Words of Confusion Wednesday


Ok.  I’m starting something new.  Words that confuse us when we write.  I mean, let’s face it. The English language is probably one of the hardest languages to learn because words have so many meanings, not to mention they have sound alike, but not spelled alike, twins.  For example, today’s confusing words:  peek, peak and pique.  All sound alike, all can do and mean different things.

 

Peak as a noun:  refers to the pinnacle of a hill or mountain.    “The hikers arrived at the peak at sunset.”

Peak as a verb:  it means to reach a maximum.  “His speed will peak at 130 miles per hour.”

Peak as an adjective:  “His peak speed is 130 miles per hour.”

 

Peek as a noun or a verb means to glance or have a brief look.

 

Pique, as a noun means a sense of wounded pride.  “More is at stake than just personal pique.”

Pique as a verb means to excite, arouse or irritate.  “The manuscript piqued the editor’s interest.”

 

I hope you visit every Wednesday for more Words of Confusion.  Until next time…

 

 

Balancing Family with Writing


Today, I have the beautiful and talented author, Terri Rochenski, with me today to talk about how she balances a family and her writing.  It’s a very appropriate post as Terri just became a mom for the 3rd time.  Her first two were precious little girls.  Her third…baby Luke, and is he ever adorable.

But I won’t get sidetracked here, though talking about babies just makes me smile from ear to ear.  Instead, I’m going to hand over my blog to Terri.  It’s all  yours, my friend.

***

Balancing life in general – hubs, children, and home under construction with my writing hobby has always been an issue. How do I do it? Every day is different, but for me life comes first.

Children whining? I leave my desk (kitchen table). Children want me to read to them? I put down my WiP edits and take the stack of books they’re holding out to me.

Some days I sit and play My Little Ponies or join them in coloring pictures of Hello Kitty, my mind in la la land plotting the next scene.

If I’m scrubbing a toilet, showing my girls how to knead bread, sitting with the hubs at night while watching reruns of Pawn Stars or American Pickers, my mind is often on the characters inside it screaming for attention – who they are and how they speak. Of course, some days I’m unable to multi task so grilling supper and kissing boo boos has my full attention.

Often times I’ll go days – weeks – without writing a single new word because life demands my undivided attention. This is the reason I’m lucky to button up one novel in three years rather than three in one like some authors I know! Lucky ducks.

I don’t know how others do it. I suppose if there wasn’t an infant crying to be fed or changed, and fighting, screaming sisters cluttering the rooms of my house with countless toys, crayons, and dolls it might be possible. Would I change things, though, if given the chance?

Absolutely not.

My two little girls and a 1 month old son (I guess throw the hubs in there too *wink wink*) come first for me. Always have, always will.

Perhaps once all my precious ones are in school and the construction zone we call a remodel in progress is finished, I’ll find more time for my hobby. Until then, I’ll just keep plugging along scribbling whenever and wherever.

***

And what a great scribble she’s done with EYE OF SOUL.  And now for a little about Terri:

Bio:      

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

My Links:

Website Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

 

 Book Blurb:

Escape.
That should be Hyla’s first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason.

Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King’s warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents.

Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost.

Forever.

Excerpt:

Cursing her arthritic fingers, Miri squeezed out a rag and draped it over the human man’s hot forehead.

“I’ve seen a lot more harvests than you, old goat,” she muttered, lifting his eyelids. “I’m thinking you’ll never catch up either. Doubt you last another half-moon’s phase.”

Miri pushed to her feet and stretched her hunched back. A heavy sigh slipped past her wrinkled lips as she glanced around the sick house. Keeping the night watch wasn’t too bad—she’d volunteered often since her old bones wouldn’t allow much sleep.

“Joints wasted, hearing all but gone …” Miri yanked on the long white braid lying over her shoulder. “I’m the old goat.”

She shuffled down the aisle, woolen kirtle swishing in the silence. A cool, autumn breeze rustled the crimson leaves of the magnolia and palm fronds overhead, drawing her gaze upward. Violet streaks lit the pre-dawn sky.A dog barked, yipped, and fell silent.

Miri peered across the village green to the thatched buildings beyond. A shadow passed between two cottages. Another three hurried toward the neighboring dwelling.

“Sight fading or my mind, too?” Miri rubbed her watery eyes, blinked, and leaned forward. Light flickered through the palm trees behind the outlying homes.

Torches?

The flames drew closer, weaving between the trunks.

Humans from the mainland? Miri’s hand clutched at her throat. Soldiers. Fadir have mercy.

The men crept through the village, taking up positions at every doorway. Two brutes, more horse-like in size than human, approached the sick house.

Sputtering torch held high, the first strode forward, dark eyes intent upon Miri. A green surcoat covered broad shoulders and fell to his thighs. The golden wheat sheaf of the city of Varosh adorned his chest.

Cold sweat beaded upon Miri’s brow. Breath burst from her lungs, and she moved back, clutching the door jam.

The second soldier stepped closer, chains and shackles clanking in his hand. He stopped two paces away from Miri, and a smile stretched his stubbled cheeks, revealing rotted teeth. “Good morning pointy-ears.”

Miri stared, heartbeat thundering in her ears. She’d been called worse in her eighty-three birth passings but never with such malice.

A single cry rang out across the village, and doors crashed inward. Screams rent the air.

“Don’t fight Native woman,” rotten-teeth sneered, shackles outstretched.

“W-why?” Miri whispered, taking a step backward.

A scowl narrowed his gaze, and his fist shot forward.

Bursts of light and pain exploded through Miri as she crumpled to the floor.

#

Miri’s people huddled on the village green as fall’s pale sun crested the trees. Cold metal had been clasped around their necks and ankles. Many trembled in the cool air, little more than night clothes covering their nakedness. Miri held to her braid with a white-knuckled grip, her head and its egg-sized bump throbbing in time with her pulse.

A handful of other battered Natives who had attempted flight were the last to join them, the soldiers tossing them forward like sacks of potatoes.

 

Want to win a copy:  Try your luck and enter the Rafflecopter drawing.  Just click on the link and Good Luck!!

EYE OF SOUL GIVEAWAY!

Can’t wait for a contest to be over!!  Get your copy of Eye of Soul from any one of the following retailers:

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Writing is Not a Walk in the Park


This post resonated in me so much. I couldn’t have said it better and I think all authors, aspiring and seasoned, need to keep this handy and refer back to it now and then. Writing is not a walk in the park. If you’re a writer/author, you’d better put on some armor before swimming in these shark-infested waters.

The Eclectic Zaftig Chick

I’ve preached this before but it bears repeating:

Writing is not a walk in the park. Unless that walk involves cold unyielding wind and a bunch of serial killer midget clowns chasing you. For the new aspiring authors out there, no magic number for rejections=finally getting a publication. I repeat, if you’ve gotten a billion-six, go for a billion-six and one.  Check this out for a good list of famous authors that were snubbed. It’s humbling.

Learn how to spot whether your rejection letter is a form or personal. This will guide you along your big walk over the Lego Pit of Publishing. Too many form rejections and it’s time to rethink and sniff test your baby for a stinky. We all bow down to the manuscript we’ve written like some golden nugget. Just make sure it’s not really a polished turd in disguise. We are our own worst enemy, much like…

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Angry Birds, Zombies and Candy Crush – what’s your distraction?


Are there any other authors out there who come up for air from their manuscripts only to delve into Angry Birds, Plants v Zombies or Candy Crush Saga?

What is it with these games and what makes them so darn addictive?  Do you find you have to level up on your favorite game more than you have to finish writing your current chapter?

How do you pull yourself back into the writing cocoon?

For me, I have to give up all social media for days, sometimes weeks.   i have to disconnect.  Turn it off.  Don’t visit. Don’t think about it.

Please tell me I’m not the only one.  What do you do when the Candies are calling you?

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Writer Acronyms


Have you ever landed on a writer’s page and read acronyms like WIP, MS, MC and wondered what they meant?  Below you will find a list of many of the common ones I could think of.  If you can think of any others, please post in the comments.

WIP:  Work in Progress

MC:  Main Character

POV:  Point of View

MS:  manuscript

MSS:  manuscripts

YA:  Young Adult

MG:  Middle Grade

LI:  Love interest

SF/F:  Science Fiction/Fantasy

RWA: Romance Writers of America

ARC:  Advance Reader Copy

NF:  Non-Fiction

CB:  Chapter Book

PB: Picture Book

HEA:  Happily Ever After

OMNI:  Omnicent

IM: internal monologue

IT:  internal thought

TBR:  To be read

RUE:  Resist the urge to Explain

SNI:  shiny new idea

OTT:  over the top

NaNoWriMo:  National November Writing Month

PW:  Publisher’s Weekly

WMH:  Writer’s Market Handbook

ER:  Easy Reader

SCBWI:  Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Partial:  when an agent or publisher requests the first 30 – 50 pages of your MS

full:  when an agent or publisher requests the entire MS

GMC:  goal/motivation/conflict

Beta:  a secondary reader and writer who checks your MS for mistakes and checks for flow and suggests improvements

Slush pile:  a pile of unsolicited manuscripts sent to agents, editors and publishers.

SASE:  Self addressed stamped envelope – believe it or not, there are still agents and publishers that want you to send your MS the old fashioned way.

query:  a concise pitch of your story

BS:  Back story

EC:  external conflict

H/H:  hero/heroine

TSTL:  Too stupid to live

BICHOK:  butt in chair, hands on keyboard

CP:  critique partner

Crit:  critique

FF:  Flash Fiction

LBGT:  Lesbian/Bisexual/Gay/Transgender

POD:  Print on Demand

So the next time your Beta and CP tell you your YA MS has too much BS, there’s not enough EC, your H/H has no GMC, you might need to rewrite and add a LI in order to get a HEA so your baby doesn’t end up in the slush pile.

EXCLUSIVE Interview with TFDOTNT Survivor, Eric Brighton


Hey, folks. Thanks for stopping by WYAB to check in on me.  I have to tell you, I’m feeling a bit shaky.  The accident a few days ago has left me feeling a bit numb.  So tragic.  Did you see the signs on the walls of the school when you came in?  The kids are calling today “THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW”.   What a positive message in light of all that’s happened.  I just hope Eric Brighton can shed some light on the events.  He should be here any moment

[knock at door]

Oh, there he is.  Pardon me.

[I open the door]

Hey Eric, what’s up?

Hey Ms. Keller Ford. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ma’am.

Oh, please, It’s Jenny.  Come in and sit down.

Umm, yes, Ma’am.

[I walk to my desk and gesture for him to sit across from me]

Thank you for coming to my office to talk to me.  It’s been a pretty crazy past few days, huh? 

Yeah, I think it’s gonna take the school a little while to get over all this… I mean the newspapers and television cameras and stuff.  It’s an awful lot to take, you know?

Are you okay?  The events on the football field must have scared you a bit.

Wow, yeah, it was a little nuts. There was fire and debris everywhere. It’s amazing no one got hurt.

Did you think you and your friend, Maya –[I flip through my pad] , I’m sorry.  I don’t have a last name….”

Oh, Maya? Pearson. Her name is Pearson, Ma’am.

Thank you.  Did you think you and Ms. Pearson would escape the tragedy alive?

Well, I kinda didn’t even think about it, ya know?  It all happened too quickly.

Can you tell me anything about Maya Pearson.  Rumor has from other student’s she’s a little touched, if you know what I mean.

Hey, come on.  That’s not nice.  What kind of interview is this? Maya’s cool, and she’s my friend.  If you gotta problem with her, then hey, I’m out of here.

Now don’t take that personally.  It’s just one hears so much during times like these.  I just want to make sure I have the right picture in my mind of her.  How did the two of you meet?

[He blushes] it’s kind of embarrassing, really.  I used to be a bit of a geek. The kids ragged on me all the time.  I got pushed down during recess once in elementary school, and Maya helped me up and told off those jerks.  It was, like, great. I’ve kinda had a thing for her ever since, but I never had the guts to tell her until the other day.

You know, I spoke with head cheerleader Kelly Jorganson about what happened.  She told me you guys are an item which makes me wonder what you were doing with Miss Person on the roof of the building when the accident happened.  That is where you were, correct?

Well, yeah. It was really weird, you know… We saw this bright light in the sky, and next thing I know Maya is racing toward the booth like a mad demon. I mean, seriously, I must have been dreaming or something, because dude… she was zooming. I followed her up to the top, and by the time we got up there, everything just went crazy. I mean the flames and the heat…

Flames and heat?

Huh? Yeah, the explosion. What did you think I was talking about?

[His eyes widen]

Dude, the freaking world was coming to an end. Do you really think we’d be up there… umm, well…  You know… it’s none of your business.

I see.  Tell me, Eric, do you see yourself as a hero?

Hero? Nah. I mean, it was the right thing to do, right? I couldn’t just stand there when all those people needed help. And all I really did is help people away from the fire. Now, those firefighters, they were like mad demon dogs out there… jumping into the fire and saving people.  They were the real heroes—saving the people stuck inside.

Where was Maya?

She was with the firefighters.  She brought people to me, and I lead them away.

She was in the fire with the rescue workers?

Well, no, she couldn’t have been, right? She didn’t have any fire-gear on. She’da gotten hurt. Right? [His brow furrows as he looks to the floor]

According to the police, they’re looking for a mysterious man who goes by the name of Edgar.  Apparently your friend, Maya, was seen with him several days before the accident.  Do you know anything about him?  Do you think he and Maya had anything to do with the accident?

Hey, now, don’t be blaming Maya for anything.  She was with me the whole time. And I’ve never heard of this Edgar person, but I did see her with someone earlier that afternoon, but I thought it was my imagination ‘cause he like, disappeared, and that’s impossible, right?

Tell me, Eric. How would you rank yourself in school?  Top of the class?

Ha!  Lady, you’re quacked.  Nah, I kind of get by. Maya is actually tutoring me in math.  She’s the bookworm, not me. I wish I could do better at school, but you know, it’s hard to study with track practice and all.

Has the accident changed you in any way? 

Well, I sure won’t look at a football field the same again. [Smiles] You know, it’s weird. All those people were there to enjoy themselves, and they almost died.  It’s like a miracle that they didn’t. It’s almost like they had a guardian angel there, looking out for them. As far as changing me, I guess you could say that you never know what might happen, you know what I mean?

Is there anything you’d like to add that might shed some light on the accident and your friend Maya?  Do you feel as if you’ve been given a second chance at life?

Well, I never really felt like I was in danger.  The fire was as hot as He… well, it was really hot, and I did get a burn or two.

[He flexes his hands]

Come to think of it, those burns healed really quickly.  Anyway— I don’t think anything will change really.  I mean, I’m the same person, right?

[I nod]

I’m not sure, Eric.  After witnessing something like that, I don’t know if any of us will ever be the same.  

[I stand and walk around the desk]

[Eric stands].  “Yes Ma’am.  Is that it?  May I go?”

“Yes, Eric.  Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.  We’ll be in touch, okay?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

I close the door behind him pick up the phone.  “Emily, find out what you can about Maya Pearson, then find her and bring her to me.  We need to talk.”

***

If you want to learn more about Maya’s and Eric’s story, you’re going to have to pick up your copy of THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW by Jennifer M. Eaton.  It’s a highly explosive tale, one that will make you happy you’re on this side of the pages.

A little about Jennifer:

Jennifer M. Eaton is a contemporary blender of Science Fiction, Dystopian, and Romance.  Her work ranges from the sweet contemporary romances of Paper Wishes, to the dystopian society of Last Winter Red and Optimal Red, with a dusting of young adult paranormal just for fun in The First Day of the New Tomorrow.

While not off visiting other worlds, Jennifer calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Full time team leader, full time mom, and full time novelist… what more can you ask for?  Writing help did you say?  Well, sure!  Jennifer hosts an informational blog aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be. Stop on by and chat. She loves to hear from fans! http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

***

Her contemporary sweet romance, Paper Wishes is currently available in ebook format.  The Dystopian novelette “Last Winter Red” is available as part of the “Make Believe” Anthology.   Each title is available from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords.

Paper Wishes:  Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever.

Last Winter Red:  In search of a husband, Emily leaves the safety of the city and risks her life stepping into the outside world.  What she finds there will question the foundations of everything she believes in. Available as part of the Make Believe anthology.

The First Day of the New Tomorrow: Maya dreams of having everything she wants, but when she gets it, she can’t give it back fast enough. (Coming in September, 2013 from Muse It Up)

You can find her at any of the spots below:

Email | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook Manic Readers |  Goodreads | Amazon

     

Zoom to Amazon.com to buy Jennifer M. Eaton’s books

Zoom to Barnes and Noble

Zoom to Muse It Up’s Website to buy “The First Day of the New Tomorrow”

The Family “Plot”


As a child I spent many hours dreaming of the type of family I’d have when I had my own.  It would be a little of the Waltons,  touched with a bit of Happy Days, and blessed by angels like in Highway to Heaven.  We’d live in a big house with a white picket fence. The house would be filled with love, laughter, music and reading.  I’d have a home, not a house.  I had it all plotted out.

What I got was completely opposite.

Insecurities, bad choices along the way, marriages to two men who were not my best friend, the tragic death of the one man who was…  Through all of that, I had four beautiful children, children that I dreamed would be best friends, confidants, tight, unwavering in their love for one another.  Again, I shake my head in sadness at what went wrong.  While wonderful and dynamic as individuals, as a family unit, my plot fell apart.  They are not close.  They rarely speak to one another.  One lives on one side of the country, the other is a traveler.  One still lives at home and another is floundering, making wrong, unhealthy decisions.  They are all adults.  My molding, plotting years are over.

Sadly, I can’t pick up an eraser and fix the plot line.  My childhood dream of the perfect family gave way to a different one, a different set of circumstances, six individuals who have failed to connect to one another on an intimate, personal level.  As I lay in bed last night pondering the most recent events, I wondered where I went wrong, and if given the power to go back and fix the story, would I be able to find where the plot line strayed.

I don’t have the answers, but there is one thing the writer in me has taught me about life.  As characters in the book of life, poop happens.  Lots and lots of poop happens.  We are tortured, tested, made to laugh, made to cry.  How we face the antagonists in our lives determines who we are and where we go.  While I would love to scribble ‘happy happy’ on everyone I love, I am not in charge of their destiny.  Their story is their own.  I cannot provide a happy ending for them.  I can provide one for me.  All I can do is hope and pray our stories are entwined somewhere down the road and we all end up together in a great big white house with a white picket fence, in a home filled with love.

It is a dream I have.  My family ‘plot’.