Draca Wards Saga

Draca Wards Saga

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Book Trailer!

I have put blogging to the wayside for the past month or two to try my hand at a book trailer. I started from scratch, using a few art pieces from my book. My friend Chris Carrigy, who is a talented artist and musician, was more than happy to provide a music track for it. Thank you Cupc@ke! So now that I have finally finished, I have to say that it was quite an experience, and even though it took me forever to complete (I pretty much learned how to do everything from scratch), I have to admit it was kind of fun.

So here it is. I hope you guys like it. And please feel free to give feedback.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

She loved it!

When you are a new, unproven author like me, it is almost as hard to find someone to review your book as it is to find a publisher or agent. I sent queries out to quite a few bloggers who review books, but never received a response. But one blogger actually found me, and I am so glad she did!

The Book Angel, author of Fay-Bay's Books, sent me a message stating how interested she was in my book after reading the sample chapter. I cannot explain how it feels to have a stranger contact you to compliment your work. And if you visit her blog, you can see that this girl reads. A lot! And as a YA reader, this was the kind of blogger I wanted to review my book. Even if the review was not so great, she would be able to give me some valuable feedback on the story.

It was a dream come true to find out how much she liked it. She even placed the review on Goodreads! I considered pasting her review here, but I am going to put her link instead. Please visit her site!



Friday, April 1, 2011

My Giveaway on Goodreads

As you can see above, I am giving away a copy of Familiar Origins on Goodreads. I am considering doing a giveaway here on my blog, but I have not decided. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They are here. Finally.

I wish I had time to go into more detail, but I am working on my HOA's Treasurer's report for tonight. So more to come. In the meantime, here's a peek of what my book looks like in print:

The cover art never fails to impress me. Thank you, Eimi.  (maybe if I thank her enough, she will accept payment in free books :))

The spine is a bit off. But I've seen that in many books.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

World poetry day - The Lotus Eaters


To honor World Poetry Day, I have to write about Lord Tennyson's poem The Lotus Eaters. This poem has shaped much of my life in a wonderful way!

I first learned about the poem in one of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The book listed part of the poem. I don't remember how old I was; maybe nine. The poem intrigued me, and after two visits to the bookstore (I would roam the bookstore for hours while I waited for my parents at the mall), I was able to find a book with the entire poem in it. I was still rather young, so I did not quite grasp the story at the time, but the book mentioned it was based on The Odyssey. So I found a copy of that. And I didn't understand a word.

But, I found books about The Odyssey that were easier to read, and some short adaptations to parts of Odysseus' adventures. And those books got me into Greek and Roman mythology. Which got me into fantasy. Which got me into Sci-fi. Which got me into some really good, thought-provoking reading.

But also, The Lotus Eaters provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity! In my junior year in high school, I was taking SAT prep courses before school. The teacher was going over vocabulary and literature, and she mentioned Tennyson. She asked if any of us knew any Tennyson poems, so I mentioned The Lotus Eaters and quoted a verse. She was so impressed that I was familiar with that poem (you need to understand that many of the kids in my prep class were considered disadvantaged) that a few weeks later she suggested I write an essay for a chance to be part of an exchange group to Israel, and she would write me a letter of recommendation. I did, and I was selected to go to Israel for a month.

I love reading poetry. I'm not a very talented poet, and I would much rather read poems than write them. There is just something about reading the right prose at the right time from the right poet. Maybe if I were a decent poet I would be able to explain. But for now you will just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, enough about me. Here's the poem:

The Lotus-Eaters
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land,
"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."
In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon,
Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Full-faced above the valley stood the moon;
And like a downward smoke, the slender stream
Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.
A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke,
Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go;
And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke,
Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below.
They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops,
Three silent pinnacles of aged snow,
Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops,
Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse.
The charmed sunset linger'd low adown
In the red West: thro' mountain clefts the dale
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Border'd with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seem'd the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.
Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.
They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, "We will return no more";
And all at once they sang, "Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."

- Blogpress post from my iPad

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring? Is that you?

If you live just about anywhere in the United States, you are probably sick of this crazy winter by now. There have been a few nice warm days here, but they have only been teasers. Luckily, I have not seen snow this month. But I know many people who have.

Yesterday I went to get my mail and I discovered a few of my irises have bloomed! There they were, peeking out of the dead leaves from last fall. They are tiny little things, but seeing them changed my entire frame of mind, and now I am thinking about seedlings and planting and tulips and writing outdoors. Those flowers really cheered me up! So I wanted to share them with everyone, as a message that the snows and freezing rains won't last much longer. Springtime is coming, one tiny blue flower at a time :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Something new to play with!

I am far away from my computer, writing this from Blogpress on my iPad, trying to get a blog entry done. For now, my Mac is the enemy, keeping me away from social media and e-mail. It is my fault, really. I was browsing around the Internet, looking to see what kind of writing or organizational software is out there that can help me with my latest draft, and out of curiosity I downloaded a trial version of this sinister little program that I can't seem to stop playing with. It is all I want to work on when I log on. It keeps me stuck at my desk for hours on end. It is like a virus that keeps you from accessing other applications and ruins your to-do priorities. The name of this sinister little program? Scrivener 2.0 for Mac.

The makers of this program are from the UK, and I have no idea who they are. Nor are they giving me anything for blogging about their product; I am nowhere near popular enough for them to give me the time of day. So with that being said, I have to tell my fellow writers to at least take a look at this program (please note that it is a Mac program, but there is a Windows beta version as well). Scrivener is not a word processor-although you can use it as such if you wish to- or a publishing application. It is basically a database where you can sort, label, format, compile and store all your documents in one 'binder' so you can organize and assemble a draft of a manuscript, screenplay, or chapbook any way you want to.

It would take too long to list all the features I liked. This is probably old news to my fellow Mac users, but I have never been a fan of writing software. Word and Pages have always worked fine for me. However, now that I am drafting my latest book, I realize that my fantasy series has a pile of characters with full background stories I need to manage. Also, working on a saga with eight major protagonists and with one book alone having four major storylines spanning over three years, I realize I need something to keep everything organized and easy to access. It is difficult and time consuming to browse through folders to find a certain scene I need to review or edit. But the thing that has me wowed is the way the program allows you to store and access graphic and media files to use with your work as well.

The website has video tutorials to help you find your way around, and there is a Windows beta. I am still doing the free trial, and honestly I still am not sure if I will buy it, since it has crashed a few times on me, and it is a bit pricey for me at nearly 50 dollars. Fortunately, I haven't lost anything.

I am currently using Scrivener to organize a new project binder to manage my blog posts. If this works out I am definitely buying it. So to all fellow writers: if you are looking for something to help you with your writing projects, and you have a Mac, you might benefit from this. www.literatureandlatte.com

I don't know how similar the Windows beta is, or how the finished product will be, but if you don't mind beta testing, here is the link: www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivenerforwindows (Make sure you back up your work in the formats you are currently using if you do decide to try it out!)

If you already use Scrivener, or if you have tried it or decide to try it, I would love to know what you think of it.

- Blogpress post from my iPad

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

They don't pay me enough for this!

Well, to tell you the truth, I don't get paid at all. Which is a shame.  If I had an IT technician's hourly rate, I would have racked up the dough today! Formatting an excerpt to post on Goodreads took me five and a half hours! Now granted, I had plenty of interruptions, but still, that is insane. If I had taken five and a half hours to do a similar project when I was working I would have been written up at the very least. Now that I think of it, my paying job was so much easier than what I am doing now. I miss my office.

Well, now that I think about it a bit more, maybe I don't miss it all that much. But I must admit that my paid work was a breeze compared to my unpaid work.

I might be frustrated right now after my ordeal with .epub file formatting, but the truth is I am grateful that I have the chance to work on my series and get my first book out there.  If you have not previewed the sample chapters yet, please go to Goodreads (it really is a great site for bookworms) and download the excerpt (Secret for my blog readers: I threw in an extra chapter). You may have to use the Goodreads Reader, but I took pains to make sure it was readable and sectioned by chapter. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Technical difficulties

Have you ever had a day where just about everything seemed to go wrong? I think I am having one of those years. So far, 2011 has been the year to get things fixed. Individually, most of these issues are mere inconveniences at best, but as these technical issues pile up onto my aching back, it begins to feel like everything and everyone is out to get me. Maybe the painkillers are causing the paranoia; who knows? You can judge for yourself. Here are seven issues I have had to deal with since the beginning of the year.

1. Keyboard  This thing is like a bad boyfriend that won't go away. I've been fed up so many times with the skipped spaces and the 'V' key that only works when it feels like it. So every once in a while I toss it aside and search for a replacement. The thing is, I can't find a keyboard I'm happy with. Constantly revising my work to separate words and add letters every couple of sentences is nothing compared to achy wrists and stiff keys. So I take my old keyboard back, willing to put up with its shortcomings. That is, until I am once again sitting at my desk at one in the morning, trying to fix the disastrous mumbo-jumbo that is my latest chapter. Is it too much to put up with? Yes it is. I know I wouldn't have this problem if I was not so darn picky. But my keyboard is the most important tool I have, so I suppose I will be on again off again with it until the Prince Charming of keyboards shows up in a Best Buy or Comp USA near me.

2. Camera  This is by far the most aggravating thing. My camera simply stopped turning on in January. Not too long before this, the little latch arms on the battery cover snapped off.  I am sure that was my fault, probably by desperately attempting to change the batteries out during Christmas Eve so I wouldn't miss a moment. No problem. A bit of scotch tape fixed that right up. But then it just died on me, right when I was taking pictures. Since hubby doesn't like to hear me complain, he made me find the extended warranty and gallantly called to see what could be done about the camera. And guess what he said was wrong with it. Yep, he did. He told them that something was wrong with the battery cover. I don't think I need to explain why they refused to repair or replace my camera. What a waste of twenty bucks!

3. Printing order  Now this has been a complete nightmare. I ordered some bookmarks, postcards, magnets and posters from this printing company. The first order was terrible. The graphics were too dark, and the bookmarks and postcards were badly cut. The magnets were fine though. The company agreed to a reprint, so I sent the items back. Nearly a month and several frustrating phone calls later I receive my reprints, which look almost exactly the same (although the cut is better). I will probably blog about this in more detail in a future post, once I have a good enough camera to show how the prints came out. Here is a phone pic of the bookmark I ended up with:

4. Tire pressure sensors  There are few things that are more unsettling than to think that something is wrong with your car and not be sure. My tire pressure light is on, but my tires look fine. I think the cold weather is causing the pressure to drop just enough to trigger the sensors, and I am afraid of putting more air in the tires and have them overinflated once the weather gets warmer. But the sensors could be damaged. A simple pressure gauge would solve this problem, but since I found out there are some recall notices for the car, off to the dealership I go to get my ride fixed. Wish me luck!

5. Wireless Mouse At first I thought it was the battery. Nope. So I tried to reconnect. Wrong answer. I pulled out my husband's wireless mouse. *annoying buzzer sound* Okay, let's dig up the spare USB mouse. Oh, sorry, you need the driver for that! .......ugh! So I'm using the cheesy mouse that came with my Wacom tablet. Please don't break, I beg you.

6. Watch  This is now fixed thanks to my awesome local jeweler, but when I noticed that the watch I paid about one quarter of it's value in a movement a few months ago was dead, I reached the point where I threw up my hands and yelled "Seriously?"

7. My back  It isn't broken, but it sure feels like it is. I can't stand or sit for very long due to a pinched sciatic nerve. I can't get much done, and of all my malfunctioning things, this is the one that worries me. But I found a very nice chiropractor who was able to do in five minutes what days of Advil and Aleve could not. I have to go back a few more times, and the pain is not completely gone, but I wish I had gone a long time ago. My friends have warned me that chiropractic treatments can be addictive. They are probably right, but I think I have found a new lifelong friend in my chiropractor.

The phrase 'when it rains, it pours' is absolutely true. But the saying 'God never gives us more than we can handle' is also true. So I would ask you all to think and pray for those who have suffered through this terrible winter and those who have sacrificed and lost loved ones in this historic movement in Egypt. Even if you don't believe in God, kind thoughts and well wishes never hurt anyone.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rockin’ to Johan Strauss

Something silly popped into my head the other day. I was in my daughter’s room, rocking her. It was her naptime, and I was trying to get her from this:

To this:

So as I rocked, unable to do anything other than listen to the Blue Danube Waltz I was playing to calm Little Miss Frenzy down, my mind started to wander. And then a picture popped into my head of two characters I am working on, dancing a waltz, both wearing very old - I suppose you can call vintage- army fatigues and very dark sunglasses. 

If you now believe I am crazy, I can assure you that you are not the first person to think that.

I wanted to share this because truly this is a great way to give a character you are creating some depth.  If you write, try it as an exercise. Take two of your characters. Any two. They can be of the same gender, or from two different stories.  It doesn’t really matter what they are wearing. Visualize them waltzing (listening to music helps).  Based on their personalities and their relationship (or lack of), how would the dance go?

Would they hold each other close and enjoy the dance, or would they keep a comfortable distance? How would they hold each other?

Would they cut a rug and take over the floor, or would they stumble clumsily through the song?

Would they enjoy each other’s company, or would they stiffly go through the motions, anxious for the song to end?

Which character would lead?

Would one character try to trip up the other, or would the pair connect and come up with a completely new dance, just to show off?

Would they make eye contact? Would they glare at each other or make silly faces to try and crack the other’s composure?

If you like to read, take two of your favorite characters and have them dance while you try to answer the questions above. See what kind of scenario your imagination comes up with. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Withdrawal symptoms and a broken spacebar

Yay! My first novel is now available on Kindle (early e-book release). Yes, I am excited. But I realize I have my work cut out for me. My publisher is a very small press, and I am not famous or popular by any means, so If I want to get the word out, I am going to have to hustle. So I have been researching, taking notes, talking to friendly fellow authors (thank you Mike Lynch for your pearls of wisdom) and formulating a plan of attack. This is in addition to all my other chores, tasks and jobs I need to get done this month. One thing I have not been doing, though, is writing. And I am not happy about it.

I quit smoking many years ago, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. But breaking free of the habit was tough. It was all I could think about. I could not picture my morning coffee, lunchtime beverage, or my bedtime reading session without a cigarette in my hand. It was irritating, and I felt lost.  I am feeling much the same way right now.

So am I addicted to writing? I don't know. I share very few of my works with others (although I plan to change that) and I get shy when I begin to talk about my book. So if I am afraid to share and let the world see what I have done, why do I prefer to spend my evenings in front of this terrible keyboard that skips my v's half of the time and periodically  decides to quit spacing my words? I tried replacing the keyboard twice and I keep returning to this...thing.  Don't ask why. I'm just trying to figure out why the darn thing has become so rickety and unreliable.

I suppose it doesn't matter. I can still get a blog update done (32 corrections so far). And it is a way of sneaking in some writing. Now let's see how long before my next update.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I am drafting my inaugural post from my trusty iPad using this nice app called Blogpress. I have tried several before this, but this one seems to be 'the one'. Hopefully. We'll see.

I have another blog, Staying Home, which was meant to chronicle my adventures as a stay at home mom with a pending book due for release. But I never anticipated how many things would take priority over my sad little blog. Hopefully I will do better from now on.

So you are probably wondering why I would create a new blog if I can barely keep my other one alive. The only realistic answer I can come up with is that I am not quite right in the head. My idealistic answer would be that as opposed to writing about life away from the workforce, here I can write about writing, and to give some insight about my upcoming saga. So we will see how that goes.

Please check out my website www.dracawards.com to find out more about my book.


- Blogpress post from my iPad