Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scare Me Blogfest & Links

Hello, and welcome to another blogfest for the week!  I just can't help myself; I love Halloween!

This one is presented by Scifi Media.

Let's set the scene.

Spring, 1984.

Evening has fallen.  The sky is dark, lit by stars.

My mother and a six-year old me walk out of the theater my mom manages.  Her shift is done; time to head home and grab some dinner, go to bed.

As we're driving, leaving the capital city to head out to my grandmother's farm about twenty minutes away, headlights sweep over us, falling in behind our brown Dodge station wagon.  Just another person heading home, tired, hungry, ready to retire for the evening.


Couldn't be more wrong.

The car follows us out of the city, into the boonies, endless landscape in the darkness.  No one else around.

The headlights grow larger and larger in the rear view until they disappear from view, seconds before our car is bumped.  The other car, also a station wagon, though a different brand, does not stop, but pulls up beside us, tries to hit us again.

My mother recognizes the driver.  She knew him as a teenager; he's the younger brother of her childhood friend.  A boy they picked on, in that big sister kind of way.  Now a man, and one who has something that has short circuited in his brain.  A man with murder on his mind.

His eyes are crazed, expression angry, desperate, hungry.  A bushy beard covers his chin and cheeks, a thin mustache on his top lip.  His hair is closely cropped, light.

My mother steps on the gas, afraid, running not just for her life, but for mine.

She pulls ahead, manages to leave him behind as he briefly loses control.  She knows these roads; he doesn't.

The chase lasts for what feels like an hour, but is realistically probably just minutes.  We round a curve, another, and we are out of sight of his headlights.  My mother shoots up a long gravel drive, leading to a farmhouse in the tree-covered distance.  She drives between some trees, shuts off our lights.


Breathing so hard.

Heart pounding.

Headlights pass in a frenzy, gravel spraying from the road.  The car keeps going.


But another woman is not so safe.  That night, a young woman dies, brutalized, strangled.  Another young woman escapes with her life after being struck by a station wagon.  The frightening man within it asks her to come out, check out the damage.  She refuses, says they can drive to a nearby gas station and check in a public place.  He flees, finds that other young woman who is not so lucky.

He's caught, ultimately goes to prison to serve two life sentences, convicted in two murders.  He admits to another in 2007.  One long unsolved.

How was he caught?  After killing his last victim and dumping her body in a nearby river, he slid off the road into a ditch and had to be pulled out by a tow truck driver.  Multiple reports talk about a man in a station wagon menacing them, hanging around places women disappeared or were threatened.  The ditch he slid into?  Near the area where the last victim's car was found.  He took the sentences willingly, waived his right to a jury trial. 

So that's my story.  It's not a ghost story, no.

But it could have been. 

**This is a true story, but I have avoided names, locations and exact dates.  This man will come up for parole for the first time in 2024.  I have no interest in being found because I let slip a connection online.

Now that I've shared my scary story with you, here are some links!  (There's just really no good transitions about...Speaking of pure terror, here are some scarily good links!  No?  Well, I tried.)

Blog Fests/Hops/Workshops:

Operation Agent Ink, run by Ink in the Book, is a workshop from November to February.  It's intended to get you ready for submitting to an agent and help you know what agents want what.

Want to meet other nosy writers and share a little about your WIP?  Debbie at Writing While the Rice Boils has a fun, simple set of questions to help you share with others.  Closes November 2.

Tara Tyler and her friend Vikki are hosting the I'm Thankful for my Readers Blog Hop in November.  Say thanks to your readers and be entered to win prizes!


Becky at Lazy Low-Cal Lifestyle is giving away wheat germ.  All you have to do is write a quick poem about wheat germ.

Publishing News & Accepting Submissions:

White Cat Publications is starting  a new mystery themed magazine, to premiere in June.  They will also be open for submissions for their other publications soon.

Mitzi Szereto is seeking short story submissions for an anthology entitled The Darker Edge of Desire.


Did you know there is a branch of NaNoWriMo for younger writers?  There is!  Want your kids or students to get to experience a little bit of NaNo?  Check out how it works.

Have a Happy Halloween and STAY SAFE, everyone!  My thoughts out to those on the east coast, who have a long road to recovery ahead of them.

Are you trick-or-treating?  Going to a party?  Have a scary story to share?  Or maybe just want to share your favorite scary book or movie?  

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest

In celebration of Cally Jackson's release of her "New Adult" novel The Big Smoke, she's hosting a blogfest: The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest, to be exact.  She's asked us to talk about the year we turned 18 (or for those who are younger, what you hope/think might happen the year you turn 18).

The year I turned 18 was a big one.  It usually is, I'm betting.  For me, though, it was the year I got married, the year I truly discovered what living away from my parents was, the year I graduated high school, the year I discovered the plans I'd had in the works for years wouldn't come to be, the year I moved out of state and the year I discovered just how much I loved my "home" state of Colorado.

I turned 18 in November of my senior year.  At that time I was finishing out my last semester of high school (I chose to graduate early) and working at a movie theater in concession, box office and usher/projection.  Had I gotten the letter that I had all my credits sooner, I would have skipped senior year altogether.  Instead, I'd chosen to take a heavy load, intending to go on to college and, ultimately, medical school.

Not only was I attending high school and working tons of overtime (oh yes, tons, but it was good money), but I was somehow fitting in a relationship with my [then] future husband.  He had worked at the theater, too, but had multiple jobs and quit to keep those that made the better money (construction and sales, at that time).  I can't quite figure out how we had time to see each other, but we did.  And on days when we couldn't, I'd go outside to find a note (or multiple notes, as he typically just had a pad of small pieces of paper in his truck) tucked under the windshield.  He'd stick them there if he happened to drive by the theater on his way somewhere.  If he had extra time he'd come in and visit me, but if not, he let me know he was thinking of me.  You know, in a day and time when we didn't all have cell phones, so you had to actually be creative about staying in contact with people.  Those days.

My senior pictures (the only pic from back then I have on my computer).  Dang, I was scrawny.

On Christmas morning he proposed.  My parents had invited him out to our newly annual Christmas Eve dinner at Red Lobster.  He snuck them a glance at my ring, but my mom didn't realize it was intended as an engagement ring.  So Christmas morning rolled around and he came to celebrate with us.  He had certain plans, but my mom looked around when all was done and asked, "Where's that other present?  The one you showed us last night?"

Cue my horrified boyfriend trying to signal for her to stop there.  I knew something was up, but passed it off to relieve the situation.  A little while later we went downstairs (my room was in the basement) and he proposed, quite unromantically (I don't care if that's a real word!).  It didn't matter, though.  I said yes, and he then went up and asked my parents' permission for my hand.  It was in reverse, but he wanted to show them that respect while making sure I'd accept first...

A month later, my dad accepted a job in Oregon (we were living in Colorado Springs).  They had to move before the school year was out.  Jeff and I decided to move out into an apartment and speed along the process.  All kinds of excited, we looked around until we found one we thought we could afford (I believe it was a whopping $385 per month for a one-bedroom in the ghetto).  My mom had to co-sign with us for the apartment, but we secured it.   I sold off some things for extra cash (making my dad very unhappy, as I sold off a beautiful cabinet that was part of my antique bedroom set...I didn't know they were antiques!).  I sold off my ornate wooden toy chest, which I'd been using as file storage (I loved to write even then) and a "sofa" with pillows.  Our furniture consisted of a hand-me-down loveseat from my parents, a beanbag, end tables made of crates, a glass-topped coffee table Jeff made, my little TV with the built-in VHS player, a lamp my parents had given us, some dishes we bought at a going-out-of-business sale, two bookshelves and an entertainment center Jeff had made and my groovy antique bedroom set, which filled the entire bedroom.  At least we had room to open the door!

Life was good.  Well, it seemed that way, despite the fact that we were both always working, four jobs between us, and still not making ends meet.  My friends were still in high school, I was living clear across the city, and I was always working, so their lives went on as normal and I stopped getting invitations to go out.  Hey, someone tells you they can't every time you try, you eventually stop extending the invite.  Despite everything, we were very happy, where we wanted to be.

Luckily, I had savings, and that money got us through our six months of rent and bills, senior prom and graduation (I was afraid I'd regret not having done each...pretty sure I wouldn't have).  In July, we packed up a small U-haul and the back of our '76 Chevy Blazer (man, I loved that behemoth), our tiny schizophrenic orange tabby, Malecai, tucked neatly into his single level cat tree, our stuff packed on top and around it.  Despite his favorite spot being underneath the brake pedal and one of the retread tires on the U-haul blowing up on us, we made it safely to Oregon, where we were married in a lush, privately owned park on the Grand Ronde reservation.  Surrounded by trees and a stream, a hummingbird even hovered behind us as we were being married.  Sounds perfect, doesn't it?  The crazy stuff that went down at my wedding would make a post of its own, so we'll skip that and pretend it was a movie-perfect wedding.  Can you hear the sweeping wedding music?

Malecai and Maija a couple years ago (obviously not when they were kittens)

The remainder of my 18th year was spent finding a place to live in Oregon.  We ended up moving about two hours away from my parents, closer to where we were married.  I managed a theater and hubby did the electrical in mobile homes that were being built in addition to delivering pizzas for both Dominos and Pizza Hut.  We got a second cat: sweet, beautiful Maija.  She was the foil to Malecai, and calmed him down some, never afraid to put him in his place.  I started taking a mail-in writing course through Longridge, writing in the middle of the night once I got off work.

My 18th year came to a quiet, albeit busy, close.  Despite the fact that we were always working, I remember it fondly.  We seized every moment we could, always trying to enjoy our time off when it came around.

Don't forget to check out Cally's book, The Big Smoke.

Heard of The Big Smoke?  How was your 18th year?  Would you consider it an overall positive year or a negative one?  Mixed?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday Blog Hop - GOG Monster

Tim Brannan is hosting the Monstrous Monday Blog Hop today, which asks us to post about a monster.  Before I jump in with my monster, I'd like to mention that I'm guest posting over on the Potomac Review today:

Now...onto the monsters!

 I chose a monster who opens my current WIP, one you've likely never heard of: The GOG Monster. 

"GOG" stands for Garden of the Gods, the Colorado Springs location of this particular beastie.  GOG is a sasquatch-like monster, often sighted by teens who have snuck into Garden of the Gods after hours to have some drinks or get some jollies.  He is said to have glowing red or yellow (or reddish-yellow) eyes and red fur (the better to blend in with the red sandstone surrounding him).  He is about 8 feet tall and ever so shaggy.  A real knuckle dragger, they say.

There have been no reports of him harming anyone.  Indeed, perhaps he is just a sentry, guarding what was once sacred ground to the Utes who lived in the foothills in this area.  It may not be so sacred anymore, but what's a big furry monster to do when his only job is removed?  Perhaps insure that drunken kids don't graffiti the ancient walls and structures within the park.  Yes, I think that may just be it.

What's your local beastie?  Any monsters in your books?  Are you participating in this blog hop?  If so, what did you write about?  Leave me a link!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Here, Pretty Bird & Links

I went hiking with my kiddos and nephew on Friday before heading up to Denver for Mile Hi Con.  We went to Seven Falls, famed for its 7 waterfalls, but also the number of steps to climb to the top of the falls.  Well, the steps go to the top of the falls that are close together, but then you have the option of hiking to the topmost one, called Midnight Falls.

I'm going to share our trip in bits and pieces for the next couple Wednesdays.  Today, the beautiful Steller's Jay, aka the Mountain Jay.  These guys are omnivores, though they mostly eat seeds and plant life.  I was so excited to catch one of these guys!  And he cooperated so nicely.

Link Time!


Monkey Puzzle Press is holding their 4th Annual Flash Fiction Contest.  $10 entry fee.  $300 first prize.  All entries considered for publication.  Submission deadline November 15.

Open for Submissions:

Vine Leaves Literary Journal currently has an open submission window until November 30.  They take prose, poetry, artwork, photography, and reviews.  Pays $5.

Blog Fests:

Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew McNish are hosting the Oh, How I Miss You Blog Fest on November 16.  Join to spotlight bloggers you miss, who haven't been posting often, and those you would miss.

Cally Jackson is hosting The Year I Turned 18 Blog Fest from October 29 to November 2.  Post what you'd like about the year you turned 18.

Writing Retreats & Workshops:

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is offering their first annual writing retreat directly following The Colorado Gold Conference.  It will occur September 22-26.  The most awesome part?  Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency will be there, presenting a workshop and offering critiques.  Kristen Nelson is on my short list of agents I'd love to have, so if you're interested, snatch this up!

Registration is currently being accepted for Big Sur Writing Workshops in December and March.

Of Interest:

Michelle Roberts wrote "Creativity Closely Entwined with Mental Illness" for BBC Health News.

Matt Petronzio posted "10 Inspiring Social Networks for Writers" on Mashable.

Anything to share?  Think you'll participate in either of the blog fests?  Have you submitted anything lately?  Ever seen a steller's jay?  How about a blue jay?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mile Hi Con Highlights - Day 1

Well hello, and Happy Monday!

First, my presentation went well.  I wasn't very nervous, which I found to be true at Author Fest once I got up in front of everyone, too.  Funny that I worry more before that date, but not actually when I'm in front and presenting.  There was a good showing and great questions!  We didn't get through everything, but it was more important that the attendees understand what we had already gone over than that I got through every little thing I'd been asked to talk about.

Friday, I took my kids and my nephew to Seven Falls, a set of waterfalls in Cheyenne Canyon, so I'm looking forward to sharing those photos on Wednesday.  I headed up to my first day of Mile Hi Con later that afternoon, having walked up an insane number of steps, then hiked up the side of a canyon.  In other words, I was already exhausted, but happily so, and excited.

When I walked in, I was completely out of my element.  I had to ask directions to the Con at the front desk (it was on the 2nd floor).  I went up the stairs only to wander around amongst all the tables with no idea where I was supposed to check in.  It took asking two different people (who were each very nice and helpful) before I got to the correct desk and got my groovy badge and program.  I had fun gawking at all the various types of costumes those moving around me had on.  I saw Star Trek costumes of all different types, steampunk outfits, furries, elves, Dresden (!), etc.

Happily, I was joined by a friend, and she showed me where to go from there.  The first program we attended was "Writing the Holy Trilogy," featuring the always fabulous Carol Berg, Warren Hammond, Catherine Cooke Montrose, the sweet and supportive Jeanne Stein, and Peter J. Wacks.  They discussed a little about the difference between a series and a trilogy (a series tends to be like a set of TV episodes, where it's the same characters, but there is a stand alone tale in each book, while a trilogy is usually a story arc that takes three books to tell the tale).  Some had the entire trilogy planned out from the beginning, but others stated that wasn't necessary, and that you could take the story piece by piece.

Someone in the audience asked whether book length mattered, whether each book in a trilogy should be long.  Otherwise, the implication was that shorter books in a trilogy should maybe just be combined into big book.  The overall perception of the panel was that novel length didn't matter, and that it depended on how the writer wanted to break down their story.  An interesting tidbit: Carol Berg tends to have a natural word count of 175,000 or so words in a book, while Jeanne Stein averages more like 75-80,000 words.  And both are okay.

It was discussed that publishers have classically (in recent years) preferred shorter novels so as to fit them better on shelves and save ink and paper costs, but e-books are changing that.  Now, length doesn't matter.

They each passed along some tricks of the trade.

Wacks: If things stall out during writing, injure or kill a character.
Berg: Jots down notes, timeline, glossary or terms, magic of the world, etc.  Rarely starts with a full world, but has an idea of aspects of it (Carol is known around these parts as an expert at world building).
Hammond: He sketches out some notes, like a flow chart.  Basically, where the story begins and ends, and a couple of plot points.  Starts from there.
Stein: Her books usually start with an idea, which she gets from TV, the news, eavesdropping, anything.  She sketches out her protagonist first and how they will be involved with the story idea.
Montrose: Thinks of the worlds first, sketches them, fulling imagines them.  Eventually, a character wanders through, and she goes from there.  Tolkien is a major inspiration for her.

A useful audience question and the responses: Is it a mistake to finish all the books in your trilogy before the first one has been picked up by a publishing house?  It was overall agreed that it was actually good to have the trilogy done.  Writing under deadline is hard, and can cramp your creativity.  Yes, you will likely have to go back and edit it, but it's worth it to have the entire story done for yourself, if for no one else.

Someone pointed out that it would be an issue to have the first book picked up, but not the next ones in the trilogy, to which Carol Berg said that's not true anymore.  The ease of self-publishing means that you could put out the rest of your trilogy on your own if there was an audience for your first book.  We have that ability now.

Final points from the panel:
Wacks: Finds he has the best luck with building the roles first.  However, you should find the way that works best for you and stick with it.
Stein: Build your story any way you want, but stick to the rules you create.  She also said to write.  Don't say you WANT to write.  Write.
Hammond: "In writing, the tortoise wins."  The person that grabs 15 minutes here or there, but continues grabbing those moments, is the one that typically gets finished and gets published.  Finish, then sell.  Don't write to sell.
Montrose: Get feedback.  Learn to share your work.
Berg: Don't sett out to write a trilogy.  Don't think it has to be three and make it that way.  Set out to write a good story, one you enjoy and want to write.  Write what you would enjoy reading.  Also, don't over-constrain your world.  As in, don't figure out every single little rule and bit of makeup of that world, or you may write yourself into a corner in future books.  Part of the fun in writing an ongoing trilogy or series is to keep developing that world, and leaving it open allows you to do that.

That was a phenomenal panel, in case you couldn't tell from my "brief" summary.  We next went to "CJ Henderson Presents 'Abuse an Author'."  The authors we got to abuse--ask questions of on any theme--were Stephen Graham Jones, Mario Acevedo, Melinda Snodgrass, James Van Pelt and the moderator, CJ Henderson.  There were some interesting questions asked (ex: "Which of the worlds you've created would you want to live in and not want to live in?" "What book do you wish you'd written?" "Can you still be surprised by your work?").

We grabbed a bite to eat (all I'd had since my big hike was half a peanut butter sandwich and some water).  Pretty sure I should be humiliated by the pure vacuuming of food I did, but I was too hungry to care.  I had ketchup all over my fingers and even (yes, I'm admitting this) found some on my shirt later.  That's how hungry I was.  In my defense, I'd burned five billion calories earlier that day, with just a cereal bar and half sandwich standing between health and wasting away, and it was 8:30pm by the time I got any food.  Thank goodness the hotel bar was open and serving food!

The third thing we attended was "Hipster Readings...with Bongos," a reading with a little extra bongo flavor.  While one guy played the bongos (not sure of his name), the following authors read from their work: Mario Acevedo, Betsy Dornbusch, Jason Heller, Stephen Graham Jones, j.a. kazimer, and Cherie Priest.  I must say, I'm not a big fan of sitting and listening to someone read (I prefer to read on my own), but this was enjoyable, kept me engaged and was  a fun way to spend an hour.  Also, it made me want to buy books by every single reader (of course, I already have books from three of them...).

The last thing we attended before I hopped in my car to head back home and get some final work done on my presentation was "The Love & Sex Lives of the Victorians," billed as a pajama panel.  There were a couple folks there in their pajamas, as well as one fella' who passed out partway through it.  Yep, he was in the front row and fell asleep.  Despite that fact, it was a fascinating panel.  They knew their stuff about sex, sensuality and women's rights/privileges in that era.  I do love history, and the history of sexuality is full of interesting and unexpected information, such as the barriers crossed in Victorian porn that we'd consider foul and disturbing now, despite thinking they were so uptight.  How about the belief that keeping your wife pregnant every other year would save a man from his own sins in wanting to have sex all the time (because, after all, we all know women don't like sex when pregnant...whoops).  Is it true what they say about the true reason for the popularity of fainting couches?  I'm going to let you look that one up on your own.

I'll hit on Saturday's highlights in a separate post.

What do you think of the panels?  Anything of interest to you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Sunset on the Peak & Links

My second presentation is this Saturday, so I've been busy working on that.  Due to my limited time and powers of concentration on anything other than said presentation, I'm bringing you just one photo (but lots of links!)  Last week, while taking photos of my daughter's final soccer game of the season, I got a photo of a lovely sunset over Pikes Peak.

I'll be catching up on comments and visiting next week, if not this weekend.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone has been doing this past week!

Now for some links.


I'll be presenting A Beginner's Guide to Social Media for the Professional Woman this Saturday, October 20, at 11:30 a.m. at the Blue Sage Cafe.  $18 entry includes a scrumptious gourmet lunch.

T.L. McCallan is presenting a free workshop entitled Becoming an Author: the Journey to Publication.  It can be viewed as a webinar.

Where can you get a writer's conference, a cruise and Charlaine Harris as the keynote speaker?  The 2013 Fun in the Sun Conference will be January 24 to 28th, setting sail out of Ft. Lauderdale.

Contests & Giveaways:

Think there aren't enough game shows for authors?  What?  There aren't any?  Well, now you can participate in America's Next Author, the first social writing contest, with a $5000 prize.

Jamie at Mithril Wisdom is having a birthday giveaway of two great books.  Free and easy to enter!  Happy Belated Birthday, Jamie!

Howlin' Wolf Records and Jason Comerford are putting on 13 Days of Chills, featuring 13 interesting writeups about horror film scores.  You can be entered in great giveaways just by commenting on the posts.  Check out the remaining schedule and read up!

Accepting Submissions:

Static Movement is accepting submissions for short stories and poetry in fantasy, science fiction and horror.  Non-paying market.  E-zine.

Sanitarium is accepting submissions for horror-themed short stories.  Not paying this round, but you get free copies.  Future publications will be paid per word.


Neil Gaiman talks about All Hallows Read, where it is suggested you give away a horror-themed book to someone on Halloween.

Apex Magazine is doing a subscription drive with the goal of gaining 250 subscribers to their e-magazine.  They're giving away great prizes as incentive, and the subscription is reasonably priced.

Want to know what not to do when writing analogies?  Cheezburger posted this list of Really Bad Analogies Written by High School Students.

Buzz Feed presents 34 Facts About Halloween Movies That Will Blow Your Mind.  Who was considered for the role of Jack in The Shining?  Who was considered too crazy?  What was Scream's original title?

Anything to share?  Seen any good sunsets lately?  Have you entered any contests or submitted this month?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Anti-Heros and The Mistaken - Guest Post by Nancy S. Thompson

Nancy S. Thompson is a fellow mom, blogger and writer. She's stopping by on her The Mistaken Blog Tour to get the word out about her newly released novel, The Mistaken. Today she discusses when the hero doesn't always act like a hero. Let's face it, the best kind of hero is one with flaws, something we can identify with. That's why anti-heros are so popular. Take it away, Nancy!

Most readers want a clearly identifiable hero in their fiction.  While they don’t necessarily require perfect shades of black and white, the varying hues of gray often need to be discernibly defined.  As a writer, I understand this concept, but I also tend to lean more toward troubled heroes with tangible human frailties, whose mistakes affect and disrupt the world around them. 

The whole idea behind my debut novel, The Mistaken, is founded on human flaw and weakness.  I wondered what could make a truly good, law-abiding man commit a violent crime, and, afterwards, if he could ever return to the man he used to be. 

We all experience loss and tragedy, but what if a man’s misfortune were caused by the deceit, greed, and malice of another?  What if those entrusted with the power to enforce the law and bring his tormentor to justice prove impotent?  How would he feel if the offender were allowed to run free while his pregnant wife lay cold and stiff six feet beneath the heavy earth, his unborn child a tiny speck of immeasurable possibility heartlessly quashed into nothingness? 

Guilt, rage, and bitterness simmer alongside self-hatred and loathing.  All those years of staying within the boundary of the law ring hollow as the memory and potential of his beloved cry out for justice—for revenge.  And if the means of that vengeance guarantees the life and freedom of the only kin he has left—his brother—why would he not pursue personal justice?  What would he have left to lose? 

In The Mistaken, it’s not just the hero’s identity at risk.  It’s his very humanity, because in his quest for vengeance, he betrays the very core of who he is, of what his wife loved most about him.  After committing an egregious act in the name of revenge, his eyes are made clear by the stark reality of his mistake, and while he yearns for redemption and the opportunity to make amends, his life and that of his brother depend on him following through with his ill-conceived plan.  Can he defend the woman he has wronged yet still secure his brother’s freedom?

The character you come to love, whose downward spiral you somehow understand, even as you abhor his choices, desperately tries to do what’s right.  But is it too late? 

The Mistaken ponders the idea of the anti-hero and his redemption after touching the fiery face of hell.  I invite readers to go along on his journey.  Then afterwards, ask how well you really know yourself, how far would you go in the name of love and vengeance? 


Visit Nancy’s blog, follow, and leave a comment during her book tour for a chance to win an ARC of The Mistaken.  Plus, 5 runner-up winners will each receive an ebook. 

You can also find her on her publisher’s website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook

The Mistaken is available at Amazon. BooksAmazonKindle, and Barnes & Noble beginning October 18, 2012.  It will also be available at Sony, Kobo, iBooks, Diesel Bookstore, and Baker & Taylor in November.

Early praise for The Mistaken:

“A deliciously slow burn that builds to a ferocious crescendo, Nancy S. Thompson's THE MISTAKEN kept me riveted until the very last page. Tyler Karras is a complex and flawed protagonist, and his redemptive journey makes him the perfect anti-hero. This psychological suspense is a standout, and I can't wait for Thompson's next book.”
~ Jennifer Hillier, author of CREEP and FREAK

“Nancy S. Thompson's debut novel, The Mistaken, is a first-rate thriller full of hair-raising twists and turns.  Pursued by the police and the Russian mafia in San Francisco, brothers Tyler and Nick Karras are fascinating, fully-drawn, desperate characters.  The action is non-stop.  Thompson's taut, intriguing tale of revenge, mistaken identity, kidnapping and murder will keep you enthralled and entertained.” 
~Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author of DISTURBED and TERRIFIED

“Fast-paced and emotionally gripping - once the ride begins, you won't stop reading until it ends."  ~Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of CASSAFIRE and CASSASTAR

Thanks so much for visiting, Nancy, and good luck with your blog tour!

Do you enjoy a flawed hero?  Have you picked up your copy of The Mistaken?  You can use the links above to purchase the Kindle version and the Barnes & Noble copy.

May you find your Muse.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bury the Hatchet Blogfest

It's time for the Bury the Hatchet Blogfest!  Before I jump in, know that you can sign up and participate any time up to October 19.

We all have someone or something we'd like to bury a hatchet in.  I originally set out to talk about people who didn't use their blinkers or something like that (man, that drives me crazy!), but it has been one hell of a summer and fall here in Colorado, and I'm feeling like not using a blinker pales in comparison to the crimes that have been perpetrated in Colorado these last few months.

I'm going to hack a few people to pieces.  Then maybe we'll be done making national news for a year.  Preferably a few years.

1. Whatever twisted, disgusting, person or persons took little Jessica.  And every other person out there who perpetrates crimes against children or others who can't defend themselves, who insures that parents must watch their children every moment of every day or risk something terrible happening to them and the tremendous guilt that must come along with it.  I will not describe the things I'd like to do in return (and believe me, I could).  We'll leave it at burying a hatchet in them.

2. The Aurora movie theater shooter.  Movie theaters are about escapism, about hiding from the very real horrors of real life, and that sanctity has been taken away.  And to every person who takes out life's ills on strangers or people who never hurt them, taking pot shots at anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

3. Whoever caused the Waldo Canyon Fire.  Two lives were lost, hundreds of homes lost, and children and adults alike were traumatized.  Our gorgeous foothills, instead of being speckled with the gold of changing leaves amongst the evergreens, bear the blackened skeletons of trees destroyed by the flames.  And our fears can't rest, as rain and snow melt will threaten us for years to come with the risk of floods and mudslides.  And to every arsonist out there, every idiot who throws a cigarette into the dry underbrush, every person who thinks it's their right to misbehave and not listen to precautions because they're above the law.

Yeah.  My arms are going to be tired.


Author E.J. Wesley is launching his latest title, BLOOD FUGUE, and wants you to help him celebrate! Check out his blog The Open Vein for details on how to take part, and how to enter for a chance to win some sweet prizes!

What's BLOOD FUGUE about?

Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, Jenny must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it. Blood Fugue, by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the Moonsongs books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes.

BLOOD FUGUE is available now via Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble and most other eBook retailers. Check out the author on Goodreads!


Who or what would you like to bury the hatchet in?  Participating in the Bury the Hatchet Blogfest?  Read Blood Fugue?  Your area made national news lately?  For what?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - A Grizzly Sight & Links

It's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday again!  Today's photos are of a playful grizzly at the local zoo (bet you thought I misspelled "grisly/grizzly" in the title!).  The reason I haven't posted these before is that I was taking the photos from behind very thick, filthy, scratched, splashed and slobbered upon glass.  So...the photos suck, BUT he is just so cute I had to share him, anyway.  And, hey, you don't come here for professional photos, right?

Before I get to the grizzly, I want to say thanks for all the feedback on responding to rejections.  Also, my final Fraterfest update is that I finished the book by Jones, and started the book by Harrison, but did not get that one finished.  "The Ones That Got Away" was a great collection of short stories.  The very first story gave me goosebumps.  If you ever read it, you'll know what I mean.

Okay, heeeeeere's the Griz!  (This is one time I recommend you do NOT click on the photos to enlarge them...)

Stepping in for a dip
Look, a stick!  nom, nom, nom
Thanks for the floss
This is the best toy ever!

Linky Time:

Taking Submissions:

Stymie Magazine is open for submissions.  They are looking for work that is sports themed or has something sports related as part of it.  Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs, creative non-fiction, etc.  As far as I know, this is not a paid market.  However, I recently contacted the founding editor, Erik Smetana, about something unrelated to making a submission.  He got back to me promptly and was a nice guy, in addition to being professional.  If I ever have anything sports themed, I'd be delighted to work with Erik and Stymie Magazine.

The Potomac Review is taking submissions of prose and poetry (also photographs if you inquire first).  Submission window is Sept. 1 to May 1.  Pays in contributor copies.

[PANK] is taking submissions through November 30.  Poetry and prose.  They also take book reviews and blog posts via separate means.


Grubstreet Reads is having a flash fiction contest.  (That link will take you to their Facebook - I am having problems getting to their website).  Determined by reader votes.  Possible prize of a Kindle Fire.  300 word maximum.  Enter directly on their Facebook by clicking on the Flash Fiction tab at the top of the main page.


Bish Denham at Random Thoughts is having her Second Annual Blogtoberfest and giving away five books/sets of books.  Simply requires you to leave a comment to be entered.

Rebecca Hamilton will be holding her Forever Girl Anniversary Tour and Giveaway in January.  She's looking for people to help on the tour and host giveaways, for which she will provide two e-books for your giveaway.  You set the rules for your portion of the giveaway.  She'll also be doing an item giveaway that is separate, but overlaps this one.  Those slots are full, but you can still try to win the prizes.

Challenges/Blog Hops:

Marie Landry at Ramblings of a Daydreamer is hosting her 2nd Annual Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge from October 1 through Halloween.  She is challenging participants to read and review at least three paranormal books this month.  There will be a prize drawing for participants.


Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut put together the Writers' LIKE ME Project to help writers get their links out there and get to know each other.  You can post your various links to your books, Facebook, blog, website, Twitter, GoodReads, you name it.

Writer's Digest posted Sherman Alexie's Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Writers.

Book Riot posted 5 Women Writers Tougher Than Hemingway.

That's it for this week.

Anything to share?  Anything in here sound good to you?  What about those tough female writers?  Ever seen a grizzly not in a zoo?  

May you find your Muse.

Monday, October 8, 2012

To Reply or Not to Reply - That is the Question...

When you're trying to break into writing, you hear "submit, submit, submit" and "query, query, query," but what you don't hear is what to do when you receive rejections in response to submitting or querying.

The first couple rejections I got, all form rejections, I wrote back a quick "Thank you for your consideration," or something along those lines.  Then I read a blog post by someone stating that it's a bad idea to respond to a rejection, because you're just wasting the time of the editor or agent who wrote you.  If every rejection gets a response, that's almost twice as many emails for them to wade through, right?

So I stopped, worried about being that irritating person who jumbles up their email.  I imagined that person on the other end of the email getting the email and groaning.  "Don't they know how full my inbox is?" they'd ask themselves.  "How annoying!  Adding that name to my list of people never to publish..."

But the person inside me who is accustomed to writing thank you notes and being polite and acknowledging contact in some way, shape or form, winces every time I get a rejection and don't respond.

CC by Sean MacEntee

I received a very nice personal rejection on September 30.  I actually closed that emailed rejection feeling more confident than when I submitted in the first place.  You see, it was a big magazine, one that has published many huge names, and I submitted because I was afraid to.  Doesn't make sense?  I wanted to challenge myself, and because my first reaction was "No way will I make it into this magazine," I decided to submit anyway.  If you don't do what you fear, how can you get where you want to be?

It may seem like my fears were justified by this rejection, but no.  Specific things were complimented, but I was told the storyline wasn't different enough from others they had published.  It closed with an invitation to submit a different piece, along with the date they'd be reopening for submissions.  I think that's a positive thing.  And if it isn't...don't tell me.  How often does one get to feel good about a rejection?

Back to the topic, though, I didn't send back a response.  It ate at me, though.  I felt like he had taken the time to send a personal response, along with feedback, and I owed a thank you.  But I flashed back to that blog discussion and was afraid to hurt my chances.

Finally, I went online and started looking around.  I only had a few minutes, but I found a few interesting tidbits.  One thing that I found quite valuable was an editor talking about why he stopped doing personal rejections.  He said it took time, but he was glad to do it.  That is, until it became an invitation for people to argue with him.  Somewhere in there he mentioned that it was always nice to get back the note saying "Thank you for your consideration" or thereabouts.  He didn't say it helped in the future, but that's not why I wanted to send them.

The conclusion I came to, after my little bout of research, was to respond with a polite, but sincere, email in response to personal rejections only.  There's no need to respond to a form letter.  I intend to continue researching this, though, because who knows...perhaps some day I'll get a personal letter from someone who previously sent a form letter, all because I didn't try to fight the rejection and sent a quick thank you.

My current stats:
4 pieces submitted
1 piece accepted
3 pieces rejected

I'd love to hear your feedback on how you feel about thank you notes in response to rejections.  Do you send a thank you?  Do you skip it?  Or does it depend on the rejection?  Ever had an actual editor or agent tell you whether it was a good idea or not?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon!

I'm posting off-date today because it's time for Fraterfest!  Hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the goal is to read as many horror-based books between the 5th and the 8th as you can (or wish to, anyway).  You can still sign up, so make haste to the link above and check it out if you're interested.

Realistically, my only reading time tends to be at bedtime, so my list won't be too long.  Still, I've been saving several horror books on my TBR pile since I saw this read-a-thon was going on, so I'm excited to dive in.

This weekend, I hope to read:

The Ones That Got Away, by Stephen Graham Jones
A Perfect Blood, by Kim Harrison

I have two backups in case I get a shocking amount of reading time this weekend, but I'll post those if I finish these two.

Do you like to read scary book and/or watch scary movies to celebrate Halloween month, er, I mean October?  Are you participating in Fraterfest?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Flood Savers & Links

Before I jump into [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, know that today is my day to catch up on blogs, visits and comments.  Sorry I've gotten behind again, happens!

One morning I woke up to the sound of helicopters.  Scratch that.  I woke up to the CONSTANT drone of helicopters, flying back and forth, back and forth.  Now, during Waldo Canyon I got used to the sound of planes flying over my house constantly.  That was just life for a couple weeks.  However, I had gotten used, again, to not hearing things flying over my house all the time.  Silly me!

This time, it was not due to fear of flames, but fear of water.  Those of us within a certain distance of the burn scar are now living in a flood plain.  In order to mitigate the risk of flooding, they are dumping a mixture of sand, wood chips and seeds (I believe) on the stripped hillsides.

The sound I heard was the choppers picking up loads of this drought mitigation mixture from a nearby quarry and dropping it on the hills.  You can actually see, quite clearly, where they have dumped it.  I haven't gotten a picture of that yet, but I did get photos of the choppers flying back and forth.  There were two criss-crossing each other.  It was fun to watch them.

Now for some links:

Taking Submissions:

eSteampunk, an imprint of eFiction Magazine, is taking steampunk submissions for short stories, poetry, articles, serials, book reviews, interviews and artwork. is putting together their first e-collection of short stories, and are taking submissions under the theme of Girl Trouble for Malfeasance Occasional.  Pays $350.  Deadline October 10.

Andrew Karre is taking submissions of novel-length fiction for Carolrhoda Books from October 1 through October 31.

Poisoned Pen Press has announced a new YA Mystery imprint called Poisoned Pencil Press.  They are taking novel-length submissions.


Andrew at Strange Pegs will be releasing Part 6 of his "Shadow Spinner" series for free Thursday, October 4.  Be sure to review it if you download and read it.

Susan Kaye Quinn is hosting a giveaway to celebrate 10,000 sales of her novel "Open Minds."  You can enter to win a Kindle Paper and/or several sets of books, some e-, some physical.

Rachel Sang-hee Han posted 7 of the Coolest Libraries in the World on  And they ARE cool!

Anything to share?  Are you completely over photos of flying machines?  Ever been the recipient of flood mitigation?  Live in or near a flood plain?  Have you gotten any writing done lately?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Survived! & NaNoEdMo

Hello!  This weekend's Author Fest in Manitou Springs was great!  Not only did I survive moderating, being on a Young Adult panel and presenting my stand alone presentation on Making Personal Connections Through Blogging, but I had a great time doing so.  The crowds were small enough that it felt more comfortable, more intimate.  My poor husband got his ears babbled off because I was on such an adrenaline high when I got home Friday evening (the day of my presentation/panel).

It all started Thursday night with a VIP reception, which I was invited to, as I was faculty.  It was held in a stunning old bed and breakfast in Manitou (the Avenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast...highly recommend if you're ever in town).  I chatted with a super nice lady who turned out to be the Manitou mayor's wife.  She was delightful and worked the entire weekend.  Very engaging person.  Those of you on my Facebook possibly already know my big squee moment of the night, which was that Stephen Coonts sat down next to me and we chatted.  He's a really nice guy, but also possesses a sense of humor.  As he lives here in Colorado Springs, we ended up discussing the Waldo Canyon fire a bit (you can't talk to anyone for long without it coming up right now, not locally).

At the VIP reception; I'm on the left.

Friday morning we had a lovely breakfast and listened to Barbara Wright, our morning keynote speaker.  She was a quiet, but pleasant woman who talked about bouncing around in the beginning of her writing career.  She lived in South America and New York City, to name two places, and was an editor (I believe) at Esquire for a time until she realized she was spending all her time doing that and fact checking, and no time doing her own writing.  I had spoken to her and her husband at the VIP reception, as well, and liked them.  One thing about this small conference was that three of the keynotes brought their spouses with them, and it was lovely to get to meet and chat with them, as well.  I think you see a whole new side of a person when you see them with their loved ones.

Our lunch speaker was Barbara Samuel/O'Neal (she's written under both those last names).  She was eloquent and stirred our emotions as she spoke about the things that moved and inspired us.  From comments around me, her speeches are always equally rousing.  This was doubly impressive, considering she was a last minute replacement for a keynote who had a family emergency.

My YA panel was after lunch.  My partners on the panel were Ron Cree and Robert Spiller, both mystery authors.  My goal going into it was just to be sure I did actually say anything helpful during the panel, as these two frequently work together and are good friends, and neither of them are shy or uncomfortable about speaking in front of people.  To my credit, I did, in fact, get a few things in.  Haha!  But it was a good panel, with a great response from those listening, and attendance was encouraging.

Ron Cree, Bob Spiller and myself at the YA Panel.

Directly after the panel I had my presentation.  My fantastic moderator, heretofore known as Super Moderator, had checked in with me at breakfast to see what I'd need, and when I ran into him at lunch and voiced my fear that the cable in the room I'd be speaking in later wouldn't fit my laptop, he went to our tech guy and spoke to him to make sure he'd be there to help.  Hook up went seamlessly, and the cable did actually fit my laptop, though it couldn't screw in.  Just a little suggestion: Clear your desktop if you're going to give a presentation that involves your laptop being hooked up to a projector...  Luckily, there wasn't anyone other than the tech guy in the room at the time, but it was pretty funny to see all my documents, my games and folders splashed all over the screen.  In fact, I had a little sticky with a password on it up there.  It wasn't an important one, and I don't usually put notes on my computer with passwords, but it was intended to just be on there for the evening and I had forgotten to delete it.

Anyway, my presentation was well received.  The audience took notes and asked good questions, and I had a great turn out.  Not only that, but when I'd practiced Thursday night I was running about 15 minutes long.  I finished in time to take a few questions, so yay!  I did forget to ask one question I'd intended to ask and to give out my business card at the end, but those were two small errors, considering I didn't freeze up after I was introduced.

Funny story: I was doing a run through Thursday after the kids came home from school.  They'd finished their snack and homework, and I'd sent them to watch a movie in another room (something they're typically not allowed to do on school days, so they went quite happily).  My son came walking in while I was sitting in my chair talking to an empty room.  I looked up and he was looking at me like I was on drugs.  He finally asked, "What are you doing?"  That look on his face was well worth it.  You think he'd be used to my lunacy by now, but apparently not.

Friday night I attended an open mic reading.  I didn't take a piece (couldn't remember where my notebook with poetry in it was, and didn't have time to hunt it down), but I enjoyed listening to everyone else.  There were poems read, essays, and snippets of novels.  Each person had to give a fact and a fiction, and we guessed which was fact.  We won chocolate if we got it right.  Each person also had to answer a literary trivia question.  This is the first open mic of anything I've attended, and I had tons of fun!

Stephen Graham Jones giving his presentation.

Saturday, our morning keynote was Stephen Graham Jones.  He writes a variety of stuff, but I think mostly horror, in terms of what he's published.  His speech was great.  He first told us what not to do to get published.  He was a natural story teller and told us several interesting stories.  He also read us a piece he'd written, which I wish was published, but isn't.  We were all so fascinated with his speech that Natalie, the main person who puts these on (owner of Black Cat Books in Manitou Springs), told him to go ahead and run late.  Not one person complained.

Our lunch keynote was Stephen Coonts.  He told us how his fame was due to luck.  You see, the month his book was due to come out, a magazine (Forbes, maybe?) had done a spread on Ronald Reagan in the White House.  Coonts (and Clancy) had been published by a Navy-based company, and someone within that company had sent his book to Reagan with a note that he thought he'd enjoy it.  Well, he had just received it when the interview began, and when they took his photo at his desk, the book and a jar of jelly beans were all that sat on his desk.  The marketing folks loved that when one of them happened to discover it while thumbing through the magazine, and they promptly ran with the free publicity.

Stephen Coonts giving his presentation.

I was so exhausted that I skipped the last presentation and went book shopping instead.  I spent way more than I'd intended, and left with a big bag of signed books.  I was able to get my dad Flight of the Intruder, signed, so that was cool.  Hopefully he likes it.

So that was my experience at Author Fest.  It was my first time there, but I hope to go each year after this.  It's definitely different than a larger conference, like Pikes Peak Writers, but different isn't bad.

Having just bored you to tears with my rendition of "why I had a great weekend," I'll close with a reminder that I'm doing NaNoEdMo this month in order to do NaNoWriMo next month, guilt-free.  My hope is to get Lonely Hollow: Synthesis fully edited so I can start querying.  Whether that will happen or not is up in the air, but I plan to make a good attempt.  At some point this week I may get myself a ticker/status bar for the number of pages I edit, but we'll see what I find.  That will be in the sidebar if I locate one I like.

You're welcome to join me for NaNoEdMo.  It doesn't have to be a novel; it can be anything you need to edit.  If I get time or decide to take a break from novel editing, I intend to edit a couple short stories that need it.  My hope at the end of the month is to have material to submit, one way or the other.

I won't be doing a linky for NaNoEdMo or anything, but post in the comments or let me know if you plan on giving it a try, too.  Join me!  I feel like I'll be able to relax in November as long as I've gotten some editing completed.  That way, I get to just enjoy writing, which is always such a pleasure.

Planning on jumping into NaNoEdMo?  How about NaNoWriMo?  Ever been to a small conference?  Seen any of these keynotes?  Have you given a presentation at a conference?

May you find your Muse.

**All photos of the Author Fest were taken by Margaret Morris.