Monday, February 27, 2012

Spreading The News (February)

I went through my e-mail inbox and gathered together a whole load of cool stuff to pass along.

I write at home and sometimes, at work. (Shhh. Don't tell my boss! Oh, wait...I AM the boss.) Anyway, I use Word at work and Works or OpenOffice at home. Whenever I wanted to work on a document at work, I would have to copy, paste, and e-mail it to myself or use a thumb drive. Then, I'd have to re-format it and do it all over again. of our customers works for AT&T. Whenever he comes in for an oil change, he shows me the newest gadget and lets me try it out. This last time, he told me about Dropbox.

When you download Dropbox on your computer, you can create a public space for files and photos. So, I can drop Chapter 11 into the dropbox at home and open it at work. I can type where I left off and then save it. when I open Chapter 11 at home, I can continue on. I love it!! Now, there's no more excuses for not writing during a slow afternoon or during my lunch break.

Although I haven't tried it yet, Dropbox would be great for critique groups. Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage. Every time you invite a friend to join, BOTH you AND your friend get an additional 250MB of storage.

Want to give it a try? Send me an e-mail at deestan62 @ gmail (dot) com. I will send you an invite and we'll both win. Did I mention this is all FREE???

Peter Halasz, a writer from Australia, created these cheat sheets for NaNoWriMo and they are available for download. There is one sheet for Characters and another for Plot. I printed them out and read through them once. More than a dozen story ideas popped into my head! These sheets are prominently tacked to my new gigantor-humongous bulletin board. Enjoy!

I know I've mentioned them in another post here but that was so 'last year'. Sign up for Blue Cubicle Press' newsletters and they will e-mail you their first line prompts. Use the first line in a story (see Guidelines)
They pay $30 for fiction and $20 for non-fiction.
Here are the remaining prompts for 2012:

Summer 2012 (Submissions due May 1, 2012)--Rachel's first trip to England didn't go as planned.

Fall 2012 (Submissions due August 1, 2012)--A light snow was falling as Charlie Reardon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street.

Winter 2012 (Submissions due November 1, 2012)--Sometimes, when it's quiet, I can remember what my life was like before moving to Cedar Springs.

Sign up for their free newsletter and receive 2 free e-books! They also offer free workshops and valuable info on writing, publishing, and marketing. That's a whole lot of FREE stuff and FREE is always good.

New Agents

Carlie Webber of the Jane Rotrosen Agency:

Seeking YA (any and all genres) horror, mystery, thriller, romance. On her wish list: anything set in the grunge era, GLBTQ for YA, High-concept YA, genre mash ups (like paranormal romantic suspense.)  Read all submission guidelines carefully before querying.

Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary:

Seeking YA, MG, and adult fiction in the contemporary, paranormal, women's, and romance genres. Cookbooks with a unique perspective, beautifully written historical and/or literary fiction are also on her wish list. Read all query guidelines before submitting.

Erin Harris of Skolnick Literary:

Seeking literary novels with compelling plots and international settings, noirs, literary thrillers, and YA and MG novels that transport her to magical places. Please read the submission guidelines before querying.


Here's an idea for a never-ending supply of writing prompts: Choose a completed story by another author (or use one of your own!) Use the last line to begin a new story. You can use the same characters or create new ones.

Well, that's all I have for you this month, but don't worry, I've got lots more stuff to share next month!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction"--Book Thoughts

"Inspiration and Discipline-Volume 2"

I'm not very talkative (until you get to know me, then I'll talk your ear off) and I rarely comment on blogs. I just sort of lurk around and take it all in.
I'm not very lucky either. Once in a while I'll win $5.00 on a lottery scratch-off.

One day, not too long ago, while catching up on my blogs, I commented on a post at Donna McDine's Write What Inspires You blog. The stars must have been perfectly aligned because not only was I talkative that day, I was also lucky! That's right, I was the 'one lucky commenter' who won this book.

Now, I'll be honest, I've got about 20-25 reference books about writing on my shelf that I still haven't opened yet. Hmm. Maybe that's why I can't get many things published. **Note to self: Start reading those books.** Anyway, I put this book on the 'To be read' pile in my living room and kind of forgot about it. Last week, I was dusting and accidentally knocked the pile onto the floor. When I picked up this book, I flipped it open to a random page and was immediately hooked. Since I have a touch of ADD, which becomes more apparent every day, I stopped dusting, sat down, and opened to page one. Needless to say, my dusting never got done that day, but I had made it a quarter of the way through the book.

I am familiar with Glimmer Train. I've submitted to them a few times when I was just starting out and decided to wait awhile to submit again. Yeah, I was very brave about submitting. **Shakes head and hopes Glimmer Train forgets about the horrible stuff I sent them.**

This little green book is full of interview excerpts. Interviews by more than one hundred authors who talk about their writing lives, family support (and even the lack of), personal approaches, and even writer's block. In the process of reading this book, I've jotted down a number of authors whose works I need to read, I've learned a few different views about writing, but most of all, I've gotten inspiration.

This book is too good to put on the shelf. So, I'd like one of you to read it also. Yup, I'm passing this book on to one lucky commenter. Let's do this all scientific-like--I'm thinking of a number from 1-20. Guess the number, and I'll send it to your front door.  Ready? Go...

Do you have a book suggestion or your own published book you'd like me to read? Drop me an e-mail at

Monday, February 13, 2012

Author Spotlight--Kim Curley

Kim Curley began her writing journey in 2008, taking an online course titled, 'How To Sell Your Fiction Novel.' With the encouragement of a friend from work, she enrolled in a correspondence course and became a 2010 graduate from the Institute of Children's Literature of West Redding, Connecticut. In 2009, she became a member of SCBWI-Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Although she enjoys writing children's lit, her goal is to branch out and write for adults as well. She prefers writing fiction/fantasy, to provide escapism for readers everywhere. "I write what I would want to read, when I get the chance to read." A housewife and mother, she resides in the Pacific Northwest. Her story for Wicked East Press Sci-Fi/Apocalypse Anthology, "Earth's End," titled, "Faith: An Apocalypse Story," is her first published piece for a book.

Earth's End: Anthology, edited by Rebecca Besser and published by Wicked East Press, was released on January 26, 2012.

~Welcome, Kim! Thank you so much for joining us today. Congratulations on your recent success!

Thank you so much for having me visit your blog, Denise. And thanks for the congrat's on the story-I'm really excited about it! *jumps up-&-down* Okay-I'm done...for now!

~Which do you prefer writing--novels or short stories?

Both have their challenges, so I'd have to say both. However, I'm "long in the tooth," so writing novels fits how and what I write. Short stories are a great way to brush up your writing skills though!

~I see in your bio that you enjoy writing fantasy. Now that you have a Horror story under your belt, do you think you'll write more in that genre?

I'd like to write for all genres, as each one has a different "voice." We should all go outside our "bubble" and try something new. A writer might find their niche in something opposite what they originally started writing!

~I've never written Horror but I love to read it. I know we share the same love for Stephen King. One of my favorite books by him is The Stand. What's your favorite Stephen King book and why?

I haven't gotten through The Stand, so my hats off to you. Most of his books are on my "To Read" list. "Christine" is one of my favorites, but then I LOVE antique cars, so there's a personal connection I have with the story (and no, I've never had a possessed car, darn it!!). I admire Stephen King's book, "On Writing." A short book, Mr. King cuts out all the BS of most books about writing and just gets to the point. Some people say its an autobiography, but it isn't. The book is about his journey to becoming a writer, with tidbits of useful information throughout.

~Kim, your story, "Faith: An Apocalyptic Story," is one of the hair-raising stories featured in Earth's End. Could you tease us with an excerpt?

"Throwing the door open and entering, she found herself in a makeshift lab; test tubes, microscopes, and petri dishes sat on a granite counter top. Further into the elongated room, an autoclave rested in a corner. She came to a set of swinging doors and pushed through them, entering another room, which was much smaller than the first. The tabletops here were cluttered with Bunsen burners, beakers, flasks, and microscopes. She stared at the mess, not sure of what she was looking for. Curiosity eventually got the better of her, and she leaned over a microscope, searching for a clue. Her eyes widened in surprise at the sight: blood samples showing human and lion compounds stared her in the face–an intermingling of the species. She turned away from the eyepiece, as she’d just witnessed proof that the Atlanteans had, in fact, been trying to make an animal/human hybrid.

She swore under her breath, casting glances around the room, when her eyes lit upon what she’d been hunting for. Clutching the thin piece of metal she’d taken from the man, she took three giant steps to the door, inserted the key, and turned the lock. After she heard a dull click, she pushed the door handle down, and was met with an awful stench as she opened it: a mixture of urine, fecal matter, and iron.

There were oil lamps in this dungeon area, casting odd shadows on the walls. Steel bars separated her from whatever, or whomever, lay in wait in the darkness.

A moan escaped from something, or someone, in the cage closest to her, adding to her anxiety." ~ Faith: An Apocalyptic Story by Kim Curley - Earth's End

~Animal/human hybrids? A laboratory? Yikes! This excerpt is full of tension. You've got my attention! How and when can we get a copy of Earth's End?

This book is AVAILABLE NOW!! Check out Amazon, or Pill Hill Press:  

~What other projects are you working on and where can we find more of your work?

I have two nonfiction pieces for Hidden Thoughts Press that have been accepted for publication: one is a nonfiction submission about my struggles with JRA-juvenile rheumatoid arthrits in "It's Weighing on Your Mind," anthology. That's coming out in the near future. The second, another nonfiction piece. This one is about anxeity/panic disorders, for another Hidden Thoughts Press anthology. I've got a kids fiction novel I really want to get done by spring so that I can take it to a regional SCBWI conference. As far as other future projects: there are several binders full of stories just waiting to be completed! 

~Kim, thank you so much for joining us today. I'm looking forward to getting my copy of Earth's End: Anthology. Good luck with your future endeavors. 

Thank you so much, Denise! I've been really fortunate to have found myself surrounded by talented writers who are personable and professional. I owe a lot of who I am to them all!

Follow Kim Curley's Blog and follow her on Twitter!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fun Facts For February

First, I want to share my good news! My poem, "The Beast," appears on SNM Horror Magazine's website for the Feb/Mar issue of  Dark Poetry. Although I am not a horror writer, I leave that to the professionals I know (Rebecca Besser, being one of them) I have written some dark poetry on those dark days when I've felt less sunshiney than usual. I just happened to have The Beast on hand and ready to go, when I stumbled upon the website. I was thrilled to get an acceptance and I'm almost looking forward to having another one of those less-than-happy days to see what else I can come up with. Well, enough about me, let's talk about:

February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The Romans originally considered winter a monthless period!

February is the shortest month and the only month with fewer than 30 days. February has 28 days in common years, and 29 days in leap years. 2012 is a leap year!  In leap years, February is also the only month that ends on the same weekday it begins.

People born before February 19th are born under the sign of Aquarius. Those born on and after February 19th are considered Pisces. Their birth flower is the violet and the primrose, and the birthstone is amethyst. Amethysts symbolize piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.

Some Events in February:

February 1

St. Brigid's Day is celebrated in Ireland. St Brigid is the patron saint of cattle and dairy. Here's a link with instructions on how to make a St. Brigid's Cross.

February 2

Imbolc is the festival of the lactating sheep. Seeds are blessed and agricultural tools are consecrated. Traditional festival activities include candle lighting, stone gathering, hiking in the snow, and lighting bonfires. Imbolc marks the halfway point of winter and is believed to be the origin of--

Groundhog Day.  Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog that lives on dog food and ice cream in a town library, is transported to Gobbler's Knob once a year. The United States and Canada await his forecast of how much longer winter will last.  

February 14

Valentine's Day, a day commemorating love and affection, is celebrated in most countries by giving loved ones hearts, candy, and flowers. The US Greeting Card Association estimates that 190 million valentine cards are sent each year in the US. According to the Society of American Florists, over 110 million roses are sold each Valentine's Day in the US.

February 20 (2012)

Presidents' Day,celebrated in the United States, on the third Monday in February, is combined holiday, commemorating  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays.

February is National...

Embroidery Month
Chocolate Lover's Month (Hmmm. I wonder if this is somehow connected to Valentine's Day.)
Black History Month
American Heart Month
Pet Dental Health Month
Grapefruit Month
Blah Buster Month and
Return Carts to the Supermarket Month.

Famous Birthdays in February:

February 2
James Joyce (1882)-Irish novelist and poet. Author of Ulysses, Finnegan's Wake, and many others.

February 3
Norman Rockwell (1894)-American painter and illustrator.

James Michener (1907)-American Pulitzer prize winner, who wrote more than 40 novels including, Tales of the South Pacific and Centennial.

February 7
Sinclair Lewis (1885)-American writer, playwright, and Nobel prize winner, known for Babbitt.

Charles Dickens (1812)-Considered the greatest English novelist of the Victorian Era.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867)-Author of the Little House on the Prairie novels.
February 8
John Grisham (1955)-American lawyer and author, best known for his legal thrillers, such as The Firm.
Jules Verne (1928)-French author, known for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and A Journey to the Center of the Earth.

February 12
Judy Blume (1938)-American children's and YA author, known for Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret, and many others.

February 18
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848)-American artist and designer, known for his creations in stained glass.

February 21
Anais Nin (1903)-A French-Cuban author, best known for her journals and erotica.

February 23
Donna J. Stone (1933)-American poet and philanthropist.

February 26
Victor Hugo (1802)-French writer and author of Les Miserables.

February 27
John Steinbeck (1902)-American Pulitzer prize winner of The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807)-American poet whose works include Paul Revere's Ride and The Song of Hiawatha.