5 Christmas Gifts That Are Inexpensive

Within the last two years I have written numerous articles for various blogs (high traffic and not). This article was published a year ago, but I’m thinking; these are such good articles, so why let them collect dust when I can reuse them?

As the Christmas season approaches, we start to think about what to give our loved ones and where to get those gifts. Shopping for Christmas gifts can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful, especially if you do not have much money to spend. However, there are five items you can purchase that are inexpensive.

Books

Most everyone, regardless of age and socioeconomic status, loves to spend some free time engaged in a good book. What makes books great gifts is that they are very accessible. You can find a book in just about every category and genre. You can purchase a book in a bookstore, online and in any format; paperback, electronic, audio.

DVDs

DVDs are like books in that they offer home entertainment for a low cost. They are also accessible in that you can purchase them online or in stores.

Home Accessories

Home accessories are those little trinkets that we cannot live without. They are what gives our homes extra personality. Basic home accessories like candles, sconces, picture frames, small gemstones, knick knacks and small house plants do not cost much. You can purchase all of these items in large retailers near you. You can even purchase most of these items at smaller, independently owned stores for a reasonable price.

Toys

Toys are excellent Christmas gifts for children, especially for younger ones. The wonderful thing about toys is that they allow children to use their imaginations. They also provide children with the opportunity to learn practical skills. Since toys are inexpensive, you can purchase more than one item.

Gift Cards

If you are stuck for ideas as to what to give your loved one for Christmas, you can give him or her a gift card. Gift cards range do range in price from less expensive to more expensive which gives you the opportunity to spend less or more depending on your finances. All stores offer gift cards, giving you the option to purchase one at your loved one’s favorite store.

Prior to Christmas, stores will often mark certain items on a discounted rate. Most retailers–online and brick-and-mortar–will even offer coupons to returning customers. It is best that, when searching for items to purchase, you look for the best deal. However, if the product you intend to purchase is not on sale for a discounted price, it will not harm you financially to purchase that product.

Why To be Maria is no Longer Available for Purchase

The reason why the cover art design and links for To be Maria have been deleted is because I have decided to terminate my contract with PULSEpub.net. I’m not going to launch into any details here, but if you want to read the full story, visit Laurie’s blog.

I won’t be seeking publication/representation for To be Maria for at least 1-2 years now simply because I have decided to focus my energy into breaking into the career of a freelance writer/editor (an area that I believe is far far easier than trying to land a book deal with a reputable publisher. At this point in my fledgling career at least). Fortunately, I have, before the publication of To be Maria, connected with a few wonderful people who are going to help me obtain this goal early in the new year, and I’m really looking forward to working with them.

On Friday, December 14th at 2:30 PST, I will be on Rick Busby’s show, Final Frontier Radio, talking about my first novel, Day of Revenge and my other writing adventures.  So, even though it’s over for To be Maria, my career as a writer is not over. I’m moving forward, expanding my writing skills into other areas and building my online/offline platform. Hopefully within a few years time–once I’ve accomplished these goals listed above–I will connect with a reputable publisher or agent who will make the publication and success of To be Maria a reality.

 

Behind the Return of the Poets by Guest Author, Carly Fierro

Carly Fierro is an aspiring writer who loves animals, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She hopes to someday publish a book – but for now, she’ll settle
for indulging in her love of blogging.

****

Not so long ago, poetry was considered a dying art, suitable only for academics and love-struck teenagers. It could be argued–with some certainty–that outside of high school English class, most people’s exposure to poetry was the doggerel found in greeting cards.

Considering the poets of the 18th and 19th century were the rock stars of their day, lack of interest in modern poets suggested poetry was destined for oblivion. Some claimed the art was dying because people no longer read aloud to each other. In a world of high-tech toys and instant gratification, poetry was delegated to the dusty past. Or so it was thought.

Online Poetry

The very technology thought to be killing poetry has been instrumental in a quiet revival. The Internet gives poets opportunity to share their work with a wide audience (many of whom are searingly critical–online poets require a thick skin).

Every month the British-based Poetry Archive site boasts more than one million page views from 125,000 users. Recognizing the importance of the spoken word to poetry, the archive offers recordings of poets reading their own work.

Slam! The Art of Performance Poetry

Listening to recordings of poems, while delightful, still maintains a distance between the poet and his or her audience. The 1990s saw the genesis of slam poetry events, combining performance art, poetry and competition.

Slam poetry renewed public interest in poetry as performance art. Sure, the nature of slam poetry angered some academics who had firm views on what constitutes poetry, but historically poetry has always shaken up the status quo. Poets like Byron and Shelley have always annoyed the establishment.

Slam poems very much carry on the tradition of poetry as a galvanizing, political medium. Over the course of a slam event, you might hear poems focused on politics, racism, alcohol rehab and gender discrimination. Slam poets are angry, thoughtful, funny and sad.

A slam is a competitive event, although the event is more about sharing poetry than “winning.” Poets are given three minutes to recite their work, and points are deducted if the poet exceeds the time limit. No props, musical instruments or costumes are allowed; the poet uses body language and the spoken word to present his or her poem.

Randomly selected audience members judge the event by assigning poets points for performance and content. Poets may compete as individuals or in teams.

Some argue that a three-minute time limit restricts poets, but working within limitations has long been an accepted part of poetry. Haikus and sonnets, for instance, must adhere to strict formats, but this in no way detracts from the power of the poems.

Perhaps it’s the thrill of sharing poems driving the popularity of slam. Perhaps it’s the sense of excitement and competition. Or perhaps it’s something deeper. Poetry is one of the world’s oldest art forms, connecting us to our history and our future. Perhaps we need poems. Despite a few shaky decades, it seems poetry, contrary to popular belief, remains alive and well.

Michael Fedison, Author of The Eye-Dancers

This is a promo post from Michael Fedison’s new release, The Eye-Dancers. I connected with Michael via blog following – we’re following each other’s blogs – and have read a little bit of The Eye-Dancers. I have to say, I really like his writing style; he knows how to create suspense to keep the readers engaged.

Here I share with you the first chapter of The Eye-Dancers.

****

Peering out his bedroom window, his eyes flattened into squinting slits, Mitchell Brant saw her.

“No,” he said.  “It can’t be her.  It can’t be.”

But it was.  She had come again.

He looked away, at the night-shadows on the floor, at the sheets jumbled and strewn on his bed. Maybe she wasn’t really out there. Maybe it was just an illusion, some odd distortion of the light.

He looked out the window.

She was still there.

He felt the fine hairs at the nape of his neck stand up.  Gooseflesh, cold against the stifling humidity filtering in through the open window, speckled his forearms.

The girl was standing under the streetlamp, looking straight in at him—the same way she had last night and the night before. She was just a child, probably no more than seven years old—his sister’s age.  What was she doing out in the street, alone, well past midnight?  Was she a runaway?  And why had she come three nights in a row?

He tried to look away again, but he couldn’t. It was as though the girl had cast a spell over him. “What’s with you?” he said to himself.  “Just go back to sleep.”  Instead, he stood up.  She had raised her right arm above her head, waving at him frantically.

“Help me.”  The voice filtered in through the window.  “Why don’t you . . .?”  The girl’s voice.  And yet, there was something different about it, something off.  It sounded hollow, as if it had originated from a dark place, a secret place, cold like the grave.

The grave.  Maybe that was the answer.  Maybe that’s where she had come from.

“No.”  Her voice rose, more insistent now.  “Don’t be so silly.”

He reached for the window.  He wasn’t going to let her fool him.  He’d just finished the sixth grade last week, and he wanted the chance to live long enough to begin seventh grade in the fall. Communicating with ghosts was great when kept within the safe confines of horror stories or movies.  But not here.  Not on his quiet small-town street.  Not in real life.

He grabbed the window sash, pushed down. Instantly, he was transported to his front lawn!  How had that happened?  The girl, still standing in the light, gestured even more vigorously now that Mitchell was outside with her.  He knew she had worked some sort of magician’s trick on him.

“Who are you?”  He looked down at his feet and saw they were moving—in the direction of the street, the light, the girl.  He tried to stop them, but it was as if they had a will of their own.

As he neared her, he was able to get a better look at the girl.  She had the bluest, deepest eyes he had ever seen. They were mesmerizing.

She also had an airy quality to her.  The light from the streetlamp filtered through her, as though she were only partly there, only a small portion of her flesh and blood.

I was right, he thought.  She is a ghost.

“Stop it!” she said.  “Stop calling me that.”

He reached the sidewalk, nearly face-to-face with her.  He closed his eyes, but they stung, so he opened them and looked up, at the streetlamp. A small gathering of luna moths aimlessly fluttered about, landing on the bulb, then jumping off, occasionally flying into each other, as if drunk from the light and the oppressive humidity.

“Help me!”  The girl’s voice, so near yet so ethereal, caused Mitchell to lose his balance. He fell, landed on the pavement, scraping his knee.  A trickle of blood snaked down his shin.  “Come with me,” the girl said, and offered a hand.  But he knew better.  Once she grabbed him, she would never let him go.  She would lead him through the darkened streets, past the statue of the white, marble lion that marked the center of town, and on to the Bedford Cemetery, where she’d force him to serve her for all eternity in the form of some tortured, wandering spirit.

The girl’s hand brushed against his, a faint whisper against his skin, and then the sensation was gone.

“Come with me,” she said again.  “Please.”  He told himself not to look into her eyes, but he did.  He couldn’t resist.  It was like looking into two blue pools of sky-water.  Somehow, he was sure that if he looked into those eyes long enough, hard enough, he would see where the universe ended, and began.

He stood up, wanting desperately to turn around and flee back into the house.  But he wasn’t able to.  Her eyes wouldn’t let him.  The night air, muggy, close, felt like a dull weight intent on forcing him back down to his knees.

The girl said, “Yes, that’s the way.  Keep looking into my eyes!  That’s the way I can take you with me.”

He tried to look away, but couldn’t.  He just continued to stare at her blue, blue eyes. He stared until her eyes seemed to expand, the shape of them lengthening, widening.  He stared until the blue in her irises dilated and spun, slowly at first, but gradually picking up speed, spinning round and round, faster, faster.

He screamed then—the loudest, longest scream of his life.  He would wake up his parents, his sister, the neighbors.  Maybe they could reach him in time to save him.  Maybe they could—

Suddenly, he was back in his bed, thrashing and kicking and yelling, “Let me go, let me go!”  It took a moment for him to gather his wits.

It had been a dream, a nightmare.  That was all.

He sat up.  Was that all?  What would he see if he dared to look out his window? Would the ghost girl still be there? Not wanting to, but needing to know the truth, Mitchell glanced outside.

No one.  Only the mosquitoes and the spiders and the night birds, creatures that he couldn’t see but knew were out there.  But at least they were a part of the natural world.  They belonged.  The ghost girl didn’t.

He hopped out of bed, too wired to lie still. But as soon as his feet touched the floor, he grimaced.  There was a stinging pain in his left knee.  Groping his way through the dark room, he reached for the lamp atop his dresser and flicked it on.

His knee was bleeding.  A small strip of skin had been scraped off, and the blood, though drying, was still trickling down his shin.  How could he have scraped his knee in bed?

Then he remembered.  He had done it in his dream.  He’d fallen in the street when the ghost girl had reached for him.  But if it had only been a dream, why was his knee bleeding now?

He limped to the bathroom, where he washed the wound and then bandaged it.  He reminded himself not to wear shorts in the morning.  On top of everything else, he didn’t need Mom asking questions.

He had no answers, anyway.  He had no idea what happened.  Had he dreamed of the girl in the street—tonight, and last night, and the night before that?  Or had she really been there?  He tried to think it through.  It had seemed like a dream.  But since when did people scrape their knees in a dream?  Had he been sleepwalking?  He’d never known himself to sleepwalk, but how could he know, if he was sleeping while he did it?

“C’mon,”he said, staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.  It was a tired-looking reflection, with the last hints of fright still manifest in the eyes.  “Don’t be stupid.  It was just a nightmare, that’s all.”

But as he walked into the kitchen, turned on the tap, and slurped the water as it streamed out, he knew that the truth was very likely more complex, and more troubling.

He turned off the faucet, wondering why water always tasted so much better straight out of the tap.  He tried to think about that, ponder it, anything to get his mind off the ghost girl.  But it didn’t work.  How could he forget her?

“Cut it out, Mitchell,” he said.  “Just quit it.”

He needed to get back to sleep.  When he was little, if he’d had a bad day, his mom used to tell him that everything looked better, and happier, in the morning.  He hoped she was right.

But when he returned to his room, sleep still seemed a long way off.  His bed, with the disheveled sheets and sweat-drenched pillows, didn’t look very restful.  He needed something to calm him.  He opened the lower drawer of his dresser.  Piles of old comic books, bagged in protective Mylar sleeves, greeted him like devoted friends.  He picked up the top comic, a worn copy of Fantastic Four no. 99, and sniffed it through the sleeve.  He loved the smell of old comic books.  It was musty, but in a special way, like the smell of his grandfather’s attic littered with knickknacks and family mementoes.  A treasure-house smell.  He had asked his sister to sniff some of his comics once, but she thought they reeked.  Well, what did she know?  She was just a little kid.

He took the comic out of its sleeve and read it, even though he knew the issue by heart.  But it did the trick.  He got lost in the story, savoring the artwork, the dialogue, the sheer fantasy of the plot.  When he put the comic book away thirty minutes later, he felt ready for bed.

He climbed in, wondering if he should glance out the window again, to see if the girl was out there.

“She isn’t,” he said, but he didn’t look.

He lay there, his mind racing, and it seemed to him that he wouldn’t get to sleep.  He did, eventually, but it was a restless sleep, as he thrashed throughout the night.  When he woke up, a few short hours later, he was quite sure he had dreamed again, though about what he couldn’t remember.

“Didn’t expect to see you up so soon.  Thought I’d need to wake you up once breakfast was ready,” his mom said, eyeing him.

Mitchell knew that look well.  It was the one that made him feel like a Martian, or a Venusian, who had crash-landed onto Earth.  Come to think of it, a lot of things made him feel that way.

“I . . . didn’t sleep so great,” he said.  You could say that again.

“Hmm, bad dreams, honey?”  His mom was by the stove, cracking eggs open, and she had a mound of cubed potatoes all set to go into the frying pan.  Mitchell’s stomach did a quick somersault.  He usually loved potatoes and eggs.  But after last night, the thought of the grease made him feel like vomiting.

“Well . . .”  He considered letting it all out.  He wanted to tell her about the ghost girl, the way she’d tried to put him in a trance by making him gaze into her blue, spinning eyes, and that it had been the strangest dream he’d ever had.  He had the cut on his knee to prove it.

“Hey, what’s up, Mitchell?”

He turned around.  Stephanie.

“Uh, well …”

“Really?  Sounds great!”

He hated the way he fumbled for words even with his own family.  Talking had never come easily for him.  He didn’t exactly stutter.  He just talked . . . funny.  His words were often garbled, and a quick-talker like his kid sister had a distinct advantage over him.

By the stove, Mitchell heard the sizzle of potatoes as Mom dumped them into the pan.  His stomach did another series of flips.

“So you were saying?”  It was Mom again, one eye on the frying pan, one eye on Mitchell.

“Saying what, Mom?”

“That you didn’t sleep so great,” she said. “Why not?  You’re not coming down with something, are you?”

Here it was again.  His chance to tell her about the dreams he’d been having.  But, as much as he was itching to, he knew it wouldn’t accomplish anything.  It would just cause frustration—for his mom and himself.

“I’m okay, Mom,” he said.  “It was just one of those nights, y’know?  Um, where’s Dad?”

The air in the room suddenly felt fifty degrees cooler, despite the heat from the stovetop.  Mom frowned.

“Your father decided to go in to work this morning. Overtime.  Never mind that it’s the weekend.”  She flipped the potatoes with a spatula.  “He’ll probably be gone all day.”  Mitchell heard the annoyance in her voice.  It was sharp, like a freshly honed blade.  And it made him sad that his father wasn’t home.  He didn’t see him as often as he liked.  Three months ago, he had been promoted to office manager at a payroll company in Rochester, and the long hours combined with the thirty-mile commute definitely restricted his availability.  But maybe it was for the best.  Lately, when Mom and Dad were together, the tension was palpable—thick, like toxic fog—and it filtered through the entire house.  It was impossible to escape.  Even when he retreated to his room, or the basement, he felt the tension permeating the walls, as if in search of him.  He hated it, but didn’t know what he could do to help. He just knew that Mom smiled less these days.  And Dad, when not at work, often spent his time puttering outside or in the garage, fixing things that weren’t broken.

Mom flipped more potatoes, slamming them back into the pan harder than she needed to.  Stephanie, seated at the breakfast table, fiddled with an empty glass, pretending not to care.  But Mitchell saw right through her act.  She cared, as much as he did.  And probably felt just as helpless, too.

He knew he should change the subject.  He felt foolish for asking about Dad in the first place.  Besides, maybe he could check on something, without giving himself away.

“Hey, have either of you noticed anyone outside at night lately?”  Blunt, and about as graceful as a pulled muscle, but at least it served its purpose.

From the stove, his mother gave him the are-you-from-Venus-or-Mars look again.

“Have we seen anyone outside at night?  You mean, like the bogeyman?”  Stephanie smirked, put the glass back down on the tabletop, and hugged herself.  “Ooh, so scary, Mitchell!”

“Shut up, Stephanie.”

“Mitchell, don’t talk to your sister that way,” Mom said, glaring at him.  She muttered something to herself, then slowly exhaled, fiddling with the potatoes. “Who have you seen outside?”

Mitchell swallowed.  Should he tell them?  He had just wanted to test the waters, not corner himself.  Obviously they hadn’t noticed anything.  Of course not, you idiot.  It was just a dream!  How could anyone else see your own dream?

“No one, Mom.  I was just wondering, that’s all.”

Mom tilted her head, still looking annoyed (at him? at Dad?), but said nothing more about it.  He hoped she didn’t think he was just telling another lie. . . .

Lying had always come so easily, so naturally to him. When he told a story—embellishing the details as he went—he felt so good. The attention felt good.  It was the one way he could find an audience willing to listen.  Usually, the guys at school just ignored him or laughed at him, called him names like mush-mouth or trout-face because of the way his lips would sometimes pucker up like a fish when he stumbled over his words.

So he made things up.  Just last month, he had told a group of guys in gym class that he’d once run the mile in four and a half minutes.

“Get real, Brant,” one of them shot back. “You couldn’t run a four-and-half-minute half mile.”

Mitchell had protested, the way he always did. But it wasn’t just a lie he was defending.  He was sticking up for himself, for what he aspired to be.  Couldn’t anyone understand that?  The guys at school sure didn’t seem to, and forget about the girls. He could barely string two words together when he was around girls, especially the ones he liked.

He had cheated on tests before, too, despite being a solid B student.  There were times when a B just wasn’t good enough.  Times when he wanted the highest score in the class.  Like during a spelling quiz last March, when he had stuck a 3” by 5” index card, containing all the words he suspected would be on the quiz, inside his left shirtsleeve.  It was child’s play taking a well-timed peek at his concealed word list whenever he needed to, and when he scored a perfect 100 on the quiz, no one suspected that he’d cheated.  His mom had even hung the quiz on the refrigerator for a week.

There were consequences, of course.  He didn’t always get away with cheating when he tried it—he’d been nailed in class four times over the past couple of years.  And he’d been caught in a lie hundreds of times. Not even Mom or Dad believed his stories anymore.  And his sister had long since been wise to him.

But he had to tell somebody about the ghost girl.

Joe Marma.  His best friend.  His only good friend, really.  Joe probably wouldn’t believe what he had to say, either, but there was only one way to find out.

When breakfast was ready, he picked at it, then asked if he could be excused.  This caused his mother to ask him, again, if he was sure he was all right.

“Mm-hmm,”he said.  “I’m just not hungry this morning.”

“Can I have what he didn’t eat?” Stephanie wanted to know.

In his bedroom, Mitchell reached for his cell phone and crafted a text message, trying to describe, in one hundred and fifty characters, what he dreamed—or saw—the last three nights.  It was a hopeless task.

He deleted the message.  “Not like that.”

So he keyed in a new message, two sentences, quick and to the point:  Joe, can u come over? Need 2 tell u something!

He sent the text, and as it zipped through cyberspace, he took a moment to close his eyes.  But instead of darkness, he saw the ghost girl, standing before him, beckoning with her index finger.  He opened his eyes, half-expecting her to be there, right in his room.  This was weird.  Creepy.

Like a nightmare sprouting wings and flying, taking hold of his mind.  Coming to life.

****

Be sure to check out The Eye-Dancers on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords and purchase a copy. You can also learn more about Michael Fedison at, www.eyedancers.wordpress.com.

Interview With Andrew Toy, Author of The Man in The Box

About a month ago, I discovered Andrew Toy when he followed ‘Deanna’s Writing’. I checked out his blog and, not only was I impressed with his blog, I discovered he’s also an author. So, I extended an invite to interview Andrew on his new release, The Man in The Box, which was just released today.

1. Tell me about your book, The Man in The Box.

On the surface, The Man in the Box is a suspense/adventure novel. It’s the story of a man who becomes addicted to this box that is a portal to a dangerous and terrifying jungle island filled with dinosaurs, creepy-crawlies large and small, demon ghosts, and all sorts of things that the typical paper pusher only fantasizes about being pitted against. This man, Robbie, becomes addicted to going back to this box every time something in his life doesn’t go his way, whether he gets into an argument with his wife, he’s unable to pay the doctor bills, or his teenage daughter starts shunning him. So at the heart of the story lies this man who feels trapped by a monotonous anti-climatic life who then makes the selfish decision to leave his family without a husband and father, in order to pursue his own private adventures and aspirations. But, to be honest, that’s just the beginning. There are many, many twists and turns in this book that so far, have left many people finishing it in just one night! For any skeptics, I like to sum it up this way: Think average family man trapped in Jurassic Park on Skull Island and finds himself in a sort of Hunger Games.

 2. What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to push the boundaries of suspense. I’m not much of an action/adventure type of guy, because I don’t think much of the suspense is really all that gripping, to be quite honest. Writing this book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I even laid awake many nights wondering how I was going to get Robbie or his family, out of certain situations. The book took three years to write (and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite), and over the course of that time, I realized I was writing about myself and my own tendencies to keep secrets and pursue my own selfish ambitions at the cost of my family. So it became a very personal book to me, and I’m sure many men (and women) will relate to the main character’s struggles concerning what’s right and what’s wrong. I’ve even been told that there is much of a Lord of the Rings vibe in here, pertaining to the battle raging within.

3. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

In some way or another, yes. I would say storyteller would be a more correct term. Charles Dickens and Ian McEwan are writers because they have a way with words that I just haven’t been able to grasp yet. But ever since I was young I wanted to tell stories. I remember being a little kid and locking myself up in my room on weekends and recording myself telling stories on my little red tape recorder, complete with sound effects and music. As I got older I started telling stories through cartoons and comics. Then in high school you couldn’t fit a paperclip between me and my video camera, and all my friends knew that if they were going to hang out with me, I would have my camera and some sort of script or story idea and we’d film movies that sometimes lasted for weeks. But now, I am perfectly content to sit at the computer and pound away at the keys always searching for that next untold story.

4. What advice do you have for unpublished and emerging novelists?

Edit, rewrite, promote. I hate giving that advice because I was always given that advice and I thought it was so elementary. Then after over 300 rejections I decided to listen to that advice. First, always be editing. Pay for it if you have to – your time is valuable! (I edit for a very competitive fee, by the way, so don’t hesitate to contact me.) While you’re editing, don’t be afraid to add scenes, switch things around, eliminate “cool” ideas that, even if you just have a slight gut feeling that it doesn’t fit… take it out! Always go with your gut instinct. I don’t know how many times I showed my wife a new scene, basically seeking approval for what I honestly didn’t think worked anyway. Save yourself and your spouse the agony and just toss it if you have the slightest inkling that it doesn’t work. And thirdly, promote your book, even as you’re writing it. I used to be very “modest” when it came to writing. I wouldn’t tell anyone I was writing a book because I thought I was being humble. If you’re like that, think of it this way: You cannot self-promote humility. But, you can self-promote your skills and choose to be humble about it. Tell everyone you’re writing a book. They’ll hold you accountable to it, and they’ll be the first to read it when it’s done.

5. What’s next for Andrew as a writer; what future projects are you working on?

I am really excited about some of my upcoming projects! I’ve got a whole list of them saved on my computer. My next book should be coming out next year, and it’s a bit different from The Man in the Box. The tone is more laid-back and it’s more dramatic. It’s called I Am the Lion, and it’s about a widowed father and his daughter, unable to connect after his wife’s death. Because he’s bipolar, her living situation with him becomes a risk for her. But the daughter’s fourth grade teacher steps in and begins to pull them together, helping them face their loss as a family. The next one (should I reveal it?) is more to the tune of The Man in the Box. But instead of dinosaurs and jungle animals, this one involves visitors from above (and I’m not talking about angels). It will be a very unique and fun look at a very familiar concept.

6. Where can readers find your book?

You can go to Blackwyrm.com. It will also be available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble. And please, I ask that after you read it, be sure to write a review on Amazon and goodreads.com to help spread the word.

You can also find Andrew and his book on Goodreads.

 

 

 

Notice!

I realize that I’ve broken the blogging schedule on both my blogs, ‘Deanna’s Writing’ and ‘Crusades and Crusaders’. I’ve had to deal with quite a lot this past week; that’s why I haven’t posted anything on my blogs.

Nothing is going to change on ‘Crusades and Crusaders’. I plan on getting back into my weekly Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday posting schedule starting this coming Sunday, November 25th.

As for this blog (Deanna’s Writing); I’m going to have to change the focus of this blog. It will still be a blog that follows my writing, of course–that’s why it’s called ‘Deanna’s Writing’ in the first place–and I’ll still accept guest articles and promo posts from other authors. But I’m going to have to do something about what type of content I post; something that’s going to entice more people to subscribe, come back and read more. I haven’t quite figured out what exactly it will entail as of yet. But once I figure it out, I will follow through with it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

 

At the Gibsons Public Library: Reading from To be Maria

Shortly after I started volunteering at the Gibsons Public Library, Lynda Kennedy–a lady I met during the 2011 season of Story Theatre–invited me to participate in an author reading at the library, an event she hosted herself. Of course, I jumped at the idea. Since To be Maria is the book I want to push, I told her I wanted to read from it.

Several months later…

On Wednesday, November 14th, the event was an incredible success! Before an audience of around sixty people (mostly older people) I read a short excerpt from ‘To be Maria’, the second chapter. Since ‘To be Maria’ is not in book form, I gave several bookmarks away and also brought a few copies of ‘Day of Revenge’ with me to sell.

I should also say that three other authors read from their books as well. It was a fun, successful event for all!

 

 

 

Sending Lynda and Library team a huge thanks for making this event incredibly enjoyable.

RE: How Not to Write Fiction

I’ve noticed that I received a good amount of engagement/feedback on my latest article, ‘How Not to Write Fiction: 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid’; so much that I have decided to follow up on it.

First of all, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who has liked/voted on this post.

I would like to invite anyone who has read this article to add to anything you think I missed in this article; how not to write fiction. You’re welcome to post your thoughts in the comments section here.

 

Four Ways to Cultivate Ideas for a Blog

Literally millions of people own and operate a blog. So, how can you come up with ideas that stand out amongst the large crowd of bloggers? Well, it is not the idea that is unique; it is up to you to take on a well talked about topic with a new slant and a distinct voice.

Every idea is already taken by business owners, writers and internet junkies. However, that does not mean you should shy away from topics that are already talked about on a blog. If you are really passionate about a topic, you should blog about it anyway.

Here are four ways you can cultivate ideas for a blog.

1. Chronicle important life experiences. Reflect on experiences you have had that has had a significant impact on your life–good or bad. Chronicle these events in your journal with as much detail as you can include. Don’t just write about your experiences. Explain how they have changed your life and provide readers with a little inspiration, tips on how they can improve their lives. People want to read about true to life events that include important life lessons. It makes it more human and down-to-earth.

2. Read lots. It is as simple as that. Read lots. Read fiction books, non-fiction books, history books, magazines, poetry, anything that you can get your hands on and anything that inspires and interests you. Reading creates intelligence and intelligence creates imagination and innovation. Reading will help cultivate ideas for a blog. If you have a good idea for a story, you can even base your blog on your story.

3. Take photos. Believe it or not, there are some excellent blogs that contain far more photos than content. You don’t have to be a photographer to post photos on your blog. You can choose the best photos you have, upload them onto your blog and then include a short story underneath each photo. Images are a powerful way to attract readers.

4. Get involved. Always think of yourself as a journalist. In order to get the good stories, you have to go out there and you have to get involved. If you don’t have the money to travel abroad, participate in local community events or join a club. The only way you will be able to obtain valuable life experience is if you step out of the box, meet new people and learn new skills.

 

Dear Beauty

Dear Beauty,

There seems to be a trend here: you sit outside my door and meow loudly early in the morning, before six-thirty. I should let you off the hook since, after all, I am an early riser. But you started your meowing even earlier than six-thirty this morning. I don’t know exactly how early, but it was still black outside when I woke to your cries.

Beauty, you know very well that we’re here. You are not all alone in this large house of ours. When I wake up, I tend to your needs. I give you food, or I let you outside. Whatever you want to do first.

I just want to let you know that we are not going to abandon you. Ever. We love you so much. You’re the most gorgeous, adorable, loving cat anyone could have. So, you don’t need to meow every single morning.