Monday, August 20, 2012

Botanicaust has Arrived

by Tam Linsey

I've stepped over the edge. I'm now officially a published fiction author. Botanicaust is available both as an eBook and a paperback.


After genetically altered weeds devastate Earth's croplands, much of humanity turns to cannibalism to survive. Dr. Tula Macoby believes photosynthetic skin can save the human race, and her people single-mindedly embark on a mission to convert the cannibals roaming what's left of Earth. But when Levi, a peaceful stranger, refuses alteration, Tula doesn't think the only options should be conversion or death.
Levi Kraybill, a devout member of the Old Order, left his Holdout farmland to seek a cure for his terminally ill son. Genetic manipulation is a sin, but Levi will do almost anything for the life of his child. When he's captured, he's sure he's damned, and his only escape will be death.
Tula's superiors schedule Levi's euthanization, and she risks everything to set the innocent man free. Now she and Levi are outlaws with her people, and she's an abomination with his. Can they find sanctuary in a cannibal wasteland?

Chapter 25 Heading
Indie publishing has truly made me understand why big sellers like Amanda Hocking went ahead and accepted traditional contracts after successfully self-publishing. The non-writing parts of making a novel available to readers is time consuming. And I find myself caught up in the visual artistry of the book as much as in the writing. The cover design and interior layout have been fun adventures all by themselves.

My goal is to give readers more than an excellent story. I want the reading to be an experience. More value for their time and money. My readers deserve the very best.

Do you think the interior layout of a book affects the way you read?

Friday, August 10, 2012


Hi There! Jackie Ivie here. Blogging. And I'm so not a blogger. The reason? I suffer from a severe case of "foot-in-mouth" disease. I have to take back my words so often, the last thing I want to do is put them out on the net where they will be there, like...forever. But, hey. It's a gorgeous summer day in Alaska. Temps in the mid 50's at present. The sun might shine. No wind.
I've already done my dog walking for the morning (all .75 miles of it. I have a lab. We used to go a mile and a half, but his leg is getting lame. He's got arthritis in his hock. Has had it for years, and he limps, but the other day it was serious. We were barely moving when we got home. I don't know what I'd do if he got lame and couldn't walk. My hubby said to just put him over my shoulders and bring him home. 88 lbs? Easy for my 6 foot 7, 240 lb hubby to say. If I try that, I'll be in traction.) Where was I? Oh yeah. I've been busy. As usual.
I'm an avid cross-stitch enthusiast. Avid. I've done about 10 pieces this year. And for the first year since I've lived here, I'm entering some in the fair today! So...when I got back from Anaheim last week, I looked through the listing of classes and discovered I had another one in the works that I could enter - this time in cross-stitch quilt, but it wasn't done. In fact, it was only half done. So, I've been sewing like a madwoman for a few days to get finished. Cute, huh? And then there's the writing. Wow. I have a great life. I have the hubby convinced that chocolate is necessary to my creativity. So, he's making me fudge this weekend. And I've been writing busily on a Highland historical for next year in my clans series for Kensington. (love to write historical Highlanders for Kensington! That's got to be way up there on life's joys. My new one comes out next month! A PERFECT KNIGHT FOR LOVE for love just got a rocking review from Romantic Times! 4/5 Stars!!! It actually says stuff like: "Ivie's newest title raises the bar with its strong plot, fast pace, and hold-your-breath action." It's not live yet, or I'd post the link. But wow. I've never had such a review) I just noticed I use a lot of exclamation points. That's probably in the list of "writer don'ts" somewhere. Hmm... My next one is titled (so far) A KNIGHT LIKE NO OTHER. And I'm having so much fun writing it. I just reached page 125!! Woohoo! Only 270-ish more to go! --and remember Jackie. They have to have a plot. You can't just write forever. Fine. A plot. There is that. I'm a pantser, in case you can't tell. No plot. No direction. No idea of where it's going. It's like watching a movie, except I can usually figure those out right away. In fact, for the opening ceremony of the Olympics in London? I was in a hotel room in Anaheim for the Romance Writers Conference with three of my favorite people, from the DEBS, and as soon as they started rolling up that first piece of sod, I said. I'm going to call it, ladies. That's going to be an aerial map of London. And when they poured that molten stuff down the center to make a ring, I called that as the Thames. I did get 'high-fived'. So, I had that one figured out, too. it's the writer in me, I guess. Always wondering where the plot is going whenever I'm watching or reading something)
Oh! I'm also starting to flesh out in my mind what my next VAL (Vampire Assassin league) novella will be about. And looking at the newest shots of models from Hot Damn Designs. I love Kim Killion and her cover art service! She's a big reason why my short story FOREVER KNIGHT won the Judge-A-Book-By-Its-Cover contest for 2012 in Houston! So exciting! And I actually get a cover going before I write the story. Helps with the inspiration. I mean, have you seen my VAL covers? So...hey! I guess you could call me busy. And here's another reason I don't like Blogging - I've tried four times to add the proper spacing in this, and it still all runs together. I guess that explains me. Every project just runs into another one. Hmmm...again... I'll sign off now. Have a great day! Jackie

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Fun Places Research Takes You!

You can conquer thousands of men in thousands of battles, but the greatest victory is to conquer yourself.
                                    ― Buddha Shakyamuni

  A few years ago I started writing a historical romance. The heroine happened to be an expert swordswoman-well versed in many weapons. She is a super fun character and one of these days I need to finish her story. Francoise deserves her happy ending and a world even better than when she started her adventure.
One of the things I will always be grateful to Francoise for is the research. I knew nothing about fencing except what I saw in films. So I decided to enroll in a class at the local community schools program. It was two nights a week for eight weeks.
I discovered that fencing is a blast and the workout is incredible. There is nothing better to take your mind off things than having someone charge at you with a weapon.
Fencing has also challenged me on another level. I am a gentle person and I have a lifetime of cultural training to overcome in order to keep my point on target and depress the button on the tip of my épée against my opponent in order to score. My intention must be fully concentrated on doing this, I have to fight against my nature and hit someone. At the same time they will be parrying my attack and trying do the exact same thing to me.
The last time I checked I was the lowest ranked female fencer in Alaska. For a chubby, middle-aged writer, who loves food and drink I think that is pretty good. I don’t fence to compete with others. I fence to challenge myself and it’s a lot of fun! 
By the end of my foil class I joined the club and ordered my own gear. The gear was also very reasonably priced with a club discount. At this time my gear consists of; Chest Protector, Knickers, Plastron (under arm protector), Jacket, Glove, Mask, Fencing Socks, a foil, an épée, electric cords for both those type swords and a bag to carry it in. Whew!  Sounds like a lot of stuff, but trust me don’t fence without it, some poor person discovered the hard way that all of this gear was needed.
The first weapon I learned was the foil, commonly used in early instruction. It is the lightest of the three swords that I’m acquainted with, and the rules in matches/bouts are complex. You see before all the lovely protective equipment was created they had to set up rules of right-of-way so students wouldn’t kill themselves or each other. The target area in foil is covered by a lamé - which registers when a hit occurs.
The épée is a sword created after all the cool protective equipment came into being. So the rules compared to foil are like anarchy, every part of the body is a target and there is no right-of-way. It’s heavier than a foil and no lamé is required.
The sabre target area is everything above the waist except the hands. The action for sabre is much more slashing than stabbing as with the foil and Epee. I haven’t done much sabre work but it was probably the most exertive fencing I have done.
The footwork in fencing is also challenging. Basically your knees are at a slight bend, your right foot points forward if you are right dominant, left forward if you are left dominant. You keep them about shoulders width apart as you move around until you explode into a lunge. There is a whole crazy cadre of moves I am still trying to perfect.
So I may not be the best fencer on the strip but I am having a good time. If you are interested in taking up fencing, there may a program in your community. It’s a great sport, not only will you get a sweat-drenching workout that makes your face tomato red, you’ll learn about yourself.
Be sure to get an okay from your physician before you begin any exercise regimen. And one more caveat, if you bruise easily fencing may not be for you. My husband says I have delicate flower petal skin and I do bruise easily. The worst bruises of my life have come from fencing, rivaling and surpassing some of my bike crash bruises, so keep the Traumeel or 5 Photobrand handy if you are like me. 
  Perhaps the next class I should take is Horseback riding. In the meantime, I need to keep researching so I understand my characters better.
--- Carmen Bydalek