Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kibbles and Bits and one Zippy Planet

CK Reader Giveaways: Ciara Knight is starting CK Reader Giveaways on Facebook, a really cool site that will hit the road running in August.
 
About: Join us each Monday to win books, swag or other prizes. There will be a chance to chat with authors and talk about books. Lots of prizes!! Each and every week (excluding some holidays) there will be giveaways offered. Stop by and enter to win a prize and to chat with authors and fellow readers. Let's make it a party!
 
I’m penciled in for October 28th and will be giving away the complete Breakthrough trilogy in one of those cool box sets.
 
Character Development: LD Masterson posted a great idea regarding developing characters. Give your character a birth date and use the traits from the appropriate astrological sign. I never thought of this. I’m not a zodiac kinda guy, but hey, a writer can glean some great ideas this way.
 
Urban Dictionary: I've been taking advantage of the Urban Dictionary. Wish I had discovered this site a long time ago. It has really helped me write certain sections of Escalation (currently in the editing stage). Check it out and Get Your Learn On
 
Foodie Craze: I'm going through a garlic craze again. I do this every few months or so. Lasagna, spaghetti, garlic bread, basically any Italian cuisine will do. I might not be pleasant to be around this week.
 
This Weekend: Another shipment of books are arriving Friday and I can’t wait to hit the beaches with my Square Card Reader and sell some more books. Sure wish sales would reflect on Amazon and my sales rank, but unfortunately they don’t.
 
Did You Know: There is a difference in the meaning of the words revolve and rotate? Example" The Earth revolves (orbits) around the sun while it rotates (spins) on it's axis.
 
Fun Fact: The fastest rotating planet in our solar system, and thus has the shortest days, is Jupiter at about ten hours. Consider the Jovian planet's size, this is very, very fast.
 
Venus takes 224.65 days to complete each orbit (revolve) around the sun. This is a little less than a year on Earth. But instead of a similar rotational period to Earth’s 24 hours, Venus takes 243 days to rotate once.
 
In other words, a day on Venus is longer than a year. This is the longest day in the entire Solar System. Even stranger, Venus rotates backwards compared to the other planets in the Solar System. Reference
 
If you could stand on the surface of Venus, the Sun would appear to rise in the West and then set in the East.
 
Bonus Fun Fact: SWEEPS-10, an exoplanet candidate, has the shortest orbital period (revolve) known (so far). It orbits its parent star from a distance of about 750,000 miles. This is so close that a year on this zippy planet occurs once every 10 hours. Reference
 
Bonus Pun: “Never trust an atom. They make up everything.”

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guest Writer Mingmei Yep - Gangsters in Fiction

I’m always intrigued by the dark, inscrutable world of gangsters, because it is so different from the one in which most of us live. In movies and novels, gangsters are often portrayed as cruel to their rivals and enemies, but to their families, loving, generous, and righteous.

Black society members live in their own shadow world with their own esoteric rituals and moral codes. In China, if a gangster has betrayed his boss, he’d be punished according to that gang’s laws. Before a man was allowed to join a gang, he’d be told these secret laws.
 
Here Is An Excerpt from my previous novel Skeleton Women describing the initiation into a gang during which the new member-to-be has to swear that, “We, members of the Flying Dragon Gang, here, under the moon, swear our loyalty to the order and its sun and head Master Lung. If we ever betray the master or this order, we step on a path of no return. If caught, we will be beheaded and our souls forever condemned to burning hell. Even if we are able to quit the Flying Dragons with our heads on our shoulders, we will be murdered by bandits, or struck down by lightning….After becoming a Flying Dragon Gang member, I will treat my sworn brothers’ parents and relatives as my own. If fail to do this, I will be struck dead by thunderbolts….”
 
In Hong Kong during the years when I was growing up, gangsters were so entangled with the police that often we couldn’t be sure who was who. The most successful gangsters, after they became rich, often tried to wash off their notorious past and transform themselves into respectable businessmen. Their favorite business was movies, often as not, about gangsters. Gangsters would force actresses to star in pornographic films by sending a script to her with a gun wedged between the pages.
 
The only ones who might get the better of gangsters were other gangsters. Ordinary people had little chance to revenge no matter what was done to them and their family. In my new novel The Nine Fold Heaven, the singer-spy Camilla does succeed in getting revenge against her gangster boss, by using the training he gave her against him.

Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip HERE and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel HERE.
 
Nine Fold Heaven is part of a series about Camilla the songbird and female spy – you can also read Skeleton Women, the first book about Camilla.
 
About Nine Fold Heaven: An ex spy and nightclub singer who undertakes an emotional and dangerous journey to reunite with her lost lover and the baby she was told was stillborn, and to discover the secret of her parents’ murder.
 
About The Author: Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing.
 
Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US. Visit Mingmei HERE.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weekend Follies and Celebrate The Small Things

Celebrate The Small Things: Today I'm celebrating a really cool promotion sell Breakthrough and Opening while at the same time promoting my upcoming release Escalation, the final installment of the Breakthrough trilogy!
 
More on the specifics in an upcoming post. But it involves selling both physical and ebooks. I'm very excited and picking up a lot of momentum as I move forward. Life is good!
 
Weekend Follies: I've been seeing a number of posts on how to name characters. So I thought back on this scene from Top Secret! with Val Kilmer released in 1984. I got a kick out of the names from this rag tag team of men from the French Resistance.
 
Top Secret! is a spoof and worth renting if you haven't seen it yet. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kibbles And Bits

I recently bought the Square Card Reader. I've been doing very well ordering physical copies from CreateSpace, then selling them at the local beaches. Lots of people just want to lay on the sand and read a book. I charge $12.00 a book, and with a local setting, the books are a hit with the locals. Tourists like them too!

A lot of people would buy Breakthrough and Opening, but carry credit cards. Hence the Square Card Reader. Its fun to be able to sell books this way. Meeting people as they walk by from all over the world. And its a great promo for my next book Escalation.

Speaking of Escalation: I've sent off the first 100 pages to my editor. What a great feeling that is! I still need to get together with my nephew for the cover art this week and get moving on that.

I'd like to have some of the good people of Blogdom help me announce the cover art release. I should have it ready by the first half of August. If anyone would like to help, please email me at Stephen.tremp@yahoo.com or simply leave a comment.

Neil Gaiman: I lot of people over the years have told me to check out Neil Gaiman's books. I'm going to download American Gods. The synopsis is right up my ally.
 
Did You Know: Term supernova refers to explosive death of some massive star characterized by an enormous amount of emitted energy. Supernova explosion emits incredible amount of energy- more energy that our Sun emits for its entire lifetime. The expanding shock waves from supernova explosions are also capable to create the formation of new stars.

Astronomers believe that supernova explosion occurs approximately twice every 100 years in our galaxy. This means that supernova explosion are relatively rare event within our Milky Way galaxy. Most galaxies have a supernova every 25 to 100 years.

Fun Fact: The Crab Nebulae was the result of an exploding supernova in 1054 A.D. and was recorded by astronomers in China and the Islamic world. It was so bright the event lit up the night sky and could be seen in the day time sky.
Reference

Question: Does anyone else use a card reader to sell their goods and services? Have you read Neil Gaiman? Do you think supernovas are super cool?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kibbles And Bits: Mick Jagger, Pop Travel, Sharknado, And Optical Osmosis

Pop Travel: Tara Tyler's fast-paced techno-thriller is available for download for $4.99. I have mine and will start it as soon as I finish my current read. CLICK HERE to download yours. And check out her Blog Tout Schedule HERE.
 
 
Optical Osmosis: Jeffrey Beesler has released his third book Optical Osmosis. Download it for $2.99. Congrats! Jeffrey and best wishes for a smashing success!
 
Sharknado: Another Syfy disaster film gone horribly ... right. The SyFy Channel has done it again and shown a movie fit for Mystery Science Theatre 3000. According to the synopsis released by The Asylum, the “Sharknado” plot centers around a hurricane that floods Los Angeles, terrorizing the coastal populace with sharks coming from the land, sea and air.
 
Oh, and the movie starred Tara Reid. Wow. Has her career really come to this? Normally I leave stories like this to Captain Alex .
 
But There Is A Point To This Story: What caught a lot of people by surprise was the Twitter frenzy this movie caused while airing. The numbers, according to Variety, are by no means record-setting, but they're pretty impressive – it was the most Tweeted-show of the night, with 5,000 tweets a minute for a total of 318,232 during the broadcast. Who knew? This is indeed a very strange universe we live in.
 
So this gives hope to every writer. Any story can be successful. So keep the faith and steer the course. And never give up! If you are kicking yourself for missing Sharknado No worries. It will air again Thursday at 7:00 pm on the SyFy Channel.
 
Mick Jagger: Can you believe the front man for the Rolling Stones  turned 70. Incredible. Where the heck did all the time go? Time flies and waits for no one. Spend it wisely and appreciate every day as a gift.  
 
Author Of The Week: Jeffry Beesler and his new release Optical Osmosis. Click the badge at the top of my right side bar to download your copy!
 
Question: Have you downloaded Pop Travel or Optical Osmosis? Can you believe Sir Mick turned 70? Are you going to watch Sharknado Thursday?

Check out the Sharknado clip, if you dare:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Writers4Writers And A Fun Fact

W4WS: Thanks again everyone for supporting a really amazing and awesome venture! Hosted by Mary Pax, Christine Raines, and C.M. Brown, and myself, the objective is to help other writers to succeed.
 
Our Mission:
• Help writers bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people
• Help writers reach Amazon Top 100 in at least one category (i.e., suspense, free, etc.)
• Increase sales of their book(s) after the promo is over
• Drive new traffic to their blog and increase following
• Create verbal and viral buzz.
 
This month's spotlighted writers are Catherine Stine and Brinda Berry!
 
What To Do, You Ask? Simply stop by Catherine’s and Brinda’s sites and copy and paste their pre-written Tweets into your Twitter account.
 
Or go to #W4WS on Twitter and Retweet something. You can do this once, twice, all week long, or as much as you feel inspired.
 
Or click the W4WS Facebook Page and then share their links with your Facebook friends and writers groups. thus enabling Catherine and Brinda to reach countless new people they could never before reach!
 
If You Want More Information, CLICK HERE and sign up. Then check in every third Monday of each month to help support and promote a brother or sister in the Blogosphere. Simple. Easy. Powerful.
 
As always, thanks for participating (sign up if you haven’t already) and for your support.

Did You Know: Even on the clearest night, the human eye can only see about 3,000 stars. There are an estimated 100,000,000,000 in our galaxy alone!

Fun Fact: One of the biggest stars in our night sky is VY Canis Majoris; a red hypergiant star in the Canis Major constellation, located about 5,000 light-years from Earth. University of Minnesota professor Roberta Humphreys recently calculated its upper size at more than 1,540 times the size of the Sun.

Placed in our Solar System, its surface would extend out past the orbit of Saturn. That’s the biggest star that we know of, but the Milky way probably has dozens of stars that are even larger, obscured by gas and dust so we can’t see them.

Check out this quick clip to see just how large this star really is!

 Reference

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Weekend Follies

Hi everyone and welcome to the Weekend Follies, a great way to cap off the week with a laugh!
 
But First: We had two amazing writers visit this week. If you haven't already, take a few moments to scroll back and check out this week's posts by Lori N. Spielman and Susan Kay Quinn.
 
Freebie: Laura Eno's Jewel of Shaylar, Book 1 of the Kingdoms of Chandra, is FREE at Smashwords until July 31ST. CLICK HERE and use code SW100 when checking out.
 
Do You Stereotype: I try to steer clear of stereotyping. but I imagine I do, at least to an extent. But other writers will stereotype in the name of free speech.

Speaking of stereotyping, I think of this beginning clip from Undercover Brother starring Eddie Griffin. Love this opening scene. If you haven't seen this it's definitely worth renting. It Ain't No Thing.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Guest Writer Author Susan Kaye Quinn

Hi all. Today I'm happy to welcome author Susan Kaye Quinn! Take it away Susan!

Striking Gold With Your Stories
by Susan Kaye Quinn

“Vein of Gold” is a term I’ve borrowed from Kat Falls, author of the outstanding MG SF novel, Dark Life, and an instructor in screenwriting at Northwestern University. She was referring to stories that resonate with you – the ones you would watch again and again when they come on late-night cable. Buried deep in those stories are the themes, characters, and concepts that resonate with you – and can give you insight into the type of stories you should be writing.

To find your vein of gold, try this exercise:
  • List your top 10 favorite books or movies
  • Ask someone else to find the common thread(s)
  • That’s your vein of gold; write stories there
You can try analyzing these stories yourself, but someone else will look at them fresh, with an unbiased eye, and can better uncover the less obvious common threads—the deeply buried tropes, storylines, or concepts— that are drawing you in. You can repeat this exercise for different genres or for plot elements.
Writer Susan Kaye Quinn

I recently did a vein of gold exercise for my top 10 favorite romance plotlines (as suggested by Alexandra Sokoloff in her book Writing Love), which included such non-obvious choices as Hunger Games, as well as more conventional ones like The Proposal. 

Turns Out: I like romances where the hero and heroine are forced together by circumstances, then grow to love each other through trials and tribulations. Identifying that romance trope as one that resonated with me helped to flesh out key elements of my steampunk fantasy romance.

I also performed this exercise with three writer friends during a creativity retreat, and it was fascinating to see the common elements in each other’s lists. Every one of us was surprised what others found, and more importantly, those insights shone a spotlight on areas in each of our manuscripts that needed to be more fully developed.

“Go where the pain is; go where the pleasure is.” – Anne Rice
Anne was talking about your vein of gold. If you dig deep, you might be surprised what you find there. And tapping into the stories that resonate most deeply with you will bring out your best writingand your most fervent fans.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA SF Mindjack series. Her more grown-up, future-noir Debt Collector serial is a vein-of-gold story if she's ever seen one. Now that Season One of Debt Collector is complete, she can return her attentions to her steampunk fantasy romance, which has been pouting in the corner. And play even more on Facebook

Susan has a lot of degrees in engineering, which come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mind powers, future dystopias, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. Mostly she sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets make stuff up full-time. You can find her at www.susankayequinn.com 

What's your life worth on the open market? A debt collector can tell you precisely. The first episode of Debt Collector, Delirium, is FREE

Finally: Oh, before we leave, I read susan’s book Open Mind. You can read my review by CLICKING HERE

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guest Writer Lori Spielman: To Give Up or To Persevere, That is The Question

Hi everyone, hope you all had an awesome and safe holiday weekend! Today we have writer Lori Spielman discussing one of my favorite topics: Perseverence. Lori went to the same high school I did (go Comets!!!). Thanks Lori for taking the time to visit us. 

Never Give Up is a common piece of advice doled out to aspiring writers. We’re urged to keep sending those query letters. We’re offered teasers like, “You never know when the next letter will bring representation, or better yet, a book sale.”

I Beg To Differ: One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during this long and arduous journey to publication is that sometimes we must give up.

Before you throw eggs at me, let me explain.

I’m not implying we give up writing, but rather the opposite. I watch my friend, so stymied by her belief in the book she’s been pitching for five years, that she refuses to begin a new project. Her loyalty to her first book has left her paralyzed. It’s like someone who can’t get over a relationship, certain that the person who broke her heart is The One.

I’ll be the first to tell you, letting go of a project is heartbreaking. We’ve poured our soul into a piece that others aren’t responding to. It’s okay to feel sad, and even a bit resentful. But like any loss, at some point it’s time to move on.

But how do we gauge when it’s time? I have no hard and fast answer, but my advice is to consider letting go of a project when you can answer YES to each of these questions:

1. You’ve hired a professional to help with your query letter, sent out +/-100 queries to agents who represent your genre, and haven’t received a single request for pages.
2. A professional editor and/or writing instructor has given you feedback that implies your project needs work, but you’re not willing to change it.
3. You no longer love the project.

Take my advice or not. I only know that if I hadn’t given up on the YA novel I’d written thirteen years ago, I’d still be collecting rejection letters. Same goes for the screenplay I wrote, as well as the other adult novel I’d written.

For writers, acceptance and pragmatism are just as essential as perseverance and tenacity. So if you decide it’s time to accept, do so gracefully. Then kick your perseverance into high gear. You’re going to need it when you go to sell your future project.

THE LIFE LIST Barnes and Noble, Irvine CA
The Life List Synopsis: Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a spacious loft, an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. All in all, a charmed life. That is, until her beloved mother passes away, leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: In order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she’d written when she was a na├»ve girl of fourteen. 

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision—her childhood dreams don’t resemble her ambitions at age thirty-four in the slightest. Some seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other goals (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. As Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear. Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

“Irresistible! Everything I love and look for in women’s fiction . . . a clever, funny, moving page-turner.”—Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Escape 

“A remarkable debut . . . The Life List has great heart, and even greater soul.”New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen

And Check This Out: THE LIFE LIST, has been selected as a Random House Reader’s Circle book. In addition to the UK, foreign rights have sold in Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, France, China, Brazil, Israel, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Russia, and Bulgaria.

And the good news continues…Fox 2000 has purchased the film option! 

Finally: A Life List is Lori's first release. And we in the world of Blogdom are great at helping new writers promote their new releases. So please take a moment and share this post by clicking the Tweet widget at the bottom of this post. Or stop by my TWITTER PAGE and Retweet one of my Tweets for Lori's book. 

Have questions for Lori? Want to host her on your blog? Throw eggs at her? You can contact Lori at: lori@lorinelsonspielman.com. And CLICK HERE to visit Lori at her Website. 

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a great week! 

Finally: CLICK HERE for Conversation Between Lori Nelson Spielman and nationally best selling author Meg Waite Clayton. 

Author of the Week: Lori Spielman, of course. Just click the icon of her new release A Life List at the top of my right side bar.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

IWSG and Happy Fourth of July!!!

ISWG: Taking some time off to celebrate our Independence, I reflect on current events and see a nation divided more than it has ever been in generations. Combine this with massive borrowing and spending that we simply cannot come close to affording or sustaining, and it's easy to see an implosion that we may not be able to come back from.

But Fear Not: This may not be as bad as it seems. Some believe a country will not have to be a Super Power to be super in the near future. In fact, the playing field may become much more level and our kids and grand kids could grow up in a world where, because of technology becoming more readily available in a world with shrinking borders, anyone just about anywhere can achieve above average financial, educational, and health standards regardless of their environment. But this is a blog for another day.

Summer Guests: I hope you join me Monday July 8th as I host my second guest blogger of the summer. Writer Lori Nelson Spielman, author of THE LIFE LIST, discusses one of my favorite topics: Perseverence.  

Julie Flanders: Signed a contract for her second novel The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Congrats! Julie. 

New Blogfest: Mia Ferrera is heading up the Always Do Something That Scares You Blogfest Wednesday July 10th. Still plenty of time to sign up!

Happy Fourth of July Everyone! Let's come together regardless of our race, religion, or political affiliation and celebrate the day we received or independence!