Monday, April 21, 2014

Creating Villains - A Guest Post and Book Release From Nicole Zoltack!

Today is release day for Nicole Zoltack and White Hellebore! She's stopping by really quick for a guest post on Creating Villains.

I find villains to be more intriguing characters than heroes, if the villain is created properly. So how does one make a villain everyone loves?

First, villains should not be just evil, just like heroes shouldn't be only good. Real life comes in shades of gray, so should villains.

Second, villains need to have backstory, too. They are villains for a reason. Remember, villains think they are the heroes in their stories. Make us understand where they are coming from, even if we don't agree with their methods.

Third, villains should be memorable. They're more than killing machines with witty one-liners. They have a mission, a quest, a goal. They may be single-minded, but we need to understand their inner workings to be truly terrified by them.

What villain is your favorite and why?



After destroying Skull Krusher, Nicholas Adams thinks Falledge is safe and becomes a security guard at the museum, watching a valuable statue. Unfortunately, the Egyptian statue houses the soul of a scorned witch, biding her time to have her revenge on the descendants of her cheating lover.

Kiya the witch isn't the only new foe in town as the drug that created Skull Krusher has now transformed a scientist into yet another monster, forcing Nicholas to don his Black Hellebore mask again and save Falledge.

Nicholas has no help this time as Kiya gains possession of his love Julianna's body and brings the soul of Justina, Nicholas's high school sweetheart and Julianna's twin, with her. Despite himself, Nicholas is torn between the sisters. If he can't stop the fiends from taking over the world and destroying humankind, he'd never be able to find lasting, true love.


Find it on Amazon.



Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.


Thanks for stopping by, Nicole, and good luck with White Hellebore's release!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: White Hellebore & Links

Hey, howdy, hey! Nicole Zoltack here and I'm so happy to share with you the cover for WHITE HELLEBORE. The second book in the Heroes of Falledge trilogy kicks off with an amazing cover.

All right, all right, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. I know you're dying to see it!



 Told you it was awesome! I'm not biased at all. Nope. Not even a little bit.

After destroying Skull Krusher, Nicholas Adams thinks Falledge is safe and becomes a security guard at the museum, watching a valuable statue. Unfortunately, the Egyptian statue houses the soul of a scorned witch, biding her time to have her revenge on the descendants of her cheating lover.

Kiya the witch isn't the only new foe in town as the drug that created Skull Krusher has now transformed a scientist into yet another monster, forcing Nicholas to don his Black Hellebore mask again and save Falledge.

Nicholas has no help this time as Kiya gains possession of his love Julianna's body and brings the soul of Justina, Nicholas's high school sweetheart and Julianna's twin, with her. Despite himself, Nicholas is torn between the sisters. If he can't stop the fiends from taking over the world and destroying humankind, he'd never be able to find lasting, true love.

So I'm sure you're dying to know the release date and luckily it's not that far away! WHITE HELLEBORE releases April 21st! Be sure to grab it on the 21st! :D

About the Author: Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.


Now for some links!

As always, please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting these links, merely passing them along. Always do your due diligence and research publications/contests before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Eggplant Productions is looking for fairy tales retold in a more diverse fashion, including disabled characters, LGBT characters, and characters who aren't European. There are two anthologies, one for 8-12 year olds (Spellbound) and one for adults (Spindle). Deadline April 30. Fiction pays $.05/word, poetry pays $1/line.

Sirens Call Publications wants your demented tales for their anthology Mental Ward: Experiments. 4000-8000 words. Deadline April 30. Royalties, plus e-book copy and discount on 5 paperbacks.

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing has an open anthology call out for Dark Light. They seek tales of darkness and despair. Deadline April 30. I'm unsure of pay.

The current theme for Crossed Genres is Time Travel. They want a new spin on it in your short story. Deadline April 30. Pays $.05/word, plus e-book and paper copy.

Spider Road Press is seeking short stories with strong female characters for the anthology Eve's Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery, and Horror. Deadline April 30. Pays $20 and 2 free e-books, plus 20% of royalties will go to charity.

Indiana Fiction Review is seeking poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, photography, and art. Deadline April 30 (submissions received after deadline will be considered for the next issue). Pays $75, plus 2 contributor copies.

Falling Star Magazine is open for submissions for their next theme, Point A to B. Poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Deadline April 30. Pays $20 for poems, $40 for flash/short fiction, $25 for photography and illustrations.

The British Fantasy Society Journal is taking submissions for two issues, one with the theme of LGBT & Fantasy, but you are welcome to submit outside the theme. They have a breakdown by editor for each type of submission, which is pretty cool, so please do read over that. Fiction, features, nonfiction, poetry, art, and letters to the editor. You do not have to be a member to submit. No payment, other than a contributor copy.

The NonBinary Review has announced its next two themes: June 2014 is Grimm's Fairy Tales (deadline April 30) and the September 2014 issue is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (deadline end of July?? Unsure). Pays $.01/word for fiction and nonfiction, $10 per poem, and $25 per piece of visual art.

Solarwyrm Press is a new publication looking for submissions for its first two issues. Deadline for the June issue, theme Fire and Ice, is April 30. They seek stories that don't fit elsewhere. Pay is variable until they find out how many subscriptions they get, but it is estimated to be $10/story, $5/poem.

Anything you're interested in? Anything to share? Publication news? Isn't Nicole's cover intriguing?

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal - Another New Life by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle!

Title: Another New Life
Author: Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Publication Date: June 2, 2014
New Adult Contemporary Romance
**This book contains adult subject matter. Not intended for young readers.**
Cover Design by: © Arijana Karčić, Cover It! Designs
Miranda Preston is a walking contradiction. Beautiful on the outside, but, insecure, haunted and damaged on the inside. Despite these contradictions, she’s ready to start Another New Life.
When her talent wins her a piano scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, Miranda arrives on campus determined to experience everything college has to offer and to keep her secrets in the past where they belong.
An easy task, until the first guy who catches her eye happens to be someone, she’s known all her life.
Eight years have passed since the last time Miranda and Troy saw each other. He reminds her of the best and worst times of her life, but she can’t think about one without dwelling on the other. As they grow closer, every day their attraction reminds them they are no longer kids.
The epic romantic love story that is Miranda and Troy seems to be destined for a happy ending, but Miranda knows it's only a matter of time before her secret is discovered. A secret that will not only destroy their relationship, it will destroy Troy, too.
Can Miranda focus on her future with Troy while preventing her past from tearing them apart all over again?
Giveaway
About The Author
 
  
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a New Adult Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who 
Sydney has been blogging at sydneyaaliyah.com for three years, where she interviews people about their tattoos, discusses her favorite movie quotes, reviews books (New Adult & only the ones she loves) and journals about her writing and editing process.hailsfrom Texas. After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.
Sydney’s self-published debut New Adult Novel Another New Life will be available June 2014. An active tweeter, she is also a JuNoWriMo (2x) and NaNoWriMo (2x) winners who notes the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is blessed to be awake now and doing what she loves.


What do you think? Great cover isn't it?

May you find your Muse

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Busy Tree & Links

I don't remember if I posted this tree before, but it caught my eye, so I figured I'd share it today either way. I love how busy it is, all those crazy branches wrapped around each other. It was some sort of dying evergreen tree.


Now for some links.

Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting any of the following links. These are links I've come across on the internet, but I haven't researched them. Please do your due diligence before submitting to any publications or contests.

Accepting Submissions:

Submissions for the 5x5 summer issue close April 15, with submissions for the winter issue opening the next day and running through October 14. Poetry and prose of <500 words. I didn't see mention of pay.

Elektrik Milk Bath Press motorcycle themed stories for an anthology. 1000-5000 words. April 15 deadline. Pays $30 plus a contributor copy.

Blackbird's reading period ends April 15. They take poetry, fiction, non-fiction and plays. Payment is mentioned, but not how much that payment might be. This is a literary journal.

The Cincinnati Review closes for submissions April 15. Poetry ($30/page) and prose ($25/page). They seek long-form poetry and prose only (page numbers on their website), plus artwork, translations, and reviews.

Twit Publishing is seeking themed stories for its anthology NINJAS! Deadline April 18. Pays in royalties. No length restrictions.

Noodle Doodle Publications is seeking stories between 5000 and 10000 words with the theme Terror at the Beach. Pay is royalty based. Deadline is April 20.

Women's Adventure Magazine is always looking for articles. They have several different types to choose from, including features, personal stories, try this, dream job, and more. Pay is not outlined. No deadline.

Scigentasy is seeking short fiction primarily, but also non-fiction articles, essays, and interviews. They have an emphasis on gender stories. Pays 3 cents per word. No deadline.

Contests:

The theme for this month's Kazka Press 713 Flash Contest is...Unthemed. They'll take any flash piece between 500 and 1000 words that fits the speculative fiction genre. $15 per accepted story. Deadline is April 20.

Of Interest:

Anne R. Allen posted about 7 Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform" on Social Media. An interesting read.

Any of these interest you? Anything to add? Publication news? What do you think about social media for building platform? 

May you find your Muse.


Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm at Alex's!

I woke up to a delightful surprise today! Alex J. Cavanaugh featured me in his "F" post for the A-to-Z Challenge. I miss my A-to-Z co-host team and am a bit sad to not be taking part this year, but it was lovely to be a teeny part via Alex's post. I knew I couldn't keep up with commenting and visiting others this year, so even though I could have pre-scheduled a bunch of posts, that's not the true spirit of the A-to-Z, and I opted to stay out of it. I WILL still be visiting participants as I can, though, (as well as my usual blogs) so hope to see you soon! But I'm on deadlines this week, so no rest for the weary.

I hope you'll stop by and visit all the A-to-Z co-hosts (you can find a list of them HERE in the right sidebar.) Also, Andrew Leon at StrangePegs is doing a fun theme for the A-to-Z on abandoned places. My kinda' topic.

And since I'm posting anyway, I'd like to say that I'm meeting my goals of submitting short stories. I've gotten several rejections, including a nice personal one that said my piece was "beautifully written," which I'll take. It didn't match the theme they were going for (I knew it was stretching the theme when I sent it in, but you never know exactly what they're looking for, so felt it was worth trying.) Once I'm through these work deadlines I'll be submitting elsewhere. I've still got four pieces out on submission, though, and need to find a place to submit two more.

I hope you're out there submitting, or at least writing away in preparation to submit and/or query in the future.

Are you taking part in the A-to-Z? If not, have you found any themes in your usual blog travels that you're particularly enjoying? Feel free to share their links in the comments.

May you find your Muse.

P.S. Gary, I broke my "no posting about blog hops" streak. Sowwy!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Lego Fun & Links

Last week I posted some photos of an abandoned old farm in Olathe, Kansas, where I was on a family vacation. While there, we also went into Kansas City to check out Lego Land. They had a great mini-Kansas City set up, and in one corner was Oz. There were fantastic details on Oz, such as having the house in sepia toned Legos to begin with, then putting it in color when it's landed in Oz. The house also got lifted and spun like it was in a tornado. Pretty cool! 

Dorothy's House in Munchkin Land

The Emerald City

Downtown Kansas City

Downtown Kansas City

Western Auto...Duh

The cutest puffer fish EVER!
Perhaps you're wondering why there is a random puffer fish at the end of the photos? Because he was absolutely adorable, that's why! I know, you're thinking he isn't much to look at, but he was so excited by the kids. If he hadn't needed it to swim with, I'm certain he would have been wagging his tail. His little fins were going like crazy and he was swimming back and forth in front of the kids until we left. I thought about fishnapping him, but decided against it.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Lamp Light Magazine is looking for dark fiction, both in short and flash form. Current reading period ends April 15. They pay a flat $150 fee for short fiction, $50 for flash fiction. 

Apex Magazine is currently open to submissions. Pays $.05 per word, with a chance of a podcast, which pays $.01 per word. They take short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. 

Jamais Vu is seeking short fiction, book reviews, film reviews, poetry, and non-fiction. Payment is $.05 per word. Current submission window closes April 15. They are looking for dark subject matter.

Dreamspinner Press has an open call for submissions through April 14 for an anthology, A Taste of Honey. Romantic short stories. I don't see pay mentioned. There are several other anthologies with deadlines about a month apart, as well.

Audubon Magazine seeks journalists to write for them. Open submissions. Pay not mentioned. They expect a pitch first, not a story submission. 

Geek Force Five publishes five volumes per year, each with five stories. Speculative fiction. Rolling deadlines. Short fiction, photography, photo essays, illustrations, and comics. Pay is 10% share of profits. 

Contests:

The Good Life France 2014 is holding a writing contest with the theme of France. Whatever you want to say about France or having to do with all things French, they're game. No entry fee. Up to 1000 words. Deadline is April 11. First prize is a free 10 week online course.

Mash Stories is a short story competition. First prize is $100 and your story in podcast. No submission fee. 500 words maximum. They provide you with three words that have to be in the story. This quarterly contest ends April 15 this time around.

Blog Stuff:

L. Allison Heller is holding a giveaway: a chapter critique by her editor, Kerry Donovan, at Penguin. To enter, all you have to do is like her Facebook page (found at the link above) and comment on her giveaway post. Winner will be chosen April 11, so I assume you have until then to enter.

Of Interest:

If you're attending a conference or writing event, or planning on pitching anytime soon, Delve Writing is presenting a 2-session camp. Say it Like a Pro: How to talk about your book articulately and enticingly. Classes are this Saturday, April 5 and Saturday, April 12. 9-11 AM. Presented by Chris Mandeville. Cost is $25. This is an online class, so you can attend in your pajamas if you want to.

Anything of interest to you on here? Anything to share? Publishing or query news? Any rejections this week? Have you ever attended an online class? Have you been to a Lego Land?

May you find your Muse.




Monday, March 31, 2014

Us Versus Them

We're taught from an early age to split into groups, find those we have something in common with, to find strength in a certain kind of solidarity. Sports teams are an example of this. There's something to be said about strength in numbers, which is maybe why we have this mentality, but it can be an issue, too.



Middle and high school have us splitting into groups. Raise your hand if you haven't seen Breakfast Club. That movie accentuated cliques, showing that, when thrown together, kids are just kids, no matter what clique they belong to. But when not put in a situation like that, we once again form packs. Before Breakfast Club, we had The Outsiders, and probably five billion other books and movies I'm not mentioning. Soc's vs. Greasers. Preppies vs. Geeks vs. Weirdos.

We like to pretend that we've escaped that pack mentality of cliques when we're "all grown up," but we really haven't. There are still sports teams, town/state/country rivalries, etc. But I was horrified when I became a mom and discovered how cliquish grown women could be. There were working moms vs. SAHM's (stay-at-home-moms). Breast feeders vs. bottle feeders. Pro-circumcisers vs. anti-. Any little decision that might be applied to any possible child was something that could rankle one side against another.

And I won't even go into political and religious rivalries on here...

Now I've taken the step into writerdom, only to discover similar battles here. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Traditional or Indie published? Horror vs. Mystery vs. Fantasy vs. Romance vs. Literary vs. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. While for most it's just a topic of discussion, not a full blown battle, there are those who take it too far, those who see themselves as better than the other side. That's when it becomes an issue.

Fence by OCAL, clker.com
Personally, I don't care what you do. I'm interested in your writing and your journey, not whether you're on the same side of the fence as me. And I know most people sit in that same place. So why all the hate and separatism for some? Why must there always be a side, a clique, a fight to stand behind? Can we learn to just respect others' choices while feeling validated with our own decisions? Or is that what the problem is? We feel insecure about the choice we've made, so attack the other side. For example, if I say I'm interested in Indie publishing, but I'm not 100% confident, perhaps it will make me feel better if I can find reasons to nitpick at those who traditionally publish (or vice versa). By finding those holes, worrying at them, I make myself feel I've made the right decision. Is that what it's about? Or is it something completely different?

What I'm trying to say is...can't we all just get along?

What do you think causes this pack behavior? Do you think it's just good, clean, healthy competition, or can it be detrimental? Are there any particular battles you've fallen victim to or been a part of?

Good luck to those of you doing the A-to-Z, starting tomorrow!

May you find your Muse.