Sunday, March 31, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013

Welcome to another A to Z Challenge!

I'm looking forward to getting to know all of the new visitors to my blog as well as visiting some familiar faces.

This year it a year of beginnings for me, so for My First Book, the theme is:

26 Things You Should Know Before Writing a Novel

Basically, this will be a series of serious and lighthearted posts on what it's like to write a novel, from a writer's point of view. I'd love to hear from other writers too, be they short storiests or novelists,  plotters or pantsers. And hey, I'm really looking forward to hearing what you the non-writing, but reading, public think of us crazy creators of your entertainment. 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll enjoy my posts.

P.S. To the regulars: The Paying Forward Awards and Word Master Challenge will continue in May. Would have continued with both, but since I'm busy with revisions as well... 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just a brief message

Hey all! Just coming out of my break to let you know I did a post on Damyanti's blog about writing first drafts by hand and one on Sydney's blog to explain why I blog. Would love to see you there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taking a short blogging break

So sorry about this, but I'm going to take a short break until Sunday. 

As some of you already know, Etopia offered me a publishing deal which I accepted. What I didn't mention (due to being unsure of the contract terms last week) is that the deal is that I split Doorways in two. 

So. Because this might mean a killer deadline at worst and at best a currently uncertain work schedule, I want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. As a result, I have a considerable amount of work to do before the end of the week. 

I'll share the arrangements with regards to the Paying Forward Awards as soon as I've confirmed with the prize sponsors. 

Thank you all for your support and understanding! 

Lots of love, 


Friday, March 22, 2013

Oh what the hell. An announcement I just have to share.

I was going to postpone this until Monday or so, but keeping the secret is driving me mad. To the point where I just can't seem to blog about anything else. So I'm going to say to hell with fearing bad luck and hello to me sharing some EXCELLENT NEWS. 

People. (And pay attention, because this is a HUGE moment for me.)

Doorways has been accepted for publishing by Etopia Press!!! 

More on this to follow. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Paying Forward Awards March

Hey all!

I want to say I'm in better shape now, but let's not jinx it. I'll hopefully be all better by Monday.

In the meantime, though, I want to announce this month's Paying Forward Award Categories.

Before I do that though, I just want to make a small announcement. For some reason, some of last month's winners still haven't claimed their prizes. So. If you were nominated in February, please check out the list of winners to see who've won. After Monday, I'm giving the prizes out to third and fourth place nominees to make their day. There are some amazing prizes left, so don't miss out.

Okay, this time around, I want to play with the prize giving format a little. Instead of listing the prizes here, I'm going to list them and the sponsors with the winner's announcements. That way, the winners can see what they can win more easily.

So this time, I'm only going to say that I have the following categories for this month:

Blogger Who Makes the Bloggosphere Amazing
Blogger With Unrivaled Determination
Blogger With Amazing Team Spirit
Blogger Who Brightens Every Day

Nominations are open until noon, GMT on Tuesday, March 26. To nominate, please mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Nominations" as subject. You can nominate for all or some categories. 

So... Who's name pops into your head when you look at these categories?  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Paying Forward Nominations postponed

Hey all,

Sorry to postpone on you again, but the bug is kicking my ass today. Tried waiting it out and beating it back with medicine, all to no avail.

Will try to wake up early tomorrow morning and get the post up.

Thanks for understanding!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

News Day (Sort of)

Looks like I talked too fast yesterday, saying I was healthy. Still, it feels like I am beating the virus. Problem is that getting everything done (including visiting blogs to collect news day items) is a bit more difficult than usual.

So... today's News Day post is mostly admin.

First of all, the Word Master Challenge is still open. So if you want to enter, but haven't yet, you still have until the end of March.

Then, I'll be announcing the Paying Forward Award Categories and opening nominations for March tomorrow. So, if you want to be one of the amazing and generous people sponsoring prizes please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Paying Forward" as the subject as soon as possible so that I know how many prizes we'll have. All prizes will be welcomed.

One thing that's sort of unrelated to this blog is the WriteOnCon Pitch Fest going on this week. Agents are commenting on query pitches, so it's definitely worth while for anyone wanting to query to check out the forum and learn what you can.

Also, the organizers are looking for book fans, book bloggers, published authors and represented authors who can vote for the best pitches in the competition. This is a huge thing, though, since the prizes can make some authors' careers. Please check out this link for more information and to register as a voter.

Okay. That's it for today. I promise I'll start visiting blogs and commenting soon. I'm really missing my blog visits.

Any news for next week? Leave a comment or preferably mail me a link to the news bit with "News" as the subject.

Be back tomorrow! Remember those nominations!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest

To Alex's blog

Hey all! I'm finally making a come-back after finally putting the stomach bug in its place. Thanks so much to everyone who left good wishes. I truly appreciated them.

But now, time for some movies. I only have a rough idea about what's in my top 10, so I won't be numbering them. It's odd, I know, but I don't have favorite books either. My reasons, as silly as they may be, are in green.

Just because the writing, plot, characterization, everything worked together just like. Oh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 

"I'm your huckleberry." Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday is probably my most favorite movie character of all time. Just watchin him in the movie makes me want to write. 

The Untouchables
For inspiring my approach to conflict management. ;-) In case you're wondering: 
"You wanna get Capone? Here's how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way, and that'show you get Capone!" 

Seriously, though, probably the most to the point but efficient film speech I ever heard. And if I'm remembering right, Sean Connery improvised it.

Dark Knight
The Joker.
Enough said. 

Because the train eventually feels like an evil entity. And because those guys put themselves into so much danger because no one else was there to stop the train. 

Hunt for Red October 
Even though the Cold War is over, there's enough info in the writing to pull me into the world at the edge of nuclear fall-out. And make me care about how it turns out in the end. 

Even though I watched the movie about 6 years after the iron curtain went down. 

and its (sort of) sequel Executive Decision. 
Not in the same class, really. But Steven Seagal did something amazing in this movie. Astounding. 

He died within the first 30 or so minutes of the movie's opening credits. 

Special mention to another "sequel" Clear and Present Danger.
For one line: "By being a sneaky bastard, sir." 

Actually the story is excellent too. With Willem Dafoe playing a good guy. Which doesn't happen often.

The three Chronicles of Narnia adaptions
Brought the magic of the books to life. 

The Patriot
I lived in that movie for the whole time it played. Mel Gibson's character was brilliantly written. 

The Replacements
A lot of people missed this one. It's a football movie about a random bunch of guys having to get their team into the Superbowl because the pros went on strike. 

It's sort of a comedy, but actually really deep. With a buddy story as the whole replacement team needs to learn how to get along with each other. And they are from EVERY walk of life. 


"At first I was afraid... I was terrified." 

Okay no. It's too good not to show. 

Made my day when I saw it again. Probably my favorite random scene.

So. What're your favorite movies and why?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just a quick shout out.

Hey all,

So I was a bit optimistic about saying I'd put up a News Day post. Truth be told, my stomach bug is currently kicking my butt.

Now I'm planning to get myself healthy as soon as possible, which means I'll be extending my blogging break, when I'll be taking part in Alex Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest. As with all activities involving the Ninja Captain, I'm sure it'll be awesome. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do. I'll be fun.

See you on Monday!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

News Day Has Moved

Hey all. That stomach bug I might have mentioned has returned with a vengeance, which is leaving me exhausted.

As a result, I won't be pasting more tonight, but will do the News Day post tomorrow instead. Please feel free to send me any tidbits (with links) that you think should be shared. Mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with News in the subject line.

Monday, March 11, 2013

M Pax: You Can't Take the Sky From Me

I was one of the few original watchers of Firefly when it aired on Fox ten years ago. The first episode they aired was Train Robbery. It caught my attention with a vengeance, and I was devastated when the series was cancelled. Unshiny. Very unshiny, Fox.

Like Star Trek [the original], the mix of trying to survive on a new frontier with the awesomeness of exploring space, is a match most space opera fans can’t resist. At least, I can’t. I aimed to capture that same spirit when creating my universe. So, The Backworlds was born.

Like Firefly, my characters are at the edge of the galactic frontier. There are thugs, thieves, mercenaries, and scam artists. The Firefly characters often swayed between what was morally right, what they needed to survive, and their own goals. My characters often battle similar dilemmas. They’re far from perfect, but they are redeemable. Just like the beloved crew of Serenity.

Life isn’t shiny and perfect in Firefly. It’s raw survival and gritty, ripe with an atmosphere I did intend to capture. Maybe I didn’t, but I know the Backworlds aren’t shiny and perfect.

I couldn’t copy Firefly exactly, because it’s just not my style. I like to be somewhat original and need to do my own thing. [That belief may be a delusion] So my humans have been genetically engineered to deal with less ideal environments on flawed worlds.

I figure it’d be easier to change ourselves to suit less ideal planets than to change entire worlds to fit our needs. And sooner or later, if we intend to survive, we must figure out how to leave Earth and establish humanities on new homes.


You can try the first in the series, The Backworlds, for free. It’s available for all ereaders. LINKS. It’s also available in paperback for not free from Amazon.

Boomtown Craze is the latest release and the 3rd book in the series.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe.

To secure his future, Craze must propel his world into a more prosperous era. Only days away from the grand opening of his new and improved tavern, he is confronted by a loony Backworlder intent on mucking up his plans. Gaunt and trembling, she claims her spaceship is possessed. She also has a connection to the underworld that shakes loose the dark past of one of Craze’s closest friends. It all threatens to end Craze’s prosperity before it begins.

Meanwhile off world, Captain Talos works desperately to outwit the mercenary Jixes and lure them away from his and Craze’s budding prospects. The mind-control weapon Talos uses against them is wearing thin, and his next move may be his last.

Will Craze and Talos’s efforts bring about a grand new age of boom or damn them to forever struggle in the dust?

Available in ebook at:


M. Pax is a Browncoat and SG fan, she’s also slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. In the summers she docents as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory where the other astronomers now believe she has the most extensive collection of moon photos in existence. No fear, there will be more next summer. She lives in stunning Central Oregon with the Husband Unit and two lovely, spoiled cats.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Just a Reminder

Hey all! Just wanted to let you know I'll be writing tonight, so I'm just going to re-post the theme for the Word Master Challenge.

For more information and to enter, please head over here. There are prizes to be won, so I really hope some more people get a chance to enter.

This month's theme:


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

Interested? Then write me something awesome and enter

Have a great weekend, all! X

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting Back to Writing

As most of you noticed, I'm sure, querying hasn't been a roller-coaster process as much as a downward spiral. It's been taking a toll on me, creatively.

Just as I feel like I'm ready, willing and able to write, another flurry for frustrating form rejections come in, dunking me into another bout of disappointments.

It just ended up turning into this cycle that I just couldn't seem to break.

But last month, with the personalized rejection I received, I realized I've had enough. I'm no longer going to waste my time worrying about agents who won't get my book. They're not the reason why I write.

My love of writing is.

So I decided to make March about getting back to my first love. I joined three challenges to motivate me and set the goal at 31k words this month. In other words, I'm aiming to write a thousand words every day for a month (not counting blogging). To keep things fun and easy, I'm not limiting myself to one story.

I'm writing anything that strikes my fancy.

So far, I'm up to date to achieve my goal, although I haven't written today's goal yet. But as soon as this is written, I plan to get some words down.

Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Anyone else join writing challenges this month? How are you doing?

Before you go, please don't forget to think about sponsoring for the Paying Forward Awards. Any prizes are welcomed. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you're interested in volunteering.

And then, remember to check out the Word Master Challenge!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group

Ah! It's nice to get a chance to share my insecurities with you all today. Although I tend to be really honest when I blog, I do try to tone down on worrying here, since I think it would really annoy you if  I shared my insecurities all the time.

But thanks for Alex, and the Insecure Writers' Support Group, all of us get to share whatever worries us once a month and everyone supports each other. And today, I get to co-host as well, so welcome one and all!

But now, let me share what's been bothering me. 

As some of you may know, I have been querying my first ever completed manuscript since September last year. 

I've basically been getting "no" ever since. But here's the thing. I have a sneaking suspicion. Nothing I can prove, but that's niggling me. 

I'm starting to think no one's even reading my submission. 

The first few I forgive because, well. My query sucked. Now though, I have a really good one. And my book has been edited to a shine.

I've had positive feedback on the book again and again from people who never met me and who are from all walks of life and even different countries, so the safe assumption would be that my story has broad appeal. 

And yet, it took five months before I got a real personal rejection. And that one opened my eyes. Because this is THE agent in my genre. Who took a week extra to decide if he'd ask for more or not. (And no, he wasn't late in responding because of being very busy. He thanked me for my patience while he decided.) 

The reason why he rejected the novel actually sucks, because what he'd seen as a problem was actually an impression created by the amount of words he's requested. 

Point being. He looked at my query and saw something. Why hasn't 40+ agents in two different countries? Yes, I know it's a subjective business and all that, but if THAT agent saw something and no one else does, I'm thinking there's something off. 

And basically, I think my problem comes down to two words. 



You see, somewhere, someone decided that it's unpublishable and therefore not sellable. (Not a conspiracy theory.) So the moment someone sees it's portal fantasy, they just dump the query. 

So that leaves me wondering. Do I lie in the query and take out the bit that starts on earth? Because odds are, they'll just stop reading the moment my book starts on earth. So yeah. 

I'm starting to think that traditional publishing is out for this book. 

But as much as I know that this is going on, I still can't help but think that maybe my book just isn't as good as I think it is. 

So. Here's my question. Anyone else been getting the feeling lately that agents aren't really reading your submissions? I'm not talking about only spending a few seconds on a query before reading or dumping. I'm talking about not even giving the author a chance.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

News Day: February Results Edition

Hey all! Welcome to this Month's Results post.

Word Master Challenge

Before we get to what I think everyone really wants to know, I just want to write a quick note about the Word Master Challenge. I think I gave people too little time to enter this time around (only two weeks) and it is a rather more challenging theme, so I decided to postpone the deadline to 31 March. If you don't know what the Challenge is about, please go check it out. The entry is 300 words or less and you have a month to enter.

The winner gets to pick between a $10 e-voucher, a crit on the first 10 chapters and (because I now discover I love doing these) a query crit. Interested? Get writing, lovelies!

Right, now to the BIG news.

Paying Forward Awards

Thank you to each and every one of you who sponsored, nominated or voted for the awards. You all made it twice the size it had been in January. Which makes you all amazing people.

Now. Before I announce the winners, I just want to do a recap of how the prize claims work. Winners must contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with either "I came first" or "I came second". I will then assign prizes on First places, First come first served basis. In other words. First prize winners get priority in the order that they contact me, followed by second prize winners in order that they contact me. I then assign prizes according to what people want most, second most etc. until all prizes have been assigned. First place winners who don't contact me within a week will forfeit their place to the second place winners.


And the winners 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

Congrats to you all! You definitely deserve some kudos!

Paying Forward Awards March

Before you go, I just want to appeal to your heart. The Awards are growing and crawling into people's hearts, but for me to keep it going I need your help.

If there's anything you'd like to give away to make someone's day, please become a sponsor for the month. I give you special mention when I open nominations and we can even arrange a guest post in return. Literally anything is welcome. From your e-book to crits, to vouchers, to beta reads and anything in between. Anything you think someone else would like.

If you'd like to help, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Paying Forward" in the subject line. Thank you in advance!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Overcoming Adversity Launch

Hi all! As some of you know, I'm no longer doing cover launches in this form, but this is for such a good cause that I just had to help with spreading the word.


A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links:

Editor Bio: 

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland. Visit him at his blog

About the Cover:

Designed by D.R. Cartwright (DRC) from a concept by Ella Wilson.

Please all, spread the word as far and as wide as you can. And please, if it's at all within your means, even if you don't read anthologies, will you at least think of buying the book? It's $5 well spent towards a brave young person's future. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Back From the Future Bloghop

Today I'm taking part in two blogfests. On this blog, I'll be discussing what I'm hoping to send myself from the future. One the other blog, I'm counting my blessings for the Bloghop of Joy. So back to Back From the future.


You’re up before dawn on a Saturday when the doorbell rings. You haven’t brewed your coffee so you wonder if you imagined the sound. Plonking the half-filled carafe in the sink, you go to the front door and cautiously swing it open. No one there. As you cast your eyes to the ground, you see a parcel addressed to you … from you.
You scoop it up and haul it inside, sensing something legitimate despite the extreme oddness of the situation. Carefully, you pry it open. Inside is a shoebox — sent from ten years in the future – and it’s filled with items you have sent yourself.
What’s in it?

Since I'm on a bit of having-writing-fun kick (which I'll write about next week), I decided I'll do a short (very short) story of it. Hope you enjoy! In case you're wondering, I don't drink coffee. Hence its absence from the morning routine. 

The doorbell rings. No... please let that be my imagination. The dogs start in on their frenzied barking. Never could figure out their problem with the bell. Maybe they just don't like the tune. 

I growl and roll myself out of bed, landing on my feet in a show of much greater alertness than I'm currently feeling. Then I trudge up stairs. This better be worth the aggravation of waking up early on the first Saturday in weeks that I could sleep in. 

When I get to the door, there's no one. My black lab pelts past and starts sniffling the parcel on the welcome mat. It's addressed to me. Interesting. I pick it up and head back in, tearing at the wrapping as I go. 

A shoebox. Even more interesting. I sit down by the kitchen counter and investigate the outside of the box. Nothing strange pops out at me, so I pry the lid off. Inside lies only three things, although the third is obscured by a huge slab of dark chocolate and a piece of paper with a note on it. 

I pull out the note and stare, shock shooting through me. This is my own handwriting. Complete with ink splots, strikethroughs and just general chaos. Unable to help myself, I read it.

Hey there, kiddo, 

I know you don't really like knowing what the future holds, so on International Send Back a Capsule Day, I thought you might appreciate these. 

You're going to make it!!!



So that would be the piece of chocolate. What's the other thing? I check back inside the box and pull out a book. My own. I open the cover. 

6th edition. And, as my future humoristic self notes in my infamously sloppy handwriting: 

And counting