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COPPER GIRL Blog Tour: How Copper Faucets, Neil Gaiman, and a Rainy Night in Portsmouth Led to Copper Girl

CopperGirlsFRONTcoverFINALhirezI’m happy to share my blog with my good friend, Jennifer Allis Provost, as she shares one of her adventures that led to her awesome book, COPPER GIRL.

So here’s what happened:

It was 2010, and Neil Gaiman was touring for the tenth anniversary edition of American Gods. Being a huge fan of all things Neil, I had to go. Unfortunately, the closest stop was Portsmouth, NH, which is about two hours away. Which means, I needed to enlist a co-conspirator.

Enter Trisha Wooldridge, owner of the blog you are now reading. Being that she’s also a die-hard Neil fan, she was game. So I picked her up, enjoyed some of the best Mexican I’ve ever had (in Worcester, MA, of all places) and headed north. During the drive, I fished a bracelet out of the center console; it was green marble with a copper clasp. I gave it to Trisha (hey, she paid for lunch) and commented that copper was my favorite metal.

Once we reached Portsmouth we met up with another writer friend, one Justine Graykin. After dinner at a British-themed pub, we trekked over to the Music Hall, listed to Neil speak, read from American Gods, and be interviewed by the local NPR affiliate, and scored some signed hardbacks.

Right now, you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this, and what this possibly has to do with Copper Girl. Patience. It’s coming.

After the event at the Music Hall was over, Trisha, Justine and I went to a local restaurant (for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it – Portsmouth Brewery, maybe?) for drinks and dessert. (Side note: the common theme to all of my and Trish’s adventures seem to be drinks and dessert.) We hit the bathroom before we left, and let me tell you, that was one of the nicest ladies’ rooms I’d ever seen. It had granite counters, a terra cotta tile floor, and the most gorgeous copper sinks and faucets. While washing my hands, I remarked again that copper was my favorite metal.

“You keep saying that,” said Trisha. “Maybe you should write a copper story.”

And, I did.

The point behind my ramble is this: I was lucky enough to be with two creative individuals, talking and laughing and generally going on about the sorts of things I don’t normally get to talk about, like my love of Charles Dickens, and  literary tropes, and why libraries don’t have more funding than the defense department. I had the opportunity to be exposed to Trisha and Justine’s creativity, and I borrowed a bit of it.

Take away lessons:

Creativity does not exist in a vacuum – if you isolate yourself, you will never open yourself to new ideas. Place yourself with other creative individuals, and soak up their brilliance.

Inspiration is everywhere – even in a bathroom sink.

Have drinks and desserts with friends often – you never know where it will lead you. And, um, chocolate.

Want to win a Token replica from Copper Girl? What about a gorgeous Copper Girl T-Shirt based on the beautiful cover by Lisa Amowitz? How about a $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate? Check out the raffle below!

Back cover matter:

Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MTBiNjRkMDYwN2U2MWZjNzBmNmM4YWEwNTEyODI0Ojg=/

Author bio:

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, a parrot (maroon bellied conure, to be exact), two cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennallis

Follow me on Twitter: @parthalan

http://jenniferallisprovost.com/

http://jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/

Being Feminist and Being Activist

I’ve got an awful lot going on that I’d love to talk about, and an awful lot of deadlines looming, but something else is on my mind.

And it’s my blog, so damnit, I’m using it.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. Yes, I’m president of a feminist non-profit, and yes, I work for a company of mostly women. This: This is me and only me. I just want to make that clear.

I am a feminist. I’ve identified as a feminist since I had an inkling of what that meant–and that was around when I went from a single-digit age to a double-digit one.

I’ve also always identified as female. Oh, and human.

And you know what? Even though each of those categories covers a larger category of persons, each hosts an infinite amount of ways in which people define themselves with those titles.

And sometimes those definitions don’t match.  Okay, a lot of the time, those definitions don’t match.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, there’s this fight/kerfluffle/terrible, evil act of sexist oppression that has lit the flamethrowers of many of my friends. It’s about the SFWA bulletin and some articles that were published that offended a lot of people.  There are links and such about it all over the place if you haven’t heard of it, but if you’re not familiar with it, check out my (yes, biased, and definitely NOT complete) referral to author Jim C. Hines blog for some good info and an awful lot of links on stuff written about this, some of which have scans of some of the original articles. From there, you’re welcome to get pulled into all sorts of stories on the issue.

I’m not talking about that, though. There are plenty of better-informed folks out there who can give a more comprehensive opinion.

Okay, there are also some very angry people out there who will make you want to cry in fury at humanity. Or guilt because you’re not “doing something.”

I hate that feeling. I don’t like “disappointing” people. Goodness knows I’ve put more people’s needs above my own for a while. Shoot, I’m catching up on my own writing deadlines and feeling awful about which of my authors is waiting for what edits from me–even though I’ve just seen their deadlines and we’re actually doing pretty good…mine for my writing are the most behind!

But, you know, other people are depending on me.

Also, most people don’t know what I do do to help women. To help individuals…most of which are human. Nearly all my authors are women. I have a significantly higher percentage of women who I’m helping get published, get recognized, get paid, get the credit they deserve. I do that for my men authors, too. But, if we’re looking at numbers, my statistics of whose stories I buy, who I submit for awards, and so on is very different from the industry standard not only for the genres I work in (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.), but for the industry as a whole.

Whether or not I’m someone’s editor, I still am quick to give other women leads on work, references, critiques, and other help. I’ve put myself in a position where people, mostly women, feel comfortable talking to me so I can help them.

But I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like pointing my finger and saying, “You’re wrong! You must change this!”

I prefer more subtle methods. I prefer individual activism.

Among horse rescues, which I’ve also worked with for over a decade, we know how big the problems are with equine abuse, slaughter, and more. We know how expensive and how hard it is to make huge changes. When things feel overwhelming, I’ve heard from many places a quote along these lines: We may not be able to change the world, but we changed the world for that one horse. Or ten horses. It’s a small number compared to the millions of equines just in the U.S. alone. But the horse doesn’t have that concept.

Humans can have that concept. And many of us can and do sacrifice our own dreams and world on the altar of Big Change for the better.

But I don’t believe one of those lifestyles is better than the other.

For me, identifying as a feminist is part of identifying as a humanist–all persons deserve equal rights and fair treatment. Feminist is the part of that definition when I’m specifically doing work that promotes and helps women. It’s the part that specifies that I consider women and woman-identifying people as persons.  It’s the part where, in an intimate conversation, I make choices in my speech to show this–even if those choices mean I don’t use the term “feminist” because it will close down the conversation, the potential for change.

I received advice from someone not to call a particular piece of my own writing “feminist” because it would hurt my chances of selling it. I don’t know whether following that advice had anything to do with getting the piece published, but it’s out there now. And it’s making that conversation happen, regardless of what I call it. It’s still a feminist, an activist, decision.

In my heart, I know I’m a feminist and an activist always. But, if I can get more people to hear me, consider new ideas, and make theirs and others’ lives better by not loudly waving that flag or demanding, that is what I shall do.

I prefer being inclusive. I prefer not driving people away with strong emotions, but drawing them with a mutual chance of listening and empathy. Even if I don’t agree with them.

I don’t have grand illusions of changing the world any time soon, but if I can help change a few individuals’ worlds, I have done good. And as small as that is, it is still a change for the better.

I may not be the feminist or activist that some people want to see or that fits their definitions, but I am a feminist and an activist. And as a feminist, I believe we have the right to own our own definitions.

So long as we are not hurting or oppressing others.

And that is the hardest part: Owning our own definitions means owning our own pain. And difference can hurt or oppress.

So I also listen. And I choose to tread softly. Because when you’re talking about freedom: freedom from oppression, freedom from pain, freedom to live our lives to the fullest, you’re talking about people’s hopes and dreams–and those are delicate.

My quiet feminist and activist points are just that:

If we choose our words with intent to hurt, belittle, insult, and oppress, how are we working towards true freedom and equality?

And why would anyone even listen or consider change if they are on the end of such attacks?

I am a feminist, I am an activist, and I do believe I’m changing the world for the better…even if it is in small steps.

At the very least, if I have changed the world for the better for some individuals, I am happy for that.

Bits & Ends: Cover Reveal Winners Coming Soon, A Cruise, Where Do I need to Be, and How Behind Am I?

thekelpie_front_onlyThis week brings a blog of various and sundry items. Sit tight for this trail ride!

xx

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who took part in my Cover Reveal Scavenger Hunt!

Thank you, Kate, Renee, Aimee, Val, Justine, Suzanne, Darby, and Laura for sharing your blogs with my characters!

Thank you, Kate and Kendra who made this happen!

Thank you, Vic, my awesome cover artist!

Thank you, Del, for making my website reflect The Kelpie perfectly!

And thank ALL OF YOU who spread the word and took part in the hunt!

Now, the hard part: the balance of believing December isn’t that far away for the release…and knowing how much work I have to do in this year that’s moving too fast, anyway!

xx

If you had fun with our Cover Reveal Scavenger Hunt, you’ve really got to check out this latest promotion from Spencer Hill Press for another of my fabulous authors, Kimberly Ann Miller, for her debut novel: Triangles.

 

WIN A FRIKKIN’ CRUISE!

 

Seriously!  Here are the details: http://www.site.spencerhillpress.com/Triangles_Sweepstakes.html

 

And because you ought to know what this awesome book is about, here’s the back copy:

 

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

xx

Travel. I haz some lined up, y’all!

This Saturday, April 13, I’m helping Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester host a Dark Carnival of Authors. Join Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester for a day-long event of horror and dark fantasy authors sharing from their own work and honoring award-winning horror author Rick Hautala, who passed away this March. Stop in to hear some amazing, chilling writing, chat with authors, and remember the kind and talented Rick

Confirmed authors include: Eric Dimbleby, Morven Westfield, Frank Raymond Michaels

K.A. Laity, Errick Nunnally, Inanna Arthen, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, TJ May, Rose Mambert, and Jessie Olson.

Next Thursday, April 18th, I’ll be reading poetry at the Wordfest celebration at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond down in Stafford Springs, CT.

And then, the very next day…

Friday, April 19th, I’m reading specifically horror poetry back at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester!

The following Saturday and Sunday include me prepping and riding with Calico for our Second Official Horse Show Evars!! Yaaaaayyy!! *cue Kermit hopping and hand waving* Let’s hope I don’t fall onto another mounting block and crack a few more ribs, right?

After that, I’ve got guests and a Big Arse OMGWTFBBQ Birthday Bash to throw, which includes some of my top tier horrors: housecleaning. Yeah.

And then there is my May Madness, which includes one long trip to Myrtle Beach for Scott’s Veteran’s Golf Tournament, Baltimore for Balticon, and NYC for Book Expo America.

(Then, should all go well, I will arrive home and promptly collapse and call in half-dead for a full week to recover.)

xx

And what else might I be doing? Because I am doing more stuff, yes indeedy!  And that stuff is:

 

Finish First Round Edits for three of my SHP editors who I adore and love.

Get the last bits of Doorways to Extra Time done and sent to Anthony so we can submit it to a copyeditor.

Get Volunteer stuff squared away for Broad Universe.

Do a galley’s Edit on another beloved author’s novel.

Finish The Earl’s Childe draft.

Edit another of my novels per editorial comments.

 

…And I’m sure there’s more, but those are the “looming closest” items.

What am I waiting for, you ask?  Um…well, I’m writing this blog thing. And. Erp… Bye!

Last Chance to Win Scavenger Hunt Swag!

thekelpie_front_onlyLast Chance to Win Scavenger Hunt Swag!

Thank you everyone who participated in my Cover Reveal Scavenger Hunt–whether you posted a piece or were hunting through to win one of the awesome prizes!

If you haven’t yet entered, let me remind you of what’s up for grabs:

Prize 1:

A beautiful oval fused glass necklace on an antique backing featuring a kelpie–or, well, a scary looking black horse.  It matches the MacArthur tartan, color wise! Made by Renee of Stained Glass Creations!

Prize 2:

More beauty + jewelry! A necklace featuring Vic Caswell’s actual art of the kelpie in a beautiful setting by Art by Stefanie.

Prize 3:

For the non-jewelry inclined: An 11×6 poster of the cover art, signed by the author and artist, plus a set of trading cards based on the scavenger hunt pieces–the characters featured on the cover!

 

How do you play?  Go to the various blogs below and collect the words from the novel excerpts within each of the posts!  To make it extra easy, here are the permalinks with the words you need to collect:

Visit the Faery Castle at Kate Kaynak’s blog: http://thedisgruntledbear.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-kelpie.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 10th word

Hop over to Scotland at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond: http://stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/a-walk-in-scotland-scavenger-hunt/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Check out the artist rendition of Heather MacArthur’s family tartan with Aimee Weinstein at http://tokyowriter.com/2013/03/26/scavenger-hunt-contest-author-and-friend-trisha-wooldridges-new-book-cover/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Bonus Art!

Meet Heather’s dad, Michael MacArthur, at Valerie Hadden’s blog: http://valeriehadden.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/family-should-be-a-safe-place-where-you-could-have-your-worst-days-and-still-be-loved-an-interview-about-depression-and-family/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Cast your eyes upon the kelpie, itself, with Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert at http://suzannereynoldsalpert.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-kelpie_28.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: 2nd sentence, 2nd word

And feel the snark of Monkey, the fey cat with Justine Graykin at http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/monkey-the-fey-cat/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 3rd word

Meet Heather’s best friend, Prince Joseph at, who’s hanging out with author Darby Karchut at http://darbykarchut.blogspot.com/2013/03/cover-reveal-kelpie-by-tj-wooldridge.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 17th word

And finally meet Heather, herself, who’s hanging out with one of Trisha’s editors, Laura Ownbey at http://redpenreviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/editing-kelpie-study-in-nuance.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Besides catching the awesome art and some sneak-peaks at the novel, some of my hosts have written their own messages about the novel, about some of the topics in the novel, and (thank you, Laura), about their experience editing the novel.  Take a little time to look around these blogs; you may enjoy what else they offer!

Happy Hunting!

THE KELPIE: Cover Reveal and Scavenger Hunt

thekelpie_front_onlyZOMG!! MY COVER! MY COVER! MY COVER! Ahem… er… Please share???

This week, Spencer Hill Press unveils the cover for The Kelpie! You can help us by posting the information for the Scavenger Hunt, as well as the book’s cover, on your blog! Post any time between March 25th and April 1st! When your post is up, feel free to tweet it to @kendrybird or @spencerhillp

 

I can’t honestly say I was joking when I suggested to my best friend, Joe – Prince Joseph, eldest son of England’s Crown Prince – that we could probably find something the police had missed in regards to the missing children.  After all, eleven and twelve year olds like us did that all the time on the telly and in the books we read…

            When Heather and Joe decide to be Sleuthy MacSleuths on the property abutting the castle Heather’s family lives in, neither expect to discover the real reason children were going missing:

            A Kelpie.  A child-eating faerie horse had moved into the loch “next door.

            The two barely escape with their lives, but they aren’t safe. Caught in a storm of faerie power, Heather, Joe, and Heather’s whole family are pulled into a maze of talking cats, ghostly secrets, and powerful magick

            With another child taken, time is running out to make things right.

 

To go along with sharing the simply gorgeous cover, author T.J. Wooldridge has enlisted several of her friends who have helped her in the journey of writing this novel to put together a special treat for you!

Each day of the week, search for individual components of the cover–with a bonus piece of art on Wednesday–at these blogs.  Collect the right words per the instructions, and unscramble the line of poetry to be entered to win one of three prizes

Prize 1

A handmade fused glass kelpie necklace from Stained Glass Creations and Beyond

Prize 2

A handmade necklace from Art by Stefanie of Vic Caswell’s rendering of the kelpie from the cover!

Prize 3

An 11×16 poster of the cover of the Kelpie signed by T. J. Wooldridge and artist Vic Caswell

5×7 cards of all the cover aspects featured in the Scavenger Hunt

So, how do you take part in the Scavenger Hunt?  Here are the details:

Monday 3/25

Visit the Faery Castle at Kate Kaynak’s blog: http://thedisgruntledbear.blogspot.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 10th word

Tuesday 3/26

Hop over to Scotland at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond: http://stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.wordpress.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Check out an artist rendition of Heather MacArthur’s family tartan with Aimee Weinstein at tokyowriter.com

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Wednesday 3/27

Bonus Art!

Meet Heather’s dad, Michael MacArthur, at Valerie Hadden’s blog: http://valeriehadden.wordpress.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Thursday 3/28

Cast your eyes upon the kelpie, itself, with Suzane Reynolds-Alpert at http://suzannereynoldsalpert.blogspot.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: 2nd sentence, 2nd word

And feel the snark of Monkey, the fey cat with Justine Graykin at http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 3rd wor

Friday 3/29:

Meet Heather’s best friend, Prince Joseph at, who’s hanging out with author Darby Karchut at http://darbykarchut.blogspot.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 17th word

And finally meet Heather, herself, who’s hanging out with one of Trisha’s editors, Laura Ownbey at http://redpenreviews.blogspot.com/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Collect all the words and put them together in a poetic sentence, and enter them into the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of the three prizes: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MTBiNjRkMDYwN2U2MWZjNzBmNmM4YWEwNTEyODI0Ojc=/

the_kelpie_mock5_layers_merged

Editor’s Perspective: Finn Finnegan

03032013 - Finn FinneganThis month I get to celebrate the release of another of my editing “god-babies”!  Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut!  This one I got to share awesome co-editor, Vikki Ciaffone, who now heads the Spence City imprint of Spencer Hill Press.

xx

Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.

Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.

Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”

xx

Vikki and I were going through the slush pile when we both fell in love with this manuscript.  Irish mythology! Adventure! In the suburbs!

Only… it was skewed a bit young for what, at that time, we were familiar with as the type of book SHP went for.

At first, unbeknownst to each other, we each still individually jumped on Kate to expand the SHP vision to include mid-grade.

Kate, in her usual awesome-Kate-ness, said something to the effect of, “Sure, I think we can do that!” and then informed us we each had asked for it, and wouldn’t it be nice for us to co-edit the manuscript.

Lots of fun ensued.

Including Vikki snickering at me searching through tissues for this one particular scene I was editing at her kitchen table.  Because snark and teasing so don’t fit with the things we adore about Darby’s characters. Noo… not at all!  Finn is such an angel… no, wait, that’s Darby’s other books (also awesome.)

So, with the ups being the immediate emotional ties we had to the characters, our love of the humor and dialogue, our appreciation of the story… what was there left for us to edit, you ask?

Well, there was a big chunk of “No, you need to write even more about this, this… and definitely more Gideon!”  (Seriously, wait till you meet the knight!)

Since this is also written in third person, mostly through Finn and Gideon’s eyes, we also played around with the point of view, which is a lot of fun to play with because it can both offer some excellent insight to the characters, but get confusing if it gets away from you… as writing often does in its journey.

Also, for my part, my roommate-at-the-time and I experimented with my collection of daggers, dirks, and knives to ensure the plausibility of using one’s jeans to hold a blade (notsomuch, boy/girl-butt shape regardless). Vikki picked up on the specifics of knife sharpening (whetstone needs oil) and set me to work helping her sharpen some kitchen knives for missing something I should’ve caught. ;).  Of course, in my geek world, any excuse to (safely) play with blades and talk about them makes me a happy camper.

As I said, much fun ensued.

Furthermore, because having so much fun editing wasn’t enough, I managed to hook Darby up with one of my favorite Celtic bands, Emerald Rose, who let us license their music for the wicked cool trailer!  Darby loved them so much, she also asked about licensing to quote their lyrics to “Fire in the Head” in the novel. Way cool!

While I have not had the chance to hug Darby in person for this release, I’m happy to direct you to her page where, if you’re out west-ish, you might get to do that for me.  She’s got an excellent tour planned with her boys (Finn and Gideon… and possibly Griffin and Basil might make a showing), that, if at all possible, you must check out.

At the very least, you have to get yourself your own copy of Finn Finnegan to love and hug.

And be tortured by as you wait for its sequel, Gideon’s Spear, coming out next year.

Cover Reveal: Holiday Magick

holidaymagickfullcover

My short story, “Finding Fire,” is part of this anthology. 🙂  I had a wicked amount of fun writing this one, and I was so pleased that Rich and Jess liked it!  Sexy men, fire, Spring Break, Spain’s celebration of Las Fallas… and magick – all things I love.  Watch for it coming out May of this year!

Las Fallas Wooldridge

Also, look at the cool artwork just for my story!

Holiday Magick: 20 Holiday Stories with a twist

People don’t usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed.
Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays.
Consider the following…
Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine’s Day?
Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told?
Why do people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?
What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival?
Where does Santa get his helpers?
You may think you know the truth, but you can’t be too sure.

It’s a Broad Universe! And also Local!

bu400As many might know, I’m the current president of Broad Universe, an international non-profit dedicated to promoting, celebrating, and honoring women who produce (write, make art, etc.) science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between!

I love Broad Universe – obviously. Seriously, I would not be where I am as a writer and editor were it not for the connections I’ve made in the organization.

One of the things that I’ve had the joy of seeing in my time on the Motherboard is the growth of the organization, particularly of chapters.  Granted, the fastest growing chapter is the one local to me – the New England (or really, Northeast since we include some New Yorkers) chapter.

So, let me use this blog post to share some of the awesome things that are going around in my area thanks to the New England Broads!

Here’s our website, done by the wonderful Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert:

http://www.broaduniverse.org/events/new-england-broads

And here’s an ongoing game for anyone in the New England Area put together by the fabulous Terri Bruce!

It’s a scavenger hunt to find the various Broads in the area at the different venues we’ll be speaking, signing, teaching, hanging out, and whatnot.  Here’s the link:

NEBroadsScavengerHuntBrochure

So: This blog post is to boost the signal of Broads! Check us out… maybe join our forces and quest for World Domination!

Conventions and Dreams…

One of my favorite parts about being a professional geek is attending conventions.  This weekend I was at Boskone, the slightly more literary and serious sibling to Arisia, where I was last month.

Boskone is a quiet convention for me. I haven’t done a lot of work to try and get on panels, so the only things I’m in charge of is the Broad Universe book table and showing up for the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading.

And having fun and networking and that whole bit.

Arisia was a bit of a crazy con for me, but it always is.  It’s right up there with Dragon*Con in “life-changing events.”  It’s how I got involved with Spencer Hill Press. (For the whole story, read the intro to our first anthology, UnCONventional.)

This year, my Arisia crazy-level was upped to the Nth degree.  Not only was I in charge of the Broad Universe table, I was sharing it with three other vendors… and we were kind of stuck in a back corner.

Also, I was in charge of zombie-fying everyone for the Touch of Death release party – an awesome novel you can find out more about here.

With the blessings of the wonderful Kelly Hashway, we used her party to give Kate Kaynak, founder of Spencer Hill Press, a very special gift from all the authors and editors who – thanks to her love, support, and creation of SHP – have made amazing strides in realizing their dreams.

Here’s the video of that gift (it’s a little blurry to start, but gets better). Enjoy!…. Er… WordPress won’t let me update it… so let me give you the link to Blogger where the upload did work!

http://novelfriend.blogspot.com/2013/02/conventions-and-dreams.html

 

Back in the Saddle… yet again

02102013 - Horse Show pic 2A long time ago (like, the beginning of January), in a galaxy far, far away (my kitchen table as opposed to my desk), I put together a handwritten business plan and a list of goals for 2013.

One of those goals was to write up those goals and post them as a blog on a particular date in January…

Ha! Hahaha! LOL!  I just kill me!

Another of those goals?  A weekly blog schedule!

Hahahahahahah!! ROTFLMAO!!  Totally dying of laughter, here!

But, as I’ve said in prior blog posts… (and couldn’t find to link after 15 minutes, so I gave up… but believe me, they’re there!) … one of the most important life lessons I’ve learned from riding is that you do, in fact, get do-overs.  So long as you don’t give up and get back in that saddle!

And I say this having suffered cracked ribs, disjointed vertebrae, bites, sprained and strained ankles and knees… months or weeks or, pre-Calico, even years of doing next to nothing with horses.

Back into the blogging saddle I go, then.  Because I do love blogging… and I have an awful lot of amazing things to share this year!

Now that I’m here, let me hit that other goal of writing up some of my goals here. I know some people say writing and sharing one’s goals is more detrimental than helpful, but honestly, I’ve not seen such in my life.

Goals:  Better late than never, right?

 

Meet all Spencer Hill Press Deadlines

I’m truly in love with my work in both writing and editing for SHP, and I have a lot of people’s dreams of publication and their stories riding on my ability to hold up my end of the contract.  Thus far, I’ve been pretty good.  There are a few things running later than the most preferred deadline, but none that are running far into the extra-security padding that Kate, in her infinite wisdom, has built into the system.

Done in January: 1 novel proofed from galleys, 1 to galleys, 1 to closing edits, 1 through copyedits, my own to 2nd round edits, 2 submission novels read, 3 I gave the ok to offer on (one I read back in December). Also, first round of edits on half the Doorways submissions, and second round of edits on half the remaining half.

Dude… that’s 8 different novels and 15 short pieces that I worked on! Yay!

 

Novel Goals

The Kelpie comes out this December, and I’m going through edits for this, plus working on the marketing plan.

A Silent Starsong is with Vikki to be submitted to Spencer Hill Press upon her edits.

The Earl’s Childe is the sequel to The Kelpie is one of the novels I’m currently working on and needs to be finished, polished and submitted this year.

A Shooting Star is the sequel to A Silent Starsong and is actually entirely drafted! It just needs polishing.

The Banshee’s Cry will be the third MacArthur book, and needs to get started.

Besides that, there are two other novel-length projects that I’m attending to but are not ready for discussion yet. 😉 Stay tuned!

 

Other Fiction/Poetry Goals

Write three new short stories.

Submit to at least 5 different short fiction or poetry markets this year.

Write one new novella (done! And by accident, too!)

Write three new poems (one down, two to go!)

 

Business Goals

Make Goodreads profile and list fiction

Update Amazon profile

Update blog every week

Update website every week

Send website revamp changes ASAP

 

Horsey Goals

Two major trail rides

Three horse shows

Ride 2x per week on average (very difficult this winter!)

Other Goals

Lose 25 lbs

And that’s what I’ll be up to this year. 🙂  It’s a lot, but more doable than other plans I’ve made for myself.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you!