was poisoned with a silver arrow and then killed. At the time, my mother was pregnant with my brother. After his birth, my she mourned herself to death. She told me to run and look for the house with the crescent moon near the door, there I would find shelter.

Question: That seems like it was very hard on you. If you could go back in time and change anything what would it be?
Fergus Wolfe: I cannot change what is or what was nor would I want to. I can only move forward.

Question: Is there anything about Shape-shifters that you would like to everyone to know or clarify?
Fergus Wolfe: Not really. I feel the less a human knows about us, the safer my race will be.

Question: Can you at least clear up the silver thing? Can it actually kill you if you touch it?
Fergus Wolfe: No. Silver does not kill us if we touch it. However, it is poisonous to us, if ingested or dispersed into our blood streams. If touching it were deadly then Mika Elkhart would be in a world of hurt.

Question: Do you have a goal? Something you wish to accomplish?
Fergus Wolfe: A goal? No, I do not have one. Least not one that I can put my paw on. I have mastered every weapon that I have tried. Not to brag, but I am an expert marksman with both bullet and arrow.

Question: What is your favorite weapon?
Fergus Wolfe: My favorite weapon? Is that what you really wanted to ask or is your real question what is my preferred choice of weapon when killing? If I am in human form, my choice would be knives. Silent, accurate, personal. As a wolf I will rip out your throat as quickly as possible.

Question: Is there anything about you that our readers might find shocking?
Fergus Wolfe: I am sure there are many things that may shock your readers. However, I do not wish to expound on them.

Question: Is there a special woman in your life? A Mrs. Fergus Wolfe?
Fergus Wolfe: No.

Question: In 300 years you’ve never dated or been in love?
Fergus Wolfe: Have I been with women? Yes. Have I been in love? That is all together different. I have never fallen in love nor do I intend to. It was love that killed my mother and left Saint and I alone. I refuse to allow another to have that much power over me. May we change the subject please? I do not wish to discuss this.


Question: There are those in your pack that refer to you as their savior. What do you think of that?
Fergus Wolfe: I am no one’s savior. I do only what needs to be done. No more no less.

Question: Can you give one sentence that would best describe your brothers?
Fergus Wolfe: Saint: His name implies it all.
Mika: He’s a good kid, but still a kid.
Ghost: A royal pain in my arse.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sorry dear, I don't read fiction


The other day I met a lady who had been a professor of journalism at a prestigious Ivy League University. She knew I was an author, so we struck up a conversation. Her first question to me was, “My dear, what is it that you write?” To which I replied, “Fantasy fiction.” Her face contorted a bit before she replied, “Oh, I don’t read fiction. It doesn’t capture my imagination.”

I was dumbfounded, and I must confess, I found her statement to be a bit oxymoronic for what is fiction, especially fantasy, except the outpouring of someone’s imagination. As the conversation progressed she admitted she only read news articles, biographies and the like. I cannot comprehend spending a life without Tolkien or Shelley or Kenyon or the myriad of other fiction writers that have come before.

Finally, our conversation came to close and we exchanged the normal pleasantries. She told me that she was sure my book was rather wonderful, and she was sorry she would never get to read it. Since, as she stated multiple times, she did not read fiction. I wanted to tell her that I was sorry too. Not because she would never read my book, but because she had never read anything she considered to be fiction, and at the age of 81, she probably never would.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We are family

Families. We all have them. It is part of being human. There are the families we are born into and the family of friends we surround ourselves with. We even have work families, but I am not going to write about any of those.

Instead I want to tell you about my new sisters and brothers. Only one of whom I have met, yet I can tell from talking to the group, they are all talented, intelligent, and funny. But best of all, they have welcomed me with open arms. I am talking about the founder, writers and editors of Fantasy Island Book Publishing. I am now a member of this wonderful family and I could not be more excited.

I have to admit I was a bit scared and intimidated when I started speaking with the other writers in the group. Most of them are published, and I am a newbie at all this. My memories took me back to the beginning of my singing career and being the new kid on the block. The opera world can be extremely cut throat (no pun intended). Just being another singer would automatically place you in the competition category.

So you can imagine how elated and surprised I was to find those in the FIBP family were nothing like that. From editing manuscripts to designing covers, these guys are willing to help each other in any way possible. It is a breath of fresh air, and any fears of I may have had are now banished.

I am still a bit anxious since becoming a published author is uncharted territory for me. However, I know that I am not alone in this journey. My FIBP family will be there to help me along the way and I am lucky to be their new little sister.  http://fantasyislandbookpublishing.com/

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My favorite god


The Norse gods. What's not to love? From Odin, who dawns a floppy hat and becomes a wanderer, to Angrboda, a giantess and mistress of Loki, I like them all. That is why, when I was writing the first book of the Guardian Series, I chose to align my shape-shifters with the Nordic gods as opposed to the Greek gods.

I know there are those that will not agree with this statement, but I think the Nordic gods are more down to Earth. That may sound a bit silly, but it's true. The Greek gods are too elitist for my taste. They had a tendency to look upon humans as trivial, crude creatures. I don't find that with the Germanic gods.

If I had to choose a favorite among the pantheon of the Aesir and Vanir, it would have to be Thor. He is also probably the best known of the Nordic gods, and worshiped more than even Odin, although Odin was known as the supreme god.

Why Thor? Simple, Thor is my kind of guy. He loved food, drink and a good battle. He used common sense and the direct approach more than reasoning and cunning. He was the kind of guy you could go out and have a beer and a good laugh with. In fact, I'm pretty sure if he dropped in from Asgard, we would probably end up at Buffalo Wild Wings with a pint and a table full of hot wings. Again I ask, what's not to love?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's only my opinion, but...

This morning my husband decided to watch a oldie, but a goodie–Jaws. I remember watching this movie when I was a kid. I was terrified and mesmerized all at the same time. It was great, and still is. What is not so great, and I realize this as an adult, is the character of Ellen Brody. She simply irritates me.

My dislike of her character prompted me to think about other female characters I probably should like, but due to the way they are portrayed, I really don’t care for. So I decided to make a list.

Starting with:

5) Io from Clash of the Titans. I hated the way she spoke. No one speaks like that, even if they are ethereal. The voice teacher in me wanted to scream "use your diaphragm!" I actaully applauded when she got killed. What does that say about her? Aw, who am I kidding? That whole movie was bad. I would have applauded if Perseus got killed.

4) Ellen Brody from Jaws. Of course she has to be on the list, she’s the one who started it. I can’t really put my finger on why she irritates me, she just does.

3) Arwen from the Lord of the Rings as portrayed by Liv Tyler. Please refer #5 since she irritates me for the same reason. Unfortunately, unlike Io, Arwen kept speaking.

Numbers 1 & 2 are hard, because for me, they are a toss up. However, just as in Highlander: there can be only one.

2) (I will get flack for this one.) Mimi from La Boheme. I am a fan of opera, and have seen La Boheme more times than I can count. I know that Mimi is dying of consumption, but that does not mean a singer should sacrifice vocal quality to play her. That happens more times than not, and the only term I can think of when it comes to most portrayals of her is milquetoast.

And now

1) I may get flack for this one too, but it is Annie Camden from the television show 7th Heaven. This show wasn’t one I would record or plan my night around, but I would watch it occasionally, and each and every time I would think: “man, for a preachers wife that woman is selfish, whiny and just not very likable.” Then again, in this case, it could be the actor since I pretty much thought the same thing when she played Dr. Gillian Taylor in Star Trek IV.

Oh, and there should be one Honorable Mention. Kate Winselt as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility.

Ok, there it is. My list of female characters that irritate me. Will I ever watch these movies or opera again? Of course I will. Overall, I like them. Well, everything except Clash of the Titans, there was just no help for that one.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ah! The journey

I just posted a quote to my Facebook page that said: You must love the journey as much as the destination. This is something I have to keep telling myself here lately, especially as I am spending a great deal of "free time" researching. Luckily for me, I like research. However, when I research on the internet, I have ADOWT; which stand for "Attention Deficit Oooooo What's This". Having this little condition makes my journey longer, but also very educational.

There was a time, I aspired to be an opera singer. Scratch that. I was and still am an opera singer, I just no longer perform. But, I remember the hours and hours of practice. Not only was there music to learn and memorize, but there were foreign languages, interpretation, stylistic consideration (Mozart should not sound like Wagner!), but the part I disliked the most--warm-ups. I wanted to sing songs, not the syllable "la" for 30 minutes! Ugh!

But I had a wonderful teacher who, one day, after becoming exasperated with me to the point of her being in tears, looked at me and said "unless you love the journey, you will never reach your destination."

It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but she was right. You have to love the journey. The road may be bumpy, and you may have to make a pit stop or two, but you should take time to enjoy it, love it,and embrace it.

So when I am bogged down with research, instead of playing with my imaginary friends, I have to remind myself, it's only a detour, and I should enjoy the view.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The love of an animal

Yesterday was a tough day for me. It seemed that everything I saw on TV, including commercials, was enough to make me cry. The worst was when I watched a video about a little dog named Mason. Mason was injured during the horrific tornado outbreak that hit Alabama a couple of weeks ago. He sustained radial, ulnar fractures on both of his front legs. His family had no idea where he ended up after the storm. Yet, this little dog who was battered and starved crawled his way back home, and his family did not find him until 2 weeks later when they returned home.

This story was so sweet and wonderful, it broke my heart. You see, I have a little scruffy puppy that my husband and I adopted from the animal shelter when she was only 6 weeks old. Her name is Ismeralda (Izzy for short), and she is my heart.

The funny thing is I wasn't ready for a puppy. Ricky even had to talk me into getting her. I didn't want to be responsible for teaching her to go outside or having to clean up after her or her whining to be let out of her cage. But now I cannot imagine my life without her. To think her in the same position as Mason...I can't even go there.

Izzy has filled my life with such an incredible amount of joy and happiness, I cannot even begin to describe it. All she has to do is look at me and I melt. To look in her face is to see unconditional love, the creator's love, and the fact she is unashamed to show it, humbles me. Whether I am gone eight seconds, 8 minutes or 8 hours, she greets with such enthusiasm that, even on my darkest days, I have to smile, and I cannot imagine my life without her now.

As for Mason, he is in a shelter in Birmingham, I believe. I hope and pray the veterinarians can figure out a way to mend his legs, and that he will be able to join his family again.

As for me, I think I will head home and take Izzy for a walk.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Go ahead, label me

I guess it’s time for me to get the walker with the little tennis balls on the end. I knew that one day this would happen, but I figured, I had a few more years left. However, I have officially been classified as “a woman of a certain age.”

All I have to say about that is–what the helicopter? When did this happen? Obviously, it started when I was asleep or something. I definitely do not remember the Age Fairy coming down, hitting me with her magic wand, and saying “Ta-da! Today you have become a woman of a certain age.”

Okay, so I may have to see the colorist a little more often, and the prescription in my glasses may have changed. But I’m still me. I still workout both my body and my brain. I still try to look cute when I go out. I still want to have a good time with friends. (On a side note. Girl’s weekend coming up soon. Woo Hoo!)

But seriously, I don’t feel like I am at a certain age. Better yet, when does a certain age begin. Is it the same age for all women? Do we now receive a rewards points card or something? Do we automatically become smarter, sexier, or stronger? You know, actually, I think we do. How did I come to this conclusion? I will tell you.

Women of a certain age have confidence. We are comfortable in our own skins. Which, a younger man once told me, makes a woman sexy. Where does this confidence come from, you may ask? It's because we don’t let the little stuff get to us. We have been there and done that. We have done the worrying and fretting, and have come to realize all the gray hair and wrinkles we received for our troubles, can be taken care of with a trip to the salon and a good skin care regimen or (if you have the funds) a little nip and tuck. That makes us smart.

We have carried the mantle of mother, sister, wife, daughter, and friend. We have had multiple careers, and are still looking for more to do. We have realized that no matter how heartbroken you become or how devastating life can be, we must and do go on. That makes us strong. We are, in essence, the total package.

So go ahead and label me. Call me a woman of a certain age. I can take it. It is a title I shall wear with honor. But, I still think we need points card.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's a Contest

I have always been intimidated by contests. I'm sure my fear stems from early childhood and my mother's eagerness to place me in a beauty pageant. Luckily, for me, it was the one and only I was ever forced to be in. That's probably due to the fact I spent most of the evening standing in the wings crying. Unfortunately, the irreversible scarring to my psyche had already taken place.

But now, after an undisclosed number of years, I have decided to try again. No, I am not entering another beauty pageant. Author, Chanelle Gray, is sponsoring a contest to pitch your novel in 140 characters or less and of course the contest is called, the Twitter Pitch Contest.

http://chanellegray.blogspot.com/2011/03/twitter-pitch-contest.html

The contestant whose pitch is chosen will have their manuscript read by Michael Carr of Veritas Literary Agency. Much better than a beauty contest.

Wish me luck!