Monday, August 27, 2012

Awards and Such

People often say it's an honor just to be nominated and it's usually a bunch of hooey. They want to win. But what constitutes a win, really. Nominations aren't always hooey. But anyone can give an award. Usually everyone wants the prestige that comes with one. Like if you say Pulitzer many authors will salivate. Or if you say RITA, Golden Heart, or RT Award romance authors will squee with joy. Me? I like trophies and medals and all kinds of stuff like that. I have't won many writing awards but let's break it down on the ones that I have.

The blogging awards. I seem to attract a lot of those. My readership fluctuates but even when it's relatively low I'm happy that anyone saw it. I've gotten several blog awards and I've been nominated for a BLOGGY AWARD for Most Creative Blogger. I'm up against some people who are way out of my league and I feel like I crashed the party. Kind of like the indies crashing the Academy Awards. I know I'm good and I wanted the honor but people are way more prepared for this than I am. I have like 60 followers and the big dogs have close to 1000. So I guess I'm just hoping not to be slaughtered.

To the writing awards, I recently entered the Moondance International Film Festival short story competition with my ebook from MuseItUp Publishing Another Way to Die. This is the rare film festival that honors its writers and is prestigious on the level of say, Sundance. I semifinaled this last Friday and I about had a halelluah breakdown. I don't know what that means in the long run, but I hope it will open some doors to me that have remained closed to me for a very long time.

This past winter I received my first professional writing award for Best Romance Short Story from the 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Poll. To say I was proud is an understatement.

The first award I ever won in adulthood was the NYCMMM short screenplay awards with my sometime co-author Missy Goodman. (She's a fantastic author in her own right, you should checkout It's Your Love, out now on Amazon and Smashwords), the screenplay was Back On Top and was first runner-up. Awesome experience.

My first ever validation that I may have talent was when I was 13 and I won Young Authors with the WW2 romance A Candle in the Dark. It's not an experience I'll soon forget.

What does this all mean? Honestly I just think writing awards are what they are, an encouragement to keep plugging away. Do you need them to validate you as a writer? Not necessarily, but I have to say winning is nice and I'm nothing if not a competitor. But the best reward is when a reader comes up to you and says I really enjoyed your book. That, my friends, is the best reward of all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Say Hello To Michelle Pickett

Michelle's Bio:
Michelle has been an avid reader since a young child.  She began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting.  Deciding sitting in a cubical all day was her form of cruel and unusual punishment, she decided to do what she really wanted to—share her passion for reading and writing with others.
She wrote her debut novel Concilium in 2010.  It was released July of 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing.  The sequel, Concilium: The Departure will also be published by MuseItUp Publishing with scheduled release date of November 2012. 
Her Debut young adult novel, PODs, will be published by Spencer Hill Press and is scheduled for release in paperback June 4th, 2013.
Michelle was born and raised in Michigan.  She now resides in a small community outside Houston, Texas with her incredibly supportive husband, four wonderful children, a 125-pound lap dog, a very grumpy cockatiel and a cat that thinks she's queen.
Michelle writes adult and young adult Sci/Fi and urban fantasy romance.

Concilium Blurb
Leslee hit a strange animal with her car.  Now she’s marked for death. 
It was a simple car accident – the animal didn’t even die – but it drew the attention of the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, the secret society of Imbibo has devoured the dregs of civilization for centuries.  Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead.
The Concilium is Leslee's only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.
Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if he fails, Leslee will be next on the Imbibo menu.
The Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they're coming for Leslee.
Buy Links:         
MuseItUp Publishing
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Links and Contact Information:
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Novel Excerpts to choose from:
Tired of them talking as if I wasn’t there, I did what they wanted and went inside. I thought about locking Miller out. But I didn’t. It wasn’t because I wanted to spend the evening alone with him like we had spent that afternoon. It wasn’t...
I sank deep into the cushions of my couch and waited for them to finish their work. Grabbing the remote, I flipped on the television, surfing the channels. Nothing was on. More than two hundred channels on the stupid thing, and nothing worth watching. Irritated at the television, at Miller, at the whole situation, I hurled the remote against the door.
“Crap,” I muttered when it fell to the floor in pieces.
“I think you killed it,” I heard Miller say behind me.
My stomach did a little flip-flop, and I cursed it silently. “Yep, I certainly put it in its place. It won’t be talking back to me again. I wish I could do the same with you.”
His lips pursed into what almost looked like a grin. “You think you’re the one to put me in my place, Leslee? You, just a slip of a girl? I doubt it.”
“Don’t mock me, Miller. I meant that I’d like to throw you across the room,” I snapped. “I just might surprise you. And I’m not a ‘girl.’ Girls go shopping at the mall for flip-flops and lip gloss. And, for the last dang time, my name is Les!” I walked around him, my shoulder brushing slightly against his arm. As I caught the faintest whiff of his cologne, not only did my stomach do a flip-flop, but my whole insides swirled out of place.
What is it with this man?
I barely knew him. In fact, the only thing I did know was his first name. At least, I thought it was his first name. What was this thing I had going on? A schoolgirl crush? I was twenty-five, a little old for crushes. And besides, Miller wasn’t the type of man I was attracted to. I didn’t go for the mercenary, guns-and-ammo type. I enjoyed the company of well-read college graduates who had stable jobs and good heads on their shoulders.
Holy crap, I sound like a snob! A stable man with a stable job. What a joke.
I secretly wanted the bad boy. What woman didn’t? Miller didn’t seem to have one stable thing about him. But he smelled so good and looked beyond gorgeous standing in my living room with his hair, mussed from running his fingers through it, falling over his forehead.
Yeah, I was doomed.
I trudged into the laundry room and grabbed a broom and dustpan. When I walked back to the living room, Miller was picking up pieces of the demolished remote.
“Don’t. It’s my mess, and I’ll clean it up,” I said harshly.
“Fine.” He dropped the pieces, and they clattered against the wood floor. “Suit yourself.” He walked over and eased himself down on the chair across from the couch. “And you’re right. You did sound like a snob, and you should find yourself a nice stable guy and have a nice stable life, with perfectly stable kids. Bad boys are called bad for a reason.”
I froze. “Stop it. How are you able to do that?”
“It’s a bad-boy thing.” He flipped on the television. “Sure wish I had a remote. I forgot how tedious it is to channel surf without one.”
The animals snarled and clamped their large mouths over the Imbibo, jerking them away as others pushed forward. But as soon as one Imbibo was pulled away, another took its place, lining up, waiting for its turn. It was never going to end—the fear, the pain. I let my legs slip from the window frame, letting them pull me out, wanting them to finish it, stop the pain.
As I felt my legs slip through the window, I heard a shot ring out, and then another and another as blood and bone sliced over me. I squeezed my eyes closed to block out the horrible scene playing out around me. The heads of the Imbibo were blown in two with each shot. I heard someone calling my name, pulling me back into the house, ripping the skin on the back of my legs as the dragged across the sharp glass. I moaned in pain.
“Grab my hand, Leslee! Leslee!”
He sounded so far away. I wondered whether it was him pulling my legs or him shooting.
“Dammit, reach for my hand!”
I extended my arm toward him, my hand shaking as it searched for someone, anyone. His hand clenched on to mine as he fought to free me from the monsters. Shots still ringing in my ears, my head lolled to the side, and I saw Alex shooting the Imbibo as they came toward the window. Through a red haze, I saw Miller’s face as he jerked me roughly into the house. I fell with a grunt through the window onto the glass-covered floor.
“Get up, Leslee, Get up! Climb the stairs.”
I reached out and grabbed the stairs, the glass under my palms biting into my skin as I slowly started crawling up. The deafening sound of gunshots combined with the growls of the men as they fought for my life, and their own. The frantic whispering of the Imbibo mixed with their horrific screams of pain continued as the team pushed them away from the house.
I’d pulled myself halfway up the stairway when the lights flickered on briefly before the room went dark a second time. Another flicker of light and then another filled the room before the lights stayed lit.
I collapsed, unable to pull my weight any further. I was so tired. I wasn’t even in that much pain anymore; my body felt numb. I laid my head on the stair and closed my eyes, feeling the room tilt to one side and then the other. I listened to my blood dripping steadily on the wood beneath me.
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Low Tide, High Tide, and Somewhere In Between

The last week has been much better than the last few. Although my sciattica wreaks havoc on my ability to sit or stand long periods of time. Not that that should really be of interest to any of you. But on the way cool front I might be doing a New York Comic Con autographing session. High tide indeed. I got a discount at a nice hotel because of a twitter connection. High tide again. All that is a big fat maybe. I'm waiting to hear back from NYCC to see if they can accomodate me and a one hour autograph time. You better believe I would be promoting the heck out of an appearance there. Again it will be about making connections. I met my small press publisher Hydra at Fandom Fest. I met my epublisher at DigiCon. I will be teaching two classes at the Muse Online Conference in October. High tide.

Low tide, in order to travel I have to move back in with the parents. Low tide, it could all be overwhelming. Low tide, when you think you're built to be a writer for hire when you're just not, not matter how much people are willing to pay you. I did it once, it didn't turn out well. It produced some of my worst work ever. Some are exceptional at it. I'm just not.

Somewhere in between. Finding balance is hard. And I'm not really an in between kind of gal. I'm either an all in, or all out kind of gal. I'd make a horrible poker player, James Bond would fleece me. Maybe could play strip poker instead and we would both purposely lose. I'd be willing to wax my legs for that, as long as he looked like Daniel Craig of course.

So, as soon as you figure out how to balance real life with work life I'll live my life as a professional doing my own thing on my own terms. I don't settle. I was told the other day sometimes you have to learn how to settle. I never have figured that one out and I don't particularly care to.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inspiration In A Time of Struggle

I post a lot of man candy pictures. And everyone is aware of my affair with Daniel, shhh, don't tell his wife Rachel ;) lol. But I want to explain why I find men like him so appealing, or at least the characters he portrays (although Jeremy Renner is giving him a serious run for his money right now. I loved him in Mission Impossible 4 and the Avengers, and with the Bourne Legacy out this Friday I think I may have just found someone else I could write for) but anyway, back to the story. My life has been no cakewalk but here is what my mom and stepdad did right: they encouraged me to read. Exposed me to film and televison and supported me in my dream to write, even if they wanted me to be a teacher or a doctor or lawyer or in my mother's still going dream an alto saxophonist. (I was accepted into a performing arts school but my fear held me back, I saw someone with pink hair and let's be honest my best friend and boyfriend were at the law magnet high school.) But anyway I always wrote and honestly that's where my my true passion lay then as it does now. Let me tell you my mom's exact words to me when I didn't go to YPAS were go ahead, break my heart, I don't care. Encouraging words lol. Now someone with colored hair doesn't bother me. Tats are cool and piercings mean nothing to me.

Ultimately I followed my own path and I looked to other people to get me there, at least their work. Daniel Craig was my breakthrough hero model for my characters. I always bitched about alpha heroes and wondered why women found them so appealing. Well, duh! Daniel Craig is about as alpha as you can get in his movies. Casino Royale. Cowboys & Aliens. TGWTDT. Athletic, chain smoking, scotch drinking, pill popping anti heroes are what I like in my stories, (don't ask me about my emotional baggage there's too much of it to go into here) and he delivers in a lot of ways. And the hot to cold to hot emotional spectrum. Yeah. I know I've got some serious issues. I just wish I could thank him for his films being a very bright spot in a sometimes very dark world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Living At the Bottom

I want to take a moment here and talk about why writing is so important to me and what exactly it does for me. So if I wander a little off track a little bit bear with me, because sometimes it seems I'm playing to an empty room in my everyday life.

Example, I live with a bipolar diagnosis. I take my meds. I keep my appointments with the doc and my psychiatrist and somehow my less responsible sister who can barely pay her way gets pregnant again hijacks most of all the help and my family fears her and her boyfriend so much that I get to sit at the doctor's office 45 minutes extra because her lazy boyfriend won't help my family out.

He's produced two children with my sister. Has no job, but has let my sister work while he goes to school. Has anyone here ever seen the episode of Roseanne where they try to put Mark through school? Yeah, it's kinda like that, only Mark worked. Oh if only life were like fiction. And somehow I'm going to be sitting at Seven Counties, my writing time ticking away while I wait for my best friend to pick me up at the same time a cab would.

I know the logical answer to all of this would be, you're 37 years old why do you give a shit what your sister and her family does? Why not just buy your own car and be done with them? And your parents who seem to be under their Svengali like trance? Because I'm on disability and clear less in a month than they have the collective ability to, and my royalty checks, well, I have a ways to go before I can live off those lol ;).

But enough with the belly aching, what can I control? I can write everyday. I can escape to worlds where bad things may happen, awful things may happen to my heroes and heroines but they can get their happily ever afters if I so choose. (Really it's more like they choose but who's quibbling right?) I have 12 contracts while some don't even have one. I have some really nice reviews and a close working relationship with one of my marketing directors at Hydra and a great editor in Tanja Cilia.

To be honest, my sometime writing partner is also my best friend, my spinster sister from another mister. And only she and ironically enough, my group understands that writing is the great love of my life and that most everything else can go to hell in a handbasket.

As for my family, they love me and ironically enough I love them. They support me as a writer but I think their vision of a successful author is the one where I get the lightning in a bottle success. I'd love that. But until that happens I'll keep cranking the words out and see where it takes me. Living at the bottom keeps me from believing my own press sometimes and keeps me from becoming an author who behaves badly.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sometimes Subtle Says It All

Sometimes, when you're blessed to be in the situation that I am (to have multiple books out in a short amount of time) you wonder, how am I going to pull this off. I have been promoting GLADIATOR for a long time it seems. Since April I think it is. When it comes out in a few weeks, I'm hoping for a good response. I

In October, my first print book comes out. And I'm really excited about it. It's called BOUNTY HUNTER. And right now I have another ebook out called SET FIRE TO THE RAIN these two books are out from Hydra Publications.

Writing blogs are hard and promoting is even harder because you need to know how much romoting is just enough without going overboard. All three of these books are important to me. But GLADIATOR is the one I've thrown all my weight behind these days. But I know I need to throw my weight behind BOUNTY HUNTER soon, it releases in October. So here is my schedule for the month of August. Here is where I'll be live during the last week of the month. I hope you'll join me.

On August 23rd I'll be joining Barbara E. from MuseItUp on her blogtalk radio show where we'll be talking about GLADIATOR, my other books and whatever else comes to mind. I think we're also doing a giveaway, here's the link! (It's from 4-6PM)

On August 25th I'll be at Half Price Bookstore from 2-4PM in Louisville, KY on Hurstbourne Ln.

And on August 30th 9-10PM I'll be doing a live chat in the Muse Chat Room, here's the link. Be sure the register by the day before the chat so that you can get in.