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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Each Wednesday from January 9 – December 18, 2019, Long and Short Reviews is hosting a weekly blog hop.

Blogging is a fun way to meet people and get to know them. We’re offering a weekly “prompt” for authors, non-authors, bookish folks and others to share something weekly and gain new friends and visitors to the blog. There’s no pressure to write something every week (though it should be fun and a challenge), but we do ask that if you do post something, you share your link on the weekly post we’ll put up at our site (it will be the top post on the home page each Wednesday morning) — the link list will be open for new links for 48 hours. Other bloggers will also share their links and you can hop over and see what they have to share.

February 20th – What To Read To Learn About X

I’ve missed a couple weeks of this, but I’m doing these weekly blog challenges kind of casually so it’s not a big deal. I’m back today to answer this week’s question, though!

Since I’m a writer it would be easy to list books that help you learn about writing, but most writers probably already have a list of those, or can easily find them anywhere on the internet. I tried to come up with something more unique. It does, however, pertain to writing–specifically, writing about places you’ve never visited.

To learn more about (most) any place in the world–especially places you’ve never actually seen–read Google Maps!

More precisely, use the ‘Street View’ mode on Google Maps wherever it’s available: and it’s available far more widely than you can imagine. Even some of the most remote, barely-traveled places on earth have been photographed and mapped by it. I’ve used it countless times to get a feel for, or details about, places that I haven’t actually seen in person. It’s one of my best-used tools when creating settings for my books. Even for places where I have been (like Chicago in multiple books I’ve written), it helps in areas that I haven’t visited, or that I don’t remember clearly. I tend to be a writer who likes to keep settings close to what they are in the real world, so it’s something I rely on a lot. It makes it so I don’t have to always write about places I know, or places I make up.

Have you ever used a tool like Google Maps to help you ‘see’ a place you’re writing about?

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Do you want a little romance (novel) in your life this Valentine’s Day? Do you like prizes? In the spirit of LOVE, I’m holding a Valentine’s giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win:

A $10 Amazon gift card

A choice of any TWO of my titles in e-book format (excluding the anthologies, as I don’t have permission to give away the works of other authors).

Just enter the giveaway to win! You must be willing to provide an email address for the prizes. This contest will be open until Saturday, February 16th, at which time the Rafflecopter will close and the winner will be announced.

Good luck and spread the LOVE! Happy Valentine’s Day!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

 

2/16 – Contest is now closed! Audrey S. is the winner. Congratulations!

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The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #6: Five authors (alive or dead) I’d like to meet

This was a fun list to make!

  1. Stephen King – I don’t think anyone who has read my blog for any length of time is surprised by this. Stephen King was the reason I started writing at the tender and impressionable age of 13, wanting to be a horror writer just like him. I really want to meet him, and the fact he’s getting older makes me nervous that I won’t (and he makes far less public appearances now). I would love to just say to him “Mr. King, you’re the reason I started writing as a teenager, and now I have my own books published.” As eloquent as this seems in my head, in real life I’m sure I’d be a quivering, stupid mess and wouldn’t get the words out right.
  2. Anne Rice – She’s also getting older and it makes me nervous. I’d love to tell her what sort of impression her Vampire Chronicles had on me, even though I’m sure she hears it often. Her writing style and her boldness at a time vampire books weren’t a ‘thing’ yet, and her enduring impression and legacy as an author are things I really admire, and I’d love to just be in her presence for a few moments.
  3. Anne Lamott – My favorite author who writes about writing. She has a wicked dark sense of humor very much like my own and I think meeting her in person would be a delight.
  4. Edgar Allen Poe – Of course my black, morbid, horror-loving self would like to meet the old school master. I know in life he wasn’t exactly the greatest guy to be around, and possibly a raging alcoholic, but it’s a fantasy, I think, for anyone who writes or enjoys horror.
  5. Laurell K. Hamilton – The author who introduced me to urban fantasy, which is where my desire to write both paranormal and romance that’s a little more edgy and dark than traditional romance collide.

What writers would you like to meet?

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This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

February is upon us. Happy (early) Valentine’s Day! Apart from the usual flogging myself to write more, edit more, publish more, I’m not feeling particularly insecure this month. At least, not about any one specific thing. Insecurity is the background noise of my writer’s life, so I’m used to that part by now.

I want to make it a great 2019 and I’m trying to focus on that right now. January was an absolute shit show for me professionally (as in my day job) and personally, so I’m going to pretend January was just a trial month, now the real subscription for the year starts. I’m also choosing to believe all the bad stuff got itself over with right away in January, so the rest of the year will be smooth sailing. I’d rather do it that way anyway, get it over with at once instead of stretching it out over the whole year!

How was your January? Are you ready for the rest of 2019?

February 6 question – Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

I’ve definitely talked about the fact before that I’m simply not creatively inclined outside of writing. At least, not in ways most people think when they think of ‘creative’ things. I like to do interior decorating, but for my own tastes, I doubt I could design a space for anyone else. So, I love decorating my own house. Sometimes I enjoy cooking. I’ve been threatening to try out candle making for a few years now, so maybe this will be the year I finally give it a go. I’m not very handy or crafty, either.

What outlets do you have?

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The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #5: A book that has influenced my life

This is a great question, and there’s several–I’ve talked about some of these before, so I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record.

I didn’t exactly have the best life growing up/in my teens. My mother died when I was 13 and I went into a system of foster care, rotating between my much older siblings and other people connected to my family. I hated my life and most of all, I hated living in the small, backwards town I lived in where there was basically nothing for a teenager to do but get into trouble–which I did, a lot. Even back then I was obsessed with horror novels and movies, probably because I was morbid due to my circumstances. Around the age of 15 (it’s been a long time and hard to remember my exact age) I found a copy of The Vampire Lestat at a flea market/basement sale type thing and of course it had the word VAMPIRE in the title, so I had to have it and read it.

It turned out that book changed my entire life–largely, because if you haven’t read it, through most of the first half, Lestat is a young (human) man who is desperate to escape his dreary provincial life and horrible family situation. He ends up doing this in the most fantastical way, by becoming a vampire (though it’s forced upon him) and taking on Paris, becoming an actor and ruling the night. For me, it sounded like all my daydreams come true. And even though it’s a largely tragic story about losing your humanity while trying to find yourself, it resonated with me so strongly at that impressionable, miserable age and gave me hope. I still have that falling apart, rag-tag copy I bought for 50 cents all those (many!) years ago. It’s held together with tape now and the pages are yellow, but I will never throw it away.

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is also the book that changed how I look at writing, when I was a young and very green writer. Her dark and frank sense of humor is right up my alley, and the lessons she teaches in it made things very clear for me at the time. I still have that old book too! I also have an old copy of Sophy Burnham’s For Writer’s Only which is full of amazing and resonating quotes for authors. I have a lot of old books!

How about you? What book changed your life?