Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Writing Wednesday: Napowrimo is Finished!

So I did it - I wrote a poem a day for the month of April. 30 poems in 30 days. Yeah!!!! Huzzah to everyone who participated in National Poetry Writing Month.

There were many days when I didn't think I would do it, that I hated this challenge or tried to convince myself that just one day off wouldn't hurt. Somehow, though, I didn't succumb and wrote anyway (I think something else possessed me). And once I got started, it wasn't so bad and I always managed to write something. The poetry prompts at Napowrimo sure helped, though there were days when they didn't work for me and I had to come up with my own, or google some.

I must stress that, in my case, I use the term poem lightly. Some of what I wrote is terrible; however, I decided to post them on my blog anyway, maybe in solidarity with all of the other people participating in National Poetry Writing Month, and maybe because I think it's important to show that first drafts are just that, first drafts. I decided to cut myself some slack and be okay with bad and mediocre poems. I was happy to see glimmers of something else, something more substantial in some of them, so soon, after a break, I will return to my poems to see what I can do with them.

One of the other things I really enjoyed about this whole thing was reading other people's work, some of which I loved. It was a bonus to discover so many new blogs and great writers.

Congratulations everyone who wrote poems in April. This was a fun challenge and certainly got me using a different part of my brain.

Now, back to editing....

Napowrimo Day 30 Poem

Prompt: none used. Yeah, I made it, though there were many days that I wasn't sure I would. A poem a day in April. Hard at times, but well worth it.

April 30/13


Up early
Before kids crash around
and want breakfast.
Alone and peaceful.
Tiptoe around the kitchen
to make tea
Then outside to the deck.
The sun low on the horizon.
Waves crashing on the shore.
The salty taste of the air.
Birds chirping in the trees.
And something else?
Must be the tinkle of
Fairy laughter
Greeting the new day.
Stretched out on a chair
Comfortable and relaxed
Letting the sun wash over,
Inspiring peace and awe.
Burning away the clouds
And the night.
The sun rises higher,
Reflecting off the water
In a diamond glittering spray.
Almost too much to look at.
Sunrise over the ocean.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 29 Poem

Prompt: None used.

April 29/13


Attractive cover,
Intriguing summary.
Am hooked enough to buy.
Put it in my purse
Because am incomplete
Without a book nearby.
Get cozy at home,
A cup of tea,
A snack nearby,
Feet up,
Curled into a blanket.
Crack the book,
Smell the fresh pages,
Feel the weight,
Read About the Author.
Get hooked from the first line.
The story unfolds
Life gets put on hold
To read just one more chapter.
Until the end,
When it will be hard to leave
These new friends,
This world where I've lived,
And will mourn it's loss,
But be forever happy and better
For having known it.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Day 28 Poem: Orange

Prompt: A colour.

April 28/13


A delicate tiger toned butterfly
Dancing amongst the new spring flowers,
Bold marigolds,
Luminescent tiger lilies,
Fragile honey suckles.

The end of day sun sinks below the horizon,
Brilliant, fleeting, ethereal,
More shades than there are names,
Introducing day to night in blazing light.

The dark, illuminated by cozy fires,
Where friends meet and children roast marshmallows
While listening to the crackling logs,
Laughter and companionship,
Toasty cheeks and cold behinds.

Trees on fire as the seasons change,
Glorious shift to winter's slumber,
As leaves illuminate before turning crinkly dry,
Ready for crunching or piling up to jump in.

Book Blast: Alexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit

Alexander Drake new coverAlexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit

Meet Alexander Drake, a curious young man living in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father. He spent his days playing alone. In the back of his mind he wondered what happened to his mother, and why his father was tight-lipped about the past; but secrets have a way of getting out. It all started with a stay at his grandmother’s cottage. Alexander found strange clues tucked away in his father’s old bedroom. With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack he set off on an innocent search for answers about his family. When he discovered a secret passageway the search took a dramatic turn. He suddenly worried about what was searching for him. Alexander was being hunted by a sorcerer from his father’s past. Answers lead to more questions and the journey of his life. Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra’s Pith, a place of beauty and magic… but beware—something evil lurks in the shadows.  



General drake new coverThe Return of General Drake

When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains, the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman's army of vicious giant murks. With the safety of the realm in jeopardy, General John William Drake was asked to come back to Azra's Pith. He swore he would never return. But after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer, he had no choice. Things take a wild turn in the mountains, with runaways, a hungry wolf and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil is in full swing. With faith and a little magic, they just might come out on top.  


  alexander tour

Tour Schedule


lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.  

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/15/13   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 27 poem

Prompt: Took the first three words of the well known phrase "All that glitters is not gold" (could use any well known phrase) and plugged them into google, then looked at the first few pages that came up for phrases that jumped out at me - kind of being a poetic magpie.

April 27/13


Swaying branches
Dance to the tempo of the
Breeze blowing through the leaves
The rustle devising a crazy rhythm
Birds decked out in their finest glam
And add their harmony to the song
Ready for the glittering gala
That is spring
A memoir often misquoted.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 26 Poem

Napowrimo Day 26 Poem

Prompt: Write a poem from the perspective of a rock.

April 26/13


Sun baked and hot, still,
Alone on a crowded beach,
As people crunch by.
Colours catch someone's attention,
Then dropped,
Clashing, chipping against the ground.
Shores crabs tickle their way underneath,
Seaweed drapes over.
Witness to the extinction of the dinosaurs,
The birth of humans,
Outlasting all except time.
Rough edges smoothed by
The pounding of tossing waves
Day after night after day.
In another thousand years,
Will be sand.

Book Review: I Funny by James Patterson

Book: I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Laura Park, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company, 320 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world's greatest standup comedian--even if he doesn't have a lot to laugh about these days. He's new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn't let Jamie's wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn't let his situation get him down. He practices the craft of stand-up every day on friends, family, and the willing customers at his Uncle Frankie's diner. When Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?

Following the bestselling success of the hilarious Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson continues to dish out the funnies in another highly-illustrated, heartfelt middle school story.

My Thoughts:
I am honestly torn about this book. I was so excited to receive it and read it to my kids - and I have to say that I did read it to them and they enjoyed it.

However, I do have a couple of issues. First off, Jamie Grimm was adopted by his aunt and her family after his family was killed and he was left in a wheelchair. His adoptive family doesn't treat him very well, forcing him to live in the cold garage, not engaging with him, and his older cousin bullies him terribly. I get tired of horrible adoption stories in children's book. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but everything from fairy tales to Harry Potter have bad adoption stories. I would so love to see a good adoption story in children's books so that kids could learn about healthy, normal adoption experiences. Really? Your whole family dies and you are in a wheelchair and you have to move cities and go to a new school and your aunt and uncle put you in the garage and let your cousin torture you? I ended up having some good discussions with my kids about this and what adoption really means.

The other issue was the humour - I got all of the jokes and comedy references and many of them were funny, but there were also a good number of them that went over my kids' heads (aged 7 and 10). They just didn't get them. There were enough jokes that they did get, though, so they thought the book was funny.

The story itself, otherwise, was fine: Jamie likes to tell jokes and his uncle (a different one, not his adoptive one) encourages him to enter a Funniest Kid Comic competition, which he does. Even though he is extremely nervous, he overcomes his fears. The story also focuses on Jamie's life at school and his adjustments to moving to a new community and trying to make new friends.

The illustrations in the book were fantastic and clever. Laura Park did a great job. If you study them, you see quirky little details, like the bumper sticker on Jamie's wheelchair changing.

Overall, I think kids will enjoy this book. The humour, short chapters, and fun illustrations will have them turning the pages, and the message of following your dreams even when it's not in your comfort zone is a good one.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in a contest.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 25 Poem

Prompt: none used. Decided on haikus (syllables = 5-7-5)

April 25/13


A glowing dagger
Raised to strike in shaky hands
The sacrifice falls.

A friend's book reading
Is the highlight of my day
Such great words she wrote.

Spring is here at last
Watch the cherry blossoms bloom
Savour the sweet scent.

I ambush myself
I'm my own worse enemy
It's time to stop that.

The Emerald Ring Teaser

Coming May 14, 2013- Cleopatra’s Legacy Book 1- The Emerald Ring. A new action packed middle grade fantasy series from debut author, Dorine White. Read below for an excerpt not found in the published book!

"Egypt- 30 BC
The velvet pouch hurtled across the room. Its cords whipped behind it and tangled in the servant's outstretched hands.
Cleopatra's tense voice rent the atmosphere. "Hurry, there's not much time." The horrified servant looked down at the lumpy sack resting in his palms. The queen continued, "I'm placing all my trust in you. Don't let it fall into Roman hands."
The servant's legs trembled. He knew his own life was worth nothing compared to the precious objects imparted to him.
"I will not fail you." The words fell from his lips in reverence. "Your legacy will be safe."
The queen paced the floor in determined strides. Her short black hair bobbed against a tan face. Her eyes met his. "On your life, see that it is! I'll not allow Egypt conquered so easily."
He stuffed the precious bag into his linen tunic and left the royal bed chamber. Halfway down the hallway he abruptly stopped mid stride and quickly ducked down a narrow side passage. His timing was perfect as he avoided two Roman Centurions lurking in the torch lit corridor, but he collided with one of the queen's maid servants. The wicker basket she held awkwardly in her arms wobbled and an angry hiss emanated from within its dark confines. The maid cast him a nasty look before hurrying on to the queen. He knew the queen's plan was now in motion and rushed to leave the building before the chaos began.
Just as his bare feet touched the hot desert sand the sound of running soldiers filled his ears. The deadly asp had done its job. He paused to catch his breath, pressing his back against the palace walls. The last ruler of Egypt felled by a snake. His head shook in frustration, and then he hurried on to find the royal historian and give him the first piece of the royal treasure."
The adventure of The Emerald Ring begins...
Exclusive sneak peek at chapter 1 for readers! ClickHere.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Napowrimo day 24 poem: Self Portrait

Prompt: Use anagrams of your name to write a self portrait poem. I used an anagram program to find words from my first and last name and have put them together in ways that are symbolic only to me.

April 24/13

Coreena McBurnie

Oceanic beacon
Acerbic nice cubs
Neon ambience menace
Ace cobra encumber concern
Orca buccaneer
Ruin mine ennui
Encore iceman renounce crime
Urbane robin born runic
Omen became encore eon
Acme beer unicorn

Writing Wednesday: Why Do You Write?

I absolute love writing. It feels freeing, and often like I'm channeling something. There is a fun creative energy that consumes me and takes over my life - kind of like the picture above. It feels amazing.

For many years, I didn't write, or only wrote essays for university. There was very little creativity there, or maybe there was, but of a different kind.

Then, a few years ago I took a creative muse course from the lovely and talented Janet Whitehead (feel free to check her out, she does on line and skype as well as in person classes) and started exploring with writing. Things seemed to come together, my thoughts gelled into fun ideas and poems; it was beautiful.

Later that year, a friend introduced me to Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month - check them out too, I can't say enough good about them) and I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month. It was frantic and terrible writing and incredibly empowering. Since then, I've written several novels and am now working on editing.

I realize from all of this that, even though I didn't always know that I wanted to write, I always knew that I wanted a creative outlet, but didn't know how to go about it. Writing has done this for me, and has even led me to other creative pursuits. And I'm determined to break the next barrier and even get one of my novels out there for others to read (could be a little self sabotage involving why I have four unedited novels...).

So, why do you write? When did you start? Have you always wanted to write? What do you love most about it?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 23 Poem: Truth

Prompt: None used. Had so much fun using words out of an Eckhart Tolle book, that I'm going to do it again today.

April 23/13


Simple and verifiable,
Black and white,
Right or wrong,
Leads to the mental dysfunction
Of making others wrong,
In order to be right, superior.
More important than human life,
Eliminate untruth to maintain social order.
It's all equally false.
Awaken to kindness and
Live your own truth,
Your innermost I AM (as Jesus said).
We are all truth,
No one less valuable than the other.
Align actions with kindness to live in a
Natural state of
Beauty and

Help Please with Blogger Problem

Hi everyone,
I don't know if you can help me or if this has happened to you, but my friend has trouble looking at my blogger posts. Sometimes she sees everything properly, but about half the time she gets this:
There are no posts, nothing along the side...
Has this ever happened to you? If you have any ideas about why this would be happening, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks so much,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 22 Poem: Shift in Nature

Prompt: Something to do with Earth Day.
I took an old Eckhart Tolle book and flipped to a random page that had words that jumped out at me. I circled words that I liked and made a poem out of them.

April 22/13

I took this photo on Hornby Island, BC, Summer, 2012

Shift in Nature

Nature exists in
Unconscious oneness,
The wild animals with the human beings.
Let the mind cup up reality,
Create a new perspective,
And align with universal intelligence.
A tsunami of new belief
Changes perspective
And inspires spirit
In creative empowerment.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 21 Poem: Fortune Cookies

Prompt: Fortune cookie fortunes in Frank O'Hara's style.

April 21/13

Fortune Cookies

Anxiety makes your head hurt, stop worrying.
Fear only makes you crazy.
Embrace your destiny.
Your fortune is changing for the better, go with it.
Learn to relax and take things less seriously.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Good friends are a tonic.
Follow your dreams and all will be well.
Let a smile be your umbrella, unless you're feeling sad, then cry.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 20 Poem: Cyclops Moon

Prompt: Use five of the following words: owl, generator, abscond, upwind, squander, clove, miraculous, dunderhead, cyclops, willowy, mercurial, seaweed, gutter, non-pareil, artillery, salt, curl, ego, rodomontade, elusive, twice, ghost, cheese, cowbird,truffle, svelte, quahog, bilious.

April 20/13

Cyclops Moon

Cyclops moon absconds with darkness,
Squandering the sun's light,
To bathe the night in mercurial silver.
Willowy clouds curl and ghost across her face,
Blinding her.

Book Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Book: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead, 2010 by Razorbill, 594 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.

My Thoughts:
This was a great ending to the Vampire Academy series. It was full of action, tension, and twists. 

Rose is charged with killing Queen Tatiana is about to stand trial for treason, an offense punishable by death. While she is locked up, the tables turn as it is her friends who have concocted the crazy plan to help her escape.

The story has two aspects: Rose and Dimitri and their life on the run, following leads and getting into their own trouble when they are supposed to be laying low; and Lissa and their friends trying to find the real murderer back at the royal court. Again, the connection between Lissa and Rose proves to be invaluable so that we can see what is going on in both places.

Then there is the development of the relationship between Rose and Dimitri - and how Adrian fits into what is going on between them. I did feel sorry for Adrian, but I thought it was interesting how Mead dealt with the whole thing. There certainly was no nicely wrapped up solution and I liked how Mead didn't pretend there was. She left some things messy.

There are also some great twists in the plot that keep the reader turning the pages. I love how so many threads throughout the whole series come together to make sense in this book. However, there are also some tangles, and though things all make sense in the end, there are still questions about what will happen next.

Overall, I think anyone who has read the Vampire Academy series will really love this book and will completely devour it, eating up every word and savoring the tension between Rose and Dimitri.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 19 Poem: Bloom

Prompt: None used. I actually wrote another poem earlier, but it was pretty angry and raw and I'm not ready to share it. Then I had this idea. It's not brilliant, but I see the beginnings of something in it.
April 19/13
Photo by and (c)2007 Jina Lee


A small, fragile blossom,
Wrapped up tight against itself,
Against the world,
Needs nurture and love and kindness,
To show itself to the world.

If picked at,
It will shrivel and die,
Hidden and
Cut short.

It's purpose is to thrive and open,
Expose its tender centre,
Be a fragrant, vibrant miracle of nature.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 18 Poem: If

Prompt: Begin and end the poem with the same word.

April 18/13


If I could look through my child's eyes,
The world would be an adventure,
Stowing treasures carefully in a suitcase,
Instead of throwing in the necessities.

Curiosity and wonder fill their days.
Rain is to be danced in,
Mushrooms hide fairies,
Dust is collected to make a Mr. Dusty,
Rather than being one more chore.

Playing is their job,
Nothing is more important.
Having fun, being fair, making new friends,
Are all in a day's work.
Tempers flair and tears are shed,
But resentments are aired, not harboured.

My children steward me,
Reminding me to laugh,
To make light of serious situations,
To hide under the covers if something is scary,
To wear PJs all weekend,
And to break out into song when the mood strikes.

Hugs can cure ills
And kisses hold magic,
Being close is comforting.
Art deserves to be displayed,
And the possibilities are endless.

All I have to do is to be open
To the wonder of

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 17 Poem: Hello to Life With a Teenaged Boy

Prompt: A poem of greeting.

April 17/13

Hello to Life With a Teenaged Boy

It's hard to know exactly when it happened,
When my wide eyed little boy
Turned into a teenager -
A sleeping in,
Showering every day,
Feet bigger than mine,
Can look me in the eyes,
Striving for privacy and independence,
Fashion conscious teenaged boy.

His sarcasm cracks me up.
When in doubt, he has the answer.
Life is like a roller coaster,
Soaring and falling
With the cracks in his voice.

Friends are a lifeline,
Girls are interesting,
Though fart jokes are hilarious.
'I'm bored' is altered with
'Look at me, look at me,
I'll annoy you until you pay attention to me.'

He doesn't know it,
But he's reminding me to
Keep it fun,
Don't take everything so seriously,
Laughter is a good reaction.
Because otherwise,
I might want to strangle him.

I've changed too,
I'm now the mom of a teenager,
Waiting up,
Backing off,
Yet being present.

I wouldn't change it for the world.
Let the adventure begin.

Book Blast: Captive Spirits

Captive Spirits Aztar is a planet where no one remembers a time of peace. Fear of those who wield a mystical cruelty holds people as CAPTIVE SPIRITS. All that remains is the waning belief in a savior who will someday come to restore peace to a blood soaked land. Zmeria, an ancient text recovered, brings a Prophecy to life. The leaders of each Region come together with a plan to reunite Aztar's divided people and make way for their savior. They arm themselves with the recently discovered revelation of peace long past. A dream is born and legends revived as Aztar’s people determine to fight the evil and Reclaim Aztar. The Evil’s grasp is strong on the CAPTIVE SPIRITS of Aztar. Leaders know this battle to free the will and spirit of the people will not be easily won. They decree a King must be chosen. One man of the entire world stands out from the rest. Si, the firstborn son of the house of Volcum, is well known for valor and victories in battle. A kingdom must be established. As the center of his kingdom, Si Volcum decreed an ancient, long deserted castle far to the north that contained the lost records of Aztar’s forgotten glory. He accepted his chosen bride, Alexis, unseen from a house as old as his own. Si ruled and the land prospered for fifteen years while evil silently waited. The King did not know when evil struck it would be personally against him or that the price would be so high. The people of Aztar chose well in their King. Si will not hesitate. The King will pay the price. From his love and chosen path, the Saga of Aztar begins with the legend of her first King, Si Volcum. “Reclaim Aztar,” will be their battle cry.  
Author M.A. Adair Mary A. Adair is an Amazon best selling author of Native American Romance. CAPTIVE SPIRITS is her first Young Adult Fantasy. It is the beginning to a Young Adult Fantasy series that can also be enjoyed by all adults. Mary's other works include Passion's Vision and Passion's Price, both are Best Selling Native American Romance. Mary did extensive research on several Native American tribes in the time period of her books. One of her many sources for learning about the rich Native American culture of that time period was a book written in the mid. 1700s by one of her husband’s ancestors, James Adair. PASSION'S VISION, a story filled with romance, excitement and danger. This story features James Fitzgerald, an agent in the court of King George II and New Moon, sister to Chief Dancing Cloud. PASSION'S PRICE is a poignant love story with a twist of humor. It is a next generation story filled with adventure and determination as well as self-realization and of course Romance. PASSION’S PRICE continues with James's and New Moon's daughter, Golden Dawn.
Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Writing Wednesday: Thinking of Self Publishing

I feel like the end might be in sight for finishing my Antigone: The True Story manuscript. Soon, I will have some decisions to make - primarily, whether to start sending out query letters or to self publish.

I always thought I'd go the traditional route and send out queries. Self publishing sounded like too much risk, work and expense. But, obviously, things are changing.  A lot of great articles about self publishing have come across my path lately and they have started me thinking. This one, in particular, was good: Hugh Howey: Self Publishing is Good - And Great for Writers. A lot of what he says makes sense. I know that I've certainly softened my views on self publishing. That and there are some great self published books out there.

Of course there is the fear and overwhelm about being on the hook for everything - cover design, editing, proof reading, formatting, marketing. However, there is also a certain excitement with this as well.

I know how important good editing, copy and book design are and I don't have a lot of experience in these things, nor do I have a lot of money to spend on them (though I firmly believe in paying people for their work, but bartering is good too).

Has anyone out there self published? Do you have resources or stories to share? Ideas? Advice? I would love to hear from you so please comment or link up your blog/website.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 16 Poem: Life is Too Short to Fold the Socks

No prompt, though the line "Life is too short to fold socks" jumped out at me from my journal today.

April 16/13

Life is Too Short to Fold the Socks

I keep my socks in a small, blue laundry basket.
Actually, socks for the whole family live there,
Unsorted and unmatched.

I used to pair them up, fold them nicely and put them away,
Until, three kids later,
There wasn't time,
Or I didn't have the energy,
Or just didn't feel like it.

When my son asked me why I stopped,
"Because life is too short to fold the socks,"
Flowed from my mouth.
And I'm right.

Think about it:
They don't get wrinkled,
Or creased,
Or suffer in any way from not being
Sorted and folded.
In fact, they may benefit
From being part of the adventure of an
Unmatched pair on someone's feet.
Who said they have to be the same in the first place?
My daughter, at least, goes out of her way
For mix matched socks.
And I love tossing them in the basket.

If it bothers someone that much,
They are free to fold the socks,
But, so far, no one has.

I'm sure when I look back on my life,
I won't regret having unfolded socks,
Or wish I spent more time doing laundry.
There are so many things I'd rather do...
Read a book,
Write poetry,
Go for a walk,
Play with my kids,
Stare into space.
All more worthy pursuits,
Than having folded socks.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 15 Poem: A Pantum

Prompt: Write a pantum - consists of rhymed quatrains (abab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection.

April 15/13

Butterflies with their colours so diverse,
Flutter by, no care whatsoever.
Fairies dance on my keyboard, finishing the verse,
I only hope they write something clever.

Book Blast: Helga, Out of the Hedgelands

Helga: Out of the Hedgelands Twelve-year-old Helga has more danger in her life than most beasts her age—Wrackshee slavers after her, a vicious attack by bandits that nearly kills her, a race against dragons pursuing her, and leading a daring rebellion to save her life and rescue friends and family from the insidious WooZan. And that is just the beginning. But what do you expect when you are a young beast who just can’t see the stupid rules of the world making any sense? Helga can’t accept things as they are and ends up taking on not just one, but two all-powerful, supreme tyrants in two different realms. Helga never intended to lead a revolution. It just sort of happened because she wouldn’t go along with the “rules of normal” that keep tyrants in power and entire societies enslaved. Beginning on a dangerous quest to solve some mysteries in her own past, Helga leads her quirky comrades on a journey that will not only forever change them, but upset ancient civilizations. As an author, I’m drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, create their own fragrance rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has her own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries. Helga’s unusual story will take readers to worlds they never imagined—definitely a whole new ride. Time and again, the unconventional heroine and her eccentric comrades overcome ominous tyrants and black-hearted slavers, not by battling to the last beast standing, but by being the first beast to think differently. Helga: Out of Hedgelands is divided into three books which introduce the epic saga of the Wood Cow clan and their role in overturning centuries of slavery and tyranny. This story will continue in additional volumes of the Wood Cow Chronicles now in development. Over the series of current and future volumes, the entire history of the Wood Cow clan, the fall of Maev Astuté, and the coming of Lord Farseeker to the Outer Rings, will be told.  
Book Trailer  
Author Rick Johnson I am a native of the Great Plains, having grown up on a farm in the Platte River Valley of western Nebraska. I love the wild beauty of the Plains and nearby Rocky Mountains--the too hot, too cold, too empty, too full of life extremes. Typically, the awesomely diverse and the awesomely stark are much the same, even as they are different. Although I have lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and British Columbia, the western plains, mountains, and desert are in my heart. As my day job, for over thirty years I have been a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Teaching broadly in the liberal arts, including creative writing, my professional publications include educational materials, poems, and 28 stories for young readers. During my spare hours, I have also collected and carefully studied the records of former times upon which the Wood Cow Chronicles are based. It is my privilege to bring this astonishing saga to light. ​ The Wood Cow Chronicles have been researched and written with the irreplaceable assistance of Barbara, my beloved wife of more than thirty-five years, and our children. Indeed, the essential research into the history of the Wood Cows has been conducted during the odd hours of family reading and storytelling "around the campfire" as we say--even when there is no campfire! This research continues and grows richer as our family expands across generations and continents.  
   Book Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/1/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 14 Poem: Wonder Woman

Prompt: Write a character poem in the persona of a super hero or super villain.

April 14/13

Wonder Woman

I am an Amazon princess,
Disguised, protecting humans
From nefarious villains.
I right wrongs, fight for love, uphold peace.

Without a second thought,
I chase the bad guys down,
And watch their stunned expressions,
As I steal their weapons with my unerring Lasso of Truth,
And their bullets ricochet off my impenetrable wrist bands.
My flowing black hair is held back with golden tiara,
Which doubles as a weapon.
My transportation? An invisible jet.
They never even see me coming.

All six feet of my
Curvaceous, muscular frame is
Ready to strike at a moment's notice.
No one dares to mess with me.
Or, if they do, they live to regret it.

I show the boys that I can hold my own,
And more.

I am strength,
I am power,
I am a femme extraordinaire,
I am Wonder Woman.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 13 Poem: Walking With Tundra

Prompt: Go for a walk and pay attention.

April 13/13

Our dog, Tundra, who loves her walks.
Walking With Tundra

As I go to the drawer and take out the leash,
Gentle Tundra, hops up and down
Channelling her inner puppy,
Though she's now fourteen
With a greying beard and cloudy eyes.

Bounding down the stairs to the ally,
Where the leash is for show in my hand,
Her excitement is palpable.
She bursts out of the gate to the fence across the way,
The dog behind it goes crazy.
My dog pees, every time,
Oblivious to the commotion she's causing.
Deafness can be fun.

Off we walk,
And I use the term lightly,
It's more of a meander,
To the other side of the alley,
To pee in another designated spot.

I play with the leash and
Contemplate the garbage strewn around
When the truck hoist the bins
And fails to capture their full contents,
Then look up and enjoy the mountains,
Happy to live so near the river.
Tundra used to run on the beach for hours.

Down a few more houses we go,
Time to stop and sniff another fence,
This one housing three big dogs,
Whipped up into a frenzy.
Tundra taunts them from freedom side of the fence.
Again, she declines to hear them,
As I nudge her to keep going
And leave the dogs in peace.

Soon Tundra tires,
Her arthritic joints are getting sore
As she stops and looks at me,
Time to turn around.
First, another pee.

Back up the ally we go,
Passed the three dogs in the yard,
Though this time we don't stop,
We toddle along,
Sniffing the garbage,
I avoid the mud puddles,
Tundra walks right through them.

Soon we are back home,
Leaving a trail of worked up dogs in our wake.
My faithful Tundra, saunters through the gate,
And into the house,
To sleep.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 12 Poem: Be Gentle

Prompt: What you wish you could say to someone.

I wrote this one to myself. If you've been following my poems this month, you'll see that several of them deal with anxiety. I've been using my poetry to work some things out. It's been hard to put my poems out there publicly because it feels so self centred and scary, but I'm doing it anyway. Maybe it will help with the stigma or help someone understand or realize they're not alone.

April 12/13

Be Gentle

Be gentle with yourself.
Hardness creates gruff edges,
Jagged teeth and prickly moods.
Not even you can stand yourself then.

Really, there is nothing that can't be solved,
That doesn't have a silver lining,
Or work out for the best,
In the end.
Though, if you look, usually it gets better
By the middle.

But if the worst does happen,
You have friends and family,
Amazing people,
Waiting with a helping hand.
It's not a weakness to
Rely on them when need be.

And even if it is, so what?
Everyone needs help,
Especially when they are ill.
This is simply a different kind of sick,
One that doesn't involve fevers or rashes,
Broken bones or any other outward sign.

Clenched up panic and fear,
Stomach churning, heart pounding tension,
Tears, headaches and feeling blue
Are Real.
They don't make you less worthy, important, amazing.

So be gentle with yourself.
Do a little bit everyday
And that will be enough.
Baby steps are the way to go
So long as you are true to yourself
And follow your dreams.
But most of all,
Love yourself for who you are.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 11 Poem: The Library

Prompt: A tanka ~ a five line poem/stanza based on the syllable pattern 5-7-5-7-7, and works best when the last two lines are unexpected or funny.

April 11/13

The Library

At the library,
Feeling love from endless books,
Search the dusty stacks.
Still, I go to the bookstore
And I drain my bank account.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 10 Poem: Dichotomy

Prompt: an un-love poem

April 10/13


Two sides of the same coin,
So different
But integral to one another.
The sun creates shade.

Dazzling light laughs and plays,
Tickles any fancy,
Dances through the day,
Relaxes and kicks back.
Reflects beauty.
Everything is fun,
Kick-butt amazing.

Dark shadow protects what's inside,
A guitar string wound tight,
Snaps when plucked.
Concealing, disguising
Repulsive fear,
Paralyzing anxiety
With a pretty shell.

Hard to love when the shell breaks,
Shadow creeps through the cracks
Dims the light.

Writing Wednesday: Writing A Poem a Day is Hard

Writing a poem a day is HARD, much harder than I expected it to be. I am a huge fan of Nanowrimo and can usually write 2000 words a day when properly motivated, but a poem a day? Even a short one? Well, this is turning out to be a different kind of challenge for me.

Part of it is the lack of flexibility. With Nano, you could take a day off, or only write a little bit, but make up for it later in a great show of writing frenzy. At times, the novel takes on its own momentum and almost writes itself.

A poem a day is much more disciplined. And it uses a different part of my brain. Which is good. Which is why I chose not to join Camp Nano this month and do Napowrimo instead.

I also need a different kind of head space to write a poem - it's a struggle to come up with a unique idea and form and carry it out every day. With novel writing it is different. Even when I don't know what to write, there is usually some logical thing to do next, or I can have characters bash around together until something happens. With poetry, I have to make it all happen. Though, I must say, the prompts help. And I do write random words or ideas down until something solidifies.

Also, in the past, I only wrote poems when inspired. I'd have a niggling in my brain, an urge to write something that wouldn't go away, so I'd write it all down and move on. With Napowrimo, I've been writing a poem every day, whether I feel like it or not.

And, today is only the 10th day! It's been a long road to write the nine poems that I've posted so far. It's been hard to post them. Again, with the novel writing, I write bad first drafts and I know it, I don't show them to anyone until I've edited for months. I feel raw and exposed posting these poems every day.

I would love to hear from others writing Napowrimo or taking on other writing challenges and hear how you are doing.

If you are interested in Napowrimo, click here for the link.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Book Blast: January Black

January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.

Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!
I lost a few hours as I read this book. It's a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out.
~Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review

The mystery was intriguing - I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that's pretty hard to make me do.
~Julie, Clean Teen Reads

Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
~Ivan Amberlake, Author

Book Trailer

Author Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/5/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Napowrimo Day 9 Poem: Noir

Prompt: Noir - actually film noir, but I chose to simply go with something dark.

April 9/13



Creates interest,

Slide up closer.
Turn on the light.
Take a peek.

The boogy man is

Cringe at its
Ugly face,
Jagged teeth,
Knife nails,
As it reaches out to
Stroke your
Soft cheek.
Light flickers.

The truth
Shies away from the
Comfortable in the
Suited to

Monday, 8 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 8 Poem: Panic

No prompt used. I tried and tried to use the prompt, which was to write an ocatva rima, but it just wasn't working for me. I like the idea of that form, so will try to come back to it. I actually wasn't sure about this poem, but thought I'd post anyway. It's pretty raw and I may come back to it.

April 8/13


Teeth clenched,
Shaky inside,
A tangled knot.

Darkness oozes,

Can't move.

Deep breaths
Don't calm.

On edge.