Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Other Systems Making Connections Blog Tour

Other Systems will be shown on all these awesome blogs this week May 19th – May 25th. Check out every blog for your chance to win some great prizes! US/CANADA – signed 8×10 Act break prints from Act 3; INTERNATIONAL – eBooks plus 5 space wallpapers! Other Systems Cover

May 19th: 1st stop:
Michael Sci Fan – Interview

2nd stop:
Evening eBook – Review 

May 20th:
Beanie Brain Reader – Review

May 21st:

Giovanni Valentino – Interview

May 22nd

Judith Leger – Promo



US/Canada Readers: Want to win this print? Check out each stop on the blog tour!

May 24th

A Readers Review – Promo 

May 25th:
Making Connections Blog – Interview

Writing Advice that works for me!

I am, Tycho, the might mountain poodle!

I am Tycho the Mighty Mountain Poodle–if you are reading this you are probably human and do not have minions to take care of your every whim as I do, so you must work hard!

I just got home from GeekGirlCon. Going to a convention is always a fun experience and it is interesting how many people want advice about becoming an author. It doesn’t matter that I am an early career author, I have been touched by the novel fairy. That means I’m an expert.

If you want the best writing advice, here is it is:

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” 
– William Faulkner

“Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
-Stephen King

“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”
-Ray Bradbury

There are no shortcuts, even though many people talk about how there is. It’s about being passionate about a subject and getting to writing. Believing in your project enough to polish it.  Then to bring it to market. That’s it.  Yes, I realize this is a very short blog post, but there is nothing else to say on the subject.

Review for Michael Cargill’s Saying Goodbye to Warsaw

test7-aLike any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

My Review:

If anyone remembers Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is not the first of Michael Cargill’s books that I reviewed. Last year, I also reviewed Underneath which I also enjoyed thoroughly.

Though Cargill is known for changing genres, his work generally follows unique and memorable characters and Saying Goodbye to Warsaw does not disappoint.

Cargill made this horrible moment in history come alive as the three three major characters–Abigail who starts the book at nine and turns ten, her older over-protective brother Leo and their mother try to hold on to some semblance of life and their own humanity as they try not to starve in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. Leo is particularly a standout character. His toughness and seemingly endless knowledge (to his little sister) are good foils for Abigail’s naivety and sweetness.

This is a very fast-paced read in a beautiful literary style. Without spoilers, it made me cry. It would make a robot cry. I loved this book!

Note: I received a free review copy from the author in return for a review.

My review policy is as follows: I only publicly review books I like. This review is my opinion. I don’t care if you disagree with me.  When I read, I want the story to come alive by that I mean it makes me care about the characters and brings me to that world.  A book which does that gets a good review.
Otherwise, I will email the author and tell them I’m not an appropriate reader for their book. I read science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and anything that catches my fancy.  Generally I purchase the books I am reviewing, but occasionally I get review copies. If I get a review copy, I will say so.

The Light Side of the Moon has taken the first tiny step towards publication…

The first step in publication of this novel is to send it to 48Fourteen the publisher of Other Systems. I know it got there, because the editor has sent me a confirmation letter. We will see what happens–honestly there are thoughts swirling through my mind.

luna1) Is is too harsh on organized religion both current as well as one from the future? Is it too harsh on the prison system?

2) There is a love story. Is it trite? This is my first romantic subplot in a written novel.

3) Finally, and this is the question I always ask: Will I make you care about these fictional people? Can I make you believe they and the setting in which they live are real?

Here’s a bit of non-spoiler pre-edited TRIVIA:

Currently there are four quotes from Albert Einstein in the book. Ian’s dad (Royce Whitlatch) refer’s to him as “an ancient philosopher and one of the early modern physicists.”

Author Dan Thompson helped me with the British English slang and impolite conversation–this is set in the Other System’s Universe after all.  Now I can I swear with the best of them in two types of English.

There is also some swearing in French.

As I did create the artwork for the cover and Illustrations for  Other Systems, I will be doing the same for The Light Side of the Moon. In fact, I was going to start on that in the near future so keep your eyes peeled for some reveals!

Fly away The Light Side of the Moon.

Let’s see what happens.


An Author’s Life: Don’t bug me, I’m Beta Reading!

This week and the previous was spent beta reading. I read a manuscript for a friend which blew me a way. I read a part of a serialized manuscript for another friend which is I liked very much, but left me questioning something–this is not a bad thing btw!   (During this time, to break up my focus, I also read Stephen King’s Joyland but I doubt he cares about my opinion.)


Rosie says, “Constructive Criticism is priceless, but being a jerk is never acceptable. If you are a jerk, I will eat you, because jerk is a flavor I particularly love!”

I joined a writer’s group two years ago. I remember it was two years ago because it was right as I was querying Other Systems and I signed my contract for publication right near my birthday in 2011. Now just for a definition: Beta-reading is NOT editing. Though sometimes I point out grammar things that annoy me, mostly a beta-reader is looking for plot holes, pacing issues, out of character actions, or other things I find confusing.

When I first started beta-reading, I read small pieces of a manuscript because that is how the group is set up. Mostly a single chapter. However a single chapter doesn’t give me the overall view in regards to the whole of the story. Also once the author changed something after the critique I got very confused when I read the next chapter.

What I learned for me is short pieces work well for character development or getting facts straight. I admit the last time I brought a chapter to my author’s group, I was asking specifically if a chapter in The Light Side of the Moon which deals with drug use.  All I wanted to know was does this person’s experiences seemed correct.  I have never done drugs so I had no experience, but I guessed at least a few people in the group had, and I was correct. Though marijuana is legal where I live, it’s stinky so I have no interest in smoking it.

Now that I have written a few books, I particularly like reading full manuscripts, because I can identify anything that annoys me as a reader: plot holes, pacing, the amount of sex, swearing, translation issues. Even if the book is written for the target market for the novel.

When I met with the first friend so I might give her my critique –yes I am not saying anything about it purposely because I don’t have permission–we talked about how one of the best things about beta reading is sometimes you learn from a mistake that you see the other authors make. Also there is nothing like seeing the development of a manuscript from the moment I read to it being released. I read a few chapters a few years ago, now I read the whole thing and I am really excited.

Same thing with the one I finished the second one this morning. One will be later this year and I think the next one is next year. It’s fun to read the final version.

So writers while reading is important to an author so is beta reading. If you are a writer, chances are you have writer friends.  Go forth and beta read. Any time that you are giving your friends comes right back two fold.  1) these are the folks that critique my own work and (2) you learn things from critiquing.

Next week: I will write about how to accept a critique of one’s writing.

Embracing the Flames Blog Tour: Interview with Candace Knoebel

 Embracing the Flames CoverI am happy to welcome the award-winning author, Candace Knoebel, today on the blog.

She is busy promoting her new novel: Embracing the Flames the second book in Born in Flames-a young adult fantasy trilogy. Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013.

In Book 2, The Stone of Immortality has always been kept under the watch of the Draconta. That is, until the betrayal of a Fate. Now everything is about to change.

Aurora Megalos accepted her destiny without blinking-even if it meant succumbing to her dragon side. Deemed the Progeny, she left the ordinary life she knew and has done everything in her power to learn the ways of her new realm and what it means to be part dragon. But when her mentor, Astral, suddenly disappears, she is forced to take the reins.

With war on the brink, she sets out on an epic journey to not only find her mentor, but to stop her Arch Enemy, Zordon, from obtaining the Stone of Immortality. But what she discovers about him along the way is far worse than she could’ve ever imagined. She will be tested and pushed to the limit. Lives will be lost, love will be questioned, and a battle will begin.

So lets get on with the questions!
When did you know you wanted to be an author?

– About the same time I first typed the words the end back in 2009.  Before then, I didn’t even know I could write a full novel.  Now it is all I want to do.

How was writing your second novel different than writing your first?

– I knew the character and where the story needed to go versus sitting down with a vague idea and a glimmer of a character. I had more confidence and knowledge in what I was doing which made the words and the concept flow easier for me.

What has been the biggest thing you have learned in this process of writing a novel? Most challenging thing about being an author?

– The biggest thing is to not compare yourself to anyone else or worry about what others think. Take from what you hear and grow from it, and always try to top yourself. You can only keep improving. The most challenging part has been following that advice.

If you could choose anyone to be a mentor, which author would you consider?

– J.K. Rowling. She is brilliant.

What is your favorite book?

– Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Who is your favorite character?

– Harry Potter of course lol.

Who designed your covers?

– The very talented Ravven. She is awesome to work with. You can find her here:

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

– Yes. I believe every name should have a meaning whether it pertains to the story or to the personality of the character. It’s like naming a child. Their name has to meansomething or else it’s just another name.

What makes you laugh?

– My husband. He is a human encyclopedia filled with sarcasm and jokes.

You seem like you are industrious, do you ever go on vacation? Where would your dream vacation be?

– I am very hard-working, but I find plenty of time for my family and for myself. We are actually getting ready to go on a vacation in August to either Washington D.C. or to the Keys. We haven’t decided yet lol. My dream vacation would be backpacking through Europe though. Hopefully one day I will.

Most of the readers of my blog are other writers, any advice to share?

– Practice makes perfect and it will only happen if you make it happen. Keep writing! 😉

Want to read more? Check out Born in Flames and Embracing the Flames!
Born in Flames CoverEmbracing the Flames Cover

Seattle! I am appearing at the Pacific Place Barnes&Noble June 8

Other Systems CoverAuthor Event!

This Saturday June 8th at 2 pm, I will be appearing at Pacific Place Barnes & Noble in Downtown Seattle to do a discussion and a signing for my science fiction novel, Other Systems!

I would love to discuss science fiction with you and have free bookmarks and buttons for everyone so stop on by!

Starting at 1 pm: The America Scores Bookfair

Also at 2 pm Author Maudy Fowler will also be in attendance to promote her new non-fiction book Angel Whispers

and a reading of Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy in the children’s section for the kids.

I hope to see you there!

Downtown Barnes & Noble
Pacific Place, 600 Pine St Suite 107, Seattle, WA 98101, 206-264-0156

48Fourteen is having a Memorial Day Sale and Giveaway!


48Fourteen is having a Memorial Day Sale and a giveaway on Facebook! All e-books including Other Systems is .99 cents on Amazon so if you were considering reading it now is the time!


If you want to participate in the giveaway, then check out:

For the rules and image to share.

Three winners will receive some great 48Fourteen Swag:

1st place: 48fourteen coffee mug & free eBook of choice
2nd place: 48fourteen notebook & free eBook of choice
3rd place: 48fourteen pen & free eBook of choice

Good luck! Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend!


Character Dossier: Patrick Mason of Other Systems

As you might have seen, I posted my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the last few weeks.  Here are the links to your favorite character’s dossier: Abby,  ColeHardenHelenMarkBrianDiane, Pat and Rockford! Don’t worry there isn’t  spoilers.

Patrick “Pat” Mason

Physical Description:  Pat is a Homo Kiposi. Personal description: Athletic Build. Dark brown hair, brown eyes, tan skin.

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. planet side: environmental suit

Character Description: He is ultimately a good man, but has trouble knowing where his loyalties should lie. 

Pat interned on the Revelation. Mark was 19, Pat was 18 when he came aboard.  Since Pat was Mark’s first real peer, they got into a lot of trouble together. Nothing serious, just teenaged stuff, but Harden wasn’t great at dealing with it. (Note: Harden and Helen will be strict with Abby over small infractions, because they don’t want a repeat of Mark/Pat. Abby doesn’t have a safety net.)

Education: Doctorate in Biology

Job: Biologist, Planetary Survey Team. Customs agent specializing in biological contraband (Customs is the only police Kipos has.)


Parents: Not named, but he has some. They want him to have a child.

Siblings: none mentioned

Offspring: Megan

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Homosexual (though like most fleet brats he enjoyed bi-sexual experimentation in his late teens and 20’s.)

Had relationship with Mark during late teens, early 20’s.

Since fathers don’t always get to raise their children in the Fleet, he married Silva–an Earth woman in order to have Megan.

Hobbies: Plays Poker, likes fast hard music

Other Systems CoverSales Links:

Character Dossier: Diane Richards of Other Systems

As I have said, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  ColeHardenHelenMarkBrian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Here we go for Diane Richards: Head Engineer on The Revelation.


© Pticca | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Diane is my favorite character. I have gotten a few comments thanking me for writing a strong, highly intelligent and at the same time sensual, I am proud to have written a character that so many women relate with or look up to.

Physical Description:  Tan skin with embedded microscales. Beautiful. Sensual. Wavy thick, dark brown hair, big hazel eyes.

Paternal and Maternal: Mixed European

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. She wears scented lotions. Off ship: she dresses to the nines.

Character Description: Loving, kind. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess. She is extremely popular with men.

Important note: She doesn’t deal with people’s problems. When she and Harden were building the Revelation, she never tried to make Harden eat, shower, or anything else. She figures he is an adult and lives the life he wanted to live, but he was extremely depressed.  She is Abby’s friend and though she keeps an eye on her and answers questions, she is more big sister than mother.

Education: Doctorate in Engineering

Job: Head Engineer of the Revelation. She also created the oxygen garden. Age when protagonist comes into her life: Early 30’s

Step 4: Relationships: Parents: unnamed

Siblings: unnamed, the Alekoses are her family now. Best Friends with Helen.

Offspring: Sterilized as an adult. Only one son who was sterilized and died of old age.

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Heterosexual, now that she is divorced, she enjoys shoreleave hookups with men.

Pets: Rockford

Other Systems CoverSales Links:

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