Monday, December 31, 2012

How’s that apocalypse coming along?

Phew. I’ve survived yet another End of the World.

They’re coming around pretty often these days. The latest one is not the Mayan’s fault; it’s the fault of the people who misinterpreted it. The world should have ended in 1975, but we survived that one too. And last year we survived two raptures. You do remember the rapture, don’t you?

Apocalypse fatigue has set in and I’ve become a total cynic. Because in real life, people predicting the end of the world (through unnatural disasters, raptures or rogue meteors) end up looking very un-sage-like and almightily silly.

In real life, threats/prophecies/predictions of the world ending are either a total joke or a horrible way to scare people. Of course, when truly horrible things happen, Nostradamus is credited with predicting it all. After the event, of course.

The first global media ‘End of the World’, wasn't so much a prediction as a catastrophe. The Cuban Missile Crisis came after so many other terrible events, but this one became television fodder and went viral. (Viral for the 1960s at any rate). The western world collectively cacked its pants and thought we’d all blow ourselves up by tea-time.

This was one of those events (before my time, obviously!!!) that captured the world’s attention and scared us all witless. It could have gone so very badly, but we’re still here because common sense ruled the day. And I guess, with hindsight, nobody wanted to press that red button.

The most recent ‘Mayan prophecy’, which, by the way, has seriously insulted the Mayans who were horridly misinterpreted, brought out the jokers on twitter and facebook. “Another end of the world? What am I going to wear?” and “The world can’t end in 2012, Marty McFly has been to 2015 and rode on a hoverboard” along with the usual, “The world didn’t end? Now I have to buy everyone Christmas presents after all”.

Who can forget Harold Camping’s Rapture from May (and then revised to October) 2011? Was it only a year ago? How time flies!

Even though Harold said ‘The bible guarantees it’, the rapture didn’t come – twice – which led to #rapturefail hilarity on social media. As each time zone around the world ticked over to 6pm, when the rapture was due to start, the sky was meant to go dark. Owing to daylight savings in the southern hemisphere, not even that happened.

People reported they were ‘still here’ or lamented they’d been left behind. The first to be left behind was New Zealand. Poor lambs.

After the jokes came the do-gooders, who castigated the jokers for making fun of an old man’s beliefs. A confused old man wondering why he and the rest of the planet were still here.

Want a trip down annihilation memory lane? Here’s a whole page of predicted events that, um... well, didn’t happen.

Apart from the Year 2000 problem. That was real.

On the other hand, end of the world prophecies work brilliantly in fiction. It’s fabulous foreshadowing: the metaphorical ticking clock as everyone races towards the end of the book. Will they make it or won’t they? It’s classic storytelling to have the characters hurtling towards a momentous event that will change their world forever.

Prophecies work because they show us where the story is heading . It gives us a direction. Fantasy novels are famous for their prophecies of a chosen one who will unite the tribes. The legends of King Arthur are interwoven with prophecy – the one who can take the sword from the stone will unite the tribes of Britain and become their king. The Belgariad series was all about prophecy. Even the Christmas story is steeped in prophecy.

But these are prophecies about uniting people and bringing people together, leading them towards a better world. Not wiping everyone out. Which again, works brilliantly in fiction (I had a go at this myself when I wrote one of those magnificent space operas, currently hibernating in the bottom drawer.)

Raptures, apocalypses and predictions are a fascinating study into human behaviour and how a person’s deep-seated beliefs shape their actions. It can make the foundation of great fiction. Which is where all these predictions belong. The real world is crazy enough without people predicting it’s all going to end.

On that note, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year and a wonderful 2013.

I'm the author of ONDINE series. Book one is THE SUMMER OF SHAMBLES and book two is THE AUTUMN PALACE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

To Resolve, Or Not To Resolve

As we put Christmas to bed, and look forward to the coming of the New Year... It's time to think about our resolutions.

Tonight, over a glass of wine in Amsterdam, this discussion came up... resolutions or not. My two guests said that they did not believe in them. They asked me what it was about making rules for resolutions you don't intend on keeping, and yet if you wanted to do them, then why wait until the New Year? Just do it now.

For me, New Years is a time to reflect on the year prior and make changes in my life. Despite who we are, we can always have room for improvement. I like to evaluate what worked last year, and what didn't. I enjoy setting goals and planning for the future. My resolutions are not rules made to be broken, but goals to be achieved. It's quite the accomplishment to make it through a year and say, "I did it!"

For the second part of the question... Why wait? Why not now? The answer, "Chocolate." I have have to get rid of it before I go for the no sugar thing. Yes, no sugar. Exercise every day, cardio and yoga. Study an hour each day. Write two hours each day. Paint two paintings for auctions.

So, what are your resolutions going to be? Write them out here, and then come back in a year and tell us if you made it.

Enjoy the Journey!
~XOX Karlene

Karlene Petitt is an author and a pilot. Her debut thriller novel, Flight For Control is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From All of Us to All of You

"We wish you a merry Christmas (or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, or other), we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy new year."

"Good tidings we bring, to you and your king (or president, emperor, monarch, or other), good tidings for Christmas (or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, or other) and a happy new year!"

No matter what you celebrate or how, we hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with loved ones and great books.

~From the Indie Elite authors.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Fun and Wishes~Author Style

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for the writer desperately trying to meet her deadline.

Her chapters were typed
On the screen with care,
In hopes that her editor
Wouldn’t kill her if she was a day or two late.

The characters were talking
All noisily in her head,
While visions of destruction and torture
Danced in the writer’s mind as she hammered out the best climax scene ever.

And her with her coffee nearby
And chocolate in her cap,
She settled in for a night
Of writing that would likely go until daylight, rivaling any college finals all-nighter.

When out in the living room
Rose such a clatter,
She sprang from her chair
Knocking over her laptop, spilling said coffee and stepping on the cat.

Away from her desk
She flew like a flash,
Threw open the door,
And found two kids out of bed, fighting over the presents she forgot to wrap.

The lights on the tree
That still wasn’t trimmed
Gave a pretty glow
On the children’s dirty faces because she also forgot to give them baths before bed.

When, what to her caffeine-induced
Brain did appear
But a little old woman
Shaking her head in disapproval at the messy house, dishes in the sink and piles of laundry scattered about.

With the bun on her head
And the wand in her hand,
The writer knew in a moment
It must be her fairy-godmother come to save the day.

More rapid than children
On cookie, candy and pie sugar highs,
She whistled and shouted,
And called out, “You are a basket case and need my help!”

“Now! Laundry, now! Dishes, now!
“Bathrooms and kitchen
“On! Wrapping, on! Decorating, on!
“And bathing those poor kids and reading them a proper story and putting them to bed.

“To the shower for yourself!
“To the bed at a decent time!
“Now dash away! Dash away!
“Dash away from that computer, it’s Christmas Eve, after all, you can take a break every once in a while, you know!”

She waved her wand
Casting a spell
And the writer watched
As her house magically came together just like she envisioned Christmas should be but deadlines and release dates and kids’ concerts and ballgames never gave her the time to get it all done.

A wink of her eye
And another flick of her wand,
Soon gave the writer to know
That her deadline could wait, she’d figure it out later, this is the time to spend with her family and count her blessings.

The fairy-godmother bowed
Her head to the writer
“Enjoy this day, my dear,
“For tomorrow you have to get your butt back in that chair and finish this book because your editor and cover designer and readers and fans are all waiting to see what brilliant story you give them next."

And the writer gave
Her fairy-godmother a big hug,
They said in each other’s ears,
“You are wonderful and beautiful and so much appreciated. Merry Christmas to you and to everyone who’s reading this.”

Wishing you all safe and happy holidays! (And if you see that fairy-godmother, please send her my way!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Resolving To Break The Pattern

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a writerly pattern forming.

It starts in the fall, when after a summer of binge writing at my family cabin, I’ve got various projects in various states of completion. I declare October “finish them!” month, whereby I try to ignore the voices that whisper in my head of new ideas. Sometimes I succeed.

Then comes November, where I sell my writing soul to NaNoWriMo, promising myself I will complete 50,000 words, that I will write every day, that I will allow myself to write crap if it means getting those pages done. True to pattern, I start out strong, and burn out just over the halfway mark.

But it’s the Christmas season and so this post isn’t to beat myself up over never meeting the NaNo goal. The object is to write. I did that, all of November.

Except, here’s where the pattern really gets noticeable.

December 1 – Lament over not completing NaNo goal and eat ice cream. (Well, I always eat ice cream, but on December 1, I eat more ice cream.)

December 2 – Reread NaNo project and determine it worthy of completion. Celebrate with a glass of wine.

December 3 – 5 – Give myself a break. Because hey, I wrote all of November. Catch up on TV shows I missed in November. (My guilty pleasure this year? Sons of Anarchy…hello Jax Teller!)

December 6 – 10 – Write! Attempt to regain NaNo momentum, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and there are so many shiny things…

December 11 – 15 – Begin planning writing schedule that will happen over the holidays. Determine that somehow magically the NaNo project, plus two other projects must be finished. Print off these documents and stuff them in my bag so they’re “handy” if I have some time between shopping/attending Christmas functions to do a quick “edit” in preparation of the binge writing I hope to squeeze in between unwrapping gifts and cooking, or even Boxing Day shopping with my MIL.

December 16 – 17 – Read Stephen King’s memoir On Writing.

December 18 – Realize that for the month of December I have done NO actual writing and according to Stephen King, that pretty much makes me a failure. Because, you know, he writes TEN pages a day, even on his birthday.

December 19 – Resolve to break the pattern.

And that’s where we’re at, friends. The resolutions. The promises that I will write 10 pages every day in 2013. I’ll read 100 books. I’ll lose 50 pounds. I’ll submit at least one short story a month. Blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

While each of those resolutions is admirable (or stupid), they aren’t realistic. At least not all at once. Sure, Stephen King writes 10 pages a day…but that’s his job. And yeah, 100 books might be feasible if I allowed picture books to count. The 50 pounds? We’ll see.

The point is, my resolutions are always big.


So this year – *deep breath* – I am resolving to change the pattern. And instead of focusing on tangible numbers that loom over me like a black cloud of failure, I’m going to aim for daily targets. In other words, I’m going to set myself up for success. (Novel concept, right?)

In 2013, I resolve:

- to eat healthy and drink more water (and less Diet Coke)
- to write every day, except on my birthday, and maybe Christmas. Oh, and Easter.
- to read every day, even on my birthday. (Can you think of a better way to spend your birthday?)

But more importantly, I resolve to strive for a less stressful, more calming work/life balance.

Unless, of course, the world ends on Friday.

So, how about you? What are your resolutions this year – and do you keep them?

Wishing you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a productive 2013.

- Dawn

Dawn has a short story in the Spirited anthology published by Leap Books.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Team Procrastination

That’s right! You’ve procrastinated and have come to the realization you have less than a week to prepare for the end of the world.

Never fear. Even the procrastinator can put together last minute preparations on how to deal with this behemoth of an event.
Become part of Team Morbid and select your preferred way to die. This will depend upon the ELE (extinction level event – watch Deep Impact to get better reference of this term) that occurs. It could be the big rock finally DOESN’T miss Earth and takes a swan dive into the ocean. A jaunt to the beach would give you front row seats to the end as tsunamis ensue. 

Maybe you’d prefer to bite the big one by camping in the direct line of fire as Woody Harrelson did in 2012. He went down in disintegrating glory from the volcanic pyroclastic flow as Yellowstone put on the display of the millennia.

A pair of hormone crazed scientists might sneak into an off limits room and, in the midst of their hot and heavy petting, panting and horizontal limbo dancing, hit the wrong series of buttons that release a virulent strain in the air turning anemic and iron-deficient folks into blood-thirsty cannibals. What’s that you say? You haven’t taken your iron pills in a while because they interfered with your social drinking schedule. Welcome to Team Zombie! You don’t have to prepare for this. Just don’t take the whole “live people running away from you in screaming terror” personally.

But if those two teams aren’t you cup of tea, Team Survive requires some prep work. If you haven’t joined up with a militia commune in Montana, Minnesota or Texas, then gathering a cache of weapons is a must. Don’t forget to stock ammunition by dates so you don’t use old ammo that could backfire on you. Memorization of Zombieland is a MUST! 

(There’s Woody Harrelson again. Is that a coincidence or a pattern. Hmmm…)

Anyhow, remember that the end of the world may bring the end of all niceties. Most folks will shoot first, question later…if you’re still alive. Get that cardio in order so you stay faster than the slowest person in a group.  And for heaven’s sake, practice the art of NOT turning around to see if the zombies are still behind you. Run like the wind! Period. If the moans and groans of “Braaaaaaaiiiiiiinsssss” change to sounds of wet, lip smacking satisfaction, you may be in the clear. But I digress. The end has yet to come.

So Team Procrastination, which team shall you wait until the last minute to join? The end is near…not yet here. There’s still time to delay J

~Angela Brown, author of Neverlove, which is available on Amazon and you can find it on Goodreads

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have You Heard of the Hullabaloo?

Have you heard? It's not too late to join in the fun!!
It's day five, so you have seven days left to enter and win-books and swag and a $200.00 gift card!

Twelve days of Christmas giveaways by a fabulous group of authors brought together by the bestselling Denise Grover Swank.  Each day this week you can win a different prize from each participating author.

PLUS, you can enter to win a 200.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card!!

All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter forms on each author's site to enter the books or gifts they're giving away. But you have to enter each day for each separate prize, so don't forget to go back each day!

Head over to my blog to get started,

Have Fun and Happy Hullabaloo!

~Elle Strauss writes fun, lower Young Adult (teen) and middle grade fiction. She is fond of sea salt dark chocolate and hiking in good weather. She also writes upper/mature YA (historical and science fiction) as LEE STRAUSS.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finding Joy in the Journey

Happy December everyone! This time of year is more than holiday hustle and bustle for me. This is the time of year I typically take stock and make some decisions about my life - personally and professionally.

And this year, this means looking at my writing career. Walking the path of small presses or self-publishing takes courage. There are so many reasons to get frustrated and throw in the towel. There are also so many moments of joy and bliss! And I have experienced all of them at some point over the past 12 months. I've questioned my decisions, angsted over my path, and wavered in my confidence. I'm ridden a rollercoaster that has taken a toll on me in my friendships, creativity, my joy.

So, as I reflect on the year to come and make plans for the future, I've decided to refocus on finding the joy again. I am going to increase the things I LOVE and mitigate the things that cause my frustration.
For me, this means doing more of the following:

  • Teaching kids to write
  • Teaching adults to write
  • Working with emotional intensity in all of its forms
  • Writing
  • Writing
  • Writing
It also means a little less of this:
  • Rushing the process 
  • Angsting and comparing
  • Doubting and worrying
See, for me, it isn't so much a question of "am I on the right path" or "what should I do", it's more "let me be happy with my choices" and "let me remember the joy"

2013 is going to be about finding - and maintaining - my joy in the journey. 

How about you? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

It’s a Doctor Who Christmas

While I may have been lateish to the Doctor Who party (only started watching a few years ago), I’ve certainly become a solid fan (caught up on all seasons and even read the comics) and Whovian enthusiast. From the miniature TARDIS and sonic screwdriver I have on display in my office to the complete DVD collection and endless quotes used in daily conversation – I’m a sucker for the Doctor.

And why the hell not? As a character study for writers, there’s none better than a centuries old time traveler who befriends underdogs, saves star whales, entire civilizations, has his hand in every historical event of significance, changes his face, quirks, personalities, never gives up on humanity, abhors violence, uses his wit as a weapon, and all the while struggles to rise above the dark, jaded parts of himself.

Yeah, I sorta love the guy. 

There are just so many layers. And each new companion he takes upon his epic journey across time and space provides infinite opportunities for danger, growth, conflict, and humour. Doctor Who companions are as much a part of the appeal as the Doctor himself. Here the average Joe gets a shot at rewriting history, or re-establishing it. Imagine you…yes, you….travelling back or forward in time to help take down evil in any guise – all with a slightly nutty professor watching your back and making you a better person. It could happen. You never know when the Doctor might drop by needing your help to save the world.

Heady stuff. Kinda addictive.

The show takes a mid-season hiatus during the winter and while fans feel a bit left out in the cold, there’s a beacon of light ahead. The annual Christmas special. To say I’m keen for this year’s offering is an understatement. First – it’s set in Victorian London and lately I’m all about Victorian influences for my steampunk series. Plus – the big bad – SNOWMEN.

I know, right? Haven’t we all wondered what those silent sentries of snow get up to when we aren’t looking? Guess we’ll find out this December 25th at 9pm EST.

Anyway, I encourage writers of genre fiction to climb aboard the blue police box and analyze the character development, plot structure – the sheer freaking fun of Doctor Who. You’ll drop in to see what the fuss is about and stay for love of the Whoniverse.

Happy holidays, keep writing, and remember, top hats and bow ties are cool.

Judith is the author of the Skinned series, paranormal with more bite than bark. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Online Author Signing Party

Three if the Indie Elite are taking part in, an online author signing party that I've been dying to tell you about. Have someone on your gift list who loves paranormal, angels, demons, Norse legends, Mayan legends, Phantom of the Opera, Black Swan, or after life stories? For a limited time, the first two weeks of December,  you'll be able to order signed books from these fabulous authors: Christine Fonseca, Ali Cross, Angela Brown, and myself.

As a holiday gift to you, I'm offering paperbacks of my entire channeler series for a very special price. You can buy them individually (as well as my historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca) from this site, or you can buy the entire channeler series at an even deeper discount by clicking below and you'll get a paperback of my novella, Born of Fire (which also includes Christine Fonseca's novella Dies Irae) for free with this package!

All 3 Paperbacks, Signed
The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler's Choice, and Rise of a Rector

Payment is secure through PayPal.
Trilogy package + FREE novella:
Signed to:

(a shipping & handling fee of $5.99 will be added)

I'm also offering the signed paperback of my historical fantasy for lovers of Irish folklore and horses, To Ride A Puca for only $9.99 (plus $3.99 shipping & handling to anywhere in the U.S.).

To Ride A Puca
Signed to:

At a regular price of 12.99 for each paperback (and $9.99 for the novella), this is a deal you don't want to miss out on! And don't forget, my novella, Born of Fire (which also includes Christine Fonseca's novella Dies Irae) is free with this package!