The Cover Is Here! NaNoLA First Anthology

This is a very exciting day and I would love to share it with you!

My short story is being published as a part of the first NaNoLA anthology, “Believe Me Not, An Unreliable Narrator” and today I got the first peek at the cover.

I’m dying to share it with you, so here it is!

Believe Me Not, An Unreliable AnthologyD6

This anthology is a non-profit effort to support young writers program.

The book comes out on October 10th and I will be sharing the link and all the details for it just as soon as I have them available to me.

Thank you all for sharing this awesome time with me!

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Writing Bucket List

Recently I read an awesome post by JD of A Wrestling Writer on Out Of The Well called Writing Bucket List. I have never been big on bucket lists. Maybe I’m not ready to die (just kidding!) or just cause I’m not big on adrenaline rush, but I’ve never thought of a specific bucket list, especially a writing one.

I read down the list on this blog post and I became absolutely excited and inspired. There was someone who loved the writing as much as I did and whose goals were so similar to mine. I felt what we all want to feel: I was not alone in the world!

This post inspired me and I’ve been thinking for days now to write my own list. I will write it up and as I check the items off my list, I will follow JD’s example and come back here and update them with the dates.

My Writing Bucket List:

  • Write a novel – started in 2011, in re-write now, first draft of another one is ‘stewing’
  • Become part of a writing group – 2011 and 2012
  • Take a writing class – 2011, 2012
  • Get novel professionally edited
  • Publish a novel
  • Have a blog – 2013
  • Have a newsletter – 2014
  • Write a short story – 2014
  • Publish a short story – should be in Sept 2014
  • Enter a writing contest – 2014 and was accepted into anthology
  • Win a writing contest
  • Complete NaNoWriMo
  • Join Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers Of America
  • Attend RWA conference
  • Meet my readers at one of the ‘Cons or a book festival, sign and sell my book
  • Write three books a year – fantasy, writing, tech tips for writers
  • Write a book of short stories – in progress, 50% in 2014
  • Write and publish a non-fiction e-book
  • Self-publish a book of short stories
  • Get published in a magazine
  • Guest post for a blog
  • Attend writers conference – 2013 and 2014
  • Join writer’s society – 2013, GLAWS
  • Go on a writing retreat
  • Get BA in creative writing
  • Become an editor
  • Do e-book formatting for others
  • Open digital publishing house
  • Offer classes on memoir writing to local seniors
  • Open a writer-friendly coffee shop with comfy seats and free wi-fi
  • Be a full time writer

 

They say if you dream it and write it down, it will happen. I’ll be hard at work to make it happen.

 

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My 500 Words, Day 32

YES, I DID IT!!! I completed my 31 days of writing 500 words a day!!!

Phew, it’s been hard but very rewarding. When I started off my writing schedule was very spotty.With a full-time job and kids/husband/house to take care of, a million other things would take up my time, but somewhere deep inside I knew that a lot of that were just excuses, simply because I was afraid to write. So, I decided that I needed a challenge and accountability to myself and to you, my dear readers, to give myself a kick in a butt and give writing the time it deserved.

Let me tell you, writing EVERY day is hard. No matter how often you write and how much readers might like your last post, as soon as you start writing another line, it’s like starting with a blank slate. The desire to procrastinate is great and there are all these chores to be done. Having a goal of sitting down and writing 500 words every day gets you going though. For me, it’s like having homework that you have to turn in, but instead it’s you and your audience who are the teacher.

When you know that you have this commitment to fulfill, suddenly there are bits of time that begin to show up, suddenly you are firmer about what’s important to you and your family begins to get it and helps you more; watching mindless TV is not as attractive anymore and your fingers reach out for the keyboard every chance you get.

Better yet, you develop such a strong habit of doing it, you crave it when you are not writing, you get withdrawals for the lack of better word. You can’t wait to get home, hop on your laptop and get some words out of your system.

There were days (like yesterday) when I drove for four hours straight and was completely wiped by the time I got home; I couldn’t make my brain come up with any more words. On days like these I did my best not to give myself any guilt trips and knew that tomorrow would be a new day and new chances to get back to writing.

Will I continue with my 500 words? You bet! In fact I am going for 1,000 a day as my new goal. Definitely wish me luck with that one!

Here are my totals since the last check-in:

6/17 – 866 + blog post 315

6/18 – nothing, lots of reading on marketing

6/19 – 619

6/20 – nothing, blog post 444

6/21 – 1113

6/22 – 101, traveling

 

Keep on writing, fight the good fight!

See you on the battlefield!

 

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I love my Kindle

Ok, I know, I shouldn’t be professing love to an inanimate object, but I do love that darn thing!

My Kindle is the first generation, nothing fancy (ok, it has the 3G, hallelujah!), but I love it just the way it is. I received it for Christmas few years ago and it’s the best “toy” I own.

Initially, I wanted a Kindle to slow the growth of book piles in my house because I love books (another inanimate object I’m in love with). I thought buying a book in digital would a) help me de-clutter my house, b) save some trees. And as much as I love the smell of new books, my small house could only hold so much. So my lovely husband gave me the Kindle.

That very night I hooked it up to my Amazon account and the rest was history. First of all I was ecstatic that one of the free books on it were Sherlock Holmes stories (my favorite character of all times!). Second of all I loved that the Kindle was so light and small, I could fit it anywhere and read it any time I wanted. And the battery held the charge for weeks! Those were the obvious benefits.

The more I used it, the more benefits or shall I say Reasons To Love I discovered.

Here are my top ones:

  1. Kindle is for reading only. There is no temptation or capability to freely browse the web and get distracted. It is electronic, but it’s just a book.
  2. I can get a new book any time I want. Once I was home sick and ended up reading 4 of the 10 books from “Mary O’Reilly” series by Terri Reid. As soon as I finished one, I got the next one, it was AWESOME!
  3. I got to discover indie writers that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. I think this is the part I love the most about Kindle and Amazon, the chance for the writers put their books out there in the world. I found and read many great indie books and got introduced to some talented people.
  4. Since I got my Kindle, I have read more books than ever before.
  5. When I read my Kindle, no one has to know what book I am on – there is no “book cover”.
  6. My reading progress is synchronized between all of my devices and I can continue to read the book on anything I choose if I happened to forget my Kindle at home

What are your favorite things about e-readers?

What indie writers have you discovered recently?

 

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Writing is My Lifeline

I am here to profess my love for Writing.

I am not ashamed to admit, that when we first met, I was very intimidated and shy around Writing. I wasn’t sure if I was worth It, or ever be good enough for It. Writing seemed so well defined and polished and I surely would never be like that, I’m just me, nothing special.

I was looking up at Writing and worshiping its perfection and its influence and hoped that one day I will be allowed in its ranks, even if just as a humble servant. I was happy to be associated with Writing even in just a small way.

Over time, however, I began to realize that the pedestal that the Writing was standing on was built with my own hands. Writing wasn’t a stuck-up, out-of-reach, too-good-for-me as I originally thought. It wanted me to get to know it better and get closer.

So I decided to give it a shot. I began to approach it more, write more often and more openly. The closer I got to Writing, closer it got to me. It is still a work in progress as it’s often so mysterious and larger than life, but I am making the effort.

So far, the Writing hasn’t let me down yet. Every morning I wake looking forward spending time with it and every minute I can steal is so worth it. It makes me a better person, helps me grow and explore new horizons. It teaches me so much more than just write a good prose. It’s about trusting myself, speaking the truth, being brave, building relationships and helping people. What can I say? I Love Writing.

How is your relationship with Writing?

 

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My 500 Words, Day 25

I can’t believe it’s Day 25 of My 500 Word Challenge! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

I set out on this challenge over 3 weeks ago not knowing if I’ll be able to stick to the habit of writing daily, but I really wanted to. I felt like my writing goals were taking too long and I was honest with myself to realize that it was due to my inconsistent writing routine. I would write a few times a week, but I always felt at the mercy of the next event to interrupt me.

Setting a goal of writing every day and setting a minimum of 500 words, caused a couple things to happen.

First, I knew that 500 words was a very doable number and no excuse was valid enough not to write this much. On a few of the nights I was falling asleep in front of my laptop, but I didn’t allow myself go there until I had my 500 words. I had to do it because often it’s hard to tell – was I really tired or was it the resistance masked as tiredness? So, I had to show “it” who’s the boss.

Second, I noticed that writing was becoming easier and I have been writing more almost every time. On some days I wrote my novel and a blog post and a short story. Instead of resisting sitting down to write, I felt a need to sit down and write. I even did some writing during Father’s Day party (hey, some people jump into pool, some people rather write!).

Third, the self-guilt trips of not-writing are getting smaller to the point of extinction. I really love that part. I look at my laptop and smile, rather than mouthing “Sorry!”.

Here are the totals since last update:

6/9 – 351

6/10 – 771

6/11 – 525 + blog post 430

6/12 – nothing for novel + blog post 244

6/13 – 821 + blog post 153

6/14 – 1090 + short story 424

6/15 – 815 + short story 440

6/16 – this blog post (310)+ more writing tonight

 

If I can do it, you can do it for sure, I just know it!

Do the challenge with me, every step however small is taking you towards your dream.

 

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Writing is Courage

Don’t let the inspiration hold you back.

Often, when we sit down to write, we don’t feel “inspired”. We are tired, reeling from stress from our regular day jobs and the last thing we want to do is open a page and be honest with ourselves. So we pretend that the issue here is a lack of inspiration, rather than our own fear of showing the world our insides.

We are afraid that once we put it on paper (real or otherwise), we will be vulnerable and the world will have a weapon against us. What we need to realize is that we are not alone in this. We need to realize that by being vulnerable we will find like-minded people that are looking for us to connect.

Once we write our souls out, the world might have a weapon against us, yes, but we will also have a protection in a form of a support, love, friendship of people that are not afraid to show the world what makes them tick, what helps them go on every day, what lights up or darkens their day.

Don’t be afraid to write. You will discover things inside of yourself you never knew where there. You will discover people who will appreciate you for who you are, real you, and help you be courageous every day.

Writing is courage, so fight on!

 

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My 500 Words, Day 17

It is Day 17 of my 500 words challenge and I’m still here, kicking.

You know how they say, bad habits are hard to beat. Well, good habits are just as hard to keep up with, but I’m making an effort to show up. And I’m so glad that I am. Having a promise to all of you and especially to myself made me sit down and write even when I was dead tired and falling off of my feet. Even when it was close to midnight and I knew I would only have a few hours to sleep and a stressful workday ahead of me, I sat down and I wrote my 500 words.

It’s amazing how we can find shreds of energy where it seems there are none when we are focused on something, a goal, a project, a promise.

Here are the word counts since the last weekly check in:

6/2 – 528

6/3 – 589

6/4 – 505

6/5 – 716 +1624 (short story)

6/6 – nothing

6/7 – 1011

6/8 – 575

As promised, I will post another short story that I wrote as a part of this challenge. It needs a bit of an editing (again, I will not over-edit it as I want it to be as close to the raw writing as possible, but I want to clean it up from the basic misspellings and typos). I will be posting it within next couple days.

Until, good night and keep on writing!

 

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Share the Inspiration, My Favorite Quotes

As I am following my 500 words a day plan (still going strong!), I wanted to share something with you. As writers we know the power of a word. We write thousands of words that paint stories that make readers laugh and cry and feel as if they are in the middle of the story. Sometimes though we don’t need thousands of words to leave an impact. A single phrase can leave you thinking, challenging your views or uplifted.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. Enjoy!

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Karim seddiki

“Every book you’ve ever read is just a different combination of 26 letters.” – unknown

“Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” – Franz Kafka

“Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan

 

Be inspired and work magic!

 

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My 500 Words: Day 3

Today is Day 3 of my Writing Challenge. So far I have managed to write every day even though I was away on my 4-day vacation.

Day 1 was almost successful, I wrote 463 words for the novel I am working on. I had a 4 hour drive that day and I was physically exhausted, but decided to stick to my challenge.

Day 2 proved to be a challenge as it was filled with activities involving a lot of fresh air and so when I was finally back in front of my laptop, all I wanted to do is go to sleep. I ended up writing 167 words for my novel. I know, sad, but I made a point of doing some writing no matter what.

Day 3 was my rebound day. I was determined to get some of that writing done, no ifs and buts, and so I just grabbed a journal I had on me at the beach and began writing a short story. As promised, below is this story. I proofed it as much as I could, but I don’t want over analyze and  to hold on to these short stories I will be writing during this writing challenge, and so I am letting it out into the world as is, just like I will do with any other stories I will write during next few weeks.

 

Views

He always had a knack for getting in trouble. What’s worse, half of the time he didn’t remember what happened. Like this morning, he woke up and found his pillow covered with red stains, taste of blood in his mouth.

“Ouch, what the hell!” he grumbled and rolled out of bed.

He stood on his feet and swayed side to side, his head suddenly foggy. “Wow!” he said to himself and sat back down.

Trying to regain composure he looked around his body. A tattoo on his right forearm called his attention. It definitely wasn’t there before, that much he could guarantee. He touched it, gently pushing on the outline of what appeared to be some weird flower.

“A flower? Are you kidding me?” he said and pushed the outline harder. “Damn it, that freaking hurts! Flower?!”

The pounding in his head made him wince. He instinctively reached out to the source of pain on the right side of his head and winced again. There definitely was a wound and his hair, wet and sticky, proved that. He looked at his hand. Yep, blood.

He closed his eyes for a minute trying to regain some semblance of memories and composure. What happened yesterday?

He started his day by going to work, there was no other way his day could have started. As much as he hated that place he also needed the money to pay for his apartment, which he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Nestled at a nearly penthouse level, it gave him a birds eye view of the whole city and he could look at that view for hours, feeling all his worries leaving him. And those worries were a plenty.

He still had a giant debt to pay off for his last stint at the hospital. His cancer went into a remission but left him owing three years worth of his boss’s salary. The danger of his restored vintage 1960 ‘vette being repo’ed was always in the air since it was the only piece of anything valuable he owned. The forty grand he borrowed from a local loan shark to fix it up haven’t been forgotten either and those guys would show up every other week but he knew that his latest injuries were not from them. They usually showed up on Saturdays to ruin his weekends.

Today was Wednesday, so yesterday was Tuesday and on Tuesdays he usually did plain nothing, yet his body that was screaming with pain was telling him otherwise.

“What the hell did I do?” he exclaimed in exasperation, getting up and making his way to the kitchen. He knew this wasn’t going anywhere without a healthy helping of black coffee.

He sipped the hot beverage and instantly knew the source of blood in his mouth. His left lower molar was no longer there. Pain radiated from that spot as soon as the hot beverage hit it. In disbelief, he reached in and touched with his finger the spot his tongue just tried to explore. Yep, there was no mistake, a gaping space was there now.

He closed his eyes and rubbed his face with his hand, getting overwhelmed with all the signs of something that happened that his mind refused to release to him.

“What the hell happened to me?” he wondered out loud. As an answer, his phone rang and he flinched in his seat. “Stupid piece of crap!” he swore and walked over to the opposite wall where the vintage red phone hang.

“Yeah?” he answered, already annoyed with whomever was calling.

“Um, Pete? That’s me, Gray.”

“Ah, what’s up, buddy?”

“I… I just wanted to see how you were doing.”

“Funny you asked. I’m not sure. Sitting here, trying to figure out what train hit me.”

“I get it. I can’t imagine how that must feel. I mean to hear something like that.”

“And what would that be, Grayski?” he was puzzled even more now.

“Sorry dude, I promised not to intrude but just couldn’t help it. Sorry, I’ll check on you later. Or you can call me.” And he hung up.

“What the hell? Gray? Hello?!” he stared at now disconnected phone in a complete dismay. “Is there something I should know?” he hung up the phone and jumped up as it rang as soon as it touched the hook.

“Hello? Gray?” he yelled into the phone.

“Pete, this is Bradley.”

“Hey, Brad, what’s going on?”

“Nothing yet this morning, just wanted to check on you.”

“Ok, you too?”

“Me too what?” Brad sounded puzzled.

“Checking on me. Was what happened to me yesterday that exciting?”

“What? Um, well. Sorry dude, I didn’t mean to offend you like that. I’ll just go. Wanted to see how you were, call you later.” He said and hung up.

“What the hell?!” roared Pete. “Is this some kind of game? I’ll show them games!”

He placed the phone back having a feeling it won’t be too long till it rings again. He stood by until it rang a few minutes later. He picked up the phone and yelled: “I’m fine! Any other questions?”

“Hello? Is this Pete Flanagan?” a melodic voice on the other end asked after a pause.

Pete cleared his throat and answered in a much more subdued tone: “Yes, it is him.”

“This is Martha calling from the office of Doctor Goldstein to schedule a counseling session to help you cope.”

“Help me cope?” he asked, still not understanding what was going on.

“I’m sorry about the bad news yesterday. Doctor is concerned about the state of your mental being and suggested counseling.”

“News yesterday?” Pete slowly repeated and lowered himself in a nearby chair.

Before she had a chance to answer, he already knew what happened yesterday and why he couldn’t recall at first. What he found out yeaterday his mind refused.

His cancer was back with a vengeance and has progressed beyond cure. He had about three months to live.

“Yes, sir, the news about your health. Your cancer…”

“Yeah, my cancer, I got it!” he cut her off and she was now silent on her end of the phone. “I’ll take your counseling, I’ll call tomorrow to schedule.”

He hung up and stared at his hands now trembling uncontrollably. His head began to buzz with panic and he closed his eyes trying to steady himself. He remembered what happened yesterday.

He went to doctor expecting to be prescribed another round of chemo he couldn’t afford and instead received a death sentence with a proposed grief counseling. He then headed straight back to his workplace where his newly found freedom of impending death gave him a courage to tell his boss all the things he wanted to say in the past ten years.

After subsequently being fired, he headed to a nearby bar and began to drink heavily until his buddies arrived to save him from himself. They ended up drinking with him, after which they all wound up at the tattoo shop where sexy Roxy, the head designer, long caught their eye. There at the parlor, Pete, convinced that after death he would grow back as a beautiful flower, demanded that one to be tattooed on his forearm and them cried over it for a good hour after it was finished.

One of the loan sharks he owed money to happened to stop by the same joint and, seeing Pete wasting money on tats instead of paying back, ended up getting in a fight with him, during which Pete lost his molar and his opponent fell backwards hitting his head on the pavement and knocking out. Loan shark’s partner in turn shoved Pete so hard he flew and hit his head on a counter of the tattoo shop. They were all kicked out and bailed before police was to arrive.

Pete touched the side of his head again. “Counter.” He said. He then tongued the spot inside of his mouth there the molar was. “Loan shark.” He concluded. His eyes turned to his tattoo. “Roxy.” He mused.

Nodding his head as if trying to recall if he remembered everything, he walked to his desk and jotted a note addressed to Fein, attorney at law. The note was short and to the point: “I, Pete Flanagan, give my Roman Red Chevrolet Corvette 1960 to Bradley Thomson living at the address below as a gift, irrevocable.” He quickly signed it as if afraid to change his mind and stashed it into the fax machine sitting on the countertop. Watching the paper being sucked in and his gift making its way over the phone lines, he smiled and said: “Now, hospitals and loan sharks, hands off my ‘vette.”

He walked around the apartment, gliding his hand over its surfaces, stopping to admire his kitchen and finally making his way to his balcony. Placing his hand on the railing, he said: “You know I loved you, but there would be no way for me to keep you and I wanted you to remember me like this, and not when I’m nodding at the grave.”

Looking around at the sweeping views, he breathed in deeply, capturing the familiar smell of the air and the warmth of the sun on his face.

“I did always loved these views.” He said and jumped.

 

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