Today on Adventures of a Busy Mom…

 

The youngest came in to the bedroom at around 5 am. Crawled up across the bed, over the top of his older brother who had already snuggled in beside me. Making sure he was between be and the 4 year old, he firmly squeezed himself in making sure there was no more brother anywhere near mom.

I can not get my children to keep cloths on for more than 5 minutes if we are at home. So when he wedged himself into the already crowded bed, his bare back was pressed against me. His skin was hot to the touch.

If you have followed my blog for a while, then you know I am a mom of 7 wonderful boys. This gives me plenty of experience in the ‘fever and sickness’ department.

We got up, heading out to the kitchen and the medicine cabinet to grab the thermometer. After spending a few moments getting him to stick out his tongue (This is the secret to getting an oral temp from a 2 year old) his temp read 101.3.

Fevers in young kids are, for the most part, not something to freak out about. It is the bodies way of killing of something that might otherwise cause them to be extremely ill. If you are a new parent of a toddler, have courage. As long as your little one is still smiling and playing, let them be.

(Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor. I am just a Mom with experience. DO NOT take any advice I give as proper medical advice. Always trust your instinct as a parent and speak with your child’s doctor.)

If you are worried about how high their temp is,  give them some Tylenol or ibuprofen to help bring down the fever. Usually there is no need to freak out unless your kiddo seems lethargic and their skin is red from heat. Make sure you have talked with your child’s doctor about when to call him if your munchkin does get a fever, Most of the time you can wait a few days before needing to take them in.

So, now it is 6 am. The teen is awake. He will be getting out the door for school in the next 30 minutes. I have a can of Red Bull at my side. Madagascar 2 is playing with the two youngest children watching.

I have given my friendly Mom advice for the day. I shall see you all in Twitter Land. I am off to work on Crowd Funding Rewards.

Have a great day!

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#JustaGamer

It has been going on for years.

Female Gamers get mocked, harassed, abused and ridiculed.

The Geek community has made a huge launch to abolish abuse of female community members.

It is time that the Game Community join this movement.

I am a Girl. I am a mother. I am a writer. I am a Gamer.

Back in the early 80’s I would ‘role play’ Thundercats with my brothers and the other neighborhood kids. Or G.I. Joe (Gotta hand it to them for making chicks badass, too bad they were still side characters). I was very much a tom boy, out kicking ass and not taking any crap from the bullies and boys in the area. Thankfully this was not discouraged by my parents and I was never pushed to be anyone other than myself. The girl who loved make up but would kick your ass if you picked on her little brothers.

I would spend mornings before school at a friends house playing Super Mario in the NES. I knew all the tricks.

I was not formally introduced to pen and paper games until High School where a group of us discovered The World of Darkness. Vampire, Werewolf and Mage.  This was after a personal family tragedy that left me doubting my own self worth and the young, strong me was forgotten.

I would hear comments from the male gamers under their breath about how “It figures.” My character description was an attractive woman, confident in her own skin.

Introduce LARPing. OMG! I was in heaven!

A society filled with women notoriously drenched in low self esteem because they are not the Cheer Leader body type. Who have decided to handle that with an overly aggressive attitude against anyone who might threaten “Their” position as a woman among the boys and men of the group.

Women are competitive against other women by nature. It is our need to be the best possible mate match that drives us.

Some women will deny this by saying “I don’t care what other people think of me.” but when you are being honest with yourself you understand that you can’t get away from the desire to be “attractive”. Whatever that means to you as a person.

I am not fat. I am not horribly disfigured.

So naturally the aggression I received as a female in a “mans world” was from the other women who had discovered this wonderful world of make believe. Ignored, back biting, rude rumors flying.  Accusations of ‘sleeping my way to the top’ because I was friends with the guys who started the group and took time to help with the running of things.

I just wanted people to like me.

I will admit I had my own share of aggression due to feelings of social inadequacies. I know that this attitude did not help me gain friends and fellows among the other women of the group.  I like to think that when I return to a LARP community I will be able to look at the other players and say “Sup” with a friendly nod and only receive a nod and “sup” in return.  (Personal growth and all that stuff)

Enter MMORPG’s and the Wonderful World of EverQuest.

At this time I moved from Seattle Wsshington to a tiny little town called Northome Minnesota. Talk about Culture Shock!

EverQuest became my social outlet. My husband (Boyfriend at the time) and I would take turns playing on the one computer we had in 1999 early 2000.

Our son was born in May of 2000.

So new boyfriend, new place, new baby, new everything.  I was feeling disconnected from everything and escaped into EQ. My life became Work, baby, EQ.

Over the years things changed and I spent time in many other MMO’s.

Star Wars: Galaxies, Minions of Mirth, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Asherons, Call, Anarchy Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, E.V.E Online and I am sure I am missing some here.

As you can see I have become a fan of the MMORPG world. I love the stories. I love the social interaction with other people from all over the world. I love that we get the chance to make our own stories in these worlds and share them with others.

What I don’t like is the harassment from other players telling me I am not good enough to join their group because I am not in the top 100 on my server. What I don’t like is logging into voice chat and hearing a dozen male voices go “Oh My God!” when I just say Hello.

What I don’t like is when they find out I am female they start explaining what basic terms mean or that I would be better at my job if I used THIS equipment instead of what I currently have on.

The need to correct my game play when all I want to do is figure it out without the condescension.

As a mom I also get the “We don’t want her in the group because she will have to go afk.” (SO Sorry I am interrupting you by taking care of my kids and practicing good parenting, but that is a different blog about Parenting as a Gamer)

How often has a female player made a male character in order to avoid criticisms? I know of a few.

What can we do as a community to change the Gender Bias that plagues our game play?

Should we be given social tools in game to ‘silence’ players who are offensive?  How would abuse of this be handled?

Can speaking out against the Problem help? What about the players who don’t understand what they are doing wrong? There are those who honestly do not see the damage they are doing. They really don;t understand that asking for a pic to prove you’re a female is insulting. (What does this do to a transgender person?)

Want to join the community in speaking out against Gender Bias? Join the hashtag #justagamer on Twitter and tell us your story.

What are other gamers saying about the issues we face?

Follow:

@Ever_Cae  and @EverCast_Show

http://evercae.tumblr.com/

She was the awesome behind the hashtag #justagamer.

Or

Leave a comment and link to your blog about being #justagamer.

If this post does one thing, I hope it gets you thinking about how you treat other players in your gaming community.

Most started out as a bonding of outcasts from main stream society. Now we are the Main Stream. We need to be better than bigoted Gender Bias AssHats.

Guild Master on my Resume

One of these days it will be acceptable to put Guild Master, Dungeon Master, Game Master or any variation of the Leader of a group of people involved in a fictional world setting, on your resume.

I would like to think that day is coming sooner rather than later.

That six years as an Assistant Guild Leader in World of Warcraft can actually mean something to other people.

The world of Social Media Work Experience has been limited to such things as Facebook and Twitter or other platforms of that sort. I think businesses are missing out on a huge platform with Online Gaming and MMO’s in particular.

Some companies have jumped on the bandwagon and ‘purchased’ space in places like Second Life or Anarchy Online. (At least I think that was the one with the billboards in game.)

So when is the next step in the development of our computer age? Most people my age have grown up watching the evolution of the Social Media craze. If they are like me, they have been playing MMO’s continuously for  the past 15 years.

If you have been a guild master of an online community or been the dungeon master for a local table top game, then you know how much work and time go into running such a thing.

There have been times when it is Blood, Sweat and Tears to get your team together.

The Koreans are ahead of us in the Computer Age. They have Sponsored Sports Teams of Video Game Players.

People get PAID to play video games.

There is no getting away from it.

So when will it be acceptable to put Guild Master on your Resume? What would you do if you were a business manager and saw:

Guild Master of Noctum Infernus

World of Warcraft

Gnomeragan Server

Character name: Jerix

2007-2011

That is the name of a still active guild in WoW now run by my good friend Adeatheta. My husband was/is Jerix.  We have since stopped playing WoW for personal reasons.

You can look up the information about both the character and the guild online. It will show you the guild standing, activity of the character. Damn near everything the player has done over the life of their game play.

It really is not much different than companies who check out a persons Facebook page to see what they are saying in their personal time. We have ALL heard that story.

Why not learn that the person you just interviewed has been running a top level raiding guild for the last 7 years, achieved World first or Server Firsts due to excellent skills in People management and time management?

I would be interested in learning those things. You can damn well bet that when it comes time for me to hire someone to help assist me as a writer, I am going to be asking for game experience!

EverQuest Next

EQN

Like most avid fans of the EQ franchise, I was excited to learn they were working on another.

Part of me screamed “Please God don’t let them screw this up!” remembering the fiasco we endured with Star Wars:Galaxies. A fantastic game that was essentially killed when they “revamped” the game to be class based instead of the popular profession based game that it was.

I learned that SOE Live would be streaming through Twitch.tv and made sure to log on with over 10 thousand other viewers to watch, hoping for some breadcrumb to be tossed our way about the much anticipated game.

We were not too disappointed.

John Smedley of SOE talked briefly on opening day about how excited everyone who was involved in the project was.  “I have to be honest with you. We have completely blown up the design of EverQuest Next.” (Quote found on the EverQuest Next Wikia page http://everquestnext.wikia.com/wiki/Everquest_Next)

The only snippet they offered to whet the appetites of the fan base was a brief play of the “early stages music”. Which, in my opinion, was a brilliant move on their part.

That was it.

The next day at 12pm PST was the official reveal of the biggest secret in MMO history:

EverQuest Next.

And I had just won tickets to an indie writers panel in Seattle from 10am to 12pm!! Oh what a world! I made it to the panel which I will blog about later. It was worth it!

I was able to catch up via my bud and Streamer Kalbuir of Twitch.tv about the basics of what was covered at the event.

Then I found EverQuest Next on YouTube and filled myself in on everything I had missed.

Taking the stage to walk us through was Directer of Development Dave Greorgeson. (I have had the wonderful chance to chat briefly through twitter with Dave. Super nice guy! Very supportive of the fan base)

What he revealed on that stage left me in awe. They had done it again. EverQuest Next takes all of the best aspects of all of the most popular games out there today combining them in such a way as to create an experience like no other. Just like EverQuest in 1999, EverQuest Next promises to be revolutionary to the world of online video games.

Like so many others “Take My Money!”

But they didn’t stop with an amazing game. Oh no.

SOE has gone above and beyond by creating EverQuest Next: Landmark

What is Landmark?

about-landmark-header

 

 

“EverQuest Next Landmark is a Free to Play, next generation online sandbox game. Powered by the ForgeLight Engine, Landmark features cutting edge technology and tools. Build and explore a world unlike anything you’ve seen before.”

Slow your roll here…did that just say Free To Play? Say What?

Landmark is a sandbox game like Minecraft, unlike Minecraft  it is an MMO like most others you are familiar with. Head off into the world to explore the land. When you find a place you want to claim as yours, place your flag and go town! Or should I say Build your town!

For the first time in MMO history, the players are being given the chance to create the world we will be playing in. Dave explained that Landmark will have events open to the players allowing them to build, under specific needs of the devs, the buildings and places that will be part of EverQuest Next. The players vote on the buildings and the best one wins!

As a fan of Minecraft and a builder of huge stadiums in that world, I am extremely excited about this. I will definitely be online building in hopes to win the prize!

As a writer, I know that word of mouth is one of the best ways to generate a fan base. MMO’s are really no different. I hope my excitement about this new game has come through. Encouraging you to check it out and join me when Landmark opens this winter.

For more information about the game and to keep up to date on it as it developes go to http://www.everquestnext.com. Don’t forget to sign up for Beta!

Don’t forget to join me on Twitter @iniriba or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/iniriba.greymyst

What are you most excited for with EQN? Leave a comment!

 

Image

Plot/Pants Eh? Thanks @MikeWellsAuthor

Long day on little sleep, Can feel myself winding down.

Feel accomplished however with 1,079 words of new idea that is Very clear 😀 DigitalQuillInk

Should be an easy write (until 30k words where I beat my head against the desk asking God Why is this CRAP?!)

However, it should be easy to rewrite as well because I actually have plot outline (GASP!). So would be refining and perfecting.

With that said, I have been struggling with the rewrite of Death’s Hope simply because I sat down and wrote whatever came to mind for a month. Granted it was all about the same character, but there was no order. No reason behind the things that were happening beyond “Hey! This will really F*** up her day!” I have a dozen great scenes full of action and mayhem but nothing binding them all together.

So the task at hand for that book has become, TA DA! PLOTTING!

Thanks to the helpful tweet of a Mr. Mike Wells I found his Advice For Writers and  a wonderful bit of learning entitled “A ‘Secret’ Formula for Creating a Short Synopsis For Your Book.”

I have now managed to come up with a reason the main character is suffering. I even have a bad guy (or do I?) who is behind the mayhem. I have a way for her to get out of said troubles but it will require some serious soul-searching on her part. (I love stories of personal growth and discovery)

But! (You knew there was a but…) there is SOOO much more going on! I ended up with a tragically long synopsis of All the mayhem (ALL THE THINGS!) that I felt smothered by it.

I needed to get away from Hope and the world of the Pantheon for a while. I had stopped writing anything new because I was working so hard on finishing something I had already started.  Feelings of guilt would overwhelm me because I love this 50k of words and want to make them into a story people will actually want to read.

I am happy to say that again Mike saved the day. I started writing synopsis for the next two books I want to write involving Hope and the Crew. I am excited that they will have more focus and less mayhem when they are started.

I also managed to start a new book idea. Not sure if it will be short story or full novel. It has a great synopsis. The outline is coming smoothly and best of all?! I Don’t Feel Guilty!

Hope is not on Deadline. No one is tapping their foot at me waiting on the manuscript. I can ‘shelf’ her and move on to a different project that is better thought out.

The quote “Writers write.” (No I don’t remember who said it. Yes I am terrible for not remembering. Comment if you do please! I want to give credit where it is due!) is something I need to keep above my desk.

If you are not on deadline and a book is holding you back, it may just be that you are not in a place to understand what the characters need from you. Take a step back from it. Write something else. It can be another book about the same people. Or an entirely different genre! Just WRITE!

Don’t Let the Vampires Bite! Werewolves are Awesome!

Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines

I met Jess Haines on Twitter (@Jess_Haines) when she and Yasmine Galenorn were tweeting weird vids at each other. Really Weird Vids.

We began to chat a bit and exchange a few vids. Turns out we are both RPG Gamers back in the days of Vampire: The Masquerade  and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. With that common ground we have hit it off fairly decent. Not to mention the love of all things Urban Fantasy related.

It was not until recently that I actually purchased her books. (You can find a 4 book set on Amazon here ). I went in with high hopes that a fellow Pen and Paper gamer would know how to create a great story. I was not disappointed!

Hunted by the Others is a First person story of struggling Private investigator Shiarra as she grudgingly takes a job working for Veronica, a powerful magic user, who asks her to find a statue currently owned by the local Vamp celeb Royce.

With bills screaming at her and rent over due, she takes the job.

Shia is plunged head first into the world of the Others as the plot thickens and Everyone is out to either Kill her or convert her to their cause.

This book flew by and I am so glad I purchased the 4pack set! While there are a few loose ends at the end of the book and I felt it was a bit long in closing, I have faith that Jess will bring the loose ends back into the fold through out the next few books.

If you are in need of an Urban Fantasy book, go check out Hunted by the Others. You won’t regret it.

Interview Guest: Writer/Editor Julie Butcher!

First, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a gazillion questions for me. (Ok maybe not a gazillion, promise). As a mother of six myself, I often find the idea of trying to be a full time author a bit daunting! It is such a pleasure to be able to get some first hand knowledge from a lady who has paved that road already.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself…

Well, as you know, I have six children and I live at the center of Utter Chaos. I write, and I delete a lot more than I write so if the world implodes it will probably be my fault.

  • What was the “Yup, I’m gonna do it,” moment that started you down the road to publication?

Oh, wow. There’s been so many of those moments that it’s hard to choose. I started writing when my oldest son left for college. Suddenly, I could see a future where I wasn’t only the mom, and I needed to find my place again as a person.

  • How do you manage a day of writing amidst the chaos? Do you have a special planner, method or trick to get your writing done?

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a supportive husband. He and the boys built a writer clubhouse in my back yard. It is eight by eight feet of pure bliss. Before that, I’d get up at three in the morning to write, or in the evening, I’d take my laptop and hide in the minivan in the garage or go to the park.  Now, as soon as I take the kids to school, I write. The housework isn’t going anywhere.

  • How do you make it through the “Everyone wants/needs Mom” days?

Some days you just can’t write. There are emergencies and sick people. The real trick is to get your children to understand that if they let you work, when you’re done, you’ll spend time just with them. I also tape a list of jobs on the door of the room I’m writing in.

BEFORE YOU KNOCK, PICK A JOB FROM THE LIST BELOW.

Kids are smart and they hate housework as much as we do. Mine know the rule, and that the only exceptions to the job list are blood or fire.

  • What is your favorite genre to read? Write? Edit?

Oh sweetie, I am a genre ‘ho. I read everything from westerns to scifi. I write YA and middle grade, and I like to edit everything. (Except erotica-I might have been doing it wrong all of these years.)

  • What advice would you give a new author on finding an Editor? Are there “red flags” to look for when hiring an editor?

Anyone who claims to be able to *fix* your book is yanking your chain. I content edit, which means that I tell people what is wrong and what doesn’t work for me. They have to fix it themselves. I would say to look for someone with a strong web presence, someone who has been around the publishing block a few times.

  • What advice would you give a new author when submitting their work to an editor?

When an agent or editor looks at your story, to them it is a first draft. I don’t care how many times you’ve re-written the thing. IT IS A FIRST DRAFT. There will be changes to make. Don’t get your panties in a bunch when they ask you to re-write.

  • How would a new writer find Beta Readers? Is it something that should be paid for?

Beta readers should be other writers that you know. If you don’t know anyone, post your story on Book Country,(One of my friends posted there and got a publishing deal.) or ask your twitter friends. I’ve had awesome advice and support from the online community. I would have quit a thousand times over if the lovely writers on twitter and facebook hadn’t had my back.

  • What is one piece of advice you could give a new writer?

Keep going and finish the first book. Then you know you can do it. Resist the urge to fix all of the things. Finish. No one can make you quit and take away your dream—except you.

  • What are you currently working on and can you give us any ’sneak peaks’?

Right now I’m revising a YA apocalyptic thriller and I just yesterday finished a middle grade time-travel proposal and sent it off to my awesome agent, Deidre Knight.

Here’s some of the thriller:

Chapter One

Water made everything better.  The mist from the fake palms at the water park cooled the already hot August morning. Angel Graves dropped her baby brother’s diaper bag on the lounge chair next to her Mom. Her other brother, Zach, squealed five-year-old joy, and barreled into the kiddie pool. “Are you sure you’ll be okay if we leave? We can stay here with you and the boys.”

Mom shook her head and laughed. “I think I can manage. I raised you, and you’re not dead.”

“I know, but they can be a handful. You’ve been working every day, and you look kind of tired.” There were dark circles under her eyes and tight lines of strain at the corners. There’d been some kind of big problem at FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where she worked, and she hadn’t had a day off for almost two months.

“Thanks a lot, Sis, really.” Mom’s voice was droll. “Lily, please take this child and throw her someplace wet. She’s been playing mother so long that she’s forgotten how to have any fun.”

“Sure thing Mrs. G,” Lily grabbed her by the hand. “Your mom is right, Angel. Let’s do this.”

“Go on with you.” Mom bounced baby Justice on her knee until he giggled. He was only one, and chubby, and totally adorable.

“If you’re sure.” Angel’s thoughts went bubbly with freedom, and she ran with Lily to the entrance of the Lazy River ride. Even though it was only ten o’clock, the sun already burned the concrete until it shimmered with heat and scorched the soles of her feet. The Missouri sky was a bright summer blue, unmasked by even the lightest cloud.

Delightful shivers goose-bumped her skin as she stepped down into the water. She ducked the rest of her body under. Her head cleared the surface; she shook her wet hair from her eyes, and grabbed a clear inner tube. “This was the best idea ever.” She used the water’s buoyancy to bounce up and land butt first into the float.

“I know, right?” Lily arranged her tanned self to the best advantage. “It’s the only place to be when it’s this hot.”

Angel pushed off the wall with one foot into the man-made current and they floated down the channel. “This is the first time I’ve been totally cooled off this month.” She leaned her head back so her hair could float behind her. “Do you have all your stuff for school? I can’t believe our senior year starts next week.”

“Yeah.” Lily drug her hand through the water, way too interested in the wake it left in the artificial blue. “I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

“So ask already.” Angel wiggled around until she faced her friend.

“Do you still like Bobby Dean?” Her words tumbled out so quickly they jumbled together. “Because if you don’t, I think I kind of like him. He’s cute. But it’s more important that we’re friends. So…” Lily lifted a plucked eyebrow.

Angel didn’t have to think about that particular question for more than a millisecond. “You’re welcome to him, but I don’t think you’ll want him for more than an hour.” She had strong feelings about Bobby Dean Garrett and their one date, and those feelings weren’t catalogued in the “good” category.

“Well,” Lily started, frowning. “You haven’t gone out with anyone else this summer. I thought maybe you still liked him.”

“I haven’t had time to go out. I’ve been watching the kids for Mom every day. But, if I did have time, it wouldn’t be with him.” Angel closed her lips before she sounded like a whiner. Mom had needed her. Sometimes, you just had to shut up and soldier on. That’s what her dad would have said.

“Then if you don’t care, I am totally getting him to take me to senior prom.”

“Prom is like, nine months away.” Angel paddled with one hand to avoid the splatter from the fake palm fountain. “Why worry?”

Lily scooped up a handful of water and sprinkled her legs. “Seriously? You can’t leave important stuff like prom to chance.” She looked horrified at the thought. But then, Lily was the queen of planning. If Angel ever wanted to conquer a small country, her friend could organize the invasion.

“You need someone easy on the eyes because you’ll have those pictures forever.” Lily’s eyes glowed with fervor.” If you don’t want to go with him, then I will, and we’ll pick someone else for you. Maybe that lifeguard,” she said, gesturing toward the tall chair coming into view.

“Don’t even go there.” Angel splashed at her friend. The guy on the stand was cute.  His hair was dark and thick, heavy with russet streaks from the sun. She couldn’t see his eyes, hidden behind sunglasses. “I don’t know him. I’ll worry about prom after Christmas.” When she did, she’d pick someone ordinary like she was. Not a bronzed cover-model who was obviously out of her league.

“No time like the present.” Lily jumped from her float and flipped Angel’s inner-tube. With a kick, Angel escaped (before nothing but her butt framed in clear plastic could be seen by anyone and everyone) and sputtered to the surface.

A short, sharp blast of the lifeguard’s whistle hammered her ears as she wiped the water from her eyes. Even dripping wet, she felt her cheeks burn with blush. “Thanks a lot,” she hissed at Lily, who brashly smiled at the lifeguard.

“No dunking.” His voice was pleasantly low.

“I am so very sorry,” Lily bald-faced lied, and drug Angel to the stairs next to his station. “But she brought it on herself for looking better than me in a swimsuit.” He smiled, and his teeth looked impossibly white against his tanned skin. Angel’s breath hitched in her chest.

“This is Angel.” Lily didn’t loosen her grip on Angel’s arm. “I’m Lily, and you are?”

“Noble Walker,” he said with another flash of white. “But everyone just calls me Walker. Mostly because Noble is a stupid name.” He turned back to stare at the Lazy River and blew a warning toot on the whistle around his neck. “One person on a tube,” he yelled at the half a dozen kids piled on two floaters, riding dangerously low in the water.

Another lifeguard came up to Walker, tapped his shoulder, and took his place on the bank. Lily zeroed in on this fact in a millisecond. “Do you have a break now?” At his nod, she grabbed his arm, and merrily talked all the way to the snack stand.

“I’m sorry,” Angel blurted out.  “We shouldn’t be bothering you.” Seriously, who in their right mind chatted up a lifeguard? As good looking as Walker was, he probably had cute girls hitting on him all day long.

“Hey, Cherry,” Walker handed his water bottle to the older woman behind the counter.

“Two Cokes, please.” Lily dug a five out of her miniscule top.

“I don’t need anything.” Angel tugged on Lily’s arm. “Besides, he probably wants to relax on his break.”

“I’m good.” Walker grinned and removed his sun glasses. His eyes were a rich, chocolate brown. “I can’t talk to people when I’m on the stand. It’s nice to have a conversation with someone who isn’t two years old for a change.” After he’s gotten his water bottle and grabbed a tray for their drinks, he led them over to a cement table under a big red umbrella.

Lily talked and laughed like she’d known Walker for her entire life. Angel sipped on her Coke and tried not to stare. He was just so pretty—in a rugged, I-forgot-to-shave kind of way. Certainly he wasn’t a truck-driving, beer-drinking, good old boy like the guys at school.

“Do you like movies?” he asked, and the question was for her. Angel blinked and choked on the sip of pop. Seriously? Walker helpfully pounded her on the back while Lily gave her a wide-eyed stare.

“I’m okay.” Angel gasped, and then proceeded to cough and hack like she was about ninety. “It just went down the wrong pipe.” Could she sound any grosser?

“I’ll get you some water.” He hurried back to the snack stand.

“Are you out of your mind?” Lily was around the table quicker than snap and whispering in Angel’s ear. “I’ve been working like a dog here to get you set up with him. You’re not even paying attention. He’s trying to ask you out, dweeb.”

For about three seconds Angel’s brain stopped mid-spin with shock. “Why ever would he want to do that?”

“Why wouldn’t he?” Lily gave her an exasperated look. “You’re cute, you have a good figure, and you’re a nice person. Most of the time, you’re fun. The only big problem you have is that you don’t know when a nice guy likes you, and you can’t handle the bad ones.”

That was the understatement of the year. Her only date with Bobby Dean had been a disaster of epic proportions. “Are you positive about this?”

“Is the sky blue?”

Walker rushed back to the table with a bottle of water, and Angel gave him a more serious look. Not the fan-girl eye-balling you gave a handsome movie star or a gorgeous lifeguard you knew was way out of your league. Angel wasn’t an expert about guys—like Lily, but she’d picked up a few things in the years since Mom had divorced Dad.

Walker’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. She liked that. Even when he wasn’t smiling or talking, his face was set in pleasant lines. “Thank you.” She took the water bottle.

“So, about the movies…” He looked at her anxiously, and not once did his gaze move down to the rest of her—even though she was wearing a swimsuit. This was good too, respectful-like. There was something restful about Walker. He had a calm quality that reminded her of the oak trees at the farm, a timeless strength that seemed much older than his age.

“I live a long way out of the city. We’re on a farm, north of the river.” It was only fair to warn him, right? After all, he’d have to come and pick her up. Mom had strict rules about dating.

“I don’t mind.” His teeth flashed white against his tan. “I’m getting a new car this week, for college. No, not a new car.” he said, “a used car, but it’s new to me. I didn’t earn enough this summer for a new one. You don’t mind?”

“Not one little bit,” she assured him. Actually, it was a relief. Angel didn’t know one guy with a new vehicle except Bobby Dean. Besides, since Walker needed to work for a car, he probably wasn’t loaded, and maybe he wouldn’t mind so much that she lived in a farmhouse that was almost older than dirt.

A whistle blew, one long blast and two short ones, and Walker stood. “My break is over. Um…do you want to walk me to the kiddie pool and maybe give me your number?”

Still a little light-headed by the quickness of it all, Angel almost floated beside him as he wrote her number on his arm with a Sharpie. “I’ll have another break in a couple of hours. Maybe we can talk then?”

“Sure, I’d like—“.

“Sissy!” her little brother Zach made a running leap into Angel’s arms, one that nearly knocked her on her butt. “Mommy is looking for you.”

Angel’s mom hustled up with a worried crease in her forehead. “Sweetie, I’m so sorry but my boss called and I have to go into work.”

Behind Angel, Lily blew a loud sigh. “We haven’t even gone on the water slides.”

“Don’t you even start, Lily Rachelle.” Mom jumped on her attitude like a hungry duck on a June bug. “It’s not like I have a choice.”

“Call me later?” Angel asked Walker. Mom might not be saying much, but there was a faint, underlying note of fear behind her words. She didn’t know what caused it, but it wasn’t the best time to introduce Walker or to have Lily in a pout.

Only big things scared her mom.

“Did they call an alert?” Angel kept her voice low, sure that the water park noise would keep her words only for Mom’s ears. Mom jerked her head in a tiny nod, like she was strung on a wire so tightly if she bent, she’d break.

“Get your stuff,” Angel ordered Lily in her don’t mess-with-me voice. She grabbed her purse and the baby’s diaper bag. Walker was still there, and she gave him a strained smile. “We’ve got to go. Mom got called into work.” She shrugged. It wasn’t her fault.

“I’ll call tonight,” he promised, and made his way to relieve the other lifeguard who was knee deep in the baby pool.

“I’ll be there,” Angel promised. After all, it was a sure thing. If Mom had to work, then Angel would be home watching her brothers.

A low, gnawing grind of worry settled into the pit of her stomach. Homeland Security had called an alert, and Mom worked for FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency only got involved if things were really bad—like call out the National Guard bad. She waved at Walker, slung the diaper bag and purse over her shoulder and picked up her baby brother, Justice.

She’d be waiting for his call. Unless, of course, the government was right this time, and it was the end of the world—and then she wouldn’t be.

And lastly, I have to ask, what is it like being the sibling of a famous author like Jim Butcher? Do you find people compare your work to his?

It is way past wonderful being Jim’s sister. I get a kick watching readers “fan” him at signings. So far, no one has compared my work to his. But then, we don’t write for the same audience. We don’t look alike, either. 😀

It was such an honor and privilege to be able to ask some questions about writing and editing! Thank you Julie, for your time answering these questions! I am really looking forward to your YA Thriller!

You can reach Julie through various methods:

Leave a message below if you enjoyed this interview! I had a lot of fun coming up with the questions. What other authors, editors or people would you like to see interviewed?

My Kickstarter Experience: A simple starter walkthrough

So I have been thinking, I am going to try to do a Kickstarter for my novel I wrote for this years Nanowrimo. I posted a brief bit with a link to the page I am working on.

And then I thought “Hmm, I wonder how many other authors might want to try the same thing but are not sure if they can?” I decided to write a blog post about how and what I am doing for Kickstarter. Giving a walk through of my experience so that you can have a better understanding of what they do and how to go about doing it for yourself.

First off, Kickstarter  according to their own site:

“Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.”

The way they work is they are an “all or nothing” style funding. Either you meet your goal and get paid or your don’t and no money changes hands. It is up to you to get people looking at your project and sponsoring you.

This opens up a whole new world to people seeking support for their creative projects. For writers, this may help you decide if you are going to self publish or pursue traditional publication. Something to keep in mind when you are getting ready to set your goal amount.

When you first start your Kickstarter project they send you through their GUIDELINES to learn what is a proper Kickstarter project and what is not. Things like getting an album produced or, for writers, getting the backing to self publish your novel.

Next are the BASICS of your project. In this case, your book.

  • Project Image: Post the Cover Art if you have it already, if not post an image used for your author platform.  I am using a bit of art made by my husband that I am also using on Twitter. That way people will know it is really my project.
  • Project Title: For Books you can just use the title of the book or try to put something that is Eye Catching. I just put Death’s Hope for now.
  • Category: You will need to categorize your project. There is a section for Publication and sub sections on what type of thing you are seeking to publish. Fiction here.

(I strongly suggest going through their vids and such on how to pull off a successful kickstarter. You can get some great ideas and learn a great deal on how it all works)

  •  Short Blurb: If you tweeted about your project (135 characters) what would you say?
  • Project Location: Where is your project located? Kickstarter has a breakdown and you can look up current projects started by people in your area. If you are someone who likes to support local artists, check out what is being started in your area.
  • Funding Duration: This section is for how long you want your project to run on Kickstarter. They have a ‘small print’ section here. Read through it to learn what is the best action for your project.
  • Funding Goal: This is very important to research. Find out how much you will need for your project and then ask for that. Don’t get greedy. Look and see what other people are doing. I took a long look at the people who had achieved their goals and what they did.

Next section you will be asked to work on is the REWARDS section. This part was my favorite. Thinking up all the different things to reward my supporters with. Bookmarks, Signed book copies, Launch Party invites. Anything you feel would be seen as valuable and worth a person investing in your project. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for the things you are offering to your supports when you are setting goal and reward levels. Have fun with it and your supporters will too.

The next step is the STORY.

  • Project Video: Post a video about what you are asking people to spend their money on. It does not need to be anything fancy. Some folks might even think “Well if you can afford to get that video all cool, why you need my money?” It will make you look more credible if people see the person behind the project. Authors should really use this as a time to get your audience started.
  • Project Description: This is where you tell people about your book. What stage are you at? Is the book finished? Are you still working on it? What is it about? Tell people as much as you can without actually giving away the story. This is the section you want to be very honest and open in. People will read this to find out more about what the project is about and making their choice to give you money or not based on what they read here.
  • Risks and Challenges: This section allows you to show your supporters that you are fully prepared for the things that might happen during the course of your project. Print delays? Computer crashed and need to get a new one to finish the rewrite? There ya go.

From here it is all ABOUT YOU. Who are you? What kinds of things are you interested in? How can supporters find out more about you? Do you have a webpage? PLATFORM people! This is it!

There are two other sections to completing your project with Kickstarter. Account and Review. I am just getting into these sections myself so I will do another blog in the near future about what it is like to get through them. You will need to create an Amazon Business account and have either a Debit card or Credit Card for them to deposit the fund onto if you should make your goal.

I hope this was helpful for people who are interested in learning more about the Authors journey through the Kickstarter process. I will be posting more about this experience to share for future or upcoming authors!

Enjoy and let me know if this was helpful or not! Click the speach bubble at the top to leave a comment!

Tragic Events

I am writing this at the same time the news is talking about the shooting in Newtown.

I woke up and had a message in my twitter. So I logged in to take a look. Twitter was in an Uproar. I had to take a moment and scroll back through the last hour or so of tweets to learn that there had been another school shooting.

Too many people gone. The President making an emotional speech about the tragedy.

I send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone in any way connected to this. Something like this effects more people than those talked about on the news. Certainly the people who were there first hand have the most to deal with but please do not forget the families of those who were there. Think about the medical staff at the hospitals and staff that are needing to do their job to save the lives of these children.

Pres. Obama mentioned in his speech other tragic events that have happened. I and my husband have been in one of these tragic events. Each time it happens it brings the anxieties and stresses from the past back to haunt me. Think about the families all over the world who have lost because of violence and hate.

When things like this happen people speak out without thinking about what they say. Their words are fueled by emotion. Remember as you talk about this, that words are powerful. Sometimes more powerful that the weapons involved in these tragedies. Sometimes words are the reasons these things happen.

Remember your words.

New Look, Same Great…awe who am I tryin to kid? hehe

What do you think?! Huh? You like it? I had to find something that was Me, my writing and the voices in my head.

The book I am working on right now has the Greek Gods in modern-day. Walking around. Yeah. I hope to get a bit of a dark feel to it with some hot sex and combat. (not at the same time). There is a light in the dark. Hope. hehe

The other book is about a sorceress. Who owns a nightclub. And falls for a police detective who also happens to be a werewolf.

Last book ties in with the sorcress…same world different POV. MC is a werewolf. (This one is the rest of the story behind the short bit I did called Full Moon Station which I am debating on posting here or putting up on Amazon. Talking to my friend and fellow writer Jennifer Sights who also has a blog here on WordPress! Check her out!) Let me know what you think, post it or not? Leave a comment below!

There is an Epic Fantasy bit I would like to do later on when I have had more experience as a writer and a Hard core Sci Fi because I love the genre so much I took a class on it High School.

In addition to the great new background I am rocking, I have added two new things I will be talking about after Nanoinsanity is over.

Reviews.

There are three things I adore enough that I would write about them and feel confident that I would not sound completely stupid.

Books.

PC Video Games.

Music.

I look forward to sharing what I am reading, playing or listening to and what I thought of them after.

DONT FORGET!! Facebook and Twitter ————————————————————————->>>> Over here on the sidebar! Like the page and Follow the Twitter! I like you so won’t you like me too? (I may not autofollow on twitter unless you take a moment to drop me a “Hey! I followed you from WordPress!)

I am always interested in what people have to say so don’t be shy, if you find yourself wanting to answer any of my random questions GO FOR IT!

Have a Great Day! I am off to try to catch up on my word count!! (I am at 30,582 and need 33,333 but would like 34,000 by tonight.)