Thursday, December 27, 2012

Becoming a Social Girl

Recently I opened a Twitter account. In November I started a blog. In December I published my first book. And for the last decade I've been swimming, drowning, and sometimes even splashing around in the sphere of motherhood. There are plenty of moms who stay connected to the world or become more connected once they have kids. My experience was the opposite. My world narrowed drastically along with my social skills. "Cool it with the whining," isn't the best line to win people over. "Chairs are for bottoms, not feet." Another great line for a stinker kid, not so much for anyone else.

Quick one liner commands and a trunkful of expressions I can't school no matter how hard I try make up the majority of my personality. Oh, and there's this one other little hiccup, nothing big, but to quote one of my favorite movies, French Kiss, "I'm an asshole, what can I say?"

So, now I have to be social, via media no less. I'm not a tech girl. I love my sci-fi movies. I love computer games (Lego games mostly). I'm a search engine queen. But texting, tweeting, facebooking...that's NEW. To date I've never sent a text. I have an answering machine instead of voicemail. My cell is seven years old and doesn't have a built-in camera.

I forge this new world of blogs and tweets with a sort of dewy-eyed glee and nervous girl apprehension. What are the do's and dont's? My mom taught me a great deal of etiquette rules growing up and especially right before going to college. But my mom's a wild woman, someone who teaches her kids the smartest ways to tell a person off, not how to make nice online.

My current reference manual I pass on to you guys, Molly Greene: Writer. Her blog is jam-packed with tips and no-no's. I need more brain space to absorb all the information. Okay, all you tweeps and bloggers out there, go on, click away!
Photo by Christer Rønning Austad (

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I'm eating all my dang candy!

Christmas is over and I still have treats in my fridge. With resolutions around the corner, the yearly question becomes start now on eating healthier or stuff your face (I'm sure there's an in between there, but I'm not a girl of moderation when it comes to my mother's fudge!).

Here's the compromise. Exercise. And to make yourself feel even more productive on the whole self-improvement project, workout without spending a dime.

Walking is free. Malls open early, so find yourself one and watch out for the regulars.
Dig out your old workout DVD's.
Peel off the many layers of discarded clothes and get yourself on your fancy unused treadmill.
Sign up for a free one-month trial at Netflix and sample the various exercise shows they have available.
Check out your local TV station, because most air a regular local exercise show.
Sign up for a free month trial Amazon Prime membership and sample their shows.
Go to the library. This is my go-to for all things book/media related. My favorite DVD's are the Biggest Loser titles. I never watched the show, still don't, but I have a thing for Bob (Bob Harper-southern accent-big smile when he tells you fifteen more).

So, I'm eating all my dang candy!
Photo by Raphael Pinto (

Saturday, December 22, 2012

First 4 chapters of Soul Walker FREE at Amazon

Available Now on Kindle. When five-year-old Anna Pierce is offered a chance to have nightmare-free nights for the small price of her voice, she jumps at it. Silence has to be better than all-consuming dreams about blood and death and fangy monsters. The bargain she strikes comes with a secondary benefit, visions of a person’s future potential. The combination of visions and silence changes her very nature and soon she's diagnosed with autism. Twelve years of living in her head comes to a screeching halt the moment Peter Davis pulls her out of an icy river. Her new life has her twirling, tiptoeing, and crashing through unfamiliar territory, one filled with a cranky grandma, a knocked up cousin, an unpleasant cousin, a bunch of mostly good vampires, and the boy who rescued her. To top it all off, the deal she made at five is no more. Anna is expected to talk, to figure out her reemerging nightmares, and to control her ever-growing powers. And she'd better get it done soon because if the good vamps want a piece of a living, breathing Touched girl, the evil ones simply want. They'll take Anna for their very own.
If you like vamps, first love, and off kilter protagonists, try Soul Walker. Purchase a FREE sample of the book. If you like it, buy it, write a review, hit the like button. Go on. Click away!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vision Quest, Little Critter, Sweet Dreams, Mockingjay: Books that messed me up

Certain books are like Barry Manilou songs, but worse. You can't shake the catchy tunes and if you're like me with no musical memory at all, you sing one line over and over. Here are a few books that stuck to me in unique (mostly unpleasant) ways.

Lovers of 80's movies instantly associate Vision Quest with a young Matthew Modine and a seductive Linda Fiorentio. But did you know it was originally a book by Eastern Washington author Terry Davis? I went through a phase of reading outside my norm, and this pick certainly qualified. I also thought at the time it would be great to get insight into the thinking of a male character. Not just a male character, but a teen boy. I've wished away certain reveals, certain fantasies I felt like a total Peeping Tom knowing. Despite my love for all things Zen, some things you simply can't unlearn.

I still have my favorite childhood book, Just for You (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer, though it has now been through two boys, a neat one, and a crayon stinker one. The stinker loved the book as much as me, especially the part where Little Critter says, "I ate my sandwich just for you, but not my crusts." Since then the kid hates crusts. Grrh.

Sweet Dreams by Sue Porter wrecked me the most. My youngest had been the easy one at night; slept till the sun told him it was again time to be hyper for twelve hours...until this book! "And in the shadows there is a monster." The three year old looked up at me, "What monster, mom?" Hell. My older one became the easy one at night after that.

Suzanne Collins had me with The Hunger Games. I love YA, dystopian, underdog rising to the top stories. But the finale of the this massive trilogy pissed me off for weeks. I was so mad at the character development of my beloved Katniss in Mockingjay, I gathered up the books and hid them behind other books. I had to go on a re-reading purge to get enough of the story and imagery out of my head so I could move on.

Are there any books out there that put Mandy by Manilou on auto repeat in your brain? Note: Joss Weadon's Angel is the only one who makes me love that song (Angel Season 2, Episode 1).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why I absolutely love Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole comes from the world of adult paranormal romance which means her Y/A is filled with complex characters. Her romance scenes overflow with tension and excitement and a sort of impatience that pushes the main characters into clawing to get closer rather than playing too many games. After reading the prologue I knew everything in my life was going to revolve around finding time to read more until it was time to stalk the author's website for the next installment. I want more. I love and hate that feeling, maybe love more than hate. This book has just jumped the line for favorite Y/A dystopian craziness. As weird as it sounds my mind kept flashing to playing the Lego Batman computer game. I think because of the Tarot card aspect which was so damn creative of Cole. Check out Poison Princess, it's addictive.
(Note: violent, gory at times, end of the world strife type of stuff, no actual zombies or vampires-but something in between, and a lot of self-reflection on the part of the main character-not too much in my opinion)

4.5 Stars for Soul Walker

My first impartial review came in and I'm doing a little happy dance. texxie M at PRUF Reads did an amazingly thorough job. After skimming dozens upon dozens of book blogs and their reviews, I am even more impressed. If you're interested in reading my review, or just checking out texxie M's blog head on over there. (Note: PRUF Reads is delicious grown up fun)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Formatting Tips: Get rid of extra space

In the world of emails and documents there's no room for extra space, meaning get your stinking thumbs off that space bar. No longer do you need two spaces at the end of your sentences (with the exception of the greeting and closing). Not just that, get your tiny pinkie off the return/enter key. One tap is all you need for either the space bar and the return/enter key.

In your document, place the cursor on the right side of the last character where you want a break placed, then go to the ribbon and click on Insert. Choose either Break or Manual Break. For chapter breaks you choose page break, for extra space between paragraphs go with line break. This one attention to detail will allow you to change font, line spacing, header/footer opting, and alignment without worrying about titles or headings ending up in the middle of the next page. If you have dreams to publish your own ebook, extra space translates to glitches in your Kindle ebook. If you use a free word processor like Open Office and save to Word, extra space can translate to random characters spaced throughout your text.

We'll tackle the evil tab button next formatting post day. Go on. Click away!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Soul Walker is on Kindle!

My debut novel is finally ready for purchase at Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime you can borrow it for free. If you don't have a Kindle e-reader, you can get a free app for your computer, iPad, BlackBerry, and more. Scroll down and you'll find the link for Amazon's free app page.

So check out Soul Walker by clicking on the link on my blog. Click the like button, click the buy button, write a review, enjoy a fun read. Go on. Click away.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Read the book or watch the movie first

We are officially in the age of the teen book turned all-the-rage movie. I'm not even talking about Twilight.

At the top of my list is the zombie dark comedy Warm Bodies. I haven't read the 2011 book by Isaac Marion because zombies freak me out, but I really want to watch the movie. I'm starting to think I want to read the book too.

The March release of The Host is a must see for me since I love the book by Stephanie Meyer.

Kami Garcia's Beautiful Creatures looks just like the title suggests, then add angst and forbidden love, at least the previews make it look that way.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones looks very big-production-ish. I'm most tempted to read the Cassandra Clare series before watching the movie.

If you're equal parts book and movie lover, how do you decide which one to partake in first?Stieg-Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series made this decision real easy. I simply read the movies.

Monday, November 26, 2012

When to say "All done novel, Robyn"

Back in art school I had a teacher who lived off snark. I usually laughed when he insulted me...until that one time when I really cared about the work. "Robyn, you're turning this in? Finished and signed? Oh, that's too bad." Not even all that biting, yet the words wrecked me for days, or perhaps the lower grade took the bite out of my pride.

Obsessing over the work until you run it off the rails seems to be the over-correction most people make. With writing, you don't want to suck the life and energy out of your novel. DYI editing books spout endless rules, cite the mistakes of famous authors, and finish their damning point saying, "If you're clever, you can pull off a certain amount of rule-breaking...p.s. you're not clever enough." Hell.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let's write about sex

Erotica, it's all the craze. Thing is, haven't steamy bodice rippers been around since man was carving dirty pictures on cave walls? Walk through the book section at Fred Meyers and you'll see all the sophisticated book covers with titles that barely hint to the heat written between the pages. No pirates, no civil war soldiers, no vampires or shifters. Usually the main characters are a couple messed up people, rich, beautiful people who fumble and stumble through instant love. But the saving grace is that they can really get it on, and creatively. I love it. I love any kind of book craze because it means people are talking about books. Then the writer in me surfaces and daydreams, Maybe I could do that.

I'll tell you this right now, daydreaming is never a great tool to getting things done. First, I decided I would write an erotic romance. Why not? Just follow a certain formula and, voila! Second, I boasted my newest lofty goal. I'm not sure how that's helpful at all. Third, I stalled at the big empty screen. What's a writer to do when faced with writer's block? There's always what I call youtube- procrastination. It's how I didn't finish the last book I attempted, but I did manage to watch every clip of Britain's Got Talent from who knows how long ago. There's finding inspiration, but that would take a whole lot of effort. Then there's what we love/hate to do the most, research.

I didn't join some sex group or even a sex chat room. I went to Amazon and found a fantastic book. How to Write Hot Sex: Tips from Multi-Published Erotic Romance Authors gave me all the tools. One of the authors even touched on formatting which helped me with my other projects. What I couldn't glean was the ability to overcome my own bashfulness. I enjoy writing steamy scenes, even hot sex scenes, but erotic romance means sex plays as much a role as the characters and storyline do. That's a lot of juggling and blushing and other things.

After reaffirming my plan to write this book, again advertising to people I know, I went about overcoming my nature. I'm a writer, I like steamy books. I've written steamy scenes. Nope couldn't do it. I did manage to catch every clip of UK's X Factor. The walkaway lesson? Maybe, think big, try hard, and know when it's time to shelf a certain daydream. Or perhaps simply write what you enjoy writing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Very first blog ever!

I thought I'd dedicate my first blog to my favorite first books starting with Tiger Eyes by Judy Bloom. The first book I ever fell in love with, the first time I lost myself in another world. Most writers were avid readers as kids, not me. My mind refused to settle long enough to put the words into focus, but Tiger Eyes held my attention and made way for the dreamer sleeping inside me.

Jump to a few years ago to Stephenie Meyers appearing on Ellen. I had no idea who she was because Twilight was still in production and I was living under a rock. Here's this mom with an entire book series under her belt. So when I turned to writing and reading like they were the only things keeping me sane, I reached for her books. And I loved them, especially The Host.

Then I couldn't stop. Richelle Mead introduced me to a sexy and messed up succubus in Succubus Blues. Vampire Academy sucked me in and kept me there till the end.

Rachel Caine took me to a creepy town in Morganville, Texas with Glass Houses.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes introduced me to an enthralling fantastical take on shifters with The Shapeshifters: The Kiesha'ra of the Den of Shadows.

My favorite story teller over all these favorites has to be Patricia Briggs. I just love her. Moon Called shows off a style that reminds me of Sue Grafton, but throw in shifters, vampires, witches, and a coyote.

There are dozens of authors and books I love and read and reread. These are just a few of my favorite firsts.