Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Special: Trick or Treat Giveaway and More Spooky Books

Happy Halloween, Everyone! Are you ready to get your spook on? Here at the Narayan household, there will be a frantic day of decorating, pumpkin carving, and costume fixin'. In the quiet minutes, I'll be blogging it out. 

Once again, Patricia Lynn is hosting a wonderful blog hop where the participants are giving away e-books for Trick-or-Treat! How yummy is that! I'm offering my collection of spooky tales, Heart Stopper and Other Stories

The disappearance of random household items baffles Dallas Radner and his eleven-year-old daughter, Tessa. Ten plastic bags, nine ballpoint pens . . . what's next? This odd countdown should end on November 1, The Day of the Dead. That's also Tessa's birthday and the one-year anniversary of her surgery, the day her heart stopped on the operating table. Dallas almost lost Tessa then. On this November 1, one thing will vanish forever. Will it be his daughter?

Want some more free stuff to read? Here's the list of participants:

1. Patricia Lynne  6. Christine Rains  11. Rachelle M.N. Shaw  
2. Chrys Fey  7. Lilly Avalon  12. Rebecca M. Douglass  
3. J.H. Moncrieff  8. J.D. Wright  13. Tamara Narayan  
4. Jemima Pett  9. Timothy Bateson  
5. CD Gallant-King  10. Steven Arellano Rose Jr.  


This next list from Dancing Lemur Press isn't free, but there are some incredibly spooky things on it, so check these out:

1. Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears...

2. Parallels: Felix Was Here, an IWSG anthology

Ten stories in ten different universes. 

What if Death himself wanted to die?

4. Matowak: Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

5. Maski: Broken but not Dead by Joylene Nowell Butler

Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.


How will you celebrate Halloween? Go to a party, snuggle up with a spooky book, or watch a scary movie?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

It's a fabulous Friday here in the Narayan household. We have a birthday girl to make a big fuss over today. But first, thanks to our host, Lexa Cain, and cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker!

Are you ready to celebrate Halloween? We've put up some decorations indoors, but have yet to attack the yard. The pumpkins are waiting in the garage to be carved. I swore this year not to go crazy, because my fingers cramp after carving for so long. We'll see if I stick to simple or go for a master-pumpkin-piece.

Halloween pumpkins from 2016. I carved the wolf and scarecrow.

The kids' school attempted to combine Halloween with saying "No" to drugs last week and here's what they were handing out:

Image: Sedona, Instagram

It's supposed to read: Say Boo! to drugs. I'm guessing if someone offers you drugs and you scream BOOL, they will probably leave you alone and assume you've had plenty already. So, hey, this might be sage advice after all.

Speaking of odd food and Halloween, a couple of baby carrots in our bag came out disguised as:

This boot is made for chompin'. And that's just what I'll do. 

A stylish boot and knee. Whoo hoo! But seriously, wouldn't it be fun to have a bunch of odd-shaped carrots to play with? Carrot dolls, carrot animals, the possibilities are endless. 

And now, let's kick up our heels for the birthday girl. Dove is celebrating her 2nd birthday today. I'm seeing cheesecake, catnip, and feathers in her future. Happy Birthday Dove!

Her royal Doveness. 

Forget birthday cards. Print me something useful--like a can of tuna.

Morning conference, part I:

Mr. M: Did you get fed yet? 
Dove: No.
Mr. M: Liar.

Morning conference, part II:

Mr. M: Put the camera away and get out the chow, woman.
Dove: Excuse me, that's my eating spot.

Can't touch this. (Well, actually you can. Dove loves belly rubs.)

Bool! The end.

Do you like decorating for Halloween? Do anything special for your pet's birthdays? Anyone know which Stephen King book features the saying, Bool! The end?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Friday is here again, which means it's time for celebrating (the small things). Thank you to our host, Lexa Cain, and cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

What's going on:

1. Cooler weather. After a relatively cool summer, our fall has been hot, hot, hot. I'm kind of ready for the cool-down. Blankets on the bed, soft fleece jackets, walks in the woods with trees turning red, orange, and yellow. Good-bye lawn mower, hello snow shovel.

I mean, I better get to use my shovel this year. The last two years have been pathetic. Come on, snow fairies, what's up? I live practically next to the northern border of the U.S. More snow, More Snow, MORE SNOW!

2. Cleaner work station. I finally cleaned out several years of junk from my writing desk area, completely filling the recycling bin with old papers. Love it. Rest of the house need similar attention. But first, I need to stop time in order to get a job of this magnitude done. Suggestions?

3. Success for the kidlets! They both braved the terrifying audition process at their middle school which includes singing and dancing for judges and won small roles in the lost boys and pirate ensembles of Peter Pan. (Personally, I sooner walk the plank than sing and dance in front of my peers.)

Image: Don Sullivan, Peter Pan's Flight, DisneyWorld

How's your week going? Happy to experience fall weather? Do any fall cleaning? 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Hello, Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? Have something to celebrate? Let's take a moment to thank our host, Lexa Cain and cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

1. Last week was a big week for blogging. As cohost for the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group, I was fortunate to receive 60 comments. I'm still replying and hope to visit everyone by the end of the weekend. 

Image: Nick Allen

2. I started writing a new novel. It's been a long time coming. After spending so much time in the 1800s for my historical novel, it's strange writing something contemporary again. Although architecture from the 19th century might sneak in as this story takes place on the campus of a fictional southern university. 

Image: denisbin, College of Charleston

3. Big Little Lies, the HBO mini-series.

I don't have HBO, but Liane Moriarty is an amazing author and Big Little Lies is one of my favorite of her books. So I bought the DVD collection as a birthday present to myself and it was so, so good. The actors were perfect for their roles. The script was faithful to the book about 90% of the time and the changes that were made were excellent choices. (The resolution of one of the daughters trying to sell her virginity online to raise awareness of human trafficking was handled better in the book, but that's a minor thing.) 

Image: Jan Arendtsz

I loved the setting they chose for the mini-series: Monterey Bay, California. The book took place in Australia. The title sequence (check it out here) was gorgeous and the song they chose, Michael Kiwanuka's Cold Little Heart, got stuck in my head after the first couple of episodes. Productions like this along with Game of Thrones (HBO) and 13 Reasons Why (Netflix) make me think that miniseries might replace major motion pictures as the ultimate dream for authors who want to see their work onscreen.

My next mini-series to purchase: The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) 

What do you think? Would you rather see your favorite book as a mini-series or a movie?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG and Celebrate the Small Things

Good morning, IWSG! How is everyone today? We've got a lot of ground to cover, so let's get to it. First and foremost, let's give a deafening shout-out to the man-with-the-plan, the one, the only Alex. J. Cavanaugh! And don't forget those co-hosts, diligently clicking and commenting away: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan! (That last one sounds a little shady. Who has so many "a" letters in their name?)

First off, a contest. Today's the day to enter the Show Us Your Writer Insecurity Contest. Here are the rules and prizes:

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) 

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved: 

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh. 

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell. 

Grand prize winner
 - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers.

And here is my entry:

This will be especially embarrassing considering her latest chapter, seen here in a screen shot. And yes, she had the nerve to type over my short story description for Heart Stopper

So now I know exactly who's been leaving all those nasty, little typos in my manuscripts. Et tu, Dove?

Manuscript Gremlin caught after midnight.

(I've heard staring at a computer screen for too long is bad for your eyes, but this is ridiculous!)

Next up, a question:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I probably did when I first started writing, but I can't remember the details. Another fun thing I like to do is put myself in scenes. The short story Ghosts of a Beneficial Place was set along my bike route, so I had the main character almost hit me with her mini-van. In Heart Stopper, a worried father in the waiting room of a hospital spies (with envy) a very pregnant lady sleeping on a couch. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I actually fell asleep during my husband's surgery. (He's fine, btw.)


Since I'll (hopefully) be busy Friday returning comments and waiting on my children hand-and-foot for the start of a four-day Columbus Weekend Break Blow-Out, I'm going to get this blog hop out there a few days in advance. Thank you to our host, Lexa Cain and cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

Today, I'll celebrate cheese because without cheese, we wouldn't have some of the best, darn foods on the planet including cheddar cheese fondue, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches...AND I would have had a much tougher time getting that picture of Dove at my computer for today's contest. 

Anyone know how to get cheese crumbs out of your keyboard? 

I'd also like to acknowledge my husband for coming up with the words for Dove's thought bubble and formatting the whole shebang in less than five minutes. You rock. (So if I win, I guess I'll have to share the prize.) Here are some earlier takes:

Or should I have gone with: "Call me Ishmael"?

"Steal one word and I'll sue for plagiarism" would be snappier, don't you think?

I'm editing you, husband. Always editing. Always. (Bonus points if you know what movie character I'm paraphrasing here.)


Did you enter today's Writer Insecurity Contest? Does you pet ever take over your computer? Have a favorite opening line?