Lisa, the Robot Girl Talks Viral Blues and Grenades #SomethingWickedTour @Virgilante @StoryEmpire

It’s Friday, and the final day of the Story Empire Something Wicked Blog Tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week. I’ve had a blast! To wrap things up, you can find the complete tour schedule here.

And what better way to close, than by having one of my favorite guests visit. Lisa, the robot girl, spokesmodel for C.S. Boyack has been here many times. I’m delighted she dropped by again to help me close out the tour. As always, Lisa is a class act…


Hi, Mae. Always a pleasure to see you. I understand that you’re over at P.H. Solomon’s place today with your own promo, so I hope you’re killing it over there.

Craig sent me to push his newest book, “Viral Blues.” This is a sequel to “The Hat,” but it’s so much more. A bunch of Craig’s characters got a sequel in a way. Including your favorite robot girl.

Gina Greybill gathered us all together under her Host Program. This is kind of a secret society that deals with paranormal threats. Someone, or something, is tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. It’s our job to sort it all out, and still keep the general public from knowing about us at the same time.

Craig’s making me take excerpts around this time. This one is kind of embarrassing, because I’ve just been taken out by an electro magnet. Sometimes, robot girls have problems the regular folks don’t face.

Anyway, we’re in a fenced area that seems to be the place where the tampering is going on. Our position is inside a junkyard where the magnet moves cars to the crusher.

***

Lisa leaned against the Jeep. She spoke in a chorus of three different women’s voices. “Hi, guys. Welcome to Jurassic Park.”

“She’s still incapacitated,” Gupta said. “Where did the others go?”

“Those disgusting smelly people keep coming from the garages, and they’re even wading out of the river. Gina went into that building to talk to their boss. She took Clovis with her to make sure they listen. They’re going to stink up our garden party.”

“Stack the grenades across the car. When you get a cluster, let ‘em have it,” the hat said. “We’ll head for the river.”

“Wait.” Gupta leaned against the wrecked Jeep. “How do they work?”

“Such children,” the hat said. “Unscrew the cap at the end of the stick. There’s a bead in there. Grab it and pull. Throw it at the bad guys.”

Gupta removed the cap and found the bead. “I think I have it, and – Oh my, God.”

Lizzie and the hat turned to face Lisa. She used one of the grenades to repair her hairdo, and stuck bobby-pins to keep the victory rolls in place. “These things are great. Wish I had a blow dryer to go with them.”

Lizzie took the grenade away. “We need to borrow your curler for a minute, okay.” She turned to Gupta, and the whites of her eyes flashed wide. “You’re going to have to watch her.”

***

What would one of my visits be without a free poster for your readers. This is me trying to fix my hair with one of the grenades. Honestly, it was working pretty well before they took it away.

illustration of sexy red head in revealing midriff plaid shirt and jeans, curling her hair with a grenade

Lisa, definitely gets herself in a few fixes in this story.  Good thing she’s a robot, girl, and has options for turning the tables on the bad guys. It’s always fun when she drops by to promote one of Craig’s books. While I trot out the blurb for Viral Blues, Lisa and I are going to talk shoes and accessories. 🙂

BLURB:

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

bio box for author, C.S. Boyack

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

What can be better than zombies for Halloween reading? This is a fun, imaginative story with a diverse cast of characters who keep every page entertaining. Highly recommended.

And to close out the week, I’m visiting with P.H. Solomon talking about a very specific curse that has haunted a town for centuries. I hope you have an opportunity to visit!

All is Not as it Seems in The Glade #SomethingWickedTour @harmony_kent @StoryEmpire

Welcome to another day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! I hope you’re enjoying the shivers, goosebumps, and eclectic fiction the SE gang has been trotting out. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Harmony Kent, here to share her very creepy novel, The Glade. Bwahahaha!


Hello everyone, Harmony here. Thanks for hosting me today, Mae! It’s great to visit with you and your readers to kick off my third stop on Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. In true Halloween-month fashion, I’d like to visit The Glade, where malignant forces are gathering power …

All is not as it seems in The Glade

What possessed me to turn an idyllic setting into a place of horror, you might ask? Well, it all started with a news story about bringing people back from the dead, and my warped imagination took it from there.

According to the BBC news in April 2013 …

A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died. Should this change the way we think about death?

It most certainly changed the way I looked at it, lol. And it begged the question, What Would Happen If … some of my characters came back from the dead? My demanding Muse also wanted to set this little disaster in the middle of a spooky forest.

My first struggle came in finding a vast and remote woodland in the UK. The sad truth is that we just don’t have such a thing anymore on our small island. The nearest I could come up with was The Forest of Dean, located in Gloustershire, a little north of the River Severn. While this forest is fairly large, it’s a long way from remote and has lots of busy roads running through it.

The corner stone I put on the cottage built in my lovely little glade is based on The Standing Stone, which actually has one of those well-travelled roads running right past it. For my purposes, I took some artistic license and moved it to an isolated glade. Which quickly turned malevolent … te hee he he.

Local folklore says that the stone will bleed if pricked with a pin at precisely midnight.

Of course, that little snippet grabbed my Muse by the scruff of the neck and rubbed its nose right in the supernatural delights on offer.

And then my research of the area brought up the topic of Ley Lines. I hadn’t intended to include these in the narrative, but what I discovered was too good to miss. So, between the energy and the stone and the local folklore, I wove a wicked tale of supernatural evil, and Something Wicked most definitley this way came. Thus, The Glade, was born.

Here’s a bit more about the book:

You’re arrested for the murder of your husband.

You have a secret you can’t tell.

The evil is gathering …

This gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller will have you thinking twice about booking that idyllic cottage in the country. Nothing in this woodland paradise within the Forest of Dean is what it seems.

The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth, and happiness. Until everything falls apart. Helen gets arrested for murder, and yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes missing and tensions run high.

Meanwhile, in the woods, malignant forces gather power.

Praise for The Glade:

“The glade is a horror story in the mould of Stephen King, rendered the more so by its faint echoes of Pet Semetary and the even stronger resonance of the pervasive malignancy of It. “

“Lock the doors and light up every room, for this book will have you on edge for the entire journey through its pages.”

“Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled.”

Purchase Link

To Learn More About Harmony Check Out:

WebsiteStory Empire (co-authored) | Amazon Author Page |
Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | BookBub |

I’ve read The Glade and can vouch it’s going to inspire plenty of goosebumps and shivers.
I wish you happy lights-on-in-the-dark reading! 🙂

Harmony and I did a blog swap today, so you can find me hanging out at her place talking about a spooky house in the neighborhood where I grew up. I hope you’ll pop over to check it out! 

Playing with Fire #SomethingWickedTour @JoanHallWrites @storyempire

Welcome friends! Pull up a computer, tablet, or phone, and sit a spell as Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour continues. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Joan Hall, who shares a very scary and very human kind of wickedness . . .


Mae, thanks for hosting me today for this second day of the Something Wicked Tour. It’s a pleasure to be here and interact with your readers.


Hey everyone. More often than not, the greatest evil we face isn’t with the paranormal or encounters with aliens. Real people often commit serious crimes—among them are espionage, murder, kidnapping, and arson.

During a six-month period in 1992-1993, a series of arsons occurred in Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding area. Before a task force identified a suspect, over 107 fires occurred. Three people died as a result of a fire in a retirement home.

Paul Kenneth Keller was arrested and charged with the crime. His father identified him from a composite drawing and criminal profile. Keller had a fascination with fires from an early age. After his arrest, he admitted to setting seventy-six fires and is currently serving a ninety-nine-year prison term.

Does a serial arsonist sound like the basis for a novel? That’s what I did with Unknown Reasons, a romantic suspense novel and the second in my Driscoll Lake Series. The arsonist targeted houses, businesses, and a nursing home.

The common factor? My main character, Brian Nichols, has a connection with each place. He’s trying to build his business while overcoming his past. He’s also in the middle of a new romance.

But someone is intent on destroying him. What’s worse, he becomes a prime suspect.

Excerpt: 
He stepped out of the shadows, leaving the cloak of darkness, and crept toward the abandoned factory. His pulse quickened with excitement as he neared the building. On the other hand, it could be nerves. A solitary streetlight illuminated his path for several feet between the fence and an abandoned boxcar.

But there was little to worry about. It was Friday night, and many of Driscoll Lake’s residents would be at the football game.

It was hard to remember a time when fire didn’t captivate him. He learned how to start a flame without the benefit of matches or a lighter and delighted in holding a magnifying glass in a position where the sun reflected on dry leaves, causing them to smolder.

Fire was essential. People used it for cooking. It gave off warmth and provided a source of light.

One small spark could quickly develop into a roaring flame. And a roaring flame was powerful. It could destroy. Even kill.

Book cover for Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall shows sun reflected in lake, golden water, ghost profile of man's face superimposed over wanterBlurb:

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

This is another great read you’re going to want to grab. I’ve read this entire series, and enjoyed it immensely, especially the small town setting and characters who feel like neighbors and friends.

Today, you can find me haunting Staci Troilo’s blog with a look at Home Circles. Sounds pretty un-spooky, right?  Well, they’re likely not what you think. Find out here and say hello!

Serpent Mound Lore #SomethingWickedTour @stacitroilo @storyempire

Hello and welcome to the first day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! The SE authors will be sharing posts all week long, visiting the blogs of our colleagues  with posts and books offering shivers and goosebumps. We hope you’ll join in the fun and, hopefully, discover some chill-inducing reads along the way. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

But don’t expect all of those goosebumps to come from creepy-crawling things or ghosts and ghouls oozing from the crypt. As my first guest, Staci Troilo, explains, darkness comes in all shapes…


Thanks for welcoming me here today, Mae.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! When my SE cohorts came up with the idea for a Something Wicked tour, I was initially concerned about how my current writing would fit into the theme. Sci-fi felt like a far cry from malevolence. Then I realized aliens with a nefarious agenda were just as wicked as demons; they just had a different origin. I don’t think it matters if a being is from a star in the Hydrus constellation or from Hell… evil is a matter of intent, not origin.

My Astral Conspiracy series is a combination of futuristic tech and ancient history. If you (like me) are obsessed with—or even aware of—Ancient Aliens, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

In The Gate, the first of my five-book series, the characters visit the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. They’re there to steal a buried artifact, which is absolutely fiction. But the lore behind the effigy is pure fact. And it’s fascinating. Serpent Mound (aerial view)

Photo Attribution: Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Serpent Mound was built by Native Americans. I wish I could tell you when, but that’s still up for debate. A set of charcoal pieces was found in 1996. Two of the pieces were carbon-dated to 1070, which would make the builders the Fort Ancient society (a mound-building culture from the Late Prehistoric era, 900-1650 AD). But the third was dated two thousand years earlier to the Adena culture (2920 +/-65 years BC). The current theory, and the one that makes the most sense to me, is that is was built during the Adena period and then renovated by the Fort Ancients. Adena graves nearby strengthen that theory.

The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot long, three-foot-high earthwork of a snake. It’s the largest known serpent effigy in the world. It’s located on an astrobleme (an asteroid impact structure whose center is raised sedimentary strata). At the west end, the snake’s tail is coiled into a spiral; at the east, its mouth is open as though eating an egg, the sun, a giant eye, or the body of a frog (experts can’t decide). There are seven curves to its body.

But what was it built for? The oval and head area of the effigy is aligned with the summer solstice sunset while the tail is in line with the winter solstice sunrise. It’s also been suggested that the undulations of the body are correspond to certain lunar events. So, the mound may be a calendar marking the seasons.

The sculpt mimics the constellation Draco, with the star Thuban mapped to the first curve of the body. Thuban was used as the North Pole star from the fourth to second millennium BC, so there is an argument to be made that the effigy was a compass of sorts.

And nearby graves suggest this may have been a mortuary of sorts, a place that would help guide spirits to the great beyond. (It’s worth noting the graves were nearby, but none were found at the site itself.)

Whatever its true purpose, it has a great significance in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. If you’re curious about how I used it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page

Bio box for author, Staci Troilo

I found this fascinating, just like the book. The Gate is an excellent story that moves at a break-neck pace. I highly recommend adding it for addictive reading.

Finally, in closing, Joan Hall is hosting me today, where I’m sharing a scary historical encounter. Hop over if you can and check out Red Eyes and Winged Beasts.

Writing in a Different Direction

After a whirlwind seven weeks following the release of Cusp of Night, life has been falling into a steadier writing pattern for me. Anyone with a book release knows the amount of work that goes into promotion, something authors have to juggle on top of a regular writing routine. Cusp did strong coming out of the gate then slowed for a bit, but seems to be picking up again. YAY! On top of that, several reviewers commented they had discovered my Point Pleasant series after reading Cusp and planned to purchase it. That’s exactly how a release and a back list should work. I couldn’t be happier!

While promotion was going on, I distracted myself by writing in a different direction. I have a backlog of short stories I wrote in my early to middle thirties that I decided to clean up for possible publication. And, wow, did they need cleaning! It’s amazing how much I’ve grown as a writer since then. It goes to show that we’re always learning and polishing our craft. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with the shorts. Cobble them together for an indie release or perhaps look for a few paying markets.

I noticed that when I had a lag of twelve months between A Desolate Hour, the last book in my Point Pleasant series, and Cusp of Night, the first book in my Hode’s Hill Novels, I saw a decline in sales. I cleaned up the shorts so that I have a buffer if I end up in that position again. My series books usually come out within six to eight months of each other. That twelve month stretch produced a dry spell I don’t want to hit again. I’m also already thinking ahead to a new series so I have something to pitch to my publisher when the time rolls around.

Friday, I’ll be leaving on vacation for a full week. My regular readers are used to my routine of disappearing on the weekends, but this time I’ll be gone for a full week and unable to comment on the blogs I usually follow. I’ll miss all of you, but am looking forward to the time away. My husband and I will be visiting family in Raleigh, and then in Virginia Beach. I’ve arranged a pet sitter for Raven, and of course, I’ll be taking a writing tablet and my Kindle on on the trip.

pretty black cat on a gray cat tree

Raven on one of her cat trees. Think she’ll miss me?

When I return, I hope to refocus on Eventide, book 3 of Hode’s Hill. I have several blog posts I need to prepare for Story Empire and for the January release of End of Day, but other than that, I’ll be back to my regular writing direction after my July foray into short fiction.

Drop a line and let me know how your writing life has been going!

Friday Fiction: Dinosaur Waltz

Happy Friday! I rarely do blog posts on Friday, but it’s my turn up at bat over at Story Empire with a Friday Fiction Prompt. I could hardly ask others to play along and not take a shot at it myself. So, here goes…from the cloud below choose a single word to use as a creative writing primer. You can even use your own selection. The only rule is that the word must begin with “sub.”

a word cloud of various words beginning with "sub"If you decide to give the challenge a whirl (and I hope you do), please link back to the Story Empire post in the comments so we can see your creative genius at work. In the meantime, here’s my attempt to be creative and step away from urban legends for a change. I chose the word submarine:

Dinosaur Waltz by Mae Clair

Captain Wade Sloan studied the map on the plotting table. Running at flank was risky with such an old submarine, but the Raleigh had held together through worse. After two weeks of flirting with the boundary line of enemy waters, the crew was wound tight. They’d been on high alert from day one, but had done their part admirably, serving as a diversion for the Seeker-Class subs christened in 2112.

The last of her kind still in service for the NorthWestCoalition, the Raleigh was scheduled to be retired when they returned to port. He’d could either adapt to the NWC’s Seeker technology or retire, too.

“Skipper.” Seaman Dyer’s voice broke through his reverie. “Sir, I’m picking up the signature of another sub, closing fast.”

Nuclear submarine in a deep blue sea. Digital illustration.

“Type and distance.”

“Attack class, Sir.  Not one of ours. “Bearing zero-five-zero, six thousand yards.”

An old tub, like the Raleigh.  “Helmsman. Hard left rudder, ten degrees port.”

“Sir, she’s locked on us.” Dyer bent over the sonar station. “Flooding her tubes.”

Two dinosaurs, giving it one last whirl.

Sloan wrenched the mic from the periscope stand. “Engineering, port ahead two-thirds.  Missile room, flood torpedo tubes one and four.”  He focused on Dyer. “Range.”

“Forty-five hundred yards, Sir.  Still closing.” A pause as Dyer adjusted a dial. “Enemy torpedo in the water, locked on.”

“Helmsman, down plane, hard to starboard.” Sloan clicked the mic again. “Missile room, prepare to fire.”

A second later the reply bounced back.  “Ready to fire, Sir.”

Sloan leaned across Dyer and activated the aft camera.

“Tracking, Sir.” Dyer was intent on the sound in his headset.  “Twenty-five hundred yards to enemy torpedo.”

“Stand by,” Sloan said into the mic.

“Twelve hundred yards,” Dyer announced.

Sloan clicked the mic.  “Missile room, fire one.”

“Fire one.” The nearly insubstantial concussion of the release vibrated through the decking.

“Homing.” Dyer licked his lips, counted off seconds:  “Locked, Sir.”

Sloan raised the mic.  “All hands brace for impact.”  The Raleigh shuddered, rocked hard to the side, but held course.

“Torpedo destroyed.” Dyer’s voice rebounded above a cacophony of warning claxons. “Enemy sub altering course to zero-nine-five.  She’s turning tail, Skipper.”

Sloan called the adjustment to the planesman. “Stay with her.” Sparks danced overhead. He caught a flash-fire eruption from the corner of his eye, but O’Malley was already on it. “Missile room, stand by number four torpedo.”

“Standing by.”

“Engine room, back flank.”

“Aye, Sir.  back flank.”

The boat settled, evening out on a smoother plane. Emergency lighting kicked in, followed quickly by the main systems. Sloan caught the reek of ozone as O’Malley turned a fire extinguisher on the small outbreak of flame. “Damage control, report.”

“Minimal circuitry damage, Sir.  She’s watertight.”

“Range to target is fourteen hundred yards, Skipper.” Dyer flashed a grin. “She doesn’t have our speed.”

The hunter had become the hunted.  Sloan spoke into the microphone.  “Missile room, fire number four.”

“Firing number four.”

“All hands brace for shockwave.”

The backlash from the explosion was merciless, sending Sloan sprawling. A boat destroyed, lives loss. Could it be anything less than savage? He pulled himself upright only to be sent tumbling again by the brutal rocking of the boat. The control room plunged into darkness.

In another few moments the Raleigh reestablished trim. The lighting flickered sluggishly then surged to full power.

Sloan hauled himself to his feet. “Damage control report.”

Problems were minimal and the group in the control room relaxed. A few back-slaps were exchanged as seaman resettled at their stations. Another day and they’d be in the clear, safely back in port.

Sloan returned to the plotting table to focus on their course. After ten minutes, Dyer spoke again.

“Captain Sloan I think you should see this.”sonar screen

There was something in his voice that made several heads swivel in his direction. Sloan crossed to the sonar station and stood staring down at the screen.

“I think that sub we destroyed was a suicide, Sir.” Dyer’s face had gone pale, the color of chalk. He swallowed hard and motioned to the mass of blips on the sonar screen. “All Seeker-Class. The signatures don’t match ours.”

Sloan’s mouth was dry. “Enemy?”

“Aye, Sir. The explosion of that other sub told them exactly where to find us. I guess she was a diversion, too.”

The old dinosaur. “And a damn good one.”

May It Be A Good One!

Sometimes Fridays can’t come soon enough. My husband and I had a great July 4th and even enjoyed spending time in our pool. The water was beautiful, but in and around the 4th we had a few road bumps.

My computer slowed to a crawl and started tossing out blue screens. To top it off, Chrome stopped working. Not the end of the world because I was able to hop over to Firefox, but the bulk of my bookmarks are on Chrome. With a trifecta of computer woes, I decided it was time to cart the all-in-one in for repair. I took my laptop too. The wifi hasn’t worked since a Windows update half a year ago. Both are still with the Geek Squad.

On the plus side, I decided to treat myself to a MAC book. My books have been making a few dollars the last two years so I decided it was time to splurge a little—especially since I’ll be using the MAC for my business. After a trip to the Apple store, I came home with one of the new retina MACs. I wanted the small size for easy portability, but honestly, all the MAC book brands I looked at are very light.

It doesn’t show well in the photo below, but I got the rose gold finish, which is gorgeous. I’m still dealing with a bit of a learning curve, but getting on fairly good. If I could just figure out how to right click or backspace nirvana would happen.

an open MAC Book setting on table

Thursday, my first day back on the day job was fraught with problems. I won’t go into details but it was not a good day. I came home that night only to find out the UV light and piping to our well pump had some kind of issue. Don’t ask me what it was. All I know is that it involved soldering, a blow torch, and hours without water while my husband repaired whatever needed to be  fixed. Thank God he’s as adept as he is and we didn’t have to call a repairman.

TGIF! I’m hoping today turns out to be better than yesterday. With any luck I may even get my computer and laptop back. If not, at least it’s Friday.

If you missed the posts on Story Empire this week, Harmony Kent shared the second part of her series on Commas and How to Use Them, and Joan Hall explained how to Read Your Way to Better Writing. Today, you can discover the latest Curated Content for Writers gathered by the SE authors.

Check back on Monday too, when yours truly will be in the Story Empire wheelhouse with a post entitled “What Would You Do?”  Until then, Happy Friday and Happy Weekend. May it be a good one for all!

Did Someone Say Friday?

Silly goose looking directly at cameraThe end of the week is a great opportunity to look back over the past several days and take measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, mine were close to nil. :(  I did manage to eke out a single scene on my WIP, but considering the goal was a chapter, the results are pathetic.

In my defense, the week has been unusually chaotic. I’ve had a work crew at my home since Monday, installing new zoned heat and a/c units. The job is supposed to be finished today—hooray!—but the weekend I wanted to spend writing will probably be spent cleaning. You can’t have a work crew without dust. Lots of dust. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

I’m not the only one running low on patience. Raven has been forced to spend eight hours each day in the basement while servicemen tramp in and out of the house (I won’t risk her sneaking outside if someone accidentally leaves a door open). We’ve tried to make her confinement as inviting as possible, arranging a “snuggle area” with one of her beds and a blanket. I elevated them on chairs so she’s not on the floor. She has water and food, and I even added a few toys and her red “cube” for lounging.

black cat in pink cube with cat toy

Raven in her pink cube. Besides this and the red cube, she also has a blue one. Can we say spoiled?

Bribes aside, she is NOT a happy camper. She can’t watch birds from the basement, sprawl in the sunlight, or stretch out in the bow window. A rough week in catdom.

The only benefit she’s enjoyed is the daily fussing we do to make up for her morning and afternoon exile. You can see why this Friday is more welcome than usual—I want my house back! So does Raven!

In the meantime, I’m at Story Empire today sharing the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the SE authors. While you’re celebrating Friday in the blogosphere, drop in and see what we’ve collected. And in case you missed SE’s earlier posts, Staci Troilo took a fabulous look at Fictional Fathers, and I trotted out My Problematic Word.

Happy Friday!

Can I Start My Weekend Now?

If there was ever any doubt, let it be known that I love Fridays. The weekend is looming around the corner, and I’m already in countdown. Now that summer has arrived, I will be spending sunny afternoons plotting and/or reading poolside. I still need to work in my normal writing schedule but I’m hoping to grab a little down time as well.

funny cat peeking over shelf at camera

I’m also hoping to get back to a more regular blogging schedule. This past week, saw an award (thank you, Jess Bakkers) and a surprise from my husband (thank you, love of my life). If you’re interested in either post, just follow the links.

Looking back:
On Story Empire, Joan Hall shared a post that cleverly combined The Beatles, Sgt. Peppers and Writing and Harmony Kent shared Part One of her series Commas and How to Use Them. Today, you can find the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the authors of Story Empire. I hope some of these appeal to you.

Looking ahead:
My own writing projects are moving forward. A Desolate Hour will be releasing on July 18th, and I recently submitted a short story for an anthology I was invited to participate in. You’ll be hearing more on the latter as publication time approaches.

Book cover for Ghosts by Gaslight, a book on Spiritualism by Troy TaylorCurrently, I’m knee deep in research mode for my next novel, The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill.  Although I read daily, I’ve been entrenched in non-fiction as opposed to putting a dent in my TBR.

Half of Blue Lady deals with Spiritualism in the late 1800s as related to practicing mediums and fraud. I’ve been reading a book called Ghosts by Gaslight by Troy Taylor in order to get up to snuff. It’s fascinating, but dense, especially as I’m making notes as I go. I also just picked up a massive tome on Harry Houdini, someone who has always intrigued me—more so as I delve into the late 19th century and early 20th century.

We’re spending tomorrow evening with friends so this weekend is more about fun and pool time, but I’ll work writing and research in somehow.

What about you? What project or book is calling you and are you a Friday Fanatic like I am?

Cat Toys and Author Tools

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent half of mine visiting with family and the other half trying to be productive on my WIP (more on that project in a later post).

Of course, I had to make time for the Kentucky Derby, something DH and I never miss. It was a rainy day in Kentucky with a muddy track, and and equally rainy day in PA.

I bought some new play toys for my cat, Raven, called Neko Flies. They’re by far and away the best cat toys I’ve ever purchased, sheer genius on the part of whoever designed them. Picture a fishing rod with a life-like lure on the end. I bet the inventor was fiddling around with tackle one day when his or her cat went crazy.

Raven loves to stalk and hunt and turns into a predatory demon anytime she sees a bug, so as soon as I spied Neko Flies, I knew they were golden. Has anyone else tried these for their cats?

I picked up the Kattiepede and Kragonfly. The Kragonfly has beautiful iridescent wings (the picture on the website doesn’t do it justice). Next up, I’d like to get the Katarantula. You can order online or through Amazon, but I found Neko Flies at my local pet store. I have the regular wand, but want to get the telescoping rod, which looks like a small fishing rod. It’s currently out of stock at the store and online. What I don’t do for my cat—she is so spoiled—but, boy, is she getting her exercise! Including performing complex aerial acrobatics on a regular basis.

And speaking of being spoiled, it’s time to spoil yourself with today’s resource material on Story Empire where Staci Troilo shares Part 3 of her series on Author Media kits. Her topic is One Sheet and Author Biographies. As always, Staci delivers an information packed post with guidance, examples, and suggestions on implementing. Enjoy!