Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LADIES TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR ROMANTIC LIFE...

Lyssa Bates snaps her journal closed. Her brow twitches. "Not again," she spouts. "Typical...so typical." The words seep out like a noxious fume, leaving a bitter taste in her mouth.

A fuchsia cord dangles from her nightstand. She glances at the attached long, sleek case."Ah, Vibrizzio. At least you know how to treat a lady. In a swift movement she loses herself under the covers...

She is greeted the next morning by an unexpected surprise at work. Hayden King. "Just when I've given up on men," she mutters under her breath as a delicious chill tingles down her spine. She shakes his hand. His pitch eyes blast away the un-penetrateable wall she had spent the past six months building.

She pulls her eyes away from his. I have Vibrizzio...he's never disappointed me. Not once.

As fate would have it, Lyssa and Hayden spend the next few months touring around the Midwest for their company. Their flirtatious relationship turns into something more...

Will Lyssa cut the electricity between her and Hayden, or will she cut the cord?

Time can be breathless....


VIBRIZZIO by Nicki Elson



What a fun chick lit, story.... Sometimes we just need to read for pure entertainment and Nicki has supplied us with a fresh spin on a woman who takes charge of her "Romantic" life.  Sometimes it's just easier...

Today is the debut of Vibrizzio... if you need a fun read and moment to escape your tense world, why not pop over to Amazon and by your copy!

Congrats Nicki! All the best!

Amazon: Link

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

EA'S ARE NOT OF THE PAST...THEY ARE ALIVE AN WELL...

Hi, All,

It's been many months since I have posted about an Earthly Angel. This very rare breed of human thankfully still does exist, however they are getting much harder to spot these days with all the unhappiness in the world.

Today's Angel hails from Chicago. Yes, imagine an EA gracing one of THE MOST DANGEROUS and CORRUPT cites in the country. But, she does...

Her story was told to me by a close friend. Imagine working all day on your feet. Your ten hour shift is up and you drag your tired body to the bus stop. The chilly wind whips around your face and neck sending shivers to your already trembling body. The beacon you've been waiting for screeches to a halt. You hear the familiar ding of your chariot as it lowers itself to accommodate the bedraggled mass of bodies. You are fourth in the queue, anxiously waiting to hoist your exhausted body onto the already overcrowded bus.

A small miracle occurs. A seat opens in front of you. Always the gentleman, you look around to see if a senior's needs are greater than yours. You hold your breath. Everyone around you is at least two decades younger. You drop hard without pocketing your wallet. Eyes closed you drift.

On occasion, your slitted eyes open briefly. A few blocks more. Your stop is announced, and zombie-like, you rise from the dead. As you step down to street level, the doors slam shut,  and you take your first step as the fumes from the departing vehicle assaults your nose.

Instinctively you pocket your phone. You realize something is missing. No familiar bulge. It hits you like a runaway freight liner truck. Your wallet. With eyes popping open to three times their natural size, you rush into your building. You frantically push the call button for the elevator an uncountable amount of times.

It comes.

You pace.

Each floor taking longer than the previous.

You curse under your breath that you live on the seventeenth floor.

It stops.

You rush to your front door and fumble with your keys....

Then the real terror begins. Canceling out your life.

The next morning, all but one fragment of your former existence is left to cancel: your driver's license. You grind your teeth just thinking what you had to do to replace it. Hours at the DMV.

After a few hours working, the time ticks closer to 9:00 am. You pick up the phone at exactly 9:01, but don't place the call. I'll do it later.

An odd thing happens within a few minutes. Your cell rings. Raising a brow you glance at the unfamiliar number. No one ever calls you at this hour. But despite your hesitance, you answer it.

Your jaw drops.

You hyperventilate.

You catch your breath and mumble, "Thank you. I'll be there as soon as possible."

A transit worker found your wallet.

You breathe normally for the first time in seventeen hours.

When my friend retrieved his wallet, he was shocked and DELIGHTED to see that everything, including all his cash, was still in tact. Of course he offered this lovely woman a reward, but being the Earthly Angel that she was, she smiled and said,"No thank you, Sir. This is part of my job. I was just happy to be the one who found it."

When my friend returned home, he found several messages left on his voicemail at home. Apparently she went to the extra trouble to locate his cell number, so that he wouldn't worry all day.

He, as well as I, will never forget the kindness of this honest and sweet woman. I said a prayer for her when I learned of this story and my friend plans to make a small donation in her name to a worthy charity.

So friends, whenever you get tired of hearing about murder, robbery, etc. on the news, REMEMBER there are still Earthly Angels among us. Thank God.

It felt good to write this post. It certainly put a smile on my face and I hope it brings some happiness your way....




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FOUND MY HOME.....

Hi, All,

I hope everyone is having BEAUTIFUL SPRING weather today. It is a lovely, sunny 82 degrees today here in South Tampa...

I only have a few more days to enjoy before heading back north to Chicago where it is currently in the chilly 40's! I am NOT looking forward to going back.

BUT... I do have news. My offer was finally accepted for the place that I have been wanting for six weeks now. The carriage house/condo is MINE!!!!!! We signed the papers yesterday and I hope to close in five or six weeks!

As all of you had said. HOLD OUT and I did. I am even more thrilled to discover that there is a FULL attic that I can convert into another bedroom, loft, and storage room. So my DESIGN mind is buzzing! It will be the PERFECT space to write my next novel.... HA... if I even have the energy to write another one. LOL. I'd just like to finish the 40's film noir novella I have set in Chicago before I leave there for good.

Anyway, I just HAD to share my HAPPY news with you all! Thanks for all you support over this and as soon as I can I will post before and after pics. It will take a while though, the remodel may take until Christmas. There is SOOOO much to do to this place, but it is worth it.



And since this is the FIRST Wednesday of the Month.... I have NO INSECURITIES today... My advice to all is to keep at your dreams whatever they may be. It's all about timing. When it's right, it WILL happen!

Have a GREAT WEDNESDAY everyone and I'll drop by and see you guys soon! Don't forget to visit all the other Support groupers..... I know that the A-Z starts today, I ADMIRE ALL who are involved. I will pop around as soon as I can.





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TIME FOR A BIT OF EMERALD TO MAKE THE SPRING POP! ....

Happy St. Patrick's all!



Even if you are not Irish a little bit of green goes a LONG, LONG way. With Spring just a few short days away, it may be time to strip away all those dark colors you've been sporting and add a touch of color... Green is fresh, neutral, and lively. We all need a bit of spring in March!

After a STUNNING 70 degree day yesterday here in Chicago, our temps dropped over 30 degrees! Yes, sadly, winter is back. BUT the sun is shining and the ice and snow are gone. As I look out my window there are patches of the emerald stuff stretching toward the blue sky. Yes, there is hope for Spring.

Life renews itself once more and this is THE PERFECT time to dust off all those old stories and put a bit life back into them. I spent all last week doing that to my novel and I am HOPING that this will be the last. Later today I plan on sending out a few queries. It's time. This will be the last chance I can query the agents/publishers from the SCBWI conference. They only allow six weeks. And I am certainly cutting it close. Hopefully I will make it just in time.

I've missed all of you. As you know life is insane as usual, trying to settle down into a new home. I'll be returning to Tampa next week HOPING to finalize my place. WE are still in negotiations. Both of us standing our ground, but neither party willing to move on. They want to sell and I want to buy, but we are still haggling over the price. It's too much. The place needs TONS of work, but they are banking on the neighborhood. Yes, it is AMAZING, but I don't want to fall into the same trap. I way overpaid for my condo in Chicago and put THOUSANDS in upgrades. I lost a ton when I sold it, so I don't want that to happen again.

I'll keep you posted for sure. Waiting on a few other things to tell you about. Spring is my favorite time of year and that is when all good things happen to me. SO I am keeping VERY positive that all works out.

Please let me know how you guys are doing! Any fun SPRING projects? I know many of you are debuting cover reveals and novels. I hope to catch all of them. I will try to make myself more visible. It's just so overwhelming sometimes when your private life is in upheaval and you are living in boxes. I decided to leave my rental half done. It's a waste of time to finish doing it. I hope to be out of here and in South Tampa SOON...

Take care everyone and HAPPY SPRING!!!!!!




Wednesday, March 4, 2015

THREE MONTHS INTO 2015 AND WHERE ARE YOU?...

Hi, All!

Hope everyone is managing to get through our insane weather patterns. I just arrived back to Chicago yesterday afternoon after driving through five hours of fog in Florida, misty rain through Georgia and Tennessee, and on and off torrential rains through Indiana. Surprisingly, Chicago weather was't too horrible: 36 and cloudy.

At least I woke up to the sun streaming through my windows... a nice way to start the day.

I can't believe we are in MARCH already. Didn't 2015 just begin? Time is fleeting, and it seems that I am only one step behind the world. Don't you just hate that? No matter how hard I try, I am missing out on something important.

Will we ever catch up?

That is my theme for today's IWSG post. Playing catch up...

Am I just fooling myself? Are any of us? We are always tenacious, focused, and forever trying.
I've learned so much about myself these past six weeks in Florida and NYC. I left Chicago, bright-eyed and full of hope. I would do GREAT at the SCBWI conference in NYC, and I would find my perfect home in South Tampa. That was the plan...

As we know, life always has its own plans for us. WE may push ourselves toward our goals, but obstacles can and WILL pop up just as we are sailing along effortlessly.  Always remember the detours will push us into unknown territory WHICH is NOT NECESSARILY a bad thing.  God has his own plans for us, hopefully we are on the same track, but not always.

The conference was AMAZING as I had written about in my previous post. Now I need to buckle down, review my notes, and brush away all my insecurities about querying those amazing people I had listened to and learned from at the conference. Push away all my fears and jump right in!

Not so easy after the stress of looking for my future home for over a month. I racked up more miles in that short time on my poor 13 year old Saturn than I had in ten years in Chicago. I found three residences that were perfect for me and SADLY all of them fell through for one reason or another. By February 28 I had enough, ready to get up at 4:00 am Sunday morning and drive home, defeated. I felt so bad for myself and my realtor. She was amazingly patient and supportive. Telling me not to settle for something not right...WHICH I almost had. Even put an offer on this property and just needed to counter and leave the escrow money. But...I didn't. I decided to look one more time at the MLS. And, I had found my place!

I submitted an offer and I am ANXIOUSLY waiting for the acceptance or counter today. This was the LAST place I looked at, too. It is meant for me. I just know it.... After three let downs, can this be the fourth? I am hoping not. Sometimes we have to WAIT for the right moment for our goals to be achieved. SO, KEEP AT YOURS. I know I intend to. I looked a the MLS again last night and found "Backup" condos, JUST IN CASE. I'm not giving up. AND, neither should you on your goals and dreams.

This is my advice to all of you. Our writing lives and personal lives often share the same road. Keep trudging along and you will be led to your destiny. Keep and open mind and if the obstacles are too great, get yourself a pair of spiked boots and DIG IN. STAND YOUR GROUND!

Please drop by the rest of the IWSG members here   at Alex J. Cavanough's site, for inspiration and advice. Remember we are not alone in our insecurities....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MAJOR HOPE FOR PICTURE BOOK AUTHORS/ILLUSTRATORS...

HI, All,
Happy mid winter....

I know the north and east has been pounded with snow and I am know how aweful that can be. I hope and pray that you are all safe! 

When I was in NYC last week we did get a bit of snow, but nothing like is happening now. The SCBWI conference was AMAZING! I learned so much and felt so energized and excited about writing again. If any of you are in a slump, I HIGHLY recommend attending ANY regional or national conference it is worth it's weight in gold. Seriously, it was a costly venture, but the knowledge and advice I had received was priceless.

For those of you who are children's writers and illustrators, you will be happy to know that this genre is making a HUGE comeback. I have thought about doing a picture book for quite some time now. Since I can illustrate, it would be such a blast to create something amazing for younger kids. Once I finish with my current querying and WIP, I hope to create a picture book. It would be SOOO FREEING.

The guest speaker at the conference ranged from picture book artists, m/g/ y/a authors and commercial mega successes. Each had an amazing and inspirational story to tell. And the bottom line is DON'T GIVE UP! I know many of us just want to crawl back into our holes and cover ourselves up, never to be seen again. DON'T you DARE! Keep plugging away at it.

As for my featured story, I was very fortunate to be given some amazing advice on how to really fine tune my first few pages. AND...THANKS to my wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Carrie Butler, she had give me the final tweaks to really make my story blinding....  THANK YOU, CARRIE!

Now it is time to send it out to the agents and publishers from the conference. Many of you may not know this, but if you attend one of these conferences, your ms will be given a boost up. They will at least READ your query in first few pages. As we all know many of the top agents have assistants reading their queries. Yours will get a fighting chance. Isn't that the best we can hope for at this stage?

I was also humbled during my first round of the round table critique to get an ovation from the publisher and other authors. I was shocked and THRILLED. The editor liked most of it, but did suggest for me to start the story a bit differently. Will I take her advice? Maybe. I am still working through it. At least for the next day or so. I really feel the beginning is where it needs to be, so I may just leave it. Always remember it is OUR story, not theirs.

So the process continues... Believe me you will all be the first to know if I receive any full or partial requests.

I also have some news on the house hunt... if finally found a place! YAY! I put in the offer today. Keep those good vibes coming my way that the owner accepts it! Once it is finalized, I will give you all the details...

Anyway, I hope all of you are well and safe. As soon as I return to Chicago next week, I will be visible. Between the conference in NYC and looking for places in South Tampa, my life has been one, mad dash. Plus I didn't have internet access for almost two weeks. WE all know how hard that is...

Stay well, my friends and I'll be by to see you all soon!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ANOTHER LIFE ALTERING WRITING MOMENT COMING...

Hi, All,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I know the Northeast and Midwest have been dumped upon by mounds of snow and the white stuff is still dropping. Let's send some positive vibes their way! Especially since this weekend is the SCBWI conference in NYC. I am flying to New York as you read this post. So please keep those prayers and positive wishes coming my way. I'd REALLY appreciate it!


Today is also the IWSG! Every first Wednesday of the month we spout off about our insecurities and give blog warmth, love, and advice to those who truly need it.

Today I am on edge because of the conference. On Friday I have a private group meeting with an agent and publisher... We have to read our first 500 words and give feedback. EEEK! I know that my MS is probably in the best shape it will ever be in before it moves on, but I still can't help feeling helpless and insecure. Who wouldn't?! Yes, I always strive for the positive as you well know, but this is different... or... is it? Okay, I am really trying to talk myself into it. It's no big deal...right?

OF COURSE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This could make or break my future novel. LOL. Sorry, just a minor freak out. You see I've worked on this particular novel for FOUR years. I know that sounds like so much for those who publish a new book once or twice a year. But, for me, I won't let go until it is published one way or another. Each time it goes under a critical eye, I rewrite it. I can see you all cringing right now. I know you've been there.

Here are my first 500.... Please let me know what you think...


Chapter One 

Aidan


Will this nightmare ever end? my shaking hand scribbles onto the last page of a journal. 
In a swift movement, I push it under the mattress and glance at the glaring red numbers on the digital clock. 
0300. In three short hours it begins again. I wonder what fresh hell he has in store for me today?
Snuffing out the light, I drift into a dreamless sleep, tossing and turning throughout the pre-dawn hours.
I wake with a start as my heart jumps from my chest. The second blow nearly sends the door off its hinges. 
“Get up! It’s 0500. If you’re not out of that bed and downstairs in five minutes, consider it your coffin. Don’t keep me waiting.”
For the past three years, since Mom died, this has been my wake up call.  
I kick off the sheet and my journal lands on the floor with a loud thud. A good thing Dad didn’t see it. He’d freak. Writing is not a career option according to him. It’s all about life in the Corps.
I pick up the journal and flip to the story I’ve been working on, skimming it to the end. 
Terryn opens the utensil drawer and lifts out a meat cleaver. She runs a delicate finger across the edge…
“There’s no use hiding,” she calls out as a fiendish grin trails to each corner of her mouth.
“It works.” I close the dog-eared cover, placing it back under the mattress, giving it a good shove this time. I grab my cell to look at the time. Two minutes just passed.
Shit. Dad’s waiting. 
I reach for my crumpled t-shirt and jeans hanging off the edge of the chair. One minute and forty-five seconds later, I jump and land at the base of the stairs. My best time yet. 
For a split second I pause and consider going straight to school, hoping to avoid another physical encounter.
“Aidan! Stop slacking off and get in here.”
Too late. 
I head into the kitchen.
Dad raises his coal-like eyes from the newspaper and nails me in place with his stare.
“Sit and eat.” His breathing puffs like an oncoming steam engine.
“Yes, Sir.”  
I take the seat across from him and crunch on the usual burnt toast while waiting for the list of orders.
“You will be polite to the teachers. You will pay attention.” He pauses and holds my gaze. “You will be home at 1500 sharp. No excuses. Is that clear?”
I gulp hard and swallow as the piece of toast scratches the inside of my throat.
He pounds the table. “Is that clear?”
“Yes, Sir. 1500 sharp.”
My fingers tense, itching to strangle anything. To strangle him. But instead, I reach down deep inside, not wanting the devil to know my thoughts.
It sucks having to live by his starched and mind-numbing military code 24/7, and I wonder, for the millionth time, how much more can I take?  

So, today, I hope to take my own advice and keep positive, focused, and enjoy the experience and that is what I INTEND to do! 

I had been to this conference a few years ago and had the time of my life and I hope this time, this year, it will CHANGE my life.

If any of you are attending PLEASE let me know! I'd love to see you there!

And, PLEASE, don't forget to visit the other IWSGers who may need your support... You can find all of us at Alex's blog...