Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Word Master Challenge: Berliner Dom

Yes, ladies and gents, I decided to write an entry for my own challenge. Naturally I can't win, but I picked the theme after discovering the amazing Berliner Dom. Writing a description has been bothering me ever since, so here it is.

The first photo I took on entering the cathedral.

The moment I walk into the Berliner Dom, I fall in love. A magnificent painted glass triptych greets me, sharing images from the life of Jesus Christ. They glow in marble and wood, brightening what should have been a dark church on a cloudy day.

I lose myself in my majestic surroundings, and then something magical happens. A tenor starts to sing, practicing for his role in the St. John’s Passion. Soon, the floating, pure notes of a soprano joins him.

Music fills the cavernous cathedral, the sound multiplied perfectly by the acoustics, bouncing off strict statues of Calvin, Luther and other founders of the protestant church.

I get goose bumps as I try to take everything in.

The fine gold filigree, edging murals of gentle-faced evangelists. The soft, warm light spilling from burning candles next to the beautiful golden altar. The dancers practicing for the Passion.

I sit down for a moment to watch the practice, but my attention is drawn away within seconds. The organ looms silent above the graves of kings and queens. More candles burn in their memories. A little to the side stands a pulpit. Its wood is the same dark color as the organ’s frame, but instead of being somber  it only adds depth to the splendor around it. A big golden cross crowns the pulpit’s canopy.

Every inch of the cathedral has something to see.

A sense of absolute devotion permeates everything. That the very best had been given and done to God’s glory. Maybe that’s what gives the space such a presence.

Or maybe it’s the feeling that the church is secretly sentient. It’s as if the church breathes on its own, living to speak to those fortunate enough to enter it.

When I leave, it invites me to come back.

There you have it, ladies and gents. What do you think? 

If you also want to enter the Word Master Challenge this month, you have until Sunday. Click here for more details. 

Also, today is the last day to vote for your favorite bloggers, so don't forget to do so if you haven't yet. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For those of you wanting to see pictures of Berlin...

Hey all, just want to let you know that I put up pics of my trip to Berlin on my other blog, if you're interested in seeing them.

Not going to post much more today. Been a bit busy, so now I'm going to be lazy instead.

Remember to vote for awesome bloggers and to check out the Word Master Challenge.

G'night! X

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

News Day Week 5

Welcome to yet another News Day! 

Anything I find interesting or worth sharing, I post here. I try to get out there to get as much news down as possible, but I'm one tiny little person. SO! If you have a bit of news you want people to know about, please let me know. Either in the comments, or you can let me know ahead of time by contacting me by e-mail. If you do, please make "News" the topic, so I can keep track easily. My address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Anything can be a news topic, even if it's something you're doing.

Blog Admin

First things first, I want to remind everyone to please vote for the Paying Forward Awards this week. 

Then, I have a question about the Word Master Challenge. Despite the fact that there was a significant interest in entries this month, not one has been made yet. Are you guys too busy for a competition of this nature or don't you want to be the first entrant? (I promise you there is no first entrant disadvantage, since I read the entries three times before scoring.) Or did I give you too little time to think up something good? If that's the case, should I move the deadline up a month? Please let me know what's up with regards to this, because it's really something I would love to see take off. 

Blogfests and Hops

Kyra Lennon and Clare Dugmore are hosting the Bloghop of Joy on March 1. 

Mina Lobo and David McCaulay are hosting The Big Reveal Bloghop where you can announce your theme for the A to Z Challenge on March 21. 

Noteworthy Book Offers

Roland Yeomans is donating proceeds from his book sales this month (until February 28) to the Salvation Army, so please head over to check out his books. If something catches your eye, you might be making a difference in someone's life. 

To celebrate the release of Escapement, Ciara Knight is offering the prequel, Weighted for free. And Escapement itself is available for the low low price of $2.99. This offer is only valid until March 1. 

Worth a Look

I've stumbled across some really interesting and useful posts. Hope you find something in your taste: 

Bloomberg did a slideshow on the real cost of self-publishing

Then there was this awesome post on how to scare readers in horror and psychological thrillers.  

Finally, there's this immensely useful list of things to look out for when revising a first chapter

That's it for today. Please share your thoughts on the Word Master Challenge. Any of the links catch your eye? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spotlight: Power by Theresa M. Jones

Hi all! Today I get to share some awesome samples of Power by Theresa M. Jones. There's also an awesome giveaway at the end of the post.

Before I start, though, I just have two reminders. One is for the Word Master Challenge. Entries close on Sunday, but no one's even entered yet. And it's an easy one, I think.

The other reminder: Please remember to vote for your favorite bloggers. You have until Thursday.

Right! Now without further ado. Let me introduce you to Theresa and her new release.

Theresa M Jones is just a regular small town, Texas girl. When she isn't at work at a local Medical Equipment provider,you can find her at home with her husband and two beautiful (and rambunctious) kiddos.

In her spare time- as if there ever was such a thing as "spare time" - she reads and reviews books on her book blog, and writes paranormal romance novels.

POWER (The Descendent Trilogy #1) is her debut New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance novel.


Thousands of years after the battle between the angels, when Lucifer was defeated by Michael in the Heavens, the war is still being fought on Earth by the humans who have their Power, the Angel’s Power.

Allison Stevens is a 21 year old single mother who gets thrown into the middle of this battle when Damien, the Leader of the Rising, decides to hunt her down and kill her because he fears she is the descendant prophesied to save the world.

David, a member of the Order, takes Allison under his wing in order to show her the ropes, and hopefully groom her into being the one they have been waiting for. The only problem is that they start to grow more attached than a teacher/student relationship should allow.

But that isn’t all. Damien wants to open the Seven Seals and bring about the apocalypse and it’s up to Allison to not only save herself and her family, but save the world, all while trying to keep her heart from breaking.

No problem… right?

POWER is the first book in a New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance Trilogy and is the debut novel for author Theresa M Jones. 


Part of Chapter One
I fell asleep before I had even covered myself up, just after my head touched the pillow. The dreams that had been haunting me so often left me miserable, exhausted, and craving rest.
 My legs trembled as I tried to push myself to go faster. Despite the adrenaline that surged through me and the exertion from every cell of my being, I felt frozen. I shivered and yet was sweating at the same time. Waves of terror pulsed through my every limb.
Where was I going? Where could I go to get away from him? He knows where I am all the time, even though I have no clue as to my own whereabouts.
I slowed, just briefly, to try to catch a good long drag of air hoping it would fill up my lungs and give me strength to continue on. However, instead of the oxygen that I so desperately needed, I breathed in the rank air of pure evil. It was the same foul scent I smelled every time he was close. I could taste it on my tongue.
I could feel him closer now than ever before. Pure horror seeped in and I was running again. To where, I was still unsure.
 Just as I could feel myself actually widening the distance between us for once, I slid to a stop. I had almost run into  a huge wall that blocked my path. It was not quite brick, but made of reddish gray stones that were symmetrical in every way. No cracks, no breaks, no holes. A perfect wall. Dark green moss was growing up the wall in many spots, making it slightly slippery and shiny looking. I stood there wondering how a wall like this was built, or rather how it came to be here, right here in front of me, blocking my only escape.
The small amount of moonlight that had been lighting my path suddenly disappeared leaving absolute blackness and the faint smell of damp. I turned. I felt for the wall behind me now as the slimy moss caressed my fingertips.  I heard him walking towards me. As if he realized there was no possible way for me to escape him now.
 Then he stopped.
There was no sight now in this dreadful black, no taste, the wall was somehow no longer touching me, and if it weren’t for his atrocious smell, I might be able to think I had just ceased to exist. But it was the loss of sound that unnerved me the most. The only sound now was my breathing, the ragged gasping noise that cut through me with every breath and reminded me why I had been running in the first place.
That’s when it I felt it. I could feel it first around him, a concentrated evil that spread over the grass and through the air towards me. Like a match to a stream of gasoline, the feeling of hate and anger spread like wildfire. I felt it circling me, searing my skin and burning inside me at the same time. It took away my air. My lungs begged me for oxygen and my eyes burned as tears started to flood down my face.
When I had almost lost myself to the pain, something changed. He felt it the same instant I did. And instead of the hateful, anger-filled, death-like feeling that was surrounding me, I felt hope. It started right in the center of my chest and expanded out through my whole torso, like being dipped in a warm bath after being outside in the snow. It spread down to my toes and up to my head at the same time. A wave of pure hope, love, or… joy! I felt strong and courageous. No, powerful!
This new feeling of power poured through me and out through my fingertips, pushing away the dread and hate that had been eating at me, and straight across to the hateful man standing in front of me. I was surprised by the intensity. The force. The strength. I knew that he could feel it too, surging out of me and flowing freely wherever it felt the need to go.

Part of Chapter 15
I stepped outside into the fresh air. The sky was cloudless, and I could see all the stars. I walked to the pond and thought about putting my feet inside. It was summer, but we were high up in the mountains and the wind was chilly; so I decided against taking my shoes off and dipping my feet in the cold water. I snuggled my robe closer around me as I felt a small breeze. Being surrounded by massively tall cliffs, one would rarely feel a breeze out here, but when you did, boy was it cold. I sat leaning against a tree and looked out over the pond.
I didn’t hear him come up behind me, but I could sense him. I turned around as he greeted me the same as he always did, “Good morning, Allison.”
I chuckled, “I guess it is morning already.” He offered his hand and helped me stand. I took it eagerly, and went straight into his arms. He didn’t pull away. If anything, he held me closer.  It reminded me of the morning when I thought he would kiss me. After that morning he had distanced himself. But over the last few days he had gotten back to normal. He had even kissed my head and my cheek on a few occasions. Tonight I wanted more, though I was a little afraid to risk it. What if he started acting all weird again?
I breathed in deeply, allowing his scent to fill my nose and my lungs. He nestled his head into the crook of my neck and I could feel the scruff from his beard scratch my cheek as he started to breathe deeply as well. I could feel his breath tickle my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. It made me pull him closer still. I could feel his muscles touching mine, and I could feel the heat emanating from him, warming my skin through my clothes.
My heart started beating faster, and I felt my face flush with anticipation. He pulled away, just enough to look me in the eyes. I stared back into his, allowing him access to my soul, hoping he could see how desperately I needed him. I didn’t hold back at all.
Before I could even react his lips were on mine. The heat that I had felt when he kissed my cheek, was like a lit match compared to the forest fire I felt now. Every inch of my body was deliciously ignited.
This kiss started very slow. Tentative. Wary. Unsure.
But as my lips parted, allowing him full access to me, things changed. He deepened the kiss. His arms pulled me closer to him, wrapped around my back, and held me firm.
He tasted like heaven on earth. My arms were all over the place. On his face, on his neck, then down to his back. I couldn’t get enough of him. I couldn’t touch him enough, or smell him enough. Or… taste him enough.
This felt right. Like the ultimate goodness. My body tried to inch closer, but it appeared we couldn’t get any closer. His chest was warm and hard against mine, and fit perfectly, as if we were two pieces to a puzzle. 

Who thinks this novel sounds amazing! Who's read it yet? 

Also, who's in for the Word Master Challenge this month? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Paying Forward Awards Nominees

Thank you to everyone who nominated the awesome bloggers I'm about to post here. These definitely are a great selection to pick from, so I can't wait to see who'll win our awesome prizes.

Best Commenter

Giver of Best Writing Advice

Most Supportive/Helpful Blogger

Sweetest Blogger

Unpublished Blogger with Awesome Writing Style

Published Blogger with Awesome Writing Style

Most Useful Blog

To Vote: Please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Vote" as the subject. You can only vote for one person per category, but don't have to vote for each category. People who nominated and sponsors may vote as well. 

Voting Opens: As of this posting. 

Voting Closes: 28 February 2012

Winners Announcement: 5 March 2012

Congrats to all the nominees! 

And before you go, don't forget to enter out this month's Word Master Challenge

Need More Noms

Hey all!

Just want to remind you that voting for the Paying Forward Awards opens later today, so please please please don't forget to nominate your favorite bloggers.

Let's go make some awesome people's day!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Annalisa Crawford: Why I'm Publishing Older Stories

My first collection of short stories, That Sadie Thing and other stories, will be published next week. They are a greatest hits of stories that have been published since I started writing seriously (which for me was about fifteen.)

So, the question is: what the heck am I doing, releasing a collection of stories some of which are older than my marriage?

Well, to answer this properly, I'll need bullet points!
  • Some of these stories were published in very small press magazines, pre-internet. I'm sure the circulation was smaller than the customers in my local shop on a wet Tuesday morning. Therefore, the hours and hours I put into them have been wasted all these years, because only a handful of people have ever read them.
  • Some of the stories were runners-up in competitions - so even fewer people read them, one or two judges at the most.
  • Although I've always thought my short fiction was quite random, it turns out I have a theme - loneliness and despair runs through these stories, but hopefully in an entertaining way.
  • I've actually been thinking about publishing them in this way for six months or so. When I was reading them to check the viability, I had an overwhelming urge to rewrite them. After spending time working on them again, it seemed really silly not to do something with them.
  • I wanted to share some of my weirdness with you!

Some random facts:
  • The five magazines that accepted my stories from unsolicited submissions all folded within three issues.
  • One of my published stories is so bad that I've disowned it, and it is not in this collection.
  • Two stories had to be rewritten to include the universal use of mobile phones - previously the characters were queuing up at phone boxes!
  • I wrote Omelette at a time when I was eating lots of omelettes.

The Blurb:
A couple break up on a rainy night; a runaway longs to go home; a woman finds comfort from eating lunch as her best friend lies in hospital; a teenager feels oppressed by her father. All of the characters in these stories are trying to find their place in the world, attempting to find connections that matter with the people around them.

This collection brings together prize-winning and published stories from the past twenty years: the ‘greatest hits’.

That Sadie Thing and other stories will be available on Monday 25th February 2013.

Annalisa Crawford lives and writes in Cornwall with a good supply of beaches and moorland to keep her inspired. She finds endless possibilities in the relationships between people. As this collection testifies, she has been writing for twenty years - but doesn't feel a day over twenty-one.

Find her on her blog and on Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I was going to post something clever...

But I just got a personalized rejection from my dream agent. Yeah, part of me is thrilled to finally get some useful agent advice, but I'd really been hoping, you know?

It's a bit sad, because I think what he pointed out isn't really a major problem for the novel. It's actually not even something that lasts a chapter. But I guess it shouldn't have been there, hey?

So yeah. I'm just glad to know it wasn't something terrible turning him off. That would have sucked. And it is my first novel I ever queried. Who knows? Maybe he'll dig the next one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paying Forward Awards: February Categories

Hey again, lovely people! Welcome to February's Paying Forward Awards. Before we start, I just want to say thanks to every single one of this month's amazing sponsors. Within a few days, they generously gave me so many prizes to distribute that February is almost TWICE as big as January.

Without further ado, here are the prizes and the sponsors who donated them.

A $25 Amazon/B&N voucher

Melissa Maygrove
A $15 Amazon/B&N voucher

Michelle Wallace
$10 Amazon/B&N voucher

L. Diane Wolfe
An E-Arc of her upcoming release The Other Marlowe Girl

Julie Flanders
An e-copy of her book Polar Night

An e-copy of her novel The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear

A choice between his two e-books: CassaStar or CassaFire

30 page beta read or an e-copy of her anthology A to Z Stories of Life and Death

Rena Rockford
Critique of first 30 pages

Kittie Howard
A three chapter line-by-line beta read.

Tara Tyler
A banner or badge

Mel Chesley
First chapter critique

Al Diaz
First chapter critique

An absolute treasure trove of prizes. Fourteen in total, which means I'm once again giving prizes to first and second place in each category.

And the categories are:

Best Commenter

Giver of Best Writing Advice

Most Supportive/Helpful Blogger

Sweetest Blogger

Unpublished Blogger with Awesome Writing Style

Published Blogger with Awesome Writing Style

Most Useful Blog

Nominations work like this:

You can nominate as many bloggers as you'd like, for as many categories as you'd like. I'd love if you included a short motivation for each nominee. Please don't nominate in the comments. I like to keep this process anonymous, so only nominations to my e-mail address will be taken into account.

My e-mail address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Please make the topic "Nomination". I'll be accepting nominations until midnight (GMT), February 21.

Voting will open on February 22.

So people! Any nominees in mind? Don't forget to check out today's News Day post for other interesting tidbits.

News Day Week 4

Welcome to yet another News Day! Because I skipped a few weeks, here's a recap. Anything I find interesting or worth sharing, I post here. I try to get out there to get as much news down as possible, but I'm one tiny little person. SO! If you have a bit of news you want people to know about, please let me know. Either in the comments, or you can let me know ahead of time by contacting me by e-mail. If you do, please make "News" the topic, so I can keep track easily. My address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Anything can be a news topic, even if it's something you're doing.

Okay! Admin's done, so let's get started, shall we?

Paying Forward Awards

Sponsors will be announced and nominations for February will be opened as soon as this post is up. I'll just have to write that post as well.

Blogfests and Competitions

I've announced the Word Master Challenge theme for February. Entries close on 3 March, so if you haven't yet, please check it out!

Then Beth Fred and Kelly Hashway are co-hosting The Sweets Blogfest to celebrate their soon-to-be-released books. The date is 6 March, but sign-ups are already open.

Requests for Help

The launch date for Overcoming Adversity - An Anthology for Andrew is on 4 March. Nick Wilford created an amazing anthology with stories by 70 authors as a way to raise money for his stepson. It will be going towards Andrew's specialist further education and therefore to his future too. Nick's asking for people to help spread the word about the book on release day and that week, so please head over and sign up and for more information. It's a worthy cause to champion, don't you think?

Offers to Help

In a staggeringly generous move, Ciara Knight will be doing basket giveaways at conferences she's going to/presenting at. She's put out a call for authors to send in their books. She'll put together the baskets and give them away. Go here, if you're interested in more details.

The ladies at Falling for Fiction are holding a CP/Beta Mixer, so if you're looking for a crit partner or beta reader, head over ASAP and sign up. The ladies will match up partners in March.

Worth a Look

For beginning writers: On Dialogue.

Finally, I want to welcome two new bloggers I bumped into: Aaron and Michael. I hope you all will head over and say hi too!

That's the news for now, but let me know and I'll add tidbits either to this week or the next. Anything I listed catch your eye?

Don't forget to check back later for the Paying Forward Awards!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm a minion!

Sort of like this, but prettier. And with two eyes.

Yep, I volunteered to help out the A to Z Challenge cohosts and Damyanti picked me to help her, along with Mina, Pam and Rosalind.

Because of that, I even got this badge.

For in case you're new to the blogging world or lived under a rock for a long time, let me give you some info on the A to Z Challenge.

The concept is easy. There are 26 weekdays and Saturdays this April. On each of them, you do a post. The topics/titles of the posts have to correspond to the day's letter. (A on day 1, B on day 2 etc.) If you want, you can follow a theme, or you can be wacky. You can plan ahead or improvise. As long as there are 26 posts from A to Z.

The fun, though, is the fact that this is by far the biggest blogfest I take part in. Last year had over 1000 blogs participating, covering a wide variety of topics. It's an amazing way to get to know people.

But please remember, the best way to get to know them is to go to their blogs first and leave a nice comment. And also, please don't start at 1 unless you're planning to hit as many blogs as possible. Yes, I know it's not nice to tell people what to do, but as someone who hit 800+ blogs last year, I found it really sad that some really good blogs went unvisited because they were lower down the list.

Anyway, does A to Z sound good to you? Great! Click the badge below to sign up.

A to Z Challenge [2013]

Before you go!!! Please don't forget to volunteer prizes for the Paying Forward Awards! You ladies and gents make it awesome, so please search your hearts. Any prizes will be welcomed, so please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you're interested in contributing. Please make "Paying Forward" your topic so I can keep track easily. 

Also!!! Don't forget to check out February's Word Master Challenge. Entries close on 3 March. 

Are you signing up for the A to Z Challenge? Got a theme planned?

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's In a Name?

Before we get to Julie's post, I just want to ask your help. As you may or may not know, I have a very awesome project going on where I and other bloggers sponsor prizes to award to people as a way to pay forward. January was amazing, and I'd like to repeat it, but only two sponsors have stepped forward. So please, if there's anything you think you can give (crits, betas, e-copies of books are all welcomed) that you think someone will enjoy/appreciate, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Paying Forward" as the subject. Thanks in advance!

And now, without further ado, here's Julie. 

What’s In a Name? 

I think the opportunity to name our characters is one of the most enjoyable things about being a writer. While I think this part of the process is fun, I also sometimes agonize over it, as getting just the right name seems so important.

One of the resources I love to use when searching for names is the Behind the Name site. I have kind of a strange interest in the meaning and history of names, so I was familiar with this site long before I started writing my own characters. But once I started writing novels this site became invaluable.

On Behind the Name, names are divided by usage, and visitors to the site can find names from various countries around the world as well as biblical names, mythological names, and names from ancient history.

The antagonist in Polar Night is from Russia, so when I set about giving him a name I headed straight for the Russian categories on the website. It didn’t take me long to find just the name I wanted. Aleksei, which is one of the Russian forms of the Greek name Alexis, jumped out at me. I’m not sure why, but I knew it was perfect for my character. And Aleksei Nechayev was born.

But not all names require an internet search. One of the minor characters in Polar Night is named Nate Clancy. If you’re familiar with my blog you probably know that I am a huge animal lover, as I’ve shared that often in the past. I have a cat named Nate and a dog named Clancy. So I couldn’t resist giving one of my characters this name and, even though he plays a minor role, he is one of my favorite creations.

If you’re a writer, how do you go about naming your characters? Have you ever named a character after someone or something in your own life?

Thank you, Misha for having me as your guest today!

Book Blurb: 

When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case. 

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems. 

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same. 


Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Her debut novel Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing. Find Julie online at her blog, and on Twitter.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Finally! I announce the winners!

Hi all!

Today is the day for me to announce the winners to the Paying Forward Awards and January's Word Master Challenge.

Before I get to it, though, some admin. I know that my absence this month made things a bit difficult, so I want to use this opportunity to ask for February's prize sponsors to please step forward. The arrangement is the same as before. You can volunteer anything you feel comfortable with volunteering. In return, you'll be linked to on my blog and I can and will help with promoting your blog/book etc. If you're interested, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com to volunteer and if you have any questions. Please put "Paying Forward" as your topic. Thank you in advance!

And now, to the winners. After a long time wondering about how I'd divide the Paying Forward Awards, I thought I'd do it as follows:

I'm going to announce the first and second place winners for each category. They need to contact me ASAP at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com to claim prizes. Topic line: "I came first/second." The way I will distribute the prizes are as follows: First prizes, First comers. So if by this time next week, the first prize winners didn't claim, I will be giving away the prizes on a first come-first serve basis. The winners are:

Most Encouraging Blogger: 

Best Reviewer: 

Best Writing/Inspirational Blogger: 

Beginner/Small Blogger with Most Potential:


Before I go, I want to announce the best of the worst for Word Master Challenge January. For those of you who missed it, I mean that I'm announcing three Word Masters.

Sharing Second place are: Roland and Carter with two really hilariously bad entries.
In First Place (winning a ten chapter crit) by a small margin is August. His entry was insanely bad and funny, but is only for adult readers, so be warned.

Before I go, I want to say that the overall level of the entries were really good. So much so that I couldn't do a top five as planned because fourth place was tied between five people. Thank you very much to all who entered.

If you want to kick yourself for not entering, hold off for a minute. February's topic is announced, so check it out. If you don't enter this time, though, feel free to kick away. ;-)

There you have it, folks! Who's in for WMC Feb? Who's volunteering for the Paying Forward awards? (Don't forget to mail me too. I have to be able to contact you later.) Any suggestions for Paying Forward Award Categories?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Word Master Challenge February/March

Because my business trip to Berlin threw my blog into more than a little chaos, I decided to do things a little differently from planned.

So, although I'll announce January's Word Masters tomorrow, I decided I'd announce February's theme today to give anyone interested in signing up time to write something.

The Word Master Challenge rules are simple.

1) Every month, I announce a theme.
2) You have from announcement day until the end of the month (or a specified date) to enter.
3) To enter: Link up to your entry. I.E. I want a specific address leading straight to your entry.
4) I score each entry according to a set of parameters and announce the winner early the next month.
5) The winner gets to choose between a 10 chapter critique by me, a $10 voucher or a query critique by me.

This month's theme:

Moody Descriptions

Pick your favorite place in the world. What does it look like? What's the mood like?

You can have 50 or so words to create an introduction. The entry itself must be no longer than 300 words.

Scoring Parameters:

1) Clear, concise description.
2) Evocative writing.
3) Effective use of senses.

Closing date for entries: 31 March
Winners and new theme to be announced: 2 April

I really loved what you all came up with in January, so I can't wait to see what you can do this time.

Who's in?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back in South Africa, and WMC theme hint

Hey all!

Just thought I'd let you know that I'm safely back at home. I won't be posting much more, though, since I am absolutely drained after 14+ hours in transit.

I will however, announce the awards and Word Master Challenge winners on Thursday. Should even have the post done and scheduled tonight. Sorry again for the chaos. Things weren't supposed to be so chaotic, but then we hadn't expected to be exactly as busy as we turned out to be.

Hopefully, things will be a lot more regular and easy for me to manage in the future.

In the meantime. I thought I'd get your creative juices going for February's Word Master Challenge:

Think of your favorite place.

What do you see? 

Okay then! That's me for today. Now I'm going to catch a few z's so I can get down to vote counting and WMC final decisions. 

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Hi all! I'm so sorry, but my work obligations have grown to the point where I literally can't sit still long enough to count votes, write posts, or reread WMC entries. As such, I am forced (completely against my will) to postpone the results to next Wednesday when I am home.

Sorry again, but right now, work has to be my priority.

Thanks for understanding!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get Writing Fit

Thank you, Misha for allowing me the honor of writing for your blog. 

Writing is like playing sport - you must exercise your brain and body to be able to compete and win. It takes daily practice, and like any other muscle in your body, you need to work it regularly or you’ll lose it. You must be what I like to call, writing fit. But how do you become writing fit?

1. Practice. Take daily exercise. Write every day. It doesn't matter how long the writing session is; just do it every day. Install the habit of writing, so it becomes a natural thing to do.

2. Join a team. The same way you might go to the gym or join a sports team, join a writing group to gain support and help to improve your skills. Take constructive criticism and use it to improve your game. Find out what works and what doesn't, so you increase your chances of publication. 

3. Compete. When you are confident you've practiced enough, enter competitions; they will push you to write your best and often provide feedback. And if you win or are short-listed, they will provide a massive boost to your confidence. 

4. Look after your health. Your body and brain are your tools to achieving your writing goals. Look after them. Eat a healthy diet and take regular physical exercise. Just as important, take time out to relax. Read a good book. Go for a long walk. Enjoy the company of friends. Remember the saying, a healthy body equals a healthy mind. 

5. Adopt the right attitude. Tell yourself you are going to write and you will be published; that the only obstacles in your way are those you imagine to be true. Think positive. Finally, take the time to thank those around you who help you to carry out your goals and they will continue to do so. 

So, how do you get writing fit? 

About The Author 

A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time, her first eBook short story collection, will be published on March 11th this year, and contains nine previously published strange and macabre tales. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year. 

Author Links 

Thank you so much, Ellie! 

BTW, I apologize for my recent lack of posts. I had written one, but Blogger was amazing enough to make the whole thing disappear without a trace. What I'd wanted to tell you is the following: I'll be in Berlin until the 11th, so my visits might be somewhat sporadic. However, I  will make a point to ensure that all posts will appear on the days I scheduled them. 

Can't wait to share pictures!