Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things-March 25, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain. Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

To all of you who celebrate the holiday, Happy Easter!  My kids are super excited to do Easter eggs.  It was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid.

Writing continues to go well.  I'm not always as prolific as I'd like, but the work I do get done has been pretty satisfying.  I'll take it.

We had a bit of illness in our house this week.  The boys missed some school, but everyone is well again.  I'm definitely happy about that.

I've decided to make my novella Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family permanently free in order to promote the release of the next book in the Self-Help 101 series.  The title of the next novella is Self-Help 101 or: How to Survive a Bombardment With Minimal Injury.  This one will have a 4th of July theme, and I expect to release it in June.

Anyway, you can already down load the first novella for free from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.  As of the time I sat down to write this post, Amazon still has it listed as $0.99.  If you look below the product description, you'll see a place where you can report a lower price.  If any of you would like to take a few moments to do that, it might speed the process along.

What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, March 21, 2016

The A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Here we are!  The April A to Z Challenge is almost upon us, and the time has come for us to reveal our themes!  The Theme Reveal was first started by the amazing Mina Lobo, and now it's a time honored tradition.

In previous years I've always posted some kind of fiction for the challenge.  It was fun, and it kept me writing.  This year, however, I've decided to do something different.  In the past year, I've gotten more serious about putting my work out there.  I self-published three books, and I plan on self-publishing several more.  I've been submitting more stories, and I even won the IWSG Anthology Contest.

With those things in mind, I've decided to offer writing advice.  Each A to Z post will offer a different tidbit of advice that fledgling writers may find useful.  Many of you may not learn anything new from me, but maybe you will.  I know I've learned a lot over the years from reading what you have to say on your blogs.

I chose this theme, in part, to help fellow writers.  I also chose it for another reason.  I need to keep building my confidence.  In the past I felt like I didn't have any kind of expertise to offer anyone, so I didn't try to offer much in the way of writing advice. Sometimes people I know asked me for advice on certain things, and I did my best to help them out.  Now that I'm trying to do more in terms of getting things published, I feel like I need to accept that I might have something to offer.  This challenge is a good opportunity to do that.

Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge?  If so, do you have a theme?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things-March 18, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain.  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The kids have been home for spring break, and it's been great spending time with them. My six year old son Jude was showing off how well he's learning to read.  We're so proud of him.  Lyle has been showing off how well he can count.  I have some smart and motivated boys.

I've gotten some good writing done this week, so I'm pretty happy about that.

We had a movie night with the kids on Wednesday, and they saw E.T. for the first time. They loved it!  It's fun to see them get excited about things I enjoyed during my childhood.

On Thursday, we all wore green and went bowling.  The kids enjoy bowling so much it's insane.  It's so cute watching them pick up bowling balls that are nearly as big as they are.  After that we played in the arcade for awhile, and I became temporarily addicted to skeeball.  Oops.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things-March 11, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

This week I'm celebrating getting the final edits for "Felix Was Here" turned in to the publisher.  It feels like a big accomplishment.

I played darts this week and managed to get two bullseyes in a row.  Yes, it was a fluke and I'm actually not that good at darts, but it felt good nonetheless.

I've written all of my posts for the A to Z Challenge.  The key is to start early, write out a reasonable schedule, and follow through.

Next week the kids are home for spring break.  We don't have any remarkable plans, but I'm hoping the weather will be good.  We've had good weather this week, with temperatures in the 70's for a couple of days.  That's pretty spectacular for March in Iowa.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Trivia Time!

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan at

If you're a fan of speculative fiction, movies, or both, you'll want to stop by the Parallels blog today!  Tamara Narayan has compiled some fun movie trivia to entertain and challenge all of you.

Best of luck!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Smashwords Sale!

During the week of March 6th-12th, you can get all of the books I have available on Smashwords for free.  Be sure to stop by and grab a book if you'd like!  All you have to do is use the coupon code RW100 at checkout!

For those of you who may not know, here's a list of the books you can pick up.

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Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Word Count: 28,000

TIPPIE was created to be a weapon. By all appearances, she's an ordinary girl of 18, and she uses that to her advantage in her work for The Facility. What no one sees is that there's another girl buried deep inside. She can't speak or control the movements of the body she inhabits. As TIPPIE's silent passenger, she can only observe. She uses the details she learns from TIPPIE's work to reconstruct the stories of other people's lives. It helps her feel a little more connected to the world she can only watch.

When TIPPIE's work leads her to David, a young man with a haunted past and information that The Facility wants, TIPPIE uses her skills to earn his trust. The silent girl beneath the surface knows that TIPPIE is only going to hurt him, but she can't help but feel for him. Those feelings only grow, but she knows all too well that TIPPIE's work will soon come to an end.

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Genre: Holiday/Humor
Word Count: 27,000

Dani Finklemeier has decided to write a self-help book about how to take over the world, but she’s not sure where to start. After all, she’s only seventeen and looking for a better way to make money than babysitting. She buys a self-help book that promises to teach her how to write a self-help book in the hope of getting the job done.

Not that it’ll be easy to get any work done this holiday season. Her family is staying at the house for Christmas, and fights break out almost immediately. Dani also has to deal with the fallout from an unexpected kiss with her best friend Seth and the feelings that go along with it. On edge around her family and unsure how to interact with the one person she’s trusted with everything in the past, she can only take what inspiration she can from the crazy circumstances surrounding her and see what happens.

One way or another, it should be an interesting holiday.

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And though it's always free, you can also pick up a copy of my short story collection while you're at it!

Genre: Sci-Fi/Short Stories
Word Count: 16,000

This compilation of ten short science fiction stories is sure to add a little flavor to your day. You'll get to see what happens when a universal translator malfunctions during first contact, the repercussions of a maladjusted writer making a holographic duplicate of herself, the reunion of a couple of shapeshifters that have been exiled to Earth, and more.

Some stories are funny, and others are a bit darker, but they're all short enough to read in one sitting.

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There will also be a lot of other titles available for free or with significant discounts during the next week.  You don't want to miss it!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: March 4, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I'm participating in the 2016 Smashwords Read an Ebook Week promotion.  That means that from March 6th through March 12th, my books will all be free.  I'll post about this again with links on Sunday, so if you're interested, feel free to stop by then!

I ordered an IWSG shirt and it came in the mail the other day.  I'd been meaning to get one for quite some time, but for some reason I never got around to it until now.

I used the telescope to get a great view of Jupiter the other night.  I saw the colorful bands and the Galilean moons.  It was awesome.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too chilly and all, so I had to pack things up relatively quickly.  Still, it was worth freezing a little bit.

My kids have been battling nasty colds this week.  We kept Jude home sick today due to a slight fever.  Still, it seems like most of the people I know are in the same boat right now.  The good news is that there hasn't been any vomiting or the other gross things that can come with illness.  I'm hoping it stays that way.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: March 2016

It's the first Wednesday of the month again!  You know what that means!  It's time to convene another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Our esteemed leader is the one and only Alex J. Cavanaugh.  His minion helpers for this month are Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

I didn't feel like sharing an insecurity this month.  Instead, I wanted to share a story that I think at least a few of you may find inspiring.  The incident in this story shaped me and the way I look at the world, even though the catalyst for that shift seems relatively small.

It must have been early 2010.  I was working in a plastic injection molding factory at the time, and I did a wide variety of things during my time there.  On the day in question, I was working on a line that assembled fancy storage drawers for washers and dryers.  The machine that produced the main part of the drawers was about the size of a semi, by the way.  It was a truly impressive, and loud, piece of machinery. Trust me on that.

Anyway, my job that night was to pop the front panel on to the drawer, and we were using painted front panels.  The front panels were made in the same factory, but we had to ship them out if they needed to be painted.  As such, I had no clue who else handled them while they were outside the factory where I worked, and it wasn't something I typically thought about.  However, when I picked up one panel in particular, something caught my eye. Curious, I stopped and studied it.  Someone involved in the painting process had drawn in red pen an elaborate, absolutely beautiful flower on the back side of it.

I was stunned.  The artistry was gorgeous, and I felt guilty that I had to pop it on to this plastic drawer where it would forever be hidden away.  The person who ultimately bought this drawer would have no idea about the gorgeous image hidden away inside it.  I spent all of fifteen seconds looking at it, but I spent the rest of that day at work thinking about it.  Who had drawn it?  Did they want to eventually turn art into a career, or was it simply a fun way to pass the time?  And looking around me, I started to wonder if there were hidden pieces of beauty around me that I'd never see.  

Six years later, I still think about that hidden flower.  Anyone who writes something or does any kind of art but laments the small size of their audience should consider this. You never know what kind of impact your work might have on one of the people that does see it.  The person who drew that flower will likely never know how that hidden drawing impacted me and the way I look at the world, but it did.  I'll continue to put my work out there, even though there are times when I feel frustrated and invisible.  I don't know if my writing will inspire anyone, but maybe it will.  Who knows?  That possibility motivates me every day.