Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I've Learned About Myself

Another Turkey day has come and gone for those of us in the US and I have learned a few things about myself this go round.

1) I am horrible at estimating how many people will actually scarf down my orange jello/cool whip salad (umm...not near as many as I thought:)

2) I am all about Black Friday shopping at like 5AM until ? but when it starts at 10PM Thanksgiving night and goes until 5AM...not so much. I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep from that one.
(for the record this is not an actual picture of me fighting in the lines:)

3) Editing is near impossible for me to get done with days jam packed full of family fun. (again this picture is so not a picture of me or my family:)

4) Last but not least, once I stop editing for a few days, starting back is like starting to work out after you quit for a month. I know it's good for me, I actually love it when I begin again, but man, actually making that first move is like pulling teeth. (Now this picture, it's the real deal:)

So here I am entering the writing world after a weeks vacation. I'm starting simple with a blog post. Next, I will try to take a hunk out of my 300 plus emails and then I'm jumping back into my editing head on. I'm so close to being done, I can't quit now!

What about you, is it hard to get back into the grind of writing/editing after taking a break? If so I'd love to know what you do to pump yourself back up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

You may have noticed my blogging has been sporadic this week. It's because I've been away visiting my dad for Thanksgiving and he lives on this great farm...with zero connection to the outside world. Well, I say zero and that is stretching it a bit, but it is turtle slow. I have to say, sometimes that disconnect from the craziness of the world is pretty great. I can understand why my dad and his family live on their sprawling farm full of goats, horses and dogs. While I love that life, I love the city life as well. There's nothing like needing a gallon of milk and the store being a minute away. Being able to appreciate both ends of the spectrum this week has me feeling very grateful for the things I have in my life and with Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought I would share a few of those things with you.

- My family and the overwhelming support they've given me after I told them I'm on a mission to become a published writer. If they think I'm a loon, they're keeping it to themselves and for that I'm grateful.

- The tremendous outpouring of love and support I've received from my writing buddies I've met through blogging. I mean seriously, who knew you all would be so wonderful!

- My children, my home, my dog, an abundance of what I need. So many out there don't have any of that.

- My husband and his patience with me when I forget to grocery shop or clean the house because I can't stop writing.

- The knowledge I have that I am special and unique in my own way and that God loves me. No matter if the above blessings were wiped away I would always have someone by my side leading me, guiding me and rooting me on.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Whatever you are doing around the world, whoever you are sharing it, I hope you can count you many blessings:)


Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Lie

Yep, I lied again. Lines got crossed with my Firsts Fridays gal for today so last week really was the end of the line for that fun series.

So instead of that I'm going to gush for a second about Breaking Dawn the movie. I was able to see it early yesterday and...I loved it! (Please imagine me singing this at the top of my lungs:)

I am very aware that the Twilight books, movies and even Stephenie Meyer have gotten some major flak over the years, but as for me, I'm a fan and I'm not afraid to say it.

Like it or leave it, Stephenie Meyer has done an amazing thing with all this and I can easily say she is an inspiration to me.

If you get a chance, grab your friends, husband, wife, whoever, and go see Breaking Dawn part 1. They just keep getting better and better:)

Also, while I was preparing to watch the much anticipated movie, The Hunger Games trailer popped up. This is another one I am counting the days until.

What books would you love to see made into movies or which ones have you seen that you absolutely love?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Week 4 and a Mix-Up

Before I get into the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest...
Last week was my final Firsts Fridays post, at least for the time being. Well...sike! I realized yesterday that I have one more lovely writer to interview so join me Friday for the real last Firsts Fridays with author, Damyanti.

Now, on to Warm Fuzzies. This week is the final week of Juliana Brandt's super fun blogfest. Here is our assignment:
This week, post what makes writing worth it for you and most importantly, post one of your Warm Fuzzy moments. It can be a scene from a WIP, short story, poem, anything that strikes your fancy. Visit one another’s posts and enjoy the writing you find there.

This assignment for me is like taking a sneak peak at Heaven and then being asked to describe it in detail. What words have we possibly invented on this earth to describe something like that?
That's how it is for me when I try to explain why I wake up every morning revelling in the thought of sitting down to a blank screen with just my imagination. It's why I go to bed at night reworking scenes in my head. It's why I wake up in the middle of the night to scribble dreams down or better yet, the perfect words that had eluded me until three in the morning.
It's a whirlwind romance and a long lasting marriage. It's that itch you can't ignore and when you find the spot and scratch it's bliss, but when you can't find it you drive yourself mad searching.
What can I say? I love to write and I love to hate writing. I wish it were more eloquent and fantastic than that, but its really a manic obsession, an obhorent addicition that I can't get get my fill of but I will keep trying.

What about you? If you're a writer what is it about the craft that keeps you doing it? If you aren't a writer, what is your passion you can't go on living without?

Juliana would also like us to post some work and since I am a big baby about posting my stuff I'm going to make mine short and sweet. One line from my current WIP, Ripple Effect:

Her eyes are ablaze and I don’t know who she is in that body of hers, but she wants a piece of me, and not in a good way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Croddle and the Missing Hat

Today it's time for Jenny Morris' Holiday bloghop! Here are the rules:

Since the holidays are just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to write holiday stories. To participate, just pick your favorite holiday (any will do) and post a story around 250 words. We are going for short and sweet so we can all read each entry.

If you are interested in signing up or reading the other entries go HERE to do so.

I have had so much fun doing this because it got me all kinds of excited for my favorite holiday, which is Christmas. And without further ado here is my story about:


Mackenzie lay in bed, her heart beating so hard against her chest she could see it raise her fuzzy red and green Christmas pajamas. Tomorrow Croddle, Santa’s elf, would finally be here again to watch over her until Christmas morning. She couldn’t wait to see what tricks he had up his sleeve this year.

Mackenzie’s favorite part about Croddle visiting was when her and her family went on their holiday trips. She was giddy thinking about getting to watch out the car window for a glimpse of that sneaky elf flying through the clouds as he rushed ahead to hide from them.
She giggled at the memory of the year before when she jumped out of the car on the heels of her dad (he always wanted to find Croddle first) in search of her elf, and found his tiny red hat in the hotel lobby.
Croddle was such a trickster. Mackenzie’s mom told her he was probably playing one of his silly games and to go look in the bathroom for him, but when she went to check he wasn’t there. Her mom never was very good at finding Mackenzie’s elf.
When Mackenzie walked out of the bathroom she spotted him right away. Would you believe that goofy ole' Croddle was hiding in plain sight on the lamp right next to her parents? They must have looked so hard they’d fallen into a heap on the bed and didn’t notice Croddle right there. And he’d found his hat too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author, Elizabeth Sharp

I’m excited and sad for today's Firsts Friday. I’m happy because I am getting to interview Elizabeth Sharp, author of Natural Selection. Let me tell you, I read this book in one day…page turner for sure, and it’s her first published book! Yay for Elizabeth!

I’m sad because I have decided to close the door for the time being on Firsts Fridays. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people through it and learned even more. But all good things must come to an end and with the holidays around the corner I feel its time. This isn’t to say it's gone forever, but it is gone for now.

 Enough of that, lets get to know Elizabeth Sharp and see what 'First' writing magic she can teach us.

DB: Hi Elizabeth, thanks so much for stopping by Firsts Fridays while you’re doing your blog tour!

ES: Thank you for having me. I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive experience this tour has been. J

DB: For starters could you tell us about you and how you became a writer?

ES: I was always a storyteller, so when I learned to read and write, it was a natural progression to start writing. I suffered with self-esteem issues in high school (and really, who doesn’t?) and through my writing I was able to express things I never could have without it. It took a long time to get serious about writing though, and I don’t know precisely what changed. Maybe it was a combination of having a really good idea at the same time I was invited to join an amazing writer’s group on Facebook. From then on everything just fell into place and my dream of publishing became a reality.

 DB: Ugh, high school can be so hard, but it sounds like your struggles ended up being a real blessing for you.

Natural Selection is your first book you’ve had published. Can you tell us a little about it?

 ES: It is my first published book. It follows the story of Amelia, a girl who isn’t the normal human she’d always thought. As she starts to discover who and what she is, things start changing very quickly for her. While she comes of age, she is thrust into the center of a terrifying mystery that could cost her and her whole family their lives.

DB: I had so much fun reading this book! I can’t wait until you release Second Nature, the second book in the series.

You published it through 4 Corners Press, a small publisher. Why did you decide to go that route and do you see yourself sticking to this method?

ES: Honestly, I am one of the founding members of 4 Corners. I had intended to self-publish, but after some casual joking one day about how some of us with different talents should band together to create our own publishing company, things started to fall together and that’s exactly what we did. I am the cover artist. As a part owner of the company, I have a feeling I’ll be publishing through them for a while. ;)

DB: Well isn’t that cool! And what a big endeavor!

As you mentioned above, you are also an artist having done your cover and others. For those interested are you available to do more and if so how can someone reach you about this?

ES: I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I love creating covers or writing more. I have a website for my cover designs, including some premade covers and some samples of others I’ve done. Anyone who’s interested can contact me through the contact form on the site, http://sharpcovers.blogspot.com

DB: Where do you see yourself taking your writing in the future? Let’s say the next five years.

ES: Honestly, I just hope the world loves what I create as much as I like creating it. I would like to expand myself, write a little darker, maybe master suspense. But I’d be content in five years to just still be putting out quality work and have a reliable fan base who love to read it.

DB: Sounds like some great plans!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! You rockJ

ES: So do you. J

If you’d like to learn more about Elizabeth Sharp, her publishing company and/or her cover art, go HERE.

And that’s it folks. Firsts Fridays outJ

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warm Fuzzies: Week 3- Poor Poor Characters

This week on Warm Fuzzies brought to you by the luverly Juliana Brandt, we are talking about how lucky we are to be writers and not our characters. Sure they often walk away with this new appreciation for life, love and happiness but the CRAP they have to go through. Come on! Are we sick and sadistic or what?!

These are the rules for week 3 in Juliana's words:
This week, take a moment to look at the trouble you get your MC into. How do you kick them while they’re down? Without revealing too many secrets about your WIP- take us through your MC’s arch.
The challenge for this week is to visit as many blogs as you can and based on their exert/summary, come up with a title for their WIP. Your title can be funny or serious, whatever you’d like. The best title will win one of my hand-made journals.

It's not to late to be a part of it, just click on the Warm Fuzzies button above to get started:)

As for my character and the you-know-what I put her through....
-She is born into a society where time travel is as common as flying in an airplane. Cool right? Except when people travel back in time and change things (namely the government who's all about changing the past to make a Utopian future) she is the only one who remembers the way things were before the change.
-Not only that but when these Ripples in time occur they make her all kinds of sick and they alter long time friends and loved ones personalities or make it as if they don't exist at all.
-Her world is blown up, killing everyone she ever loved.
-She discovers she can travel through time on her own but can't navigate too well in the beginning so has some pretty bad spills. Lucky for her she heals fast.
-She keeps running into a totally hot guy when she travels through time but for some reason he doesn't want to have anything to do with her
-She's attacked by wolves
-Thrown into a mental hospital
...and all that is just in the beginning.
I guess the saying we hurt the ones we love the most can apply here. Because I love my protag like she's my best bud. So I'll say it again. We are some sick sadistic people us writers.

What about you, do you put your main character through the crapper only to have them better for it in the end?

(This is for Juliana's eyes) +20 points:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


#Wipmadness Participant!
I have just joined up with the ever inspiring #wipmadness group. The mastermind of it all? Angelina Hansen.  You may have seen the hashtag on Twitter, if not you should check it out!
Amazing goals are set and a host is picked every month to have Monday accountability posts. This month Lora Rivera is hosting on her site so if you are needing some major motivation with your WIP, I highly suggest heading over there.

What about you all? Where are you at with your WIP goals?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author, Mark Boliek and Giveaway!

Today’s Firsts Fridays guest Mark Boliek had a dream and went against the grain to follow it. He has recently published his first book, The Mahogany Door and his story is one I think can help any dreamer at heart.

DB: Mark, thanks so much for being here!

MB: Thank you for having me, Deana. I love following your escapades on your blog. I wish I had as much energy as you do!  Even with the little ones!
DB: HA! And here I am thinking I’m a lazy bum who just writes all the time. Thanks for the compliment.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your book, The Mahogany Door?
MB: I was born in North Carolina and have lived here most of my life. I’m 41 years old and am a SAS programmer by trade (Google “SAS” if you are interested). I was in the Navy during the later part of the 80’s and served during Operation Desert Storm. I have a pretty uneventful life – though I like to think that it is. I am married and live with twin orange tabby cats (they remind me of the two Valociraptors from Jurassic Park as I sometimes notice them – when they are not sleeping - thinking of ways to kill me), and a six month old Scottish Terrier (I thought I was stubborn).

The Mahogany Door is the first in a trilogy called “The Bruinduer Narrative.” It is a story of 3 friends separated by tragedy when they were younger and have to go back to the fantasy world called Bruinduer through a mahogany door and save it from collapse. It also comes with a cool original music soundtrack.

DB: I think this is the perfect opportunity to tell the world…or my readers at least that I read the book and listened to the sound track as well (which if I’m correct, Mark did most of too) and wow. This guys got some talent. The book carries you away on an adventure and you begin to really feel for the characters. I thought it was very interesting how Mark was able to mix adult lives into a children’s story and still make it relevant by the way the story was told.
The music I actually listened to before I read the book and it really geared me up and set the tone for this book. It was haunting and fun and I really enjoyed both the music and book!
Also, Mark will giving away a box set of his book and cd. As always, if you want it let me know in the comments section and I will pick the winner next Friday!
I read that it was published by Split Rail multimedia, which you are the founder. Can you tell us why you went this route rather than the get-an-agent-get-a-publisher or the e-pub route?
MB: There are 2 e-Book versions of the book. There is the ‘regular’ e-Book which can be found at Amazon, B&N, and iBooks, but there is also an enhanced version of the e-Book for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch at the iBook store that contains the embedded soundtrack (it is so cool – there is a video on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=2074203611925).

I went the self route – AT FIRST – because there are so many cool books and authors out there that it is very difficult to get your foot in the door with an agent. I created the publishing company so that I can get a name for myself (no matter how small that might be) and prove that I am willing to do what it takes to be a successful author (it is very difficult as you may well know). I have started locally and pushing the book out from there to create a reading base, and agents I think, may look a little longer at an author with a platform - maybe. Local indie bookstores are amazing and can really help a first time author get a little publicity. Check this pic out of my book on the shelf at “The Regulator” in my hometown of Durham, NC –

It’s right along there with some pretty cool and popular books, and sometimes seeing it there makes doing it by myself (of course I had a lot of help from others) worth it, because who knows if I will ever get an agent and see the book published in a major house otherwise. (I also like to think the quality is right there too – but I am biased)

DB: I commend you! This route is a ton of work I hear but really can pay off in the long run. I just finished reading the third book of a series that just went this route and she got an agent after the fact. It definitely does happen.
Do you see yourself sticking with this method of publishing?

MB: That is a big NO. The endgame is definitely to get an agent and go the “traditional” route – whatever that might be now-a-days.  I do, however, want to help other authors get a feel for what the publishing industry is like. If nothing else, I can answer a LOT of questions about how to get a book on the shelf.  As I work on the second book and soundtrack, my focus is now more on getting an agent – though I still love doing local book signings – I have 2 scheduled through Dec 10th.

DB: I’m rootin’ for you Mark!
I also read that you didn’t begin writing until after 9-11. Have you always wanted to write or was this the first time you tried it?

MB: I took creative writing classes in college and have been messing around with The Mahogany Door since about 1996, but wasn’t really serious about writing until after 9-11, that is when the story became a little more personal to me. I played football when I was growing up, so sports were more important to me. In a recent interview, the interviewer stated I look more like an NFL linebacker than a writer. That is very true, and I never expressed my creative side while playing sports – in some ways it was looked down upon by my fellow teammates. Writing, especially after 9-11, became a therapeutic exercise more than anything else – and I also learned not to care what others thought.

DB: Kudos to you for having the courage to do what you really loveJ
Your book is a great read as I said before, and I am wondering how you came up with your idea?

MB: Being from NC, we have been blessed with both the beach and the mountains – and I enjoy both, but love the beach more. I basically grew up on the North Carolina shore, and one day in 2002, I took a trip to the Biltmore House (http://www.biltmore.com/) in the mountains and fell in love with the big old mansion – the only thing I could have wished more was that it was at the beach. I walked around and imagined what it must had been like to be a kid growing up in this wonderful house – WOW - the adventures they must have had. I dusted off my originals of the story, took the Biltmore House and stuck it on the beach and away I went with the story.
After 3 drafts about the beach, the mansion, and my characters, I realized that I was writing a story about my own life. It sort of just hit me that way. I could see that the tale was full of symbolism and things that had happened to me – forgetting about my childhood due to tragedy (the character JT), wanting to forget about some of the bad things that had happened to me (the character Kali), getting older and then wanting to go back to a more simpler when the responsibilities weren’t so tough (the character Michael), getting stuck and not able to move forward with my life due to some of the choices I had made (the character Charlie), and then realizing that I had pushed God out of my life and perceiving Him as a vindictive monster (the character Billy). I also put the events of 9-11 (allegorically of course) in the story because it had such a profound impact on me. Like the old cliché, I guess I wrote about what I knew.

DB: And that seems to be what we doJ
What can you tell us about the soundtrack?

MB: I got the idea for the soundtrack because I have a songwriting streak in me and a fascination with sound engineering. My wife also has a Master’s in Music. At first I just wanted a song to stick on the website just to have something besides a silent page, but after riding around with my brother-in-law Scott, who had a pivotal role in the project, we decided to put the album together. I think during the whole process this was the most fun we had. I would be lying if I told you there was no stress involved, but it was a great learning experience, and my family (including our wonderful friends) has some pretty cool music to play at parties and say, “that’s us singing and playing!” The reaction is always – “Really?” our answer – “really, really.”
“Goodbyes” is the most special song on the soundtrack. I wrote that song thirteen years ago after a terrible divorce and other things. I found a poem in my sister’s diary and put it to music. I really think just wanting to hear that song recorded motivated me to write the other songs for the book. It is also beautifully sung by Katie Basden, one of my wife’s former students. She also wrote, sings, and graciously allowed me to use “Rear View Mirror.” (you can listen to the full soundtrack here: http://www.reverbnation.com/themahoganydoor  it is also on Spotify (just search “The Mahogany Door” and can be downloaded at iTunes, Amazon MP3, Walmart, Napster – and most other mp3 sites)

DB: Very cool!
Where do you see yourself and your writing five years from now?

MB: I would like to see myself as maybe the minor league of publishing and writing. Professional teams in baseball have their farm teams that develop their players. I’d really like to see myself maybe like that with authors. I’d love to help authors write and produce songs for their books if they want and maybe do enhanced e-Books – it is just going to be common that publishing is going more interactive. I’d also like to be finished with the trilogy and two more soundtracks – maybe with an agent – who knows – I might win the lottery and not worry about it. J
DB: You’re awesome Mark, thanks for the interview!

MB: Thank you Deana – I can’t express enough thanks to you for having me today!

People can buy the printed version in NC at (can call and order as well) The Regulator in Durham, NC, Quail Ridge Books (special box set $27.99) in Raleigh, NC The Moravian Book store in Winston Salem, NC and Chambers Arts in Cary, NC – people can also buy the book from my website at www.jmarkboliek.com (the book and CD (included) will be on sale for $12.99 – free shipping) .

That’s a pic of me at a book signing posing with a reader and the box set (it is a handcrafted box that comes with the book, CD, and bookmarks) If you were interested.
And I think that about does it for this week!

Until next time…
Keep learning. Keep writing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Warm Fuzzies Week 2 and Killer Character Winners

The Killer Characters Blogfest has come to an end and I have to say every entry was wonderful. Emily and I had a hard time picking winners but finally we did. Thanks to all those who participated!


The winner of POSSESSION is Jen from Jen's Bookshelf!

The winner of a 5-page critique from Elana Johnson is Jessie Humphries from B-Word!

And the winner of the 10-page critique from Elana Johnson is Tasha Seegmiller!

Congrats you all!

And now for...

This week, Warm Fuzzies will cater to those of us who are completely possessive over our WIPs and don’t want to give anything too telling away. Instead of posting something intimate about our writing, post a picture or piece of music that describes your WIP.

For those of you that know me, I love to call on my readers for help so I don't know that I so possessive over my work that I don't share, but I do love pictures to inspire my work.

I have two in particular that I use to inspire me with my current WIP, but I chose this one to post:

I'd love to hear your guesses on what it's about based on this picture (and no cheating by reading previous posts:)