Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bloggy Brain Freezes

I read a lot about bloggers struggling for post ideas often. I'll admit there were a few times when I started mine that the ideas wouldn't come. When this happened the project manager in me reared its ugly head and dove in to figure out why.

(I know, I know…sickness, opposing polar of the writer's heart…it's just who I am, sorry folks.)

For me, the root cause of this stemmed from 2 main things:

1. Wanting the "perfect" post topic

2. Waiting until the night before post day to think and write up a post

I haven't gone all project manager Nazi on my blog writing…there is some free spirit aspects I like about the whole blogging thing that I do protect from my rigid side. I have come to a compromise, however, that seems to work for me.

Whenever I have a question, thought, idea, inspiration, or just general rambling day dream I note it down. Either I do a quick email, jot it on a post it, scribble it on my hand, or note it on a bill statement…whatever is handy quite frankly. Then, when the mood hits me or it's Saturday and I'm not all into a writing or editing timeline I'll pull one of these and make it a blog post.

How are you bloggers keeping inspired with topic ideas? What works or doesn't work for you?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How I Met Desert Breeze

In celebration of Desert Breeze Publishing's 2nd Birthday...the DB authors are doing a huge blogfest. One author a day will be posting the story of how they found Desert Breeze from April 15 - April 30. Commenters will when daily prizes, but that's not all.

*Enter Bob Hope soundtrack*

The commenters from all the days and all the posts will be entered to win a grand prize on May 1st. Diane Craver kicked this off yesterday with me taking the torch today.

So here we go...stay tuned for the daily prize at the end of the post.

How I met Desert Breeze:

I'd been in limbo with Duty and Devotion for months, focusing on publishing my short stories while it went through the never ending submission and querying ride. It was during a search for a place to submit a short story that I spotted Desert Breeze on Duotrope as a featured publisher listing on the search page.

I went to their site and read about how they began. I loved the friendship and passion for books that drove the start up. It called to me. Of course, then I fell in love with the quality of book covers. I don't care what anyone says, the quality and time put into a book cover really is an indication of the quality and time put into selecting and publishing a book.

By that time I was determined to get Duty and Devotion onto the Desert Breeze roster. I sweated over the cover letter, the synopsis, and raked through the manuscript a hundred times. Then I panicked, calmed down, freaked out, lost my nerve, and finally created an email message. From there I sat on the email message for about two weeks, trying to find fault with the wording, went through the cover letter, synopsis and manuscript yet another half dozen times.

In a moment of complete madness, I hit send.

After I regained consciousness I forced myself to start working on my next project while obsessing over the email box. After a couple months I opened my email and found a message from Gail Delaney, Chief Editor and Co-Owner of Desert Breeze. I readied myself for the rejection letter and sat in stunned silence as my brain digested an acceptance letter instead.

I couldn't believe it. I'd gotten in. They'd believed I was good enough to have their name on my book. My book. It was crazy, insane...and TOTALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME!

...and that's how I met and fell in love with Desert Breeze...

Now if you comment on my blog today you'll be able to win my first ever prize giveaway. (Up until now only my guest posters have given prizes away.) Hmmm...what to give away, what to give away? Ah! I know!

If you win today I will send you a collection of things:

  1. 5x7 signed poster of my latests free read To the Meadow's Edge

  2. Advanced Readers Copy of my June 2011 debut novel Duty and Devotion

You'll be the first non Desert Breeze to read it!

Now, to continue learning about Desert Breeze AND the chance to win more prizes, visit NIKE CHILEMI's blog, tomorrow and learn how she found Desert Breeze.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Step Done

And a few more to go, but I'm going to celebrate the completion of this one a little. The editing rounds are for Duty and Devotion are complete and my editor is moving it to the line editing phase!

*does an excite yet awkward wiggle dance*

Okay, okay. Calm down AR, calm down. The final version turned out soooo great. My editor was fab-u-loso! A rock star if you will. The story is to the pin tip a portrayal of my vision for it. She knew when to push me and when to ease me back and most important, when to celebrate what was just right. I kept all her notes and comments so I can apply the common editing/revision themes for my next work.

Also coming soon should be the kick off of cover art development. I don't know who'll be my official cover artist. Desert Breeze has hired a couple more on board but all their website portfolios look awesome. I do have a likeness for one of the portfolios in particular but I'm keeping quiet as really, any of them would do an excellent job.

I've started daydreaming about all the different ways they can go with the cover. I'm hoping for a nice balance between science fiction and romance. Not too harsh but not too soft either...

LOL! Geez, you know what? Just call me Goldie Locks!

Any-who just thought I'd share this milestone with my Blogger Buddies!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Melisse Aires' Confessions of a Speculative Writer

So uber excited right now, folks! I've got a fellow SFR Brigader, author Melisse Aires, on the blog today to -- *gasp* -- give us some confessions. I didn't even have to play good cop/bad cop with her either. (Though, I always felt like I would be a really awesome bad cop...unless I started laughing that is.) So give some time to my friend Melissa.

Sometimes you hear about authors who start writing a nice romance and all of a sudden their characters are stumbling over dead bodies. They end up writing a romantic suspense.
I'm kind of like that. My settings tend to morph into something not at all Earthlike--a water world planet with dome cities, or a fantasy Northpole cabin in the woods, or a cozy tree root home, or a nearly deserted space station. Now I have written a couple stories set in a bar in southern California, but in those cases the setting was detailed for me by the Aspen Mountain Press Del Fantasma bible. And then my characters morphed into otherworldly beings--a white tiger shifter and his love interest who sees ghosts and turns into a yeti shifter, or the half human daughter of an ancient god.

I have tried to write a straight contemporary romance story but no matter what I do either sci fi, fantasy or paranormal elements seep in there. I am, at heart, a speculative romance writer. I feel very fortunate that I am writing in the ebook age, when publishers will take chances on unusual speculative elements. Yay e-publishing!

Sometimes I am asked where my ideas come from, and I am not sure. I'm one of those weirdo global-abstract type thinkers and I read a lot. I like paranormal/fantasy/scifi tv and movies, also. I have three teenagers who keep life interesting. My mind is like Jiffy pop, a million things happening at once and then it's done. And often the best ideas come to me when my hands are busy with a visual task that takes no thought like washing dishes by hand, crocheting a known pattern or folding clothes. My solution for writer's block--read a good book or two and clean house.

I like to write stories of good and decent people in extraordinary circumstances-- people who don't deserve to be stranded in space, or born with the need to suck soul life from others to live.

And I have to write romance. I want everyone to find their true love, to find passion.

My latest release involves and magic weight loss spell, a gorgeous guardian angel and a devious famine demon. Also an angelic realm and a tropical pool. Her Accidental Angel is now for sale at:

Check out my blog ( for my contest! Thanks for having me, Amber.


No problemo, Melissa! Good luck on your newest release. Keep us posted!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Coming to Terms with Boundaries

As you all have seen, I don't have a Six Sentence Sunday up today. Let me explain. I've loved participating in the weekly event and getting to know so many new writers. But, probably as you've noticed, I've barely had time to read all the SSS writers and comment on very few of them. The main reason is that Sunday's are my biggest writing days, along with Saturdays. Having a regular 9-5 job, I only get to write about 1500 words a day throughout the week. The weekends are where I can have time to write 6-7K words a day. With my looming deadlines (which keeps growing) I've had to look at all my activities and prioritize them. Here are some of the biggies:

  • Involved with publisher edit rounds for Duty and Devotion in preparation for June release

  • Going through manuscript preparation on Telomere Trilogy Book 1: Revelations of Tomorrow for deadline submission to publisher in less than eight weeks

  • Working on first draft revisions/edits to Telomere Trilogy Book 2: Echoes of Regret

  • Finishing the rough draft of Telomere Trilogy Book 3: Ending Eternity
After all of this cool stuff, I've got to finish the first draft of my 1930s mystery-inspired SFR, Lilly's Journey, and complete the outline for my coming female-driven SF investigative series, title TBD. It's both exciting and unnerving to see my dream of being an actively published author is coming true. Exciting because, well, it's my dream. Unnerving because, it's a lot of work and I've got so many things to accomplish. It's also a little sad, because it means I have to let go of some of the fun extra things I'm used to being able to chill out and do. I'll still check in the SSS crew, but most likely throughout the week. The site is listed on my Blog Roll for those of you who want to keep up with all the awesome tidbits.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stalked by Horror

I'll admit it with a "No Duh" response from my hubby and kids…I'm a chicken. Huge, loud clucking chicken of the worst sorts. I haven't been able to watch a real scary movie in decades. I can only read my favorite authors like Stephen King in the day light, starting in the morning and stopping well before sundown. Thereafter, I must watch something like Bill and Ted's Bogus Adventure or Weekend at Bernie's to push out any remaining horror thoughts before sleepy time. Yes, Gigantore of the Scaredy Cat Club.

Go ahead. Laugh, hoot, and holler. Get it out of your system and then you'll have the normal question I get all the time. "Why are almost all of your short stories and flashes horror or darker speculative fiction?"

Gather around and let me tell you…because they're my nightmares, and, I'll keep having them repeatedly until I write them down.

My flash fiction, Night Visitor, haunted me for weeks. "It" came every night. My blood curdling screams woke my family every night. I remained awake from that point on every night.

Every. Night. For. Weeks.

It wasn't until I wrote the darn thing out and tucked it in my laptop folder titled "Flash Stories" did I get a nights rest. It took several months before I could gather the courage to pull it back up, edit it, and send it off to Pill Hill for their 365 Days of Flash Fiction anthology.

Want to know an even deeper secret? I never read them again once they're completed and published.


I've bought all the anthologies my stories are contributed in. I've even read my fellow contributor's stories (during the day light of course)…but I've never read my stories in them again.


They might come back out of the recesses of my mind and haunt me. Then what would I do? I've already written them, so can't rewrite them. I'd be stuck with them….forever.

*shakes off chill*

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday is....Back!

Well, of course it's back. It's Sunday and Six Sentence Sunday happens on this day every week. (Come on, let me have my drama moment!)

Okay, okay. Any-who...this week I thought I'd do a few sentences from my latest free read, To the Meadow's Edge. It's sort of an adult fairy tale.

Several feet away, across the creek, an otter chattered at a turtle. The furry arms gestured in a conversing manner. The turtle tilt his head to the side, as if intently understanding the other.

“Is that turtle over there listening to the otter?”

Peter shrugged and stopped to watch along with me. “I would assume so, that’s what one does when spoken to.”

Don't forget to check out the other cool participants here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweeter with Age?

There's something to be said about time and yes, some things grow sweeter with its passage. Perhaps I'm in one of those infamous "AR nostalgia" moods or perhaps it's this editing frenzy thing I'm in, but that little phrase about time being sweater with age keeps repeating in my head.

Where the heckola are you going with this, AR?

Hang in there…I'm getting to it. You have to remember, any case of nostalgia is only lived through and cured at a slow pace.

Quite a while ago, documented in this very blog in fact, I finally tucked away Duty and Devotion from my main writing focus, and in a weird way from my life. It was a huge move. This story concept has been with me since…well, the first time I really attempted a novel length manuscript. Let's just say a long, long...long time ago.


In a way, Nettie and Rinny grew up with me. Their experiences of joy, loss, confusion, and adventure mirrored my own life experiences. (Mine without the awesome space battles and trips around Jupiter of course). And just like real friends, there were times in my life where I gave them tons of attention and energy and times when we drifted apart.

Face it, life does get in the way. There was college, marriage, kids, car payments, work schedules, and commutes to contend with.

However, whenever I meandered back into writing, they were always first and foremost in my thoughts. Even as I dedicated myself to my publication dream and during the period where I wrote my shorts and flashes, Duty and Devotion was my one and only novel length work.

The original story would be unrecognizable today. It goes to show you probably shouldn't try to publish your first manuscript. I would've died with embarrassment today had the original been accepted by some dimwitted publishing house back then.

Thankful, I took a winding road in my writing journey. I needed that exploratory pace to grow as a person and mature into the world around me. Not only that, my vision for Nettie and Rinny's story needed that pace to grow and mature into the world around them. What's there now is what I hope readers will see as two freaked out young woman stepping into an unknown future and trying to survive and come out with some semblance of self.

This concept of "self", for both women, are tested, challenged, threatened, and exposed. Some of what they learn about themselves gives them pride and the drive to hold on to it. Some of what they learn shames them and forces them to change for the better. In both scenarios they learn to become the best they are able to be at any given moment…of course, that is my hope in the execution of the story. The reality of it is up to interpretation by the readers.

Yes, Duty and Devotion has come full circle, back into my top priorities as we prepare it for its release day. This time however, I'm able to review it with an objective eye and without as much of my self worth dependent on its reception by the reading audience. Nettie and Rinny will always be dear to my heart.

Just like a first kiss, is holds a piece of my innocence and unguarded passion. But, also just like a first kiss, I've experienced more memorable moments after and grown to understand more memorable moments await me.

What was your first story? How did you feel about it than compared to today? Tell me a little about its and yours journey.