Thursday, May 28, 2015

Just Write

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: windujedi

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

LT Early Reviewers, GW Cover

Last month I mentioned that I signed up for Library Thing's Early Reviewer program, which allows me to request ARCs and gratis copies of books I'd like to read being offered by participating publishers and LT members in exchange for a review. Since there are inevitably more requests from ER participants than available copies there are no guarantees you'll get any book, but like any giveaway there's always a chance you will, too. I was selected to receive an ARC of In a French Kitchen ~ Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France by Susan Herrmann Loomis, which arrived yesterday:

Honestly, it's like Christmas without the decorating, and I can now say with certainty that yes, you actually can get cool free books from LT's Early Reviewers. To keep my end of the bargain once I've read it I'll post an official review here, at LT and a couple other places.

I'm also tinkering on cover art for Ghost Writer, my current Just Write Thursday story, and have narrowed a bunch of possibilities for the image down to these four (which will all need some tinkering, titles, bylines, etc.):

Which do you like best? Let me know in comments.

Added: As I mentioned in comments I could also combine a couple of these images, like so:

Image Credits:

Vintage writing: Miiisha

Laptop screen: pogonici

Writing hand: Syda_Productions

Lake Sunset: Yours Truly

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sub Op

Local Hero Press has an open call for their upcoming superhero-themed antho Caped: "We are now accepting submissions for an anthology of original superhero fiction short stories, called Caped. Here is what we’re seeking: Original superhero fiction stories that get into more depth about being a superhero than basic secret origin tales or superhero-versus-supervillain. Who are these people who have strange and wonderful powers and choose to use them for great justice? What makes them tick? Your characters should be original creations. We cannot consider work utilizing licensed characters." Length: "Up to 5000 words"; Payment: "$0.01 per word, rounded up to nearest $5.00 USD, paid via PayPal upon final acceptance of the contract by all parties." No reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details. Deadline: August 31st, 2015.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Image Credit: CelsoDiniz

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just Call Me Lyn

You can find out what your name might be if you were born today (and at every decade dating back to 1890) by entering your name, birth year and gender in this name popularity generator.

My results:

Oooh lala. I also like my 1970's name (Terri) and my 1920's name (Opal). This might also be a fun generator to use to come up with some alternative names for your characters.

So what would your name be if you were born today? Let us know in comments.

(Name generator link nicked from Gerard over at The Presurfer.)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Personal Legends

Here's something you don't know about me: Back in the eighties I was a lab rat for Quaker Oats. Or to be more precise I was one of the many volunteer consumers on whom Quaker tested several variations of their new chocolate-covered granola bar product before deciding on the final product.

I was actually approached by a consumer product tester while I was out shopping, and she asked if I'd like to take part in her group. I agreed because free food was involved; also, I loved granola and chocolate, so I didn't think it would be awful -- and it was actually really neat. I was given several boxes with different versions of bars, had to taste each one, rate them, mark a survey sheet and then report my opinions over the phone. I took it very seriously and answered honestly (and got to eat a lot of chocolate-covered granola bars, another happy memory.) The Quaker Oats people in turn treated me with respect and thanked me for helping them out. Since the product has stayed on the market for like thirty years, and it's the version I picked as the best of the test lot, I like to think my opinion helped bring the best form of the product to the shelves.

Most everyone has a personal legend or two in their lives, I think -- being remotely involved with some huge product as I was, or finding something enormously valuable at a garage sale, or having a brush with fame by meeting celebrities under ordinary circumstances. According to family lore, my grandfather, who came down with osteomyletis when my mom was a little girl, was among the first Americans to receive penicillin after the antibiotic was first approved for testing on patients in the U.S. Because at the time osteomyletis was a death sentence, it also saved his life. On the much lighter side of family legends, my mom once bought a dirty but pretty pearl ring at a flea market that she later had cleaned and appraised. Since it was made of platinum and had two nice little diamonds along with the pearl the jeweler valued it at $2,500.00 -- which was ten thousand times what she paid for it. Yep, she bought it for a quarter.

Although I've never met a celebrity under ordinary circumstances I think that would be pretty cool. Singers seemed to gravitate toward my family; while working the makeup counter at a drug store my mom waited on Roberta Flack, who was lovely to her. I definitely envy my brother, who along with being a minister runs an appliance repair business; one time he was called out to Gloria Estefan's house to fix her dishwasher and got to talk to her. Probably the most famous singer-celeb encounter story in our family is the time when my daughter and her classmate ran into rapper/actor Will Smith while they were on a school field trip, and he was kind enough to stop and talk to them, and answered a question my daughter asked him (which is why I will always love Will Smith. He was nice to my kid.) The unifying note in all these celeb personal legends is how kind famous people are when they deal with non-famous people. Generally speaking celebs tend to be very nice people under ordinary circumstances, as long as you're not shoving a camera or something to sign at them.

When you're building a character, consider adding a personal legend or two to their background. This doesn't have to tie into your story if you just want to add it to flesh them out, but very often personal legends do motivate us after they happen. My mom always pokes through jewelry boxes at every garage sale, rummage sale or flea market she goes to, hoping to find another treasure for a quarter. To this day I still buy Quaker Oats products and feel good every time I do. I also try to see in the theater or buy on DVD every film Will Smith makes (there's an example of how kindness to a child affects the kid's parent.) I suspect even my minister brother has a personal collection of Gloria Estefan's albums stashed away behind his Bibles. Connect a personal legend to your character's present and you add depth, realism and fun.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dream Always

Here's a look at the sketchworks of Palma Rea, a self-taught artist whose watercolors and sketches are filled with color, drama and beauty (with background music, for those of you at work):

The Sketchworks by Palma Rea from PalmaRea on Vimeo.