Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Kindles

Yesterday, Amazon announced their new line of Kindles.

Kindle Touch 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display
  • $149 / $189
  • Free 3G wireless, no annual contracts or monthly fees. Learn more
  • Download books anywhere, no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
  • 3G wireless works globally
  • Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design – 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New – Borrow Kindle books from your public library
Available for preorder today

Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display
  • $99 / $139
  • Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design – 8% lighter, 11% smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Built in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New – Borrow Kindle books from your public library
Available for preorder today

Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
  • $79 / $109
  • The all-new Kindle – Lighter, smaller, faster
  • 30% lighter, less than 6 ounces
  • 18% smaller body, same 6″ screen size – Fits in your pocket
  • Most advanced E Ink display, reads like paper
  • Built in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New – Borrow Kindle books from your public library
Order now

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi
  • $199
  • 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
  • Size (in inches) 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
  • Weight 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
  • On-device Storage 8GB internal. That’s enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
  • Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Battery Life Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.
  • Charge Time Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
  • USB Port USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
  • Audio 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
  • Supported Formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
Available for preorder today

Are you planning on preordering or buying a new Kindle for yourself or a loved one? Which one? What do you think of the new features? Now that the price of an ereader has dropped to below $100, are you more likely to give one a chance? Do you think the Kindle Fire compares well to the iPAD?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Question of the Week

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I've decided to add a new feature to my blog. Every Wednesday, I'll ask you a question. Some, like today's, will be fun, others might be more serious.

Today's question:

Which super power would you want the most?
  • The ability to fly
  • The ability to time travel or freeze, rewind, or fast forward time
  • Mind reading/control
  • Invisibility
  • Teleportation
  • The ability to heal others upon touch
  • The ability to see the future
  • Telekinesis
  • Super speed
  • Super intelligence
  • Immortality/Invincibility
  • Super strength
  • The ability to control the weather
  • The ability to shape shift
  • Something else? 
What would I pick? Probably super speed. That way I can get all of my chores done and have a ton of time left over to get all of my writing and editing done. Do you know how prolific I could be then?

What about you? What's your answer to the QOTW?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekly Progress Report

I've still been donning my editor hat since my last progress report two weeks ago. I finished critiquing a 147K MS for one house and started editing another for a different house.

As for Elena's Pen, it's not down to 71K, so that's 4K I managed to delete in two weeks! I'm going to finish this go through before the end of the month and send it to beta readers.

I had toyed with the idea of changing the POV from 1st to 3rd, but in the end, decided against it. If an agent or publisher asks me to, I would have no problem converting it, but until then, it's a lot of work that might not be necessary.

I'm really happy with how the story is shaping up and I think the converting to MG from YA was the right choice. It's definitely upper MG.

My goal is to start querying by November. *crosses fingers*

What's your progress report? Want to check out some awesome writers' reports?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Creature of the Week and Winner!

Credit for picture

Today's creature is the Firebird.

The Firebird hails from Russian folklore. A magical bird, it has beautiful plumage of red, orange, and yellow, like the fire it's named for. Its Russian name is Zhar-Ptitsa, meaning "heat bird." At midnight, the firdbird goes into the gardens to eat the golden apples of immortality and to lit up the night. When it sings, pearls falls from its beak.

Credit for picture
 There is a Russian fairy tale about the Firebird. Prince Ivan is the youngest son of a tsar. The prince finds the tail feather of the Firebird and decided to bring the bird to his father. On his quest, he overcomes his two older brothers' treachery, receives help from a magical gray wolf, wins a horse with a golden mane, rescues a beautiful princess (aren't they always beautiful?), and dies. Not to worry, he's resurrected by the magical water of life and death and uses a flying carpet to return home with the Firebird in a golden cage.

Credit for picture

Now that's what I call an adventure!


And now...

Natalie Aguirre! Natalie wins an ecopy of Woman of Honor! Congrats, Natalie, I'll be emailing you.

And in other news, there's a pitch critique contest going on that I thought some of you might be interested in entering. Good luck if you do!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can you hook a teen? blogfest contest

Brenda Drake is hosting an awesome blogfest contest! Details:

The Rules
On September 21st and 22nd post the first 250 words of your young adult or middle grade manuscript on your blog (you may skip this part, if you wish), and then hop around to each others' blogs and give critiques. By midnight on September 23rd post your entry in the comments of the official contest post, which I will have up on September 21st so you can post anytime from then until midnight on September 23rd. It's going to be midnight my time (Mountain Standard Time). I'll have how you should enter your entry on the official post.

The Prizes
The winner will receive a $50 editing gift certificate and two runners up will receive a $25 editing gift certificate each from Teen Eyes Editorial Services. Check out all the cool services you can purchase here.

So here are the first 250 words of Elena's Pen, my MG Fantasy:

My feet dragged as I walked to my eighth grade English class. McMichaels hated me. Guess I couldn't blame him and his evil-eye glare. Not after he confiscated a story I wrote about a wicked goblin warlord. Named McMichaels.
You'd think an English teacher would appreciate a kid who actually liked writing. Not this one. I was lucky he only threatened me with detention.
The crowded hallway thinned out as students swapped classrooms. A kid slammed his puke green locker shut, wafting the scent of body odor and days-old sweaty gym clothes toward me. I gagged and hurried past.
I turned and spotted Artex, the new guy, down the hall. He waved a piece of paper in his hand. His lopsided smile was so inviting that I smiled back. "Hi." Why was he talking to me? I forced myself to not shuffle my feet or play with my hair.
He jogged over. Dark hair fell across his forehead and made him look oh-so-cute. "I think this is yours." He handed me the story I had started during science.
"Thanks." I shoved it into a notebook. "I guess I forgot to grab it."
"Poor Roderick. Fighting without his armor and his horse against three bloody pirates. I'm not sure he can handle them." He fell into step beside me.
My cheeks grew hot. "You read it?" My biggest dream is to see my name, Elena Streaming, on the spine of a book, but it wasn't quite ready for the cute new guy—or anyone else—to read!

  Any and all comments/critiques welcomed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Be sure to sign up

for the The Muse Online Writers Conference!

It's free, there are some great workshops and you can even have a pitch session with an agent or publisher!  Deadline to register and to send in your pitches: September 25, 2011.

Registration is here. Here is the link to the workshops and the information needed for pitch sessions. Don't forget to include who you want to pitch to. I already signed up for a pitch session with Caryn Wiseman.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great News and a Giveaway!

Over the weekend, I learned some great news. First, I'm going to have two flash pieces in Pill Hill Press's Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Frightening Flash Fiction anthology - "Demonic Nightmares" and "Sticks and Stones."

But that's not even the great news - Woman of Honor will be available for print at Desert Breeze sometime in 2012! Details as soon as I learn them. 

I'm so excited so I want to have a giveaway. One winner will receive an ecopy of Woman of Honor. Just leave a comment to enter.

Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be...

To celebrate the release of her new book, Watching Willow Watts, Talli Roland is having an If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be... party!

If I could be anyone, I'd be
Marion Zimmer Bradley

MZB has done so much for the fantasy genre, especially female-centered fantasies. She has written so many wonderful novels, including her most famous work, The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the Camelot legend from the point of view of the women involved. She also started the Sword and Sorceress anthologies, which gave several authors their start, including Mercedes Lackey (who I almost picked over MZB). I hope one day to have a short story in S&S!

Who would you be, if you could be anyone? And even if you're not posting, feel free to Tweet (with the tag #watchingwillowwatts) or Facebook (tag @Talli Roland) to be in with a chance to win prizes! 

To treat yourself to a copy of Talli’s new book right now:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Progress Report


It's been a little while since I posted a progress report, which is bad, since posting them forced me to be productive. But now I have more motivation to post them. The awesome Sheri Larsen started a Writer Support 4U! group on facebook and on the second Tuesday of each month, several members post their progress reports.

Let's see... I've been doing a lot of editing lately, both as an editor and my own projects.

When I decided to take the plunge and change Elena's Pen from YA fantasy to MG Fantasy, the story was 80K. I'm about 45% through it and the word count is now down to 75K. Ideally, I would like it to be as close to 65K as possible, but I'd be happy with around 70K. So far, so good!

Once I'm in the query stage for Elena's Pen (which will be before the end of the year!), I need to work on making Lorna, my assassin, more sympathetic so the first several chapters of Hidden in Shadows needs work. The last agent to have a query out on it said: "I think you’re a talented writer. However, I’m afraid that the book is a bit too similar to one that I just signed on. Therefore, I must decline the opportunity to take on the representation of this book. That being said, please feel free to re-query me on another project with a new concept, should you have one in the future." Unfortunately this agent takes on YA but not MG.

So that's my progress report. Want to check out some other fabulous bloggers' reports?

What's your progress report?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Want to win $10.00?

MuseItUp Publishing is hosting a contest. The editors have written flash pieces for you all to enjoy, including yours truly. Vote on the flash piece you enjoyed the most. The editor whose piece wins will receive $10.00 via Paypal. And one reader who voted for the winning entry will also win $10.00!

More details can be found here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Birthday Weekend Fun

So I promised that I would share what hubby had surprised me with for my birthday, so here it is.

First, we dropped the boys off at my parent's. The only time I was away from son #1 overnight was when son #2 was born so this was hard for me. Luckily, I have a ton of siblings and my boys had a great time away from us.

From my parents, we went to Shady Maple, a seriously awesome smorgasbord in Lancaster. After a filling and delicious breakfast, we shopped at the outlets and I got a great hat and purse.

After that, we went to see Rise of Planet of the Apes (which I enjoyed, btw, although it had some major plot issues and I HATE it when the best parts of a movie are given away in the trailer, which was the case here), and then had dinner at a great Italian restaurant. Italian food is by far my favorite and this place came highly recommended. Recommended by us now too.

But the night still wasn't over. Instead of going home, we went to stay at a B&B. First time ever, and I really enjoyed our stay. Breakfast the next day was amazing.

As for presents, they were all Eagles related. I'm a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan. Hubby roots for the cowboys. My big present is that we're going to see the Eagles and the Cowboys in Philly. I can't wait! All I have to say is that the Eagles better win, lol


Did you do anything special over the long weekend? Got any plans for this coming weekend? Do you like to be surprised for your birthday or are you like a little kid and want to know everything now?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Door flash piece

 I hope everyone had a great weekend and Labor Day! Tomorrow, I'll share all the details about my amazing birthday weekend. For now though, I'm participating in my first ever Campaigner challenge. From Rachel Harrie's blog:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!
 Sounds like fun, right? Well, my story is exactly 200 words and opens and close with "The door swung open." (I know it doesn't end with shut but opens fits with the story.) I hope you like it! If you do, click here to vote for mine! I'm #70.

 The door swung open. Simon entered the stuffy attic and sneezed. He wiped the snot on his sleeve and glanced around.

He opened the closest trunk. To his disappointment, there were only old clothes inside.

A loud rumble of thunder sounded, and Simon jumped, almost hitting his head on the low ceiling.

Toward the back of the attic, Simon found a tiny trinket box on a small, round pedestal. A bright, red light shone, radiating from a stone nestled on the soft velvet material inside the box.

The attic door opened, and Simon slammed the box shut and whirled around. "Hi, G-grandpa."

"Whatcha doing?" His grnadpa puffed from his pipe, and smoke encircled around his head.


Grandpa smiled and winked. He nodded toward the box. "There are some treasures up here, that's to be sure. But sometimes, treasure comes with a price." With that, Grandpa turned around and left.

A price? Simon didn't like the sound of that. He hurried after his grandpa and closed the attic door behind him.

But he couldn't stop thinking about the stone. A short time later, he found himself near the attic door. Would the price be worth it?

The door swung open.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mind over Mind Book Review

Mind Over Mind

by Karina L Fabian

From amazon: Deryl Stephen's uncontrollable telepathic abilities have landed him in a mental health institution, where no one believes in his powers. But when Joshua Lawson, a student of neuro linguistic programming, takes part in a summer internship, he takes the unique step of accepting Deryl's reality and teaches him to work with it. As Deryl learns control, he finds his next challenge is to face the aliens who have been contacting him psychically for years-aliens who would use him to further their cause in an interplanetary war.

My review: This book was a refreshing read, both fantasy and science fiction or science fantasy. The blending of the two genres was well done, but the best part for me was the character of Deryl. Strong and yet unsure, Deryl learns not only how to control his powers, he also learns who exactly he is. Mind over Mind is the first in a trilogy and a lot of times, the first books in trilogies tend to just stop and not have a real ending. Mind over Mind has a satisfying conclusion as it sets up for the second book. Thank you, Karina, for a worthwhile and entertaining read!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Telepathic Powers - Mind over Mind blog tour

Today (my birthday - 27!) I'm handing the blog over to Karina for her Mind Over Mind Book Tour. Take it away, Karina!

Would you want to have telepathic powers?  Nicole asked me this question because my latest novel, Mind Over Mind (DragonMoon Press) involves a psychic.  Deryl has had telepathy and telekinesis since he was thirteen.  Pretty cool, right?  Not for him.  In the daily onslaught of others' thoughts and emotions, he could barely remember his own name, much less get through a full day of school.  No one believed him, of course.  The telekinesis was worse, though--if he let his guard down, he could act upon a desire (his or someone else's) and hurt someone without realizing it.  By the beginning of the book, he's managed the most rudimentary of control, but it's still not enough for him to leave the asylum where he's been for most of his adolescence.

But for this blog, let's assume control.  Would I want telekinesis?  I don’t think so.  People have secrets--from themselves, from each other--little things thought about in the heat of emotion or in daydreams but which should never see the light of day.  I don't want to be able to invade that kind of privacy--and, to be frank, I'm worried what I'd find there.  There's a great filk song about a guy who broke up with his girlfriend because he was telepathic and couldn't handle knowing her thoughts all the time.  TMI (Too Much Information) definitely plays here.

Maybe it could be useful to read others' thoughts now and again, but in my everyday life, I don't see a lot of use. It might be useful to know the thoughts of my teens, for example, but I still remember how my own thoughts went when I was in a teenage funk, and frankly, I to this day do not know what anyone could have said or done to make me feel better, change my attitude, etc.  Sometimes, I just had to work things out myself; sometimes, something would just happen to make life better.  Frankly, I think a lot of times when someone is upset or disappointed, there's not particular answer they need--or at least, that they can spell out.  So really, telepathy would only help me if it also came with the ability to know what to do about what I'd just "read."  Then, of course, it would also have to be something that is workable for me as well--and how awful would it be to know that the only way to make a person feel better would be something that violated your own happiness--or worse yet, your principles?

No, telepathy does not appeal to me--and it didn't appeal to my character Deryl in Mind Over Mind, either.  Unlike me, he's stuck with his ability.  Fortunately, in the book, he has the help of a psychiatric intern and a good friend to help him survive it.

Title:  Mind Over Mind
Author:  Karina Fabian
ISBN:  978-1897942369

Back Cover Blurb/summary:  Deryl Stephen’s uncontrollable telepathic abilities have landed him in a mental health institution, where no one believes in his powers.

But when Joshua Lawson, a student of neuro linguistic programming, takes part in a summer internship, he takes the unique step of accepting Deryl’s reality and teaches him to work with it. As Deryl learns control, he finds his next challenge is to face the aliens who have been contacting him psychically for years—aliens who would use him to further their cause in an interplanetary war.

Bio of Karina Fabian:  Unlike her characters, Karina Fabian lives a comfortably ordinary life.  Wife to Air Force Colonel Robert Fabian and mother of four, her adventures usually involve packing and moving, attending conventions, or giving writing and marketing advice in one of her many workshops.  She's always had an overactive imagination, however, and started writing in order to quell the voices in her head--characters who insisted on living lives in her mind and telling her their stories.  Winner of the 2010 INDIE award, winner and finalist for the EPPIE and finalist for the Global e-book awards, she's glad people enjoy reading the tales her characters tell.

“Obviously. Did Edith tell you about the one time they did release me? The first thing I did was smash all the bottles in my uncle’s liquor cabinet because the butler—yes, Joshua, they have a butler—is an alcoholic and was obsessing on it, had been obsessing on it for years. It was that or drink myself stupid, just because he wanted to. That was nothing. My aunt took me
shopping. All those people, all those thoughts…It was like ants crawling in my skull. I was just managing to ignore them, and I felt this woman screaming—”
“Yeah, felt. Inside my head. I couldn’t help it. I snuck away from my aunt, followed the thoughts—she was so scared!—I found her in a part of the mall that was being renovated. This guy had her pinned. He was going to—” Ydrel broke off.
“What did you do?” Joshua asked.
Ydrel shivered. “Beat him unconscious. Then I tried to knock myself out, too. See, he was so full of hate, and he wanted to— So I did, too. And the girl tried to stop me and I yelled at her and scared her all over again and I tried to run but the police showed up. So I ended up back here, where the environment, at least, is controlled, even if it isn’t exactly normal. Even then, it’s not always safe for me. Sometimes, Malachai puts someone in the room next to me…to study my reaction, sometimes to punish me.” He looked up and his eyes were wide with fear. “I’ve got to get out of here, Joshua. It’s not safe for me anymore.”
Joshua was beginning to think it wasn’t safe for him either. The last thing he needed on his internship was to get caught up in some problem between a patient he wasn’t supposed to be taking on, and the head of the institution—a friend of his father. Still…
Earlier, when Ydrel had laughed at the idea of Joshua helping him, Joshua had moved his arm in a very deliberate way. Now he used that same motion to recall those feelings of hope and interest Ydrel had expressed. He waited as Ydrel calmed, watching him take a shaky breath and release his hold on his hair, his fingers running through the length, before he spoke again.
“We’ll work on it, Ydrel.”
The younger man nodded.
“OK. You have some barriers. You’ve said that they work sometimes. I want you to think about one thing that keeps you here that your current barriers don’t protect you from.” He couldn’t see Ydrel’s eyes, for the patient had shut them, but waited for other cues.
“When my barriers work sometimes, or not at all?”
“Your choice.”
“The Miscria.”
“You don’t have to tell—the what?” Curiosity got the better of him.
“The Miscria. It calls me, and when it does, I can’t help it—I fall into this trance. I can be doing anything, even walking, and just—boom. Then I have to tell it everything it wants to know before it lets me go with some new assignment, and for weeks I’m studying God-knows-what until it calls me again.”
“You’ve lost me.”
“Information, Joshua.” Ydrel opened his eyes and waved impatiently to the pile of books on his desk.
Joshua walked over and examined the covers. “The Miscria wants to know military history?”
“Tactics. Swordsmithing. Triage. Medieval fortress architecture. So I go cra—I have to learn everything I can about the subject, and it just wants more. At least we have a good librarian. He humors me, you know.”
Joshua set down the book he was leafing through: Eye in the Sky, A Warfighter’s Guide to Space Reconnaissance, by Felix Monroe.
“So this ‘Miscria’ calls you, you pass out in your oatmeal, and you tell it everything you know about whatever subject it’s told you to study? So...ever refuse?”
Ydrel blinked. “I— But it needs to know.”
“Why? Ever ask it?”
Now Ydrel sat forward, dumbfounded. “I… It never occurred to me to ask.”
“How about going inside yourself and asking it now?”
Ydrel shut his eyes, furrowed his brow. Joshua stayed standing by the desk, watching the young man first tense completely, then seem to relax every muscle, much the way someone under hypnosis would relax while remaining straight in their seat.
Several minutes passed in silence before Ydrel shook his head. “I can’t. It has to call me.”
“Then that’s your first assignment. When it calls you, try this:  First, see if you can establish some kind of arrangement so that it doesn’t call you at inconvenient times—you decide together what that means. Second, find out more about it, like why it needs this information so badly.”
“What if it refuses?”
“That’s really up to you. Myself, I’d hold out. Blackmail can work wonders.”
Ydrel met his eyes in a steady gaze, not challenging and not trying to see into him, yet searching. “You don’t believe me about the Miscria, do you? You think it’s some weird part of my unconscious. You don’t believe it’s an outside entity.”
Joshua moved his hand as part of a shrug. It was a visual anchor he’d used many times and it was a natural movement for him. “It doesn’t matter either way. The process works the same. Just give it a try. You don’t have anything to lose.” A yawn escaped his mouth, surprising him. He hadn’t realized he was so tired. “I’m sorry, but I’m beat. Finish that drink off, if you want it, and go to bed. I’ll see ya in the morning.”
He started for the door when Ydrel called him back. “Are we going to be friends? I mean, regardless of what Edith asked you to do?” he asked.
He regarded him for a moment, a spoiled and snarky kid dealing with something he didn’t think he could control. Josh could help him; he knew that. But be friends?
Then he thought about how this spoiled kid had jumped up to protect the nurse he considered the one good person in his life. There was definitely more to him than met the eye.
Joshua smiled. “Yeah, Ydrel. I think we are.”