Monday, February 28, 2011

Creature Mondays

Credit for picture
The chimera is another creature from Typhon and Echidna. According to Homer, the chimera had a lion head, a goat middle, and a snake behind. Hesiod said the chimera had three heads and the goat head can breathe fire.

In Greek mythology, Bellerophon kills the chimera with the help of Pegasus. He attaches a block of lead to the end of his spear and shoves it into its throat. The lead melts and the chimera suffocates.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

IT'S WHAT YOU SCATTER

from a forwarded email that I thought was worth sharing

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.


Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
 
'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'
 

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'
 

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'
 

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'
 

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'
 

'Would you like to take some home?' Asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here..'


'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr.. Miller.'


Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.


When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and
moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.


Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket..

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.'


'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.


Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...

An unexpected phone call from an old friend.... Green stoplights on your way to work....
The fastest line at the grocery store....
A good sing-along song on the radio...
Your keys found right where you left them.

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of the $50 giftcard to CSN stores is...


 Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse!

Congrats, Angela! I'll be emailing you shortly!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Contest Reminder

Just a little reminder that today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a $50 giftcard to CSN stores. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rerelease!


I have some release news. The first story I sold was "Little Cowgirl" (written under the name Nicolette Zamora.). It was written for Freya's Bower One Touch, One Glance anthology. Now that anthology has been re-released with a brand new cover and in print. So you can buy either ebook or a print copy.

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned romance? Remember reading about a man’s clothed physique, or how a fellow admired a woman in a pretty red dress? How about stories where couples fall in love with just one glance or that first gentle touch? Then open this anthology and enjoy 18 beautiful stories of love lost, love found, intrigue, heartache healed, the miracles of life, passionate admissions, and tearjerkers that make one sigh with longing. From best friends who find romance to time travel to a bit of Christmas magic, step into the realm of hearts on fire and love everlasting.

Authors:Gwen Hayes, M.E. Ellis, Maryann Miller, Adelle Laudan, K. Starling, Trinity Blacio, Debbie Gould, Ava James, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Savannah Chase, Lisa Alexander Griffin, Kensana Darnell, Nicolette Zamora, Kathleen MacIver, Missy Lyons, and Jambrea Jo Jones

Ebook

Print

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News! Revealing a Secret Project

I can finally tell you all about one of my secret projects!

Yes, only one . :) But don't worry, I have lots of things up my sleeves and you'll learn more about the others soon.

Anyhow, I  signed a contract with Echelon Press. I'm one of twelve authors from around the world to participate in the exciting new Electric Shorts division. Written specifically for young readers, the Electric Shorts are high impact stories presented in a venue similar to that of popular television series. Electric Shorts will publish one story/episode each month in eBook. An Electric Shorts season will last six months. My first episode [Seeing for the First Time] in the "What You See is What You Get" series will debut on March 8, 2011.

Electric Shorts are written for readers between the ages of seven and seventeen with fast-paced and intense storylines.

Seeing For the First Time

Ever since she was six, ten years ago, Ana has to spend her summers with Gram. There's never anything to do, the closest beach is two hours away, and Ana's convinced her Gram is crazy. She's always talking to things that weren't there.

One day, Ana sees strange colors near Gram as she works in her garden. Gram says they're fairies. She can See them, and there are others who can. Ana's a Seer, too, she just hasn't seen her paranormal creature yet.

Gram gives Ana a book that explains about many different creatures: selkies, unicorns, vampires, and many others. The entry about werewolves mentions Ana's parents as famous werewolf hunters.

Now Ana's summer is turning more exciting and she plans on finding her paranormal creature. Even if it might prove dangerous… and deadly.

For advance review copies and requests for interviews and author events for any of the participating authors, contact Karen L. Syed at Echelon Press echelonpress@gmail.com.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Creature Mondays

Credit for picture

This week's creatures is the Cerberus.

Known as the mythical ancestor of the black dogs of European mythology. Cerberus is the hellhound that guards the gate of the Underground in Greek mythology.Cerberus makes sure that no living creature steps foot into the Underground and that no spirit escapes.

Hesiod said the creature is huge and fierce, with 50 heads. Also, that the creature is an offspring of Echidna, the mother of all monsters, and Typhon, one of the sons of Gaia. Most other writers said that Cerberus had only three heads, the tail of a serpent, and each head's manes contained snakes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Giveaway time!

It's been a little while since I did a giveaway and since CSN Stores contacted me about giving a giftcard away on my blog, I thought it was kismet! Haven't heard of CSN? CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from kids’ swing sets to stylish furniture to cute cookware! They have everything, even the kitchen sink! I recently won a blog contest for a giftcard from CSN and I can't wait to get my mini stepper!

One lucky person will win a $50 gift certificate to any CSN Store to purchase anything you'd like!

A few rules:

Must live US & Canada. (CSN ships to those countries.)
Does not cover any shipping costs but you can use it on ANY product from ANY one of their sites.
You can gain an extra entry by commenting on what you would love to have from the site linked above.
Ends on Thursday, 24th at midnight EST.
Winner will be announced the next day.
Must fill out the below form:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zombie Valentines

Even the undead want a little love. Here's an awesome site for all the undead zombies out there. Perfect, whether you're a slow-moving, fast-moving, or immobile zombie, whether you have all,, some, or none of your limbs intact.

Zombie Search Results 
 
Slightly more seriously, I've read and enjoyed vampire romances and werewolf romances. Haven't read any zombie romances. Don't plan on it either. What about you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nonfiction Writing

On Sunday, I sold my first article on Constant Content so I'm happy about that! I'm busy writing articles so that's why this blog post is late, and why it's going to be short.

I've also have been thinking about trying to find a copyeditor/proofreader position at a publisher so we'll see how that goes. I'm trying to work on my resume and figure out what to include.

How's your writing coming along? Read any good books lately? Watched a good movie lately?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Show Me Some Love

It's Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


My good friend, Steph, is hosting her first ever blogfest and I signed up for it. You can see the list of participants here. Basically, I just have to answer a few questions so here they are:

1- What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?


Read my answer to question number 3!

2- What is your favorite love song?

My favorite love song would have to be hubby and mine's wedding song - Hero by Enrique Iglesias. I melt when hubby sings this to me.

3- Do you have a favorite romantic movie or book?

Phantom of the Opera - the movie. Why? I'm so glad you asked!

Because we were poor college students when we were dating, hubbythenboyfriend and I only really went out on dates on our monthly anniversary.

One month, hubbythenboyfriend made dinner reservations for us at a nicer restaurant. We got dressed up. As we were driving over, hubbythenboyfriend decided to pull over to get an umbrella from the trunk since the weatherman said it might rain and we were wearing nice clothes.

A minute later, he came up to my door and opened it, wearing a cape and a Phantom mask.

He had pulled over at a park and took me beneath some trees. He sang two songs from the movie before getting down on one knee. It was sooo romantic!!!

4- Do you have any romantic plans for Valentine's Day this year?

Yep! Hubby and I are going to have dinner at a nice restaurant an hour away from home. We have a gift card. :) And we're bringing the kids. I just hope they sleep on the ride there!

5- What's your favorite romantic treat?

Definitely chocolate! I'm a chocoholic!

---

So what are your plans for today? And don't worry, next Monday I'll return to my inspiring creature post!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Making Money

I've been trying to make money through writing nonfiction. It's not nearly as much fun as writing fiction, but with writing articles, you can be paid immediately instead of waiting for royalties.

So far, I haven't been making as much as I would like.

But I have found a site that seems promising - Constant Content. You can write whatever you want and list a price for one-time rights, unique rights, or full rights. You can also write articles that clients are specifically looking for, but there is heavy competition for those. So far, I've written two articles there. It's more fun than some other sites.

I've also been writing answers for a new to me site: webanswers. It seems similar to Yahoo Answers but you get paid (from ad clicks) if your answer is picked as the best one.

I had written a bunch of articles for eHow but now that's no longer an option. There are many other sites like eHow out there, but I wish I could find more that offered upfront payment.

Are any of you freelancers? What site do you write for? Any one know of any editing or proofreading opportunities?

And if you have the time, I was interviewed about why I write fantasy here. Would love for you to check it out!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tweaking

I've done some tweaking to the blog and added a new spot for my blog awards - they now have a separate page. Go ahead and check all of them out and pick whichever one you want, it's yours!

I'm hoping that the few changes I made will make the blog open faster for those of you whom said it opens slowly. I got rid of the slideshow of my covers, considering that I have a page devoted to them. Speaking of which... I have some covers I need to add to that page. Can't wait until I can add the cover for Champion of Valor!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Calls for Submissions

Here are a few calls for submissions that you may be interested in:





Pirates and Swashbucklers of all shapes and sizes. These stories can range from traditional pirates, musketeer-style adventurers, to science fiction or horror tinged stories of each. The only requirement is that pirates or swashbucklers play a key feature in the story.
Suggested word count is from 5,000 to 20,000, though stories longer or shorter will be considered.
Pulp Empire will consider reprinted work, but any reprint material must be clearly marked as such ahead of time.

Pulp Empire considers all stories from all writers, regardless of experience or resume. We ask that you submit all stories as an RTF attachment to submissions(at)pulpempire.com.
Please mark all submissions to this anthology with the word “Pirates” in the subject header.
Please also include a short biography including publishing history and a picture if available.
The deadline for submissions to this anthology is April 15, 2011.
 ---
 Pill Hill Press has many anthologies open. I love Pill Hill Press and have sold several short stories in some of their anthologies. You can check out their entire list of open anthologies here.
---




We are currently reading submissions for Candle in the Attic Window, an anthology of Gothic fiction. The anthology will be available in print and as an e-book in 2011. Open to submissions January-February 2011.
We are seeking tales and poetry of Gothic horror. While we will consider different time periods, we are not fixed on only exploring an English Victorian country manor. We want a variety of settings. Can you do Gothic Brazil? Gothic Malaysia? How does Gothic take shape in the modern, blue-glass towers of Vancouver? Show us how the terror-stricken governess can morph into the computer programmer that discovers a deadly secret in Hong Kong. Or transport us to 18th century Moscow, where that candle burns bright – and deadly. We want Gothic tales reimagined for a modern audience.
Take the classic Gothic and shake it up a bit. Surprise us. But most of all, scare us.
---
Interested in any? I would love to write for the gothic one. And the pirate. I love writing short stories!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

THE COUNT'S LAIR BLOG TOUR

THE COUNT'S LAIR BLOG TOUR

I'm excited to be here with Nicole today. Thanks for having me.

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.

Music, Book Trailers, and Setting the Mood

My character, Lady Amelia Andrassy, is a talented pianist in "The Count's Lair," but my knowledge of music, specifically classical music, was poor. For me, it was time to hit the books (or You Tube) for research.

Music creates a mood, so I picked Beethoven as Amelia's favorite composer. Two pieces of his reflect Amelia's mood – The Sonata Pathetique and Moonlight Sonata. The Pathetique speaks to Amelia's state of mind. It's moody and poignant – reflective – and Amelia has a lot to reflect on. The Moonlight Sonata is hauntingly beautiful in a gothic kind of way and reflects the couple's love.

Creating the book trailer was a challenge, but one I was looking forward to. Knowing "Moonlight Sonata" was Anton and Amelia's song, I wanted something similar for the book trailer. I found "Relent" by Kevin MacLeod. It's haunting, beautiful, all-encompassing – perfect for the couple.

Dreamstime and Fotolia were the two sites I went to for stock photography for the book trailer. I found some great pictures of Budapest that help to capture the haunting, gothic, yet sensual feel of the novel.

Enjoy this excerpt:

The butler nodded and escorted Bryant into the kitchen. Amelia followed Anton into the den. Next to the fireplace stood the tree they'd picked out. A low fire was already burning. Amelia sat on the couch while Anton added another log to the blaze.

"So, where are your ornaments?" Amelia asked.

"Not here yet." Anton stood up and rubbed his hands, his cheeks flushing red.

"You don't have any you've saved?"

"No." He drew in a deep breath. "I've never had a Christmas tree before."

"I guess I didn't realize…"

He sat next to her on the couch. "He was never one to celebrate the holidays, nor was András."

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

Anton shrugged. "Christmas has always been just another day to me."

"Your brother never married?"

"No. He shared the same low opinion of women as my father. Oh, he had his fair share, like my father, but he didn't respect them."

"Do you think…" She paused, wanting to phrase her words correctly "Do you think your father or András might have had any more children?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, it's possible, but I'm not aware of any."

Just then the door opened, and the young boy who had driven Anton's auto the other day walked in carrying a big box. An older man carrying another box followed him. He was about Anton's height, with graying hair and alert eyes. Next, a young woman walked in holding a third box. Amelia couldn't take her eyes off her. She was tall and slender, with straight, jet black hair that fell just past her shoulders. Her brown eyes were infused with the warmth of a bonfire. She wore a traditional servants' outfit; they all did. But her makeup was just a tad heavier than it should have been, and it accented her sensual eyes. She wore small hoop earrings. Amelia decided she was the older man's daughter, a beauty in her own right.

"Lord Varga, we found at least two dozen ornaments for you," the woman said. She smiled at Anton, infusing the room with warmth. Amelia shivered.

Anton stood and took the box from her. "Thank you, Esmé. Did you have fun shopping for them?"

She laughed. "I wanted to buy more, but Father said you wouldn't want a cluttered tree."

Amelia wrapped her arms around herself. Anton obviously liked the woman.

He put the box on the coffee table and looked at Amelia. "I'd like to introduce you to the rest of my household," he said. "You know Tomas--"

"Hello, Lady Andrássy," Tomas said politely. He bowed, and she smiled.

"This is Georg, Tomas and Esmé's father. He's my head butler."

"My Lady," Georg said gruffly. He bowed before her. He wasn't as crisp as Tomas, but Amelia could tell the old man had a certain amount of pride, and that he was going to show her respect.

"And this is Esmé," Anton said, smiling at the dark haired woman. "She works in the kitchen."

"Hello, Lady Andrássy." Esmé gave a perfect curtsey. "Lord Varga speaks highly of you."

"Thank you. It's a pleasure to meet you," Amelia said politely, trying to hide the jealousy bubbling through her.

Just then Bryant appeared with Sandor and their tea. He placed the tea service next to the boxes of ornaments, and Georg ushered everyone out of the room.

Amelia stood next to the table, staring at the door.

Anton placed a hand on her elbow. "Is something wrong?"

"I... well, I..."

"You don't approve that I sent my staff out to buy Christmas ornaments?" he asked.

"I -- no. That's not it." Amelia paused, then decided to throw her worries to the wind. "It's just that she's so pretty."

"Who? Esmé?"

Amelia nodded. "Yes."

"I suppose she is…"

"Anton, she smiled at you, and you acted... interested in her."

He looked at her almost befuddled, and then a sudden realization crossed his expression. "Are you jealous?"


Goodie Time: Leave a comment on the Video on You Tube and I'll pick a winner to receive a print copy of a book from one of my favorite romance authors, Jillian Hunter.

The Count's Lair is avail as ebook for Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Ereader, and Kobo. You can also download a copy from the Publisher's Website.

You can find me on the web at:






Smiles
Steph

Monday, February 7, 2011

Creature Mondays


First creature is Lamia.

Lamia was a female demon. Favorite pastimes? Seducing men and devouring children. Nasty creature, that's for sure. Descriptions of her appearance varies, some say that she is human waist up and serpent from the waist down.

One version of the story says that Zeus fell in love with Queen Lamia. Hera became insanely jealous (who can blame her? Zeus cheated on her with countless women!) and murdered Lamia's children. (Ok, that's taking things a little too far there, Hera) Lamia went mad with grief and her rage transformed her into a monster. She became like a vampire, sucking on children's blood.

---

In one of my half-finished Nano stories, the MC is called Lamia. Let's just say the name is rather fitting for the character (the madness, not the seducing and devouring part.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Results are In...

Knight of Glory finished 2nd in the Preditors and Editors 2010 Poll for Fantasy! Lookey at my awesome badge:


So pretty. Actually, it's not that pretty, it's kinda bizarre, and more horror than fantasy. But that's ok because it's all mine! And the other eight awesome authors that round out the top ten. First place get there own special button. Maybe one day, I'll claim first place and have a lovely button all to myself!

You can check out the rest of the fantasy list here.

I'm sorry my posting schedule has been off this past week. I didn't rite my posts early (that's always a problem when that happens.) Plus blogger didn't post the two that I had set to post so that was #bloggerfail not #nicolefail. And I've been having really bad headaches lately so sleep hasn't been restful lately. I'm hoping everything will return to normal next week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Researching Fantasy Creatures

I love to do research. It's how I came up with the idea for Woman of Honor. I discovered there actually had been some female knights in the Middle Ages, including the Order of the Hatchet, and immediately invisioned a little girl asking her king if she could be a knight, mentioning those ladies.

But I do research beyond just history. I love to research mythological and fantastical creatures as well.

For Christmas, hubby bought me The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings. It's an awesome book, the creatures are divided by type, and there are so many detailed colored pictures, it's just a beautiful work of art.

Then I won a giftcard through a contest. I spent half of the money of books for pleasure (Personal Demons, XVI, and Paranormalcy) but I also bought two more references books. A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk: How to Work with the Elemental Worldand Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth.

The Faery Folk has a wonderful list of all the faery creatures: their land of origin, other origins, other names, element, appearance and temperament, time most active, lore, where to fund them, how to contact, and magickal and ritual help.

The Giants books is such a huge book, it contains so many creatures!

It's going to take me a long time to go through these books and I can't wait! I've already started with the Mythical Creatures Bible, writing notes of great creatures to use and have come up with numerous story ideas too. I'll use information from these sources for my inspiring Monday creatures posts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Agents Are Looking For

I love to peruse agent's blogs to see what in particular they are looking for.













Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Look Back, and a Look Ahead

My calendar looks like this (except mine has pretty pictures) but I scribbling important information into the boxes, any plans or birthdays, upcoming deadlines, guest posts, etc. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to keep everything straight. Calendar's are a Godsend!
January's over. We're a month into 2011.

So what did I accomplish?

I finished Champion of Valor. I'm working on the cover sheet and will submit both in a couple hours.

I also wrote and submitted three picture books to a small publisher in Texas. Yesterday was their deadline for unsolicited fantasy and science fiction picture books.

I also have a secret project that I'll give more details about when I can.

Reading-wise, I've been devouring several reference books on creatures. I plan on changing my inspiring Mondays post for the next several weeks, and maybe longer, into different creatures and I'll explain some of their details and idiosyncrasies. I also read and finished the first three Sookie books. So far so good, although I liked the first one best, the others weren't quite as good.

Overall, a very productive month.

So what's up for February?

Well, I need to take a small step back from fiction and write as many nonfiction articles as I can. It'll be a huge boost for miscellaneous bills.

If you can keep a secret from hubby, I'll probably still write a little. What can I say? I'm a writer, it's my drug.

What did you accomplish in January? What are your goals for February?