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Post DFW Writers Conference

I love going to writers conferences. Every time, I feel motivated and encouraged to keep writing the best stories I can. This past weekend, I was blessed to have my closest writing friends with me at the DFW Writers Conference. And, I was fortunate to make many new friends as well.

This year’s speaker line-up was fabulous–hearing from writing giants like Steven James, Kevin J. Anderson, Shilo Harris, and Charlaine Harris among others. Where else can you meet such cool authors all in one place? Amazing and inspiring.

“Always give the readers what they want or something better as you’re shaping your stories.” ~ Steven James

So, I’ve got new ideas brewing in my head, and of course, I can’t wait to finish this revision of my WIP novel and get it out there! Here goes!

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My Summer Reading List

With so many great books out there to read, picking a summer list has been a challenge (yet fun!). I think I’ve got a pretty good list here. Hopefully, I’ll get through them all and then have time for bonus books.

  • The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
  • Everything to Lose by Andrew Gross
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • The House Girl by Tara Conklin
  • Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Plus a thousand more board books with my little toddler! She loves reading, too. Maybe a future writer? Who knows!

How about you guys? What are you reading this summer?

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Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 2015

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This year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference was a great experience for me. Not only did I meet a group of amazing, dedicated writers, but I got to visit one of the most beautiful places in the world. With top notch teachers, authors, editors, and agents, the conference was A+. The keynote speakers were all inspiring, especially R.L. Stine. (I thought he might be a scary person since his books are scary, but he was the complete opposite. One of the funniest keynotes I’ve heard! Loved it and was so inspired.)

I always try to share something I’ve learned from these events. The theme was Choose Your Writing Adventure. To me, that captures the essence of writing, and how you can share your adventure with your readers. As a writer, I’m on a journey to share my stories and my experiences, while I’m still living them and figuring out how to get them on paper. This theme was exactly what I needed to hear and think about for my writing journey.

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of is the very thing that will set you free.” ~Anonymous

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (or write what you’re afraid to write!)

My work in progress, #FeedWar, definitely fits those quotes. I’m a pretty normal person with an ordinary life, so writing an adult thriller about futuristic cyber crime syndicates has definitely stretched me as a writer. From riveting readers, page after page, to expressing my character’s deepest thoughts and emotions…writing this has been a challenge. The revised draft is done, and now I start a final round before sending it out on submission. Sure, it’s scary sending those pages out but exciting at the same time. Hopefully, it won’t be long before you guys get to read this story.

#FeedWar won best Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Novel in the Zebulon Contest this year. I was honored to accept the award at the Conference.

Thanks to everybody at the Conference. I look forward to going again! I’m inspired and ready to revise!

 

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Accepting the award from PPW President, J.T. Evans

Photo by Jared Hagan

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2015 Zebulon Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Winner

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I’ve had some more exciting news on the writing front. Earlier this week that my new book, #FeedWar (in revision mode right now) won the Zebulon Writing Contest for Mystery/Thriller/Suspense!

That means I get to go to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference this April in Colorado Springs. Yay! I’m super excited! I still have a lot to do on this novel (it didn’t have to be completely finished to enter the contest). So hopefully, this one will get some interest from agents/editors. 🙂 Maybe a little closer to getting out for you guys to read. I can’t wait!

If you’re interested in #FeedWar, here’s the short blurb.

#FeedWar

Reef Gibson’s life sucks, what with her mother dying in the hospital and having no money to pay the bills. Not to mention she lives the secret life of hacker and Eraser for the Feeders, America’s most deadly cyber-crime syndicate. Feeders use data intimidation to grow their empire and to control their victims. With a few strokes of the keyboard, Reef can change anyone’s identity to whatever her boss wants: murderer, rapist, serial killer. Erasing them from their normal existence.

When Reef learns there’s an experimental cancer drug that can save her mother, she seeks a seller. Only trouble is, the seller turns out to be Thorn Davis, her former lover turned rival gang member. His Digger boss’s price is steep—hack into the most secure database around, Feed Tower. After Reef accepts the job, she discovers a deadly secret. The data contained inside the impenetrable fortress is enough to control—or destroy—millions of people. And both gang leaders want it. If Reef doesn’t succeed, her mother will die…but if she does, countless others will instead. Either way, time is running out, and Reef must decide before it’s too late.

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7 Super Cool Websites to Let Your Inner Geek Thrive

I am a geek. No doubt about it. I write science fiction, love everything Star Wars and Star Trek related, am a Browncoat at heart…and I was in band. When my husband and I were on our first date (way back when), we played Star Wars Monopoly. (I kicked his butt, of course.)

So in honor of my total geekiness, I thought I’d share my favorite geeky websites. Hope you enjoy!

  1. thinkgeek.com – The one place online you can buy stuff related to anything geeky you like. It’s a dangerous place, because you’ll find a ton of stuff you must have.
  2. nerdreactor.com – Latest news on movies, books, conventions – whatever is nerd related. And they have a cool t-shirt store, too. 🙂
  3. nerdist.com – They’ve got podcasts, video, and nerd-related articles to keep you up-to-date in nerd-land. Plus, another store to buy witty nerd-related stuff.
  4. netflix.com – Sure, you have to buy a monthly subscription, but you can watch episodes of Star Trek, Firefly, Stargate, Dr. Who, Eureka, Arrow, and a zillion other geeky shows. Who wouldn’t love that?
  5. YouTube.com – Free clips of all the above-mentioned sci-fi/geeky shows plus parodies and other creative sci-fi inspired videos. Did I mention free?
  6. www.kaboooooom.com – A hub for news and other musings about anything sci-fi/fantasy/geek related. Including comic books, tv, movies, books, conventions, etc.
  7. almostnerdy.com – If you want nerd humor, archives full of nerd related news and info, or even a list of more nerdy websites, check them out.

Of course, there are hundreds more out there, but these are some of my favorites. Hope you enjoy exploring your geeky side!

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My Three Words for the New Year

It’s that time of year when we reflect on what has been and look forward to what is to come. I’d love to imagine that my life has really been as perfect as it may look on Facebook or Twitter. But the reality is, most of us don’t put up the pictures of all the imperfect things in our lives. I’m no different.

Throughout this year, I’ve been learning how to become a mom (making mistake after mistake is more like it), how to be a better wife, how to manage my time for work and writing, how to be a caretaker to my aging grandparents. In a word, I’ve felt splintered. But through faith and family, I’ve managed, though not every day was pretty. I look forward to a new year. To make it better than the last.

So I thought I’d share my three words for next year.

My Three Words:

1. Completion: I’m notorious for starting a dozen projects and not finishing them all. (Just look at my laptop!) Maybe that’s the creative life I live, I don’t know. But my goal this year is to finish my WIP. The working title is #FeedWar. I plan on finishing revising and editing, and begin pitching to agents later next year.

2. Risk: As a writer, we want to share our stories, but at the same time, that can be so scary. What if people hate them? What if they love them? Does anyone really want to read what I’ve written? The only way to find out is to risk putting those stories out there and see what happens.

My short story, Skinners, is almost ready to be released. We had some water damage at our house over the holidays, so the release will be delayed a little too early spring. I’m nervous about it but excited to see it out there. This will be a first in self-publishing for me. An adventure to see how the process works, and hopefully an open door to put more stories out there as the months go by.

3. Blink: Time goes by so fast. As soon as I blink, it seems my little girl (already 16 months old) changes into a big girl. This year, she started walking and talking, running and climbing. I don’t want to spend the year wishing I’d spent more time with her or my husband, or my family and friends. Family and faith come first. I have lofty writing goals. Stories spinning in my head that I have to get down on paper. I’ve been reading some books on how to write faster and how to manage your writing life. Hopefully, those tips will help so I can spend the most time I can with those I love.

Bring in the New Year!

Best wishes to you all. I’m ready. I’m excited. How about you?

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My Top Three Reads This Year

 

Being a mother to a toddler. Working full-time. Writing novels and short stories. All the reasons I’ve been challenged to find as much time as I’d like to read. I love reading. Always have. So, I don’t want to admit to the low number of books read on my list this year compared to previous years.

I thought I’d share my top three reads this year–the books I couldn’t put down (which is saying a lot when you are chasing a one-year-old around the room).

  1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: I was fascinated by this book and read in just a few nights. It is the story of a teenage boy with un-named Asperger Syndrome who tries to solve the murder of his neighbor’s dog. As Christopher investigates, he unlocks a real-life mystery about his own life. Told in first-person, you will feel like you truly understand Christopher and his plight.
  2. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry: I am normally not into zombie-thrillers, but I could not put this one down. I was fortunate to hear Jonathan Maberry speak at the DFW Writer’s Conference this past May. I was so inspired by his writing story, I bought his book, and now am a huge fan! This novel is the first in the Joe Ledger series. Ledger is kind of like the James Bond of zombie hunters, I guess you could say. He has to stop the biologically engineered zombies from destroying mankind. Good stuff. Be warned, there is a lot of zombie violence and some language. I mean it’s a zombie novel, what do you expect?
  3. Wool by Hugh Howey: So I’m a little behind here, just starting this series, but it is a great read. Admittedly, I just started it, so I’ve only finished the first part, but I’m going to start the next one over Christmas break. This is such a unique world, set in a silo of all places. The first part tells Holston’s story and begins to unravel the mystery of why all these people live in an underground silo in a post-apocalyptic world. I can’t wait to find out more!

How about you? Any great reads from this year? I’d love to hear about them.

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Coming Soon…

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I’ve been working on updating the website these past few weeks. I’ve moved servers, so I’m in the process of moving my old blog to the new one. Most of the old posts are not up yet, but I’ll be working on that this month.

In the mean time…only five days until “Chicken Soup: Find Your Inner Strength” hits the shelves! I got my early copies a few days ago. It was really cool to find the box waiting on my porch. 🙂

Can’t wait to hear what you all think of the story!

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