How Savvy Are You?

How Savvy Are You?

I’m taking today to give a shout-out to Savvy Authors, an exceptional online community of writers, brimming with resources.  I joined Savvy on February 2nd, pitched my novel, Weathering Rock, to Piper Denna of Lyrical Press on February 7th and had a contract by the end of the month. Granted, that might be an exception to the rule, but none of it would have happened without the opportunity given by Savvy.

Savvy, however, is more than an outlet toward publication. Yes, they have several pitch sessions a year (the next is June 22nd  with Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks )but it’s also about learning, networking and having the support of other authors  - – ranging from published and wildly successful to just starting out and never having submitted.  There are forums, workshops, resources and events. It’s like falling into a moon-bounce (remember those?) of information and then soaring up on a giddy high.

Since joining Savvy, I’ve not only sold a book, but have learned how to build a WordPress blog, use social media effectively, put together a book trailer, write a synopsis, build a brand, and put together a query package, among other things.  Premium membership is a mere $30.00 per year and most of the workshops I’ve mentioned have cost $15.00 each and span several weeks.

I’ve been involved in numerous writing groups, online and locally over the years, but can honestly say Savvy is worth every penny I’ve spent.   

So . . . how Savvy are you?  You might want to take this opportunity to find out through membership

There is also a free membership package with limited benefits. Why wait?  A savvy writer’s life is just around the corner!

Trust me . . . it’s a big deal!

At least for me.

Writing a book is exciting enough. Getting to do a visual interpetation of it is, well . . . a giddy culimination of a lot of work. A few days back I mentioned I was working on a video trailer for Weathering Rock. I know a lot of you have been following my snippets, especially my Six Sunday shares in which I’ve posted snippets of the book. I’ve made some noise about the characters and what it’s about, but haven’t tried to present it as a whole.

Until now.

I loved putting this together. Writing the script, finding the images to match, and searching out just the right music. Here’s a glimpse of Weathering Rock as a whole. I hope you enjoy it!

Six Sentence Sunday 5-27-12

Happy almost Memorial Day!  I hope everyone is having a nice long relaxing weekend, but also pausing to remember those who have fought for our country, especially those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.

Fitting with the day, the hero of my novel Weathering Rock, is an ex-military man, although he’s time travelled from 1863 shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, to the present day. Caleb DeCardian has made a less than favorable impression on Arianna Hart, the heroine of the story and needs to make amends. Last Sunday they ran into each other at the library and he asked for the chance to make up for his blunders.

I’m picking up there this Sunday with Caleb speaking first, followed by Arianna. I’ve had to snip a bit due to the limitation of six sentences.  Incidentally, Weathering Rock is the name of the property (an old pre-Civil War home) where Caleb lives:

~ooOOoo~

“I’d like to invite you to dinner. At Weathering Rock.”

“Sorry, I’m busy.” Snapping the book shut, she returned it to the shelf. Before she could retreat, he caught her arm.

“I haven’t told you what night.”

~ooOOoo~

Eesh! Freakishly short, but that’s all SSS will allow. I hope you’re return next week to see where things are headed. In the meantime, check out the other fantastic reads being offered by participating Six Sentence Sunday auhors and enjoy your holiday!
I appreciate your comments!

Who is John Lehman?

I wish I knew. I think about him sometimes and wonder what he was like.  I know he lived in 1823 but I have no idea how old he was that year.  How do I know John?  He left a message for me, which I discovered 188 years later.

If you didn’t know, my day job is real estate marketing. That means I get to visit a variety of homes. Over the years, I’ve toured an equine surgery center, several B&B’s, multiple million dollar+ homes and a string of historic properties among others.  Old homes are my favorite.  They resonate with the echoes of yesteryear and the lifeblood of faded memories. “Weathering Rock,” the title of my time-travel/paranormal romance coming in October, refers to a fictitious home built in 1832 that is central to the story.

But let me jump back to John Lehman. Last year, I had the pleasure of visiting a property built in 1783. Think about that. It was the year the American Revolution ended. Am I the only one who finds that mind-boggling? To think of the people who walked through the halls of that home…the joys and concerns they must have had as our newly forged nation took its first tenative steps.

I fell in love with the property. Chestnut plank floors, massive moldings, a center hall with turned staircase, multiple fireplaces and four bedrooms each with its own “keeping cupboard.” That was where Mr. Lehman left his mark–in the rear bedroom on the inside of a cupboard door. He burned his name into the wood, along with the date “John Lehman, 1823.” Surely, he couldn’t have known I’d stumble upon it 188 years later, but it gave me chills.

Was he a young man, just starting out with a wife and family, anxious to embrace life in a nation that had proved iself 40 years after winning a revolution?  Or was he older, reaching the sunset of his life, wanting to leave his mark before he passed from this world?

He made sure he did. I think about him. And I’m sure every homeowner who has ever lived in that historic 18th century property has thought about him too. It was his home and he made sure we knew it. Some of that property went into Weathering Rock when I created it, along with bits and pieces of most of the historical estates I’ve toured. They all left a mark on me in one way or another, each teeming with the phantoms of forgotten years.

Do old homes inspire you?  Are there any you’ve toured, lived in, or visited that stand out in your mind?  I’d love to know about them! Aside from a professional interest, I have a passion for old properties.

Weather ‘Tis Better

I’m a geeky girl about a lot of things, and weather is one of them. We’re a month away from summer which is prime thunderstorm season.  I love the change in the atmosphere right before a storm when the sky grows black, the wind blows through like an angry zephyr, and the leaves bend belly-up to the heavens.  

A few weeks ago I was visiting my mother when she mentioned how much electrical storms frighten her. Then she casually told me when I was a child, I used to sit on the front porch with my father to watch as storms rolled in.

I did?

Oh yes, she assured me.  The rest of the family would be tucked safely inside the house, but my father would take me outside until the weather grew too severe to linger.  I’d forgotten how much he loved that, and was saddened to realize it had slipped from my memory. It all came tumbling back in a rush like someone flipping a light switch. The sprawling front porch, sitting side by side, listening to the thunder, watching the lightning. How bizarre this should be a father/daughter bonding element, but he loved storms and taught me to appreciate them (with a healthy dose of respect for the danger).

Today, weather patterns have grown erratic, often becoming violent.  Tornados were a rare occurrence in my area when I was a kid. Now they spin closer each summer. I’ve even been caught on the fringe of one and don’t think I will ever forget the way the sky looked at that moment, or the unnerving blackness that followed. I know many of you have experienced tornadoes and other weather events first hand.

Do changes in the weather influence the way you write or feel?  I often find myself moved to bursts of creativity during those transition periods.

As we head into storm season, stay safe everyone!

Trailing Behind…

Well, not really. Actually, I’m forging ahead by creating a trailer for Weathering Rock, my time-travel/paranormal romance scheduled to be released in October.

I’m currently enrolled in a class at Savvy Authors on how to put one together and have already taken a few exciting steps, including writing the script. The instructor had us break the plot of the book into approximately 20 short phrases. Turned out to be a lot of fun and really made me concentrate on the elements of my story.

So, do I need a trailer? Not sure, but I like the idea of adding a visual element. It’s also a challenge to sleuth out images that fit the story and, most especially, my hero and heroine. I know what they look like, and feel I’ve described them in a way that will allow readers to see them clearly. But finding images of people who match those pictures in my head? Gulp!  Can’t say I don’t like a challenge.

Today’s question:
If you’re a writer, have you developed a trailer for any of your books or are you considering developing one?  If you’re a reader, do you like viewing book trailers? They certainly seem to be sprouting up all over the place!

A New Look

Homes get them, people get them, why not blogs?  I thought it was time to give mine a new look, hence the background change. What do you think?

I wanted something atmospheric and moody and went on an image hunt. I found this one on bigstockphoto.com. It was easy to find using the search elements I incorporated:  a full moon and a wolf.

The hero of my October release, Weathering Rock, is cursed by lycanthropy, so it seemed like a good fit. That and I’ve always been a little gone on the whole werewolf legend and moonlight.

Bigstock is affordable and easy to use. I know I’ll be rummaging through their library of stock photography again. My biggest problem was deciding which image to select, I liked so many.

Huge thanks to Jane Wakely for pointing me toward the website. I feel like I just repainted my house. J

Six Sentence Sunday 5-20-12

Wow, it’s Sunday already. This week flew by at lightspeed. Fortunately, Sundays are good because, among other things, they bring another round of six sentence reads. Many thanks to everyone who’s been stopping by and commenting each week on my soon-to-be pulished time-travel/paranormal romance, WEATHERING ROCK.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing thoughts mostly from Caleb DeCardian’s POV with a glimpse of what Arianna Hart thinks of him. Caleb is a former colonel of the Union Army during America’s Civil War who has been displaced and transported to the present century.  He’s made a less than glowing impression on Arianna, the heroine of my novel. Arianna teaches American history at the middle school, and has no clue of his true nature. Shortly after they meet he does something to make her angry,(sorry, don’t want to share that one). This encounter takes place later the same day when they run into each other at the library.

~ooOOoo~

Caleb leaned close, bracing one arm against the shelf. In the small confines of the aisle, she felt dwarfed by his height. Her natural instinct was to withdraw, but she held her ground, determined he wouldn’t intimidate her.

“Let me make it up to you,” he suggested.

She raised her chin. “How would you do that?”

~ooOOoo~

Ack!  The limit of a Six is so frustrating but, according to the rules, I need to end it here.  You can find plenty of other entertaining reads on the Six Sentence Sunday website, including instructions on how to participate.  I hope you’ll check back again next week as I continue with Caleb in Arianna. Happy Sunday and Happy reading!

Conversation Starter

When I sat down to write Weathering Rock, (coming in October from Lyrical Press) I had to decide what time period to use for the setting.  I’d already decided on a time-travel with paranormal elements, and knew I wanted to reference the Civil War era. After that, it was a matter of deciding who would do the traveling (hero or heroine) and whether they would go forward or backward in time.

I eventually settled on the novel’s hero, Caleb DeCardian, hurtling him from 1863 into the present. Using a character who lived when the nation was divided, fought the Battle of Gettysburg, and helped put down the New York City Draft Riots, allowed me to sprinkle historical references throughout the book. Today, that has me thinking.

If you could go backward in time and have a conversation with someone famous from history, who would it be and why?

I’m torn on this. Part of me would say Robert F. Kennedy because I admire him and was far too young to remember anything about him. Another part would like to sit down with George Armstrong Custer and say “What were you thinking?!?” Still another is enraptured by the thought of  the Sons of Liberty discussing independence. I’d talk to any one of them! Then there’s Doc Holliday, and . . . can you tell I like history? :)

Okay, I’ll stop now and go with RFK.  How about you?  Who inspires you?  Who would you love to have a chat-fest with if you could turn back the pages of time?

Threshold of Sacrifice (Friday Fiction)

I’m primarily a romance writer, but sometimes I like play in the Realm of Weird. The next time I post a Friday Fiction it will be overflowing with romantic bliss. Promise. For today, I chose:

Threshold of Sacrifice

Dakota Storm slipped into the forest, and was immediately cloaked by the dank reach of lengthening shadows. Somewhere up ahead, the murderer blundered toward the Threshold, driven by a need for escape. Boone would be that stupid.

“The idiot would have to rabbit toward the Threshold,” Shane Anders muttered beside him.

Neither was happy to be tracking, but it was too late to turn back. Dakota would have given anything to be someplace other than the realm of the Thunder Being and his Pale Queen.

Several hundred yards ahead, they came upon Boone balled up on the ground. The murderer was curled like a fetus, the muddy ocher of his shirt sharply contrasted against a  bed of ferns. A bloody knife lay a few feet away.

“Boone.” Dakota squatted and rolled him onto his back. He was semi-conscious, his eyes slitted and glazed.

“What the hell’s wrong with him?” Shane asked.

Dakota shook his head. The ground was soaked with blood, but he couldn’t see any sign of injury. Hooking his fingers into Boone’s shirt, he shook him roughly. “What did you kill?”

“It…” Boone made a gurgling sound. His body convulsed and his head rolled to the side, limp as a rag doll’s. Lightning forked from the heavens.

Dakota was immediately overcome by a punishing crush of disorientation. Pressure built in his lungs and boomeranged through his chest, the pain eerily familiar. It spurred an ancient memory, rooted deep in a past he’d hoped to forget.

There was bile in his throat, rancid as sun-rotted fruit. His legs buckled and he dropped to his knees, only half aware of Shane’s strangled gasp. Around him, the Threshold awakened in a fury of wind and sound.

Within seconds it was over. Dazed, Dakota staggered to his feet. Boone was unconscious, Shane sprawled a like a piece of twisted metal. A white rod of bone jutted from his thigh, splintered and webbed with blood.

“Shane!” Dakota stumbled in his haste to reach him, dropping at his side. “Shane! Answer me, damn it.” A string of pulpy pink flesh spilled from a hole in Shane’s gut, reeking faintly of bowel. His lips were bloodless and veined with blue, his flesh cadaver-cold.

Frantically, Dakota pressed his fingers to Shane’s neck, feeling for a pulse. The bitterness of truth washed over him, chased by murderous rage.  The Threshold had called him back to the place of his birth. Stillness mocked him and, in that chill cloak of impenetrable silence, he knew there would never be life again.  Not for Shane Anders.  “I’m sorry, Shane. It’s my fault for leading you here.”

A red glow spooled at the edges of his vision.  He ground his teeth to silence a curse as the Thunder Being emerged from the trees.

The creature was more man than bird, its wings folded over heavily-muscled limbs.  Long black hair framed a face that was neither young nor old, offset by moonstone eyes and crimson lips.  The man, if man he could be called,wore a flowing robe of malachite overlaid by an ankle-length cloak of ebony feathers.  The flinty hardness of his eyes reminded Dakota of blue-veined quartz.

“You killed my friend.”

“He was caught in upheaval of the Threshold’s awakening.  That one,” The Thunder Being indicated Boone.  “Killed a foundling. We have carried it into the Black Dawn.  The foundlings are young ones, still underdeveloped.  They hide in the trees, visible only in the wink of an eye.  The transgression cannot go unpunished.”

“But you killed the wrong man!”

“That is not for me to decide.” The Thunder Being turned and melted into the trees. Dakota sensed a flicker of demonic hunger followed by a subtle kiss of forgiving light.

The Pale Queen had arrived. Tall and willowy with a cascading veil of milk-pale hair, she was unclothed, her body translucent as moonlight.  Only her eyes betrayed color, solid black pools void of pupils or whites.

“You have invaded our home and taken the life of a foundling.”

Unlike the Thunder Being, there was a hint of mercy in the woman’s voice.  Dakota realized rage would accomplish nothing.

“I beg forgiveness.”

“There must be payment for the foundling.”

“Choose another.” Dakota’s thoughts returned to Shane, broken and bleeding, his body limp and lifeless.  It was an image he’d carry forever.

The woman moved from the trees, diaphanous as clouds caressing the face of the moon.  She halted just shy of him, her scent an overpowering blend of clover, wildflowers and decay.

“And who would you have me choose?  The one who killed the foundling?”

Dakota had no use for noble ideas.  He would gladly trade the murderous Boone for Shane. “As you wish.”

“The decision is too easy. The Threshold demands a sacrifice.” The Queen smiled, exposing the pointed tips of her teeth. “I will return the life of your friend, but not for the one you offer. If I breathe life into Shane Anders, what will you give me in return?”

Dakota knew there was only one answer.

“You can have me.”

“That payment I will honor. Thunder Being. Pale Queen, and Black Dawn.” She smiled and slid her hands onto his shoulders. “And then there were four.  Dakota Fury, Storm Prince. This is where you belong.”

He closed his eyes as her teeth sank into his neck.  His last conscious thought was of Shane, alive and well.