Friday, March 30, 2012

Interview with Tobi

Today I'd like to welcome the winner of the last Knights of MicroFiction for the year, Tobi Summers from Chock Full of Words.  Check out Jess's blog for her interview with other lucky winner Stephanie at Word by Word.

Congratulations on your win and thanks so much for joining us today Tobi.
Let's get down to business.  My first question for today is:
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I was somewhere between three and six years old when I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, and I've been working towards it ever since.  (Somewhere, I have short stories I wrote when I was about six years old and a novel(la) I finished when I was 12.)

Ooh I'm sure those would be interesting to look at, like a window into your younger self.  I have a few of those hidden away myself.   What project are you working on at the moment?

I'm actually working on two, editing one and writing the other.  The one I'm editing is the currently untitled first book of the Capitoline Hill Chronicles (formerly called Rosetta).  It's about a girl named Quinn, who left her werewolf pack five years ago to escape some bad memories.  But after her brother takes off, she returns home.  Just in time, it turns out, because things are getting a little crazy both inside and outside the Pack, and Quinn winds up being a huge help in restoring order. (My pitch still needs some work... :) )

Wow, I love the idea!  I can't imagine what it might be like to be part of a werewolf pack.  Sounds like Quinn is well on her way to becoming top dog though.  What else are you working on?

The one I'm writing is tentatively called Defenders.  The story centers around a team of six girls, all 16 years old. They're one of many teams of all different supernatural species who are tasked with defending their city from internal and external attack.

Oh that sounds great too!  I've never been good at coming up with paranormal plots, but it looks like you've got it down.  So with all these projects, have you set any specific goals to keep them all on track?

This is the first year I've ever set writing goals for myself, so I can actually answer this question! :)  I'd like to finishing editing Capitoline Hill by the end of May and begin querying agents in June.  I want to finish Defenders by the end of the summer, and I want to use NaNoWriMo to write the first 50,000 words or so of the second book in the Capitoline Hill Chronicles.

Looks like you know exactly where you want to be. That's great! Good luck with them.  What about blogging?  How long have you been a blogger?  

I've had a blog since October 2011, but I only really started using it in February 2012.  So... two months.

Well, welcome to this great supportive community of writers.  I know I have gained so much by being a part of it.  What do you think blogging has done for you so far?

I think the best thing blogging's done for my writing is hold me accountable.  As I blog more, I'm meeting all these wonderful, fantastic authors at all different stages in their writing.  And because, like many writers, I have a deep desire to be accepted by everyone, I feel like I need to be a serious writer to keep up with them.  So instead of just writing whenever I get a whim, I'm writing almost everyday, even if it's just a blog post or flash fiction story.  

With all those great blogging challenges out there we sure have lots to write about!  What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I watch a lot of television.  It's actually kind of embarrassing how much television I watch (at last count it was over 30 currently airing shows).  For a long time, I thought I wanted to work in television, and I had a freelance gig writing about crime TV, so at some point I decided that watching TV was the same as working... and it's all downhill from there.

LOL. I don't know, TV and movies are definitely a great resource for story ideas so maybe you can count it as work after all.
Is there anything else we should know about you?

Hm, let's see... I have the best, most supportive family I know; I'm an unrepentent chocoholic; I've often considered mainlining Vanilla Coke; and blatantly bad grammar sometimes makes me twitch and correct people inappropriately.Thanks so much for choosing my story and for featuring me on your blog!

I'm a chocoholic too!  Thank you Tobi, for participating in Knights of MicroFiction!  It's been fun to have you here today.  Good luck with all your projects.  

Unfortunately that's all the time we have for today.  Thanks for stopping by.  Make sure to check out Tobi's blog here.

Have a great weekend!

Kathy :)      

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Here are the winners from this month's Knights of MicroFiction:

Stephanie at Word By Word  and Tobi at Chock Full of Words.  Congratulations and thanks so much for joining in!  Tune in Friday when Jess and I feature them on our blogs.

In other announcements, Jess and I decided that the Knights of MicroFiction will be held only during Jan-Mar of each year.  That way people don't have to commit for the entire year.  SO this was the last one for this year.  We want to thank everyone who joined us.

A special thank you goes out to Fairbetty at Fairbettys World for entering each month!! :) Stop by her blog and say hello.  We'll keep the linky list up so you can sign up anytime for next year.

Thanks so much to all of you who supported us in our first bloghop!

Now we are all free to focus on the A-Z Challenge coming up in only 5 days!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Spring!
Kathy :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Knights of MicroFiction!

It's the last Monday of the month so it's time again for the Knights of MicroFiction!  Here is today's challenge:

Use at least one of the following adjectives: delicate, repulsive, hostile, 
and at least two of the following nouns:  New York City, my 16th birthday, and kilts 
Write a MicroFiction/flash fiction piece of 250 words or less.  

Post your entry before Tuesday night.  Leave a comment here so we know you've posted.  Wednesday, Jess and I will choose two winners to be featured on our blogs.  Good luck and have fun! :)  

Here's mine:

"I can't believe I'm stuck here with you!" Sarah said crouching behind a dumpster.  The repulsive stench of rotten meat wafted through the air.  I almost hurled.

"Yeah, well you're no picnic but that's not our biggest problem right now." I said.  "We have to get out of here!" I couldn't believe I was on the run in New York City, with her of all people.       

"Why are they chasing you?" She asked.  Her delicate brown curls caressed her shoulder. 

Why did she have to be so annoying? "I don't know, but it has something to do with this."  I pulled the little black box out of my backpack. 

"What's inside it?" 

"I haven't opened it yet."  That sounded so stupid!  I don't know why I hadn't.  Except I was told not to.   I wished she would stop pestering me but her dark brown eyes stared into mine.  She did deserve an explanation. Her life was in danger too.  "When I found it, an old man told me it had unbelievable power.  I was not to open it until the right time." 

"How do you know when that is?" She rolled her eyes. 

I thought of my 16th birthday, when grandpa told me his gift would change me forever.  He bought me a kilt!  Maybe I just wanted to believe this little box was special, that I was special.  But those men felt it was important enough to kill me, I had to know why.  Carefully, I lifted the lid.


Thanks for reading it!

Don't forget to join the linky list if you want to be part of the fun!

Kathy :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good Things

Yippee!  It's the day we've all been waiting for, the opening for the Hunger Games!  I hope it lives up to its hype!

We only have 9 days before the start of the A-Z Challenge!  I thought I had the perfect topic, but now I'm not so sure.  SO I'm heading back to the notepad to sketch out more ideas.  I'm really looking forward to this year's challenge, hopefully I can come in more prepared with some pre-written posts.  Last year I wrote each one on the prescribed day.

As far as my WIP, it's moving right along.  I've almost hit the 10,000 mark!

Looks like it's going to be another unbelievably beautiful day here.  I was finally able to get out in the garden yesterday to do some clean up.  Here's what's blooming right now.
Mini daffodils- they are only about a 1/2 inch across so petite. :)
Hope you all have a great weekend! and enjoy the Hunger Games movie!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A New Wake Up

There I was sleeping peacefully when out of nowhere an alarm rudely blared at me. It shouted for me to wake up.  I tried desperately to stop the sound, to turn it off but it's rhythmic pounding persisted.  I unplugged it and it still mocked me with its noise.  It must have been possessed, the devilish thing.  I smashed it into pieces and yet the cacophony brain slowly began to come out of the fog...I was dreaming.  I woke up looked at my alarm clock with disdain and turned it off.

Later that day a box arrived at our door.  It said "Philips Wake-Up Light:  Wake up naturally for a more pleasant feeling."  WOW!  My husband had ordered it a couple days ago.

I couldn't wait to try it the next night.  We set the alarm for "nature sounds" There are 3 to choose from.  I chose a happy little bird call.  In the morning, the light gradually increased in intensity like the sun was rising in our room and then came the birds.  They landed gently on my pillow and nudged me awake with their sweet song...a world of difference from the blaring in my head.

Maybe it's a coincidence but I felt happier and more energetic throughout the day.  Now at least I wake up with a smile instead of glaring at the alarm and smacking it into silence.

Are you one of those morning people who just pops out of bed with energy or do you hit the snooze multiple times before rolling out of bed?

Kathy :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Great Books

I've just finished reading two great historical fictions Madame Tussaud:  A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran and Elizabeth I by Margaret George.

Before I began reading Madame Tussaud, all I knew was that she had a wax museum in London.  I wasn't particularly interested in her but I'm fascinated by the French Revolution so I decided to try it. I'm so glad I did.  It was amazing!

In the book, Madame Tussaud (Marie Grosholtz) is caught between the two worlds of the French Revolution.  While Marie tutors Madame Elizabeth, the sister of King Louis XVI, at Versailles, her family entertains revolutionaries like Robespierre in their salon.  She and her family must carefully balance their position until it is clear which side will prevail.    

Michelle Moran did an excellent job, seamlessly weaving the tragic events of the French Revolution with the story of Madame Tussaud's life.  I would highly recommend it!

Elizabeth I by Margaret George is an extensive work on the last years of the Virgin Queen's reign.  I've never been a fast reader so at 671 pages this one was a little difficult for me to get through.  But I finally finished yesterday and it was well worth it.

This book is written from the perspectives of both the Queen and her cousin and rival Lettice Knollys.  Lettice infuriates the Queen by marrying Robert Dudley, who is Elizabeth's favorite.  Lettice is banished from court but constantly finds ways to continue irritating her cousin.
Elizabeth has to deal with threats all around her.  The Spanish Armada is coming, Ireland is in rebellion and her beloved people begin to turn their opinion against her.  Can she turn the tide on all sides and keep her crown?
This is a fascinating look at the Queen's final years.  Margaret George brought the whole period to life with her exquisite attention to detail.   Highly recommended!

I can't even imagine how much research must have gone into both of these books!

I'd love to hear what you guys are reading!

Kathy :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lucky 7 Tags and Awards!

Wow there's so much to catch up on now that I'm back.  I've been tagged a few times over the past couple weeks so I thought I would take care of it all in one big post.  

First off, Kate from the Scribbling Sea Serpent tagged me in the Campaign.  Here are the questions she passed along.  

How old were you when you started writing? I've been fascinated with words my whole life. But I really got hooked on writing in fifth grade when my English teacher had us make up stories using our spelling words.  

What's your favorite book/movie? It's so hard to choose just one. I loved the playfulness of Dr. Seuss books.  I wanted to rhyme everything I said.  Star Wars was probably the most influential movie in the growth of my creativity. At one point I tried to write down all the dialogue on note cards and make my family act it out.  

If you were the main character of a book what genre would it be? I would want to be a heroine in a sci-fi. I always wanted to be Princess Leia 

What genre do you write in? Oh I think I've overextended myself a little with all the projects I'm trying to work on.  Currently I'm focusing on a YA fantasy.  But I'm also working on a mainstream historical fiction, a non-fiction, and I have some picture books I'm trying to whip into shape. 

If you could have a superpower what would it be? And why? I would love to have Jedi force powers. As a kid I tried to use telekinesis. I was disappointed when I couldn't make it work. 

What do you like to read?  I love reading about Elizabethan England, the French Revolution, and other great periods in history around the world. Lately I've also enjoyed YA fantasy and sci fis. 

What is something unusual you've done? I got married on the ice (yes we were all on skates!)

How do you get your character names? I go to a to find great names and their meanings. 

List the top 3 websites you go to:

Google- I use it for Google Docs, gmail, everything! I have my playlist going whenever I'm writing
 Khan That's how I continue my education (for free!)

Besides reading and writing, what 2 other hobbies do you have?  I love my day job as a figure skating coach!  I'm very lucky to work with so many great kids!  I also love cooking new ethnic dishes and traveling with my family. 

Where in the world would you like to go? 
Anywhere really.  Even when we go to Iowa with my husband on business we find neat things we'd never expect.  But my favorites are to the mountains, oceans or any foreign land.  

Alyssa over at Life is Good gave me the Sunshine Award. 

 The rules for this are to 
a.Thank the person who gave it to you
b. Link back to them 
c. Answer the questions 
d. Pass it on to 10 other great bloggers

The questions are:

Favorite color: purple
Favorite animal: cheetah, tiger or eagle
Favorite number: 5 cause we have 5 people in our family :)
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  hot tea or water- boring I know!
Facebook or Twitter: I don't really use either that much, but Facebook more
What is your passion: my family, skating, writing
Getting or giving presents:  giving- I don't really need anything anymore
Favorite pattern:  I love looking at fractals, so cool
Favorite day of the week:  any day that my husband is home with us
Favorite flower:  rose or peony

Finally nick Wilford over at Scattergun Scribblings passed me the Lucky 7 meme. Here are the rules.

1. Go to the 77 page of your current WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines-sentences or paragraphs-and post them as they're written. NO cheating.
4. Tag 7 other authors
5. Let them know

Finally answer the questions which were passed along.

So here are my 7 lines from page 77 starting at line 7.  

“We'll be there as soon as we can boys, we're all tired.”  I say patting William on the head.  
“Hey Robert, this looks like a good place to set up camp,” Cory says.  His words begin to sink in to my already exhausted mind.  “Set up camp”.  Tonight is the first night sleeping out in the wild.  We have to set up our own sleeping area, make a campfire, and cook food.  Tonight is the first night in a long string of difficulties.
Dara begins to set out cooking supplies.  “Elizabeth, come on over here.  We’ll fix supper while the boys ready our sleeping areas.”

The questions are:
 What is the title of your current WIP? Tell us about it.  I'm terrible at titles, so for now this is called Heading West.  Elizabeth marries Robert who seems to be the man of her dreams.  Her troubles begin when he rashly decides to move them out west to the Oregon Territory.  Along the way she discovers Robert is not who she thought he was...maybe even a traitor.  

When did you start blogging and why?
August 2009 is when I first started blogging on this blog.  I had made another one in May, but it wan't quite what I wanted.  I started it as a way to inspire me to write every day and a way to meet other writers.   

If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do? well my perfect day would include skating, writing, and being with my kids and husband maybe add a beach or some exotic locale and it would be perfect
Describe your happy place.   Hmmm, this would have to be someplace in the mountains that overlooks the ocean 
What was your first happy memory?  I guess the first thing that comes to mind is fishing with my grandpa or having my dad read to me. 
What was the scariest thing you've ever done? river rafting down the Ganges   
What is the funniest thing you did today? well yesterday I was trying to update my Facebook status and I forgot to write a few key words and it came out as "I'm going to be really tomorrow!".  Then I decided to tell you about it in the answer for this question, but I posted it without fully finishing my sentence!!
What is the strangest place you've ever gotten an idea for a story? at the ice rink
Where do you write? at the kitchen table
If you just won a ticket to anyplace in the world and you had to take me, where would you take me and why? well Nick, since I'm happily married I'd feel a little weird taking just you along somewhere, so I think I would bring my family and you could bring yours and we'd go on an African safari.  Then we could write about all the cool things we saw.  

Whew!  That was a lot of fun but also a lot of work!  So instead of tagging lots of other people, I'm passing these great awards along to anyone who visits my blog today! :)

Have a great weekend

Kathy :) 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Best Week Ever!

Sunday we spent the entire day at the airport. We finally arrived home at 11:30pm totally exhausted.  I tucked Ryan into bed.  In a sleepy voice he exclaimed, "BEST WEEK EVER!"

And he was right.  Here are some of the things we were up to last week on our Caribbean cruise.

Hanging out with the wild life in St. Thomas.



Building sandcastles

Hanging out on the beach

Horseback riding through the surf in Turks and Caicos


Eating far more ice cream on the cruise ship than we needed!

I hope you all had a great week!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Today is the first Wednesday of the month so that means it's time for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group post.

Ok I know this might sound strange but here is my insecurity: I don't think I'm a very good critique partner. I was invited to be in a picture book crit group which I was thrilled about...until I saw how thorough all these ladies were in their critiques. Line by line they pick out everything, grammar, structure, story arc, characters... Everything! They even leave suggestions on how to fix it. I read everyone's stories and I like most of them. I write, "Great job! Wonderful idea!" I wonder if I'm making a contribution. Sure I find grammar errors and a few awkward constructions here and there. But who am I to tell someone their idea won't work as it is? I don't have any books published yet. The funny thing is I didn't have a problem beta-reading for Jess, but maybe because she is my daughter I felt I could be more brutal with the red slashes throuh her words. Maybe because I am new to the group I feel I have to be nice. I love being a part of it, but I want to bring something useful to the others.

So If you have any suggestions on how to improve my critiques I'd love to hear them! I don't want to let these ladies down. I anxiously await your advicice!

 Kathy :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Second Campaign Challenge

It's time for the final challenge of Rachael Harrie's awesome campaign. There were a few new twists to this one. I chose to take the 5 prompts and incorporate them all into a flash fiction of 200 words. Hope you enjoy it!


Raina and Sanjay looked at each other. Their faces drained of color.

"You saw it?" Sanjay asked.

"It was coming at us! Is it gone?" Raina whispered, peering through the rain. But the apparition had vanished.

"Your leg!" Sanjay pointed.

Red liquid streamed from her thigh. Raina looked down. She didn't know why, but blood flowed from a deep gash above her knee. She hobbled to the pillar of rusting iron supporting the remains of the bridge and slumped down.

Sanjay sat beside her,his black hair dripped from the downpour.

"We never should have come! We're not supposed to be here in the rain," Sanjay sobbed.

Raina could see the skin under his eyes tighten with worry. But they had come. And what they saw...the golden aura of swiring light, the rain transforming and coalescing its droplets into distinct shapes suspended above them.

It couldn't have been real, could it? But it had hovered and realigned to form an ominous creature. Frozen with fear they had crouched in the junk heap and watched it approach.

"We'll be ok Sanjay."

"Isn't this the same bridge..."

"Yeah, it's where you last played football with father. Don't worry we'll find them."


Hope you liked it! I would love to get your honest critiques. Don't forget to check out all of the other great entries!

Kathy :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Interview with Aldrea Alien

Today I'm welcoming one of our winners of February's Knights of Micro-Fiction, Aldrea Alien from Thardrandian Thoughts.  Check out Jess's blog for the interview with our other winner, T.Z. Wallace.

Hi Aldrea it's great to have you here.  When did you know you wanted to be a writer

I’d say when I was about thirteen and first introduced to the wonderful genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The writing bug bit definitely hard then.

Oooh that's one kind of bug I like!  
What's your current WIP

That would be Dark One’s Mistress, about a seventeen-year-old girl who is kidnapped for the sole purpose of propagating the Dark Lord’s line. It’s an experiment of how far I can get into a story with one pov.

Sounds like a great plot, maybe even a little scary.  I'd love to read more about it.  
 What are your goals for this year

Same thing I do every year. Try to take over the wor- I mean get published. ^_^

Hehe (evil laugh) me too.
How long have you been blogging and how has it improved your writing

I’ve had a blog for ... goodness ... it’s been a year now. On the other hand, I’ve been blogging for six months. As for it improving my writing ... what with fifteen years of writing versus six months of blogging ... I don’t think it’s had time to affect it.

Well we are sure glad you are blogging now.  That flash fiction piece you wrote was great!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing

So many things. Let’s see ... during the day there’s making images with DazStudio or playing Runescape. At night and most of Sunday (when hubby has the computer) then, if I’m not watching TV, I’m reading. On top of all of it, there’s the bubbly presence of my daughter to contend with.

You've created some pretty cool images with DazStudio.  

Is there anything else we should know about you

Despite it not being my real name, I’ve had the name Aldrea K Alien kicking around the net for a good long while. When I was younger, I used to toy with using it as my pseudonym. I may just do that as my real name is shared with an erotic writer. -_-

OOh I like your assumed name.  I always thought it would be cool to come up with another me!  
Well Aldrea thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!  That's all for today.   
Thanks to all of you readers out there for stopping by!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!  And if you like flash fiction, don't forget to sign up for next month's Knights of Micro-Fiction here.    
And don't forget to stop by Aldrea's blog and say "hi"

Kathy :)