Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Fell Into Fall This Year, and I Can't Get Up!

I'm a teacher by day. So, this time of year is very busy for me. I tend to kind of disappear from all social life in mid-August and not resurface until the end of September.

This year, though, it was a bit different. I got sick.

Teachers hate missing school. It's hard to get a good substitute, and preparing lessons for a substitute to teach is WAY more difficult than simply teaching them yourself. If teachers should be sainted, as some claim, substitute teachers should at least be granted lifetime free coffee. It's a hard row to hoe, standing in for the teacher.

I would certainly never miss days this early in the school year by choice. Those first few weeks are essential for establishing patterns and relationships. But my body disagreed. I started with a sore throat. That turned to fever and chills, and by the end of it all, I missed eight school days in a row. That's at least six years in middle school time.

The days after being absent are a second exercise in futility, digging through email, voicemail, meeting minutes, miscommunications, misunderstandings (both purposeful and accidental) and excuses by the mile. I've just gotten through that part now. I missed eight school days and it took another eight to straighten out the mess.

So here I am, nearly at the end of September and wondering where the heck my month went. I want a do-over!

I won't be able to go back in time, so I guess the best I can do is set some goals for how to move forward.

Balls I dropped in September:

  • Any attempt at physical fitness
  • Organized meal plans for the family
  • A variety of school paperwork
  • Making more than the minimum daily word count
  • Keeping up with laundry
  • That "organize the garage" plan
  • Correspondence
  • Articles for GeekDad (I'm supposed to write two a month)
  • Reading The Brothers Karamazov for book club
  • yardwork
  • finding the dining room table
  • romance
  • more than minimal personal hygiene
  • several deadlines
Whew! How did I ever juggle all those? Which one do you think I should pick back up first? 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Curiosity Quills: August Releases Blog Tour

New books!  There's something so exciting about a new book. It's a world of possibilities, full of promise. And Curiosity Quills Press (the same press that brought you Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel by yours truly) just released some winners. I'm pleased to be a part of the August releases blog tour. I'll be reviewing these books in the next few weeks over on Goodreads and Amazon. But for now, let me just show you what we've got coming out.

The Accidental Superheroine by J.R. Rain and Kris Carey released on August 3, 2015.

BLURB: When newly-coined physicist Mira Verborgen sprung for a cushy internship at CERN, she did not expect to end up working side by side with sensitive European hottie, Giancarlo Colombo, or the sudden-onset case of butterflies whenever he’s around.

Nor did she expect the two of them to end up the inadvertent subjects of a megalomaniac Russian scientist’s deadly energy experiment. Instead of their budding relationship being cut short along with their material existence, the pair develops a startling mutation. A mutation that puts them in the crosshairs of Swiss, French, and American governments - not to mention the dastardly Dr. Gavrilov.

With CERN held hostage by Gavrilov and his rapidly-evolving superpowers, do Mira and Giancarlo have what it takes to own their mutation and protect the free world, before it’s too late?


Archon's Queen by Matthew Cox released on August 10, 2015 and continues The Awakened series (begun with Prophet of the Badlands in April).

BLURB: Secrets, guilt, and shame―Annabelle Morgan has them all in droves. Fortunately, only one can kill her.

Anna’s gift, psionic control of electricity, tends to go haywire in moments of high emotion. One such episode leaves her homeless after her father’s “accidental” death. She ekes out a modest life as a thief and freelance enforcer until a close call with a murderous government agency makes her turn to Zoom―a powerful hallucinogenic street drug that numbs her mind so the monster cannot get out.

Her safety blanket becomes a devouring pit.

In 2413 London, Anna lives in the gutter, unable to even keep work as an exotic dancer and prostitute. After ignoring her only friend’s pleas for years, it takes a pimp telling her she is too addicted to be useful to realize just how lost she is.

When a young addition to her circle of vagrants attaches to her, Anna attempts to turn away from Zoom. A job from her old handler ends on shaky ground, but introduces her to Doctor James Mardling, a university professor looking for people just like her. He offers the one thing she has always longed for: dignity.

His price, however, may just be too much to pay.


Homunculus & The Cat by Nathan Croft released on August 31, 2015.  

BLURB:  Homunculus and the Cat - Just a typical kitten saves the afterlife story, disguised as a book about death.

In a world where every culture’s mythology is real, Medusa’s sisters want revenge on Poseidon, Troy is under siege again, and the Yakuza want their homunculi (mythological artificial humans) back. Near Atlantis’ Chinatown, a kitten and her human campaign for homunculi rights. Against them are Japanese death gods, an underworld cult, and a fat Atlantean bureaucrat.

The main character dies (more than once) and a few underworlds’ way of death is threatened. Also with giant armored battle squids.

So, clear your favorite device or your nightstand and get ready for some new great reads! It's going to be a great fall for curling up with a good book.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yom Kippur
I found this poem, written what feels like a lifetime ago, when I lived in another place, with another man, with other sins. Reading it makes me feel like I've come a long way in the years since. 

May you have an easy feast this year. 

Yom Kippur, 2001

They might as well have hurled the stones at each other:
the intent was to wound.

A ceremony of forgiveness,
the secular Jew seeking the trappings of faith
to ease her troubled mind:
throw the rocks into the sea
and, with them, the things you need to let go.

She threw first,
a safe one, troubles at work,
nothing to do with him.

He started at a distance, too,
though not so far,

It didn't take long and she was crying,
he was red with hard set jaws.
Anger and hurt,
his harsh words and her thin skin.
As suspicious of each other
as of strangers.

In the end,
she was alone. She wrote her fears into the sand,
and watched the sea wash them away,

wishing it were that easy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: Inconceivable! By: Tegan Wren

Fellow Curiosity Quills writer Tegan Wren's new novel, Inconceivable! comes out November 15, 2015. But today, I am happy to show you: the cover!

Isn't it a beaut?

It really captures a lot of the themes of the book. The silhouetted almost-kissing couple gives you the romance. The clock tower gives you the European setting. The newsprint gives you Hattie's career and the backdrop of the lovers' lives. So whether you should judge a book by its cover or not, this cover is a fitting one for the story. And I think Curiosity Quills has yet another winning cover!

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Hatty with the baby carriage." That's how it's supposed to go, right? So, what about when it doesn't? There's love, there's marriage, but there's no baby, despite the wanting and trying. And what if the husband is a crown prince?

Inconceivable! balances a light, romantic feel with the grittier realities of a couple in crisis over fertility. Since the groom in this story is a crown prince, the pressure is even more intense than for more ordinary folk. Wren's main character, Hatty, is now one of my favorite fictional people. Throughout the book, she felt very real in her reactions first to a courtship with a prince and the impact that had on her career and future plans, then with her struggles to become a mother. I was in suspense throughout, worried about what might happen next, what additional roadblocks and obstacles Hatty and John would have to overcome.

I loved reading a romantic story about royals that didn't end at the wedding, showing us that there's more to love than falling in it. There's also staying in it, even when troubles come. For better and for worse.

Here's the book blurb:
A popular, young royal couple can't produce an heir? INCONCEIVABLE!
When Ozarks native Hatty goes “whole hog” during karaoke, she catches the eye of Prince John. He isn’t what she expects the heir to a small European nation to be: he's affable, witty, and isn’t put off by her tell-it-like-it-is demeanor. Their flirtation should be short lived, but a force stronger than fate—Hatty’s newspaper editor—assigns her to cover the royals. After spending time together, she and John soon begin dating, and Hatty finds herself making headlines instead of writing them.

But challenges loom that are even more complicated than figuring out how to mesh Hatty's journalism career with life at Belvoir Palace. Hatty and John soon find themselves embroiled in an unusual sex scandal: they can't produce an heir. Tabloids dub Hatty a “Barren-ess,” and the royals become irate. Hatty politely tells them to shove it. But beneath her confident exterior, she struggles to cope with a heartbreak that invades her most intimate moments with John. Pressured to choose between invasive medical procedures and abandoning John’s claim to the throne, the couple feels trapped until a trip to Ethiopia shows them happy endings sometimes arrive long after saying “I do.”

And Tegan herself:

The best compliment Tegan Wren ever received came from her sixth grade teacher: “You always have a book in your hand!”

Guided by her love of the creative process, Tegan grew up acting in theatre productions and writing poetry, short stories, and plays. She turned her eye to writing about real life when she worked as a journalist, producing reports for various radio and television stations in medium and large markets in the Midwest and also filing some stories for a major national news network. Wren has both a Bachelor’s of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Communications. After completing her graduate degree, Tegan had the opportunity to teach journalism courses at a major state university. She absolutely loved training the next generation of journalists.

Tegan’s thankful that she’s had the opportunity to travel overseas, and uses those adventures to inform her writing. She also draws inspiration from her own struggles, joys, and life experiences. Tegan and her husband, Patrick, experienced infertility for five years before becoming parents through adoption.


Here are the links, if you're interested in learning more about Tegan or her book: 

Amazon US    Amazon UK    Goodreads   Blog    Twitter    Facebook   Instagram

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life in the Aquarium

As I write this, I have been sick for eight days. I have a 101 degree fever and I feel as if I'm underwater. My poor husband has been doing his paying job and the jobs of both parents all this time. 

I'm not nearly as cute as that cat. In fact, I just had to call in the calvary. 

No, not her. This is not the kind of fighter we need for this. We've sent for Grandma. The husband has to leave on a business trip, and I'm not up to being me, let alone being me and him. So Grandma to the rescue!

For the record, our Grandma is much younger and never wears spandex. She's a jeans and paint splattered tee shirt sort of gal. And we are incredibly lucky to have her! Thanks Mom!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Cover Reveal! Ann Noser's Dead Girl Running

I'm pleased to host Ann Noser today to reveal the cover of her exciting new book. See her post for details! -SB


Cover Reveal:

Dead Girl Running is a Young Adult/New Adult Crossover Dystopian, and a cross between The Giver, The Handmaiden's Tale, and Agenda 21.

In case you can't read the small print, here's the Back Cover Blurb:

Eight years ago, SILVIA WOOD's father died in an industrial accident. After suffering through years of Psychotherapy Services and Mandated Medications for depression and multiple suicide attempts, she longs to work in Botanical Sciences. When the Occupation Exam determines she must work in Mortuary Sciences instead, she wonders if the New Order assigned her to the morgue to push her over the edge.

To appease her disappointed mother, Silvia enters the Race for Citizen Glory, in an attempt to stand out in the crowd of Equals. After she begins training with "golden boy" LIAM HARMAN, she discovers he also lost his father in the same accident that ruined her childhood. Then Silvia meets and falls for Liam's older cousin, whose paranoid intensity makes her question what really happened to her father. As the race nears, Silvia realizes that she's not only running for glory, she's running for her life.

Scheduled release date: October 26th, 2015

Want to reserve a copy? Here's a PRE-PURCHASE LINK Add to GOODREADS.

Meet the Author:

Just kidding, here she is:

Ann M. Noser's Bio:

My to-do list dictates that I attempt to cram forty-eight hours of living into a day instead of the usual twenty-four. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: an NPR program, a beautiful smile, or a newspaper article on a political theory.

I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.

Where to find me:





And now what you've all been waiting for...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG: But, All of This is Important!

Generally speaking, I am a decisive person. I make a goal, a plan to get there, and I see it through. This is not to say that my goals are always met or my plans always work, but I'm not a ditherer.

So, the past six weeks or so have been really out of character for me. I've had trouble deciding where to focus my energy. I've started things and dropped them, not feeling like I was able to connect with the idea. It's felt like a lot of balls were out of my court and I was left swinging my racket at the breeze. (See last month's post on Waiting). Some of the waiting is over now (my sequel has been accepted for publication and I'll be moving to editing on that one; one of the anthologies is complete with print copies coming in the mail next week), and I know that's going to help.

My issue now is prioritizing. School has started. (I'm a middle school Spanish teacher by day). I have one or, if I'm lucky, two hours a day to focus on writing related tasks. My family is in an especially demanding phase, so really it's probably one. So, what do I spend it on? Drafting new material? Revising near-finished material? Completing edits? Participating in promotional activities? Networking? Reading?

They ALL are important. So far my strategy has been to prioritize by the following criteria:

1. Does it have a deadline you'll need to meet?
2. Is it close to done and could be crossed off the list if you just finished it?
3. Will it sell books?
4. Is it what your heart wants?

Sadly, these criteria often don't help. They circle back around to: ALL OF THIS IS IMPORTANT.

I miss my laser focus and decisiveness. Any advice on how to get that mojo back?

This posting is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To check out other posts by writers in a variety of places in their careers, check out the participant list. This group is one of the most open and supportive groups of people I have ever been associated with. If you write, you should check them out!