Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Back in the Saddle #WriterlyWednesday #BabySteps

I’m Blogging Again...

I’ve written and re-written my “Hey, look, my blog is alive again” post so many times it’s sickening.  I’ve revised some of my published short stories fewer times.

Why is this post so hard? It’s not more personal than what I pour into my fiction nor what I give to the authors I edit.

If I’m to guess, it’s because I’m afraid I won’t keep up a schedule, that I’ll fail. I’ve dropped blogging so many times – though I do enjoy it – to make time for paying projects and such. And when you drop or fail something...and take a long time to get back into it, it’s So. Much. Harder.

That’s why, in horseback riding, when you fall off, you should always get back on right away. The longer you wait when it’s been a failure, a hurt, a fall, the more difficult it is to get back into the saddle.

Well, this is hardly the first, nor will it be the last blog post where I intersperse some riding wisdom with writing wisdom.

Here’s another piece, just for today:

Even a short ride or short interaction is worth it.

In writing, once you’ve been away from a project, you lose passion. It’s easy to forget it and keep putting it off. Same lesson...

Sometimes just making yourself write one sentence, edit one paragraph, re-read one page is a good start. Just keep at it.

I had one author friend who could only squeeze in one sentence a day. That’s all. Then she finished the story.

If you want to write, if you want to market, if you want to accomplish anything... baby steps are okay. Just keep making them.

My awesome/torturous/awesome-because-she-is-torturous riding instructor once had me dedicate an entire class to mounting/dismounting. Calico and I were having issues...and that was the baby step we needed.

So, here is my short #WriterlyWednesday blog post.

It’s okay to take baby steps; it’s okay to only write a little.

Just keep going.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015 – Part 1 – Looking Back

Perhaps I’m a wee bit late on this, but it is the first WORKWEEK of 2015, and honestly, one of my resolutions is to make sure I get enough rest.

After all, a lack of rest and overdoing it was my biggest fall in 2014.  We learn from our mistakes.

So, here’s a quick review of 2014 with my plans for 2015.



Those are three biggies. There are more!

“Steadfast in the Face of Zombies” finally came out in Once Upon an Apocalypse
“Oprah Funds the End of The World” was sold and came out in Demonic Visions 5

Speaking, paneling, signing, tabling at:
Book Expo America / Bookcon
Rock & Shock

Bookstore, Library & other appearances:
Enigma Books, Astoria, NY
Books & Boos, CT
Generations Gifts and Herbal Apothecary, Oxford, MA
Nashua Public Library, NH
Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, MA
Booklover’s Gourmet, Webster, MA
Bigelow Free Public Library, Clinton, MA
Jacob Edwards Library, Southbridge, MA
Sturbridge Coffee Roasters / Girl Power!, Southbridge, MA

I also edited a whole bunch of books in 2014—mine and other people’s.

And Calico and I had a good year together, with a good amount of riding, especially this summer. (See the blog pic!)

I also celebrated a lot of wonderful weddings for family and friends—and I was honored to be the matron of honor for two very good friends at their beautiful ceremony!

There was also a lot of difficulty in 2014, though.

I’d thought my 2013 autumn had been difficult with death and illness.  This 2014, it ended up being even worse.  I won’t list all those who I lost or who I was worrying over, but there were a lot.  I fell behind on a lot of deadlines for myself and for other people, and I had to drop some of my projects.  And then I got sick, myself, pretty badly.  I ended up with a serious kidney infection on top of some larger issues that came to a head right at the same time. I’ve still got a bit of a journey to go through with tests and such, and there are some life decisions I need to make, but I have information—and that is the best tool and best weapon anyone can ask for!

There were other big changes and upheavals during the year, too, but I’d rather not focus on those for this post.  Some things over which I have no power.

I only have power over my own choices, my own decisions. 

So, what I need to work on after looking back on 2014:

I need to take care of my own writing career.  I need to do the promo, I need to blog, and most of all, I need to do my own writing and editing.

I need to make and meet some hard deadlines in January for leftover 2014 work. I know what these are; I need to just do them.

After January, I need to make a better schedule for the year.

I will do these things.

I shall do these things.

I’m starting fresh again, my New Year’s blog.  I have a fire ceremony to do tomorrow as the moon STARTS to wane; there are a lot of things I need to be rid of.
Tonight, I simply light a candle, post a blog, and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


So, some years back, I had an idea for a vampire comic book, and I worked on it for a couple of years with another artist friend of mine.  Unfortunately, that friend really didn’t love comic art, so we parted ways and this project has lived in my head without an artist for more years.

And then, upon having my cover redone by the amazing and talented Slake Saunders (some NSFW art there)—who has a wicked comic sense to her art—I had the chance to hang out with her and tell her about my sad, artist-less comic.

She loved what I was describing!

So, I sent her character descriptions and what I had for a script.  Email after email, I got to see these characters come to life through Slake’s art.  Really, it was like she plucked the faces and pictures right out of my head!  She sent me thumbnails of Aurelio’s and Sophia’s expressions for some of the scenes, and I was like, YESYESYESYES!!!!!

Now, after almost a year of prep, we’re finally ready to announce AURELIO! 

The comic pages will start going live as of Monday, October 27, 2014, and we will be hosting the comic through Patreon.  You can get to it via

Aurelio Sangreleyes is a Justicar, a vampire whose job it is to police vampiric relations with humans and other magickal creatures.  He’s been sent by the Council of Matrons to Boca Raton, Florida, to investigate a new street drug that is being made with vampire venom. During his investigation, he grabs a bite to eat from the wrong witch and finds himself cursed by her blood—he is now the sole protector of the witch’s 15-year-old daughter, Sophia. And the girl’s father is a fallen angel, a creature vampires are forbidden against acting against.  Now Aurelio must deal with the black market venom trade while also protecting Sophia from being kidnapped and dragged to hell by her unholy father.  Oh, and Sophia has her own plans about this mess, too.

The comic, itself will be free, but if you want to help us and get more awesomeness, be a patron for as little as $2 a month!  We’ll make it worthwhile with bonus art and writing.

And if you’re going to be at DragonCon this weekend, I’ll have special Aurelio postcards at the HWA fan table and wherever I am around the con!

Thank you, in advance for any support you can give!


Trish and Slake

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pouring a Bucket of Ice on #IceBucketChallenge

Go ahead, call me a spoil-sport. I’ve got some calling out to do of my own.

First, some time ago, I wrote a blog on stupid “Awareness” campaigns for breast cancer, where people Vague-booked stuff to supposedly raise awareness of breast cancer. You might remember the color-of-your-bra campaign (which bothered several breast cancer survivors who no longer wore bras, I may add), the “where I put my purse” posts, or the random fruit posts.

Wait, you forgot about them? Great awareness, huh.

In any case, we’re going through another bout of “Awareness” raising.

Do you know what ALS is?
It’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And from, here is the definition:
Just what is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
It’s a horrible disease, and there is limited treatment. It is a good cause to support. I’m not arguing any of that.  In fact, if you want to actually make a difference, here’s a direct link to their donation form!

Taking five minutes to donate five dollars and sharing that you donated $5 goes way further than, say, daring someone to pour a freaking bucket of ice on their head. Really. After this fad is over, who will still remember what ALS stands for? Most people have forgotten that it’s the same thing as Lou Gehrig’s disease and what this awful disease did to him. There will be a memory of people pouring ice over their head, not what it’s for.

So, no. I don’t accept your damned #icebucketchallenge.

I’ll write a blog post that explains the disease and gives people ways to actually help. I think that is more useful than pouring ice over my head.

Furthermore, what gives you—anyone—the right to demand I give $100 to a cause not of my own damned choosing?

This is what gets me the most about this. Do you know that I’ve supported ALS already? Several times, in fact, through staying up for 24 hours blogging? Sharing other information?  And even if I didn’t, do you have any idea how much money I’ve given to animal rescue? To cancer research? To hospice care? To individuals directly who were dying of cancer, families who have lost their breadwinner, authors about to lose their homes because we get sh*t for pay and insurance? Have you any idea?

No, no you don’t. For the individuals, I give anonymously. For the stuff I keep receipts for because it can be deducted for taxes? None of your damned business.

So don’t demand I give $100 that I do not currently have if I don’t decide to do some silly action.

You want to go on a 5K to raise $ and awareness for ALS, if that’s your preferred charity, I’ll dig into my wallet and support what I can. Same for hunger. And, because I’m selfish and know even more people affected by cancer, more than a few who have recently died, I’ll give even more if you’re doing a cancer walk. Hell, I might even join you.  That gets something accomplished. And that’s YOUR choice; you’re just asking me for support. And I support a lot.

Just don’t freaking TELL me what I have to donate for! Don’t give me a freaking “do this or else” ultimatum. Don’t guilt me over it.

Then you’re just pissing me off.

I was at a party recently with someone who had a form of ALS. The person said something to the effect of, “If people wanted to really help ALS, they’d film themselves staring at the bucket of ice and then making the $100 donation.”

Do you have the spare $100? Can you do that? Then don’t assume I can, either!

I refuse the #icebucketchallenge, and I certainly am not challenging anyone to do that.

If you want to help, here’s the donation link again. ALSA has a 30% overhead for running their organization, which is a % I can live with supporting. (And if you don’t know the overhead of the charity you’re giving to, find out. Some non-profits have 80%-90% overhead, so a whopping 10 cents of every dollar actually goes to HELP PEOPLE. Research!)

I’m all for people helping fund research for a cure or helping those afflicted with the disease get through their life. Go donate.

Leave the damned ice for chilling drinks.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Character Interview: Ian from Terry Bruce's THEREAFTER

I’m very pleased, today, to have a special visitor here at A Novel Friend thanks to Terri Bruce’s Blog Tour!  Ian, the cowboy from Terri’s newest release, Thereafter, took a few minutes out of his adventures in the Afterlife to chat with us!

Thanks for stopping by my blog here, Ian! Terri and I do a lot of talking about horses, so I was excited to meet the cowboy she’s been talking about.  I know Thereafter has just come out, so a lot of people might not have read it yet.  Can you tell these folks a little about yourself in the book?

Well, it’s gonna sound mighty strange, but me and a bunch of other folks are stuck by this river in the afterlife—we’re all dead, you see. And there’s this woman, Irene Dunphy—well, she comes along with a plan to spring us all. So I end up fallin’ in with her and this other fella—Andras—and we set about trying to get on out of there.

Before you ended up where you are now, what was your life like?

I worked on a horse ranch in Kentucky. Weren’t much excitement—it was sun up to sun down back breaking work. It was hot, it was dusty, and the only good part was headin’ to Ms. Lydia’s Dancing Girls Emporium on Saturday nights.

Being a horse person myself, I’m curious to how horses are in the Afterlife. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, I don’t rightly know, now that you mention it. I ain’t never seen many horses running around the afterlife. There’s a few, now and again, with some of the older folks, them that died in way back times, but otherwise, ain’t too many. God only knows how Irene ended up with a horse—she don’t strike me as much of a horse woman, prancing around in that little nothing of a dress she wears and all.

What were some of your favorite pastimes or hobbies before?  How has that changed?

Outside of Ms. Lydia’s, there weren’t much time for much else in the way of hobbies. When I got hitched to Irmaguard, I had to give up Ms. Lydia’s, which was a damn shame. But Irmaguard, God rest her soul, was a sure-fired jealous woman so there wasn’t any help for it.

What did you think of Irene when you meet her?  How does that change as you got to know her?

Oooo-eeee! I was looking over this vista, admiring the view, and all of a sudden this woman, well, more of a blur, really, comes flying at me like a bat out of hell. I didn’t know what she was doin’. She tackles me, and the next thing I know I’m flat on my back, lookin’ up into a mass of red hair, the most beautiful brown eyes, and the sweetest little mouth I ever did see. She wanted to take off right after, but I sure wasn’t lettin’ her out of my sight that easy. Then I found she was fixin’ to find a way across the river, and then I certainly wasn’t goin’ to let her out of my sight! I been stuck there by that river for a couple hundred years and was mighty sick of it, I can tell you.

Something I always like to ask folks I interview is this: What is a question you want me to ask?  And what would that answer be?

Well, now, that’s a toughie. I guess, I wish you’d asked when I wish I would have lived; I can tell you that Irene told me a bit about the future and it sure did sound good. I wish that’s when I’d been born. Life sure does seem like a lot more fun.

No problem! And shoot, thanks for havin’ me!

Find out more about Ian, Irene, Andras, and Terri by picking up Thereafter!  Here are the details!

Book Details:

ISBN: 978-0991303625
Cover Price: $14.95
E-book Price: $4.95

Jacket Copy:
Nothing in life is free. Turns out, nothing in the afterlife is, either.

When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.

Boy, was she wrong.

She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.

As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.

You can win stuff, too, by leaving comments!! 

Launch Party Blog Tour Giveaway  – May 1st – May 31st

2 $50 Amazon gift cards

5 signed paperback copies of Thereafter (U.S./Canada Only)

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