Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Blog with Donna Galanti - Create Your Own Creature

Creatures are everywhere in books. Vampires. Werewolves. Faeries. Goblins. BigFoot (some argue he is real and I’m leaning towards a yes on that). And then there are made up creatures we encounter with fantastical names. These are fun to create and encounter.

In A HUMAN ELEMENT I created a creature-man, X-10, who was part human and part…something else (no spoilers here!). He grows up a science experiment unloved, enraged, and hideous to look at. He’s never given a name and desperately wants one. There he is on the book cover with those evil yellow eyes, but you can’t help your genes, right? :)

Where do you start when looking to develop a creature? Here are some basics to help you get started. And just for fun take a quiz to find out what kind of mythical creature you are! (I’m a vampire). Here also is a mythical creature guide to use as a reference if using known creatures in your writing.

And here is a handy starting list to begin creating your creature:

Name : Life Span : Weight : Height : Number of Young it can have : Diet :
Origin : Enemies : Lives : Appearance : Abilities/Powers : Personality :
Weaknesses

Features of X-10:

6 ft. 5 in. tall
Milky white translucent skin
Yellow eyes
Bulbous limbs
Flattened nose
Neanderthal forehead
Steam shovel mouth
Nail-less with pod like fingers and toes

Since he is only half-human I wanted to give him an unfinished, primitive appearance to him. Even more fun was to create his powers which he used to spread death and pain.

X-10’s features up close: 

X-10's nostrils flared, widening his flattened nose further across his face, stretching from ear to ear. He breathed deep with his recent success and felt power surging through his massive, muscled body. His veins pulsed and throbbed pushing up through his milky white skin. The blue veins cut across his naked body, carving ropes across his translucent skin in a clumsy, child's drawing. He flexed his pod hands and feet congratulating himself on his victory. Having no nails, X-10 knew he looked unfinished. His fingers and toes were fluid extensions of his body, they widened at the tips with connected webbing.

Powers of X-10:

A seeker, can seek people out with his mind powers
In-human strength
Can kill with his “mind’s eye” from afar
Telepathy
Telekinesis

In A HUMAN ELEMENT the heroine, Laura Armstrong, uses her powers for good – until she has to use them to save herself. But X-10 uses them to kill and destroy.

Here X-10 uses his powers for revenge: 

His anger raged again, thinking of her. He threw off the afghan and jumped up from the chair. Where was she now? He knelt on the braided rug and placed his hands to his head seeking her out. Sunrise was coming. He had little time but he wanted to find her. He needed to punish her, to soothe his rage before he slept for the day.

His mind's eye flew over the treetops, up a mountain. There she stood, in a dark room with walls that gleamed. She must be underground. Something moved on the wall. Moving pictures. A strange looking person was in the movie. He looked familiar to X-10. Then he knew it had to be his father. Laura's father too. He looked familiar as he looked like himself. A seething fury rose in him watching her watch the movie. Then a girl appeared. She looked like Laura and he knew it was their mother. His wrath grew immense, hating Laura for looking normal like their mother while he looked like the freak.

X-10 crushed his hands together and shrieked a demonic wail, pressing into her brain, probing with points of fire. Pain. He wanted her to feel so much pain. She fell to the floor, hugging herself. He watched her writhe and moan. When he faced her in person he would bring her to her knees and kill her while he stared into her forlorn eyes. Those big, brown eyes. He would snuff them of life so no human could enjoy them again. Bitter bile filled his throat and he swallowed hard, forcing it down. It was time to go. A few hours sleep was all he needed and when dusk fell again he would be off, running the last few miles toward his prey. He was so close. By tonight he would be upon her. And they would be face to face.

He thumped his chest in a war cry and ran through the farmhouse door, a wild beast with one thing in mind. To kill.

Can a creature with such vile tendencies to use his powers for evil even be redeemed? That’s a question raised in A HUMAN ELEMENT.

Do you create your own creatures in your writing or do you use already known mythical creatures? How do you go about developing a new creature?

About A HUMAN ELEMENT:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.

Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test.

With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of horror and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.

Reviewers are saying…

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

BIO:

Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com

LIKE Donna’s Author Facebook page for news and updates! Her tour runs through April 11thh with book giveaways, more guest posts, and interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blog to see the full tour schedule.

Connect with Donna here:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Blog: http://blog.donnagalanti.com/wp/

Purchase A HUMAN ELEMENT here:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Human-Element-ebook/dp/B007IIIZUO/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-human-element-donna-galanti/1109435439?ean=2940013900530&itm=1&usri=donna+galanti

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/139981

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kindles for Kids

From Danyelle Leafty -

What exactly is Kindles for Kids?



Kindles for Kids is my way of paying it forward. My goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 10 Kindle Fires for the pediatric unit of a local hospital in UT.



How does Kindles for Kids work?



From March 12th-31st of 2012, I will be donating the *royalties I make on THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA: CATSPELL--both in paper and e-book form--toward the purchase of the Kindle Fires.



Royalties are paid a month to two months after the fact. Factoring in that as well as putting in the order, receiving them, and getting them ready, I will be delivering the Kindle Fires to the hospital in June of 2012.



How can you participate?



If you are an author (published) or a writer (unpublished), this link will explain it more. A more detailed link can be found here. In short, I'm hosting an open call for donating **books you have the rights to for the hospital. One book per Kindle Fire. You can also participate by writing a ***short story for a fairy tale anthology I'm putting together for the hospital. If you're a reader, this link will give you a few ideas on how to help spread the word.



How can you help?



The greatest help of all is to help me get the word out. You can do this by talking to people--online and in real life, posting about Kindles for Kids on forums, groups, on your blog, and by printing out and posting fliers. More detailed link here, as well as details for a photo contest. Link for the flyer here.



I can't do this without you, so thank you to all who participate in any way they can!




*Royalties up to 249,000 copies. After that, I have to buy an extended license for the photographs I use for the cover.




**All books will be vetted by me personally for both formatting and content. Since the Kindle Fires are going to the pediatric unit, I would ask that any donations are formatted and edited well, and that they go no higher than a PG rating.




***As with the books, please keep the short stories at a PG or G rating. Again, all stories that are chosen for inclusion in the anthology will be vetted by me personally. Also, because digital copies of the anthology will be donated to the hospitals, and there will be no money made off of them, neither the editor (me) nor the authors will receive payment or money for them. However, everyone who is included will receive a digital copy as either a PDF, a kindle file, or epub.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Question of the Week - Queries

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Do writing query letters make you want to rip out your hair?

Me? Yes!

Can you tell I've been working on a query letter for a couple of weeks now?

What websites, if any, do you use to polish your query letter?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Cover for Clockwise!

My dear friend, Elle Strauss, has a new cover for her fabulous story, Clockwise!


Tagline: A teenage time traveler accidentally takes her secret crush back in time. Awkward.


Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.

Sales link:Buy for Kindle.

CHAPTER ONE


EVERYONE HAS TO LIVE with something.
     For instance, my hair is the unmanageable kind of curly, the color of burnt toast.  Imagine waking up every morning looking like the Lion King, or having to spend a disproportionate amount of your allowance on hair products that don’t deliver. Like the ones under my bathroom sink. Row after row of half-empty containers of mousse, gel, and hair tamer standing dejectedly like the third string of a basketball team that rarely gets to play.
     The thing is, I would be fine with rag mop hair, truly, if only I didn’t have this other issue: uncontrolled time travel to the nineteenth century. I’ve never met anyone else with the same problem, either, so that also classifies me as some kind of freak. 
   On the upside—like a blind girl who ultra develops her other senses to compensate for what she can't control—I’ve picked up a few extra skills along the way.  One survival reflex I’ve nurtured is how to be quick on my feet. I have good impulses, you could say.
     Well, normally, this is an upside.
      Until a second ago.
      I was sitting with my best friend, Lucinda, on the sidelines of the football field. As usual, we were watching the yummy football players, rather than the scrimmage going on because really, who cared about the actual game? Despite the glare of the setting sun, I saw the brown speck hurtling towards me.
      Impulsively, I jumped up and thump, Nate Mackenzie’s football, signed by the famed Tom Brady himself, was in my arms. I couldn’t believe it. I’d caught Nate Mackenzie’s ball!
      Gingerly, I raised my head. Sauntering across the field, with all his hunky hotness, was the cutest boy in the school, the most valuable senior varsity football player of Cambridge High, and the love of my life.  He stopped right in front of me.
      “Good catch.” His rugged and manly voice lassoed me. He'd said, good catch. I couldn’t move or take my eyes off his face. The way the sun glistened off  his sweat, emphasizing his strong jaw and the brightness of his blue eyes, brighter still because of the contrast of his dark, shaggy hair…
      “So, can I have my ball back?”
      My hands gripped his football with sticky sweat. The ticker tape in my brain searched for the right response before flashing ERROR in red neon twelve-point font.
      “Casey?” Lucinda nudged my back. With a slight swivel of my head I saw her expression. Mortification. Give the dumb ball back! Did I just have an aneurysm? I felt woozy, like throwing up. I imagined myself vomiting all over Nate’s feet.
      Unbelievably, there are some things worse than puking in front of the football team. A wave of dizziness threatened to wash me away into black nothingness. But I couldn’t be so lucky to just faint. It was happening. Oh no. Not here. Please, not in front of Nate Mackenzie.
      In an instant, my world brightened like a nuclear blast as I spiraled through a long white tunnel. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. Nate was gone and so were Lucinda and all of Nate’s football team.
      I stood alone, in the middle of a lush forest painted every shade of green. My lungs filled with the sweet scent of undamaged air, my skin tingled with warm humidity. The furry and feathered inhabitants squealed and chirped with enthusiasm. I heard an unwelcome whistling noise and a pop. Nate’s ball, still in my hands, had an arrow sticking out of it.
      So much for quick thinking and quick feet. I jumped behind a tree and hid as a couple of kids, maybe ten and twelve, cantered by on horseback.
      “You missed it!” teased the older boy. The fortunate squirrel scurried up the tree, its little feet loosening bits of bark that rained down on my head.  I could have been killed or at least drastically injured, but all I could think about was Nate’s football. The air seeped out as I tugged on the hand-whittled arrow. I slid down the side of the tree and groaned.
      Tom Brady’s signature had a puncture hole right in the middle of it. I gripped the flattened ball as I stomped through the brush, pushing scratchy branches away from my face. Why did this have to happen in front of Nate Mackenzie? Why?
     Pack your bags, self-pity. I was cursed with time traveling. I was a slave to it with no control over when or in front of who it happens, and as far as I knew there was no cure. Not that I had anyone to ask about it. I just had to survive, which fortunately, I'd gotten pretty good at.
    I soon came to a wide dirt road scarred with uneven grooves ground in by irregular carriage travel and dotted with hazardous looking empty potholes. I imagined they filled up unattractively with muddy water when it rained. A waist-high rectangular stone marker, leaning slightly like a wounded soldier, had the miles to Cambridge MA etched in it. Good. I knew where I was.
      Time travel, as expected, is fraught with complications. The immediate one is what to wear. Or more like what not to wear. As in blue jeans and sneakers I needed to ditch ASAP. I slipped back into the dense covering of the forest and kept hiking. The second immediate problem has to do with food and drink. Let’s just say that to solve these problems, you have to get creative.
      I recognized a thick grove of lilac bushes and pushed my way through to the center, where a patch of wild grass opened up like a bald spot on the top of an old man’s thick crown of hair. When I travel—and this started when I was nine years old—I always end up in the same locale. The actual spot on the planet Earth stays the same; just what is on it is different. In the future, this is the location of my neighborhood.
      I lifted off a thatch of twigs to expose a deep hole; one I had proudly dug myself having borrowed a shovel from a neighboring farm. Inside was a hatchet, spotty with rust, a piece of flint, a rugged slingshot and two musky smelling burlap bags, which I pulled out, one at a time. The first had food—dried beef, raisins and a jar of well water. I opened the jar, took a drink and grimaced. Stale. The second bag had clothing: a long ivory cotton dress with tiny bluebells hand stitched in a scattered pattern, ladies boots that looked like figure skates with the blades off, a pair of trousers, a pair of men’s boots, (yes, my feet were big enough to wear men’s) and a boy’s cap. I’d borrowed these during various trips, and hoarded them away for the “future.”
     A stumpy, fallen log, green with moss and partially hollowed out by ants, served as a bench. I rested against it, laying Nate’s ball on the ground. I stared at it hypnotically, until I was lulled into a deep daydream, back to the football field at Cambridge High. This time I did everything right.
      Nate says, Good catch, his eyes admiring me and my obvious, though previously hidden, athletic ability. I say, Thanks, and smile back with confidence, my hair perfectly tamed and my jeans fitting me exceptionally well. And most importantly, I give the ball back, offering it like a prize, our fingers lightly brushing in the pass. Nate throws it far and long, glancing back to see if I am still watching him.
      I screamed. A garter snake had slithered over my hand. I jumped to my feet and did a little impromptu rain dance. I wasn’t even afraid of garter snakes, it just startled me. My heart settled back to normal speed and I shook my head, trying to clear it. Focus, Casey. Sometimes it was difficult separating my two crazy worlds. I so didn’t feel like being here in my alternate universe, the year 1860.
      I put on the trousers. Fortunately, the fashion for boys in the nineteenth century was loose and baggy, so no need to lie flat on my back to wrestle with a zipper (which wasn’t invented yet, anyway). Picking up Nate’s ball, I tucked it securely under my shirt. I had to make sure the ball came home with me when I went. It served a second useful purpose, adding the illusion of boyish thickness to my waistline. A bit of twine made for a functioning belt.
      Shoot. The pant legs ended at my ankles. Okay, I forgot to add to my list of imperfections, (chronic bad hair days, the time travel thing, paralyzing crush on a way unobtainable hottie) that I’m also overly tall. Not graceful catwalk model tall or academy award winner beauty tall. More like ostrich tall. Without the feathers. Long limbs with knobby knees and elbows.
      I pushed my hair behind my ears and into the cap. I hadn’t picked up the habit of wearing make-up because a) a bare face aided me in my attempts to blend in and b) it was a liability to me when I traveled and wanted to pass myself off as a boy. I practiced at lowering my voice: Hello, my name is Casey.
     I cleaned up my stash and worked to wipe out the evidence of a human visitation. I decided to head for the Watson farm, to see if Willie Watson would hire me again. It was grunt work, cows and chickens and the like, but it gave me a way to make a bit of money and get food. There were also a ton of kids and I could easily get lost in the mix.
      At the main road I turned east towards Boston. Mid autumn leaves shook in the cool breeze causing goose bumps to pop up on my arms in defense of the chill. I rubbed them vigorously with my long fingers. Behind me I heard the growing rhythmic clip clop of a single horse and cart. A young man with a mass of red curly hair came to a stop at my side, stirring up a minor cloud of dust. I recognized him despite that fact he had filled out since the last time I’d seen him and unfamiliar stubble now shadowed his face. It was Willie Watson.
      “Can I offer you a lift?” he said.
      It was show time. I lowered my voice. “Willie?”
      “Casey?”
      “Yeah, it’s me.”
      He cupped his hands over his eyes to block the sun. “I hardly recognized you. You’ve gotten so tall.”
     “I’ve heard.”
      “Where you off to?”
      I shifted my weight, in a manly (I hoped) way. “Well actually, I was wondering if I could work for you again.”
      Willie nodded. “We can always use an extra hand. Get in.”
      I shared the back of the cart with a bale of hay and a little goat with a gray beard. Willie snapped the reins, the initial thrust tossing me to the back end of the cart where I settled in for the ride. I was happy to get out of the long walk to the Watson’s farm, not too happy about hitching a ride with a goat. It sensed my discomfort and immediately reached over to nibble on my shirt. I swatted the air between us. “Back off!”
     Willie called over his shoulder.  “What happened to you? You just took off last time without saying anything.”
     I had my cover story ready. “I had to get back to Springfield. Family stuff. But my ma just had number thirteen so Pa sent me out to work again.”
      “Aye, I understand. My own mother is kept to her room with number ten.”
      I’d first met Willie when we were both twelve. He’d caught me stealing eggs from their chicken coop. Not my finest moment, I admit, but I plead desperation, driven to petty theft due to the fact that I had crossed off day eight in the past. Up until then, my trips had usually only lasted a couple days, but that summer things changed. Hungry and panicked, I’d thought I was stuck in the past forever, never to return home, never to see my parents or my younger brother, Timothy, ever again. I'd crept like a fox at dawn to the nearest farm.
      Thankfully, that was the Watson farm, and the Watsons had turned out to be the nicest and kindest people I’d ever met. Anyway, Willie had caught me with my hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. “You gonna eat those raw?” he'd said. I hadn’t thought about that.  I'd shrugged, too stunned and frightened to say anything of intelligence.   “We have hotcakes in the kitchen, you can come for breakfast.” The thought of eating with all those Watsons was just too scary. My face must've reflected that, since Willie went on to say, “That’s okay, I’ll bring you some. Wait for me on the dock.” I'd nodded and watched in silence as Willie gathered the eggs before leaving.
      I'd made my way to the small lake situated in the middle of the Watson farm, thinking that I was either going to get a yummy breakfast or Willie was going to return with a gun and take me to the jail house. He'd showed up with breakfast. “Thanks,” I'd said.   Willie’s voice hadn’t yet changed so he didn’t think twice about my high pitched squeakiness. I ate the warm and sticky pancakes with my dirty bare hands. I'd tried to imagine what I looked like to Willie. I hadn’t showered in ten days, my hair was grimy and in hysterics. Just like those kids in Lord of the Flies after a few weeks without parents to boss them around. He never snitched on me about my chicken house raid and got me a job pitching hay. I’d stayed in the past for a full three weeks, and from that point on the ‘rules’ of time travel had altered. Now, I never knew how long I’d be gone.
     We rode the rest of the way to the farm in silence. Well, except for the goat, ba-aa-ing and nipping at my pant legs.
     I rubbed my butt when we arrived, though the bumpy ride was appreciated by both me and the goat.
      “I could use help milking the cows and keeping the barn clean,” Willie said, pointing to the prominent red out building behind the stately family home. “You can sleep in the loft, like last time,” he added. I strutted away, concentrating on my gait, mimicking my brother’s boyish walk. Swiveling hips would get me into big trouble. Times like this made me thankful for my poached egg sized breasts. Just call me Mr. Casey.
      Someone watched me walk across the yard. Of course, there were plenty of people around, other workers, Watson kids playing tag, but I felt his eyes on me. Cobbs.  He was shorter than me now, but beefy like a boxer with a round beer belly popping out. His face was pink and shiny and his dark beady eyes scanned my body.
   Ew, what a perv. I’m a boy, weirdo! Or could he tell I wasn’t? Did he remember me from before? Either way he was a creeper. I let my gaze fall to the ground and kept walking, away from the barn. When I was sure Cobbs was out of sight I circled back and slipped into the barn, climbing the ladder to the loft. I hid in the pokey straw and even though it was only dusk, I immediately fell asleep.
 ***
     The tiny irritating saw of a mosquito buzzed near my face, and I flapped my hands dramatically. A rooster crowed and I sighed, disappointed I was still in the past. Not that I would travel in the night. I never traveled while sleeping. Ever. Didn’t know why. Some kind of time travel law.
     And I was hungry. Better go milk me some cows and earn my breakfast. A dozen Jersey cows lined up in a row. Grabbing a tin pail and wooden stool, I settled in under Betsy One. I called them all Betsy: Betsy One through Thirteen.
      Willie joined me. “Mornin’, Casey.” He grabbed a short three legged stool like the one I sat on, and plopped a pail under Betsy Three. It had been a while since I'd had to milk a cow, and honestly, I never did get the hang of it. First of all, cow teats are like short slippery ropes. Kind of gross to touch. And you have to pull on them just so, sort of a milk-releasing-rhythm. The cows get fully irritated when you don’t get it right.
      Thwap, thwap, thwap. The sound of milk shooting into a metal pail. Unfortunately, not my pail. Willie was showing me up.
I peeked around the back end of Betsy One, spying on Willie’s Olympic cow milking performance. Betsy One didn’t like my peering around her rear end, and wacked me hard with her tail. Kind of like getting smacked with a bull whip, but one covered in fir.
      “Ouch!”
      “You okay, Casey?” Willie called. “Uh, yeah, fine.” I mimicked Willie’s timing, one, two, three, four, and thankfully the milk started to shoot out.
By the time I finished my fifth cow, (meaning Willie whipped my butt by milking eight), my forearms burned and throbbed like mad. We carried the pails to the kitchen where the Watson kids poured the milk into jars so the older boys could make deliveries in the neighborhood.
      The eldest Watson kid, Sara, oversaw the whole operation. Her red hair was parted down the center and two braids close to her face looped up like crimson handles. Though fashionable for this century, not a very becoming look as far as I was concerned. It seemed like she had a large lampshade under her skirt, the way it spread out at the bottom, and since women didn’t normally wear hoops while working at home, I assumed that she must be about to go out. When she saw me, she propped her hands upon her waist.
      “Willie,” she called. “Who do we have here?” She didn’t remember me because Willie, and his father when he was around, took responsibility for farm staff. She, when her mother was ill or with child, controlled the kitchen and house staff.
      “Ah, you remember Casey Donovan? He’s worked here before.”
      “Really? I don’t recall.” Sara pinched her eyebrows together. Then she called out,  
“Duncan, Josephine, Charlotte, Abigail, Jonathon!” A collection of kids with either curly red or brunette hair entered the room.
     With the guidance of a stout and bright faced woman named Missy, they went to work bottling the milk, careful not to get knocked to the ground by Sara’s hoop skirt.
Willie left and I turned to follow, but she cleared her throat, stopping me. I waited to be dismissed, but she held my gaze. She got right to the point. “How old are you?”
      “Uh, almost sixteen.”
      “Do you shave, Casey?”
     “Uh,” My hand jumped to my chin. “Sometimes. I’m a late bloomer. It runs in my family.”
      “I dare say. Did you spend the night in the loft?”
      “Yes.”
      “Alone?”
      “I think so. I fell asleep shortly after my arrival yesterday. I don’t remember seeing anyone else.”
      “That’s a relief,” she said.
      “Why is that?”
      She removed her apron and smoothed out her skirt. Then she looked me straight in the eye. “Because Casey Donovan, I believe that you are a girl as surely as I am one.”
 
Praise for Clockwise:

 "Readers who 'trip' back in time with Casey will wish they could stay longer in her strangely relatable place." - Kirkus Review

 "I loved Clockwise! A great read, and I love your Casey/Cassandra. Congratulations."
 - Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island

Friday, March 16, 2012

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Today is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. A bunch of us bloggers are speaking up today against bullies.

taken from facebook
Although the picture is funny, it has a point. Bullies are everywhere - in school, when you go out shopping, and even on the computer.

There's a reason why I don't allow anonymous comments on my blog. To many times, people will hide behind anonymity to belittle and degrade people on the internet. If you aren't willing to attach your name to your comment, maybe that should tell you that the comment shouldn't be said.

The world would be a much better place if everyone remembered what our mothers tried to teach us - if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

A list of other bloggers speaking out against bullies:

Nicole Zoltack - www.NicoleZoltack.com 
PK Hrezo -  http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cover Reveal - My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet 16th Century, by Rachel Harris is available for pre-order on: Amazon
| Barnes & Noble Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

Excerpt:


Alessandra jerks back like I just suggested she prance around the square naked or something. “No! I believe I understand your meaning, and Lorenzo is certainly not my suitor. He is like a brother to me—the three of us grew up together.”
She resumes walking and I fall in step beside her, understanding there has to be more to the story. And as we near the end of the row, I finally ask, “If you’re not into the guy, then what’s the problem?”
At that same moment, a rich, deep chuckle hits my ears. My stomach involuntarily clenches and my gaze sharpens on the back of this mysterious Lorenzo.
Alessandra sighs. “That is the problem.” She places her hand on my arm and solemnly looks me in the eyes. “You must be careful. Lorenzo is beautiful, and it is not uncommon for a girl to walk away from meeting him with a piece of her heart left behind. But he is just eighteen, and not yet ready for marriage.”
I roll my eyes and laugh, then realize she’s serious. “Yeah, I assure you, there’s no danger on my end. I’m not exactly looking for marriage myself.” Because that would be crazy-town.
Alessandra wrinkles her nose as if she doesn’t believe me, but she removes her hand. We close the distance and Cipriano flashes me an open, honest to goodness, lighthearted smile.
“Lorenzo, this is the cousin I was telling you about.”
Slowly the guy turns and I fall head first into the richest chocolate-brown eyes I’ve ever seen. He blinks and long, luscious lashes feather across his bronzed cheeks. I can feel myself gawking, but I physically can’t drag my eyes away. Lorenzo doesn’t smirk or act all conceited, either. He simply stares back, his eyes casually skimming over me, causing my skin to warm and break out in a whole body tingle.
Time seems to stop, and the sounds of the market mute. Alessandra was right. This boy is beautiful.
And he’s looking at me.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Question of the Week - What did you want to be when you grew up?

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When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer, an actress, a model, a paleontologist, a lawyer, a mommy, President of the US. Guess I didn't do to bad considering that I'm a writer and a mommy (and a chemist).