My Favorite Writerly Things

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Fingers on keyboard and judgement from kittens
Bright neon notebooks where words will be written
Brown cups of coffee turned lighter with cream
These are a few of my favorite writerly things

And here are a few more:

Writerly Weather

I’ve seen a lot of writers comment that rainy days are ideal for them to write. Not for me. Rainy days are lazy days. The most I can hope to accomplish (besides staying awake) is reading a chapter or two from my favorite book. For me, sunny days are the best days for writing. The sun lights my writing space and keeps me in a positive, productive mood.

Novelty Pens

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially when it has a bobble on top. Whether it’s neon colored, topped with a feather, or odd-shaped, a novelty pen inspires me to write. My favorite pens right now are my Inside Out pens which allow me to write in colors that express my current mood. (Current mood is yellow).

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

Or just caffeine in general. Though, in all honesty, my favorite caffeinated drink is coffee. My favorite roast is the House Blend Roast from Starbucks. I just grounded a fresh batch so we’re all set for the weekend. Star Wars coffee creamers make it even better.

Cats

Where would a writer be without their feline companion. Critic more like. Cats have a tendency to sit near the computer screen, narrow their eyes at the screen, and cast judgement. I know my cats do. They also like to sit on the keyboard, inserting strange gibberish into my writing. But I don’t know where I’d be without them.

My Computer

I used to draft all of my novels on notebooks, but my hand started cramping too much. Plus, my desire to go back and scratch out everything I just wrote became too great. Now I do all of my work on the computer. It’s my notebook, my radio, and my social outlet. If it died today my world would just end.

Notebooks

Even though I do all of my writing on the computer, I still like to complete my outlines in notebooks, especially cute ones with pictures of cats or Disney characters on the front. Neon ones are also fun. There’s something about that binder in hand and the immediate connection between the mind and the paper that makes thoughts come easier. Don’t you think?

Movie Soundtracks

Most of the time I write in silence . . . unless my nephew is up and about. LOL. In that case, I try to drown out the sound of Legos crashing and action figures smashing with music. Movie soundtracks are my favorite, especially instrumental numbers. Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, and Yo Yo Ma are some of my favorite composers.

Books

For good measure, I like to keep a pile of books nearby . . . for no apparent reason other than looking like an author. LOL. Actually, I like to keep references near at hand just in case. I hate getting up out of my seat.

Useless Geegaw

I like to keep my desk cluttered with useless geegaw. Whether it’s a Funko Pop Vinyl figure or a Lucky Cat figurine, if it’s in my way it’s making my day!

Motivational Quotes

I have a tack-board just above my desk covered in photos, business cards, and motivational quotes to keep me inspired.

Well, that’s about it for me. What are your favorite writerly things? Feel free to share in the comments below. And as always have a wonderful weekend!

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How Star Wars The Force Awakens Should Have Ended

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It’s Monday, and thus begins another painful, life-sucking, and emotionally crippling week of work, work, and more work, To alleviate the pain, if only for a little bit, here’s a video to kick-start your week! How Star Wars The Force Awakens Should Have Ended:

Now get up, get out there, and kick ass! And if all else fails, use the force!

Happy Monday! (If such a thing exists).

 

Time is Running Out to Get The Wizard’s Gambit for $1.99

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Holy Guacamole, Batman, today’s the last day to get The Wizard’s Gambit for $1.99! At noon tomorrow the price goes back up to $2.99!, which is still cheaper than drive-thru.

If you haven’t gotten your copy, don’t dawdle. The clock is counting down! Follow the link here to the Amazon sales page to get your copy today!


The Wizards Gambit ebook cover

Blurb: Wizard White Beard had a plan, but destiny had something else in mind . . .

After 1,001 years of hostilities among the six—er—seven kingdoms, Wizard White Beard proposes a non-violent alternative to war—a scavenger hunt—to determine the fate of all! The rules are clear: no weapons and no bloodshed. Just clean, honest competition. Simple enough, if only the contestants would follow them. With the fate of the world at stake, it’s up to Mongrel, an orphan with an unconventional upbringing, to intercede. Joined by a hodgepodge group of misfits, including a gentle giant, a magically challenged elf, a feisty female dwarf, and a reluctant wizard’s apprentice, Mongrel just might stand a chance of winning—if he can survive!

A hilarious tale of magic, mayhem, and misadventure that turns the classic fantasy universe on its head. A must-read for anyone who enjoys comedic fantasy.

“Middle Earth meets Rudolph’s The Island of Misfit Toys.”

-Random Reviewer


 

For more information about the book, check out my sister’s non-biased review. Follow the link here.

And a big thank you to everyone for sharing my posts, tweets, etc. You guys have made this sale a success! Have a great weekend!

 

 

Attention Readers! The Wizard’s Gambit Kindle Countdown Deal Starts Monday!

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Attention Readers!

symbol colorFor those of you who haven’t gotten your hot little hands on a copy of my latest release, The Wizard’s Gambit, now’s your chance to get it at a discount! From February 22nd to February 25th  you can get a kindle copy for 0.99! Then until February 26th the book will be available for $1.99! After that, it goes back up to $2.99, which is still less than the price of a small coffee at Starbucks!

Can’t wait until then?

Follow the link here to the Amazon sales page. Available in both paperback and electronic formats! (BTW, sale applies to both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk)

Already have a copy?

If you already have your copy, not only do you rock, but you can also help me out by spreading the word. I’m still a new author and can use all of the help I can get. I’ll be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week as well as on Saturday next week on my Twitter, WordPress, and Facebook accounts if you want to share promotional material I’ve already created. I would be eternally grateful.

What is the book about:

Wizard White Beard had a plan, but destiny had something else in mind . . .

After 1,001 years of hostilities among the six—er—seven kingdoms, Wizard White Beard proposes a non-violent alternative to war—a scavenger hunt—to determine the fate of all! The rules are clear: no weapons and no bloodshed. Just clean, honest competition. Simple enough, if only the contestants would follow them. With the fate of the world at stake, it’s up to Mongrel, an orphan with an unconventional upbringing, to intercede. Joined by a hodgepodge group of misfits, including a gentle giant, a magically challenged elf, a feisty female dwarf, and a reluctant wizard’s apprentice, Mongrel just might stand a chance of winning—if he can survive!

A hilarious tale of magic, mayhem, and misadventure that turns the classic fantasy universe on its head. A must-read for anyone who enjoys comedic fantasy.

“Middle Earth meets Rudolph’s The Island of Misfit Toys.”

-Random Reviewer

Hungry for more?

Here’s a snip-it from chapter one to wet your whistle:

In the middle of a magical land stood, in a liberal sense of the word, a kingdom . . . or the ruins of one anyway. It had a wall—on two sides at least—and a castle, for lack of a better word. At the most it had potential. Not that anyone noticed. There, in the dusty remains of the castle’s throne room, Wizard White Beard and his apprentice, Margo, waited in anxious anticipation for the arrival of some very important guests. Well, Wizard White Beard was at least. Margo, it seemed, was quite content to just sit there on the edge of the dais while her mentor paced the length of the room, each impatient step echoing off the walls. All the while he stroked his beard and mumbled to himself, periodically pausing in his tracks to glance at the doorway before resuming his pacing.

Margo followed him with her eyes, the most movement he’d seen out of her all morning. After a while, she said, “Pacing isn’t going to bring them here any faster. You might as well just have a seat . . . unless you’re worried.”

He stopped and faced his apprentice, staring at her under the brim of his conical hat.* She shriveled under his critical gaze. He said, “A wizard, Miss Margo, has nothing to fear. He knows exactly what he’s doing and what needs to be done. It’s everyone else who’s fighting against destiny. If anyone should be worried, it’s them.”

“By them do you mean the leaders of the six kingdoms?” Margo was, of course, referring to the seven or so guests summoned by Wizard White Beard on this particular day for an intervention of sorts. After 1,001 years of war and hostilities among the kingdoms, Wizard White Beard decided he’d had enough. Of course, he hadn’t been entirely up front about the reason for this meeting or who was going to be in attendance either. He figured those details were best glossed over if he wanted anyone to show up at all. He only hoped they wouldn’t be too upset when they realized they’d been bamboozled.

“Six kingdoms?” He stared at his apprentice as though she were a grade-schooler and not a fifth-year apprentice. “Don’t you mean seven kingdoms?”

“No,” she said. “There are only six kingdoms. One of elves, one of dwarves, and four kingdoms of men: north, south, east, and west.” She counted off her fingers. “That only adds up to six. I believe you added one for the ogres by mistake.”

“I made no mistake,” he said indignantly. “There can’t just be six kingdoms, not when there could be seven.* Everyone knows that. Shows what you know.”

“Anyway . . . don’t you think the leaders of the six kingdoms—”

“Seven kingdoms.”

“Fine, seven kingdoms. Whatever. Don’t you think they’re going to be upset when they realize you’ve lured them here under false pretenses?” Margo asked. Her violet eyes bore into him like a termite.*

He managed not to shudder; in fact, he offered her an encouraging smile.

“Trust me, Margo. I’m a Master Wizard.”

Margo returned his gesture, but the smile did not reach her eyes, and it slid away quickly. He did not blame Margo for her unease. This was the first time she’d accompanied him outside of the city walls—the university, even. A “field trip” he’d called it, though it was anything but. A little nervousness was to be expected, even justified. But more likely, it was just her typical melancholy and had nothing to do with nerves.

“I just don’t see how you expect them to go along with this.”

“I don’t,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“To do what exactly?”

“To fulfill our roles as wizards.”

“Which is what specifically?”

He thought for a moment and said, “Well, according to The Complete Dullard’s Guide to Wizardry, which you have yet to read, the role of a wizard is to ensure that all predetermined or inevitable courses of events are fulfilled as prophesized.”

It was clear by her vacant expression a simpler explanation was in order. He cleared his throat and tried again.

“Consider these events: the crowning of a king, the dethroning of a dark lord, and the invention of the fish taco; what do they all have in common?”

“. . . Nothing.”

“Wrong! All of these events occurred, by will of destiny, with the help of a wizard. You see, wizards orchestrate all great happenings in this universe so things turn out exactly as they should. That is the role of a wizard. Does that make sense to you?”

“I think so,” said Margo, but her tone was uncertain. “I just don’t see how it’s possible to shape a deterministic universe governed by fate. I mean, if a course of events was meant to play out, wouldn’t they do so with or without the aid of a wizard?”

“Yes—er—no—er—oh, just look it up in The Complete Dullard’s Guide to Wizardry next time you’re in the library!”

“All right, all right. Don’t get your hat all bent out of shape.”

And now she was having a go at the hat. He doubted, as much as she mocked the hat, she even wanted one of her own.

“So why are we here, anyway?”

Finally, a new topic. “Ah, the age-old question that every person—”

“No, Wizard White Beard,” Margo cut him off. “I mean why are we here in this decrepit, old throne room?”

“Oh, right.” He cleared his throat. Even he had to admit the dusty old room didn’t inspire awe. But, according to record, it had once served as a meeting place for the great kings and queens of the seven kingdoms. Now only dust gathered here, apart from rats and spiders. A few birds built nests in the decorative beams above. Cracks climbed the walls like vines, and plaster crumbled to the floor. The rest of the castle was no better for wear and neither were the surrounding buildings for that matter. In fact, the whole city had fallen to ruin. A shame, Wizard White Beard thought, since so many hands had aided in its construction. Now it lay in ruins, much like the alliance among those who had built it.

He smirked. “I thought it fitting, considering this city used to be the great capitol and cultural hub of the six—er—seven kingdoms. That is, until everything turned sour. Also, this is the only place that has the sufficient space to host such a meeting and doesn’t require a reservation. Not to mention I saved a small fortune not having to rent out a conference room. Those can be rather pricey—”

“So, what broke up the alliance?” she asked him, pulling his derailed train of thought back on track. Her own attention wandered to the empty throne atop the raised dais. “Was there a fight for power or an argument over magical jewelry?”

“That’s just it! No one remembers. Yet after 1,001 years, they’re still fighting it out like cats and dogs, the fools.” He snorted. “This intervention was a long time coming.”

Margo was quiet before she scrounged up the courage to ask, “Are you sure this plan is going to work?”

“Of course I’m sure,” he said, heat rising to his cheeks. “How many times do I have to tell you before you’ll trust me?”

“Once or twice more might help.”

The nerve of that girl, baiting him when there were serious matters at hand. And if she had reservations about his plan, why had she waited so long to speak up? Sometimes he wished he’d never taken her on as his apprentice. Now was one of those times.

“Who’s the Master Wizard here, you or me?” He loomed over her like a foot over an ant, threatening to come down.

“Whatever.” She sighed, closing the hair in front of her face like a curtain, shutting her mentor out. “When your plan fails, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.”

Although they were mumbled, the words were as clear as day—well, not day, really—water more like, though not the water back in the city. It was more of a murky brown color. But anyway, her words stung. If ever he questioned his apprentice’s faith in him, it was now. Though he couldn’t honestly think of a time when she’d ever trusted him. Now would be a convenient time for her to start.


 

Footnotes:

* Upon the completion of wizard training, a wizard receives not only their hat and celestial robes but a moniker relating to the color of their beard—or fake beard for those incapable of growing their own (e.g. women and prepubescent teenage boys).

* All things—kingdoms, heavens, and hells—must come in sevens; it’s an unspoken rule in most fantasy realms.

* Violet-eyed people are invariably special, prone to possessing strange or mysterious talents. Those with black or red eyes, however, are always evil.


 

I hope you enjoyed the sample, if you have not already read the entire book. I hope you enjoy your visit to the six—er—seven kingdoms.

 

 

Voice Actor Jay W. Eccent Brings Characters from “Quest” to Life

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Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend . . . or plain old weekend for my friends abroad who do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Last week, I posted a list of 10 things indie authors have to be thankful for. On that list, I listed readers last, though I personally would place them at the top of the list. I just thought it would be more pungent to save them for last.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for readers, especially when they leave a review on Amazon or send me a private message telling me how much they enjoyed my book. And I can’t even begin to explain my excitement last week when one of my readers shared with me a voice recording they did of the prologue from my debut novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other, an Arthurian parody centered around Sir Kay and his quest for the illusive holy item.

The reader’s name is Jay W. Eccent. Jay is a talented artist as well as voice actor, it turns out. His recording of the prologue was absolutely fantastic and entertaining. It was just as good, if not better, than the recordings I’ve played for other audio books. The recording can be found here. Check it out!

I want to congratulate Jay on his fantastic voice acting and thank him for bringing my characters to life!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you again on Wednesday!

I Didn’t Feel Like Blogging Today So Here’s a Picture of an Astronaut Riding a Robotic Unicorn in Space

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It’s Monday . . . and I was planning on writing a really fun blog post . . . but I’m just not feeling it today, so here’s a picture of an astronaut riding a robotic unicorn in space. Please enjoy.

Please stay tuned for blog posts of content Wednesday and Friday this week. I promise, I’ll get off my lazy bum and hash out something worth reading. Until then, have a wonderful week!

 

A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

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October was a busy month for me as an author. Not only did I release my latest title, The Wizard’s Gambit, but I also participated in several author events as well.

On October 17th, I hosted an online book launch party to celebrate with long-distant friends the release of my new book. During the party, I served virtual cake and drinks while sharing information about my new book.

The following week, I hosted a physical book launch party for family, friends, and fans at Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery in Kokomo. Almost twenty people showed up, I believe, several more than I expected. I actually ran out of room at the table and had to request more chairs!

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Dr. Who endorses this produce or service.

For those who were unable to attend the book launch party on Friday, they were invited to stop by my booth during Saturday’s comic convention. The event was held at our local community event center. Nearly 1,500 people walked through the doors that day. A small portion of them stopped by my booth and purchased a signed copy of my book. I made more than enough to cover my booth fees and any related expenses. Plus, I got lots of people to sign up for my newsletter. My book found itself into the hands of new readers as well as returning fans, who told me how much they enjoyed my first novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. One fan, a high school student, informed me that she’d used my debut novel for a book report on comedic fiction. I was thrilled. Of all the events, this was probably the most successful, and I think it has a lot to do with the event I participated in the week before.

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Go geek or go home!

The week before Kokomo-Con, my sister and I were invited by one of our area school’s librarians to speak to her “geek group” about cosplay and Kokomo-Con. For many of these students, Kokomo-Con would be there first convention and cosplay event. So we created a fun powerpoint with information, photos, and advice for new cosplayers and presented it to the students after school during their club meeting. We talked about our own cosplay experience, the ups and downs, and offered some advice to new cosplayers and congoers. My sister even wore her new walking centaur costume. Of course I squeezed in some shameless self-promotion during the presentation.

The students loved us, and I saw many of them at my booth the following Saturday, eager to show off their costumes and learn more about my writing. I’m happy to say, I’ve been invited back to speak on writing/publishing/freelancing to her aspiring artists and writers. I can’t wait!

From my personal experience, I’d say author events are worth doing for one simple reason: to connect with readers. Writing is a solitary job and reading is a lonely activity. Put the reader and writer together and you get more than just a lonely reader and an invisible author, you get a connection.

Author events give authors a chance to engage readers in person, to see the reactions on their faces while describing their book. Readers get a chance to share their thoughts on the author’s work and to ask questions regarding the writing process. This interaction enhances the reader’s experience later on and inspires the author to keep writing. Plus, readers are more likely to purchase a book from someone they’ve actually met. Studies show that . . . somewhere. Just take my word for it.

For those of you who are planning on hosting an author’s event, I offer some simple advice:

  • Relax. Focus on having fun, not making sales.
  • Pump yourself up. Tell yourself this is going to be fun.
  • Lower your expectations. Face it, unless you’re Stephen King or George R. R. Martin, not that many people are going to care about your book, at least not right away.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation or bring a friend along to lessen the embarrassment.
  • Drink a martini beforehand. Or take a Xanax.
  • Practice talking about your book BEFORE the event.
  • Offer free bookmarks and/or candy to lure people to your booth.
  • Smile and engage potential readers. Be social.
  • Decorate your booth with a tablecloth and eye-catching items to draw people’s attentions. Make sure your books are visible.
  • Provide incentives, like a giveaway, to encourage people to visit your booth and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Offer the book or books at a discounted price to entice them to purchase the book now rather than later.
  • Offer to sign books purchased in person.
  • Stay positive. Even if you want to die.

Authors, put yourselves out there. Schedule an event at your local library. Host a read-in at the popular coffee shop. Face down your fears so you can connect!