Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Feminine Wild by Allison Moon

Our guest post today is by  the lovely Allison Moon. Her new book, LUNATIC FRINGE, is the first in the Tales of the Pack series, and is available for sale starting today. If you live in the San Francisco area, don't miss tomorrow night's Book Release and Birthday Party. Take it away, Allison!

The Feminine Wild

Never forget you are an animal.

I had to remind myself of this fact many times as I wrote my novel Lunatic Fringe, just as I have to remember it in my day-to-day life as a human woman wandering the world.

Society is geared towards removing us from our animal instincts. Particularly for women, who are daily told that we shouldn’t have body hair, sweat or smell bad, swear, be violent, fight back, get angry or emotional, be too tired, too hungry or too horny. It tells us we should be smiley, agreeable, docile, efficient and satisfied with whatever we’re given.

That’s a lot of shoulds.

Often, we accept these things as facts of life rather than letting them get us down. But, in my weaker moments, I rage against the proverbial machine. I wrote Lunatic Fringe to help exorcise some of my loathing of the way women are told to ignore our monstrous sides.

Lunatic Fringe follows a young woman who goes off to college and encounters ferocity in the form of radical politics and some mean-ass werewolves. To me, the metaphor was so simple. Women as werewolves, I mean, come on. Who else changes moods with the moon?

But I’ve found some pushback, mostly from guys who get skeeved out at the idea of “rough, hairy women.”

Speculative literature works best, in my mind, when it not only opens our ideas to fantastical possibilities, but when it illuminates parts of life and self that are already there. As women, we all have our animal. She stalks in silence, barely contained behind our societally-acceptable veneer. At times we let her out- when making love, when making war, when our family is threatened or when we need to just. let. go.

But even then, we hold something back. I believe we do this because we know the power she has to create, and to destroy. That animal within us can do some mighty damage, and we know it. She is the mama bear that will beat down anything that approaches her cub. She is the lioness that stalks and runs down the prey in the Savannah. She is the pack leader that preserves the rigid hierarchy and protects what is hers. Powerful stuff, that. Best keep the lid tight and heavy on all that bad-assery lest we let something slip.

I would, however, like to see women let that beast break free a bit more, to see the beauty in her power and in her passion. What would it look like for your werewolf to take hold and run headlong into your unspoken desires? Would you trample an old version of life that didn’t serve you? Would you screw everything in sight? Would you gather your sisters and howl until your throat was sore? Would you run naked through the night unafraid?

There are instincts within us, there are drives that are passionate, fierce and sometimes terrifying. Sometimes it’s good to keep them caged. And sometimes it's best to let them take us over and see what comes next.

Allison Moon
 is the author of the lesbian werewolf novel Lunatic Fringe.  She blogs about gender, feminism, writing and independent publishing at her blog, Tales of the Pack.  She is currently working on the sequel to her novel, titled Hungry Ghost. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plans fail, not people

My plan to post a First Fifty review by the end of each month bit the dust this month. Between work, keeping up with Savvy workshop writing and investigating a retirement proposition, I've lost track of my reading. Next month promises to be a little better. I only have a Frankenstein performance to attend, MUSE Online Writer's Conference to moderate as a newbie, and one, count them, one class at Savvy. Oh, yeah, my birthday road trip. Can't forget that.

So, yeah. Lots of opportunities for plans to fail. And to recover from the failure. For one thing, I've been able to keep up with the deadlines for my Savvy writing. And I'm happy with the work I've put out. I've also been listening to books and stories and television shows. Yeah, I write to TV. Netflix has been my friend, bringing me a wonderful series with a sufficiently subtle formula, that putting it on as background keeps me inspired. And warned. That full moon shot, that shows up twice in the same episode, and several times in a season--that's a big boo-boo. Oh, and the gloved hand pulling back the bushes. Another boo-boo.

Those are the kinds of things that authors of series novels have to watch out for, also. Personal tropes and idiosyncrasies. Listening to a new author who writes in present tense encouraged me to try it in my final Flash Fiction assignment. Tricky trying to keep the past tense in its place.

Meanwhile, I'm missing putting my eyeball to the page. Real reading. Curling up with the Kindle or a paperback, or hardback from Better World Books (cheap books for a cause--they have a sale going: 3 for $10 and $0 shipping!) has become a call to relaxation, lately. Evidence that I really do have some time off. Even if I am reading with a pencil. The act of reading has taken on a much greater pleasure than it had in the past.

So, the new plan? Uhh...finish those pages? Yeah, sounds like a plan. First Fifty review up next Wednesday and after that, maybe a glimpse of Frankenstein.

What do you do when your plans fail? How do you recover?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Professor Elemental

This is me forgetting to put together a post on my day. Please enjoy some Professor Elemental on this glorious #SteamTuesday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

BICHOK, baby!

Psst, do you want to know the fastest way to get published?  Write!   That just means - Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard (BICHOK)!

Yes, it’s that simple.  There are so many writers that want to make the merge to title “author”, but never achieve their dream.  Why?  Their work not good enough?  Their characters not likable?  Nope, because they don’t write.

Writing is fun to talk about.  Sometimes plotting is fun to do or doing a lot of character development can sidetrack you.  Talking about writing, plotting and character development is not going to get your published.  Once again, writing is going to get you published.

I am all about the excuses when it comes to my writing.  I don’t know enough, so I need to focus on reading everything that I can about writing and THEN writing.  WRONG!!!  While it is great and can be very helpful to not only study craft books, but also the craft of your favorite writers, it can be detrimental to your writing.  When you are reading, you are NOT writing.

Also workshops can cause some major problems.  When I first started to write, I took ten to twelve workshops and believed that “this” workshop would make my writing better so that I could get published.  Again, WRONG!!!  Workshops are amazing, especially for growth and learning from your mistakes, but too many, deletes any time in the day that you have work writing.  I learned this the hard way.

So what are some tips to help you get writing?  I’ve learned as a hard lesson, because I haven’t been writing nearly enough.  I just keep restarting the same darn old story again, when I just need to finish the darn thing!  Then it’s called revision, which a whole new blog topic.  If and when I ever hit that stage, I’ll write about it.  :)

I have done some Internet surfing to find some of the best ways to get you writing:
Write everyday.  Yes, every single day.  Even if it is only 100 words, it’s 100 words more than you’d normally have.
  • Set a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly goal. 
  • Be realistic.  We all lead crazy busy lives with things like health problems, sudden surprises, chores, jobs, etc. that tend to absorb a lot of our time.  Again, committing to 100 words is doable in pretty much any situation.
  • Find a writing support group - and use them.  I have been bad with that.  A writing support group is there to cheer each other on through the good times and bad times.  If possible, meet a few times a week for an hour or two and sprint.  That means type as many words as you can within that time frame without interruptions.  Sometimes doing it alone is just too much and a cheerful support group is just what the writing doctor ordered.
  • Do not go back and edit the scenes, chapters, etc. that you already wrote the day or time before.  This is my major problem because I am a perfectionist and I keep tweaking and tweaking, or I throw about that scene or chapter and never move on.  Read the last three or four lines or write a brief sentence at the end of your writing to job your memory of where you left off.  Then start writing fresh and new words.  If you keep rewriting and revising your previous writing then you may never get past Chapter 1.

So that’s all the tips that I have, but if you have any great tips, please feel free to share them. 

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Don't see ghosts, but I hear them knocking!

My name is Usha Suyin and I’m a character in Elizabeth’s book. At least, that’s what she thinks. But, it’s really the other way around. I’m creating Elizabeth.

I hardly think she knows more about me than I do. Really. I have to tell her everything. After all, I’m fourteen. And on top of that I’m an old soul. My grandmother says so and that translates into I’ve been here before. And that means I know a lot more than Elizabeth.

I see things most people miss or dismiss as unimportant. But, one thing I don’t see are ghosts. Oh, I know they’re there. I feel them. For me, the whole world seems colored with spirits and magic. It’s all there for everyone to experience but most don’t believe.

Take my grandmother’s daily ritual for example. In the late afternoons she will take two bowls of rice to the back porch and in front of a small family altar, she will light incense. Then she will sit, eat and talk with a ghost. The ghost being her dead husband and she will do this as if it was the most normal thing to do. Of course, it is in our family. Ghosts are so a part of our life. I guess it’s not unusual when your family is Chinese.

Every Saturday, my father takes me to visit relatives at the cemetery. Yes, the dead ones. But, you couldn’t tell that by my father. We usually bring something to eat and drink to share with them. I think that’s the only time in the week when I have a can of soda. It was one of my aunt’s favorite drinks. I didn’t know her too well when she was alive but I’m getting to know her as a spirit. One day we had a plate of Chinese dumplings and buns, like Ear, Okole and Manapua. A tall man carrying a bouquet of flowers passed by us and stopped to look at the food we had laid out. He asked my father when our people would show up to eat the food. My father replied, “The same time your people show up to smell the flowers you’re bringing them.”

That’s my life or at least a part of it. I was wondering do you see or believe in spirits?


Friday, September 23, 2011

What is your all-time favorite Female and Male character from fiction?

Here are my all-time favorite characters from fiction.

Hermoine Granger

(Original Fan Art Link)

From her book worm ways to her fighting strength, there isn’t anything I dislike. (Maybe her choice in men, but I’m going there in this post). I see so much of her in myself as well. She grew into a fierce woman by the end of the series. Plus, she stood her ground against the man she loved for the greater good.

Matrim “Mat” Cauthon

(Book 4 Kindle Edition Cover)

Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series currently stands at 13 books published. Mat has grown so much from a trouble making young man from the first book into a commander of armies in the latest release. He walks down the path of both good and evil. A wonderful friend to those around him and loves all the ladies equally.

Post below your all-time favorite female and male character from fiction.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Do I Like?

I was listening to a book, and wondering why I was not thrilled with it. It's one of those with a were pack and fae and vamps. The kind of stuff I don't mind, but find that I'm just not attracted to. There is something about the dynamic of the pack, I thought. Reminds me of...

Friends, 90210, The Office, my neighborhood coffee place. Intratribe drama. Only I hadn't come to that word yet, drama. I still had to figure out what else there was, what I did like.

I am also listening to In the Shadow of the Glacier: A constable Molly Smith novel by Vicki Delany. It has the potential to be just as lethargic a novel with its small town cast, but it isn't. I want to know more about the main characters and what happens to them. Yes, it's a mystery, but that's not it either.

My introduction to urban fantasy was Charles de Lint's Someplace to be Flying. another small town, packs of sorts, ravens, but I didn't put it down. It could have been the nature of the creatures he brought into the world, the mythology he plundered. His fae are still the standard for me. But, reading his other works, I didn't fall headlong into the world. So, it's not the genre, not the people.

Looking at stories, movies where there are "packs" and battles I thought of X-men. I would not have thought much of the movie without Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. But, I loved the cartoon where they were teenagers. There was meaning there. There was humanity there. Purpose and something personal. Not for me, necessarily, but for the characters. Things mattered.

Avatar, The Last Airbender, the movie, no. But the series it was based on? Definitely yes. It got me fired from a job I fell into it so deeply from the first episode. It's so rich I have to pace myself. So, what does Avatar have in common with Glacier?

Irreverence. It's the opposite of the drama of the wolf pack novel. The opposite behavior to taking oneself and the events of ones life so seriously that we cannot make fun of it. Not that we have to laugh at everything. That's not what I mean. I see the irreverence of the stories I like best as presenting us at our most human, at our most courageous and vulnerable. Yes, there is a time for deadly seriousness, for being scared so witless that there is nothing to say or do about it but stay pinioned to the moment and survive. It's the next thing. The thing you do after that, that matters.

For me, that thing is to look it in the eye and ask for my prezzie. I earned it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rebecca Zanetti's Tips & Giveaway

I am very happy to introduce today's guest blogger, Rebecca Zanetti. Her second sizzling installment in the Dark Protectors series, CLAIMED, will release on October 25th.

First, I’d like to thank Ella for having me here today! She suggested I talk about five tips for writing paranormal books, and I thought that sounded like so much fun! So…here are my five tips:

1) Remember even if your hero is a six foot genius vampire with huge pecs and perfectly rugged features who single-handedly has saved humanity three times…he has to have a flaw somewhere. And no…being too kind, endowed, or brilliant don’t count. My favorites are when the character has to fight his own flaw, usually in the nick of time to beat the bad guy.

2) Remember that your reader probably isn’t a six foot genius vampire…nor is she dating one. So it’s crucial to find a way for your reader to relate to the characters. I have two sisters and a strong family life, and so my vampires deal with family life daily. The Dark Protector Series is about five brothers and how they not only find love but work together to save their race.

3) Remember that whatever exciting, complex, deep world you build in Book 1…you’re stuck with for the rest of the series. Leave yourself some wiggle room. Also, you don’t have to build your entire world in book one. You just need enough of your world for that book to make sense.

4) Remember that there are tons of paranormal books out there—make your world different. Put your unique spin on it. I’m a lawyer and things have to make a sort of logical sense to me. So I had to figure out HOW a male vampire (who in my world is very much alive) could make his mate immortal—turns out genetics and the mutation of chromosomes made sense. It was a different spin, at least enough of one that my editor was intrigued.

5) Finally, don’t hold yourself back. As writers, we often stop and think about how the next editor/reader/reviewer/our first grade teacher/our neighbor…etc. will react to our secret little worlds. Don’t worry about them. Let yourself go and have some fun with creating.

So, thanks again to Ella for having me here today. I would love to give a signed copy of FATED (Book 1 of the Dark Protectors) away to a commenter. The winner will be chosen using and announced in the comment box on September 22nd. Here is the blurb:

Neither her empathic abilities nor her role as the single mother of psychic four-year-old Janie prepares plant physiologist Cara Paulsen for the intruder who claims to be kidnapping Cara and Janie for their own good. Janie assures Cara that Talen Kayrs really is trying to protect them from great danger, but Cara's skeptical, especially after learning that Talen is a vampire certain she's fated to be his mate. He insists they marry at once so Cara and Janie can be under the protection of his family. The mysterious enemy Kurjans covet women with special abilities and particularly want to get their hands on Janie. Cara wants to keep her daughter safe, but can she trust this domineering, sexy vampire? 

What kind of flaw do you like in a paranormal hero? Or, do you worry about your great-grandma reading your book?

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of the sexy Dark Protector Series from Kensington Brava. The second book in the series, CLAIMED, will be available in bookstores and online on November 1, 2011. To find Rebecca on the web, drop by her website:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kick Off Your Shoes! It’s Tolkien Week!

            This week marks Tolkien Week! It began yesterday and continues through Saturday.

The custom started in 1978. The week honors J.R.R. Tolkien and his son and editor, Christopher J.R. Tolkien, and celebrates the Middle-earth cycle: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King), Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth. 

The most popular method of observing Tolkien Week is the library, bookstore, or school display.  Most libraries have displays on bulletin boards or in cases.

The same is certainly true of schools. Tolkien Week falls during the "Back to School" season and can create a bright new interest for students in literature classes and libraries.  A number of schools and libraries host seminars and art shows during the week.  Those with the facilities and budget sometimes arrange for a showing of one or more of the motion pictures based on the works.  A few have even presented marathon showings of the Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.

Tolkien Week displays and seminars have been held in places ranging from distinguished universities to libraries located in prisons, mental institutions, and army bases.  Activities which include presentation of research papers or other materials suitable for publication are often presented in the Minas Tirith Evening-Star: Journal of the American Tolkien Society.

On Thursday, September 22nd be sure to observe Hobbit Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two fictional characters in Tolkien’s popular set of books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In those books, both Bilbo and Frodo were said to be born on the date September 22, but of different years. Bilbo was born in the year of 2890 and Frodo in 2968 in the Third Age (1290 and 1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning. The Fellowship of the Ring opened with a celebration of Bilbo's birthday. It was a large party with food, fireworks, dancing and much merriment. To properly observe Hobbit Day, be sure to have a grand feast, and you must go barefoot, in honor of the hobbits, who seldom wore shoes.

So, slip out of your shoes and enjoy!
~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available late autumn.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Under The Covers

Feeling under the weather, so I’m under the covers.

Here’s a short film for you… it's called "The Killing Joke.  It's about a mysterious woman that finds a red balloon tied up to a curious little box on an eery derelict street.  The film uses classic elements of suspense and horror. Enjoy.

The Killing Joke from sebastian lopez on Vimeo.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Fun Fantasy Quizzes

Searching online lead me to down the path of online quizzes. I decided why not take a couple related to fantasy. Please note hilarious options are available to from.

What kind of fantasy character are you?

I'm surprised by this result. But I am so happy to do one! *happy dance*

what kind of fantasy character are you?
Your Result: Elf

More often than not you are a peaceful person, but you will prove a mighty foe if faced with an enemy. You are connected with nature and often form bonds with animals. You are in no hurry with your life. You take great care in anything and everything you do perfecting your skills down to a T. Honor is the most important thing to you. You rather die than dishonor yourself or your people.

Wizard or mage
Human warrior
what kind of fantasy character are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

What would be your fate in a fantasy novel?

I think there should have been a result for sidekick. That would fit me perfectly. But I guess I can't go wrong with becoming a hero.

What would be your fate in a fantasy novel?
Your Result: Become the hero

You would become the hero. Seeing the forces of light struggling against the Evil Overlord, you would simply step in, take control, and vanquish evil. Out of gratitude, the people crown you king or queen.

Go crazy
Get killed
Become the Long John Silver
Join the forces of evil
Fall in love with the hero
What would be your fate in a fantasy novel?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

These two are just the icing on the cake for fantasy related quizzes. Share your results from the two above below. Or provide a link to a different one. I need a good excuse to take some more. ^_^

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

The weather in my neighborhood is balmy after days of summer heat. In the middle of the heat I discovered "it was a dark and stormy night." Well, I discovered the Bulwer-Lytton website, sponsors of the contest for hysterical writing. That's the way I describe it.

As writers we get to play with language and can be forgiven when we run away with them. Some of the examples are from well-known writers. I guess the level of hysteria is in the eye of the reader.

Here's this year's Sci-fi winner, Greg Homer (turns out he's from my neighborhood):
Morgan ‘Bamboo’ Barnes, Star Pilot of the Galaxia (flagship of the Solar Brigade), accepted an hors d’oeuvre from the triangular-shaped platter offered to him from the Princess Qwillia—lavender-skinned she was and busty, with two of her four eyes what Barnes called ‘bedroom eyes’—and marveled at how on her planet, Chlamydia-5, these snacks were called ‘Hi-Dee-Hoes’ but on Earth they were simply called Ritz Crackers with Velveeta.
After reading a few of these, I noticed ho my own prose was moving toward the purple, overwrought, or otherwise too clever for its own good.

Here's a question for you? How do you know when a writer has gone too far? It is a tricky thing, especially in spec fic, to keep things clear while creating interesting worlds. When I'm in a bookstore, looking for a new writer, I'll pick up the book, open it to the middle, and if I can't pronounce the names I shut it and put it back. That's my criterion. What's yours?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Witches Rule

Marsha has provided a lot of nifty coverage from DragonCon since her adventures over Labor Day weekend. I was particularly intrigued by her Illusions of Intimacy post yesterday about the witchcraft panel. We often talk about magic and supernatural creatures here in the Salon, but it occurs to me that witches don't get as much attention as some of the others, despite the fact that they have been popular characters in fiction for a very long time.

A comment that stuck out to me was regarding the appeal of witches; the fact that we can relate because anyone can be one. I think that's certainly part of the attraction. I'd also add that the diversity of the type makes it particularly fun to work with, a fact that was demonstrated by the variety of answers from the panel. It's true that most paranormal beings are evolving, and new twists on the standards are prevalent. But the core of what makes a vampire a vampire, or a werewolf a werewolf are still the essential core of those characters.

While witches can be practically anyone or anything, as long as magic is part of the equation. They can be male or female, human or other, have religious affiliations or not, come from a wide range of historical references, and practice with numerous styles and influences. Much like real modern practitioners who use a gamut of techniques and styles.

American stories inevitably tend to focus on certain events in Salem during our early history; some of my favorite authors have made the reference even though it's been done so many times before. There are so many other wells to tap on the subject. Ronald Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon looks at many aspects of the pagan revival, including much lore and history of witches. I've also enjoyed works by Owen Davies, Carlo Ginzburg, and Julio Caro Baroja which have all illuminated some unique and obscure tidbits on the subject.

As far as fiction goes, I'm a big fan of Kelley Armstrong's and Kim Harrison's witchy characters. Deb Harkness's A Discovery of Witches is one of this year's breakout hits, and a very good read. Fortunately, the witch has developed a more positive reputation over the years, although I don't mind the powerfully nasty types either. They are mentors, nurturers, destroyers, vixens, warriors and just plain awesome, which is why I'm pretty sure they're here to stay.

What do you like (or hate) about witches in fiction? Have a favorite series or character to share? If you write about witches, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Climbing the Alpine Tower of Life

This past weekend my husband took his hockey team to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario to conquer the Alpine Tower.  This is the second year in a row that he has opted to do this as a team builder and once again it was a huge success.  This year I went as the photographer, last year as the team’s trainer, I too pushed myself to defeat my steep fear of heights (only because the boys teased me into trying).

The tower is 52 feet high and staring up at it creates butterflies.  The fear of heights is one of the top five biggest fears shared among the population (and I share it with).  It is perfectly safe as you have a harness around your waist and a person that is holding your climbing rope through their own harness.  They make sure that if you fall, they will catch you.  It still doesn’t help you to overcome your big fear.

Climbing is physically demanding, but also emotionally draining.  By the time that you’ve reached the middle platform your hands are aching from the need to pull yourself up from the little grips.  And when you look down to check on how your partner on the ground is, you realize how far off the ground you are, but still how much further you have left to climb.  Your entire body shakes and all that breath in your chest is punched out.  At that point, you find out what you’re really made of.

At that point, I had wanted to quit.  Politely asking my partner to lower me down, but he very politely refused.  With a cheering a section from my team and some self talk, I managed to pull myself together and found the strength physically and emotionally to keep going.  I didn’t look back until I reached the top.  It was the most exhilarating experience looking down to see what I had accomplished.

As I watched the team go through similar experiences, it made me realize that we all go through struggles, but we have to learn to be a good cheering section for not only ourselves, but the ones that matter in our lives. 

The Alpine experience is something that I draw on when there are tough times in my life.  I look down deep inside of me for some words of inspiration and if I can’t find it, I go to my cheering section.  If I could conquer my fear of heights, I can conquer anything. 

What are you afraid of?  Who is your cheering section?  Are you a good cheering section for the family and friends in your life?

Thanks for reading!

R.J. Garside :)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Heart and Soul

It may seem that my posts are more about being “all that you can be” than about writing. And that’s probably true. I have never been a cheerleader, but let me take pompoms in hand to say I am an advocate of that philosophy.

This past year I have learned a lot about writing, about people, and about myself. Learning more about who I am and what I want to say in my stories has been a turning point for me. I could say it’s about themes or the purpose or a message in a story. That’s not it. As one of the early movie moguls, Sam Goldwyn said, “If you’ve got a message, send it by Western Union.” Today of course, he would say send an email.

For me, it’s more about soul and the heart. Mine. Yes, I write fantasy, but I want my stories to be more than an adventure into another world. Writing stories from the heart about ordinary people lost in their doubts about themselves who discover they can be extraordinary and make a difference in the world. I guess, it’s a story about ordinary me fighting to be extraordinary. Whew!

Let me share Nelson Mandela’s eloquent 1994 Inaugural Speech he made in South Africa.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you NOT to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

So yes, my posts have been to cheer you on, but also to remind me to get to it girl!

“The road is long where I want to go. But go I will.”

Have you been on a journey of discovery this year?

Till next time, Elizabeth

Friday, September 9, 2011

Epic Music

I attended an author chat where they mention creating a soundtrack for your novel. I tried without success before but I decided to try it one more time for my high fantasy.

Since I am a sucker for epic music, I searched on YouTube to get a playlist started. Below are a couple compilation from all mediums.

I'm ready to conquer the world after listening to the tracks above. I just need to find the right ones for my novel to get myself in the right mind set to write.

Share what is on your novel's playlist below with everyone. You may find a new piece to add to your own.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dragon*Con: Happy Genre Fiction--Is Speculative Fiction Going Too Dark?

Last weekend I attended Dragon*Con in Atlanta—certainly an overwhelming event, including plenty of everything to do with steampunk, sci fi, and all subgenres of fantasy.

Word is 60,000 were present at the con, and I’m still exhausted from dealing with the crowds and noise. But, I had fun and enjoyed many panels and sessions. I usually stayed in the relative sanity of the writers’ tracks, but once in a while ventured into the chaos of fan tracks. I wanted to share one interesting panel discussion.

Happy Genre Fiction—In the midst of so much dystopian, dark fantasy and sci-fi, there are few happy stories. Why?

Panel members: Jean Rabe; Eugie Foster; A. Martin (moderator)

I’ll highlight some of the most interesting statements from this rambling discussion:

Reflections of society:

The darker turn in fantasy/sci-fi is a sign of changes in our society. Technological optimism ended with the destructive force of the atomic bomb in 1945. Since then, darker themes took precedence, like with Moorcock’s works of the 1960s. Our culture has been bombarded by constant negative TV news, so dark fiction is appropriate, mirroring those trends. China’s economy is currently optimistic, and they have postitive Sci-fi.

Generations have become more accustomed to darker fantasies, as well as more societal problems, so what was viewed as ‘dark’ once, is no longer perceived to be that unhappy. We’ve embraced dark in fiction so completely, ‘happy’ is no longer trusted as real.

Industry ideas:

It’s a matter of what is selling in the market now.

If you want to write a happy work, give it a tragic ending to fit the current market.

Writing happy fantasy well can help you stand out in the crowd.

Happy fantasy must still have conflicts or it will be boring to read. The panel agreed happy fantasy must resolve most conflicts at the end, rather than only finishing with a ray of hope.

In order to create a happy fantasy, imagine a world you’d like to live in.

Evidence of happy fantasy:

Many Romance and Young Adult books today have happy endings. Even the darkest Sci-fi inherently gives the message there will be a future to look forward to, so there is a basic optimism.

What do you think--is speculative fiction going too dark?

Jean Rabe is the author of more than two dozen fantasy and adventure novels, 60 short stories, and she's edited 20 anthologies. She is the business manager of the SFWA Bulletin and spends her spare time studying Egyptian symbolism and making ugly pottery.

Eugie Foster, with over 100 publication credits to her name, won the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette and has also been nominated for the Hugo, BSFA, and Bram Stoker awards.  Her short story collection, Returning My Sister's Face, is available from Norilana Books.

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available late autumn.

Satisfaction Delivered

Steam and Sorcery
Cindy Spencer Pape
Kindle Edition (Text-to-speech enabled)
File size: 447 KB
Publisher: Carina Press
Release date: March 7, 2011

Well, I finished the book. Happily. I went in expecting entertainment and adventure and that is what I got. Miss Caroline proved to be as competent an opponent to the bad guys as she was introduced as. Her variously talented charges proved to be as worthy of her love and care as we want them to be. And Sir. Merrick proved to need them all as much as he denied he did. Was there anything wanting?

Yes and no.

I wanted to be better prepared for the sex. This is not the "boy's own adventure played out with girls" as I naively expected it to be. I should have looked more deeply at where I was getting this steampunk novel from. Carina Press is a romance publisher. Knowing that would have better prepared me for what was definitely not R rated scenes. I read Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy, a Harlequin novel, and there was not a kiss (of consequence) in it. Definitely a "boy's own adventure with girls."

Having said that, there was nothing else wanting, for this reader. The sex was well-placed and suited the genre. Governess and her employer with heaving resistance go about their business, mostly. The suspense of the adventure was not overshadowed by the potential for the relationship. The children, more importantly, were not props. They were as important to the story, the whole story, as the heaving resistance was.

Mind you, I did kinda figure out who the bad guy was, but I wasn't disappointed with the reveal. Rather, I found myself soundly vindicated in my expectation, taking great pleasure when the sword-cane and umbrella-wielding happy-ever-after ending took him down.

As I said before, Pape writes engaging characters, realistic settings, and in the end constructs a satisfying adventure, albeit with benefits. I am not only recommending the novel. I am also, after a couple of cooling-down stories, ready to indulge in another of her books. She has another one, Photographs and Phantasms, in this genre and three others set in the Motor City (Motor City Wolf, Motor City Witch, and Motor City Fae).

Oh, my cooling down book? The Emperor's Edge, by Lindsay Buroker. I'll let you know how that is going, next time.

Meanwhile, tell me, what surprised you about the last book you read? Was it tasty?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Sequels I'm Dying To Read, But Don't Exist

I've never done a meme before, so I thought I might participate in the Top Ten Tuesday list hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's challenge seemed fun (Top 10 Sequels I'm Dying to Read), but I realized that I would be repeating several titles from my list of TBR books from last week. So, I've decided to spin the meme a little, and do mine as a list of books that don't have a sequel, but should. In no particular order:

1. The Princess Bride - I would welcome books about many of Goldman's characters from this fantasy classic (esp. Inigo Montoya and Fezzik). Sorry, but Buttercup's Baby just doesn't cut it.

2. Peter and Wendy - Sure, there were a few additions Barrie wrote to expand on the original play, but no real continuation of the novel was written.

3. Foxfire - It was one of my favorite books when I was an angsty teen and I always wanted more. What happened to Legs, yo?

4. Good Omens - In fact, another collaboration of any kind between Gaiman and Pratchett would be appreciated.

5. Dracula - Despite the fact that the title character has had many incarnations over the last century (even though he was totally dusted at the end of the book), I'm interested in how Stoker might have expanded on his idea. More hunting for Van Helsing perhaps?

6. Franny and Zooey - Technically, Salinger wrote several stories about various members of the Glass family, but I wouldn't say they were a real series (so, not cheating, heh). This installment and the title characters were by far my favorites, and I would have loved to have read more of them.

7. Sunshine - One of the most interesting and well-written urban fantasies from the last decade and truly deserving a sequel. McKinley is supposedly planning a novel set in the same world, but that's all I've heard so far.

8. Darwinia - This one definitely had mixed reviews and wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it and would really like to read more from this world.

9. The War in the Air - I could have chosen several of Wells' novels for this list, but settled on this one because, well, flying machines are awesome folks.

10. The Little Prince - This is another one where later authors have continued the tale, but I can't imagine any of them could match Saint-Exupery's original work. He was a fascinating and talented man, and I believe he would have come up with many more delightful stories if his life had not been cut short. You can probably tell that I've been a huge fan since childhood, LOL.

So that's it. and it was a tough list to narrow down. Obviously, several of these choices have no possibility of a sequel, and some still have hope. There were also a few I considered because I liked them so much, but decided they were perfect on their own or wouldn't benefit from additional works (Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in particular).

I almost added Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey, but when I checked it out I discovered that there is finally a sequel coming later this year - yay!

What novels do you think deserved a sequel? Any characters whose story should continue?

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Glimpse from Dragon*Con

Every year during Labor Day weekend, downtown Atlanta is stormed by over 30,000 fantasy fans at Dragon*Con. I attended this past weekend and had a wonderful time, getting home last evening, tired but happy. Once I collect my thoughts and notes, I'll tell more about highlights from some workshops and panels I enjoyed.

For now...a glimpse of the amazing variety. Every fantasy subgenre was represented in both costuming and programming.

Steampunk was the raging trend...
Harry Potter fans rode the wave from this summer's exciting movie...
"Lucius Malfoy"

And Sci fi remained a constant...

(Cross-posted at
~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available late autumn.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's Celebrate With Chocolate!

Labor Day heralds the end of our fun-filled days of summer. So, let’s have a party this weekend! I’ll bring the brownies.

In my first post, I talked about feeding your characters. Now it’s time to feed and reward ourselves with chocolate. Here’s a recipe for a very decadent, very chocolatey goji brownie recipe. It’s to die for it’s so yummy.


4 cups walnuts (you can substitute another nut)
12 whole pitted medjool dates (this is instead of sugar)
4 Tbsp carob powder
8 Tbsp cacao powder
2 tsp vanilla powder
½ cup dried goji berries, soaked and coarsely chopped
6 Tbsp goji water, drained after soaking berries
½ tsp Himalayan crystal salt (I personally forgo the salt)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup cacao nibs


1. Place the walnuts into the food processor with the ‘s’ blade and grind them until they look like meal (dried powder).

2. Pull the dates apart into a few smaller pieces and add to the walnut meal. Continue to process until the mixture is well combined.

3. Add the carob powder, cacao powder, vanilla powder, goji water, salt and cinnamon. Process again to combine all ingredients.

4. Remove mixture from processor and place into a mixing bowl. Add the cacao nibs and drained goji berries and mix well by hand. Make sure the all the ingredients are well mixed. Pack the mixture into a 9X9 baking dish. Let chill for 2 hours before serving.

5. Store the brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. They will also freeze beautifully for up three months.

This recipe is Chef Tina Jo’s of “Splendor in the Raw.” Hope you enjoy it and your weekend. What’s your favorite dessert recipe?

Till next time,

Friday, September 2, 2011

New September Anthologies

Ella's post reminded me how far behind I am on my reading. I checked out the new releases for September and to my delight there are four anthologies being released. Here they are:

Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense by by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (Ella mentioned this one already.)

Summary from Good Reads: "Edited by Jack Dann (World Fantasy Award-winning co-editor of Dreaming Down Under) and Nick Gevers (acclaimed editor and book reviewer), Ghosts by Gaslight is a showcase collection of all-new stories of steampunk and supernatural suspense by modern masters of horror, fantasy, sf, and the paranormal. An absolutely mind-boggling gathering of some of today’s very best dark storytellers—including Peter Beagle, James Morrow, Sean Williams, Gene Wolfe, Garth Nix, Marly Youmans, Jeffery Ford, and Robert Silverberg—Ghosts by Gaslight offers chilling gothic and spectral tales in a delightfully twisted Victorian and Edwardian vein. Think Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a decidedly steampunk edge, and you’re ready to confront Ghosts by Gaslight."

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions by Various Authors

Summary from Good Reads: "A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved."

Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters by Various Authors

Summary from Good Reads: "Monsters: As old as the oldest of stories, as new as our latest imaginings. From the ancient stone corridors of the labyrinth to the graffitied alleyways of the contemporary metropolis, they stalk the shadows. Leering from the darkness of the forest, jostling for space in our closets, they walk, crawl, creep and scuttle through our nightmares. Close as the clutter under the bed or the other side of the mirror, they are our truest companions.

Creatures features the best monster fiction from the past thirty years, offering a wide variety of the best monster stories including original stories from the field''s most relevant names and hottest newcomers including Clive Barker, Sarah Langan, Joe R. Lansdale, Kelly Link, China Mieville, and Cherie Priest."

Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves and Ghosts: 25 Classic Stories of the Supernatural by Barbara H. Solomon, Eileen Panetta

Summary from Goodreads: "They are the fearful images that have stalked humanity's nightmares for centuries, supernatural creatures that feast on flesh and haunt the soul, macabre and uncanny beings that frighten and fascinate the imagination.

Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, and Ghosts collects classic stories from literary masters inspired by folklore and mythology who dared to explore the darker side of human nature and crafted tales that defied convention, stirred up controversy, and gave life to a storytelling genre that has endured for generations."

I can't wait to get hands on these. I'm always looking for new anthologies to add to my reading list. Leave a comment for your favorites.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


What do a Knight of a Round Table, a handful of street urchins, and a governess trying to get out of her state of genteel poverty have in common?

I don't know. Not quite yet, but I want to. The novel, Steam and Sorcery (book 1 of her Gaslight Chronicles) by Cindy Spencer Pape is set in a London where "clockwork pets were all the rage in high society; [where] vampyres and other creatures of the night were more real than most upper-class people chose to believe."
So far, I've learned that the Knight has a very forward-thinking aunt, tolerant house staff, and a particular skill with ebony canes. I've also discovered that the street urchins have questionable talents that help them survive on the streets of Wapping, the smellier side of London. One is a tinkerer who builds mechanical pets that keep the children safe. Another can see Sir Merrick even after the Knight has uttered words of invisibility. Vampyres and werewolves lurk on both sides of the law and the children have just helped Merrick defeat one in the face of the other.

And the governess? Well, Sir Merrick has just taken the children into his bachelor townhouse to keep them out of the way of the vamps and he, his aunt and the house staff are badly in need of a governess to guide the urchins while keeping the secrets of the household.

We are ankle deep in steampunk meeting the paranormal and though it could be a steaming pile that we step into, it isn't. Pape's writing is crisp, her images clear without being too detailed. The sights and smells of Industrial London where steam and coal color the fog and night soil flies out of upstairs windows form a realistic backdrop for the coming adventure. Unlike another well-known book I've tried but failed to read, Pape keeps her detail relevant. She lets us fill in the finer detail, does not name-drop props every sentence, as some have been known to do. Nor are her descriptions written for the sake of being descriptive. An excellent set designer, Pape creates setting with full-sensory disgust so that we know where we are at all times.

Casting is a piece of the speculative fiction character puzzle that can make or break the story for me. Stock characters are fine when they are cleverly placed. Finding a potential Knight as a street urchin was the first hint that this story was going to be interesting. The genteel and sympathetic bachelor taking in the street children? Another neat angle. We had met their future governess within the first few pages of the novel and again as she is being accosted and blamed by the family she has most recently worked for. I had fleeting impressions of a future Holmes and Watson and their Irregulars. Oh and did I mention that Papes's version of LeStrade has a werewolf for an assistant? I didn't? Do you see now why I'm trying to hurry this so I can get back to the story?

So begins an ongoing project. I'm calling it "The First Fifty". I've been told by a few people that if they don't like the novel within the first fifty pages they put it down. With so many books and so little time, I think a fifty-page rule is a good idea. Not only that, but I think it's such a good idea that I am going to use it here. I've acquired a bunch of new books looking like steampunk and decided to do reviews of them. But, I'm willing to read only the first fifty pages (or, since they are Kindle versions, the first 15-20%) and report back.

So, my report on Steam and Sorcery? Definitely a go-ahead. I'll let you know if it lives up to first impressions, but you'll excuse me if I duck out now.


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