February 28, 2012

Catch Fire! Blog Party!

Today is my blogging buddy's Catch Fire Blog Party to celebrate the release of CassaFire, Alex J. Cavanaugh's second novel and sequel to CassaStar, a top ten best seller on Amazon. The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book.

There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour which runs from February 27 - March 9th.

See Alex’s site for more details: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

To find out more about Alex, check out his interview at Ray Gun Revival.

Here's a description of CassaFire:

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…


You can watch the awesome book trailer here:

CassaFire is available at Barnes & Noble , Amazon and on Amazon Kindle.

February 20, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge

This is the first campaigner challenge  in Rach Harrie's Fourth Writer's Platform-Building Campaign.


Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
We are to see how whacky, creative and original we can get.

I've met all of the requirements and added challenges.

Here is my story.

Beware the Shadows

Shadows crept across the wall as the orange moon rose higher in the midnight sky. Darkness enveloped me like a second skin, fear trapped in every pore. I crept along, one with the shifting darkness...


I whirled. “Shhh!” I hissed in a loud whisper. “Someone might hear us.” I turned back to the wall and edged along the shadows.

“Sorry,” Simon whispered back. “I can’t bleedin’ see. “Ow!” He tripped and stumbled into my back. “Tell me again what we’re doing here in the middle of the night?”

I sighed. “I told you. I didn’t get to shake his hand. If I could just hold something of his, grasp it in my hands, I might be able to read the energy from it and figure out what he’s up to.”

“Just what is it you suspect him of?”

I shivered. “Murder.”

We shimmied the wall and dropped to the other side, landing in a crouch. Taking the lead, I hurried toward the dark house. I skittered onto an oval mound of loosely packed dirt and sank down like an anchor, a rotten odor spewing up.

Simon snagged a shovel from against the wall.

I grasped the handle.

Everything faded.

As a side note, the energy the MC talks about reading is Psychometry, a way of reading the energy of an object to reveal it's history.

To check out all the entries, GO HERE. I am #52 if you want to "like" mine:)

February 15, 2012

Yay! My Very First Kreativ Blogger Award!

A very big thank you to Crazy California Claire for awarding me my very first Kreative Blogger Award! I never get tired of it. Really, I don't! My blog awards have their very own page and everything! Sheesh, look at all the exclamation marks!! I should be showing, not telling.

*great big cyber hug to Claire*

So now I have to tell you ten things about myself, and pass on the award to six of my blogging buddies. Here goes:

1) I've lived in California, Florida, California, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, California and Colorado. Pretty sure I'm not done yet. Tiger Gypsy blood!

2) I currently live at 9200 ft. elevation on 10 acres of woods in the mountains. We can't see our neighbors, but I have seen deer, elk, rabbit, squirrel, fox, bear, coyote and porcupine. We also have mountain lions, but thank goodness I haven't seen one!

3) I miss the beach. Ever see a dolphin or whale swimming in the ocean? It's awesome.

4) My 24th wedding anniversay is this month! How can that be? I'm not that old!

5) Daughter of a vet, wife of a vet, mother-in-law of a vet (sorry if I'm repeating myself - some of you already know this).

6) I love everything British: The pubs, the theatre and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the black cabs, the underground, double-decker buses, the accents, the architecture, the Cotswolds, cozy mysteries, A Christmas Carol and Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Midsommer Murders, Gavin & Stacey, The Vicar of Dibley, Harry Potter, Fish 'n' Chips, Toad-in-the-Whole, Bubble & Squeak, Bangers and Mash, the weather, walking along the Thames, ginnels and snickets, cobblestoned streets, The Beatles, the Royal Family. And of course my friend Claire Hennessy from Crazy California Claire who gave me this award!

7) I am a freak of nature: I don't like beer. (anything else, though, lol).

8) I love to travel. I've been to: England, Ireland, Scotland, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Innsbruck and all points in between. Briefly into Canada and of course Mexico - I grew up on the Mexican border in San Diego. I'm pretty sure I got cussed out by a Catholic priest at Notre Dame in Paris. I watched a student riot with barricades, tire fires and riot police from my hotel balcony in Paris. I had cappuccino on the Spanish Steps in Rome without knowing it. I boarded a train without a reservation in Stuttgart Germany. Sleeper trains are awesome! When I become a world famous author, I want to travel a lot!

9) I am a book whore hoarder:)

10) Living in the moutains, we have to make our own fun. So - we have Japanese Night (Udon, chopsticks, Japanese music on Pandora), Mexican Night (burritos or enchiladas, mexican beer and mexican music on Pandora - especially on Cinco de Mayo and Dia De Los Muertos), German Night (bratwurst and German potato salad, German beer and German music on Pandora), Irish Night (especially on St. Patricks Day, corn beef and cabbage, Guinness, Jameson and Irish Music on Pandora) and Italian Night (bruschetta, pasta, wine, candle stuffed in a chianti bottle and Italian music on the DVR).


1) Loralie at Apathy's Hero. She's currently hosting the Critique Partner's Blogfest for us. Thank you, Loralie! What a "Kreativ" idea you had.
2) Sarah Pearson at Empty White Pages who writes and posts musical stories that I love. And because she's always so supportive.
3) My new friend and follower Maria Zannini for her kind words and versatile blog.
4) Deborah Walker who actually has two blogs, HERE and as Kelda Crich HERE.
5) Sharon Bayliss at The Blue Word who blogs about writing AND updates us on important contests and opportunities.
6) Joshua at Vive Le Nerd for his "Kreativ" rescue when I deleted all my comments!

February 13, 2012

11 Questions from the Platform-Building Campaigners

11 Questions ...Make that 22 ...Er 33

Thanks, Melissa Maygrove, for tagging me in the 11 Questions game. We Platform Building blog campaigners are having some fun playing the blogging writer's version of 20 Questions. So sit back and enjoy.

Here are the 11 questions given to me by Melissa:

1. If you were given a yacht, what would you name it?
Hmmm, sea vessels are always named after women. I'd name it after the name my husband gave me: The Lady Gwendolyn. Or after my dog, HRH Koko "Puff."

2. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I'm presuming you mean something legal - wouldn't it be fun to freak people out by driving?!

3. Where's your favorite place to write?
I write in my loft. Two picture windows looking out on ten acres of pine and aspen (snow-covered at the moment).

4. Give us a sample of a conversation you might have with one of your characters:

Me: "Tell me the truth - do ghosts watch us undress? It's just that, you know, male relatives coming back for a visit...."

MC: "Get a grip, Gwen. Just because you write me, doesn't mean I have to answer silly questions."

Me: "No, but really...."

MC: Rolls her eyes.

5. What punctuation mark best describes your personality? Why?
Oooh, good question. I'm pretty "lower keyboard." Probably the question mark because I'm always questioning everything.

6. Just like "Everybody Wang Chung tonight!", what action would your name be if it were a verb?

7. What's one thing you'd like others to know about you?
I write YA Paranormal Romance and I like to read it too. But I also read classic literature, british mysteries and spiritual/inspirational books.

8. What's one misconception people tend to have about you?
That I'm standoffish. But really I'm just quiet and socially inept.

9. Who cares if the glass is half empty or half full. What's in the glass?
Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh and I like one of those little charms on the stem, too. The Eiffel Tower is my favorite.

10. Name one of your strengths when it comes to writing?
I'm think I'm pretty good at writing mishaps:)

And last, but not least...

11. What's the most unusual or outrageous thing you've ever done to understand and perfect a character's POV? (Let's see if Carrie will answer this one honestly. *Gotcha Grin*)
I'd rather hear this from Carrie!

I am tagging some of my new followers from the campaign (your questions follow!):

1. Elodie at commutinggirl

2. Dawn Montgomery at The Write Way, My Way

3. Kevin Hiatt Graphophobia

4. Nick Hight at Writing Fire

5. Alynza Smith at The Write Journey

6. Yvie Gonya at wandering on the edge of paradise

7. Ruth "inluvwithwords" at Out on a Limb

8. Shannon at Green Monkey Tales

9. Gina Carey

10. Melissa at have your heard?

11. Jess at Write. Skate. Dream.

Consider yourselves tagged!

Here's your 11:

1. What is your secret weapon of choice?

2. If you could sit down for coffee with any historical figure, who would it be?

3. Any "famous" figures in your ancestry? Who and what did they do?

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

5. What was the #1 song the day you were born?

6. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

7. Who is your favorite literary character and why?

8. Besides reading and writing, what is your favorite pastime or hobby?

9. If you could switch places with one person for 24 hours, who would it be? Why?

10. What is the area you live in most famous for?

And last, but not least...

11. What are the top 5 programs you watch on television?

*When you've posted these questions with your answers on your blog, come back and leave a comment letting us know. ; )

February 10, 2012

Critique Partner Blogfest

Need a Critique Partner? Loralie Hall over at Apathy's Hero is hosting this awesome Critique Partner Blogfest. Between February 10th and February 13th, post the below information. Then visit the other participants sites which can be found HERE and comment. If you see someone that is a fit for your needs, let them know you are interested. If you don't find a fit, that's okay, too. No obligation.

So here is my entry into The Critique Partner Blogfest:

Genre, Age Group, Book Title:
YA Paranormal Romance
12-18 age group
Givin' Up The Ghost

Story Status:
I am halfway through editing my first complete novel. I think it needs lots of help. I hope to pitch it to an agent or publisher in April at a Writer's Conference.

Feedback I'm Looking For:
I am looking for overall thoughts or recommendations on a per chapter basis. What are the strengths and weaknesses? What's missing? Is any part of it confusing or not working? Are any of the parts boring? Anything that I might not be seeing myself.

My Pitch:

Indigo Eady was NOT clumsy. At least, not until she moved to Sabrina Shores. Could she help it if she’d been off-kilter since moving to a medieval village in England? Who knew it would be teeming with afterlife? After all, this was the 21st century! It was like she had a foot in both worlds, straddling the no-man’s land in between. She just had to learn to keep her balance, that’s all.

So it wasn’t her fault that she somehow managed to bowl Badger over every time they met. She was becoming hazardous to his health, not to mention her own. If it weren’t for the murdered spirits and interfering ghosts vying for her attention, her life would be so much easier!

To top it all off, why did Badger have to be so cute? That was no doubt the problem. Mix needy dead guys and very-much-alive cute guys, and you had the ingredients for a world totally out of whack. But neither of them had time for love right now. They had a murderer to catch. Even so, sparks were flying in more than one direction!

If only she could Give Up The Ghost and leave all that otherworldly stuff behind. Then she could be a normal teenager, who did normal things. Like dating. And holding hands. And even better, kissing! Not like that kiss she shared with Badger to throw off those goons who were following them. Although for a fake kiss, it was really, really good!

First 500 Words:

“What the...” the boy sputtered, finding himself inextricably lying flat on his back. I lay sprawled across him, our eyes locked in stunned surprise, our bodies entwined in a tangle of arms and legs. My breath was coming in rasps so I couldn’t speak, but it was just as well. I mean, what was I going to say? Nice day for a run?

I don’t know who was more shocked, him or me. Luckily it was still early and the market square relatively quiet. I didn’t think anyone had witnessed my current fiasco. Now I could add bowling over cute guy to my growing list of mishaps. I sighed.

I chanced a quick glance back toward the alley I had just barreled from, but the thing was gone. Not a very graceful escape, I’ll admit. But all things considered, this new situation I suddenly found myself in was a vast improvement, if hugely embarrassing.

I suddenly realized the dude beneath me was beginning to squirm. “I’m sorry,” I gasped, still trying to catch my breath. Now I had to extricate myself from this current predicament. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. Our entwined limbs and clothing became like a massive pile of clothes hangers. The more I tried to untangle, the more things got caught.

Plus, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t doing much to help me with the problem. In fact, based on his grin, I’d say he was enjoying himself way too much.

A frown appeared between my eyes as I tried not to grin back. I should have been thankful he wasn’t mad, but this was no laughing matter. I was extremely uncomfortable, on more than one level. And the few people out and about were starting to stare at the young couple lying on the rain-soaked pavement.

Attack was the best defense, I’ve heard tell. “You could help me, you know,” I chastised, working a strand of my braid - still attached to my head I might add - from his jacket zipper. But with one strand down, I was still attached by another good-sized clump, preventing me from getting up - unless I was willing to rip out chunks of my hair - which I wasn’t. I was rather attached to it, actually.

“Oh, sorry. Here, let me.” With gentle fingers he eased long black locks of hair from the zipper, strand by strand. While he worked, I studied his face. He looked familiar. A slight scar above his right brow, about an inch long. Dark brown hair, slightly messy and overgrown. Golden speckles in brown eyes that...

...were now viewing me with amusement.

Crap. Busted, checking out the dude I just bowled over. So not cool. Plus, I had the feeling I totally missed something he just said.

“Sorry, what?” I asked, dumbly.

“You’re loose,” he repeated.

February 6, 2012

Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign

Once again it's time for Rach Harrie's Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. This is the short version which will run from February 6, 2012 to March 17, 2012. 

It's easy to sign up. Just CLICK HERE and fill out the form. Then to sign up for specific genre groups and see the lists of campaigners, CLICK HERE.

Participating in this campaign is an excellent way to make contact with other writers and to build your following. Just visit and comment on as many blogs as you can, and they will return your visit. If you are a new blogger, this is the best way to get followers. I got over 100 followers just by participating last August! Generally, if you follow someone, they'll follow you back.

You will meet a lot of awesome writers and bloggers who are at various stages of the writing process, from beginning writers all the way to published writers. The more bloggers you follow, the more access you will have to just about anything you want to know about writing, publishing and editing.

I encourage you to join in the fun. You won't get better support and encouragement anywhere else. Plus, there are contests and prizes!

Here are some of the Key Dates:
  • This Fourth Campaign will be a mini-Campaign, and will run from today until Saturday, March 17, 2012.
  • The List of Campaigners will close on Wednesday, February 15th, so make sure you sign up before then.
  • The First Campaigner Challenge will begin on Monday, February 20th and end on Saturday, February 25th.
  • The Second Campaigner Challenge will begin on Monday, March 5th and end on Saturday, March 10th.
I hope to see you on the campaign trail!

February 4, 2012

World Cancer Day: Welcome Guest Blogger Liz Davies

Today is World Cancer Day and this years theme is "Together We Are Stronger." The first thing you can do is go here and sign the World Cancer Declaration (or click on the icon in the sidebar), a petition to end cancer globally.

And I have a special treat for you today. In support of a cure through better exposure I have Liz Davies visiting today as my guest. Liz is a recent graduate interested in all things health related. In honor of WCD 2012, Liz has written an awesome article for us about assisting cancer patients suffering from insomnia.

Welcome Liz! I am so happy to have you here as my guest today!

So, who is Liz? Read on:

Q) How did you become interested in the topic of cancer and treatment/exercise for insomnia?
A) I have been interested in the way exercise affects cancer patients since I started working at my school’s recreation and wellness center. It is very motivational being surrounded by people interested in health. I also have history with cancer in my family and I have always been interested in ways cancer patients can face their difficulties in a positive way.

Q) What did you receive your degree in? Is it health related?
A) I received my degree in Communications and although I do not have a degree in a health related field I have always been interested in health and have educated myself on many topics.

Q)  Now that you’ve graduated, what is your career path?
A)  I hope to influence people through my writing. I have a friend that plans on starting a business and I would love to do Public Relations for her.

Q) You mention that you’re an aspiring writer. What genre are you interested in writing?
A)  I am interested in writing about topics that can help people and give them more information than they had before. I love reading news articles and inspirational pieces so I want to be able to write things that people will love to read.

Sweet Dreams for Cancer Patients through Exercise  (by Liz Davies)
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are three times more likely to be affected by insomnia than those without cancer. Insomnia can be prevalent for multiple reasons, one of those reasons being a high level of stress felt by cancer patients. But research has also found that these sleep problems can continue though remission.

Insomnia has extremely negative effects on the human body. This can include affecting the cardiac and immune functions of the body. Cancer patients often already have issues with this so insomnia adds more unhealthy weakness to the body. For cancer patients, it is very hard to fight off unexpected problems so this extra stress makes it more difficult to fight their main focus, cancer.

Insomnia affects all cancer patients differently. Lung cancer patients were found to have the highest level of insomnia and colon cancer patients had the least. This could be due to the different types of chemotherapy taken throughout treatment or the different levels of stress found with different survival rates. Patients who have generally higher survival rates like those suffering from breast cancer, are going to have different stresses from those with cancers with typically lower survival rates, like mesothelioma.

When trying to cure insomnia is it important to find and address the underlying issue. Patients who were diagnosed with insomnia were also found to have more incidences of depression and exhaustion. The number one symptom of people suffering from depression is insomnia but treating depression did not help cure the insomnia.

There are many medications that are given to cancer patients as sleep aids. Many patients do not want to add one more pill to their plate. One way to naturally cure insomnia is through exercise. Exercise reduces stress and nervous and muscle tension while increasing the production of endorphins which creates a sense of well-being and relieves pain.

At first a daily exercise program might feel more tiring than anything but after the body adjusts, the body will be able to go into a fuller sleep and therefore become more well rested than previously. It is important to try not to exercise directly before trying to fall asleep because this will cause sleep disturbances. Many believe exercise is the number one treatment for cancer survivors. Article written by Liz Davies.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Thank you, Liz, for being my guest today. I loved your article and your drive to assist cancer patients get through very difficult times. Gwen.

February 2, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I have just joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex Cavanaugh the first Wednesday of every month! Basically it's a blog hop where you post your writing concerns and doubts and then receive the support and encouragement of those who are there, been there, or are going there!

To read the other posts or to join the fray, CLICK HERE.

(It's not that writers are neurotic, they're just, um, .......different. That's right, different! In a good way.)

My fears? That my book, Givin' Up The Ghost, won't be ready by April when I'll have a chance to pitch it at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference. The first draft is complete and I'm halfway through the edit. But the middle is totally sagging!

I've also never pitched a book before so I'm at a complete loss.

Okay, rant over! How're you all doing?