Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Year of the Writer SSLY New Years Blog Hop

Welcome to the New Years Eve Blog Hop, sponsored by SmileSomebody Loves You Blog. There are 49 blogs participating in this event to share their hopes for 2014 along with giveaways at each one! Plus a huge Rafflecopter giveaway at the very bottom of this post, with a $150 gift card to readers choice of Amazon or Barns &Noble, ebooks, a Godiva chocolates basket, and more.

Gladiator’s Pen is giving away two ebook copies of Don’t Touch to two lucky readers. Just comment on this post and include your Twitter or email for notification. Good luck and Happy Hopping!

2014 the year of the writer

The bright shiny New Year has arrived. Looking back at the accomplishments and the failures of the last year, I believe 2013 was a successful year. I met so many new people and built fantastic professional relationships. I became a part of Authors in the Park, Coffee Time Romance& More, EPIC and The Author’s Secret. I’m looking very forward to the continued building of these new relationships as well as relationships with all of the wonderful new people who entered my life this past year.

In the works for 2014 are three novels to be published. I’m hoping the first will be ready to go by March at the latest. I’m also looking into a couple of new writing ventures that I hope will start a fantastic new adventure.

Last year saw so many changes in the publishing industry as well. Ebooks and indie publishing are no longer thought of as second best. Traditional publishers are making changes to become more accessible to both readers and writers filling 2014 with even more opportunities for writers.

I’m looking forward to a new year of learning new skills, becoming stronger in my craft, writing and publishing new stories. My goals for the first quarter of this year are to write/edit daily and publish one of the three work in progress manuscripts.

2014 is going to be the year of the writer with many adventures ahead. What are your plans, goals or resolutions for the shiny New Year?

Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a ebook copy of Don’t Touch and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this blog. Visit other great blogs on the hop for more chances to win these and other fabulous prizes!

From my family to yours Happiest of New Years! 

More chances to win on these blogs! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A rootin-tootin good read! Planet Land: The Adventures of Cub and Nash by Janet Beasley

Question: What do you get when you mix cowboys, a magic book, and the talent of author Janet Beasley?

Answer:  A rootin-tootin good time in a book you don’t want to put down!

I found myself laughing and cheering out loud for Cub and Nash as I read, Volume Two of the Hidden Earth Series. Planet Land: The Adventures of Cub and Nash take you on a Wild West journey like no other. The story is about two 10 year old boys who wanted to avoid being kissed by a girl only to discover a doorway into the Lower West.

“The real West,” as Bristol tells them with the aid of his fairy like Pee-Wee Flyers. In the Lower West Cub and Nash are charged with a quest to find the element and keep it out of the outlaw Blackjack’s hands. There are lessons of friendship and faith mixed in that touch all ages. You won’t miss any of your favorites from Hidden Earth Volume One. A few residents of Maycly join the mix too.  

If you want a fun read for the whole family filled with rich characters and great story telling then you better click that add to cart button right now. Be sure to check out the other Hidden Earth books on the series website.

Hey Janet, hurry up with book two! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Word/60 Seconds: Geometric

OneWord.com is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires.This is my entry for today's One Word. What's yours? For more of my past One Word entries check out my One Word Profile EliseV.

He stepped back and gazed at the blood spattered on the wall. The victim had been removed but evidence of his violent death was painted dark red across the wall like a high gloss white canvas. The pattern of spray and dots seemed geometric. Maybe the killer fancied himself Monet or Van Gogh. Maybe Dali, the bastard was definitely mad.

Now it's your turn... 60 seconds GO!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mark's Damn Good Advice

Mark Twain once said, “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

How many times do we use words like very, other adverbs or adjectives unnecessarily? If we really took Twains advice to heart our writing would probably come out much cleaner and uncluttered.

I think we tend to get hung up on getting across our vision to the reader and over describe things. The old adage of “less is more” is exactly right. We don’t need to tell our reader every minor detail.

There are times we may need to expand description to explain something uncommon. Keep in mind most often the reader is well aware of how a sunset looks and behaves for example.

Using more than two descriptive words on a subject is overkill and apt to lose the readers attention. They skip lines or pages to find something interesting. You also want to leave just a bit of room for the reader’s imagination to paint the scene as they see it.

A word I used to be very guilty of over using was and. That wonderful three letter word that let you string objects and sentences together endlessly. Better yet the abuse of he, she, it, was, and as.  

I have to catch myself still over using ‘as’. As they ran down the hall, or he moved though the house as he… blah blah.

He, she and it are sometimes easier than using the name or another word to point to the character. Over used they become clutter and can be confusing as to which he, she or it is being referred to.

Mr. Twain was a brilliant man and knew that we should keep it simple. Not dumb it down, just keep the clutter out of our stories. The reader doesn’t get bogged down in unnecessary words or phrases letting the characters and the plot shine.  

If we can identify the words we over use then take Mr. Twain’s advice. Our rough draft will read a little funny. But when we edit and remove all the damns the writing will be just as it should be. That’s some damn good advice. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blank pages and endless possibilities

Happy Halloween and NaNo Eve! At midnight writers around the globe will open a blank page and begin to fill it with their imaginations.

When it comes time to open your own blank page, pause. Take a moment to savor the emptiness. The vast playground to let your muse run free and create brand a brand new world. A world filled with possibilities all at your finger tips.

Ahead are 30 days to fill those pages with vampires, cowboys, hard boiled detectives, romantic rendezvous, or time traveling penguins.

This could be your breakout novel, a novel that will change your life or touch someone else. Or just the most fun a writer can have, knowing hundreds of other writers are looking at a blank page, hands poised over the keyboard.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned scribe or this is your first foray into fiction. When the clock strikes midnight and we type Chapter One our novel adventure begins. And those possibilities are endless. 

Good luck and Happy Scribbles! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Word / 60 Seconds: Routine

OneWord.com is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires.This is my entry for today's One Word. What's yours? For more of my past One Word entries check out my One Word Profile EliseV

photo by Harm Rhebergen

A routine day in the shop, was all I wanted. Just a normal unbothered day of customers, dusting antiques, and inventory. Until the crate arrived, until I opened it. The contents would change everything I knew. No more routine days in the shop.

That's my story now it's your turn. 60 seconds, Go! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Write what you don't know

Possibly the most given piece of advice to new writers, “write what you know.” Why? Everyone has something they are an expert in motherhood, computer programming, Civil War buff. All those things would make a great base for a story and having knowledge in them is an advantage when you start plotting.

Yet that knowledge can be a disadvantage also. When we’re comfortable we can get a little lazy, it’s just human nature. If a person knows a great deal about a subject they tend to stick within the boundaries of that knowledge. Instead of looking for an aspect or new idea that could take the story to the next level.

Taking the challenge of writing on a topic with little to no knowledge allows for a broader look at the subject. Learning something new is exciting; a person wants to know all they can about it. This lets us take in all those extra ideas and facts that could lead to writing an even better book.

Instead of working in a genre or with a subject you know try stepping out of the comfort zone and into something you know absolutely nothing about. You’ll find that new found knowledge working into old topics, giving them a new life and you a more rounded writer. 

Knowledge is power. Especially in a writers hands!

ROW80 Update
My goals on last update where to write every day and begin evil plot… um.. I mean begin plotting for rubs evil mommy hands together.

NaNoWriMo. Check on both of those fronts. I am in the learning something totally awesome for the novel phase. Researching has been a lot of fun. Especially when I can combine it with homeschool and make the kid research to,

My last goal was to get preparations ready for Lake County NaNoWriMo Kick-off. Check! We have the place, the kits are almost finished and my costume is perfect. I’m blessed with a fantastic group of writers in the Lake County region. It’s going to be a stellar NaNo 2013.

New Goals for the week:
Write every day
Finalize research
Get two articles written

How about you? Do you like to dive into unknown topics or write with a base of something you know and build on it? How is your novel prep going?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tag! Your it Blog Hop... I'm it!

Thanks so very much to Mary Ann Bernal  for tagging me to take part in the Tag You’re IT blog hop. I get to share a few tid-bits about my current work in progress, and tag three other authors and invite them to answer the same questions for their blogs.

They then tag 3 more authors, and so on and so forth till it’s one great big giant Tag-Along! Sound good? Great! Here goes!

1. What are you working on right now?
Right now I have more things going on than I have sanity :) First getting ready for NaNoWriMo 2013 whoo hoo I wuv NaNo. It's such a great way to meet fellow writers and encourage newbies to the world of words. I'll be posting more Lake County  NaNo News soon :)

My current book project is a historic western, Outlaw Born. 
When your father was a notorious outlaw, it’s hard to out run that legacy. Ben tried to live a better life and become the hero his wife and son had seen in him. When the war is over and his medals won Ben comes home to find his family and land taken by the greed of the railroad company.

When justice fails him, he finds a man can’t out run his legacy. He must embrace his lineage of violence to get vengeance if he can’t have justice. Ben Mason is an outlaw born. 

My muses for Ben :) 
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
I think the difference is in the character and what he is. Most heros run away from the dark past or try to hide it under the rug. Ben is forced to look at it and accept it as part of him. Exploring what happens to a good man when he has to do bad things. Does it really change his white hat to black or just a dark gray?

3. Why do you write what you do?

That is actually a hard question. I write so many different things and each one has a different reason or inspiriation. I think I write what I do mostly because that thing or character fasicates me. I want to know more about them, what better way to learn about something than to write about it.

Here are the 3 authors I’ve tagged for this hop:
Tony Vincent
Janet Beasley
Janie Little Upchurch
Tag you're it :) 

How about you? Do you have an exciting project or event coming up? What are your favorite things to see in a western read? 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to win NaNoWriMo: Realistic Goals, determination and a bottomless pot of coffee

NaNo season has begun. Novelists around the world are franticly researching, outlining, and character mapping in preparation for the 50,000-word dash to the finish line that begins November 1st.

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days might seem daunting. There will be days mid November it feels that way. A writer questions their sanity level on accepting such a wild notion of writing an entire novel rough draft in a month. It can be done if the writer is determined.

It takes a special kind of dedication to the craft of word spinning to stick to daily goals and make the novel a priority. This becomes hard when life happens and shakes up a writer’s daily routine. That is where making goals for your writing and novel become important.

Sure, the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 crazed days. However, that’s the big picture and the thought of the number 50,000 can make the head spin. (no pea soup, just head spinning) To ease the panic of “OMG I’m behind on my word count!” Make realistic NaNo goals that will fit your average day.

Have a word count goal for each day. NaNo suggests at least 1,667 words per day. Maybe you work long hours and can write each day but not that much. That’s okay. Your realistic goal might be 800 words on a workday and 3,000 on days off. Don’t be afraid of falling behind. Most everyone is going to fall behind at some point.

That’s where that determination comes in. If you fall behind don’t panic or give up on winning. You can do it. Just adjust those daily goals, brew a pot of coffee and challenge yourself a bit more to grab time to write those words.

We can do it; we just need realistic daily writing goals, a strong determination, and a bottomless pot of hot coffee. (Preferably Starbucks Mocha or Peppermint Mocha. Yum!)

I’ll see you in the winner’s circle. I’ll probably be a lil tipsy on the caffeine: D If you would like to add me as a NaNo Buddy: flsandcastle

In perfect timing, the new round of ROW80 begins this week also. Here are my goals for this round.

Round 4 Goals
Write every day
Complete NaNo with seventh Win
Complete novel edits

Goals for Week 1
Write every day
Start outline for NaNo Novel
Finish preparations for Region Kick Off  (Go Lake Writers!)

Click these links for more information about NaNoWriMo or Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80)

How do you work NaNo into your busy daily life? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

How does your story grow? Guest Post by J.Drew Brumbaugh

Gladiator's Pen welcomes guest author J. Drew Brumbaugh to the Ludis. He is the author of  the thrillers War Party and Shepherds and here to talk about his writing process. So pour a cuppa and enjoy the post. Don't forget to leave some comment love!

How Does Your Story Grow? 
by J. Drew Brumbaugh

As a guest here, I suppose I should introduce myself.  I am J Drew Brumbaugh.  The J being for James and so most people call me Jim.  I write suspense novels of various types.  I have two novels available in both print and ebook formats, a third one on the way, and a collection of three short stories that is available only as an ebook.  More info is available at my website at www.jdrewbrumbaugh.com.

For me, novels take a long time to write.  I envy those who can sit down and churn out a finished novel almost from the first draft.  I don’t know how they do it.  My novels grow and change as they are written.  I start with a basic plot in mind and at least an idea for a few of the main characters.  But it’s sketchy at best, more like an overriding theme.  Still, I have to start somewhere so I write some and then write some more and somehow the story keeps going, though not necessarily exactly as I’d planned.  Characters try to change things.  They’ll say I’m not that kind of person, I’m smarter than that.  Or I just wouldn’t do that.  And of course I listen because who knows more about a character than the character them self? 

And that isn’t all.  Plot changes and additions crop up at the oddest times and places.  Often as the novel writing proceeds a new idea pops into my head, something I hadn’t thought of before that adds to the story, or complicates things, or changes the level of challenges for the main characters.  Again, the only thing to do is fix it, add it or change it so that the idea is incorporated into the story.

I’m not sure how these things happen.  I wish I could see everything down to the last detail up front and then maybe I could finish a novel in one or two drafts instead of ten.  I am convinced that somewhere in the deep recesses of the unconscious mind, the creative ideas keep percolating even as the book is unfolding.  I’ve started novels without being able to see the ending.  I begin with an idea for the initial challenge, the original conflict that starts the story in motion, but I don’t know how it will be resolved, or whether the main character(s) will even succeed.  I trust that somehow, some way, the conclusion will materialize as I go along.  I don’t know how to tell you what happens along the way it just happens.   

My novel Shepherds is a perfect example.  Over about three years the story grew, had chapters added, new Pacific Ocean, there would be storms.  So, a storm became an important part of the novel.  Then I thought of rustlers, fishermen who would steal the factory tuna since they couldn’t find wild fish.  Another problem found space in the novel.  How about killer whales?  They would eat tuna and dolphins too.  So, killer whales.  Add to that the personal issues that haunt individual characters, like Olga’s angst over possibly meeting her mother, whom she’s never seen having spent her life in an orphanage for mutated “shepherds.” 
conflicts for the characters to deal with, dangers that I hadn’t thought of when I began writing.  The original premise was simple.  As the oceans were depleted of wild fish, the larger seafood companies to avoid bankruptcy would figure out how to “farm” tuna.  I used tuna because they get big and individual fish can be worth a lot of money.  How would they farm these fish?  Floating pens like salmon didn’t seem to be a good approach for tuna who like to swim, all the time.  So, the seafood giants created genetically modified people who could use trained “herd dolphins” to manage the tuna in the open ocean.  This meant that vast tracts of the ocean would be claimed for “ranches” and suddenly there were conflicts between the “shepherds” and independent fisherman who were trying to eek out a living on what wild fish remained.  As the story grew, various conflicts came to mind and were added.  What about a storm?  Certainly in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there would be storms.  So, a storm became an important part of the novel.  Then I thought of rustlers, fishermen who would steal the factory tuna since they couldn’t find wild fish.  Another problem found space in the novel.  How about killer whales?  They would eat tuna and dolphins too.  So, killer whales.  Add to that the personal issues that haunt individual characters, like Olga’s angst over possibly meeting her mother, whom she’s never seen having spent her life in an orphanage for mutated “shepherds.”

And even with all that I realized I needed a nastier antagonist.  Who?  Ah, some of the fishermen work for drug cartels making and shipping drugs.  Some of the shepherds got in their way and were killed.  Enter Toivo, an independent fisherman who has dolphin friends who help him find wild tuna.  He too gets embroiled in a fight for survival with the drug cartel and ends up meeting Olga, a shepherd.  How could a couple of nearly defenseless people defeat such a powerful group of ruthless killers?  I didn’t know.  It seemed hopeless, which is the point of a good suspense novel.  And yet, as I neared the end of the book the answer was there.  Like magic.  Where did it come from?  I don’t know.  Maybe the writer’s muse?  So I write fervently hoping the muse does not desert me.  How about you?

Find J. Drew Brumbaugh's books on Amazon
Like him on Facebook 

Be a book rebel read banned books!

Banning books is not a thing of the past. Every day books are challenged, or removed from libraries or schools. No book is safe from the possibility. At one point the children’s fairytale, Alice in Wonderland was on the banned list.

For a while, my own county libraries banned the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy from their shelves. Library patrons wouldn’t hear of it, they continued to request, and demand their right to read about Christian and his red room. Now the books are available on library shelves and ereaders.

What would the world be like if readers didn’t rebel and just let someone choose what books were suitable for the public. What if the words of To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, or even Harry Potter had never touched our lives?

If there weren’t book rebels we wouldn’t have seen Vivian Lee as Scarlet O’Hara in her curtain dress. Get to be frightened of  saint bernards named Cujo, or see Leonardo DiCaprio become Gatsby. The stories these memorable characters all came from books that were challenged or banned at some point.

What’s the difference between banned or challenged books? According to the ALA a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of challenged materials from public or school libraries, possibly bookstore shelves.

Books could be challenged for various reasons. The top three are explicit sexual content, offensive language, or ‘unsuited’ to any age group. The last meaning any theme or topic deemed unsuitable for viewing. Books that fell into this category were The Hunger Games, The Catcher in the Rye, and Blood and Chocolate. Thanks to awesome librarians, teachers, students, and concerned citizens most challenges are unsuccessful.

What makes the list from year to year can be surprising. Tomes of every genre and age range can be found there. Chances are you’ve got a few of them on your bookshelf or to be read pile already. You can find out more on ALA or Band Books Week websites. To see this years list go to Books Challenged or Banned  2012-2013.

Don’t let someone tell you your books are ‘unsuited’. Be a book rebel read some banned books this week.

This week I’m reading Blood and Chocolate and my son is reading The Hunger Games We’re book rebels, how about you? What are you reading? Do you have a favorite banned book?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Author Chat with Lisa Day about her Love and Betrayal on the Santa Fe

The lovely Lisa Day is in the ludis today for a chat. We're going to be chatting about her latest release Love & Betrayal on the Santa Fe. So pour a cuppa and get comfy as we get to know more about Lisa and her novel. 

Tell us three little known facts about Lisa Day: 
Lisa would have been the weird ole lady next door with the zillion cats, except her husband turned her into a dog lover as well. She's still weird, but her dog chases the cat away. 

I've had lived in over 100 homes in my life time. 

When adversity struck I decide to became a drunk. When, I realize just how much money that entailed I decide I was too cheap to do that. Leaving me no choice, but to face life straight on. 

We’re celebrating your book Love & Betrayal on the Santa Fe today. Can you tell us about it? 
Calico showed up one day and wanted her adventure told. I started to tell it when she springs it on me she had other women traveling with her. Each had a story of their own. SO six women head west after committing to be a mail-order bride.  

Did you have a part of the story you most enjoyed writing? Why? 
Calico's and Tasa's first love scene. I don't usually do sweet and gentle. This one was that and more. I hoped I was to bring Tasa's tenderness toward her to the full. 

Would you share a bit of it with us?
This woman and the feelings she seemed to evoke in him was healing him. For the first time in years he wanted to see tomorrow. All because she stirred his heart, mind, and body as no one else ever had. 
Calico’s sigh pulled Tasa from his thoughts He re-situated himself and turned toward her. He stroked her arm. There were tears. 
“Calico, I hurt you?” he asked. 
Looking at him she grinned, “No.” 
“No. Then why do you cry?” He continued to run his fingers up and down her arm. 
She twisted her whole body onto her side. Looking straight at him, she said, “Because you didn’t” 
A very confused man stared speechlessly back at her. Calico slid closer and rested her head against his chest. Before another second passed, his arms wrapped tightly around her. 
Then Tasa understood that she accepted him, and she was pleased with his gentle manner toward her. His heart beat faster and desire within him flared as his craving for her returned in earnest. 

 What drew you to write historic fiction? 
An easy question, I always like the genre but found the Historical Fiction from the American frontier became an all time favorite.. 

If you could spend a day inside one of your novels which one would it be and what would you do
and who would you spend the time with? 
I thought this would be easy to answer than discovered-no, it's not. It's like asking which of your children do you love more. I can only answer this way. It depends which book fills my thoughts for the day. 

Right now I'm working on a new story so Talon Eagle is who I'd be spending my time with, and I 
never will say how we're spending that time. 

Did you learn something about yourself or your writing while penning Love & Betrayal on the Santa Fe? 
Yes, Seeing the remains of the Santa Fe trail and New Mexico is now on my bucket list. I learned they didn't always circle the wagons like in the movies. And I learned many forts were not built with the famous stockade and gates around it.( Again with the movies.) 

Tell us about three things on your writing desk (computer, notebook, pencil doesn’t count :) 
Haha , it's billing paying day. Want to share some? So there is a mountain of papers sitting right next to the monitor. 

The paperback book from 1988 that I  intend to review next for my “Oldies but Goodies Review.” 

A fashion mail order catalog with the dress I want inside. The one I wanted for months and they just won't put on sale. Still deciding “should I.' I usually wait until their out of my size or the color I want, while waiting for them to drop the price. Did I save the full price, or did I save the sale price when I can't get the dress I want? Oh the dilemma. 

Do you have a favorite historic resource? 
I begin on the internet with Wikipedia and expand from there. 

What would you like to say to readers and fellow writers? 
To my fellow writers: 
I was totally blown away be to number of people doing the same things I wanted to do. To those of you who have became my friend. I value that friendship more than you know. 
I encourage my fellow writers to share other author writings. Not only does it help them, 
but you will feel better about the kind of person you are. 

To readers: 
Thank you. For without you we'd have no one to write for. If you liked a book please review it or tell the writer. If you disliked it don't tear it to shreds if you review it. One man's treasure is another mans' trash. 

Where can we find Lisa Day? 
Here's where I hang out: 
 Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/LisaDayAuthor 
 Facebook- friend me https://www.facebook.com/lisa.day.718 
Thank you! Elise for letting slip in among all the wonderful happenings at the Gladiator's Pen 
About Love & Betrayal on the Santa Fe 
In 1859 the opportunities for women are scant unless one wishes to take a chance. Calico Benson, a gently-bred woman who wants the security of marriage and family, answers an ad in the “Matrimonial News,” where men advertise for wives. Along with five other women, Calico sets out on the Santa Fe Trail hoping to find love at the end of the trip. What they all find is nothing short of a hellish nightmare of a journey. 

Follow Calico and the others while they seek safe haven at the end of the Santa Fe Trail. Join them as they meet both the civil and the savage on their passage. 

Thank you Lisa for stopping by Gladiator's Pen :) You're always welcome :) 

Have you read Love & Betrayal on the Santa Fe or one of Lisa's other books?