Saturday, September 29, 2012

Released (The Shapeshifters’ Library Book One) by Amber Polo

Love dogs?  Love books?  Love libraries? Hate Book-burning werewolves?
Once long ago the Shipsfeather Academy was a training ground for an ancient race of dog-shifters whose mission was to protect the world’s knowledge. A powerful curse sealed these librarians in the basement of their building and gave the control of the town to a pack of book-burning werewolves.

Librarian Liberty Cutter watches in horror as the town’s public library goes up in flames and plans to re-establish the library in the abandoned Shipsfeather Academy building. Chronus, the Old English Sheepdog headmaster of the academy and leader of the dog-shifters, knows he must make some changes to continue to keep his pack safe. But even if he could persuade Liberty to believe in a talking sheepdog, how far can she be trusted? And will she ever be able to care for him as a man. He has to try, because Liberty Cutter and her staff of zany librarians may hold the key to the dog-shifters’ freedom…and the future of the town.

Released (The Shapeshifters’ Library Book One) by Amber Polo
(Blue Merle Publishing)
Genre: Light Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Heat:  Warning! This is a sweet fantasy.
Buy links Eformats and Print – Amazon Barnes & Noble 

Why Not Dog-Shifters?

In some ways The Shapeshifters’ Library is the book (or series) of my heart. A huge part of my life was spent inside libraries (working, not reading). Often I found myself purchasing books for others to read. I imagined someday I’d read them all. But now I spend a lot of time writing.

I love shifter books and considered the common types of shifters. Big cats and werewolves seemed to predominate the genre. Maybe they’re the sexiest? I wanted something different. And I hoped to combine libraries and fantasy.

I also spent many years owned by dogs. At one time I lived with five Old English Sheepdogs. I showed and trained them in obedience trials. (See my website for pictures of me with some of those dogs. You’ll notice they are fluffy and clean and I never had time to style my own hair.)

Anyway I started wondering why dogs, who are intelligent, loyal, brave, had wonderful senses of humor (and were definitely cuddly) weren’t common in shifter fantasies. I felt they would have a lot to say if they could talk.

I put together my experience in libraries, my knowledge of the dog world, and my habit of writing quirky humor and romance and The Shapeshifters’ Library was the result.

So combine the libraries and dogs – and what do you have – dog-shifter librarians, of course.  

Mary, you asked if I research anything. Sometimes I think I write as an excuse to research interesting topics. For Book One Released I needed to create an alternative/parallel history to explain how a race of dog-shifters came to be. For Book 2 Retrieved (out Nov 15) I needed to research the mounds in the Eastern and Midwestern states to find their link to dog-shifters.

One reviewer called Released a “cozy” fantasy. So maybe I’ll start a new genre.
  
Amber Polo has had a lifelong love of libraries. A fascination with ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new urban fantasy series The Shapeshifters' Library filled with librarian dog-shifters.

 To help writers and readers reduce stress, her Relaxing the Writer: Guidebook to the Writers’ High, offers suggestions and simple exercises.

Links

Monday, September 24, 2012

Is it Better to Edit a Printed Manuscript?

In an effort to better edit my story, Bet on the Lady, I wonder if I should print it out. While the story is just a novella, it will require 90 pages. That's paper and likely a trip to the office supply store for more ink. Is it worth it?
The story has been rejected once already. Yes, I'm admitting that because it happens to all writers. I did find grammar mistakes after the rejection that made me cringe and want to hide my head. I discovered simple misused words that should have caught my eye before I sent the story out to the publisher. 
In the past I used to print out all my stories, but not anymore. It has become a big expense in economic times that require most of us to tighten our belts. It may be time to return to the practice of printing the story out though.
Somehow, it's easier to spot the misuse of 'were' vs. 'where' in a sentence when the story is on paper. Auto-correct is great but doesn't catch those mistakes. Words like, 'though, through, and thought', are also notorious things that slip passed the eye while editing.
Does anyone else print out their work in order to do a final edit?
I suppose that whatever the cost in time or money, is worth it when the final product is accepted for publication. I'll keep repeating that as I print out these pages. Yes, it's all worth it in the end.
Off I go to the printer. I have a story to edit!
Mary

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Written into a Corner or is it Guilt?

What guilt are we talking about? We're talking about being an "emotional hostage". There are some aspects of our writing, especially when it comes to emotions, which can block us from writing a truly amazing book. Sometimes our characters have darker aspects of ourselves that show up and instead of dealing with them, we get stuck and stop writing.
Below are some simple ways to move yourself forward and out of that corner.
Clear your mind. Easier said than done, right, and why would you do this in the first place? Yes, many of you are saying, "but I need to think in order to write." Of course you need to think, but what you don't need to do is start considering that too much of yourself is showing in your writing. Sometimes you find nothing of the author in a book or character, and other times an author is present in the book.
Truthfully, how many of us can really tell either way. The fact is that people will think as they will, so why care. Don't live your life fearing what others think, just write what you know you want to write.
Unburden your heart. Your characters can't fall in love if you are struggling with your own emotions. It's hard to write a loving scene, when your husband or boyfriend is acting like as ass and you're angry with them. So, before sitting down to write unburden your heart and remember that these characters are their own people.
Let this be your escape where two people embark on an adventure and fall in love. It's a wonderful feeling falling in love. Don't think of the complications and irritations in a relationship; just let them experience the emotions of the ride.
Force away the 'should' fairy. A better way to explain this is when you sit down to write, don't let the "should" fairy tell you that "you should be doing something else." It's important that you make time to write. Writing and editing are just as important as doing laundry, paying bills, and cooking dinner. Don't feel guilty if you make time to write/edit. Emotionally, the payoff of writing means a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Those are good payoffs.
Free your wild side. Have you ever written a scene in a book that surprised you? Did you ever say to yourself, "where did that come from?" Well, that's your wild side coming out to play. This is a good thing because if it surprises you, then it will surprise your reader as well. That's the excitement of the journey to create a book.
When you sit down to write, let writing be all you are thinking and all you are doing. Don't multitask in your mind. There will be time to do other things later. Your writing time is for writing and editing.
Best of luck!
Mary

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reflections on September 11th and Forward

We all have our own personal memories of September 11th. What strikes me most this day is how in 2001, I thought it would be just another day. It's said that every generation has a war to fight. I didn't get the war of my generation until that September 11th 2001.
 These aren't my reflections of a time when I and my country were at our weakest. No, for me this is a defining day of strength. This is a day when we showed the world that though we may bleed, we are indeed an immortal force.
That horrible September 11th an enemy rose up unlike any other we'd ever faced. Their motivation and fanatic hatred made them difficult to battle as they rely on cowardly weapons like IEDs. The enemy's insidious nature means that they may never stop trying to kill us. If so, then I would say to them that they picked the wrong country to fuck with.
I know long wars are unpopular and the public get weary of the stress. Think though, of all those men and women who step into harm's way without regret, and whose version of stress is the possibility of dying that day. Yes, we want our soldiers to come home, but it's weak of us not to support them in their mission. This war was brought to our soil, laid at our feet as Americans. Those brave soldiers who stand up to defend us should not be told their blood, sweat and tears were in vain and to just come home. If they have the strength to stick it out, then shouldn't we.
This war against terrorists is a battle of perseverance. On the home-front, I can tell you it takes more strength than one thinks they can bear to bid goodbye to your loved one and let them go to a warzone. It is a test of endurance in its own right.
That said, I would never dishonor a single soldier living or deceased, and say they sacrificed for a lost cause. Families wait at home worried and afraid, but do not speak ill of the mission, for the mission is and will always be, to protect the United States of America…both at home and abroad.
I would like to give great thanks to the brave men and women of the military forces who stand up for us, and willingly sacrifice their lives for ours. We own you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. In the entire world, the United States is the only country that will always hear the cries of those in need of protection and help, and respond. Why? Because we are a country built on the principles of freedom, justice and mercy.
I bear an emotional scar from that September 11th, but I have not been broken. I will never be broken for no one will break those of us who call themselves Americans. We are a brotherhood beyond politics. We are a country of patriots, whose blood runs hot and whose weapons are always at the ready to defend.
God bless the United States of America!
Mary Corrales


If you'd like to give your support, here are some wonderful organizations that support the Armed Forces of the United States. Please consider donating to those deserving of our consideration for all they do.

PTSD Foundation of America http://ptsdusa.net/the-statistics/
Fallen Patriot Fund: http://fallenpatriotfund.org/
Gary Sinise Foundation:  http://www.garysinisefoundation.org/
Pat Tillman Foundation: http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/

Friday, September 7, 2012

THE FIFTH STORY by Ivy Bateman: NEW RELEASE!

Hello Mary
Thank-you for having me back so soon! I'm very excited because today is the big day; the release day for The Fifth Story.
When I guest posted on Mary's blog on August, 22/2012 I didn't include a blurb an excerpt, but I have them with me today. Therefore instead of chatting, I'm just going to hand the rest of this post over to The Fifth Story. Thank you Mary very much for having me on your blog not once, but twice in a very short span of time.
Until next time,
Ivy B hoping you like what you read about The Fifth Story
Blurb for The Fifth Story By Ivy Bateman
Every day we encounter doors. Some of these doors are open to us and some of them are closed, but when we pass through any door, a different truth or mystery lies beyond the threshold.
The night Bryn is pulled into a world of her own stories by a shadowy being, her reality is changed forever. Souls and danger, hauntingly beautiful witches, sexy and dangerous vampires, a soldier with a dying wish; she knows that each door leads to a story and to outcomes she can't control, but in order to return home, Bryn must complete a set of tasks for the enigmatic and strangely sensual Darkness.
With four stories to enter, four items to retrieve, Bryn takes part in plot points so out of character that she almost loses herself in the tales she's written. More than once she questions her sanity and curses herself for creating such perilous realities, but she always remains focused on her goal; the creation of the fifth story.
An Excerpt from The Fifth Story by Ivy Bateman
She walked quickly around the counter and headed to where the sign indicated where the washrooms were, but she couldn't find the women's room. Then she almost slapped herself with ridiculousness. Who cared if she went into the men's room? She marched over the door and pushed on it. Immediately she fell back. The door was stuck. She pushed on it harder, but could only open it about a foot. Something, or someone, was lying in front of the door. Bryn squeezed her head through the narrow space and looked down at the floor. Coran was lying passed out on the cold tile.
Bryn thought maybe something strange had happened in her story, and Coran was already dead. How lucky would that be? However, she realized that the story hadn't changed that drastically when Coran groaned, revealing that he was very much alive. He rolled over, away from the door.
With his weight suddenly off the door, and Bryn's weight still being pushed against it, the door went flying open. Bryn stumbled and fell into the washroom. None too gracefully, she hit the floor with a satisfying smack, and knocked her head against the tile floor with a hard clunk.
"Ow," she said, as she rolled on her back and pressed her hands against a rapidly rising goose egg on the right side of her head. "Ah" she yelped as the door closed on her foot.
"Are you okay?" asked a voice with a gentle Scottish brogue.
Bryn turned her head and opened her eyes. Coran, who looked like he'd been through a rough time, was leaning over her. His blond hair was a mess and it fell into his gray eyes. He had soot on his face and he smelled, not unpleasantly, of smoke. He gave her a little smile. "My dear, are you all right?" he asked her again.
She smiled in return. She was touched by his concern. The ash on his face and the apparent absence of anyone else in the castle told her she had come into the story not long after the first time she'd entered with Darkness. Coran had every right to ignore her and he really had no time to get involved with a stranger and yet, he didn't seem to be in any rush at all. Instead, he helped Bryn sit up.
As soon as his hands touched her skin, Bryn gasped and felt her heart beat quicken. Coran looked embarrassed and quickly, on unsteady legs, he stood up and got a paper towel. He wet it with warm water and kneeled down a couple feet away from Bryn. He handed her the paper towel. "Your face, it's quite dirty." 
"Oh, thanks." Bryn said, trying to avoid looking at him too much. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Why had she written Coran to have this effect on women? "It looks like I'm not the only one that's recently been in a bit of a scrap," he said with a chuckle. Bryn couldn't help beaming at him with amazement. He was just as kind as she'd written him to be. However, if she was correct, this man should be putting all chivalry aside and be searching the castle for Melusine. He should be calling upon the ancient gods to help him in battle with the sea witch, but instead, here he was, watching Bryn wash her face and being concerned about her well-being.
"Is your head very sore? Can you stand?" he asked as he gently touched the bump on her head, but quickly pulled hand back when Bryn sucked in her breath at the feel of his hand on her hair
"Yes, I mean—no, it's fine, and yes, I can stand," she stammered as she pushed herself off the floor. She again tried to avoid eye contact with him, but it wasn't helping. Coran was having a profound effect on her senses—something which she should have remembered could happen, but had completely forgotten about. In her story, Coran had a powerful effect on women and it was something he could do nothing about. Whether it was his aura or his pheromones, no one could tell, but women, upon meeting Coran, not only couldn't control themselves around him but didn't want to. Their thoughts would travel immediately down a sexual path as soon as they stood close to him and they would offer themselves to his every whim. Even the most reserved women would find their bodies pulsing immediately with desire for the tall blond stranger. Only those who knew how to, could control their passions for Coran. Katie, his assistant, was usually one of them, but sometimes, her guard would slip and she would be overcome with sexual longing for her handsome boss.
Bryn was finding her own guard was slipping rapidly and started thinking about very naughty things and wishing that she had time to explore her hidden bad girl side. Was this happening because she'd written him this way or was it because he looked so much like Tyler?
A Little Bit About Ivy Bateman
When she was just nine, this girl began her journey for a life on the stage. Attempts were made, classes were taken, lessons were well learned but, at the end of the day, a decision to live life off the stage was made. But all was not lost. While at college she met the love of her life and his support and strength has helped her to see that she has talent waiting around many corners.
When the stage beckons, she answers its call, and her new passion for writing has enhanced many of her theatre dreams and as well as the occasional book, she now occasionally writes a play.
The love of her life generously reads everything she writes and although he may not always be her muse, he is always her biggest fan.

The Fifth Story is Ivy Bateman's second ebook with Breathless Press. Her first ebook, Between the Lines, came out in January, 2012.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

September Never Looked So Good!

What is everyone looking forward to in September? I'm looking at my calendar and am amazed at how it's filling up. A lot of personal business, but also some great blog visits. Here's a quick breakdown so far.
·         September 7th – Ivy Bateman is here on my blog with her new release, The Fifth Story. This is a new release that you don't want to miss!
·         September 8th – I'm guest blogging at Sophie Sansregret's blog. You know I'm bound to cause some mischief, so come on by.
·         September 23rd – I'm at Tabby Nocturnal Nights. I'm loving guest blogging here on every 23rd of the month.  
I'm hoping to get some significant work done on one of my WIPs. This plan is mostly because I will be working the "day job" more in the coming months, and won't have as much free time to spend writing. It's unfortunate, but that's just a fact of the writing life, so I don't fuss about it.
There are three more significant days to mark on your calendar or simply take note of.
1)      September 3rdLabor Day. The celebration of the American worker, and what they've contributed to the United States of America and its prosperity.
2)      September 11thPatriot Day is how it's marked on my calendar. For most of us it is simply September 11th. Regardless of what name it goes by, we all know the day.   
3)      September 22ndFirst day of Fall. The autumnal equinox. The day when the length of day and night are equal.
Here is wishing everyone a wonderful September. Personally, I'm hoping that these last four months of the year are great ones for me and all of you. If life starts to press down on you, just remember the words that I sometimes like to use for those rough days: "This too shall pass."
Does anyone have exciting or good news to share that they are looking forward to in September? A new book release (yours or someone else), or trip to somewhere exciting, a conference you'll be attending.
Mary
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