Halloween Anthology: Boo! Volume Three

Screen shot 2015-10-11 at 6.28.13 PMHappy Sunday! Halloween is almost upon us in North America-land, and with it comes the release of the newest Boo! anthology. Boo! Volume Three contains thirteen Halloween-inspired tales by an eclectic mix of authors, including Ann Cathey, Jen Daniele, Erin McGowan, LB Clark, Mala Rheston, Kristina Jackson, Rich Meyer, David Antrobus, and JD Mader.

Where else can you get that much talent and spooky fun for just 99 cents? Proceeds go to charity, and this year, the DB Collective has chosen The Turtle Island Restoration Project, an organization dedicated to protecting oceans and marine wildlife.

Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy our stories.

 

 

 

Flash in the Pantone

pantone-book-11Another Friday, another two-minutes-go writing challenge over at JD Mader’s Unemployed Imagination site. We joke each week about “breaking the blog,” but I think this time we actually did it. Flash fiction bits were going up, comments followed, until…well, let’s just say that we kicked some serious interwebs. Here are three pieces I threw down. Hope you’ll pop over to that link and see some amazing writing by David Antrobus, Julie Frayn, Mark Morris, Ed Drury, Leland Dirks, Lynne Cantwell…hope I’m not leaving anyone out…and of course, our own wicked awesome Pied Piper. Enjoy. As always, lightly edited for your protection.

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Wicked Awesome Indies: Vote and Win!

RCABPnominee

Have you voted yet for your favorites in BigAl’s Books and Pals Readers’ Choice Awards? Fear not. Voting continues until March 31.

You may have (ahem) voted for a certain novel in the contemporary fiction category, and I thank you for that down to my toes. But there are lots of other categories, and each vote gives you a greater chance in the drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.

MrPFor instance, K.S. Brooks has been nominated in the childrens’ book category for Postcards from Mr. Pish:  East Coast Edition.

About the book: Mr. Pish, the lovable Jack Russell Terrier, leads readers on an expedition down the East Coast of the United States in Postcards from Mr. Pish Volume 3. With each new discovery, the traveling terrier sends a postcard with full-color photographs and engaging text geared to promote outdoor learning and literacy. Mr. Pish’s enthusiasm inspires young and old to read, explore and learn in a fun way.

music-speaks-187x300In the Short Story Collections/Anthologies category, my author and editor friend, LB Clark, has been nominated for her anthology, Music Speaks. It’s a pretty fabulous undertaking for a charity that helps musicians, and it includes short stories by two of my favorite writers, JD Mader and David Antrobus. Learn more about the book and the foundation here.

DavidAA pretty commanding author and editor himself, David Antrobus also received a solo nomination for his outstanding memoir, A Dissolute Kinship. Read my review here.

LynneHave you read Lynne Cantwell yet? She’s been nominated in the Speculative Fiction category for Seized, the first book in her Pipe Woman Chronicles. I’m well into this fascinating story and eagerly anticipate starting on the rest of the series. This book is currently in the running for an ABNA award.

Voting automatically enters you into B&P’s giveaway. You can learn all about that here. Voting ends at midnight, April 1, and final results will be announced the morning of Wednesday, April 3.

Thank you!

[Voting notes: The form doesn’t like Internet Explorer. Once you get to the site, log in with Facebook or your e-mail address. Click on the downward-facing arrow in each category to see the books nominated. Click the open circle to the left to make your selection and “Enter” to register the vote. Clicking on the title will give you more info about the book.]

Drawing Breath a Nominee for Readers’ Choice Award: The Voting Begins!

RCABPnominee

Click on the shiny badge to go to the B&P page, where you can place your vote! Thank you!

Some of you may know this already, but among the world of indie authors, getting a review from BigAl’s Books and Pals is no small accomplishment. According to statistics released by the site, “In the twelve months ending February 28th, 2013, BigAl and the Pals received over 1,400 books to consider for review. Almost 300 of them were selected, read, and reviewed.”

I’m completely humbled down to my toes to know that two of those titles were mine, and one of them, Drawing Breath, has been selected as one of the books they felt stood out as an exceptional example of indie writing. (Their words, not mine, and they’re enough to make a girl do a Snoopy dance and then collapse upon her fainting couch. Smelling salts, anyone?) Continue reading

Flash Fiction!

ff2012-ebook-leather-713x1024My writing-self felt a little creaky and stiff this week, so I entered Indies Unlimited‘s weekly flash fiction contest. A new prompt goes up every Saturday, and it’s a great chance to play around with the 250-word challenge and bust up a few of those mental cobwebs.

In fact, this flash fiction contest is so cool that IU’s masterminds Stephen Hise and KS Brooks took all of last year’s winning pieces and published them in an anthology. So many great little stories in one place; some of my friends like Ed Drury, Rich Meyer, JD Mader, and David Antrobus were multiple winners. I think I even have one in there somewhere about a rainy night and an angry little white dog.

Anyway, here’s this week’s entry. It’s not in the 2012 anthology, but if it wins this week (voting starts on Wednesday), it will be in next year’s!

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Help Wanted

Mike sneezed as the cloud of patchouli incense assaulted his sinuses. “Hello?” He fished a tissue out of his pocket. “You advertised for a groomer?”

An old dude with a gray ponytail and a Warren Zevon T-shirt popped out from the back, drying his hands on a towel. “Namaste,” he growled. “Sorry about the ambiance. It’s the only thing that covers up the wet dog smell. Keeps the neighbors from complaining. It’s not gonna be a problem, is it?”

Mike shook his head and sneezed again.

“Most people get used to it.” The guy eyeballed him, one brow climbing his forehead. “No offense, brother, but you look kind of puny for this work. Some of these critters pack serious poundage.”

“I had a bunch of Irish wolfhounds at my last gig,” Mike said.

“Wolfhounds. Funny.” Crooking a hand, he gestured for Mike to follow him into the back. “They can smell fear. So be cool.”

“Be cool?” Mike said. “I love dogs.”

The dude smirked as he pulled back the curtain. “Just remember that.”

Mike gaped. There was a big tub. And one giant cage. Eight hounds paced a restless loop, softly whimpering. Their variegated coats blended and swirled as they moved under the dim lights.

“They like to stay together. Pack animals.” He turned to Mike. “So when can you start?”

One hound bared a glistening fang. “Uh, right away?”

“Groovy. We’d better hurry, though.” In the shadows, the dude’s eyes seemed to glow. “There’s a full moon tonight.”

My Year of Living Indie

poetry_readingJacqueline Hopkins-Walton, a member of a Facebook group I belong to, recently asked us to kick in our “top ten” favorite books we read in 2012. Five immediately came to mind, several others I can’t name because they’re not officially published yet or I had a hand in editing, and the rest resulted from a quick consultation with my Kindle.

Only one book was put out by a large publisher.

In fact, a further consultation with the K-dude revealed that with the exception of The Maltese Falcon, nearly every book I read in 2012 was written by an indie author.

Curiosity? Solidarity? Poverty?

Yes, all are true. When, in late 2011, I started testing the waters prior to self-publishing my second novel, Drawing Breath, I met a bunch of great, funny, quirky, generous authors who’d decided to chuck pitching to the Big Guys and go their own way. Curious, I read a bunch of affordable—and frequently free—books that didn’t have a flightless waterfowl on their spines. Some needed some work. Some were good. Some were pretty amazing.

I didn’t consciously make a choice to avoid the big names. A few of my favorite trad-published authors, like Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ian McEwan came out with books this year and I will read them, eventually, when the budget allows. (Before you suggest my local library, I am a big fan, although Marion the Librarian does not care for my slow reading pace, which resulted in my returning Ian McEwan’s Solar only halfway done under threat of large fines and manual dispossession.)

My TBR indie list sort of…evolved. Friends came out with new books. Other authors recommended their favorites. One thing led to another. My involvement with Indies Unlimited brought me closer to inspirational, heartbreakingly talented, funny, smart authors from around the world.

Doesn’t mean I won’t sink into a big-name book again. In fact, two are waiting on my nightstand: Jeffrey Eugenides because I’ve adored him since Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, and Jane Green, because I won her latest in a Goodreads Giveaway.

This year in reading just happened. And I’m very happy about it. It’s a lovely feeling, looking down my Kindle directory and seeing so many friends’ names.

So, in no particular order, these were my favorite books I read in 2012:

Jimmy Mender and his Miracle Dog by Leland Dirks
Joe Café by JD Mader
Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip by David Antrobus
My Temporary Life by Martin Crosbie
Upgrade by Stephen Hise
Bad Book by Stephen Hise, KS Brooks, and JD Mader
Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines by Carol E. Wyer
The Sable City and Death of a Kingdom by M. Edward McNally [from the same series; The Norothian Cycle, so it counts as two!]
Charmed Life by Susan Bennett

What were some of your favorites?

Disclaimers:

1. I am a relatively slow reader, and it’s been a busy year.
2. Which means I probably read about thirty books.
3. So I do what I can. And this only one reader’s opinion.
4. There are many, many wonderful authors I’ve yet to read.
5. Even ones I know.
6. Your actual mileage may vary.

Oooh, Shiny…

I don’t know about you, but I love a good bit of irony. Just last week, my friends and compadres at IndiesUnlimited.com were having an aerobic bit of discourse about the dreaded “G” word. No, not gorgonzola. Gatekeepers. And whether or not indie authors needed them in this crazy cowtown. I can see both sides of the issue, and I have great respect for my friends who say, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” So it was with a bit of a sociological eye that I submitted Drawing Breath – weeks before my post aired – on a tip from author J.L. Murray when GrubStreetReads.com offered a free promotion. Do I like shiny things? Yes. Do I like praise? Heck, yes. So when J.L. Murray, David Antrobus, and I were all endorsed, our lovely book covers on their home page all in a row, sure, I was moved. Do I think we NEED endorsements other than those lovingly offered by our readers? No. But better than the endorsement is what the Grub Street evaluator said about Drawing Breath:

“I loved this book! From the beginning the story drew me in and I couldn’t put it down,
even when I was crying so hard I couldn’t read. You have created a beautiful story that
explores innocence both for Caitlin and in my opinion Daniel as well.” -L.R.

Now that’s an endorsement!