Wednesday, March 28, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday: Bighorns, Superpowers & Awards

Hello! All I can say for this week is thank goodness I pared down my posts right before my internet went insane! You see, my husband's superpower is technology; he has a knack with it. For instance, if something is malfunctioning, it will pretend it is not malfunctioning the moment he looks at it. I, on the other hand, have the anti-technology black hole superpower. I will kill technology wherever I go. It's amazing, really.

Up until this time, my husband's superpower was slightly more powerful than mine, so there was this happy equilibrium amidst our electronics. However, mine has finally reached its full potential and overcome his powers. So sad.

I say all this to explain that there will be no helpful links today. I just barely caught up on stuff yesterday, and I didn't get to do my usual perusal of all the good stuff out there. I apologize! You can give me twenty lashes later. (Please do not take me literally and hunt me down to give me lashes; it would make me sad).

What does not make me sad is that the bighorns showed up the other day and I was able to grab my camera and race back to a spot near Garden of the Gods, where I got the closest to them I've ever been! I was so close, in fact, that they kept approaching me, and I had to back away slowly. I'm pretty sure if one of those guys decided to ram me I would regret it for life.

It was terribly peaceful out there, listening to them munch on the grass. By the time I got back to them with my camera, all the other spectators had vacated the premises, so I had them all to myself. The sun was on its way behind the mountains. The temperature was divinely warm. I could have stayed there forever, but I needed to get back home.

I figured I'd share some of the pics I got for now-no-longer-[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday.

THE END (hahahaha)

In lieu of helpful links, I've been given some awards and want to acknowledge them and thank those who gave them to me! Thank you! I really appreciate you thinking of me. I will answer the question requirements all together after the awards.

Dawn, of Since You Asked gave me the Sunshine Award!

Konstanz, at No Thought Too Small (and also an A-to-Z co-host), gave me the Versatile Blogger Award.

Yadin, of Yadin Bromberg, gave me the Versatile Blogger Award, as well!

Sunshine Award:
Favorite Color- Blues and purples. Really, I like all (most?) colors. They all seem to be able to make me feel one way or another.
Favorite Animal- Boy am I going to come across as wishy-washy, but I like all kinds of animals, especially if they'll let me photograph them! However, I do seem to have a preference for predators. Mountain lions are gorgeous and powerful animals, so we'll go with them for today.
Favorite Number- 13
Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink- Depends on the day (sigh), but I'm really liking iced tea with the warming temperatures right now.
Facebook or Twitter- Facebook. All the way.
My Passions Are- Oh boy, you don't want me to launch into that one! We'll go with the simple answers, which are my family, writing and photography.
Getting or Giving Presents- I prefer giving them. I'm always so excited that I have a hard time waiting until the giving moment, and people often get their gifts early.
Favorite Patterns- I, uh...? I like it when random patterns appear in life. Like when I'm driving down the road and find that I'm suddenly surrounded by cars that are all the same color, like a fleet of red cars. It's when they're all black, with tinted windows and government plates that I get nervous...
Favorite Day of the Week- Friday; I greet it with such a sense of relief, yet Saturday always ends up so busy that the relief goes away.
Favorite Flower- Wild ones!

Versatile Blogger Award:
I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself.

1. Did you see in the beginning of this post that I have anti-technology powers? Well, it goes further than that. I have electric superpowers, as well. If I'm upset, light bulbs blow up. Same goes for any technology I may touch. I can't wear watches, because I burn out the batteries almost instantly (my grandfather had a heart condition related to this, but I forget what it's called). Yeah, take that, Drew Barrymore! You start fires; I kill electricity and technology! Boy, was I born in the wrong era!

2. I didn't appreciate Colorado nearly as much until I was constantly being faced with possibly having to move. My desperation to stay birthed a love affair with the state I've lived in since I was 12.

3. I've had insomnia since middle school, which I have only recently begun to learn to tame.

4. I confess...I only have two blog posts written for the A-to-Z, so far. Gasp!

5. I love fog. I love to walk in the fog and feel those tiny drops against my skin. I love to open the windows and gaze at the fog as it rolls down the hogback ridge and the mountains. I love the smell of fog. It all makes me feel so peaceful.

6. I've lived in California, Oregon, Maryland and Colorado.

7. I don't really believe in writer's block.

I'm not going to list 15 other people, but I do want to recommend the bloggers who passed these awards onto me. Please check out their pages! Three is easier than 15, right?

Do you believe in writer's block? Do you like the fog? Where have you lived?

I'm taking some field trips with the kiddos for spring break this week, so I hope to have some fun field trip [Mostly] Wordless Wednesdays coming up, probably after the A-to-Z Challenge. Don't forget to sign up if you've been waffling! We'd love to get to 1500 participants. We've surpassed 1200 at this time, and signups close on April 2. You can find the linky list on the A-to-Z tab at the top of my blog.

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing Contest Tips

We're down to the last month before the May 1 deadline for the Pen Women Flash Fiction Contest I'm chairing (click here for more information on that). This was my first experience in chairing or running a writing contest of any sort, and this has also been my first year of entering writing contests. I've learned a lot in the last year, and I thought passing across a few pointers might be a good idea. I thought about waiting until the contest was closed, but why not pass along helpful tips before the due date to give people an edge in the last month?

I don't know about you, but I'm someone who obsessively checks the rules for anything I'm involved in. Perhaps because of this, I was surprised by how many people entered a contest without actually having read the rules, or at least not very thoroughly. My first pointer?

READ THE RULES AND GUIDELINES. All of them. Don't just read them once, read them several times. Print them up, if you're so inclined. But do be sure you've gotten an understanding of exactly what is being asked of you. Some contests may let you get away with small mistakes, while others may use that as an excuse to pare down a sizable mass of entries. There's no way for you to know which category the specific contest you're entering falls into, so play it safe.

Don't do anything to your check. Don't staple your check to your entry. Don't use double-sided tape to affix it to your entry. Don't do anything that may damage the check, which will render it unusable. If you'd like, it is fine to fold a sheet of paper around the check so that it isn't visible through the envelope, but please, please, please do not do anything to affix it to the paper! I destroyed my nails trying to carefully remove checks stapled to paper, including one stapled directly in the middle of the check.

Use manuscript format unless otherwise directed. If there is no information about the formatting, assume they want it in standard manuscript format. This is the most professional way to present your piece. You took care in writing it, so take care in presenting it. You can find excellent guidelines on standard manuscript formatting here.

Don't do anything wacky with your submission. Whether you present your piece via email or snail mail, be sure your submission is plain. In other words, no frilly email backgrounds, no funky fonts, no colored or textured paper. I know this is a work of art you've labored over, and sometimes it seems like it should be presented with a flourish, but hold yourself back! Send it on plain white paper, and see the standard manuscript format guide for font type and size information.

Be sure to proofread your entry. I haven't seen a contest judging sheet yet that doesn't take grammar, spelling, typos, etc. into consideration when figuring the score. If you enter the most mind-blowing piece, but it is riddled with typos and misspellings, you are going to lose points. Don't let that be what loses the contest for you.

Do your homework before contacting those running the contest. If you write the person running the contest to ask a question clearly addressed in the contest's guidelines, it may impact you. Some may not even respond to those questions. If the only information passed along is an email address, with no website or written guidelines, by all means contact that email address for the guidelines. But if there is a website link or a set of guidelines, always be sure to check those guidelines for the answers first. It's okay to ask questions not addressed therein.

Check and double check! For me, personally, I always go back over my piece when I have attached it to the email to send (or printed it up, if that were the case). This assures me that I've attached the correct document, and also that I've met all of the guidelines. I go down the list of requirements systematically to be sure I've gotten everything as it should be. Sometimes those requirements are murky, so I tried to be clear when I wrote up this contest's guidelines, and I provided a link to a final checklist to hopefully help those entering have the best chance to have things done correctly. Check over your formatting, proofread for grammar, spelling and typos once more, check the requirements for entry, and check payment information to be sure you've got everything down pat. It's really disappointing to miss out on a contest because some small, but important, detail was overlooked. Don't let that be your downfall.

On a final side note, a lot of these things apply for submitting your writing for publication, as well as submitting for a grant or award of some sort. I also had the opportunity to be on a committee awarding a grant this past year, and it was so deflating to have an applicant who was strong in other ways, but who did not meet the requirements as they had been laid out. It was also incredibly frustrating. Always take the time to put your best foot forward, because what you turn in is all they have to judge you on.

Do you have any tips or pointers for entering contests, whether from an entrant's point of view or a judges/contest chair's? Please share! How do you feel about contests?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday: A to Z Video Challenge Winner & Helpful Links

For today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, I'm doing something a bit different than usual and posting the winning video of the A-to-Z Video Challenge. Congratulations to Rachel Morgan!

You can find Rachel Morgan at her blog Rachel Morgan Writes, and check out the cover of her next book!

For the next two weeks, I will be trying out blogging only twice per week, Monday and Wednesday. I may tweak that after the A-to-Z Challenge, but we will see. For the time being, helpful links will be posted on Wednesdays with my [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday posts.

Mardibooks is running a writing competition that may lead to publication. However, there does appear to be a cost associated.

Wonderful Reads of the Month is looking for authors doing promotions in April. They will put you in their free magazine for FREE! Sounds like a good deal to me, so if you're promo'ing a book and offering a deal in April, let them know.

Daily Science Fiction is a paying market for sci-fi and fantasy, and they're also great if you enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy. You can sign up to get a new story emailed to you each day...FREE! I heard about this on Christine Rains' blog.

Less than two weeks to the A-to-Z Challenge! We'd love to get to 1500 signups by April 1, so come along on this exciting journey with us!

Finally, don't forget the Flash Fiction Challenge I'm chairing. You can find information about it on the Flash Fiction tab, above. It's a fun theme: Are You Devious at Heart?

Anything to share? Have you tried writing flash fiction yet?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Copyright Details for Writers, A Workshop by Brenda Speer

I have the privilege to belong to two writer's groups with local attorney Brenda Speer, who specializes in copyright law (as well as related law). This weekend, my NLAPW group got to have her as our speaker on protecting our creative rights. I thought I would pass along a little of what I learned (I took pages of notes, so this is just a brief snapshot).

Before we begin, her notes are available at her website If you scan down that page, you'll find "Intellectual Property for Creatives," which is the presentation we were privy to.

A quick disclaimer, anything I pass along, and anything she said, is to be taken as legal information, not as legal advice. Every case is different, so this is not intended as a blanket process.

First, she explained that ideas and concepts are not protectable, but once they are made tangible expressions (i.e. written down), they are; this is when they become intellectual property. As copyrighting is what applies most to writing, that is what I will focus on from my notes.

You can copyright literary works, which includes blog posts and correspondence. When you copyright your writing, you retain the exclusive rights to reproduce your piece, prepare derivative works (for instance, a screenplay or different language version), distribute copies, perform the piece publicly and/or display the piece publicly.

Once you've written your piece, you have created that tangible intellectual property. It is a good idea to register (copyright) it upon publication. Registration provides you with proof of ownership and creates a public record of it, which is a prerequisite of filing suit. If you haven't registered your piece, you will not have full protection of it should something occur.

It's also a good idea to place a visual marking saying you have copyrighted your piece. It is no longer required to provide that marking, but there's no good reason not to. You can do the symbol that consists of a "c" in a circle, write it out (copyright "year" "author name"), or an abbreviation (copr. "year" "author name"). The year can be the year of creation or year of publication, with it usually being the year of publication.

Individual copyrights last for the life of the author, plus 70 years. A joint work copyright lasts for the life of the longest lived of the authors, plus 70 years. With a work for hire situation, the copyright lasts the earlier of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.

Side note: All works published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain. Otherwise, an item is in the public domain at the expiration of the above terms.

*Caveat: Public availability does not mean public domain. So just because you find a book online or at the library, does not mean it is public domain and may be redistributed.

One thing Brenda stressed was that there are no copyright police! You must police your own works to be sure they aren't being falsely distributed. Sometimes this happens by chance, by someone else telling you, or by searching online.

Should someone steal your work, the piece must be registered with the copyright office for you to be able to bring a civil suit. It is highly recommended that you file within 3 months of publication for full protection. Should you register it after the theft, you will not be due anything other than the actual cost, if I understood it correctly, so it is definitely worth your while to register.

If you've registered/copyrighted your piece, you can sue for damages, including actual and statutory. Actual is the actual cost you were out, so if they made $50 selling your work, you can sue for that actual cost of $50. Statutory can get you $750 to $30,000, or up to $150,000 should the court decide this wrong was committed with full knowledge and willful harm. Statutory can go beyond the actual costs, so if they made $50 from selling your item, but the court decides to award you a statutory ruling, they can give you more than that physically lost cost.

You can also sue for attorney fees, an injunction and impound & destroy, meaning they have to pull back the product they can and destroy it.

As I briefly already mentioned, it isn't just novels you can protect. Brenda recommended protecting your short stories. If you put out an anthology of your works, you can protect it as a whole, but if one becomes a breakout hit, separately copyright that story, as well.

Some copyright myths Brenda debunked:
1. Attribution is sufficient. False! Simply saying who it is from is not enough to protect you against lawsuit.
2. No remuneration makes it okay. False! Just because you have made no money off of it, does not mean you cannot be sued (see statutory damages, above).
3. Author promotion ("But the author is getting free promotion out of it"). False! Doesn't matter unless you got permission from the author.
4. Use of x number of words or y% of the work is permissible. False! Nope. It doesn't matter how little you use of it, it's not okay.
5. Transformation of x% makes it okay. False! You cannot change some portion of it and call it okay. They can still come after you.

What is okay?
1. Having express permission from the creator/owner
2. Licensing
3. Without licensing, in the following ways (Fair Use Defense): Using it for criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research
4. Miscellaneous ways it may be acceptable: parody, satire, creative commons (if they have it marked as something you can freely use).

I hope this has helped some. It's a fantastic presentation, and well worth attending if you ever have the opportunity. It is worth mentioning that your publisher does not register for you, so you may still want to look at copyrighting your work, even if you were published traditionally.

Have you registered/copyrighted your published works? If not, does this information make you consider it?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bonus Post for the Week: Lucky 7

Hello, and welcome to Friday, a Friday I sorely need! know how I'm behind on responding to comments and visiting everyone back? Because I'm all overwhelmed and jazz? Yeah, well, I also completely spaced posting something on Monday that I'd said I would post. I had sent myself an email as a reminder, which usually works really well for me. Only, guess what else I'm behind on? Yeah, checking and replying to emails. Every time I sign in to make sure there is no urgent email I must immediately deal with, I see the exponential increase in unread emails and want to pound my head into the desk and sob a little. Hahaha! Just kidding, I wouldn't sob. Not a little, anyway.

Now, the lovely Rachel Pudelek, over at A Rainy Day Writer in the Evergreen State tagged me in what I think is a fun meme: the Lucky 7 Meme.

The rules are as follows:
Here Are The Rules:
1) Go to page 77 or your current MS
2) Go to line 7
3) Copy down the next 7 lines as they're written--no cheating
4) Tag 7 other writers
5) Let them know

As usual, I will be skipping 4 and 5, BUT I would happily tag all of you in this meme, so I would be delighted if you posted it on your page and left me a link so I could check yours out. Tell them it's from me or don't, it's totally up to you.


"Kieran would have to figure this out quickly, or he was certain Justin would set out on his own. He knew Justin would never survive out there. He was smart, but not street smart, as he’d heard it referred to in books and movies. He could figure out science and math, anything logical, but not other people, and certainly not what he needed for survival on his own.

'So be it. Just give me my two months first, okay?'"

That's it. If you choose to take this and run with it, please let me know in the comments! I hope everyone has a great weekend! And sorry to Rachel for being nearly a week late!

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Helpful Links & Reminders

This will be a brief Thursday post since I'm insanely behind in everything! Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy week. In a good way, for the most part, but color me overwhelmed. Also, I started getting caught up with all your wonderful comments and visiting your blogs, and I will finish today!

Image courtesy of OCAL at

Okay, some links!

This first one might be of interest to writer bloggers trying to get out there. Ink Pageant is looking for blog posts on writing and publishing.

Jenny Woolf is having a really neat, travel-related giveaway. Go check out the eclectic mix of items she's offering for the giveaway! Tomorrow is the last day for it, so hurry and hop on over.

Chuffed Buff Books is looking for poetry submissions for an anthology with the theme "Journey to Crone." This is a paying market.

Real Women, Real Stories is looking for stories about women's lives for an anthology.

Finally, don't forget the Flash Fiction Contest I'm chairing, with the theme "Are you Devious at Heart?"; the A-to-Z Challenge is still taking sign-ups and is heading toward the 1100's; you can still vote for your favorite A-to-Z video; and the Pikes Peak Writers Conference is still open for those who haven't signed up yet.

Have a wonderful day! I will be visiting everyone who commented this week before the weekend! Sorry for falling so behind.

P.S. My son's field trip was great fun! I learned a lot, and seeing how happy he was when I showed up was just wonderful.

Any helpful links you'd like to share? Planning on entering the Flash Fiction Contest? Signing up for the A-to-Z? Need a little help in getting signed up for either of those or the conference? I'm here to help!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, Guest Post & AtoZ Announcement

Hi there!

Today is my official chaperone day for my son's field trip to Garden of the Gods. Rather than show you another rock picture (today, anyway), I thought I'd post a picture of one of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep that hangs out at Garden of the Gods. Here's hoping we see the herd!

The problem with Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep is that they resemble goats more than sheep (to me, anyway). We have mountain goats here that are all wooly and make me think of sheep. So I have to constantly remind myself which is which. Why would they do that? Here's a quick photo of a mountain goat:

Okay, okay, so it probably looks like a goat, too, but it's the wooly "fur" that gets me confused.

Random fact: A RM Bighorn Sheep's horns can weigh up to 30 pounds. That gives me a crick in the neck just thinking about it!

Two Announcements for ya':

1. I guest posted over at the Official A-to-Z Challenge Blog yesterday about how to make your links so they automatically open in a new window instead of replacing the current open page. Things were so crazy for me that I did not get the chance to add the link to yesterday's post on here, nor have I had the chance to respond to comments on either blog. I WILL be responding to comments later on today and getting all caught up!

2. Voting is now open on the A-to-Z Video Challenge: Click HERE to vote.

What do you think, do bighorn sheep look more like goats or sheep?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teaser Tuesday:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today's teaser is from The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, authored by Aubrie Dionne, Lisa Rusczyk, and Cherie Reich. I chose to do a teaser from a short story by Cherie Reich called A Killer Rose Garden. 74% of the way through the Kindle version.

"The hand clasped around my mouth. I smelled something sweet, luring. It left a bitter taste on my tongue as my eyes closed."

You can find Cherie Reich at her blog.

What are you reading?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 12, 2012

1000 A-to-Z'ers! & Word CAPTCHA Changes

First, exciting news! We reached 1000 sign-ups for the A-to-Z Challenge! Wow! If you haven't signed up yet, there's still plenty of time. That's 1000 possible new people for you to meet.

Speaking of the A-to-Z Challenge, you're probably seeing a lot about the new Word CAPTCHA system Blogger has begun using. By CAPTCHA, I mean the word verification you have to do in order to make a post on some blogs. The problem is that the new CAPTCHA can be very hard to read, especially for those of us with eye issues (for instance, macular degeneration, which I have...don't go check my avatar again, I'm only in my 30's--it was a freak incident with a really bad bout of the flu). It's not just us freaks, though, the words are hard to read.

Have you noticed that the first word is typically more easily read, but the second word is sometimes unreadable, and pretty much always hard to read? I believe, and I could not confirm that with the small amount of research I started out doing before my internet went loopy on me, that this is because Blogger may have switched everyone over to reCAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA takes the system already in place to prevent spammers and puts it to use in digitizing old books and newspapers. You see, computers can't read text that is mushed together or has some other image through it, like a line (give them time). This is why word verification programs like CAPTCHA work to keep spammers off your blog; little bots sent out to spam online cannot translate this kind of text.

This new reCAPTCHA system sticks a known word (known to the computer, that is) next to a piece of scanned text that the computer cannot read. When people enter the word verification and get the first word right, the computer gets to assume the second word was also entered correctly, and the system can now translate that word from that specific piece of writing. I am assuming, possibly incorrectly, that this same word must be translated multiple times in the same way before it is accepted as valid. One would hope, anyway.

This information can be taken one of two ways. Either you get to be happy you're helping translate old texts so they can be properly digitized, or you can be frustrated anyway and throw your keyboard out the window as I've been tempted to do many times.

As interesting as it may be to be a part of this, I'm going to have to set a personal rule that if I have to push the little "new word" button more than once, I will not be commenting on that blog. There have been a few occasions where I had to keep pushing it because every word that came along was illegible. This can be a great frustration, and can lose you readers in the long run. You may want to consider turning it off, especially during high traffic times (such as April if you're participating in the A-to-Z Challenge). I've gone ahead and disabled mine to save others the frustration. The sound playback is often not any better. I can tell you that I am getting notified of spam, but Blogger is automatically catching any anonymous comments, which is the only form it's come in, so far. So I get the email about the spam, but when I check the actual post, the spam has not been posted, nor is it waiting in my dashboard for me.

If you aren't sure whether you have CAPTCHA set up on your blog, there is a good chance you do. It appears to be set up to go automatically if you don't disable it. If you're curious as to how to do this, go to "Design" on the top right of your blog (this is for Blogger blogs only), "Settings," and look under the sub-category "Comments." If you are using the new interface, you have to change back to the old one to view that particular section.

I will still visit blogs that have CAPTCHA; I just may not be able to comment as often as I might otherwise. It can be time consuming trying to identify the CAPTCHA word, and I just don't have that kind of time!

How do you feel about the new CAPTCHA/reCAPTCHA?

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Author Stephen Tremp Guest Posts!

Hello, and Happy Almost Friday! Today we have a guest poster: Stephen Tremp, author of Breakthrough and the newly released Opening. Welcome, Stephen!

While Stephen is covering my blog for me, I am posting my co-host Getting to Know You over on the A to Z Challenge Blog. I reveal a few interesting facts and more!

It's all yours, Stephen!

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones" - Albert Einstein

Since we tapped into Futurists and Visionaries earlier this this blog tour, I thought I would take the liberty to further this topic and discuss how our civilization might evolve, if we don't destroy each other first. This is a summation of possible civilizations we might be fortunate to evolve into taken from Professor Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist from New York University:

A Class 0 (Zero) Civilization, of which we are one, uses organic and man-made resources such as wind, water, and fossil fuels as energy sources to power our civilization. For the record, there are some who believe we are a reemerging Class 0 Civilization, replacing more advanced human civilizations from the past who have either been destroyed, or have left for the stars and may be waiting for us to join them.

A Class I Civilization is a society that has evolved to the point they are able to use their entire planetary resources. They have also unified the population and eliminated undesirable elements such as terrorism and other forms of violent fundamentalist beliefs. They are able to travel to and explore planets, such as Mars in our case, within their solar system.

A Class II Civilization has progressed where they use the resources of their entire solar system. They may begin to explore and colonize other solar systems and use the resources of the entire galaxy.

A Class III Civilization may begin exploring beyond the borders of their resident galaxy. A civilization this advanced would be able to bend space and time at will. They would probably be capable of inter dimensional travel and even time travel.

A Class IV Civilization is one that uses the resources of the entire universe and may begin exploring trans-dimensional space and whatever else may be out there.

Of course, there are many events that could prevent us from moving forward in this manner: World War III, The Rapture, pandemics, etc. And the problem remains, can we attain a Class I Civilization with all the conflicts and division between nation states and other great divisions that exist among mankind?

These Class I – IV Civilizations form the background for some truly great novels and movies. Star Wars and Star Trek are two epic examples. Dystopian stories abound of when things go terribly wrong on the road to paradise. I’m outlining a book using just this premise. Even though Breakthrough is a trilogy, new book ideas just keep rolling out of the series and picking up where I originally intended to stop. I guess this is a good problem to have.

Question: What do you see our future as being? Paradise? Dystopia? Will we be a Galactic Emporer, masters of our universe, colonizing and subjugating the aliens?

Stephen Tremp, author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers.

His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it!

You can visit Stephen Tremp at
Breakthrough Blogs. BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded:

Download Opening:
Amazon Kindle $1.99

Download Breakthrough:
Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday (Klingon Rock) & Helpful Links

Stephen Tremp will be guest posting tomorrow, so I will be posting the Thursday helpful links today, following the [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday photo.

In celebration of my first ever time as a chaperone on one of my son's field trips, today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is representing the place we'll be going: Garden of the Gods! I've previously posted a photo of one of the shapes I like to seek out. This one is no different:

I like to call this one Klingon Rock, because I see a specific kind of profile. It doesn't necessarily look like a Klingon, but that's what came to mind anyway. Or a dinosaur.

Now for the links!

Ladies, it's time to get your horror on! Dark Moon Books is taking submissions for a women's horror anthology, written by women, any horror subject. Click the link for guidelines.

THIS sounds interesting to me. I would like to note that I have not done research on this and can't swear to the validity. It is a three-month residency project for writers, where you would live in a writer-friendly building with other writers somewhere in L.A. There are costs involved.

Funny Books is taking submissions for a My Funny Road Trip anthology. This is a non-paying anthology.

I'm too old to participate in this one (I can't tell if I'm offended or amused by that), but social platform Ether is holding a contest for short stories, flash fiction, essays or poetry, less than 3000 words. There is an app for people to vote for the winner, who will then get a contract with Ether. You must be 18-25 years old to enter.

That's all for today! Tomorrow I will be posting my Getting to Know You Post on the A to Z Challenge Blog. Want to know something shocking about me? Check it out!

What do you see in the rock formation above? Any helpful links you want to pass along?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview With Author J.A. Kazimer; Teaser Tuesday - Code: Cutter

Author j.a. kazimer has taken fairy tales and forced them to grow up, twisting them into something darker, funnier and more modern. Her versions are closer to your great-great-great grandmother’s fairy tales, yet laced with j.a.’s wonderful humor. In CURSES! A F***ed-up Fairy Tale, You’ll find a fairy-noir tale of a villain gone good, quite against his will, drawn into a murder investigation by the victim, Cinderella’s, not-so-ugly step-sister. Action, hilarity and mayhem ensue in this f***ed up story you won’t want to miss!

Today, the fantastic j.a. has agreed to answer a few questions for The Warrior Muse. Having published in several different formats, she has a unique perspective that few other authors can rival. Her sparkling wit and friendly support make her someone I’m proud to have gotten to know, and I’m delighted to introduce Colorado author, j.a. kazimer:

Where did the inspiration for CURSES! come from?

The idea for CURSES! started with the question: What does a villain do at the end of the day? Does he go to the grocery store and buy a TV dinner? Does he go to yoga class? Sharpen his knife for the next day? Eat all the candy he pilfered from a baby? I wondered if a fairytale villain was evil outside his job, and that brought me to the idea of my protagonist being a famous villain (you'll have to guess his name) who is forced to be nice.

Ooo, a mystery! Do we find out in the book who the villain is? Are there hints (I know he gives initials in the beginning of the book...)?
Yep, a villain. You'll have to guess his name. But I'll give you a hint...he's a lot taller in person.

I find your background very interesting (degree in Forensic Psychology and experience as a P.I.); did these help in the writing of this book?
My experience as a PI and my work while in school have both helped my writing, in that, I 'know' things, like...running a princess over with a bus isn't the best way to kill someone. Not to mention how I learned all about how to lie and when to tell if someone else is doing so.

I will definitely have to make sure not to lie to you! Combine your background knowledge and all the great hiding places for bodies around here and you could be a mastermind criminal.

See that you don't!

You have both self-published and been traditionally published. Do you have a preference for one or the other, or do you find they both have benefits and drawbacks?

I love being traditionally published, just as an ego thing. But, surprisingly in the long haul, I will make more money with self-e-publishing unless CURSES! sells a lot of books. Not enough money to make a living, mind you.

There are plenty of things about a traditional publisher that I love, namely wide distribution and my very own editor, who helped me so much by kicking the manuscript into shape and even thinking of the CURSES! part of the title (which I adore). On the other hand, I've had a book published with a smaller traditional press that was a mess of typos and sold only a handful of copies. So I'm on the fence about indie versus traditional. I don't think a writer has to go either one way, but pick from the options available. Both have positives and negatives.

Now that you've been traditionally published, would you ever self-publish again?

Heck yes. My self-publishing wasn't due to not having or being able to sell a project to a traditional publisher, but rather, a choice about content, which made the decision that much easier. The Junkie Tales is a short story collection, which big publishers often disregard as a form because, for them, the monies just not in it unless the writer is famous. Therefore, when I decided to do the collection, I chose to go the indie route. I also wanted control over the content since the collection wee bit dark. Indie publishing has opened up a new world of possibilities of what can now see the light of readers’ eyes.

Indeed, it has!

Had your short stories been published before you gathered them into your collections, Junkie Tales and Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes?

Yes. I'm a firm believer in journal and magazine publishing. Short stories are where you earn your pub credits. It's where you learn to query, cut your teeth on craft. In so many ways, writing a novel is easier than pulling off a really good short.

That is actually really good to hear, because I’ve put my editing on the back burner to focus more on short stories right now in order to [hopefully] build up a bit of a portfolio. It’s hard to know whether that’s the right decision.

It totally is the right choice. It helps you understand rejection. With novels all you hear is “NO” until someone says “Yes.” That can be years of “NO.” With shorts, you learn that it's not about you or your story (most often) but the subjectivity of the editor and the needs of the journal. Plus you hear “Yes” a heck of a lot more.

What was your very first paid submission?

December 31, 2008. I sold one of The Junkie Tales (Slut. Bitch. Whore.) to Savage Kick Literary Magazine in the UK. They paid me 35 pounds, which was 50 or so bucks. That day I became a 'professional' writer, as in I got paid for it!

And, finally, what piece of advice do you think each writer should know?
Write. That's really it. All the 'rules' have exceptions. Write what you love. Read that genre. And submit. That's where too many writers fall apart. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to submit your work. Don't live in fear of rejection. Yeah, it sucks, but you'll survive.

Excellent advice, j.a.! Thanks for agreeing to this interview, and for the great information.

In the dark spaces of author j.a.kazimer's bookcase, hidden behind literary classic and the occasional book of poetry (unread, of course), is a well-loved collection of mysteries, urban fantasies, suspense, thrillers, romance, and humorous novels. 

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, j.a. left at a young age, and now lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. 

Books include, The Junkie Tales (Obscure Publishing, 2010), Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes (Obscure Publishing, 2010), The Body Dwellers (Solstice Publishing, 2011), CURSES! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale (Kensington, March 2012) & Holy Socks and Dirtier Demons (Champagne Books, April 2012). 

j.a. kazimer holds a master's degree in forensic psychology, and has worked as a PI, bartender, and most recently at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

You can find your copy of CURSES! A F***ed-up Fairy Tale at:
Amazon in Paperback or Kindle
Barnes & Noble in Paperback or Nook

You can also find j.a. at her…
And her blog: The New Never News, where you can find twisted fairy tale news shorts!

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today's teaser is from Night Rituals, by Gary Paulsen. I'm posting 2 teasers, from 2 characters' POV's.

"He liked his homicides to be predictable - no mysteries. Family conflict, suicide, anger flashing up and somebody getting killed. He hated the weird ones. They always complicated things." p. 10

"He knew exactly who 'they' were - they were the spectators. The people who had nothing to do with life as it counted but merely went along with it, moved with the flow the way fish moved with a river, never understanding why they moved or where they were going to be next." p. 61

Thursday, we'll have a guest post from author Stephen Tremp!

Have you picked up your copy of CURSES! yet? What are you reading?

Real Life Author Mysteries

Authors create stories, worlds, characters...mysteries. They give us entertainment, draw us into another time or place, another reality. But sometimes authors are drawn into mysteries of their own.

Probably the most famous mystery surrounding an author was that of Agatha Christie, best-selling mystery novelist.

In 1926, Agatha Christie's husband, Archie, told her he was in love with another woman, one Nancy Neele. She had just lost her mother that year, and his betrayal hit her hard. One night, when Archie was staying with friends (or his mistress, depending upon who's telling the story), Agatha disappeared.

As far as the country knew, Agatha's car was discovered, abandoned, a short distance from a lake called Silent Pool, which she had used for inspiration in one of her stories. There was clothing in her car, her identification. She had left her secretary a note that she was going to Yorkshire. People started pointing the finger at Archie, accusing him of having killed her. Others thought perhaps she'd killed herself, as she was known to suffer from depression.

In reality, she had ditched her car and her things, and walked to the train station, heading to Harrogate circa London. She even bought herself a lovely new coat in London. She then checked herself into a spa.

During the eleven days she was missing, police searched the countryside. She was in the news. People at the spa she was staying at even asked if she was that famous missing writer, but she told them she wasn't. She'd checked in under the name Theresa Neele (notice the last name is the same as Archie's mistress's).  She sent a letter to Archie's brother telling him she was going to Yorkshire for a rest, and she took out an ad in a paper saying she, Theresa Neele, was looking for her family, and that they could contact her at the spa.

Finally, police were notified and Archie showed up at the spa in Harrogate to collect Agatha. Doctors examined her and stated she had been in a fugue state. Archie announced to the press that she was suffering amnesia, and hadn't known who she really was.

Agatha Christie died in 1976, never having given the real story. Was she in a fugue state? Did she set it up so her husband would be accused of a murder he hadn't committed? Or did she simply need to get away?

Close behind Agatha Christie is Edgar Allan Poe, another mystery writer. The circumstances surrounding his death on October 7, 1849 are a mystery. He was found, delirious, on October 3 outside a bar, wearing someone else's clothing. This was after having last been seen September 28. His whereabouts during that time period have never been discovered.

It is claimed that he said the name "Reynolds" over and over throughout his delirium. During his stay in the hospital he swung back and forth between brief lucid moments and delirium and hallucinations, even slipping into a brief coma. He was never able to tell anyone where he had been or what had happened, and the true cause of death is unknown. He was listed as having died of congestion of the brain.

Many feel he died from alcohol withdrawal or alcohol poisoning. Experts say his symptoms don't fit this theory. Also, he had been alcohol-free for six months. The University of Maryland Medical Center released a report in 1996 claiming they felt he had died of rabies, and that his symptoms fit with this theory (University of Maryland Report). Another theory says he was a victim of cooping, where a victim is plied with liquor and forced to go to all the polling places to vote for a candidate who has paid for this treatment. However, there were no reports of an issue like a drunken man having issues at any polling place.

It would seem those missing days and the cause of his death will forever remain a mystery. Was it rabies? Cooping? Alcoholism? Or something more dire? And who was Reynolds?

What do you think happened to Poe? How about Agatha Christie? Know of any other real life author mysteries?

Come back tomorrow for an interview with author, j.a. kazimer! Thursday, author Stephen Tremp will be guest posting!

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Helpful Links: Submissions Open & Promotional Book Sites

A handful of links for you today!

Image courtesy of OCAL at

White Cat Magazine is a paying market, accepting short stories, flash fiction, interviews and reviews.

Super Flash Fiction is accepting superhero related flash fiction, 200-500 words. They are not a paying market, but select works will be put into an anthology work from which those selected will receive a percentage of the sales.

Northwind is accepting fiction, non-fiction and poetry for their publication. They only pay out to the featured story.

This site published a piece on "40 Book Promoting Sites." The link above is to Part 5. I figured this might be helpful for anyone currently promoting their work, or those who will be eventually, so that's all of us!

Next week I'll be featuring an interview with J.A. Kazimer, author of Curses! A F**cked up Fairy Tale, released this week! Tell me that's not a great title!

Any great links this week? What book releases are you excited about right now?

May you find your Muse.