Monday, December 5, 2016

Breeding Insanity

I'm literally sitting here wondering what to type about as I eat frozen peanut butter M&M's. Which rocks frozen by the way. So if you have a chance to get the share size, do that, because any smaller is just silliness.

There are so many things to say since October, but not really one theme to narrow it to as this season has found me sorting through a lot of feelings. Do seasons seem to bring out things in you, too?

Here's what's happened in the last month, questioning my sanity.

1. I quit one gym months ago because I wasn't going as much and the drive was further than I wanted. I kept saying I'd join the new closer gym, going way more often. My hubs knows my forgetfulness and bought me a membership as a surprise. Which is awesome...and now means I have to go. And sometimes...I'm whiny and "I don't wanna!!"

2. I'm hunkering down a bit more on my chapter edits. Well I was. Then I started a book and couldn't put it down. I read it completely. Started edits and swore off books till done. Couldn't manage that. Found another "too good to put down" book. And the cycle began again! Currently I'm 2 days in remission of books and I'm in withdrawal mode bad.

3. 12 chapters into edits, I shamelessly went back to chapt 1 last week and went...uh. And revamped most of it...again...and resent to some betas for the thumbs up. I got my thumbs up, but...then I wanted to redo the next chapter and half way through had to stop myself. This may take...forever.

4. My jeans have holes in them, and I need new pairs. Easy peasy? No. I'm my own worst nightmare when trying on clothes. Girls, you KNOW what I mean. Wednesday I plan to buy several new ones, with hope I'm not running out of the store crying, too. I guess the gym will be my next stop after.

5. This season, I'm shamelessly using my SERVICE TO OTHERS card to distract from myself from work stress. There's nothing easier and better than meeting the needs of others when you know yours aren't being met. Once you do that, yours don't seem so big and tragic. Besides, when doing a survey, my persona fell under "the giver". Little did they know... But, I'll likely exhaust myself with it, like I normally do, and need more down/me time.

1. What's new in your insane world?
2. Any changes going on?
3. What book should I read next??? JK!!! DON'T FEED THE BOOK ANIMAL


READ: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbinson (individual lives come together in shoe support group); The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (twos deathly challenge to be the Tsar's enchanter, but fall in love); The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes (secret lovers' chain of letters bind yet cause tragedy over decades) ***** stars to all!!!
READING: no...I'm going to be a big girl and keep books at bay. I mean I've read 3 books in a few weeks. Oh my gosh...I'm withdrawling!!
MOVIE SEEN: The Huntsman: Winter's War (I loved the 1st film as it's my fav. This was so AWESOME!)
PLAN FOR EDITS: I'm not going to lie. I'm probably going to go back and start over.
PLAN FOR INSANTIY: going back and starting over
PLAN FOR SANITY: not starting over (this won't happen...)
NEW BUY ON AMAZON FOR ME: straightjacket - one size fits all

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Writers Retreat That Saved Me

In September, through the good word of a writer friend, Michelle Wilson, I joined ANWA (American Night Writers Association). In so doing, the following month was their annual Pacific Northwest Region's Writers Retreat. I came at a stellar time, right? I signed up, paid my dues, and had butterflies. This being my first writer anything with several authors/writers.
the view from the conference room
But, upon the nerves was the expectation you get as the new kid in class. And that's exactly what happened on my first day there.

I sat alone, reading, waiting for the keynote speaker. But registration was for 2hrs, and I showed up on time. What was I thinking? Luckily, charming author, Leah Berry, introduced herself and we got to chatting. Then as she was called away, dead air again. Awhile after, I spotted Michelle Wilson, chatting just for a few before the keynote speaker was announced. Alas, let's get started!!


That crappy part, those initial minutes gone by speaking to no one while others caught up on seeing each other from prior years or whatever, really stuck out to me. Or when I fumbled over what my novel was about when asked, ate at me. I KNOW the story inside and out, so where was my head?? I felt like a dunce and a wannabe. Sure I can blame nerves, but those nerves are my own, so it's all coming from ME!

I went home (I live 10mins from the retreat, so I opted to commute rather than stay over night) with not only a pounding headache, but heartache. Even though we had a fun game getting to know others before the first day was over, I didn't want to come back.

I did NOT want to come back, and I didn't NOT want to be a writer anymore. I was over it. I can't explain why I was so hormonal about it. But I was, doing the whole screw everyone and screw this, I've had it! pity party. What was wrong with me?? In a few hours, years and years of writing was over?? REALLY??

Yes! That's how lowly I felt about being a writer!

The next morning, I drudged out of bed, got dressed unwillingly, and forced myself to go back. I even was late because of said force, walking in during the non-fiction panel questioning, and took a seat. Slowly, I started to feel myself be a writer again. I went to several workshops, thinking I wouldn't have the mentality to learn, but they proved me wrong. And I welcomed it. I also welcomed the new friendships I was making as well.
a perfect little nook and view for edits
No other time after that first night, was I left alone, and it was so heartwarming. So heartwarming! The next day, we had our final keynote speech. Jordan McCollum did an amazing keynote speech each day, but her final one had me in tears. 

She said the adversary will put thoughts in our head to not use our God given talents, like writing. She said it happened to her when deciding if writing was the right path, and recognized it wasn't God telling her to stop writing, but Satan. I never thought all those moments I doubted my abilities/decisions could be from him. ALL THOSE MOMENTS for years! Including...the first day of the retreat.

Now I know it was Satan that didn't want me to go back, putting fear, self-doubt, and ineptness all over and in me. I was literally planning on staying home that day, but decided to go because I paid for it. And boy did I ever! I regained my confidence as a writer, made new friends, and learned tricks of the trade.

The writers retreat saved me as a writer. And I'm forever thankful for it.


Books read: Cold Betrayal by J.A. Jance (Detective work into unlocking a cruel polygamous family), I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around by Ann Wertz Garvin (therapist loses self in family dynamics, triangle love, and a new job), The Beautiful Balance by Michelle Wilson (finding your balance through God's lessons) ***** stars to each!
Reading: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison, The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan, and Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall:
Movies I watched: Alice Through The Looking Glass (not a lot of good reviews, but I LOVED it!!) and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (I laughed NON-STOP)
What I'm doing tonight: eating all the candy my kids get trick or treating. (duh!!)

Questions to the Reader:
1. Have you ever been to a writer's retreat?
2. Do you often feel your talent shouldn't be used, too?
3. Promise never to give up??? (I'll hunt you down if you say no)

Monday, October 17, 2016

PIMPBOOKMAMA: As We Know It - Revealed

PIMPBOOKMAMA here saying when one of your fav and ballsiest beta readers, Carrie Butler, is revealing her book cover, you hit that up and help expose it to the world like a hidden sex tape.

NO sex tapes were harmed in the process, but some questions were asked of our star's newest book, AS WE KNOW IT, a story of earthquakes and heartaches.

1. Worst storm or catastrophe ever been in?
Hmm...well, the one and only time my family took a vacation to the beach, we did get evacuated over a hurricane. But since I didn't have to witness the destruction firsthand, I'd probably have to go with the Derecho that came through Ohio a few years ago. We were without power for five days during a heatwave, and it was maddening. I can't imagine what I'd do in an actual catastrophe.

2. What drew you to writing this particular story?
Three things: 1) I have a secret love of geology. 2) I read Sandi Doughton's book, FULL-RIP 9.0: THE NEXT BIG EARTHQUAKE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. 3) I read Kathryn Schulz's Pulitzer-winning article THE REALLY BIG ONE, in The New Yorker. By that point, I realized I wasn't the only one (morbidly) fascinated with Cascadia's power.

3. Fav part writing this novel?
My favorite part of writing this novel, in true geek fashion, was the research - not just disaster scenarios, but survival techniques and Spanish profanity (LOL).

Well, if I ever need disaster advice, I know who to turn to!! Hide me, Carrizzle! Take me to your shelter! And then give me your book to read to pass the time! With that said, HERE is the AWESOME cover!! (and beauty that created the words in it!!)

Title: As We Know It
Carrie Butler
Action / Adventure (Disaster) & Romantic Suspense
December 2016
About the Book:
Deep beneath the ocean, stretching hundreds of miles alongside the Pacific Northwest coastline, lies the Cascadia subduction zone—a fault on the verge of unleashing a catastrophic earthquake, thirty times more powerful than the San Andreas. Unfortunately, like most tourists, Elena Cordova is oblivious.
She’s got her own pent-up stress to deal with, a humiliating breakup that’s driven her to end her tenure as a human doormat once and for all. So, when a pickpocket makes off with the last remnant of her relationship, she takes action—only to get trapped with him when disaster strikes.
Now, if either one hopes to survive, they’ll have to get past their initial impressions and work together . . . because in fifteen minutes, half the town will be underwater.
Carrie Butler is an award-winning author and the owner of Forward Authority full-service studio—not to mention an inbound-certified marketer with a penchant for superhero socks and Firefly. Time away from her desk is spent playing with her rescue pup, yelling at the TV during hockey season, and indulging in target-based recreation. Otherwise, you’re likely to find her glued to her chair, discovering new ways to share her daydreams...
Twitter|Facebook|Pinterest| Goodreads|Google+| Amazon |||LinkedIn|BookBub |Instagram| YouTube|WattPad|Wiselike
Geeky Science Resources:

AMAZING BOOK TRAILER IN 5...4...3...2...

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Protagonist's Decision-Making-Ultimatum Scene

Here I am editing my book for the 3rd time. Seems like a lot, right? Well, the first time was like a wicked draft. Then I sent it to my awesome beta team, spurring round two of revisions. But, as I was finishing up the edit, yes that means I completed round 2 with a Hallelujah victory dance, I noticed something was missing right at the last chapter that would rock the socks of the entire book. But...figured it out at the LAST chapter.

Of all chapters!!!

I went back into the story, marched through out the book to add and modify to said thing, and came across a scene in Chapter 3 where my MC, Cindy, slightly contemplates her future and what she should do about it.

Slightly contemplates? What is this crap?

Isn't this the truth? Love it!!

A protagonist can't kinda make a decision about their future like that! It has to be the DO-OR-DIE MOMENT!!! Every book has it.

Here are a few I can think of right off the bat:
1. Hunger Games - Katniss - volunteer, or not, to protect sister
2. An Ember in the Ashes - Leia goes undercover, or not, to save brother
3. Six of Crows - the crew maneuvers a heist, or not, to gain riches

Without the decision-making-ultimatum scene, the story is nothing. Nothing! I mean, it's something, but never truly defined as to what they are aiming for, their end goal, or quite literally what drives the character(s) or the story itself. Imagine if Katniss crumbled and just let her sister go to the games. Well, we'd have no story. Unless we want to hear Katniss being upset about her decision for 300 pages. Uh, no thank you.

My realization that Cindy has to make a choice, a choice I know, but the readers need to see in black and white, was totally my ah-ha! moment. How did I miss that? I'm guessing I was so wrapped up in the secondary story, I missed what was driving the first. And that's not okay. I personally thank the Heavens for inspiring my ah-ha! moment.

1. Are you incorporating the do-or-die moments in your novels, too?
2. Tell me one from a book you've read.


Reading: Cold Betrayal by J.A. Jance and I like You Just Fine When You're Not Around by Ann Wertz Garvin
Cool thing that happened: I went to my 1st book signing, here on our little island, and met J.A. Jance who is so funny!! Her humor is crudely clean. If that makes sense.
Looking forward to: My first Writer's Retreat! Right here on the next island over at the end of the month for 3 days.
My favorite candle smell today: Farm Apple Pumpkin by Better Homes. It's like apple and pumpkin spice pie had a baby.

Monday, September 26, 2016

PIMPBOOKMAMA: S.A. Larsen's Motley Education

Pimpbookmama here saying when it's getting closer to Halloween, you break out some mystical, and beast-like shenanigans from S.A. Larsen's book, MOTLEY EDUCATION, to get you in the spirit of the holiday. Just a tad early.

First, I asked her to answer some rather grueling questions before we got into her big book cover reveal and blurb.

1. Tell me about Ebony's (the MC's) best friend, Fleishman. He seems quite the interesting character.

Aw, you started with a question that tugs at my heart. I have a soft spot for Fleish, as Ebony calls him. He's the BFF or GTG - go to guy- that everyone wants. He's loyal, true, dedicated, and smart. Who doesn't want a walking encyclopedia as a best friend in middle school? Makes getting homework done a ton easier. But he doesn't come without his own quirks. He's pretty much scared of anything that could possibly do him harm - animals, insects, germs, or pieces of rock from Mars that just might make it though our atmosphere and smack him in the head- and he's way too practical for his own good. Mix that with his computer brain that has an infinite memory capacity, his dry sense of humor (which really is none), and his shyness, and you'll just fall in love with him. Think a younger Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.

2. What are some of the beasts we'll get to read during Ebony's and Fleishman's battles?

Well, beasts as in mythological creatures, readers will see the different species of giant- some fiery, others chilly, while still another simply drips of dirt and moss. The story weaves in groups of light and dark elves that I've tweaked with uniqueness, but you'll have to read to see what I mean. :) And there just might be a sighting of a serpent or dragon or oversized animal. Maybe. The other sort of beasts could mean a few of Motley's faculty like Headmistress Regina with her beady eyes rumored to be able to fry a student into a pile of ash on the spot. Use caution.

3. What was the easiest and hardest parts to write during your process?

By far the easiest part of writing Motley Education was coming up with inventive and creative ideas. They literally wouldn't stop popping into my head. I actually have more than enough unique scenes, plots/subplots, and conflict for the entire series, which I have set at five books. The hardest part was weeding through those ideas, using some now and saving others for later.

4. How do you gear up for writing/edits?

Keeping hydrated is a must - coffee or wine, depending on the time of day I'm writing; I always have ice water with me, too. Lit candles and my soft, squishy blanket are usually two of my other writing companions. Music, but that hinges on what I'm writing at the time. Oh, and my trusty stone gargoyle, Lars, who sits on a stack of books entitled Potions, Magic, and Spells. He's my desk buddy.

5. Any sage words for writers out there?

Write a lot. Read even more than that. And do both outside your genres of interest. You'll be surprised at how that exercise will soften the jagged edges of your craft and technique skills.

**Couldn't have said it better!! And what a hottie Sheri is! Want proof? Check her bio pic below, cover reveal, the blurb for Motley Education, and how you can pre-order it!!

Title: Motley Education
(Book One: The URD Saga)
Author: S.A. Larsen
Release Date: October 10, 2016
Goodreads -

Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire Afterlife alive.
Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically & Celestially gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.
When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing, she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world. Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse Mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans...including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

Motley Education has been aligned with Core Standards for grades 4-7. A guide will be available on the author’s website to download for FREE after the book’s release date.

About S.A. Larsen
S.A. LARSEN is the author of Motley Education, the first book in a middle grade fantasy-adventure series. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Look for her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, set for release in 2017. Find her in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children, a playful pooch, and two kittens.
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