So you Think you Can Handle Any Book? Think Again, Pansy.

That's right. I found a book that has me speechless, yet I shove it at you with my eyes wide open in horror. Not because it sucks. Oh contraire, mon ami. This book is fantastic!!!!! (Yes 5 exclamation points-- FIVE!) I’m afraid words will ruin the magic! Let my eyes tell the tale.

But! It is not a book for you pansies who like happy endings. Yet... the ending is about as happy as it can get, really it is. I was never so satisfied by a morbid ending in my entire life! Ah.... magic. Have I got you curious yet?

I do just want to share it with everyone but I do it with a warning, because this is a story about a devil of sorts who takes over a little girl. And more than once it turned me into a monster. I wanted to reach into Don’s world and kill the innocent heroine myself. Don's writing is just that powerful. It consumed me, made me forget that it was just a story. I wanted to save her from herself and just end her miseries.

When you walk away from Cambrian it’s with a deep breath, because even days later you’re still praying that nothing like this will ever happen to you or those you love. 

I can't recommend this book to anyone who wants to live in their happy fantasies. Sorry boys and girls, this is a story of a little girl who is about to go to hell and back again, and somehow, she'll survive even when she doesn't. Make sense? Oh hell, just read the damn thing will ya?


Visit Don over at to view is act of Insanity. For more details see my previous posts on the subject, as it's clear, I'm slightly obsessed with the lunacy of his idea. ;) Don Britt Shares, A Peek Into Don Britt's Act of InsanityThe Drunken Bliss of a 1st DraftUpdate On Inside a Writer's MindInside a Writer's Mind!!!

Read anything with a horribly dark ending that still made you happy it ended that way? That is some good writing eh?

Pick up Cambrian, it was a fun read.
"My blood is in you now.
Until now she had looked on those words as nothing but a threat. A kind of vicious promise, meant to torture her. But now, for the first time another possibility occurred to her.
She thought of vampires and of the dark gift they bestowed, the ability to do new and frightening things.
My blood is in you now.
What if these words were more than a threat? What if they spoke of a dark gift she had been given? A gift that gave her the power to visit strange worlds."- Cambrian by DJ Britt

How Winning a Critique Built my Confidence- Thank You Angela Ackerman

Recently, I won a blog critique and a 5000 words critique from THE BOOKSHELF MUSE. The friendly and wonderful Angela Ackerman herself blessed me with the prize. I can sum it up in one word;
I mean damn. The entire thing was like a magical carpet ride. First, I had to find these vaults to enter the contest. And if you've ever been to their site; they have an impressive thesaurus on the sidebar. For the contest we searched it to find these hidden vaults. There were only 25, and I had to find 5. I had about 15 minutes before work. Really, the odds were against me, right? Right? Well, for fun I tried a word. And the first one I tired I found a vault. The third one another. The fifth one, and so one. I had all five in fewer than six minutes.

Magic like that is fate.
So I entered.
I won.
I won a contest.

Not just a contest. I won a critique of anything I wanted by Angela. Yeah. I stared at the screen shocked for awhile on that one too. What to send?

Not only that, I won a critique of my blog. Yeah. (By the way, doesn't my blog look neat?) hahaha! I laugh because her changes were so subtle, I bet no one noticed, yet they've made my life so much easier, and probably yours too. What? She knows magic like that, you say? She does.
I will share one little tidbit;
" see you have your captcha on. This is something I would consider removing. Because blogger has a spam filter now, it will 'catch' your spam before it ever hits your comments... I know it seems like a small thing, but a lot of the folks I see in your comment box are ones that comment on a lot of blogs. Removing your captcha saves them time and they will appreciate it, trust me. :) If for some reason... spam gets through, you can always slap it back on, but I would give it a try and remove it--your readers will be happier. :) " --- Aka Genius
Now onto the critique. OMG It came at the perfect time for me. Of course, I always have something sitting here to critique, edit, beta read, publish, throw in the trash , rewrite, and cry over, but still... if I wanna call it fate, you'll let me, right?

You see, thanks to her clear critique, I brought my piece to a new level. I liked my intro as was and without her critique I wouldn't have changed it. However, for fun, I gave it whirl. The change-- in my daughter's estimation-- is about a trillion times better than the last intro. Wow eh? "Gee Mom! Talk about improvements." Funny how small things can make all the difference.

And! What really won my heart over was when she referred me to Lydia Sharp's site. You all know how her critique changed my series! If not, see So Close to the Project you're Stupid.

Now of course, I couldn't use all her comments, but they did make me reflect on how others see my work. And, if I turned down her suggestions after she helped me improve my blog and my intro, do you know what that means? I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MY OWN WORK! Now. That is something I have never been able to say.

Today, I stand before you a Writer with confidence, no more hidden addiction.
No more drowning alone in a sea of paper. I have come ashore to get down to business. You ready for this?

Thank you Angela for helping me see my work with new clear eyes, for showing me that I can make improvements to things that I like and turn them into things I love, for reminding me of those who help me along the way, and mostly for giving me the confidence to trust my own words. Finally, I can say, I am a Writer, and I can send my MS off to face its first rejections. ah... the magic in it.

I could say thank you all day. The Bookshelf Muse already has 2000 followers, and more, but if one isn't you, you are missing out. This girl is incredible, and she isn't alone over there!!

Now I know it was a prize and I should just say thanks and smile all pretty, but I really feel like I owe the universe or something for introducing this Canadian Chicky to me. So please, I'm giving everyone here a chance to recall one moment that changed your life or one person who helped you in a way that you can't repay. Leave it in the comments so others can see how lucky you are too and how magic is at work all around us, in great people like Angela who work so hard to help other writers become their very best.

Oh, did I say thank you Angela? Because really, this post is dedicated to you and to all the great friends and writers like you who have helped not only me, but other writers build their confidence so they too can get rejected properly. Thank you for being so nice to me too! It's a small thing, but sadly, not everyone is.

One day, it won't be a rejection and then what the heck will we do, eh? lol I guess, I'll come back and thank you all again! hahaha! Can't wait for that day!

Auntie B's Book Club Contest

Brendra Lee Drake is Hosting A Contest Click HERE for details.

Last week, I won Miserere by Teresa Frohock from Brenda's site so I owe her a HUGE thank you! The book sounds so AWESOME!

Anyway, this is the contest I decided to enter this week. Yup, try my luck again over there. It's fun because the judges are 4 college students. Now. They want the first 250 words of anything that has characters between the ages of 12 and 25. So everything I write qualifies. Since the prize is for a synopsis critique I'm going with a MS that could use a synopsis critique; Finding Balance.

Now, no one has read the intro to this piece yet, so it might need work, that's why I'm posting it. If you feel it needs love, please share away!! The point of the contest is to grab the interest of 4 college girls so they'd pick up my "book" in a bookstore after reading the blurb and the first 250 words. (Honestly, that's always the point of what I write. Isn't it?) I have more words than needed, but I assume that will change as the love rolls in, so I'm going with.

35 word Pitch: Addicted to drugs and sex, Watcher isn't sure if She-devil Sly's entrancement will kill him or save him. He needs balance fast, but everything stands in his way from dark whisperers to his future self.

Title: FINDING BALANCE from the Notebook Chronicles of 1917
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Thanks for your help, and good luck to all the participants, I hope you have fun!!

Kids as Beta Readers? huh.

So after a year of nagging, I broke down and wrote something my kids would enjoy. I read them the first draft, because let's face it, they're a little different then the audience I've targeted for the past fifteen or so years.

It wasn't my intention to turn them into Beta readers, they were just naturals. They gave me very honest feedback. Since I know their body language well-- perhaps too honest. All the shifts of boredom and rolling eyes sent me back to the drawing board with new energy. Plus, they know me very well, and were able to tell me how much it sucked without making me cry. Yay!

I came back and tried again.

Now, I'd like to say don't try this at home, because I almost feel like I should warn the writing world. Kids are blunt, and they will blurt out things that will leave you wondering whose children these are. But in the end, the benefits were too much! If you write for this audience try this at home-- go for it! If you don't have children, send your MS my way, I will pass it by my very honest children for you.

So what brilliant comments did they leave me with? These two were my favs, so I share them with you, even if they have no benefits whatsoever. You just can't make stuff like this up; (Keep in mind they're 11 and 6.)

"That's not where I'm getting my tattoo."     
"Why not? It's where I'm getting mine."

"Can I play Boysenberry when this is a movie?"
"Hey, I want to be the guy with the tattoos. No wait. I want to be the guy who flies."
"That is the guy with the tattoos. Pay attention or you won't get a part."

Ok, so I can't use those comments, but there were many I could use. They were quick to point out if things were unclear, repeated, boring, without action, or involved too much thinking... Yeah. They were very helpful in all the ways my usual Beta readers are. 

How did I go about it?
  • I read out loud, they raised their hand to interrupt. (So politely! This was their idea, mine was to leave them speechless-- no such luck.)
  • I recorded it to catch the chuckles, the gasps, the things I couldn't mark on the text.
  • We did this at draft one and five, and I plan to do it once more at draft 8 (what will hopefully be IT!) See me grin :)) They are excited about this final read. me too.
  • I had my notebook open and made changes as I read and as they gave me their suggestions. They got to see the magic in action. They liked that-- it made them feel like part of the process. They were impressed with the changes from draft one to five. Very impressed, but they made me change one thing back, and they were very firm about this so I agreed to it. So far, their change back has been a hit, so yay!

Have you ever had kids Beta read your work and how did that work out for you? Any tips?

One Sweet Award and One Versatile Award

The one thing I LOVE about blogging is passing on the awards. Of course I can't do that unless I win one!!! Well, lucky duck, I won TWO!!
Thanks MARGO at Writing at High Altitude. Be sure to check out her great blog because she won these awards first!!

The rules are:
  • Thank and link to the person who nominates you- check.
  • Share seven random facts about you.- check 
  • Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.Contact those buddies to congratulate them.- check
7 things about me that prove I am versatile or irresistibly sweet or maybe not;
1- I live on granola bars, oreos, hot chocolate, and fruit and nut bars (the chocolate kind). -yum, this is the foundation for all things sweet, is it not?

2- I wrote 20 000 words for my new MS Soulmates of Freedom during 3 consecutive work days (not at work- let's make that clear).- yup juggling life and writing; oh so sweet, oh so versatile.

3- I once broke an egg on my brother's head because he pissed me off and when he told my mom on me, I convinced her that egg yolks were good for hair, and I was looking out for him because I loved him so much. - See how sweet I can be?

4- I once came face to face with a fox when I was running cross-country, and decided to let him pass. Softy that I am, I went another way. yeah.

5- I held a conversation with over a hundred different people at the community St Jean Baptiste Celebration last week, including their kids. yes i did. Yet! I haven't spoken one word to my neighbour in 2 years.

6- I no longer cut out the newspaper articles I submit, but I do make an effort to cut out any photos of my kids if they get in the paper. And at work, I scrapbook any photos or articles involving anyone from our community.

7- I wore mismatched socks for three days in a row. I doubt the wash will sort out my problem as my kids are doing laundry for the summer break. I don't have time to fish around for pairs in the morning, but no worries, I'm so sweet, no one is brave enough to comment on them anyway. ;)

5 6 new blogging buddies who inspire me because lately I really feel like NOT writing and just going to the beach with the other rockstars;

Reece Hanzon His writing is so powerful it gave me goosebumps on top of the goosebumps. Thanks for the inspiration.

Samantha Sotto Her stories and photos always give me the fou-rire- is there a word for that in English? (It means uncontrollable laughter that has you giggling like a nut on the floor and dialing all your friends to check out her site asap because it is just too perfect.) Thanks for the inspiration.

Richard Hughes from Writing and Living He always gives me something to think about, talk about, research, and write about. Thanks for the inspiration.

Summer Frey of Twenty Something She always makes me feel young again. Thanks for the inspiration.

Valentina Hepburn She always makes me smile, laugh, and man, does she tell freaking funny stories. Thanks for the inspiration.

Brooke Rousseau She writes great stories my kids love, and keeps me motivated to write my own, even when I'm pretty sure it'd be easier to pack up and go to the beach. Thanks for the inspiration.

Oops that's one too many! LOL. I could go on and on. You're all so sweet and versatile and these are just a FEW of the great bloggers out there who have kept me inspired these past few months!!! Thank you all so much for your great posts, your kind words, and your gentle nudges.