Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Visualizing monsters

As you might be able to surmise, or recognize, or simply figure out, I like drawing. I found this artist, Roberto Osti, in the pages of Drawing magazine. Only a few days ago I discovered there there is, as one might expect, a whole pantheon of monsters called XXXX in Japanese, where monsters appear to be venerated. The only monster I know on sight is the Kappa. It looks a little like Jimmy Durante and if you're not old enough to know who he is, well, there's always Wikipedia. Most of the time.

It's an interesting idea, to both visualize a monster and then dissect it to see how it is and is not like the rest of us. What is it about the monstrous that is so attractive on the one hand and so repulsive on the other. They keep us talking about them when the best plan would be to ignore them. So, why do we keep, not only looking and talking, but re-visiting and re-forming them into different models?

When we made myths, we had reference points that all of the tribe could look to and say, "Ahh, that is very true. And you make it so interesting to listen to, and memorable. I must remember to tell my children." What are the sources for our monsters? Where is the werewolf, the vampire, the harpy, or the kappa?

Do you know?

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Similarities Between Newborns and Writing

I have a six-week old son and he has been keeping me busy around the clock.  I am still finding time to write though.  Every pregnant woman or every mother has heard the advice “sleep when the baby is sleeping” - I’ve decided to do the opposite.  When my baby is sleeping, I am writing or reading a craft book, answering my homework assignments for my monthly workshop or reading a book within my genre.  (I still do find some time for sleep.)

Last night during his 2:30 a.m. feeding, in my very groggy not very competent state, I realized that there are parallels between having a newborn and writing. 
  1. Burping a baby is similar to trying to interview your character (especially your hero): they squirm, they cry, they scream and they fuss and sometimes you just don’t get what you need out of them.
  2. Changing a diaper is similar to the working through the middle of your story: you just never know what you’re going to get, and sometimes its a little poopy.
  3. Everyone seems to have advice for you, or at least they offer you a critique - warranted or unwarranted.  Especially the famous lines, “don’t do that, why are you doing that, I never did it that way...”
  4. Best laid plans don’t always work out.  The old saying, "You can dress them up, but you still can't take them anywhere truly applies." 
  5. Keep you up all night, but you still rise with a smile on your face.  You can learn to function on little sleep - who needs sleep?
  6. You can read all the books, take all the classes, talk to all the experienced others to prepare yourself or to make you better, but until you have it right in front of you and you are doing it and living it, you still don’t know.  There’s no “real” manual or right way on how to do it properly.
  7. Both need constant care, nurture and love.
  8. Watching it grow, change and evolve is the most amazing experience.
  9. You can’t help but dream, think and worry about it when you are away.
  10. It’s all worth it in the end and it makes your life meaningful.
Happy writing!

R.J. Garside :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Adventures of Pork Chops and Steelyballs

Living with four dogs and our new Christmas kitty provides me with moments of “I don’t believe they did that” and complete tolerance for me from them.    Of course, there are a lot of chuckles and head shaking when it comes to these guys.   Oh, did I mention a few “what the…” incidents.

But life would be dull without my little menagerie.  I thought why not capture my life with them on paper.  I’m designing a steampunk graphic novel and I thought it would be cool to work up to that with short cartoons strips.   It’s a fun kind of learning experience and no doubt the style will change.  But, it’s a beginning. 
Pork Chops is really our dog Portia in real life. I’m told that when I call her it sounds like I’m saying Pork chops. Steelyballs is our new resident kitty all grown up. So, here’s the first installment. 

Till next time,

Friday, January 27, 2012


After reading Marsha post yesterday, I decided to share my love of deviantART. It is the largest community on the internet for artists to share their work with others. It was founded in August 2000 and has grown to over 19 million members that include art enthusiasts.

As one of those art enthusiasts, I surf and subscribe to groups of the fantasy genre. Even posted some photos I took. From digital to traditional, this is the site to go. You can even commission artists for your book cover. If the artist makes it available, you can purchase prints for your home in all sizes. And mature content is allowed.

You can add the art you love to your favorites for later view and to let others know what you enjoy.  Plus, you can use it as a way to post your original stories. I haven’t read many but I plan on doing so in the future. When you watch an artist, you will be notified when they post new work. If you are an artist, you can request critiques of your work from others. Share tips and meet others in your local area.

Just to give you a preview of the art you can find you can find all my favorites artwork here.  But if you are pressed for time, below are the links to some of my favorite works:

Leave a comment with some of your favorites works from the site.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My New Love—Digital Painting of Fantasy Art

One of my first creative loves was drawing and painting. I’d do anything special my kindergarten teacher wanted, if the reward was getting an extra turn in the painting room with the huge easels that stood as tall as I was. I still remember the rush of excitement I felt smelling the tempura paint and picking up the long-handled, wide brushes, sloshing them through the colors.

Recently, I’ve undertaken a huge writing project of self-publishing a series of five books in an epic fantasy romance, the Enchanted Bookstore Legends. Two are written and professionally edited. The third is my current work-in-progress. I’m busy putting final touches on book one, Seeking a Scribe. And working on cover art. With my love of painting, I was looking forward to creating what I envisioned for my books.

What I didn’t expect was to be sucked virtually helpless into a new hobby, which I’ll share as I progress. Researching fantasy art led me to devour workshops on Photoshop. Then I moved on to technique books on digital painting of fantasy characters. From there, I can see exactly where my free time in 2012 and beyond is going. Turning the pages of the technique books gives me the exact same thrill as the feel of the viscosity of the tempera paint on my kindergarten brush.

I really didn’t need one more interest. My deck is stacked full, and I pull myself away from new avenues of commitment, like steering clear of the yoga instructor training I desperately wanted to take. And I curbed my desire for vegetable gardening. But extensions of those early hobbies make my knees go weak and my head spin. I learned to knit at age eight and have an embarrassingly large yarn stash. I am truly glad that an ereader sits still on a desk, unlike a book, while I knit and read simultaneously. Since my tricycle days, I’ve never let go of biking on a weekly basis. My house is filled with my own watercolors, and now my computer files will fill with my own digital art. Am I excited…just like playing at the big easels!

What hobbies/interests/activities do you have that seem to run through your veins like a part of you?

~ ~ ~
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 27, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available March, 2012. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, Le Cirque De Magie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Facebook Timeline is a Go

Last year I finally signed on to Facebook, probably the last person on the planet to do so, but I never really took to it. This year, I've decided to up my efforts and at the very least get my footing on the site, starting with making the switch to the new Timeline. Eventually, everyone on FB will be taking the plunge into the new interface, and judging by recent announcements it will be sooner rather than later. I signed on last week and have been tinkering with it since then.

The look of the Timeline is pretty nice. Some have compared it unfavorably to Myspace's jumbled layout, but I think it's quite clean even with two columns of data. I like the large cover image, although it would be great if you could at least tailor the overall color scheme of your page to match. I've added a few significant events from the last several years, but I can't see myself taking the time to record my history all the way back to birth. It is neat that you can highlight anything major that you left out, or in my case, didn't have an account at the time to do so.

One of the biggest issues I had with the set up had to do with the Map feature. Finding certain places can sometimes be tricky, and I was unable to upload pictures directly from my computer. Instead, I had to transfer them to my Facebook page, then send them into each location on the Map. Yet when I added events to the Timeline, it uploaded my pictures just fine. It's also kind of annoying that each image has to be adjusted to fit (partially) into a spot.

Other than these small bugs, Timeline was pretty easy to get used to and manage. Of course, it helps that I don't have a lot of past activity to weed through. Facebook has urged users to review their old posts, which will now be much easier to access, just in case there's anything embarrassing you want to hide from your newer and larger group of friends. This is why I stick to the philosophy that you should never put anything online that you wouldn't want your mother or your boss to see. Keep the dirt in house, ya'll.

I've quizzed several FB veterans, and initial reviews are mixed about the Timeline. Some people can't stand it and wish it were more user-friendly, while others are digging the new look. Whether you like it or not, Timeline is officially on it's way to being mandatory and permanent, so there's no reason to delay updated your page. A web search will pull up some helpful hints, and Facebook has tutorials, but you might as well dive right in and experiment for your 7 day trial period.

It will probably be a work in progress for a while, but my Timeline went up last night, and I actually had fun with it. Take a look and hit me up as a friend, and maybe next year I'll be ready to tackle Google Plus. Or not.

What do you think of Timeline? Are you dreading the switch, or ready for something new? If you're in the process of setting it up, I'd love to hear how it's going.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ooo New Comic Discovery -- Lovelace and Babbage

I was following links from my only other favorite web-comic, Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel (which I've blogged about ) and discovered another comic I'm drawn into at first glance: Sydney Padua's Lovelace and Babbage Must be the period, or something, that inspires such interesting interpretations. Both are based in the 1800s. Both refer to historical reality. Both tweak the heck out of it. AND, most especially, both are wonderfully drawn. I haven't discovered how the Lovelace and Babbage comic is produced but the look is hand-drawn, which I still prefer over computer generated and colored. Oh, and, yeah, both of them are black-and-white.

I love the wildness of the pen and ink and her control where it matters. She also doesn't seem to take herself very seriously :-)

Padua has a wicked sense of humor and an appreciation of the geeky that I can relate to. It takes a lot of "humor" to get me to laugh, but she got me on the very first page.

Love the footnotes as well. I expect to learn more about Lovelace in particular and Babbage (if I have to) as well as get entertained by whatever else the lovely Sydney drips out of her pens. Which one are you drawn to? Sailor Twain's moody drama or Lovelace and Babbage's creative adventures?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Books into Movies

Hollywood’s love of turning books or short stories into movies goes back to the beginning of filmmaking.  And that trend doesn’t look like it will be ending any time soon.   Are you anxiously waiting for the latest crop of book-films to come out?  Or simply blasé about their releases? I’m a little of both.  After all, Hollywood has taken a good read and turned it into a bad view many times.   But I like to believe that Hollywood’s interest in books will peak the interest of young readers to read more. 

Here are some book-movie trailers that might interest you:

What book are you waiting for Hollywood to pick up?
Till next time,

Friday, January 20, 2012

In Person or Online Book Club?

Book clubs have evolved from local meetings in your library to online forums or emails. Do you know which format is best for you? If you are not sure, let us look at the difference in the interaction level between the two of them: in person versus online.

Attending a local meeting involves talking out loud with others. It may be over dinner, coffee, or at your local library. The time and day won’t change very often. For the most part, everyone has finished reading and their own questions to ask or pre-selected questions already answered to share with others. It is happy hour but without any alcoholic beverages.

Online interaction can happen at any time and is great for those with busy schedules. Anyone with internet access can join from wherever they are located. You can discuss the book as you read it without waiting to share your thoughts.  You have more time to discuss the book throughout the month. It is instant gratification.

Based on the differences, do you know now which one is best for your personality and lifestyle? Leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Ten Urban Fantasy TV Shows

After watching the season premiers of Being Human and Lost Girl on SyFy Monday night, I started thinking about the growth of urban fantasies on television, and which shows have been my favorites over the years. So, naturally, I made a list to share with fellow UF fans.

While there may be different opinions on what qualifies as urban fantasy, I'll just say that for me, the most important elements are: takes place in a modern city; supernatural occurrences are frequent; and various otherworldly creatures play key roles. Tone, humor, violence and romance levels all come into play for each series, but are relative within the genre as far as I'm concerned. For a closer look at the specific differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, check out Marsha's wonderful post at Fantasy Faction on the subject.

Here we go, in no particular order:

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
2) Being Human (either version)
3) Hex
4) Brimstone
5) Dresden Files
6) Reaper
7) True Blood
8) Charmed
9) Supernatural
10) Neverwhere (miniseries)

A few other faves come close to being urban fantasy, but not quite close enough to include here (specifically: Twin Peaks, Fringe, Dead Like Me, and Doctor Who). I've also become a fan of The Walking Dead series recently, but it falls squarely into the horror arena. The sad thing is that most of these shows are over, and some did not last nearly as long as they should have.

Several months ago, I reviewed the new UF show, Grimm, for our week-long speculative television theme. Obviously, it didn't make the cut, because my opinion of it since then really hasn't changed (i.e. it's a passably watchable bit of vapidity). However, I have much higher hopes for the Canadian import, Lost Girl. The heroine is strong and sexy, the secondaries show glimmers of depth, and the Fae world is new and distinctive. I hope the series lives up to its early promise, and that networks continue to develop more quality  urban fantasy titles.

Lay it on me, peeps: What's your favorite urban fantasy (or paranormal) show?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shorts --Small Beer Press

I discovered Small Beer Press through Jedediah Berry, and his Manual of Detection which I blogged about earlier. He is one of the editors at the Press, back in the day (and is listed as "roaming editor" now). They publish a couple of collections of short stories, essays and poetry that I've been intrigued by. Yeah, it goes a bit Literary, but then Ursula K. Le Guin showed up there. She has never really been classifiable as anything other than Speculative Fiction as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure her books get filed under fantasy and science fiction, but that is the individual book. As a writer she spans the realm of what is now being called "interfiction".

I got to see her in person, one year. She did a reading accompanied by the Berkley Women's Philharmonic. She is, has been for a long time, my guide and teacher. Only through her writing, of course, but definitely a guide. I'll be re-reading my collections of her short pieces, soon. I've never been much of a fan of short fiction. Not until I started writing it and discovered how much pleasure there was in the process. Or in seeing how much pleasure someone gets from reading it.

I had the pleasure of sitting in the circle of one of my crit groups, listening to their critical comments and having them be so complimentary. To discover how effective writing can be, how much pleasure there is in it, that's the gift of being a writer.

Now, I'm going looking for my own pleasure in reading. I am looking forward to taking you on the journey with me, looking at all the jewels the short form has to offer. New writers. Experiments in the craft. Inspiration and entertainment. When I was learning to write film scripts, I was told that short stories make the best movies. There is nothing to cut. This year, I'm hoping to take you to the movies with me, even if it is in our own minds.

Happy Reading all!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Invitation to Dream

On Sunday, I will be entering a world of dreams. A world that unfolds under a big tent where inside I will be transported to a place of beauty, imagination and harmony.  In this special place,  horse and man will share a world in total trust and freedom.  A place like no other. A place where dreams come alive. 

I’m going to see the Cavalia show “Odysseo” in Atlanta, Georgia.  I have seen two other productions over the years and each one has lifted me into the fantasy realm.  Their shows are like the Cirque du Soleil with horses.  Here is Cavalia’s official blurb:

“Odysseo is a journey into the imagination, a voyage through space and time, and an exploration of nature’s greatest wonders – deserts, waterfalls, canyons, glaciers and more.
The spellbinding show is a renewed tribute to the relationship humans and horses have forged over thousands of years. With our faithful companions by our side, we have travelled to the four corners of the globe, built bridges between cultures and brought people from all over the planet closer together. Odysseo is a singular expression and celebration of this exceptionally moving journey. 

I love to experience shows like this because it hits home why I love writing fantasy.  

Till later,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reading and Writing Time

In looking back over 2011, I realized my goal of reading more fantasy books failed short of what I wanted. I didn’t know how to separate my writing time from my reading time, which led me to read less. If I did one, I couldn’t do the other. So I went into an extreme mode to complete one of them at a time. I read books in two to three days or went into a writing frenzy for just as long.

At the same time, I felt reading someone else’s fantasy book will influence my own voice for my book if I wrote the same day as I read. Yet I needed to remember my writing is a product of the novels I already read and there is no way of getting around that fact.

The only way I know of to help get both do at the same time is to set up a minimum number of chapters to read and hours to write each day. There will be no more writing until I overextend myself. No more reading chapter after chapter because I couldn’t put the book down. By setting these limits, I know I won’t get stick on one or the other and I will have more time to do both of them on the same day.

And most importantly, I’m leaving myself hungry enough to keep going.

Because if you really want to write more, but you always cram in more hours each hours to do so, how do you feel at the end of the week? Wanting to write more next week? I’m less likely to write the next week because I’m burnt out from all that writing in one week. By writing as little as possible each day, I set up myself to continue the next day and the day after that. But I will finish a novel in a few months.

Back in middle school and high school, I read a few books a week. By the time I entered college, I barely read a fiction book in a couple of months. My time became limited and I stopped reading all together for months at a time. I missed out on really great books because of this. With the idea of reading two or four chapters a day, I can keep up with the current fantasy books being released but not enough to stop myself from writing or from finishing my other tasks.

My plan has been in motion for the last few days and it has been working out great. Do you have a plan to keep the two going at the same time?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inside The Kinir Elite With Anastasia Pergakis

I'm so glad to be back at the Speculative Salon. Thank you again Ella for having me here today as part of my tour.

My fantasy adventure novel, Cleanse Fire, released in October as an e-book and in December in print. Cleanse Fire has edge-of-your-seat action. Epic battles, suspense, and a bit of romance too! Follow the Kinir Elite as they track down a traitor and find more than they bargained for.

Complete the mission, no matter what…
Captain Derac Vidor has served Kinir for nearly twenty years. It’s his life, his blood. And then his Commander betrays everything Derac holds dear. Now he has to focus on his own life and his team instead of saving the citizens of Kinir.

Treason is only the beginning…
Fueled by rage, the team chases the source to their Commander’s betrayal – a powerful wizard bent on revenge. The wizard seeks to destroy the Kinir Elite, in both mind and body. No place is safe, even among their allies.

The past holds the key…
Derac’s tragic past may be the key to saving the team. But can he face the gruesome nightmare in time?

To share a little more with you about the world the Kinir Elite live in, I'm going to share some behind the scenes information about the team, and how they came to be. I did a lot of research to put their world together. I called my Dad, who served 20 years in the Army, often for his advice on military tactics, supplies, and more. He was a huge help. But I also did a little research into how teams like the Kinir Elite work - which was limited of course, so I had to fill in a lot with my own imaginings.

The Kinir Elite are a special forces, "black ops", team with mostly top secret missions. They are still a very "public" group, unlike most black ops teams which are kept in secret, away from public knowledge. They are seen as the "super heroes" to young elves and are often the source of many bedtime stories. The majority of their missions are secret but when it's a hostage rescue situation, the news is spread around.

Female elves (elfas) only recently were allowed to join the Kinir Elite. The members of the team (6 total) are chosen by the Captain and Commander; members can not apply or request to join. In order to be "in the running", an elf must serve at least ten years in the Army and five years in the Kinir Rangers. If they are chosen - and accept the invite - they pledge to serve another twenty five years.  

During the time in the Army and Rangers, a person that wants to have a chance to join the Elite, must learn the following things:

  • Be fluent in 5 languages - 6 if counting the Ancient Language;
  • Pass all intelligence tests with a score of 175 or better (out of 200);
  • Be an expert in all manners of weapons;
  • Pass the Elite Aptitude and Endurance Test (Only Rangers who have served 3 years and have all the other qualifications are allowed to take this test.)

BUT even with all that, the greatest test, and the one the Elite Captain pays the most attention to, is seeing the possible recruit in action - seeing how they think on their feet in a real situation.

The Elite Test is essentially their version of "spy training". They are taking away from the Ranger base and taken to a secret facility. In order to keep the facility hidden, the Rangers that go at that time are given a sleeping sedative. Then they are transported to the secret facility and spend anywhere from two to five years depending on what they choose to specifically train in. In order to keep this explanation brief, think of this facility as a combination of SWAT school, Navy Seals SERE training, and "spy school".

~ * ~ * ~

Given the strong military theme in my book, I want to honor real life soldiers with my writing. Portions of my royalties from this book, and the upcoming books in the series, will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. This organization helps wounded soldiers and their families heal when they return home. You can learn more about them and read true accounts of soldiers they've helped at their website, www.WoundedWarriorProject.org.

Purchase Cleanse Fire

Join the Kinir Brigade by signing up for our newsletter! Get exclusive deals, access to special giveaways, and inside information about the series! Join the Kinir Brigade now and receive the first five chapters in your email! And don't forget to visit our Facebook Page and Website too!

~ * ~ * ~

I’m giving away an e-copy of Cleanse Fire! Leave a comment on this post to enter into the random drawing. I'll draw the names at the end of my tour, January 31, 2012. If you want more chances to win a copy, visit our website to follow our tour! The more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win!

All commenters will also be added to the drawing for a chance to win a signed hard cover. Drawing for the hardcover will be on January 31, 2012, the end of my tour.

You can also get more chances to win by tweeting or posting on facebook! Just leave a link to the tweet or post in a comment below!

**All Winners will be announced on the Kinir Elite Website on February 1st**

 Author Bio:

Anastasia knew she always wanted to write. She began at a young age, writing those little stories about the apple tree in the yard. Though her love of stories stayed with her through her poetry stage in high school, she didn’t begin writing novels until she was almost an adult. That’s where she found her true passion.

Her characters visit her dreams – and sometimes during the day – to share their stories with her. Anastasia is merely the writer, but the characters are really the storytellers.

Anastasia lives in Columbus, Georgia with her husband and son. A stay at home Mom, she loves spending time with her son during the day, then writing furiously at night.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - After the Golden Age

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

~ Grab your current read
~ Open to a random page
~ Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
~BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
~ Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

It's not surprising since I love comics so much, that I've really gotten into superhero novels lately. I enjoyed a few of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series, so I was thrilled to see this title from her. Here goes:

"You're angry," Celia said, trying to prompt a response.
"Of course I am! This is like finding out you're...you're----" Evidently, he couldn't think what it was like. "I mean, you're with the Destructor--"
"Was," Celia pointed out. "Was with him. Briefly."

~pg. 136, 'After the Golden Age' by Carrie Vaughn

Check this one out if you get a chance, guys! Leave a link to your teasers below, or just type them in the comments if you don't have a blog. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Since my fellow scouts have been discussing goal-setting for the new year, I’ll add yet another approach, a bit fantastical and keeping with the speculative theme.

After my college-age stepchildren stayed a week prior to Christmas and our festivities finished early, the holidays became a quiet time for me to concentrate on my writing. I cleaned the house and then settled into two heavenly weeks dedicated solely to my writing. I got the second book of my Enchanted Bookstore Legends turned in to my editor last weekend, totaling over 97,000 words, my longest work yet. In those two weeks, I
·         wrote 22,000 of that total;
·         completed my final edit on the entire book;
·         researched and added some cool html to streamline the connections between my blog and website;
·         spent 16 full hours proofing final galleys on Tortuga Treasure: Ciel's Legacy which releases at the end of this month;
·         set up connections for a blog tour and reviewers with that book;
·         created more marketing avenues for my last short story release, Le Cirque De Magie;
·         fully plotted books III, IV, and V of my Enchanted Bookstore Legends.

Well, that seems totally unbelievable and even makes my head spin to read the list. Of course, I liked the productive note I rang in the new year with, but seriously wondered what magical cloud was following me. Then, in some mindless web-surfing, I ran into a current yahoo news article about 2012 horoscope predictions. I often use astrology for a foundation of the magic my characters use, but not so much for myself. But, this prediction seemed uncanny. Oddly enough, this site has no connection to the writing/publishing world.

I’m an Aries and for my 2012 career the site gave this guidance:

With Pluto pulling rank in your career sector, your star continues to rise over the course of the year in your chosen field. Of course, with Capricorn involved, this is not without hard work. After all, your stamina is noble. Use the momentum of the first quarter of the year to launch your major projects.

With Jupiter bringing good fortune to your money sector for the first half of the year, you'll experience fabulous ease in attracting opportunities to boost your income. You're learning how important it is to value yourself and not sell any of your talents for less than they're worth. The summer brings fabulous opportunities for writing and publishing, so if you've been sitting on a book (or two) that you know needs to be written, this is your year to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard! Chances are, you felt the initial impetus during the new Moon eclipse in Sagittarius in December 2011; 2012 demands that you finalize your copy. June's full Moon lunar eclipse in your house of publishing will bring the final lucky push to get your work seen and put into print!

So, it seems my super-energized productivity may be owing to the positions of Pluto and Jupiter. Can’t wait to see what happens to me during that lunar eclipse in June!

If you wish to check out your own 2012 horoscope as a way to guide your goals for the year, here’s the link. I hope your stars and planets align for a fantastic year!

~ ~ ~
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 March, 2012. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, Le Cirque De Magie.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Secret to Winning

We’re at point A, the first week of January and we want to get to point Z by the end of the year.  So how do we it?  It’s all about having the right mind-set and that comes from knowing what you want.  It’s pretty much what you do for your characters, isn’t it?  You give them a goal or they tell you what goal they want to achieve.  Then off they go, pole-vaulting over moving trailer trucks or dog paddling across an unknown stinky ooze that once was the Mississippi river to get to the other side. 

At first, they are ill equipped to do these things.  Why?  Because just like us our characters simply don’t know how.  Besides that’s what the universe does.  It sees how badly you want something.  So, it creates obstacles. And we just like our characters in our stories have to learn how to pole-vault to get to the other side.

That’s the easy part.  Stopping the little voice inside your head who insists you are not good enough to do this task, now that takes courage, faith and determination.  How do you do that?  By figuring out why your dream or goal is so important to you.  And I’m not talking about fame, money or lots of sex.  Not that those things are bad to have.  I’m talking about what feeds your soul.  What tears up your eyes while you’re smiling? And don’t tell me sex! Go deeper and when you have the answer to that, you have the secret to crossing the finishing line and winning.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts about the secret of winning.  Do you have one to share?

Till next time,


Friday, January 6, 2012

Writer Interviews

I love to watch author interviews on their writing process. Below are two of my favorites by Robin Hobb and Garth Nix. Enjoy and let me know which author interviews are your favorite.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How do you want to feel next New Year's Eve?

That's the question I've learned to ask myself rather than focus on some ginormous list of things that I've had a lot of practice failing at.

Rather than the events, what kind of feeling do I want to have? Elation is one. Whenever I finish a story, either writing one or reading one that I like a lot, I feel elated. Buoyed up by both the success and the discovery of something wonderful in the world. Something to share.

Jubilant. That's a word a friend said fits me. I love having a lot of cool ideas and being able to explore them with knowledgeable people. The friend who dubbed me "jubilant" is deeply into bikes. I didn't know how fascinated I was with bicycle technology until I spent time talking with Rob. From there it was a simple trip into the world of Steampunk, where the beauty of mechanical engineering gets to shine. And innovation. Around here, Sacramento, I see people riding the funnest, coolest bikes. where the rims are colored and there are a bazillion spokes.

So, that's a couple of my words for the end of the year. What words describe the feelings you would like to spend more time with? Start feeling them now. Prime your body for the pleasure of them, practice feeling them a little bit every day and compliment yourself for the excellent job you are doing making the world a better place one moment at a time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Your Story

In many ways, a new year shares the same excitement as starting a new story. Everything feels like a fresh start, and the possibilities are practically endless. I love breaking out a clean calendar and setting up a day planner full of all the goals I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. Writers everywhere are charting their yearly progress and renewing their determination to produce, promote and prevail. It’s truly exhilarating.

I find myself looking back on the successes and short-comings from 2011, and feeling good about the overall progress made in my writing life. I’m compiling all the classes and workshops that have vastly increased my craft knowledge, comparing the quality of my work from January 2011 to now, admiring the improvements I’ve made. It’s gratifying to review the evidence that my persistence has paid off and proving to myself that writing well is in fact a learned skill, not a blessing from the elusive muses.

Another important goal for me last year was to increase my social media presence, and I’m very pleased with how far I’ve come since that journey began. I was a complete newb on all the major sites, and I was honestly a little scared of the whole process. I needn’t have worried, because there are so many wonderful people on the web to help and support novices like me. Now, online networking is a lot of fun, and I’m proud to be in the company of all those wonderful bloggers and tweeters out there. Being in constant contact with other writers, and having the opportunity to share our experiences with each other has had an amazing and positive influence in my writing life. Thank you all!

On top of what I want to achieve on the page, I’ve got big plans on a personal level to contend with as well. Hubs and I intend to continue the search for a new home, probably out west and quite far from where we currently live. We’re hoping to finally find the right fit where we can settle down and grow our family. It’s a pretty daunting task, and we’ve been moving around regularly for the last eight years or so, but I think it’s time for us to pack in our rambling ways and put down some roots. Moving is stressful and expensive, so I’ll be happy to quit for a while, LOL.

Time to buckle up and launch into 2012 with uninhibited vim. We’re exploring new ideas for the Salon’s sophomore year, and I’m so very excited to see what comes next. No resolutions for me this year, just sailing on with my plans laid out and striving fiercely toward every goal. Whatever your story is this year, I hope you take the best of what comes and run with it.

I’d like to end with a super special CONGRATULATIONS to RJ and her family on welcoming baby Jackson into the world Christmas week.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Readjusting the Bar

As the first week of the new year starts off today, I wanted to reflect on not only the year, but also the Christmas that I had.  2011 was truly a special Christmas for me and one that my husband and we will never forget. 

This journey that we took part in this year has shown me that I can do anything that I put my mind to - whether its to finally finish my dark paranormal romance novel, send it to a publisher or agent with fingers crossed it won’t be rejected.  I’ve learned that I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for - we all are so much stronger than we think and just when you think that you have no more strength, there it appears to get you over to the other side.

2011 had not been my finest year for writing as the past years were overflowing with words, pages and characters.  I had a complicated pregnancy that left me feeling drained and unable to concentrate much on my characters or on the writing itself and despite beating myself up for the “failure in writing” as this was “supposed” to be the year that I submitted, I managed to finish NaNo but the writing wasn’t great (I still haven’t had an opportunity to go back and see just how bad it is).

Early morning on December 22nd, my water broke and my husband and I traveled to the hospital with the hopes of holding our baby in a few short hours, but he wasn’t ready to make his grand entrance just yet.  As each painful contraction occurred, I found myself searching for the strength to continue and each time, my plea was granted.  I’ve watched those birthing shows for the past six months and always wondered if I would be able to muster up the strength as those laboring women.  I received my answer.

Finally on December 23rd, after 16 hours of labour that turned into a cesarean section, our son, Jackson James came into the world at 1:35 a.m.  The sound of his first cry and  seeing him for the first time, I’ve never felt prouder or more emotional than I did at that moment.  I had labored, I had endured and now I have this beautiful baby boy to care for.

Being a mom for a little more than a week has been full of ups and downs, and already it has taught me so many things, including how to watch out for friendly fire when changing a little boy’s diaper.  I’ve also learned the greatest life lesson - you can’t be part-time with the things you love, with the people you love and things that you want in life.  And I’m looking at my life through a completely different set of eyes.  I can’t be a part-time mom and I don’t want to be a part-time writer anymore. 

It’s time to readjust the bar because it can be done.  The untapped strength that you need is right there, waiting for you to need.

May 2012 be the best year yet! 

RJ :)

P.S.  I had never expected to be one of “those mommys” that gushed and pulled out photographs of their babies...but isn’t he cute?  :)
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