Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Friday, October 31, 2008

From Take it to the Stars

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Sales!!!

Barbara and Dawn have both just sold short stories for the upcoming anthology "Men in Shorts" to be published by Ravenous Romance.

Congratulations Barbara and Dawn on your latest successes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award

Frances of Frances Writes blog recently awarded the "I Love Your Blog Award" to Take it to the Stars. Such an honor.

The rules for this Award are:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog

2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

We'll put our heads together and post our nominees as soon as possible. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman 1925-2008

Tony Hillerman, author of Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels featuring Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Born May 27, 1925, in Sacred Heart, Okla., population 50, Tony Hillerman was the son of August and Lucy Grove Hillerman. They were farmers who also ran a small store. It was there that young Tony listened spellbound to locals who gathered to tell their stories.

Hillerman wrote many novels including "The Blessing Way" in 1970, "People of Darkness" in 1978, his commercial breakthrough "Skinwalkers," 1987, "A Thief of Time," which made several best seller lists, "Talking God" and "Coyote Waits." In all, he wrote 18 books in the Navajo series, the most recent titled "The Shape Shifter."

Many of his novels explored cultural conflicts and differences in undersstanding. Tony Hillerman said, "I want Americans to stop thinking of Navajos as primitive persons, to understand that they are sophisticated and complicated."

Although he was accused of exploiting the Navajo culture for personal gain, the Navajo Tribal Council honored him in 1987 with its Special Friend of the Dineh Award. He said he took greater pride in that than from the many awards bestowed by his peers, including the Golden Spur Award from Western Writers of America and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, which elected him its president.

Although best-known for the Navajo series, he also wrote more than 30 other books, including the memoir, "Seldom Disappointed"; and books on the history and natural beauty of the Southwest.

In "The Spell of New Mexico" a collection of essays, Hillerman wrote "Those places that stir me are empty and lonely. They invoke a sense of both space and strangeness, and all have about them a sort of fierce inhospitality."

He also edited or contributed to more than a dozen other books including crime and history anthologies and books on the writing craft.

I had the great pleasure to meet Mr. Hillerman when we were both members of Southwest Writers, and I will always remember him as being very personable and down-to-earth. He will certainly be missed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ravenous Romance

Earlier, we mentioned that Dawn has an upcoming short story for an anthology on Sex and Shoes that will be e-published by Ravenous Romance.

To find out more about Ravenous Romance you can read the press release here and sign up for a free iPod Touch giveaway here. This is an exciting new site.

Ravenous Romance is being added to our sidebar, as well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Missing Chapter Twelves and the Strange Things Writers do.

I was recently asked why chapter twelve is missing from my novels.
Uh, okay I'll fess up.
It's cursed.
Really it is. In the spirit of Halloween I'd thought I'd tell you about it.
One morning about a year ago, I woke up at 3:00am to a chapter trying to pound it's way out of my head. All writer's know how it is when a good muse goes bad. She demands at the oddest hours to be heard. Ignore her at your own peril.

Anyway, she was banging away in my head screaming at me to get up. So, like a good little writer I did, and gave into her demands. Come six-o-clock it was done. I was so pleased with myself. Some of the best work I'd done to date. Original, creative and just plain inspired. I was in love with that chapter. I backed it up to disc, I backed it up to a travel drive and I backed it up to the hard drive...

Do you get the feeling something bad happened???

In spades.

The disc became corrupted, the computer crashed and the travel drive fell out of my purse somewhere when I'd been out and about in town. I re-typed, doing my best to recover the exact placement of each clever word, the feel for the chapter. No matter how I tried, I just couldn't get it to work. After I'd worked to retreive the original for several hours and finally managed to throw something together that was okay, I backed it up to another computer (the one my kids use) and left it open to come back and play with. Thinking it would be a great idea to put it on another disc, since I lost my only travel drive, I did and left it at the desk.

Bad idea. My children decided they needed a disc for their music and erased (yes it was re-writable) and I not only lost the chapter, I lost the entire story. The children also managed to lose the open page. Never, leave a story open with teenagers around.

The only way I could recover the story (Yes, you guessed right. Only up to chapter 11) was to go to my online critique group and pull it from the post. I can't tell you how glad I was I'd posted it to my private queue. (If you're not a member of this site BTW, I highly recommend. http://www.critiquecircle.com/)

So, to make a long story short, I re-wrote that blasted chapter five times before it stuck, and never did it seem as good as the original.

This chapter has been a nightmare for me in other stories as well. I've lost it in one other, I've hit major writer's block on multiple occasions. All disaster seems to drop on me when I hit chapter 12. It never comes to me smooth and I've begun to despise it.

Therefore, if you notice the header Chapter 12, with one sentence under it "Please proceed to chapter 13", this is why. Crazy? Oh yes. Superstitious? Without a doubt. Am I afraid of that chapter? Oh yeah.

Moral of the story...
Back up everything to Gmail and don't write a chapter 12. (However, I sometimes will change it after I finish the story) Don't want anyone to think I can't count, or heaven forbid, I've lost it.

So, what are some of the crazy things you do? Tell me I'm not the only one who's gone insane. Do you have anything you do for luck when you write? Any routines you won't break because of bad Ju-ju? What?

Monday, October 6, 2008

On Genres: A Necessary Evil

Here's an always informative and thought-provoking subject from the Fictionautics:

On Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction and Genres

This article focuses on informing readers what falls into what genre (or the best guess) and why.

As a writer, I struggle with how to pitch my work. The boundaries that define many of the genres and subgenres are blurred at best. If I describe my novel as "near future military science fiction romance with paranormal elements," most agents or editors won't read past the first line. Calling it simply speculative romance, slipstream or paranormal romance doesn't begin to give a sense of the elements of the story. I normally fall back on science fiction romance and then try to cover or at least hint at the other elements in the pitch paragraph.

So why even have genres?

Doing away with genres altogether creates a new set of problems. As a reader, I want to be able to filter or search for books that tend to have science fiction romance elements (even though when I execute that search, I often get novels that I'd categorize as pure fantasy). If there are no genres, will I have to sift through thousands of titles and blurbs to find the type of story that interests me?

So we struggle with genres, subgenres and cross-genres as best we can. The author of the article made a point that I agree with. When writing, don't restrict creativity to labels. Just write it and worry about pidgeon-holing it later.