27 March 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

It's been one hell of a week for me...I think I need a massive vacation. Thank you Leanne for the prompt!

Raise your hand if you are on Spring Break. *raises hand* Although I'd contend "break" is a loose term and is certainly relative depending on who you are and if you have children. :)

Regardless, I hope you're enjoying the transition into a new season that promises renewal, growth, and hopefully *fingers crossed* warmer weather! Let's celebrate with a fresh Writer Wednesday Blog Hop photo, shall we?

Here are the fantastic stories written from last week's photo. Be sure to read through them and offer some comment love on their creations. :)

The Huge Stone Saga--Part 4, Father by Christopher Shawbell

Synergy by Quinn Nielsen

Can't Hide Forever by Leanne Sype

A Span of Sorrow by Scott Taylor

Cool by the River by CK Sorensen

A reminder and rundown of the blog hop rules:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story

2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.

3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.

4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.

5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.


Okay... this week's photo and words are:

4857947309_3632301394_z


guy

repertoire

restaurant

blade

trifle


Isn't this a rad photograph? Have fun, my friends!






Oh... if you are diggin' the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, consider sticking this button in the sidebar of your blog site so others can learn about the community:

wednesdayhopbutton







25 March 2013

The Real Writer's Muse - Coffee by the Green Mountain Coffee



Since I've been blogging about coffee, I love getting the chance to try new, but familiar brands. I heard of Green Mountain Coffee through their commercials (and don't they always look so peaceful?), but getting the chance to actually try the coffee was a new experience.

Green Mountain Coffee was founded in 1993, and is considered a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers. This is the same brew company that founded the Keurig System (did you know that?? I sure didn't!).

I especially love coffee companies that specialize in helping the community and even helping the world. Not to mention, they work towards reducing the waste and making sure their creation of this amazing coffee is still good for the environment.

Now for the important part - the coffee.

 I loved the taste of this coffee. I brewed both bags that you see above - "Dark Magic Espresso Blend" and "House Blend" and both offered very unique tastes. Dark Magic Espresso Blend was a rich flavored coffee that had that deep flavorful taste that I look for in coffee. House Blend is perfect for the types who just can't appreciate a dark roast and love the lighter flavor of a medium blend.

What I also appreciate about Green Mountain Coffee is that they offer very decently priced bags of coffee. Not to mention if you sign up for their "club prices" where you get automatic delivery, you get 15% off! They also have a deal of the week (I love deals).

Of the two I tried, I highly recommend the Dark Magic Espresso Blend - I'm a personal fan of dark coffees and this was a winner with each pot of coffee that I made.

So when you pour your next cup of coffee during that early morning writing session, make sure you purchase a bag of this amazing blend of coffee.

Disclaimer: I received two complimentary bags of coffee in exchange for my honest review.



 

23 March 2013

A Supportive Blog Community - Blog Friendly PR

One thing that I've appreciated since I started this blog was the amazing community of bloggers that I always came across. Everyone is so supportive of each other and lend a hand when another needs some help or feedback or when someone needs a few comments or two.

I found Blog Friendly PR about a year ago. My biggest complaint with some online forums is how...dead they seem to be. Like maybe one thread will have a comment from a week ago and everything else will have recent activity from two years ago. That isn't the case with Blog Friendly PR.

Blog Friendly PR is a blogger outreach program that works towards bringing bloggers together and providing the resources necessary to be successful on our blogs. I have found social networking support, general to the more complicated blog questions address, opportunities shared, and so much more on this network.

Nina, the site's owner, also plays an active role in the success of the site. She is really hands on and that is something else I appreciate. There isn't some elusive creator that never seems to show their presence. Instead, she values everyone's opinion, remains active on the site, and is extremely responsive to questions.

If you happen to be looking for a blogging support site, you will want to give Blog Friendly PR a try. It's easy to sign up, and there is also an Elite program where you get special access to opportunities that are found and shared with the group.

Disclaimer: I will receive a complimentary Elite program membership in exchange for this honest review.

 

20 March 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

And we're back! I've had a busy week and weekend, but I made sure to read the entries for this week and I'm so impressed! Everyone has done such an amazing job! Make sure to join in, if you haven't before - we'd love to see your talent.

Read the entries from last week's prompt -

Medical Weight Loss by AR Neal
Mint Juleps and Little Green Men by Lyn
Paul's Uncle Dave by Scott Taylor
An Indonesian Homecoming by Tony Roberts
Adrift from Huge Stone by Chris Sawbell
A Strong Foundation by Carrie K. Sorensen
Little House on the Water by Leanne Sype

Not to mention, if you enjoy the writing prompt as much as we do, grab a button -

writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

Now, here are the rules for the prompt -

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.4) Link up with your blog hostess (NicoleCarrieTena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

And here is the photo, grabbed from this link -


Inangahua Junction bridge after the 1968 earthquake

And here are the five words -

Train

Tsunami

Tower

Snake

Carpet

Oh, I have such a good feeling these stories coming up will be awesome.

So join in the fun and when you are ready, post your story below!



13 March 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?


Carrie has the reigns this week! I am wishing I had gotten a post written for last week, but I love the photo used for this week. I know you will too!

A winner, a winner, Randy Lindsay is our winner!

Congratulations!! We'll get to see your lovely face here as well as on the other blog hostess's sites.

Now, for last week's incredible stories:

A Back-Street Affair by Tony Roberts
Gut Instinct by Scott Taylor
Obedience and Opportunity by Jenna
Home at Last by Anne
Abduction from Huge Stone by Chris Shawbell
Backstage Spotlight by Carrie K Sorensen

They were so much more diverse than I expected from the photo prompt, weren't they?

And now we can move on to this week's prompt!

Here are the rules -

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

This week's photo:

boats,buildings,forests,homes,houses,landscapes,nature,Photographs,rivers,transportation

This week's words -

laugh

saw

lord

degree

binge


So, grab a button, write your story, and link it up at the bottom of this post!


writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

10 March 2013

Take Back the World - Collaboration Fiction

I have yet another amazing opportunity to finish off the collaboration story as created by Carrie K Sorensen, one of my favorite writing and blogging peeps and joined by the amazing writers Yolanda, L.T. Dalin, and Gavril Mikhailovich. Make sure you read part one, part two, part three, and part four before you read my finale. 

Okay ready? 

~

Four hours later, Anika arrived in the neighborhood of her childhood home. At the stop sign, she let the truck idle for a moment, eyeing the neighborhood for a moment. She recognized the police van immediately. An unmarked white van parked at the corner of the street.

She reached for the cell phone in her purse, but stopped, remembering she turned it off. While there were probably many ways for her to be followed, she didn't want to risk it. Not to mention, she didn't want to hear from Jasper. Not yet, anyways.

She took a breath and made a left turn, away from her home and away from the van that waited for her. She needed to get to closer, but needed to avoid those prying eyes.

As she passed the creek that cut across the neighborhood, and had an idea. Sneaking in and out as a teenager without getting caught would finally pay off.

~

30 minutes later, she managed to make her way through the creek and into her own backyard with mud caked on her shoes and bottom of her jeans. As she crouched behind the bush that hid the broken fence she knew so well, she listened a moment for any extra noise. A noise that would reveal who truly watched the house.

She heard the backdoor of the house open and the door slam. She gasped softly and recognized her father standing on the porch and facing the backyard. Aged by several years now, he looked just like he did the day she left home. She took her own life and her parents in her hands, but she grabbed a small stone from the ground and threw it out onto the grass.

The soft thump noise was enough to catch his attention. His eyebrows furrowed and he searched across the yard. His eyes stopped right where she sat. His eyes crinkled with a smile and quickly faded as he realized the danger of the situation. He stepped onto the grass and acted like he was eyeballing the growth of his plants. He even squatted and felt the leaves.

Finally, he got close enough to her.

"What are you doing here? You could get yourself killed. Don't you know who is watching the house? - "

"Dad, not now. Save the lecture. Where's...." She'd known of its existence nearly her whole life. How could she just ask about it, like it was..."the amulet? I need it."

He stood from his squatting position and inhaled sharply. "I don't know." She had stared at that face her whole life and knew when he was lying.

"Dad..."

"No, Anika."

"Dad..."

"Anika..."

"It's my life or theirs. You choose..."

"I promised. Them...I never...why did you have to get involved with those people?" His eyes drifted off. "I fought for you to live a normal life. Then you got into your teen years...stupid rebellion and found those...people to hang around. It wasn't long before they realized you weren't going to follow the rules."

"The rules?"

He squatted back near her. "The rules that had been created to keep the Vampyres from the humans. The stupid rebellion you joined was created just so those lines could be blurred. Why do you think that Jasper created this."

"And the police?"

"Know about it. Always have known about it. And work very hard to make sure those lines are never destroyed. But then the Vampyres realized how much they would like for those barriers destroyed too."

"Dad, I need the amulet."

"I can't give it to you."

"Dad...."

"Do you know what will happen if this ends up in the wrong hands? It destroys everything."

"Destroys everything? Jasper says the amulet protects - "

He scoffed. "Jasper says...what else did he tell you so you would get involved?" He reached into his shirt and pulled out the necklace he kept hidden underneath. A large jewel - very similar to the one she thought she stole - hung on the end of it.

She gasped. "The amulet."

He held in his hands and gazed into it. "I was entrusted to protect it. To make sure it never ends up in the wrong hands."

"And what would the right hands do with it?"

He took it off his neck and handed it to her. "I think you can figure it out."

~

By the time she returned to her truck, the sun was almost gone from the sky. The old truck provided little protection against the Vampyres she feared were just outside and waiting for her. Her initial plans had been changed just a bit. She hadn't expected to have this in her hands so soon. Even more she didn't realize she wouldn't want to return with it.

Figure it out? She thought of her father's words. Something within this amulet needed to be activated. The top of the amulet looked like the lid you may find on a perfume bottle. As if with one twist, and...

Silently, she said a prayer. A prayer to...she wasn't sure what exactly.

And twisted.

~

A flash of light. Screeches and cries as if bodies burning alive yelled into the night. Her voice among them.

~

....is she awake...

....how did she know...

....it's all over....

~

When she woke up, she wasn't sure where she was exactly. Butterfly prints on the wall. A familiar window. She was home. In her own bedroom. She looked around and there he was resting in the rocking chair by her closet.

Xav.

"What are you doing here? What happened?"

Xav's eyes blinked open and smiled. "You did it. Why do you even ask?"

"What did I do?"

"The amulet..." Xav stood up and maneuvered to the bed and sat down at the edge of her bed. The one with cloud prints. "...you know the energy that the Vampyres take from the humans?"

She nodded.

"The amulet protects it. The energy has been sealed again."

 She looked away and smiled. And then a thought..."And Jasper?"

Xav shook his head. "He left...no idea what happened to him..."

~

And somewhere in the darkness someone watched and waited. The seal had returned. The protection strengthened. But one day...they would have their chance and take back the world they once thought might be theirs.





09 March 2013

Everyone Needs an Electric Pepper Grinder

Ladies and Gentleman, I have found the future.

You know those movies where everything is computerized and even the house talks to you and opens up things for you and makes your breakfast and everyone stands on moveable walkways to get to work?

Or maybe it's a cartoon or two I'm thinking of.

Anyways....whenever we think of the "future" we think of something brilliant and fantastic that will take us eons and eons away from where we are today. Where the next thing you know - POOF - we are living in the clouds and going to Mars for a weekend getaway.

Today, we are one step closer to that point.

While it isn't living in the clouds just yet, I never thought I would see the day when "fresh ground pepper" wasn't a total pain in the butt.

I received an electric pepper grinder to review thanks to Ozeri Products.



Yes, these things do exist. And you need it more than you think you do.

Just add the peppercorns into the little container, put in the batteries...and presto change-o people - you have a pepper grinder where all you have to do is click a button! And the best thing is, there is also a little light attached to the bottom of it, so if you have a dark kitchen, you know right where you are aiming.

I feel so accomplished having this thing and even my mom was doubtful at first in it's usefulness and purpose, but...really...it's the coolest addition to our kitchen. We're using it more and we're actually using "fresh ground pepper" (just like the restaurants! ha!).

The only downfall? This is definitely not a device you want to use in the middle of the night when you are sneaking into the kitchen for a midnight snack. If you're using this at 2 am to add pepper to the leftover macaroni and cheese you are chomping on, you may wake up a house guest or two with the high pitched whirring action that tends to go down.

So, my dear reader, you need an electric pepper grinder in your life. And no, this wasn't a metaphor for something else - this truly was a blog post about a pepper grinder. For further future awesomeness, check out their Facebook page too.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pepper grinder in exchange for my honest review.

06 March 2013

Your Next Read - A SciFi Young Adult Thriller (Free Download for Limited Time)


Imagine the Earth 50 years ahead. What would it be like? What would have fallen apart?

In the future created author Brian Barber, the Earth has reached a new level of existence. Our planet is overcrowded, resources are diminishing and we can no longer deny that our time on this planet may be limited as we know it. With combined efforts, young captain Luke Xander goes out with his crew for this new planet - a mission to understand exactly. Yet...before he leaves, he picks up a strange, foreign coin, found in the distant sands beyond his training camp.

The coin forgotten, and the mission begun, Luke experiences a disaster where all but a handful return from the mission. The others? They have changed...and now, Luke and his team have no choice but to return to outer space, so they can destroy them.

The book LYCCYX is the first episode of a novella series by Brian Barber. I was captivated by the slight-dystopian representation of Earth and I felt that the writer got close with this one. I love science fiction stories where I can actually envision something like that happening to our society.

The story is brief and is meant to be that way. Because of that, I didn't feel to overwhelmed with the space travel, which is important to me, because I have gotten lost before while reading about science fiction that includes heavy duty adventures in outer space. Also, I didn't get confused by the science. I didn't have the need to go back and re-read sections because I didn't understand them.

I loved the character development and the relationship the main character had with his immediate family members and his girlfriend. While this is considered a Young Adult novel, I thought this could reach anyone at any age. With the title of "Captain," the main character seemed a bit older to me, which may have impacted how I saw him.

If you are looking for a story a science fiction series that can keep you captivated while not overwhelming you with length at the same time, you will want to read LYCCYX by Brian Barber.

The best part of this is that you can download a copy of this book for free up until March 9th! So, click this link to get your copy.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.




Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

It's Wednesday! How is your week going? I have felt off all week so far. But we're one day closer to Friday, so that's a very good thing.

Anyways, let's get started on this week's writing prompt!

Here are the posts from last week that you must check out -

The Distant Mountain and the Barren Tree by Tony Roberts
The Sad Story of Max Josephs by Scott Taylor
Stormy is the Heart by Christopher Shawbell
One Fine Day by Yolanda
The Ones We Love

Amazing stories from last week!

Here are the rules -

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

And here is the photo for this week -
 
Creepy French Street
 
And here are the five words -
 
gallows
 
tide
 
mat
 
section
 
staple
 
 

02 March 2013

Rewriting is Hard Work (or When is it Time to Let Go?)



Almost one year after completing my novel's first draft, I'm still working on my second draft. At this point it's a little bit like facing down into an abyss and wondering if you want to continue forward and pull back.

The weird thing though is that I am facing the same problem that held me back from completing my first draft. That is - resisting the urge to rewrite as I go along. I know I am in the rewriting stage but I have also a handwritten first draft and some of these chapters were from a long time ago. I can say for sure that I've grown since then as a writer. Now, I resist the urge to completely rewrite everything, leaving nothing of the original draft.

Now, like so many years before, I wonder - do I want to continue forward or do I want to pursue something new?

Here's what stops me -

I was on a forum somewhere and browsing a question very similar to the one I'm asking now. Someone's response has stayed with me and has kept me going on the nights where I have to discipline myself to go back to this story. They said - if all you are writing is first drafts, you are only writing on that one level. Rewriting is when the work starts.

I may paraphrased a little bit, but that comment stayed with me.

This fantasy novel has been a burden I've taken on with me into adulthood. It's no longer the story I wrote as a teenager. It's now the story I'm writing as an adult. And it's work.

But do I toss it away into a drawer now because it's getting challenging? If I do that, am I moving on or will I dust it off in an unpublished future hoping that I may finally get it one day?

I have learned something from completing my first draft - keep chugging forward and quit fixing the broken trail until you've reached the other side. I will do my best to apply that lesson now. My goal? Get the damn thing typed up.

I'm just hoping that one year from now, I am not still asking this same question during my third draft.

Do you struggle with rewriting? Have you ever let go of a story? Did it feel right to you or does it plague you to this day?

The Real Writer's Muse - Coffee Brought to You By Blanchard's Coffee



Like I've said, when I get up the in the morning, coffee inspires me the most. This week I've had the chance to try Blanchard's Coffee, a coffee roaster out of Virginia, not to mention its family owned. I received an amazing blend of coffee that not only wakes me right up, but keeps me running the whole day (well, most of the day, until I need my second or third cup, of course).

Immediately, one benefit from purchasing coffee from Blanchard's Coffee is that they are Fair Trade as well as Certified Organic Roaster. I don't know about you, but those two characteristics matter a lot to me when considering a coffee. As I get to try more and more blends of really well roasted coffee, I am getting further and further away from enjoying the stereotypical brand names. So, I know for sure that a coffee roaster is (hopefully) living up to my expectations when they can promise those two things.

Not to mention, I personally love a company that writes a good blog, and I can't help but be excited every time I catch one of their posts.

I got to try their Breakfast Blend and I loved this particular coffee. While I usually like coffee so dark roasted that it practically tears a hole in the coffee maker, this one definitely served up a tasty cup. It provided that same rich flavor I usually look for, without leaning towards bitter and borderline unflavorful (the way some dark roasts can taste). It didn't take me long to go through this bag and this blend (as well as this coffee maker) are definitely on my list to purchase again.

Most importantly, for you dear readers, I get to giveaway coffee to one of my lucky readers!

Here's what you do -

Required: Go to BlanchardsCoffee.com and let me know which blend of coffee you would like to try the most. When you leave a comment, make sure to leave a valid email address.

Optional:

+1 Entry: Like Blanchard's Coffee on Facebook
+1 Entry: Follow Blanchard's Coffee on Twitter
+1 Entry: Follow my blog via GFC
+1 Entry: Follow my blog via email
+1 Entry: Subscribe to Blanchard's Coffee Newsletter.

Winners will be chosen on April 19th Sorry! I had my month wrong - contest ends March 19th. The winner will have 48 hours to reply before the prize goes to a new winner. To find out who won, please return to this post after the end date.

**I used Random.org to give me a random number (received # 8) and that means that Kelly Nicholson is the winner! She will have 48 hours to claim her prize**

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary bag of coffee in exchange for an honest review.



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