Thursday, November 29, 2012

Come Visit Me at Adam's!

I'm really not a nomad. I promise. Nevertheless, I'm blogging away from home again. Today, I'm at Adam Gaylord's blog. You've visited there, I hope, because this guy is a great blogger and an excellent writer. His site is called:

He's hosting my post that I titled, "I've Never Had a Story Rejected!" The title is obviously meant to catch your attention, but there's a message buried within its paragraphs that I believe with all my heart. 

I featured Adam on my blog during my "August is Awesome" series.  He came through with a marvelous post.  If you haven't read it, it's right here.  Spend some time at Adam's blog and get to know him if you haven't already.  His prose packs a punch!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Come Visit My Muse and Me at Odessa Black's

Friend and (nearly) neighbor, Odessa Black, invited me over to her blog. She pried from me my secret. I had a bit of lighthearted fun revealing said secret in the post.

Stop by and say "hi" if you've got the notion.  I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Surfing

Due to a heavy week at work, Thanksgiving and other obligations, the list is a bit shorter today.  Still, there may be something of use to someone.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Why Non-Writers Give the Best Critiques

Write On! (Dissecting advice for writers)

The Write lawyer

How Good Writers Make You "Feel"

Clarion Blog (Lots of great articles on the craft of writing.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things For Which I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for:

Marrying the most wonderful woman alive. No one loves me more, is more supportive or as proud of me as she is.  I firmly believe that God himself fashioned her just for me.

My children. My wife and I wed believing we'd never have children. God gave us two. I love them with every fiber of my being.

My grandchildren. Bundles of energy, life and laughter, these three boys are. Nothing is sweeter in my ears than hearing them yell for Paw Paw!

Living in the greatest country on the planet.  I love my country, warts and all.  I served it as a member of the armed forces.  I vote in every election.  I take my freedom seriously.

My job. Despite the frequently excessive hours and often taxing demands, it pays our bills and I enjoy the work.

My health.  Two bouts with disability and a series of surgeries is enough to remind me that my health could always be worse. I'm mobile, productive and thankful to be so.

And I'm thankful to have met so many wonderful writers and bloggers.  I've found kindred spirits, die-hard supporters, voices of reason and wisdom, and folks who inspire just by being their awesome selves.

For these and so many more things, I'm thankful, not just today, but every day.

To every last one of you, I wish a most Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Come Visit Me at Livia's!

Just dropping a few lines here to let you know that all the action today is over at Leave it to Livia.

Livia invited me to her place.  (Wonder if she started singing Bad Company afterwards?)  I was on my best behavior though, minded my manners, all the stuff Mom taught when I was a youngster.

I wrote a bit about originality in storytelling.  Check it out, if you like, but plan to hang around a while if you've not visited there before.  And be sure to check out the Interviews and Guests page for some new (or familiar) faces.

Thanks for the invitation, Livia!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Surfing

Discussion: Can Anyone Become a Great Writer?

Elements of Voice

Revision Tips From The Writing Community

Secrets Of Language Revealed!

Choosing a Title

Best Captcha Post I've Seen

Mustering the Courage to Turn Down a Publishing Contract

Nathan Bransford: Facebook Pages vs. Profiles for Authors

How Readers Discovered a Debut Novel: A Case Study

While not technically a writer link, you'll allow me a moment of nerdiness, yes?
The Hobbit Trailers

Nothing sucks time like a black hole
I actually had a bit of free time early in the week to tweet and visit blogs.  Then came Thursday morning.  A super-massive black hole (aka "work") passed near my plane of existence.  It did what all super-massive black holes do: it robbed me of all spare time. I groped and grasped, but its immense gravity ripped every second from my clutches.

It rendered me a man out of time.

But now things are looking brighter and I shall not despair.
Thanksgiving approaches and my trousers have room to spare!
On Thursday, that black hole I shall imitate.
And gobble every last thing that lands on my plate!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Nightmare Collection Cover Reveal!

Once again, I've been given the honor and privilege of revealing the cover of an awesome author's book.  The awesome author is none other than Cherie Reich! And her awesome book is The Nightmare Collection!

And it's coming soon!

Cherie is impressive not only for producing quality stories, but for producing them quickly.  She understands and employs the elements of good storytelling.  If you haven't done so already, you owe it to yourself to give them a read!

The Nightmare Collection Cover
About The Nightmare Collection:

A legend is hungry tonight.

A child monster will get its first taste of blood in Nightmare at the Freak Show. Four friend will enter the forest on December night, but only one can survive in Once Upon a December Nightmare. Almost ten years after Cassie's December nightmare, the monster awakens to hunt again in Nightmare Ever After.

Forthcoming late November 2012

Add to Goodreads:

Cover art by Nicemonkey at Cover design by Aubrie Dionne. Bookworm logo for Surrounded by Books Publishing created by Cherie Reich.

Author Bio:
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her e-books include the horror series Nightmare, a short story collection with authors Aubrie Dionne and Lisa Rusczyk titled The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, the futuristic space fantasy novelette trilogy Gravity, and The Foxwick Chronicles, a series of fantasy stories. She is a member of Valley Writers and the Virginia Writers Club.
Cherie Reich, Awesome Author
Author Links:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Stages of a Geek's Manuscript

Most of you know that I'm a software developer (computer programmer) by trade.  As such, I've discovered a number of similarities between developing software and developing a manuscript.

Proof of Concept
A software developer will generate a proof of concept to determine things such as whether the chosen technology is stable or if the design can support the intended solution.

I liken this aspect of development to the initial thought process of writing the novel. This is the phase where the programmer determines if a project is feasible, or even doable.  The writer goes through the same process, proving that the story is worth the effort and can be written to satisfactory depth, length, tension, etc.

The Wireframe Model:
This is a high-level, mocked-up interface of the application. It reflects the developers' interpretation of the project's requirements and provides the customers with an expectation of what the programmers intend to deliver.  I equate this with all the planning, plotting and outlining an author must do in the early stages of crafting a novel.

This is the early design delivered to customers for initial approval. Much of the actual program hasn't yet been written and much of what has will be deleted. The customers saw representations in the wireframe, but with an alpha build, they can actually do things and get a feel for how the project is progressing and where it's heading.  The customers' feedback then governs the project's continued direction.  Critique anyone?

At this stage, the programmers have taken all the feedback the customers provided and integrated it into a fully fleshed system.  All the major functionality is there.  Things should work--as expected.  People reading a novel at this stage of development should be able to provide more finely tuned suggestions.  "I was bored in this chapter" or "the pacing was a little off in this section" is the type of feedback I'd expect here.

Quality Assurance:
Developers have a love-hate relationship with QA because their purpose is to verify that everything works, right down to the mouse pointer's behavior. They'll catch the the typographical errors in dialog boxes and point out that things aren't centered or aligned properly. I find this similar to line edits and proofreading.

We're ready to submit! At this stage, manuscripts are in the hands of agents, sitting in a slush pile or are being self-published.  The programmer has incorporated each stage's feedback and produced a polished system. The author has also taken feedback from each stage and produced a polished novel.

Then we programmers either begin developing the next software application or enhancing the one just deployed. (Upgrades!)  For writers, that's either the next great novel or a sequel to the one just deployed.

Did you have any idea you had so much in common with us nerdy, geeky types?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Fire of Merlin - Cover Reveal!

Call me "Sir Jeff" today, for I've been inducted into knighthood.  Donna Hosie's sword rested upon my shoulders as she dubbed me a Knight of the Reveal!

The Reveal?

The Reveal of her forthcoming book's cover, of course!  Her eBook, The Fire of Merlin, second in the Return to Camelot trilogy, is scheduled for release on Amazon on the 30th of November!

The Return to Camelot trilogy continues in The Fire of Merlin.

The Fire of Merlin's Awesome Cover!
Seventeen-year-old Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, are reunited once more with the Knights of the Round Table. Unfortunately their joy is not shared by Arthur’s girlfriend, “Slurpy” Samantha, whose hatred of Natasha has not been lessened by time or distance since the Roth family relocated to London.

But Natasha’s happiness is short-lived.

The knights come with ill news from Logres: a magical darkness has fallen over the land. The Lady of the Lake, Nimue, is battling against her former lover, Merlin, whom she imprisoned before the enchanted sleep. He has been freed and Natasha soon discovers that her own actions the previous year unlocked more than just a gateway between the past and the present. When “Slurpy” disappears, a frantic Arthur decides they must leave the 21st century once more and return to Camelot.

With her beloved Sir Bedivere at her side, Natasha follows the sound of the bells and leads Arthur and the knights back into Logres. But there are more than bells ringing in her head. Natasha starts to suffer from terrifying visions in which she sees the destruction of Logres.

As the darkness continues to infect the living, the people start turning on each other, accusing outsiders of witchcraft. Terrified that Natasha will be hurt, Sir Bedivere takes her, the dwarf Byron and Byron’s sister, Guinevere, into the safety of his father’s castle. Yet nowhere in Logres is free from fear and suspicion, and Sir Bedivere unwittingly leads Natasha into a terrifying chain of events in which time itself is manipulated.

Natasha must uncover the truth about the danger to Logres and those she loves. Who is the real threat to Arthur? Can myth and legend become fact? What is the secret that “Slurpy” is now hiding?

And for the love of all things holy, when will Logres invent saddles?

Searching For Arthur
I think you'll agree that the cover fits perfectly with the trilogy's first book, Searching for Arthur.

And there's more!

To celebrate the release of The Fire of Merlin, Donna will also be promoting Searching for Arthur as a free download on Amazon for four days starting November 1!

Do stop by Donna's Musings of a Penniless Writer blog and extend to her your congratulations.  Also be sure to pick up Searching for Arthur free from Amazon during the first four days of November.

And don't forget to grab a copy of The Fire of Merlin on November 30!