Friday, February 27, 2009
I've said it previously, and meant it, it's important to feed your brain and heart the right stuff to thrive. I was raised on motivational authors like Zig Ziglar and his classic, See You at the Top. This is a prime title for me to revisit on the eve of the South Carolina Book Festival where I'll be meeting readers and writers and making important connections.
Reading motivational authors gives me a mental boost. I read fiction to escape, but non-fiction, especially authors who address goal setting and mind stretching are a vital part of my brain's diet. Another classic full of lessons that have stuck with me is Norman Vincent Peale's Power of Positive Thinking. If only more people cracked this open regularly.
Reading motivational authors provides an improved perspective. John Maxwell has an incredible arsenal of books on leadership and attitude, one of my favorites for personal development is Your Road Map For Success and another great staple is The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset.
Reading motivational authors empowers me. Developing your can-do spirit is one of the best ways to spend your time. When you realize your skills and have a plan to move forward, you feel better on the journey. There are all kinds of factors in life that tell us we can't or shouldn't, it helps to have words of wisdom to counter that negativity. Og Mandino's bestseller The Greatest Salesman in the World is a quick read and a fast mental adjustment for the better.
In any line of work - at home or in a formal place of employment, keeping a positive attitude and healthy outlook is vital. I know I wouldn't have any published titles to my credit without the encouragment I found from motivational authors and positive people in my life.
Go find your personal motivator today!
Books at Quake and Echelon Press
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Thursday, February 26, 2009
My publisher, Karen Syed of Echelon Press and Quake, has arrived safely. It's always a pleasure to have her stay with us during the SC Book Festival every February.
My kids know her as Auntie-Publisher and it's been a mutual admiration society between the three of them since the day Karen bought my Justice Incarnate manuscript. While the annual trip to Sonic is off the agenda - for good reasons - I know my kids are excited to host one of their (and my) favorite people.
It's an honor - and always fun- to have Karen stay with us for a few days of business mixed with loads of laughter and fun.
Stay posted for pics and updates from this positively entertaining, book-selling whirlwind of a weekend.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Confidence. Writers need it, but how do they get it? They write.
And write some more.
And just when they know they rock! they get the rejection that sends them into a tailspin of doubt, doubt and more doubt.
Here are three tips for keeping your writing confidence high in the face of rejection:
Set it aside. Once you realize it's a rejection letter, reclaim control. Make a note on your submissions record that you got a response and go do something else. No one says you have to deal with it right now.
Look for the positive. If it's anything more than a form letter- that's a plus. No, really it is. Maybe there's some nugget from the editor or agent that will help you make the manuscript stronger for the next round.
Get back in the saddle. Or the rocking chair, or wherever you write best. Because you'll never reach your goal to rock the publishing world if you stop trying.
Find me at Teen-Seen today!
Discover a world of teens that rock!
Find a new favorite author in the Missing anthology!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Swing by her myspace page and read my answers to her great questions and then feel free to join the chat at Thrills, Chills and Romance.
We'll have a great time!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I was busy with high school career fairs last Thursday and Friday so I didn't take time to bookmark as much good news as I would've liked, but this terrific article about sportsmanship and what's really important in life caught my eye.
There was more news of note at the career fair. I found teens hopeful and excited about the future and that energy is absolutely contagious. I'd like to thank Stratford High School for having me in, the SHS culinary arts department for fabulous pasta salad (among many other fab food items) and I'd like to thank the students for so many good questions about what it takes to be an author. If you didn't stop by my table, here are a few things I shared with those who did:
Imagination this is imperative for fiction writers, but don't rule it out for non-fiction genres. It takes a creative spirit to find the new angle on a topic so that people get interested, or renew their interest.
Love of reading is also crucial for those who want to write. You can learn so much about plot, editing, etc from a well crafted book.
Love of writing is the obvious point, but what kids often overlook is that the more you write, the better you get. It works for fiction, bloggers, journalists, etc. Because every time you write anything you are strengthening your skills in that area.
Of course grammar skills and computer and keyboarding skills are important factors in a writer's career, but if you've got the first three, you can learn the rest, I'm living proof!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Look what I found...Austin's secret journal! This is like the holy grail of details on every cute guy on the planet! It's like alphabetized and everything. I mean, seriously, check this out under Tanner, Grant:
Currently ranked 25th out of the 582 in our graduating class.
He's crushing on the Amazon.
West Point football coach invited him for a school visit.
Whoa. He plays football and he's smart? Who knew. And ugh about the Amazon. (That's what we call Brie's neighbor Sierra). Guess everyone's gotta love someone, she's just such an annoying sort of bully. Westpoint?!? Really? That's seriously impressive. How does Austin get these sorts of details?
Now, here's a page out of The Pixie Chicks (that series Regan writes about us). Just fyi, in the mini scene below, I've walked to Brie's place after ditching the lame veggie only dinner at my house. Brie's all tweaked and distracted about the evening's plan to walk through Hobbitville - but I'm getting ahead of myself. Must be the hunger. Read on:
Brie was still brooding a little when Lana arrived at the house.
"...I thought they'd never let me off the leash." She went straight for the pantry, pulling out chips and cookies. "If my mom asks, we did some homework and a Pilates routine before we ate carrot and celery sticks for dinner." She dropped the snacks long enough to put her hands in a prayer pose. "Tell me you ordered an extra large meat feast pizza just for me. College will be soo awesome–hey–what's wrong? Where's your necklace?"
"...Sierra threatened to tell that we sneak out," she said to distract Lana.
"Chick is overrated. And over tall. As if we can't amuse ourselves without Hobbitville tonight."
"Shush," Brie snapped, glancing at the intercom settings.
Lana shrugged. "Isn't Mom F in her happy place yet?"
Brie snorted smothering her laughter. "Yeah, she took the pill a few minutes ago. I had to promise to apologize to all of you for her absence."
"College will be soooo awesome," Lana repeated. "Sweet freedom here I come."
"Remind me to tattoo a warning label on your forehead. And we are going tonight."
Lana's face transformed into pure mischief. "Ooo," she reached out and drummed her fingertips on Brie's head, "what's brewing in there?" ---
Gotta run, but I'll be back soon with more juicy news from Austin's diary. If you can't wait, go on and buy the first Pixie Chicks now from Fictionwise or Quake!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This is great news. It means you've got the power!
Motivational gurus and other smart people (like my dad) will tell you attitude is everything - and they're right! As a kid my dad was big on having a positive outlook, no matter what, and sometimes I couldn't resist replying with "I'm positive that won't work!"
Funny, you say? Yeah, I'm a laugh a minute, but today I'm thankful for those life lessons.
Everyone faces challenges - big and small. Our mental approach is key to reaching the goal in spite of the obstacle. Here are a few tips to keep you thinking positive, amidst the general bad news and negativity that abounds:
1. Look at what is, rather than what is not. It's a cup half full sort of thing. You have a goal to write 5 pages a day, but you only got in two. Celebrate that you've made forward
progress and get back to it at the next opportunity.
2. Change the channel. Absorbed with yourself and the wall you're banging your head against? Look around and see who you can reach out to with a kind word or helping hand. Giving of yourself is often the best way to open your mind to positive solutions.
3. Create a happy place. In your head, or in the world, create some place that is yours alone. It can be a cup of tea, a garden corner, your private journal or a photo collection, but it has to soothe you and make you smile.
4. Feed your brain and heart with good stuff from food to books to TV. Just like healthy food keeps your body in top shape, healthy input keeps your mind sharp and your heart light. World awareness is important, just don't get so mired in troubling news that you can't see the beautiful people doing good things too.
(by the way, that determined feline above is Sterling. He's a beloved member of Regan's Zoo and boasts powerful motivating skills)
Pixie Chicks and Missing, both available now!
Check the new look at the website or tweet me
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Writers at any level often need a boost to get into the business of the day. For me, just that one minute free-flow exercise can get my head and hands ready to dive into my current work-in-progress. That's a very useful tool to keep in my writer's tool box. (and it beats banging my head against the keyboard).
My dad, whom I happen to consider a wise person, (now that I'm no longer a kid) always said writers write. And he's write, er, right. If you aspire to anything in the written realm, it's going to take a daily writing effort to get there. Through my professional life I've met writers who credit success to their vow to write at least 100 words a day and others who trace their NYTimes bestseller stardom back to the simple joy of writing daily.
Yup, writers write, no matter the genre or specific career, writers work with words to create a lasting impression. That takes commitment, but the result is worth the discipline, because the general rule is the more you write, the better you get. Wanna be great? Go write!
Pixies now available at Quake!
Regan's zoo news at the website
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Why I read books more than once is the topic of the day. I don't think re-reading means you lack intelligence. Unless you never try another author (there's a wealth of talent at Quake, btw!)
While I don't consider every book worth a repeat, I have some favorites that evoke specific emotions, or carry me off on an adventure so great I want to relive it. These books are keepers, the timeless stories I go back to again and again.
Like the magnificent Narnia C.S. Lewis created, or Anne McCaffrey's Pern filled with danger and dragons. There are trilogies by Nora Roberts that take me straight back to characters who feel like good friends and give me comfort whenever I need it.
And sometimes I reread a series in anticipation of the next release, like when I waited (rather impatiently) for twelve years for Jean Auel to finish her Earth's Children series. As much as I loved the books, I needed the refresher.
Do you have favorite authors or titles on your keeper shelf (or e-shelf)? What made those books stand out for you?
Don't be left out - Pixies are shaking up Quake readers!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Click here for a great article on the 'Original American Idol' and government holidays in general.
Can you name all the presidents between Washington and Obama? How about the state names and capitol cities? Do you have a favorite president and a reason you admire him so?
Why not make today more about appreciating those who've served our nation, rather than just the two for one sale down at the car lot.
Pixies at Quake
Zoo news at the website
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Last week, despite the news that offends Toby, I found several uplifting stories and wanted to share.
Alex Greven, a well-spoken nine-year-old took an in-class writing assignment and turned it into a bestseller. How toTalk to Girls is the first of a series by this young author.
Then, amidst the horrific tragedies of the Australian wildfires, there's a moment of kindness and hope. The picture of the koala drinking from the firefighter's water bottle made the rounds, and the follow up article is packed with good news too.
That takes me to the terrific interview Sandra Bullock gave to InStyle, especially the question asked by Elizabeth D. of NYC. As a mother of teens, Ms. Bullock's answers about growing up, and the lessons she learned about being true to yourself were wonderful. If you have a teen, are a teen, or know a teen, this interview is worth the time to read!
Click here for Pixie Chicks by Quake
Friday, February 13, 2009
Bake a cake - Simplest thing in the world with a three ingredient recipe! I found the recipe in the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook. She's got more recipes here.
Amazing Ice Cream Cake
1 box white cake mix,
2 cups melted ice cream (any flavor - get creative)
and 3 eggs.
Mix all ingredients until smooth and bake at 350
(follow the cake mix recommendations for the baking time that matches the type of pan you're using.)
While it's baking you can check out Love Me Love My Book interviews like the ones at
Sam Morton's blog : Sam interviews a Pixie Chick
A. Montgomery's blog : Connor interviews Guy and friends
Christine V.'s blog : Gus interviews a ghost
Or you can chime in at Teen-Seen for some spooky Friday the 13th discussions! And cruising for great reads (or Valentines gifts) at Quake is time well spent!
Just don't forget to listen for the timer! When the cake is done and cooled, decorate it to suit the occasion! Your special someone will be so impressed!
Spooky stuff at teen-seen today!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I'm proud that publisher Karen Syed invited me to be part of the project and I'm thrilled to be in the company of such names as Luisa Buehler, Norm, J. R. Turner, Bob Goldsborough, Amy Alessio, and J.A. Konrath, to name just a few.
Click here to buy your own copy.
It's a sweetheart of a deal for you as the reader, and for the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children because they get the proceeds!
Catch up with me at Teen-Seen or the website.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Ever get stuck in your story?
I sure have been in that place many a time, feeling very upside down and not a little worried. I can't label it as writer's block because the words still flow, but they've carried me to a prickly place I'm not sure the characters can get out of.
That's when I want someone to just give me a tug so I can get everyone back on track. Since writing is often solitary, usually you have to find your own way out of the mess. For me that means journaling, interviewing the character, or even mopping the floor.
What do you do to get yourself out of a particularly prickly passage?
See an Interview with a Pixie here
Find Pixie Chick profiles on my website
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Quake authors are shakin' things up again with a special interview series for Valentine's day:
Love Me, Love My Book!
Sam Morton, author of the police thriller, Disavowed, Quake's Death Match, and the August 09 arrival of Betrayed for Quake, is also excellent at getting to the heart of an interview! He has all the details on Brianna Fairchild, of Pixie Chicks fame, ready and waiting for you!
Click here to see the whole Q&A on Sam's blog.
Happy Reading - and thanks Sam!
Click here to buy Pixies and learn all the details first hand!
Don't ignore the social issues that are slated for discussion at lunch...like school budget cuts, censorship, and most importantly - did the guy or girl you like just check you out???
But Friday...that's worth dwelling on. Plans need to be made. Marching the halftime show, watching movies all night at a friend's place, and best of all - the weekly walk through the Hobbitville garden of mystery.
Any adventure on your agenda? Click here to buy your first pixie powered adventure today!
Pixie profiles at my website!
Great news from Quake authors over at Teen Seen too!
Monday, February 9, 2009
A friend recently related a story of her cheering up bummed out kids on a Monday. She explained the simple truth: It's not Monday's fault. Poor Monday simply wants to be loved as much as a Friday, he's just gotten bad press over the centuries.
My friend has a point. The sun doesn't rise differently, but we tend to groan more when the alarm goes off on Monday. (personally I groan loudest on days when my son has an 06:00 hockey game and we're in the rink before the sun's up - but that's another post)
If Sunday was historically named for the sun, and Monday for the moon, is that enough to make us hate poor Monday? One answer could be that Monday was also known as blue day, because they did laundry with actual blue dye back then. Of course Monday gets another strike against it because of the superstition that people went a little nutty on Monday because of it's ties to the moon. Lunar - looney - you get the idea.
Calendars and structured weeks have morphed through history, ever since people started keeping track. For example, the Byzantine Empire started their year on 1 September, but they didn’t count years since the birth of Christ, instead they counted years since the creation of the world which they dated to 1 September 5509 B.C.E. (exerpt from webexhibits.org).
So as you go through your day, give Monday a little love. It's not Monday's fault some scholar declared it the back to work day. And if you need a respite from your schedule, click here to buy Pixie Chicks...it's the perfect way to perk up your lunch break.
visit my website
find me on Quake!
Friday, February 6, 2009
For today, the answer is right there --->
I read YA to resolve the conundrum of what to do on a Friday night, or how best to fill a free minute between blog posts, carpool, and Twitter tweets.
It used to be (back in the days of dinosaurs) I'd fight off boredom by cartwheeling all the way to a friend's place - er, cave - rather than walking like a normal person. Or a bunch of us would grab the town's ghost guide and hang out hoping to get haunted.
I know, the excitement is overwhelming.
These days my back cries at the mere memory of cartwheeling - making me feel older than many local ghosts - so YA books keep my thinking youthful, keep me happily entertained, and give me fabulous topics of conversation with my kids.
YA books are a great escape hatch from real life. I can venture into another world where no one needs me to solve the daily mysteries of 'what's for dinner?' and 'why did the reindeer sock get matched with the penguin sock?' (as if the world spins off its axis when socks don't match)
Need your own escape hatch? Just click here to buy a one way ticket to your own fresh adventure with those dynamic Pixie Chicks.
Pixie Profiles now at the website!
Click here to see all the latest titles from Quake!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Power up your inner Pixie!
Pixie Chicks by Quake
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I love the prompt on the One Minute Writer blog today: write about something you stole (real or fiction). This is an excellent prompt that can take you anywhere, even through time.
Rewind my life to the age of four and you'd find me standing with my parents at the cash register of Dad's favorite restaurant. There was a bowl of candy right at eye level (those chocolate creme mints in shiny wrappers). Yum. That was all I was thinking. Maybe the shine mesmerized me, I certainly blame the resulting glare for dimming the price label...but I digress.
My little paw sneaked out there and nabbed one shiny yummy candy - ta-dah! Pride and success quickly faded beneath parental disapproval and lengthy lectures on the perils of crime. I listened (still clinging to the candy like any good four year old) and must've had the puppy eyes, because the employee offered to let me to keep it. Possibly because the chocolate layer was melting...
Anyway, I wasn't hauled away to the pokey (my first official ride in a police car didn't come for a-whole-nother year) but I wasn't allowed to keep the candy either, because I didn't have the nickel to pay for it. Tough lesson.
Fast forward to present day and ask me if I've learned the moral? Sure - stealing chocolate means you have to settle for the parts that melted on your fingers and you miss all the yum of the gooey center. Even now, I carry a quarter or two, just for the mints by the register.
As for fictional thefts, Pixie Chick Brianna Fairchild finds a ransom note where her favorite necklace should be. If she wants it back, she'll have to brave the mysterious Hobbitville gardens.
Now go write your own stuff! And when you're ready to relax with a good read in your favorite genre, try one of the Quake authors!
Click here to power up your inner Pixie!
Check the website for updates on Regan's zoo.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Today only, buy ANY book or download for $3 or more from http://echelonpress.com/directory.htm and receive a FREE download of your choice.
While Pixie Chicks is an excellent value at only $2, it doesn't quite qualify. So why not give DFF by JR Turner a try? It's a great book for YA ghost story fans. Not sure? Then read more about it at Teen-Seen today. Or for the fantasy lover you know, try Surviving Serendipity by Jacquelyn Sylvan.
Here's an idea, buy Heat of the Moment, a book full of 21 great stories! You'll discover a wealth of talented and engaging authors, help an important cause - the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County - and you'll qualify for a FREE download in the genre of your choice.
So many options...what are you waiting for? Click here to find your special today!
Monday, February 2, 2009
If you need a getaway, try the Anderson Ocean Club and Spa in Myrtle Beach -they absolutely rock when it comes to service, convenience and value!
Pixies at play on Quake
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