Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Looking Up For You?


After having time to look back and reflect on all the hurdles, and disappointments of 2010. I gushed over the blessings. Some started out as little sparks in the beginning of the year, only to become true gifts in disguise. I've met some wonderful people, sold more books than I actually thought I could, and garnered wonderful responses and feedback to the stories I've written. Not to mention garnered 'Thank You's' from people who I didn't realize I was helping. Can you believe it? I actually mentored several people into finishing, and publishing their own books? Go figure. Life never seems to amaze me.


After such a monumental ride of highs and lows from 2010, I truly am humbled and don't know where I'm going with this new year. But here are some of the goals I've written down that I know are attainable - (given that Murphy's law doesn't inject itself in the plan and muck it all up, lol!)

Writing Goals:

Finish 3 more manuscripts this year. Promote BANDITS, which comes out this June, 2011 (Click here and take a peek - also has our debut author F. RAUSHAWN's short story in there as a treat. ) As well as edit the two I've finished (I've finished the sequel to THE PACK which is called THE PACK-RETRIBUTION and the sequel to EXPLORER X called EXPLORER X-BETA). Just started a new book called ... darn, my co-writer doesn't want me giving out the name yet.

Blogging Goals:

Review more YA books and get my YA book reviewer NYIA more involved. Do more contest, and build my following to 200 (*wink*)

Mentoring Goals:

Become more involved in YALITCHAT ( and mentoring other writers. Join a YA writer's group or start my own using ( Get more involved with MWA and start some promotional programs to help other authors reach success.

Life Goals:

Continue to be a better me. Grow from my experiences. Keep smiling, and give back in anyway I can. Save some darn money, Do my Hot Air Balloon Ride (yep, you heard me this is one of the last things on my dream list), and take my family to Hawaii (lol!).


Sunday, December 26, 2010

So, Are you Thinking about the New Year?


Every New Year, you hear about resolutions. I used to do them and never achieve them. One day my husband and I were talking and we came up with the idea of goal planning for the New Year.

Wouldn’t you know it – when we planned our goals – we achieved them (or most of them).


Sit down and set realistic possibilities for meeting your dreams. Write your dreams down, and map out how you plan on reaching them. Be realistic, and only plan for the year. Remember, anything you do consistently for 6 weeks you will achieve it.


Here are some ways to trick yourself into being successful at the most common goals for the New Year;

Trick Yourself into Saving Money
Okay, let’s say you want to save more money. Well trick yourself into meeting this goal by setting up an account or direct deposit to take the money directly from your paycheck. Don’t have an atm card for this account, or a check book. Make it really difficult to get the money.

Trick Yourself into Losing Weight
Get friends to join with you in your endeavor to lose weight (chose a friend who is already achieved the goal you desire to achieve). Then sign up for a walk a thon within four months of your goal. You can also join a gym. Make a promise to yourself that you can’t go to sleep without doing some exercise (even walking up the stairs 10 times will work).

Trick Yourself into finishing that novel you always wanted to write
Join a critique group. Yep, force yourself work with other authors who desire to finish their books by the end of the year. Accountability goes a long way.


What good is planning if you don’t give yourself a reward? I treat myself with a vacation. I book a cruise or an apple vacation that I can pay on monthly. Then when it’s paid off – I get my reward.

DON'T make a resolution

Make a Plan, and a promise to do something awesome for yourself!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself A Merry Christmas!!

Remember the Reason for the SEASON! Bless you all from the bottom of my heart :-D Know that someone truly loves you *wink* I do!

Enjoy this song, I love these artist!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


SHADOW WALKER synop from Amazon:

Sarah Rivera has a lot going on in her life right now. It’s bad enough that she’s being shipped off to Temt Tchaas Academy—also known as Neteru Academy, a high school for future Guardians of the Light who have special powers—but she has to go there with her cocky twin brother and the rest of her compound brothers and sisters. To make matters worse, everyone has ridiculous expectations of her all because her parents are like supernatural rock stars for saving the planet sixteen years ago. But what nobody, not even her best girlfriend Tami seems to be getting is the fact that, she’s not special, doesn’t want to be a demon-hunting hero, and is even afraid of the dark!

So what that her mother was a warrior angel and her Dad used to be a Council level Vampire? Opposites attract. Go figure. As far as Sarah is concerned, all she got from the combination was a pair of fangs that lengthen at inappropriate times to embarrass her in front of her secret crush; whereas her brother, Alejandro, got the good looks and cool wings. However, what her parents’ status has created is drama in her life, by ensuring that the mean girls at school will make her life a living nightmare. Sarah knows her family’s renowned slayer reputation will also ensure that everyone at school will assume she had it easy and should be able to do everything her famous rebel parents can do, when she can’t. Not by a long shot.

Once at the hidden boarding school, things go from bad to worse as Sarah tries to fit in. Her nightmares increase and it isn’t just anxiety—her second sight is suddenly developing at a record pace. Layers of secrets are held by the building, held by her parents, and nothing is as it seems. There is something really bad going on at the school, worse than bad—deadly. Only, faculty and administrators don’t know where to begin to look for the cause as students start to disappear. Sarah must then make a choice to stand on the sidelines or to help use her gifts to save someone dear. But to do that means facing all of her greatest fears, along with a demon or two.

Here’s some fun related to her book SHADOW WALKER,

Want to buy it too?

LA Banks will be on twitter with YALITCHAT on

WED. JAN. 5th at 9pm under the hashtag #yalitchat,

because of my stalking of her. I’ve always loved paranormal vamps, but love LA Banks twist on it. Specifically the multi-cultural team of characters, and now I’m uber excited about her new YA paranormal novel, SHADOW WALKER, which is now offered for a great promo-sale price of $3.99 in ebook form which can be downloaded in .pdf formats, kindle, epub and others. Here’s where to purchase, you won’t be sorry.

Here’s some about her from her site:

Leslie Esdaile Banks: New York Times and USA Today Best-selling author, L.A. Banks has penned over 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres and is the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover's Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction and the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award, as well as the 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania. Recently she was featured as a speaker on the HBO Special on Vampire Literature and Legends as a prelude to the True Blood premier.

Want more? Here’s her site list of her books.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TRON LEGACY Movie Review

I scooped this from Legacy: An IMAX 3D Experience is THE BEST!! (my opinion)

Runtime:2 hr. 7 min.

PGSequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.

Tron: Legacy” is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.Read More

The OLD TRON bio: My opinion a movie WAY before its time.

A hacker is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program.


Let's just say, I enjoyed this movie and so did my kids. My teens never saw the original (1st movie in this series) TRON, but that didn't stop them from enjoying the vivid colors, fight scenes and suspense of TRON LEGACY. The writers did a good job of making the story plausible for those that had seen the original TRON and for the newbies it told the story in a father and son scene to bring those new TRON lovers up to date. My teens were impressed with the colors, 3D shots of battles and the overal look of the computerized world called the GRID. The story was simplistic, the characters likeable but to me...something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on what, but it caused me to take down my SNOWFLAKE rating to a 4 out of 5 SNOWFLAKES. A descent movie to take the teenagers to, but my 7yr old active kid got rather distracted, but his attention was grabbed during the action scenes. This one would be a fun movie to go to during the days after Christmas when you are trying to find something to do with your kids.


Friday, December 17, 2010


You know the feeling. Christmas comes and you are anticipating that one special gift you’ve been hinting at for months. You wake up at midnight, or meet up with your significant other, anxiously awaiting that special present and … it’s a bust.

You didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas. You didn’t get that ipod touch, that kindle, that engagement ring, that ‘I love you’ or that piece of jewelry from your boyfriend, or anything you really wanted for the Holidays.


Hold that face, plaster that smile on and BE grateful for whatever you get. I know it’s cliché’ that “Some people don’t get anything for Christmas.” But the cliché’ is true. Not only that remember the reason for the season is to GIVE and not to GET.


Wait it out. I always sock some money away during the holidays for after holiday shopping. I also encouraged my teens to do this. You know what? Now they ask me to give them 1 present to open for Christmas and to give them $175 to splurge with on New Year’s Eve.

Our tradition now is to have a skinny Christmas and to have a wonderful New Year’s by going on a shopping spree of savings. It’s a boon and even now the little ones are loving it.

Since we travel, that’s usually when we do our shopping for extended family since we don’t see them until two weeks after the holidays.

As far as the not getting the ‘I love you’ – Say it to the person you love instead. For not getting that special ring or jewelry from the said boyfriend – Buy it for yourself instead (that’ll make him wonder). If you can’t afford it – work towards it by saving and gifting yourself – there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself some love.


I know don’t throw snowballs at me, but re-gifting isn’t a bad thing. When I was in college, myself and some of my friends would bring back the stuff we got that we didn’t want and we would do trades. It was the most fun I’ve had when getting back from the break. I found some treasures during those swaps and so did my friends. Things that none of us wanted, we would donate.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FRENCH KISSMAS by Cathy Hapka - Teen Review by NYIA

Please welcome our teen book reviewer, NYIA ! She picked out a wonderful romance for Christmas in her favorite place - PARIS :-D

Here's the book description:

For Nicole Larson, the Christmas season in Paris is more than just a romantic interlude—it’s also a homecoming. Nic studied abroad in Paris a year ago, and is back in town with her friend Annike to spend Christmas and New Year’s in the City of Light. Of course, now that Nic is there, the chemistry she once had with Parisian hottie Luc instantly reignites. But why fuel a romance that has only three weeks to survive? Nic would rather spend time with her new buddy Mike . . . until it becomes clear that Mike is also interested in being more than just friends. With a backdrop of twinkling lights on the Champs-Elysées and Parisian Christmas carols, it’s going to be difficult for Nic to deny the romance around her. . . .


I would rate this book a 3 out of 5 CANDY CANES because while it is a good romantic Christmas story, it is also has some slow places that I had to skip at some points in the book. The story did have a lot of drama and at times I had to a guess at who the main character, Nicole, was going to end up with. The book was descriptive, but didn't over describe details that didn't need to be over described, such as clothing and every accessories that each girl is reading. The boring parts of the book usually included when Nicole was on the set filming, the filming days always seemed the same as the last. Overall, this was a good romantic book and I enjoyed reading it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I’m a guest at the GEN MOBILE event sponsored by the FCC on Tuesday, Dec. 14th at 10am. It’s an event for teens and parents regarding the usage and abuses of cellphones in today’s society. The focus is on the use of cellphones by teens and misuse of it.


It’s when sexually explicit text messages are sent via cellphones. Now you may think your 12 year old boy or girl wouldn’t possibly be exposed to this – BUT YOU ARE MISTAKEN. I first saw this when my son was around 12 yrs old. He and a friend had got home from camp after meeting other 12 year old girls and were laughing over some rather explicit text messages that his friend got from a girl he’d met at camp. Not only was I shocked, but I was enlightened that one should never assume that there kid is safe from what the world has to offer – good or bad. Parents need to be realistic and start thinking like a kid.


Do you know that girls that are rather young – as young as 12 years or less send boys pictures of themselves? Not nude pics but pictures in their bathing suits and in poses used to be seductive. Never assume that your daughter or son isn’t sending or getting these messages. Some kids even post them on Facebook. I’ve been shocked at some of the friend pics on my kids FB pages and I wonder if the parents even check on their kids accounts. I suggest parents talk about these to their kids and let them know that once a picture is taken – it can end up ANYWHERE.


Yep, you know it. If you can harass a person on the phone, you can text them and the harassing comments last for-ever. This is another misuse of cellphones by kids. In cases like this you have to teach your teen that words won’t physically harm them and that there are ways to trace those messages and fight back against this form of harassment.


Parents don’t have to be on the eight ball when it comes to this. Contact your cellphone provider and see if they offer a service that allows you to monitor the text (in and out) to your kid’s phone. As the one who pays the bills parents, you have the right to check up on how your property is being used. It’s time for parents to act like parents and monitor what their kid is doing. You just may be surprised what you find.

Lastly, talk and educate your kid. I do that with my kids. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes, it means that I am educating them and guiding them in their growth. I leave the door to communication open, ask my kid the questions instead of demanding that they do what I say only, I expect my teens to take ownership of their actions.

The misuse of cellphones can be a life changing event for teens and has led to depression, possible prison time, and in some cases suicide. Step up parents and get knowledgeable.

To find out more about this event sponsored by the FCC click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I have always, always, always had a passion for karate flicks. I grew up when Bruce Lee was the hottest action star smoking. Everyone wanted to be in one of his movies. I even took martial arts because of my obsession with his movies. You would think I would have outgrown him and flicks like that, but I haven’t.

One of my hobbies or obsessions, is to go to the local flea market and purchase karate flicks. I talk the vendor down to 4 for $25 because I go so often.

THESE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES!!!! Why? Because they have great kick a** moves, girls that have skills that blow your mind, and the fight scenes are drool worthy!

I remember a beta reader, an older guy, telling me that he absolutely loved my fight scences. He commented on how real they seemed. He wasn’t the only one. Many of my beta’s said they loved my descriptions and the defensive moves my smaller characters made.

Well I get a lot of my material from all of those years watching those Karate movies and wishing I was in them. Hey, some of the moves I even tried out on my baby brother (shhhhh…. Don’t tell him I told you that).

NINJA ASSASINS – the most recent Karate movie I went to purchase was brutal, yet beautiful. No it's not filled will all the things of good drama filled flicks, but it puts KILL BILL to shame with the sword play.

Now that you know all about my obsession, then you know why I love writing action filled YA and MG books. My love of these movies with cool moves, blood, a little romance, and fighting is addictive.

So if you want a rush, head online or to your local flea market or mall and pick up some kick a** foriegn karate flicks. They aren't much on plot, indepth story lines or romance but they are high on action! Just what I like.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Are You Going To Be Bored For the Holidays?

Before I had kids as an adult I really didn’t have anything exciting I did for the Holidays. I’d either stay home in the apartment I shared with other college students or I’d try to scramble up something to do so I wouldn’t be home alone.

Now I have a few single friends who are in the same boat. Here are some things I figured out over my years of trying to entertain myself for Christmas.


I know it sounds corny, but this time of year is the best time to volunteer. People are so nice and grateful to have a hand. You don’t have to go sign up for any organization, you can create your own elf like good deed. Like taking food to the elderly in your community. Or cooking for a friend or several that have nowhere to go on Christmas. Lastly, I used to volunteer at the soup kitchen and help with gathering donations for the women’s shelter.


Believe it or not this is the busiest time to travel. Now, my family travels for the holidays. You know what else? Other friends of ours meet us with extended family at various locations and we have a wonderful time. Not only that, but there are a lot of other people that travel this time of year. We’ve met a ton of them and spread good cheer by saying hello. Most times we’ve met life long friends on these travel adventures.


This is the time of year for cheer. So throw a party! For everyone of all ages. I loved my Aunt’s Christmas parties growing up. All of the sisters would donate gifts for the kids. We’d play games in the basement while the grownups partied upstairs. Usually an older teen would coordinate our fun games like hide and get the present.


Go on! Do it! Go to your friend’s house that invited you. People love to see you just as much as you’d like to see them. So take them up on their invite.

All in all the holidays can be a great excuse to make someone smile. Even yourself, if you explore new things to do each year, you just may…make your very own Holiday tradition.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There’s Something Bigger than getting Published

I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. But when I did my recent book event, I realized what I love more than writing…having a forum to talk to others.

Writing a book, opened more doors than I ever could have imagined. And guess what? I’m not a Best Selling Author yet, I’m considered a Midlister. Meaning – I do okay. I sell some books, not hundreds of thousands, not millions, but a decent amount coming from a new small press publisher. But that’s not what keeps me writing.

I write because it makes me extremely happy, and my kids love, love, love hearing about my stories. To them – I’m the best. I also love it when I do a signing, book event, or am just talking to someone about the book and their eyes shine – like I did something great. But to me, writing is easy. It’s like breathing, I love it, my own guilty pleasure. Truly I personally don’t see it as a special or great accomplishment, because whether I sold books or not, I’d still be writing them… just for my enjoyment.



Writing your work, loving the writing, meeting others while writing and learning things about yourself while writing.


Getting stronger through the process. No one can tell me that letting beta readers read your stuff, rip it up to make it better, then having to pimp yourself out to tons of Lit Agents that reject you, then your Lit Agent pimps you out to a publishers who may reject you, to getting ‘not so nice’ book reviews doesn’t make a person stronger. It does, now I see that for me, I’m so much more laid back. Less intense about what people say or think, but better at taking the gold nuggets of positivity out and throwing away the negativity – why? Because I’ve come to far to stop, give up, or call in the towel.


This is one of my most treasured parts of this entire journey of getting and being published. I have a bonafide reason to talk to young people – they’ve always been my passion which is one of the reasons I love writing about their struggles and their strength. I’ve met hundreds of young people in the last year of my book promotion. They’ve hugged me, encouraged me, thanked me, and just plain showed me love in their most innocent ways – that’s why young people are so special. That’s why – I keep on writing for them. I already know that quite a few – get me and what I write, and they keep encouraging me to write more.

YEP, there is definitely more than getting PUBLISHED, its growing from the experience of the journey.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Swagger = charisma, coolness, that something that draws people to you and makes them want to hang around.

You know those people, writers write them, readers love them or hate them, but we all… sorta want to have a bit of that SWAGGER. That’s what my teen son and his high school group use for the word I used to call COOL. The word may have changed, but being popular in your own way will never go away.


Nope! It’s something you can get by: growing into it, working at it, or just being in the right place to have it. Every group has one. The ‘go to’ girl or guy.

Growing Into It:

My son (shhh… don’t tell him I’m talking about him) didn’t always have it. Neither did I. His story is, up until 7th grade he was pretty much bullied. Him and his friends were the kids that always seemed to get caught holding the basket if you know what I mean. I’m telling you whenever there was someone getting in trouble – my boy was usually just hanging around ‘watching’ and would be hauled off with them. He was kinda the one most kids liked to pick on. BUT WAIT something changed in 7th grade. He started to get involved in school activities, he started playing football (for the first time he actually wanted to play), basketball, track and you know what…he started to get it. That SWAGGER just by widening his ‘friend and acquaintance’ base. People knew him and you know what else he did? He found a friend that had that ‘natural’ SWAGGER and hung out with him. I guess it must of rubbed off, because now…he has his own swagger.

Working At IT:

Well, me on the other hand, I worked at it. When I was in middle school, I watched girls that had it and truth was…I wanted that SWAGGER and I wanted it bad. Now I wasn’t jealous, I just wanted my on entourage of friends and peeps that thought I was cool. You know that I fit in with and who listened to me when I had you know a ‘deep’ thought or idea. So what did I do, I befriended the popular group by use of …(I’m ashamed to say it now) bribery. See I had a side business at school. I sold candy – lots of it, but if you were in the cool group, I used it as a way to sit at their table. Soon, kids that wanted to be in the group with SWAGGER sought me out. They knew that they would never be excepted in the uber SWAGGER group, but were more than willing to bask in the glow of someone that was able to step into that group and report all the juicy gossip gained by hanging out with a group with SWAGGER.

Right Place Right Time:

Sometimes you can get SWAGGER by the luck of the draw. You can be at the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time. For instance, (another example of my son – Shhhhh… don’t tell him I told you) we went on a cruise ship sometime ago. The ship had a lame teen party. Well my son had been working really hard on his break dancing at the time to get ready for a school dance. On the cruise though, he was the only kid that knew how to break dance, and when the party kicked off … that’s what he did. Then the kid taught others how to do it and Viola’ he got SWAGGER by being in the right place at the right time.


Believe you have it? Get comfortable talking with people. Don’t sweat rejection, just move on to the next possible friend in order to find your own friends that you can SWAGGER with. Share the SWAGGER if you have it, by treating people the way you would want to be treated. And get your SWAGGER on!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I am pooped, whipped, wore out, exhausted and brain numb. Nanowrimo kicked my living … ‘hush your mouth’

I’ve always been a fast writer. Finishing a book in 3 months was my best time, and after several books it’s my natural rhythm. A great improvement from the first book I wrote. So what did I think about Nanowrimo? I thought I could shave off my natural timing and kick out 50K words in a month.

I almost did it…just a-bout there, when what happened…I shut down and my bad old Achilles heel tripped me up. You see I have a problem, a big – o – problem with ….

ENDINS! There I said it, I admit it. I hate writing endings. Not because I don’t know what’s going to happen, but because…well I just can’t seem to want to let go of my characters. Even though I know I’ll be editing in a few months and seeing them again, I won’t BE them when I writing them.

I thought Nanowrimo would help me solve this small problem. Truth be told, I didn’t really see that it was a major problem until I had a seriously – bottom line deadline like Nanowrimo.

So what now?

Well I believe I can cut that 3 month to draft time of mine down by 2-4 weeks, but truth is I won’t try it again until Nanowrimo next year. I say that as I struggle to write the last chapter of THE PACK – RETRIBUTION the sequel to THE PACK.


I learned that I really do get almost unhealthily attached to my characters – at least when a short deadline is staring me in the face.

Hopefully by this Sunday, I will be ready to let Shamira Nobles finish kicking butt and taking names for maybe the last time :-D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Join Me at WORLD BUILDING WORKSHOP-Finksburg Library


I'm excited to share that I'll be at FINKSBURG LIBRARY on TUES. NOV. 30th, 2010 giving my WORLD BUILDING Workshop for kids!

If you are in Carroll County Maryland, come out at visit me!

Tues. 6pm Finksburg Library,
2265 Old Westminster Pike
Finksburg, MD 21048

We will do WORLD BUILDING Exercises, RAFFLES, grab goodie bags!

Also I'll be giving all kids a free copy of one of my books! Thanks to my generous publisher, Phenomenal One Press.



BANDITS (YA Fantasy with splash of Scifi) Coming Spring 2011

Peek Reading at the event

To Find out more about the books, check out website:

Sunday, November 28, 2010



I will try to give an honest review, but with the pre-cursor that I'm biased. I just love the Harry Potter books. This movie is a continuation of the tale, and yes, you'll want to see the other movies or at least read the book in order to truly 'get' the reason these kids are on the run, who died that is impacting their search and besides, you'll just want to see all the other movies (even though the last one was kinda dull). This movie has lots of suspenseful moments and is closely aligned with the book. Unfortunately the only thing I didn't like was that they stayed in that stupid forest for what seemed like forever. I had hoped that the movie would have cut out some of that wondering in the woods part that I had skimmed while reading the book. Anyways, even with their time in the woods, I still enjoyed the imagery, darkness and total mood of the movie. This is worth your money if you want to go to the movies, but if you decide to stay and wait for the video, it will play just as nicely at home. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 stars because they kept the part where Harry and the others stayed in the woods forever, just kinda wondering.


This movie was so cute. However, I guess Disney is on a GIRL POWER kick, because it seems like most of the leading men lately are just bums - no Prince Charming here. Well I have to admit I enjoyed the movie. There was a twist to this Rapunzel story, I won't give it all away but the witch wasn't very witchy except the way she acted and the reason for Rapunzel's name was taken out in place of a magical flower the witch wanted. That twist wasn't so bad and my girls fell in love with Rapunzel, only problem they said was the 'prince' seemed stupid, and was a criminal - Ye-ah, you heard me, he was a thief (of course we hope he reformed, at least it appeared that her love and her handy frying pan that she used to whack him with reformed him). Again, I say, my only beef with this movie was that the man that Rapunzel ended up with was a bum, just like the poor Princess in Princess and the Frog. Disney? What's up? Why can't a girl be smart, strong and still get a rich, dashing Prince? I give it a 3.5 stars out of 5. It was entertaining, great main character, but a bum of a Prince.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, What does it mean to You?

We all know the history about the Pilgrims who held the first fateful Thanksgiving celebration to give thanks for their harvest, survival and new life. A nearby Indian tribe was invited to celebrate with the settlers and that Thanksgiving day lasted three days.

However, Thanksgiving today has lost some of that meaning. Usually around this time of year the stores gloss over the Thanksgiving holiday and focus on Christmas. One of their biggest shopping seasons of the year, which out shadows the true beauty of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, a pre-cursor to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza is drowned out by the onslaught of Black Friday – the most fevered shopping day of the year.

For me Thanksgiving has been especially special. I have so much to be thankful for. Never in a million years as a girl who had teenaged parents, who lived in the littered streets of the city would I have dreamed this life up. After fighting through so many obstacles I would have never imagined being a wife, a mother, an engineer and an author. Through all of those difficult struggles I have become so strong, so assured and so determined that I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my life. It made me who I am, and I am still a little in awe of it all. My life is proof that good things can happen in spite of a difficult childhood and trials.

I hope you look at Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful to be alive, a time to renew a desire to reach for the stars, and a time when your realize that you can do or be anything thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

YOUNG SAMURAI -The Way of the Sword-Review by NYIA

Please welcome guest TEEN REVIEWER: NYIA she loved Chris Bradford's book YOUNG SAMURAI, The Way of The Sword

Amazon Synopsis:
"After a vicious ninja attack left him orphaned and stranded in Japan, Jack Fletcher managed to complete his first year of samurai school. Still, his troubles are far from over. The prejudice of his Japanese classmates has gained him dangerous enemies within his school, and Dragon Eye – the ninja who killed his father – is still after him. Jack’s only hope of defeating them lies in surviving the Circle of Three: an ancient ritual that tests a samurai’s courage, skill, and spirit to the limit.

For most, gaining entry into the Circle means honor and glory, but for Jack it’s a matter of life or death. The winner will be trained in the Two Heavens—the formidable sword technique of the great samurai, Masamoto. Learning this secret is the only hope Jack has of protecting his father’s rutter -- the invaluable navigation guide of the world’s uncharted oceans -- from Dragon Eye.

Forced into a deadly battle, Jack’s going to have to master the Way of the Sword. And his time is running out."


I loved this book! Although this is the second book in the series (I didn't know that when I asked my mom to read it. I think she got it from some book conference she was at). The cover was interesting and made me think it was an action book. Anyways, this book had the best fight scenes ever (only problem was some went on for too long - so I took off 1 star because of it). The main character, Jack Kun (they added the Kun, because he was in Japan). Even though this was the second book the author gave a lot of history from the first book(a lot and if I had read the first book I would have got frustrated with it - I know this because after I read this I got the first book). He had a love interest, but it wasn't a lot. She was a friend and she ended up getting sick. Also, I liked that he was a foreigner who had to deal with some prejudice, but had friends to help him deal with it so he didn't get depressed or angry about the fact that in Japan at that time they wanted to kill all of the foreigners. He had to complete the three rings, but unfortunately he didn't get the hero's ending. The ending made me mad, because it was a cut off ending which made me so want to buy the next book. I give this 4 out of 5 stars, and after reading the first book, I say just start with this one. It's way better than book 1: The Way of the Warrior

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MEGAMIND Movie Review by Movie Diva Monique

Hey everyone! Movie Diva Monique is back by popular demand. She went to see Megamind and was gracious enough to give us the scoop!

Here's MOVIE DIVA MONIQUE's review for Megamind:

credit: Dreamworks

It's been a few hours since I've seen Megamind in theaters today, and I still feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe that's due to the fact that I'm playing the soundtrack as I type this, but even without the soundtrack, the fuzziness would still be here.

The film, which is about a supervillain named Megamind (Will Ferrell) who finally beats the superhero Metro Man (Brad Pitt) but then realizes his purpose in life is gone, and actively goes about creating a hero for himself, that hero being Tighten, a geeky camera man who has the hots for the news reporter he works with, Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey). Actually, every main leading guy in this movie seems to have the hots for her, but only one of them wins (guess who). Throughout the whole movie, Megamind finally realizes what it means to be truly evil and truly good as, well as where he fits in in life and his actual purpose.

Firstly, the nods to Superman and other superheroes--both DC and Marvel-- are virtually endless. From Megamind disguising himself as the Marlon Brando/Jor El-esque "Space Dad" to Megamind and Metro Man's childhoods--both having been whisked away from their doomsday-planets to live on Earth--to Metro Man's laser vision to the Captain Marvel-esque lightning bolts on their uniforms, director Tom McGrath really wanted to send a lovable send-up to a genre everyone has grown up with, whether or not you read comics or not.

I will say that the film felt like it was trying to quickly show that Metro Man wasn't a douche; it's a good side story, but if a couple more minutes had been shown to it, it might feel less like a quick jamming-in of a story point and more coherent to the actual plot. Ditto to Metro Man calling Megamind "Little Buddy". The dance scene wasn't really needed (even though the sight of Megamind doing what looks like the Dougie is so scary it's endearing), and like someone on the internet said, a couple more scenes with Roxanne and Megamind could have been called for. Keep in mind that I know this film isn't Wall-E or Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon--every film isn't particularly destined for that kind of life, so go into this movie and expect just that, a movie. But still, this film has a solid enough story and has enough interesting turns of pace and ideas in it to keep you entertained, and, if you're like me, thinking for a while about what comics impart to us either directly or subliminally.

This is a great movie for those who are looking for a family-friendly film that doesn't pander to children or throw insipid winks at adults. It provides good characterization, stellar acting on both the actors and the animators' parts makes you really feel for the characters, especially Megamind. (Just looking at Megamind when he gets--MINOR SPOILER--his heart broken is almost too human for a character to look, but it's only because we've looked that way many times ourselves when our hearts have broken so hard that we're milliseconds away from crying.) All in all, it's a great one for the whole family, and everyone will get something out of it, probably more than you expected from what the commercials have to tell you.

This is an edited review. To read the uncut version, click here

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SKYLINE – Movie Review

Movie Synopsis: (taken from Strange lights descend on the city of LA, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.

My Review:
I had to go to a movie, and I wanted some action. SKYLINE delivered on the action and the special effects were decent (although the best was captured for the poster-see above). This was a C movie with a little better budget, but scifi all the way. The beginning was definitely a grabber, with the invasion starting and someone being lured by the light (did I say bright lights?).

They tried to get you to connect to the cast of characters by give you a flashback before the incident, but it didn’t do it for me. It seemed they figured the special effects and suspense was money better spent. I’m a greedy movie goer and would have preferred both.

There are some gross parts when people get abducted, but I liked the cat and mouse suspense and the space ships. The creatures even looked pretty good considering the low budget.

My other irritation besides the lack of connection to the characters was the ending. It seemed corny to me, but I still left the theatre rather hyped up, so I guess I got the ride I came there for.

I give it a 2.5 stars out of 5 stars. Matinee only or dvd if you have the TV to give you the special effects.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Long ago, I threw in my towel. Spending Thanksgiving cleaning before guest arrived, cooking all night, then cleaning up again got old. Sure I loved spending time with my extended family, but I was just plain tired. So I had a revelation….


That’s when we decided that for Thanksgiving we would travel. I’m going to post some of our Thanksgiving adventures as we lead up to the holiday. Of course now we go to Disneyworld every year (just a 14hr drive away from home). In going to Disneyworld we get 2 holidays for the price of one. We usually only do the parks for 1 day and purchase the much cheaper party tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Then we do a 3 day cruise (which I spend the entire year paying off - but that too is worth it.)

The first vacation though, was more like an adventure than a restful vacation. But great for family memories.


The false start

My dear husband decided to tell me on travel day, we needed an oil change. Jiffy Lube, told us we needed a headlight. I wanted to pay the $28 to have it installed. My he-man said he would do it and save us some money. Huh? C’mon it was just $28. Well needless to say..after he investigated the work needed, he realized he should've paid someone to do it. So we drove aimlessly in search of Jiffy Lube late at night. We gave up the search and DS’s hand’s were small enough to get the light in and we were finally on our way.

The medical emergency

After returning from Magic Kingdom (My HAPPY PLACE), my DH starts to complain of chest pains. Well I'm seriously concerned because he never complains of pain. Well after much deliberation on his part … I CALLED 911! Mind you it is now 2am in the morning and we have a CRUISE to catch !? This man told me “Worst case babe…you take the kids on the cruise” Was he insane?! I wasn’t going on a cruise and leave him in the hospital!

Anyway, we found out that he had “Gallstones” and then he proceeded to check himself out of the hospital AGAISNT DR’s Order’s (he didn’t tell me this until we were on the long ride home) to go on our cruise…we made it in the nick of time as I had to pick him up at 10am to catch the cruise ship 1 hour away in Tampa.

The ugly

We went on a Carnival Cruise. But, DS, was on the run from the camp director of the CO club as he was 14yrs old and wanted to be with other high schooler’s but she wouldn’t let him. She chased him, she called security on him and threatened to have him kept in his room. However, DS alluded her at every turn…I started to get the feeling the kid just liked tormenting her. He finally resigned to his fate and hung out with the dreaded "Middle Schooler's" since he was a High School was not so hard for him to fit in...He was instantly "Cool".

The race
Youngest DS’s shoe flipped off the ship while he was running the jogging track, and unfortunately the ship didn’t sell shoes his size, so he spent the rest of the trip barefoot.

Well while in the Caymans, my daughter lost her cruise card. We almost had to leave her there! Eek!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(Loved the movie SIXTEEN CANDLES)

Being a teen in love can be one of the most addictive things in the world. Unfortunately, nothing ever changes – ever. There’s always going to be a girl who desperately wants to hold her boyfriend’s attention and a boy who desperately wants to hold a girls love. How does this play out badly in teen relationships – you tell me.

You know a lot of parents act like what their kids are doing these days are new. But the same old thing happens today that happened when I was a kid. Only difference is, today you see those things on tv – like shows about teen moms or kids who are dating a person who is just a bad choice for them. Everyone on tv sees the train wreck but in real life it’s not so easy to see. Also, most people admit they know it’s going to wreck, they just can’t get off the train.

LET ME PREFACE THIS TO SAY – not all girls or boys have these issues, but a lot either know someone who does, or watches a tv show with someone who does.

Most times teen girls try to hold onto their boyfriend or boys by having sex – even getting pregnant on purpose or stalking them. Oh, don’t act so shocked. This has been going on for-ever. It’s even in the history books believe it or not.

Now, what does this have to do with VALUE OF SELF – a lot! Any one, girl or boy should not allow themselves to be convinced, persuaded, bullied, abused by, manipulated to try drugs or peer pressured into believing that sharing their body with someone else is ‘no big deal’. It is a big deal, because boys move on, girls can get pregnant, girls can get a reputation as an ‘easy’ lay and girls typically are emotionally driven to start punishing themselves when they find that things don’t work out like in the fairytales.

Funny thing is, boys have feelings too! Sure, they are taught to suppress them, but they cry, they hurt, they love deeply and they obsess over girls like girls obsess over them. Guys do the stalking thing, blow up in anger, and try to manipulate girls just like girls do guys.

Guys also need to value self. Focusing on keeping his goals clear, speaking up to a girl to ‘stop’ even though he may hurt her feelings is sometimes better than leading the girl on. Girls can be just as manipulative, pushy, persuasive to boys to engage in sex, drugs, or to set boys up by getting pregnant in order to hold onto them. Also, girls may try to manipulate all of a boys time and take him away from goals, family or friends who are important to him – how can a girl possibly do this? By using that boys desire for sex, love or desire to be with her to her advantage.


Yes, in some ways, but in all the ways that make us human, we are not. That means, whether you are a boy or a girl, you have the right to say ‘NO!’ and should value your body, love for self, and determination to stay true to yourself in all things. Only those that truly care about you, aren’t trying to hurt you, or aren’t trying to lead you down a path that could negatively alter your life has the right to effect the inner you.


Forgive yourself. Improve yourself. Love yourself. No matter what we do in life, we are here to grow. To learn from our mistakes. Making them is acceptable, learning from them is important. Loving yourself in spite of the fact that – hey guess what? You’re human, is okay. And if you need someone to talk to – pick someone that truly wants to help you. Follow your gut, and you will know the right person, the right time, to approach someone with your questions.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Are you in nanowrimo? Do you want a tangible prize for your efforts besides just your first draft? Well YALITCHAT is giving you a prize. First Prize is a KINDLE!!!! Yep! Second Prize is a 25 pg critique of your Nanowrimo novel, Whoop! And Third Prize is a book pack with 2 Harper Collins books and RAMPANT by Rampant by Diana Peterfreund.

More contest details:


Here’s a blurb from the ‘About YAlitchat’ Page. It’s a free organization (some services require membership (like Agent Inbox where you can submit to lit agents partnering with Yalitchat and more!)


Mission Statement YALITCHAT
is a non-profit organization created to support the advancement of reading, writing and publishing of young adult literature around the world.

History and Founding YALITCHAT started as a chat on twitter in September 2009 by YA writer Georgia McBride. Georgia created the associated online community on Ning in November 2009. The non-profit organization was established in June 2010.
Member Meetings We meet weeky via #YALITCHAT, a chat held on twitter, Wednesdays at 9PM Eastern. There is usually an After Party here immediately following, open only to members. A full schedule of chats can be found on the official public website. Please check the schedule, as we have special chats during the year that fall outside of this schedule.

Additional Branded SitesFor those interested in following the #YALITCHAT hashtag all week long, please join the #YALITCHAT twibe (yes, you read that right) No involvement needed--just join. You'll be able to auto follow all members on twitter as well as keep up with the #YAlitchat hashtag all week long.


We meet on Wednesday nights, on twitter, just do a search on the hashtag #Yalitchat on Wed. at 8pm. If you can make it come check out our WEBSITE which is we have a tiered membership and offer great writer support where we don’t rip you up, we help you to become a better writer with the support of both published and an soon-to-be published authors we ban together to help each other.

HOW’d I Find them?

I started lurking around on twitter and saw hashtags for writers (hashtags are conversation keywords for different areas of interest you can search on in twitter. They usually start with #. For instance if you want to follow a conversation for YAlitchat just search on #Yalitchat in twitter.)

Not to mention, I’d hung out at some other writer’s forums only to be a little embarrassed by how mean spirited some of the regulars there were. But I didn’t give up, I kept searching out great places to hang out and YALitchat is just that.

NANOWRIMO What the heck is it?

National Writing Month! Your mission – write a novel of 50K words, which comes to about 175 pages. The truth is, try for the goal, but do your best which is way good enough!

Also, if you are doing nanowrimo, be my writing buddy :-D I’m lmpreston

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thanksgiving Give Aways

Well, we were thinking. It's a great time to give-away stuff! With Thanksgiving comes great shopping spree days like BLACK FRIDAY and eating Fest THANKSGIVING. So my publisher and I would like to give away something that will make you cozy and comfy.

2 HATS, yep great hats with pictures of THE PACK on them. Just email the publisher your contact information and prize code 71YZ24 (click here)and the first two peeps to send an email gets the prize.

Stay tuned for some pics of BANDITS book trailer.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Alright, time to go back down memory lane. WERE IS YOUR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS RING? Ah-ha! You don’t remember do you? Well….neither do I.


The class ring is a big deal. A right of passage for a Junior in high school, showing that you are just under 1 year from the rest of your life, or that the best years of your life is just under 2 years away.


Wear it every single day you are in high school. Just don’t let your girlfriend or boyfriend wear it, borrow it, take it or sell it :-D Keep it by wearing it, so get something that is nice and not to gaudy that you wouldn’t mind wearing most of the time. When you are tired of wearing it, put it on your necklace. Also, don’t pay too much for it. I made the fatal mistake of purchasing a rather expensive one for my kid and now I regret it. Truth is if the boy loses it I will totally freak out. No kidding – freak the heck out.


Truth is, if you go to college, your college ring will outshine the high school ring – for awhile. But when you have your own kids, and you are picking out their class ring with them… if you still have your high school class ring – you just may tear up when you pull it out to remember those wonder days of high school.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Oh, today our teen guest book reviewer, NYIA is in the house!

NYIA had to do an assignment where she had to write a letter to King George, yr 1776 where she stated 5 historical facts in her break up letter.

I thought it would be a cute read, and introduction to her first writing on my blog. Please enjoy and comment. She checks the comments frequently on her post.


Year 1776
Dear King George the Third,

I am so sorry to say this, but we have grown apart and you have changed to a person, who frankly, I don’t like. I know that this may be hard to read but… it’s over between us. See, I am no damsel in distress and you have soldiers here in New England to “protect” me, yet the French and Indian war ended 13 years ago in 1763. Having soldiers here does not seem respectable after such a long time since the end of the war. Your actions have spoken louder than your excuse filled words and have shown me that you are over-possessive. What has also shown through with time is that you are a cheap scrooge who cares more about money than me. Not only did you send me soldiers that were not needed, but you put the Quartering Act into place so that I had no choice but to house and feed the soldiers who were strangers in my eyes. I am not made of money, nor am I a servant to those who do not reward me after my services.

Money has also driven you to become untrustworthy and not the charming man that I knew before. I am outraged that you would try to tax me without my word in the matter and try to hide the truth behind fogged glass. The Intolerable Acts were shocking, especially since they were meant to be hidden and collect at the ports so buyers would not see the tax. To be fair, I am glad that you repealed most of the acts, but I think you were ignorant to leave the Tea Act for me to pay. Honestly George William Frederick the Third, what Englishman or woman do you know who doesn’t drink tea? I am sure that you have your delicious tea tax free. I do know that the Boston Tea Party and other vandalism acts were made, but they were just trying to stand up to a jerk like you!

The thing that hurt me the most in the whole relationship is that soldiers of yours killed my friends in the Boston Massacre. Five colonists died in the attack from the soldiers, yet there was no apology from you. George, you can be so insensitive an unsympathetic! Those men surely had families and maybe even wives who will mourn over their lost, but it seemed like you didn’t even care enough to take a stand and say sorry for something you basically caused. One of those men was my neighbor, but you wouldn’t care as long as your money was paid and the soldiers were fine! Sorry, I got carried away.

Please don’t take any of my words to seriously, for they are filled with heartbreak and confusion. I know we’ve had some good times, but even writing this letter makes me even more angry and hurt. You know as well as I know that we can’t fight the way we do any longer. See, I am tired of constant fighting and disagreement and I know you are to. Let’s just do each other a favor and call of the whole relationship.

Yours Truly,

Sunday, October 31, 2010


When you finish the first draft of that exciting, titillating, suspenseful journey of finishing that baby of a manuscript you create as a writer or you feel a sense of loss. Why? Well the mystery is solved, the villain is vanquished and all is … over. I actually slow the process when I’m nearing finishing, because I truly believe it’s my way of keeping my characters with me. Do other writers feel the same? Absolutely!

After I finish a first draft, I put it away for a month. What do I do during that time? Well, I start something new. I create a new adventure to live out within my head and put on paper for my wonderful readers to enjoy.

This gives me time to focus on something else while my former work is aging and I can look at it with a fresh and renewed eye. Most of all, I can read it again to see if I still like the concept enough to rework it into the butterfly it will become.

This year NANOWRIMO is the perfect tool for me to use to get back on schedule with writing the sequel to THE PACK (read more about that book by clicking here).

Every time I start on a new idea I get giddy and trust me, I have about 15 of them tucked away in a little folder on my desktop. It’s like packing my stuff and going on a new trip where I’m about to hobnob with exciting people – or even BECOME an exciting person :-D

Well doing this aging thing and starting a new project thing means that at some point, I’m juggling two writing projects at the same time. How do I do this – uh, it’s definitely chaotic, but keeps a fresh prospective on my work.

I stick to a writing schedule of writing for 2 hours a day. One hour in the morning and one at night strictly for the new work in progress.

I print out chapters of my previous work that has to be edited and rip into it while I am on my lunch break at my day job (you know the one where my secret identity as a writer is still unrevealed), at the kids games, riding in the car or going to the doctors office. Once a week, usually Saturday mornings before the young people in my home awaken, I make corrections to the previous work that has to get edited. I do this four times before I send it out to the first set of beta readers (test readers) where it usually takes me 1-2 months to get back feedback.

As a writer, always continue to write. It’s one of the best ways to get published and market your backlist of novels, short stories or any other written work you’ve created. And if you have trouble getting motivated – hop in on Nanowrimo and add me as a write buddy (lmpreston).

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I spent my pre-halloween getting my scare on with some scary flicks! Nothing else gives that quick adrenaline kick like a good scare. So here are some to watch these to get a real scare kick this weekend.

This is the foriegn, orginal version of LET ME IN that comes out in US theatres soon. Let me tell you, foriegn films don't hold back on seducing you into a sick, sadistically alluring relationship between a 12yr old boy who's bullied and seeking a friend...but befriends a deadly, yet loveable vampire. And they pull it off without gore, but with a wickedness that US movies just don't seem to have. This is one of my favorite Vamp tales, even though I had to read subtitles.

Spooky noises, anticipated horror, suspense that drives your heart to race until you figure out when it will all end? That's this heart racing movie. Check it out if you dare to be scared by a spirit that likes to torment the poor peeps in the house.


Let me tell you my deep dark secret...I HATE ZOMBIES...they scare the crap out of me. Every since the first time I snuck into the living room and watch NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD with my mother at just 10yrs old (unbeknowest to her) I was scared to death and had tons of nightmares. But...but...couldn't stop myself from seeing the orignal DAWN OF THE DEAD and loving the scare I got from zombies munching on living people. This remade version is even better than the first. This will definately be a fun horrified ride.


This one still scares the heck out of me. A house that's...that's haunted and starts to tear your family apart til everyone thinks you are crazy. This movie also has a ton of suspense. It's the grand-daddy of haunted house movies. A great scary blast from the past.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Myself and I by Earl Sewell

Hello all! Please welcome teen guest reviewer Nyia! See what she has to say about MYSELF and I by EARL SEWELL.


Lately, Keysha feels like a magnet for trouble—especially boy trouble. Her last love interest turned out to be a major fraud, and her ex, Wesley, refuses to accept that they're finished. Swearing off relationships and concentrating on herself seems like her smartest move.

Then Keysha meets her new neighbor Jerry, who has every girl in town vying for a summer fling. Working as lifeguards together, Keysha realizes that Jerry has more to offer than a great car and a sexy smile, and the harder she tries to ignore him, the more interested he becomes. But is it Keysha that attracts him or the chase itself? And when the biggest party of the year gets dangerously out of line, and Wesley's jealous new girl pins the blame on Keysha, she'll learn exactly who she can trust. Only problem is, it might be too late to save herself….


I enjoyed this book and can sum it up to drama, drama, drama. Every girl I know have a crush on some guy that they can't have and Keysha feels the same way. I didn't read the other books yet, but this one made me want to check them out. The guy she likes seems a bit, I don't know, unrealistic because I don't know many teenage boys with all that stuff. But for the story sake, I liked the way he seemed better than the other choices of boys around. It also bothered me that a book with an African American girl has her getting in trouble with the law, I got mad with that one, but liked the character so much I read on. I give the book a 3 out of 5. I wasn't bored and liked the character and the message the author put in the story for young girls.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Get Ready for NANOWRIMO

Nano (National Novel Writing Month) from November 1st-30th. It’s the writing frenzy where you kick out a large number of words to hopefully finish a novel in record time. Many people start the challenge and end up with a sizeable number of pages by the end. Some are inspired to start writing for the first time. Others are inspired to finish something for the first time. Some, like me, find that writing at breakneck speed produces a lower quality of work that doesn’t reflect what is normally produced when writing within your own timing. Truth is, my natural timing is four months from start to finish. I tried to increase my speed and did it without much trouble. It increased by 3 weeks, and for me, that cooking time for a novel fits just right.

Here is a quick list of what to do to be successful in Nanowrimo:
-Write a character bio
-Allow yourself to write through the rough spots - and edit later
-Schedule your write time (even if you have to wake up an hour early to do it)
-Get a write buddy - someone to just talk you through it
-Get Ready, Set, Go


There are ways to make speed writing more effective. The overall goal, is to produce more in a shorter period of time. If you keep this up, who knows, speed writing may become a habit.

Prepare for it
When you set out to write a novel in a short period of time, outlining is your friend. Take a week to write a detailed outline of the story. It will help to work out most of the kinks before you even sit down to write. Create character profiles of the main characters and review outline before the start of your writing marathon.

Plan it
If you are going to focus on spitting out as many words as possible a day, then plan it. Block out your writing time for the month. Figure out when you are most productive. Is it in the morning, at night or midday? Make a rule – no sleep unless you have kicked out a minimum of a certain amount of words. Make sure you schedule extra time for working out of corners or temporary writer’s blocks. Make your schedule somewhat flexible so that you don’t get burned out and give up.

Write it
With a printout of your outline next to you and a bullet list of your character profile – start the race. Follow your outline. If you want to go rogue, go ahead, write until the roadblock. If you reach a road block – write anything, take some time off to think on it, then re-work your outline and get back to it. Also, if you took out writing time to think, add more blocks of writing time to make up your word count later. Whatever you do – don’t stop writing. Remember, you will always have to edit it.

Don’t look back
Whatever you do, don’t read over what you’ve written until you are finished. That is an easy way to get distracted. Remember, you’ll have to edit the thing many times before your piece of art is perfected. Just write forward, don’t make corrections, don’t read over it, just push forward and write.

FOR NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR ... I'm finishing up my sequel to THE PACK-RETRIBUTION, join me and look for my username lmpreston and be my write buddy. Here's the Nanowrimo website:

Friday, October 22, 2010


Back by popular demand, NYIA, our teen book reviewer is visiting to give her awesome review on SECRETS and KISSES by CELISE DOWNS


Skylar Knight is making her way through the final week of school. The subject on everyone’s minds is Blair Neuman’s Junior’s Only End of the Year Bash–and The Kissing Game. Skylar knows that her crush, Kedren Price, will be there but she has one little problem: nonexistent pucker power.

In between studying for finals, and getting some much needed tips on kissing, Skylar starts overhearing mysterious conversations about Blair and Kedren. And she begins to wonder if her classmates are friends…or foes.

THE REVIEW by teen book reviewer NYIA:

I usually don't read mysteries, but honestly I didn't know that this book was a mystery until the halfway mark. I really liked that it was more for people who didn't like mysteries, but the fun girly type of book. I loved how the main character didn't know how to kiss and that kinda helped introduce the mystery. Her crush also sounded really cute. The only thing I didn't like about the book was that you could tell that all the clothing and styles were a little out of style by the way the author described it, but besides that the story was just fine. I read it in a few hours just because I liked the main character so much. If I was to rate this story I would give it a 4 out of 5 for the whole style thing.

Check out more of author Celise Downs books @

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Those Villains You Love to Hate

Oh, yeah, I have love to hate many of villains. As a writer though, it’s real hard to stick around in their evil and mangled heads long enough to write them, but when I do… I expose a part of my imagination that sometimes even scares me. Makes me wonder how some of the great authors of horror and the most evilest villains sleep at night.


Evil to the core and on the edge of madness
These villains create reasoning within their mind for their evil deeds. You don’t like these guys because you know they are evil, and when you conjure them up – they ain’t pretty, not one single little bit.

Justifiably Evil Villain
Oh, these villains were victims themselves, but now they are hunters, killers, and sadistically flawed because of their past.

Seductively Evil Villain
I and many women love these. You know, the vampires, the gorgeous guy that oh, just happens to get a sick pleasure out of killing people. The charming, seductive, alluring, charismatic villain that makes you want to love him, but you know its just sooo sooo wrong. Why? Because he or she wants to … kill with know apparent reason. And they use all of that charm, things that we equate to good to do it.

The Vampire Lestat (or any handsome sexy Vamp), Eric in True Blood, Freddie Kruger, Hannibal Lector, Mr. Sinister, Bullseye, and The Joker…come on, share yours. It’s the season for villains.

SO HERE's A BOOK, a blast from my reading past, WITH A VILLIAN YOU'LL LOVE as much as hate

Believe it or not, I read this when I was 15yrs old :-D

Monday, October 18, 2010

Austin Camacho, A Mystery Writer, Speaker Tells It All

Please welcome Austin Camacho! I've been stalking him ever since he spoke at the MWA Writer's Conference this April and chewed on some of his books while I was at it. He's written tons of Mystery, Action series and a book on Author Marketing. Check him out and please comment and say hello!

He's done it all, self-published and is now traditionally published. As well as sold over 1000 copies of his books all on his own. Talk about getting your hustle on. Please take this opportunity to learn from one of the most helpful and encouraging author's I've met.

Can you tell us about yourself? Some fun facts?

Fun facts? Well, in my Clark Kent job I handle media relations for the Defense Department, but inside I’m a philosopher and a teller of morality tales thinly disguised as mysteries or adventure stories. I’m also a husband and father, a flirt and a loudmouth, with a big heart and an even bigger ego. And I’m a hard-working marketing fool who wants every adult alive to read his novels.

Tell us about your books? My favorite The Troubleshooter and your character Hannibal Jones?

I write a detective series about a Washington DC-based, African American private eye named Hannibal Jones. Hannibal is a tough, honorable, determined man who fancies himself a problem solver to the world and who gets thru mysteries as much by stubbornness as inspired detective work. He’s also rather conservative and a bit chauvinistic, although his girl friend is working on that.

The Troubleshooter, the first Hannibal Jones story I wrote, isn’t really a mystery – more urban thriller - but it was my way of figuring out who this guy is. In it Hannibal is hired to free a crack house from the drug addicts and winos that hold it. A powerful drug lord nearly drives him off, until he realizes that his success or failure will determine the fate of a neighborhood, and the future of one small boy.

What inspired you to write mysteries?

I’m a lifelong mystery fan but when I started to try to write it was action-adventure stuff. Then one day I was reading a mystery and realized about a third of the way through it that I knew everything that was going to happen after that. I thought, “Heck, I can do better than this.” At that time I was working on a TV news story about the local bone marrow donation program. I thought, “Finding the match to get a donor – that’s a REAL mystery.” That idea grew into Blood and Bone, the second Hannibal Jones novel I wrote but the first in print.

Your books have a great mix of action and mystery, how do you come up with your ideas? What inspired you to write an action packed mystery instead of the more subtle suspenseful kinds?

I didn’t want to write about someone who was just a detective. I wanted to write about a hero, and Hannibal Jones is that. Plus, I have a real affection for the old school private eye stories. I see the stories in my mind like movies, so there has to be action. Plot ideas are everywhere. Every time I turn on the news or pick up a paper I play “what if” with the stories I see and evolve a whole different explanation for the facts presented.

What is one of the most difficult parts of writing for you?

I don’t know if there is a most difficult part of the creative process. But I suspect a lot of writers are like me in that the hardest part is the physical part, the “Butt in the chair” part. Life offers so many good excuses to be something else. But when I get into a story, and get into the zone, I find myself asking “why did I put this off? This is where I belong.”

What made you decide to write your book for writers? Successfully Marketing your novel in the 21st century.
When I was first published I read a number of excellent volumes on how to market self-published books, but none of them did a good job of addressing my specific needs. The most successful self-published books are nonfiction, but the best advice on marketing nonfiction books won’t help you sell your novel. So I set about culling out what was most useful to me. A lot of trial and error was involved, and more than a few disappointments. This book is the result of the synthesis of knowledge found in those books, my public affairs training, and my ten plus years of hard won personal experience.

What have you learned most from your journey as an Author?
I’ve learned that if you’re doing it right, creating fiction forces you to look at the parts of yourself you’d rather leave hidden. Then it makes you reveal those parts to everyone else.

I’ve learned that if you have something to say you can do it better with fiction than nonfiction. And that when you start making up a story you find out – often to your surprise – that you DO have something to say.

I’ve learned that no one will read your book until, one way or another, you tell them they want to read your book.

When you first sat down to write your very first mystery, how did you plan it out? Was it published?

When I sat down to write I knew how the story started, and I knew how it had to end. So I wrote an outline that described all the action that takes place in between. Then I thought about what else my characters would be dealing with at the same time and I wrote that into the outline. I outlined the story as a series of scenes, just like a movie. Then I wrote the scenes, in order, from beginning to end. That process hasn’t changed a bit.

After an exhaustive series of submissions to publishers and agents (I’ve had 3 of those) I decided to publish myself through a Print On Demand company. I learned more about the business and self published. I sold enough books that a small press (Echelon) asked for the right to my flagship novel, Blood and Bone. The rest, as they say, is history.

How did you go from a self-published author to a selling your works to a publisher who supports your work?

I sold a few thousand novels at street festivals and writers conferences and kept writing more stuff. At Book Expo America I met a publisher who recognized my book cover and asked me how I had gotten so far as a self-published fiction author. After a lot of conversation about what we could offer one another, I decided to sign with Echelon to increase my distribution. That got me into Borders and Barnes & Noble, where most of my sales are today.

What’s your creative process?

I outline in great detail, and my outlines have evolved into a form that imitates film scripts. There has to be a strong hook – I like to start with action to pull the reader in. Because I work with series characters I always consider what needs to happen in their lives and weave that into the plot. I write from scene to scene, often moving the chapter starts for pacing purposes. Every chapter should end with a cliff hanger. I often writer for a couple hours at a time, but can sit down and lay down a stack of words in 30 minutes if that’s what I’ve got. And the characters often push the plot line around as I write, so the outline isn’t carved in stone, it’s flexible as I get into the book.

Do you work with a critique group? Beta readers?

I stopped working with critique groups because I always seemed to be giving more than I was getting, and the time I spent critiquing other people’s work I could spend improving my own. These days I often get paid to critique manuscripts.

Beta readers are very valuable if you ask them the right questions. Whether or not they like what they read doesn’t help me. I need to know: at what point did you put it down? (checking pace) Which characters do you want to get to know better? (make the others more intriguing) what did you think were the important plot points? (if they can’t tell me what happened I need to make it clearer) and for a mystery, did you guess the ending (need to know if the clues are hidden well enough, and if they felt I played fair with them.)

You’ve impressed me with the marketing of all of your books. Can you share with us the most effective ways you’ve marketed yourself as an author?

For me, personal appearances have been most effective. Book signings in book stores, presentations and panels at book conferences keep my name in front of the public and move books off store shelves. I have recently learned that commenting on Yahoo Groups like Kindle Korner is effective in moving ebooks. A strong presence on social media sites seems to have helped a lot too, but it’s harder to trace results back to them

You do a lot of speaking engagements, mystery related writer’s conferences did you go to them when you were an aspiring published author?

I never even knew about all these mystery conferences and conventions until I was published. I often wish I had had the chance to attend Bouchercon or Left Coast Crime or Love is Murder or Malice Domestic as a fan.

Do you have any new books in the works? Mysteries? other genres?

There is ALWAYS a book in the works. I’m about a third of the way thru the next Hannibal Jones mystery and a new Stark & O’Brien adventure will hit shelves in the fall of 2011. I want to spend some time pumping up my thriller series to see if it can be as strong as the mysteries.

Where can we find you this month?

Well, THIS month is half over but you can meet me Saturday, Oct 16 at Borders, 2904 Prince William County Parkway, Woodbridge VA - 2pm - 6pm;

Saturday Oct 30 at Borders in Baltimore Washington International Airport – 9am to noon, and that evening speaking and book signing at Wine About Books at Linganore Winery, 13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mt. Airy MD - 6pm - 10pm

In November you can meet me Sunday, Nov 7 at Borders Express - Columbia Mall, 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy Columbia, MD 2 - 1pm to 5pm.

November 14–21 I will be presenting at Mystery on the High Seas; A Cruise to Die For, onboard the Carnival Splendour to the Mexican Riviera - .

After that you can meet me Saturday, Nov 27 at Borders, 11270 Bulloch Dr , Manassas , VA Manassas - 12pm to 4pm and Sunday Nov 28 at Borders at Baltimore Washington International Airport – 9am to noon.

How can we learn more about your books?

The easiest way is to check my web site – or but there are lots of other ways – Facebook, Gather, Crimespace, Myspace… my best answer is: Google me. J