Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #9

And it's another week, so it's time to play our writers' game again!
The idea is that I take Carmi's theme from his photo sharing post on Written Inc., post a photo that goes with his theme, then create a title and a single line from a story that could go with the photo.  After that, it's YOUR turn to post your own titles and single lines from the photo stories in the comments section.
Here are a couple of older posts that show how it's done.  Ready for this week's theme?  Here we go:
The theme is "screens."

Here's my title: Clandestine Ink
And my single line: Harvey hurried to squeegee the ink onto the shirts quickly before Scott returned from break and caught him at it.

Yeah, this is a tough one; I'll admit it.  Anyone up for it?  Give it a try in the comments section.

Oh, and don't forget that today's the LAST DAY to enter my e-book giveaway!  Just click here if you want a chance to win an e-book.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Character Inspiration That May Just Quicken A Few Pulses

Character inspirations are weird things, and we writers find them in the oddest places.  One of the important characters in All in the Half-Vampire Family, for example, came from a 70s song called "Arizona," which is about a hippy girl with long braids and moccasins. I used her as Eric's cousin.  Another one of my characters, Dougal in Becoming Brigid, walked around in my head for a couple of years before I finally found a face to put with his personality, while Pepper/Brigid herself is totally fictional and is really just someone I pieced together in my mind.
But most of the time I have to "cast" people to "play" the roles of my characters.  I might give the person a totally different personality but steal their looks and a mannerism or two.  Those who know about this usually think it's funny.  I tell them their alter ego is playing a role in my novel.
Ten years ago this summer, I took some courses at a summer literature program at the University of Edinburgh.  My tutor (as the Scots call such folks; Americans would call them "professors" or merely "teachers") was a fabulous Cypriot named Charis, and I loved working with her.  But there were several other tutors as well, and one of them found his way into my photo album (for such it truly was; I did not have a digital camera a decade ago).  He was a young, jovial Irishman finishing his PhD at the uni, and I took two photos of him at the final party where he had put on a top hat and was carrying a cane while he sang and danced solo to a medley of songs from Oliver! where he had re-written the words to reflect his student poverty and his groveling for a summer job.  It was hilarious, and I remember thinking he had an acting talent buried under that researcher's facade.
In 2003, I needed a face to go with the character of the mentor vampire for Eric in Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  As Eric himself is such a very normal kid, I did not want the older, wiser vampire to be dark or brooding: no Dracula, nothing out of Anne Rice (thank heaven there was no Twilight in those days, but I certainly would NOT have wanted sparklies on him either).  I wanted a cheery, anti-vampire to be the vampire.  Searching through albums to find a face, I was delighted to remember Jim, the rosy-cheeked fellow singing and dancing his way through a funny memory of mine.  Hence, Jim was "borrowed."
Not much of the man, really, for I barely knew him.  But I borrowed his looks, his surname, his country of origin, and his joviality for the character of the kind-hearted Irish vampire, Patrick Kelly.  Everything else I made up.  I had to; I knew absolutely nothing else about the real man.
The first two drafts of Half-Vampire written, it was put aside as I moved to Scotland to do my master's degree in 2004.  Imagine my surprise when I walked into Blackwell's Books on Nicholson Street one afternoon not long after I'd moved in and found Jim working there.  After several trips and several more times of having him take my money and give me books in return, I finally got the guts to tell him I'd created a vampire based on him.  He laughed loud enough it was nearly a distraction in the store.
I saw him every now and then as he lectured at the uni and I studied, but I rarely had conversations with him.
Over the years, I've thought of the fellow once in a while, usually after reworking a scene that contained his alter ego playing a role in one of my books.  And over this past weekend, after I'd finished editing what would become the first proof copy of All in the Half-Vampire Family, wherein the character of Patrick is so crucial to Eric's development, on a whim, I did a yahoo search for Dr. Jim Kelly, the cheerful Irishman who gave me the inspiration for one of my favorite characters ever.
And I found him.

Um, yeah.
I must say, he has aged very well.  Very well indeed.  *blinks*  Wow.
I am quite certain that this fellow never lacks for female attendees at his lectures.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that his courses are strangely popular with undergrad ladies.
Well, then.

I'm also pleased to see that his career is going well, as I found him here.  (Since this is a public webpage and this photo was meant to appear online, I feel no qualms about posting his photo on my blog, especially since I've said nothing but positive or neutral things about the man anyway.)
So now my readers know what "Patrick" looks like.
And, if I ever sell enough books to be even remotely impressive, I'm going to contact Dr. Kelly and send him  copies of the Half-Vampire books.  Chances are, he'll laugh.  :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Plan For Half-Vampire #2

During the process of self-publishing Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, I think I've made every mistake possible.  But I've learned a lot.  Right now, what is -- I think, as I've actually lost count -- my 7th proof copy is being shipped to me for review.  Once it arrives, I'm NOT going to read the whole thing again.  I'm not.  Because if I do, I'll want to keep making little changes and perfecting it, and -- let's face it -- my school librarian is getting a bit miffed, as he wants the book NOW.  Nope, I'm just going to check to make sure the last set of changes were made, and then I'm going to make it available for sale (sometime within the next two weeks, I hope).
Today I just uploaded the cover and interior files for All in the Half-Vampire Family on createspace.  Notice that I'm doing that FIRST and not putting the e-book out right now.  That's thing number one I learned with the first book: don't put the e-book out until I'm SURE it's ready.  And I'm not so sure HV Family is ready right now.
Once it's approved, I'm going to order two proofs of the thing.  I'll give one to my English department head to proofread, and I'll keep the other.  This time, instead of making changes and ordering new proofs several times in a row, I have a PLAN.  I'm going to read the proof, make changes, re-read the proof, make more changes, then rinse and repeat, then retrieve the other proof and make any changes from that -- all before I return to create space to upload the changes even one time and order a new proof.
I hope this will cut way down on the amount of time and the number of proofs I have to deal with.
In any case, I have made another step forward tonight.
What's next?  Re-reading and touching up Becoming Brigid to get it to the point where I can order a createspace proof as well.  But with that book I have the added problem of an unfinished cover.

Don't forget: you can still enter my drawing for a free e-copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire!  Just click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Versatile Blogging And Recovering From Plumbing

Earlier this week, Martin, from Sand To Glass, graciously awarded me with  the Versatile Blogger Award, something I haven't had since I shut down my personal blog about a year ago.
I'm mentioning it now, as I have spent most of this week battling plumbing problems in my after-school time.  Today, a RotoRooter employee spent 2 1/2 hours banging away on the pipes -- and I now have a functioning bathtub again, although my checking account is $400 flatter.  I have not yet finished ALL the cleanup, as the plumber had to remove a panel, saw off an old canister, cut and fit a whole new set of pipes to replace what was sawed off, then spend 30 minutes snaking out the clog afterward.  The removal of the panel sent paint and wood chips flying, and the removal of the canister sent sludge gushing all over the bathroom -- including the walls.  After an hour of scrubbing, my mops and towels were so filthy that I had to stop and wash them before continuing.  At this point in cleaning, I pause to do a pleasant bit of blogging and thank Martin (and listen to a bit of Boney M to cheer myself up).

Upon receiving this, I am to:
1. In a post on your blog, nominate up to 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

Having now thanked my loyal blogfriend Martin and posted the pic and rules, I am now to nominate people.
This part is difficult.  Most of the blogs I read are not very versatile; they're all about books, and they all tend to repeat each other.
I could nominate Max, but he's already gotten this award before.  I could nominate Tempppo, but she just moved and is unlikely to have much time for such things as this.  I could nominate Resident Alien, as hers is a truly versatile blog, but she never posts about such things as trendy as this; her blog is truly her own.  And, Martin, of course, already has the award.
Really, I can't think of a single blogger who would care about this who hasn't already received the award.  I, therefore, will have to let it rest as is.
Now for the required 7 random things about me:
1. I can twirl a baton rather well.  I learned how in 5th grade and performed in a couple of assemblies in grade school.  I still have two batons stored in the closet, and I still remember all my old tricks.
2. My most-often played iTunes tracks of instrumental music are all by Scott Joplin.
3. The smallest airplane on which I have flown was a 22 seater flying between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas Island in the Caribbean.
4. I loathe the smell of geraniums.
5. When I lived in Scotland, I really missed eating Mexican food, as it was extremely hard to find the ingredients there, and there were no decent Mexican restaurants.
6. For my first year of undergrad studies at age 18, my part time job was giving birthday parties at a McDonald's restaurant.  I learned to make balloon animals, decorate frozen cakes, and clean exploded ketchup packets off of stucco walls.
7. I don't really like zombie stories.

There you go: seven random things about me, ranging from geraniums to zombies.
I have to go and finish scrubbing the bathroom now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not Off To A Good Start Today

It is not a good omen when both the bathtub and the toilet get clogged drains within 12 hours of each other.    Ever tried plunging a bathtub when you have a pounding headache?  Fun.  Personally, I find it easier just to plunge in the rhythm of the pounds in the head.....  Everything stays in sync that way.
Well, the toilet was an easy fix, but the bathtub is still a stagnant pool.  Looks like I'll be spending some quality time with my plumbers' snake tonight after academic team practice is over.  Joy.  (Where is that sarcasm font???)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #8

During January, we're playing a writers' game in connection with Carmi's photo themes posted each Monday over at Written Inc.  Carmi chooses a theme and posts his own (usually amazing) photo, then he offers his readers the chance to share theirs.  But here on this blog we add a writing twist to it.  I give you a photo that fits Carmi's theme, then I add a story title that looks like it might go with the photo and a single line from that otherwise non-existent story.  My readers then share their own versions in the comments.
Want some examples?  Well, you can click here for last week's, or click here for the very first one we tried back in December to get some ideas.
Ready to play?  Okay, here's my photo for Carmi's theme this week, which is "Movement."

My story title is: "The Dance Lesson"
My single line is: "Dora was already beginning to regret wearing the purple socks."

Your turn!  Post your own story titles and single lines in the comments section. :)

P.S. Don't forget to enter my e-book giveaway!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tee -Shirts Are Ordered

Today I placed an order for about $300's worth of tee-shirts to use as promotions for Half-Vampire.
I have what I hope is the final proof copy on my desk right now.  If all is as it should be (yes, I'll be reading the book YET AGAIN this weekend), I'll be announcing the release of my first POD book next week.  Out librarian has informed me he'll buy 20 copies the second I tell him it's available, as he wants it for February's book of the month promotion at school.  I plan to give away tee-shirts as prizes for kids who read (you read the book; you get to enter the drawing for a tee-shirt each month).  I'm also bribing the English teachers at school with free tee-shirts in exchange for book reviews posted all over the place.  But I should still have a few tees left over, so I'll soon be bribing YOU with tee-shirt giveaways!
In the meantime, however, there's still my January free e-book giveaway.  Please enter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #7

Back in December, I started offering a little game to my blog readers.  I post a photo, add a story title and a single line from the story that goes with it, then ask any who will to give their own versions in the comments.  Here's a link to one that went really well.
During January, I'm trying it again, only this time I'm using the photographic themes chosen by Carmi, a journalist who blogs at Written Inc. 
The theme he's chosen this week is "glow," so I had the challenge of finding a photo I've taken that both fits that theme AND looks like it could inspire a tale for someone.  Here's what I chose:

My story title is: The Yellow Room.
My single line is:  With the only light reflecting off the yellow ceiling in a pseudo-radioactive glow, the room felt enclosed and oppressive to Sandra as she placed her bag on the table.
Give it a try.  Add your title and single line from a story in the comments section.

P.S. Don't forget my January contest for a free e-book!  Click here to read about it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Win A FREE E-Copy Of Confessions Of An Average Half-Vampire!

Hey, let's celebrate!  After all, this is my 100th post!  And Max and I have almost gotten the cover ready for Half-Vampire Family!  And it's January-- there's nothing else to do in January, so let's have a give-away!!

My first e-book, Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, has been newly re-vamped edited and re-listed for Kindle for the whopping price of 99¢ in the US (and I think it's about 79p in the UK and 86 euros elsewhere).  (If you don't have a Kindle, you can get a Kindle app for free here, so you can still read my book!)

Half-Vampire is YA, meant for junior high school kids, especially boys -- who have been sadly neglected in the last couple of post-Potter/pro-Twilight years when women wanting paranormal romances have driven book sales, squeezing young teenage boys out of the market.  However, many adults find this a funny book as well.
Have a look:

Lurking in the nuclei of a few rare human cells is an as-yet unstudied gene. It is a gene that makes the inheritor crave mammal blood and faint in bright sunlight. It is a gene that prevents the bearer from appearing normally in digital or mirror images.
It’s a gene that makes your life heck if you’re in junior high and trying to fit in.

Eric Wright is a half-vampire with a problem. Several problems, actually. He can’t tell his bloodlust from his rollercoaster adolescent hormones. The cutest girl in first period English wants him to become a vegetarian. And the assistant principal suspends him when he refuses to explain why his skin appears translucent in a school security video.

Then Eric’s non-vampire mom, who’s definitely not telling everything she knows, takes him with her on a business trip. To Scotland, where it never stays sunny for very long. The perfect hang out for a vampire. Or several. If only Eric can find one to talk to before he makes any more stupid mistakes....

Have I convinced you that you want a free copy yet?  Or maybe you want a free copy to go to your nephew or your neighbor's daughter?    Here's what you can do to win an e-copy:

1) Make sure you're following my blog.  If you haven't signed up yet, you can click on the "follow" button on the side bar and take care of it.  (Make sure to follow publicly, as I won't know you're following if you don't make it public.)
2) Leave a comment on this post before 12:00 AM on February 1, 2012, telling me who in your life (maybe it's you!) would like this book.  (Don't post your e-mail address; I don't want you picking up spammers because of this contest.  When I announce the winners, I'll give you a way to contact me without inviting masses of spam.)

That's it!
Early in February, I'll have my students draw  TWO WINNERS out of names put in a box, and I'll announce the winners ASAP afterward.  (This may be an unscientific way to choose winners, but it IS random.  Trust me; there is NOTHING more random than a junior high school kid.  Nothing.)
Feel free to tell your own blog readers/facebook friends/bookclubs/goodreads friends/students/families about this by posting a link on your favorite social media sight.  The more, the merrier!
(If I get lots of entries, then I'll just have to host another contest later to get more winners.)

FEB.1: Contest closed.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #6 (with a new twist!)

During the second week of December, we played a little game on this blog -- a game wherein I posted a photo, and as many folks as would comment came up with the shortest of the short flash fiction for the photo: a title and one sentence that came from your "story" inspired by the photo.  (You can find several examples by going through this link.)
I'd like to try that game again.  But this time, let's add in the weekly theme from one of the blogs I follow.  I have several cyberfriends who participate in a weekly photosharing theme hosted by the Canadian journalist who blogs as Carmi.  He usually posts a new theme early in each week, but I just now realized we could play along here, give it a writer's twist, and maybe make some new friends on this blog as well by getting visitors who normally wouldn't drop by a writing blog.
(If you'd like to read more about Carmi's weekly themes, click here.)

This week's theme: After Dark

My photo:

My story title to go with the photo: One Night At The Zoo
My single line from the story:  "This is odd," Anne muttered after pushing through the gate.  "Are those spots on the leopard actually shifting colors?"

Your turn!
Please play along by giving your own title and single line from your story in the comments section.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Best Quote Ever On Planning A Trip To Scotland

You've probably guessed by now that I am a total Scotophile.
A couple of weeks ago, I began reading The Travel Book and found this superb bit of advice on Scotland:

"Best Time To Visit:  May to September -- or before the Act of Union of 1707 when the English stayed south of the border."

I don't know a single Scot who would disagree with the second half of that statement.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quote Of The Day 1/12/12

I haven't looked at this video in a couple of years, and I had forgotten this bit of marvelous wisdom from author JK Rowling:

"Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.
"And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. 
"I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.
"What is more, those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy."

Oh my, but I do know people who "remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience" and "live in narrow spaces" that "enable real monsters."
What a brilliant mind this woman has!

Photographers Recreate Art

This is very interesting stuff.  It makes me want to grab my camera and get busy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maybe One Of These Days I'll Get The POD Finished

I just updated my Kindle version of Half-Vampire yet again.  I hope this time it's truly error free.
I also just uploaded yet another PDF for Create Space.  I hope THIS one turns out right.  I have a stack of several proofs of the book now -- but they're usable in my classroom as the kids will find it amusing to see where I keep penciling in corrections and changes.
But I'd REALLY like to get this book in print now.  I'm tired of fixing it over and over.

Progress On All In The Half-Vampire Family

I am working on final drafts of the sequel to Half-Vampire.  This weekend (I hope), Max and I will get together to finalize the cover.  And just last night, Scottish author David Cunningham was kind enough to send back his editing of the Scots in the book.
I was so pleased at his comment that my Scots was "remarkably correct."  Whew.  I am not fluent in the language, and I've always loathed it when people try to write in a language where they don't know much of it and get it wrong.  If I am unsure of my Spanish, I ask a native speaker to help me smooth it a bit.  If my Scots feels shaky, I ask a Scot for help.  Fortunately for me, David only had to make fewer than 10 corrections.  Yea for me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

700 Beatles Songs

My new CD of the Beatles early recording with Tony Sheridan arrived today (Yes, I've had the vinyl equivalent for decades), and I uploaded it onto iTunes.
This makes exactly 700 Beatles tracks I have on my iTunes now.  I am still missing a few things, though.  I do not have the Christmas albums (my only copy of those is on a cassette copied from another cassette that my friend copied off a radio broadcast in 1980).  My digital copies of the Hamburg recordings are not as complete as my vinyl versions of the same thing (purchased in Hamburg, Germany in 1982).
Still, 700 digital tracks with the Beatles playing and/or singing (mostly both, of course, but a few numbers are instrumental and these early things have Tony Sheridan singing the lead and the "Beat Brothers" singing back up and playing) is a very nice number.  :)  (It's also 9% of my total iTunes collection.)

Flashlight Reader Reviews Confessions Of An Average Half-Vampire

Check it out here.

I'm so pleased she took the time to do this for me, but I am confused that she gave me four "flashlights" on her blog but only 3 stars on Amazon.
Oh well.
Guess I'll never know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weirdest Medical Triviality Ever

I've had a few medical issues in the past couple of years, enough that I sometimes feel like a senior citizen tallying up all my various aches, pains, and limitations.
But recently I've added the strangest one ever.
A few weeks ago, I noticed my eyelids, right along the rim of the lashes, looked red.  Plus, they itched.  I wondered if I might have an allergic reaction to my mascara.  Or perhaps a strange rash.  Or even that my mascara had become contaminated with those little critters (some kind of mite) one reads about in horror stories of women sharing make up (although I don't share my mascara with anyone).
Then last week I was over-tired and upset about several things, and I cried.  Wow.  Stinging eyelids!!  They really hurt.
I decided I really must have some kind of rash and that I ought to get into an eye doctor about this.
Then last night, the eyes were itching like crazy, so, when I went to pull out my contacts for the night, I had a good look in the mirror.  Along the rims of my eyelids were little flakes of dead skin peeling off.
That's when it dawned on me what was wrong.  Red, itchy skin that stings plus flakes of it peeling off.  I have chapped eyelids.
No kidding.
Chapped eyelids.
Winter dryness has long played havoc with my fingers and heels, splitting them and making them bleed. And, in recent years, I've found chapped spots on my legs during the winter as well.
But eyelids?
I had no clue that eyelids could even get chapped.
Normally I don't put lotion on my eyelids during the day, only at night so that nothing gums up my contact lenses.  But I'm going to have to start using lotion during the day and risking blurry vision in order to tone down the chapping on the lids.
How's that for crazy?
Chapped eyelids.
Egad.  What next?

UPDATE: My post on the cure for these chapped eyelids is here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Words That Didn't Exist When I Was A Kid

My current students speak a language peppered with words I never knew when I was their age.  it's not that they're any smarter than I was; it's that these words simply weren't part of the English language.  I'm talking about words such as: cell phone, emoticon, google (as a verb), unfriend (as a verb), playlist, iPod, spam (as a verb-- we all knew what that icky canned meat was), DVD, TiVo, internet, .com, techy, and wiki-anything.  Back then, yahoo was simply another term for a country bumpkin and a net was something to catch butterflies with.  Oh, and you definitely didn't associate a mouse with a computer.
I'm sure I'm missing many words.  Feel free to add in the comments section any words you hear a lot now that didn't exist when you were a kid.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Reading Genres For 2011

My blog buddy Alexia, over at Dreaming Of Open Seas, did a post with a fabulous chart on her own reading for last year.  I have no freakin' clue how to make such a spiffy visual aide, but her post did inspire me to tally up what I read by genre.  So, here we go with the break down of what I read last year.
YA books by genre:
Fantasy 19, Horror 8, Action/Adventure 4, Sci-Fi 5, Steampunk 4, Mystery 9, Paranormal 16, Historical 2, Dystopia 12, Realistic 7.
Non-YA fiction by genre:
Fantasy 2, Horror 0, Action/Adventure 0, Sci-Fi 0, Steampunk 2, Mystery 17, Paranormal 1, Historical 0, Dystopia 0, Realistic 1, Drama 2.
Non-fiction by genre:
Crafts: 6, Biography 2, History 5, Science 3, Culture 4.
Note: these totals do not include my own writings.

It's no surprise, of course, that I read more YA than "grown up" books, considering both my job and my hobby, but I am surprised by two things: I only read 3 works of "classic" literature the whole year, and I had no idea I read so many mysteries.  Seriously, 26 mysteries??  That was my winning genre this year.  Huh.  And if I'd been asked before I totaled these up, I would've said that fantasy or paranormal would've been my most-read.  Steampunk is one of my favorite genres, but I don't seem to have read too much of it, do I?  How odd.
Goals for this year: read more classics again, find more steampunk.  :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And I KNOW This One Wasn't Just Spam.....

So today, someone ended up on this post of my blog by googling "meat dress translate Spanish."

This made me laugh.

Four Continents Yesterday!

I still don't get all that many visitors yet on this blog, but I sure get a variety.  Last week, the German visitors outnumbered those from the US.  And the Russians are here every day.  (Hello, Russian people!  Do make a comment sometime!  I'd love to hear from you.)
Yesterday, I got four continents represented, with visitors from the US, Russia, Australia, the UK, Malaysia, and the Philippines.  I don't really expect Antarctica, but hey, somewhere in South America ought to be possible.
Still, it's a good day when I can get four continents.  :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hilarious Twilight Re-Writings

Back in the late 1980s, a brilliant friend of mine once told me, "The only reason God lets Michael Jackson exist is so that Weird Al can make fun of him."
Twilight is a bit like that.  The whole series was not a bad beach read for adults -- except that it glorifies abusive relationships.  It's laughable how people have gone nuts over it -- but it gives the rest of us great fodder for parody.
Today bookshelvesofdoom had a link to Lizzie Stark, who has posted various funny summaries of what might have happened if some of the most famous authors of the last couple of hundred years had written Twilight.  Oddly enough, my very favorites are from authors I don't like.  For example, here's a Twihard/Dubliners mash up:
James Joyce
Edward’s rapacious love for Bella reflects the way globalism has pillaged Ireland. It’s entirely written in Esperanto, with sections in untranslated Greek, except for Chapter 40, which is inexplicably rendered as a script page from the musical The Book of Mormon.

Hilarious (okay, it is to anyone who's waded through Ullyses and survived it).

And then we get this one:
Herman Melville
“Call me Bella.” A tome about the length of the original series investigates Bella’s monomanical search for the vampire who stole her virginity. There’s an entire chapter devoted to describing the devastating whiteness of Edward’s skin, and several on the physiognomy of vampires, starting with their skeletal structure outward.
Maybe it's because I also loathe Moby Dick that I think this is funny.

There are plenty more at Lizzie Stark, so click the link for more laughs.

A Little New Year's Surprise

Yesterday, I breathed a heavy sigh and got on the scale -- whispering the old line, "please not more than last time, please."
And I'd lost six pounds.

How the heck did that happen?
I have not been cutting back in any way or even getting decent exercise during the holidays.
Look, it's not like anyone is going to be mistaking me for a sufferer of anorexia; there's still plenty of me.  But I've never actually heard of anyone accidentally losing weight during the holiday season.
Here's hoping I accidentally lose some more.  :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What's New For The New Year

While CreateSpace was having issues figuring out what they did wrong to chop 95 pages out of my proof for Half-Vampire, I was busy working on Half-Vampire Family and Becoming Brigid.  Yes, I've now actually gotten BOTH of those two manuscripts ready to try at proof stage with CreateSpace -- as soon as I can get together with Max to put the covers together.
I tried to work on it myself, even uploading a trial version of pixelmator for the occasion, but iPhoto won't do what I need it to do, nor will picnik.com, color splash studio, or image tricks lite.  Pixelmator will, but I'm feeling very pixel-retarded on that app, and, after, 30 minutes, I couldn't even get the size of trial photo to where I wanted it, let alone put on text or fix the colors!  Grrrrr.
So, Max, I am in your hands once again for cover help.  Are you up for it?
And to the rest of the blog readers, I would still love your comments on this back-of-the-book hook for HV Family.  Only Tempppo, Brigid Kemmerer, and Martin have shared their thoughts so far.  What does anyone else think???

Think you’ve got a weird family?

Eric’s mother is clearly in love with Patrick, who just happens to be Eric's first cousin once removed.  And a vampire.  Eric thinks Patrick would be the world’s coolest step-dad, but Mom’s in no mood for matrimony.  Worse than that, her side of the family hasn’t spoken with her in Eric’s entire lifetime -- at least not until Eric and his way-too-attractive cousin Ari both win a piano competition that takes them to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  And into the path of Eric’s biological father, a vampire who’s recently taken to attacking the locals at night.  Eric's creepy dad finds Ari attractive.  Not to mention tasty.
Can an accidental family reunion get any stranger than this?  Eric doesn’t think so.  And neither does the self-proclaimed vampire hunter staying right next door to him in the dorm.

It’s going to be one heck of a summer vacation.

Oh, and what about this hook for Brigid?  Comments on this anyone?  Suggestions?

Pepper Kircy isn't quite sure why she's never managed to attract the attention of a guy before.  It could be because her father's into ghost hunting.  Or that she lives across the street from a mortuary.  Or maybe it's because she wears a "nearly-A" bra.  But she's never even had a date, at least not until she meets Dougal at a fantasy faire.
Dougal's not at all what she's dreamed up for herself; he's too short and probably too old.  But he quotes poetry and compares her to a goddess.  He's tempting.  Tempting enough that Pepper can't seem to get him out of her dreams.  So, in spite of all his weird talk about going through portals and finding the Stone of Odin, Pepper could really like this guy.  If he'd just stop trying to kill her.

And now I'm off to start what I hope is the FINAL proofread for Half-Vampire.  If the cyber gods are willing, that book just might be for sale in POD form in a few days!!