Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow Friday--Book Crushes

Increase Blog Followers, gain Book Blog Followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers — but you have to know — the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.
trans Feature & Follow #123
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

photo credit:
My all time fave has always been al'Lan Mandragoran of The Wheel of Time series. World's best warder, full of honor and goodness and sweetness (though you have to dig for it a bit), uncrowned king of Malkier and all-around stud muffin. Totally love him! Here's someone's rendition of him. I think it's pretty good! :D

Who's YOUR to-die-for crush?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday--13

Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quotes I put forward or contributing a quote of their own.

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is quotes about gratitude! Perhaps this is a week too late, but with the holiday season upon us, it's very relevant! 

Gratitude is medicine for a heart devastated by tragedy. If you can only be thankful for the blue sky, then do so. --Richelle E. Goodrich

God gave you the gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" --William A. Ward

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. --Oprah Winfrey

No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. --Elie Wiesel

It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks. --Donald Curtis

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite quote on gratitude?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Awesome Links
Hi Everyone! How's your week going?

You may have noticed that I've been (somewhat) absent lately. I've been posting, just much less often than usual for the past two weeks. And I definitely haven't been commenting/visiting blogs as much as usual either. Between the holiday and getting through my last few days at work, it's been kind of crazy. Plus my sister, who I live with, has been having some personal issues.

Anyway, from here on out I'll have a lot more time, though, so I should be on the blogosphere a lot more. Yea!

Today, I didn't get much time to get my post together so I thought I'd just share a handful of great posts and links I've come across lately. Hope you all find them useful.

(Sorry no RMQ today either, but that will return next week as well.)

:D Happy Wednesday! :D

From Author to Entrepreneur: How to turn your knowledge into multimedia products

A Week in Great Blogs

I am Creative. I am an Author. From Affirmation to Reality.

How to Improve Your Blog: Lessons from the Problogger Event

Content Marketing for Authors and Writers

Game of Thrones Editor Reveals Her Top 3 Writing Tips

Using Goodreads to Get Readers to Discover Your Book

Tips and Tricks for Your Blog

Friday, November 23, 2012

Announcing Persistence of Vision Art Contest + Giveaway Winners!

Good Morning and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Mine was full of family, food (WAY too much!) and shopping. I got lots of fun new toys and a surprising amount of Christmas shopping done. Yea me! How was yours?

Announcing the Persistence of Vision Art Competition!!!

To promote my debut novel, I'm having an art competition. I don't have many images for my book. Really just the cover image--which is awesome, but you can only look at it so much. So, I've decided to get artists and art students involved.

Here's how it works:

1) You decide you want to participate, so you email me. In your email, you include the following info:

  • Your name and information, including social networking links
  • How many entries you want to do (entry fees are $5 for one entry, $10 for two or more--as many as you'd like!)
  • How you want to pay (cash, check, money order and paypal all accepted

2) Either I send you paypal invoice or you send me some other type of payment

3) Once I have your entry fees, I send you a free e-copy of the book. It's downloaded from the publisher's website in whatever format you prefer.

4) You read the book and create images from the story

5) You send them to me and I post them online. Readers will vote on the best ones and there will be prizes, including a grand, cash prize!!!

Other details: 
  • You can create the images using any medium you want--paint, sketch, digital, photography, etc. Feel free to think outside the box. If you have any questions, just email me. My response time is generally less than 24 hours.
  • You can create any image you want from the story--characters, bad guys, scenes you liked, landscapes, etc. I'd love to see a few people produce images of what they think the time travel in the novel looks like! :D
  • I will start accepting entries January 1st, so get your book now to get started! I will allow 60 days for entries, so the last day to submit will likely be the final day in February. I'll post and email participants with any changes. After that, I will allow 90 days of voting.


The number of prizes depend on the number of entries submitted. If I only get 10 entries, I'll probably just do one grand prize. However if I get dozens or hundreds, I'll probably break the entries into categories and do a prize for each one. So, the more entrants, the greater the chances of winning prizes.

I CAN promise two things:

1) There will be a cash prize. For each book I sell, I'll put a small percentage of the profits into an account and that will be the amount of the cash prize. The more books I sell, the larger the prize. The cash will be split between winners (again depending on if there are one or several) and a portion of it will become a prize for one lucky voter.

2) There will also be other prizes for voters including swag, gift cards, and autographed copies!

Below is a widget that shows where the cash prize is at in dollar amounts. Right now, it's at $25.00, but I hope to soon see an increase. I will probably only be able to update it weekly, but visit the tab at the top of the blog to see it grow!!!

Giveaway Winners!

Announcing the winners of my first ever giveaway! Congrats to MARY PRESTON, ASHLEY NICOLE MCKINSEY, AND NATALIE AGUIRRE! They've each been emailed and received a e-book copy of Persistence of Vision! Congrats ladies! Hope you like it! 

Happy Monday, Everyone! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Movie Review + RMQ
I went and saw Breaking Dawn Part 2 on Saturday morning and...I was genuinely impressed.

I'm really not a Twihard. I'm not the girl who screams and jumps up and down and freaks out when I see Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner on T.V. I never was.

I started reading the Twilight books not long after book 3, Eclipse, hit the market. I read them because everyone was talking about them and I wanted to know what all the hype was about. I actually enjoyed the series while I was reading it. I thought it was smart and entertaining, and, let's face it: I'm a girl, so while I didn't go crazy over it, I could see the appeal.

As a writer and a relative sensible individual, I could also understand the objections to it. I don't share most of them, but I understand where people are coming from.

In short, while I don't love the series, I do like it, but I try to see both sides of the debate. The only real issue I had with the books series was the way Breaking Dawn ended. That is, I HATED it! I hated it because I felt like Meyers set us up for a huge battle. The tension built throughout the novel, each character and bad guy was strategically positioned, we read faster because we could just feel the confrontation looming on the horizon, and then, the moment was upon us. (We tried to ignore the fact that it came only a few pages before the end of the book--and therefore the series--and that didn't seem like enough words to wrap it up.) And what did Meyers deliver? Not much. This isn't exactly what happened, but it kind of felt like everyone just shrugged and went home.

I hated that about the ending. I truly wouldn't have cared how she decided to end things, as long as she delivered on the promises she made. I've done entire blog posts on this! In truth, the end of book 4 (or lack thereof, as you may see it) kind of soured me on the entire series. I definitely liked Twilight less after that ending.
So, why did the movie impress me? Because it did things right! It delivered on the awesomeness the book promised. And the amazing part? They did it without radically changing the ending! Anyone who read the book probably wondered what exactly they were seeing in the trailer. We KNOW some of that didn't happen in the book, right?

Well, I won't spoil what they did with it, but I will tell you that it will shock you, and then you'll chuckle appreciatively. It's handled very well and the ending is the perfect romantic moment to give the fans what they always loved about the books.

Where the end of book 4 soured me on the series, I think the movie redeemed it a bit in my eyes. I haven't been all about Twilight since the release of Breaking Dawn, I'm kind of all about this movie. Very impressive. Very fitting end to a franchise that--no matter how you feel about it--changed the way franchises are viewed, the way books are marketed, and our cultural love/hate relationship with vampires.

Sparkle on Edward. Sparkle on.

What did you think of Breaking Dawn?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)
Don't know what this is? See the tab at the top of the page.

Last week's RMQ was: "Hello Dr. Silverman. How's the knee?" This was said by Linda Hamilton playing Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Alex Cavanaugh knew this one. Great job, Alex!

Today's RMQ is:

"Kill [him]* and you risk turning one man's religion into a crusade."

*Changed from character's name.

One point for actor, one for character, one for film. Good luck!

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Categorize Dystopia--Which Type Do YOU Prefer?

Announcements and Events:

  • I did my first signing on Friday in the building I work in. It's a corporate building that isn't even very fully, but I've worked there for awhile and my co-workers are very supportive of my writing efforts. I signed and sold about 45 books over the space of an eight-hour work day. Squee!
  • On December 14-15, I'll be signing and selling books at the South Towne Expo Center's event, Big Bodacious Christmas Boutique. That's in South Jordan, Utah, so if you're close enough! Come see me! I'd love to meet some of my followers and blogger buddies in person! :D

Now onto today's post:

Categorizing Dystopia

In my experience, there are two kinds of dystopian stories: the kind that ends well, and the kind that doesn't.

Now, hear me out. I know this can be said of all types of stories, but it's particularly relevant to dystopias. Why? Dystopias are inherently political. They always have an agenda--even more than science fiction does.

Lee Konstantinou of LA Review of Books wrote an excellent article about this entitled, "When Scifi Went Mainstream." This article is what got me thinking about this, so I encourage everyone to check it out.

Because dystopian stories always show us an undesireable society and serve as a warning to us to not let our society get to that point, authors can handle it one of two ways:

1) They can start in an undesirable way and end up better than they started, creating a dynamic society.


2) They can start with an undesirable society and end up the same way.

Let's talk about each of these options.
If you start with an undesirable society and end up better than you started, then this is a story of revolution. The characters will rise up and take back their world, making it better--generally more free than at the beginning. This is a classic and compelling story. An example of this would be Hunger Games. Katniss and her rebellion bring down the Capital.

Now, I'm going to say something that may be a bit controversial, but I appeal to Konstantinou's article to back me up: this kind of dystopian is not classic dystopian. This is a modern mutation: the melding of dystopian and the action/adventure genre. Traditional dystopian was largely literary, but more on this in a minute.
I don't mean to say that action/revolution dystopia is bad--far from it. I love The Hunger Games as much as the next gal--but it is a more modern trend.

The second type of dystopia is when the society, though undesirable, remains unchanged. The characters may change, but they don't have the strength or resources to change their society for the better. Examples of this would be Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (saddest story EVER!) and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. In these stories, the characters are dynamic and undergo their own kinds of transitions, but in the end, they are subject to the worlds they live in, and there's nothing they can do about it.
This second type of dystopia doesn't make for a very pleasant read. But I would argue that's the point. The only way to incite change is to instill passion for that change in people. While people love a great revolution story, if they see that the ending is good, they are somewhat placated. If they see injustice that no one is bothering to fix, that's what's going to get people's blood boiling.

Which is not to say that I necessarily prefer it myself. Though I am very affected by it, I'm a sucker for a (at least mostly) happy ending just like everyone else. :D

This second type tends to be much more literary than the first type, so I suppose you could categorize these as 1) Literary Dystopian, which would be character driven and probably not have a happy ending, and 2) Commerical Dystopian, which would be revolution (and therefore plot) driven, and probably end well. These are broad categories, of course, but relatively correct just the same.

What do you think? Is literary dystopia more effective than commercial? Which do you prefer?

As I said, while I plan to put my characters through the ringer and have a bit of tragedy along the way, I prefer a story that ends at least relatively well. So, no worries about my dystopian series. No promises about the end of each volume, but the story as a whole should end pretty well. :D
In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

Releases nationwide on January 29, 2013! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Friday Follow--Movies into Books

Increase Blog Followers, gain Book Blog Followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers — but you have to know — the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.
trans Feature & Follow #123
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Q: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?
Hmm. Well, one of my very favorite shows for the past seven years has been the CW's Supernatural. I think it'd make a pretty great book series. Which is funny because they actually did an arc where the adventures of the two main characters were turned into a book series with rabid fans. Coincidence? I think not!

Other than that, anything with great writing would make a good book. I can't help but think that most of Christopher Nolan's projects would make awesome books. Inception, anyone?

What about you? What movies do YOU think would make great books?

I Miss You Blogfest
           Hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh

The only blogger I can think of who posts less now is Jen Daiker of Unedited. She's still posting, but less often and I always enjoy her blog.

Years ago, there was a guy whose internet name was Stonedog. I read his site religiously because he was always posting about The Wheel of Time and a few other fantasy series I liked. Then he stopped, saying he no longer had the passion for it he once did. I do miss his posts.

That's all I can think of for bloggers I miss.

As for bloggers I would miss, there are TONS! Some of my faves are:
4) Maurice of The Geek Twins

Okay, I know that's four but I only did two for the first part. :D Totally taking advantage.
So how about you? Who do or would you miss?

Thanks to Alex for hosting the blogfest! Happy Friday Everyone! :D

Thoughts for Thursday--12

Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quotes I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. I'll include a linky list, or you can just respond in the comments.

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is quotes by Dr. Seuss!

"You have brains in  your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

"Preachers in pulpits talked about what a great message is in the book. No matter what you do, somebody always imputes meaning into your books."

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss quote or book?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prometheus Movie Review + RMQ

So I obviously didn't see Prometheus in the theater--mostly because there was too much going on at the time and I just missed it. I do remember, though, that this film got very mixed reviews.  I really enjoyed it, and I've thought a lot about why other people didn't. I'll intertwine what I came  up with my review, and I promise I'll stay largely away from spoilers.

So here's the thing: how long has it been since you sat down and watched the original Alien movie? I didn't watch it until I was in college and then mostly just because it's a classic and I'd never seen it before. It's a very slow movie for two reasons.

1) It's old and very dated. We're not even talking eighties, here. 1979 people!
2) It hearkens back to classic, literary science fiction.
Our society has made a massive shift into scifi and fantasy movies over the past few decades. In fact, it's our chief form of entertainment. Because of that, most people don't realize that classic science fiction isn't usually action-packed. Quite the opposite. Literary science fiction tends to have a political agenda and consists of a great deal of introspection. It's often just people in dystopian worlds philosophizing about the human condition. This is the place Ridley Scott's original film came from. It was mostly world-building and statement-making. I mean, sure: it was an action movie, but this was the birth of the action/scifi movie, so it's action content was relatively low. The action Ridley put in was a twist where an alien life form invades a member of the crew and literally bursts out of his chest in front of all his colleagues. Then Scott forces the lone female survivor into a show-down with this horrific alien species.

People liked that. They latched onto it. No one had ever seen anything like that on film before. (Let's play that 1979 card again.)
Then something was done that proved vastly intelligent: the reigns passed to James Cameron, who made a sequel that capitalized on everything people liked. He put in more scifi, more action, more gooey monsters, and some don't-touch-my-kid feminism in a decade when it was a hot subject. He put a fresh-faced Sigourney Weaver (whatever happened to her after that?) in the hot seat again, and BAM! Aliens is generally praised as the best installment of the billion dollar eighties franchise.

Later installments by other directors are considered sub-standard, venturing into B-movie status at times, but the idea has lived on in our collective, cultural psyche.

Enter Prometheus. I think the biggest mistake was in how the marketing was done. Now, understand what I'm saying here. The marketing did NOT fail. It was NOT ineffective. It did, however, give the public unrealistic expectations of what the film would actually be. 

I don't think this was at all intentional, but when rumors began to circulate that Ridley Scott was doing a film that may or may not be a prequel to Alien, people got very excited. Based on how much people love this franchise, how successful it's been in the past, and what Hollywood is doing with re-makes and special effects these days, people thought it would be a grandiose, action-packed, special-effects imbibed blockbuster. And the script was top-secret to boot.

In short, based on the marketing, people were expecting Aliens, but what Scott gave them hearkened back much more closely to Alien.
So how about the movie itself? I actually really liked it. And don't mistake me to mean that it wasn't action-packed. It actually was. A lot happened. I also think it felt a lot like the original Alien movie. Overall, in terms of the theme and message, it was much less a Roland Emmerich film and more an exploration of the flawed way we mortals search for our identity across the universe.

In the film, a team spends two years in cryogenic sleep to get to a planet that may support life. The expedition is based on the finding of two archaeologists that believe an alien race who once visited earth lives on this planet and may be mankind's creators.
It's the kind of thing that might have come off as preachy, but at no time did it feel like the film was claiming it as truth or beating the viewer over the head with it. It was simply presented as what these characters believed. And the characters! Let me just say: they were awesome! They were all so wonderfully human and deliciously flawed that you couldn't help but root for them. Of course nothing is as they expect it will be, and gooey monsters that may or may not resemble our favorite mother figure's arch-nemeses are waiting to use them as hosts, but that's all presented almost as a sub-plot, which makes it all the more intriguing.

It's really about what we as human beings will do to try and grasp our own identity and how flawed most of our assumptions about our creation are. To drive it all home, the entirely of the situation that leads to disaster in the movie *very minor spoilers* is based around a cold-fish of a woman who has severe daddy issues. You don't get more human than that!

Not to mention, the film is riddled with talented actors (Michael Fassbender's angular face was definitely a plus), hilarious puns (Lisbeth anyone?), gooey aliens and awesome planet-scapes.

I didn't get the chance to watch the film a second time (Redbox rental and all) but I really want to. I would recommend watching it multiple times--once for the plot and again to pick up on the nuances, details and inside jokes.

The argument has also been made that nothing was explained (i.e. wrapped up neatly) at the end. This is true, but I saw it more as leaving the film open for a sequel than being sloppy with the writing. And, quite frankly, if they do make another, I for one will be excited to see it.

Did anyone else see Prometheus? What did you think of it? Do you agree with my theory about why so many people were disappointed?

***For my review of Skyfall, check out my other blog. And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out my dystopian giveaway!***

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)!

Don't know what this is? See the tab at the top of the page.

Yesterday's RMQ was:
Guy: "Allo."
Girl: "Did you just say...hello?"
Guy: "No, I said 'allo, but that's close enough."

That's a humorous exchange between Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly) and the Worm (voiced by Karen Prell and Timothy Bateson) in the 1986 film, Labyrinth. Alex Cavanaugh go this one. Great job, Alex!

Today's RMQ is:

"Hello Dr. Silverman. How's the knee?"

One point for film, one for actor, one for character. Good luck and Happy Wednesday! :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday--Books for Deserted Islands + RMQ

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Okay, when you read a lot of high fantasy (which is my favorite thing to read) it's not fair to say top ten books. Some fantasy series have more than ten books! So, I'm tweaking the topic for this blog and going with Top Ten Series for a Deserted Island!

Because I want to read them but haven't yet:

Because they're just all around awesome:

A little of both:

*Though I must stipulate that I'd want all books written before going to said island. No fair going there and never being able to find out the ending. :D *

(Final book due Jan 2013. Yea! At last--no pun intended!)

What about you? What would your top ten books/series for a deserted island be?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Check the tab at the top of the blog.

Last week's RMQ was:
Guy1: "And for a time, I did consider her offer." 
Guy2: "How long a time."
Guy 1: "0.68 Seconds, Sir."

All my Star-Trekkian guy-blogger friends got this one and were so disappointed when they didn't get it first. I love ya, guys. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm. This Commander Date (Guy 1) talking to Captain Picard (Guy 2) played by Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart respectively, in the Star Trek: First Contact movie. It was guessed (first) by Jeff Hargett who gets all 5 points. Great job, Jeff! :D

Today's RMQ is:

Guy: "Allo."
Girl: "Did you just say...hello?"
Guy: "No, I said 'allo, but that's close enough."
So, five possible points. One for each character and actor (hint: or voice) and one for the film. Good luck, and Happy Tuesday, Everyone! :D 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blog Tour Soon and Free Short Story with Thanks! :D

Happy Monday, Everyone! For anyone who missed it, something exciting happened on Friday evening. I was bundling my niece up to go over to my dad's house for dinner (we had a storm over the weekend:

) when a thud sounded outside followed by a knock. Curious, I opened my apartment door and found:

boxes from my publisher, Tate Publishing, Inc.! Yea! My books had arrived!

So I opened one, took a picture to bombard all the contacts in my phone with, then had to run out the door. (I was late and the main dish was already getting cold in the back seat.)

So, my first batch of books is here. Persistence of Vision is officially on it's way! I already have a launch party at work planned, and I'll be selling them at the South Towne Expo Center (Utah) in December. 

So, I wanted to share my excitement and let everyone know that I'll be planning a blog tour soon. If you'd like to participate or do a review, feel free to contact me at I'll be sending out formal invites/requests by email in a couple of weeks but if anyone wants to get a jump on things...Just sayin.' :D
The second thing I wanted to do today is courtesy of my other publisher, Jolly Fish Press. My publicist suggested that, now that Creative Frighting is over, we put our stories on our blogs. I realized I never mentioned the results or thanked the voters. So, this is me giving a belated thanks to all those that participated.

For those who don't know, Creative Frighting was a short Halloween story competition put on by Jolly Fish Press. They had each of their authors write a short story and then promote the contest. Readers read them and voted for their favorite, in exchange for a chance to win an Amazon giftcard.

I didn't win, but that's okay. Teri Harman's awesome story, The Wheel of Wasted Souls took first place, and deservedly so. Though they wouldn't tell us who got the next most votes and so on, they told us that everyone got a lot, so thanks to all who voted, especially for me. :D

If you didn't get around to reading my story, here it is. Enjoy! And Happy Monday! :D

Wormwood Manor

I enter the kitchen on silent feet. Everyone else is already there. Betsy sits at the table, sniffling, while Mrs. Bramson rubs her shoulder in a comforting fashion.
Across from Betsy sits the groundskeeper, Mr. Tate, and his son Peter. On Betsy's other side is Jane, who is about Betsy's same age. The housekeeper, the two grounds men, the two young maids, and I are the only ones who've stayed on for the winter this year.
"Dear girl," Mrs. Bramson addresses Betsy, "you mustn't believe such things."
"What is happening here?" I intone quietly.
Betsy doesn't raise her eyes. "I took a fright is all, Mr. Ellison."

"From…gossip I heard in town.""From what?"
I try not to sneer. "Gossip gave you a fright?"
"It were the nature of the gossip, sir."
"And of what nature was it?"
Mrs. Bramson answers. "People in town say the servants of Pembroke Manor have disappeared."
I frown. "Disappeared? Where could they have gone?"
"No one knows," Betsy murmurs. "The postman tried to deliver a letter, but the house was dark. He knew something was wrong, so he went for help. The house is empty and the cellar is locked."
"Locked?" I cough.
Betsy nods. "No one can find the key to get in."
"Perhaps the servants are in there," I suggest.
Betsy shakes her head. "The postman knocked on the cellar door and called out. No one answered. There weren't nothing in the house that would saw through the door. It's thick wood like ours, see. They plan to wait until tomorrow to break through it." Betsy studies her hands again. "Everyone in town thinks the servants are dead."
"Rubbish!" They all jump and I moderate my voice. "Foolish girl," I say quietly. "Such stories are the product of idle hands. There must be some explanation."
"Mr. Ellison is right," Mrs. Bramson sets bowls of steaming stew on the table.
"Dark stories always circulate during the winter months, Betsy. You mustn't take them to heart."
As we eat, I tell everyone about an open window I found on the second floor, and instruct Peter and Jane to make a sweep of the house before dark.
"Yes, Mr. Ellison," they say in unison.
"Speaking of the cellar," Mr. Tate says, "have you the key to the wine cellar, Mr. Ellison?"
"I have not," I reply. "Why would I?"
Mr. Tate shrugs. "Just thought I would ask. It's gone missing, sir."
"Missing?" I look around at everyone. Mrs. Bramson stares back at me thoughtfully, but the three younger servants keep their eyes down. I look back at Mr. Tate. "Who was last in possession of it?"
"I was, I believe," he answers. "I remember leaving it on the peg by the door, but it's not there, and no one else has used it. I must have misplaced it. My apologies, sir. I'll find it again."
After dinner I go to the east wing to finish some dusting. After a while, I hear a noise in the outer room. Someone's walking around out there, but they don't announce themselves.
I head for the door, but before I reach it, a dark silhouette glides by, and I stop. I can't tell who it was. Going to the door, I hold up my candle, but see nothing.
Mrs. Bramson's soft voice comes to me from the opposite direction. A moment later, she appears. "Mr. Ellison? Were you calling me?"
"Who else is with you, Mrs. Bramson? Where is everyone?"
"No one is with me, Mr. Ellison. I've come to fetch you."
"Someone else was just here."
"That's impossible, sir. We're the only two in this wing."
I swivel my head toward her. "How can you be sure?"
"Because everyone else is with Betsy."
Fighting off a sense of foreboding, I follow Mrs. Bramson through the corridors. When we arrive at Betsy's room, everyone is indeed there. Jane sits on the bed, holding Betsy's hand, while Mr. Tate and Peter peer in with creased brows from the doorway.
Betsy lies in bed. Rivulets of sweat slide down her face, but she shivers violently under the covers. I feel her forehead and find it hotter than the flame of my candle.
"Shall I fetch the doctor, Mr. Ellison?" Peter asks, voice tinged with anxiety.
"I hate to send you out on such a dark night, Peter."
"Mr. Ellison."
I turn at Mrs. Bramson's stern tone.
"The doctor must be got."
I look down at Betsy and know she's right.
"Very well. Can you make it on your own, Peter?"
"I'm sure I can, Mr. Ellison. I'll be gone and back in an hour. Two at most." He puts on his winter coat and thick books, and his father and I see him to the door.
We move Betsy into one of the family's guest rooms so she can be near a fire. Jane and Mrs. Bramson bring hot water from the kitchen, massage Betsy's feet to warm her, wipe the sweat from her brow, and pile blankets on top of her. Mr. Tate stokes the fire and asks the women if they need him to fetch anything.
I take up a vigil by the window, pulling the sheet off a high-backed chair so I can perch there. After a time, I realize it's been a long while since I've seen my groundskeeper.
"Where is Mr. Tate?"
Mrs. Bramson glances around. "He was here a moment ago."
When he still hasn't returned ten minutes later, I go to look for him. I explore each wing of the house, walking down the corridors with my candle and calling out his name, but get no response.
I finally end up at the top of the main staircase. As I begin my descent, I stick my hand into my pocket and feel something metallic. But I am not in the habit of keeping objects in my pockets. I wonder what it is, but before I can pull it out, I look up and freeze.
The heavy, mahogany front door stands wide open.
I hurry the rest of the way down, my foreboding deepening. Even if Mr. Tate went out to meet someone, he would use the servant's entrance. When Peter returned with the doctor, he too would use that entrance, not only because it was the servant's entrance but because it is closer to Betsy's room.
I shut and lock the door. I've searched the entire house, so I head back to Betsy's room. Both women are disturbed that I haven't located Mr. Tate.
Minutes pass in silence, except for Betsy's ragged breathing. Then Jane speaks.
"Mr. Ellison, perhaps Mr. Tate went down to the wine cellar."
I arch an eyebrow. "Why would he go there?"
Jane looks uncomfortable. "He never did find the key, but just before Betsy got sick, he said something about knowing where to look for it."
It made sense, I supposed. But why wouldn't Mr. Tate come tell me? He had no reason to go down there and the key to the door is missing anyway.
"I'll go see if he's down there."
"Oh, please, Mr. Ellison," Jane hops to her feet, "let me go. I have to get more water from the kitchen anyway. I'll do a loop and see if he's there."
"Very well."
Minutes pass and Jane doesn't return. Mrs. Bramson glances repeatedly toward the door, but I don't allow myself to worry. Jane will return soon. And probably with Mr. Tate.
When Jane has been gone for more than twenty minutes, Mrs. Bramson gets to her feet. "Perhaps she needs help," she says.
A feminine shriek rings out from some part of the house I can't identify. I leap to my feet as all the color drains from Mrs. Bramson's face. Picking up my candle, I hurry out of the room. She follows me. At the end of the hall, I stop and turn to her. "Stay here, Mrs. Bramson."
Her lips press into a thin line, but she turns back to Betsy's room and I move toward the wine cellar.
I shine my candle down every intersecting hallway I come to, and even open a few doors, but the house is ghostly silent.
Finally I make my way down the stairs to the cellar. They are narrow so I have to take them slowly. I see only what the light field of my candle reveals. Everything else is blackness.
The cellar door comes into view. There's no sign of Mr. Tate or Jane. Not sure what else to do, I try the cellar door. As anticipated, it's locked.
"Mr. Tate? Jane?" I expect my voice to echo in the dank passage, but it doesn't. It sounds hollow, muted somehow.
Then I see it.
The barest movement from under the cellar door. I freeze, and stoop down to peer at the bottom of it. When my nose is inches from the threshold, I see it again: light and movement.
I gasp, but I don't understand. If Mr. Tate and Jane are in there, how did they get in? Why don't they call out? Did Mr. Tate find the key?
I bang on the door. "Mr. Tate? Jane? Are you in there?"
At first there is only silence. Then I fancy I can hear a soft hissing sound. I straighten and back away from the door, watching the light at the bottom. Suddenly I know without a doubt that it's not Jane or Mr. Tate in there. It's something else.
The shadow moves again—something walking back and forth behind the door. Panic spreads through my being. I turn on my heel and flee, feeling every instant as though something is coming up the stairs after me. I run faster than I have in years, across the kitchen, through the dark corridors, past windows encrusted with snow.
I skid into Betsy's room. She still lies on the bed. Her breathing has become so ragged it sounds painful. There is no one else in the room.
"Mrs. Bramson?"
No answer.
I look around frantically, but where could she have gone? She had all the blankets and medicine in this room. The fire is burning brightly. She's set up a swing-arm and a suspended kettle of water is boiling merrily.
I retrace my steps with the candle all the way to the kitchen, but find nothing.
Something catches my eye: a small dark puddle on the table. I cross the room and dip my finger in the substance. In the light of my candle, it has a deep red hue. I raise it to my nostrils. It has a metallic scent.
A soft creak brings my head around. The door to the cellar is ajar and creaking on its hinges. Had I left that open? I might have in my haste to get back to Betsy's room.
The noise comes from the stairway.
Thud, thud, thud, thud. The sounds descend the stairs, as though something is being dragged. I should throw the door open. But I can't. I stand gazing at the cellar door while my arms hang limp with fear.
A feminine voice shrieks from the cellar, and I would swear on my late wife's grave that it came from behind that cellar door. Dropping my candle, I run.
I slam the door to Betsy's room and lock it.
Hunkering down beside Betsy's bed, I tremble. I sit for what must be two hours. Where was Peter with the doctor?
I turn to find Betsy's eyes fastened on the wall above my head. They're fixed and glazed. I reach up, press the girl's eyelids shut, and pull the sheet over her face. I feel the metallic object in my pocket again, resting coldly against my hip. I wonder what it is, but I don't care enough to look.
I'm not tired, but suddenly I awaken and realize I've been dozing. Something is not right. My heart pounds. I feel as though someone is in the room with me. I turn my head slowly to the right…and cry out, vaulting from my chair and stumbling away until my back comes up against the icy window pane.
Betsy is staring at me.
Her chest does not move. She makes no noise, no motion. Her vacant eyes gaze at me in a silent growl of rage. Blood seems to have congealed behind the whites, and she looks like a demon.
I cannot stay in this room. I turn my back to Demon Betsy and survey the yard below. The largest wolf I've ever seen drags something—prey of some kind—leaving blood-filled grooves in its wake.
It lays its prey down below the window, as if for me to inspect. When it moves away, I gaze down upon something. I suppose I've known for some time now that Peter never got out; that he never made it to the doctor; that no one is coming.
I turn my back on Peter's corpse, and head for the cellar.
I walk calmly through the house, and descend the cellar stairs with relative swiftness this time. I pause outside the door, wondering how I'll get in. I haven't thought about Betsy's story about Pembroke Manor, the missing servants and the locked door since dinner, but I think of them now, wondering what it all means.
A light glows brightly from under the cellar door. It looks like flames, and I remember there's an old coal stove in the wine cellar. It hasn't been used in years.
Then I remember the metallic object in my pocket. I reach in and pull out the key. I marvel at it, wondering how it got there. It never leaves the peg beside the door, and I haven't been down here for a year. Shaking my head, I put the key in the lock, turn it, and push the door inward.
I gasp and recoil. The room looks like rot. It smells like betrayal. It sounds like loneliness. My eyes fall on the bodies. They're everywhere, in pieces. Blood spatters the walls and lifeless eyes stare at me from everywhere.
Something stands in front of the furnace. It looks like a man, though something tells me this creature is not human. It shovels something into the stove: coal shaped like human limbs. He turns his head to look at me.
Two miniature coal stoves blaze where his eyes should be. His mouth cracks open in a toothy smile. Between the two rows of blazing white, pointed teeth, there is an oblivion of darkness waiting to swallow all that passes into it.
I cower against the wall as the creature stands over me. Its breathing is ragged, just like Betsy's was before she died. He reaches out. The instant his fingers touch my throat, I scream. The last thing I'm aware of is a ripping sound, like fabric being torn. As I slip into oblivion, I'm uncertain whether the creature is shredding my body or my soul.

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