Watch Me Cover Reveal!

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It's official!

This is the cover for "Watch Me"

Poor little Tiffy — that's how her pack members and the Alpha view her after the brutal murder of her father, and Tiffy is sick of it. She wants independence, not pity or protection. Then handsome Lycan Keric O'Neill shows up and Tiffy wouldn't mind some protection — and other things — from him.
When Keric finds himself the target of Tiffy's misguided seduction, his mission to track down his brother takes a violent turn at the hands of the Alpha — but yields some devastating revelations.
Two years later he is back. This time he will stop at nothing to avenge his brother, and even falling for Tiffy won't sway him from his goal. Unaware of her past and the links to his brother, he doesn't know his actions and heritage will crush Tiffy's fragile trust.
But danger comes in many forms, and when Keric's secrets and betrayal come to light, will revenge and vindictive pack members destroy the delicate bond between them?

So there you have it.

Right now it is scheduled for September 3rd. If this changes…I'll let you know.

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Frustrations

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I am hard at work on one of the Gatekeeper books, and Watch Me is done and dusted.
The release date has gone out again — I don't know why. This is the third time now, and I'm getting a little narked.
Right now it's scheduled for release on the 3rd September.
I believe it when I see it.
What's more, it's been over a year since the book was submitted. (May 2011) We didn't go into edits until December, and quite frankly…that's taking the piss.
I like my publisher. And my editor. They are good to work with — but it's taking too long. I'm trying to build a name, a career here. I can't have a year and a quarter between releases, that's ridiculous.
It makes self publishing a heck of a lot more attractive, because I'd be in contol of the release date.
We'll see.

There is a third installment, but it's not finished. We also have a series title now. "Pack Justice".
As far as I'm concerned, it's not a series. It might be a trilogy, but not a series. That's another thing. I feel like I'm pushed into this, and I don't want to be.

Right now I'm finishing up Caedir — and then we'll see what happens.
I have several projects on the back burner at the moment, and any one of those might be my indie publishing debut.

Watch this space. ;)

Posted in Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Win win win! x6 !!

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It's the Lyrical Press Author Blitz today — and you can win copies of the following:

Howl by Silke Juppenlatz
Fire's Ice by Brynna Curry
Worth Fighting For by Sondrae Bennett

Head on over to the blogs below, and enter the giveaways!
You get not just one, but SIX chances to win!

 

Rachel Firasek's Blog

Lisa's World of Books

Jess Resides Here

Sugarbeat's Books

Earth's Book Nook

Book and Movie Dimension

 

Here is some more about the books you can win:

Howl by Silke Juppenlatz

When life hands you wolves, howl.

The alpha wolf in Zalin's pack is slowing going insane, which is tough enough to contend with, but the guy is gunning for the woman Zalin loves–the rancher's daughter who saved his hide. He's torn between taking off to avoid a confrontation with the Alpha, and sticking around to protect Lucia. Opening his heart to her is not an option– he's had enough rejection to last a lifetime.

Lucia is fascinated by the "wolf" she saved–at the time unaware he was more than a canine. Zalin seems out to save her from his Alpha, but she wants more than protection from him. When spilled family secrets make her doubt everything she knows, she turns to Zalin for stability, only to learn he's planning to leave.

Will Zalin desert the one he loves when she needs him most, or will he howl a challenge on her behalf?


Fire's Ice by Brynna Curry

Born the son of a Scottish laird a thousand years ago, but now trapped by his cousin's spell, Devin McLoch has seen countless battles and death. The erstwhile thief has turned away from darker pursuits to lead a life of peace, protecting those he loves and considers part of his clan. However, there is one woman he can never forget, who must be given a chance to change, to accept her heart and his.

Arianne Farrell is just as dangerous and intoxicating as her power. Imprisoned in an ancient stone dance more than a thousand years ago, her only chance at freedom from the spell is through love–a love she denied. When Devin asks for her aid to save another from imminent death, she realizes there is more at stake than just her freedom or her heart.

WARNING: Two stubborn sexy wizards using magic with no bounds, scorching love scenes, and happy ever after. Ever play with fire?


Worth Fighting For by Sondrae Bennett

All’s fair in love and war.

As leader of a fox skulk, Cody is used to feeling protective. But when his best friend, Misty, gets attacked, his panic has nothing to do with duty. Suddenly, he’s noticing Misty as a woman instead of the girl he grew up with. But pursuing those feelings would risk their friendship, something he's unwilling to do.

Misty's tried everything, without success, to convince Cody she's not "one of the guys". Yet now that he's looking at her like she always dreamed, he pulls away every time she gets close.

Danger lurks in the background, waiting to pounce. Someone plots against the foxes, leaving them all in jeopardy…especially Misty. Will Cody overcome his fears in time to save the woman he loves?

 



What are you waiting for?

 

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Rule Britannia

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I think everyone knows what's been going on in the UK this weekend, and if not, you probably live under a rock somewhere.

Well, the Diamond Jubilee is over, and people had a "Right Royal Knee's Up" for 4 days.
There were street parties, lunches, bunting, flags, pageants, processions, a concert…and a lot of delighted smiles from the Queen.
Anyone who didn't know the national anthem bloody well learned it over those four days, willing or not. Wherever the Queen went, there were random outbursts of "God Save The Queen". So much so, I think she needs a new theme tune. :)

All in all, it really was a great time. Rain notwithstanding. The Brits really took to the "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto, and no amount of rain, cold or drizzle stopped them from celebrating 60 years of the Queen's rule.
Yes, she still rules. Though not in any political capacity.
The Prime Minister has a weekly meeting with the Queen. He appraises her of what's going on, and in turn she offers advice on decisions. Here is a woman who has 60 years experience in the job, who has met every ruler, who knows everything about them and their countries, and is perhaps the most important ambassador Great Britain ever had.
Above all — she is completely impartial. She is not associated with any political party, and the only thing that matters to her is the health and prosperity of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth Countries, and the citizens of those nations.
Taking advice from her is simply invaluable and most (not all) Prime Ministers truly appreciate their meetings with her.
I think the US Presidents would just love to have someone like her at hand.

The woman has more stamina (at 86 years of age!) than many of us can muster.
She remained on her feet during the entire river pageant — some 5 hours long — and never stopped waving at people. (Her wrist must ache like hell, as must her feet.)
She gracefully smiled through all the (good-natured) jokes, laughing out loud at times.
(I still think at least one of those boats and ships should have hoisted a pirate flag–but that's just me.)

The concert was a fantastic visual treat, with Buckingham Palace all lit up and used as a canvas. Some of the acts were brilliant, some not so much, some were just downright freakish. (Grace Jones and her hulahoop springs to mind…)
The fireworks were absolutely stunning, the beacons were awesome — and the weather played ball too.

And the people…wow. The atmosphere was one of exuberance and happiness, with everyone cheering, doing Mexican Waves down the Mall, waving flags, singing, cheering…just incredible.

My better half, who is a camera man and who covered the entire Jubilee, came back completely exhausted yesterday.
He slogged through the River Pageant, covered the concert, and St. Paul's the next morning. He said people were standing twenty deep along the riverbanks, from Battersea to Tower Bridge. The streets were full of cheerful "subjects", the parks were crowded to bursting with families having picnics, revellers having parties in spite of the rain.

The weather didn't deter anyone. Those his crew spoke to basically said "If the Queen can do all this at her age, we are just going to buck up and do it too. It's the least we can do."
However…they weren't doing it because of patriotism. No "I'm doing it for England." Nope, none of that. They were doing it for the Queen.

The Union Jack flag was everywhere. People were wearing it as hats, coats, shirts, jackets, umbrellas, face paint — you name it. It was hanging out of windows, strung along entire streets as bunting, covered tables as a table cloth, hung from cars.
I know of a "Patriotic Pony", which before all this was a gray…only to be covered in colored chalk from top to bottom — until it was a "Union Jack" pony. (Looked awesome, and they washed it after, no harm done.)

I've seen the Queen at functions many times. She is the epitome of "Stiff Upper Lip". This weekend, however, she smiled, laughed and seemed to genuinely enjoy herself. And sometimes… Sometimes that "Stiff Upper Lip" was in danger of crumbling. When she stood on the stage after the concert and Prince Charles did the speech on the concert stage, and people were cheering her, cheering even louder for Prince Philip, who is in hospital right now, there was a lot of hard swallowing and she looked close to tears. 

The same when she stood on the Balcony the next day. I think ER II struggled with her emotions. A lot. I think maybe she didn't quite expect such an overwhelming outpouring of good will.

Well, she should have.

All in all, it was a fantastic long weekend — and not just for us "Plebs", but also for "One".

Congratulations, Ma'am.

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Damn, I damaged my human

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Day 182 of my Captivity

It is currently a pretty sweet life. Out in the field, lots of lush grass, sunshine, great friends — and no work!
The flies are annoying, but I arrange myself with one of the other horses and we swish them away for each other.
We did have an incident though, and it was kind of my fault. Yeah, I admit it. I broke my human. But it was done with all the best intentions.
I was trying to save my human from a monster that leaped over the top of a bush. It was coming straight at us! High up, a dark shadow the size of one of those weird looking gray things with the very long noses and club feet.
The human is normally quite good about staying on my back, but I guess I took that last corner a bit too sharply. I didn't account for her only having two legs, and being a bit fragile and bouncy.
Well, it all went a bit wrong. I tripped and it bounced her out of the saddle, and I tried to help by adjusting where I was, but I was going really fast and…well. Suddenly she was on the ground, and I was still running from the monster.
Okay, so I was a little scared for myself, too. To my shame, I kept going and just left her there while I ran home.
It's not easy being a responsible horse, you know. Sometimes I fail.
Some humans caught me and led me home, just as I'd decided to turn around and go back for her. I swear that's what I was going to do, but they stopped me.
I thought the walk would probably do her good…and I greeted her with a "Nice of you to join me, took you long enough" look — until I saw what I'd done. She could hardly move, and I'd made her walk 3 miles. Oh my, I felt really guilty. I didn't know she got hurt, I swear! I stood very still while she checked me over, and I tried to tell her I'm fine, but she insisted to look for herself. Nice of her, but it made me feel even more guilty since it caused her even more pain.
That was about two weeks ago, just after the vet came to give me my jabs. He was nice, and Ori and Athenia were there too, so it wasn't so bad. I wasn't sure about that teeth rasping Ori had done, but they didn't touch my teeth.
I'm told I'll get sedated to do it, and apparently they'll have the farrier come as well on that day. Damn. I thought I was rid of that guy after I put up a fight last time.
Not looking forward to that. The accident gave me a reprieve, but I know it's gonna happen…soon.
Julia, my human's friend, takes me out occasionally, but I make her work at catching me. Told Ori that humans need exercise, so the other day he made her run after him for an hour. That was fun to watch.
We switched fields as well, and the grass is really high and nice. There's shade and water…bliss.
But the human is mean. Well, okay, not really mean. She doesn't hit me or anything, but she laughed at me yesterday!
There I was, taking a nap…and she arrives and laughs. Laughs!! About me!! Claims I was snoring and answering her back while I was asleep.
I do not talk in my sleep! And I don't snore, either. It's a vicious rumor she's spreading.
She claims I was so deeply asleep, she could have been a lion and I wouldn't have noticed.
A lion? Really? Doesn't she know there are no lions roaming free around here?
Wait. Are there???
Anyway my "Field Cred" is in tatters!
We went for a walk afterward, that was nice. Out in the woods, nice and cool…it was worth getting up for. I did go easy on her though, she's still hurt. Made me feel really bad, to know I'm the cause of it. Apparently she's had to take painkillers every three hours since it happened, but at least nothing is broken. When I saw how hurt she was that day, I worried about broken ribs, because she landed on some nasty tree roots.

So that's the news from my side of the fence.
I hope you are getting your own training of your humans done and fare better than I did.
Remember — you can't train a human when it's hurt. Be gentle.
(P.S. You can't use them as scratching posts either while they're hurt. I kinda forgot that there for a moment…)

Posted in Diary of Oz, Oscuro, Training your human | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What’s your favorite line?

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I usually have songs I associate with moods, rather than scenes.

Most writers have music playing while they write. I do, and I don't. Not always.
I'm easily distracted, so there is no TV in this room — but I need music available.
My musical tastes vary. I can listen to classical, or heavy metal — it makes no difference to me.
I adore good lyrics. The melody is all well and good, but if the lyrics don't speak to me, then I won't like the song.

Right now I'm listening to the new Shinedown album (Amaryllis) and ever since I heard the first track by them, I loved their lyrics.
Since I'm inspired by them…I'll share my favorite lines from the new album (and a couple others).

"My name is revenge and I'm here to save my name" (My Name)

"All the uninvited tragedies — Step outside" (Amaryllis)

"You’re all the hate that we share" (Enemies)

"Am I sick or am I gifted?" (I'm Not Alright)

"That little social scene. It’s just a hate machine." (Nowhere Kids)

"Just a sign, to remind me tomorrow’s worth the fight" (Miracle)

"The first step is the one you believe in, the second one might be profound." (I'll Follow You)

"Maybe the sun that wouldn't shine should be taking the blame" (For My Sake)

"What part of living says you gotta die?" (Adrenaline)

"No ones gonna cry, on the very day you die. You’re a bully." (Bully)

And…some more. :)

"I used to wake up to the color of your soul" (Through the Ghost)

"Because a Promise not kept is the road to exile" (Diamond Eyes)

"You're only here once, so do it well." (The Energy)

"I stand alone for all to see, 'cause they ain't never seen a war like me." (Son of Sam)

"Strip down, show your flesh and bone. 'Cause now I own you." (I own you)

"Bow down bow down the sinners have the floor" (Junkies for Fame)

"Sometimes goodbye, Is a second chance" (Second Chance)

"I haven't slept in what seems like a century, and now I can barely breathe." (The Crow & The Butterfly)

"This kingdom, good riddance" (Her name is Alice)

"I won't be the last one in line. I've finally figured out what's mine." (Breaking Inside)

So there you have it. Those are just a few of my favorite lines from their lyrics. There are tons of other bands who (for me) write fantastic lyrics. I hear a line like that…and a story spins in my head. It happened with Howl, and it's happening with those.
I don't necessarily have it playing the entire time, but when I need a reminder…yup. Headphones on, crank it up, even at 3am in the morning. I used to love my cordless headphones because I'd stand outside in the dark, in the middle of the night…music blasting…and write in my head. Unfortunately I can't find a decent replacement for them (I have a very small head, headphones tend to be too big for me) but if I do…yeah. I'll be outside again. :)

Do you have some favorite lines from songs?

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

My Word Count Review

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I am editing a manuscript for a fellow writer at the moment, and when I sent her a rather detailed report of overused words…she was intrigued.

She asked me what I use to get that report. I told her, and sent her to the site.

And then I thought, I've used this for ages now, and I've never reviewed it.

So here goes.

MyWordCount by MyWriterTools

Here are the details from the product page:

myWordCount facilitates examining your documents for word, phrase, and sentence usage. This phrase and word frequency counter is extremely helpful to help find repetitive words and phrases, or long sentences. The program makes it easy to:

  • Word frequency counter. Count the usages of every word in your document. Quickly sort the list by word or usage count. You can then select any word and highlight all occurrences of that word in the document.
  • Phrase frequency counter. Count the usages of every 2, 3, 4, or 5-word phrase in your document. Quickly sort the list by phrase or usage count. You can then select any phrase and highlight all occurrences of that phrase in the document.
  • Sentence start phrase counter. Count the usages of every 1, 2, or 3-word phrase used at the start of each sentence in your document. Quickly sort the list by phrase or usage count. You can then select any phrase and highlight all occurrences of that phrase in the document.
  • Sentence length counter. Count all sentences and produce a graph of all sentence usage by sentence length. You can then view the document and easily find long sentences or sentences that are similar in length near each other.
  • Produce a printed report off all tables of word and phrase usage, including the sentence length graph.
  • New version now reads RTF files, websites or pasted text, in addition to MS Word files.

Requirements
- Microsoft Word 2000 or later (including 2007) for reading Word files
- Windows 2000 or later (including Vista)
- Screen Resolution of 800×600 or greater.

I will show you what we are talking about.The opening screen. (Click the images to see a bigger version)

Here you see what you get. It's not just a word counter.
It's an analysis tool. And a pretty darn good one.
You have screens for various areas, like Phrases and Sentences, and Words.

Let's open a document.
As you can see, you can open all manner of documents. RTF, HTML, Word — or you can paste your text if you want to.
For this review, I chose an old, unedited, very badly written, unfinished story of mine.

Here I've clicked on "Count Words" and I've filtered out "Satara", as it's a name and I don't want to count that one. It'll be there a lot.
You can click on any of the count headers to sort. I tend to go for 4 letters or more, since (as you can see) I use "That" a lot.
I don't recommend using 3 letters, as you then end up with "The" a lot. It does make you miss "Had" though, so you might want to do it anyway and filter out the ones you don't want to count. The number of letters (and various other things) can be changed in "Options".
If you use "Graph Highlighted Word" it will open the document with all of them highlighted and a legend as to what you're looking at.

It looks like this:
You can see all the red highlighted "That" occurrences are within 50 words of another "That".
Easy to weed them out this way. If you click on the bar in the graph, it takes you to the word.

You get the same functionality for Phrases and Sentence starts.
Here you see what the Phrases look like. Again, it's sortable, it's broken up into 2-5 word phrases, and you can graph it just like the Words view.

Next we have the Sentence starts:
Same game as Words and Phrases. I advise to use the sort functionality, because sometimes you may not use a phrase within 50 words, but you might use it 30 times in the manuscript in total. Great for finding clichés or overused phrases!

Now we get to the Sentence Length tab.
I love that one.

Click on Analyze…and this is what you get:
You can easily see when you have very long sentences.
It tells me my longest sentence is 34 words. That's fine, and I don't have to worry about it.
But often I find sentences that are 40+ words, and that's getting just a tad long. It's something to look at.

When you close the window, you get a nifty graph:
While it's not really anything to worry about, it's fantastic for weeding out some stray overlong sentences.
Seeing the graph like this actually gives me the warm and fuzzies. Shorter (within reason) sentences are easier to read and understand, and will therefore not confuse the reader.

So now that we did all that… What can you do with it?

First of all, you can save those results:

You can do: Top 10 – 100 words, Top 5 – 20 Phrases and Sentence Starts. All of them include a none / all option too.
I tend to go for the Top 10.
Hit save analysis and it will prompt you for a location to save the file.

And if you want to see what you get:

Review-Analyse PDF

You get this as a word document or an RTF. I've converted to PDF for display purposes.

So there you have it. I would not be without this nifty little tool, and my review was long overdue.

If you want to grab your own copy, you can find it here:

I hope this was useful to you. :)

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