Winner of the “If I was born 2000 years after the Rapture…” Contest

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

Some great entries in the contest! Last night I put all the names in a blender, added Metamucil and drank up. Five minutes ago I discovered the winning entry. And the winner is….Kerry Schafer!

Kerry wrote: “If I was born 2000 years after the Rapture, I would find out what the hell a clovort is and stay well away from the King’s Royal Harem.”

To read the other entries, click Here

Congrats Kerry!
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The “If I was born 2000 years after the Rapture…” Contest

Posted by on Oct 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is my second contest. Yes, Rogue’s Curse is available for download at Lyrical Press and, but I still have more e-copies to give away. Rogue’s Curse takes place 2000 years after the Rapture, in the monarchial kingdom of Western Beatrice. Aside from soaring mortality rates and an abnormally high clovort population, it’s not a bad place to live. Opportunities abound. Here are a few:

1) The King’s Royal Harem — “Seeking females with unusual physical ailments to fit King Perlezod’s sexual appetites. Multiple nipples a plus! Inquire at the palace gates. Ask for Madam Vaginaberry.”

2) Capped Rock Island — “The mental facility on Capped Rock seeks qualified medical professionals to service its ever-growing population. Benefits include pension plan, hazard pay, and access to the best meds in the kingdom. Note: Applicants sail to the island at their own risk.”

Here’s how to enter the contest:

STEP ONE: Comment on this post by finishing the sentence: “If I was born 2000 years after the Rapture, I would…”

STEP TWO: “Follow” or “Like” me on at least one of these:

Facebook Page

If you already do, then you’ve already completed this step.

That’s it! Easy, right?

On Tuesday morning, November 2nd, I’ll throw all your names into a blender with ice and strawberry powder, gulp it down, wait, and see what name pops out later that night. It should be a lovely experience. If you win, tell me your choice of eBook format and I’ll email it to you.

Thanks, and please spread the word!
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Watch the Eyes

Posted by on Oct 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is also posted on the Lyrical Press blog: Watch the Eyes

Where do the best characters come from? Sometimes they wander into Starbucks while you’re sitting in the corner, sucking down powdered bean and typing your first draft. They’re muse, plopped onto your lap like gift baskets from God. They hassle the baristas, complain about the prices, fly into fits when their order isn’t perfect. They come in whistling bad 80’s songs, smelling of expired milk. They wear XXL sweatpants that burst at the seams, with the word “Love” stretched across both butt cheeks. They lay waste to the Free Samples table, draining Dixie cups filled with whipped barbacoa marmalade frap-caps—taking down six before coming up for air. Then they smile at you with their white frap mustaches. And all you can think is “God bless my local Starbucks!”
But maybe you don’t have a Starbucks within walking distance. That’s okay. You will eventually. The good news is you don’t have to leave home. Outside the bewitching green glow of the caffeine limelight, a reservoir of deep characterization awaits you in your living room. My novel Rogue’s Curse (available now!) leans heavily on character quirks. What do I do when Starbucks is closed and I need to add depth to my prince, my rogue or my emaciated enchantress?

I turn on the television.

If you frequent this blog, you’re aware of my frightening dependency on VH1 and shady reality shows—specifically, Cops and To Catch a Predator. Why? Because you won’t find better characters anywhere else. In Cops, it’s the drunk driver, the domestic disturber, the “that’s not mine” guy; in To Catch a Predator, it’s the busted schoolteacher, family man, or creepy guy with bedroom eyes.  When Mr. Police Officer pulls a dude over, or when Chris Hanson emerges from behind the felt curtain, the cameras reveal the actual person within. Whatever bravado or acting skill the criminal has is wiped clean, and what remains is pure instinct. The facial expressions, the immediate responses— the audience sees what words form when a guilty man shuffles off his inner filter. “I found six pounds of leaf in the backseat of your Bonneville,” says Officer Jones. “That’s not mine,” replies the perp. Beautiful.

Watch the perp’s reaction when Officer Jones bends him over the trunk and cuffs him. Note the rapid eye movement as the criminal tries to come up with something better than “It belongs to a friend.” His face contorts; what’s going through his mind? Is he thinking about jail, his family? What made him steal the car, crank up the Skynard, and cruise the camino for chicks? Where did he get that tat, his long hair, his pockmarked cheeks and that sweet, sweet 1981 Chrysler Lebaron?

In To Catch a Predator, the host sets them up with his questions: “Why did you come here today?”and “Did you bring alcohol?” Again, watch the eyes. Try this exercise: TiVo or YouTube a clip of this show. Power up your laptop and open a blank text document.

1) When the host emerges from behind the curtain and says, “How are you?” or “Did you have trouble finding the place?” press pause.

2) Put yourself in Mr. Perv’s shoes. Role-play. You’re pinned down, exposed. Now type your response. This isn’t the person you came to see; he’s much taller. Think fast! You have to answer Chris Hanson while still looking guiltless.  

3) Unpause. Note the dude’s response, calm and nonchalant, betraying just a hint of apprehension. He’s been in this situation before; he’s used to answering tough questions. Take notes as the host strikes up a conversation. Type out your own answers. At the same time, look for some avenue of escape, just keep typing. Don’t stop.

4) When the host says these words, “You’re free to walk out that door,” stop the show.


Now, 5) Put your protagonist(s) into the hot seat. Repeat this exercise with your characters walking into the decoy house or being handcuffed by the cop. How does he/she react? What’s at stake? The hot seat is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if your protagonist is a truck driver from Tucson or a zombie wet nurse; everyone shows a new level of personality when cornered.

Quirks. TV is full of them. You don’t have to sit at Starbucks and wait for them to order a cup of coffee; you just have to ogle the pretty colors on your television screen until your brain softens like a bruised peach.

Happy Writing!
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Winner of the “Name Your Pet Clovort” contest

Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

My pet clovort’s name is Squirreljaw. I call him that because he can fit twenty squirrels in his— Um, I mean because he’s cute.

When the “Name Your Pet Clovort” contest ended last night, Squirreljaw was hungry. He’s always hungry. He laughed at all eight entries: Minnie, Kitty, Tinnell, Wilbur, Sylvester, George, Beklin, and Dimeadip.

I let Squirreljaw pick the winner.

I collected eight squirrels from the traps in my backyard, one for each entry. There were actually fifteen (to cover any late entries), but we only needed eight. I wrote one clovort name on the back of each squirrel with a Sharpie, then brought them to Squirreljaw’s shed and let them loose. 

Squirreljaw can be a picky eater. He giggled at Dimeadip for a long time and played Animal Autopsy with Sylvester, but he didn’t eat them. I yelled at Squirreljaw to stop playing with his food. Squirreljaw sighed, picked up Beklin by the tail and gulped down a winner.

And that means Janelle gets the prize! To claim it, tell me where to mail the squirrel’s remains and I’ll send them via UPS Overnight. 

Thanks all for playing! I’ll have a new contest coming up soon. 
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Interview with Liz Borino

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

I interviewed Liz Borino for a variety of reasons: 
a) Her blog is unique. She posts each entry from the POV of a fictional character. I like that.
b) She’s a talented writer.
c) She actually bought (and read) my novel, Rogue’s Curse. And I always take care of my readers.

So here is Liz Borino…

You have a unique and fun approach to blogging. You let your characters post. What’s that about?
When I completed my manuscript, I began researching online about the importance of platforms to selling work and most authors have a blog and that was something I was interested in. So, I started brainstorming ways to stand out. There’re very few blogs like mine. Also, the way the blog is set up allows for minor characters to be more fleshed out, as well as getting back story I couldn’t include in the book.

How is your blog related to your novel?
My blog is written by my characters. It allows for everyone to have a voice. One of my favorite things to do with the blog is to give two perspectives to the same scene. For example, how does Chris view his brother’s alcoholism versus how Matt views it? These things weigh heavily on how the audience understands the characters.
The other good thing about this blog is it gives a forum for other authors and later books to follow the same format.

What is your novel about? Tell us about it.
Expectations is about the struggle to live our own lives in spite of family expectations. All three main characters deal with overbearing fathers. Twins, Matt and Chris, are constantly seeking their wealthy father’s approval and get their trust funds. Matt is required to work at an East Coast marketing company and merge with his father’s West Coast company. Chris must marry and have a son. Matt hates his job and turns to alcohol, while Chris’s love for Aiden prevents him from easily fulfilling his father’s wishes. Aiden was disowned at 17 when he chose a life of dance over taking over the family farm in Ireland. The novel follows the young men through their trials and self-discovery.

Any funny stories about Expectations?
Yes, originally, Aiden’s name was Shane, the same as my cousin. As I was writing the love scene between him and Chris I realized Shane’s Catholic parents might not be too happy about that. So when the novel was finished, I went back and changed his name to Aiden.

Talk about your favorite character in your blog postings or your novel.
This is the toughest question for me. It’s like picking your favorite child.  I guess I would have to say Chris because he gives himself so fully to Aiden when they get together and that strength helps Aiden to open up as well.

What are some of your favorite works of fiction?
A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham is my all time favorite book. Actually Aiden was based on Bobby from that book. 
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is up there as well. It’s a beautiful book about childhood choices and how they affect us later in life.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is also amazing, though long. I’ve loved that story since I was nine years old. 

Boxers or briefs?
Oh God, boxers every time. If a guy is wearing briefs I can only assume he’s too uptight to deal with my writer quirkiness. 

What are your long term writing goals?
To inspire change in people’s life. I know that each person affected has the power to change the world at large. More specifically, I suppose making a living on my writing, the bulk of which comes from novel sales.

What is your favorite line from Shakespeare?
“To thy own self be true.”

Finish this: “Liz Borino is in my favorite Cops episode. No, she’s not one of the police. Liz is that girl who ____.”
First of all, I’d never be one of the police. I’d be girl who forgot to file her tax returns-three years in a row. No…IRS…I swear I’ve been doing it…*runs to confirm*

Check out Liz’s blog at:
And her article about creative writing:
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