Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Write Club Featuring DL Hammond and Note

Note: Today my upcoming novella Sacrifice HER is featured over at Crystal Collier's blog. Click here to have a look see. Thanks Crystal!

Hi readers I'm glad to have DL Hammond over today to discuss Write Club and I hope both participants and those interested in doing so after reading this post remember that this is the last week for submissions. Take it away DL!

First off, I’d like to thank Sheena-Kay for the opportunity to talk to you today about something near and dear to my heart…WRiTE CLUB. My modest writing contest has proven so popular that the DFW Writers Conference is now considering incorporating it into their agenda for 2015. 

For the newbies out there, let me explain what WRiTE CLUB is? It’s a modest writing competition whose inspiration was derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB. There are numerous versions of this concept around the internet, but nothing like we do it. Its essence embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 

Over the course of eight weeks I hold twice-weekly bouts in which the winners advance to the play-offs, which will ultimately lead to a single champion. Bouts between who…or what…you ask? Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by anyone who wishes to take part, that’s who. The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, without having to suffer the agony of exposure. 

And the winners are determined by WRiTE CLUB readers!

To find out how to become part of the fun just head on over to DLHammons.com and click on theWRiTE CLUB tab. 

Submissions are open until May 31st. After that date a panel of a dozen judges will read all of the entries we received and pre-select 32 of the best writing samples to climb into the ring. Those 32 participants will then be randomly matched to compete over the next eight weeks, each of them hoping to make it into the play-off rounds and moving towards the ultimate goal – WRiTE CLUBChampion. No one (other than my wife)…not even the judges being used to pre-select the 32 contestants, will see the true identity of any sample. Unless you win, of course.

Again this year, the most exciting part is the winner of the final round will be chosen by a panel of publishing industry professionals! Judges include New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author Jonathan Maberry, Agents Katie Grim of Don Congdon Associates, Margaret Bail of the Andrea Hurst Agency, Sarah Negovetich of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. Also included isCandace Havens, Editorial Director of Entangled Publishing Covet line, Authors Les Edgerton andLydia Kang, and previous WRiTE CLUB winners Tiana Smith (2011), Mark Hough (2012) and Tex Thompson (2013).

Are you willing to WRiTE for what you want? Then crack those knuckles and get ready to flex that imagination. And whatever you do, tell your friends!

WRiTE CLUB – The contest where the audience gets clobbered!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Being Away

Sorry about being away so long. I will be back tomorrow but on a limited basis. Thank you for all your kind words and I'm glad to be back in any form.


Photo Credit: Rosevita

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Luthier's Apprentice Blog Tour Interview and a Personal Note

The Luthier's Apprentice Blog Tour Interview

Today I have posted an interview with Maria Calvani. This blog tour is hosted by Blog Tours By Elana. Maria is the author of The Luthier's Apprentice.

Q&A with Mayra Calvani, author of The Luthier’s Apprentice

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing and creating worlds for most of my life, since I was about 12. In secondary school I wrote stories and plays. At 16, I wrote a romance novel which was secretly passed around in class. By 20, writing was already a passion, an obsession. I saw myself doing no other thing than becoming an author.
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but later moved to the US, where I completed a degree in Creative Writing and History. I have lived in the Middle East but I’m now settled in Belgium. In addition to Spanish and English, I also speak Turkish and a little French.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading and reviewing books, as well as helping other authors promote their works. I love having lunch with friends, going to the cinema with my kids, and spending time with my pets and my family. I also love traveling.
What was your inspiration for The Luthier’s Apprentice?
I studied/played the violin for 5 years, and my daughter has been playing it for 8 years, so violin music has been a big part of my life for a long time. There’s something darkly mysterious about the violin, and I’m in awe of soloists who have the skill to master it. The making of the violin itself is fascinating to me as well. And, of course, I also love listening to violin music whenever I can. Naturally, violin music has been very influential in my writing. I just find it immensely inspiring. Besides The Luthier’s Apprentice, I have also written several children’s picture books related to the violin. Readers can learn about them here: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.
How was your writing process like for The Luthier’s Apprentice?
I completed the first draft in four weeks during Nanowrimo 2007. At that time, it was an experiment. I hadn’t participated in Nanowrimo before. It was an exciting, exhilarating experience, but I knew the manuscript needed a lot of editing and polishing, so I put it aside for a long time. Then I worked on it on and off as I worked on other projects. That’s why it took so long to publish it.
I didn’t plot in advance. I didn’t know what would happen on the next page. I discovered the story and characters as I wrote. Or rather, I let the characters take charge and guide me. Looking back, this was incredibly daring. I don’t work this way now. But, as I said, it was an experiment to shut down my inner critic and it was an exciting challenge.
Is The Luthier’s Apprentice the first book in a series?
Yes, it is the first book in a series, featuring 16-year-old violin student/luthier/amateur sleuth Emma Braun.
Why did you decide to set the story in Brussels?
I have been living here for the past 19 years, and I’m familiar with how the expatiates live—after all, I’m one myself. I thought it would be interesting to set the story in a city teeming with international students, children of diplomats from embassies, NATO, and other international organizations.
Who is your publisher?
My current publishers are Twilight Times Books and Guardian Angel Publishing(for my children’s picture books).
Do you have an agent?
Yes, I signed with Nadeen Gayle at Serendipity Literary at the end of August 2013.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life? 
This is a difficult question to answer. There have been many pivotal moments: when I completed my first book, when I held my first published book in my hands, when I landed an agent. Each time I finish a new manuscript is a pivotal point for me because I grow as a writer and become better at my craft.
What is the hardest part about being an author?
As writers, we work on our own. We don’t have a boss threatening to fire us if we don’t show up every morning, so I’d say the hardest part is being disciplined and keeping focused on the work at hand and, above all, not procrastinating. I have to create all kinds of systems around me to keep myself disciplined. I’m terrible at being disciplined, but I’m pretty good at self-imposed discipline. I set an intention before each writing session, I keep 4 planners and lists, I use timers, I make people hold me accountable, I set myself deadlines and at times commit to paying people money if I don’t meet those deadlines, that sort of thing.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I get ideas while writing. As I work on a novel, there are always wonderful surprises. I also get my ideas while doing routine, automatic activities such as walking, driving, washing the dishes, vacuuming, taking a shower, etc. Also, while listening to violin music and movie soundtracks. The music of James Newton Howard and  WojciechKilar profoundly inspires me. I often write while listening to their scores.
Another thing that really inspires me is reading the rich, baroque works of Anne Rice. There’s something about her style and language that makes me want to run to the computer and start typing.
What was your greatest when writing a book? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers? 
The greatest challenge: keeping focused and not procrastinate. Keeping confident throughout the process and, like Steven Pressfield says in his fantastic book, Do the Work, “trusting the soup.”
Every book that I’ve written has been hard to write. Though writing is my life and, in a way, like breathing, I have a love & hate relationship with it. First of all, the mechanics of the craft are always a challenge: constructing the plot, creating the characters, balancing all the elements, i.e. description, dialogue, narrative, symbolic imagery, etc. Then there’s the word choice and the agonizing over verbs, adjectives, adverbs.
Besides this, there’s the emotional aspect of the journey: struggling with the inner critic, bouts of self doubt, writer’s block, irritability over not writing, dealing with negative criticism, remorse due to sacrificing time with family and friends, spending hours, days, months, years sitting at the computer without any assurance that the book will be read by enough people or earn enough money to make all that time worthwhile.
But as writers, we are artists, and the artist’s soul is an interesting, compulsive animal. Writing is our vocation, our drug, and we must have a regular fix or go insane.
At the end, after a good writing day which may happen while still experiencing all of the above, I’m sweetly exhausted and at peace.
Three things that have had a pivotal influence on my journey are:
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.
Keeping myself accountable and organized.
Focusing on the little, non-threatening steps instead of the end result. That is, thinking, “Okay, now I’m going to sit down with my novel for 90 minutes” instead of “I have to write a 400-page novel.” When you take small steps toward your goal each day, you don’t freeze and the end result takes care of itself at its perfect time.
What is a typical writing day like for you? How many hours do you write per week?
It has taken me a long time to find my natural rhythm and to face the fact that I’m not one of those super prolific writers who can cough up a whole novel in 3 months. I’d love to be one of those! But I’m not. My inner critic is always present, agonizing over each word, each sentence. I can’t help editing as I write. So right now it takes me about two years to complete a novel. I write in the mornings. I set my timer and work in 90-minute increments. So I’ll do 90 minutes, then take a break to do some housework or run an errand, then come back and do another 90 minutes, and so on. If I’m in the zone, I’ll keep at it for 3 hours or so without stopping, but on average, I write 2-3 pages a day, or 10-15 a week.
Of course, I work on other things besides my novel. I’m currently putting together an anthology as well, so afternoons are for that, along with my freelance publicity work, which sucks up a lot of my time.
I’m always experimenting with ways to speed up my writing process and shut up my inner critic, like taking part in fast-draft workshops and Nanowrimo, but usually the end product are pages and pages that require heavy editing or that I have to delete.
Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
How absolutely cool, neat, and wonderful it feels to hold that first print book in your hands!
Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
Gosh, that was a long time ago, when I was in my twenties. I think I screamed. I couldn’t stop looking at it, inside and out. I kept thinking, “Did I really write this?” It’s an intense feeling of elation and validation.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
To keep it going week after week, month after month, year after year. Book promotion is an ongoing process. Many authors do one book tour or two after a book’s release and wrongly assume that the rest will take care of itself, but that isn’t the case. To see results, you must stay persistent and consistent.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to engage in social networks 24/7. Only that you should take one step toward promoting your book at least once a week, then keep it going, week after week.
However, I’d advise writers to never let book promotion stand in the way of their writing. As an author, your best time is spend producing that next book.

 About THE LUTHIER’S APPRENTICE:



Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…  

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms. 

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?  

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him.  And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…

Buy Links:


About Mayra Calvani:



Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.




Social Media Links:

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Personal Note: I am sorry for my absence online. That is due to the fact that recently my father's computer bag was stolen from his car. Since he was the reason I was online as much as I could be now I'm left with little alternative. Right now my priority is going to computer labs to pay so that I can keep up with my ghost writing gig. The library only offers a free half hour which isn't enough. Unfortunately that also means going to into my laptop saving fund. The little money I put aside are for essentials so I can't use that. So that's why I haven't been around. Today I have an interview with an author that was pre-arranged as part of a blog tour. After today there will only be a few posts up this month. Hopefully I will be able to get my new laptop at some point in June. Right now I feel so bad for my dad because he lost his laptop, kindle, one of his phones and a bunch of work files. All he did was stop at a gas station to pick up some snacks for us. I'm really sad about this and he had to fix the window that was smashed in the robbery.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Getting Personal: A-Z Reflection and Spanking New Series


A-Z Blogging Challenge this year was fun and also a doozy. While I didn't do every letter I had with those I did as well as visiting other bloggers. A few new members joined the Queendsheena fold and I also got to make some new friends including Stephanie Faris who started as the author whose giveaway I won to a regular visitor as we got closer during A-Z. I enjoy seeing her comments and was excited this week to help share the cover for 25 Roses, her second upcoming novel. The most touching one for me was Z because after dropping off after M and deciding to return for the last letter, it was touching to see comments of support and happiness come pouring in despite my absence. This challenge not only pushes you to the brink but it opens you up to new people and makes the ones already around feel even closer.

Thank you A-Z 2014 for making me feel so loved and uniting us bloggers even closer.

Spanking New Series

I mentioned earlier this year that Sacrifice HER got delayed because I was in a bad place with my manuscript. Still working on it but in the meantime I am excited to share with a new series I came up with last month. As you know if you are a regular, I love fantasy. This series is a fantasy retelling and spins known fairy tales on their head. These novellas/novelettes expose the lies told by previous storytellers to sugar coat or draw profit from tales whose actual stories are less for kids or their target audience.

*Cue Music* - Feel free to pick your own

Series: Fairy Tales are Stupid

Projected Release: Fall 2015

Resource: Fairy Tales are Stupid Tab on top of blog.

The novellas will each focus on one or a few characters who will tell the true tale that was messed up or redone to attract readers for their storytellers/authors. From Little Red Riding Hood to Peter Pan to The Little Mermaid. Tales will be turned on their head and readers will be mystified by the secrets kept from them for so long. I mean really, did you believe a regular girl could survive being swallowed whole by a wolf?

Update: As of September 2014 The Sacrifice Series is delayed with no new date announced.

Note: But seriously folks I do plan to release this after completing The Sacrifice Series and releasing Snow in Summer 2015. I will have to move back Rachel Becoming Red (prequel) from Fall/Winter 2015 to 2016 (September) but since the series for this prequel is way in planning/half chapter from back when I used to chat a lot about Rachel....that's not a bad idea. Unless you count playlists which I don't.

Anyway I hope you guys had fun reading about my reflections and further adding more projects unto myself. But at the end of the day I love to write and blog. Plus I'm going to pay more attention to my pseudonym blogs as well as my AYA which has a novella I want to release this year. No word on when Teen Terror will even get done much less released. Them's the breaks. Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

25 Roses, Bella's Point Cover Reveal and IWSG

A double whammy folks! Two covers both by amazing authors. Funny enough I met Stephanie through Elizabeth having a giveaway on my blog and we visited each other through the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Both of these ladies have amazing covers today and whether you love romance gone awry or wayward Southern Belles, there is a book here for you today. Enjoy!

25 Roses by Stephanie Faris




Summary: Valentine's Day means one thing at Stanton Middle School: students will send each other chocolate roses. Each year, Mia Hartley watches while the same group of students gets roses and everyone else is left out. This year, she decides things will be different. As the student assigned to write names on the cards, Mia purchases 25 roses and writes her own cards, designating them to 25 people she's personally chosen. But she soon learns that playing matchmaker is much more complicated than she thought it would be.

Author:




Stephanie Faris

My first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, is now available from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin M!x, with my second book, 25 Roses, coming out in 2015. I am represented by Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency. I live in Nashville with my husband. 

Visit: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook





Bella's Point by Elizabeth Seckman

Did you know? Robert E. Lee, the most prominent Confederate general, had his Northern home confiscated during the Civil War and turned into a cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery is still the resting place for America's fallen service men and women.
Isabella Troy Stanley is a divorced, slave freeing pariah surviving in the shattered post Civil War south the only way a fallen debutante knows how. 
She heads to a Yankee prison and buys herself a husband. 

Jack Byron is the former Troy plantation stable boy and object of young Bella's affection. He rejected her then, and he's still not sold on the idea of marrying her now.  

 It’s complicated.

 Though to Bella, it’s simple: make Jack love her, marry her, and live happily ever after. The plan seems to work...at least until her secret is revealed.



Elizabeth is a wife, a mom, and a writer. She has four wonderful boys, one dusty house, and three published books to her credit. Feel free to check them out and buy them HERE! Erm, the books, not the kids or the house...though all things in life are negotiable ;)

You can find her here - Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Cover art by Sprinkles on Top Studios.


Last month I took part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge last month. While I was unable to complete some of the letters I ensured to be back for Z and on a whole it was a wonderful experience visiting other blogs and having readers/bloggers coming by my own. What wasn't so wonderful was the fact that I got sick. Then just as I was getting better at the end of the challenge I caught another bug. This one is similar as the one I caught in December and is pretty nasty. I didn't even do any washing Tuesday because I was just too sick and pained to bother. At least I ensured to get my mother's day gift Monday so matter what happens it is gift wrap and ready for her on that very special day.

What my insecurity is this month is that I am concerned about getting sick more often. At first I thought things were getting better but now it has reared it's ugly head again. I am nearly ready to get my own laptop and while I'm grateful to have my own computer in time for Junowrimo I still wonder how everything will work out if I am sick all the time. My writing has suffered a lot and my ghost writing gig only gets done sometimes only  because each assignment is set with a time limit. But once when I could do a five day gig in one to two days I barely get it in on the fourth. This worries me because sometimes I just end up going to bed because I'm just too sick to work on it. None of my work ends up late but I can' t work anywhere near the pace I'm used to any more. I guess I just want to figure out how to work through this. Though I guess I just have to work through it or despite it. I'm no quitter but this more than a drag. This is my health and I am worried. Wish me luck and pray for me.

Oh and if you're wondering, yes I did forget about IWSG and just added this early Wednesday morning. But I did skip last month and no way am I losing my spot. Thanks Alex and co-host for such a wonderful meme.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Broken Branch Falls Cover Reveal

Today I'm excited to share the cover of the latest book by Tara Tyler. This is also her first MG and second book and there is no doubt in my mind that this book wll captivate anyone who gets their hands on it. Grab your copy when it releases next month.

Now on with the reveal!

Welcome to the Forest!



It's time for the highly anticipated, most spectacular cover reveal of the day!



BROKEN BRANCH FALLS (MG Fantasy)

byTara Tyler

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Publisher: Curiosity Quills



Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. Gabe’s closest friends are goblins like him, but Gabe is tired of being a goblin – he’d like to try other things. And he has his eye on the new ogress at school. It’s against all beastly rules, but there’s just something about her.


When a prank goes wrong, Gabe is forced to join the football team as punishment – but finds a way to make it work. Soon the whole school is getting in on the fad of mingling with other species. Too bad the adults have to step in and ruin things by threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. And Gabe is their scapegoat. With help from friends, old and new, Gabe sets out on a quest for the Book of Ages, which holds the laws of all beastkind and hopefully the key to saving Broken Branch Falls. After all that trouble, it better work.


Add it to your GOODREADS list!

Twitter ~~~ Facebook ~~~ Blog

Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,

The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVEL





Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!





AND you can get up to five entries in this fun raffle just for commenting on five of the many cover reveal posts (see below) - This week only!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Cover Reveal Participants! Thanks you guys!! You the Beast!

Cover Reveal: The Chaos of Standing Still

Awkwardly forgot to have a post ready for Monday. But today I get to share the cover for Jessica Brody's upcoming novel. I think it'...