My Published E-Book!

I am proud to say that I published an e-book. (Find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/141089 )

I had a billion ideas for the cover art, but note the 1960’s/70’s style of the “cover”. Is it still considered a cover if it’s an e-book? I would assume so. Well, I had some neat pictures I could have used, but it would have given away too much of the storyline.

Let me just say that this piece could have been put in a way better format. I included an author bio and a thank you note to my readers, but I really didn’t know what to say, so I ended up sounding a bit stumped. But, like an impetuous youth who is excited to show off an incomplete drawing, I posted it. Shoulda waited and formatted it with page numbers, but because there were so many different formats which seemed to be distorted from the original, I didn’t quite know how to do it. I just wanted to focus on putting the story out, so any feedback someone may have is more than appreciated, for better or worse! 😀

(UPDATE! I just uploaded a new version of the author bio and thank you note, but before I got around to it I sold two copies. I wish I had done that sooner).

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Demons and Other Inconveniences by Dan Dillard (The best in horror!)

As soon as my signed copy of Demons And Other Inconveniences by Dan Dillard came in the mail, I got started on reading right away!

The nightmarish vibe of this book was a welcome vacation in my mundane life. There were a few stories in the book that scared me so bad, I missed a few details at the end. I had to read over the last few paragraphs,  and they were no less frightful the second time around. There were some stories that kept me guessing and gave me a chill right as my eyes were tracing over the very last line, and some had my pulse racing with suspense as if I was smack-dab in the book myself! Demons and Other Inconveniences also contains the best vampire story I’ve ever read. Ever.

I usually read it during the day (which was merely circumstantial and had nothing at all to do with being so terrified by the stories lol). I’d get so lost in the words that the world around me just melted away. The style of writing delves into the deepest of human fears. Fears I never even knew I had! On the second night after reading the last story in the book, I closed my eyes to drift off to sleep only to snap them open as I found myself searching the darkness to make sure I was safe. Then I shut my eyes tight, feeling more security in not knowing. And suddenly, the other stories in the book flooded my mind and I didn’t dare turn and look out my bedroom window. I knew pulling the cover over my head couldn’t even save me.

That’s just how incomparably good this book is. It penetrates your logic in the dead of night, making you wonder just who or what is really out there. If it weren’t for my parrot who shares my room with me, I have no doubt that the lights would be on at night!

There were times when the suspense was really high, keeping me on edge and making me squirm in anticipation of something jumping out at me, only for the tension to be temporarily broken by some laugh-out-loud line. That’s one thing I love about this author is how he brings you to a certain point in the book, only to hit you with something completely unexpected, whether it’s a little irony, some good old-fashioned gore, or even something downright hilarious! I couldn’t even guess at where the stories were going, and everything was so original which made it completely unpredictable. It was refreshing to find something new that actually terrified me on a whole new level, and I’ve watched and read a lot of horror!

It was highly enjoyable (and highly terrifying), and I can’t wait to read it all over again! If you’ve only read the sample stories from Demons and Other Inconveniences, they don’t even begin to claw at the surface of this amazing book! While the sample stories are great, I don’t think anyone should miss out on this wonderfully macabre book as a whole that you can continue to enjoy.

(Sidenote: I also got Dan Dillard’s What Tangled Webs. I’ll be reading that one soon!)


The Gnome Guide

Gnomes are magickal creatures. They are often considered to be outdoorsy, but it’s perfectly fine to keep them indoors. Their lifespan is longer in homes without children and pets.

It is important to remember that your gnome should not be held hostage for your decorating or magickal needs. You must treat them with respect as not mere guests, but members of the family. They are creatures of free will, and if they so choose to leave, they will do so, often sending postcards and pictures from faraway lands such as Hawaii or Texas (depending upon where you live). Some gnomes get the travel-bug out of their systems by taking road trips, often with college students, only to return with their need to roam sated. However, if they are unhappy, they may up and leave, never to be seen or heard from again.

It’s bad luck to break a gnome, or to treat them will ill intentions. I’ve heard a true story in which a little girl stepped on a giant snail. In that part of the continent, such critters are thought to be pets of the wee folk. She was stricken with an unidentifiable illness that baffled her family and doctors, and only when she sought treatment from a witch doctor with a tea leaf reading (where a snail was revealed in the tea leaves) were they sure that it was revenge of the wee folk.

Putting a gnome in a garden, windowsill, or any spot that makes you aware of their energy will help to shift negative energy casting itself over the home and can also provide protection. Again, you must treat them properly if you expect them to help you.

So if you adopt a gnome, be reminded they are people too. Only smaller. And they really don’t talk much so they’re good at keeping secrets.

And if you hear the pitter-patter of little feet or find things missing (especially shiny or unusual things), don’t be alarmed. They might just be up and about getting a snack, blessing your houseplants, or searching for baubles, trinkets, and gewgaws to hoard in a secret hiding place. (NOTE: Check the couch cushions! It seems they like to hide coins in there!)


Kangaroo Terror

Written especially for a couple of young friends. ENJOY!

 

Kangaroo Terror

 

Mindy hated to read. “Reading is stupid!” she would say.

One day, Mindy’s best friend Lolo got a pet kangaroo. “I got a pet kangaroo,” said Lolo.

“Nice,” said Mindy.

On Tuesday, Mindy and Lolo were in class together. “Reading time!” sang the teacher. “I hate reading time,” said Mindy through clenched teeth.

Everyone sat at their desks and pulled out a book. Lolo had a book about taking care of a new kangaroo. Mindy had a book about a dog named Boppy. While Lolo read, Mindy stared at the pages. She didn’t have to read the book about Boppy. She knew it was a stupid book.

“Pssst!” said Lolo quietly so the teacher wouldn’t hear. “I’m going away for the weekend. I’m leaving Friday after school and won’t be home until Sunday night. Can you take care of my pet kangaroo?”

“Yes,” said Mindy. “The kangaroo and I will have so much fun!”

When Friday rolled around, Lolo showed up on Mindy’s doorstep with a sack of supplies and the kangaroo on a leash. “Here is everything the kangaroo will need until Sunday. Take good care of my kangaroo!”

“I will take good care of the kangaroo,” promised Mindy.

“Oh, and Mindy?” said Lolo. “Don’t forget to read this. It’s important.” Lolo took a folded up piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to Mindy. Then she walked down the sidewalk, turning back only to say, “Bye Mindy! Bye Kangaroo! You be a good roo, now! I’ll be back on Sunday at six to take you home!”

Mindy looked at the paper. It was a care guide that Lolo had written up. “I don’t think I need this,” she said. She crumpled it up and tossed it to the floor.

“Hey, there, Kangaroo! Let’s play a game!” They played Tic-Tac-Toe. The kangaroo had a hard time writing.

“Okay, Kangaroo. How about we have a snack? Here is your food.” Mindy poured it into a bowl. Then she made herself a PB&J. The kangaroo grabbed Mindy’s sandwich. Mindy tried to spank him, but if she had read the care guide, she would have known that you’re not supposed to spank a kangaroo. They are expert boxers. Mindy went flying across the room and her shirt caught on the ceiling fan. Around and around she went.

When Mindy wriggled free from the fan, which was hard because she was very dizzy, she decided to watch a movie with the kangaroo. The movie was about ninjas. The kangaroo wanted to be a ninja, too. He bounced around the house, peering out behind corners and using his kangaroo-ninja-stealth and doing some really awesome ninja moves. That was a bad idea.

Mindy and the kangaroo had a great time, even though it was a bit messy.

It was Sunday. Five O’Clock. Not a lot of time left with the kangaroo. Mindy had a whole list of fun activities they hadn’t done yet. Painting each other’s nails. Playing dolls. Doing each other’s makeup. Swimming. Home haircuts. Bouncing on the trampoline. Baking cookies. But they only had an hour. That wasn’t a lot of time. “What would you like to do, Kangaroo?” Mindy asked. The kangaroo pointed to several things on the list. “Sounds like fun!” said Mindy.

One Hour and Seven Minutes Later . . .

“Sorry I’m seven minutes late,” Lolo yelled as she walked through the front door. “Mindy?” she called. “Kangaroo? Where are you guys?” There was no answer. Lolo was afraid. She frantically ran around the house, calling for Mindy and the Kangaroo. And that’s when she saw the horrific scene in Mindy’s bedroom.

Lolo ran to Mindy’s side. “Omigosh! Mindy! Are you okay?” Lolo screamed in a panic. All that Mindy could muster was a groan. And that’s when Lolo realized that Mindy had not read the care guide she had written. “Mindy! Why? Why didn’t you read the guide? This would have never happened if you’d only read the guide! It was number twelve on the list!”

“But reading . . . is stupid!” Mindy groaned, struggling for the words.

It was bad. Really bad. There was a pair of scissors on the floor. There was hair everywhere. The hair was Mindy’s. Her face was streaked with blue eyeshadow and pink blush. There was hot-pink lipstick covering Mindy’s face, the walls, the mirrors, and bits of it ground into the rug.

“It’s okay, Buddy! We’ll fix you up!” said Lolo, grabbing a makeup-removing pad.

The list said not to spank the kangaroo, not to let them watch ninja movies, and under no circumstance should you allow a kangaroo to cut your hair or do your makeup. The result always has terrible consequences. Taking the makeup off was the easy part, but for the rest of the school year, Mindy had to wear a baseball cap. And she still hated to read.


Successful Failure: How Do You Measure?

Being a writer is not how many pieces you have published. It’s a hard industry to break into and requires so much patience! But one thing people don’t understand about writers is that we typically don’t make much, if anything. We may not have a list of publications as large as that of, say, Stephen King. But we all have to start somewhere. This is 2012, and the writing industry has changed considerably from what it has in 2000, 1990, 1980, and 1880. Many writers that we know today were not successful in their own time, but they were and are writers nonetheless. We are all too often criticized and stereotyped because we haven’t made it to “Danielle Steele Status”. But that’s not what being a writer is about for those of us that are ingrained with it as a fiery passion.

This question arose when I mentioned that many of my writer friends (and myself included) tend to write a lot more on Facebook than my non-writer friends. Am I an oddball in that aspect? Perhaps. But I feel I blend better with writers because they don’t think I’m weird for writing so much.

And I was told I’m not a writer. Well, yes I am. Just not a successful one. Or, to clarify, successful to the standards of those who believe writers are supposed to be bringing in money like mad, droppin’ G’s at all the high-end boutiques to fill a walk-in closet! When I tell people I’m a writer, some assume that I’m rich and famous, and have connections to “The Beautiful People”, and do I know so&so? They wonder why they’ve never heard my name, and why I’m not on the NY Times Bestseller list. I should be sippin’ on sweet tea poolside as I write my next masterpiece before my big dinner party that I have planned for the evening. It’s black-tie. And don’t worry about the spill in the kitchen; Claude will take care of it. I forgot to clean up after my parrot, but it’s okay; that’s why she has a nanny!

I’ve had some pretty interesting gigs here and there, and some which I am very proud of! Particularly the interviews, reviews, and that kind of thing. Anything that gives me a first-hand glimpse into someone’s world. That’s what I live for! That, and the hopes of making the transition from a writer to a published author with my novel.

Now, it wasn’t that I was actually questioned about being a writer. I was told that I wasn’t. And then I began to question myself about being a writer. Am I? I mean, I haven’t had a lot of big projects. I’ve done a lot of neat things that I am excited about. I’ve had a lot of credits to my name and to another name, as well. Am I rolling in dough yet? No. Will I ever? It’d be nice, but if it’s in my cards it is going to take time, patience, and a lot of hard work with committed dedication. And these unrealistic expectations of success? Bosh! I was told by another writer that some people she knows have earned awards of great status, yet they don’t make a ton of money off of the work that has been recognized for these acheivements.

So there it is. I’m a writer. I may not have books with my name on it on the shelves at grocery store checkout aisles. I may not be found on dot-com bookstores. But all in due time, and even if I didn’t believe that, would I still work as hard at it? You betcha! But part of the reason I haven’t gone the route of self-publication and the reason I am promoting smaller projects is because I am searching for an agent to represent me before I brave the literary world alone. That’s how I’d like to roll. I know that I could do it all on my own if I decided that was the best option and outlet for my work, but I would love to work alongside someone with as much passion for my work as I have. It would behoove me to have the advice of someone who knows the ropes. Someone to guide and assist me to that I can be the best I can be when it comes to editing suggestions, and, of course, how to be the best cheerleader I can for my work. And by cheerleader, I just mean I want to successfully help in marketing my work. I wanted to clarify so that people aren’t envisioning me at bookstores dressed as a cheerleader, jumping around and spelling out the name of my book with a megaphone in one hand and a pom-pom in the other. Not like anyonewouldhave thought that. But you know…I just had to clarify. Of course, if an agent were to tell me that’s what had to be done to sell more copies and get my name out there, then I wouldn’t be above popping pigtails in my hair and getting decked out in a cheerleading uniform withForever Gothic, the title of my novel, scrawled across the front of my blouse.

As Morriseey said, and I am paraphrasing a tad, that one is a writer by compulsion.

That’s the way I’ve always felt. I write because it is in me. Forrest Gump was a runner, no doubt. And if Katy Perry can be a singer, then I most definitely can say I’m a writer.

But this can be attributed to any field. If you make movies, you’re a film-maker. If you write poetry, you’re a poet. If you make music, you’re a musician. If you make art, you’re an artist. And if you write, you’re a writer.

Don’t let people dictate what you are because of their harsh judgements on what “success” is. Instead, let your own accomplishments tell the story so that others can see your passion for whatever it is that you do. As long as you love the game, keep playing! Hey, ya never know where it might lead you! You may reach that unattainable golden star some day (I guess that star would be the sun). Then you can look down at all the naysayers while getting a tan!