Monday, April 29, 2013

YouTube Marketing

Everyone knows what YouTube is. Home of the hottest music videos and silliest cat videos, however it is also a great marketing tool for authors.

Many of us know about the use of YouTube for posting our book trailers. I have one there myself. I have also created vids for some of my Examiner articles. However there are more ways to boost your brand with YouTube than just book trailers.

How about asking readers for a video review? Read a chapter of your book or a short story aloud. If you’re not comfortable with being on screen yourself, you can choose appropriate visual images to enhance your tale. Just be sure that you have the right to use any images you chose.

Have someone do a video interview with you, or simply crank up the webcam and talk about your book, writing process or other subject that might take your readers interests.

You have everything you need right at your fingertips to create sensational videos.  If you look in the start menu of your computer, you will find a program called Windows Live Movie Maker. It’s a standard part of most windows platforms starting with Windows 2000. It’s very easy to use and has some fantastic tools to make your project stand out.

You can also create a slideshow easily with Microsoft Power Point. If you don’t have Power Point on your computer you can sign up for Microsoft Sky Drive for free. They have a free power point tool for users.

You don’t have to have any specialized equipment to shoot live video. Most smart phones take both still pictures and video. Use your webcam right from your computer or your digital camera to take video and upload it to your YouTube account.

Another plus to YouTube marketing, is the cost, free. They do offer a paid account that has a few extras, but it isn’t really needed and completely optional. YouTube is a versatile tool, with endless ways to utilize videos to market your brand and books. So what are you waiting for go get your director’s chair and get started!

Below are a couple of videos of mine. One the book trailer for Don't Touch and the second a slide show of  Eustis, Florida. Enjoy!

Have you created any vids or slide show? Leave a link in the comments, we'd love to see! 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter Y

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for Xylophone

X is for Xylophone. Why? Xylophones are cool! They're not just kids toys, they're a serious instrument  found many orchestras' percussion sections. It's a percussion instrument because it uses force and vibration to create sound, like a drum. Only instead of striking a flexible surface such as a stretch canvas of a drum, the musician strikes one made of metal, wood, or ceramic tiles.

Xylophones and their many variations have been around since man's earliest history. However the modern version we're familiar with has been in use since the 1860s. It was first used in an orchestra in 1874 in the performance of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre". 

Well enough talking about how cool they are. Just kick back and have a listen :)

Part of Blogging from A to Z for the letter X

Work in Progress: Worth

For the letter W on the A to Z blogging Challenge I'm sharing an excerpt from my work in progress, Worth. Enjoy a little taste of this exciting thriller and please leave a comment and let me know what you think. :) 

Dean Cross waited impatiently for his estranged wife to step off her flight. He has hope that after three years of separation they can put their marriage back together again. The last passenger disembarked, no Lucinda. Had she missed the flight, changed her mind?

Kidnapping isn’t just a crime, it’s a multi-million dollar business. Most believe only rich kids or missionaries in a foreign country are held for ransom. The Cross’ find out anyone can be taken, it only matters what your worth.  


Chapter One

The airport intercom hissed then called out, “United Flight 109 to Los Angeles  will be boarding in 20 minutes, at gate six.”

Lucinda sat in the airport there was a thirty-minute delay boarding, of course. When did she ever get on a flight that left on time..... Never. She'd drank a soda during the first delay and now it was time to take a break.

She pulled her bag over to the desk. "Excuse me, I'm on this flight but I need to visit the ladies. Can I leave my bag with you for just a minute?"

The clerk pulled the bag around the desk and nodded. "Sure, they should be ready soon so don't be long."

Luce smiled. "Thanks I'll be quick." She hurried into the restroom and into a stall with a sigh of relief.

When she came out of the stall another woman a bit taller, with an athletic build came out of the stall next to her. Luce thought the lovely woman would make a fantastic sports model.

The woman toyed with her skirt and watched Lucinda walk up to the sink. "Best to go before you get on the plane. I hate those bathrooms."

Luce glanced up in the mirror and grinned softly. "Ditto. I have luggage bigger than that.”

Lucinda took a breath as she stood in front of the ladies room mirror. She washed her hands and wondered if going home was the right decision. It had been a long time, maybe too long to make things right again.

The stranger stepped over to the sink next to Lucinda. She glanced over with a friendly grin. “Anxious about flying?”

Lucinda gave her back a slight grin in an attempt to be polite. “No, anxious about the destination.” She pulled a couple of towels from the machine, the rough paper echoed as it crinkled as she rubbed her hands dry.

Lucinda turned from the woman to drop the towels in the trash, when a cloth covered her nose and mouth. She tried to move away, but was trapped by the woman's body and the sinks. Luce struggled to pull the hand from her face, but that only made the chloroform work faster.

She tried to scream but the deep breath she took to belt one out made the room spin. The next second the room turned hazy and her body went limp in the stranger’s arms.


Lucinda felt groggy as she woke. She swallowed and her mouth felt like dry cotton. The room was dark and the bed uncomfortable and lumpy. “This is not the five star hotel I booked online.” She must have been tired she can‘t remember the flight or getting to LA.

She sat up and a lightheaded sensation made her head spin a bit. Luce rubbed her eyes and remembered Dino was supposed to have met her at the airport. She tugged at her blouse and paused, she hadn’t changed into bedclothes?

Luce looked down and her clothing was askew. As though she had been searched. She took a deep breath in an attempt to push back the grogginess. “What is going on?” She reached to switch on a lamp... there was no night table.

She squinted and looked around as her eyes adjusted to the moonlit room. It was not a hotel, she was sure of that. Quickly she swung her legs off the bed and started to the door. Something cinched her ankle and she fell hard to the filthy wood floor.

Lucinda looked down her leg, a small chain that reminded her of something to tie a dog out with was fastened tight around her ankle. The other end to the bed, she pulled but the bed had been fastened to the floor as well.

Panic began to set in. Luce looked out the window, there wasn’t much to see. She was on the second floor of a house maybe... Where was she? Why was she here?

Memory of the woman in the airport came back to her. “Oh God… I’ve been kidnapped?”

That couldn’t be right, that kind of thing didn’t happen to people like her she wasn’t rich or famous.

Her attention snapped back when the doorknob jiggled. Her breath began to pant as the door creaked open. It wasn’t a movie where Liam Neeson was going to sweep in and save her from the man who stepped in. It was real. 

So what do you think? Do you know what you would be worth? 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter W

Villains Are Valuable to Verse

Villains are essential for a story. They give our heroes and heroines purpose. Baddies help the good guys see how important the good things in life are. In 3:10 to Yuma by Elmore Leonard, Dan Evans wouldn't be able to find his way again. Or, become a hero to his son if not for outlaw Ben Wade and his being “rotten as hell.”

If you haven’t read this awesome story or seen either of these movies (shame on you! J ) Dan Evans is a down and out rancher who lost part of a leg in the Civil War.  He’s about to lose his ranch and due partly to his physical condition feels less of a man. Desperate for money to save his ranch and maybe his marriage Dan takes the job of getting very bad boy Ben Wade on to the prison train to Yuma.

On their journey to the train, Dan is reminded of the man he can be not the one he’s allowed himself to become. Ben and his wicked ways bring out Dan’s strength and sense of purpose.

Yet not all villains are human. There are the animal baddies such as Stephen King’s Cujo. Cujo is a rabid Saint Bernard that traps a woman and her young son in their car for days. That doggie gave me nightmares. It took ingenuity and a heavy dose of courage to rescue herself and son from the crazed canine.

Some villains are in the hero's mind they've created their own evils to combat. This could be anything from a drinking problem, overcoming a traumatic life event, an illness, the hero getting in their own way or creating a villain in their mind.

Every plot has an element of good verses evil in it but without those bad apples our heroes and heroines would never find the good in themselves to overcome the bad.

Do you have a favorite villain? 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter V

Friday, April 26, 2013

Update ROW80 Round 2 Week 4

Week 3 had lots of stumbles and splats, but nothing a bit of duct tape couldn’t handle. There were a few major strides that took place too. Whoo hoo!

Update on Goals for Round2 Week 3
1. Yup Catching up again with A to Z and maintaining it. Um… oops? Came close but no cigar on keeping up, however not so far behind just one letter behind, two if this posts after midnight. :P
2. Get in word count for NaNo YES! Camp NaNo has been Verified and Won. That was a big plus for the week.
3. Get at least half a chapter of work a day in class Yes! Class is tooling along pretty well. Thank goodness, this textbook has a lil more zing to the reading and not so much zzzz.

That big curve ball LIFE tossed into my lap last couple of weeks is finally starting to wind down just a bit. Some days you just need a good roll of duct tape to get you by.

Duct tape is the universal fix all. Leaks, tears, stubborn chair legs, and even novels and goals. A good strip of duct tape to patch things together can keep us running until LIFE settles down long enough to make solid repairs.

It even comes in awesome designer colors and patterns now to make your patches fashion forward. So this
week I’m moving forward with new goals and keeping a roll of duct tape handy.

New Goals for Round 2 Week 4
1. Finish A to Z Challenge. This year I’m making it to Z.
2. NaNo is done so now it’s time to search for the next story. Going to get that outline and start spinning a new tale.
3. Get at least half a chapter of work on class done a day.
4. Get at least one article written and published this week.

Do able and easily patched with a strip of duct tape if the week springs a few leaks.

Have you done any patch work on your weekly goals?

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter U

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ten Tips From Famous Tale Spinners

Ten writing tips from the greatest of fictioneers. 

1. Ray Bradbury 

2. R.J. Keller
3. Elmore Leonard

4. Mark Twain

5. John Steinbeck 

6. Edgar Allen Poe 

7. Stephen King 

8. F.Scott Fitzgerald

9. E.B. White 

10. John Steinbeck 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter T  

Social Media: Find a Niche

Social media has become an important tool in every writer’s life, both published and un-published. Through the gift of the internet and sites like Facebook and Twitter we can reach out to potential readers and fans not just in our backyards but around the world.

We can have contests, alert readers of new releases and other news. Through social media business opportunities have become available for those who aren’t skilled at marketing or are on a limited budget.

There are hundreds of these social sites out there that can get an author’s book into readers’ hands. The most common staples are Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, G+, Pintrest.

There are other great places that shouldn’t be overlooked. Do you like cooking and have a chef in your book? Join a cooking site like All Connect with readers in their forums. Find a forum or site that deals with a subject from your book a wine club, pet lovers, celebrity fan sites who are inspirations to your muse.

Many forums have areas where members can mention their sites or do a bit of advertising. Don’t just go there to toot your horn, they are social sites, so be social. Join sites that you will enjoy being a part of. You’ll get to meet a new set of potential readers and make some new friends. Not to mention have some fun!

Do you have a favorite niche site or social media staple in your author's toolbox?

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter S  

Monday, April 22, 2013


His blade sang as it cut through the air of the arena. The gladiator growled as its edge sank into the flesh of his target. A soft spray of warm blood spattered his chest and arm as he turned to meet the next opponent.

 He could smell the fear of the Murmillo even though the opponent was the one to advance. His lip curled as he watched his fellow gladiator swing the trident in an effort to intimidate.

He easily stepped back from the sharp points. The trouble with pole arms and using them for their length is the time it takes to reset for the next blow. He took full advantage of the Murmillo’s position and stepped into the fighter as the gladiator’s blade came down upon the wrist holding the trident.

The Murmillo cried out in pain and tried to back away, but the gladiator wasn’t going to give his opponent the chance to get any footing. He grabbed the leather strap of the Murmillo’s arm guard and gathered his strength as he drew his other arm back. He drew in a deep breath of the Murmillio’s sweat and thrust his sword forward.

The Murmillo gasped as the blade sank into his fatted belly and thrust further up into his heart. The gladiator held the Murmillo close as he drove the blade as deep as the man’s body would take it.

The crowd stood on their feet and roared their approval. The gladiator was victorious, he had survived the match, he held back his elation until the Murmillo went limp in his arms.

He lay his fellow warrior upon the sands and said a prayer then stood to raise his sword high the blood glistening as it dripped from the edge. The mob in the stands erupted once more and he let their excitement fill him. The roar of his name echoing through the arena.

All at once the mob quieted and took their seats. The gladiator feared another opponent had been loosed, it was not uncommon. The wealthy in their boxes would often pay for another round if their bloodlust had not yet been satisfied by the games.

He turned and readied for the gate to open. Instead of an armored beast he was greeted with the sight of a senator and his wife.

He watched them still wary. Could it be a trick? Gladiators dressed to fit this part for the mob’s entertainment? No, he remembered the senator.

The senator was his master, his owner. He would come to the ludus and watch him train. He dropped to one knee and lowered his eyes.

It was the senator’s wife that stepped toward him, she rested her hand on his shoulder. The sweet perfume on her skin filled his senses. Her soft fingertips rested on his blood-spattered chin and raised his face to meet hers.

She wore a soft smile, her face glowing with pride. “You have made our house proud, your debts have been paid and it is time for you to walk Rome a freedman.”

He heard the words, but surely, it was some kind of hallucination from the heat and excitement of battle.

The senator stepped forward now and took him by the shoulders raising him to his feet. The woman was as lovely as her scent as she handed her husband a leather pouch. The senator thanked her and offered the pouch to the gladiator.

The mob seemed to understand before he did, they erupted once more. Cheers and chants began through
the arena. The gladiator opened the pouch and pulled the concealed object from it.

A rudius. His freedom.

No longer forced to fight, it would be his choice to be Rudiarius. His hands curled around the inscribed wooden sword and prayers of thanks fell from his lips to both his gods and his masters. A new kind of victorious joy filled him as he raised the rudius high for all to see he was free. 

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter R 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Quintessential Author Groups

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November and writers gather worldwide in an attempt to pen a 50,000 word novel rough draft in 30 days. Yes, this is an author essential in my humble opinion. Not because of the challenge and insane rush to finish the manuscript. Though that is a blast! The reason is that NaNoWriMo builds writer communities.

NaNo encourages Meetups with groups of authors to gather, write and mentor each other both online and in our hometowns. This community can be rewarding to authors in on many levels both personal and professional. I’ve sold a few books at events and meets. I’ve also had the honor of seeing and helping new writers grow and young writers fall in love with the written word.

Even if you never make it to the 50k finish line NaNoWriMo is very much worth the time and energy. The friendships you make and the wonderful things you’ll learn about yourself and your writing and opportunities gained during NaNo events makes it quintessential for every writer.

Marketing for Romance Writers Organization (MFRW)
The group's motto says it all, “Seek, Teach, Share, Learn, Succeed.” MFRW offers a great deal to its
membership. The focus is on learning marketing and publicity to help build our platforms and further our professional careers. They offer free classes and workshops to members and membership is also free.

They also help promote their members with blog hops, the MFRW Banner Project, free adverts in the monthly newsletter, spotlights on the new MFRW Blog Talk Radio show, Author blog, Marketing Blog, Pintrest pages…. The list goes on and on with the ways they reach out for their members.

This is a fantastic time to join with this organization as well. Coming up in July will be the 2nd annual MFRW Summer Camp. 2 days of free workshops, prizes, and opportunities. I was a part of last year's camp and I have to tell you it was a blast and I learned so much from the classes offered.

They also offer a Pitch Camp where they teach you how to pitch your work to publishers then give you the opportunity to do just that! Check out their site and see the bounty for yourself. Membership is free so really what do you have to lose? Don’t worry about that word Romance in the name, there are authors of all genres in the group.

EPIC: Electornic Publishing Industry Coalition
This group has been The Voice of Publishing since 1998, just as their tagline says. I have recently become a member of the organization and the more I learn the more I fall in love with it.

EPIC doesn’t promote your work but they support you as an industry professional from authors, epublishers, editors and more. They offer networking, workshops, guidance and knowledge on the trends and world of this growing industry.

Each year they hold EPICon with more of these great opportunities. In 2014 EPICon will be in Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas so you know this will be a huge event!

That competition mentioned earlier The EPIC eBook Competiton, entries begin on June 1st for members and non EPIC members. Let’s not forget the Ariana eBook Cover Competition and the New Voices Young Writers Competition all entries starting June 1st.

EPIC has something for everyone and what better way to keep your finger on the pulse of the eIndustry than with The Voice of ePublishing.  

Three quintessential groups for an author to build, learn and stay on top of their personal and professional writing life.

Do belong to an organization or group that is quintessential to your write life?

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter Q 

P is for Puzzle

Playing a little catch up today and thought this would be fun :) So P is for Puzzle. How fast can you solve the book cover jigsaw? On May 1st the fastest time will get a free ecopy of Tingle and Don't Touch :) So don't forget to comment with your time and email or twitter!

Click to Mix and Solve
Tingle is a collection of flash fiction with a darker edge of the paranormal, suspense, and horror genres to make a readers spine tingle and provoke the senses and emotions.

Available on Smashwords and Amazon 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter P 

One Word 60 Seconds: Cliffs

He stood on the edge of the cliffs and gazed out at the never-ending ocean. It looked like solace, a place he could finally find peace. At the same time, it seemed so very far away. The roar of the waves pounding the rock below echoed up to remind him of the last time he stood in this spot. Only then, he wasn’t alone, he’d brought her. 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

Also part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter O

Friday, April 19, 2013


I love the genre of Noir. Noir is more than just films there are many books written in this genre as well. If you’re not familiar, Noir is the darker side of life. Characters have a hard edge, often sharpened with cynicism. The settings most often are bleak, possibly on the wrong side of the tracks, the underbelly of the shiny city above.

It keeps your pulse jumping when the action gets started, and seduces you with sultry fem fatales. Noir stories are layered and filled with twists and turns that keep a reader on edge and turning pages.

Most genres want a happily ever after or a well tied up ending without loose ends.  Life doesn’t always give us a satisfying ending and neither does noir. Many times the hero or heroine you’ve been rooting for will be lost in the end. Not really many sequels in this genre, most stories are written purposely as one offs.

The draw of Noir is its characters. They’re heavily flawed and almost unlikable at times. Yet there is something redeeming in them. A quality that makes them overcome or fall deeper into the problem. A good noir gets you emotionally attached to the characters.

In crime noir the main character might not be one of the good guys. It may be the fem fatale, or a bad guy trying to get a break. The lead in the film noir A Bullet for Joey (1955), is a thug for hire. He starts to have second thoughts when he finds out his latest employer is a communist.

In Kiss of Death (1947) jewel thief Nick refuses to rat out his pals and goes to jail. His wife commits suicide

and angry Nick spills the beans. When he gets out of the clink, Nick starts a new life and family….until the psycho he snitched on gets out of his prison stripes.

You might be more familiar with Film Noir than fiction like some of these films that went from book to screen.  The Black Delilah and LA Confidential both part of the LA Quartet series by James Ellroy,The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Touch and Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard, The Maltese Falcon by Raymond Chandler, The lady in the Lake also by Raymond Chandler.

Noir is a darker slice of fiction it can be tragic and at times uplifting. You get characters that make you feel. Settings that make you want to look over your shoulder and a desire to seek out more. 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter N 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Making Progress, Meeting Goals, Maintaining Sanity

Photo by Elise VanCise 2013

Last week saw a few large steps of progress and a couple of standstills due to yet another fine dose of LIFE hitting the fan. Yet some how sanity is being maintained… maybe… possibly.

The key to goal making success is not letting those derailments actually derail your progress. The train tends to go off the tracks once in a while. While frustrating it could be a good thing. Those derailments allow us to step back and reevaluate the situation and our goals.

Perhaps a goal made needs to be adjusted or even set aside. Is it something that you are struggling with more often than not? Is it something you’re flying through and not challenging enough? There are many reasons a goal needs to be tweaked, take a quiet moment and list your goals and what you can do to either make it easier or more challenging to fit your needs.

Goals should challenge us but not be an added stress. If you have a goal that has been a struggle to meet or come close to, drop it. At least for a week, then come back and reexamine that goal. Ask questions. Do you really need this goal? Is it going to help you meet other goals? How beneficial is this goal going to be overall?

If you feel that the answer to these are yes then make some adjustments to the goal to ease the stress and get back on track chugging to success. Sometimes just that short break of taking a week or two off from a goal is enough to fire up the engine and you’re ready to go full steam ahead.

Keep shoveling coal in that furnace and we'll make it over the peak. See you on the other side of Goal Mountain J

Goal Update for ROW80 Round 2 Week 2
1. Catch up and post daily for A to Z  Big check I did get caught up… as you can see I fell a bit behind again though thanks to that Curveball of LIFE.
2. Make daily word count for Camp NaNo (650 Words) *pouts didn’t get there daily had some days with no writing. Yeah that curveball thing.
3. Finish class YES!!! One class down with a final grade of 93%
4. Work 20 minutes 3x a week on the black hole of clothes and junk closet. Nope that dang LIFE thing again.  Doesn’t it ever take a vacation?

New Goals for Round2 Week 3
1. Yup Catching up again with A to Z and maintaining it
2. Get in word count for NaNo
3. Get at least half a chapter of work a day in class
4. Nixing this one for now so this LIFE thing can do its thing and move out. I’m closing the Cave of Wow I haven’t seen this in years Closet door and pretending it’s not there this week.

How do you keep your goal train chugging down the track? How do you deal with being derailed? 

This post is also part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter M

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kings and a Lady

Jake splashed the pot, all his chips tumbled haphazard about the center of the table. “Are you in little lady?”

The saloon hushed to a few whispers as Caroline looked up from her cards. There was only a glimpse of her confidence being shaken as her eyes glanced the cards again before tapping their worn edges on the table. “I was all in the last hand, Mr. Landry. I’m afraid I’ve nothing left to meet your raise.”

His lip turned up into a wicked curve as he leaned back in the chair. He unabashedly let her see him perusing her ‘goods’. “Oh I think you have something you can ante, darling.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Sir, I turn cards not tricks.” 

Boisterous laughter filled the room, more at her expense than his. Jake didn’t mind, he liked her moxie. In the six hours of the tournament, she matched a man’s skill with cards and wit, not to mention matching him drink for drink.

He leaned back and took a deep drag from his cigar and blew the smoke across the table toward her pretty face. When she didn’t blink or complain he grinned. “How do I know you don’t have an ace stuffed up in your petticoat to slip into that pretty hand?”

Caroline folded her cards and lay them face down on the green mat. She unbuttoned the top side buttons of her skirt and stood. A moment later her petticoat lay across the table. “A lady never cheats, Mr. Landry.”

He snorted and sat up to caress the linen still warm from being so close to her skin. “I think we should call this and see who’s luck holds out, Miss Watson.”

She took her seat and fanned her cards back with one hand. The dealer looked between them feeling a bit overheated himself. “Show your hands, gentlemen…. Uh and Miss Watson.”

Jake laid his down first one at a time in a row for effect. “Full house, two jacks and triple nines.”

Caroline glanced over at the cards and pursed her lips. “That is a good hand, I’m not sure…”

She laid out her cards in their perfect fan for him and the dealer to see as she leaned over the table. “I’m not sure but I believe four kings beats a house. Is that correct, Mr. Alcott?”

It took a moment for the dealer to stop his gaze from moving further down her neckline. “Um, yes.. Yes Miss Watson it does, indeed.”

A polite grin crossed her lips as she began to pile the cash and coins into the make shift bag from her petticoat. “Thank you, gentleman and Mr. Landry. It was a fine tournament.”

Jake swore and tossed his cigar on the floor and stood over her. He gripped her wrist and held it tight. “You playin me for a fool?”

She looked up into those dark eyes and grinned then let them openly drift down to take in his ‘goods’ as he had her. “Play nice, Mr. Landry and we both might get lucky tonight.”

Caroline reached up and grabbed his shirt collar. She pulled him over the table to meet her lips then let go.

Jake half over the table and off balance tumbled back onto the floor. She tossed her room key on his chest and picked up her petticoat bag of winnings. “Be a gent and give a girl some time to freshen up.”

She walked calmly up the stairs then into her room. Once the door closed and locked, she dropped the petticoat and its contents into her open, waiting carpetbag. She opened the window and grinned at the weight of her bag as she hefted it onto the roof. “The lady, got lucky tonight.” 

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Inspiration in the Junk Drawer

Every house has one; it’s one of those inevitable truths. No matter how neat a person is or how organized there will be a junk drawer.

Every writer gets to a point where a story is frustrating or they have a case of * gasp * writer’s block. There are so many exercises and ways to jostle whatever obstacle out of your story’s way.

Well… here’s another. Bet you thought there was going to be a big prolific proclamation here didn’t you? Nope, just another peg in the idea board for killing that story fluster, but a fun one :)

It’s simple when you get to a point that it’s frustrating and ready to toss the story into the file of other stories in various stages of prose. (Every writer’s house has one of these too! I guess that’s our junk drawer for words.) Just get up and go into your kitchen, utility room, pull out the box under the bed…. Wherever you stash your bits of junk.

* Waits….* Got it? Good, now open it. Don’t look, cover your eyes if you must. Hey you’re peeking! Now, reach in and pull out three items and take them back to your writing spot. Uncover your eyes first! We can’t have you falling over the cat, doing a triple summersault only to make your landing face first. 

Back at your writing spot where all the magic happens? Great! The key to this next step is not over thinking. Look at your three items. Think about what your character is doing and have him/her use at least one of these items in the scene.

It may take you on a tangent down a rabbit hole but the muse has been nudged out of her chocolate coma and is moving again.

Try inspiration junk drawer for a writing prompt or a round robin party game. See all that stuff stuffed in there really is useful!

What are a few things in your junk drawer that might be inspirational?

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letters I and J

Horse Fever Horses of Ocala

Horse Fever Horses are one of my favorite things to see whenever I have to make a trek into the city of Ocala, Florida. Each year, since 2001, life-sized horse statues are painted and embellished by local artists and displayed through out the city.

Some of them are truly amazing works of art, but they aren’t just pretty to look at. The statues are on display in public locations for one year. Afterward the painted ponies are auctioned off and the money donated to local charities.

In March of 2012 the herd brought in $208,000 to benefit the Marion Cultural Alliance and 17 other local charities. In the programs time they’ve raised over one million dollars for MCA and other local charities.

Why horse statues and not something else you ask? Ocala has been dubbed the ‘Horse Capital of the World’ boasting over 900 farms and training centers for thoroughbreds.

Other cities in the US have gotten Horse Fever as well. So, the next time you see a painted horse around town check it out. It might just be a charitable thoroughbred.

For more information and an interactive map of the horses go to 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter H.

You can find these three horses ....
at the ...

Downtown Square 
This beauty can be found at the Appleton Museum of Art 

Goals ROW80 Session 2 Week 2

I made some tough goals for my self this session. I’m happy to say that there is a lot of progress forward on them. Not as much as I ambitiously grabbed for but still all forward no backward makes for a happy goal :)

Progress is as follows:
Goals for Round 2 Week 1
1. Post daily for A to Z  UPDATE: Fail. Didn’t post daily had a bus full of LIFE fall in my lap. But today is catch up day lol.  
2. Make daily word count of 834 words for Camp NaNo  UPDATE: Check! There was a bit of an alter to this just before the start my daily count dropped to 650 daily words for Camp. Pages are filling though!
3. Take next exam this week for studies. UPDATE: Check! Finished this portion of the class work and passed the exam with a 94%. One more to go for this class whoot!
4. Work 20 minutes at least 3 days this week on the dark pit closet. UPDATE: Not really a fail not really a check. Due to that bus full of LIFE, I was only able to get 1 session of 20 minutes in but did go through to boxes on another day and tossed some things. Small progress but progress ;)
Now time for some shiny new goals:

Goals for Round 2 Week 2
1. Catch up and post daily for A to Z
2. Make daily word count for Camp NaNo (650 Words)
3. Finish class
4. Work 20 minutes 3x a week on the black hole of clothes and junk closet.

How is your goal list shaping up? Do you have something that keeps you on track? 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter G 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farrier's Fate

The heavy scent of sulfur filled his nose when he walked into the barn. An icy chill slid down his spine as he raised his lantern. A figure stood in the center of the barn. The farrier moved toward it. “You sent for me, sir?”

The figure in black let out a breath from the stump of his neck. Once there was a head there surely. Now only gore and bone, the creature gave off an odor of decay mixed with rose petals. He raised his arm and extended a long finger toward a stall.

The farrier nodded with a half bow before moving to it. He never knew how to address the coachman. The thing must have some kind of supernatural sight to guide The Black Coach on its nightly collection of spirits.

The beast in the stall raised its head as the farrier stepped into its domain. Its muscles flexed under the onyx skin as a hoof stomped and scraped the stall floor.

He reached out a hand and stroked the nightmares neck. It turned a blood red eye to meet his. The farrier looked away before it could see into his soul. Those eyes could make a man relive his deepest pain.

He set down the bag of tools and pulled on the thick heatproof gloves. They were cumbersome at times but better to deal with the discomfort and aggravation of the gloves than to have his hands burnt with the heat the beasts gave off.

Perhaps the heat of their bodies that caused the metal to twist and warp on their hooves.  Their manes and tails looked like hellfire dancing as they ferried the coach. Fables have said they were fallen souls such as himself. Others guess they were created from hellfire in the great pit. Or perhaps it was better not to know. His soul knew too much of this place already.

He lifted the hoof between his thighs to examine the warped metal shoe. As he worked to reshoe the demon horse his mind recalled the night the coach came for him. Not to take him to the next life, that would have been a blessing.

He stood over the corpses, his hands dripping in blood and gore. The last victim had taken their final breath and he stood over the body, watching the eyes fade as the soul left the body. It was then he hard the thunder of hoof beats.

He turned and ran down the alleyway, turned corner after corner until the sound faded. When his lungs started to burn he stopped and leaned against a trash bin to catch his breath. He was sure he’d escaped his fate. Until, he felt the darkness around him move.

The farrier looked down the alley and there sitting at the end, waiting for him. The Black Coach, the nightmares stomping and shifting impatient to get on with their task.

The Coachman walked headless over the cobbled ground toward the farrier. What happened next was too much for his mind to bare remembering.

The Coachman’s cold fingers sunk into his body and tore out his coward’s spine.

 The dark creature now used it for his whip. The farrier was cursed to serve The Black Coach, until his soul paid for his evil deeds.

He finished with the last tack and dropped the hoof with hands that trembled. He gathered his tools quickly to go back into his abyss until the next time he was needed. This would be his fate for a long time to come. 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter F.