Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mer-licious Giveaway!

44043290_546312702482137_7354512727051599872_n

You’ve seen this calendar all over social media, right? The Merb’ys calendar (by the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard & Moustache Club) went a liiiittle bit viral last year, raising over $300,000 for mental health. This year they’re doing it again in support of Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador…

…and I just happen to have one to give away along with a signed copy of Bound.

Why? Because I’ve been meaning to do a paperback giveaway that celebrates my own merfolk, and what better way to do it than by supporting a good cause?

From the calendar:

“Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador will be the main recipient of the funds we raise this year. We wanted to help them continue their very important work of changing attitudes and breaking down stereotypes. Their goal is to challenge negative attitudes of masculinity and empower men to become meaningfully engaged in violence prevention.”

To enter, click this link to go to the rafflecopter giveaway. You can earn entries by spreading the word about the giveaway on Twitter, visiting my Facebook page (share the giveaway post while you’re there if you’d like, but it’s not required), or by subscribing to my very infrequent email newsletter. New subscribers receive three free stories as a thank-you for signing up, so really everyone’s a winner.

Please note: This giveaway is not endorsed by the NL Beard & Moustache club. I’m just giving away their amazing calendar and spreading the word on their project because I think it’s awesome and I love me some mer-dudes. For more information on the NLBMC or to order your own copy of the calendar, visit nlbmc.com

 

Advertisements

I Lost A Phone and I Liked It

(That’s only halfway true, but you’re welcome for the earworm.*)

A month ago, my phone disappeared.

Vanished. Poof. I had it out in the back yard. I know I brought it into the house; I just don’t know where in the house it ended up. Calling it wasn’t an option; by the time I realized it was missing, the battery was dead.

Cue the frantic searching. I tore the house apart. My husband, who’s a much better finder than I am, did the same. We retraced my steps (which were very few on that lazy summer day). We checked cupboards, freezers, freshly folded laundry, and garbage cans.

Not a trace.

I was so mad at myself. I wondered whether I’d have remembered to plug it in (or at least have noticed where I put it) if I’d taken my meds that day. I felt ashamed of myself for not being able to manage the simple task of not losing the miraculous tiny pocket computer that had served me well for several years, and I beat myself up pretty hard for being so irresponsible.

I mean… almost all of my friends live in my phone. I LOST MY FRIENDS.

Now, I was due to upgrade my phone a year ago (cue conspiracy theories about the phone company kidnapping my poor iPhone to force the issue). I could have just gone out and done it. But I’m stubborn, and I was convinced that the moment I got a new phone my old one would turn up. I was determined to not give in.

So how did that go?

There were inconveniences for sure. We went on a week-long family trip that involved splitting up for appointments and activities, and we had to do it without “WHERE ARE YOU?” texts. I didn’t have my music or podcasts in the car or on walks. I couldn’t post anything to Instagram (the horror, I know).

But all in all it was really okay.

I checked my email less because it wasn’t in my pocket and realized what a huge waste of time it is to check it at all from my phone. I got help with the break I’d been trying for months to take from Facebook, and I found that I didn’t miss it**. I checked Messenger occasionally from my computer in case people needed to contact me, and I don’t think anyone else really noticed I was gone.

I missed out on a lot of work-related FOMO, that’s for sure, which meant a little less anxiety at a time when it’s been a real struggle. I forgot to take the “real” camera on a day trip and managed to focus on enjoying and remembering the day instead of posting constant photo updates to social media.

Turns out experiences really do happen even if I don’t record and share them. Weird.

38819613_10156287286640395_7989769726211391488_n

Other people had cameras, anyway.

No, it wasn’t a blissful vacation or an eye-opening epiphany. I didn’t miraculously gain an increased attention span, and my brain found plenty of other distractions when I didn’t have my phone in hand. I didn’t even get any extra reading done. But slipping the electronic leash for a while helped me realize that I don’t always want to be available or in the loop.

I broke down and upgrade a few days ago. It was the music that pushed me to it, really. The weather will be cool enough to take my dog for long walks again soon (I hope), and I need the motivation that music provides to get me into my running shoes and out the door. And there are times when it’s important for people to be able to reach me even when I’m not at home–my husband, my kids’ schools.

But I’m going to try not to let this phone be the constant companion my last one was. It won’t be my go-to when I’m in need of a quick hit of distraction or the sense of validation that comes from checking Instagram likes. I’m not going to have it in my hands at all when I’m talking to people in person.

…because that might have been my biggest take-away from this experience. When I didn’t have a phone to distract me I noticed how reliant so many of us are on them. We Google minor facts and news items instead of staying focused on the present conversation. Phones are in-hand during restaurant meals. Even lulls in conversation can be an opportunity to check notifications, as though it’s not worth just sitting quietly  with friends and family when the grass might be greener somewhere else.

That’s not a criticism. I’ve guilty of it, too. And I want it to stop.

So thanks, old iPhone, for disappearing. Your absence made it clear what I really needed you for and what I absolutely didn’t, even if I thought I did.

And new phone? You’re on notice. I’m the boss. Not you.

(Also, please don’t get lost. I can’t afford to replace you for at least two years.)

 

 


 

*If you don’t now have Katy Perry stuck in your head right now, please tell me how to avoid it.

**I missed being in touch with my reader group, and I think I might have missed an invitation or two. That’s about it.


Ready to Kick Off Your Summer Reading?

Summer?

SUMMER?!

Let me show you the view from my front window just over a week ago:

Screenshot 2018-06-01 14.55.34

It got better. We’ve got grass again now, though we’re expecting flurries on the weekend. But still. It ain’t summer.

But according to the calendar, we’re almost there. And that means it’s time to plan for summer reading, and I’ve got a couple of books to share with you–one on sale, one FREE, both Urban Fantasy by Canadian authors. Whether you’re looking for something hot and blood-spattered or a ghost story to chill your bones, we’ve got you covered.

 

Resurrection (Immortal Soulless Book One)

99¢

Tanith Frost

links: www.books2read.com/isresurrection

COVER1WITHTEXT

Since the night of Aviva’s murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke without a heartbeat. When rogue vampires arrive in her clan’s territory and threaten the uneasy peace of the supernatural world, this uncertain new vampire with troubling gifts may be the only one able to stand between a pack of ruthless killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.

Amazon reviewers call Resurrection “decadently dark,” “completely gripping,” and “a phenomenal new take on vampires”!**

99¢ for a limited time! Available via Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks

 

 

Death at Peony House

FREE!

Krista Walsh

Links: www.books2read.com/peonyhouse

peony_promo

Magic is a dangerous temptation 

After lights are seen in the windows of the city’s abandoned hospital, sorceress and journalist Daphne Heartstone heads to Peony House in search of a headline.

What she discovers is a dead body and a clue to a hundred-and-fifty-year-old cold case.

Detective Hunter Avery, the man Daphne loved and lost, warns her away from the case, but the ghosts of Peony House have demanded her help.

Not to mention, her job is on the line if she doesn’t have a story on her editor’s desk for Saturday’s edition.

Daphne has worked hard to escape her past of dark magic and blind ambition, but as she walks the balance between light and dark, she’ll learn how many promises she’s willing to break to protect the people she loves.

Personal note from Kate: I love this series, and this book being FREE for a limited time means now is the perfect time to dive in! Unforgettable characters, mystery, ghosts, a bit of romance, a whole lot of interesting worldbuilding… this is my jam. Fair warning, though: This is a complete series, and it’s hard to put down once you start.

Enjoy!

-K

 


*Fullest of full disclosure: I’m mentioning these books because I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy them if you like my books, but I do have personal relationships with both authors. Krista Walsh is an author I’ve worked with for a few years as a critique partner, and we’ve left our fingerprints all over each other’s books. And Tanith Frost is… we’re close. We share office space. And brain space. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since I last published under my own name, there you go.

**If you prefer a “clean” read, this isn’t the series for you. It gets hot in here. And dark. And there’s cussin’. Gasp.

SaveSave


Sci-Fi on the Rock? Yeah. It Rocked.

(This post first appeared as a message to newsletter subscribers several weeks ago, and the response has been positive enough that I decided to share it here. Interested in being part of the fun on a more regular basis? You can sign up here to receive three free stories and not-at-all frequent email newsletters. Already a subscriber but didn’t get the message? Check your spam folder and mark the message “not spam”–and be sure to look for today’s important message so you can update your settings and stay in the VIP club!)

30441694_2501781736713148_2929813710492925952_n

Okay. So.

This winter has been a blah one. Have you noticed? It seems like anyone who’s regularly affected by seasonal depression has been hit hard, and even those who aren’t have found it… well, blah. Since December I’ve wanted nothing more than to wrap myself in a cocoon of blankets, lose myself in my fictional realities, and forget that the grey, cold, frequently unkind world outside my house exists. I haven’t felt like I had much to offer in newsletters, and I’ve backed away a bit from social media so I could avoid the anxiety it so often brings.

But one must emerge some time–or so my family insisted when they found out I’d been invited to share a vendor’s table at Sci-Fi on the Rock, Newfoundland’s biggest Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention.

Was I excited? In theory, yes. In practice? HECK no. I knew there would be people there. My poor melancholic, introverted heart shuddered at the very thought of that many strangers packed into one hotel for three long days. And anyone who knows me knows I’m not so keen on the promotion and SELLING parts of the writing business. So while I loved the idea of the convention itself, the practical details of planning the trip and interacting with people in person (I’m actually quite happy chatting through email) had me more than a little nervous.

And besides all of that… People can often be scary, intimidating, or just downright disappointing. Whether it’s politics, food choices, or Facebook posts, many of us seem more interested in judging others based on the things that divide us than in embracing what we have in common–and the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy can seem at times like it’s no better than anything else our species has to offer, especially online. That can be disheartening, especially because fandom should be about embracing what we love, not bashing what we hate (and not about hurting people for not loving something enough or for doing it in what we think is the wrong way).

But attending SFotR reminded me that there’s another side of humanity that’s so much bigger than a few loud, nasty voices.

I saw cosplayers in professional-looking costumes that took my breath away or brought me to tears with their beauty… and I saw them mugging for photos with anyone who asked, complimenting costumes at every skill level, and being extremely open and gracious.

I saw a weekend-long event where respect was the expectation, where everyone was accepted, where social awkwardness was okay, and where people wore and celebrated whatever they wanted without worrying about judgements based on gender, body type, or physical appearance.

I saw people drawn together by what they love, not divided by what they hate.

Now, I was stuck behind my vendor table for most of the event. I didn’t see everything. But what I did see–from vendors and presenters supporting each other to the way people’s faces lit up when we complimented their costumes as they walked by–was kind of magical.

Oh, and the panel on Worldbuilding that I hosted with Candace Osmond and JJ King was a blast! We had an hour to fill, and the audience had so many questions that we could easily have stretched it to at least an hour and a half. I love talking about writing, and I’m so thankful that we had that opportunity to answer questions and help other writers with their worlds and approaches to their stories.

The highlights of my weekend were definitely that panel… and seeing a complete stranger flaked out on a chair, deeply absorbed in one of my books. Pretty amazing.

Yeah. I’m glad I went.

The event is over now. Spring hasn’t arrived here in Newfoundland, and won’t for some time yet. I picked up a nasty cold while I was having such a good time being around people. Things still look pretty blah in the world at large. But my faith in humanity has been maybe a little bit restored–or at least I’ve been reminded that we’re more than the hateful voices who somehow always manage to grab the megaphone. And as I sit here at my desk and try to focus on getting back to work on my pen name’s ongoing series, I’m glad I’ve got some fun new memories to keep me warm…and a few new books to read.

…Because my TBR pile wasn’t already big enough. ^_^

-Kate

Want to see some of those costumes I mentioned? Photographer Riche Perez has some incredible photos posted here, or  click here for the Facebook video of CBC’s live coverage of the costume contest! The audio’s not perfect at the beginning of the video, but it gets better.


I’m Not Dead

I KNOW, I know. I fell off the face of the Earth for a while. And I was doing so well, too.

The truth is, I’ve been focusing my time and energy on revisions and self-editing on a book that’s due to my editor January 1, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for making words otherwise.

So here’s a quick update, and I’ll write more once this monster is off my desk:

-I completed the Whole30 program in November. It did wonders for my migraine symptoms (unless some unrelated miracle occurred), but I ran into other problems. Like not eating enough. The medication I’m on kills my appetite, and having to be super careful about what I was eating (and extra time for food planning/prep), having few snack options, and not being able to stomach big meals meant I was probably way under the calorie count my body needs, especially when I’m working my brain so hard. I was exhausted all the time. And three weeks after finishing, I’m STILL exhausted. And my migraines are giving me hell now, of course, because (long story short) I didn’t get to do a careful reintroduction. So I need to take a good, hard look at how I’m going to tackle this one again in the new year. (To be clear: The program was great and totally worthwhile, but my particular situation hindered me a bit. I’ll do a full post on my experiences with Whole30 if anyone is curious.)

-I kind of crashed over the last month. In particular, I had a few bad weeks of depression/anxiety, which is something I usually manage to keep under control. A lot of it had to do with the book I’m working on–deadlines, huge writing challenges, perfectionism, and low energy are a bad combination. It was also looking at my work from a career standpoint (which led to fear of the future), Christmas stress, feeling overwhelmed by life… My point in sharing this being that we all face this stuff sometimes, and if you’re going through it, you’re not alone. We all crash. The important thing is to figure out what happened and dust ourselves off so we can get moving again (and to get help when we need it).

-But in spite of that, I should have this (($#&ing) book ready to go to my editor on time. I’ll share more about it soon, but for now I’m still keeping it under wraps. It’s challenged me in a lot of ways. Not just technically, but in the hits I’ve taken to my confidence and the fights I’ve had with myself over why it’s been so hard. But early responses from readers have been fantastic, and my Big Bad Editor’s only going to make it better. So that’s exciting.

The less-good news is that it’s a duology, so I need to think long and hard about whether I want to release part one too long before part two is going to be ready to go. Big decisions.

-As for my productivity experiment, I’m sticking to a schedule right now where I’m trying to take advantage of my natural energy/focus rhythms, getting most of my work done in the late morning and afternoon. I wish I could say I was still getting up early and enjoying my wonderful quiet time, but my exhaustion is so bad that I’ve been physically unable to get up before I absolutely have to. I’ve also been too tired at night to do much of anything after supper. Here’s hoping a bit of recharging and less deadline stress after Christmas will help me get back into the swing of things.

-And yes, I’m almost ready for Christmas. I dropped the ball on sending cards (I think I mailed five of them), but I’m just going to have to forgive myself for that. And for a lot of other things. I’m doing my best, and that’s all I can reasonably ask of myself.

So there we go. We’re updated.

And just in case I don’t get a chance to come back and say it: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best to you in the new year!


NEW RELEASE: Light of the Stygian Orb by Krista Walsh

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Krista Walsh’s work. And I’m fortunate to have had an opportunity to get to know her as a critique partner and a friend. I’ve watched her Invisible Entente series evolve from the very beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed every book so far. In fact, I’m building up a shelf full of paperbacks so I can do a massive re-read before the last book comes out next year.

Light of the Stygian Orb isn’t your average, everyday tale of supernatural intrigue. It features an unexpected heroine, a reluctant hero, and a story that revolves around a seriously unconventional friendship. Loads of action, surprises, adorable moments.

Now, if you haven’t been reading the Invisible Entente series, I recommend going back to the beginning and starting there. You can read the books on their own, but the series is building to a KILLER conclusion that will involve all of the characters.

But this post is about Molly, Zachariel, and Light of the Stygian Orb, which celebrated its official publication yesterday. Krista gave me the go-ahead to post about it, so here you go! Scroll on down to read about the book and get the links.

(super gorgeous cover art by Ravven)

22780481_10214838325850392_2810853060360457065_n

In the darkness, good and evil is a matter of perspective.

As an archer who is deafblind, sixteen-year-old Molly Harris has always lived an exceptional life, but since rescuing the angel-demon hybrid Zachariel and being introduced to the otherworld, she’s craved a different kind of extraordinary. On her mission for answers, however, Molly realizes the road to the truth is more treacherous than she expected.

Zachariel is a freak of nature who has never fit in anywhere, and he’s grown comfortable with his solitary existence. Now, not only does he have a nosy teenager invading his personal space, he’s also dealing with a shady demon who wants to recruit him for a secret project — and who won’t take no for an answer.

As Zach delves into the demon’s scheme, he discovers he’s an unwilling pawn in a life-or-death game. Zach and Molly may be an unlikely team, but it rests on them to hold back the threat that could shake the foundations of the world.

click here for links!


Productivity Experiment Week 2 Baseline Results

Yeeeeeah.

Welp.

It was a week. That is a thing I can say about it.

I mean, it wasn’t all a bad week. It was a pretty reasonable baseline measurement week, actually. Between Monday and Friday I only managed to work 12 hours (mostly writing hours), but I added 12,829 words to my manuscript.

Not as many as I want to be adding per week. Not as many as some people add per day. But that’s not the point. Progress is progress, and I did my best every day.

I averaged about 3 hours’ work on days I was working… which did not include Thursday. Thursday was one of those days I mentioned needing to be prepared for. A migraine and back pain teamed up to leave me in a painkiller-and-brain-fog stupor, which in turn left me lying on the couch watching Roseanne all day.

I got the box set for Christmas. It is most excellent.

I watched more TV on that one day than I usually do in a week. I don’t feel bad about that. It’s not like I could work. So Thursday was a write-off.

And that’s kind of how things go. Sometimes my best is the 4780 words I wrote on Tuesday. Sometimes it’s trying not to feel guilty about taking a sick day.

So between that and my struggles with trying to get started on work in the morning (or like… any time), trying to fit yoga with my husband into our schedule, and having a regular school week to deal with, things were pretty normal around here. Score one for the baseline measurement!

And I got other stuff done. People got fed. No one was crushed under a pile of clutter or choked to death on litter box fumes. A kid had a friend over. I worked on a sample edit with a potential new editor and made last-minute plans to do a panel at Atlanti-Con. I helped with homework. I watched a movie. I waked my dog, and I found time to read. Stuff. Lots of stuff.

Judging by my notes from the past two weeks and my memory of how things worked last year, I’m calling this the baseline against which I’ll be measuring future results:

  • Work hours: 15
  • Words per writing hour average: 1200
  • Sleep: 8-8.5 hours per night
  • Energy: generally low, crash by 6:00 on weeknights

So what does wrapping the baseline weeks up mean?

It means that this week, I start the Godawful Early Schedule.

I’m more excited about it than that name implies. Yes, it’s going to be crazy hard to get up an hour earlier than I do now to fit in 90 minutes of work before I wake the kids up. I’m used to getting up early-ish, but I’m not exactly energetic or what you’d call mentally present in the morning. I may cry. I might not word good.

But if I can make it work?

If I can make it work, I could get a good chunk of my work for the day done before anyone has any reason to interrupt me. I could be alone with my work when I’ve just rolled out of dreams, before distractions have a chance to get to me. I could let ideas filter in the back of my mind while I get the kids up and out, and maybe have new ideas when I get back to writing. Or I could continue drafting in the morning and do edits later, using that natural schedule break to split my day and still finishing my work day by 12:30.

I could have afternoons free for napping so I won’t crash so hard at supper time, or to get a walk in to help me shift gears before home and family time. Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy my evenings instead of watching the clock to see if it’s bedtime yet.

That’d be cool.

We’ll see how it goes. My big plans might not pan out, but there’s always a chance.

(This Thursday’s post is going to take a look at the productivity tips and tricks that are already working for me, which will conclude this series of experiment intro posts. After that, I’ll post reviews of some productivity books, talk a bit about writing/being my own boss and productivity, and of course posting updates on the experiment. Let me know if you have questions/topics you’d like to see covered!

…Assuming I don’t fall down the stairs in a sleep-deprived stupor some early morning and find myself unable to post. It’s not unpossible.*)


 

*Unpossible is a perfectly cromulent word.


Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

The Writer Within

Inside the world of author AnnMarie Wyncoll

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

Are You Finished Yet?

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of best-selling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

Life, love, writing

Sara Beth Williams, Author of Christian Romance

Allie Potts Writes

Author, Blogger, Designer - Inventor of Worlds

Ultimately Useless Stories

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Shan Jeniah's Lovely Chaos

Living a Life of Messy Beauty!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

Doorway Between Worlds

Communication tips with a creative twist

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Practical Whimsy

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

📌life is never fair☕

🌼i gather strength from life’s storms -Jonathan L Huie🌼

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

Author Jen Wylie's Blog

Welcome to my mind... Blog for fantasty author Jen Wylie

J.R. RASMUSSEN

fantasy author