Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Funnies: Back to School

I know a lot of you are doing your
happy dance with the little darlings
going back to school.

This is for you!

Thank you Debbie Ohi

Did anyone see the lady on the news who busted out a move when she dropped her kids off at the bus stop on the first day of school? It was hilarious!

How many of you are doing happy dances with the kids back in school?

What are you doing with the "extra" time?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yay! G.U.T.G. Bookmarks Are Here.

Just a short post today to say -

My bookmarks are here!


I personalized a few by adding some ribbon and beads.

I thought about dropping some at local schools and libraries.

Any other ideas on how to get them out into the world?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Daisy Award: Weird Things About Me

Yay! I received the Daisy Award from Tara Tyler.

Here's what I'm supposed to do. Thank the giver (thanks Tara!) and list 7 weird things about myself.   Umm, why would Tara think there are 7 weird things about me? It's not that whole Italian Night thing, is it? Just so you know, I had to think really hard to come up with 7 whole weird things about me! Just sayin'.
1. I don't talk to myself, I just want to make that clear. But - years ago I got into the habit of saying positive affirmations while driving in the car. Out loud. To myself. Alone. But I'm not talking to myself. And if anyone sees me, they just think I'm singing. Right? 

2. I don't grocery shop or put gas in my car, but they both magically appear when needed. I suspect a Sprite. Or maybe my husband.

3. When I go for walks, sometimes I skip. Because I still can. Because nobody can see me in our neck of the woods, erm, forest.

4. Speaking of forest, I have worn my pajamas, on a few occasions, to walk the dogs. Again, nobody can see me, except the deer and squirrels, and they're not talking.

5. I once did a run wearing two different tennis shoes and didn't notice. Sort of goes along with the time I wore two different earrings.

6. I don't like pork or beer. Yes, I'm a freak.

7. I once gave CPR to a squirrel after it fell from a tree into my dog's lap. Not mouth-to-mouth, just the chest compressions. It didn't work.

I've just realized I need to get out more because all my weirdness comes from the forest. I'm turning into a Forest Freak. Thanks Tara! Thanks a lot!

Okay, here's the fun part.


I get to pass the Daisy Award on to 5 other bloggers:

How about you?

Care to share any weird or unusual things about yourself?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Funnies: Alphabet Soup

I wish ideas came to me in alphabet soup!

Instead, my bright ideas usually come at an inconvenient moment, like while driving or sleeping (not at the same time, lol!).

Where's the most unusual place you got an idea from?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frankie's Blog Takeover - And EVER Release

Hey guys and dolls, how's it going? 

Don't look so startled - I don't bite. 

My name's Frankie. And I'm just a regular guy. 
Well, except for the whole ghost thing, I guess. 

You’re probably wondering what I'm doing here. Well,
it’s pretty simple actually. Something is coming for my best friend Ever - something
I alone cannot protect her from. Regardless of how much I love her how hard I try. 

So I have to spread the word.

And I need your help to do it.

I've been a bystander for far too long, trapped in
this ghostly shell for the past two years. I've decided it’s time to make myself known and set
some things into motion. See, I've hijacked Amazon, Curiosity Quills Press, and blogs all over the internet to make my move. 

You're probably wondering why, right? 

Well allow me to be a bit more specific. Something isn't just coming for Ever; her actual soul is in danger. So I've decided to stay silent no longer. Word needs to spread. People need to know. 

Evil lurks in the shadows.  

To give Ever more time to figure things out and try to protect herself from the trouble that awaits her, I'm upping the publication date of our story. 

 I'm sure you can understand. I mean, souls are on the line here. 

So, with that said, EVER IS NOW AVAILABLE. Yes, you read that right. NOW. I couldn't wait any longer, so I did what I had to do to protect that stubborn girl I love my best friend, Ever. 

I had to do it. Some things are too important to wait for, and Ever is one of those things for me.

Now as you’re spreading the word about this new development,
take heed this one warning:

Evil lurks in the shadows. And not just any evil. 

It’s disguised as that slick talking, good-looking bastard, Toby James ... the new kid next door. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Morality In Young Adult Fiction

I've been wondering....why is modern young adult fiction so popular, even among adults?

Is it escapism? There's certainly an element of that.

Is it nostalgia for our teen years? In my case, I would answer absolutely not. Been there, done that, and it wasn't that much fun. It took me too many years to move forward, and there's no way I want to go back, even vicariously through fiction.

So what is it about YA?

For one thing, todays young adult authors take risks: with voice, narrative structure, social commentary and creativity. It's a wide open field. For example, the Book Thief. It's a  Holocaust memoir narrated by Death. How clever, different and interesting is that?

I think the Harry Potter phenomenon kicked it all off. At least that's where my interest began. I checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from the library, and from then on, I was hooked. It has a perfect combination of everything. A fantasy world combining magic with the supernatural and paranormal and everything in between and on either side. Being cross-genre, it has elements of fantasy, mystery, thriller, adventure and romance. You can have it all!

I've heard modern young adult fiction referred to as desperation lit and disaster fiction. The truth is, it has the same themes as adult fiction: death, loss, prejudice, war, corruption. While there is an element of truth to these labels, they are only part of the truth. There is always a balance; for every dark thing, there is a corresponding light. For every bad, a good.

In modern young adult fiction, by the end of the book, we still have hope, redemption, a moral code, growth, triumph over adversity and integrity. Perhaps in this challenging world we now live in, we all need these core beliefs to be reaffirmed, whether we are adults or almost-adults. We know life is hard, but hard is okay when it's balanced with a belief in yourself and your fellow man.

Why do you read young adult fiction?
What don't you like about young adult fiction?


Monday, September 17, 2012


Okay, I thought I couldn't do this because mom and sister are visiting this week. But I changed my mind at the last minute. I can do this. I'll just sneak off to my computer (which I'll be doing all week anyway) for a few minutes here and there.

So here we go!

Alex Cavanaugh's Favorites Blogfest. It's all about your favorite movies, music and books in each genre and your guilty pleasure in one of these categories.

Here are my favorites:

Movies: I'm not a big movie watcher because we have to drive too far 1+ hours. But my standard go-to movie at home is the Deathly Hallows. Yep, Harry Potter.


Classic Rock. I know this is really telling my age.  But hey, it used to be just rock. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, Black Sabbath, Bad Company, Foreigner, the Doobie Brothers, Chicago. You get the picture. But I listen to a lot of other music as well.

Books: Young adult, paranormal and dystopian. Think Paranormalcy, the Hunger Games, Harry Potter. Also, I like British mysteries (Reginald Hill, Stephen Booth, M.C. Beaton).

My Guilty Pleasure: It's in music, surprisingly. Lately, I've been really getting into Italian music. Weird, huh? We have Italian night every Friday (food, wine, garlic bread - more wine) and to get in the whole Italian mood, we put Italian music on Pandora. My favorite song? Mambo Italiano.

What is your guilty pleasure, hmmm?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Funnies: OCD Editing Support Group

Thank you Debbie Ohi
I'm done.

With edits, I mean.

For real, this time.

Final, Final, Final edits are completed.

But are they?

My CP, Angela Brown, and I decided to have one more read-through of each others work before publishing. 

And we had to laugh because it was amazing the stuff we were still finding! Stupid stuff. Slap your forehead because "how could I miss that?" kind of stuff.

I think I'll have one more read-through. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thank You! Goals! August Indies!

First things first!
Last weeks cover reveal was a huge success because of all of you!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped
with the Partners in ParanormYA Cover Reveals.

Angela Brown and I are soooo grateful!


Goals, Goals, Goals

August Goal Results:

  • Work on final final edits of Givin' Up The Ghost. Check. I did work on them, even though they weren't really complete until September. I think - come back for Friday Funnies regarding edits:)
  • Work on scheduling blog tour for GUTG self-publish release. Check. Our schedule is nearly full.
  • Work on marketing plan for GUTG. Hmmm. Yes and No. I wrote down a bunch of ideas. Does that count?
  • Work on posts for the blog tour. I've been stessing thinking about it.
  • Work on synopsis (for real this time) for BuNoWriMo idea, keeping in mind that 19th century ghostly madam's have no place in an MG novel:)There is no way I can talk myself into any kind of partial "check" on this one. I just plain did not do it.
  • Read 3 books. Check. Actually, I read 5 books. You can see them listed below.
  • Visit 20 awesome blogs per week. Maybe. Probably Not.
  • In my spare time *winks* work on 2nd draft of A Guilty Ghost Surprised. Nope, not even a little.

Looking at my list, I'm wondering what in the heck I did in August!
Oh well. Moving on.
September Goals:
  • Finish editing Givin' Up The Ghost
  • Learn how to format GUTG for publishing on Amazon
  • Finalize blog tour schedule
  • Pre-write posts for Partners in ParanormYA blog tour
  • Read 3 books
  • Post M-W-F on author blog
  • Post Fridays on Run Gwen, Run!
  • Post twice on Partner's in ParanormYA blog
  • Visit 20 blogs per week

Did you meet your August goals?

What are your goals for September?


Books read in August - 4 out of 5 were Indies!

  1. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

What did you read? Any recommendations?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Illustrator Spotlight: Corona Zschusschen

I don’t have to tell you all that I have some major Cover-Lovin’ going on for my book, Givin’ Up The Ghost. I finally got to show the front cover off last week during my cover reveal.

You know what else is awesome?
The back cover!
Check it out.

Of course, it’s all attributed to my very talented illustrator, Corona Zschusschen, who I am thrilled to be spotlighting and interviewing today.


Illustrator Spotlight

Name: Corona Zschusschen
Nationality: Dutch
Occupation: Illustrator and graphic designer
Lover of:
Nature, stars, books-books-books, sci-fi and cats


Welcome Corona! Tell me something about yourself.

I'm Corona, 30 years young and I'm from the Netherlands. I live in a medium sized town called Enschede, with 2 cats and a great guy. Especially great, because without him I wouldn't be able to chase my dream of being an illustrator.

How long have you been illustrating?

I think I've been drawing all my life. As a child I moved around a lot. Drawing was one of the steady, constant things in my life. Something I could do anywhere at any time. Even though I've been drawing all my life, I've only started being serious about it the past few years. Now I feel confident enough to call myself an illustrator (Explaining you're an illustrator works better at parties than telling you draw things). At the same time I'm never done learning, you have to keep practicing to get better.

How do you start a new illustration?

I also do research and search for inspiration. Mostly online, but sometimes I go somewhere, take a walk after sundown, take pictures of things I see that may be relevant. Often I ask a friend to pose, so I see what gesture or angle works best. But sometimes, when I'm really lucky, it just happens. I sit behind my computer and I start drawing. It's rare when I use paper and pencils, I've become quite dependent on using my drawing tablet to sketch out ideas.

A drawing tablet? How does that work? I’m envisioning etch-a-sketch on a computer, but I imagine it’s a little more complicated than that. (Do they have etch-a-sketch in the Netherlands? Or is it something like Paintbrush in Microsoft?

I'm not sure if they have Etch a Sketch here, they do have this toy that has a white board with iron particles, and you use a magnetic pen to bring the particles up to the surface. Much easier than turning two knobs I think ;) A drawing tablet is a device that you can connect to the computer (see the picture attached, this is my current desk setup :).

It has a pressure (and angle) sensitive pen. The tablet can mimic brush and paint-like strokes. I use it in combination with Photoshop. The only thing you have to get used to when using a tablet like this, is that you have to look up at your computer screen instead of down at your paper.

That is amazing. And how do you color it in?

The same way I've drawn it. Also digital. The program I use (Photoshop) has a digital equivalent of a colour palette. So I can choose colours and paint those in. For me the process is similar to painting traditionally, except that the computer offers the (awesome) 'Ctrl+z' option. This means that when you make a mistake you can simply return to a previous non-mistake version. I once spilled a pot of black ink all over a drawing on paper, oh how I missed 'Ctrl+z' buttons.

How did you come up with the idea for my book cover?

I have to let things sink in and settle before I have any ideas. The best ideas happen in those few minutes before you fall asleep. After you mailed me I printed out the chapter and scenes you had on your website. I read them several times before I went to bed and underlined passages that described atmosphere, mood and appearance. I wanted your cover to tell a story, convey a sense of excitement and mystery, not to be just a static image. I hope I succeeded in bringing that message to the reader.
What also helped is that you clearly knew what you want and didn't want in a cover. This made it easier for me to think up a concept.
For example, the design of Indigo Eady was very important. Not just looks-wise, but also her facial expression and placement on the cover. Do we want her to look at us (the reader) or back at the mysterious people who are chasing her? Is she scared or confident? I went through several designs until Gwen gave the thumbs-up.


And there you have it folks, the very talented illustrator, Corona Zschusschen!

How did I find this whole process?


How did I choose my illustrator?

For my part, I knew I wanted something different than the usual young adult cover. I write what I consider Young Adult Paranormal Cozy Mysteries. The emphasis is on “cozy,” which I haven’t really seen in young adult fiction.

Lovely as they are, I knew I didn’t want the edgier, realistic photographic cover. I wanted something softer, cozier. I wanted middle-grade for young adult.

I found Corona's artwork as a heading/banner on another blog months and months before I even started thinking about a cover. I added the page to my favorites, and when it was time, I approached her for an estimte.

I couldn’t have imagined a better cover than what Corona created for me. It was exactly what I wanted!

Thank you for being here today, Corona. And thank you so much for creating my awesome cover and being part of my exciting journey.

You can find Corona at:

Her websites:



Twitter: @sjusjun

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Funnies: All's Fair in NaNoWriMo

Thank you Debbie Ohi

I've never done NaNoWriMo, but I did BuNoWriMo - 50K during the month of June. My carefully planned outline was too short and I was writing all kinds of crazy stuff to meet my word count. Seriously, I almost wrote a sex scene! Okay, not. But my character was sashaying quite a bit and people noticed!

I know that some of you just finished NaNo.

How crazy did you get?


Part II of Today's Blog Post

Just some reminders, so if you're tired of hearing it, just skip this part and go directly to the comment blocks below.

If you're looking for things to do in Blogtown, here are some shameless plugs unbiased lovely suggestions:

1.  You can still sign up to host our Partners in ParanormYA blog tour (Oct 8 - 31) below on the comment linky:


2.  You can grab our tour badge and put it in your sidebar with this link

3. You can - only if you want to, mind - visit GoodReads and put Givin' Up The Ghost on your TBR list HERE, or Neverlove HERE.

4. I am still posting, or rather started posting again, over at Run Gwen, Run! as a health and inspiration blog every Friday.

5.  If you haven't visited our new blog (a combined effort between Angela Brown and I), Partners in ParanormYA, you can check it out and follow HERE.

6. And you can visit and re-follow our blogging buddy, Millie Holmes,

over at her new digs HERE and find out about the changes she's making to get ready for publishing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: The "R" Word

Hello, my Insecure Writer's Support Group peeps! A month has passed already since our last meeting. Where did the time go?!

For those who are new here, the Insecure Writer's Support Group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. Our premise is self-explanatory, but if you'd like to learn more or sign up, go HERE.

Many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for being our gracious host.

What am I feeling insecure about this month? You know, the same ol' writerly things. Is my writing good enough? Will people want to read what I write? Will they like it? Am I ready to self-publish?

Yeah. It's the self-publishing thing again. Or I should say, still. But I'm ready. I know I am. The awesomely talented Angela Brown and I are releasing our books and touring together under the Partners in ParanormYA banner. We're going over our manuscripts one last time. Our cover reveals began on Monday, September 3rd - 7th. We've had a great response from all our awesome, blogsome buddies around Blogtown and lots of support for our endeavor.

So what's making me nervous?

I have tons of work to do before my book release on October 8th. I'll be contacting our volunteers next week to firm up hosting dates. Then I have to start pre-writing posts for the tour. You know - try to write about 20 posts and be all creative at the same time. Keep up with my regular posting schedule. Learn how to format for Amazon and download my book. Try to line up ARC reviewers.

There. I just said the "R" word.

That. Is. So. Scary.

The scariest thing of all!

What are you feeling insecure about?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Finally! Partners In ParanormYA Cover Reveals

  It's that time folks, the moment Gwen and I have been so excited for.  Well, one of the moments.  This Indie publishing adventure has been one thrilling moment after another.  So here they are, our covers for GIVIN' UP THE GHOST and NEVERLOVE by Gwen Gardner and Angela Brown, respectively.

Corona Zschusschen
Friend or Foe?

Murder victim Bart Bagley is not content to merely roll over in his grave. He wants his murderer caught and he wants teenage ghost whisperer, Indigo Eady, to help him.

It becomes obvious that Bart’s temper lead to more than one disagreement, but is it enough to want him dead? With nothing but a cold trail and a hot list of “friendly” suspects, Indigo and her friends race to find the killer before they become the next victims.

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute new friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks start to fly in more than one direction...

Heather McCorckle of CP Designs

For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE?

About the authors:
Haunt me: FB, Blog, Goodreads

Gwen Gardner

Running, writing and reading are my favorite things.

I am also a dreamer.

Have you ever told yourself that "some day" I'm going to travel or write or whatever it is that you are passionate about but can't do right now for whatever reason? You can go for years and years and keep telling yourself that "some day" you'll do it. Too often "some day" never comes. But mine did. I am a former Administrative Manager and Vice President of a successful swimming pool plastering company - until I woke up one day and realized that my "some day" had arrived. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and began to write. Crazy, I know. But even crazier? Is when you get to the end of your life and realize that your "some day" is too late. Life is much too short for that! So the adventure has begun.

GIVIN' UP THE GHOST is a YA paranormYA cozy mystery, the first in the Indigo Eady series, due out October 8, 2012.

Haunt me FB, Blog, Goodreads

Angela Brown

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time I gave birth to my forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that I really took writing seriously. After all, how could I teach my child to follow her dreams if I hadn't tried myself?

As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, I favor the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life...even harbor a secret fright for things that go bump in the night.

NEVERLOVE is a special project spawned from a blog-challenge-turned-blog-opera, the Abby and Basil affair. It is the first in the Shadow Jumpers series and due out October 8, 2012.