Amazon Giveaway for my First NaNo novel!

In honor of how the National Novel Writing Month people inspire writers like me to write, write, write, I’m doing a giveaway of my first NaNoWriMo success-turned novel, The Red String. I fell in love with the magic of story writing because I took this crazy-sounding challenge. The longest thing I’d ever written was a song before 2011 (my first NaNo attempt and failure). By 2012, I had a renewed vision for a story and won. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days and then began the long process of revisions, editing, formatting, and self-publishing.

I’m participating in my fifth year with a project called “The Good Shepherd” and am past the halfway mark. Yay!

Be my writing buddy!

To enter the giveaway for a free ebook, all you gotta do is watch the Days of the Guardian trilogy book trailer. FYI, I made it all by myself. I happily plugged in my new Fender Telecaster and composed the background music, and honestly, I had a fun ole time.

The giveaway ends on November 30 at midnight, EST. Good luck! Remember to leave an honest review!

Enter to win!

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Why Me?

“Why me?”

“The defining event takes place on a Monday. You are Zaniel, angel of Mondays, correct?”

“Yes, Michael, I am. I suppose Monday’s are my thing. But, if you think about it, my name means nothing, you know, compared to the Name above all names. To be honest, I often wonder about Tuesdays.”

-“Angel of Mondays” from Eclectically Cosmic

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When I started this tale about a grumpy, yet faithful angel, I intended to turn it into a novel. But providence intervened. It lives now as a 1200 word flash fiction piece that I’m quite proud of. I’m honored to have it included in Inklings Publishing’s Eclectically Cosmic Anthology. It’s available now!

Behind the Story

The name Zaniel really DOES mean “Angel of Mondays.” My son was researching writing a story using lions as  the characters and when we discovered this name. I stole it immediately!


 

All new subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

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Throwing Dreams Into Space

One of my in-progress writing projects is a YA steampunk novella, and has the premise of a future, dying Earth being abandoned country by country to survive somewhere in space. Randomly, the country I picked to follow on their journey was France. They leave to co-colonize a terra-formed moon, joining hands with another dying planet’s people to survive. It’s a story that delves into the seeds of inequality and the need for civil rights and change. I researched French culture and history. I adopted the names of some of France’s Tunisian-born footballers to name one family. I included quotes from famous French authors and philosophers before each chapter.
I began this story before the horrendous tragedies occurred in France, Belgium, Baghdad, and Atlanta. Before the tears.
Writers don’t always know why they’re writing what they’re writing. I know the themes of inequality and civil rights aren’t new. It feels like they will never be new or un-relatable. This makes me sadder than I can say/write.
There are simply too many sad days. Social media can make us feel alone or united, depending on the moment. Hope must be sought out. I’ve been a little low on hope lately. But I read those old quotes and try to cling to the hope they harnessed.
Here are some-
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo
“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – Anais Nin


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Book Festivals- From An Author’s POV

It’s hard being an author in public. Dang hard. You have to talk without cue cards. Smile through the pain, the hunger, and the awkwardness. Make jokes, possibly. And the worst part–you’re supposed to sell books!

But it’s worth it.

Here’s a blog post from one of my most trusted beta-readers and fellow Sci-fi YA author, Ethan A. Cooper (What Happened On My Space Vacation– my review is here), about his first experience at a book festival–the preparations, the excitement, and the lessons learned. He was lucky enough to have some awesome companionship, his 10-year-old daughter, Lily, author of The Journey.

Enjoy– Necrotic Times: First time in the author booth

Houston Peeps- Come to the Fair!

I will be appearing at Copperfield’s Books’ 2nd Anniversary Party and Local Author Fair on Saturday, April 9th from 12-5pm. in Spring, TX. There will be a free writing seminar for all you aspiring writers as well at 2pm. Come out to meet local authors, eat some free food, and enjoy this lovely spring weather!

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Please support local artists wherever you live!

 

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WriteFest 2016

The first ever WriteFest occurred last week at the headquarters of a fantastic non-profit writing community support organization in Houston, TX, Writespace. There were two tracks- weeklong intensive workshops in a specific genre (such as speculative fiction) and the weekend panels. I was there for the Saturday panels (though I was thoroughly bummed to miss some of the Friday ones). Here’s my brief summaries of the panels I attended and of Friday night’s Keynote Address.

Friday Night Q & A with Keynote Editors, Jordan Bass, executive editor of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and Neil Clarke, publisher and editor of Clarkesworld Magazine

Editors have tremendous respect for writers…and…you’re also completely insane.

  •  Neil Clarke

We publish stories that wouldn’t be published anywhere else.

  • Jordan Bass

Panel # 1 – How to Create and Cultivate Your Personal Brand Using Social Media, Presenter  Lindsay Joyce, managing editor of Five out of Ten Magazine

Create a Personality Style Guide for each platform. Control your artifice. Give yourself a publishing schedule, use hashtags sparingly, and give valuable content.

Panel #2 – Writer as Editor / Editor as Writer, Moderated by Eric Blankenburg. Panelists: Heather Lefebvre, Sunil Patel, Casseyrenee Lopez

The panelists proposed becoming a volunteer reader for literary magazines, but any kind of critical reading other people’s work will educate a writer.

You will become more aware of what works and what doesn’t, develop a taste for well-crafted characters and conflict, see yourself in others’ work, discover what you’re up against, find the importance of thoughtful beginnings and organic hooks, and spot lazy language and word choices.

Panel #3 – Writing and Publishing Responsibly: Working Toward Equality & Inclusivity in the Literary Landscape, Moderator Julia Rios. Panelists: Neil Clarke, Kayla E., Caseyrenee Lopez, Catherine Chambers, and Adrienne Perry

Literature is a window, a mirror, and a door.

  • Catherine Chambers

Panel #4 – Anatomy of a Sale: The Short Fiction Submissions Process from Inspiration to Celebration, Presenter Sunil Patel, assistant editor of Mothership Zeta

Two words to remember – don’t self-reject!

Panel #5 – Take Me Back to the Start: What I Wish I’d Known As A New Writer, Moderator: DL Young. Panelists: Eric Blankenburg, Cassandra Rose Clarke

Goals depend on just you. Dreams depend on others.

  • Cassandra Rose Clarke

 

Writespace welcomes your submissions to its second anthology, In Media Res: Stories of the In-Between. They are looking for stories about characters who are thrown into or stuck between different cultures, communities, families, races, genders, self-images, dimensions, continents, etc. They want the gray area, the uncomfortable, the undefined. Give them characters that are in the middle of it all: middle children, mediators, people in the middle of their lives, in the middle of a mess–“in between.” Play with structure. Break the boundaries. Break genre.

Check out the Submission Guidelines.

 


 

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The Red Knot Book Release- It’s Party Time.

Meet Local YA Author

D. Marie Prokop

Saturday, February 13, 2016

9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

@ Cafe Marrese

11729 Spring Cypress Rd., Tomball, TX.

D. Marie will be enjoying Cafe Marrese’s delicious coffee, along with reading, selling, and signing her novels, including her newest release, The Red Knot, the final book in her YA Sci-fi trilogy, Days of the Guardian.

To add to the fun, there will be random giveaways, prizes, and crafty demonstrations. Don’t be surprised if you walk away with a new skill, like knitting or Chinese knotting. These things have been known to happen around D. Marie…

 

 

 

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Hot Youth Pastor Discount

Kayla thinks the speaker is brilliant. And . . . wait for it . . . hot. He speaks so dramatically, as if the world hinges on his every consonant. By the time I finish rolling my eyes over some lame remark, I start rolling them all over again.   My eyes grow sore from the unrelenting workout.

“God—the one who made the sun, the moon, and the stars—can use you!” he yells. I’m a bit frightened by his insistence.


Hot or not- Youth Pastors have a tough job. I’m on a mission to distribute my short fantasy story, On The Outward Appearance, to youth pastors around the country, maybe even the world… Please nominate a youth pastor you love in the comments. (Be sure to include their church, city, and state.)

I will send the first five nominees a free copy of this book about God’s unconditional love for teens (and all of us with complicated hearts).

For those of you in the Houston, TX area, stop by Café Marrese on Saturday, February 13th from 9am-1pm for your signed copy of On The Outward Appearance!


 

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YA Short Story Release – On The Outwards Appearance

“I’m glad God doesn’t care what we look like on the outside. Wouldn’t it be great if people only saw what’s on the inside, too?” Kayla interjects before Brad can speak again.

Brad squints then raises his right eyebrow.   His eyes bore into me and I’m distracted from my potatoes, shocked by how interesting his eyes are. His white teeth are so blinding when he smiles that I hadn’t noticed he had such gorgeous eyes until now. Rimmed in navy blue, his periwinkle irises appear almost violet. Definitely not boring.

“Do you care?” he asks me.

 

What if you could see past the outer appearance and glimpse the hearts of the people around you? When sarcastic, sassy Anne attends a church youth retreat she doesn’t even want to go to, she gets an unexpected gift . . .

“On The Outward Appearance” is now available in print and ebook versions on Amazon. Get yours today!

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