Contests and Serials

On top of my day to day life of tackling a two year old and working on my Young Adult Paranormal book, I am working towards other writing projects. I just finished a short story for a literary journal which I mentioned before. It’s not my usual genre of writing, but one beta reader loved it and the other is currently reading it. Once they are done, the story is going to the journal. I also have a few more stories I plan on working on.

One of them is a flash fiction. Usually a 100 word short story is easy for me. Usually. I have an idea of what I want to do, but aside from that, I’m stumped. It’s rough trying to write something that is more like nonfiction and changing it to fiction. I’m not one to write about my life, but I think what I want to do is a great idea for a 100 word short story.

Another contest I just heard about is a poetry contest. Now, I know my poetry is not the best, but I do have some poems that could be submitted. What’s great is the entry fee is only $16 and I can use both unpublished and published works. I definitely have some poems I can use for that. My only problem is, do I choose something funny or something disturbing? Maybe one of each.

Along with these many contests and literary journal submissions, I am writing a serial. I love the idea of serials. It’s very Victorian literature and I love Victorian literature. It was my favorite class in college. Anyway, I figure a serial is a great way to keep me writing and experiment with my writing as well as keeping my mind from going crazy with my second draft. I have no doubt that the serial is going to be equally as hard, but it will be just as rewarding. What’s more, I plan on writing the serial for NaNoWriMo. Since an episode is roughly 25k words, I can feasibly write two for NaNoWriMo. I plan on working on episode one before November and plan for two more episodes for this NaNoWriMo.

I am extremely excited for the serial. It’s a character I’ve been wanting to write with. He’s an inventor and genius. Think the love child of The 11th Doctor and Sherlock. Yeah, he’s that kind of awesome. The setting is a steampunk UK. I have a basic knowledge of the UK and will most likely not be exact with its geography and names, but that’s why it’s steampunk. It’s an A.U. of our UK.

I’m sure I’m biting off more than I can chew. The good thing about the poetry contest is that I have a bunch of poems I can use. And I am done with one of the many short stories that need to be written. The contests aren’t due for a while, but it’s always good to be ahead of the game. Funny, I’m never ahead in anything except for my writing contest submissions when I submit.

On a totally different note, I finally took pictures for my Etsy store. The place will have stock again soon!

Poetry Tuesday: Haunted

Haunted

Standing near the sill he stayed, wishing for life.

Waiting and wondering as whispers pass his ear.

Nothing to grasp, no one to speak, never a moment of respite

He stays quietly, his heart beating, but no real feeling.

 

Alone, only his austere memories to accompany the long days.

Wooden floors creak with the winds, all bleak and ruined.

Cocks crowing as the dawn creeps over the darkened trees

He stays quietly, hollow without heaven to look forward to.

 

Bright is the dawn, before the evening breeze, he still waits.

Wishing that his works will last for all eternity

Nothing for his pain, no person for his love, never a moment of respite

He stays quietly, haunted by his past, by the hallowed ground he stands.

 

Serene days, the simple life he led with spirits to welcome him in drinks.

Wasting away, never waking from the waning of his pitiful life.

Careless, or perhaps carefree, he created no importance to stand by.

He stays quietly, hindered by his haste to atone from the past.

 

Atonement comes with abiding the laws of the almighty, so he stays.

Waiting for his acceptance, wishing for his wasteful beginnings to disappear

He stays quietly as the hand from above heal the misgivings of his soul.

Writing

I am so scared to have anything I write on the internet. My biggest fear is that someone will take what I have written and replace my name with their own. It isn’t a matter of work or the the time it took to write that item. It’s more because everything I write has a piece of me and that piece of me is being used for literary prostitution if someone were to steal it. I would feel violated, ashamed, and embarassed that I bared my soul to the world and the world gave me the finger.

That said, I choose to push aside my anxieties. I want people to see what I have. I want people to experience my words and take that piece of my soul into them. That’s why I want to be published. I want to always be remembered. I may not be known as Casia after my death, but everything I write will be read by someone and then that person has a piece of me. If I’m lucky, that person will be inspired to create. But, even if they don’t, I have done something to be proud of.

And now, I’m going to try an experiment. I’m actually going to post some of my writing that isn’t blog or just the ramblings of a twenty-something. I am going to post my poetry.

I feel safe posting my poetry because 1. I don’t feel I’m that great of a poet. There are days that the poetry is amazing, but I’m not a poet by any stretch of the imagination. 2. I don’t plan on publishing my poetry. I may one day and those will be in a compilation if so. They would most likely be the poetry posted on here.

And so, on Tuesdays, there will be a poem posted. They may have been written years or days ago. It all depends on what poem strikes me as “the one”.

Procrastination

We all have that moment where we’d rather be lazy and not do anything. Some people have it less and others have it so bad that you wonder if there is a permanent butt impression on the couch. Alas, I am of the latter.

Procrastination is thriving in my home. I’m finding myself ignoring the big stuff (dishes, exercise, etc.) and paying more attention to the mundane (reading). Even my writing has procrastination growing in it. Procrastination is like a fungus. If gone unchecked, your doctor starts thinking of amputation.

I don’t want to be amputated. I don’t want to live in a messy home or be a writer with only one publication. I want to be more and to do that, I have to do more. However, I find myself doing too much and getting stressed. Therein lies the rub.

There is a delicate balance between procrastination and active. I just need to learn to take my time and keep working, but not so much that I don’t rest. And while I’m trying to figure that out, I am going to just look at this awesome picture I found on Facebook. Even if it is historically inaccurate (which it very well may be), it makes me smile.

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On a totally non-procrastination way, my writing is going better. I’m writing almost every day and I’ve finished a short story that is now in the editing process. It’s going to The First Line literary journal (the first place I’ve gotten published that wasn’t vanity or school related). Granted, I’ve done the easy part and soon the hard part will begin (if you think writing is hard, just imagine waiting for the ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ from the publisher).

You can find The First Line here:  http://www.thefirstline.com/

 

Book Fifty-Four of 2014: BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS by Molly Harper

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Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a romance set in a small island just off of Newport, Rhode Island. If you don’t know much about Newport, know this: there are HUGE mansions there. I actually got to see a bunch of them when I visited my mom a while back. I didn’t take any pictures of the homes (should have), but they are amazing. Think Vanderbilt. Yeah, those kind of mansions.

Anyway, Molly Harper sets her book in this lavish lifestyle. It reminded me a bit about The Haunting (90′s remake of an old B&W horror, staring Catherine Zeta-Jones). The house was dark and creepy. It had a life of its own. With a curse and a hundred year old murder mystery, Harper sets this romance in what could have been a horror with romantic elements. As such, it was a romance that bridged the living and the dead with some horror elements.

Most of the ghostly scenes aren’t too creepy. There are moments where characters are nearly killed and have ghostly figures visit their beds. The bed moments are seriously creepy. It is the characters that really make the story. And by characters, I do add the dead ones. The living characters are hilarious. Even in moments of stress they find humor. They all have their own quirks and are rather geeky (some more than others). I LOVED the geek references and was always smiling or laughing. It has been a long time since I had laughed out loud with a book.

The dead characters, though not seen all the time, have an interesting depth that gets the reader wondering what their lives were like (I found myself wondering about my own ancestors as well). Possessions and cold spots galore make you wonder who was the killer. It was like a love triangle only it ended badly. I pretty much pegged the villain, but it didn’t stop me from reading to the end.

This book had the creep value, the romance felt more like reality, there’s geektastic humor as well. A fun book to read on a rainy day or a bright and sunny one.

Book Fifty-Three of 2014: CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Vicki Leigh

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Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.
Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.
A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

** I received this ARC from Curiosity Quills Press for an honest review**

Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh and published by Curiosity Quills Press is a paranormal young adult adventure/romance. When I started reading it, I was sure that the narrator would be a girl. I was pleasantly surprised. The male lead, Daniel, is a Dreamcatcher. Not the Native American totem for good sleep, but a breathing corporeal spirit living his afterlife to protect people’s sleep until the day they die.

By breathing corporeal spirit I mean exactly that. No, they aren’t zombies. No, they aren’t alive. They have a body, but have all the benefits of being a spirit (invisibility, going through walls, etc.) and some downsides of being corporeal (eating, bleeding, etc.). Yes, they can basically go from one to the other. The concept is interesting. The moment I realized what the Dreamcatcher did, I thought of the Native American dreamcatcher I made in Brownies. It makes me wonder if somewhere down the road we will see a connection to that later.

Anyways, the book was good. I liked the concept of a Dreamcatcher and I loved the fact that the narrator was strictly Daniel. It’s nice to see the male point of view in a romance and even better to deviate from the female narrator stereotype. There were moments where I felt Kayla was a bit “woe is me”, but given her circumstances, it made sense. She did show gumption though and that’s all that matters.

There were moments of lull, but those were quickly replaced by action. The last 50% of the book was a torrent of action that the reader could end up lost in. Lost in a good way. Whereas I took a while to get through the first half, the second half made up in pace and action as well as delectable betrayal (which I had partially pegged). The main villain will come as a surprise, but it makes it that much more.

It didn’t end on a completely great note, but there is some happiness to get the reader satisfied. There is also enough mucked-up-ness to keep the reader wondering what Vicki Leigh has in store for the next book. Catch Me When I Fall is expected to be in publication on October 23, 2014.

Cover Reveal! THE MISADVENTURES OF HOBART HUCKLEBUCK: MAGIC AND MAYHEM by Stan Swanson

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Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan (http://ricky-gunawan.daportfolio.com/).

 

Things are not as they should be in Pennywhistle. Enchanted toasters are not toasting, enchanted sprinklers are not sprinkling and Hobart Hucklebuck’s origami messenger birds are suddenly attacking him. Someone seems to be draining the power from all of the enchanted items in the village. But who could it be and why have they implicated Hobart’s grandfather?

“The Misadventures of Hobart Hucklebuck” follows Hobart and his friends, Specks Spacklethack and Rosie Rumpleskirt, as they try to solve this mystery and free Hobart’s grandfather from the Tower of Tribulation on Mumblemonk Mountain. The trio’s investigation into the mysterious happenings on Druid Lane gets them into hot water more than once and ultimately brings them dangerously close to disaster not only for themselves, but the entire village of Pennywhistle.

THE MISADVENTURES OF HOBART HUCKLEBUCK is a middle-grade action and adventure fantasy novel written by Stan Swanson and published by Curiosity Quills Press. Its publication date is August 7, 2014 and boy am I looking forward to this book. It looks like it will be a bunch of fun.

You can find this book on Goodreads and follow up with some reviews for it at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22570883-the-misadventures-of-hobart-hucklebuck

The author, Stan Swanson

The author, Stan Swanson

Stan Swanson is a Bram Stoker award finalist and author of eight books including Forever Zombie (a collection of short stories), Write of the Living Dead (a highly-praised writing guide written with Araminta Star Matthews and Rachel Lee) and Return of the Scream Queen (co-authored with Michael McCarty and Linnea Quigley). He is also editor/publisher for Dark Moon Books and Dark Moon Digest. Upcoming titles include Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (the first book in a young adult horror series co-written with Araminta Star Matthews), Dead Sparrows (a collection of apocalyptic poetry) and The Methlands (a horror novel co-written with award-winning author Joe McKinney).